House sitting to save, a cheeky chicken named Gloria & how to avoid a Christmas debt hangover


We've got a brand new name, We Talk Cents - pleased to meet you! We chat to British expat Lisa Bull about how she saves over $30,000 by house sitting + we look at how to avoid overspending at Christmas with a special festive season budget.

The following is a transcript taken from episode 7 of the We Talk Cents podcast. The transcript is created by AI software so it might not be perfect - please forgive any imperfections or grammatical errors.


Dan Jovevski, Lisa Bull, Blaize Pengilly

Blaize Pengilly  00:09

Personal finance, budgeting, cash flow and investing don't have to be scary words. The We Talk Cents podcast is here to help you learn more about money and take control of your personal finances. The We Talk Cents podcast is not a financial advisor. This podcast is made for entertainment and educational purposes only. All information shared is of a general nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate for your needs and where appropriate seek professional advice from a financial advisor.

Dan Jovevski  00:45

For more information, please check out w slash disclaimer.

Blaize Pengilly  00:51

Good day and welcome to your very first instalment of We Talk Cents. Previously named Money Bites. Yes, you heard that right. We've had a name change. As always, you're joined by me Blaize your resident shopaholic

Dan Jovevski  01:04

ma Daniel resident finance expert.

Blaize Pengilly  01:07

Now, let's talk about the name change. So when we created the show, we got super excited and love the name Money Bites came up in a meeting. And we made sure a podcast didn't exist in Australia with the same name. However, we got a little bit ahead of ourselves and didn't research fully enough to say that there was another Aussie blog out there with the same name.

Dan Jovevski  01:27

We do a poll apologise to the owner of Money Bites, for getting ahead of our skis. We've renamed the podcast now to We Talk Cents, which is a double entendre on money and also making sense of your money.

Blaize Pengilly  01:40

That's right, we thought it was pretty clever. So we hope that you continue to join us right here, wherever you find us on your podcast listening device. And we will from here on in be bringing you all the news and information about money under the name We Talk Cents. Now that you know our brand new shiny name. Dan, what have we got on the show today?

Dan Jovevski  02:01

Blaize, we're going to be covering off saving money by a side hustle, and also budgeting for Christmas.

Blaize Pengilly  02:08

All right, let's get into it. Dan, what would you say your biggest expense is or the biggest expense for Australians?

Dan Jovevski  02:22

Blaize, I think this one's going to be quite obvious. I would say that about 50% of my outgoings goes towards paying off my mortgage and I think that's probably McDonald's plays very well the clock 10 years ago and it was just magazine booze. That was that was the extent of my my budget. But I think we changed out a little bit older and hopefully a little bit wiser. Some would argue nothing's changed. How about you?

Blaize Pengilly  02:47

Yeah, definitely McDonald's as well. McDonald's and booze. accommodation is definitely my biggest expense. And according to the abs, it's that's it's this. It's the same for all Australians. The single biggest expense for Aziz is housing or accommodation. Which is why this week our guest, our special guest has joined us to talk to us about just that. So our next guest is an avid travel blogger how Sarah and life experiencer reformed accountant she has over a decade of experience working in personal planets in the UK before she moved to Australia. And when she moved to Australia, she saved herself over $30,000 in expenses by not paying for accommodation, because she travelled around half sitting. It's not the typical way to save money. But here to tell us all about it is Lisa Bull. Lisa joins us now via zoom. Thanks for joining us, Lisa, how are you?

Lisa Bull  03:42

Hi, I'm good. Thank you. How are you?

Blaize Pengilly  03:45

Yeah, very well. Thank you, Lisa. Lisa, how did you start out on the journey of house sitting? Tell us? How did you start out on the journey?

Lisa Bull  03:53

Well, I moved to Australia in 2015. And I started off in Perth, and I spent five months living there. And I was planning to do a big road trip across the south coast. And I was in I was in hospitals at first all the backpackers and then a share apartment. And my friend was about to move back to Ireland and I would have been left on my own with these two middle aged men who started walking around in their underwear a lot. So it's basically like, desperately looking for a new form of accommodation. And I don't know, I can't remember how I heard about how to do but I just I just googled it and then came across quite a few websites in Australia where you just you pay an annual subscription fee, set up a profile and then you can apply for advert So pretty much as soon as I joined I got to have certain jobs in Rockingham near Perth. And then yes, I just lived in people's houses looking after their pets or they were on holiday. And then I think I had about two months worth while I was traveling so yeah, once I started it was a lot better than staying in hostels.

Blaize Pengilly  04:56

So you have two older men walking around a bit In

Lisa Bull  05:01

a life or death situations, it changed my life.

Blaize Pengilly  05:08

Now, what did you do for we touched on a little bit in the intro, but what did you do before work before you came to Australia?

Lisa Bull  05:15

So I worked for a mortgage lender before I came to Australia. So I did max at uni, and then had no idea what I wanted to do kind of stumbled into a finance job. And just ended up working for one company for 10 years, and then ended up getting residency here. So it always wanted to move here. I knew I didn't want to carry on with a corporate job when I moved over here. So I was trying to look for a way to sort of travel and like take time out that wouldn't cost loads of money. And then when I came across Hansen, I did that. So did my big road trip, basically camping and then pass it in the cities. And then when I got to Sydney, it was just so in demand that I found I could do it full time. So I just didn't pay rent for three and a half years and just solidly has that time, Sydney.

Dan Jovevski  05:57

That's amazing. Lisa. You've gone from this corporate job in the UK to house sitting here in Australia. How is that experience like coming to another country? assume you probably didn't know too many people. How's that? How did you How are you thinking and feeling of the time when you arrived in you know choosing house sitting as a as a way to get familiar with the country?

Lisa Bull  06:18

Yeah, em, well, what's up so I've done a lot traveling I met a lot of backpackers along the way, but then moving to Sydney is a bit harder because I was by myself. But it was just such a good way to sort of explore the different areas so I had no idea where I wanted to live in Sydney but I knew to stay there. And when I first moved here actually thought that I want to live in the city and now after has it in that's really the last place everyone lives and I live in like a beachside area in our city. But just exploring I think I lived in 50 different suburbs in Sydney. So but beach side, inland north, so I've had like, tiny flats, massive mansions, I've been right on the harbour with the bridge, outside just just everywhere. I was so fascinating.

Blaize Pengilly  07:04

That's crazy. Lisa, there are so many so many different areas of Sydney. And also city i mean is notorious for their absurd rent prices. So yeah, I would experience so much of it. And not be out of pocket at all is amazing. But I want to know more about the kind of places you were staying and what is the best place that you've had that or the worst or one of each?

Lisa Bull  07:27

Got lots of each. So the best one, I've had a few good ones. I've had a few real mansions. I think the best one was mosman which is a really kind of expensive area in Sydney. And I stayed there like two or three times a year. And it was it was owned by architects. So they basically designed everything about the house and it looked at over like a harbour, Big Valley and the sun would set just directly in front of the balcony. And I had a room with like just massive windows and then one of those remote controls the blind so I might come in the morning just hit the remote come up then the sunrise water.

Blaize Pengilly  08:06

And as you know you've made it when you don't even have to stand up to move the kettle...

Lisa Bull  08:12

and steam heated pool is crazy. I got friends for dinner sometimes and they just be like, Oh my gosh, believe it or just on the worst ones. I think one of the worst ones was an apartment in Melbourne. I got a really last minute once there wasn't time to go and visit the person first which you normally do. It was in Southbank and I kind of got the impression it was going to be really plush and I imagine like this, this playboy in his like apartment I got there and it was like this 20 year old young gamer boy like he just he'd never unpacked his stuff he'd never cleaned. It had an amazing view but it was so dirty. I didn't even take pictures of it. There was a towel on the bathroom floor that actually got Brian like it was it was left all his washing up. I just

Blaize Pengilly  09:02

yeah. No photos in it went

Lisa Bull  09:06

out. At the time. I was like can't even everything.

Blaize Pengilly  09:12

So Lisa, so how sitting for you cited as a way to escape these two men and underwear. And now it clearly is clearly turned into a bit of a way of life for you. Could you talk us through like so how sitting Yes, you're looking after someone else's house and maybe their pets. But can you talk us through the whole process of how sitting what people could expect if it's something they want to get into?

Lisa Bull  09:33

So it's always look after pets. So there's lots and lots of websites you can join. So you've got some that are aimed at travelers so generally you won't get paid for those house sits. You just have what the free accommodation, but then you've also got a lot of local ones in Australia like not pause. That's who I worked through and then you can actually charge for it and set your own rates. But if someone was new, you choose a website to join. You'd set up a profile submit your photos and you write the profile. seed, you'd really want to focus on the animals because that's the main, the main thing that people are looking for. And then most of them, you can apply for jobs. So you can set the locations you're interested in hi sitting in search for jobs, and then you just apply for them. If it's somewhere that you can reach if you're not driving somewhere, you'd go meet the people first. And yeah, and then so you just arrange when it starts to turn up, they should normally write out instructions for you. So everything that you need to do the pets will show you Wherever the gears they might show you that area if you're traveling. And yes, you just keep in touch with them, usually every day, send them pictures of their pets. So it's really just like dog walking, feeding the animals watering plants bringing Malin so nothing. Yeah, nothing extreme. But yeah, that's what it involves.

Dan Jovevski  10:44

That's amazing, Lisa! You've been to 50 homes, you must have developed quad repeat patient at the hospital.

Lisa Bull  10:54

I think I've done around 120 actual house sits.

Blaize Pengilly  10:57


Lisa Bull  10:58

Yeah. So I love it for two years. And then the final six months, I really wanted to stop it just leave that suitcase.

Dan Jovevski  11:06

Were you getting like people refer you to other houses? Like? How did that? How did that all happen? For you?

Lisa Bull  11:11

Yes? Well, you getting reviews on the website I'm on. So initially, it was very slow. Once I've got about 20 reviews, I started ranking really well because the site will rank you when the house owners search for you. And then I've had a few referrals to people's friends that mainly just came through the website and people find me because it runs so well up there. And because because I've got good reviews as well, because they'll give you like a star rating at five. So it was really it's just that I was always at the top. And I was actually I was turning down a lot early on because people would try and book me for like they're all their holidays through the year. And I'd already have some book tonight some people would put all their holidays like around my schedule, people who knew me would use me got to the point where people kind of arranging holidays around me rather the other way around. So once you've got a reputation, you've got a good client base it Yeah, can't stop

Dan Jovevski  12:01

Lisa, what are the tips and tricks for people that are looking to create a good profile?And how much does the profile count towards getting hassling rolls? Or do you think it was just your reviews reputation ended up winning in the end any hints and tips to the audience?

Lisa Bull  12:14

Um, I think it's both really, I think the profile is important. So you really need to focus on how much you love animals, because that's more important to those people than the houses. I remember my first ever handset. The owner said to me, basically, that only had one of the person applying because quite far outside of the city. But she said that person just basically talked about that he'd been like a property manager, and basically focused on the look after the house, which they weren't that interested in is really just a pet. So if you talk about any experience you've had, like, if you grew up with pets, if you've looked after other people's pets, and just really make make it clear that your animal lover, and just that you'll respect the home and you'll leave it tidy and clean. That's that's really the main things I'll get I'll get a police certificate as well. Because that just puts you one step ahead of me hasn't that people never really asked for it. But it looks good. Just to say we've got

Blaize Pengilly  13:08

Lisa, let's talk money. Yeah, how much do you know to  charge? And does it change under pending? Does it change depending on the type of pets or the area or in? Show me the Mona Lisa, how do you do?

Lisa Bull  13:22

So when I started I really just looked at what the competition was charging kind of place myself in there. And then eventually I did like a big analysis of how many hours it was taken, you know, worked out really on average, without the animal care has taken me about eight hours behind it just in terms of like packing plating, loading the car, traveling to the meet and greet traveling to the houses. So you've got that and then you've got you'd normally have up to an hour's work with the dog if you do the walk maybe an hour a day of pet care. So long as it's more lucrative because you're not moving as often. But I would say the the bare minimum if you're charging would be around $30 a night up to similar really experienced ones people who do it as their main business or up to $100 a night as a base right and then for each extra pet like a double cat you charge maybe 10 or $15 extra per per pack. Remember if people are using like kennels they might be charged $50 per dog and some people have like two or three dogs so it's still it's still gonna be a saving for them and better service than putting the came on.

Blaize Pengilly  14:28

That's quite a lot of money $30 a night I mean, it would be great doing it for free if your travel would be awesome because you're saving on the accommodation expenses that make money off. It's great. But I assume that obviously making money you're looking after pets so there is a lot of risk and potential cost involved. Have you ever found yourself in scenarios where you're having to dash out to the vet and middle of the night or you've lost an animal and spent days through the bush trying to find a lost?

Lisa Bull  14:56

Pretty insane right because I haven't prepped you but I was just thinking before this about it. really naughty chicken go Gloria. I used to visit every day of Christmas and just let them out in the morning, put them away at night and feed them. And this one Gloria is ginger chicken. She was always always trouble. And she had a little friend they're always together and they would never do. I was trying to get in today. Oh, no, it was New Year's Eve and I needed to go early. So I had to try and put them to bed at half past three. And Gloria just she wasn't having any of this. So I was having to chase around with the broom to get them in and then I went back the next day. And Gloria just glory just wasn't there and I put my back in and I said no and I had to text the owners. I'm really sorry. But like ones go missing. She's like, Oh, don't worry, she's probably just like nesting somewhere and it's really overgrown garden so like she could have been anywhere. And I have to go down like the lane way down the back and just check in the lane. Why so I'm like crouching around in this like way all the bins and like the rubbish like, Oh, yeah. That's like what's happening tonight is gone. Because they rely check the check. Like under the house everywhere. Glory wasn't there. Terrible. Then the owner came back and she found her poetry. She just basically decided to go and start like getting brewed in St. Teresa. is alive. Oh my gosh.

Blaize Pengilly  16:18

Sounds like a body animal.

Lisa Bull  16:21

They really did. It didn't. Didn't do what I wanted. And I've had Yeah, had a lot of it. This is I've had seven I think. One was in the middle of the night. I've had two dogs with paralysis ticks. That's quite serious. One of them hadn't had the preventative medication. And I was taken to the best like two in the morning because I found them early that day, and then pap to like, pull these massive ticks out with tweezers, one of them's enzyme is really bad. And then um, yes. And he started basically walking with his drunk and then looked up. And this is lightning and death when we get to that stage. But it was so serious. It was such a race to the emergency but at 2am. And he actually ended up getting pneumonia and had to go in intensive care for a few days. And he did pull through and high nine. Yeah. So thankfully that the owners had grown up children was that they kind of took over with him because they've got another dog as well. I was looking for. Yeah, that was that was really touching guys. And scary. So

Blaize Pengilly  17:18

yeah, that would be I can imagine that would be really intimidating. And also just having to break the news to the owner like yeah, sorry, Laura. Oh, and sorry, Your it's 2am. And your dog is? Yeah.

Lisa Bull  17:32


Blaize Pengilly  17:33

Now, Lisa, so you saved about $30,000 in accommodation costs. When you started out, do you see this as more of a money saving opportunity? Or do you see it more as a way to see more of the country when you first moved here?

Lisa Bull  17:47

It was a bit of both. So initially, it was just like a way of saving money to travel. But I also really, really love animals. I've never really thought to work with them. And it just it was just such a difference from going on a corporate job to just waking up in like dogs that are so happy every day. So really love that aspect of it as well. In terms of sort of exploring city and exploring the country is absolutely brilliant. But yeah, there might be Matt outside. It's actually a lot more than that. Now, that was quite an old blog post that for you came from so worked out over three and a half years of her sit in Sydney in a couple of months traveling that's about $44,000 of rent. And then with the pay on top of some of that is like another 20 K so that's around 65 k kind of better off from her sudden.

Blaize Pengilly  18:32

Wow, that's incredible.

Lisa Bull  18:33

Yeh. And then I kept my house in the UK as well as rent to the attic. So for five years that's been rented out and gone, as well. So yes, it's it's a good thing financially.

Dan Jovevski  18:43

That's absolutely amazing. Let's think about where we are now in our recording this podcast in November with Christmas only being around the corner. How? How does house sitting get around this crazy holiday season is in demand? Do you need a book in early? How is Christmas time in house sitting? How does that those two things go together?

Lisa Bull  19:03

The busiest time of the year by far because Australians obviously go on holidays. It's the same time here. So the first Christmas had one in Adelaide actually when I was traveling, and then when we got to sit in on the first Christmas there. I was hesitant on like the unpaid websites at that point. And I remember I started applying people start advertising maybe July time for Christmas sometimes definitely October A lot of us born and I was applying for loans and because there's so many travellers here then it was really competitive. I think five maybe seven and then I've got one and then I joined my paws where I get the paid houses and I ended up getting like all these last minute offers of paid houses to turn down to the one that the other person I had about seven offers a paid house for Christmas. And then after that once I've got all my reviews and everything. I'd literally start getting the offers in and I just wait till I've got like a nice long four or five week one. And then yeah, so I can basically pick and choose at Christmas time, and then I also do the visits to feed people's cats at Christmas time as well because that's really in demand. So normally have around 15 houses over the month of Christmas. So Christmas can only have like seven or eight different houses to do. So basically do like a morning and afternoon room, just feeding cats and then make a bit of extra money that way as well.

Blaize Pengilly  20:21

So you become the crazy cat lady at Christmas time.

Lisa Bull  20:24

Yeah. Oh, chicken lady florists, guinea pigs,

Blaize Pengilly  20:30

guinea pigs. Wow. Lisa, to finish off, could you provide some tips for anyone that's looking into getting into house sitting themselves? What's the tip for someone starting out?

Lisa Bull  20:41

Yeah, I'd say. So it's really important to try get references. So I try and take something on even if it's not like an ideal handset and like, look for ones that aren't in city centres, or they're not really in premium locations, or maybe like really short ones, just to try and get some references and reviews on your profile. So that's a really good way to kind of increase it. Yeah, like, look for the peak time. So whichever country you're in, if it's a school holidays, that's gonna be a busier time you get your certificate, if that really helps. Just make sure, make sure you've got a good profile, look through other people's profiles, as well as see, see what the competition's basically saying, kind of just spend a lot of time writing writing profiles and a lot of habits.

Blaize Pengilly  21:20

I'm sure the police certificate only helps if you've got a clean one.

Lisa Bull  21:24

Oh, obviously otherwise, just don't mention it. Yeah.

Dan Jovevski  21:33

Lisa, that was absolutely amazing. And I think you've inspired a lot of people to look at this source of earning additional income. But more importantly, saving a ton on rent. And rent being one of Australia's biggest expenses. This is a really creative way that a lot of people can go out there and, and find a way to save a lot of money and have a bit of fun by the sounds of Lisa's experiences. You're not just going to say you know your your your your GG cats, but you're going to say some chickens too. So, Lisa it's been a blast. How do people find more about you? And tell us about your blog?

Lisa Bull  22:06

Yes, my blog is dreaming of It's mostly Australian travel. So it's all about sort of moving here traveling here. Tips for anyone who wants to migrate. So Britain, all the road trips I've done so I've got about half the coastline in Australia, like destination guides and things like that. And lots of hesitant guys got about 10 defaults, you can read in depth on what work involves and how to start as a house sitter.

Blaize Pengilly  22:32

Okay, and can we find you on Instagram as well, Lisa? Oh, yeah.

Lisa Bull  22:35

So that's just at dreaming of ganando calm? Sorry, not dreaming of diamond.

Blaize Pengilly  22:40

All right at dreaming of down under Yeah. Well, Lisa, thank you so much for joining us today. That was really fascinating learning all about Gloria and the highs and lows of housesitting. We really appreciate you joining us and hope you have a very fun Christmas period, hopefully in some beautiful lush houses with steam rooms again.

Lisa Bull  22:58

I've got one booked actually not steamy buddies by the beach.

Blaize Pengilly  23:02

Well, that sounds lovely. Thank you, Lisa.

Lisa Bull  23:04

Thank you.

Blaize Pengilly  23:08

So Dan house sitting, what did you think of Lisa's points?

Dan Jovevski  23:12

I thought it was amazing. Blaize. I mean, it just goes to show that if you thought about all the innovative ways that you can make money and saving your expenses, you heard everything under the sun. I think Lisa gave us a really really good insight on how you could really reduce your rental expenses, have a bit of fun. And you know, also bring a little bit of joy into your life with animals. Often that was super, super, super surprising. But from a practical perspective, if you are looking to travel and you're looking to maybe you know go to the US or the UK wherever you are in the world, this could be a great option for you to really reduce your expenses have a little fun along the way. My word if you get a chance to you know mind some you know millionaires mansion that just sound incredible. How about you, Blaize?

Blaize Pengilly  23:57

Yeah, I I would love to sign up I've done a little bit of house sitting in the past but I've never have sat somewhere with a steamer in a room or a view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. So I'm feeling a little bit ripped off. Yeah, I think it's a great idea great for saving money. And it's also sort of tax on to Airbnb style of live like a local. If you're house sitting somewhere you really get to experience an area as a local which is a really really cool way to see parts of the world. So yeah, I'm a foreign house sitting especially this time of year so many people traveling, that'd be plenty of opportunity to take this up as a side hustle if it's something that takes the fancy and suits the skill set that's managing pets and chickens. Dan, it is time to crank out the classics and put Mariah Carey and Michael Beasley back on repeat because as of today, Monday the 16th of November. We are exactly five weeks and four days out from Christmas. Dan, how do you feel about Christmas? And what do you do to lessen the blow financially?

Dan Jovevski  25:06

Blaize, I can't believe it's towards the end of the year right now. And it's come up so quick. And you can often tell when you hit into the shops, and I've already got the Christmas Christmas candle rings up and running and all the decorations off in the shops, and it makes you really into that Christmas spirit. I don't think I could ever get sick of before I carry being on loops, I'm really looking forward to that finding every single radio station every single shopping centre. Christmas is a very, very interesting time. The amount of spending that occurs during Christmas is elevated, quite obviously, because it's a very festive season families in India that were farming in all different locations. But that can obviously put a bit of strain on budgets. And especially when we start thinking about some of the more emotional elements of this festive season. We can get overexcited and tend to spend a lot more. So I'm rooting to uncover what we will discuss today around really helping us navigating these interesting next few months of the festive season that making sure that we come out the other side of it without back office intact and looking at 2021 with optimism.

Blaize Pengilly  26:08

Yeah, nice. Christmas definitely affects the budget and it affects your belly as well. big belly big budget this Christmas is my goal.

Dan Jovevski  26:16

Well Blaize, I think I think I probably overindulge in the last few Christmases. And I'm carrying on the ability that I had last year to this year. So my new year's resolutions is probably going to be something that's white related. And yeah, I'm excited for a lot more Christmas.

Blaize Pengilly  26:32

I love my Christmas lunch. Well, if you haven't saved up for Christmas, or tend to find yourself easily in spending mode this time of year. We've got a plan to help you writing and spending and not go too overboard this Christmas, the trusty old Christmas budget. She sat with some stats dead Christmas spending hit me,

Dan Jovevski  26:54

Blaize, this is really shocking. Get this Australia's wasted $411 million on what gifts in 2018 probably go to iPads and iPods and all sorts of stuff coming out of it. Wow, that's amazing. What do you think?

Blaize Pengilly  27:10

$411 million. I mean, fair enough, we all get a bit of a crap gift every year that you kind of just read gift on to somebody else. But $411 million worth of dodgy gifts, that's shocking. We need to we need to really understand the people that we're buying gifts for better, I think or have better taste perhaps.

Dan Jovevski  27:32

I think so i think so Blaize! I would love to get into some hints and tips are really finding the perfect gift for people during this Christmas period that doesn't affect the back pocket that is actually meaningful and people use because $411 mill. That's a lot of money that people are spending on things that people don't really care about. What are the stats we have, Blaize?

Blaize Pengilly  27:53

Well, I found out that and parents spend an average of $255 on their kids, which is quite a lot. That's a week's rent depending on where you live. And also at the start of 2020, before the world before the world changed forever 37% of us he started 2020 with a Christmas debt hangover. So that's a third of the nation starting the in depth due to their Christmas spending, which is a pretty shocking stat.

Dan Jovevski  28:23

It is Blaize. And it just makes me really think about all the activity when we're going to the shopping centres over regular credit cards. And I think if we would all say last year, or maybe the year before that, you know bionaire pile, it was a kind of a theme. But right now it's actually huge, over five to 6 million Australians now having at least one bar on our palate or account, I can just imagine what January's gonna look like for a lot of bank balances out there for a lot of people as they hung over from not only eggnog, but looking at their bank that is that that may not be as healthy as they would like. I also think this year, we've also got something else that's heating up, which is really interesting. Microsoft and Sony are releasing their new PlayStations and xboxes out to the market. So be interesting to see if that 255 average increases with the console wars that are getting in the young, inspiring teenagers that are looking to get their new console and what that will do to the poor mums and dads out there that are going to have to come down there. They're screaming kids for these new consoles. So yeah, a lot a lot to get through today. What else have we got, Blaize?

Blaize Pengilly  29:31

Let's take a look at how to set a Christmas budget. Obviously, we know budgets are important. And for the last few weeks, we've been doing a budget breakdown on different styles of budgeting that can work for your personal finances. But this week, Christmas, you know it's a couple of weeks away. Let's look at the steps needed to set a solid Christmas budget so that you're not someone studying 2021 with a Christmas debt hangover. So step one Christmas budget, write down everything You will be spending money towards this Christmas, include everything. Include your travel, if you need to fly or drive somewhere to visit family, include your accommodation if you take a Christmas holiday. Obviously, presence is a big one, food and booze that you spend over the Christmas period. Also think about things like Ubers. So if you're taking an Uber to your family's house on Christmas Day, or wherever it is, think about all these extra expenses that don't normally come into your life or into your budget that are exceptional, because they're a Christmas expense. Obviously, as well with presence, there's the gifts themselves. And then there's the wrapping any postage, say if you have friends or family that you send gifts to overseas, you're obviously going to have to pay cough up for Australia Post or FedEx or wherever you use. And another one that is often forgotten. But a really big part of this time of year is giving. You know Christmas is a time of year where a lot of people are feeling very generous, and often looking to donate their time and money to other people. So if you're someone that makes a donation every year, whether it be your gold coin donation at the shops to get your gifts wrapped for you, or whether you're giving to charity or giving Christmas hampers, or whatever it is, make sure that you're including these gifts and charitable donations in your budget. Dan, step two, what do we do next?

Dan Jovevski  31:28

I think Blaize, whats really in your budget, the most important thing is to allocate and estimate the spend amounts for each of the categories and go into detail and really set some money aside on some of these expenses that end up costing a lot of money, particularly in the month of December. Now the first most obvious place that you've touched on places, obviously food and booze, these things can get really really manic when you're in the shopping centres, and you're saying those beautiful antipasto plays prepared by that person that Delia Louisa calls, and you've got to send yourself like I want one of those too. And I think we can often get ahead of ourselves in these times, we just put everything in the trolley get to the register and realise that we've got a nice fat, you know, $400 shop that we're going through. So, before we do that, and you know, this, you know, this, to the to the folks that are listening, is that post Christmas parties, right, you do your best to store enough food, maybe the leftovers, but you know, you're going to throw a whole bunch of stuff that doesn't get in on the day, and particularly things that you can't really store. So before you get to that point, you shouldn't really sort of estimate on if you got are going to have family over or you know, a lot of events, no plan realistically and what you can do to continue what your guests are going to achieve over this period of time. And that really helps you sort of uncover and spend less money on site over purchasing on things that you know that you probably kind of throw out. So food, booze is the first place to start. The second place to talk into is your travel and accommodation. So most people are traveling to meet friends and family during this very festive season. And some of your big ticket expenses like plane trips, plane trips, which probably gathering COVID probably are going to be as much as they were, say last year. But if you are traveling safely to state, the borders that are open, there's obviously gonna be some fuel costs and some expenses here that you will have to consider from traveling to point A to B. And that's often some of the hidden expenses that we often sort of get events a year. worries are just going to go to the server when you know fill up two or three times say from you know, two to three hours of a trip back and forward that can obviously add up to quite a lot of money plays on how to be very guilty of the next one and a lot of us and as to what is it for us city fog that traveling and if especially for people that I would say I sort of pre families in the 20s and invited to a whole lot of events and a lot of Christmas breaks by that we work colleagues or former workplace. I was in this club and to be quite frank players I probably still am. But what happens when you drink Blaize?

Blaize Pengilly  34:11

You have a lot of fun and you spend more money. Am i on the right path? Am i on the right track here?

Dan Jovevski  34:19

I think you are and one of the things that often stings us quite a bit is the Uber the taxi trip. I think we've all got a story to share about $100 trip. So at some point in our lives that we've taken, especially at the point of desperation where you had surge pricing, lack of supply of taxis, that really gets you at what would have been a $20 trip ends up being close to about $100 or more during with more than a dispute.

Blaize Pengilly  34:47

Actually i have an advice.

Dan Jovevski  34:49

Oh, tell me!

Blaize Pengilly  34:50

If you don't want to pay surge pricing or if you can't find a taxi or you can't find an Uber. The only option that is great for your bank balance is to just keep partying If you don't stop partying then by the time that the sun comes up, the next day the bus service is running again, you've got a cheaper lift home. It's actually it's, it's more fun. And yeah, you saving money. So my my suggestion for anyone that is looking at that fine and middle of the night can't find a cab, can't can't afford the Uber because of surge pricing. Just keep going.

Dan Jovevski  35:22

It might be cheaper, you're totally right, Blaize. But for those looking to plan ahead on the night itself, obviously looking to share your expenses with people a longer trip in the journey rather than having to go out independently of at night time. I know it's a little bit difficult, but can often lead to a whole bunch of savings, particularly when you've got four or five events planned in the busy month of December. What else have we got Blaize?

Blaize Pengilly  35:50

Well, the first thing you think of when you think of Christmas budgeting for me, it's presents. Now a nice presents seems like a really obvious part of the Christmas budget. But if you list out everyone you need to buy a present for and the amounts that you are allocating to each of them, it will actually really, really help you plan for Christmas. So what I would suggest is part of this Christmas budget, list amount, write down whoever you buying presents for whether it's your partner, your parents, your kids, your friends, colleagues, a secret Santa gift that you may have to do a six pack for the bin man, whoever you expect to buy a gift for, write them down, and then allocate amounts. And now I understand you might allocate $50, to your partner and end up spending 40, then you can allocate that extra 10 to one of your kids or to your colleagues, you can move the money around, it doesn't have to be a set in stone budget when it comes to presence. But having amounts as guidelines for each of those people will really help you to understand how much money you're spending. And you also might be a little bit shocked when you add it all up as to how much you're spending in total. So definitely writing down everyone you need to buy a gift for and there's people that you often forget about, like we my family, we give a pack a six pack to the bin every year. And that's a tradition that I've carried on since since moving out. And so even little things like that. They're things you should be considering and adding to your Christmas budget.

Dan Jovevski  37:20

Sounds great Blaize on such inspiration there. I think the poor old bin men that are getting out there and helping us on a very busy day, and I'm flowing bins with all sorts of stuff coming out of them. I think that's absurd.

Blaize Pengilly  37:35

the bin man. But it's me the legends of this holiday, it's Oh, yeah,

Dan Jovevski  37:42

absolutely. I love that suggestion. What else we got Blaize?

Blaize Pengilly  37:46

like I mentioned earlier, it's a given time of year. So if you make any donations to charity, if you donate under the Christmas trees in the shopping centres, or give 20 soup kitchens, or whatever it is at this time, and make sure that you allow and plan for your giving beautiful time of year to give giving all year round is amazing. But yeah, if you can really plan out your donations that will really help you with your Christmas budgeting.

Dan Jovevski  38:11

Blaize, another thing about donations, this is a really good point. And for those people who are thinking about getting another pair of granny socks, that you've probably not heard the word before a couple of years time. What some recent studies have shown is that the act of giving during this period of time has much more of an intrinsic reward than actually receiving. And if you think about how much people that may not be as fortunate as you are during this university period of time, people that you know, maybe you know homeless or not have families to come around to under a Christmas tree. The act of bonding, the day of people that are less fortunate can actually be very, very rewarding. For those people who haven't really considered any type of charity donations, probably heard about the canned vegetables of the camera for the giveaway to send donations. actively try and find a charity that you can help support brighten the day or people that are less fortunate. It's actually going to give you a far more of a buzz and helping the person that actually is going to be receiving gifts from other people. And so I encourage everybody to think about that this year. It helps you out those that are less fortunate. And in return. They're actually doing a lot of good for people that don't have it as great as you do this year. So that's an excellent place.

Blaize Pengilly  39:26

Sorry, Dan, can I just jump in here because I want to 100% agree. Giving is giving the feeling of giving is awesome. The feeling of giving without any expectation of receiving anything in return is such a magical feeling and it totally makes you feel elated. And also no one wants to be deadly deadly. This isn't Harry Potter. We don't want to be counting our gifts and having a tantrum with the amount that we get. It's your right it's the joy of giving is what we should really be focusing on this Christmas and you know it's repeated all the time and said many times before but it's definitely a good time of year to be ready. mind that the joy of giving is something you should really be focusing on rather than get get get what what what what can I get out of this, you know.

Dan Jovevski  40:08

I love it Blaize. Once we have as far as other expenses because there's a few other gotchas isn't there?

Blaize Pengilly  40:14

There is. So we've covered off the main ones but Christmas, there's always a sneaky extra expenses that you might not be expecting. So maybe you pay someone to come around and mow your lawn to tidy up the backyard before you have guests over. Maybe you get your hair and nails done to look your best for Christmas. I know I said whatever it is, think about any extra costs that you may incur this season. So if you need a new umbrella for your patios, and people aren't dying in the hot summer sun for Ozzy Christmas, think of all those extra costs that may be incurred that might be a little bit out of the ordinary. All right dance, that's breaking down the costs. So step one, write down everything you'll be spending money on step two, allocate, estimated spend amounts to each of these costs, whats step three?

Dan Jovevski  41:04

Step three Blaize is to add all up and tweak where you can, this step is fairly straightforward. Really, it's totally up all your spend and seeing if that fits your budget, hopefully, you'll be citing already and preparing for Christmas. So you should be pretty well covered. In this period of time blind spot also happens, especially if you're working for a full time employer is you often get a part of your salary or part of your pay for dependent parts. And a lot of employers do this with I'll give you the last sort of week or loss of the four nights pay in advance of Christmas. So you have that additional extra buffer period of time. And that's where people get really unstuck because they use that pay day in advance to pay for a lot of expenses. So I think if as long as your income is not changing, and you haven't perhaps budgeted for the Christmas parade and total vote that you've probably performed a number of money have money to spend during this period of time. So I think keeping an eye on that total amount, and adding your roll up should give you a realistic view of how much you're going to spend. What about you Blaize? What else are you thinking about here and in step three?

Blaize Pengilly  42:11

Well, in the past, the way that I've done Christmas, I wouldn't say budgeting but the way that I've spent money at Christmas is that I wouldn't, I used to not put money aside. And then that way, what I would do is I would use the money my spare money each week that I wasn't spending on my living expenses. Instead of spending on myself going out for nice brunches, buying ridiculous amounts of clothes that I don't need to wear. Instead of spending that money on me, I would allocate my funds spending money on gifts. And that way, I wouldn't overspend. And I would be cutting back and then using that money to buy my Christmas gifts and the other expenses for Christmas. However, I don't do it that way anymore. I do use a Christmas budget especially now. And another tip that I want to put in here is that if you do add up all your expenses, and it's not the it's not an affordable amount for you, and you can't really tweak it or you're wondering where you can cut back on costs, and you can't do it. Maybe Christmas is a good time for you to take up a side hustle maybe on the weekends, you can offer to clean up a neighbour's backyard. Or maybe you can offer to babysit someone's kids and earn some extra money, especially with all the Christmas parties and whatnot that are going on, it might actually be a good time to earn some extra money with a side hustle so that you can be covered with Christmas. So you're not feeling the sting that much

Dan Jovevski  43:31

Oh really well done Blaize. You shouldn't just be about the spending side of your own personal balance sheet. Also, the earnings side of your balance sheets really cover some of those costs. That's a great point. So Blaize What about going Hobbs to get presents?

Blaize Pengilly  43:46

Oh, yeah, you can totally do that. That's a great idea for saving money. Going How's it going? Doing group gifts is a fantastic idea. Going Hobbs is someone in gifts, Secret Santa. Obviously that's a fantastic idea. Anything where you can either go in with someone or you don't if you're not having to pull fork out the full cost of a gift. I think that's also a great way to cut back on spending Christmas.

Dan Jovevski  44:11

Totally. And I think it allows you to elevate the power of the gift that you can buy for the individual. So I don't know if my mom and my sister is listening to this right now. They probably don't. But my sister My dad has actually gone a third into something that I think mom will really love this particular Christmas and I won't give it away just in case she does tune in. But it allowed us to really pull our money together to buy something that she really really wants but would have been too much for us individually did buy for her. So I think it's a fantastic idea.

Blaize Pengilly  44:40

Dan on the topic of family Christmas presents before we get into Step four, what is your most memorable Christmas unwrapping moment?

Dan Jovevski  44:49

Blaize? I don't know why this memory just comes to mind. But I can remember very distinctly and it was probably when I was about maybe four or five years old. Her and I were going to the shopping centre one day, and my mom had asked me what a set of what to give you for Christmas. And I remember I really, really wanted a super soaker. And I was pointing to all the super soakers in the aisles, and come around Christmas Day, of course, as a little child. what everybody does is put the milk out of the freezer for Santa to come around. And I just removed that very, very, very well. But when I opened up the presence, I ended up getting super psyched up. But retrospect yet, which was awesome. I just remember what it was lots of growing up, you know, I came from, you know, a fairly low middle class upbringing. And when mum didn't get me the biggest super soaker in the world, she got me the cheapest one. And when I say the cheapest one, it wasn't even a brand or super soaker it was just one of those little, you know, piddly little $2 50 Super gallons. Yeah, I just remembered it because I play for the whole year. I'm sure mobiles over the bourbon, she'd have to buy me something super expensive. But I just remember how much joy that provided me and it didn't cost my mom a lot of money at the time. I don't know why that came up Blaize. But that's that's my most valuable gift. How about yours?

Blaize Pengilly  46:13

My most memorable Christmas unwrapping is one year I have two older brothers and they're both they will look very, very similar. Like we're very obviously a family. We all have very similar style. And yeah, my dad called me on Christmas Eve asked me what size I was classic dad leave it to the last minute. And then fast forward Christmas Day unwrapping my eldest brother unwraps, a, like a rip killer t shirt or some sort of surf brand t shirt. And it's in this cool, it's in a black colour. And then my brother and unwraps his gift from dad. And it's the exact same shirt but in tie dye. And then I unwrap my present. And I have the exact same shit in the exact same size in this like reverse blue color. I guess. Like I was I think I was maybe 23 when I received that. And my lovely dad who I adore Julie gave me a men's surf shirt that matched my two brothers. Yeah, it was I think I wore it once before re gifting it on. But I didn't even get the tie dye. I'm still furious. I didn't get the tie dye. And yeah, my brother's I don't know if they still own this. But yeah, it was we had to you know, discuss who would be wearing what because three of us wearing the same shirt on the same day, it would be too embarrassing. That's my most memorable Christmas.

Dan Jovevski  47:38

I'm sure it comes up every single Christmas is Blaize.

Blaize Pengilly  47:42

It does. All right Dan, step four, Christmas budgeting. This one, pretty obvious. track your spending, and stick to your budget. So before you go to the shop, remember your budget limits. Write yourself a shopping list. So don't buy unnecessary items you don't need and also keep track of how much you've spent so you can move money around if you need to. If you save $30 on food and booze, maybe you can put that towards your travel or maybe you can put that towards someone else's gift. Or maybe you can save it. That's step four, then step five, hit me, what is it?

Dan Jovevski  48:19

Blaize, Christmas, big time, big part of our lives. Once this will live up. We've got to start thinking about the next year ahead. I think a topic that's really big is presence. What are some tips that we can really absorb around saving money in presents Blaize?

Blaize Pengilly  48:38

All right. Okay, so buying presents. Have you heard of the app Shopback?

Dan Jovevski  48:44

I think I've heard of something like that Blaize probably similar apps like shop back around there. What does it do?

Blaize Pengilly  48:48

So shop back is this is not a promo for shop back. By the way, this is just an app that I use personally. And it's pretty popular. And it's an app that you can download on your phone and shop through. So use that app to connect to other stores. And it connects to you know, big stores like the iconic and Groupon and heaps and heaps of other stores. And when you buy through the app, you get a percentage of your cashback. So you literally earn money back there is a couple of times and conditions like you don't get the money for I think it's 60 days or three months or whatever it is. But you get it you can earn a percentage back of your money. So if you're buying gifts through this bag through this app, in a couple months time, you could be getting small returns from your purchases. And also on when I'm on my browser, I use a the extension called honey on Chrome. So this is one of those services that automatically applies discounts to your cart. So Gone are the days where you have to Google Search discount code for XYZ. Honey automatically searches the web when you get to the checkout and will automatically apply any discounts without you having to lift a finger so That's really awesome. Dan, what's your tips for buying online to save on presence?

Dan Jovevski  50:06

Blaize, it's useful and a good point. I just remember signing up to another platform again, it's not a promo. But I think this is really cool now that we're seeing all this explosion was cash back apps only know their work and how you're getting money back and who pays for it. But it seems to be taking off what wildfire, I signed up to a platform called cash rewards. And I think cash rewards are a very similar type of process, we get some money back. And what made me really excited about platforms like this is a listicle, the stock exchange recently, so I thought, wow, this company said to be really taking you off. And it just goes to show that there's the summit rewards you pick up on everyday purchases, and started to do some goals back. I mean, it's pretty amazing. So I like that. I also think that comparison shopping during this period of time is really critical. Big friends over at Google, not doing very, very good job of pointing to the people that can probably rank the highest on on Google. And that may not necessarily be the most cheapest options under that utilise, but often find every time I do a Google search, particularly I'm doing a comparison shop, I really had to start trawling through all these different websites and each one cover that sometimes Google's suggestions don't give you the cheapest option, I have to borrow down and find the most cheapest deals. So I think the borrowing does pay off if you really want to save some additional goals and find yourself some great bargains. So that's my tips for online shopping.

Blaize Pengilly  51:32

Also, I just thought had another thought with online shopping. There's a lot of the first time customer discounts. So if you're buying something, if you sign up to the mailing list, yes, you have to pass on your data but you can immediately unsubscribe once you get that $20 off for free shipping on 10% off whatever it is. But yeah, if you're a first time customer, online shopping is a good option because so many brands are offering discounts for first time customers these days. And Dan, we almost forgot one of my favourite things for saving on presents is opt shopping. If you fancy a rummage Hit, hit the opt shop because number one, they're super cheap. Number two, they're sustainable. You're helping stuff stop going. You're stopping stuff from going to landfill. And three, you can find some really hilarious and also awesome gifts for really good value in opt shop.

Dan Jovevski  52:23

I totally agree Blaize. I have shopped at my house which I'm going to be ravaging like no tomorrow. And those folks, you probably the for the for the folks listening to the podcast right now that Bobby might be familiar with this. But on a few episodes ago, we touched on the concept of this explosion and what we're calling re commerce, where folks are deciding to buy secondhand goods as opposed to going buy these directly. Or sort of another tip on the flyers. Yes, go to your op shop, but also consider buying pre loved goods at say platforms like D pop and Facebook marketplace and Gumtree because that's where you can really find some bargains and don't have to pay through the nose on some of these new consumer goods. So that's an excellent point.

Blaize Pengilly  53:09

Dan, do you have any other Christmas tips to wrap up the Christmas budget combo?

Dan Jovevski  53:15

I do Blaize I'm going to take a little bit more of a serious note now just for a little bit. It's the Christmas period lends itself to a lot of other spending. And there is no secret that the banks are just waiting for you in January. And you turn on you after you watch the crickets and you're sitting at home on your couch. In either January the first or the second, you're going to see the explosion of balance transfer offers from banks offering you the ability to consolidate your debt into one card. Please note some of these offers they might be gone. But look at the T's and C's. Sometimes the offer might be attractive and leaves free windows might save you a bit of money. But you can stop that process of about about transfer off or spending money on a credit card by not having to yourself into that position in the first place. So going back to the top of the episode, really plan out all your spending for the month of December and make sure you don't go over the budget allocated to yourself along the theme of debt. Also, this is the biggest time that people are taking out credit to fund Christmas. And while the traditional means of accessing credit on credit card are available in a Afterpay. All these new Fintechs that are emerging that are allowing you to defer payments. Please try and avoid any of that type of credit products. And the worst one of course is any type of high interest credit product like a payday loan, that may get you to a position where you've got to pay that off over the course of the next year, two or three months and those interest expenses are astronomical. So wherever you can Avoid debt. If you get a debt free December, you are doing incredibly well. And that's where a lot of people tend to find themselves a little unstuck. Think twice before you make any purchase. And remember, if you got a budget written down, you're already ahead of the game. By golf, we'll get to some of those cognitive traps where you're going into so we understand. So that's that's my tips for Christmas this year Blaize.

Blaize Pengilly  55:27

Very good point on having on aiming to remain debt free in December. And I think in a couple of episodes time, we'll have a guest to talk about common debt traps. And then my tips for Christmas is like we discussed set a spending limit and all your gifts. My second tip would be Reduce, Reuse and Recycle Christmas decorations. So Christmas is about taking time off and spending time with family and loved ones and you know, relaxing if you can, unless you're one of our frontline workers who kindly go to work and work through the through the festive season, then we really appreciate that. But yeah, it's you don't have to have the newest and latest and greatest thing and you don't have to use brand new Christmas decorations every year. You know, reduce your spend, reduce your waste, and recycle things where you can, and I've got two more points and they sort of tie in together. Number three would be practice gratitude, be happy with what you've got, you know, just try and see, try and be grateful and happy with everything that you do having your life and, and and be happy with that. And something that ties in with that is my fourth point which would be set up social media, you'll be less likely to compare yourself to other people what they're doing, what gifts, they're giving what they're receiving. If they're having a Christmas holiday, if they're working, whatever it is, you'll be less likely to compare yourself, you won't feel the pressure and to to live up to that. I don't know the societal hype or whatever it is to spend. And also, if you're staying on social media, you'll likely see less advertising. And then you're involved prey to as many marketing campaigns So also, you'll feel better in your mind about it and bettering your bank balance because you won't be tempted by all these crazy adds of all these insane gifts that come out at this time of year. So yeah, those would be my tips. And yeah, remember that Christmas if you celebrate Christmas or not, I know we said Christmas a lot. But for the festive season or for this time of year. Just remember to enjoy the joyous time of year and yet it's a time to spread joy and love and, and not to get yourself into debt like you say Dan.

Dan Jovevski  57:37

Absolutely Blaize. And before I forget, I just thought of one last tip.

Blaize Pengilly  57:40

Give me

Dan Jovevski  57:42

If you if you really want something, any if you need a brand new for whatever reason, don't buy it before for Christmas, right? Buy it in the Boxing Day sort of frenzy and don't buy it on day one. One, my mom, she's a very, very serial. I call her a discount diva. She, she loves going for a great shop and getting a great discount. And the thing that I've learned from her and her journey is that she doesn't do the day one or day two of the postbox in their sales. She waits until day three and day four, day five. And that's when the retailers start getting really desperate established stocks and you start getting the 60 to 70% discount. So don't feel the shops are always going to have the things that you want. You could be getting a bigger discount if you just wait a little bit longer and don't follow everybody putting their helmets and their knee pads and elbow pads on to play through that Boxing Day. craziness.

Blaize Pengilly  58:35

Dan, this is a great idea. You've just sparked an idea for Christmas I owe you presents just wrap up a bunch of empty boxes. And then right you know, I owe you PlayStation, I owe you pyjamas, whatever it is that you plan on getting in the boxing day sales. So you still have something to unwrap on the day and then a couple days later, you can deliver the gift at a much, much cheaper price. Why have we not been doing this all along?

Dan Jovevski  58:59

I know I love it Blaize. Great tip!

Blaize Pengilly  59:03

But that's all for us on the Christmas budget. Next week we'll be discussing the 60% solution back to our regular budget breakdown. But yeah, Happy Happy spending and happy saving this Christmas season. Thank you for joining us for another episode well our very first episode of We Talk Cents.

Dan Jovevski  59:26

Tune in next week to learn more about the four common debt traps and more money chat. We'll see you next time.

Blaize Pengilly  59:33

See ya.


The author is not a financial advisor and the information provided is general in nature and was prepared for information purposes only. This article should not be considered to constitute financial advice. Accordingly, reliance should not be placed on this article as the basis for making an investment, financial or other decision. This information does not take into account your investment objectives, particular needs or financial situation.

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