LUCKY BREAK STORY 7th Jan
Lyn Webster Introductory Story
When I tell people how much I spend on groceries every week, their jaws drop to the floor.
“What?! Only $75? You must be joking!” they exclaim.
“No, it’s the truth,” I insist. “I can feed myself and my two teenage daughters on that every week, no sweat.”
“You must be living on peanuts!” they joke.
When I tell them that I put a nutritious and delicious meal on the table every night, they’re even more astounded.
How do I do it? I hear you ask.
Well, it’s simple. I’ve started using my noggin when it comes to buying the groceries and cooking meals.
At the start of 2009 it dawned on me: I was 42, had no assets and my savings account was smaller than a fly on a cow’s tail.
I was earning good money as a share milker, running a herd of 175, but as I scanned my bank statement, I saw that I was flitting away all of my hard-earned cash like it really did grow on trees. I noticed that one thing in particular was wilting away my money: food.
Takeaways, supermarket and dairy purchases were cropping up all over my statement. In fact, I was spending more than $300 a week on food!
“Right, that’s it,” I thought to myself. “My spending habits need to change.”
I had always wanted to buy an investment property, so I used this as my motivation. I figured that if I could slash my weekly food bill by $200 and put this money straight into a savings account, I would have more than $10,000 by the end of the year. I could put that money towards a deposit on a house!
The next thing I had to do was break the news to my daughters, Danni, 17 and Stevie, 12.
“That sounds like a great idea, Mum,” they both encouraged.
We scribbled a big “$100” on a piece of paper and wrote our grocery list underneath it. No matter what, we had to spend less than $100. Admittedly, for the first few weeks we found it tough, but the more we tried, the savvier shoppers we became.
But there was still one thing that was biting a huge chunk out of my budget and that was cleaning products. With a bit of research I found that I could make my own cleaning products, which were just as good as the products I bought in the supermarket. I also learnt to make shampoo and conditioner, toothpaste, moisturiser – even cosmetics!
When I put all of my newfound knowledge into practice, it didn’t take long for my bank balance to sport a few extra zeros.
“I can’t believe it!” I whooped to the girls. “I’ve saved $15,000 and it’s only been six months!”
“That’s amazing!” they cried.
As my bank balance grew, so did my popularity. I’d scored a regular column in my local newspaper, The Taranaki Daily News and had featured on Campbell Live and Good Morning. It turned out that I wasn’t the only Kiwi wanting to learn how to save more of their precious pingers.
Since then, I realised that spending $100 a week on groceries was no longer a challenge. My new limit is $75 and it feels great to be saving even more money now, even if it is only $25 a week extra. It all adds up.
My back-to-basics lifestyle has definitely rubbed off on the girls and they’re now boasting very healthy bank balances of their own.
“Mum, I’ve got quite a bit of money saved up now – why don’t we buy the investment property together?” said Danni.
“What a great idea!” I told her.
Stevie is keen to go in with us as well. It will be fantastic for them to own an investment property when they are still only teenagers – it will set them up for life.
I’ve now saved a whopping $30,000 in the last year and the girls and I have started looking for a house to buy.
If you said to me 18 months ago that I’d be buying a house, I would have laughed at you.
But I’m now richer, healthier and happier – even a little lighter thanks to losing a few kilos by cutting out pricey junk food!
Achieving your financial goals really is mind over money, and for the next few weeks in Lucky Break, I’ll be showing you exactly how I went from $0 to $30,000 in just one year. If I can do it, then you can too.
Lyn Webster, 43, Waitara.
Visit Lyn’s website www.pigtitsandparsleysauce.co.nz for more information.
Turn to page XX to read Lyn’s first Lucky Break column.