What I Earned, Spent and Saved – March 2014

Locked heart

Every month I share exactly what I earn, spend and save so that I can actually show you how I’m implementing the mountains of financial advice that’s out there, instead of just talking about it.

Plus there is a crazy amount of stigma around money! I really, really don’t think it’s rude or impolite or cocky to talk about money.

I think it’s smart.

You don’t have to shout it from the rooftops or post it on a blog like I do, but it would be pretty nice if we could just talk to our friends openly about money so we don’t all drive ourselves into debt trying to keep up with each other. And it would be a big relief to stop having to act like we’ve got it all together all of the time, when none of us really do.

I really think we need to take the emotion out of money. It does not signify your worth as a human being.You are not a “bad” person because you have debt just like you are not a “good” person because you have savings. You are so much more than what’s in your bank account – so so so much more.

So that’s why I’m doing this.

Here’s how I went this month:
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Your Career: What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do

CeciliaI know I’m not alone in this one.

I’m not the only twenty-something who feels like they just need to ‘figure it out’.

I’m not the only twenty-something who feels like the path they’re on isn’t it but still has no idea what the hell it is.

The truth is I don’t know how to ‘figure it out’. I haven’t done it for myself so I certainly can’t tell you how to do it. But what I can tell you how I’m dealing with my own struggle and hope that you might find some comfort in it too.

I’m in my 11th semester of uni and in two short semesters I will finally have the dual degree in law and finance that I have been working so hard towards. I know what I want to do after I graduate – I want to do work that lights me up and makes me come alive. But I don’t know what that is just yet. So here I am – trying to ‘figure it out’. Trying to find it (and pursuing a career in finance until I do).

You might not be in the same position as me.

You could be working full-time with that same sneaking suspicion – that you’re capable of more, that you’d have more of an impact doing something else. Your work doesn’t give you energy. You count down the hours to Friday afternoon.

Maybe you just feel like a little lost sheep. A little, stuck, lost sheep.

Or you could just be sick of having nothing to say when your friends and family ask you what the hell you’re going to do with your life. Telling you that you need to ‘figure it out’, ‘get your shit sorted’ or that you should just be grateful for the job you have (and yes, you should be grateful but that doesn’t mean you should settle).

So as I said, I don’t have “the answer” – for me or for you. But here’s how I’ve been dealing with that overwhelming feeling that I need to ‘figure it out’.

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How To Prime Your Brain For Success In Less Than 5 Minutes

My Summer

I have a huge crack in my car windscreen.

And I mean huge.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that a one metre long tree branch is delicately resting on my windscreen – and has been for over 2 years.

I know it’s dangerous. I know I should get it fixed. But I haven’t.

I haven’t wanted to part with the $400 it will cost to get my windscreen replaced even though I have the money to do so. I know it’s stupid. I know it’s dumb. But I still haven’t done it. I just haven’t had a compelling enough reason to get it fixed.

Until I read this article by Steve Pavlina. 

Since Steve Pavlina has uncopywrited all of his work I can share his amazing article right here in this post but I’m going to be upfront – this isn’t a quick read (it will take you about 15-20 minutes to get through it). But my god is it worth it, especially if you’ve been feeling like you’re stuck in a rut or just really lacking energy and motivation.

It’s inspirational, it’s motivational and it’s practical and actionable (straight away and for free). Plus, if there’s something you’ve been putting off fixing (like a humongo windscreen crack) it might help with that too.

So here it is, the article by Steve Pavlina:

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Productivity: 3 Simple Ways To Leverage Your Time and Make Every Minute Count

espressoWhen it comes to being productive I am far from perfect.

I procrastinate. I make excuses. I watch a lot of Grey’s anatomy and I’m way too partial to an afternoon nap. But somehow, in between all that, I can be pretty damn productive.

So today I’m sharing 3 simple things that have been complete game changers for me – and I hope they work for you too!

Let’s get to it:


While I’ve always loved writing to-do lists (what better way to procrastinate?) I used to write really, really shit ones.

They were too long, too unrealistic and, quite honestly, filled with useless tasks that I knew I’d never get to anyway.

But I’ve finally figured it out: if you want to be productive prioritise the stuff that counts

I know this might not seem like much of a revelation but trust me – it is. This little piece of wisdom is what differentiates the busy people from the productive people (and just so you know, being busy isn’t what you’re aiming for).

Take when I was applying for finance internships last summer.

Sure, I was busy. I spent two whole days chained to my desk – pouring over my CV just to make sure every word, every bullet point was absolutely perfect. Every sentence was critiqued, re-arranged and critiqued again. Thesaurus.com quickly became my best (and only) friend.

But I wasn’t productive.

After the first two hours it was just procrastination masquerading as perfectionism.

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Overcoming Perfectionism: An Update

Happy DaysI have a confession to make.

I know this blog could be a whole lot better.

When I first started Smart Twenties I wanted it to be perfect – so badly. I edited and edited and edited every single post (all 3 of them) until I thought every word flowed perfectly to the next.

It was crippling. I was getting nowhere. And who the hell cares about a blog with 3 posts anyway?

So I started posting everyday as a way to force myself to become comfortable with being crap. I knew I had to accept that my blog posts aren’t going to look as good or sound as good as the posts I read on my favourite blogs – blogs that have been around for years. And that it’s ok – I still have SO much to figure out.

But now, 3 months later, I’ve become comfortable with the fact that my blog posts aren’t going to be perfect and I’m ready to move forward. I’m ready to start making this blog better.

From now on I’ll only be posting two or three times a week. The posts will be better and they will be a lot longer too. 

And I also just want to say to everybody who has been reading and commenting on my blog – thank you from the bottom of my heart! It means more to me than you will ever know.

Sam xx

P.S. If you haven’t started following me on Bloglovin’ or signed up for my email list now is the perfect time!

Main image via Lisa Widerberg

What I’m Reading This Month – March

My hangover coffeeI LOVE reading but sometimes, when I pick up a book, it’s like someone has drugged my tea. 

My eyes just get so tired, so suddenly, there’s no way I can go on.

And the worst thing is I have no idea when it will strike – it does not discriminate. I could be on a plane, on the train or at the beach. I could be in class or I could even be snuggled up on the couch with a blanket, a hot tea cup of tea and my favourite book.

It doesn’t matter where I am or what situation I’m in. It will find me. And when it does – all bets are off.

So I’m going to be completely honest here. I haven’t finished reading the third Hunger Games book like I said I was going to last month. My eyes just got so damn tired every single time I picked it up.

But I did feel like having someone read to me – so I signed up for an Audible account and downloaded all 27 hours of the Steve Jobs biography (which I have slowly but surely started to make my way through).

Here’s what’s on rotation this month [Read more...]

Shopping On A Budget: How To Save More By Spending More

 photo ShoppingOnABudget2_zpsc0c24780.pngThis sounds too good to be true, right?

But it isn’t.

Your prayers have been answered – saving money doesn’t mean you have to give up shopping. In fact you should keep going shopping and you should spend more when you do.

But let me be clear: I don’t mean you should buy more things. I mean you should spend more on the things you buy.


When you’re trying to save money you’ll be looking for ways to spend less – that’s obvious. And the first thing you’re going to do is turn to your discretionary spending but there are good ways to cut back and then there are bad ways.

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