Australian author, Serina Bird, is many things: a writer, a public servant, a speaker and an influencer. In her book, The Joyful Frugalista, Bird shares with you another part of her personality, being a frugalista. The Canberra based writer has coined a new term for her lifestyle optimising strategy, Frugalista; a savvy, fashionable and generous female that makes the most of her circumstances and life opportunities to achieve a positive outcome financially. Frugalista life is certainly agreeing with Bird and her family, she has achieved millionaire status in her forties on a single income with two children. This article will share with you three key tips I have learnt from The Joyful Frugalista to apply to my house saving journey.
Joyful Frugalista tip 1: Think outside of the box
Bird has implemented new strategies when it comes to living her life. She has identified what she likes doing and organise her life to optimise the things she really enjoys.
A Frugalista does her research.
For Bird that meant reassessing and downsizing her life, moving her family into a large apartment in the centre of Canberra saving save time and money commuting.
Research is important across your expenses. Bird has optimised her household, in a similar manner to The Barefoot Investor, Scott Pape, researching monthly household costs and finding the best deals and strategies across power, internet and phone providers.
Research has not only paid off with household bills for but also in other areas for the Joyful Frugalista. Bird has an analysis of a number of Australian deal websites and how she has used them to optimise her life when it comes to shopping and investigating deals. Bird, who is a Canberra foodie, shares how she goes to great restaurants around Canberra using discount websites and apps such as First Table and Groupon. She uses the Entertainment Book and swaps coupons with friends from across town for restaurants that are close by to her home. This includes purchasing Wish vouchers in advance that give her a 5% discount a Woolworths for when she buys groceries for her family.
Look for opportunities
As a second income stream Bird has hosted homestay overseas students in her home over the years to pay down her mortgage quickly.
Try and test it
A Frugalista tests methods and makes changes when they are not working.
After signing up to a gym to lose weight Bird realised after a few months she was not enjoying it and how trying to fit another activity into an already very busy day was adding to her stress. The universe provided the answer one evening when she got off the bus early and walked home. She enjoyed looking at nature around her neighbourhood and realised that by walking part of her commute or walking or cycling to more places in the community meant she could get her exercise in and save on her gym membership.
When Bird met the love of her life and he proposed to her their wedding planning was also explored in different ways to most couples with the couple spending less than $5000 for their wedding.
Joyful Frugalista tip 2: Make it from scratch
A Frugalista learns new skills and Bird has learnt and built many skills in her tool belt over the years.
She includes an array of recipes for making homemade, natural beauty and cleaning products.
Something that Bird and I have in common is our ability to prepare healthy and nutritious food on a small budget. In 2017 Bird fed herself and her two boys for $50 a week, including their toiletries (this is an amazing feat, I work to a $40 a week grocery budget for one person).
A recent skill Bird reflects on has been learning to bake and decorate a cake for her wedding. Wedding cakes normally cost couples upwards of $500. Bird obtained some cake decorating tools from a friend on a Facebook swapping group and when picking them up got inspired. The person with the tools shared with Bird that she had made and decorated their own wedding cake. Over a few months and plenty of practice Bird built up her skills and came out with a beautiful homemade wedding cake for her and her guests to enjoy at the wedding.
Joyful Frugalista tip 3: Find the joy in small things
A Frugalista finds the joy in small things.
Bird’s Mother, Lee Bird, was a Gold Coast based fashion designer which has meant Bird has a great eye for fashion, cuts and material. Bird finds a lot of joy putting together outfits and dressing well. When she thinks about fashion and clothing Bird thinks differently hosting clothes swaps with friends and family, shopping at second hand shops and repairing the clothes that she has.
For me the joy in small things lately have been finding a kitchen trolley on the side of the road, moving back to Brisbane and the area that I love, seeing more of my friends and getting back into my cycling training.
For Bird this has meant joining people in her area in Canberra to forage for food, finding new recipes, cooking for family and giving away different items to friends, family and the community (including very recently giving away her car and when she and her new husband decided to downsize to a one car family).
Joyful Frugalista: Summary
In summary I learnt three key points from Bird’s insights in the Joyful Frugalisa to apply to my house saving journey while still being happy, fashionable and generous. Firstly become a savvy Frugalista by thinking outside of the box and applying research to investigate daily habits and expenses. Secondly become an open minded Frugalista and being open to learning new skills and creating new opportunities. Finally open your mind to becoming a grateful Frugalista and finding the joy in small things in your life, as you further develop your abundance mindset more opportunities will open.
The Economiss is a single, female, millennial on a mission to buy her first home in Australia. A Kiwi by birth, she jumped over the ditch in 2011 after she finished her tertiary qualifications in search of employment. Between 2011-2016 The Economiss worked, saved and travelled across ten different countries and completed another degree. In 2017 The Economiss started super charging her finances, saving over 32% of her after tax income towards her house deposit as well as cash flowing four overseas trips. In 2018 The Economiss decided to share her journey rewriting the narrative around millennial finance and saved 40.5% of her after tax income. Do you have some tips to share or want to be featured on the blog, please get in touch!