This is a blog post that I (Hakea) wish someone had written before I took up my first teaching position. I had heard people raving about Barefoot Investor but thought it sounded culty… and besides ‘investing’ sounded a lot like gambling to me.
So I didn’t educate myself and I didn’t effectively budget or save. Many, many years down the track I look back at new remote teacher me and do a little head shake. Boy did she have fun on trips, eating out, buying Lorna Jane, shouting lots of people dinners out. But little did she know- future me would still be paying off a mortgage that young me could have smashed!
So to you- current remote outback teacher- let me share some budgeting and savings gold.
- You may have just come from working in a minimum wage job while studying at university to a high paying teaching role. Be aware of ‘bracket creep’ or ‘wage creep’ which is where your lifestyle just expands to take advantage of extra money. Always think- how did I manage it before, do I need it now?
- You may be earning a higher salary, getting free or subsidised housing and electricity and/or receiving additional incentives for working in a remote area. You will have a lot of extra, disposable income to work with to achieve your saving and finance goals. You may have fewer opportunities to spend that money- such as nights out at a pub, music festivals with friends and impromptu city shopping trips. A great time to get in the savings habit without the temptation.
- You may have to pay more for petrol, travel and accommodation when away from your remote community or visiting back home. It will cost you more to maintain and insure your car in a remote outback community. Shop around for insurance, ask your local colleagues who they insure with, and look for better deals every year. Book your car in for a service when you plan a weekend in a larger town or even better if you drive it back home. Regularly check the basics like oil, water and tyre pressure and keep your car clean.
- Food will likely cost more and local food may be less fresh than you are used to. Plan for this by stocking up on non-perishable items and planning ahead for your grocery trips, grow your own herbs and meal plan.
Financial Goal Setting
- Set yourself short, medium and long term financial goals.
- Short: school holiday trip, the Nutribullet you’ve been eyeing off, a new laptop, extra in super each pay
- Medium: deposit for a house, new car, long service leave world trip, shares, new piece of furniture
- Long: buffer for starting a future family, paying down mortgage 10 years early, boat, renovations, travel, supporting an elderly relative, taking time off work for study
- If you are a young remote outback teacher these might seem like far away problems to worry about another time but the time to start saving for them is now.
- Life happens. You might want to take extra time off work to study or travel or raise a child. You might need to take time off work due to health, elderly family members, stress or burnout for example. Having your finances in place will help you have flexibility.
I wish, wish, wish I had read Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape in my early remote days. It is not cult like, it does not force you to bank or invest with anyone, it doesn’t force you to invest if that’s not something you are comfortable with. What it does do is give you a saving strategy in the form of ‘buckets’ of how much you should be saving for expenses, emergencies, short term, splurge and long term goals. It is easy to read- and entertaining. So borrow it from a library, get it on Borrow Box or whatever online platform your local library has to let you lend on your device for free, get it second hand, buy it as an ebook or get the hardcopy sent to you by Booktopia or Reading bookstores. Whatever you do- just read it. I changed my Barefoot Buckets a little bit- Daily Expenses (money in, petrol, food), Short Term Bills (electricity, water, insurance), Long Term Bills (rates, rego etc), Splurge (dinner out), Grow (EFT, shares etc), Savings (home deposit, home reno, new car etc), Fire (emergency). So you can mix up the buckets and amounts- but his overall structure is a great way to get you thinking about your finances and allocations.
You might be interested in the Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE) strategies. Or you might want to learn more about ethical investing: The Ethical Investor by Nicole Haddow.
The next step is to read Sort your money out by Glen James. After recently reading a LOT of finance, budgeting, saving and investing books- this one seems to be the perfect ‘next step’ for those who want more than Barefoot Investor and Ethical Investor. Glen explores ethical investing as well as heaps of other ‘next step’ strategies. Again this can be borrowed in libraries, on library apps, bought second hand, read on your ereader or purchased in hardcopy- all benefit the author. Glen also has a great podcast at Millennial Money which covers many aspects of money based of reader questions.
I also highly recommend Mel Browne from Uncensored Money. As someone who had no idea about investing I listening to her investing apps episode and downloading the app comparison freebie I feel more confident in my choice of app, small investment steps and strategy. I have enjoyed her other podcast episodes too and am considering one of her courses.
The ATO My Deducations App this free app by the Australian Government ATO allows you to track your teaching expenses and claim them easily on tax.
My Money Boxes– Barefoot Style Teacher Budgeting for Graduate Teachers. This was written in 2019- so wage, incentives and super may differ a little today- but the concept still useful. This may be updated in the future and emailed to all email subscribers- so still download.
Excel Budgeting Sheet- comprehensive list of possible expenses- download now.
We have a Remote Success Course available to help you think about finance but also other areas that can make your happier and more successful as a remote outback teacher.
Note: I am not a financial advisor. Any advice in this article is personal opinion only and generic in nature.
Loved this post? You might also like to read: Budgeting as a Remote Teacher
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