If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone recommend The Barefoot Investor book, I’d be rolling in MOJO by now.
Aussie finance guru Scott Pape’s bestseller has inspired thousands of Australian families to make more of the money they make. But how do you stick to it when you have a young family?
Brisbane couple Chanel, a school teacher and Tim, an air-traffic controller (also parents of two-year-old Isabelle) are just the people to ask. Since mutual friends encouraged them to read the book, they’ve stuck to the plan for just over 12 months and said they’ve never looked back.
Not only has ‘Barefoot’ inspired better communication for the couple, they feel more united around their life goals and saved a deposit for their second property.
So, what’s the secret to this kind of success? We sat down to find out.
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How did you find out about the Barefoot Investor?
Like lots of others, Tim and Chanel had both been recommended the book from friends and committed to reading it.
“I read the book and then was talking to Chanel about it and trying to get her to read it as well. She was always keen to read it, but being a book on finances she insisted on finishing her other more ‘exciting’ books before she picked it up. About two months after we read it, we got started,” says Tim.
“Tim was an accountant in a past life, so I was looking forward to taking a bit more control and learning more about how to properly manage my own finances. I was also always very stressed out about my lack of money and wanted to manage my spending money better.”
Tim agrees: “I thought this was a good opportunity for us to both sit down and have equal input into how we use our money.”
What was the biggest appeal for you about the program?
Tim and Chanel agree it’s the simplicity of the Barefoot approach that makes it almost irresistible.
“We had a budget and plan, but to be honest it was probably a bit over complicated and took a bit of time to reconcile each month. I liked the simple approach the book took. Also, it was always me in the relationship that put together the budget etc. and I thought this was a good opportunity for us to both sit down and have equal input into how we use our money,” says Tim.
Chanel said she has a picture saved on her phone that sets out exactly how much money goes into each account.
“So every payday I just manually transfer it,” says Chanel.
The simplicity of Barefoot has also allowed Tim and Chanel to adapt the program to their own lifestyle goals.
Do you follow the program to a tee, or have you made adjustments?
“There are certain things we don’t agree with about his program. For example, we have kept our credit cards as we have to spend the money anyway and also want to collect the Qantas points,” says Chanel.
“We pay our credit card off every night, so it works for us. We have also slightly altered the way we share our money between each of the accounts. We both work full time and don’t spend loads of money on unnecessary things. Barefoot has definitely taught us to cut back on unnecessary things and devote more money to things that as to quote Kondo ‘spark joy in our life’. Ha, ha!”.
“We set up our new accounts with our existing bank, as we don’t get charged any fees with St George. I looked at my super account but didn’t need to change it. I’m with QSuper and their charges weren’t too bad – within Barefoot limits. And Tim already had an ING account so we used that for the MOJO account. I actually haven’t finished reading the book as I’m not interested in stocks and investing … just yet,” says Chanel.
Tim and Chanel both say the splurge account is their favourite.
“The splurge account has changed my life! Knowing exactly how much money I have to spend on whatever I want, without any money coming out for necessary things is such a life-changing thing,” says Chanel. “I always have money for what I want to buy.”
The simple savings techniques have also helped the couple pull together a decent deposit for their second house. Now, that’s impressive!
What is the most exciting change it has made to your life?
“Knowing exactly how much I have to spend on only what I want and seeing that account increase over the weeks from saving up for something I really want has been one of the best parts! Learning more about how to manage money properly has been an amazing life lesson,” says Chanel.
“I feel our communication about money and the understanding of where we are financially as a family is a lot better after putting into practice some of the steps,” says Tim.
And it’s also helped them shift into a thrifty mindset:
“We both really enjoyed reading the beginning of the book and how BF explains how you really don’t need to buy so much ‘stuff’. Tim loves a good bargain, this book has helped him to really reel in his buying of unnecessary stuff. We have real honest conversations and do a lot of researching and talking it over on big purchases, we now try to buy good quality items but at a sale price,” says Chanel.
Is there a ‘secret’ to sticking to this plan?
Tim says sharing a common set of financial goals has made a world of difference and Chanel agrees being on the same page with money has helped their savings goals and their relationship.
“We both share the same life and financial goals, so it’s easy to do it together when you agree on how much money is going into what account. It’s also about being honest with each other and talking about your finances regularly,” says Chanel.
Keep up the great work, guys!