Search

The Fierce Girl's Guide to Finance

Get your shit together with money

Month

January 2019

If you’re not making your own bowls, do you even like money?

If there is one food trend I can get on board with, it’s bowls. Poke bowls, buddha bowls – call them what you want, they rock.

I’ll be honest, I make a lot of bowl-based meals at home because I live alone and feel empowered to eat on the lounge (more than I should). Pre-chop your steak and veg, throw it in a bowl, add some hot sauce and you’re ready for a solid session of one-handed bliss in front of Queer Eye.

On occasion, I’ll stump up and buy a poke bowl from Nudefish and holy moly the price hurts. If you want avocado on that baby you’re spending fifteen bucks.

But judging by the queues at the food court the good people of Sydney can’t get enough bowl action. It’s like they enjoy spending too much on takeaway!

Well Fierce Girls, I’m here to combine two of my favourite things: food prep and saving money!

The thing is, it’s annoying to make just one bowl because there are all these separate elements. But if you do a batch, you’re set for the week. And you’re in control of all your diet and money resolutions.

It’s not complicated. It comes down to:

A base: rice, quinoa, buckwheat – or if you’re feeling low-carb, try shredded cabbage, zoodles, or even the good ol’ salad mix.

It’s super easy and cheap to buy some red and black and brown rice, cook up a cup or two and have it ready in the fridge all week. It’s more exciting and nutty than boring old white or brown. And less plastic waste than the microwave packets.

Veggies: I like to roast them up for sweetness and general deliciousness, then add some microwaved or steamed greens like broccoli. You get a nice mix of flavours.

Protein: If you feel fancy, some hot-smoked salmon is fantastic, but you can also do some normal smoked salmon. You can marinate and grill up some chicken breast (or buy the pre-marinated one from Aldi – no judgement). And if you’re really desperate you can totally throw in a can of tuna or salmon.

For an extra tasty flourish, I fry an egg or two that morning and throw it on top. I also like to add some hot sauce, some avocado or some tahini – whatever condiments get you going.

The process is really simple. Pre-cook as much as possible and put it all in separate containers in the fridge.

Did I ever tell you about when I was a Tupperware lady?

Maybe your fridge doesn’t look quite like mine, but also, you probably don’t have a lifelong Tupperware obsession.

The key points I want to make are:

Food prep is not that hard to get right. It just takes some planning and an hour or two of time.

BYO Lunches are the absolute key to saving money and cleaning up your diet. I love bowls because it’s so easy to track your macros (if you weigh and measure like a nerd).

Once you have a few go-to meals, you can mix and match to avoid boredom. It also helps to buy seasonal veggies, so you can change the ingredients over time.

Simply put: bowls are a great way to rock your diet and wallet.

*Sorry about my lame food pics – need to really work on my skills. But you get the idea. I’ll also give you some more serious financial tips soon. In the meantime, get cooking!

How to hack your goals and nail everything in 2019

In 2018, I leaned out and toned up, losing about 5kg ahead of my 40th birthday.

People asked me how I did it, and I’d detect a hopeful tone. What wonderful secret had I found?

Sadly, there are none. I tracked and weighed all my food, stopped boozing and trained for fat loss (i.e. so many reps).

Probably the biggest thing was setting a goal. I’d been powerlifting for a few years, and building strength was always the main game – my goals were more like ‘squat 100kg’.

I was more focused on what my body could do, rather than what it looked like. This year, I switched to an aesthetic goal.

Neither of these goals are good or bad, in my opinion. There is something empowering about reaching a lifting goal, but also in feeling lean, fit and attractive.

The key point is, they provide something to work towards. They were specific, measurable and kept me focused. They kept me home on a Friday night, so my coach wouldn’t kill me on a Saturday morning. They encouraged me to spend time on a Sunday night preparing food for the week. They gave me a reason to say no to high-calorie foods.

New year, new you?

I’m telling you this because it’s a new year, and we all have good intentions. Often it’s about weight loss, but it’s a good time to take stock of finances too.

If I’m honest, my 2018 wasn’t great financially speaking. I was trying to get in the groove of being a homeowner, and quarterly strata fees, coupled with a kitchen renovation, really challenged me.

I had all the basics covered and I saved money, but I could have done a lot better, especially if I’m meant to be a good Fierce Girl example.

Know your weakness, then kick its butt

My biggest weakness isn’t a lack of knowledge or a tendency to spend money on stuff. It’s my lack of organisation. I try, I really do, but it’s a constant struggle against my nature.

You know those people who hate mornings, and you try to make them get up early? They’ll do it, but it takes fives snoozes and the threat of unemployment. And when they do wake, they are cranky arseholes.

That’s how I am with any type of life admin. And it’s why I have a shameful stack of papers in my cupboard, full of tasks that I need to file or action. I just add one more thing and shut the door again.

I know that I’m shit at this, and that I need a way to hack my bad habits. So I’m taking my approach to training and diet – which I’m good at – and applying it to money.

Boiled down, my weight loss success was based on:

  1. Set a goal – fit into the very skimpy outfit I purchased for my party
  2. Track everything – all food, every workout
  3. Rely on habit – regular food prep becomes a non-negotiable activity

Applying this to money, I’ve realised I need to:

  1. Set a goal – I’m going to pay an extra $20,000 off my mortgage in 2019
  2. Track everything – yep, I have to manually enter it into the TrackMySpend app
  3. Rely on habit – once a week I have to sort that pile of admin out and do at least one task

That third one really gives me anxiety, because I know I will struggle with it. But I need to start somewhere if I am going be a fully functioning adult.

The missing piece here is reward. At the gym, I get rewarded with endorphins, and I get validation when people compliment me. So it helps me to stick with it.

But this plan is boring and low on quick wins. So I’m adding in a bonus that if I stay on track with saving, I get to have a trip overseas. And if I do my weekly chore torture, I’m allowed to give myself a monthly treat, up to the value of $50.

There will be other behavioural modifications I need to achieve these goals – for example, the point of tracking is to ensure I spend less on crap (I’m looking at you Priceline and Sephora).

But I feel more prepared and confident knowing I have a plan and a framework.

Setting Goals

If you’re keen to nail your finances in 2019, have a think about what you want to achieve. I have a post about goal setting here, and it includes a simple worksheet you can download.

The goals don’t have to be big and hard. They could be as simple as ‘save $200 a month’. Or they can be specific – ‘Pay for my end of year holiday without a credit card’.

The point is to have them. Without something to work towards, we humans tend to drift into whatever’s easy and in front of us.

But with a goal, you can have a plan. And with a plan, you can have global domination (eventually).

So, here’s to an amazing 2019, and I hope you get all the good stuff you deserve!

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑