• Nikki Jane


For as long as I can remember my goals have been to save money. But it was only since 2020 for the last 2 and a bit years that I have really nailed that concept.

Something that I want to start with so you don’t switch off right now thinking- I don’t need another person to tell me I need to save more and cut my morning coffees.

‘being on a budget’ not being the same as having a budget.

Obviously, I have a budget. I’m all over it, I enjoy it, and it’s helped me turn my money mindset around from being a natural ‘spender’ to someone who is much more careful with my money. It’s actually one of my proudest achievements so far.

But despite having quite frankly done a 180 flip on my shit attitude to money, I still wouldn’t call myself frugal, nor would you ever find me clawing through ‘budget travel guides’ or doing something ‘on the cheap’. Because while money mindsets can change, I don’t know if my taste ever will. One of the things I pride myself on, on my personal Instagram account @nikkijane.f is finding the luxuries in everyday life. I hate doing things ‘on a budget’. I’ve done it before, and I don’t like it. I’ve backpacked Thailand with a set amount of money which I broke down into daily spend and I couldn’t spend any more than that each day. So now I feel that if I’m being honest with myself if it was a case of going on holiday with a really strict budget or not going at all, I’d rather not go at all.

Yes, potentially that’s an entitled, millennial thing to say, but I am who I am.

I’ve always enjoyed what some might call the finer things in life. Once upon a time when my money mindset wasn’t as good, I was told that I had a champagne lifestyle on a beer income. I come from what I would call a very normal background financially. Both my parent worked hard at their jobs and still do now.

My mum in a past life actually worked in a bank so set me up with a young savers account from a young age and I wouldn’t say that my parents have a ‘fuck it, its only money attitude’. But somehow along the way I developed this attitude.

And it meant that at 27 years old I had no savings. My only asset was half a car.

I knew this needed to change. I have read so many money books and listened to so many podcasts; The barefoot investor, she’s on the money, the broke generation and so on.

So how do I have a budget and save money, without doing things ‘on a budget’?

It’s simple. I budget for extravagance.

Let me first talk you through how I save my money then I will talk through how I budget.

I like to split my saving into specific savings accounts that I create and delete as I get my goals. I bank with “Up” they are an online only bank so their app function is fantastic and it allows you to create these really easily. This is not sponsored in anyway btw, I’m just a massive fan. But they do do refer a friend. So I will put the referral link in the show notes, I think if you sign up with my link I get $10 and you get $10. So I will put in the show notes though if you are interested.

Ok so here we go:

Step 1- Calculate what your living expenses are; rent, phone bill, car, food shop, Netflix etc. send that to an account each pay day straight away. Literally everything that you need to live list it. Add it up and take that money out of your pay.

Step 2- I take my wage and I work out what I need to enjoy myself and not live frugally. And I send that to my ‘splurge’ account. Be reasonable. This doesn’t mean going out 5 nights a week drinking belvedere vodka. But do you like a breakfast out once a fortnight, do you like a weekly date night, a monthly wild girls night. Be reasonable but don’t be frugal.

Step 3- Review what I have left and determine what % split to save. I save “fun savings”, “grown up savings” and investments. Fun savings are for holidays, maybe a new phone, a new rug I’ve been eyeing for the apartment. Grown up savings are for cars, house etc. and Then I micro invest with Raiz.

Step 4- I want you to review your last 6 months spending. Is there anything you’ve missed for your living expenses? Is there anything that you’ve been recurrently spending without realising? Subscriptions you’ve forgotten about. Remove all subscriptions that you aren’t using.

Step 5- review your living expenses. Is there anything in there that potentially you don’t really need? Do you have subscriptions to stan, Netflix, binge and Disney plus? Are you using them all at once? Are there any that you can cut down? Are their skincare products that you use in your routine that are hella expensive that you could substitute in with a small biz brand that’s just as good? Again this isn’t about being super harsh on yourself. This is just about culling the totally unreasonable.

Step 6- I round up all spends from my splurge to go into my fun savings account (every little helps).

Step 7- if I have money left in my splurge at the end of the month I either invest it or put it into my grown-up savings. If I choose to skim a bit off the top of my splurge to top up my fun savings for a big trip then I do just that 😊

This is my budget. This budget allows me to save. But I’m not ‘on a budget’ where I have to scrimp every week to get by. You might think that this method doesn’t allow you to save as much as being frugal. Maybe that’s true. But for me I think about 2 things. I want to live and enjoy life, not just be along for a ride. And I have found that the more restrictive I am, the more likely I am to have a binge on my credit card

Let me give you an example. I’m currently planning an epic Europe trip. I haven’t been back to the uk to see my family in friends for nearly 3 years thanks to covid. Its also the first time my partner will be coming back with me to meet my grandparents. We are taking a month off work and we are doing some Europe while we are over there.

Obviously we are going to boujee places because that’s my style. Rome, Amalfi coast, Mallorca. The accommodation is expensive, the drinks are expensive, and the food is expensive.

I want to enjoy all of it without blowing my budget or watching my spend like a hawk each day.

Some might suggest staying in hostels. Some might suggest getting an apartment so you can make meals at home instead of going to restaurants.

But like I said – I’d rather not bother. I want to experience the food, the drinks, the atmosphere, the sites, the night life.

The beauty of having a budget is that you can make it whatever the hell you want it to be. So when planning this trip, I’m budgeting for extravagance. I’ve cut back on other areas over the last few months to increase my “Europe trip”- less meals out, no new gym clothes or homewares purchases to create space within my budget to spend big in Europe.

The longer you plan ahead, the less you feel the impact. Basically, I am putting little extra bits away $50 here and $20 there, whenever I found myself with a little extra available.

So when you see my photos plastered all over Instagram of my boujee Europe trip like I haven’t got a care in the world about money or like I earn a fortune each year, just know I certainly didn’t do it ‘on a budget’. But in fact, I care a great deal about my finances, and I’d actually just planned it really, really, really well.

I think that disconnecting the term ‘budget’ with feelings of deprivation and compromise can have a profound effect on how you approach the idea of spending smart! Its all about perspective!!

The next hack I’ve got for you which is the same IMO with anything you want to achieve in life is to set goals and track them.

I have set this up for you in the spreadsheet that I use. You can purchase this spreadsheet for just $5 on the leading her life website. It is totally customisable. It also helps you calculate your living expenses etc.

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