Holidays don’t need to leave you in Debt

Holidays don’t need to leave you in Debt

Last week’s blog was about how a holiday can be a need and not a want, especially at this time of year when you’re burnt out, stressed out and ready to throw in the towel In this blog, I’m going to show you how you don’t have to put yourself in debt just to have a decent break. Last week, when Mt Agung’s eruption on the island of Bali was playing havoc with flights due to the volcanic ash cloud, our own family travel plans were thrown into chaos.  Add to the mix a child who has come down with suspected Glandular Fever and suddenly this Mum is going into alternative solution mode.  You see, I had chosen Bali as our family Christmas holiday destination for the following reasons:
  1. It’s cheap to get there with direct flights from Townsville
  2. It’s cheap once you get there ie. Food, accommodation, shopping, travel, tourist stuff etc.
  3. I can afford to eat out every day/night and pay for a nice 4 star hotel without breaking the budget
  4. I get to show my kids that life is not all about Xbox, Ipads and electronics
As this trip was booked and paid for months in advance, I was a little concerned that we might not be able to go.  Now I’m all for holidaying in your own back yard, but the most expensive part of holidaying in Australia is eating.  Most times I book a self-contained unit so I can reduce our meal costs, but being a single mum 330 days of the year, the last thing I want to be doing on my holiday is cooking and cleaning – NO THANKS! So, knowing that holidaying in Oz might be on the cards, I started to do some research to find out how we could still have our annual family holiday on the same budget if we had to.  Of course, my boys wanted to go to the Gold Coast and check out the theme parks, what kid doesn’t, but this Mum was already mentally adding up the cost of such a holiday. After a little research, these are the tips I would like to share with you.
  1. If you do enough google searches on Gold Coast theme parks, you can get surprisingly good rates. Check out sites like experienceoz.com.au where you can save on average $10 – $40 pp for prepaid theme park tickets.  Their destinations are vast, not just for the GC.
  2. To save on meals and snacks, purchase the Entertainment Book for your holiday destination and watch the savings add up. You can preview books at entertainmentbook.com.au
  3. Quick searches on sites like Trivago.com, Booking.com, Hotels.com etc. can see savings up to 50% on hotel accommodation. If you’re willing to stay a little further out of town the savings are even greater.
  4. To hire a car, do your research at CarFlexi.com, this site has all the major and minor car hire companies for you to compare. Don’t forget to utilise car hire discounts available in the Entertainment Book and memberships like RACQ, RACV etc.
  5. Save on travel costs by driving your own car. If you do this, be sure to pack some premade sandwiches, drinks and snacks to avoid spending unnecessarily when you stop for fuel.
  6. If you have a long drive throw in a tent and some pillows, there are free campsites all over Australia. Check out sites like freecampingaustralia.com.au
  7. Have friends at your holiday destination? Call them and talk to them about doing a house swap or bunking with them for a night or two.  Two nights accommodation saved either side of your holiday can free up a few hundred off your budget.
Throughout the year I allocate a small amount of money each week that I don’t even miss to ensure we can have a break at the end of the year.  If you’re not good with money, why not go back to the good old days of opening a Xmas Club account.  This type of account allows you to squirrel little bits of money regularly but the catch is the bank/building society won’t let you get access to it until December.  Even just $35 per week will see a nice little nest egg of over $1,800 to put towards your next holiday. So what are you waiting for, go plan your next holiday and how you’re going to pay for it now.
How a holiday can be a need, not a want for your sanity

How a holiday can be a need, not a want for your sanity

All year, I work with clients, educating them on how to break bad habits of the past and create new ones for a more serene financial life. A large part of this is recognizing the difference between a need and a want.

As the school year comes to an end, I have noticed that the patience and tolerance levels of both the kids and I are wearing a little thin and in general, we are all just feeling exhausted.

Depending on who you speak to, a holiday can be both.

Here are my top 5 reasons why I am happy to admit (especially at this time of the year) a holiday is definitely a NEED:

  1. When you’re burnt out and exhausted, you’re no good to yourself or anyone around you
  2. Your tolerance level for just about anything (in particular if you have kids) plummets to all-time lows
  3. Motivation becomes an effort
  4. Your quality of sleep drops, exacerbating tiredness
  5. Your Mind and Body go into survival mode reducing levels of joy and happiness in your life

Benefits of taking a holiday:

  1. Holidays put you in a good mood, make you feel more calm and increase your energy levels
  2. They help dissolve stress which is good for your health
  3. They clear the mind and help you re-focus upon returning to work, thus improving productivity
  4. You often meet new people on holiday opening up a whole new world of social contact and increasing happiness levels
  5. You no longer feel the need to yell at your kids because by the third cocktail your tolerance levels have increased dramatically

How do I find money for a holiday when money is tight?

If you’re thinking of taking a holiday but not sure where you’ll find the money, analyse your expenses and pick five wants that you can do without (or reduce just a little).

Here’s five expenses that really add up:

  1. Weekly takeaway
  2. Dining out
  3. Daily cup of takeaway coffee
  4. Can of Coke/Sprite/Juice
  5. Alcohol

It’s not necessary cut out all these expenses, but look at maybe reducing the number of times you get each, eg. cut out one takeaway meal for the family once a month, results in a saving of $600.

So don’t miss out on another family holiday just because you can’t afford it, change one habit today and see how much your life can change in just 12 months.

Why do we deny ourselves happiness

Why do we deny ourselves happiness

How often do you hear yourself say, “I can’t afford that?” or “sorry I can’t make it, I don’t have the money right now?”

Recently I was invited to an impromptu girls’ weekend to Melbourne and within 24hrs five of my closest friends had booked their flights and were busily organising the weekend.  I hesitated, not because I didn’t have the money, but the money I did have was earmarked for an overseas trip I am taking with my boys next year and it was my boys last weekend before heading off to their dads for the school holidays.

So here in lay two moral dilemmas, the first, as a mother to get over the guilt of spending money set aside for the family, the second, the guilt of not spending time with my boys before they go to their dads.

It wasn’t until one of the girls told me it only cost them $70 using frequent flyer points that I seriously started formulating in my head a strategy to make this trip happen.

The desire to go was starting to get pretty strong for a number of reasons:

  • It’s been a hard and massive year, starting out with rebuilding after the devastating floods that hit Townsville
  • I was burned out by May and knew I haven’t taken enough time to rest and recover
  • I have my boys 44 weekends a year so why am I feeling guilty
  • I had enough frequent flyer points to burn
  • My overseas trip is eight months away, giving me plenty of time to replenish the coffers

But the biggest reason was, I had put out to the Universe this year that I wanted to do a girls’ trip to Melbourne and here was the Universe was handing it to me on a silver platter so who am I to deny the Universe.

And what a weekend it was. 

I had decided I was going to channel my 19 year old flirty self of old, you know, the one before kids, marriage and divorce.  The one who knew how to have fun without the worry, stress and responsibility of real life.  The one who once met a guy in a bar and within 3 hours was taking a road trip to Cairns for the weekend (still can’t believe I did that and so glad my Mum never knew about it).  And oh boy, did she come out, in a big way. 

So off to Melbourne we went.  From the time we arrived until the time we left we laughed so hard my jaw started to ache.  We shopped up a storm, swapped clothes and shoes, helped each other with our make-up, it truly was like a massive girls slumber party.  We were all vibing so high and boy did other people notice.  Everywhere we went we had random men and women come up to talk to us, compliment us and just hang out with us.  I remember thinking, no amount of money could ever replace the amazing memories we were creating.

What I had forgotten though, was my 19 year old self also used to do ‘dawnies’ most weekends and getting home as the sun was rising wasn’t something I had thought of but obviously my inner child had.

48 hrs later, I have arrived back home, sleep deprived, suitcase full and a camera full of memories that money cannot buy.  I feel like I am vibing so high right now I could tackle the world (after I get about 24 hrs sleep that is).

There is even talk of making this a regular event and when I look back at all the money I have spent in the past on counselling post divorce to make myself feel whole again, a girls trip every few months sounds like a much better (not to mention cheaper and enjoyable) plan. 

So next time you catch yourself turning down an opportunity to enjoy living life, stop and think about how you can still enjoy freedom and life-style without breaking the bank.

If you want to stop worrying about how you can find the money to have fun like I just did this weekend book an insight and empowerment call with me today.

Want to know more about what I offer? Head over to my programs page and read all about the packages I have to offer to help you live your happiest self.

Until next time

Love and gratitude

Leisa

The wound is where light enters

The wound is where light enters

The wound is the place where the light enters you” – Rumi

No truer have these words been than this week.  Ever had one of those days/weeks/months or even year where you’ve felt like throwing it all in? 

Well that was me earlier last week.  Monday morning, I woke to find myself feeling angry and despondent, ready to give up on all that I’d worked so tirelessly to achieve these past couple of years. By lunchtime Monday, I’d fallen in a complete heap.  Mentally, emotionally and physically I was burnt out, done and dusted (and it’s only May!!).  One might think this strange, but in amongst all my anger, bitterness and sadness, I was actually excited.

I was excited because I had seen this pattern before and knew that on the other side of completely falling apart, I would level up and achieve even more than I had thus far.

But I found myself asking “where did this anger, rage and sudden desire to throw in the towel come from?”  I’d had an amazing weekend with my family and friends at the local races.  I’d met some lovely new people, the kids were behaving better than ever, business was going well and I was excited for the new programs we are about to launch.  So why was I feeling this way?

Thankfully I have an amazing coach myself, and after an hour of crying and counselling , I was slowly returning to my old self.  You see I’ve learned in the past that the only way past an emotion is through it.

In days gone by, I would have hidden my feelings from the world, had a silent cry in the bottom of my shower and that would have been the end of it.  I would have put on a mask to show the outside world and just soldiered on. 

But these days, I’ve learned to recognise that if I am feeling this way, then there are probably a dozen others feeling the same way, each and every day.  These same people likely look at people like me, who to the outside world seem to have their sh*t together and think that my life is perfect.  Because in today’s modern society, with digital photos, filters and editing tools, we tend to only show the outside world what we want them to see.

No one sees the broken tears at 9 o’clock at night after a hard day at the office or a challenging day with the kids.  No one sees the stress we feel each and every time a bill comes in that we are struggling to pay.  No one sees the struggle we experience some days, just putting one foot in front of the other. 

But why is this?  Why do we hide our true feelings when all we really want is connection?  Do we fear we will be judged by society if we don’t have our sh*t together all the time? 

I used to put so much pressure on myself to be the best version I could be.  A few years back, I was nearly hospitalised for exhaustion whilst doing University.  I had put so much pressure on myself to achieve.  I was so burnt out I was drinking Red Bull just to stay awake long enough to study for my exams.  Looking back, I know it was me, and only me putting that pressure on myself. 

These days what I’ve come to recognise is that no one can function at their best each and every day.  No one can be superwoman (or man), each and every day.  No one, no matter who they are, how rich or poor, successful or unsuccessful, can function at great heights each and every day.

So next time you find yourself heading towards a downward spiral, take time to acknowledge it, look for the lesson within, allow the emotion to flow through you, but most of all, take time to rest, recuperate and heal.

Love and Gratitude

Leisa

The Pain we hide on Mother’s Day

The Pain we hide on Mother’s Day

Since my first son was born, I used to joke that all I wanted for Mother’s Day was a day off from my kids.  Now this statement might sound absurd to some, but to many, it’s probably going to resonate with your thinking as a Mum at one time or another.  Especially if, like me, you’ve been doing this gig on your own for quite some time.  And I’m not just talking about the single Mum’s, because you can still be in a relationship and feel like you’re doing it on your own.  Hell, when my Ex walked out, I was slightly relieved because now I only had to look after two kids, instead of three. 

This will be my twelfth year in this life as a Mum and my ninth as a fulltime single Mum.  Mother’s Day is always a bittersweet reminder for me, for my marriage fell apart literally days before Mother’s Day all those years ago.  I still remember opening a present from my boys that my own Mum had helped them pick out, bursting into tears for the joy and sadness I felt all rolled into one. 

Fast forward nine years, and I’m still experiencing that combination of joy and sadness, but these days it has nothing to do with my previous marriage or husband.  These days, the joy is felt when my boys now old enough to pick out their own presents, cook me breakfast in bed and surprise me with a beautiful gift.  But the sadness is now felt because they no longer seem to need me on this day.  To them, the Xbox and their friends seems of a higher priority.

As the Mum of two tweenagers, I knew this day was coming, but now that it’s finally arrived, I am now longing for the days when I was their world.  When we used to do everything together and wherever I went, they came too. 

Today of all days, when all attempts to get them out of the house to enjoy some time together were met with resistance, well, that was it, I just lost the plot.  What a terrible Mother I must be to yell and scream at my kids at how selfish and ungrateful they are.  But truth be told, in today’s modern society of disconnected families, it’s probably what many Mother’s are thinking, but too scared to admit for fear of being judged.  Today of all days, I no longer feel the need to put on the show of being a perfect Mum who’s got their shit together.  Because I am just like all those other Mum’s out there, doing the best I can with the life circumstances I find myself navigating each and everyday.

As a new Mum, I read all the books, trying to arm myself with the knowledge I needed to make sure I got it right. But one thing I remember my own Mum telling me, that has stuck with me all these years “All these books are great, but a baby can’t read a book so you’ll just have to figure it out as you go along”.

So, this is a shout out to all the amazing Mums out there just trying to figure it out as they go along, you are doing an amazing job. 

Tag and share this with a Mum who you think is doing a great job.

Love and Gratitude

Leisa

Tackling Fear – Risk Vs Reward

Tackling Fear – Risk Vs Reward

Recently it dawned on me that when it comes to my business and taking risks, I’ve been somewhat fearless (okay, pretty damn fearless). Looking back over the past few years I started my business at a time when the Finance industry was taking a beating, which seemed to have culminated in 2018 with the Royal Commissions into Banking, Finance and Insurance.

Anyone who has seen or followed any of my stuff over the past few years would also know it was at a time when financially I was clawing my way back from Divorce Destruction.

I’ve lost count the number of cliffs I feel like I’ve had to jump off in order to get my business up and running and then to a point where I could actually pay the bills. Let’s face it, the statistics on small businesses succeeding weren’t really in my favour.

But with a lot of determination and blind faith that the Universe will always provide me with what I need, I jumped off those cliffs and have soared to achieve things I never thought possible.

The rewards have been great, I have total freedom and flexibility around my kids, around the content I produce and how fast or slow I choose to build my business.

That, my friends, is how I see risk and reward when it comes to business.

Now, on the other hand when it comes to my personal life and in particular finding new love, I couldn’t be more opposite.

In the beginning, I told myself it was because:

• I didn’t want to bring anyone into the Sh*t that was my life and yeah, that was true, my Divorce was pretty messed up (not to mention lengthy)
• Then I told myself it was because I had the kids fulltime, again, true, but my Mum only lives 100km away.
• Then I told myself I had to heal and work on myself, again, true, but that was 3 years ago.
• Then I told myself I had to focus on building the business, again, true, but this year the business achieved self-sufficiency.

So, given that I’ve run out of excuses, I started to wonder, “Why was I so fearless in business, but not when it comes to love?”

Over the years I’ve dabbled a little here and there when it came to dating (one week stints, four times a year to be exact), but few people have managed to sweep me off my feet and each time, they were just not ready to settle down. Looking back, I now see it was me, not them who was not ready.

What was the block that prevented me from moving forward. Why do I guard my heart so closely, fearful that it will get crushed again? A normal response for the first few years post-divorce, but seriously, we’ve clocked up nearly a decade and so I’ve decided this sh*t’s gotta end.

That is why I’ve set myself a new challenge to take the lessons learned from all those positive affirmations, self-help books, meditations, energy healings and anything else I’ve learned the past few years and apply them to a new kind of fearlessness.

2019 will be the year of pushing through all those fear barriers and opening up my heart again. I figure what’s the worst that can happen, I get rejected by a guy who probably wasn’t the right fit anyway?

I remember watching an awesome Mat Boggs video on YouTube about dating and rejection that has stuck with me over the years. He said “If I told you that the 17th next person you date will be the one, you’d be out there trying to get rejected by 16 guys so quick it’d make your head spin”.

So that’s going to be me in 2019. Shedding that last bit of armour that has kept me safe over the years but somehow turned into a prison, keeping me from sharing all the love and joy I know I have inside of me to give.

As I come to the end of my declaration of new fearlessness, my question to you is, what are you going to do to become more fearless in 2019? What cliffs are you going to jump off and what heights do you wish to soar to?

What’s going to be your risk and reward?

I’d love to hear from you so please comment below.

To read more of my blogs, head over to my General Blog or my Personal Blog, Sh*t They Don’t Tell You When You Get Divorced.

Love and gratitude

Leisa xoxo