The fun bookclub-like GIG (Girl Investment Group) program supports you and girlfriends, workmates or new 10thousandgirl friends to complete the 10thousandgirl Personal Finance Program. The aim is to learn the principles behind personal finance and investing in an engaging, supportive and light-hearted environment.

GIGs are all about learning the life and finance skills we need to know but often didn’t learn at home or at school. Supported by interactive webinars, videos and beautiful workbook materials, 10thousandgirl supplies the Personal Finance Program with an agenda and learning materials for each meeting, and you let your group know what time and who’s bringing tea, treats or wine.

Financially empower yourself while 10% of your program fees go toward providing a microloan for a woman to start a new business and lift herself and her family out of poverty. Pretty inspiring!


whitesquarewhitesquareclick here to register interest pink

 Want to find out more?

Here’s an overview of GIGs (Girl Investment Groups) and the NEW 10thousandgirl Personal Finance Program.

Interested and want to find other like-minds in your area? Register your interest.

Already decided this is for you? Here’s the Steps to Getting Your GIG Started.

Currently a financial services professional looking for opportunities to financially empower women in your local area? Interested in a Mentor opportunity? Read on…

Did you know the average credit card debt in Australia is $3500? And paying minimum repayments at the average interest rate of 21.5% could take over 90 years to pay off?

Shocking but true.

In a recent article in The Sydney Morning Herald ‘Plot a path to turn red into black‘, some basic tips to get yourself out of a credit card pickle were shared along with case studies which show it can be done.

Here are some other tips and resources to help get on top of debt and back into black:

TIP!! If you are consolidating debt, make sure you are careful of your credit rating, making multiple applications for credit cards etc can impact your ability to apply for a home loan etc. at a later date. Talk to your bank manager/s but don’t let them log any applications for you unless they’re 100% sure you will get it. You can check your credit history by getting a free copy of your credit report from these credit reporting agencies:

TIP!! Paying a little more than the minimum repayments on your credit card can mean the difference between having the debt for 90 years or 2!

Paying more than minimum repayments on credit cards

Start small, be strategic, keep on it and you’ll get there in no time.

For the last six months, first thing in the morning, I have written down five things for which I am grateful.

It’s really interesting to see what comes up each day.

Recently I have been grateful for: friends, my passport, my family’s health, my determination, great food, coffee, holidays and the freedom to make my own choices.

What has surprised me most is how often work comes up in my daily gratitude list.

Work often seems like such a burden, particularly on a Monday morning. The whole world seems so hard! Waging war against the strong desire for a sleep in, battling along on public transport or fighting traffic, dodging airborne germs as people sniffle and sneeze. Lamenting with colleagues about how good the weekend was, and how long the week feels like it will last!

Yet I look over my gratitude lists and I see it written time and time again – work. My job. My career.

It got me thinking I should have been a little more specific about what it is that tickles me about work at these moments. But, since it is a ‘first thing when you get up’ job, my lists are usually short, sharp and to the point.

If I wasn’t so bleary eyed, I’d probably write some of the following.

I’m grateful for my work because:

  • I work with beautiful people everyday. People who are strong, funny, intelligent, passionate and committed. People who make me laugh, who care about me and make me welcome, who drink coffee with me in the morning and share a celebratory drink at the end of the week. People who are at work to make a difference, in every way they can. People who, as well as doing their work, are also looking after their partners, children, parents, grandchildren, pets and themselves. People who make my every day a blessing.
  • I work on important issues. Working in human services is about exactly that – humans. My work is my contribution to try and make the world a little bit better.
  • My work is an ongoing education. As well as the formal opportunities I have for professional development, every day I learn something new, from what I read, who I talk to, or who I work with.
  • My work keeps me busy and keeps my achieving. I celebrate the little wins and know that I continue to get better at my job all the time.
  • My job is secure. I am very lucky to have a stable job, with leave and other entitlements.
  • My work gives me a steady income, which allows me to make choices with my money. My income gives me independence and options, whether I choose to use it to save, travel, shop, eat, explore or give it away.

My job is not perfect. I don’t think I know anyone who has the perfect job. It’s also not always easy, and I certainly have my bad days. I am however, lucky to have my job, and I will continue to be grateful for it, and all the options it allows me.

Rowena Southgate (aka ‘Ms Alchemy’) is based in Melbourne. While she would love to write as an occupation, she still needs to earn a living. This living so far has seen her work in research related to employment, in policy related to disability services, in HIV prevention in Vietnam, and also in the sexy world of communicable diseases. An acute observer and amateur photographer, Rowena likes to think twice about she sees in the world around her, and what it would take to make it a little bit different – for the better.

I’ve been writing and re-writing this post. Trying to find a pattern, a rhythm, a balance, in talking about my reflections on the year. I’m finding it very difficult – to list the accomplishments over the year seems like bragging, yet treating them with brevity and flippancy seems disrespectful to what I have achieved.

So, I’ve decided I need to change tack. I don’t need to tell you what it is I have done – just that I am very proud of it all. In the last twelve months, I have started things from scratch, continued with previous activities, and finished things that have been important. I’ve let go of relationships that held me back, I’ve renewed friendships that make me feel good, and started some new relationships with people who are strong, supportive and on my side. I’ve learned to understand my body better, to listen to it, to give it more of the fuel it needs, and have avoided the things that weigh me down. I’ve sought advice and support in the right places, and learned to quiet the voices that cause self doubt. I’ve persevered with building myself up when I thought I couldn’t. I’ve stopped sabotaging myself when I fell into old habits. I’ve tapped into some creative outlets, with the hope that one day, they will flow more easily. I’ve challenged myself in many different ways, and brought myself both to tears and to laughter.

While it hasn’t been perfect, 2012 has been a good year. It’s been a good year because I’ve had support, strength and a vision for the person I want to be. I’ve also been determined to make my world different, and better in any way I can.

And it’s with this sense of accomplishment that I will plan my year ahead. For me, 2013 will be a year to build on the momentum I am gaining. I will continue with my current projects, start some new ones, and leave some old things behind. I will inject into every day the experience I have gained in 2012 – the successes and the failures. And, with a sense of pride in what I did in 2012, I am setting out to make 2013 even better. I hope you too can see the good in yourself, the great work you have done, and that it is just the beginning of many wonderful things to come.

Rowena Southgate (aka ‘Ms Alchemy’) is based in Melbourne. While she would love to write as an occupation, she still needs to earn a living. This living so far has seen her work in research related to employment, in policy related to disability services, in HIV prevention in Vietnam, and also in the sexy world of communicable diseases. An acute observer and amateur photographer, Rowena likes to think twice about she sees in the world around her, and what it would take to make it a little bit different – for the better.

I am a terrible gift giver. I mean, I love to give gifts, I’m just useless at finding good gifts. Whether it’s a birthday present, a wedding present, a Christmas present or any other kind of present, I’m just no good at it. My sister has a knack for it. Especially when it comes to the cards. She just has this incredible ability to find a card that sums things up perfectly. Whether it’s a funny card for a birthday, or something a little more sentimental, she always gets it right. Puts my efforts to shame every single time.

As Christmas rapidly approaches I begin to panic as I start to think about the gifts I need and want to give. Presents for my partner of seven years, my Mum, my Dad, my sister – people I’ve known forever and I still have no idea what to give. Gone are the days of childhood when you had to wait for your birthday or Christmas to get that new book or CD – we all earn our own cash now, so it’s especially hard when people have it all – or go out and buy what they want, when they want it.

That’s why I love the idea of charity gift cards. Many charities at this time of year roll out their gift catalogues where you can make a purchase or donation to their work in the name of someone else. What’s particularly great about this is you can target the donation to the person you want to give it to.

Example: My Dad. He’s the hardest person I know to buy for. He doesn’t really read, he’s a handy man but has all the stuff he needs, he doesn’t play sport, he volunteers but doesn’t have much in the way of hobbies that I could buy him things for. But he LOVES the footy. So I checked out Oxfam. For $65 I could make a donation to a program that uses footy as a way of helping young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men. Sold. This way, my Dad doesn’t get something he doesn’t need or want and he contributes to the sport that consumes about nine months of his year!

If there’s a charity you know that’s close to your heart or the heart of the person you’re struggling to find a pressie for, check them out. Chances are they’ll have a gift catalogue or you can just make a general donation on their behalf.

Now, not everyone likes this idea. There’ll always be someone who likes receiving an actual present. People that know me know that this is one of my ‘things.’ I love the idea of sharing our wealth with communities who really need it – rather than buying my Mum yet another scented candle that will sit in a cupboard.

So for those people in your life that that feel the same way, charity gifts can be a great way of spreading a little love at Christmas – or at any time.

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Ally Wells is travelling an undetermined path; following life’s twists and turns to see where she might end up, trying to relax and enjoy its unpredictability.

Well here we go again, it is almost Christmas 2012.  The time of year where expenses can get a little out of control, but it is possible to still have a great time without compromising on the fun or having the post Christmas financial stress!


  • Try the ‘tacky sack challenge’ this year.  Each year my partner and I have a Christmas stocking challenge with a set time limit at the local mall and a set dollar value to get items with.  It can be great fun ducking from shop to shop in our 20-minute timeframe and can keep costs of presents low!
  • Agree on a maximum expenditure with the people you’re doing presents with.
  • Limit the cost of presents by having a ‘Secret Santa’ for your group of friends or your family – My family has done this for the last 5 years and it saves money (buying one bigger present rather than a whole bunch of smaller stuff) and if you had some present switching with the process can add a little more excitement to the day!!
  • Give homemade presents, get your baking on in the kitchen or if you have a green thumb maybe get some nice flowers or plant seedlings from the garden.  Or even offer the gift of time to help out someone with a project or job you know they need done = be it baby sitting or dog walking or even cleaning or gardening!!
  • Be personal with your gifts – such as by putting a photo of you and the recipient inside a picture frame, or filling a cheap mug with the recipient’s favourite chocolates
  • Make sure you have (and use) reward cards (Fly buys and Woolworths Points) and other shops and supermarkets you use the most and then use your points to make a special present more affordable.

Christmas Cards

Rather than buying Christmas cards, make them (or get your children involved) or send e-cards, write a letter or phone people for a catch-up. With the money you save, you could make a donation to a charity – and invite your friends to do the same.

Get organised and purchase your Christmas cards for 2013 in the post Christmas sales where they are 75% off the ‘Christmas season’ price!

The Christmas Feast

  • Stock up in advance on food and drinks with long use-by dates (nuts, soft drinks etc) whenever they are on offer, up to the amount you’ll need – this will help to spread costs over the year.
  • If you are hosting guests, ask them to contribute a dish – this spreads the workload as well as expense.
  • Plan your meals, snacks and drinks beforehand bearing in mind the numbers of people you expect. Then take a list with you to the supermarket – and stick to it!
  • Buy supermarkets’ own brands – they’re usually cheaper than main brands and once you have them on a nice platter on one can tell the difference!

Start Planning Now for Christmas 2013

We all know the date of Christmas 2013 so get planning today.

  • Put a little aside every month throughout 2012 to make next Christmas more affordable.
  • Buy crackers, decorations, Christmas cards and even presents in this year’s post-Christmas sales – you’ll pay less and be on top of Christmas next year!
  • Spread purchases across the year (presents and non-perishable food and drink, especially if they’re discounted) in advance to avoid a big bill next December.

If you need assistance with any element of your financial life then get professional advice and start your journey to being free around your money and creating wealth with understanding!!

Scott Malcolm ( is Director of Money Mechanics (ph: 6257 5557) a fee for service advice firm who are authorised to provide financial advice through PATRON Financial Advice AFSL 307379.

The information provided on this article is of a general nature only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs.  Before acting on this information you should consider its appropriateness having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.

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I love to travel. I have ever since I was lucky enough to go to Germany when I was 16. Since then I’ve lived and worked in London, spent six months in Uganda and, most recently, spent an entire year living in Cambodia followed by nine weeks backpacking around South East Asia.

My six months in Uganda and my one year in Cambodia were amazing experiences, made all the more amazing because I wasn’t just a traveller. I was a volunteer.

There are many debates to the role travellers can play if they choose to volunteer. There are numerous articles highlighting the issues and implications of ‘volun-tourism.’ Some are all for the idea, others are much more cautious, and even more are dead against it.

I could write a thesis on this topic, but, for now, I’ll stick to my own experiences; and what very different volunteer experiences they have been.

In Uganda I paid a fee to an organisation to host me in country. Being 22 and never having been to a developing country, this seemed like the easiest place to start – having someone else organise the logistics for me. And to an extent, it was. Was it expensive? Yes. Was it more expensive than perhaps it would have been had I travelled independently? Yes. But it was easier. The benefits of paying to volunteer, for me, in this case, far outweighed the difficulties of organising six months independently.

My role in Uganda was not always the one I had dreamed of. Organisational frustrations on the ground made things challenging, not to mention the culture shock of being in a place so foreign. But the relationships I formed and the connections I made still live with me now. My host family took me under their wing and made me feel at home. The children I worked with, helping fix up their school and dormitory, installing a rainwater tank with other volunteers and generally just hanging out singing songs and kicking balls around, they are the ones that made my experience. Sure, I may not have contributed lasting change to the lives of these beautiful children, and this type of volunteering may not be the best, but the experience enriched my life, and I can only hope, that at least for six months, it enriched theirs too.

It was this experience that led me to study more. To learn how I could spend time overseas in a way that would actually contribute to communities in a long-term, sustainable way.

And that’s where the Australian Youth Ambassador for Development (AYAD) program comes in to it. This program is for skilled young Australians and is committed to achieving sustainable development through capacity building, skills exchange and institutional strengthening. Organisations in Asia, the Pacific and Africa submit roles to be filled by Aussie volunteers in areas they need additional support. Volunteers must apply for positions and go through a rigorous selection process before undertaking pre-departure and in-country briefings before their placement starts. Volunteers are supported with a living and accommodation allowance and flights and insurance are covered by the program.

I was lucky enough to get a spot through the AYAD program with an organisation in Siem Reap, Cambodia; This Life Cambodia. My work here used skills and experience I already had to contribute to the organisation, working with staff to write better reports and grant proposals and newsletter articles, among other things. My work involved creating processes and procedures with local staff that live on, even though I’m no longer around.

Once again, it was the people I met through this experience that made my year in Cambodia so incredible. The vibrant, passionate, young Cambodians who introduced me to local hang outs and food, who laughed with me (and possibly at me) as I failed to master the Khmer language, who sang karaoke with me and taught me how to dance like an Apsara (rather ungracefully I’m afraid).

If I had not volunteered I would never have met these incredible people. I would never have had these experiences. I would have passed through Siem Reap in three days, visiting Angkor Wat and experiencing the Western party side of town. Instead I got taken to eat banh chao (Cambodian savoury pancakes) at a restaurant near Angkor Wat, and I got to play sideshow games, watch kids on the Ferris Wheel  (I wasn’t quite game to have a go myself, OHS in Cambodia is not so great …) and eat 50cent bowls of noodles at 60 Road, a local haunt.

For me, volunteering is a great way to really experience a country. Sure, some volunteer placements are better than others. Some are more focused on making sure the volunteer has a great time, cuddling babies or building houses, doing work that locals could be doing, and others are more focused on professional development and change; working with locals. Some do more harm than good for local communities. Some cost a fortune, others are free if you can get to your country of choice, and some will even pay for you – if you have the right skills and background. There are a plethora of options for volunteering.

We live and we learn. My first volunteering experience made me realise there was a better way I could volunteer and travel. My second one proved that. Everyone has to start somewhere. My advice; do you research and give it a go – it will change the way you see the world.

Ally Wells is travelling an undetermined path; following life’s twists and turns to see where she might end up, trying to relax and enjoy its unpredictability.

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So did that picture capture your attention??
The ATO (Australian Tax Office) has put together some info on identity theft and your tax file number. It’s important reading 10thousandgirls!

Is your identity secure? It’s your identity – protect it!

Your identity is a precious thing, and it’s up to you to protect it!

Your identity is made up of your personal details like your name, date of birth, address and other information, including your tax file number (TFN). Your TFN is a unique nine digit number issued to you by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). You may have applied for your TFN through your school.

Identity crime

Did you know if someone else finds out enough about your identity, they could impersonate you and use your identity for illegal purposes? For example, they could use it to access government benefits, access your bank account, lodge a tax return in your name or even take out a loan in your name. This is called identity crime.

How does identity crime happen?

Identity criminals take other people’s details by:

  • stealing purses, wallets, mail, or mobile phones
  • sifting through rubbish
  • advertising and interviewing for a job that does not exist
  • asking questions while pretending they are a government, bank or other representative
  • offering to help you complete a tax return or other official document
  • reading information on a social networking page online, or
  • tricking you into clicking on a link in an email, or web page that captures your details.

How can I protect my TFN?

  • Never give someone your TFN unless there is a good reason, such as completing a tax form or opening a bank account.
  • Never provide your TFN when applying for work, especially if you are applying for a job online.
  • Only provide your TFN to your employer after you start work.
  • Just like your PIN for your bank keycard, never store your TFN in your mobile phone, in your purse or wallet, or share it with your friends or family (including on social networking sites).
  • See our online security page ( for tips on using computers safely and information about genuine ATO email and SMS campaigns.
  • When throwing away documents with your personal details on them, make sure you shred or destroy them properly first.
  • Report the loss or theft of your TFN or other identity documents without delay.

So who can I give my TFN to?

You should only give your TFN to someone who is authorised to ask for it. The most common people and organisations who are legally allowed to ask for your TFN are:

  • the ATO when discussing your tax records
  • your employer after you start work
  • your bank
  • the Department of Human Services
  • your super fund.

Help from the ATO

You should immediately report any loss, theft or misuse of your TFN, see

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There is one small activity I do on a regular basis that makes a huge difference to my self-belief. It is the act of noting down, in one place, all the tasks I have accomplished during the previous week – both on a personal and professional level. A Week In Review!

For so many of us the weeks fly by and when someone asks us what we’ve been up to we draw a blank…Can you relate? Sometimes you may even beat yourself up because you feel that you’ve not achieved much during the last seven days.

This simple activity will only take you about 10 minutes a week and is one that makes such an impact. It helps:

  • build momentum;
  • gives you a moment to reflect on the week;
  • helps you remember what you have actually done;
  • see if you’ve done the tasks that bring you closer to your goals and aims;
  • gives you a boost to do more in the upcoming week;
  • reminds you that you do have the capabilities to do what you need to (self-belief and self-confidence);
  • and inspires increased productivity.

How To Do Your Week In Review

  1. Put aside 10 minutes at a regular time during the week. I prefer to do it on Friday afternoons.
  2. Have your to do list and diary on hand. It helps if you use some sort of scheduler to remind you of some of the bigger things you did this week.
  3. Choose a place to write up your list. I write mine on my blog. You may just want to keep a document on your computer. Write it down though! It doesn’t have as much impact if you just keep in in your head.
  4. Write down your dot points. Keep it short and sweet – it is easier to maintain. You may have things that are quite big or things that are quite small. For example:
  • Caught up with the girls
  • Cleaned the house
  • Completed website copy draft
  • Went to the gym x3
  • Cooked 4x healthy dinners
  • Read a book
  • Spoke to boss about raise
  • Counselled colleague
  • Sold couch on ebay
  • Volunteered at school
  • Browsed bookshop

5. Read over it one more time. Pat yourself on the back and see what the process has done for yo

Go on, give it a go and make it part of your routine.

Arienne is the content manager for 10thousandgirl and head she at Savvy Sassy She where she muses about life and wants to help everyone wake up to the lives they love and start living it now. A lover of lists , she is one of those people that does something that wasn’t on the daily to do then goes and writes it on just so she can cross it off.

Photo Credit

Name: Arienne Gorlach
Attended: Life Planning Workshop & GIG
I’ve done a few! I think my first as a participant was in early 2010. Then I sat in and participated in a couple as I was learning to facilitate. It was amazing to see my progress and to also notice how my focus and priorities changed from session to session. If you get the chance to do another one I would strongly recommend it. We so rarely take time out in our everyday lives to focus on ourselves that this is a great opportunity to do so.

I then ran workshops as a facilitator and it was absolutely amazing to help people gain insights and to look at and plan their personal and financial futures. I have some really wonderful memories of people’s AHA moments and learning.

I also participated in the first round of Girl Investment Groups doing the original Personal Finance Program (part of it has now been modified to the Link Up events) and it was a highlight each month as I would connect with the other (awesome, inspiring, fantastic) gals, hear about their experiences and make incremental improvements to my personal money set up.

My greatest achievements so far are…?
Overcoming some difficult personal times and coming out the other side a better person
Topping Geography in Year 12 (I know it was a while ago and only at my school but I’m still nerdily proud of this)
I’m sure there’s more, but I can’t think of them right now!

What is your background?
I had a very nomadic upbringing during my childhood. We moved countries/cities about every 18 months. While it was hard sometimes, from it I have friends around the world, learnt flexibility and tolerance and have a slight addiction to hard to find international foods. I also speak English and Australian.

I got my degree in commerce with a marketing major and have worked in small business, education and non-profit (hello 10thousandgirl!).

Behind me at the moment is the kitchen.

What have you done that others are in awe over?
I think the major thing was leaving the security of a family business to go out into the big wide world to create my own path. There have been trials and errors but I’m forging forward to building a life of my own which includes being my own boss (gosh she’s nice). I sometimes miss the security of having a job, but this is the right choice for me.

I joined 10thousandgirl because…?
A girlfriend of mine shot around an email about someone she knew that had written a book for women about personal finance. That book was Flirting with Finance by our 10thousandgirl ambassador Anneli Knight. I got in touch with Anneli about my interest in helping women and she put me in touch with Zoe Lamont. Needless to say we hit it off and I’ve been involved ever since!

My personal goals for the next 12 months are…
Planning an intimate, low-budget, creative wedding that screams me and the boy
Launch new biz and a couple of smaller income-generating projects
Simplify my house, declutter and give or sell all that stuff that accumulates (yep, that’s why I’m on ebay a lot…)
Maintain a great health regime
Write draft of book (and have someone else edit my punctuation and grammar)

My financial goals for the next 12 months are…
To rebuild savings
To understand more about tax
To find a wonderful, educational accountant
To get all that paperwork out of boxes and into manageable order

In 3-5 years I’ll be…
Ecstatically and excitingly married
With kids (yikes, when did that happen?)
Running my business joyfully and expanding it
Writing (another) book

And financially, in 3-5 years I’ll be…
Still building my savings (can’t stop now can we?)
Have 5 streams of passive income
Starting money pots for the kiddies’ futures
Having an income that comfortably supports my family and needs
Buying a home

It’s my birthday in the year 2022 and I…
Personal side
I am very happily 41 years of age, just with a few more greys and fabulous laugh lines. I am surrounded by my amazing husband, children, furbabies, the extended family and friends that I could call at 2am.

I got me some vibrant health (hello core strength and tranquil mind) so I’m all glow-ey and shiny from the inside out (nice, huh?!).

The dream home (not huge – who needs 27 bedrooms?) is being designed and built.

I’m making a difference for women (and perhaps men, children, animals and the environment??) by empowering them through my work of light-hearted self-discovery, lifestyle design and action implementation. I receive and give in a positively endless cycle.

I travel, I read, I see, I learn. Always (well…travel maybe only sometimes…). I still do crazy dances.

Financial side
I bless my lucky stars (and that thing called sweat and working smarter) for the financial freedom and independence I have. That means that I can look after myself and my family and do pretty much what I want, when I want (okay – within reason, I might not get a private jet, own island or be able to give what I’d love to to each citizen of the planet…).  For me, it’s all about having options and the freedom to choose those options based on best-fit rather than scarcity and fear.

I’ve built passive income streams that are the result of helping people and giving value; I’m getting a great income from the business I’ve built; I’ve made good property and investment decisions that are building my asset base for the future; I have a good amount in superannuation so that I can live my older life without worrying myself into the grave and I’ve got all the appropriate insurances and emergency funds in place just in case!

Overall, I’m happy – the real type of happy that gets you through the tougher times. And that’s all from being me, learning from the mistakes, celebrating what I have and making life what I want it to be.

The very first steps I’m going to take right now are…
Updating and rewriting these goals in the INSPIRE framework

What do you want others to know – what is a tip or advice to give them?
The biggest, hugest, most ginormous thing is to live your life as you as much as you can. After all, you’re with yourself 24/7 (friends, family and society aren’t in there with you) so make sure you’re making the decisions and doing the things that make you happy. Ultimately, this will make the people around you happier.

The other thing is to make that decision (whatever that big one is in your life right now). Stop staying in the same place and fearing failure or a ‘bad’ decision. By choosing something, you can see if it is right or wrong. If it is right – yippee! If it is wrong, then you might have lost some time, energy or money but at least you know and can move forward and stop wondering those (sometime in the future, regret-creating, painful) words “what if I had…”.

This is where you can find more about me:
I am scattered around the place! I have a blog at, you can read some of my articles on the 10thousandgirl blog or see my new venture launching November 2012 (yay for stationery/planner fiends) at

Guest Post by Alison Gallagher

Taking out the trash is a much loathed household chore by many young Australians. It’s stinky, dirty, sometimes is dripping with the festering juices of the past week’s discards. But it feels good to get it out of the house and feels even better to line the bin with a nice clean bag. Taking out the recycling has become an additional chore, another carton of rejected bottles, cans and cereal boxes destined for another life somewhere other than your laundry floor. But did you know recycling can save you money?

Recycling has become an automatic reflex for most Australians, with many people installing bins with dual compartments to separate the recycling, and in some homes the recycling tub is more densely filled than the rubbish bin. This is great news for the environment and is having an impact on the way companies package their goods. Many companies are listening to customers’ requests for recyclable packaging and even better, some are even use recycled packaging. One of the best things about recycling and buying recycled good is it can save you cash.

Here a few ways to save money while recycling at the same time.

• When buying office paper and envelopes, toilet paper and paper towels always try to opt for a product that is mostly or 100% made from recycled paper. It is almost always cheaper saves resources and reduces waste.

• Invest in high quality electrical goods and clothing to ensure they last for longer and don’t need to be replaced every 6-12 months. Your initial investment may be higher, but in the long run you will save money. Alternatively you can check out places like Vinnies and the Salvation Army for second hand toasters, kettles, electric frypans and curling irons. You will pay a fraction of the price when new and also be supporting a charity and recycling all in one!

• ‘Green bags’ are a fabulous concept that has been embraced by many people. Some shops are taking responsibility by no longer providing plastic bags for free, instead charging a small fee for each plastic bag used. This is a great incentive to bring along you own carry bag to the supermarket or shopping centre and save a few dollars. It’s also much more stylish walking around with a trendy tote than dragging plastic bags around.

• Reuse your takeaway plastic container to store stationary items, pegs, dry pasta, lunches, leftovers, frozen food. They don’t have an especially long life and aren’t very durable, but can be good for temporary storage.

• Buy in bulk whenever you can. Refill your empty shampoo bottles, liquid hand washes, detergents etc. It will save you money in the long run and you are recycling the packaging over and over again.

• The price of print ink stinks! Get your printer ink cartridges refilled to save a few bucks.

• Have a garage sale or car boot sale and sell your unwanted clothes and household goods and make some moolah while giving your rejects a new lease of life.

• Wash glass jars and re-use them again to save money on storage and store food or odds and ends like buttons and nails. You can also give glass jars to friends who make jams or pickles.  If you’re feeling adventurous you could also make home brew and use beer bottles collected from family and friends

These tips might not make you a millionaire, but they will make a small difference to your hip pocket and to the environment, and they may just make you feel good and resourceful like your Nan.

Bio: Alison Gallagher is a ‘creative communicator’ and Program Coordinator for Regret Nothing, a financial engagement program for young people aimed at making finance fun! She is also an actor and meditation teacher and enjoys inspiring others to help make the world a better place.

In this world of increasing consumerism, affluenza and credit card debt, it is little wonder that some of us are becoming more aware of alternative ways to source what we need. In my opinion, there seems to be an increasing number of people and organisations heading towards buying handmade, creating simpler lives, purchasing second-hand and becoming involved in collaborative consumption and events such as the Buy Nothing New month.

This tendency doesn’t mean never buying something new again, just exploring different ways to meet your wants and needs.

In line with this month’s topic of Saving, is looking at ways of doing more with what you currently have. We’ve put together 11 fun tips to help you look differently at what you already have and save money at the same time!

1. Use the cans up in the back of the pantry cupboard
You probably have a pantry and freezer full of food you’ve forgotten about. How about spending a few minutes going through what you have there and creating your meals using those ingredients? This action is guaranteed to cut down on your shopping bill for a few weeks!

2. Knit a scarf for winter using crafting scraps
Not everyone may be in the same situation, but I know I have a box full of unused yarn. Knitting a scarf or some other beautiful creation from these bits gives you a great creative outlet and the end result is something useful.

If you don’t know how to knit and would like to, there are some simple tutorials on YouTube or google “free knitting class + your local town” to find a fun and social knitting session you can attend. Here’s one I found in Sydney.

Then voila, you have a new scarf you made instead of having to buy one (I recommend using big knitting needles as you’ll have a scarf in a much shorter period of time and it is cold now!).

3. Rent out your stuff
Do you have a bunch of things lying around the house that you are not using very often but don’t want to get rid of? How about listing it on Australian collaborative consumption site Open Shed? There, you can list your item, rent it to someone locally, make some money and get the item back and do it all again. Cool idea, huh?! Now, where did I put that drill I’ve not used for a year? And those golf clubs? And that Hungarian language course? And…

4. Repurpose your furniture
You may have some furniture bits that don’t suit your colour scheme or style anymore. With a little tender loving care you can make it beautiful again or find a new use for it.  Here and here are some ideas to spark your inspiration.

5. Upcycle your wardrobe
Another gold mine if you google it. DIYs and step-by-step tutorial galore! If clothes don’t fit anymore or just aren’t acceptable to wear in public do something cool with them and wear them again! From turning long skirts into short ones, bloomers into a shrug or scruffed up heels into glitter glam,  give your closet a cheap or free makeover. This really makes me want to learn to sew!

6. Hold a swap with friends
If there are things you don’t want to repurpose, upcycle or rent, consider holding a swap with friends at your home. You could keep it as a clothes swap or you could have a range of things people could bring. From kitchenware, knick-knacks and makeup, to games, stationery and books you could walk away with a whole new array of things you love. Plus you have the opportunity for a fun girlie day and the feel good factor of donating the left overs to a charity of your choice.

7. Set up a market stall
If you just want to try selling things that you don’t use anymore set up a stall at a local market or go online to places like ebay.

8. Natural cleaning products
You have vinegar and baking soda somewhere right (check under the sink!!)? Instead of buying more of those expensive cleaning products how about trying these tips for vinegar and baking soda around the house?

9. Greeting cards
Birthday cards, thank you cards and Christmas cards; we receive a lot throughout the year and while some are definitely worth keeping for memory’s sake, others we may throw away (in the paper recycling bin) to save space. What if we kept those to use again? It saves paper and money!

Use a pair of scissors and cut off the side that has the writing on it. You now have a beautiful one page card you could use again by penning your heartfelt message on the back.

10. Read the books you have
I am guilty of owning a lot of books I’ve yet to read while buying more all the time. Put yourself on a 2 month book buying ‘ban’ and start reading what you already have. There is probably a lot of fun, escapism and wisdom waiting for you on that shelf!

11. Scrap paper notebooks
If you’re anything like me, you have a stack of scrap paper lying around from mis-prints, printed manuals and drafts of projects. How about gathering a pile of them up and stapling them together to create a notebook for to-do lists, musings and planning projects?

Do you have any other suggestions? Have you done any of the above? Share with us below!

Photo Credit: Open Shed

Arienne is the content manager for 10thousandgirl and head she at Savvy Sassy She where she muses about life and wants to help everyone wake up to the lives they love and start living it now. A stationary fiend, she is struggling to do #11 above, but still thinks it is a really good idea so she’s off to tackle that stack of paper now, well, perhaps after she goes and finds some glitter for her shoe project.

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