• Written by Libby Babet

The experience of celebrity trainer Libby Babet

2020 was a doozy. Starting the year I was so excited for the prospect of growth with my business, a new year of memories to be made with my young family. Taking time off in 2019 as a new mum to focus on my daughter Izzy meant I was coming into 2020 already feeling a little financially ‘behind’ but I was excited to stabilise and prioritise growth in my wellbeing. Then COVID-19 hit, and the fitness industry copped it bad. This was the catalyst for me to reassess my financial priorities and make some changes as my family and home were on the line.

Labelling March 2020 as a juggling act is an understatement.With the arrival of COVID-19 came the complete shut-down of the fitness industry. I had to close the doors of The Upbeat for a number of months and our family took a huge financial hit, I had to streamline my business and transition to an online coaching model. More importantly, I needed to budget the needs of raising a child, while also spending more time with her as child care was affected too.

So when it was offered, it just made sense to take up an ANZ mortgage holiday from March, an option I was so grateful to have access to. I deferred my home loan for six months to help ease the financial burden and it really helped by giving us some breathing space. It was one less thing to worry about.

While we've paused the home loan out of necessity, doing so increased the amount needed to be repaid on our loan which won't get us the best financial outcome over the long term. So, now that things are a little more stable, people are back training face to face and I can establish momentum with The Upbeat, I knew I had to get back on top of my finances. Adjusting to a new COVID normal, recommencing our home loan repayments has been a priority and also a really positive milestone for us because it’s our biggest asset as a family. Our home is our most valuable asset which makes it our top priority.

With the help of the ANZ Financial Wellbeing Program we’ve been able to review and adapt some of our spending and saving habits, ultimately improving our financial wellbeing (and you know I’m passionate about holistic wellbeing - feeling good is about the whole picture, not just eating your greens).

Getting back to making loan repayments at the end of the six-month pause has been a really positive milestone for us and we knew we could make some small sacrifices now to save our future- selves from sinking into taking on further debt.

Here are some of the things we changed so we could plug spending leaks and get back to paying our mortgage again asap:

  • Created a budget and started tracking our expenses more closely - a game changer that helped me curb personal spending

  • Shopped around and got a better deal on electricity and insurance (home and car) – SO worth the time it took!

  • Cancelled all streaming services we weren't using much - if we weren’t watching/listening multiple times a week, it was out (this was most of them, actually)

  • Itemising grocery shopping and planning meals in advance – for us this was smaller shops every couple of days for things we need, rather than a weekly shop that lead to food wastage and overspending.

  • Cooking at home more – this extended to making coffees at home too

  • Started walking more and driving less - I’m feeling pretty happy with my consistent 12,000 steps per day!

Through careful planning, we’ve been able to prioritise our debt, but I know not everyone will be in the same boat. Talking to our bank really helped us through, so you could reach out too if you’re needing more help.

Here’s to feeling more in control in 2021 and making the right choices now for our long term financial wellbeing!

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