How Barefoot Investor helped Aussie mum save thousands of dollars amid cost-of-living crisis

How Barefoot Investor helped Aussie mum save thousands of dollars amid cost-of-living crisis
  • PublishedMay 14, 2024

‘We’ve just returned from a trip to Bali where I flew my family for $185 per person return.’

A thrifty mum has detailed how the Barefoot Investor helped her save tens of thousands of dollars on family holidays and cost-of-living expenses.

Kirstin Edwards, 37, from Victoria, considers herself a “barefoot traveller”, and credits international best-selling author Scott Pape’s financial advice book for changing her life.

“Following his methods, I became very disciplined in only spending what I earn, and living frugally,” she tells 7Life.

“Because of this discipline, I now whack everything on the AMEX to accrue points for everything, and pay it off religiously.”

The method has allowed her to take 18 flights in 18 months around Australia and overseas.

“With households scraping by at the moment, I’m always looking for affordable ways for our family to travel,” she says.

Kirstin Edwards has credit the Barefoot Investor for helping her save thousands of dollars on family holidays and living expenses.

She says that, through accruing points, she has been able to maximise airline miles.

Kirstin says many people are unaware of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program which allows you to book flights with points for eligible family members.

“I think the most MVP with points is using them for economy seats — not bougie business class seats, which feels unattainable for most families,” she says.

“By using our points to fly economy to The States, we saved $7,500 which could then be used on accommodation etc.

“And it meant we could go to The States sooner than what we would have otherwise been able to.”

Kirstin with husband, son and her brother-in-law with his family during their recent trip in Bali. The flights cost $185 per person return.

The family say they are all about “fancy versus frugal entertainment options”.

“For example, on our US trip, we did a week in theme parks but then offset the cost by doing the last two weeks in national parks which are free or have a small entry fee,” Kirstin says.

When it comes to accommodation and transport, Kirstin likes to “skip the mega resorts, and stay in family-run boutique resorts” and she uses TURO, “like Airbnb for cars”, rather than hire a car.

She avoids staying in resorts with kids’ clubs because “fun doesn’t have to be expensive” and most kids are “just as happy with a pool, some dive sticks, ice cream and a can of coke”.

‘We typically skip the mega-resorts, and stay in family-run boutique resorts,’ Kirstin says.

Kirstin also says she follows a “fork out less, and feast more strategy”.

This means that, before travelling, she creates a list of restaurants which are close to their accommodation and have specials.

“For example, I know on Mondays — XYZ restaurant has two-for-one cocktails, or on Tuesdays XYZ restaurant has $1-$2 tacos — so we eat there,” she says.

“Or we choose from the list of restaurants that have specials on that day.

“I always eat back from the main drag or beach as prices differ greatly.

“A recent example from Bali was $52 verses $21 for our family to eat in an equivalent restaurant, minus the view.”

Kirstin is always on the lookout for special meal deals on holiday. This receipt shows it cost $21 to feed four adults in Bali.

She also suggests stocking up the fridge with beer, wine and soft drink from the shops rather than paying more at the hotel or out and about.

Although this may be a controversial tip, Kirstin says she likes to “give the school holidays a swerve due to expenses”, or she travels a day or two on either side.

Another saving tip includes “not getting fixated on a destination”.

“I let the prices dictate where we are going,” she says.

“I always scan emails for the best deals and take advantage of any last-minute deals too.”

The method has allowed her to take 18 flights in 18 months around Australia and overseas. 

Kirstin also looks for ways to make extra money.

“I embrace the side hustle,” she says, adding she can make more than $500 this way.

One of her enterprises is selling colourful educational diaries for children, which she created so kids could record their travels in a fun way.

“I’ve written resumes for extra cash, started selling the kids travel diaries and I always do a (Facebook) Marketplace clean out (of unwanted items) before we travel.”

In terms of day-to-day spending, Kristin hunts for bargains, including calling service providers to check for better deals.

“I recently slashed $1,134 off our bills in about two hours,” she says.

The family say they are all about ‘fancy v frugal entertainment options’.

When grocery shopping, she looks out for marked-down items and grabs products when are they on special.

“I buy marked-down meats when I see them, shop at thrift stores, meal plan and eat plant-based meals often,” she says.

“I shop what’s on special. For example, our local greengrocer has $1kg bananas and watermelon this week, so that’s the fruit I’ll be buying.

“When meal planning, I look at what’s on special first, and then meal plan, not meal plan, and then shop.

“I also use similar ingredients across the week so I can buy in bulk and buy fewer ingredients overall.

“For example, I’ll make spaghetti bolognese, chilli con carne, and tortilla stacks in a week which have similar ingredients.”

Not every meal needs to be a MasterChef one, she says.

“There is nothing wrong with eggs on toast for tea — at $1.85 per serve, it’s a great way to bring the weekly family food budget down.”

The savvy traveller takes her family to Bali for annual dentist check-ups.
Kirstin says she can make $500+ from her side hustles. 
Kirstin says she can make $500+ from her side hustles.  Credit: Kirstin & Tom

The savvy traveller also goes to Bali for her family’s annual dentist check-ups because of what she calls exorbitant dental prices in Australia.

Despite having top-tier health cover, the last time Kirstin went to a dentist in Australia she was $3,500 out of pocket.

“I was a little nervous at first,” Kirstin tells 7Life of her first Bali appointment, which coincided with a planned holiday to the popular Indonesian island.

“But after I found out they had training in a developed country, I felt more relaxed.

“And now I would recommend it to anyone.”


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