The first time I came across Rochelle’s very aesthetically-pleasing Instagram feed (@thezerodebtmillennial), I remember thinking to myself just how damn impressive her financial journey was. Seriously, this girl managed to pay off $14k worth of debt in six months. I also remember thinking to myself ‘who is this girl and what the hell is her secret?!’
Well, let’s start with who she is, shall we? Rochelle is a 25-year-old paramedic based in New South Wales, Australia. Her IG feed makes it pretty bloody clear that this gal loves the beach, good food & even better coffee (probably why I like her feed so much tbh). Rochelle has been giving her IG followers a glimpse into her debt-free journey since the start of the year by showing us how she budgets, sharing financial tips with us & even celebrating with us when she officially became DEBT-FREE at the end of July!!
But what the hell is her secret? Well, it turns out that Rochelle doesn’t actually want to keep her financial success a secret. In fact, she is very open about the fact that she puts all of her success down to having a healthy money mindset. I had a chat with Rochelle to dig a little bit deeper into what this actually means and to find out more about her debt-free journey. Check it out.
Before you started your debt-free journey, what was your relationship with money like?
Oh boy, let me tell you! It was pretty dismal to say the least. I thought I was incredible with money purely because, in my previous share house, I had the bills come out of my account and I could manage that money coming in and out. What the heck?! Safe to say it was not great. I bought whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I jumped on so many trends, I never waited to buy something, I would transfer money left and right through accounts and lived pay check to pay check – my relationship with money could be compared to that of a cats relationship with baths.
What inspired you to start your debt-free journey?
I went through a pretty tough 12 months with my parents divorcing and then having a long-term relationship breakdown. This meant that I went from having $15,000 in savings to almost $15,000 in debt in 18 months, purely because I was terrible with money. I stayed in Air Bnbs for weeks that cost me 1k+ PER WEEK and when I finally did get an apartment of my own I thought I could furnish a full 2 bedroom apartment from scratch (I literally had a microwave and mattress). I also thought that I could pay $900 of rent every fortnight on my own. I essentially became sick of living pay check to pay check.
What was the most challenging part of your journey?
Changing my mindset. I am a spender by nature and love new things, organic food, new skin care and any piece of rattan furniture or mustard coloured blankets I can get my hands on. So, for me I did cut back on a lot of things. I had to sit down and really evaluate what I truly value and what I wasn’t willing to skimp out on including good, nutritious food and a few select favourite skin care products.
What was the easiest part?
Creating a budget. Boy do I love a good budget haha. Every since I can remember I have been allocating money – I use that very loosely – into different accounts at an attempt to save, but I would always end up transferring it out. I have always known how to budget, for me sticking to it was not so easy!
What are your top 3 tips for other twenty-somethings looking to pay off debt and/or save money?
1. You need to WANT to do it – find a why.
2. Really get to know your money.. exactly how much comes in and how much goes out
3. Educate yourself. Immerse yourself in podcasts, books, financial instagrams, e-books etc.
How do you budget your money and why do you do it that way?
Now that I’m debt free I use the 50/30/20 rule. 50% to savings, 30% to bills and 20% to splurge. I then break my 50% savings down into emergency fund, house deposit, extra splurge and investing. Prior to that.. the 50% was going to debt.
Do you have any book/podcast/IG account recommendations for other twenty-somethings looking to learn more about their finances
Oh do I! I spent hours of FIFO (fly in fly out) work listening to podcasts and reading books.
My top 3 podcasts would be:
1. She’s On The Money
2. My Millennial Money
3. And a recent addition – The Buyer’s Bible
My top 3 books:
1. The Barefoot Investor (it’s such a good starting point)
2. Mindful Money
3. The Financial Diet
If you could give one piece of advice to anyone looking to start saving/paying off debt, what would it be?
Don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s bloody tough. I started then stopped then started then stopped then went backwards then forwards and anyway you get the point… but it’s not an easy journey. If you are kind to yourself it makes it a bit more tolerable.
What are your financial goals now that you’re debt-free?
I have three main goals:
1. Build my emergency fund to 5k
2. Invest my first 1k
3. Save a 20% house deposit with my partner
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Ooo yes, sorry I just love to talk about this stuff haha! You don’t have to be the most intelligent girl on the block to be financially secure, you just have to want to do it for the right reasons. It doesn’t matter if you’re 18 or 38, you can always build a better future for yourself and your loved ones. Money is tough and it’s so extremely ridiculously stressful but you can make it easier on yourself through a little (or big) shift in your mindset and start working towards a financially fit future.
If you want to follow along as Rochelle continues to smash financial goals, check out her page here.
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The Stingy Bitch
Based in Sydney, Australia.
Created in 2020.
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