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Tammy’s Tips to a Budget Bali Holiday

Bali was my first overseas holiday. I was in my twenties and, for years, I’d listened excitedly to friends who’d been to Bali and told me all about their trips — the beauty of the beaches and mountains, the friendliness of the people and how cheap it was to eat and shop. For a budget conscious girl like me, it seemed like the perfect destination! And when I got to Bali, I just loved it. I did all the typical “first-time in Bali” things — got my hair plaited and nails painted, had massages on the beach, drank Bintangs (Balinese beer) and Arak (rice-wine spirit) and overpaid for countless amounts of non-genuine branded merchandise. In fact, I loved it so much that I started budgeting for a Bali trip every year. Consequently, I’ve amassed nearly twenty years of budget Bali travel tips that I’m excited to share with you now!

Getting there

As for which time of the year is better, I’ve been in the dry and the wet and enjoyed it rain or shine. I appreciate that many people try to avoid Bali’s rainy season (October to April), but we’ve found that it rarely rains all day. When Nathan and I got married in Bali, I researched which day of the year was historically the driest in Bali and it turned out to be the 1st of August. And guess what? Blue skies all day!

Given that we have a family of five to budget for, Nathan and I look for the cheapest option from Adelaide. If the timing coincides with airlines sales, that sometimes includes a premium carrier, such as Qantas, my favourite. When we’re travelling on a budget airline — which is usually the case because Jetstar has direct flights from Adelaide — we feed the kids before getting on board and bring plenty of snacks, plus our own entertainment and comfort packs.

I usually have Indonesian rupiahs set aside from our last visit and I carry a small amount of Australian dollars to exchange. The rest of our budgeted spending money is on my 28 Degrees travel card which has no currency conversion fees. Bali is now visa free, which is a nice little bonus.

Where to stay

My first time in Bali, I stayed in Kuta, which is renowned for its street sellers, shops, restaurants, and bustling night life. Now that I have a family, I prefer to stay 15 minutes out of Kuta in the relative calm of Jimbaran Bay. If you like being seaside and close to the action, then I recommend the area of Legian for its affordable family accommodation and walking distance to shopping and dining. For an area that’s a little more upmarket, I like Seminyak with its beautiful eateries and eclectic shops. Or you could choose to escape the rat race altogether in one of Bali’s many upland towns, such as Ubud, or opt for a quieter coastal experience in a location such as Balian Beach. Bali offers different paces of life for everyone, so it really comes down to what sort of holiday you’re after.


When it comes to accommodation for families, I don’t think you can beat a private villa for price and comfort. Villas start at around $50 a night and come with options such as multiple bedrooms, a private pool and courtyard garden, kitchen facilities, lounge, television, wi-fi and all the modern conveniences you need. Couples without kids might prefer budget accommodation at one of the brand new hotels in Legian for as little as $18 to $30 per night per person. My dad recently enjoyed his stay at the Bali Sun Hotel.

Getting around

Expect to be inundated with transport offers, from taxis to scooter hire. For families, the most comfortable and economical way to see the sights is to plan your itinerary then barter with a local driver to chauffeur you for the day. Depending on the size and quality of the vehicle, the rate will be somewhere between $30 to $70 per day. You will need to pay your own entrance fee to attractions, such as the Monkey Forest, but most temples ask for only a donation. I also recommend for visitors to explore Bali’s hidden treasures, such as Nyang Nyang Beach and Tukad Cepung waterfall.


Have fun practicing your negotiation skills in Bali! Bartering is expected, which is why transport providers and hawkers will always start with a high asking price. Be cheerful and respectful and you’ll find that it’s a great way to connect with the people who live there. If you tire of being approached by hawkers, simply ignore them. To test how low you can go, be prepared to walk away. Should they let you go, you know you’ve gone too low. To give you a ballpark, beach activities, such as parasailing, will cost around $15. A one-hour foot massage (ah, my favourite) will set you back $6 to $8.

Sunsets are free, of course, and we often take the kids down to the beach with snacks and drinks bought from the local supermarket. If you find a spot on the sand close to a hotel or beach bar, you’ll have the added vibe of free beats drifting over the beach.

Eating and drinking

When we arrive, one of our first stops is to a local supermarket to stock up on snacks, fruit, water, mixers and beer. For around $40 a day, plus the price of groceries, many villas offer a private chef who will plan and cook meals to your liking.

When it comes to eating out, you can’t beat Bali’s abundant supply of warungs. “Warung” is the name given to small, family-owned cafes or restaurants, which are some of my favourite — and cheapest! — places to eat. On our last visit, a Balinese friend took us to Warung Kampung (Jl. Melasti No 20, Legian.) A tasty plate of nasi goreng with a cold beer came to $3. The food was fresh and delicious and the restaurant was clean and comfy.

Some of my other favourite family eating places include:

  • Mozzarella by the Sea ## (Jl. Padma Utara Legian Kaja, Legian) for basic pasta, steak and Indonesian. Book ahead for a table with ocean view.
  • Mozzarella (Jl. Padma, Legian) for basic pasta, steak, fish and Indonesian. There’s also another Mozzarella in Kuta (Jl. Kartika Plaza 7x, Kuta.)
  • Mozzarella at The Magani (just off Garlic Lane in Legian). This restaurant has slightly better presentation that its sister Mozzarella restaurants.
  • Lemongrass Thai Restaurant (Jl. Melasti, Legian, next door to the Rip Curl shop off Garlic Lane). Entrees start at $4, up to $8 for main courses.
  • Drops Resto & Lounge (Jln. Padma, Legian) for simple, tasty food at a good price, as well as a great locating for people watching.
  • Poppies-Poppies Gang I (Poppies Lane 1, Kuta) for Indonesian and international food that’s reasonably priced.
  • Posers Pub (Jl. Padma, Legian) for pub food and snacks. Another great spot for people watching—ignore the hawkers and they’ll give up.
  • Lanai (Jln. Double Six, Legian) for good, cheap food and variety to suit most tastes. Upstairs is good for watching the sun set over the beach. Their fruit drinks are legendary.
  • Taco Beach Grill (Jl. Kunti 6, Seminyak) for Mexican and American food. Entrees start at $2.50 and mains for $4.50.
  • Hitana (Jl. Padma Utara, Legian Kaja in the Bali Niksoma Hotel) for eclectic cuisine with reasonable prices and views over the beach.

Tammy’s Top Ten Budget-friendly Bali Activities:

1. Sample the local nasi goreng at various warungs

2. Have a $10 massage

3. Enjoy sunset Bintangs at a beach bar while the kids play in the sand

4. Take early morning walks along the beach

5. Share nibbles and a few cocktails at one of the many family-friendly beach clubs

6. Get a manicure, pedicure and blow-dry

7. Buy local produce and book a chef for the day (around $40) to cook at your villa

8. Take the kids to Waterbom (voted the number 1 water park in Asia) – it’s not super-cheap, but you can pack your own drinks and snacks and the kids will love it

9. Take the kids to Kuta to practice their bargaining skills with the hawkers

10. Get your laundry done the day before you leave — a full suitcase will cost $5 to $8 and come back washed, ironed and smelling lovely

7 Ways to Pay Off Your Credit Card Faster

Are you stressed about credit card debt? Feel like you never get ahead? You’re not alone. Australia’s combined credit card debt is worth around $50 billion. But this doesn’t make debt stress acceptable! We have thousands of clients who have proved that you CAN pay off your credit cards faster and start living the debt-free, stress-free life you want.

Here are some tips to get started right now:

1.   Reduce your spending

Every dollar you save is a dollar you can use to pay down your credit card faster.

We’re not suggesting you live on baked beans—we’re talking about analysing your finances and identifying areas where you’re paying more than you need to. Most people are able to find savings in their budget they didn’t know existed, which they can use to pay off their debts faster.


2.  Talk with your creditors

Does it feel like all your bills were due yesterday?

It can be confusing about who to pay first or which credit card balance to focus on. And being under stress only makes it harder to make clear decisions. If you’re finding it difficult to meet your commitments, don’t ignore the problem — reach out to your creditors and speak with them about

payment terms that are affordable for you.


3. Create a budget

Is your cash flow crisis short-term or chronic?

There’s only one way to know for sure and that’s by creating a detailed, customised budget that includes all of your income and expenses and demonstrates your position over a 12-month period. Short-term budgets are a good start, but they’re too easily derailed when unexpected expenses or

six-monthly bills pop up. A long-range budget will show exactly what you can achieve with your money in the next year and beyond.


4. Get into good, daily money habits

One of the best ways to make a dent on your credit card is to stop using it. And a good way to quit your plastic addiction is to start using only cash for your living expenses. Whereas plastic makes it easy to overspend, cash is a visual reminder of your budget right there in your purse and wallet.


5. Think before you leap into a balance transfer

It can be tempting to believe that a credit card balance transfer might solve your financial problems. However, we’ve helped lots of people who came to us for help after racking up balances on both their old and new cards and ending up in even deeper debt than they started with. Before embarking on a balance transfer, the key is to have a budget in place that helps you save and frees you from reliance on your credit cards once and for all.


6. Stay positive

Do you feel embarrassed about your credit card debt?

Are you fighting about money with people you love? Is it affecting your health or work? The impact of debt stress is real and it can be incredibly damaging. We want you to know that we’ve never encountered a financial situation that can’t be fixed. Instead of letting it get you down, make a plan to take control of your finances and say goodbye to money worries forever.


7. Ask for help

They say a problem shared is a problem halved, and sometimes all it takes is a fresh set of eyes to see a situation from a new perspective. Share your situation with someone who’s good with money. It could be a trusted friend or family member or work colleague. Or it could be MyBudget. Just know that you don’t have to do it on your own. Watch Mia talk about how she paid off $25,000 in credit card debt in two years.


Want to pay off your credit card debt faster?

Call MyBudget on 1300 300 922 and speak with a caring money management expert.

10 tips to get financially fit

Are your finances feeling a bit flabby? Are you ready for a financially fitter you? Financial health is a lot like physical health — neither can be achieved without discipline and good routine. Not to mention that bad money habits can snowball into serious financial health issues if left unchecked. So let’s talk about how to lose the debt and put on some serious money muscle!

1.  Create a workout plan (also known as a budget)

Just like going to the gym is more effective when you’re following a customised exercise plan, so is budgeting for improving your financial fitness. Your budget should track all of your spending and show how you plan to use your income. It should be detailed enough to create healthy daily money habits, coupled with a long-term view that demonstrates exactly what you’ll achieve over the next 12 months.


2.  Kick some financial goals

When it comes to improving your financial health, it’s perfectly ok to start with small, achievable goals. For example, if your goal is to reduce your spending, start by taking your lunch to work every day or making your morning latte at home. As you begin to see your financial position improve, you’ll be motivated to set yourself bigger and bigger goals. In fact, most people are amazed at what’s achievable once they start sticking to a budget.


3.  Spend to live (not live to spend)

It’s a common misconception that the key to being wealthy is having a six-figure salary. Not so! Reality is that you can achieve financial fitness on nearly any income level by simply living within your means. In fact, a big income means little if it comes with big spending habits! Increasing your earnings certainly helps, but it’s more important to keep your spending under control.


4.  Target your problem areas

When people first start budgeting, they’re often surprised to discover problem areas they didn’t know existed. What are you paying too much for? Where could you cut back? Where are you hurting the most financially? Use your budget to identify where you can make changes — some people end up saving thousands a year. Can’t get your budget to balance due to debt? It might be time to look at loan refinancing or chatting with your creditors about payment terms that are more affordable.


5.  Assess your debt health

Debt is like cholesterol—there are good and bad varieties! Going into debt for investments that go up in value (for example, real estate) is generally known as “good” debt. Whereas “bad” debt describes loans for things that lose value, often immediately—for example, credit card debt for clothes and restaurant meals. The simple rule is to avoid bad debt by saving for the things you want and to pay down debts as quickly as possible, beginning with those earning the highest rates of interest.


6.  Quit your plastic addiction

There’s no doubt that credits cards are convenient, but they’re also one of leading causes of financial stress because they make overspending way too easy. Quit your plastic addiction by using cash for all your living expenses. Withdraw your budgeted living expenses from the ATM at the start of each week and use the cash in your wallet as a reminder of how your budget is tracking.


7.  Find a good routine and stick to it

Financial fitness isn’t achieved by looking at your bank statement once a month. Your financial fitness level is the sum of your daily money habits, which demands getting into a good, workable money routine. Thankfully, when it comes to your finances, you can automate a lot of it. For example, automate your savings by having payroll deposit part of your pay directly into a separate savings account.


8.  Get the right equipment

You need very little equipment to get financially fit, but the following tools certainly help: 1) A dedicated, separate account for your savings, 2) A transaction account for your everyday expenses and direct debits, and 3) A purse or wallet in which to carry the cash you’ll be using instead of plastic! (Some banks allow you to set up multiple sub-accounts — very handy for organising money into different buckets.)


9.  Create a safety net

A huge number of people live week-to-week with no savings to fall back on. What happens if they lose their job, are suddenly too sick to work or want a break from work for some reason? It’s the equivalent of walking a tightrope without a safety net. That’s why it’s really important to develop an emergency fund. Your aim should be to have at least one to two months’ salary saved up.


10.  Find a training partner

You know those days when you don’t feel like doing exercise but you already told your friend that you’ll meet them and workout together? It’s the same with financial fitness. It can be incredibly motivating to share the journey with a friend who wants to get financially fit, too. Another option is to partner with MyBudget. Our mission is to make sure you have the right information, structure and caring support at your fingertips to be worry-free and financially fit for life!

Free school holiday events

Looking for free events during the school holidays? We’ve shortlisted a few to get you started.


9 January — ‘Little Day In STEAM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, with Art!’, 1pm – 3pm at Thebarton Community Centre, Torrensville.

18 January – ‘Dream Story Telling’, 1:30pm at Adelaide Botanic Gardens.

12 & 19 January – Outdoor movies at the Marion Cultural Centre from 8:30pm.

24 January — ‘Little Day Out: Splash!’, 11.30am – 1.30pm at Mellor Park, Henley Beach Rd, Lockleys.



Every Sunday morning — Craft and storytelling at the Museum of Brisbane, 10am – 12pm in the Dome Lounge. Ends 29 April, 2018.

9-17 January — Discover the world of geometric shapes and create a beautiful geometrical artwork. See Gold Coast Libraries website for dates, times and locations.

18-21 January — ‘Tech+Stories+Play’ at the State Library of Queensland, South Bank.

9th December-22 April —’Me, Myselfie and I’ interactive exhibition at GOMA from 10am – 5pm daily.



7 & 21 January – ‘Broadbeach Markets’, visit the Gold Coast’s famous beachfront art and craft markets. Held in Kurrawa Park on the beachfront opposite the Oasis Shopping centre, 8am – 2pm.

9-17 January — Discover the world of geometric shapes and create a beautiful geometrical artwork. See Gold Coast Libraries website for dates, times and locations.

11 January – ‘Splashtacular Water Fun’, spend the morning at Mudgeeraba getting soaked and having a laugh with fun filled water games, Hinterland Regional Park, 40 Hardys Road, Mudgeeraba, 9am – 11am.

20 January – ‘A Dog’s Purpose’ Movie Under the Stars at Schusters Park, Tallebudgera. Pre-movie kids’ entertainment starts at 4:30pm, movie at 6:30pm.



16 December – 29 January — ‘Tinkertorium’ at the Powerhouse Museum, 10am to 5pm daily. Adults $15, kids free.

20 January — ‘Red Dog: True Blue’, outdoor cinema from sunset at Strathfield Park, Strathfield.

Until 26 January — ‘Free Balance Bike Clinics’, 11am until 3pm every day at Sydney Park Cycling, Alexandria. Suitable for kids aged 3 to 8.

6 – 28 January — ‘Plastic Jurassic’ artist Hiroshi Fuji sculpts nostalgic, joyful creatures from unloved plastic toys. Kids aged 6 – 12 can learn to transform unloved toys into new creations at Sydney Town Hall, daily.



25 January — ‘Get Slimed’ in this slime making workshop at Southbank Library at Boyd at 10:30am. Free to all, but bookings required.

15 – 24 January — ‘Put Yourself in the Picture’ and imagine working in the goldfields at the Old Treasury Building. No bookings required, but check for session times.

23 January — ‘Lava Lamp Workshop’ at 10:30am at the City Library. Designed for 5 to 11 year olds. Free to all, but bookings required.

Every day — At Melbourne Zoo, children aged 0 – 15 get in for free on weekends, public and school holidays.



1 – 31 January — Follow the trail around Revolutions Transport Museum to discover interesting information about ‘Baggage Wearing Beasts’, courier camels, delivery donkeys and hauling horses of the past. From 10am to 4pm daily.

7 January — ‘Pirate Attack!’ The pirate ship Duyfken is going to attack East Fremantle Yacht Club. Put on your pirate gear to join in the action from 10am – 2pm.

8 – 12 and 15 – 19 January —’Mini Masterpiece’ singing and theatre workshops, 10am – 2:30pm at the State Library of Western Australia Theatre. Check website for details.

8 – 28 January — ‘Toys Just Want To Have Fun’ is in the Discovery Zone at the State Library of WA. Children and grown-ups can sort, build, pretend, make art or music and create games.


Equipping the financial fitness nation: a mini manifesto

There’s a lot of talk about financial fitness these days, and rightly so. We have more material things than ever before, and yet financial stress is everywhere. It’s little wonder that people are getting sick and tired — literally sick and tired — of worrying about money.

But there is a bright side. Just like the physical fitness boom that kicked off in the ‘80s, more and more people are becoming interested in getting financially fit, so much so that it’s growing into a global movement of like-minded people who reject the idea that it’s normal and ok to spend life worrying about money.

Employers are jumping on board, too. Workplaces are increasingly offering financial wellness programs as part of their employee benefits. There’s recognition that a financially healthy workforce is more motivated and productive. After all, how can you be happy in your job if you’re worried about your rent payments or you can never afford a holiday? How can you be happy in your marriage if you’re always fighting about money? And how can you look forward to the future when it feels impossible to get ahead?

MyBudget has always been at the forefront of the financial fitness movement. In fact, when it launched nearly twenty years ago, people said there would be no demand for budgeting services. Budgeting was too boring, they said. Having now helped more than 75,000 clients, MyBudget continues to prove them wrong. Perhaps budgeting is a dull topic for dinner conversation, but achieving your life goals isn’t. There’s nothing boring about saving to start a family or buy a house or launch your own business or go on an overseas holiday.

What makes budgeting exciting is that it’s the process of creating a customized plan for your money and your life. It’s about working out your financial priorities and what you want to achieve with your money this week, this month, this year, this decade, this lifetime. Budgeting isn’t just something you do, it’s a philosophy you live. And when you manage your finances well, it goes a long way towards your life working out exactly the way you want it to.

But I will admit this: budgeting isn’t always easy. Most people learn their money skills from friends and family, which can result in all sorts of mixed up ideas. Plus, budgeting goes against the very grain of consumer society where the drip-feed message is to spend now and worry about the consequences later. So, for lots of people, getting financially fit means changing how they perceive money and relate to it.

But here’s the thing — you don’t have to do it on your own. My vision, and our purpose at MyBudget, is to equip the entire financial fitness nation with the tools, knowledge and support it needs to succeed.

Instead of worrying about money, imagine a world where everyone has, in their pocket, access to their exact financial position and future outlook, with all their bills and expenses and savings and goals mapped out before them. Make a change to your budget and see your short and long-term projections change before your eyes. Don’t worry about setting aside savings or paying bills manually — it gets done directly from your budget. Got a question? Call or message your support team for advice.

What I just described isn’t the future, it’s MyBudget right now. We’re committed to making money management easy, engaging and interactive — an immersive experience where we serve up healthy money management options and help you achieve lifelong financial fitness, day-by-day.

Because that’s how you get financially fit. It’s not achieved by looking at your bank statement once a month. Your financial fitness level is the sum of your daily money habits. And that’s where the MyBudget team does its best work on your behalf, getting you financially fitter, freeing you from your money worries and helping you live the life you want.

That’s MyBudget’s vision for the financial fitness revolution — a world where you have the right information, structure and support at your fingertips to live a financially fit and abundant life. To not just budget, but to budget for happiness!

Whether you’re a MyBudget member or not, are you a member of the financial fitness revolution? What are your financial goals for 2018? Will you be saving? Paying down debt? Kicking bad habits? We’d love you to share your financial fitness goals for 2018 in the comments below!

Watch Tammy’s Video Blog Here.

I will tell you but keep it in secret

The Santa factor: Managing kids’ Christmas expectations

It was coming up to Christmas and my son Seth, then six, was looking through a toy catalogue that came in a pile of junk mail. He was picking out all the things he wanted—Transformers, Lego, walkie-talkies, a Slip-n-Slide… The list went on. Being a budgeting type, I’ve talked to my kids about the value of money since they were little and I pointed out to Seth that his list ran to hundreds of dollars. “It’s ok, Mum,” my little man replied, “I’m going to ask Father Christmas for them!”

Ah, the Santa Factor. The magical, rosy-cheeked bearded man who makes Christmas wishes come true. Skateboards, doll houses, Nintendos, puppies—you name it, nothing is beyond the big guy’s scope. And hence the conundrum: how to manage kids’ expectations without undoing the magic of Christmas or your budget.

So, here are some suggestions for dealing with the Santa Factor and for relieving the financial stress it can bring:

  • Space on Santa’s sleigh is at a premium, which means he only has room for one present per child. You can still give your kids extra gifts, but the one-kid-one-gift-from-FC policy alleviates applying the magical Santa factor to every present.
  • The rule above then frees you up to talk with your kids about what’s affordable within your household budget and give them with choices—“We can’t afford a new bike and a scooter this Christmas, but it’s up to you which one you choose.”
  • Refocus your child’s attention on not just receiving, but giving too. Who are they going to make or buy presents for this year? Children who earn pocket money might be expected to set some aside for buying little gifts for, say, their grandparents. Smaller children might be helped to make something.
  • Another way to involve your child in the spirit of Christmas is to include them in making a charitable donation. At most schools and shopping centres, you’ll find charities looking for toys and food for less fortunate families. Use the opportunity to explain that Christmas is also about sharing and helping each other.
  • We can also help to deflect attention from the material aspect to the experiences of Christmas. Think back to your own childhood. I bet your fondest memories of Christmas are not of specific presents but of the fun times you had together—perhaps decorating the tree or going to see the Christmas lights. What special Christmas rituals does your family have? It’s never too late to start some.
  • Of course, another option is to come clean and pop the Santa Factor like a balloon. Research shows that most kids cotton on at around seven but continue to believe because they enjoy the excitement!

If the Santa Factor is causing you stress this Christmas, give the caring elves at MyBudget a call on 1300 300 922. We’re here to make Christmas memorable for all the right reasons.


MyBudget’s Tammy Barton Wins Telstra Business Women Award for SA

We’re excited to announce that MyBudget’s founder and director Tammy Barton has been named South Australia’s Telstra Business Woman of 2017. Tammy is the award’s first two-time winner, after first winning the TBWA title for South Australia in 2007. The competition came down to four finalists from each of the award categories, with Tammy also winning the entrepreneur category.

The awards ambassador, Joe Pollard, last night described Tammy as “disrupting the financial services sector by focusing on making a difference to people’s lives, rather than selling products. Her goal has always been first and foremost to eliminate financial stress in the community. MyBudget is a company solving real problems for real people.”

When Tammy last won the award, MyBudget was poised to expand its Adelaide presence into Melbourne. Ten years later, the company has grown 2,000 percent, helped nearly 70,000 people and is poised to launch its services into the United Kingdom. We can only imagine what the next ten years has in store!

Tammy wishes to thank all clients and team members, past and present. She says, “This award is for all of us who are passionate about freeing people from money worries and building stronger, financially fitter communities.”



Three things I’d like Australian kids to know about money

Do you wonder what it takes to prepare kids to live financially fit lives? In this video, MyBudget’s founder and director Tammy Barton shares her top tips for teaching teenagers about money before they leave high school, including understanding how credit cards and credit contracts work and how to achieve financial fitness on nearly any income level through saving and budgeting.

Watch Tammy’s Video Here