We’re on a mission to create a better life for ourselves.

This is how we’re doing it.

1. Earn income that’s not bound by time or place

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Many jobs can be done remotely with just a computer and an internet connection.

We’re striving to move from typical 9-5 employment to earning income that isn’t bound by time or place.

By doing so, we can live in a location that suits our lifestyle and has low living costs. We also get to choose our work hours, giving us more time to pursue other activities.

Currently, we’re experimenting with online freelancing, sports trading using various betting systems, and share trading.

2. Aim to achieve diverse sources of passive income

We’re aiming to set up some sources of passive income, so our earning potential is no longer restricted by the amount of hours we have available to work.

Ideally, in the future, we will earn enough passive income that working becomes optional or that allows us to pursue jobs we really want but are lowly paid.

So far, we’re experimenting with buying shares that pay dividends and have bought and sold an investment property.

In the future we plan to again buy into real estate in Australia when the market has cooled down and prices are more affordable.

We’re also looking to set up a website that makes passive income through affiliate links.

3. Commit to having low living costs

Buying groceries is a financial drain, while opening pickles is a physical strain.

Housing and regular living expenses (food, transport, clothing, etc) are the biggest drain on our monthly income.

But if we can minimise spending, then we have more money available to save, which if invested well, will easily compound and grow to be a significantly larger sum in the future.

So, we purposely live overseas in a ‘cheap’ country to minimise our living costs.

Based in Malaysia, our living costs are easily half the living costs we had in Australia.

If we dine out, we look for cheap options. When it comes to cars, we always buy second hand. If travelling abroad, we eat street food and try to couch surf or use Airbnb.

We only buy the bare essentials. Our wardrobes are not full of clothes, nor does our child have an excessive amount of toys. As expats, we looks for the best banking options to save on currency exchange fees and choose to be Australian non-tax residents to reduce our tax.

Our goal is to live on 30% of our total income, which all these combined small savings are helping us achieve.

Living a modest life is also preparing us to retire when we’re 40, when we expect we’ll have saved and invested well enough to have a comfortable-but-not-extravagant monthly budget to live on. 

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4. Invest in learning skills to manage our own life

Instead of paying for ‘expert’ services, we choose to learn how to do the activities ourselves.

We’ve learned how to do our own investing, cook nutritious food at home, and how to get and stay fit without the need for a gym or personal trainer.

Why pay to run a treadmill when you can run outside for free?

Kate has cut Brad’s hair for the past ten or more years, the cost of which comes down to single AUD 20 pair of hairdressing scissors.

Instead of paying for a technician to install a new battery and parts into our ageing Macbook laptop, we did it ourselves.

There are lots of free resources online to help you learn almost any activity, so harness these to save yourself some money and learn new life skills.

5. Be willing to change your circumstances

We don’t hold onto ideas or values ‘just because’.

We challenge all our beliefs and are willing to accept new and better ways of doing things.

We try to have an open mind on life issues, including about horses that wear rollerskates.

For example, instead of Kate being a stay-at-home mum, Brad became the full-time carer of their son when he was five months of age. Kate had the higher salary at the time so it made sense for financial reasons.

When living in Sydney, instead of having two cars, we decided to have one car and one scooter (an idea we first thought as quirky and that required us to get motorbike licences). But it was very practical and financially viable, and an approach we’d definitely recommend.

We always thought we’d send our son to a local primary school, but after seeing other parents home school their children and having read research on it, we’re open to the idea. We’re also keen on household chores as a way to teach our child how to stand on his own two feet.

So by being open to different ways of thinking and living, we’ve found better ways to live both now and in the future.

Together this approach is putting us on a path to work less, earn more passive income, live a simpler live and retire early.

It’s exactly the life we want, enabling us to spend more valuable time with each other and our son, and be healthier and happier.