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This is the story of how I escaped the jaws of debt, built up my bank account and created a successful business in order to help others do the same.

Don Baranage

Founder Budgeted Wealth

Now, let’s rewind the clock a few years so I can give you a little background about who I am and the events and experiences that have shaped my life and my business.

The Beginning

During my childhood, my father was a businessman and my mother a housewife. At times we found ourselves living quite comfortably, not wanting for anything and able to spend money on the finer things. 

At other times, due to losses in my father’s business, we found ourselves having to sell everything we owned (and I mean EVERYTHING) just to pay off debts. We moved out of our family home, into a rental, with no furniture and only the basics. 

The fluctuations were rough, but it instilled in me one of the greatest lessons I’ve ever learned: tough times come and go, but the most important thing in life is always family. Having each other’s backs and sticking together through the tough times makes for one strong family bond.

 

The bad habits

Jumping forward a few years to when I was 18 years old, I decided that I wanted to move to Australia and start a life for myself in a new country. I was so excited about the prospects of living by myself and being able to support myself financially. 

I found myself in a housekeeping job in Melbourne. When that first pay check came through I looked at the $300 or so I’d earned and was ecstatic. It was time to celebrate! And I spent almost all of it on a night out on the town with some friends.

 This was just the first step I took in settling into the bad habit of earning money, spending money, saving nothing.

 

I gradually built a career for myself, working through various sales and marketing based roles including Sales Consultancy, BDM work and Project/Account Management. 

As my career grew, so did my income…and alas, my expenses. At one point I was earning a six-figure salary, yet still didn’t have any savings to show for it. “How is that even possible?” I remember thinking to myself over and over again.

 

In my 20’s I was in a long-term relationship for 7 years. We ended up buying a home together and were stuck paying a mortgage based on our income, not our savings. 

I still couldn’t change my spending habits. We were arguing non-stop. We had tried budgeting, financial counselling and many other avenues to try and get ahead of our finances, but unfortunately (or fortunately) nothing worked, and we decided to go our separate ways. 

I say “fortunately” simply because I believe that everything happens for a reason, and although we may not see it that way at the time, upon looking back, we see things a little clearer and know that whatever happened, happened for the best.

 

I've never let the past mistakes define me. Best lessons I've ever learned came from past mistakes!

The success

Around the same time as the separation, I had someone very dear to me needing funds to have an operation. If the breakup of a 7-year long relationship wasn’t what it took to turn my spending habits around, this was certainly the wake up call I needed. 

I desperately wanted to help this person, but I simply couldn’t, because I hadn’t been able to put aside any savings throughout my entire (quite successful) career. 

Now, I’ve always had the mindset of “money can’t buy happiness” and I still believe that strongly, however, when you have someone close to you in a life or death situation and the key to helping them is, in fact, money, it does play a huge factor in the way you prioritise your spending and saving.

 

It was at this point that I realized if I wanted to be able to support my loved ones, I had to change my life. I had to change the way I thought about money and be smarter in the ways that I used it. And I needed to do that sooner rather than later.

 

My income wasn’t the issue. The issue was that I was spending much more than I earned. Up until this point, I could never admit that the thousands of dollars on credit card debt and car finance were anything to be worried about.

 

Now, when I decide to do something, I give it 100%. So, when I made the decision to change my financial position it wasn’t something I was going to just stroll into. I was going to hit it at a full run and keep sprinting until I got where I wanted to be.

 I learned to cut waste, to spend less and to budget. Budgeting was such an amazing tool that allowed me to see exactly when and where I was putting my money into useless and useful causes. 

Don’t get me wrong, it was very tough at the beginning, but seeing my debt subside and my savings increase was the motivation I needed to keep at it.

“Every dollar you save today is a dollar that will be there for you when times get tough!”

This is a mantra I’ve lived by for a very long time now. It has served me well and helped me to improve my life tenfold.

The business – budegtedwealth.com …

This business was born out of travel. I was in Bali a few months ago, sharing my time with a lovely couple, Alex and Lana. We chatted about our lives and we became guests in each other’s stories. 

I love travel because it allows you to meet all manner of amazing, life-changing people who, with just one conversation, may help you come to a realisation you’d never have come to yourself.

 

Alex and Lana listened to my story and upon discussing my life with them, they made me realise that I had learned from my mistakes and recovered from 10 years of financial missteps, turning my entire life around. 

If I can do it, so can anybody else in the position I was in. So why not share my knowledge? There had to be thousands of people out there in the same boat. Many of my friends have changed their lives using my methods. Why not share with a larger audience?

 

When I returned from Bali, I had to self-isolate for two weeks. I figured that was the perfect time to get started on this blog. Everything happens for a reason!

My promise to you…

Everywhere you look these days, you see people giving financial advice. I don’t want to be just another professional speaking about money for the sake of speaking about money. My advice comes from the heart. I’ve been there. I’ve lived it. I’ve overcome it. I can help you do the same.

I can’t guarantee that all your money troubles are going to disappear in a week, or that it’s going to be an easy ride. It’s not. That’s the truth of it, and anybody who tells you otherwise, likely hasn’t been through the same experience.

I managed to do this because I stuck with it, I gave it my all and I committed to working towards a better, more financially stable life. You can do it too, but you must be willing to commit 100%.

I know you can do it.

If you’ve made it this far, you’ve already won half the battle. You’re looking into ways to help your circumstances because you know you need to make a change. You wouldn’t be here, reading about some random guy’s life otherwise.

You’re ready to budget.

You’re ready to invest and build a portfolio.

You’re ready to save money while travelling the world. The travelling comes after COVID-19 sorts itself out, but now is the best time to start working on transforming your life.