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Financial stress due to COVID has impacted a lot of people this year. One of those willing to share their story is former trainer on The Biggest Loser, Libby Babet.
When the pandemic hit, the mum-of-one was forced to close her gym due to lockdowns and let staff go.
Libby, who shares two-year-old daughter, Izzy with her husband, Justin also had to make some big savings when it came to their day-to-day spending and ultimately ask for help as they were struggling financially.
Bounty Parents caught up with Libby to find out how she got her finances back on track, her money-saving tips and how she deals with mum guilt.
What’s a typical day like for you?
Izzy has two to-three days a week in daycare depending on the week and I have multiple businesses so it depends. I run a gym called, The Upbeat which is both a studio gym and a live streaming on demand product.
On the days that I don’t have Izzy, I teach the later morning classes so I get up and spend some time with her before she goes to daycare and then I’m down in the gym until she comes home.
I’ll teach some classes, meet with my team, create music playlists and all that jazz. I also have some other businesses I work on too including, Chief Bar, Beauty Food and Nurture Her Retreat and I do some media work under my own brand, Libby Babet.
On the days I have Izzy, I’m up at 4.30am and down at the gym just after 5am and I’ll be there until around 8am when I come up and I’ll spend the day with Izzy. She needs to burn at lot of energy and so I’m usually out with her in the morning, home for a sleep and then out again in the afternoon.
I can’t decide what is more exhausting – working in the gym all day or running around after Izzy!
Libby enjoying beach time with her two-year-old daughter, Izzy.
How were your businesses affected when COVID hit?
Well, the first year of Izzy’s life was a financial shock for me not because our baby necessarily cost a lot but because I thought, ‘I’ll pop the baby out and I’ll go back to work’. I was out of my business for almost a year in the end and I was paying people to do the jobs I usually did. So, I already had a financial impact from that year.
At the start of 2020 we started getting back on top of things but we were rebuilding the business. Then COVID hit and it was quite impactful. My husband runs Beauty Food and Chief Bar and as a product business you don’t really get a salary because you’re always putting money back in to the business. I have a few less staff now due to COVID too.
Anyway, we had to shut down completely for about three-and-a-half months and we weren’t able to get compensation on our lease. Thankfully, we got a little assistance because we live above my gym rental and we have a mortgage property.
I reached out to ANZ to get on top of things and we paused our mortgage repayments for six months. I was so grateful as I don’t think my businesses would have survived without it. It would have been even more of a struggle.
Where have you managed to save money?
We tightened our belts and we cut down on a lot of our spending. We cancelled the streaming services that weren’t necessary and we started buying less groceries but more often as I’m not a good cook and I don’t plan ahead and that stopped a lot of waste.
We allowed ourselves brunch on the weekend but we stopped eating out. We have coffee at home rather than buying it when we’re out.
With alcohol we made a rule where we buy just one bottle of wine a week.
I also started looking on Facebook groups for second hand kids clothing for Izzy. You can pick up a bag of clothes rather than spending hundreds of dollars every time she grew.
We also started walking more and driving less.
These are all little things but when we looked back at our spending some weeks it was an eye-opening experience.
It has been good – we might even get to start planning baby number two hopefully in the future, if that’s possible for us!
Libby says one of the ways she saves money is by picking up second-hand clothing for her daughter.
How do you manage mum guilt?
I manage it very poorly! When COVID hit, I tried to juggle having her with me while running the business and the mum guilt during that period was terrible. I said to my husband, we need to split our time up so we are either completely with her or focusing on the business.
As a mum you feel terrible when you have to ignore your kid. One of the gifts of COVID was that I’ve now said that I’d never do the juggling act again and there are some things I’m just going to have to let go.