How single mum saved more than $30k in a year

Canna Campbell has a large following for her saving tips dubbed The $1000 project.
Canna Campbell has a large following for her saving tips dubbed The $1000 project.

A SINGLE mum and finance guru from Sydney is on a mission to teach people how easy it is to save a grand.

And Canna Campbell, whose budgeting videos have made her a YouTube star, says she surprised even herself when she saved A$32,000 in the past 12 months using her "$1000 project".

The simple but ingenious idea involves saving money in parcels of $1000 using her clever tips, tricks and advice.

By breaking the job down into manageable chunks, it becomes easier to reach that goal, she says, whether it's saving for a deposit, paying off credit card debt or putting money away for retirement.

"I saved $32,000, it freaks me out," she told after speaking at Friday's Vogue Codes event for female technology leaders. "If I hadn't set that goal, I wouldn't have saved it. I had to manifest that money.

"A lot of people have a self-limiting belief they couldn't possibly afford to save.

Every time you get a payrise, your lifestyle goes up with that.

"It's about creating money beyond the limit of our salary and stopping limiting ourselves by what we earn."


The single mother has blogged about how she saved each $1000 on her popular website,, and it makes for fascinating reading.

Her tactics ranged from selling clothes on High End and furniture on Gumtree to making her own tinted moisturiser and cleaning her own carpets instead of hiring a professional.

"I have a minimalist approach in my lifestyle," says the 36-year-old. "It wasn't just selling things on eBay, I rented my house on Airbnb, which anyone can do; I took on extra projects.

"A girl who follows my site in New Zealand and is trying to get out of HECS debt looks after people's pets, staying at their homes and making $300 a week. Others are walking dogs, babysitting. We're all capable of doing things, it just takes determination and dedication.

"I did a lot of humble things, like market research where you sit and eat crackers for $40; saying I'm going to stay at home and hang out with friends.

"One night, I bought pizza, everyone bought a bottle of wine and salad and we sat outside while our kids played. I had planned an expensive restaurant, but I felt wealthier."

Canna decided her goal would be having a "passive income" big enough to buy a $2000 designer handbag each year. She did it by investing her $1000 parcels in shares, something she also works to demystify on her website.


Anyone can do this, she insists. But where do you start?

"You've got to have a budget," she said, "Understand how you spend your money and where it goes, and where you can save. If you can't, look at your living expenses - what can you cut out?

"I was spending $180 on Foxtel a month. I don't even watch TV. I don't value that, so I cut it out. The smallest, simplest changes make a difference. That $180 could go into your super.

"When you come across a saving, redirect it to something. I don't think it's hard if you've decided you want to create a better financial future for yourself."

She maintains that you don't have to sacrifice all your pleasures in life.

"I love fashion and beauty and I don't believe in going without," she says. "I tell people, if you want to buy a handbag, buy it, but make it a really good quality handbag, make sure you love it and it's well-made.

"I get the most out of frequent flyer points, I book holidays cost effectively, I do my research and use credit cards so there's no travel insurance. I get maximum usage out of my dollars."

She accepts that for some, $1000 may not be a realistic goal, so break it down to $100.

"Create your own goals, customise it to your situation. It's about breaking your goals into baby steps."


Canna's own wake-up call came when her dad found out she had been stashing her tips from bar work in a drawer. He marched her straight to the bank, where she deposited the cash and she made her first investment.

"In a few months, I received my first dividend cheque," she says. "He said I could spend it or put it back and invest it and it would be bigger again. I thought, I want to do it and show other people how to make money too.

"I try to make finance and money fun. I focus on empowering people."

Just 18 months ago, she was working as a financial planner when she had YouTube beauty star Chloe Morello as a client.

The online celebrity insisted Canna had to do the same with her relatable skills. She now has 60,000 subscribers from across the globe from Germany to Iran, who lap up her weekly videos on how to save for a home loan, pay your taxes on time or declutter your home.

And the numbers are growing all the time, as she partners with big brands, works to extend her reach in the US market and builds a budgeting up.

She admits that putting her life on show has had its ups and downs, especially since she divorced after she started posting YouTube videos.

"I had to open myself up a lot," she said. "What's my story, why am I passionate. I'm a single mother doing videos in my home. It's a huge lifestyle approach.

"It's a double-edged sword. I'm constantly asked about my love-life, and some people want me to open up all my finances. I got some nasty and degrading comments on my YouTube account, so I hired someone to manage them.

"I've had to put up barriers to protect my privacy - and the most important person is my son."

She also just restarted her $1000 project after a three-month break, and hopes to double her monthly passive income to $4000.

Canna believes one of her most useful attributes is her habit of waking at 5am, when she can clear emails, research content and generate ideas before her son Rocco wakes up.

"There are no mobile phones ringing, no email coming in," she says. "It's a really powerful part of the day, even to look after yourself on a mental level, doing meditation, getting organised.

"I have short and long term goals. If I don't have goals, I drift. When I get there I'll keep going, it's a never-ending journey."


Topics:  editors picks finance money saving

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

The reporter I called my friend, taken too soon

Warrego Watchman reporter Natalee Hall (below) with Marguerite Cuddihy and Western Times reporter Andrew Messenger.

She told me she’d started to feel at home in Charleville.

Creative talents on show

AWARE: Logan students showed off their creative talents during the Positive Mindset Festival.

LOGAN youth show off creative talents.

Police hunt trail bike rider after shot fired outside home

The incident occurred at a house on Erin Dr early this morning

Local Partners

Centre's app brings Halloween to life

Proud to be part of The Reporter's City Pride campaign.

Barry Gibb is coming to Bluesfest 2017

FANS: Barry Gibb talks to a fan next to a cardboard cutout of his young self.

Aged 70, Gibb has re-launched his solo music career with a new album

Tim Finn headlining at Airlie Beach Music Festival

Music veteran Tim Finn from New Zealand will headline the Airlie Beach Music Festival.

Tim Finn: "It's the kind of festival that artists love"

CMC organisers: No more pre-sale tickets will be sold

US country music group The Dixie Chicks. Supplied by Chugg Entertainment.

UPDATE: Plenty of people unhappy with process

Azealia Banks won't take legal action against Russell Crowe

Rapper Azealia Banks

Rapper drops legal action against Russell Crowe

Brad Pitt meets with his kids amid divorce proceedings

Actor Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt has met up with his oldest son Maddox

Pictures of Taylor Swift allegedly being groped are sealed

They could "complicate jury selection".

Bruce Springsteen finds therapy useful

Singer Bruce Springsteen

Singer encourages others to seek help

Kerry Washington wants one more child

Kerry Washington recently gave birth to her second child

Kerry has only just become a new mum again

TRAVEL: Musicals light up Sydney

David Campbell performs in Dream Lover.

We take a trip through one of Sydney's finer scenes

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

What our mayor thinks of the new draft SEQPlan

The plan to use the innovative technology as part of the new Maroochydore CBD was cemented on site today when Mayor Mark Jamieson and Envac Asia Region president Chun Yong Ha formally signed the contract for the $20 million underground waste collection system.

New plan accommodates Sunshine Coast Council's vision for growth.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track