I can't believe I haven't blogged at all this year!!! I thought I blogged at the start of the year but just checked, and not so. Seeing Shiela's comment that she's missed seeing my blog prompted me to not just lurk, but blog. The first few months has been very very busy but now we are in a quiet patch so it's time to resume old habits. I may try Shiela's habit of blogging weekly and titling the blog by week number.
A very quick summary of the first four-five months:
- January: lots of public holidays in Australia for this month; was basically either at work or away (we not only have the two weeks of Christmas off but also Australia Day weekend) or catching up
- February: the realisation that we were going away to Thailand and it is leading up to my busiest time of year at work. Have not worked so hard in a long time! Started an hour early every day, pretty much worked through lunch and worked back. Got an astonishing amount of work done, didn't have time for anything else and was super stressed. Most importantly though I got the required work done so that's all that matters.
- March: we went to Thailand for two weeks!! It was amazing. I will have to do a separate post with pictures, stories and will try to outline what we spent. The second half of the month was spent recovering and getting back to normal.
- April: it was my 40th birthday in the middle of the month, so we threw a party at home which was pretty big, we had just under 50 people and had it catered for. It was a great night, and pretty much everything I would want in a milestone birthday celebration. Also in April DH decided to change jobs, and found a job working at a friend's company which turns out to be in the same suburb as we live (slightly higher pay too).
- May: B started the job and is still getting used to it. We've had a lot of money come in this month due to his final pay from the previous job, and his new work also paid a pro-rata amount for 3 weeks pay. Important to note though that this must last until the middle of next month. Another big thing that happened is we bought a new camper. It was the kind of thing we wanted to get eventually but we had friends who bought a caravan and were selling their camper much cheaper than what it is worth. To get it we had to empty our savings so I was very nervous before we got the extra pay! We still have to sell our camper, will start advertising it next week.
What with the Thailand holiday and my birthday my credit cards have somehow crept up to around $2500. Reading the SA blogs has started to make me accountable to the cards again, so am focusing on reducing the balances down and getting them repaid.
I think that's all for now, hope you have all been well!
I can't believe I haven't blogged at all this year!!! I thought I blogged at the start of the year but just checked, and not so. Seeing Shiela's comment that she's missed seeing my blog prompted me to not just lurk, but blog. The first few months has been very very busy but now we are in a quiet patch so it's time to resume old habits. I may try Shiela's habit of blogging weekly and titling the blog by week number.
Merry Christmas to all my SA friends!
May you find joy in the day!
I need to wrap some presents and then go to bed, and in the morning make cauliflower cheese before going to our two Christmas do's (one with B's family, one with mine)
Three people died tonight in a car crash about 10 minutes away from us which is heartbreaking. Please drive safe and be careful at this very busy time of year.
Above all, enjoy tomorrow!
It's been forever since I've posted up a blog entry but as yesterday was my three year blogoversary (I think due to American time differences it could possibly be showing as today???) I thought it would be nice to put up an entry.
The last three months since my last post have flown by. This year we've had some personal stuff going on which has taken up most of my brain space (so I have kept up financially and have been lurking but haven't had the energy to do much more), but we have entered into the world of marriage counselling and I think it's been really helpful. I won't divulge what is going on but I will say that marriage counselling for certain situations is money well spent (and where we are going is not very expensive either which is good).
I haven't felt like I've wanted to discuss with family and friends what is going on but needed to speak to someone, and having a trained professional speak to both myself and my husband to tell us what we are both doing wrong and how to fix these things is really helpful. It's helped our communication skills and hopefully will bring us closer together, and strengthen our bond (which over the years has slowly weakened and we probably grew apart slowly until something happened which brought it all to a head).
Creditcardfree yesterday talking about her anxiety made me want to share a little also.
Financially, the spa has been repaid in full - we received our tax refunds in November so paid the outstanding amount on my credit card.
The Thailand holiday is now happening (we go away in March) and I now have booking confirmations and details of where to pay (it's my friend's travel agent). Payment is due in full 10 January 2018 so we have been paying instalments towards that.
We just bought my husband a Harley Davidson... A bit of midlife crisis here perhaps! Actually his current bike loan will be repaid next year and this has been his dream for a while, and the type he wanted is not common so we snapped it up. He said he wouldn't buy unless I could go riding with him too, and as I didn't mind, he bought it. We've been doing things like going for rides out to dinner and coffee and stuff, so it's been good. (Financially not so much but it's nice that we can afford it!)
So where we are compared to three years ago is very different. Three years ago my husband was injured and not working and money was very dire. 2015 was then spent rebuilding.
This year financial matters have not been at the forefront of our thoughts, other things have been going on. Another day I will look at progress at the goals on the sidebar.
I am hoping to slowly return back to normal, which for me is sharing my financial thoughts with my lovely SA family!
Last year I wrote about how we have a large amount of bills in the month of September and how high they are, and resolved to average out the annual expenditure and pay a set monthly amount from then on.
Well, it's a year on and we have been putting aside the averaged amount each month for mortgage and bills, which has definitely eased financial worries.
September 2017 is no different for bills though and exceeds our monthly amount we set aside by $878.53. We have no bills in October really though, so can easily make it up next month.
Last year in September bills exceeded the monthly amount by $1043, this year September bills exceed the month amount by $878.53. Our gas and electricity bills are lower than last year by $150 in total, so that represents the majority of the change.
I'm not sure that I need to recalculate the totals after all - as in work out all the bills for the period October 2016 to September 2017 and work out a new averaged amount as it is roughly the same as last year.
In other financial news, my car got serviced yesterday for the first time in a couple of years and cost $290 in total - $140 for the service, and $150 for new back brakes.
In July we went away and it was quite a spendy month, so we ended up in the red by -$911.17. In August we had a much quieter month and so were able to have $816.45 left over, so pretty much the majority of July's overspending has now been negated, which I'm very happy about.
The start of September has been pretty spendy though, so will be trying not to spend too much. First I needed a new pair of work shoes because the heels had worn off the ones I wearing, making them unsafe. I managed to find a pair for $70, which was a reasonable price. I was hoping for $50, so close enough.
Then on Saturday, I had bicarb soda all over the mattress (to get rid of dust mites) and was vacuuming it off when the power suddenly died. We tried using a different powerpoint, but nothing. This vacuum cleaner we've had for 8 years so we've got quite a lot of use out of it.
Due to still having bicarb soda all over the mattress we needed to get another one asap. We ended up with a Hoover pet bag powerhead vacuum cleaner for $410. I don't normally like bag vacuum cleaners but the salesman did say that the filters last longer and require less cleaning, which is a plus for me.
The vacuum cleaner does work really well I must admit! I haven't taken this money out of the EF because I think it's now running a bit low and we'll be able to cover it in this month's budget.
Yesterday I was thinking of just how glad I am that I stumbled on Savings Advice that three years ago! There are so many interesting stories and points of view to share, I feel like this site and everyone I talk to here is part of me and wouldn't want to lose it - so hopefully it's around for a while!
After I received a dividend for my QBE shares in April, I slowly started saving for the purchase of the next parcel. Then I got to thinking in August about how lax we have been with saving lately and transferred 10% of my pay over to the investment account.
This meant I had enough to buy the next parcel, which I did last Friday, for a total of $554.95.
I originally wanted 1000 QBE shares but I originally started buying them in December 2015 for a cost of $12.54. Just last Friday the cost was $11.10. They have been up and down over the last year and a half but the price hasn't seemed to grow much, so I think I will leave these at 500 shares and look for something else to invest in next.
I'm not going to sell them because the dividend income is good (and also because I tend to hold onto shares rather than sell), but I think next will be maybe an ETF share or something. My brother-in-law has a lot of Vanguard shares and highly recommends them, so I might look at something like that - with more of an international focus.
And I've just realised that I can pretty much tick off savings towards shares off the sidebar because I have saved that amount!
That's about all my musings are for today, hope you are all well!
It's been so long since I've blogged, possibly about three weeks, that I'm not going to write about every little thing that has happened, it would take far too long. I was sick for a week and then my energy levels were a bit low but am feeling a bit better now, so will simply write about the most recent financial things going on.
On the weekend, I received a $10 snowflake in the form of a Safeway everyday reward (grocery shopping). I added this to our Christmas present fund. I was hoping to have $1000 by Christmas but have been a bit lax with the $1000 challenge and monitoring it. Anyhow, we now have $375 for Christmas presents so it will certainly be helpful!
The other thing that happened on the weekend was we had an electrician around to wire up our new spa! It arrived the weekend before, so now we can happily use it - we had an outside powerpoint installed so that if anything happens to it, it doesn't affect power to the house. (This is all I can tell you because I am not particularly savvy with anything mechanical/electrical). We thought it would be around $400 but as B used an electrician through his work, he was only charged $200, which was really great.
Ps. the spa is wonderful, worth every cent!
Hope everyone is well!
DH and I went away a couple of weeks ago to a place called Merimbula, New South Wales, Australia. It was a week long camping trip - while the camping part was relatively inexpensive, we certainly didn't hold back from sightseeing and enjoying the local fresh seafood.
We are now back to normal. Spending was high in July, so like a lot of you, August is to be a quiet month. We are trying to use up food in our cupboards and avoid spending too much.
Here are some pics of Merimbula:
This is a picture of a rainbow lorikeet, which there were quite a few of at the caravan park where we stayed - they are so friendly!
Looking forward to speaking with you all about various financial matters now that we are back at work and back to normal!
This year we haven't needed to make a withdrawal from the EF until today. B was on his way out and mentioned that his car was really slow to start and may need a new battery, so he was going to see how the car went today and decide on whether or not to replace the battery.
Well he made it out of the driveway and halfway across the road and then it promptly died! We pushed the car out to a safer spot and called roadside assistance. After all, this is what we pay for .
They came out to our house with a new battery for which we paid $319. Because this month has been crazy with spending and this is technically an emergency, we withdrew it from the EF. Glad that we have the funds available to cover true emergencies like this. I think we have about $2200 cash now so will look at boosting this back up again next year.
B went away over the weekend to a dirtbike race he participated in, so while he was away I had a family do for my sister's birthday in the daytime and dinner and drinks with friends in the nighttime.
My sister wanted a bottle of liqueur and some shower gel from a shop called Lush from me and my brother. We got her a bottle of Bailey's for $25 plus spent $35 at Lush on shower gel and shower scrub; so $60 there plus $5 for a card and $5 spent on biscuits and snacks for lunch. Normally I make something but was a bit time and energy poor so I simply bought some small things instead. Total spend $70 and then my brother gave me $40 for his share.
I had to fill up on fuel (spent $45) before driving me and my brother to their house, which is an hour away.
They made us a lovely lunch of bbq chicken (bought) with roast potatoes and roast carrots, with a coconut cake afterwards. My nephew is now 2 1/2 and is sooo cute! My sister loved the presents also; we had a great day.
Then last night I went out for dinner and drinks with friends. I paid $11.93 for the Uber to get us there; and then only paid $28 for a round of drinks. We had light dinners and a round of drinks with dinner, but for some reason my friends paid the bill and by the time I went to put some money in the bill was already covered. My share there would have been $30, but I think as I paid for the Uber and one other round it all evened out so didn't feel too bad in the end.
We weren't out very long, only 3 hours and only had 3 or 4 drinks so it was a very inexpensive night while being loads of fun .
B is on his way home now so should be due in a couple of hours, so will be great to see him after a couple of days!
This purchase is not a need but definitely a want. Last month we tried to fix our spa (I believe you call them hot tubs in the US) jets and found out that because our spa is so old (it's around 20 years old) that we cannot get the jets anymore and in order for it to run again we would need to put a new jet system in and re-plumb it, which is more work than my DH would be able to do (and I certainly could not do it).
We loved using our spa so decided to bite the bullet and buy a new spa. We shopped around for a few weeks and did research into the best spa we could get with our budget that also had the lowest running costs and two weeks ago put a deposit down. The company we bought the spa off have given us a trade-in of our old one for $500, which is good, especially as we now do not have to worry about trying to sell it on Ebay (it may have sat in the yard a while).
The spa cost is definitely expensive but we will call this our big purchase for the year. The price is.... $9790. We considered getting a loan for this, but ended up deciding to pay half cash half credit.
The actual end result is we paid $5950 on my credit card (but we have already repaid $750 and will be repaying $1000 tomorrow) and $3840 cash.
Last month we had a quiet month so were able to save $1150 towards it and this month $850, so have cash-flowed $2000; will have $4200 on my credit card to repay and the end result will be $3590 withdrawn from savings.
My credit card rate is 14% however we want to have it repaid fairly quickly - I would definitely like us to repay $1000 next month to bring the balance down to $3200.
EF savings have now dropped a bit - cash is now $2506.96, while shares are actually around $6500 roughly. We will rebuild it a bit more next year.
I feel like this has been the best possible way to fund a large purchase, and am very happy that we won't have the burden of loan repayments for a set period of time and didn't have the burden of applying for finance. We hope to have this repaid by the end of the year.
I will need to adjust our goals on the sidebar because they have now changed dramatically!
We are so looking forward to the new spa though, and are very excited about it - it is a lovely silver pearl colour with dark wood on the outside .
So it's been around 3 weeks since my last blog post.
There are a few things of note but due to time constraints I'll limit it to one of our biggest things and will write about the other things later.
We took our dog Jessie to the vet three weeks ago as she had a claw that was grown over and needed her nails clipped. We hadn't gotten her vaccinations done yet so also organised to have those done. Unfortunately while they were doing her medical checkup they found that she is blind in one eye and going blind in the other, which is really upsetting. The vet said that once a week they have an opthmalogist come out to the clinic who could check her eyes properly and ensure that the vet had prescribed the correct eye drops.
As my work is quiet I took an annual leave day the week after and took her to see the opthmalogist. The opthmalogist found that she actually has the same amount of sight in both eyes however it is only 10% or less - he said to consider her blind as all she would be able to see is light or dark and possibly some shapes but that is all, and eventually this will all fade out.
The blindness is caused by cataracts and the surgery to fix it will cost $5500. As she is 15 there are no guarantees that she will make it through the surgery or how long she will live for so we have decided to make life as comfortable as possible for her. She moves around well and we simply need to make sure that we keep the pathways around the house clear (she knows them well). She will need to be given voltaren eye drops daily to ensure that the cataracts don't cause inflammation, which is what they say happens.
Financially the vet visit, the opthmalogist visit and the eye drops came to $475, but when things like this happen you do the best you can. Emotionally it's been very sad and upsetting to watch her deteriorate, it's been so hard. The literature I've read and the opthmalogist have said that she will already have adjusted to having only minimal sight which is a silver lining I guess... our poor baby .
I'm not completely sure what to write about but feel I should try and keep active with the blogging nonetheless.
Today was a no-spend day because we had a late night out with friends last night and have simply been too tired to go anywhere. A lot of today was spent sleeping. I could have done the grocery shopping but simply didn't have the energy so dinner for us was pies and chips from the freezer.
I am still not tracking spending through the app as I have missed the first 11 days and it is all a bit hard to remember what was spent, especially when part of it was cash transactions. I do want to be back tracking spending next month though. I actually did not track last June either because that it is the month I went to the UK on a holiday. I cannot believe one year ago today I was madly packing to go on a holiday on the other side of the world!
Speaking of which, here is a picture of me & SG from when we met up! (I am the one wearing the pink tshirt)
I apologise for being so tardy with putting this picture up, it was a very happy day and I was glad to meet SG.
Another thing of note today - on a completely unrelated matter - is our dog for the last few days has been madly chewing her claw. I happened to have a look at it today and the claw has completely grown around so we will need to take her to the vet to have her nails clipped. She has to have her vaccinations done anyway so we will combine the two things to be done on the same visit. Hopefully all up it shouldn't cost more than $150-$200.
It's been 2 and a half weeks since I've blogged but it seems like forever ago.
I got through the majority of the statistics work and sat the exam. Because there was so much work and a few other things happened (my house of cards kind of fell down) I sat the exam without even studying the last two weeks of the course. When I say my house of cards kind of fell down, I had some personal stress plus lots of social things like public holidays and birthdays, so basically the last two weeks of the course I was either studying and catching up or attending social things. Although I barely studied the last two weeks of the course, I do feel like I kind of did ok. I had a score of 85% before the exam; the exam is worth 60% and I was able to do 75% of it ok. The other 25% unfortunately I left, so we will see what the end result is.
Unfortunately I missed the payment by the enrolment date for the next subject and I logged in on Monday thinking I could catch up but the subject wasn't even there. The payment was actually due the 24th of May and for some reason I thought it was later. I don't know what I am going to do yet because to be honest it was a bit of a relief to have a break. I got severely burnt out and the last few weeks, it got to the point where I just didn't feel like myself anymore. While I'm grateful for the opportunity to better myself I felt like everything was falling apart and I was missing out on all the stuff I loved because all my spare time was spent studying.
The day after the exam I got a cold so had to have the next day off work and was sick for a few days. This was all last week. This week I finally feel like I am getting back to my normal self. I have been sleeping better and am starting to learn to relax again, and am looking forward to going to the gym tomorrow night.
Tracking spending fell out the window a few weeks ago and I'm not sure when I will be back doing it. Because I was so busy though spending has dropped way down so there is no concerns there.
I checked the mail (which hadn't been done for 3 weeks) and paid some bills tonight, so that is all in order. We turned our spa off 2 months ago so the electricity bill is $130 lower than last year, which is great. (Not sure how much the spa will cost to fix but anyway!)
Because we average out our bills and put aside the same amount each month after we paid the car insurances in March and pretty much cleared out the bills account, I have started working out just how much surplus we should have from each month (the surplus being the monthly amount of $4041 less whatever the actual monthly bills are). This month the bills were actually $3969.67 so the surplus is $71.94. This surplus plus the surplus from the previous months is now $654.73, which we have to add to future bills.
I checked our shares tonight as 30 June is our year end so was wondering what our profit for this year would be. Last year's return was -7.90% and this year's return at this current date is 15.32%. I calculate return by increase/decrease in value plus investment earnings. So for two years we are looking at a rate of return of 7.42%, which is 3.71% each year. That's not too bad considering what you would earn in interest instead.
I loved FrugalTexan's idea of the SHE (sidetracked home executive) system and have started implementing the basic weekly plan. Monday night I did the shopping and tonight I paid the bills and attended to some paperwork. I will aim to do some cleaning tomorrow night and then some on Saturday.
I'm not completely sure about the card system though. I actually have a housework ideas app which I think would work fine, I just need to stick to the routine outlined.
I think that's all for now, must be off to bed!
It feels like forever since I've blogged. Working plus studying has gotten really hard as there have also been several social things on that taken up a fair bit of time.
Although all of this time has been spent studying and simply getting through day to day life, I am severely behind in this subject as there was a lot more involved than I originally thought. It's a statistics subject, so the first few weeks were interesting, especially with the various excel charts that can be used but once algebra was brought into the equation I feel like I'm studying another language. Ultimately it's well beyond my capabilities.
I'm now one week from finishing this subject and am supposed to be sitting an exam next week and have no idea if I will even pass. When I was thinking about doing the subject B asked me if it was really worth it and I'm now inclined to say no, it's not worth it for me. My understanding is below what it should be yet my whole life in all others areas feels like it's falling apart and nothing is getting done.
As a result I'm at a place where I'm planning on withdrawing from the degree and am wishing to change jobs. I can accept myself as a bookkeeper instead of an accountant and would prefer to have my life in order than wholly putting everything into a degree while the rest of it all falls to the wayside, and the studying with the work is too much of a balancing act. I can still earn the same money and while there isn't as much upside to future earnings there is still the opportunity for an extra $10,000 to $20,000 per year if you become good enough at the role so I can live with that.
With changing jobs, we are about to hit a very quiet spell for the next couple of months and I would have to take leave anyway; but I really feel like a change as I have been working at the same company for the last 12.5 years. B has said that he will support me if needed, but hopefully savings will tide us over and we should be ok. I've seen plenty of jobs that I can apply for so am not too fussed.
So that's one big thing that's been going on.
Also, we had a trip to Thailand planned before where we purchased a voucher for 8 nights accommodation plus flights for $800pp and paid $150 each but the voucher expires this September and nobody was interested in going in the end so we thought it was cancelled. One of our friends had the idea of going next year instead around our 40th birthdays and was able to transfer the deposits over to a deposit on flights instead. We agreed and she has booked us flights at $800pp for early March next year.
As a result I saved away $700 last month into the holiday fund, so it is now at $995.75. We haven't received the flight itineraries and payment instructions yet but I trust that it is all in motion as she has said that it is booked.
Today I sorted out my credit card and have paid both down to $0 (not that there was a lot of out-of-pocket to pay). With the Virgin card I paid $348.32 but only $124 of that was out-of-pocket spending, the rest was budgeted for and with my other card I paid $33.74 for last week's transactions.
It was then a great feeling to clear the note I keep on my phone of the various expenses I have put on the cards! (To not let little expenses sink a ship, every time I charge something to my cards I note it down in a note on my phone - this allows me to keep track of what is going on there and also makes me think twice about what is put on there).
All credit cards are now in order.
I then paid for the animal registrations which I neglected to pay last week.
Today I had to get some makeup as I was running low and when I paid at the cash register they informed me that I have a $5 credit as it was my birthday this month! I then applied it to the purchase and put it into the Christmas savings account later.
I have updated my snowflakes spreadsheet including the dividends received. So far I have received $437 in snowflakes; the two highest snowflakes are the dividends received this month of $153 and $140 in Safeway Everyday rewards. Following that is Christmas savings (the balance to make up the challenge) of $74.92, digital change savings of $30.63, the Medicare refund overpayment of $21.15, Priceline rewards $10.58, savings on gift cards $4.50 and interest earned of $2.58.
Technically the savings items aren't really snowflakes but I still feel like I have to add them in there.
Last night B was snoring really loudly so I had my second awful night of sleep. Two nights of falling asleep at 1am and being up at 6am has made me feel like a dead woman walking. As a result I'm only doing a couple of small things tonight and will go to bed soon. Hopefully I can get up before work and watch some more of the lecture I was watching (to avoid leaving everything to the weekend). We had a pretty relaxing night and I'm looking forward to sleeping soon. Goodnight all .
I am conscious that certain things have been let slide for a little while so I am trying to make amends before it is too painful.
Today and tomorrow my main priority is to get the credit cards to their correct balances. I have just fixed up B's credit card so that tomorrow when the automatic weekly transfer of $75 to that card hits, the balance will be $2,470.
We put $75 there per week to cover the compulsory car wash he must do for the company car each week plus his various coffees, lunches and miscellaneous expenses (eg going to the barber).
Unfortunately the card was sitting at $2,990... ! This was due to our easter trip, where he put fuel, alcohol and the new LED lighting kit we bought for the camper trailer on it amongst other small things. (We had to buy the kit while we were away because the batteries went flat on our main light source, luckily it was 25% off - the new lights make such a difference).
Anyway, I digress. I just transferred from our bank account $445.23, being $348.23 to cover the outstanding balance plus this month's payment of $97 against the mountain bike purchased. Ouch. These things add up - imagine if I had left this another two weeks?
So his card is now sorted. Tomorrow I will be paying down my Virgin credit card back to $0. I'm guessing that about $345 will need to be paid. (These charges consist of among other things: train ticket $137, balance of textbooks $55, balance of fuel $15, groceries $45, caravan park accommodation $90). My Virgin credit card hasn't been down to $0 since February, so it is pretty important to get that in order. (Around February I put school textbooks plus a new suit on it so have been paying these items down). All in all, I'm not terribly fussed about transferring over the money for either cards because all expenses have been entered into my spending app so there is nothing that is a nasty surprise.
In regards to bill management, I was so frantically busy last week that I simply paid the home phone and B's mobile bill and neglected to pay the animal's registration fees, must do that tomorrow night.
I received another $10 from Safeway Rewards so have transferred that to the Christmas Savings challenge. $56 towards this month is now sitting there so will only have to put in $44 at the end of the month. Must also update the snowflakes spreadsheet to include the dividends received the other but will get to that. Slowly getting everything back in order!
Happy Easter to you all, hoping you have had a lovely Easter break.
I've had a massively busy couple of weeks so have only had time to focus on the necessities, but now I'm hoping to be back on my feet soon.
The reason my last two weeks were busy was because with this study unit last week I misread the study plan and accidentally did not do half of the work from the week before! It turns out the study plan ran over the page. I was having my coffee on Monday morning and working out my gameplan for the week when I realized the error I had made (it turns out this week was really busy; I had read two sections and did the corresponding work but over the page were another three sections to read with corresponding work for that and they were *long*). I was pretty upset. The normal weekly workload is 10hrs; because of Easter on Friday I did as much as I could on Monday-Thursday which was 7.5hours outside of work; barely had time to do anything else.
My birthday was last Thursday so went to dinner with B and he bought me a watch which was really nice. And he got a raise on my birthday! (so we got a raise haha; well we're married so we did anyway)
Then we went away camping with his family on their annual camping trip about an hour away from us which was really nice. We got back yesterday and are slowly getting back into routine.
This morning I got an email from Kobo about a book I wanted to read a long time ago which was marked down to $2.99 called The Ex by Alafair Burke. I don't normally buy books while I'm reading one but this seemed like a good deal.
Groceries were $17.60. We are going through eating the balance of our camping food but there is not a lot left. Still, I don't have the time to do a grocery shop so 10 minutes each day on the way home is fine.
Today I went back to work and back to studying, did 1hr17minutes - only 11hrs13minutes left.
As I am back in a bit of routine, I hope to be back blogging more now. Talk soon!
After waiting a few days and putting all final transactions into March we ended up with enough left over to add $61.97 to Christmas savings and $136 each to the cash account and the shares account. The final savings rate of all our income for March was 5.5%, which I am more happy with than 2.5% as it was previously going to be.
It's a busy couple of weeks here so I think I will simply share a snapshot of a day here and there. It's busy because not only is it my birthday next week but it is also Easter and we are planning on going camping so I must get all of my study work done before we go, not to mention shopping for it all etc. So between now and next Wednesday I have to get 20hours of study done.... have done 3 so far, my plan is to get the current week done by Saturday then spend Sunday-Wednesday doing the next week. Won't have much time for much else, this will definitely keep me out of trouble!
Things that happened today:
- found out yesterday I lost my earphones on the train which is really annoying. We don't have any spare ones at home so will need to buy. Can get them for around $10 and also want to get a new ipad case as this one is falling apart; want one this time that can stand up while watching tv or movies on it; this is priced at $30.
- I finished a really lovely book called Narrow Margins by Marie Browne. It is a lighthearted funny book about a family who nearly goes broke so they sell their house and buy a narrow boat to live on instead. It was so funny that there were often times on my lunchbreak where I had to bite the inside of my mouth so I wouldn't burst out laughing! I have now bought a new book called the The Murder of Allison Baden-Clay for $14.99; my first ever true crime book. This case is 5 years old and had always intrigued me so it will be interesting to read about it in more detail.
- B needed $75 to enter in his motorbike race so I withdrew $80 and bought myself a $5 bottle of wine (should I call that cash withdrawal fees?)
- This month we were supposed to be saving most of our money left over towards the Phuket holiday which is no longer happening. B now wants to spend some money on the garden, he is thinking possibly $200 and I am now thinking that I would really like us to be in Fiji next year for my 40th birthday so would like to save $225 each month towards that, starting this month. He was also asking if we could get that $300 we paid as a deposit back which I need to look into; I'm doubtful though as it was paid nearly two years ago and isn't far off expiry.
Not much else to report on today's happenings, must get myself to bed, got to sleep far too late last night (for me far too late was 11.20pm when I need to wake up at 6) and don't want to do it again.
As I mentioned a few days ago, for the first time in a long time our spending app and bank balance were both pretty close to each other.
We ended up finishing March with $399 left over. The only thing is because a lot of our transactions are credit card / EFTPOS transactions they don't show up immediately, especially over the weekend. I find that it takes about 3 days to see the transactions.
So I'm thinking of definitely closing off March by Tuesday the 4th.
There are a couple of things I want to do with the left over money once I know what it actually is. Firstly, put $59 towards month 3 of the $1000 Christmas savings challenge in order to complete it.
The balance will go to savings. It is the lowest it has been since tracking our joint since when B started his job in March last year, at 2.5% of our income. With about $340 (if that is what it ends up being) it would be around 5%-6% which is a bit better. Will post actual balances in a few days.
On another note, I have now updated the sidebar to reflect that we have completed another one of our goals, to pay off B's tax. (Ok it was more of a necessary goal than something we wanted to do, but still it felt good to complete something)
I then checked our balances in savings and shares; we are now standing at $10,366.25 in total!!! Part of it is due to the market being on a high (the shares have gone up by $842 which is a pretty substantial increase) so am not really sure if the balance will stay that way but it is nice at the moment.
The EF is actually part savings, part mortgage repayment as it is all sitting in the mortgage offset. In the end though if the money is needed then it is needed and will get used. I am just very strict about the actual definition of what constitutes an emergency so hopefully it won't get used.
We're finally at the end of the big spendy month of March. Not spendy because of actual spending but because of the big outlay of cash from our accounts.
For a while because we've been building up cash to pay the car insurance policies and B's tax bill the end of the month hasn't really worried us. If we spent a touch more than the budget allowed it was no problem.
This month because the extra money is gone we have a completely accurate reflection of what is there!! There is the cash in the mortgage offset which is our emergency fund but I am pretty strict about leaving that be.
According to my spending app which I update and track religiously we have $750 left until Friday. According to the actual bank account we have $645 left. Not sure what I have missed but, never mind $645 it is.
On Thursday our weekly spending money in total of $575 will be drawn out the account leaving $70 left. B will then be paid on Friday.
We will be spending a bit on Thursday night because we are going out to a concert with friends so it will be an expensive night (which is pretty rare). Very proud of ourselves for sticking to our budget so well!
I can probably think of things to write about but all I feel like writing about really is that we got an unexpected snowflake in our bank account . Late last year B went to the doctors three times within two months and used to receive the Medicare rebate refund by cheque however they advised that it is only done electronically now.
We filled out the form and sent it off before Christmas but never received anything back. We repaid the doctors visits on B's credit card except for the $90 we estimated we would receive. I checked the bank account and found three separate deposits of $37.05, so $111.15 in total.
I transferred $90 to B's card and counted the other $21.15 as a snowflake. I updated the snowflakes spreadsheet and so far for March we have $27.94 in snowflakes. According to the Christmas savings challenge we are required to save $95 this month so need about $67 so should be able to make up the balance at the end of the month.
Well I have just now paid B's tax bill of $2780.95. That is DONE. It took 6 months for us to save up the money and I am so glad to not have that expense anymore. It is money we owed because it is a portion of his earnings from the business but it certainly was not fun saving up to pay a big bill. Oh well.
After the tax was paid, I swept the first two months of the Christmas savings challenge into the tax account because it turns out it pays slightly higher interest.
I then sorted out which bank accounts the car insurances will be getting deducted out of; turned out his car is still getting debited out of the business account. So $2090.56 car insurance sorted out now. DONE. It is due to be withdrawn somewhere between the 19th and the 21st. Part of me thinks the bank account for his should be changed but part of me thinks that we may be looking for another car insurance provider next year anyway as it went up $149.16 this year, I imagine it will go up again. My car is amazing because it is 14 years old yet is nearly $1000 a year to insure. Part of me wonders if it is even worth having comprehensive these days with a 14yo car because the market value if stolen or written off is only $3000-$5000. What a crock it all is. Anyway that task can also be ticked off the list. DONE.
Then we received the dishwasher seal on Tuesday night. We managed to get ourselves into a dishes routine so as to not be too bothered by not having a dishwasher and B spent some quality time giving the dishwasher a deep clean while we waited for the seal. Then it arrived and after a couple of nights and a bit of water all over the floor, my handyman husband fixed it so now we don't have to call out a repairman or (worst case scenario) buy a new dishwasher. I am so blessed to have a husband who is so handy with repairing things and tinkering with engines. So we can cross that off the list too! FIXED.
That's about all I have at the moment in the way of news. The $5000 outflow from our bank accounts is enough financial news! Thankfully the dishwasher is fixed so no outflow there thank goodness.
Yesterday we made a small withdrawal from the holiday fund of $189.25. This was for an esky (large drinks cooler for camping) as our other one has been broken for a while. The holiday fund was $485 and is now down to $295.75. I like keeping a bit of money there just in case, and the football season is due to start next week so I will do the points challenge (whenever my football team wins I will put $1 per point to the holiday fund; it's a fun way to build some holiday cash when you don't actually have a holiday plan so that if some sort of holiday plan or idea happens there is a little bit set aside for it). Imasaver actually gave me that idea; wherever you are Imasaver I hope you're ok.
Other financial news is we received the gas bill ($131, up from last year) and the electricity bill ($491, down from last year); net difference for both was $3.63 saved compared to last year. More importantly as this big bills month closes over it looks like we could possibly have only $211 left over at the end of the month so any extra expenses will need to be funded from savings if they are over that amount.
By Thursday I will pay the $2780 for B's tax and make sure that the $2100 (roughly) is there for the insurance to debit from the account.
Ps I can see many of you have wild, crazy weather - please stay safe and best wishes for no damage or long outages!
Two entries in two days doesn't happen to me very often but I am feeling like I have lots of time available so can spare a bit.
We're currently in the middle of a long weekend, tomorrow is a public holiday (Labour Day) so I don't have quite as much of the Sunday rush as I usually do. For me Sunday is generally a rest day - where I do the rest of the things I didn't get done during the week! So suffice to say I am usually rather busy.
We went away camping three weeks ago and will be going away next month at Easter so didn't want to have to put the cat in a boarding kennel again, and decided to stay home.
On Thursday my friend had a major meltdown and went missing. She is a single mother of 3 kids and her ex does not have the kids for very long and she is generally left with the bulk of parenting. The two sons play cricket and football so the ex is at every game and has the kids sometimes but it is generally a 2-3 hour period and doesn't generally have the daughter as she is 5 and he feels she is a bit hard to look after. Nobody knew she was this stressed. She put something up on FB on Wednesday night that she is so sick of her oldest kid who is constantly making life difficult and all she felt like doing was packing up and leaving. I did see the post and said "wow, she's never ever written that, he must have done something bad".
The next day her dad came over to mind the kids while she did a short work shift in the daytime (she works about 4hours and it is close to home), however she never came home. My other friend called me up about 8 to tell me she had run off and to see if I knew where she would be. The missing friend then accessed FB and told everybody not to worry, she is fine just very stressed out but not to try and find her as she doesn't want to talk to anyone. Her boyfriend didn't know where she was. Nobody did. The next few hours were spent speaking to various people to find out who knew anything. Just before bed I was speaking to one of our other friends who lives 2 states away (but we all speak regularly) and she said she was talking to missing friend's brother who said he thought she may have gone to the beach, which to me was a real worry in her state of mind.
The next morning I was speaking to my interstate friend and decided to contact missing friend's boyfriend for an update. He said that she came to his house very late at night and they talked for a while and in the morning talked some more but when he went to the toilet she left again. He said she wasn't acting right, she was very out of it and couldn't understand much of what he was saying. He wasn't as concerned as we were though which was so weird. He said she's done it before and will be ok. As he doesn't work and I was at work I asked him to go for a drive to the beach and see if she was there again. Sure enough she was. I then contacted interstate friend who contacted missing friend's family who were worried sick and her mother went down there and had a long chat with her.
I have never used my phone so much at work as I did on Friday! When I got home it was down to 4%. My friend is now staying with her boyfriend and her parents are minding the children while she gets some much-needed rest. I am still so worried about her though. We have looked up resources that she can use to help cope with parenting, eg psychiatrists and community services. To me it is such a massive thing to leave your children and basically spend hours sitting in your car - I didn't know if she was suicidal and that was my biggest fear. Please pray for my friend that she will get the help she needs and her children will be relatively unscathed from all of this. (We can only suggest services to her and cannot force her to use what is available)
Yesterday, after all of what happened on Thursday and Friday I really felt like I needed downtime to recharge. B went to the motorbike club he is a member of and helped them out today. I did some study and relaxed and then rented out a movie last night which I fell asleep to unfortunately.
Today I went for a swim in the morning at my gym, then bought some lasagna for dinner and bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes and orange juice for a bacon and egg breakfast tomorrow (because this is not normally something we can do on a Monday morning!). $24.71 was spent.
Then I bought some wine ($15.94 was spent)
Then I bought an iTunes card. This is a $30 card and there was 15% off, so amount payable was $25.50. All items today were put on my credit card, food and wine have been repaid already. When I repay the iTunes card I am going to also transfer the saved amount of $4.50 to the Christmas savings challenge because I am counting it as a snowflake.
Speaking of snowflakes, I spent 7hrs and 57minutes studying for my biggest snowflake (a subject in a degree which will be completed eventually and which would result in a significant payrise).
I now am going to sweep and mop the kitchen floor, fold some laundry and then B and I are planning on using the hot tub, which will be the perfect end to a lazy sunday .
It's been a little while since I've posted so rather than write about whatever the latest thing is, I'm going to write about 11 things (hopefully mostly financial) that have been going on in the last 11 days:
1. On Tuesday our dishwasher seal broke . Luckily I was standing near it and it had only run for 3 minutes so there was no water damage. B had a look at it and found the manufacturers website so we bought a double pack of seals (just in case the other seal goes, so that we don't have to re-order) for $52.73 which they say will be delivered to us next Wednesday. We are both so sick of washing dishes by hand but thankfully have got ourselves into a more regular routine so it's a bit less painful.
2. I finally got around to checking my superannuation account (retirement account) and the balance is $92,008. Going by ceejay's years x income, by the time I turn 40 next year I need to have 2 x times my income so $108,000. I realized that combined with the taxable investments I hold outside of superannuation and earnings that hopefully the account will receive it should be a possibility. The earnings last year were a paltry 2.44% however over 5 years in total they were 38.75% which equates to 7.75% per year which beats the standard 5%. I am happy with 7.75%.
3. B got a letter from a superannuation account which was an employer one from a job he had 9-10 years ago stating that if he didn't give his instructions on what to do with the account they would be turning it over to the Australian Taxation Office so they could hold it in the unclaimed moneys department. We had a financial planner roll all of our employer superannuation accounts into one years ago however he missed this one, the current account balance is $4,187.50. The letter was dated 1st February and gave us until 22nd February however I don't think they sent it for a while because we saw the letter on the 28th so the money has now gone to the Tax Office. There will now be a lengthy process to get it and roll it over as B will need to apply in writing and we will need to wait a while most likely to receive it. How annoying.
4. We have decided not to go on the Phuket holiday. This is due to our friends not being interested in going anymore and also B not really being interested. I wouldn't mind going but I'm not too bothered that we aren't doing it anymore as I had a big trip overseas last year and generally like to go overseas every 2-3 years, otherwise it can be a bit expensive going on annual overseas trips. We are now looking at doing a camping holiday in the next state at a beachy sort of area instead, which I am looking forward to. I'm not sure of when we will go though, it would be sometime between July and September and would be dependent on B's work (my work is a bit more flexible at that time of year).
5. This month we pay B's tax of $2,780. All funds have now been saved and the money will be transferred over soon.
6. Our car insurances also get debited out of our account around the 19th of March; mine is $969.40 for a 14 year old car; B's is $1,121.16 for a 6 year old car. We have enough money in the account and because I averaged out the bills amount back in October we did not have to pay for any of it out of pocket which is great! Last year we had to find $461.40 to cover the remaining portion. All I need to do is work out which bank account B's car insurance comes out of, don't remember.
7. We made month number 2 of the Christmas savings challenge, so we now have $135 saved up. This month we are supposed to save up $95. We currently have $2 saved up so need to start working towards it.
8. I bought a replacement suit for work a couple of weeks ago for $132, which was an $87 reduction in price. This suit should last a long time so was happy to pay it.
9. B is on a health kick and has rejoined boxing classes. He went regularly just before we got married but then it died off after the wedding so it's been a few years since he's been. To test the waters instead of signing up for a membership we bought a 10 class pack for $130. So far he has done 2 classes this week and has lost 2 kilos so is pretty happy. If he decides after using up the class pack that he wants to rejoin, it is $19.95 per week (same as my membership).
10. Last week we had my family over for lunch and it was a warm day so we cooked up chicken with roast potatoes and salad, then my sister and I both did a dessert each. It was a lovely meal and for 7 people we spent a whole $37.86 . You could spend that on 2 people going out for lunch so I was pretty happy.
11. It is week 2 of my study unit and I am coping ok with the workload. They say you need to allocate 10hours per week however this subject's tutor has said we should allocate 15(!?!) which I really hope is not the truth because I don't know how on earth I would fit that amount of time in. I really want to be diligent with doing 10hours from the very start to avoid having to do 20hours around exam and assignment time, but this week I am finding that I have put in 7.5hours and don't really have 2.5 more hours of work to do.... I will probably finish the online quiz I have to do and do some revision.
I struggled to think of the 11th thing but I'm glad to have jotted down some bits and pieces. Off to check the blogs!
Yesterday I started another study unit and the textbook requirements weren't clear. It also wasn't clear because now I have committed to studying and enrolled in the university for the degree the method of payment is via a student loan. It said textbooks were required however on the enrolment letter it said to complete the form in time to ensure that your materials arrive in time so it was unclear as to whether I have to pay or it goes on the student loan and gets delivered. Then the university gave the login details and stated that no printed material would be distributed. (I am studying through distance education and while the majority of the units are through one university, some are through others). Due to not being sure of whether we buy the books or the university sends them and adds the cost to the student loan I decided to wait until the date the unit started. No books were sent and my form was submitted weeks ago (3-4) so it's clear I had to buy them. The cost through distance education was expensive at $168.75 for two. So yesterday I logged on to the course (which is at one of the different universities) and they had an ebook option with a discount code which amounted to $94.42! I was happy to use this option. It definitely pays to wait sometimes .
Our shopping for February came in at $621, which for us is pretty good - I like it around the $600 mark so this is fine. Our biggest expenses for February aside from the normal mortgage and bills category (which equates to 47% of our monthly income) were B's savings towards his tax payment next month of $570 and our cat's expenses of $744 (vet visit, then her medical test, then boarding kennel when we went away).
I have low-level anxiety about the cash outflow that's going to happen in March. I've known about it for a while and have budgeted and saved but really hope nothing goes wrong this month as it will stretch us. Pretty much on the same day we pay B's tax bill of $2780 plus get two car insurance policies deducted from our bank account for the amount of around $2100 - so $4880 roughly; a big cash outflow.
I received the $60 Safeway everyday rewards the other day so transferred that to Christmas savings - $4 to go then month 2 is complete!
At this point in time this is all I can think of, hoping that you are all well.
I think I see a pattern here. When I came back from the UK I decided to go on an alcohol fast and it ended up being a period of low alcohol instead and unfortunately it has happened again - some things I have next to no willpower with. Why do I need to impose a restriction on myself anyway? I just bought one bottle of wine for the weekend so I can have a glass here and there. I had one tonight and that is all. This bottle was $15 which is my usual allowance I give myself for two bottles. Oh well.
Other spending today was petrol of $60, which should hopefully last a month. I also want to wash the car on the weekend too.
Tomorrow I am going to hunt for a new suit after work - I got a stain on one of my black suits which won't come out. I've had it for 2 1/2 years so got plenty of wear out of it. Unfortunately the material in my my favourite suit (1 1/2 years old) is also starting to wear dangerously thin; I can see the pants ripping one day so I actually am up for two new suits. I will put these one or two suits on my low rate credit card to repay back at around $40 per week until it's done.
Speaking of credit cards, small amounts of spending here and there meant I owed at the end of the credit card period $46.95 on one and $82.06 on the other - so have paid $64.51 this week and will pay the remaining $64.50 next week. It's amazing how these little things creep up, I barely remember what I bought - the scariest thing is when the credit card debt is larger can you even remember what you spent it on? I'm not going back to that place so will have to be more diligent with noting down what was spent on there.
Yesterday was the first day of the new billing period for the Internet on my iPad and I am sooo happy. The month of restricted internet wasn't too painful as I have games I can play offline and books downloaded but the time spent on the blog really suffered, so it's good to be back to normal again and not really have to watch the data usage.
I have pretty much gone from one restriction to another in the same day though. The last two weekends have been busy and full of fun (2 weeks ago went out with friends, last weekend went away with hubby and his friends - all couples and families) and I feel like I've probably had too much alcohol so really want to have a bit of a break.
FebFast, DryJuly and OcSober are quite popular here; they are basically a month of abstaining from alcohol in February, July and October and you can get people to sponsor you and donate the proceeds to charity. Nowadays they have also added in abstaining from sugar if you like instead of alcohol.
I am two days in of a two week stint of alcohol fasting. Ideally I would like to do a fortnight each in February, July and October. I don't really drink during the week but will probably miss the wine on Friday and Saturday nights; I foresee snacking and possibly baking to deal with this. Wish me luck!
Hi everybody, just wanting to say a super quick hello. Here's some financial goings-on in the last couple of days:
- yesterday we took our 15yo cat to the vet to get an old-cat profile done. This is various blood tests to see if she can tolerate a stronger dose of pain meds and a check on her organs. The check on her organs found that she has very early stage kidney disease so now the stronger dose has been ruled out. Hopefully with some dietary changes she will have an improved quality and length of life. $652 all up, so we have spent $712 on her this month. I am glad we got the medical done but really am now hoping to rein the spending in.
- on Monday I had to buy a birthday present for SIL so decided to get a gift card. Turns out the supermarket was having a $10 reward if you bought gift cards for certain shops. As this is a good shop, I bought the gift card for there, and received the $10 off a purchase tonight; have now added this to my snowflakes tally (SIL was happy too!)
- tonight I did my fourth weekly shop in a row and completed the required spending - now have $60 rewards waiting to be deducted off our next shop! This will mean that we will easily make month 2 of the Christmas savings challenge .
I now have to go to bed but just thought I would check in and jot a few things down.
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