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Spending, Holiday Plans & No More Physio!

December 13th, 2018 at 01:30 pm

I tried replying to Amber's comment last week but my internet was playing up so much the comments wouldn't post. Anyway, we have no problem with managing our bills, it's more when we were overspending we were dipping into the bills money. Now that we've put the spending money and the bills money into separate bank accounts it's been much easier and we've had less problems.

The next thing to try and manage is our weekly spending money. While we've been having heaps of fun by going out lots, we keep on overspending and as a result spend less on groceries (because there's not that much left) and/or add to the credit cards.

Example: this weekend just gone we added $56.34 to my credit card for some of the groceries (after I repaid $68 on this card so I really wasn't thrilled). Then we were left with $70 cash for the rest of the groceries. So far $20 of that has been spent and we are left with $50. It should be ok. I've certainly had to be creative with what I buy for us, which has been fun! The downside of it though is that we end up lacking in the non-essentials for a while, so we are constantly missing stuff. Each week I try to be more aware though, and hopefully we can do better next weekend.

On the upside though we got dressed up for B's work do, went out for breakfast once and dinner twice and got takeaway once. It's fun, but that's where our money is going!

So I'm planning this weekend to be a bit more mindful of what is being spent, hopefully that will make a big difference.

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In other big news we booked the travel for our next holiday. We are traveling by boat to Tasmania with another couple who are very good friends and taking the motorbikes and will do a 7 day ride around Tasmania. We are so excited, it will be great.
The boat fares up and back are $1000 so the plan is to buy Christmas presents with December's pay and to give the money for the fares from January's pay.

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Another exciting development is I had my last physio session during the week!! No more paying $105 per visit, no more tiny lunch breaks on those appointment days and I slowly get to wean myself off the early morning rehab exercises. As of this week I do four mornings with a day off during the middle of the week. (On this day instead I attend to little financial things that need doing eg paying bills, updating spreadsheets etc - I've really missed having this time because it's so hard to do after work).
I was ecstatic and absolutely over the moon on Tuesday when I got told no more appointments are needed!!

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That is all for now, hoping you all have a lovely weekend!!

Payday Tweaking Done

December 2nd, 2018 at 01:01 am

I have so many financial things to write about I could blog daily for a month but free time is minimal (especially leading up to Christmas) so I'll just stick to one of our larger financial matters.

Probably one of the biggest things we've been dealing with lately is adjusting to both being paid monthly on the same day and re-tweaking the budget. In DH's last job he got paid monthly at the end of the month while I get paid monthly in the middle of the month. It kind of meant that we could set aside an amount for bills and withdraw weekly our spending money without worrying if we had overspent really because there was always another pay coming in in the next fortnight.

Then when he changed jobs in May the payday changed to the middle of the month. It was fine in the beginning because we had a little bit of extra money to fall back on, and then I had the broken collarbone so we weren't really overspending because we weren't going out much and we knew what we had was going to doctors and hospitals etc.

By August and September though the extra money had been spent and we were starting to go out more so we actually started running out of money because the buffer we had got used up. In the month of September we actually ran out of money within the first two weeks so the remaining two weeks were not fun at all! It was then that I decided that our current budgeting system had to be tweaked especially as it looked like we were going to run short in our bills account which is a big no-no for me.

We have two bank accounts that barely get used so I decided that we would have the set monthly amount for mortgage and bills left in the bills account and whatever money is left over to be spent on things we both agree on, repaid on credit cards if needed and the remaining money to be divided by four or five weeks (whichever is relevant for that month) and transferred into one of the bank accounts we don't use. The other bank account we don't use is now used as a holding account for short term purchases we want to make (example: the month of October we put $1000 in for our Perth spending money and $400 for the back tyre we were replacing on the Harley).

This updated method has definitely reduced my stress levels as I know what we can spend weekly and there's less likelihood of running out of money. Because we overspent for a few months the credit cards also have balances which we are repaying but I am saving that for another post.

Holiday At Start Of November

November 20th, 2018 at 10:47 pm

Wow it's been a while since I've blogged! I don't completely remember what happened in September but we celebrated our 8 year wedding anniversary last month by going out on a motorbike ride to a nice lunch and then visiting wineries, which was definitely a treat!

At the start of this month we went on a short holiday to Perth, which is two states away, to visit one of DH's old friends who only just moved back to Australia, to spend time with him and meet his family. We had a great time socialising, eating out, visiting wineries in their Swan Valley region and sightseeing in Perth and along their coastal region. It was great to see his friend and his family were lovely, his partner was great to get along with and 2yo son was super cute.

Flights were $1000 for the two of us and we spent $1460 for the period 6-11 Nov (5 days) - as well as eating out and drinks, we hired a car which was $467 in total. We saved $1000 spending money last month and the flights are all repaid, everything is now repaid in full. It was a great trip.

That was the first week of November done pretty well Smile. Perth is three hours ahead of us and amazingly we had worse jet lag than coming back from Thailand, which is an eight hour flight away! Thailand is four hours behind us so maybe that has something to do with it.. all I know is I wasn't getting sleepy until 1.30am because that was 10.30pm Perth time! It took until the middle of last week until we were back to normal. Well worth it though Smile.

Share market Shenanigans

August 30th, 2018 at 03:54 am

Before going away to Thailand I had about $5500 in shares in QBE and $750 in MXI (rough amounts) but something major happened in QBE so I decided to sell all the shares to be safe. Then after Thailand we bought the new camper trailer and cleared out most of the money.

I decided to make it fun I'd slowly rebuild the account so in May I bought 1000 PGC at $0.82 and see how they go at 12 weeks. They didn't go far and were not above the purchase price so I sold them at $0.80.

I'd been adding $100 per month in the 12 week period so was ready to buy something at $1.12 or up. Got 1000 shares in UPD at $1.16 and within 2 days of holding them they dropped dramatically down to $1.09. I checked the news and there was an announcement of a buyback and likely delisting due to private takeover. That seemed really risky so I sold at $1.09 as soon as I could. Lucky, as they dropped down to $1.02 and continues to drop.

At the same time I bought the next pick I had, PLG at $1.07. Hopefully there's a better result there (we'll see at the end of 12 weeks). Definitely looking forward to getting some higher value stocks a bit later on as they always seem to be a little less risky.

Home Hair Dye Experiment (successful)

August 27th, 2018 at 04:05 am

I'm not even sure what happened last time I wrote but here's a small financial thing I did a couple of weeks ago - dyed my hair successfully for the first time!

My hairdresser is great and much cheaper than hairdressing salons at $110 for a half head of foils. I always said that if I stopped going to her I'd dye it myself because generally what I get done is nothing magnificent really, just touching up my regrowth and a haircut.

So our security doors were getting installed at the same time as the hair appointment so I tried rescheduling however she didn't have anything for the next month so I got to try out my experiment! I watched some videos on YouTube and then went to a hair supplies shop and they worked out what I would need, the best colours and gave me instructions plus directions on how much of each.

All up it cost $106 however with their ratios I still had half a bowl of dye left over so I actually have enough hair dye left in the tubes for another two dyes! So instead of $110 for foils and haircut it was technically $33 for a tint (per use). I will go back to her in October however as the December appointment is at 6am I am thinking of cancelling that then and doing the tint then too.

New Car Savings, Murphy Strikes Again

August 3rd, 2018 at 12:46 am

I was listing the events that happened each week and keep getting my weeks mixed up, so that's all getting a bit hard! The point is I'm now back in the groove of writing weekly so I'll keep that up without listing each week's number.

Since I wrote last I've been to my post-operation appointment with the orthopaedic surgeon and he believes everything is healing in the way it should, which is great. I've been cleared to drive and resume normal activities within reason but must wear a sling in crowded places. Every day I'm healing a bit more. I'm now going to weekly physio appointments up until the final post-operation appointment at the start of September.

The good money things which have happened is we have found out that B's final car loan payment is next month! As previously agreed, I am going to take part of what we would pay each month and put it towards savings towards my new car. His payment is $742 per month - I would like to get a car for around $25000 in four years time, so worked out to do this would need $520 per month. Hopefully my car will last that long - the engine is pretty good but it is now 15 years old. Need to pick out and organise an internet account with a high interest rate soon 😊.

Now for the bad money things.. as well as having surgery which we had out of pocket costs for to the tune of roughly $3000, we last week decided to make two large purchases (the security doors for $3000 and the exhaust for the Harley for $1200). This would have been fine over a few months. But on Monday night the hot water service blew up. Grrr. That is $1500. Then a night or two later the dishwasher jammed up and it looks like it is a problem to do with the computer board in it... our savings are pretty much cleared out from the hot water service and exhaust so we are washing dishes by hand at the moment. A dishwasher is not a necessity and there has been so much money spent lately the thought of spending more is making me ill. This situation is looking kind of like the spa purchase last year where we repaid the credit card back over four months. Once I have final costs I will work out how much we need to repay per month.

All the same, even with the above expenses I am still determined to set up an account for the car and set up a monthly savings direct debit into it. The thing is, if you have a car loan you will always have to pay it monthly no matter what the situation is so I want us to be disciplined to save in the same way.

Week 28: Back to Work, Big Spending Items

July 26th, 2018 at 12:59 am

Week 28 saw me back at work except for Thursday morning when I had the appointment with the cardiologist. He didn't think my heart problem was too major and thought that my friend's suggestion that it could be linked to thyroid issues (in my case the adrenal glands) was valid so ordered a thyroid test as well as getting me to wear a heart monitor for 24hrs next month. There was no charge for that appointment as it was bulk billed.

The collarbone got better as the week went on and not much was needed in the way of painkillers by the end.

Tuesday was our 19 year anniversary so went out for dinner to celebrate, which was nice. We also went out to lunch on Saturday and to dinner on Sunday night with friends who were visiting.

On Saturday we had two really big spending items (as well as my operation lol) in the way of the security doors I wanted ($1500) and the exhaust B wanted for his Harley ($600). The security doors were a quote which was about to expire and the exhaust was only one of 7 held in Australia (after that they would have to be ordered from overseas which takes a couple of months for this shop); so both were things that we wanted to order asap. Note also that these amounts are 50% deposits with the balance due in about 3 weeks for the doors, the end of the week for the Harley. With these purchases we can expect to live pretty quietly in the next few weeks as they are taking up the bulk of our money until payday in the middle of next month. We both believe they're worth it though.

Ps I see Shiela posting her blog as Week 29, I'm probably a week out? I'm not too bothered though because I'm trying to report what happens weekly and stay accountable, to me that's the most important thing.

Week 27: Surgery Successful, Other Health Problems Now

July 19th, 2018 at 03:13 pm

Well I got through my first ever operation ok. I was so nervous but the hospital was really great and looked after me so well. I would highly recommend private hospitals from this experience. It didn't come off completely without a hitch though.

When I met with the anaesthetist right before the surgery he got the stethoscope out, listened and told me my heart is beating too fast, and hooked me up to a heart monitor. This told us it was beating at a rate of 8-10 extra beats per minute. He said we can still go ahead with the surgery but we will look into it afterwards.

After the surgery I was told that my heart kept on beating at the 8-10 extra beats through the entire surgery and that they would monitor how it is overnight, so I got moved to a high dependency ward and hooked up to a heart monitor. The next day they saw that it had mostly stabilised except for an episode in the morning so they gave me a referral to a local cardiologist (the same one B went to last year) and discharged me.

Recovery from surgery was pretty much a one week process. The first four days I had a lot of muscle soreness so movement was very limited. DH looked after me well and found out how much a nurse really has to do!!! There were a lot of pills to be taken and half of them required food to be eaten first so there was no sleeping in for him as quite a lot had to be done for me. He was so good though and had no problem doing any of it. On the Thursday he took me to the hairdresser to get my hair washed and blow waved which was really lovely ($70, so is definitely a treat!)

There were no extra charges for being put in the high dependency ward, we simply had to pay the $500 excess upon admission. I paid the $2158 to the orthopaedic surgeon a few days before, so now need to get the refund of $743 from Medicare and private health insurance. Probably the other big expenses (kind of) is the parking at $30.75 per day for the Monday and Tuesday - B spent as much time as he was allowed to be there for me. We also went out to dinner on Thursday night ($59.30) and went out to lunch and to a nice chocolate shop on the coast on the Sunday.

The only other financial thing I did was save $100 each for us. Our savings are now about $2600 each in my shares account and in the home loan offset account, so want to gradually add a little bit each month. Eventually when things calm down a bit I'll look at our credit cards as they're creeping up a bit.

All in all, I'm alive and well so all is good 😊.

Weeks 25-26: Broken Collarbone, Surgery Required

July 8th, 2018 at 12:55 am

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about falling off a motorbike and having a sore shoulder. I simply thought it was bad bruising, a soft tissue injury, however have found out that it was a broken collarbone which completely snapped in two and separated about 2cms apart!!

I really have not been in a lot of pain so it was all very surprising. It was also why we didn't go to emergency and get it all fixed straight away.

As I'm not in a lot of pain the public healthcare system hasn't put priority on my injury. The doctor referred me to an orthopaedic surgeon but said as long as the appointment is within 3 weeks that will be fine. The surgeon he referred me to wasn't available until 24 July and my nurse friend told me that is way too far away: I'm at risk of a worse fracture or it healing up wrong, needing surgery and requiring it to be re-broken in the process. Ugh.

I found a reputable surgeon who was available four days later and saw me last Tuesday. He strongly suggested surgery (joining both bones up with a plate and 3-4 screws).. I don't want it however he has said that it will take 4-6 months to heal with no guarantee of the collarbone rejoining, so then surgery would be required anyway. Therefore I have agreed to have the surgery, which takes place tomorrow morning.

It could have been a day surgery but the surgeon said to stay overnight does not cost much more and it is better to be monitored on the first day so I can get appropriate pain meds. Also it is an hour's drive from home so could be a very rough journey home straight after a surgery.

We are using our private health insurance for this as it is a time-sensitive issue. So far these are the costings:

Physio $105
X-ray $113
Orthopaedic surgeon consultation $110 ($200 - $90 refundable back from Medicare)
Orthopaedic surgeon surgery fee $1435 ($2158 - $723 refundable back from Medicare and private health ins)
Anaesthetist estimated surgery fee $750
Private health ins excess for hospital (surgery & staying there afterwards) $500 (private health ins then pays whatever the balance is)

TOTAL: $3013


I spent this weekend getting our finances up to date and have found that we had a surplus last month of $2109 so there will not be much to pay for out of this month's spending money and there is no need to dip into savings (yay!!)

I have been instructed to take a week off work on sick leave to recover, and B is taking two days off to take me to the hospital, be there during the surgery and look after me the next day when he brings me home. He has looked after me so well since the accident Smile.


Wish me luck!! Will let you know how it goes when I am able.


Weeks 23-24: Things Getting Better, Health Problems

June 25th, 2018 at 05:11 am

I got a nice surprise on the Sunday night of Week 23 with DH coming home 😊. He spent a weekend with our really good friends who made him see that his friendship was wrong and that he should try to make our marriage work and reminded him of the good points about me and our marriage.

We spent some time talking about things which we will start trying to do like talking a couple of days a week on the phone to try and connect and communicate more and better, date nights each week (with every second week to be out of the house with one choosing what to do one time and the other choosing next time) and for us to go away alone every 3-4 months; these things sound really promising for us to rebuild our marriage.

He ended the friendship and asked me to apologise for what I wrote to her. I told him I would but I was also going to make it clear that the friendship is over with no chance of restarting (as long as we are together, but I didn't write that). I did these things and when he saw the message he was initially upset but after a while seemed to be fine. I'm so hoping that there has been no further contact however am not sure how much I want to push trying to check this as I'm wanting to create positivity as we rebuild.

Last Thursday the cold I had got much worse so had 2 days off work due to being lethargic and having chills.

Yesterday B tried to teach me to ride a trail bike (here we call them dirt bikes). Unfortunately I had a small accident within 30 seconds of riding it and fell off the bike. It looks like I have jarred/sprained my shoulder which is rather painful. I'm going to go to the physiotherapist tomorrow and get it looked at, will possibly need X-rays and an MRI scan. We have decided that riding trail bikes will not be one of our joint activities as we are both traumatised from yesterday! I'm just glad that a sprained/jarred shoulder is the worst of it, who knows what could have happened..

Today B came down with my cold, so with his cold and my hurt shoulder we make a good pair!!

Financially I've had no idea of what we've been spending so just used the spending tracking app I have linked to our bank accounts and B's credit cards to put the bulk figures in for the month. Despite the upheaval it looks like our spending hasn't been too crazy amazingly. Not sure of what my shoulder will cost though - it could be anywhere between $125 (physiotherapist consulting fee) and $1000 (if X-rays and MRI scans are required) but it looks like financially we are ok.

Weeks 21-22: Awful, awful, awful.

June 11th, 2018 at 04:08 am

It has been a horrible couple of weeks in the VS_ozgirl household.

We have had ongoing marital problems due to a friendship DH has with a female friend which I view as inappropriate. This is why we have been going to marriage counselling.

This has all come to a head a couple of weeks ago due to something I have seen which has made me upset and after a nasty fight, DH has agreed to end the friendship. However he ended the friendship and came home and said that he doesn't know what he wants anymore.

A couple of days later he has said that maybe we need some time apart to see if we can work things out and so that he will know what he wants. I think the reason why he has said this is because he doesn't know why all of a sudden he is doing what he is doing. He knows it's not right, however he thinks that unhappiness within our marriage is the cause - that we have drifted apart after many years.

This was not last Sunday, but the Sunday before. On the Monday night it was apparent that he needs to be elsewhere. He went to one of his best friend's houses for dinner on Tuesday and his best friend (male friend, not the person in question) and his partner agreed to let him stay for a bit.

He went to marriage counselling on his own last week and had a big talk with the marriage counsellor. The marriage counsellor told him not to stay away from home too long as it will become hard to re-interact. He has to go to the counsellor again this week and then we are to go together next week.

He has been at his friend's house since last Wednesday night. We went out to dinner last Friday to talk things out and it seemed promising, however he has been coming around each day of the weekend to do things around the house that need to be done and it is looking less promising over the last couple of days.

I am devastated. I miss him so much. I have told him that he cannot be friends with this woman, and as long as he is our marriage will never work. He understands that if he is to come home he cannot have contact with her ever. Now he is not sure of what his feelings are towards me anymore, or if he wants to be married.

I have told him today that I love him so much, and don't want to throw away the nearly 19 years we have together, and just want him back home. And this hurts so much. He has told me that he knows I love him so much but he just doesn't know what his feelings are, but he just wants to work out what's wrong and move forward.

Last night I heard a loud noise and was scared so called him and just had him on the phone a couple of minutes so I knew that nobody was here and after talking for a minute he was crying down the phone.

He said that he doesn't know what's wrong with him and at the moment he has no feelings, he doesn't know if he's coming or going.

I don't think he's had a chance to miss me because he's seen me nearly every day even though he's staying elsewhere. I told him that when I went to the UK for 2 & 1/2 weeks I didn't miss him at the beginning because I was seeing new things but by the end of the trip I missed him and was ready to come home. I told him to take enough clothes for 5 days so he doesn't have to come home and hopefully he will start missing me.

He's taken some clothes but because I was doing washing today needs to get more and will come over tomorrow when I'm not home.

Everything hurts so much. He's texting me goodnight and it hurts because he's not on holiday, he's trying to work out if he still wants to be with me, and he should be home with me in our bed kissing me goodnight. He asked me if I wanted him to stop doing that and I said no, because even though it hurts like hell I'm glad I'm the last thing on his mind before he goes to sleep.

I had to put new towels out for the week and didn't have to put any on his towel rail because he's not here and that hurt.

I had to do grocery shopping for myself and our animals only and that hurt.

Because there's only me here I cooked up a big batch of beef and red wine casserole and will freeze about 3 nights worth.

I have cancelled all of our transfers into our checking account and credit cards and will transfer money over as needed. I need to work out what we have spent for the week and possibly put in $200 into our checking account.

I told him he can't stay away too long, but what happens in the next couple of weeks is anyone's guess. There will come a time in the next couple of weeks where he will be called to make a choice as to whether he comes home or we break up, and while I'm trying to stay positive I'm devastated in case we do break up.

I know there are far worse things than a break up but this hurts like hell.

Week 20

May 24th, 2018 at 12:57 am

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!

Merry Christmas All!

December 24th, 2017 at 03:32 am

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!

Three Year Blogoversary

December 6th, 2017 at 11:36 am

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!

September Bills Month Compared to Same Time Last Year

September 11th, 2017 at 01:36 pm

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.

July -$911.17, August +$816.45

September 5th, 2017 at 01:37 pm

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!

Share Purchase

August 30th, 2017 at 01:35 pm

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!

Snowflake & Electrician

August 27th, 2017 at 01:40 pm

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!

Back From Merimbula Holiday

August 7th, 2017 at 01:33 pm

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!

First EF Withdrawal For The Year

July 19th, 2017 at 05:33 am

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 Smile.

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.

Two Low-Cost Outings

July 15th, 2017 at 06:54 pm

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 Smile.

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!

New Spa (Hot Tub)

July 10th, 2017 at 05:04 am

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 Smile.

Blind Dog :(

July 3rd, 2017 at 03:30 pm

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 Frown.

Sunday June 11

June 11th, 2017 at 04:52 am

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.

Quick Hello

June 7th, 2017 at 05:20 am

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!

Thailand Trip Back In Motion

May 21st, 2017 at 05:37 am

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.

Credit Card & Bills In Order; Another Snowflake

April 20th, 2017 at 04:37 am

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 Smile.

Credit Card & Bill Management; Another Snowflake

April 19th, 2017 at 05:25 am

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!

April-18-2017

April 18th, 2017 at 05:25 am

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!

March Savings = 5.5%, April-5-17

April 5th, 2017 at 05:36 am

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.


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