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Archive for January, 2015

Meal Plan

February 1st, 2015 at 07:51 am

Had a very busy couple of weeks so meal planning hasn't been a priority. We had a long weekend last weekend due to Australia Day which was very social, and this weekend went away and only just got back a couple of hours ago. Because of this I did a fortnightly shop so only have to buy milk, fruit & vegetables after work.

So now it's time to get back into meal planning and normality after our couple of weeks of fun.

Monday - Italian sausages & pasta mix
Tuesday - chicken drumsticks, mashed potatoes & veggies
Wednesday - various meat from freezer, mashed potatoes & veggies
Thursday - chicken & rice with mushroom sauce
Friday - TBA

Banking The Difference deposit

January 27th, 2015 at 10:12 am

Tomorrow the mortgage gets paid and as the new monthly repayment (as of last November) is $149 lower, I have paid the difference of $149 towards the mortgage.

Banking The Difference total is now $269.
If all goes well the end of year total saved will be $5,512 plus $269 = $5,781.00.

First Repayment to Inlaws

January 26th, 2015 at 09:20 pm

Yesterday we made our first repayment back to the inlaws for the loan they gave us to help us out. We paid $300, $700 now remains owing.

They said only pay a bit each week, it's more important to get back on our feet, which is very helpful. They even said we can leave it if we want, but I think if someone is good enough to help you when you need it, you repay them as soon as you are able to.

52 Week Challenge Week 2 = Done!

January 23rd, 2015 at 09:41 pm

The second lot of payments for the 52 week challenge have been deducted, so we're over the $100 mark for the EF now.

I had a look at what the repayments for each will be by the end of the month and found that with my credit card I will fall short by $1 of having $100 available, so added $3 to even out this amount. It always feels better to see that extra digit paid/available, so wanted to see that as at the beginning of February there will be $100 available there.

In time it will add up and we will really see results, looking forward to that.

Spending Downgrade. And then downgraded again :)))

January 23rd, 2015 at 08:40 am

My sunglasses broke 1 month into being really poor and because they are a non-essential item they had to wait 2 months until we were semi on our feet.

I missed them so decided this month I would buy a pair.

Two sunglasses ago I had Orotons which lasted 4-5 years. The next much cheaper pair lasted just 2 months.

I could either save for Orotons ($165 cheapest price) & get them later but really wanted them this month. Money available this month is $100 max.

So found brands in the $100 range & decided to buy.

Went to the shop and before I spoke to anyone decided to just try on sunglasses & see what I like. Focused on looks and also UV protection, sunglare & polarisation. And found a nice pair with good ratings for $50!

So I downgraded and then downgraded again and am perfectly happy with what I bought! So happy to finally have sunglasses again.

Banking The Difference Deposit

January 21st, 2015 at 10:21 am

I was going to bank the difference from grocery shopping but am finding that because we are already saving the 52 week challenge from our spending money, it is hard to save much more from there. If we have money left over from there it goes towards maintaining things which is another form of saving anyway.
However I compared what we paid in bills exactly 1 year ago to now (January 2014 compared to January 2015) and thought that banking the difference from there might be a good idea.
I had to pay our phone bills and gas bill and found that the savings there were $30.00.
I also noted that last year we were paying $90 per month for my car insurance. In April it fell due and because it dropped so much we could afford to pay for it outright (saving us from having to pay the $80.00 direct debit charge). I thought as it is due again in April it would be a good idea to save that money aside too.

So my first banking the difference deposit is $120.00.

To add that to the 52 week challenge would be $5,632.00 we would save by the middle of January next year.

Weekend Spending & Meal Plan

January 18th, 2015 at 09:51 am

We both got paid & since it had been a while since we received any money, we treated ourselves. We spent roughly what we used to spend weekly - $535 - however $161 was allocated to savings & debt repayment ($106 to 52 wk challenge, $55 to go to B's parents to repay loan), so I'm happy about that.

It was a quiet weekend- B visited a friend, I visited my sister, we had pizza last night. Also from our weekly money I got a $20 iTunes card so I could buy an app for my phone company so I can see what my data usage on my phone is (believe it or not it's a whole $1.30- I had to spend $20 to get something worth $1.30!!!).

Meal plan:
Tonight - curried sausages & mashed potatoes
Monday - pasta with ham & white wine sauce
Tuesday- burgers with mashed potatoes & vegetables
Wednesday - steak, mashed potatoes & vegetables
Thursday - stir fry chicken & rice
Friday - TBA

We thought we were going to a BBQ last so I bought 2 kilos of sausages. As we didn't end up going we now have 3 weeks worth of sausages! Hoping we don't get sick of them too soon!

Week 1 52 Wk Challenge = Done!

January 16th, 2015 at 11:17 pm

I set up the direct debits, and they came out straight away, so every Friday is the day they come out of the account.

Worked out the percentages, 67% goes to EF, 20% goes to my CC, 13% goes to B's CC.

Such a good feeling to tick off Week 1 and begin the challenges!

Setting up the 52 Week Challenge via Direct Debit

January 15th, 2015 at 10:41 am

While I love the idea of paying a different amount each week and ticking it off against the appropriate week, the reality is to really make the 52 week challenge work I think it would be best to simplify it by dividing up the payments equally and setting up an automated direct debit, that way there is less leeway to shift amounts and shift weeks when it is an expensive week.

The reality is we need some savings, so I don't really want to have any excuses for delays/reductions, whatever.

I read something a while ago which said "save first, then spend what is left over not the other way round" and I think there's way more than a grain of truth there.

So tomorrow I am setting up a weekly debit for a total amount of $106 to be withdrawn weekly from our bank account, with the end goal being a minimum of $5512 saved up by the middle of January next year.

Let the 52 week challenge officially begin!

Expensive day but could have been worse

January 13th, 2015 at 06:53 am

B went to go to work today and made it up the street and had to come home, there was a loud banging noise coming from his car.
So he had to take the car to the mechanic who found that there was a stone stuck in the caliper (?)(I'm not great with car terms).
$88 was what we were charged, which has pretty much eaten up the last of the money we were given. But being a car problem, it could have been much worse, just happy that it's fixed and he can go back to work tomorrow.
A post here the other day reminded me that you can try to fix your own car so if it was going to be expensive I was going to get B to see if he can fix it himself. (He fixes motorbikes after all so he does have some knowledge of engines etc)
Only 2 days before payday and I can't tell you all just how much I am looking forward to it!

Woohoo found a good morning coffee alternative!

January 12th, 2015 at 10:45 am

I got these Moccona pre-mixed caramel lattes at a box of 10 for $2.64 (they are normally $5.30) and wasn't sure how I'd go because I'm the sort of person who needs *strong* coffee in the morning.

I normally have pods. From the Nespresso shop they are about $7-$8 for 10, from the supermarket you can get a decent type of pod for $6 (sometimes as low as $4.79 if you're lucky). I tried name brand for $4 and still felt asleep hours later so no that wasn't going to work.

But today I had the pre-mixed caramel latte and it was really nice! So now I have three types of coffee to choose from, yay! I'm chalking this up as a small victory Smile

Meal Plan & Weekend Spending

January 11th, 2015 at 10:28 am

Meal plan for the week:
Tonight: chicken drumsticks with roast/baked potatoes & vegetables
Monday: Tortellini with tomato pasta sauce
Tuesday: Chicken schnitzels with mashed potatoes & vegetables
Wednesday: Steaks with mashed potatoes & vegetables
Thursday: Chicken & rice stirfry
Friday: possible oven pizzas with garlic bread

Shopping (groceries) was slightly over at $104.00. Other than that we didn't spend much at all, $50 alcohol, $38 train ticket for me, $10 petrol for me. (B's petrol money has been set aside to be used through his business)

B got on a big decluttering mission yesterday in our study and now it looks great! I'm good with doing all of the weekly tasks grocery shopping, house cleaning, laundry but when it comes to projects I'm not so great because I don't really have big chunks of time free. B spent all day working on it and then I spent about 2-3 hours with him at the end. Afterwards we had tacos for dinner and a music night together, watching our favourite concert DVDs. Fun and low-spend.

I bought a 5kilo bag of potatoes on December 31st and can't believe they are still good! It's been 2 weeks and there is no sign of going off. Didn't think potatoes kept this long. Looks like I might be able to get a big bag for 2-3 weeks from now on.

Doing something adventurous with morning coffees this week. We have a pod machine (Nespresso) which I love and had to buy some pods while shopping however saw a packet of pre-mixed Nescafe caramel lattes on special for $2.64 (pods are $6.00 a box)so thought, why not do something different this week? Hopefully won't be buzzing in the morning from a sugar rush!!!

Phone Stuff

January 11th, 2015 at 08:30 am

I switched over my phone on Tuesday and already received my first phone bill on Friday....

Turns out that this company charge for mobile phone access in advance and then when the month is done charge you extra for any excess charges (data, etc). Certainly a different way of doing things.

So I have a fairly high phone bill from the old company ($95.13) and the new low charge of $26.13 (being the $30 monthly plan fee on a pro-rata basis for the first month). It's not too bad though.

First Week Back / Cash Envelope System

January 9th, 2015 at 11:17 am

We had our first week back at work this week and the first couple of days were really tough. For me, I was tired, and for B, it was his first week back since being injured. He's done pretty well though. His wrist is a bit sore but has tried to be pretty sensible and not overdo it. He can't work as quickly as before but has a big job he's been doing which he wants to complete Monday not next week, the week after.

Because we got paid the loan in cash I divided up the cash into separate envelopes. It's nearly all gone now because most of it was for us to get back to work. Doing it was a really good idea I think, and I think I want to continue doing this method for our spending money. It was nice to have it set out $xxx for work expenses, $xxx for groceries, $xxx for petrol, $xxx for alcohol etc. I want to do it this way for a couple of reasons: 1) this year I want most of our electronic transactions to be of the debt repaying/saving/bill paying type and 2) you pay more attention to what you spend when you have to pay it in cold hard cash!

B spoke to his income protection insurance and it looks like he will be getting another month's pay around the same time I get my pay, will be good to get some cash flow in. It's all happening. Feels like it's at a snail's pace, but it's all happening!

And hopefully by February 1, I can start the 52 week challenge & Banking The Difference, fingers crossed.

Hopefully back to two incomes real soon

January 5th, 2015 at 09:50 am

Got some happy news today. B has work lined up tomorrow and has been given the ok from the hospital to go back to work full-time with no more therapy. Yay!!! Hopefully we're back to two incomes real soon (and then the saving will begin!).

I started back at work today and it was hard with a capital H. Long day. Hopefully will be back in the swing of it all and feeling great by Wednesday.

I changed my mobile phone on Friday and when I got to work today my sim card from them came in today's mail, super quick. Tomorrow I have to call them to activate the phone with them. Hopefully no hiccups and will all go smoothly.

Savings to Phone Plans & New Credit Card Rate

January 2nd, 2015 at 04:41 am

Our phone plans expired on 27th December, and our handsets got completely paid for on that date. As there are no problems with our mobile phones (aka cellphones) we decided to keep them and look for better plans.
So today we visited the phone shop which they are all with to see what they could offer us. Sometimes it is better to go in person because the consultant can tailor plans to meet your needs. (Of course we did our own research first though). My mobile phone did not get much of a reduction so I have taken it elsewhere. The plan is currently $60 per month and the best they could do is $45 per month, while elsewhere I have been able to get a $30 plan, so a 50% reduction and also have been able to increase my data by 50% from 1GB to 1.5GB.
Our home phone & internet bundle got increased from 25GB to a whopping 100GB for an extra $2 per month.
B's phone plan got reduced from $130 per month to $80 per month which is really good.
Then I changed over B's credit card rate from 20% to 13.49% (mine is already a low rate with my bank, 13.99%).
Very happy with these outcomes and looking forward to banking the difference!

Loan from the In-Laws

January 1st, 2015 at 11:26 am

My in-laws said from the very beginning when my husband broke his wrist that if we needed to borrow any money to please not be shy and ask, which we are so grateful for.
We stretched as far as we could but found that we need to borrow some money in order to get B back to work and to cover our expenses for the next 2 weeks.
So a couple of days ago we had to bite the bullet and ask for $1000. They were very good about it, gave us the money the next day and did not have a bad thing to say about it (they aren't the type of people to say anything bad anyway).
It's never a good feeling to borrow from family but hopefully being in this position will give us the motivation to never be in the position where we need to borrow from family again. Ugh. It's so not a good feeling.
We want to repay them $100 per week over a 10 week period. We would increase the amount but we need to ensure that we are not left short either. (So the cycle can be broken).

My 2015 Goals

January 1st, 2015 at 11:04 am

A new year begins and so it is time to create goals that are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant & timetabled).
Goal 1:
As our income is unstable for the moment I thought that the best thing to do was to a 52 week money challenge. I have chosen to do 2 x 52 week double money challenges. It might be a bit much for us, but we may also be pleasantly surprised. I will update the sidebar as we progress. We both have credit cards which are currently maxed out but also need to create an emergency fund, especially as B is self-employed. So for 2015 I would be happy to pay 20% of each credit card limit and to send the rest ($3692) to create the EF.
Goal 2:
Banking The Difference.
As we have had to cut so many costs and have become accustomed to spending the revised amount, once we are back receiving both incomes (hoping to be able to start February 1 2015), I would like to set aside the previous amount to spend on each item (for example grocery shopping $170 per week was our previous weekly spend) however actually spend the new amount (for this item $100-$110 per week) and send the savings to our credit cards and EF as per the 52 week challenge allocation. The only thing I will pay differently is the mortgage which has also dropped in the last couple of months- this difference will get paid against the mortgage.
Wish me luck guys!