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Archive for May, 2015

Mortgage Payment & Misc

May 30th, 2015 at 08:12 am

The last banking the difference item for the month is the paying the difference between the current mortgage payment ($1029) and the previous mortgage payment ($1178), being $149.

We paid that right before the mortgage payment was made, and also saved our monthly insurance payments to the offset account too. There's now just over $1000 there. We're really starting to see the interest reduction too - this month the interest was $584, which is the lowest interest charge ever, I believe! Which is really great.

Yesterday I decided to take a personal day on Monday, aka RDO, except paid for out of my annual leave. We have a really nice work lunch on Friday but my hair is now showing regrowth (it will be 8 weeks exactly - I usually try to stretch hair appointments to 10 weeks, but what is one to do?). I had the option of home-dyeing but when I called my hairdresser to ask for advice, she told me she could fit me in on Monday. I had an appointment with her in July, so I figure I will now see her Monday and move the July appointment to August. Yeah, taking a day to get my hair done may seem nonsensical to some, but I will feel better. And work is so quiet at the moment that I know it's no problem at all. So it works out for the month of June, I will be working two four day weeks because we have a public holiday next week too. One thing to say - Yay me!!!

Today B & I had a day out together. He wanted to go to a camping and outdoor expo, and then I thought about the OurDeal voucher I bought back in March (breakfast for 2 for $19, a crepe or omelette each plus beverage), and suggested that we have breakfast out and use it up also. This is the first time I have ever bought an OurDeal voucher (like Groupon), and it was such good value! B got an omelette which is normally worth $19, and then I got a crepe with salmon and we got coffees each too - about $50 worth of food! We could see why this café was selling these vouchers though. Lovely café, lovely food, but it was not near the popular main street or any foot traffic really. It was really nice though.

Then we spent a couple of hours at this expo- $17 entry each plus $15 parking was not cheap but it was nice to look around at so many things. We got an orange juice each $3.50, and a hot jam donut, each $2. We also bought a book which has shows various Australian free camping sites plus maps ($20), and I got sucked into buying a prawn peeler & deveiner ($12) - looking forward to trying that one out!

Hoping you all have a great weekend, off to read the blogs!

50 Week Challenge Week 19 & various

May 26th, 2015 at 10:27 pm

As discussed last week, I've decided to change the 52 week challenge to the 50 week challenge so it finishes on New Year's Eve. I've now updated the sidebar and so far it's looking like we'll have saved/repaid $7477.84- who knows what it will actually be? Conservatively I'm guessing it will be over $10K, but time will tell.

Grocery shopping this week was really low for us- $87 (and if you add 1/2 of the fortnightly meat purchase being $23, total spend was $100), which is what we were spending when we had no money. No idea why other than I have been taking advantage of lower price bulk buys which I'm sure has been helpful.

Other spending this weekend- dinner and cocktails with friends Friday night $160 for drinks, dinner and cabs. We have to live it up occasionally. We added some lighting to our spa area $43 and replaced two light switches $20. The spa area only had lights at the front so when you were in it, it looked really dark. Looks much better now.

Also some clothes shopping. We had a birthday function on Sunday and our smart casual clothes are getting a bit old. I got a really nice vest, woollen with a fake fur collar, and a long sleeve tshirt for $95. Expensive but good quality and looks good, so would be happy to wear it many times. I got two tshirts for B for $55 but one didn't fit & he didn't like the other one, but can refund them and we looked up other clothes on the Internet that we can buy instead.

B had two days off this week and so he took my car in for a wheel rebalance and tyre check. $55. They then pointed out that it looks like we need a new muffler and gave us details of a guy who would do it, he quoted $150-$170. B takes the car there and it turns out we will need to replace the muffler and whole exhaust system. $600 quote. Grrrr. And the ceiling lining has completely dropped and they say you can't glue it, you need to completely reupholster. $220 quote. Grrrr.

So I thought how much is a reasonable repair allowance annually for a 12yo car? I thought $1000, and forums I have read say that too. So $180 new door lock last month, $55 wheel balance, $600 exhaust system and $220 reupholstering will bring me to $1055. B will do the car service so all we will need to buy is oil & oil filter.

I'm a bit annoyed but we're lucky to have had many years of virtually no repairs.

Last thing, my coworker just quit her job yesterday, she's a mother of a 10yo boy and works 1-2 days per week. Why? Because her partner wanted her to work more to pay down his massive credit card debt. So now she'll be working full time (and she always looks tired now) but yet he still can't get around to switching his cards to a low rate/zero rate! I found out it is a $30k debt on 20%, split over 3 cards!! I did a quick calculation for her - $6k interest per year and this has been going on for 6 years!! I feel sorry for her and annoyed with him, his laziness is costing their family a fortune and she will now be exhausted. Grrrr. I just hope there will be a good outcome.

Banking the Difference deposit & other stuff

May 21st, 2015 at 07:58 am

Last night I paid bills but as B needed to use the computer I didn't have time to blog, I just updated the sidebar. This week's bill savings were $138.21 ($66 saved on my phone, $45 on the train ticket and $27 saved on the gas bill).

Last week spending was fairly low so I decided to put $35 on my CC, so have added that to banking the difference as well, as a snowflake. Now looking at my pay though it's time to rein in the spending so I'll be able to do a few things I want to do (before it gets frittered away). I have clothes I want to buy and I'm running out of month Smile

This is especially because the balance of the study subject was $283 and books were $166.21. I'm thankful that this is all claimable on tax.

*****

We were planning on having a big party for B's 40th but for the third time he's suggested he would probably rather go on a holiday to Fiji instead. I think it's partly because his work payments haven't really been coming in (now apparently its this week. Hmmm) and also partly because I don't think he wants to spend all that money on a party. I will leave it up to him. Our 5 year Anniversary is this year so it would be the perfect occasion for a holiday and the prices I've researched are reasonable.

******

I called the lost dogs home and the dog we found got collected, so that's a happy ending. I guess we weren't meant to have a second dog.

******

I'm considering changing the 52 week challenge to the 50 week challenge so it ends on New Year's Eve, would be a really great celebration. At the moment it's TBA

Hope you're doing well everyoneSmile

52 Week Challenge Week 18 & A Possible Second Dog

May 17th, 2015 at 08:51 am

52 week challenge week 18 was a very quiet week, and weekend.

Our big end of year deadline rolled around on Friday the 15th May, and as anticipated there was no rushing of any jobs required. I had one small job that I had to make a few last minute changes to in the morning, but nothing else really. We took a moment at 5pm to reflect and kind of said "well this is the quietest 15th May ever isn't it!". It's not a bad thing though. It means our hard work in the earlier months paid off and we were lucky enough to not have many things to delay or sudden major jobs given to us at the last minute. So I did have a couple of mini-celebrations I guess- nice wine, nice coffee, pancakes.

We have a cat and a dog which are now 13 (cat) and 12 (dog). Occasionally I might see another animal and say B how about another one? but for the most part not really. And B has always said two is enough.

But then yesterday I was walking the dog and came across a smaller dog who looks just like ours tied to a tree. The house owner said it was running loose and he didn't want it to get hit by a car, and hopefully the owner is out looking for it and will see it. He also gave it water and a bit of dried food.

Because it was a smaller version of our dog (a Jack Russell) I was immediately drawn to it. Seriously, the dog has exactly the same colouring and facial features. I took pictures of it to put up on a local site on Facebook so hopefully someone would see it and say there's my dog (you never know). After that it was time to go. He said "you can take it if you want" and I said I'd need to get the ok from the husband.

B actually said yes! I was happy and surprised. I told him I'd take it to a shelter first, give the owner a chance to collect it. Noone came for her so as arranged (I went back there after the dog walk to arrange) I took the dog to our local vet. I had to fill out a form and selected "interested in rehoming". They said the process now is they take the dog to the pound along with the form and she (the dog is a she) is kept there for 8 days and if not collected by the owner I will be contacted.

I was looking at the dog with the vet, and she said the dog is between 4 and 8 years. Because she is so small I thought she was a puppy but then realised around the eyes the hair is a bit faded. The vet thinks she is half Jack Russell half Chihuahua! Hubby is *not* happy about that but he laughed and said I'd roped him into that one.

I don't normally do spontaneous things like this but for some reason I was drawn to this dog. She had a really good nature and got along so well with our dog, it was like she was meant to be with us. I don't know what will come of it all though. She may very well be collected by her owner. If this is the case, I'm glad to have helped out a lost animal.

If she doesn't get collected and we do keep her, her age is helpful because she would be a good companion for our dog. A puppy might be a bit exhausting for a 12 year old.

That was the big event of the weekend, hope you all had a nice one too!

Banking The Difference deposit

May 14th, 2015 at 11:43 am

As B got paid the other day, and I got paid today, I knew we would be ok to not have to watch every cent this weekend, so I decided to transfer the rest of the Banking the Difference from last week's bill payments, which was the savings on the phone bills - $88.02 for B, and $11.96 for the home phone.

Banking the Difference has now hit just over $2K ($2,004.63 to be exact), which is pretty awesome. Now along with the 52 week challenge money that will become $7.5K ($7,516.63 to be exact). Who would think that just by making a few simple changes there would be such an awesome payoff. I'm so thankful I stumbled upon this site and have you guys to share my experience, cheer me on and inspire me!

As we've really been watching what we spend down to the very last dollar for the last few weeks, this weekend I'm having a mini-celebration. I'm also having a mini-celebration because tomorrow is the 15th of May, our big deadline for work, and this year we sailed through it. Work has become so quiet (I have still have various jobs to do though so I'm not twiddling my thumbs or anything) for before 15 May - this time last year we had to work back every day and it was so busy that as soon as you walked in the door at work your head was stuck in whatever you were doing until you went home - no time for thinking about anything to do with the outside world. So to have everything done on time is really great and such a relief.

I got some nice wine (for more than the usual $6 a bottle - I got nice NZ Sauvignon Blanc for $14 a bottle, $10 a bottle and one other cheap bottle for $4), and I plan on getting Nespresso pods instead of pods from the supermarket. We don't really have any big expenses such as birthdays this weekend so I'm not bothered if we spend a bit more here or there as long as it's within range. Also thinking of making pancakes for breakfast and spinach & ricotta pasta roll-ups for Saturday night dinner.

I also transferred $1303 onto my credit card - $20 banking the difference and $1283 course fees for the latest subject, which starts June 1. I will then be back to working a fulltime work and doing 10 hours of study per week, so am currently looking at ways to structure my time better. I didn't do too badly last time, but time management is crucial with these things, so you have to keep on top of it and not get burnt out, or it will become too much for you.

Don't really have any plans this week other than visiting my sister with my mother for lunch - I usually spend around $20 on these outings and have a lovely time.

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Just A Misunderstanding & All Is Well

May 12th, 2015 at 11:52 am

Happy to say I spoke to my mother and we had a big misunderstanding. She meant as we don't celebrate my stepdad's Father's Day she doesn't care about celebrating her Mother's Day, and thought it was hilarious that I was upset because I thought she was deleting herself as my mother! (And I think she was happy I was so upset too). After discussion, Mother's Day has not been deleted in our family Smile

She said my brother came around of his own accord (normally us sisters organise the social plans and presents) with flowers and chocolates and told her he got a promotion and wants to save for a house so she was very happy and proud (I am too).

B got paid enough for a week so we don't have to dip into savings (which is great). He's supposed to be getting paid for the rest of his work end of this week/ start of next, looking forward to it as it's been a while between paycheque.

Challenges Week 17 & Third Football Win

May 11th, 2015 at 09:33 am

We managed to get through the weekend on $304 - just, but still did it. Our shopping was amazingly $121 including food for entertaining- it's B's turn to host his poker night, so he made meatballs & risoni for 8. For Mother's Day for the inlaws we had to bring a dessert so I made a double batch of white chocolate cupcakes with white chocolate ganache (one for inlaws do, one for poker do).

Mother's Day gift was $48 for inlaws, mine = $0. My mother has increasingly distanced herself from us and tolerates these occasions. But... I had the inlaws do & accidentally booked a get together with a friend so wasn't enthused about also seeing someone who really doesn't care about it. So I texted her asking does she want me to see her & I know it's not really her thing so I'll let her choose. Her response was father day doesn't exist here anymore (he died years ago) so let's pass this day onto the next generation (my sister had a baby last December). I wasn't expecting that! I was expecting doesn't bother me it's fine, not let's delete this day forever.

So I don't even know why I'm upset but I am. Of course I went on Facebook to rub salt in the wound because every single person it felt like was having an awesome day while my mother was just being a cold so-and-so. Grrr. But the rational side of me is winning. (And a day has passed) She is different now to what she was. That was then, and this is now. These things don't interest her. Family doesn't interest her. It's best to just accept it and try to let go of any negative feelings. Not everybody has the ideal family, and that's life.

Anyway, moving on from that.

A couple of good things. I caught up with an old friend last night who I hadn't seen in 6 months and we had so much to talk about! And still share lots of common interests which is really great! We are aiming to catch up again in the last week of May (unfortunately as well as having lots of common interests, we are both really slack with social arrangements), hopefully it will all work out. She has just moved 5 minutes drive away from me, and is sharing a beautiful house with a friend.

And the final good thing - my football team St Kilda won their third game for the year! By 7 points, so I sent $7 to the EF (So far the points has been 101 + 28 + now 7), and have added it to Banking The Difference challenge.

We had to pay for the 52 week challenge out of our buffer in the account (non-EF), there is now $141.20 there - not good. We are hoping B will receive money this week but I am preparing myself for a possible withdrawal from the EF (which will be as little as possible).

I have to withdraw money from the EF anyway to pay for a subject for my accounting degree, booking closes on the 20th. My work pays me bonuses which I use to pay for the subjects. So I will have to withdraw $1000 but then (unless things change for the first time ever) next month I will get the bonus and put it back in the account.

To Save Some Is Better Than None At All

May 7th, 2015 at 11:51 am

It was bill paying day today, but the outcome wasn't as great as what I would like. It is our third week of living off $567 less business expenses but unfortunately B filled up on petrol at the start of the week and the end of the week, so we had to pay for two tanks of petrol plus a couple of minor purchases he made (McDonalds was one of them). $265 later and we were left with $304 (ok there was $569 in the bank) for the week, which is possibly doable.

Then it was time to pay bills - water $278.85, B's mobile $119.97 and the home phone $105.79. Total savings on these plus the business insurance added up to just over $151. But then I knew that the bills account would be cleared out pretty much completely if I transferred the $151, and the savings account is paying for the 52 week challenge money so don't want to touch that.

Sooo... I decided the safest option would be to bank the difference for a couple of bills. To make it easier I simply picked the bills paid/due from between 1st & 6th May, which was the business insurance ($9.68 savings, deducted on the 1st) and the water bill savings ($41.95, the bill due date was the 1st - oops).

Total deposit this week for banking the difference was $51.63. Not the same as $151, but as the title states, to save some is better than none at all. Maybe we will get paid next week and then I can save the rest, who knows.

On the upside we are now below $8k combined credit card debt after making those deposits, which is good to see.

Looking like another cheap weekend on the horizon with the exception of Mother's Day for two parents, we will need to get some sort of presents, hoping to spend about $30 each and get a decent present.

Soooo Close..

May 5th, 2015 at 10:44 am

I checked our combined credit card debt just now after the 52 week challenge payments got paid as I knew it was hovering around $8K (when we started the challenges in mid-January it was $9.1K) and as of now it is $8,001.56.

So close to being under $8K! At least next time we have to make a deposit it will be under $8K then. Progress is a beautiful thing.

In other news we received 2 possibly 3 snowflakes today. A cheque from our old car insurance for the overpaid portion on my car for the amount of $84.48 (or thereabouts- it's $84 something anyway). I received a Priceline cheque for $3.87. And Priceline have given me an offer of $10 off my normal foundation (this is a possible snowflake as they had this offer last quarter too but were sold out so I couldn't get it before the offer expired). Will update the snowflakes properly when they are actually banked/used.

52 Week Challenge Week 16 & Nice Weekend

May 4th, 2015 at 11:17 am

Week 16 was a bit harder financially because we are waiting on some money from B's work & not sure when it will get there. We had $567 but after B's business expenses were left with $403. I wasn't sure how well we could live off $297 (being $403 less $106 52 wk challenge money), so used $38 of the $300 buffer in our savings- no idea why I picked such a weird amount!

I really wanted to go and see Fast & Furious 7 so we went to our local cinema (did not go out to tea first, simply ate at home & because this was a cinema close by didn't have to pay for parking). Still $62 including snacks though.

On the spur of the moment we decided to visit friends an hour away and stay in our camper trailer overnight. B was going motorbike riding with the husband on Sunday so we drove our own cars and I drove home first thing Sunday morning. Was nice to use our camper trailer without having to go for a big weekend away and we had a nice relaxing night. As our friends cooked dinner we bought desserts - $18.63 for the desserts (one of them was a really nice lemon tart), and $40 for petrol for my car - double what I normally spend but the car got a great run, which hardly ever happens- it's usually 5-10 min trips here and there.

We spent $65 on alcohol and $135 on food for the week, not bad amounts for us.

We turned our hot tub on for the first time since mid-March and spent a really nice couple of hours relaxing in it last night, a nice way to finish the weekend Smile

Then B took the last $20 for his poker game.

We didn't have loads of money to spend but felt like we did a lot of really nice things (we also did weekly cleaning & laundry too so as to not get behind) and made the best out of our weekend.