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Archive for July, 2015

July Wrap-up & Balance Transfer Repayment Plan

July 31st, 2015 at 07:52 am

I don't talk about money mindfulness really but I do track pretty much every cent I spend each month, and work out how much time it takes me to earn each thing to put it into perspective.

Well for the month of July in between throwing all our money towards B's party and his irregular payments, I managed to live off 70% of my pay! (I only track my side of things for this exercise it would be too hard to work out exactly what he earns and how much time it took him to earn each thing). The remaining 30% was firstly 10% saved/repaid, so I allocated the final 20% to party savings. Was very happy with this result. Did I feel like I went without? Not majorly. I would have liked to have had a proper cocktail night with my friends though instead of being the driver.

Food was the lowest since April, alcohol was the lowest since May, petrol was same as usual. Clothes were $111 and all three items bought were sale/eBay items of good quality, so happy with that.

The new credit card arrived last night so I have activated it. I'm not sure if using it with a balance transfer means that I don't get an interest free period, the wording is unclear. When it comes down to it I don't care about using it anyway. Points would be nice but the main aim is no interest payable so for the moment I'm not going to use it.

I've decided to treat the balance transfer like a loan (because that's what it actually is) and do 14 equal monthly payments from a direct debit from our savings account. So $4250 / 14 = $303 per month. I cancelled the 52 week challenge debit to the other card to let it build up in the savings account instead. Will pay the remaining $147 to the other card at $10 per week.

Waiting to see when the first payment to the balance transfer card is due so I can organise the $303 to be debited from the account before then. I want this to be not long after payday (15th), hoping for the 20-25th. The $303 will be made up of $84 52 weeks challenge savings, $60 that would normally be paid on credit card interest, $40 raise money so it will just mean around $120 will need to be saved from somewhere, probably from bill savings or something.

Really wanting to simplify this as much as possible so it is foolproof, set in stone pretty much and I can move on to concentrating on other things. (Plenty to choose from! Building up the EF? Reducing mortgage balance? Etc etc. Many things to choose from).

Speaking of moving on from things, I've also gotten bored with counting the weeks of the 52 week challenge. It finishes on New Years Eve. No need to count the weeks. I will continue to update the sidebar weekly though. Oh, and because of the balance transfer repayment plan the card will be at $3038 owing!!! Did not ever anticipate it getting that low!!! The ducks are getting in a row & I am doing a happy dance Smile

B's Tax End of Financial Year Results

July 27th, 2015 at 12:38 pm

Our financial year in Australia finished on 30 June, and I have now finalised B's tax. I nominated to pay his tax monthly as he is registered for GST and it makes it so much easier to do it monthly, and it's done so quickly.

I wanted him to earn around $40,000 this year before tax and it has turned out he has made $39,970! Getting there, this is an improvement on last year! Last financial year he recorded $37,986 - he was working for a guy who was an awful payer for much of that year (which is around when my credit card got maxed out, because we were short a lot). This year he spent 3-4 months out of work and has still managed to improve, which is good.

While businesses always try to minimise their tax, with B's income it's a bit low - he's done well with tax minimising! We can live off it but if he ever gets to needing to borrow money he has trouble getting finance because a lot of companies have a $50,000 income minimum rule (like when he borrowed money for his motorbike last year - he was lucky the tax return he used, the previous one, was $49,880 or something like that, and not the one lodged a few months later of $37,986!).

Have estimated the tax payable as $4537. We have paid $3034 and have $1000 saved up so not far to go to meet the required balance.

Hoping he can make $45000 next year, or at least $42000 to keep up with increasing inflation. Happy with this result, that he has made progress!

Week 27, Card Approval, Football Win

July 26th, 2015 at 10:57 am

Week 27 has brought along lots of financial happenings. Firstly, I got approved for the 0% credit card! I applied Thursday night and told my boss he might get a phone call to verify my employment. On my lunchbreak I got a phone call from Virgin to verify my details and ask where I lived previously, which I gave to them. Fifteen minutes later I faxed all the proof of identity documents. A bit later on in the day when I had a chance I checked my email and found that pretty much as soon as I hung up they sent me an email confirming my application was approved! (And this was before I faxed the identity documents). So that's all very exciting.

I was looking at my accounts on Saturday morning and realised that I was supposed to ask for a balance transfer of $4350, not $4250! Oh well, this is one of those mistakes that is a good mistake because a little bit extra will need to be repaid. (Instead of $47 to repay, it is $147, but it is better in the long run)

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The party is now under two weeks away which is very exciting. Looking forward to it. B's credit card has taken quite a hit lately though because his work is so unreliable at the moment - the sidebar says a total of $751.69 has been repaid but currently there is only $236.00 available, so when he is lucky enough to get paid more than the bare minimum $515.69 will have to go back on there (mainly petrol he's bought).

We have allocated $2000 for a tab for the bar and now he is saying he's worried it will not be enough. My answer to that was if we both pretty much don't spend anything next week, maybe we can add some more to the tab. I am not volunteering our savings that it has taken months to accumulate to spend on alcohol, no way. Maybe if I see that he is willing to not buy anything at all, no beer, takeaway, for a weekend then I may volunteer some. But this is on the condition that we both live off the absolute minimum beforehand. I was thinking we usually spend about $550 after challenge savings, so we'll just spend $100 on food and put $450 on the tab.

I hope everything goes well and it is truly is an event to remember and look back on years later with fond memories, but I am so looking forward to getting back into my usual routine of saving and not being so stretched.

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Grocery shopping went well- my goal was to spend $80 and I have got most of the items for $49.33. Still need to buy a little bit more meat (cheap cut), lunch meat, bread, cat food and dinner vegetables. I think it can easily be done within the $30 left over. I was very happy about that!

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And my football team won, yay! They won by 37 points, so to add that to my mini-holiday fund will be $307.00 (when I get to be able to)

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Last thing, yesterday I went to the movies for the first time in a while. Didn't care about their popcorn or icecreams, so stopped in at the supermarket on the way there and bought some chocolate and savoury crackers for $4.45, brought the water from home. Glad I did, as the tickets went up to $20 each! Definitely an occasional treat now. I saw Trainwreck which was a really good movie - a bad girl turned good who finds love - very cool, sweet and funny.

Applied for New Credit Card & Balance Transfer

July 23rd, 2015 at 12:21 pm

After all of your advice, I applied for a new credit card. I've filled out the form online, have printed off the application ID which I now need to send out tomorrow with various proof of identity documents.

I looked up on creditcardfinder.com.au best balance transfer cards and currently they have a balance transfer deal available with Virgin's Velocity Rewards card (thought of you bluesfemme!). They also have a points deal available where instead of getting 1.5 points for each dollar of the first $1500 spent, for the first three months you get 3 points for each dollar of the first $1500 spent.

I worked out that if I changed the way I spent, and pretty much put all of our living expenses on there, we would earn enough possibly for a flight to Fiji next year. We're not going overseas this year and were thinking of going next year, so this would be helpful.

The balance transfer lasts for 14 months, which is ideal. I wanted to have a balance transfer for up to 12 months, didn't want to string it out for 20 months (some of the deals available), as I know it will be paid within 12 months. (My plan for next year's challenges as we will have a bit of an EF is to focus more on CC repayment than savings - possibly simply pay the credit cards back for the first part of the year and then focus on the EF). I have requested $4250 to be balance transferred. The balance after tomorrow's challenge payment will be $4297, so there may be a small amount to payout, assuming I get approved of course.

There is no balance transfer fee but there is an annual fee of $64 (half of the usual annual fee). The credit card's interest rate is high, it is 20.74%, which is a major deterrent in incurring any more debt.

Wish me luck!

Misc Financial Transactions

July 22nd, 2015 at 12:58 pm

I prepaid $60 onto my credit card for the interest charge and yesterday it got charged $53.50, so have counted the extra $6.50 as a snowflake in the Banking the difference challenge. Was so over the monthly interest charges that I started to apply for another card on a 0% balance transfer. Then chickened out when I had to put the employer details up - can't handle my boss getting the phone call! I guess this means I'm slightly embarrassed about my credit card debt because I so didn't want to have that conversation...

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We had $29 left over from our weekly pay, so I sent $24 over to repay the EF from what we borrowed. Now the amount owing is $275.93.

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B got paid his small pay for the week where he only worked 2.5 days. I bought more groceries last week in anticipation, spent $200, so my goal this week is to only spend $80. We need to buy fruit & veggies, some red meat, bread, almond milk, tinned cat food, lunch meat, eggs, and some snacks for B. Looks doable. I'm putting it here so I can be held accountable and will *not* buy extra stuff. Wish me luck guys!

Challenges Week 26 & First Ever EBay Buy!

July 20th, 2015 at 11:45 am

Week 26 of the challenges hasn't been too too bad. We did lots of little things that weren't really that expensive. I bought more food this week in anticipation of B's smaller paycheck next week - tried to buy bigger staples, or slightly more of them, so that there will be less food to buy in the grocery shopping. I accidentally bought too much meat, so it looks like I may only have to buy one meat item next week. This is great, because meat is the most expensive item.

On Friday I treated myself a little. My sister's birthday is today and she wanted a body shop body butter pack. They had a special where if you spend more than $30, you can get an item half price. Her gift pack was $36, so I did something I rarely do and gave into a sale item that I didn't plan to buy in the first place. I got a lovely body butter in the blueberry fragrance - it is sooo nice. Worth $23, paid $12.

Then later on, on Friday night I thought about the new handbag I want to buy before B's birthday party. I wanted a new handbag, but because this is a not needed item and really much much more of a want, I put a $20 limit on the bag and bought it from EBay. This is the first time I have ever bought off EBay so I'm really hoping to get the bag at the end of the week with no problems. Cross your fingers for me! The bag was a good brand, a black Jag bag, for $20 and free postage (woohoo). It looks really nice and didn't break the bank either Smile

Banked The Raise

July 16th, 2015 at 11:40 am

Well, actually I paid the raise against my credit card. As it was a snowflake I added it to the Banking the Difference Challenge- this challenge has now moved from the $2500 area to the $2600 area, so a bit of progress is good.

I estimated that the credit card would be $3,992 at the end of the year, so then I figured if I pop the raise of $40 per month on there too, by the end of the year 6 x $40 = $240 will be paid, leaving a balance of $3,752 - which is just slightly over a month's pay for me!!!

It will feel so much more manageable to be able to repay!!! I can see that the balance will drop down quickly after that.

On another note, I have been busy party planning the last few days. I'm using a really helpful app to keep track of guest rsvps, how long until the party and the to-do list. I'm pretty confident that it will all run smoothly. My sister Inlaw is really talented at making birthday cakes and has offered to make B's birthday cake as a present for him, which is really sweet.

Snowflakes Withdrawal

July 13th, 2015 at 10:32 pm

Three weeks ago I stopped my banking the difference challenge where whenever there is a bill reduction the difference gets saved away, due to saving for the party. So I've been paying bills and not saving the reductions and it's been killing me!

We had $6 left in our checking account after weekend spending so I thought I might pay it back against the money we borrowed from the EF. Then I thought maybe just a couple of small bill savings too??

Last week we paid for business insurance, the home and B's phone bill. The savings on the first two are $15.23. B's phone bill is $78.00 less than last year but that looks a bit unattainable at the moment.

So I repaid $21.23 ($6 unspent & $15.23 bill savings). Previous amount owed to the EF was $321.16, new amount owing $299.93. Getting back to normal!!

Week 25, Exactly Halfway Plus CPI Salary Raise

July 11th, 2015 at 08:06 am

We're now at week 25, which is exactly halfway through the 50 week challenge. It's so nice to see that yes, we've saved/repaid all that on the sidebar!

This week, as of yesterday, my credit card fell just below $4.5k owing, which was pretty exciting. I've allowed myself to really enjoy that, because I think it will be a little while before it dips down below $4k. In fact, at 31 December (if there were to be no more snowflakes) it will be $3,992.18. So, it will be a little while yet.

Yesterday I got a CPI raise at work (where you are compensated for inflation as per the annual inflation rate of the country you are living in). This year it was 1.3%. I'm really happy to work at a place where you get paid CPI each year, because as I was saying to my boss yesterday "imagine working at a place where you have the same job for 5/10 years and the pay doesn't go up yet the living expenses do??" and he said yeah, people usually have to leave then just to be compensated for what they are actually worth. Glad that's not me! Here the larger organisations (I am certain the banks pay CPI, because my sister used to work at a bank and she got it) pay CPI as a standard thing, but smaller businesses I'm not so sure about. I never got it at the real estate agencies I worked at (two) and I'm not sure about the other accounting firm, it was so long ago. Anyhow, as of the 15th of this month, I will receive an extra $40 each month, it all adds up.

In other news, on Thursday night we did something fun and went to see the band we are having play for B's party. It is a friend of his, and it turns out this is their first gig in five years! (Because it's B's friend, he gave us a cheaper rate of $600, normally you would pay at least $1000) They were a bit rusty in places, but when their songs came together, they sounded really great! They rented out a studio room and we got to listen to them jam - never ever been lucky enough to do that, it was a cool night. I had a headache yesterday but it was worth it Smile

Here, we are getting the coldest weather we've had in 15 years, it is so cold! It was a no spend day simply because I couldn't bear to leave the house! The dog got walked before the rain came but other than that the only time I went outside was to hang the washing out. Send me some sunshine guys!!!

So grateful for heating and hot drinks Smile

Hoping you're all having a lovely weekend Smile

A Snowflake, Environmentally Friendly Coffee Pods & Party Savings

July 8th, 2015 at 12:27 pm

Lots of goings on today!

Firstly I received a snowflake. For my online study unit I bought a book and then found that I had an older version from a couple of years ago and am allowed to use it, so returned it and received the refund today of $109.76. Postage to send it was $23.15, so net snowflake is $86.61. As I am not collecting snowflakes and the EF is owed $407.76, I transferred $86.60 to the EF, and now $321.16 remains owing.

The $86.60 is on my credit card so I transferred cash from our weekly spending money and need to use the $86.60 for weekly expenses. Had to pay back $17 for alcohol bought and $20.52 for petrol (they were bought ahead for this weekend), and bought coffee pods online (more below) for $22.50 and grocery items tonight for $7.04, so $19.54 remains to be spent. This may simply be next week's petrol expense I think.

I have coffee pod machine (which I love dearly) and have been reading backlash about the fact that once the coffee pods are used they cannot be recycled (Nespresso) and simply sit in landfill, which is a huge problem. The cheaper pods I often buy (Piazza L'Or) are not much better. However I have read about a better more environmentally friendly coffee pod made by a NZ company called Eco Caffe, where their pods are biodegradable. Today I ordered two sleeves a trial. They are the same price as Nespresso so are not cheap but when I think of the environmental benefit, I think it is an expense worth paying. The two sleeves are $14.80 with a postage charge of $7.70 (ugh). If you order more than $100 worth of pods, postage is free. So if they taste ok and I can buy that amount (depending on the useby date on the box - will have to look when I receive the two sleeves), it's about as cost economical as I can get it. (And I would have, say, four-five months worth of coffee pods- kind of like Toilet-Paper-Tracker with her tissues!). We'll see how this idea pans out.

Finally, we received the remaining two invoices, so have the party money saved away, which is a big relief. We are not out of the woods yet with him though, because they are still behind with their invoice payments (just not as behind). He also only will have worked for 2.5 days of this week so will not be invoicing out, so I am currently looking at the invoices he has owing and I can see already that in between slow payments and one week of nothing billed out, it's only the 8th but we will need to watch our money carefully to be able to make the car payment, his motorbike payment and superannuation (in total $1405) which is due at the end of the month. So I'm happy we have the party money but still a bit worried, not quite in comfort zone yet! A quiet week this week it will be!

Week 24 & Football Winnings = Mini Holiday Fund

July 6th, 2015 at 09:51 am

Week 24 ended up going pretty smoothly. I was stressed out last week about having to spend for a birthday party at the last minute when we didn't really have a lot of money available but it ended up ok.

I got invited out with my friends on Friday night, so I drove and had wedges with sweet chilli sauce and sour cream ($9) and bought a wine and soft drink, so did not spend much. I bought a perfume for the cousin worth $30 and she really loved it (was good because it was worth $60 and I have it, it's a great perfume called Wish). B found out we can bring our own alcohol which saved about $40. The restaurant was expensive, $70 for the both of us, so at least we didn't have to pay for overpriced alcohol! Groceries were as cheap as I could get - $94, which is what I was spending for us when B was off work. It was B's turn tonight to host the poker party (his Monday night event) so we spent $38 on food for entertaining- he did a beef casserole for 8 and I managed to score a plate (yum!).

We did have to draw some money again from the EF but not as much as last week - $142, $45 to cover the shortfall from spending and $97 to cover B's petrol for the week. Total amount now owed back to the EF is $407.76.

This week we are hoping B gets paid for all old and current invoices so then we can have the party pretty much paid for and start getting back to normal. I want to have the party money well ahead of time so that we can enjoy his birthday and make it a memorable occasion instead of it being a stressful occasion!!

Now for something I consider pretty exciting.. Every time my football team wins I save $1 for every point they win by. This weekend they won by 110 points!!! Their biggest win against this team in 119 years. I actually owe $2 for a win a couple of weeks ago and now $110 for last weekend's game. I felt like celebrating so thought you know what, I'm going to turn their winnings into a mini holiday fund! Travel is a big part of who I am and what I love- I love at least one holiday a year. So I worked out the winnings and have adjusted my sidebar accordingly. Currently there is $270.00 there.

The mini-holiday fund can be a contribution towards a holiday or perhaps simply a leisure event. I'm just giving these dollars a particular purpose. Our wedding anniversary is in October this year and we haven't really planned anything because our focus is on the party. For $270.00 we can get a room in the best hotel in Melbourne (marked down from $400), so we could go out for a really nice dinner and a great hotel room is already paid for. Or we could put that towards three nights in Port Douglas, Queensland ($100 might have to be paid out of pocket). Flights up there and back are pretty cheap. Swanky hotel or fun in the sun, what would you guys choose? Decisions decisions Smile

Party Savings, My Retirement Fund & A Gripe

July 2nd, 2015 at 12:48 pm

B got paid and after tax we have saved the majority of this invoice - $1470. Two more invoices to go and $2230 left to save. I can't wait to have it saved because I'm out of my comfort zone with having to save this much money in such a short amount of time - the anxiety I am experiencing is my indicator. $1470 is just under 40% of the required amount, I am reminding myself of this. And reminding myself that this will be a great night, and worth the anxiety.

B keeps telling me that we still have 5 weeks to we don't have to save so hard, but I worry that something expensive could come up and derail us, so it's better to get it over with. Even if the expensive thing is simply a slow-payer for his business! I do look forward to getting back into the challenges too - the mortgage dropped again, now it's $995 per month with a saving of $183, looking forward to adding that saving to the challenge, trust me Smile

Invitations got sent out to everyone this week, so that is an important thing done.

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All of the talk on this site about retirement funds has made me want to check mine - I really only look at the annual statements and that's it. Last year at 1 July it was $69000. So I decided that on 1 July I would get out the statement from last year and register to log into the website and check everything there. I did that, and found that it has increased to $79031! My current pay is $55000 per year, however I'm not sure that I would need that as a retired person, I'm imagining I could get by on $40000 a year. Remembering Ceejay74's post a while ago about saving amounts by looking at the annual pay and multiplying it by x depending on how old you are - I am 37, so would fit into needing 2 x times my salary in my retirement fund. If the market continued in this fashion I could have my actual annual salary by 40 multiplied by 2, but currently it is sitting at 2 x $40000, so I am happy with that.

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My gripe: my inlaws are lovely but have become accustomed to eating out at every birthday, which is so expensive! We had to go out for the MIL's birthday last Sunday and his cousin's birthday is this weekend. (Close family) The uncle told us that she just wants to go out with friends for her 30th. Now we get a phone call today that we the family are to go out a restaurant in an upmarket suburb for the family celebration the following night! Grrr. Two days notice is pretty rude for something where you need to buy a present, pay for two dinners and drinks. Do they think we're rolling in it and would just happen to have a spare $150 to blow??? No, they obviously didn't think.

To cut costs I told B that we would buy her present, not put in with his sister (she likes buying vouchers, so will ask for $50, whereas I will shop around and spend around $30 - I'm thinking perfume of some sort), and to call back his uncle and ask him if the restaurant has BYO alcohol (a lot of chinese restaurants do).

I know, looking at the bigger picture, it is good to have family that do these things and are close, and we will get to have a nice meal. Hopefully we can bring our own alcohol too to cut costs too. I told B that we will not be spending a lot on food this week - we have bulk bought so only need to buy meat and vegetables, everything else we have. We have a spaghetti sauce and spaghetti, so just need mince, and I am thinking instead of having steak etc of just buying a big packet of sausages and eating that a few different ways.

Apologies for the super long post! I am constantly telling myself to relax and not be so anxious - I figure if I keep doing this, keep breathing and going to my happy place, everything will all work out and it will all be fine.