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Archive for September, 2015

September Wrap-up

September 30th, 2015 at 04:50 am

I'm going to aim to keep this entry short, especially as I'm not using wifi at the moment, so should get off the internet soon. (And look at the modem again soon).

I've been noting down my figures but then I felt like using something a bit more visual. Something fairly simple, don't have the energy right now to work out how to use something with a bank feed and code things etc. I found an app called Spending and it's super easy to use and the top half of the screen looks like a chalkboard and simply states "Income" $$, underneath Expenses $$ and underneath that the amount you have left over.

The bottom half has a pie chart which shows percentage of each spending category. So simple and visually all I wanted!

Bills for September amounted to 63%. Bills are high in September because they're all lumped together and also because it's at the end of winter so we've been running the heater, dryer etc. Spring is here so not as much need to run everything.

Savings amounted to 15%. Spending on food etc was fairly low key and I tried to spend as little as possible on petrol, clothes etc.

I like the app, so I think for October I will use it but put in the bills and 15% savings and aim to live off the rest.

Holiday Fund Complete Withdrawal, EOM transactions

September 23rd, 2015 at 05:12 am

So glad I thought of the holiday fund earlier this year, it has become so useful! Was not even thinking about overseas holidays at the moment but then yesterday a good friend of mine (whose wedding we went to in March) invited us to go with them and a bunch of friends to Phuket, Thailand next year! She found a deal of $800pp for 7 nights accommodation, airfares and breakfasts. We have not planned dates to go as yet but once we buy the package they are valid for two years - we imagine we will be going next year sometime. So excited - did not consider going to Thailand but many people have said how beautiful it is, and it looks gorgeous. Luckily B agreed to go! So there was $207.00 in the mini-holiday and deposits to lock in the deal were $150.00pp, so I transferred out the $207.00 from mini-holiday fund and $93.00 from our bank account.

Must do the tax return and get the EF back to what it should be.... So bad with procrastinating on this one...

I worked out to get 15% savings I would need to save an extra $188.

$58 of that had to go towards the Balance Transfer payment of $303.00. I transferred over the payment tonight and the balance in a couple of days on that card should read $3,644.00 - which is awesome. The balance on the actual CC1 is around $68 now, eventually it will be down to $0. No rush there, I just keep on transferring $10 per week.

The remaining $130 saved was part of the mortgage snowflake of $183.00 reduction in our mortgage compared to what the repayment used to be (B covered the rest).

I also transferred our insurance savings towards the two cars tonight as well of $180, there is now $580 saved up.

As it is the end of the month (well close enough) spending will be minimal from now on. I had a long day at work and craved a bottle of wine and gave in - there was $10 spent (had two glasses though, the rest is still there). But there is no weekend plans, so should be very quiet. Will need to be because most of the money is now spent! I am not bothered though because I feel like it is going to useful places.

Turning a 5 week month into a 4 wk month musing..

September 22nd, 2015 at 01:08 am

It's the 22nd today and I've survived September so far. It doesn't even feel like I've really struggled despite having to pay a whole lot of bills this month. Still have around $900 or so to shell out tomorrow but it's accounted for.

Am now through 90% of my pay. We allocate our spending weekly every Wednesday which this month would be 5 weeks in a month. Because the expenses have been high the next two Wednesday's would be living pretty scantily.

So I'm thinking why don't I transfer next week's spending money on the first, as the bills are lower next month. Then I can definitely save 15% and live kind of comfortably? I'm liking the idea of saving 15% this month as the last few months we've only been averaging about 7-8%, and that post in Donald's investment blog inspired me! And as only 8 days are left in the month it should be manageable.

Misc Transactions, Goals Progress, Dead Work Computer

September 17th, 2015 at 05:51 am

I will start off with the financial transactions for the week. The 50 week challenge payments for the week have been updated and I have added $110 to the Banking the Difference challenge, which was savings for my credit card for the $303 monthly balance transfer payment.

Like Mrs Frugalista, yesterday I was reflecting on my goals and the progress so far and how likely it is that by 31 December they will be met. I have dipped into the EF a couple of months ago and still owe $130 for that. Have also withdrawn $1283 for my study subject. So while the totals on the sidebar look wonderful, in actual the EF is a bit leaner than that! I need to do my tax asap to get the $1283 back. I'm actually due a bit over $1500 so the $130 will be repaid also. For our situation, it's so important to do this now while we're in high season before we get to low season and the tax refund then has to get used to live off, not repaying the EF. *So* don't want that.

B's card is shocking because he's been getting underpaid again. The sidebar says he has repaid $472.30 and $379.63 for the two challenges, yesterday I checked and he only had $155 available. I have since repaid $225.00 from his earnings tonight, so that he now has $380.00 available (as per Banking the Difference challenge).

So we have a bit of work to do to get back up to speed. *If* things go well, we get back to normal and all our money gets repaid back into the right places, and I continue to pay at least $100 on my credit card on top of the 50 week challenge, and we bank the difference for the mortgage savings of $183.00 per month, we should meet a pretty awesome goal of having saved/repaid $10,000. But as I'm seeing at the moment it will require some careful watching and ensuring the balances are repaid and not used (eg not dipping into the EF or using the credit cards).

But it is so important to not just plan and carry out the plan, but to also occasionally sit back, reflect on where your progress is and decide if any action needs to be taken, as I have just seen.

Finally - have had *the*worst*week* with computers, both at home and work!!! Monday night our computer would start but the monitor would then say "no signal" and go blank, nothing would happen. Then B came home a couple of hours later and tinkered around and 10 minutes later it was working. So glad about that, even if I lost 2 hours before that. Tuesday at work just after 5pm we were winding our day down and all of a sudden the network was lost, the server lost power. My boss got on the phone to IT and reset the server and it was ok. I got home Tuesday night and our toner ran out, and B put new toner in. But something went wrong with it and black wouldn't print. Have left it for now, we will look at it soon. Yesterday our part-timer couldn't get her computer on, they ended up finding out it was a problem with a graphics card and she got a new monitor, everything was working.

But today I got to work and when I turned my computer on, it had the graphics of the brand on the screen, and then it went black. Nothing. IT came and got my computer, worked on it for a couple of hours and brought it back. This time it loaded up to desktop stage but none of the programs would open. Then after we tried opening them an error message came up, and then the whole thing closed down. Our manager then spoke to IT, who said it sounds like the hard drive had died and it needs to be replaced. My boss looked at when it was purchased and would you believe it, it was only 3 months out of warranty!!! Talk about not good value for money!

I spent the day summarising things manually, just like accountants did in the old days, with a notepad and a calculator with a printer ribbon. Luckily I have the day off tomorrow so hopefully something is sorted out while I'm off work.

After all these dramas I am currently backing up our hard drive to an external hard drive we have. It's taking a long time though, so might turn it off and do it tomorrow while I know I'll be on the computer for a couple of hours, have to get some sleep.

Hopefully you all back up your computers! If not, please take the opportunity and do it!

$15 Reward & Cost of Wedding

September 13th, 2015 at 05:23 am

This weekend while grocery shopping I received a $15.00 discount from the supermarket as a reward for shopping there for 4 weeks and spending over $100 each time (the $30 gift card for the first weeks is still due to arrive). Shopping was then reduced down to $100.40. Last week I paid a couple of phone bills and there was a $10 discount on one of them, so sent over $25 back to the EF (the $15 reward, the $10 bill saving). Now the amount owed back to the EF from what we borrowed is $130.00.

It is the 13th and I am now currently at 77% spent. Watching carefully.

I promised Debtfree-by-thirty that when I got around to it I would post up the cost of our destination wedding. I opened up the spreadsheet and it came in at $8615.88. I still think it ended up being around $10000 though, because I was carefully monitoring costs up to departing for the wedding, once we were at our destination there was way too much going on to track finances. Here is the breakdown as follows:

Flight to & from Queensland $651.88
Celebrant $640.00
Photographer $840.00
Wedding rings $734.00
Invitations $115.00 (we bought the material from a scrapbooking store and made them ourselves)
Catering $1200.00
Honeymoon accommodation $848.00
Hire car $452.00
Alcohol $500.00 (I have a feeling we allowed $500.00 but when we got there we may have spent $1000.00 as we bought beer, wines and many premixed spirit drinks)
Spending money $1000.00
Bride's Dress $890.00
Groom's Suit $200.00
Marquee & jukebox $545.00

I haven't included makeup etc, but when we arrived in Queensland I got acrylic nails (French manicure), spray tan, makeup done, hair done - it all could have come to about $500. While we there we put together thank you for attending bags with cards & sugar almonds, that was about $100 (maximum).

We had about 30 people at our wedding (in October 2010) and did not have to pay for a venue as we held the wedding on my sister-in-law's tropical rainforest property.

Hopefully this has been helpful, it was certainly interesting to reflect back over!

Withdrawal from the Holiday Fund

September 9th, 2015 at 05:04 am

Last week I did something exciting and applied for annual leave! This year we are doing more camping things, so we are going away to see friends a few hours away for a weekend and we are also going away camping for four nights for our wedding anniversary to a place called Bright, which is in the mountains and is really beautiful.

The campsite at the caravan park was $45 per night, so $180 in total. I decided to withdraw $100 from the holiday fund (because that's what it's there for) but didn't want to withdraw too much either. Because I've withdrawn $100 from the holiday fund I've reduced the holiday fund and the Banking the Difference challenge on the sidebar accordingly. This way we pay $80 out of pocket for the accommodation, feels much better, less of an outflow. So $207 is left there, might add some here and there to build it up a bit.

Very much looking forward to both holidays Smile

Other things of note:
- no charge for paying the minimum late on the balance transfer card, woohoo!
- the fan belt on the dryer broke. We have had it for 12 years now so B was thinking maybe it's time to replace it. Instead I found a parts kit (there are four or five different parts, and the dryer fan belt is one of those things) for $56 in total off eBay. When it arrives B will fit it. I am so lucky to have such a handy husband!

Balance Transfer Card Due Date

September 6th, 2015 at 05:09 am

I received the credit card statement a while ago but didn't check the minimum payment due date. (I know, so not clever.) The credit card statement showed that I paid the $303 from last month and added on the $64 annual card fee. So from the close of the credit card statement to now I have paid $64 against the credit card, to clear the annual card fee.

So all weekend I've been thinking "really must check the due date for payment"... well I did and it's due tomorrow, the 7th! So I've shortpaid by $17 (the minimum payment was $81)! I had a look on their website to see if I will get charged any fees, it doesn't say. I promptly transferred $30 over, so the amount paid will be $94. I am still sticking to $303 per month though, so later on I will pay $273 instead. SO annoyed with myself! Grrr.

Anyway, now I know the due date, don't I...

Also, I forgot to share my thoughts of the Vacation movie, which I saw last week. I thought it was great! A bit gross in some parts, but it is a fun family movie where you will leave with a smile on your face and a warm feeling.

And just quickly (as I have to go to bed soon) food shopping was a respectable $145 for us, so was happy with that. Got the gas bill, which turns out to be $522 (up $17 from this time last year - due to running the heater all winter). The electricity bill is also so high because I use the dryer every weekend during winter. Looking forward to the weather warming up so I can stop using it.

I have accounted for all the bills for the month, with that and spending up to this point of time, am at 71% of the total budget. Will be continuing to try not to spend too much so we don't see a financial haemorrhage.

Scary September

September 3rd, 2015 at 05:10 am

Here September is wonderful because it is the start of spring and winter is on it's way out (happy dance!!). In our house September is scary because all our expensive bills fall due.

I did the monthly budget just to work out if we could afford to save the $183 mortgage saving to add to the mortgage principal - from August. Turns out we can, and so I did. That was important to me.

We have council rates ($400), an electricity bill of $612 and our telephone company had an outage a while ago and the wifi on my ipad stopped working. Unfortunately I didn't realise until possibly a week or more later. Then opened up the phone bill to find an extra $200 in data usage added on! I was so not happy!

Add to that a more than likely high gas bill which is expected to come in at the end of the month, and I am nervous.

I worked out that we can just afford the bills, necessities and our usual savings, and probably some small luxuries here and there. But as it's scary September, conservative and frugal is the name of the game. The aim is no super high grocery bills this month (I really will try!) and not overly high spending in the other areas.

In terms of the $303 credit card payment to come out in the middle of the month, I now have $72.40.