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Archive for December, 2015

No Christmas Debt Hangover; 2016 Goals Musings

December 28th, 2015 at 01:18 pm

Like many others on this site, I am happy to say that we have carried no debt for our Christmas presents etc. We don't normally carry much of a debt for Christmas presents, perhaps $100-$200 usually. This time, nothing (which was a great feeling).

I stopped tracking spending on December 22. I don't know what it is with me, in normal everyday life I track constantly, but when I hit holiday mode I just cannot do it (except for the last time we were away when I was really motivated). Part of it was also because we saved $800, which is the spending money that B normally covers; so rather than eating into our everyday money we are simply spending money which was allocated for this purpose. It has been so helpful having the spending money aside.

I won't say that the money situation has been stress-free because with him being self-employed it is never stress-free at Christmas time. Funny things always happen with his payments he is owed at Christmas time. This time he got paid for the larger invoice but not the smaller, even though they were invoiced on the same day. So instead of being worried about that, I was simply mildly annoyed. I know we'll get it in a few weeks.

On the financial side of things, I got paid my Christmas bonus from work. I knew that if I got it, I would buy some bar stools for the kitchen area, and bank the rest, so that it can be put towards a study unit. The bar stools came to $207. They only had one in stock, so we are waiting for the other two to be shipped in. We took the other one home though, it looks very nice! The balance of the bonus was $800, which is also the allocated spending money from the EF to cover B's wages, so instead of withdrawing from the EF, I just used the balance of the bonus. The $800 in the EF will be left there until needed.

I have simply been charging things to my credit card, so have just paid over all that has been spent. Such a lovely feeling to have that all squared out and back to what it was before.

****

Christmas was a busy blur; it always is! Christmas Eve was my work do - we went to a Moroccan restaurant and had a six course meal, which was really nice. Christmas day we had the inlaws over for lunch for the first time ever - that was busy as we pretty had to spring-clean the house beforehand! Everything worked out wonderfully though. Christmas night was at my sister's house, which was also wonderful. It was a hot day, just under 97F. We got home and the power was out, probably because so many people were using their airconditioners. So we sat outside on that really balmy night, listening to music and having a couple of drinks. WAs a really lovely end to a great day. Then on Boxing Day we had to go to B's extended family, aunties and uncles etc, which is always a nice day.

Yesterday I was so tired from it all though that I spent hours watching catch-up tv and music videos, and basically hibernating, to bring myself back to my normal self, rebalancing etc.

****

Now thinking about goals, I can't seem to find a concrete plan. I'm probably too tired still with too much going on. I know that this year, from this month onwards, I don't want us to pay more than $300 per month interest on the mortgage. At the moment on average, interest is about $560-$570, so we would be paying $260-$270 out of pocket against the loan. By doing this, as our monthly mortgage payment is $995, roughly 70% of each payment will then work out to be principal.

I also want to try to live off much less than what I am paid; for two reasons: 1. pretty much whatever savings/debt repayment goals there are will be easily met, 2. I want to feel like I don't need to rely on my full pay to make ends meet, because I think that so many people tell themselves they must earn $xxx when they could live off far less.

I will also update the sidebar to show mini-EF (available cash) and maxi-EF (invested cash). This currently stands at $2135 available cash and $1138 invested cash. Maybe if I aim to increase invested cash by $3000, then the total EF will be roughly around $5k.

So my rough plans for 2016 are;
- pay no more than $300 interest on the mortgage (average of $270 per month x 12 months = $3240)
- save a further $3000 to the EF
- continue debt repayment to credit cards as previously. When the $303 monthly balance transfer payment is finished after September, that $303 will instead become savings for my next car. (Hopefully I don't need to buy for a while though)($303 x 12 months = $3636)

Estimate of total savings cost for 2016 = $9876. Based on 2015 savings made, this should be possible.

Apologies for the super long post, I really needed to do some thinking out loud! Now, must fall into bed as it after midnight and I am exhausted. Goodnight all!

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!

December 24th, 2015 at 09:35 am

It's Christmas Eve and festivities are now in full swing. If we're not celebrating, we're preparing for it, so just wanted to drop a quick line and wish everyone a safe and fun Christmas. Whether you crave relaxation or quality time with family and friends, I hope you get it. Merry Christmas, speak to you all very soon xxxx

Final Balance Transfer; Final EOY Results!

December 19th, 2015 at 07:16 pm

Last week among financial things I made my final balance transfer payment of $303 per month for 2015. The balance transfer card should be at $2734 owed after the payment hits. It's good knowing that I will close the year out at under $3k credit card debt compared to $5400 at the start of the year.

I was thinking about adjusting the totals down to reflect what the balances actually are but have decided against it. The reason being we did actually save that money at some point during the year. It was simply used for certain purposes. Some of it was used on holiday purposes. Some of it was used to cover B not being paid in the first week of December. Unfortunately what was used on B's card I cannot exactly say what it was for; a lot of it would have been work stuff, fast food, motorbike stuff.

Eventually we will need to look at that card and work out some sort of solution. He doesn't need a card with $3700 credit because his spending habits are to spend whatever is available. Probably a card with $1000-$1500 credit is better for him. Big enough to make decent sized purchases (eg car stuff) but not big enough to cause too much drama. So eventually, probably after my balance transfer has been done, we will organise a balance transfer for him and a new card with a much lower balance.

Anyway back to end of year stuff. I am doing end of year totals now before christmas and new years in the event that we are a bit too busy for me to sit down and work this out, and I know that no more savings will be made for the year. My end of year total will be as follows:

50 Week Challenge $5300 + Banking the Difference $4379.54 + $90 Caravan Park accommodation spent + $210.00 Phuket Holiday Deposit spent + $35.00 Cash Savings =

$10,014.54!!!

Thank you all for sharing my first year of savings challenges, your advice and your journeys with me. You have all helped me to become a bit more financially responsible and you have all inspired me in your own different ways!

(Most likely by the time you read this I will have updated the Banking the Difference category to read $4679.54, with $818.00 holiday fund)

What does next year hold??? I'm not sure yet. I don't feel I need to do two separate challenges anymore. I think I will work out a couple of goals and plans, maybe possibly do one challenge like Imasaver but with a different name to $20 challenge. I have roughly 11 days to decide, so the thinking cap is on!

Thank You EBay & Needs Vs Wants

December 16th, 2015 at 06:45 am

I've been using my email on my phone regularly over the last few months and it is so helpful at the moment because the stores I am buying from are listing their sales and discounts.

B wanted solar panels for the camper trailer for Christmas. The shops retail price is around $350 but eBay has them for around $190. B's parents said they will give him cash to put towards it so I said to put cash for me too instead of buying me a present. So $190 less $80 for our presents brings it to $110 out of pocket.

eBay had a 10% of everything sale so while the price went up to $195, we then received $19.50 discount. Nice! Thanks eBay Smile

Tonight I am buying dinner sets for 8 people and cutlery. All of ours is mismatched and we are short of cutlery. First I was going to spend $40 for two dinner sets from Kmart and $70 for proper silverware from Harris Scarfe.

Then Mr Money Moustache got into my head! $110 is a big outlay on top of Christmas presents and food for Christmas dinner.. Do we really need fine silverware? We need plates and cutlery. Fine silverware is a want. Perhaps that can be a birthday present or next year's Christmas present from the Inlaws.

So I have found cute Christmas plates for $12 per set and nice cutlery at $15 per set, so I am hoping for a total outlay of $54. Hopefully they have what I want in stock Smile

We Are Holding Christmas At Our House

December 15th, 2015 at 07:03 am

For the last couple of years we've tried to tell B's parents that as much as they love having Christmas at their house it's now too much for them (it is).

We told them we would hold it this year, and next year B's sister would hold it, and they should buy the meat (they are ultra picky so I don't want *that* responsibility).

Christmas night is reserved for my family as always.

I have downloaded a wonderful Christmas list app and it's looking like everything (presents, food, new dinner sets and cutlery) will come to $1040. Some things have already been bought and we saved $100 throughout the year, so it looks like currently there is $792 left but I'm hoping to whittle that down with discounts. (Ps I love productivity apps that can help you with organising an event, why use boring old paper!).

Looking forward to having Christmas! We do have to spring clean our place so it will be nice when it is sparkling too!

My First Share Purchases Since 2013

December 11th, 2015 at 11:11 am

The last couple of years haven't been wonderful financially so I've had a trading account for many years but haven't had the funds to justify owning shares.

This year we're now in a better place and the EF is sitting in my trading cash account which earns next to no interest. Seriously we get about $0.30 a month! I like having the cash there though because it is a separate bank to all our other accounts and it is a hassle to withdraw funds so there is less temptation to withdraw all the time.

I decided to split it up into a mini EF and a maxi EF. The mini EF has $2000 plus $518 Phuket money plus $810 for the two weeks we are on holidays to cover B's salary (which is the spending money he provides us). The maxi EF is the $1221 shares purchased today. The idea is next year that the mini EF gets $1k so there will be $3k cash available and the balance goes to the maxi EF.

I bought 1050 Maxitrans shares for $635 including brokerage. It's been so long since I've bought that the minimum trade has gone up from $500 to $600! Maxitrans cost $0.585 per share. They are a local company who I invested in last time at $0.60 and sold for $1.40. I think they're good and I guess I'm being a loyal customer coming back for seconds!

The other shares I bought were 50 QBE insurance. I dealt with them recently for work and they were so efficient that I thought if there was any company I'd want to own a part of it would be them! Their figures checked out ok (by my unprofessional standards of course!), so I bought and hope to buy more Smile

I feel like things are falling into place now, and am glad to have our money somewhere we can get a return better than $0.30 a month!!

Christmas/End of Year Stuff

December 10th, 2015 at 11:34 am

It's been a little while since I've written! I finished my study unit and have been slowly adjusting back to 40 hour weeks instead of the 50-60 hour weeks I've been dealing with when I had to study as well as work. It's nice to have a bit of free time.

And now Christmas is just around the corner! We put the tree up a couple of days ago which is really nice. And my family decided that the adults would partake in a Kris Kringle for the first time ever! The presents must be worth between $40 and $60 per person, but this is a reduction in presents as we would normally have to buy 5 presents and now it is one per person. Happy about that.

B's family we will need to buy 4 adult presents for, not completely sure what yet. Then there are four nephews and one niece. I have $100 in gift cards saved up from previous months which I will use to pay for two nephews and the niece (or three nephews? will work out the same anyway). So we are looking at two presents for my family; four for B's; plus two kids; so I'm guessing around $250-$300 in presents. We'll see what it ends up as.

My Christmas present is half the anniversary present; it is an eternity ring. A gorgeous ring marked down from $600 to $420, with the stones set in a V, which sits perfectly in front of my engagement ring. We have been paying it off on layby since the middle of last month, so no problems there. Speaking of anniversary presents; my gift to my husband was changing my name but my marriage certificate request was denied as I had the wrong person certify my ID, so now have to redo that by getting the police to certify and sending it back. I have 60 days, and was notified on November 2, so will have to get moving on that one! I want it done by early next week.

B wants a solar panel for our camping stuff, which has been priced at $180 on eBay. His parents said they will give cash towards it, so I said they can give cash towards my present too. That means we will be out of pocket there about $100.

I have still been living quietly to try and get back to normal after my trip to see Nana; hoping to finish the year out with that dealt with. Then B had problems at work and didn't get paid last week, so we were really out of pocket.

I ended up having to transfer $880 from savings and use up his tax savings money of $634. It's so amazing that it can take so long to build and can be gone so quickly! At least it was there though.

As a result this week when he got paid, most of it pretty much went. He is supposed to be getting a good pay next week, but it will need to last us. I think he gets one more pay before Christmas, and then we will need to wait until around the 20th January.

I am still planning to allocate two weeks spending money for him from our EF though, so that will help us. I was thinking a maximum of $1000 but really I think I will just see what we need, we could possibly be comfortable with less. I think this is a good idea for him as he is self-employed though - everyone deserves to have a holiday free of trying to work out how you will pay for your time off! At least this way he can relax the same way I, as an employee, does.

Finally, I am steeling myself for a profit downgrade when it comes to the challenges.. The EF and CC1 have had the correct amount saved/repaid, however CC2 (which we use for B's work) is generally lucky to have around $250 free! So according to the challenges $1068.63 will be repaid by year end - so that will likely need to be reduced by $750. The mortgage savings - hopefully the $880 used last week will be repaid by year end. $293 was repaid tonight. I am hopeful that we will repay it.

So instead of $5300 + $4076.54 = $9376.54, it could be $5300 + $4076.54 - $750 + $303 (balance transfer CC1 payment not made yet but will be made)

= $8929.54.

Who knows, maybe I can find $72 to push it over $9k?
Anyway even with a profit downgrade, it's still a billion times better than what we had 1 year ago!! I'm still happy with that.