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Archive for February, 2016

February Wrap-Up

February 29th, 2016 at 02:34 am

52 Week Challenge Opening Balance: $2,496.36
Plus:
- EF savings $71.02
52 Week Challenge Closing Balance: $2,567.38

The EF savings hit the account over the weekend so have added it to my challenge - really the only addition I expect over the next few weeks as I made all the savings payments in one hit.

For February I was able to save 21.17% of my pay and will also add $135.00 to the Holiday Fund. It was a quiet month, and my highest variable expenses were reupholstering the car ceiling for $250 and I spent $159 on clothes. I will be spending a bit on clothes over the next few months as from November-January I pretty much bought the bare minimum and things need to be replaced.

As it is the end of the month I have updated the EF breakdown. Our mini EF balance is still larger than our maxi EF, maybe in the next month I might buy some more shares to even out the balance. I don't want the cash portion to dip below $2000-$2500 though.

I have renamed the Thailand savings as the Holiday Fund as we are now going to Thailand next year. I am itching to book a holiday but at the moment there are a few factors that are making me hold off. I did say to B that no matter what I want something booked by the middle of March.

Work will be really busy up to middle of May and will well and truly die off by June-July. I barely took any leave last year because we were saving for B's party so I have lots of leave accrued now and within a couple of months will really need a break of some sort. Will be looking at doing something between June and August, depending on various factors.

The shares haven't really dropped too much in value since I bought them, so that's good - only about $60. I think the account (all balances combined) is possibly the biggest it's ever been! Ok, that's kinda sad. I'm going to have to get used to the balances increasing. Did anybody else have this problem when their savings were increasing?

I guess in perspective, there is a bit over 1.5 months of my pay there now, so even though the dollar value is increasing, in actual fact there's not "heaps" there. And if you combined both our pays, then there is 1 month's there. Really not heaps.

Another thing too, when you think of how many months salary you want to have in an EF, do you use your current salary as a guide or bare minimum monthly amount required? I would rather use bare minimum monthly amount required because if you were in a financial bind you should cut all expenses to the bare minimum, I believe. (I worked out my bare minimum to be between $2200 and $2500 per month)

Ps. credit card debt is now below $2000 - it is $1826, so that is progressing well.

February Snowflakes & Savings

February 25th, 2016 at 03:41 am

52 Week Challenge Opening Balance: $1,809.96
Plus:
- Priceline rewards snowflake $4.38
- Safeway grocery rewards snowflakes $20.00
- Mortgage additional repayment $288.00
- EF savings $71.02
- Credit card repayment $303.00
52 Week Challenge Closing Balance: $2,496.36

Money here is slowly getting back to what we know as normal, B is starting to get paid weekly instead of us having to stretch his payments to 2-3 weeks (yet the payments are worth 1-2 weeks).

So I've just kind of sat on transferring various payments (due to not being sure if we would have enough to do all the payments). It's probably more time effective to just do it all in one hit anyhow.

We received the Priceline and Safeway snowflakes at the start of the month (by reduced prices at the checkout) so when I got paid, I just transferred the amount over.

The mortgage additional payment and the credit card repayment are both monthly payments - the credit card is actually for the month of March but as the payment is due by the 7th, I just paid it at the same time as the other payments.

All that is left in the Bills account now is enough to cover all direct debits and $250 for the car being upholstered next week. Last year we noticed that the ceiling of my 13 year old car is starting to drop at the front but as we had so many other repairs, we put it in the not urgent category. Now the back is falling down as well as the front and you can see the ceiling drop in the rearview mirror, so we thought we'd better get it sorted out fairly soon - it will possibly get done next Thursday.

Spending this month is still low, so we're doing well in that area.

***

As I've decided not to study for the degree any further I spent the money set aside for the study unit by buying 100 QBE shares. I bought 50 in December for $12.15 and they dropped down, so I got 100 for $10.10. At the end of the month I will update the EF breakdown on the sidebar properly.

Work is also going well with the job change - I spent some time today doing some bookkeeping work for our clients and have been spending a bit of time each day training our part-timer in various aspects of my job. Possibly about a third of my job involves so many administrative duties it would take days to train someone in! So I figure 2-3 new things each day is enough to teach her while not overloading her. The idea is that she will be doing a lot of administrative overflow and be able to work more than 3 days per week.

I have plenty of things to write about but it's right before bed and I've gotten really tired all of a sudden! Hope you're all doing great Smile

Feb 18th

February 18th, 2016 at 03:18 am

Quick random blog post for today. I'm on the computer trying to do money transfers but for some reason I can't get into the banking website, I'll have to do it tomorrow, no drama.

When going to pay the weekly bills I realised that I forgot to pay our home phone and B's phone bill last week. They were due about the 8th and it is now the 18th! The phone company give $15.00 late fees for over 8 days, so that little error has cost us $30.00. Not thrilling!!! I guess I've had a lot on my mind lately. How annoying. Thankfully this doesn't happen very often.

When I did the balance transfer last year there was around $100 left on CC1, which kind of got paid down but never completely and started to kind of hover around $100. Well in the last few weeks, it has crept up to around $300.

As of a couple of days ago it was $441: the train ticket was $141, the coffee pods balance is $37.60 (every time we use a packet I pay $4.16 against the purchase), the bulk meat balance is $31 and our overspending last week (thanks to a double birthday) was $130. I paid $373 on there from my pay, which leaves the coffee pod purchase and the bulk meat purchase as the only things left to be repaid. It's good to have the balance back to being low again!

Well must get ready to go to bed, will have to pay bills tomorrow - let's hope it's working then!

Job Changes, EF Savings

February 17th, 2016 at 03:05 am

52 Week Challenge starting balance: $1,738.94
Plus EF Savings: $71.02
52 Week Challenge closing balance: $1,809.96

I'll start off with the savings side. The weekly EF savings of $71.02 went through on the weekend; I was just busy with other stuff which is why I hadn't posted it.

***

I work as an assistant accountant, however I'm not fully qualified to be an accountant. I've been studying on and off through an online course for the degree however it's so difficult. I'm definitely better in the practical side of things than the academic! And with work it becomes 50-60 hour weeks, which means that basically everything else in life falls to the wayside and I'm constantly juggling things and it's kind of like a house of cards - something goes wrong and it has a massive ripple effect.

To be qualified I still have five years to go, so for the last six months I have been questioning whether or not I want to live like this for five years. The enrolment closing date was Sunday, and I was 90% no and 10% yes. I ended up going with no, and didn't enrol.

So in my eyes I have two career paths, bookkeeping or working as an accountant. I have decided against becoming an accountant - I understand why so much has to be learnt but underestimated what was involved. Now that I have officially decided on something it feels like a huge weight has been lifted. I'm very grateful to have been given the opportunity, but it's not for me. I can live off what I earn fine and would rather live a peaceful, more balanced life. (ie working 40 hours only).

My work doesn't really take on bookkeeping work so I thought it would be easiest just to quit, simply because if I'm working in a bookkeeping capacity I need to actually be doing the work.

So I went to quit. And my boss told me that while he was happy I was studying, I don't need to. He just wants me to work there because I make his life so much easier. He knows that pretty much anything he gives me to a certain level will get done, and there will be no problems whatsoever. And if I want to do some bookkeeping work he'll get me to do a Xero accreditation course and I can do some bookkeeping work for some of our accounting clients (because he thinks there are some that need it). How can I argue with that? It's too sweet Smile.

We also have a girl working three days a week who is around 25, doing filing and various things, and unlike the people before her is really good, so we want to keep her, and offer her more days before she goes because she wants fulltime work. So currently the plan is to give her some of my lower level jobs to give her fulltime work, or at least four days a week with the view that as I'll be doing other things and a bit busier I'll need some of my work taken over.

It's all very exciting, and as I said to my boss I simply want some of this in my skill-set so if I ever do need to find another job (eg if the unfortunate happened and he had a heart attack or something), this is the path of my employment. I'm happy with my work- I work with great people and it's a learning kind of culture, things are always changing; so I'm happy to be there for however long. Sometimes you just need to look at your job or career and make a few tweaks here and there. Here's hoping it all works out for the best Smile

More Stuff To Keep Track Of

February 8th, 2016 at 02:53 am

52 Week Challenge starting balance: $1,667.92
Plus:
Weekly savings into EF: $71.02
52 Week Challenge closing balance: $1,738.94

The weekly savings into the EF hit the bank account, so I thought I would update.

Grocery shopping was at $122 yesterday and I was very proud of myself - until this morning when I found that there were four items I had to buy that were needs and couldn't wait until next week. Add another $20 roughly! I tried to keep the total down as low as possible, so I guess it's the best I could do.

Valentine's Day is coming up so I thought this year we would just get little gifts, nothing too flashy. B wanted some motorbike things, so that was $31.45 and I wanted a nice daytime perfume (I have going out perfume and I have perfume I wear to work which is muted, but I wanted a fresh daytime one to wear when we go out for lunch or something). I got Hippie Princess by Vera Wang for $29.

The thing I need to keep track of is another snowflake. I got the perfume, and hair serum from Priceline where I got a $4.38 gift voucher. So now we have to transfer $24.38 to the EF when we get paid.

I'm still trying to work out what to do about the money we used from savings to cover B not getting paid last week. We used $446 plus I spent $47 on my credit card and had to transfer $50 onto his credit card. I haven't paid the $47 on my card yet but have already used $496 from our mortgage offset savings.

I think I'll see how he goes with the next couple of weeks with receiving money. If it looks like we only have enough for low spending and his business payments at the end of the month, I may just put it into his Christmas period costs from shutdown. (It is a shutdown cost because of the delays caused from Christmas shutdown). We used $800 at Christmas time and this $496 will bring it to $1296, so we would allow next Christmas for a slightly higher amount.

Keeping Track of Things We Owe

February 5th, 2016 at 09:19 pm

It's about a week until we see some money other than our savings and there's a few balls in the air I need to keep track of...

*Last week I received a $20 snowflake from the shopping rewards, so when we have some cash I need to transfer it to the EF. Today I spent the $80 needed for the second week to get another $15 snowflake on my next shop, so the snowflakes balance to be transferred could increase by the time we receive money next (I don't think it will though).

*The coffee pods purchase. I consider coffee pods to be part of our grocery shopping so every time we opened a packet (we bought 10) I would include that in our weekly shop and transfer the money to my card. However the amount per packet is $8.32, which is much higher than the usual $3.70-$5. I decided that when we receive money I would transfer half the full amount over ($41.60) and then every time we use a packet pay $4.16. So we need to pay the $41.60.

*Meat: I got my hair done today ($110) and decided to stop in at the butcher on the way home (both are a suburb over). I was only going to get enough for our weekly shop but the bulk prices were so good, I got two-three weeks worth. Here's what we got:
- 2 pork steaks $6
- 2 x 2 chicken schnitzels $5.40 each
- chicken sausages $6
- beef mince $6
- 2 x 2 chicken marylands $3.80 each
- 2 x 2 chicken breast fillets $5.80 each
- 3 x beef rump steaks $8.85 each

The cost of the whole lot was $75.38, which I put on my credit card and will transfer over each weekly portion as we buy groceries (because we only have minimal cash). This week's meal plan:

- tomorrow chicken Maryland and roast vegetables
- Monday - we don't cook, it is get your own food night (because B has poker with his friends it is easier for me to make soup & toast or something)
- Tuesday - pork steaks & veggies
- Wednesday - steak & veggies
- Thursday - chicken alfredo with pasta
- Friday - we don't cook, it is get something from the oven or takeaway.

So the cost of this week's meat will be $3.80 + $6 + $8.85 + $5.80 = $24.45.

The price paid for the various meats is roughly the same as discount at the supermarket. The only thing is you don't always get discount at the supermarket, so it's good to have a couple of weeks on hand where we know it's for a low price.

*Grocery shopping: Budget this week $120. Spent so far $33.10 + $24.45 + $22.90 (some more purchases today) = $80.45, leaving just under $40 left. We need to buy fruit & veggies, lunch food, cheap meat for the dog (butcher didn't have this), bread and up-n-goes (cereal drink) for B, and cream for the chicken alfredo (and possibly pasta). May need to be creative, or may be ok.


So glad to get these figures out in the open and in front of me, I was worried I'd forget something.

Quick Friday Post

February 5th, 2016 at 04:20 am

It/s last thing on a Friday night here but I'm not completely ready to go to bed so I thought I might just do a quick post. Bedtime's not far off though.

Not a whole lot to report, just a fairly pleasant non-eventful day. My co-worker went to a seminar for the morning and brought us back a blueberry muffin to share, so that was nice Smile.

I'm getting my hair done tomorrow (it is *so* in need of it) and later on that day it is my friend's birthday, so that works out well (having an occasion to wear nice hair too!). The friend's birthday is at another friend's place and we each have to bring a platter of food, as well as our drinks.

I decided to make a spinach dip and put it inside a Cobb bread (where you use the inside bread as the dipping portion). Have never tried this before so really hope it works!

Spent around $5 on the ingredients, need to get the Cobb bread from the bakery tomorrow. I also spent $33.10 on some of our groceries, things that were marked down - got almond milk, three packets of muesli bars, a big bottle of olive oil, potato chips, laundry liquid, wet cat food and denta stix for the dog. Denta stix are chew bones, but of course when I got home I realised I was going to look into a softer option for her because they are starting to get difficult for her to chew. Must remember next time!

I also got wine worth $9.20 (two bottles) and B's beer ($50).

B & I had a relaxing night just vegging out in front of the tv, we had sausage rolls and mini dim sims for tea - spent lots of time flicking through various things on the iPad (did do around 20 minutes worth of housework first though).

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Dipped Into Savings; and Coffee Pod Purchase

February 4th, 2016 at 02:50 am

A day after transferring all that was left over from last month's pay, I found out that B is not getting paid until next week. (I thought he was getting paid today)

So I ended up transferring $446 from savings to cover the weekly automatic savings payment (I don't want to get into the habit of putting that on hold or cancelling it), groceries, alcohol, my hair getting done, money to put in towards my friend's birthday present and money for B's social stuff ($20 this week). This week we will have to make sure we don't go over $120 on the grocery spend! I am determined.

Thankfully he is now billing his usual amounts so in a couple of weeks we should be back to normal.

***

Last year I got some really nice biodegradable coffee pods which were pricey but really nice. They emailed me a deal of 25% off 100 pods, which was quite good. I was going to buy four months worth (this would tip it into the free freight category) but when I tried to apply the deal it didn't work.

They may have sold out already. I ended up getting a 10 pack of pods (100 in total, it is 10 per sleeve) of different flavours to try out.

The last time I bought was October, I think. This is a company I don't mind supporting occasionally so we will call this my splurge. The 10 pack plus freight costed $83.20, so at $8.32 per packet of pods compared to my usual $4.76 it is a splurge! (Will not happen again until later this year). I'm looking forward to trying all of the different flavours.

***

A friend found a cruise she really wanted to go on next year for Australia Day, which goes for three days and would cost us $1598. As Thailand for us has been pushed back to next year also it would mean two expensive holidays in a year - really did not want to commit to that. With me it was more the money - our Thailand offer was for 7 nights accommodation plus flights was $1600; and this is a three day cruise not stopping anywhere and we still would have to get flights etc. Not thrilling.

B just wasn't keen on going. Unfortunately pretty much everyone else she has invited has also declined because of the expense - most people she has invited are families, so their cost was around $4000. So she's a bit upset at the moment because she thought it would be fun. Hopefully in time she will realise that it's not everyone's cup of tea, and it's very expensive, and be ok with it. At the moment she's pretty disappointed so I think I want to leave her be for a little while, and talk to her when it's all died off a bit.

January Savings & Monthly Wrap-Up

February 3rd, 2016 at 03:37 am

52 Week Challenge starting balance: $939.62
Plus:
Interest received $0.30
Credit card payment made $303.00
Left over money from January saved into EF: $425.00
52 Week Challenge closing balance: $1,667.92

January was a very low income month for my husband, so we cut our spending right down. The only bill we had to pay other than our mortgage and other set bills was a gas bill of $113, so we were lucky there also.

I left my pay sitting in the bank account our bills get deducted out of and was ready to use some of that if needed. (B & I agreed a long time ago that because my pay is always paid on the same day of the month, I pay the house bills. Because his income varies so much he pays the business bills and our spending money. I admit it's not as romantic as the couple who puts all their savings in one bank account but it means that because things are slightly separated, it is easier to handle. At my last job I was getting paid fortnightly and he weekly, and we used to have the money in the same account and it was a nightmare because it was so easy to spend on that one thing that would cause a debit to bounce. Now the accounts are separate, everything gets paid as needed).

Anyway, we only needed $110 from there. There was actually $925 left over but because I wanted to pay a water bill of $315 and my monthly balance transfer payment of $303, I simply put $425 into the EF - will put the other $500 in on around payday.

I actually can't believe there is that much left over from my pay! Having not much in the way of bills to pay was helpful. Probably the other thing that was helpful that we simply used what B had for spending money, even though it was low. So we were shopping at Aldi to bring groceries down, we went away camping which is super cheap because I tend to be of the belief that when we camp we don't shop so I get everything beforehand and then we have no spend days because we're enjoying ourselves camping and making the best of being in the outdoors. I spent $80 on clothes that were needed. We went out for three meals - the most expensive being on Sunday morning for brunch would you believe! $50 for two people having pancakes, bacon and eggs, coffee and orange juice. (It was really nice though)

So, I've checked the EF and have updated the sidebar accordingly. The mini EF has $2562.02 along with $1318 of funds set aside for the Thailand holiday payment and my study unit. The maxi EF (the shares) unfortunately is down $100 (exactly, would you believe!) from when we purchased the shares.

I had to pay some money onto my balance transfer credit card by the 7th and thought I may as well pay the whole lot for this month ($303) to save having to make two transfers. There will now be $2129 owing on this card, so that along with the $104 owing on CC1 brings my credit card debt to $2233 - now $3167 paid off from when I started this last year.

February may not be as low spend as there are more bills, so far the water bill of $315 plus council rates of $390, so we will see what happens.

I apologise for the super long post, must make a habit of posting more often to avoid this!