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Archive for March, 2016

March Wrap-Up

March 31st, 2016 at 11:37 am

52 Week Challenge Opening Balance: $2,982.66
Plus:
- EF savings $71.02
- Balance transfer repayment $60.60
- Mortgage principal repayment $34.00
52 Week Challenge Closing Balance: $3,148.28

This week I made the EF savings, the balance transfer repayment and the mortgage was at $122,033.97 so paid $34.00 so it would drop down into the next thousand. Unfortunately with the outlay for the holiday I was not able to pay some of the mortgage interest charge so it would not be more than $300 interest paid.

For February I was able to save 9.38% of my pay, which was pretty good considering the outlay. It was a huge month financially. I was able to keep the other categories down/normal (food, fuel, entertainment, alcohol).

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, but only slightly.

The shares haven't really dropped too much in value since I bought them, so that's good - only about $43. Last month they were down $60 so there's a slight improvement there.

Ps. credit card debt is now below $1826 - it is moving towards $1523, so that is progressing well. My CC1 (my short term card) will be paid back in full by the start of June, is currently $1086.

Easter; UK Cost Tally So Far

March 29th, 2016 at 11:23 am

52 Week challenge opening balance: $2,851.04
Plus Weekly Deposit to EF: $71.02
Plus Balance Transfer Payment: $60.60
52 Week challenge closing balance: $2,982.66

Today we went back to work after the Easter break. We had a pretty cheap Easter, although they usually are as we generally go camping somewhere.

We managed to save to the EF, and to pay week 2 of the monthly Balance Transfer payment.

We had a get together with my friends on Thursday night; and then Friday morning we went camping with the inlaws. Easter has pretty much become their annual trip and it is a pretty fun time. I really feel like this year things went better, and just flowed instead of being hard work.

The only thing which was hard work was my MIL as she has onset dementia/alzheimers and was out of her environment. As her dementia gets worse so do her eating habits and she really struggles to eat. Before she was sick she would eat very healthy- light meals, salads. Now she eats what she is given by FIL and I think it may be too heavy for her body, but because she has dementia she doesn't remember what she used to eat. So on Saturday she grazed throughout the day but by dinner would only eat 2 bites and then refused to eat the meal FIL spent hours making. Understandable FIL was upset and refused to eat his also, and they left not long after.

I did an experiment with her though on Sunday as B and I were serving all of the food throughout the day. I only gave her small servings for each meal- 1 piece of toast, 1 egg and 1 piece of bacon for breakfast; a salad roll for lunch; a slice of cake for afternoon tea; green salad with home made chips, small piece of steak and small sausage. She also has many cups of tea throughout the day. Anyway, no complaint of belly ache! I'm calling that a win.

All in all the trip was a lot of fun, we were very relaxed. Then we got home and I barely had to do any grocery shopping because we brought back a heap of snacks, some meat, milk, margarine and there were a couple of meals in the freezer we were able to use up this week - by the end of the week the freezer should be empty.

***

The UK trip continues to be on my mind (not that it's a bad thing of course!). Last week my UK friend got given half price expedia vouchers and a few days later I was given one too. We started to work out London accommodation. We worked out we can see all the good things in two days, so have booked one night accommodation. It took a few days to sort out what kind of place we would like to stay in and what the best area is.

My friend's voucher expired so we had to use mine. We got a three star twin hotel room for $174. My UK friend will get the accommodation for the next week and whoever pays more will receive the difference from the other.

I was thinking I should start to do a tally to keep track of things, so here goes:

- Flights $1,773
- Groupon, indian dinner $76
- London accommodation $174

Total so far $2,023

I've kind of worked out there are three pay periods before going away and we can save $800 spending money ($2400 in total) and repay the flights back before going ($755 left to repay).

Basically what I also do is try to not spend very much of our weekly money so I can buy Groupons etc; aim to perhaps get something each week for $60-$90. The London accommodation is being paid back over two weeks, $87 per week - made the first payment last night.

Bought The First UK Groupon!

March 21st, 2016 at 11:14 am

52 Week challenge opening balance: $2,719.42
Plus Weekly Deposit to EF: $71.02
Plus Balance Transfer Payment: $60.60
52 Week challenge closing balance: $2,851.04

This month because of the flights instead of making the usual monthly balance transfer payment I paid as much as possible to the credit card and divided the $303 by 5, which brought me to $60.60 per week. Much easier to do and that way I could bring down the balance of the flights put on the card instead when I got paid. So last night I transferred it over, week 1.

I joined Groupon UK and after consulting my UK friend bought my first UK Groupon voucher! It is a meal for 4 people in their hometown (they can bring someone for the fourth person) for a 2 course Indian meal for £38, which came to $75.56 AUD. We had a quiet weekend so was able to easily get the voucher. It works out to $18.89pp, which is about the price of a main meal in Oz, so am happy with that deal.

Have had loads of fun researching various places but it has become so apparent just how expensive it is over there. Luckily our friend is also into vouchers so she's looking into accommodation deals.

When going overseas I've only really been to second world countries so it's been really easy to just wing it in terms of food and things to do. When everything costs either the same or less you don't feel like you need to plan everything, you know you can go there and sort things out when you arrive.

But travelling to a place which is more expensive than where you're from is different. So very grateful for all of your tips, don't know where I'd be otherwise. My friend's dad went to the UK years ago and came back with a $5000 credit card bill! So determined to not let that happen.

We're going to spend a couple of days in London seeing the sights: go on the London Eye, I want to see the Tower Bridge and the Crown Jewels and go on a double decker bus and I saw a deal to go to an Ice Bar and have a couple of cocktails, thought that would be nice.

I also want to have a traditional English afternoon tea and other English foods. My friend wants to take me to either Cornwall or Wales. All so very exciting Smile

Musings

March 16th, 2016 at 11:21 am

52 Week challenge opening balance: $2,648.40
Plus Weekly Deposit to EF: $71.02
52 Week challenge closing balance: $2,719.42

Today was B's first day at his new job (aka first job for 9 years!). He came home with a massive headache - will probably take time to get used to, I think. New jobs are like that anyway - with mine it took a full three months before I was no longer stressed from learning/remembering all the little things about my work.

Last week I put the flight on my credit card and hopefully get the 55 days interest free. That was $1773. Then on Sunday we were looking at my bike wheel and B couldn't fix it so we went to the bike shop. It turns out I would need a whole new wheel plus cogs (?) plus chain, which would work out to $150-160. A new bike was $330. So we ended up going with the new bike (aka my early birthday present). The cost of that went on the credit card too, so it's sitting at around $1585 (I put $518 from the holiday fund onto it). The bike cost will be repaid back when B gets paid next. The airfares I transferred $500 over to tonight, so $1773-518-500 = $755 remaining to be repaid.

I am so used to having that card super low it's stressing me out owing that even though I know it won't be charged interest yet. It's just been low for so long, I'm used to it. But seeing that it is getting knocked down a bit makes me feel better.

***

I worked out a rough holiday budget. I know I can rustle up $2200 spending money, or $105 per day that I'm there. I'll also have the card down to $0 by the time I step onto that plane, so if I need to rely on it, I can. $2200 spending money may be too low, but we'll see how we go.

***

We're going to have a completely different budget next month, as the business officially shut down on Saturday. I gave B the banking details for his pay to be put into our bills account, the same as mine.

I would normally separate our pay due to the his having a business and needing to pay business expenses, but that's all gone now.

It will just be a much more streamlined budget. The budget we use now is an excel spreadsheet I created which goes B's business income less business expenses = net business income + my pay less house/personal expenses less spending money = pay left over.

Now it will simply be B's pay + my pay less house/personal expenses less spending money. House/personal expenses have all house bills there, savings are in this category also and all personal loans.

I don't know what we will allocate to savings or anything like that, but I did say to B that we will pay all the interest charged on the mortgage so it is purely a principal payment. I'm happy to spend a bit more disposable income now that he is earning extra but we must do something worthwhile also with the extra money.

Anyway must go to bed, hope you're all well!

I'm Going To The UK!

March 10th, 2016 at 11:28 am

52 Week challenge opening balance: $2,577.38
Plus Weekly Deposit to EF: $71.02
52 Week challenge closing balance: $2,648.40

What an interesting week it's been! I was trying to work out what I'd do for a holiday now that B is employed and doesn't get holidays for another year, and I really didn't want to stay home.

My friend didn't want to go on a cruise, it was too short notice for her. That's ok, no hard feelings. B suggested I see his family friend in the UK, and so I asked her and she replied back that she would be delighted to have me! I wanted an adventure of some sort and now it's happening!

In around three months I will be seeing a different land, it looks like of castles, rolling hills, quaint cottages and cobblestoned streets! Very excited.

Things like this make me feel so blessed. That I have the means available to go on the occasional holiday. That I have a great husband who understands that occasionally I just want to do something really super awesome. That I have the holidays available. That there is room available on my credit card to book the flight.

There was $143 owing on my card on Tuesday so I transferred some money from savings to bring it down to 0. Yesterday I then booked the flights. I did this because my card has 55 days interest free period but the interest free period begins on the date of the first purchase made.

The flights were on special, I paid $1773 for a return flight to Manchester (our friend lives around 2 hours away from London so this was much easier). The return flights for London were $1550 but then the cost of travel to London and the time spent travelling meant the Manchester flights were a better option. I want to see London, but not straight off a plane.

So it's all very exciting! You never know Scottish Girl I may get to come and see you Smile

B is finishing up his jobs before his new job starts on Wednesday - he thinks he may be done by tomorrow! He needs to cancel his business insurance, superannuation (as his employer will now pay it) and his professional association subscription payment. Unfortunately we just got him a new phone and iPad a few months ago on a higher plan which will probably barely get used. As the contract is 24 months it looks like we are stuck with that.

He got told his pay will be $75,000 a year paid monthly. His business will probably get enough to cover the car lease payment and some spending money but I foresee that while we wait for his first paycheck we may need to dip into the EF for a couple of weeks. Times like these I'm glad we have the EF, because the financial stress is not there - we have money to cover our needs when we need it and soon enough he'll have his first pay and we'll keep on boosting the balance up.

I'm trying to pay as much of the holiday expenses and save as much holiday spending as I can. I transferred the $518 from the Holiday Fund, so it is now $0. As soon as the money is in our checking account I will pay it against the airfare bought yesterday, which will leave $1255 owing. Hopefully living frugally for the moment will repay the airfare balance quickly and cover expenses and spending money. Wish me luck guys!

Snowflake from February

March 3rd, 2016 at 11:15 am

52 Week challenge opening balance: $2,567.38
Plus Safeway Everyday rewards to EF: $10.00
52 Week challenge closing balance: $2,577.38

I was checking through my budgeting app and realised that I forgot to transfer into the EF a $10.00 snowflake I received last month, so transferred it over tonight.

Today the car upholstering got done to the ceiling - it looks sooo much better! No more front and back of the car ceiling hanging down any more Smile. As quoted, this work was $250, and well worth it.

I discussed my holiday options with B a bit more - I am so happy that he's totally fine with me going away without him. He just wants to know that I'll be safe and won't be spending a fortune. I've asked my friend about going on the cruise, so we'll wait and see.

I ended up buying 51 more QBE shares, so now hold 201 of them. Expected dividend will now be $60.30. Now the mini EF and the maxi EF are more evenly balanced. Cash is $2,997.32 and shares are $2,860.86. My plan is cash to be around $2500 or so, and then invest the rest.

That's all my financial news for the day, talk soon!

B Got A Job!

March 2nd, 2016 at 11:29 am

This has been in the works for the last week and yesterday it was made official. B got a job! Very happy news.

He has had a carpentry business for nearly 9 years, but it was taking a toll on his body. Before that he was working as a building supervisor - overseeing the construction of new homes, and now he has just got a job doing this again.

This will mean that he can work in a non-physical job, meaning less damage to his body. The money is very good ($75,000 per year as opposed to around $40,000 which the business brings in), but it is a higher stress job, so we'll have to see how he goes with it. Hopefully it will be all fine. He starts in 2 weeks so has a very busy couple of weeks finishing up his current jobs.

***

My holiday plans are now officially up in the air. I took a couple of short holidays last year, but really our money was tied up with saving for the big party we had for B's 40th. I feel like I need a decent holiday. (Like an adventure holiday!)

B can't go now because you don't get holidays in the first year unless it is mutually agreed, and often it is unpaid. For him now though, the new job will be his focus, so he doesn't want to ask anyhow; and I'm totally fine with that.

So now I'm left with either doing something with friends or (gulp) going somewhere on my own. I do want to organise something this month so we'll see how that works out.

***

This morning I thought I would look up the dividends my new shares are going to receive. It turns out they are both being paid in April (a day after my birthday), one is $21 and the other is $45. The shares that will pay $45 (QBE), I have 150 in and want to end up with 1,000. The dividend record date is 11 March, so if I buy more by 11 March then I'll get a bigger dividend. I was planning on buying 50, so put in an order in, so we'll see what happens there. If I was planning on buying anyway, may as well earn a bit extra on it Smile