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Archive for April, 2016

Quality Time With The Computer; Travel Phone Stuff

April 27th, 2016 at 05:08 am

This month has been super busy so the various computer problems we have had were not welcome, and just got put to the side until there was time to fix them. B was trying to work out how to print from his phone (wanting to print up work emails etc) and when his friend tried to set it up, not only did it not work but then we could not print at all!

Then B played around with the printer settings a couple of weeks later and got that working. Within a couple of days the keyboard was not working. Grrr. We had to get new batteries but didn't get around to it for a while. Got around to it yesterday.

So tonight I've just seized the moment to print off various tickets, mostly for the upcoming trip. Have found a folder and am starting to get that organised. It always feels good to be organised, and I'm glad to have spent quality time with the computer/printer while it was working!

***

Trying to organise to be able to text from my cell phone while overseas, not interested in internet. I had a few minutes free at work so chatted someone online from my phone company (Telechoice). They can set up global roaming but I need to pay $100 bond, which then gets refunded two billing periods after I deactivate it. Not the most thrilling thing - I remember getting it for free with Telstra many years ago. Don't know if it's because my phone company is so low budget, probably is.

I looked at prepaid sim cards through the post office and they have starter packs for $49.95 with $5 call credits - they advise to also purchase a $25 prepaid call pack so you have around $30 available.

So $75 for the prepaid pack and nothing is refunded, or $100 with my phone company and I get the full amount refunded back after I request them to deactivate.... I'm veering towards the $100 bond with my phone company. I just hope I don't have to hound them for the $100 back for months.

If anybody has some tips in regards to this, I would appreciate them.

It's Been A While

April 20th, 2016 at 05:10 am

Challenge starting balance: $3,297.90
Plus:
- 2 week's EF: $142.04
- 2 weeks balance transfer repayment: $151.50
- Safeway everyday rewards: $30.00
- Maxitrans dividend: $21.00
- QBE dividend: $60.30
Challenge closing balance: $3,702.74


April is typically a very busy month. We have Easter plus my birthday plus another family birthday (niece) plus another public holiday, Anzac Day, which remembers Australian and New Zealand soldiers who fought in the First World War, plus work gets busy in the lead up to our annual major deadline (15 May- this year 16 because it's on the Monday.

So I've been doing lots and simply jotting down the spending etc in our spending app. Financial things have been plugging away.

I have put the previous two week before's EF savings in the challenge total. I also transferred 2 weeks balance transfer payment - finally got around to updating my credit card paydown spreadsheet. I received a statement on the weekend stating that $1432.10 is now owing, according to my spreadsheet by the middle of May I will owe $1220.00 on the progress payment. By the time I go to the UK I will be down to below $1000, so am looking forward to that.

Along with the busyness, we have been going away, celebrating my birthday, adjusting to a new budget and it hasn't been pretty. Yes there are snowflakes up there but I have had to withdraw $405 from the EF to be able to save the certain amount each fortnightly pay for the UK holiday.

I am hoping we can make up for our overspending in May and start to find balance again. I decided to withdraw some money from the EF each fortnight because I didn't think it was fair that B suffers because I am going on an expensive holiday, so was thinking I need to save $580 per fortnight so would withdraw $290 per fortnight to ease the burden a bit and repay it back over the next few months. Was not thrilled about withdrawing $405 though, that was higher than I would have liked. For repayment purposes I will have the Mini EF and the Maxi EF at their current balances with a negative balance in the holiday fund. As it gets repaid it will be adjusted.

***

Have done well with the Safeway Everyday rewards and was happy to get dividends from both the Maxitrans shares and the QBE shares.

With Maxitrans the purchase price was $614.25 and the dividend received was $21.00. The return on that is 3.42%. Unfortunately the value is $546.00, so while the return is more the value is now in negative of $68.25. Not great but I was not planning to buy more of these.

With QBE the overall purchase price was $2183.61 and the dividend received was $60.30. The return on that is 2.76% and the value currently is $2243.16, up $59.55.

So overall the outlay was $2,797.86 and the remaining amount is $2789.16, down $15.18 in total. The return from dividends was 2.91%. The loss of $15.18 is -0.54% from the balance, so 2.91% - 0.54% = 2.37% overall return.

It looks like my return is currently roughly the same as an average savings account. You can get up to 3.60% interest however there are clauses, ie it is an introductory period rate and will revert back down.

Currently I'm happy with the return, will have to see how things go in 6 months time when the dividends get paid again!

Quiet Weekend Planned; Holiday Purchases

April 7th, 2016 at 05:45 am

52 Week Challenge Opening Balance: $3,166.28
Plus:
- Weekly EF Savings $71.02
- Weekly credit card balance transfer repayment $60.60
52 Week Challenge Closing Balance: $3,297.90

I'm looking at buying a couple of Expedia activity vouchers so am thinking this weekend to keep everything very low-key to balance this.

The things I am looking at purchasing are tickets to go on The Eye with skip the line ($54pp) and tickets to spend the day at the Tower of London, the Crown Jewels and they have a beefeater tour ($43pp). When we (my UK friend and I) buy vouchers we buy for each other too, so I will be buying two of each thing. As this is around $200, I've decided that these will be my April purchases to cash flow.

My friend is getting the hop on hop off bus tickets and she is getting cheap accommodation to a surprise place - either Wales, Cornwall, Devon or Yorkshire - through some accommodation chain she is a member of. She is booking this for my last week and asked if I wanted the location to be a surprise. At first I was too excited so wanted to know whenever she booked, but now I think the surprise will be fun; so told her not to tell me.

All so very exciting!

As a result I want the weekend to be super quiet. I have to get my hair done, go to an inlaws birthday for lunch and that's about all I want to do! I know what the cost of hair will be; have set it aside. Hoping lunch will be cheap. I'd like to rent some DVDs ($7), get a couple of bottles of wine ($15 max in total) and make a nice dessert (up to $10 depending on ingredients needed).

Growing up my mother was a wonderful cook, we were spoilt. She used to make really nice desserts- rhubarb crumble, bread and butter pudding, chocolate pudding, rice pudding, and I can't remember the last time I ate anything like that, have been craving it. I saw a recipe for apple and peach crumble, so am looking forward to making it.

I'd also like to get our printer working again and spend some time on Sunday tidying up the study, downloading apple updates, printing off various holiday documents (as long as the printer ends up working!).

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Budget Changes

April 4th, 2016 at 04:59 am

52 Week Challenge Opening Balance: $3,148.28
Plus:
- Snowflake- Safeway Everyday Reward $10
- Mortgage principal repayment $8
52 Week Challenge Closing Balance: $3,166.28

To start with the additions to the challenge: when paying for something at Safeway they gave me my $10 reward off the groceries purchase price, so I transferred that to the EF today. I also saw the $8 bank fee got charged to the mortgage which put it back over $122k, so I paid the $8 back.

****

We've operated our budget on a monthly basis for the last 11 years since working at my job but after doing a completely joint budget as of 1 April, I'm already realising that perhaps we need to do things differently. (Not perhaps but we *must* do things differently).

I think it's a combination that we can see more income than we usually see and this month has already started to be expensive and looks like it will get out of control in a big way.

B gets paid on the 30th and received just under $3k for 2 weeks work (next month working a full month will be just under $4.5k as the tax is a bit higher). As he closed the business he advised me that his friend who has work for him occasionally (and he would work for the friend occasionally- instead of paying each other they would simply trade their time) is owed 5 days work and because the business is no longer open, they can't trade time anymore and he needs to pay him. 5 x $350 per day... We paid him one day and now owe him four. We'll pay another 1 or 2 days from his next pay, his friend is fine with this.

We now have to pay the car lease from our personal funds, which is $926 per month because even though it is no longer used for the business. It is high because the car was bought brand new. It's a good car and we're going to keep it. The lease expires in August and has a balloon of $15000 due. We are going to get a personal loan to refinance; looking quickly the best rate I can see is 11.83%, so that on a 3yr loan of $17000 maximum is $573 per month. Will be a much better result and as the car won't be driven as much we'll keep it a long time.

So first we had these two expenses, plus my UK trip savings, plus it's my birthday this month so we had to repay the $330 bike plus we had to get B glasses which were $400 and new work boots worth $126 and for a month we didn't have very much income left to live off.

I spent time juggling things around and just thought B gets paid on the 30th, I get paid on the 15th, why are we bothering with a monthly budget? It will be so much easier to manage on a fortnightly basis, especially as the bill repayments are now spread out evenly throughout the month.

So first in my budgeting app I deleted the amount of any transactions after the 15th, but wrote the amounts in the detail line, so after the 15th I will put them in.

I then analysed the percentages of the various categories to try and work out what is a reasonable spend and adjusted accordingly. I had to juggle some things around, some things will need to have part of the cost repaid from his next pay at the start of next month. Eg the glasses and the work boots. I made sure that our EF savings and my balance transfer repayments continue at the same amount.

So now after much juggling we're sitting at $504 for this week to live off (which was better than $983 for two people for 26 days). Live off means food, fuel,we have to go out for a birthday lunch and other miscellaneous exps like alcohol.

I'm really hoping this new method will work. Many years ago we got paid fortnightly and it all worked out ok, it just takes getting used to.