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Archive for May, 2016

I Am Going To See Scottish Girl!

May 31st, 2016 at 04:51 am

It's been a very busy week and part of this has been organising a visit to see Scottish Girl when on holidays soon! Very excited.

My friend I am staying with hasn't been to Scotland in years so she was more than happy to come too, so we will get on a train to go there, meet SG, stay at a hotel and do some exploring. My friend lives in the middle of England so going to Scotland takes a while but is not a massive trek.

We have booked the train tickets and hotel so it is now locked in. It's really funny how this fits into the trip - it is basically 2-3 days before I fly back to Oz so I guess I am preparing myself for long travel. We go to Scotland, come back the next day, then go out to a garden concert which is all day Saturday and then on the Sunday evening I fly home.

I've organised my phone to get put on global roaming and paid the $100 (refundable) bond. I will then be able to text back to B in Oz with no problem, and whoever else I need to text. It's a text only plan, calls are not allowed but that does not bother me, it's fine.

***

Tracking is already starting to be hard. I can see the whole of June being wiped out because my focus will not be on finances. However, as on all holidays I take, while the focus is not on tracking finances, it is on keeping costs down.

B does not handle the money at all and was worried about it because it is new to him so I have tried to set up various automatic transfers so all he will have to do is check the bank account once a week and pay a bill if needed.

I have set up $300 to get transferred from our account to the checking account so he will have cash for groceries and whatever else, $80 onto his CC for his work expenses, $151.50 fortnightly onto my balance transfer CC, and $936 once a month to go into the account his car lease gets paid out of (cannot wait to refinance that in August! the loan we are looking at is around $300 cheaper).

Tomorrow I will do the June monthly budget just to ensure everything will be ok and tweak whatever is needed. And also transfer my final batch of holiday savings to the travel money card and a portion cash; and clear my CC down to $0 before the trip.

So many things to remember, hope I get everything! B is very helpful though, he is always thinking of stuff too.

***

Work is still quiet, but they dropped hints that they were cranky and I dropped hints that I only have two small jobs left but don't want to whinge or bother anyone. They have let me be and I have tried to string my work out as long as possible until more regular work starts flowing back in.

I finished my last job today and my boss gave me another one so at this stage have not had to take extra leave.

On my last day we are going out with work associates (the auditors who audit our accounting work) to a very swanky restaurant. I got a brand new top I can wear but my black jacket is looking pretty old and the fabric is on it's way out, so I am in the market for a new jacket.

My black work jacket I wear three days a work so no matter what the cost is after six months it's time for a replacement. The range I see at the moment goes from Target at $35 to $70 Tokito at Myer to $100 Basque from Myer... As I am going on a huge holiday I'm inclined to buy the Target jacket, but I'll try on all three and see how I go.

Whew! Hope you're all well.

Plodding Along

May 24th, 2016 at 04:24 am

I wish today's post was uplifting but have had a bad day, and am so not in an uplifting frame of mind. Work has really quietened down, which stresses my boss out and then it filters down my way.

I wish I was more understanding but I tend to get annoyed and just withdraw instead. Ie it's not my fault, I am sorry that in the quiet period I am simply a costly overhead while in the busy period because I have been here a long time and know what I am doing, I do my work as quickly as possible, as efficiently as possible and you make a fair bit of profit from it. I don't say this of course, but these are my thoughts.

I have 13 business days until my trip and if the days are like today I don't know how I will cope. I'd actually be happy to work part-time in the quiet period (which could very well be July-December), and may offer this. I wouldn't mind a bit of a change of scenery anyway. Seriously though if the work dies off I am going to offer unpaid leave. Financially not the greatest move but sanity would thank me.

I realised I finish on the Friday, have Saturday off and then go on Sunday morning, so would be happy with a little more preparation time.

Thank you all for listening to me. I feel a little bit better already.

***

On another note, the GBP is getting slammed! I bought some money a couple of weeks ago for 0.4827 on my travel money card and 0.4965 cash; on Monday I bought more on the travel money card and it was 0.46! All of these problems with the EU stuff in the UK, I take it.

***

Financial transactions for today:

*repaid $71.69 on my credit card for groceries purchased on Sunday. We had a big weekend so overspent - this week is the last week of the month and we have $452 left for food, petrol, and other miscellaneous items. Tough but doable as long as we stick to what we have left and try hard not to overspend.
*bought a groupon to go on the Churnet railway in the UK. Apparently it passes through a place called "Little Switzerland" and it looks really pretty. I got us a family daypass for $38.16AUD / 18GBP.

That's all folks, hoping for a better tomorrow!

New Computer Keyboard & Fortnightly Transactions

May 19th, 2016 at 05:16 am

Challenge starting balance: $4,040.78
Plus:
- 2 week's EF: $142.04
- 2 weeks balance transfer repayment: $151.50
- Mortgage repayment: $44.50
Challenge closing balance: $4,378.82

A while ago we replaced the batteries in the keyboard and it seemed to work fine until it died last night. We only replaced them last month so came to the conclusion that it was the keyboard that was the problem, not the batteries.

So today on my lunchbreak I got us a keyboard & mouse combo (upon B's request). I ended up buying a middle of the range Hewlett Packard set for $48, with the flat keys I've become accustomed to from work and really love now. Typing is a dream! Our previous keyboard was top of the range Logitech with buttons to instantly do this and that - go to the internet, open up a calculator etc. We never even used that stuff and they were priced at $100 which I felt was far too pricey. Feeling much better about $48 than $100.

***

Then got home tonight and B set it up for us, it is all working fine and have just now been able to do my favourite thing of the fortnight - money transfers. (This time it was my pay we received)

Logged into the EF and transferred $290 over as half holiday savings. The EF is now around $6k, so nice that this is the new normal. (Don't want to say anymore and jinx it). I actually received $10 Safeway everyday rewards last week and paid it against the amount owed from the holiday fund.

I am currently not fussed about repaying it back yet, will be fully into repaying this after the trip. I then transferred $360 to the travel money card account and also some to cash to buy GBP from the money exchange.

Paid $151.50 towards the balance transfer card - it would now be $1,068.50 - can't believe it was around $4250 back in July last year! Very happy about the progress.

Paid $44.50 against mortgage interest - our loan balance is now $121,498 - next month it will be $120,999!!! That is very exciting to be down into the next lot of numbers.

***

Other than that I have been recovering from my cold, it was actually pretty bad - I was sick for 6 days before I started feeling better. The last couple of months have been so hectic, especially the last couple of weeks with the major deadline I am now focusing on rebalancing. Less rush, more relaxation. I have not caught the early train one day this week and have been leaving pretty much on time. Went to the gym last night for the first time in a while. I'm just trying to get back to my more relaxed self.

Other news is B has been going well at his job and in one of their meetings today they were talking about employees who were doing well (the senior managers were speaking) and his name was one of the names mentioned which is great news. (They were talking about employees who looked likely to receive a bonus). Really nice to see that he's doing well and making a good impression Smile

Sick On The Busiest Week Of The Year

May 12th, 2016 at 05:00 am

I hardly ever take sick days. It usually comes down to the threshold - can you take something and get through it? If so, go to work. You never know when you might need those sick days. I haven't taken a sick day since 2011, when I was really sick and took four in a row.

Now I actually am sick but can't take the days because it is the busiest week of the year! Is that bad luck or what? Our major deadline is next Monday, I'll probably be better by the time the deadline is over. Grrr.

We visited both families on Mother's Day and SIL was sick with a cold. I woke up feeling funny on Tuesday and by 10am I knew I had a cold. I've had chills for Tuesday and Wednesday along with being lethargic, and today I am on the sore throat stage. So not looking forward to waking up tomorrow because it's probably going to be really painful by then (if past history is anything to go by).

I made a big batch of chicken noodle soup - nothing fancy, this recipe only took half an hour to make - and have been having it every day. Will have it for lunch tomorrow too. I have been living off Lemsip Max (it has added paracetemol and other things in it to ease the cold's symptoms) and eucalyptus soothers - eucalyptus is all I can taste.

Getting sick is not cheap - around $10 to make the chicken noodle soup; $3 for a 3 pack of soothers; $13 for Lemsip Max. But seriously I could not have made it through deadline time without all this stuff - at work I am pretty much functioning normally! (At home not so much!)

Looking forward to being healthy again, hope you're all well!

Holiday Financial Transactions, EF Thoughts

May 9th, 2016 at 04:04 am

My $730 that I transferred over to the travel money card hit the bank today so I converted the money to GBP. The $730 AUD converted at a rate of 0.4827 GBP, and I received 351.41 GBP after conversion fees (1% of the transaction). Looking around at other currency converter sites it seems pretty standard, so that's good.

Tonight I got around to buying travel insurance, paid $139 for a policy with CoverMore. I shopped around for cheaper travel insurance policies but upon reading the bad reviews decided to stick with CoverMore, they have better reviews. I did increase the excess to $250 to reduce the price of the policy though.

After that I bought a pair of compression socks for flying from OurDeal for $19, have heard good things about them.

Finally I logged into the EF and transferred the $49 over to our savings account - soon will need to exchange $180 for GBP cash (want to have a bit available for small purchases).

I have now updated the sidebar to show the EF breakdown. I don't mind borrowing a little bit from the EF and repaying that amount when I return home.

Looking at the EF, in a month or two will buy some more QBE shares - want to have 300 at least by the time the next dividend is to be paid. Or might wait until about August.

The other thing I want to do with it is move the cash portion to a higher interest account, but will look at doing that after coming back. (Along with refinancing B's car - going to be busy, I think!).

In the account (aka Mini EF) I want to have a minimum balance of $2500 and will probably increase that by $500 annually. The rest of the EF savings will be investments in the Maxi EF.

Happy Mother's Day!

May 8th, 2016 at 02:29 am

Happy mother's day to all you wonderful mothers!

Today we visited both of our mothers, was lovely to see everyone; fun times were had and I even got a present even though I'm not a mum Smile

It was a late birthday present from my brother - a bottle of perfume he got for free for buying my mum's present. It may have been a freebie but it was still very much appreciated!

***

I managed to reset my travel money card password the next day and got into the account, and transferred $730 on Friday, apparently it takes one business day to reach the account. Looking forward to seeing it there and buying my first lot of GBP. Will be buying travel insurance tomorrow night and I also want to buy a pair of compression socks for flying ($12) tomorrow night too.

***

I input all of our bills and income into our budgeting spreadsheet and realised we're on a five week month so we are living off $420pw instead of the usual $500. Challenging but we will do it.

Shopping this week I am happy to say was $130 as planned and we even get steak twice in a week - a definite luxury! Lately it's either really cheap or really expensive, there doesn't seem to be an inbetween.. I got pieces for $7.22 & $8- they can go up to $13 which is too pricey I think.

I saw Eddie the Eagle yesterday using one of my movie vouchers, $9 left there and spent $4.75 on popcorn and chocolates at the supermarket. It was a great movie, funny and very inspiring.

Then I rented a couple of DVDs for $7, Black Mass and Sisters, and had a movie night with B. They were also great movies.

Now the weekend has come to a close, we have $20 left in the bank and $5-$10 cash each, so didn't do too badly. We are sitting in a mostly dark house, watching tv in our comfy lounge room, and are soo relaxed; life is good.

$4K Reached; Travel Money Card Frustration

May 3rd, 2016 at 04:51 am

Challenge starting balance: $3,702.74
Plus:
- 2 week's EF: $142.04
- 2 weeks balance transfer repayment: $151.50
- Mortgage repayment: $44.50
Challenge closing balance: $4,040.78

B got paid on the 30th so have now made the fortnightly challenge payments; happy to say the challenge total has now hit $4k! It took just over 4 months to get here.

I decided to change the bank account our automatic EF savings gets withdrawn from to be from the account our pays go into; before it was in another account and I was always having to transfer money over there. Much easier.

I sent over the balance transfer to the bank - realised it was due by the 7th so thought I'd better hop to it. That card balance is now $1,220 and only four months to go; it's starting to get exciting. Did I used to pay credit card interest? It's now a distant memory, hasn't happened for nearly a year.

Mortgage interest that got charged last month was $589 and I realised that if we can just pay the $89, we will be under $121,500; should be $121,498. That was motivating so this pay we saved $44.50.

***

Now for the thing that is making me want to bang my head on the desk.... I got around to setting up my travel money card, they sent me out the cards and tonight I have activated the cards and had to set up a user name and password. It then asks you to choose two security questions and write the answers.

I thought I had the details of how to transfer the money to the card and realised I'd gotten something wrong, so had to log back in. (of course I'd logged out...). Type in the user name and password, and it gives me two completely security questions!!!

Aaaargh. I've now been locked out of it temporarily. I've possibly typed in a slightly different password I'm guessing (the user name is easy for me to remember). I'm annoyed at the moment because I was looking forward to sending over the money but I guess it will have to wait until tomorrow. Or until I have to speak to a banking operator.... Grrr, so annoyed. And possibly over-tired. Will need to revisit this later. (And get some zzz's now).