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Archive for December, 2016

2016 Savings Balances / 2017 Plans

December 28th, 2016 at 08:05 pm

I don't know what I will be doing over the New Year, it is all changing but generally around this time I find it hard to blog and update so I've had a look at the savings account and the final balances are as follows:

Cash (Mini EF): $2,233.21
Study unit (from Xmas bonus): $500.00
Holiday fund: $485.00
Shares (Maxi EF): $5,586.00

Total: $8,804.21

Yesterday I bought another 100 QBE shares for $12.48 per share. These shares are doing really well at the moment. Therefore the mini EF is slightly smaller than usual.

I've decided that I'm going to do a savings challenge on a smaller scale this year and simply budget our savings.

The challenge I am planning on doing is a 12 month Christmas savings challenge. SA had a 12-week $1000 challenge, so I have used the same amounts but modified it into a monthly plan. The January deposit required of $60 already has around $18.50 in the account, which is great.

In 2017 we are going to be doing a few much-needed things to our house as well as taking a holiday, so there will be less going to savings than in previous years. I feel like we have had two good years to repay debt and build up savings so this is kind of a year off from that.

I have cancelled the weekly EF savings debit and have created a yearly planner showing which month each goal will be accomplished, savings will be transferred accordingly.

Our plan for 2017 savings is:

- B's tax $1390 (due March)
- B's credit card repayment $2160
- Phuket balance of deposit $815 (due around April)
- Phuket spending money $2000
- New security doors for house $1000
- Garden updates to front and back $1500 (due by September, our spring time)
- New tyres for my car $600 (due asap - could be up to $1000, we will save the balance)
- Savings - shares $1265
- Savings - cash $1270

Based on these items, the percentages for the categories is as follows:
- Tax/debt repayment 30%
- Travel 23%
- House spending 21%
- Car spending 5%
- Savings 21%

B's credit card won't be repaid by the end of the year, but the balance will be much lower. With regards to travel, it is probably going to be our last overseas holiday for a couple of years (unless we do something for my 40th). I had a category for a new car fund but have been finding it too hard to do this as well as repay debt so may simply when B's loan is paid off in 1.5 years use the amount we were paying for that loan to save for a new car.

If I don't get around to checking in, hope you all have a wonderful new year!

Merry Christmas Everyone :)

December 23rd, 2016 at 09:32 pm

It's now Christmas Eve here, merry Christmas everybody!

It's not very often that I have Christmas Eve off work but it's Saturday so that's good. Have done the Christmas shopping except for two gift cards which B will be getting (it's from a hardware store so that's his domain).

I got a bonus from work, which is great as always - very much appreciated. We will be able to repay the Christmas shopping which is awesome as we can start off 2017 with a fresh slate. There is $159 on one card and $223 on the other which relate to Christmas presents, so $382 to be repaid. The gift cards will be $100 and then we want to spend possibly $130 on a portable speaker (UE Boom 2), which we will use when camping. The other $400 I may leave aside for another study unit, I'm not sure.

B's sister came down from interstate for three days, which was lovely. His family had a quite a few happy moments and on the last night we went out for dinner to my favourite Chinese restaurant, which was great!

Yesterday we had our work Christmas do at my boss's favourite restaurant. It has very high quality food and is five minutes from our office, what's not to like? I then came home and relaxed with B and did my nails for Christmas. I wanted something Christmassy so spent $2.50 on a colourful glitter polish (did red underneath).

Today promises to be a standard busy Christmas Eve. There will be cleaning, food shopping (the balance of ingredients plus vegetables), doing my hair, wrapping presents and baking. We're not motivated to put the Christmas tree up so it may not happen.

We go to lunch at my SIL's tomorrow so I'm making red velvet cupcakes and want to put candy canes on top. Then we'll be hosting Christmas dinner so because we only have limited time we're cooking the meat today and will reheat it tomorrow while we cook the vegetables. Mum and my stepdad are vegetarians so I'm making a quiche for them and my nephew is allergic to dairy and eggs so for dessert I'm making a chocolate mousse with coconut milk and almond milk, along with Christmas coloured jelly.

Merry Christmas all, enjoy your day no matter what!

Final Snowflakes for 2016 Plus Final 2016 Challenge Tally

December 15th, 2016 at 07:22 pm

Challenge starting balance: $9,880.47
Plus:
- weekly EF savings x 5 $178.45
- Safeway everyday rewards $10.00
- digital change $11.52
- B's credit card repayment $180.00
- B's tax savings $463.33
Challenge closing balance: $10,723.77

Around this time last year, I tallied up the annual challenge, and have decided that this will be all the snowflakes and savings for December month, and to finish up this year's challenge.

Last year we saved $10,014; this year we saved $10,724 so we had a slight increase Smile.

I have already updated the sidebar to show what was saved for various categories but here it is also:
- Mortgage repayments $1729.46
- EF savings $3000.04
- New car fund $150.00
- Holiday fund $485.00
- Debt repayment $3,747.40
- B's tax savings $1,329.99

Of the savings for this year, savings that went directly to us were mortgage repayments, EF savings, new car fund and holiday fund totaling $5,364.50. (If I was to include the amount saved for the UK holiday of $4500 then this total would be higher but did not include it in the challenge. It is important to note though that while around half of our savings for the challenge did not go directly to us, I was able to take an expensive holiday also so it is not all bad)

Savings that went to other people were the debt repayment and B's tax savings totaling $5,077.39.

There is also within the challenge $281 unaccounted for, however I think a big part of this could have been savings for Christmas.

The only debt we have left other than the mortgage is B's credit card debt of around $2700 and we will be carrying some credit card debt (of around $500 I imagine) on my card coming into the new year for Christmas presents. So we're not doing too badly there compared to last year.

Financially I think my new car savings were replaced by B's tax savings as this has a due date and because it is so large has become more important.

My new year's goals of 1 bottle of wine per week plus keeping the kitchen bench clear every night didn't happen. Oh well. I'm ok with this.

Moving into 2017, I will work out the savings allocation soon but my goals will be:
- have $1000 saved up for Christmas by December by adding digital change and snowflakes to a certain bank account
- move the cash portion of the EF into a high interest bank account and restructure our bank accounts
- create a separate spreadsheet for snowflakes and do one savings & snowflakes blog entry each month

Looking at what we will be able to save directly to us compared to going to other people, we will have debt repayments of $2160 to B's card as planned, and $1390 tax repayments, so that will be $3,545 going to other people. This will mean that if the challenge is roughly the same that the amount we will receive directly to us will increase to $6,455, which is an improvement.

2016 has been great, looking forward to 2017! I will most likely post a bit more before end of year though.

Twelve Days Until Christmas! Monday Stuff

December 12th, 2016 at 09:21 pm

As Alice4now said, it's now 12 days until Christmas. I don't know that I watch heaps of Christmas movies but I do like to read a light-hearted Christmas book around this time of year, so bought Christmas at Coorah Creek off Kobo for $2.65. This is a romance story set in the Australian outback.

My only other Monday spending was $25 on a new heel for my two week old shoes. Last Thursday was an expensive day! I was walking to work and clipped my heel on the kerb as I was crossing the street and completely snapped the heel off. That meant that 1) I needed new shoes and 2) I needed to fix broken shoe. On the way to work the only shoe shop is Nine West so a pair of patent flats on sale set me back $90! I think my work shoe collection is complete for a while now....

I got to use my new straightener properly and am happy to see it works well, I hope to keep it for a while (and $40 is a better price than the previous $200)

B and I are both better now pretty much which is great. I have some residual sinus problems, hopefully they fade off soon.

Have done half the Christmas shopping pretty much, spent around $170. The other half of the presents are more expensive, expecting to spend around $300 there. If I'm lucky enough I can grab those presents after work or in my lunchtime around my work area, instead of going to the awful busy shopping centre in my area.

Sick

December 7th, 2016 at 10:07 am

Unfortunately I had to take a sick day today, as I started coming down with a bad cold yesterday and my throat was too painful today. B also came down sick - this is our first time ever we have come down with a cold at the same time. It was really quite hilarious last night, and fun to have someone suffering the same ailments. We both had aches and chills and everything was just too DAMN hard!!

B had to go to the doctors to get a medical certificate so I asked my boss if he wanted me to get one too and he said no it's fine, which was nice. Colds are an expensive thing. I bought lemsip and B bought strepsils with anaesthetic in them so between the two of them we have been sharing. Today I then spent $15 on throat lozenges and a medicated throat gargle.

Last night I had no idea what to have for dinner because our throats were too sore for solid food. I ended up making pumpkin soup for me and B had a toasted cheese sandwich. I accidentally put too much garlic in the soup so couldn't eat it; B just couldn't eat his because it was too solid.

Then today we have steak and sausages defrosted to eat either today or tomorrow and I couldn't bear to throw it out or feed it to the dog so used the steak in a beef vegetable soup in the slow cooker which was really nice and so easy to make. The sausages I will deal with tomorrow.

B is now sicker than me. I think part of the reason is I slept through the night while he woke up every 10 minutes or so - he has been sleeping a lot today so hopefully is a bit better tomorrow. I do feel that having the day off was the best thing to do because it has really sped up my recovery time. I have energy when I'm sitting but get lethargic when moving around; if I went to work I would have been really lethargic and sick for a lot longer. My throat will still probably be really painful but think I will be over the lethargic side of the cold.

About the most useful thing I did today was actually plan out all the Christmas presents, there are now only two which have a question mark. I read the catalogues for ideas and then researched the stores I shopped at, trying to keep the presents generally between the $30-$40 mark. I don't want to say what the total will be but we can afford to pay for the presents this month and that's the main thing. It's good to be organised.

Doings Of The Last Few Days

December 5th, 2016 at 11:13 am

What's been happening this last few days? Here's a few things, financial and non-financial:

- the most important thing of the last few days is I said goodbye to my childhood home. It has been in my family 33 years. Maybe around 12 years ago, Mum sold it because she was moving in with my stepfather; so she sold it to my sister and BIL, who sold it in October and moved out on Saturday. They have pretty much changed the entire inside so it is really a shell of my childhood home. All the same, I took in every last detail for the last time ever. It was a pretty emotional moment. As B said, "you will always have the memories", which is very true.
- Christmas parties Saturday night and Sunday day, both related to B. I have a couple of weeks break from parties etc which is good, a chance to catch up on things and relax a bit.
- Spending has been all over the place, have only been tracking every few days. This weekend we were only slightly over though.
- We were over in spending because this morning my straightener died! I had one which we paid $200 for about 8 years ago, so it has really lasted well. As it was December and this is usually an expensive month, I picked one up for $40 from Priceline. Hopefully technology has improved straighteners and it lasts a while. If I don't like the quality I may get a better brand for my birthday (already have my Christmas present). This went on my credit card, need to repay it this week.
- Only starting to think about Christmas, which is standard for me. B and I already have our presents, and I have 11 presents to buy. Will need to either get them this weekend or next as Christmas weekend will be purely devoted to socialising, cooking and cleaning. If I plan well enough, I can get them all in a couple of hours.
- On Friday the combined value of shares and EF hit $8k! Exciting stuff.

Must make lunches and go to bed, talk soon.