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Various Financial Transactions

July 7th, 2016 at 08:17 pm

Challenge starting balance: $4,932.01
Plus:
- March mortgage interest payment: $214.48
Challenge closing balance: $5,146.49

One of my 2016 goals was to pay no more than $300 per month interest. Looking back at the bank statement I can see that $548.48 interest was charged, leaving $248.48 to pay. Looking back at my March blog entries I can see that we paid $34.00 towards the interest charged. Therefore to match that goal I have transferred $214.48 onto the mortgage.

Also happy to see that I have now clicked over the $5k mark in the challenge Smile.

***

My lovely boss gave me a bonus of $1045 on the last day of work before my holiday. I transferred $102 onto my credit card (the overspent portion), $398 onto my credit card to be allocated against the dog's dental surgery (estimate has now been changed to $900-$1200) and $500 repaid to the holiday fund.

I also repaid $500 from our pay for this month against the holiday fund. Balance now owing is $492.00.

***

I knew I wanted to buy another 99 QBE shares by September (dividend payment time) to even it up to 300 shares. Due to the Brexit happenings our market has dropped and my shares have dropped significantly.

Therefore I have now bought 99 shares at a price of $10.39, total cost of the purchase was $1,048.56. Basically $1045 went into the account and $1048.56 came out, so not bad at all.

My average QBE purchase price is now $10.71, so I am down slightly there. The MXI shares owned are down heaps, hopefully one day they increase value again.

The EF breakdown will now be:
Mini EF: $2,636.28
Maxi EF: $3,584.25
Holiday Fund: $-492.00

All in all, $6,220.53 at this point in time.

***

I have dropped the dog off for her dental surgery and her physical shows that her heart, lungs and temperature are ok. They do blood tests before giving the anaesthesia also to check that everything is ok.

I just got a phone call from the vet that her blood test recorded a low white blood cell count which we need to get looked at in a couple of weeks.

And the happy news that she is ok!

They have said that 7 teeth were taken out, mostly the back ones. My poor baby. Hopefully she recovers well.

They changed the estimate from $900-$1200, so am interested to know what it will be. If she was in pain from the broken teeth then it is completely worth it for her to be pain free.

I'm Back From The UK Trip; Goals Checkup

July 7th, 2016 at 12:11 am

Challenge starting balance: $4,744.82
Plus:
- Fortnightly balance transfer repayment: $151.50
- Weekly EF savings: $35.69
Challenge closing balance: $4,932.01

Hi everybody, I'm back from the UK trip! Had a really lovely time, it was amazing. Saw so many cool things, had quite a few "wow" moments. It was so lovely to meet SG in Scotland, had a really nice lunch with her and her family and my friend.

I will upload pictures when B is around - I had problems doing it last time, so pictures will come soon.

My friend and her husband were such wonderful hosts, they took me to see so many places and made a really big effort to show me the UK side of life, especially food. I am so grateful to have been able to do this big trip.

They live in the middle of England so we checked out lots of castles, historic buildings and English gardens in their area; they took me to a place near Yorkshire where we stayed in a really nice caravan; we went to London for a couple of days and to Scotland for a couple of days.

Financially I only overspent by $102. They are pretty frugal so we cooked a lot of meals at home and mainly ate out on the weekend and when we were away in London and Scotland. My main expenses were meals when out, gifts and alcohol. I am currently staying sober for the rest of July to make up for it! In Australia we have a charity thing called Dry July, so while I am not entering it officially - I had a few drinks at the start of the month so can't - I am basically doing the same things as the people who enter it (except for raise money). I am now on Day 2.

I was lucky enough to have wifi so was able to speak to B pretty much every day. All the same I was very happy to come home! B said the cat was driving him crazy because she was meowing non stop. As soon as I got home I gave her lots of cuddles and it soon stopped. I guess this is her way of telling me I was gone too long!!

The dog decided that she was a daddy's girl and ignored me for the first night and day - now after feeding her and walking her, I am back in her good books and all is normal again.

Jet lag - all I can say is oh my god!!! Yesterday (my first full day back - I got back into Oz the night before) - I experienced a new level of tiredness I have never had!!! Even my bones ached and I was too tired to sit up. Today I don't feel wonderful but have more energy. All the same, I am going in the spa soon to try and help the aches. I guess if you sit mostly still for 27 hours you can expect a touch of pain.

It was still worth it though Smile

***

While I haven't been posting or commenting on the blogs, whenever I've had a chance I've lurked and even on holidays my mind was never truly off financial stuff.

I didn't track expenses for the entire month of June, simply set automatic transfers weekly for our spending money and B's credit card, and fortnightly transfers for my balance transfer repayment. I decided I liked having our spending money and B's credit card payment get deposited every Thursday so simply changed the weekly spending amount from $300 to $500 (being for both of us), and left B's credit card payment at $80 per week. I can simply look at the monthly budget and if something needs to be changed it is very easy.

Being halfway through the year I looked at my 2016 goals and realised that while I have saved just over $2000 into the EF, I have only realistically paid no more than $300 per month mortgage interest for the first two months of the year so need to work on that goal.

As a result I have adjusted the weekly EF savings from $71.02 down to $35.69 (being $3000 - $2072.10 / 26 weeks), and will be working more on the mortgage interest - will write more about that next week.

***

Back in March I took the dog to the vet for a checkup and they reported that she has two broken teeth and needs her teeth cleaned, with an estimated cost of $900-$1100. It never left my mind that I needed to get this done and as I have a day off work tomorrow (I don't start back until next week); I have booked her in to get the work done. As she is 13, I really really hope she will be ok. Cross your fingers for her.

Possibly My Only June Blog Entry

June 6th, 2016 at 05:06 am

Challenge starting balance: $4,378.78
Plus:
- Monthly balance transfer repayment: $303.00
- Mortgage repayment: $63.00
Challenge closing balance: $4,744.82

Realistically this will probably be my only blog post for June. I would love to write more often but it's crucial that I keep an eye on my energy levels when I'm this busy. I need to not forget stuff and I need to not get sick, so while I need to keep a close eye on the to-do list I also need to be strict with rest. Maybe I'll write some during this week, we'll see how we go.

In May we overspent by $416 which came out of the savings in the mortgage account. Because of all of the outflow I decided that just for one month I would stop the EF savings and sweep that money into the mortgage savings we dipped into instead.

So for June the only savings/debt repayment we'll be doing is $303 for the balance transfer and $63 for the mortgage. The balance transfer will be $917 and the mortgage will be $120,999!!!

I took a day off on Friday as work was quiet and I got to thinking about if B does do something on the walk-in robe he was planning and that I should probably do a major declutter of my clothes and things. I threw out 2/3 of my wardrobe!!! 1/3 was just old and worn to an inch of it's life so I threw that out and the other 1/3 will go to charity. These are generally wrong size clothes that did not get worn much so are in good condition.

There is a door at the other end of the wardrobe which goes through to another room so if B does anything while I'm gone it will only be sealing it up and plastering over it.

Thankfully the GBP has gone up! I transferred my last lot over to the travel money card and looked up the rate and to buy on the card it is about 0.475, which is better than 0.46. I was really worried it would drop even further but luckily it's gone up instead. Tomorrow I will buy so there is 750GBP and then will buy cash so there is 300GBP cash.

Financial transactions for today:

- Bought a Aus/UK electrical adaptor so I can charge phone, straightener etc $11.50
- Transferred $495 to the travel money card account so I can get 232GBP (currently 518 there)
- Paid $72 on my credit card- groceries were $89 and we had $72 cash. I have been eating down all of my food (me & B have different workday breakfasts, lunches & snacks) and have barely had to buy anything for me. Had to buy almond milk, apples and a chocolate bar! The rest of B's food and our dinner food, animal food and cleaning supplies. I was craving sushi last week and decided that instead of buying more lunch food I would eat mine down and buy sushi for lunch 2 days this week - we would have to spend this money anyway. Looking forward to sushi tomorrow!
- Had to pay my phone company $30, was not happy about this! They told me to pay $100 bond to activate global roaming which I did; as soon as the money hit the account they issued me with my monthly invoice which is not due until the 18th and promptly deducted the $30. Grrr. Had to quickly transfer in business hours so they can get it asap and activate it before I go.

Financial transactions done with, very much looking forward to visiting the land of the castles, cottages, cobblestoned streets and of course Scottish Girl!

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

$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).

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.

March Wrap-Up

March 31st, 2016 at 04:37 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 04:23 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 04:14 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 04:21 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 03:28 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 03:15 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!

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

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.

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!

EF, Tax Stuff, Grocery Rewards, etc

January 28th, 2016 at 03:35 am

52 Week Challenge starting balance: $868.60
Plus this week's EF savings: $71.02
52 Week Challenge closing balance: $939.62

This week's EF savings will be automatically transferred in the morning, so thought I would update now. Next week we will be over $1000.00, so that's exciting!

I think on Sunday, being the 31st of January, I will officially update the Mini EF and Maxi EF breakdown on the sidebar too.

***

The other day I lodged B's sales tax report and we also have to pay an amount towards his 2016 income tax. This is a percentage of his net earnings based on a rate the government give us. I looked at his earnings and worked out the tax payable so far to be $1904 and it turns out that in the first two quarters of the year we paid $1988! Very happy about that because that's something we don't have to try to find money for.

***

I had to buy catfood today so went to Safeway to get it and they had a few good deals on things- I spent $35 and got two weeks worth of catfood, a month's worth of biscuits, coffeepods, dinner for tomorrow night, stirfry sauce and deodorant for B. We have now spent enough to qualify for the first week of the snowflake.

I thought we had to spend two weeks of $80 in a row but as soon as I paid for groceries there was a printout saying that I now qualify to receive $20 ($15 for spending $80 plus $5 already in my rewards balance), so that will be good to add to the challenge also. Not sure what will happen next week though - maybe I will do the rest of the grocery shopping there on the weekend, get the snowflake then, and then next week do the grocery shopping there again to qualify for week 2 by spending over $80.

***

I also bought a bottle of wine for $8.50 (marked down from $17, so it is a fancy wine). I have not been good with my new years resolution of only drinking one bottle of wine per week, so will aim to do this this week. The only reason why I may have more is if we catch up for a friend's birthday on the weekend, which is likely as we spoke about it last week - no concrete plans have been made yet though.

EF Update & Misc

January 22nd, 2016 at 03:03 am

Another weekly payment went through to the EF, it is now $284.08, with the 52 wk challenge standing at $868.60.

Have simply been plodding along in Oz, and trying to do what needs to be done? Financially the New Years resolutions (plans) are progressing well.

Cutting down from 2 bottles of wine a week to 1 hasn't happened. Gonna need a whole lot more willpower for that one.

The other non-financial resolution was to keep the kitchen bench tidy; happy to say that resolution has fared a bit better.

I also had to do B's monthly sales tax report and checked on his earnings for 6 months: it is $28,223. This is up about $8000 from this time last year and that is because last year he was off work from mid October to mid January. How much have we saved up? Not enough. I worked the tax out to be $1904, I think he's already paid $600 back in September and we have to pay $600 in the next week or so. But at least there's 6 months to make this up so I'll start withholding more from his payments that come in from now on. This is why it's handy to keep a close eye on your earnings when you are self-employed.

Monthly Payments; Days 12&13/365 Days of Gratitude

January 14th, 2016 at 03:25 am

I got paid a day early (probably should put that as a thing to be grateful for! As well as having income) so have made a couple of payments which can be added to the 2016 52 Week Challenge.

Starting balance: $226.04
Plus:
Mortgage repayment (572.52-300) = $272.52
EF: $71.02 (will be coming out tomorrow so we'll add it to this week's total)
Debt Repayment of Balance Transfer credit card: $228

Today's ending balance: $797.58

As we are in low season, we are spending so little at the moment that making these transfers feels like we are spending heaps! Not spending much though means that as yet we haven't had to dip into our savings which is a good thing.

Low season for us means that this week was B's first official week back but because of extremely hot weather and materials not being ready (because people are either still coming back to work or not at work yet from the holidays), he has only worked two full days plus two half days with no work tomorrow. It takes his industry a little bit longer to get back into full work mode. So weeks of half work and half pay are common in January and if things aren't going well, also February.

Anyway, enough of that - we are dealing with it fine.

The thing I am grateful for on day 12 is getting within a kilo of having my Christmas/new year's weight gone! That was a happy moment on the scale! Especially as the last class put me in so much pain it's taken 3 days to recover Smile

Simply a stock photo here:



The thing I am grateful for on day 13 is having a relaxing evening watching tv with my husband and our furbabies Smile



Another stock photo, just imagine there's a dog & cat here too!

2016 Goals, 365 Days of Gratitude #2

January 3rd, 2016 at 12:21 am

Have decided to keep the financial goals as listed on the sidebar, but to include all amounts saved (planned and snowflakes) in the 52 week challenge.

Non-financial goals are to decrease my alcohol intake slightly. I buy 2 bottles of wine per week, so my goal is to only buy 1 bottle of wine per week. I will probably spend the money saved on small items of clothing that I leave far too long to buy!

My other non-financial goal is to keep the kitchen bench clear and wiped daily. This is because just before Christmas we got these lovely bar stools to match the area, and it would look so much nicer.

We have kept the automatic savings payments as per previously, the first payment came out on Friday January 1. The 52 week challenge is as follows:

Starting balance: $0
Plus:
EF savings $71.02
Part payment towards balance transfer amount $75.00
Snowflake of discount on tshirt bought $9.00 (this was sent to CC1)
Today's closing balance: $155.02

I also need to note the insurance savings made last month. We now have $1,120 and by March will have $1,660. The payment due is around $2000 so there will be a small amount extra to pay.

***

We got back from visiting our friends yesterday, and had a really lovely New Years Eve. We are already getting back into the swing of things. I washed 3 loads of washing today, did grocery shopping ($100) and went to the gym. I want to go to the gym a few times before going back to work on Thursday to work off my holiday eating Smile

***

I love the 365 days of gratitude and enjoy seeing what you are all grateful for. Here are my things:

1. Being able to show my face to all of the people who read this blog regularly. This is me on the top left, hello everyone!

2. Being able to go back to where we always used to camp with our friends on Friday, it was so nice being at this place again! (It's called Tocumwal, it's on the Murray River in Victoria). Ps on the bottom right is a koala we had to give way too coming out of the campsite, wish I could have got a better photo but it was not to be!


Final Balance Transfer; Final EOY Results!

December 19th, 2015 at 11:16 am

Last week among financial things I made my final balance transfer payment of $303 per month for 2015. The balance transfer card should be at $2734 owed after the payment hits. It's good knowing that I will close the year out at under $3k credit card debt compared to $5400 at the start of the year.

I was thinking about adjusting the totals down to reflect what the balances actually are but have decided against it. The reason being we did actually save that money at some point during the year. It was simply used for certain purposes. Some of it was used on holiday purposes. Some of it was used to cover B not being paid in the first week of December. Unfortunately what was used on B's card I cannot exactly say what it was for; a lot of it would have been work stuff, fast food, motorbike stuff.

Eventually we will need to look at that card and work out some sort of solution. He doesn't need a card with $3700 credit because his spending habits are to spend whatever is available. Probably a card with $1000-$1500 credit is better for him. Big enough to make decent sized purchases (eg car stuff) but not big enough to cause too much drama. So eventually, probably after my balance transfer has been done, we will organise a balance transfer for him and a new card with a much lower balance.

Anyway back to end of year stuff. I am doing end of year totals now before christmas and new years in the event that we are a bit too busy for me to sit down and work this out, and I know that no more savings will be made for the year. My end of year total will be as follows:

50 Week Challenge $5300 + Banking the Difference $4379.54 + $90 Caravan Park accommodation spent + $210.00 Phuket Holiday Deposit spent + $35.00 Cash Savings =

$10,014.54!!!

Thank you all for sharing my first year of savings challenges, your advice and your journeys with me. You have all helped me to become a bit more financially responsible and you have all inspired me in your own different ways!

(Most likely by the time you read this I will have updated the Banking the Difference category to read $4679.54, with $818.00 holiday fund)

What does next year hold??? I'm not sure yet. I don't feel I need to do two separate challenges anymore. I think I will work out a couple of goals and plans, maybe possibly do one challenge like Imasaver but with a different name to $20 challenge. I have roughly 11 days to decide, so the thinking cap is on!

Christmas/End of Year Stuff

December 10th, 2015 at 03:34 am

It's been a little while since I've written! I finished my study unit and have been slowly adjusting back to 40 hour weeks instead of the 50-60 hour weeks I've been dealing with when I had to study as well as work. It's nice to have a bit of free time.

And now Christmas is just around the corner! We put the tree up a couple of days ago which is really nice. And my family decided that the adults would partake in a Kris Kringle for the first time ever! The presents must be worth between $40 and $60 per person, but this is a reduction in presents as we would normally have to buy 5 presents and now it is one per person. Happy about that.

B's family we will need to buy 4 adult presents for, not completely sure what yet. Then there are four nephews and one niece. I have $100 in gift cards saved up from previous months which I will use to pay for two nephews and the niece (or three nephews? will work out the same anyway). So we are looking at two presents for my family; four for B's; plus two kids; so I'm guessing around $250-$300 in presents. We'll see what it ends up as.

My Christmas present is half the anniversary present; it is an eternity ring. A gorgeous ring marked down from $600 to $420, with the stones set in a V, which sits perfectly in front of my engagement ring. We have been paying it off on layby since the middle of last month, so no problems there. Speaking of anniversary presents; my gift to my husband was changing my name but my marriage certificate request was denied as I had the wrong person certify my ID, so now have to redo that by getting the police to certify and sending it back. I have 60 days, and was notified on November 2, so will have to get moving on that one! I want it done by early next week.

B wants a solar panel for our camping stuff, which has been priced at $180 on eBay. His parents said they will give cash towards it, so I said they can give cash towards my present too. That means we will be out of pocket there about $100.

I have still been living quietly to try and get back to normal after my trip to see Nana; hoping to finish the year out with that dealt with. Then B had problems at work and didn't get paid last week, so we were really out of pocket.

I ended up having to transfer $880 from savings and use up his tax savings money of $634. It's so amazing that it can take so long to build and can be gone so quickly! At least it was there though.

As a result this week when he got paid, most of it pretty much went. He is supposed to be getting a good pay next week, but it will need to last us. I think he gets one more pay before Christmas, and then we will need to wait until around the 20th January.

I am still planning to allocate two weeks spending money for him from our EF though, so that will help us. I was thinking a maximum of $1000 but really I think I will just see what we need, we could possibly be comfortable with less. I think this is a good idea for him as he is self-employed though - everyone deserves to have a holiday free of trying to work out how you will pay for your time off! At least this way he can relax the same way I, as an employee, does.

Finally, I am steeling myself for a profit downgrade when it comes to the challenges.. The EF and CC1 have had the correct amount saved/repaid, however CC2 (which we use for B's work) is generally lucky to have around $250 free! So according to the challenges $1068.63 will be repaid by year end - so that will likely need to be reduced by $750. The mortgage savings - hopefully the $880 used last week will be repaid by year end. $293 was repaid tonight. I am hopeful that we will repay it.

So instead of $5300 + $4076.54 = $9376.54, it could be $5300 + $4076.54 - $750 + $303 (balance transfer CC1 payment not made yet but will be made)

= $8929.54.

Who knows, maybe I can find $72 to push it over $9k?
Anyway even with a profit downgrade, it's still a billion times better than what we had 1 year ago!! I'm still happy with that.

Holiday Fund Snowflakes, Credit Card Payments

November 18th, 2015 at 02:42 am

I got my tax refund a couple of weeks ago, which included a $203.00 snowflake(the rest was simply repaying the EF, which has also been done). Add to that a $30 Safeway gift card for my three weeks of spending over $100 per week on groceries a few months ago, another $10 gift voucher for Safeway and a Paypal refund of $15.00 for a top I bought for my spring capsule which wasn't in stock after all. (I didn't see any like that for that price, so decided I couldn't be bothered and claimed it as a snowflake!).

The total amount added to the holiday fund was $258.00, bringing the holiday fund to $518.00. As earlier discussed, the holiday is on the backburner so this will be the last deposit for the year I imagine.

Banking the Difference is now $4,076.54, so that plus $5,300.00 will bring an anticipated year end balance of $9,376.54. In a way better place than this time last year!!!

I paid the balance of the $303.00 monthly balance transfer payment, that card is now at $3,034.00. There is still a balance of around $30.00 on the original credit card. One day I'll clear it out completely!

I also repaid the last of the New Zealand expenses on the original credit card (which I use as a transaction card).

Have barely been spending, have been spending lots of time studying for my degree unit which is near its end, and my body is at its end of its tether also. Battling sinus and a toothache and possible ear infection - but really I think it's all sinus-related. Tired and achy is not a great thing. At least the financial house looks a bit more orderly! (Other than that life here is not too bad, husband and animals are well).

Banking the Difference on Mortgage, etc

October 24th, 2015 at 10:31 pm

Hello all, hoping all is well!

My latest financial transactions of note are adding the $183 mortgage savings straight onto the mortgage principal. Have added this amount to the banking the difference challenge, and the anticipated end of year figures will now be:

$5300 50wk challenge + $3558.54 banking the difference
= $8858.54

At the same time, I also put our $180 monthly insurance savings into the mortgage offset too - we now have $760 saved up for that, so those savings are on schedule.

The mortgage interest rate has gone up so next month our payment might be a bit higher, which reduces the savings Frown

***

On my mind as well as going away on our camping trip is paying for the balance of the Thailand trip next year. We paid $300 (which mostly came out of the holiday fund) deposit and $1300 remains, haven't been advised as to when it is payable so it's best to work towards repaying it anyway.

I lodged our tax returns and I receive back $1616. Of that $1283 goes back to the EF for the study unit I purchased, and $130 goes back to the EF for money we borrowed from it.

That will amount to a $203 snowflake which I will put towards our $1300 payment, leaving $1097 payable. Over the next couple of months I think our focus will be trying to save a decent amount towards it.

I also lodged B's tax return, but he is payable and that payment is coming out of his business income which he has saved.

***

The only other thing on my mind right now is doing the grocery shopping. I was given a $10 off voucher if we spend over $100, so I'm pretty sure we will need to spend that - so there will be the first $10 towards the holiday fund!!!

Balance Transfer Payment No.3 Done

October 15th, 2015 at 02:46 am

Today was payday so as soon as I was able to, I transferred the money out of the account and paid the third balance transfer payment! Only 11 more to go.

Once the payment hits the balance transfer card will be at $3341.00. It's so good to have the credit card debt under control and not be charged interest anymore.

The balance transfer payment was $303, with $106 coming from 52 week challenge savings and the remaining $197 coming from today's pay, which got added to the Banking the Difference challenge. The totals for these two challenges at the end of the year will now be:

52 wk challenge $5300 + Banking the Difference challenge $3375.54 = $8675.54.

Hoping you're all well!

3/4 Through The Challenges

October 8th, 2015 at 02:24 pm

It's October 9th but I haven't updated my sidebar since the last week of September so thought I will mark my progress at being 3/4 of the way through both challenges.

52 week challenge total saved so far = $3,805.48
Banking the Difference challenge saved so far = $3,168.54

Total savings as at 30 September = $6,974.02

The banking the difference challenge has changed totally since moving my credit card over to the 0% credit card and putting myself on a 14 month repayment plan to get it paid off by the date it comes off 0% - I now find that we can afford to pay the $303 payment, 52 week challenge savings and the $183 mortgage saving and that's as far as it goes to be able to live kind of comfortably.

It works out to be about 15% of my pay which I think is reasonable. It's funny how things change in such a short time!


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