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 =
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!
Viewing the 'Banking The Difference Challenge' Category
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.
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)
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.
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).
Hi everyone. I've been lurking on the blogs here & there, but have had too much going on to be able to post.
Last week B & I went on our camping holiday as planned. We cooked breakfast and dinner camping style and ate out every day. We went bike riding, to a winery, also to a brewery, to a national park, we did so much stuff. Because I really wanted to be able to put some money towards Phuket payment of balance of trip, I actually tracked all expenses while on holiday. I never do this normally but it was important know how we were going. By the end of October there was $260.00 left over, so have put it towards the holiday (as part of the banking the difference challenge).
We also spent the weekend visiting friends too. Then I got home on Sunday and mum called me up to let me know that nana had gone into renal failure, and if we wanted to say goodbye it needs to be done asap. All our family other than immediate family is in New Zealand. Nana was 86 and has had diabetes for many years. Last year she got sick with giant cell arteritis and never really recovered.
I love my nana very much so decided I had to go see her. Unfortunately my mother has just become so unfamily oriented. I saw nana last year when she was sick and had to beg her to go and see her. It was like pulling teeth. Then they had a great time and it was really happy. When she called me she said there's no point going as she won't know what was going on and she wasn't going because she already had happy memories.
I thought about and decided to go anyway. I wasn't really hearing back from anyone and didn't want to impose, so booked a hotel room instead of staying with relatives. My aunt told me off because she made up the bed as she thought I was coming, I wish I did stay there. The hotel room was nice though. I was in New Zealand from Wednesday through to last night, the entire cost (flights, accommodation, food) was $1400. Ouch. I only have $140 left for the month after accounting for bills and some savings, so it will be a quiet month.
The most important thing though is I got to see my nana and say goodbye to her. As soon as I got there l told her thank you for holding on for me and she started to move to hug me (I then had to hug her as she was far too weak). I got to tell her I love her, and chatted to her about many things, and we all reminisced of happy memories of her life. It was a lovely day and I now feel like I got closure. I will miss her.
She stayed alive until my cousin arrived from Australia yesterday morning and then died about 20 minutes later, she had declined rapidly by then. The funeral is next Tuesday. I wish I could be there but can't, I got to say goodbye that's the most important thing. RIP nana, love her so much.
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
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
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!!!
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!
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!
So glad I thought of the holiday fund earlier this year, it has become so useful! Was not even thinking about overseas holidays at the moment but then yesterday a good friend of mine (whose wedding we went to in March) invited us to go with them and a bunch of friends to Phuket, Thailand next year! She found a deal of $800pp for 7 nights accommodation, airfares and breakfasts. We have not planned dates to go as yet but once we buy the package they are valid for two years - we imagine we will be going next year sometime. So excited - did not consider going to Thailand but many people have said how beautiful it is, and it looks gorgeous. Luckily B agreed to go! So there was $207.00 in the mini-holiday and deposits to lock in the deal were $150.00pp, so I transferred out the $207.00 from mini-holiday fund and $93.00 from our bank account.
Must do the tax return and get the EF back to what it should be.... So bad with procrastinating on this one...
I worked out to get 15% savings I would need to save an extra $188.
$58 of that had to go towards the Balance Transfer payment of $303.00. I transferred over the payment tonight and the balance in a couple of days on that card should read $3,644.00 - which is awesome. The balance on the actual CC1 is around $68 now, eventually it will be down to $0. No rush there, I just keep on transferring $10 per week.
The remaining $130 saved was part of the mortgage snowflake of $183.00 reduction in our mortgage compared to what the repayment used to be (B covered the rest).
I also transferred our insurance savings towards the two cars tonight as well of $180, there is now $580 saved up.
As it is the end of the month (well close enough) spending will be minimal from now on. I had a long day at work and craved a bottle of wine and gave in - there was $10 spent (had two glasses though, the rest is still there). But there is no weekend plans, so should be very quiet. Will need to be because most of the money is now spent! I am not bothered though because I feel like it is going to useful places.
I will start off with the financial transactions for the week. The 50 week challenge payments for the week have been updated and I have added $110 to the Banking the Difference challenge, which was savings for my credit card for the $303 monthly balance transfer payment.
Like Mrs Frugalista, yesterday I was reflecting on my goals and the progress so far and how likely it is that by 31 December they will be met. I have dipped into the EF a couple of months ago and still owe $130 for that. Have also withdrawn $1283 for my study subject. So while the totals on the sidebar look wonderful, in actual the EF is a bit leaner than that! I need to do my tax asap to get the $1283 back. I'm actually due a bit over $1500 so the $130 will be repaid also. For our situation, it's so important to do this now while we're in high season before we get to low season and the tax refund then has to get used to live off, not repaying the EF. *So* don't want that.
B's card is shocking because he's been getting underpaid again. The sidebar says he has repaid $472.30 and $379.63 for the two challenges, yesterday I checked and he only had $155 available. I have since repaid $225.00 from his earnings tonight, so that he now has $380.00 available (as per Banking the Difference challenge).
So we have a bit of work to do to get back up to speed. *If* things go well, we get back to normal and all our money gets repaid back into the right places, and I continue to pay at least $100 on my credit card on top of the 50 week challenge, and we bank the difference for the mortgage savings of $183.00 per month, we should meet a pretty awesome goal of having saved/repaid $10,000. But as I'm seeing at the moment it will require some careful watching and ensuring the balances are repaid and not used (eg not dipping into the EF or using the credit cards).
But it is so important to not just plan and carry out the plan, but to also occasionally sit back, reflect on where your progress is and decide if any action needs to be taken, as I have just seen.
Finally - have had *the*worst*week* with computers, both at home and work!!! Monday night our computer would start but the monitor would then say "no signal" and go blank, nothing would happen. Then B came home a couple of hours later and tinkered around and 10 minutes later it was working. So glad about that, even if I lost 2 hours before that. Tuesday at work just after 5pm we were winding our day down and all of a sudden the network was lost, the server lost power. My boss got on the phone to IT and reset the server and it was ok. I got home Tuesday night and our toner ran out, and B put new toner in. But something went wrong with it and black wouldn't print. Have left it for now, we will look at it soon. Yesterday our part-timer couldn't get her computer on, they ended up finding out it was a problem with a graphics card and she got a new monitor, everything was working.
But today I got to work and when I turned my computer on, it had the graphics of the brand on the screen, and then it went black. Nothing. IT came and got my computer, worked on it for a couple of hours and brought it back. This time it loaded up to desktop stage but none of the programs would open. Then after we tried opening them an error message came up, and then the whole thing closed down. Our manager then spoke to IT, who said it sounds like the hard drive had died and it needs to be replaced. My boss looked at when it was purchased and would you believe it, it was only 3 months out of warranty!!! Talk about not good value for money!
I spent the day summarising things manually, just like accountants did in the old days, with a notepad and a calculator with a printer ribbon. Luckily I have the day off tomorrow so hopefully something is sorted out while I'm off work.
After all these dramas I am currently backing up our hard drive to an external hard drive we have. It's taking a long time though, so might turn it off and do it tomorrow while I know I'll be on the computer for a couple of hours, have to get some sleep.
Hopefully you all back up your computers! If not, please take the opportunity and do it!
Last week I did something exciting and applied for annual leave! This year we are doing more camping things, so we are going away to see friends a few hours away for a weekend and we are also going away camping for four nights for our wedding anniversary to a place called Bright, which is in the mountains and is really beautiful.
The campsite at the caravan park was $45 per night, so $180 in total. I decided to withdraw $100 from the holiday fund (because that's what it's there for) but didn't want to withdraw too much either. Because I've withdrawn $100 from the holiday fund I've reduced the holiday fund and the Banking the Difference challenge on the sidebar accordingly. This way we pay $80 out of pocket for the accommodation, feels much better, less of an outflow. So $207 is left there, might add some here and there to build it up a bit.
Very much looking forward to both holidays
Other things of note:
- no charge for paying the minimum late on the balance transfer card, woohoo!
- the fan belt on the dryer broke. We have had it for 12 years now so B was thinking maybe it's time to replace it. Instead I found a parts kit (there are four or five different parts, and the dryer fan belt is one of those things) for $56 in total off eBay. When it arrives B will fit it. I am so lucky to have such a handy husband!
Here September is wonderful because it is the start of spring and winter is on it's way out (happy dance!!). In our house September is scary because all our expensive bills fall due.
I did the monthly budget just to work out if we could afford to save the $183 mortgage saving to add to the mortgage principal - from August. Turns out we can, and so I did. That was important to me.
We have council rates ($400), an electricity bill of $612 and our telephone company had an outage a while ago and the wifi on my ipad stopped working. Unfortunately I didn't realise until possibly a week or more later. Then opened up the phone bill to find an extra $200 in data usage added on! I was so not happy!
Add to that a more than likely high gas bill which is expected to come in at the end of the month, and I am nervous.
I worked out that we can just afford the bills, necessities and our usual savings, and probably some small luxuries here and there. But as it's scary September, conservative and frugal is the name of the game. The aim is no super high grocery bills this month (I really will try!) and not overly high spending in the other areas.
In terms of the $303 credit card payment to come out in the middle of the month, I now have $72.40.
Yesterday I made the first ever balance transfer payment on the new 0% card. Have done a spreadsheet, kind of like Petunia and Banker Gurl have been doing, hopefully I can work out how to upload it here.
Interest got charged on my normal credit card (aka CC1) with the amount being $14.72. MUCH better than the usual $53-60 per month! Of course, no interest at all would be even better
I also repaid that interest plus $10 repayment, so CC1 has $115 owing now, and 0% Balance Transfer card has $3947, a total of $4,062. Progress is good.
Last week was a low spend week so when I did our weekly spending transfer there was still $70 in the eftpos account, so have paid that against the money owing back to the EF. New amount owed back to EF is $205. This weekend is also quiet, so hoping to throw a little bit more against that.
Yesterday I was planning on buying a $20 work shirt, but walked through a department store to get there, and they had a good brand shirt (Cue) marked down from $125 to $37.50. Their shirts are great and longlasting so did not have a problem spending the extra $17.50. It's so funny because last month when I was going to buy the $20 shirt I walked through the store and ended up getting the good quality one really cheap instead! Kind of like fate.
Another thing that happened yesterday was Mr Money Mustache posted an article which I saw in my newsfeed which talked about the lifestyle choices he makes - for example never driving except far away. He was talking about people feeling like they "have" to "do" certain things, like drive here, drive there, which means that they're spending extra gas money when really they could walk to a lot of the places they go to. It's all about the mindset. You don't "have" to "do" everything everyone else does.
So my frugal thing today was after walking the dog, I walked to the shopping centre to get the items needed for dinner. I checked my phone when I walked out the door, and then checked when I got to the shopping centre - 10 minutes walking time. Compared to 5 minutes driving time. No petrol used, no fumes created.
Dinner tonight is salmon, brown rice, sweet potato and capsicum (peppers I think you call them) mixed in together.
In terms of groceries, I am still doing the deal where you spend a minimum of $100 for three weeks in a row to get a $30 gift voucher. Have done the first two weeks, onto the last week. Last week's groceries ended up being high because I had to buy dishwasher balls and got some extra meat, so am hoping to spend only just over $100 there. Have already spent $15 so far though, so will need to watch the spending to ensure that we don't go too too far over. Don't want to be spending all our money on groceries after all
Here the weather is glorious. It's a sunshiny 18 degrees (64 Fahrenheit), so am enjoying it before we get the cool weather change - is supposed to be 13/14 all week (55/57 Fahrenheit)
Another great thing is some of my favourite fruits are coming into season - got 2 big punnets of strawberries for $3 last week, so spent the week eating strawberries for dessert, and preparing strawberry smoothies for breakfast, and learnt about how to get them to keep fresh for longer so was cutting them up the night before, patting them dry and they were fine the next day. Yum. Looking forward to the mangoes going cheap soon too!
Hope you all enjoy your weekend!!
I got paid on Saturday so transferred $115 to the savings for the balance transfer payment ($60 interest saving + $40 raise + $15 bill savings). The 52 week challenge savings of $21.20 for CC1 also got saved there too.
The $115 went into the Banking the Difference challenge, and with that, the $21.20 and the $97.60 already saved there, I now have $233.80, so $69.20 to go until there is $303.
When I logged in there a while ago, there was no due date for the payment, but I think I will simply do it as soon as the full amount is there (most likely the end of the week).
Not much else to report really, have had a much quieter weekend than last one that's for sure - last night cooked a really yummy lamb roast. Quiet weekends are good for resting and recharging.
Last night when doing our weekly money transfers I realised that as I bought some wine last week I don't need to get any this weekend so transferred the usual spend of $15 to go towards the $303 monthly payment. This is a saving to go into the Banking the Difference challenge.
I added it and also the $30 transferred on Monday to my Banking the Difference sidebar and excitingly we have jumped up into the next thousand!
$5300 + $2708.54 = $8008.54
On another note as of last there was $97.60 saved and then today 52 week challenge money of $21.20 was added, now there is $118.80 to go towards the $303 balance transfer payment.
The party went great! The party was pretty much like a holiday - because we had visitors from interstate and there was so much activity for four days pretty much all I could do was just completely immerse myself in the party and socialising.
As far as milestones go, I think B is pretty happy! All his family and friends were there and everyone had a great time. He gave me a big bunch of flowers when he was doing the speech to say thank you which was so nice.
No problem with the food and the drinks tab came way under at $1277! The bar lady was wonderful because she pointed out the best priced beer and wine and also got us to borrow a club members card (B's uncle is a member of the club we had the function at) so every drink was 10% discounted. The total party cost was $3401, and well worth it. We have many happy memories.
B ended up with enough vouchers to buy this expensive camping fridge he wanted, clothes, some money towards a new motorcycle helmet and got given an Apple TV thingy. All great!
Now to get back to reality. Because the days before were just like being on holiday and party day was so busy, financially I ended up doing the same things as on holiday. I just transferred the usual weekly spending money and totally did not have the energy to track every dollar spent like usual. We still didn't overspend though which is great. I'm finding I'm so used to paying a low price, looking for a low price that even when I'm totally distracted and time-strapped, the habits are ingrained.
Last night I paid water bill and home phone- there will be around $15 in snowflakes there when we get paid in a couple of days (while we didn't run over, in our spending accounts they are pretty much down to zero). Looking at the bills we have to pay, my cell phone is next and there is a saving of $70 there.
On Monday there was $39 left in our spending account so I transferred $30 to go towards the $303 monthly payment on the balance transfer card (which has all officially happened now). So far there is now $82.60 there, $220.40 to go. In the next week there will be $85 from the snowflakes just mentioned, which will leave $135.40. When I get paid $100 will go there, so it is looking like within 1-2 weeks I can transfer the first $303 payment.
So, the $303 payment looks like it is in order, so next will be putting the $275 back into the EF, and also getting the Banking the Difference challenge restarted! That's exciting for me. The $85 previously discussed will be added to this challenge.
Another possible snowflake I am working in the supermarket I have a rewards card with, Safeway, currently has a deal where if you spend $100 every week for three weeks in a row (starting 10th August and finishing 30th August), you get a $30 gift card! Have bought our shopping there this week and made the $100 minimum.
A habit I've been falling into lately is overbuying grocery shopping one week and then therefore underbuying the next (eg $200 one week, $80 the next for example). With this challenge I have to be above $100 for three weeks so I am trying to spend just over to ensure that for the three weeks we will make the $100 minimum spend. Groceries this week was $127.
Hoping you've all been well, talk soon
I don't talk about money mindfulness really but I do track pretty much every cent I spend each month, and work out how much time it takes me to earn each thing to put it into perspective.
Well for the month of July in between throwing all our money towards B's party and his irregular payments, I managed to live off 70% of my pay! (I only track my side of things for this exercise it would be too hard to work out exactly what he earns and how much time it took him to earn each thing). The remaining 30% was firstly 10% saved/repaid, so I allocated the final 20% to party savings. Was very happy with this result. Did I feel like I went without? Not majorly. I would have liked to have had a proper cocktail night with my friends though instead of being the driver.
Food was the lowest since April, alcohol was the lowest since May, petrol was same as usual. Clothes were $111 and all three items bought were sale/eBay items of good quality, so happy with that.
The new credit card arrived last night so I have activated it. I'm not sure if using it with a balance transfer means that I don't get an interest free period, the wording is unclear. When it comes down to it I don't care about using it anyway. Points would be nice but the main aim is no interest payable so for the moment I'm not going to use it.
I've decided to treat the balance transfer like a loan (because that's what it actually is) and do 14 equal monthly payments from a direct debit from our savings account. So $4250 / 14 = $303 per month. I cancelled the 52 week challenge debit to the other card to let it build up in the savings account instead. Will pay the remaining $147 to the other card at $10 per week.
Waiting to see when the first payment to the balance transfer card is due so I can organise the $303 to be debited from the account before then. I want this to be not long after payday (15th), hoping for the 20-25th. The $303 will be made up of $84 52 weeks challenge savings, $60 that would normally be paid on credit card interest, $40 raise money so it will just mean around $120 will need to be saved from somewhere, probably from bill savings or something.
Really wanting to simplify this as much as possible so it is foolproof, set in stone pretty much and I can move on to concentrating on other things. (Plenty to choose from! Building up the EF? Reducing mortgage balance? Etc etc. Many things to choose from).
Speaking of moving on from things, I've also gotten bored with counting the weeks of the 52 week challenge. It finishes on New Years Eve. No need to count the weeks. I will continue to update the sidebar weekly though. Oh, and because of the balance transfer repayment plan the card will be at $3038 owing!!! Did not ever anticipate it getting that low!!! The ducks are getting in a row & I am doing a happy dance
Week 27 has brought along lots of financial happenings. Firstly, I got approved for the 0% credit card! I applied Thursday night and told my boss he might get a phone call to verify my employment. On my lunchbreak I got a phone call from Virgin to verify my details and ask where I lived previously, which I gave to them. Fifteen minutes later I faxed all the proof of identity documents. A bit later on in the day when I had a chance I checked my email and found that pretty much as soon as I hung up they sent me an email confirming my application was approved! (And this was before I faxed the identity documents). So that's all very exciting.
I was looking at my accounts on Saturday morning and realised that I was supposed to ask for a balance transfer of $4350, not $4250! Oh well, this is one of those mistakes that is a good mistake because a little bit extra will need to be repaid. (Instead of $47 to repay, it is $147, but it is better in the long run)
The party is now under two weeks away which is very exciting. Looking forward to it. B's credit card has taken quite a hit lately though because his work is so unreliable at the moment - the sidebar says a total of $751.69 has been repaid but currently there is only $236.00 available, so when he is lucky enough to get paid more than the bare minimum $515.69 will have to go back on there (mainly petrol he's bought).
We have allocated $2000 for a tab for the bar and now he is saying he's worried it will not be enough. My answer to that was if we both pretty much don't spend anything next week, maybe we can add some more to the tab. I am not volunteering our savings that it has taken months to accumulate to spend on alcohol, no way. Maybe if I see that he is willing to not buy anything at all, no beer, takeaway, for a weekend then I may volunteer some. But this is on the condition that we both live off the absolute minimum beforehand. I was thinking we usually spend about $550 after challenge savings, so we'll just spend $100 on food and put $450 on the tab.
I hope everything goes well and it is truly is an event to remember and look back on years later with fond memories, but I am so looking forward to getting back into my usual routine of saving and not being so stretched.
Grocery shopping went well- my goal was to spend $80 and I have got most of the items for $49.33. Still need to buy a little bit more meat (cheap cut), lunch meat, bread, cat food and dinner vegetables. I think it can easily be done within the $30 left over. I was very happy about that!
And my football team won, yay! They won by 37 points, so to add that to my mini-holiday fund will be $307.00 (when I get to be able to)
Last thing, yesterday I went to the movies for the first time in a while. Didn't care about their popcorn or icecreams, so stopped in at the supermarket on the way there and bought some chocolate and savoury crackers for $4.45, brought the water from home. Glad I did, as the tickets went up to $20 each! Definitely an occasional treat now. I saw Trainwreck which was a really good movie - a bad girl turned good who finds love - very cool, sweet and funny.
After all of your advice, I applied for a new credit card. I've filled out the form online, have printed off the application ID which I now need to send out tomorrow with various proof of identity documents.
I looked up on creditcardfinder.com.au best balance transfer cards and currently they have a balance transfer deal available with Virgin's Velocity Rewards card (thought of you bluesfemme!). They also have a points deal available where instead of getting 1.5 points for each dollar of the first $1500 spent, for the first three months you get 3 points for each dollar of the first $1500 spent.
I worked out that if I changed the way I spent, and pretty much put all of our living expenses on there, we would earn enough possibly for a flight to Fiji next year. We're not going overseas this year and were thinking of going next year, so this would be helpful.
The balance transfer lasts for 14 months, which is ideal. I wanted to have a balance transfer for up to 12 months, didn't want to string it out for 20 months (some of the deals available), as I know it will be paid within 12 months. (My plan for next year's challenges as we will have a bit of an EF is to focus more on CC repayment than savings - possibly simply pay the credit cards back for the first part of the year and then focus on the EF). I have requested $4250 to be balance transferred. The balance after tomorrow's challenge payment will be $4297, so there may be a small amount to payout, assuming I get approved of course.
There is no balance transfer fee but there is an annual fee of $64 (half of the usual annual fee). The credit card's interest rate is high, it is 20.74%, which is a major deterrent in incurring any more debt.
Wish me luck!
I prepaid $60 onto my credit card for the interest charge and yesterday it got charged $53.50, so have counted the extra $6.50 as a snowflake in the Banking the difference challenge. Was so over the monthly interest charges that I started to apply for another card on a 0% balance transfer. Then chickened out when I had to put the employer details up - can't handle my boss getting the phone call! I guess this means I'm slightly embarrassed about my credit card debt because I so didn't want to have that conversation...
We had $29 left over from our weekly pay, so I sent $24 over to repay the EF from what we borrowed. Now the amount owing is $275.93.
B got paid his small pay for the week where he only worked 2.5 days. I bought more groceries last week in anticipation, spent $200, so my goal this week is to only spend $80. We need to buy fruit & veggies, some red meat, bread, almond milk, tinned cat food, lunch meat, eggs, and some snacks for B. Looks doable. I'm putting it here so I can be held accountable and will *not* buy extra stuff. Wish me luck guys!
Well, actually I paid the raise against my credit card. As it was a snowflake I added it to the Banking the Difference Challenge- this challenge has now moved from the $2500 area to the $2600 area, so a bit of progress is good.
I estimated that the credit card would be $3,992 at the end of the year, so then I figured if I pop the raise of $40 per month on there too, by the end of the year 6 x $40 = $240 will be paid, leaving a balance of $3,752 - which is just slightly over a month's pay for me!!!
It will feel so much more manageable to be able to repay!!! I can see that the balance will drop down quickly after that.
On another note, I have been busy party planning the last few days. I'm using a really helpful app to keep track of guest rsvps, how long until the party and the to-do list. I'm pretty confident that it will all run smoothly. My sister Inlaw is really talented at making birthday cakes and has offered to make B's birthday cake as a present for him, which is really sweet.
Week 24 ended up going pretty smoothly. I was stressed out last week about having to spend for a birthday party at the last minute when we didn't really have a lot of money available but it ended up ok.
I got invited out with my friends on Friday night, so I drove and had wedges with sweet chilli sauce and sour cream ($9) and bought a wine and soft drink, so did not spend much. I bought a perfume for the cousin worth $30 and she really loved it (was good because it was worth $60 and I have it, it's a great perfume called Wish). B found out we can bring our own alcohol which saved about $40. The restaurant was expensive, $70 for the both of us, so at least we didn't have to pay for overpriced alcohol! Groceries were as cheap as I could get - $94, which is what I was spending for us when B was off work. It was B's turn tonight to host the poker party (his Monday night event) so we spent $38 on food for entertaining- he did a beef casserole for 8 and I managed to score a plate (yum!).
We did have to draw some money again from the EF but not as much as last week - $142, $45 to cover the shortfall from spending and $97 to cover B's petrol for the week. Total amount now owed back to the EF is $407.76.
This week we are hoping B gets paid for all old and current invoices so then we can have the party pretty much paid for and start getting back to normal. I want to have the party money well ahead of time so that we can enjoy his birthday and make it a memorable occasion instead of it being a stressful occasion!!
Now for something I consider pretty exciting.. Every time my football team wins I save $1 for every point they win by. This weekend they won by 110 points!!! Their biggest win against this team in 119 years. I actually owe $2 for a win a couple of weeks ago and now $110 for last weekend's game. I felt like celebrating so thought you know what, I'm going to turn their winnings into a mini holiday fund! Travel is a big part of who I am and what I love- I love at least one holiday a year. So I worked out the winnings and have adjusted my sidebar accordingly. Currently there is $270.00 there.
The mini-holiday fund can be a contribution towards a holiday or perhaps simply a leisure event. I'm just giving these dollars a particular purpose. Our wedding anniversary is in October this year and we haven't really planned anything because our focus is on the party. For $270.00 we can get a room in the best hotel in Melbourne (marked down from $400), so we could go out for a really nice dinner and a great hotel room is already paid for. Or we could put that towards three nights in Port Douglas, Queensland ($100 might have to be paid out of pocket). Flights up there and back are pretty cheap. Swanky hotel or fun in the sun, what would you guys choose? Decisions decisions
B got paid and after tax we have saved the majority of this invoice - $1470. Two more invoices to go and $2230 left to save. I can't wait to have it saved because I'm out of my comfort zone with having to save this much money in such a short amount of time - the anxiety I am experiencing is my indicator. $1470 is just under 40% of the required amount, I am reminding myself of this. And reminding myself that this will be a great night, and worth the anxiety.
B keeps telling me that we still have 5 weeks to we don't have to save so hard, but I worry that something expensive could come up and derail us, so it's better to get it over with. Even if the expensive thing is simply a slow-payer for his business! I do look forward to getting back into the challenges too - the mortgage dropped again, now it's $995 per month with a saving of $183, looking forward to adding that saving to the challenge, trust me
Invitations got sent out to everyone this week, so that is an important thing done.
All of the talk on this site about retirement funds has made me want to check mine - I really only look at the annual statements and that's it. Last year at 1 July it was $69000. So I decided that on 1 July I would get out the statement from last year and register to log into the website and check everything there. I did that, and found that it has increased to $79031! My current pay is $55000 per year, however I'm not sure that I would need that as a retired person, I'm imagining I could get by on $40000 a year. Remembering Ceejay74's post a while ago about saving amounts by looking at the annual pay and multiplying it by x depending on how old you are - I am 37, so would fit into needing 2 x times my salary in my retirement fund. If the market continued in this fashion I could have my actual annual salary by 40 multiplied by 2, but currently it is sitting at 2 x $40000, so I am happy with that.
My gripe: my inlaws are lovely but have become accustomed to eating out at every birthday, which is so expensive! We had to go out for the MIL's birthday last Sunday and his cousin's birthday is this weekend. (Close family) The uncle told us that she just wants to go out with friends for her 30th. Now we get a phone call today that we the family are to go out a restaurant in an upmarket suburb for the family celebration the following night! Grrr. Two days notice is pretty rude for something where you need to buy a present, pay for two dinners and drinks. Do they think we're rolling in it and would just happen to have a spare $150 to blow??? No, they obviously didn't think.
To cut costs I told B that we would buy her present, not put in with his sister (she likes buying vouchers, so will ask for $50, whereas I will shop around and spend around $30 - I'm thinking perfume of some sort), and to call back his uncle and ask him if the restaurant has BYO alcohol (a lot of chinese restaurants do).
I know, looking at the bigger picture, it is good to have family that do these things and are close, and we will get to have a nice meal. Hopefully we can bring our own alcohol too to cut costs too. I told B that we will not be spending a lot on food this week - we have bulk bought so only need to buy meat and vegetables, everything else we have. We have a spaghetti sauce and spaghetti, so just need mince, and I am thinking instead of having steak etc of just buying a big packet of sausages and eating that a few different ways.
Apologies for the super long post! I am constantly telling myself to relax and not be so anxious - I figure if I keep doing this, keep breathing and going to my happy place, everything will all work out and it will all be fine.
The moment I've been waiting for has arrived! We're halfway through the two challenges created, yay. So to officially mark where we are $2438 has been saved for the 52 week challenge and $2458.04 has been saved for the Banking the Difference challenge, a total of $4896.04 saved. Woohoo!
Credit card debt is roughly $7.5k now ($4541 for CC1, $3003 for CC2, so rounding down we can say $7.5k), down from $9.1k at the start of the challenge. The EF was $2651 (up from $0) but unfortunately I had to withdraw $265.76 to cover the balance of personal and business spending expenses for the week. And then there's also $745 in the mortgage home offset account.
With the savings for the party, we have enough to cover expenses and live on the bare minimum because we are short $4200 which I've earmarked as to be put straight to the party when these funds arrive. So we have the option of using credit cards to cover the shortfall or borrow from the EF. As we have the choice to choose from either I'm going to borrow from the EF. The EF is held in an online trading account separate from our bank (mind you I don't think I've traded for a couple of years! That will change as the EF grows) and earns a pitiful amount of interest, so while we might not earn interest there, at least we're not going to be paying extra interest on the credit cards.
Last weekend we had a birthday party at a restaurant so that was expensive and had to repay $265.76 on our credit cards that we overspent. I'm going to start a tally of how much needs to be paid back to the EF, so far $265.76.
B's earnings for 11 months of the year are now $37633, tax payable $3777 (up from $3115). Will need to make up the difference of $662.
Frugal things I've been doing: instead of buying invitations we designed them off a free template, did four to a page and glued them to a thicker paper backing. Found among our wedding invitation things 17 unused good quality envelopes worth $8.95 (woohoo) so only had to buy 20 envelopes. Envelopes, glue, textas and thick paper cost: $10.50.
FrugalTexan inspired me with her banana and oat pancakes! I had a day off today so made them this morning, they were so yum!
Super happy today, I feel like we've done so well!!!
We're now 2 days from being halfway through the challenges (June 30) and I look forward to marking the occasion with a post. It's all going well and on Friday I got our half yearly bonus from my boss for $980. I was very happy about that because I took $1000 out of the EF to pay towards my study subject and I was then able to transfer it back into the EF (did it Saturday).
I spent a lot of the week being really worried about how we will come up with $4000 in 6 weeks without relying on savings or credit cards. I could feel anxiety coming on all the time and it was giving me a stomach ache.. Had to deal with it! Then in a moment of a mishap the answer presented itself.
B got paid on Thursday but I noticed he got paid for an invoice dated the middle of the month while there were still invoices dated the 1st, 4th and also a couple of 14th invoices (he sent out 4 invoices that day). So I asked him what was going on and he told me he was working for two different guys in the same company and one guy is new and so far not so good. The outstanding invoices are for his work. B said he will follow up (clearly as this guy is new B has to be speaking with him regularly to ensure the right thing is being done).
I looked at what is outstanding- it's $4200, so after tax will be $3800. We paid a deposit for the party of $300, leaving $3700. I realised as the invoices are old, B has since earned enough to cover expenses that are upcoming and I can earmark the outstanding invoices as savings for the party!! Yay!!! No more anxiety! We may have to dip into the EF for a couple of weeks but it looks like we may need a few hundred not much more. Have been feeling so relieved.
Another relief is my MIL who has onset Alzheimer's/dementia has been ruled unfit to drive. This has been a huge worry because I know that she wouldn't have the reflexes to avoid an accident if a situation presented itself and she's so independent that she would not see reason and continued to drive. And the fact that even though she has onset Alzheimer's/dementia the tests for being fit to drive were yearly not quarterly- so much can change even in a quarter, I thought they were all mad! I know she will have adjusting to do but it's for the better good. People don't realise that driving a car is operating a piece of heavy machinery and that they could take somebody's life. Am *so* relieved with this decision.
It's now week 22 of the challenge and everything is going well. Banking the Difference challenge is on hold until after B's birthday as we now need to come up with about $4000 in 6 weeks
We confirmed the party venue this morning. $4000 might be too much but it's the absolute maximum we will spend. We worked out the list and there are about 100 people on it. So if all 100 people came, that's what we would spend. (I doubt everyone would come though, there are always people who can't make it to these things).
We were on track to come up with half the money by the end of the month but then B's drill broke and a replacement cost $660. That definitely cut into the profit.
We have been spending as little as possible and have been trying to be creative with ways to save money, we just need no more big repairs or things to be replaced. But at least we have savings there to use if needed. I just don't want to use them because I know how much effort went into getting the savings in the first place.
Had a really spendy start to June. Got my hair done ($105), the car exhaust system replaced ($580) and then bought a new suit ($285). I had to replace it anyway so I thought may as well do it to wear to a fancy lunch. The suit was bought on my credit card - I repaid $85 this weekend, have $200 to go. The car exhaust system and my hairdo were bought using extra money in the home loan offset account. Will be repaid by the end of the month.
When doing B's tax I calculated how much he earned and to the end of April it was $34596, tax on that is $3115 - we have paid $2400 so have to start making up the difference, $200 has already been saved and we will make up the balance soon.
One of my games I play on my iPad is words with friends and one of their new options is to play in another language- I studied Italian all through high school so I thought why not? It's so much fun!! It's like this whole new little world has opened up, am really enjoying it.
Just finished a really great book last night called The October List by Jeffrey Deaver - it was slow to start (which wasn't a problem with me as I've been a bit too busy to be engulfed in a book - a chapter here or there has worked well for me) but last night I was able to sit down and read the last three chapters (which were long), did not disappoint! I guessed half of the ending but the rest of the ending took me by surprise, delivered lots of twists and turns, which every thriller should. Highly recommend it.
Today I took the dog to my friend's place, who lives by the beach and went for an hour and a half walk with my friend and her 5yo son, was a really lovely morning
And finally, my last piece of news of what has been going on in my life lately - B's 40th party. We didn't know what we were going to do for it, and B was ummming and ahhhing, and thinking of perhaps going away on a holiday instead. It looks like we will most likely have the party. I have no idea how many people will come - the list we drew up was 88 in total but some people live interstate, and it is likely that they won't be able to come. We're looking at having it at our house (there'll be a fair bit of work there) and B said to just do finger food, but we thought we will also check out catering. The caterer we used for my 30th now has a website (um my 30th was quite a few years ago now!) and their prices look reasonable - $15.90 per adult for 3 meats, 4 salads & 3 desserts, $11.90 per child.
We're thinking of going with the catering option (I can't see myself handling the food for 88 people maximum singlehanded!), and providing the alcohol also. (More calculations required there).
The party is exactly 2 months away (on a Saturday) so we need to do proper calculations (especially for the alcohol portion!), prepare invitations this weekend and book the caterer. I hope we go ahead with it, I'm starting to get excited! I already have various ideas going through my head.
Financially it will probably be a stretch, but I think once we start to have concrete estimations of price we will be more motivated to save whatever we have towards the party, especially as it's only 2 months away. If we go ahead with the party, the 50 week challenge will still be proceeding as normal, but I will be putting the Banking the Difference challenge on hold for the 2 months while we are saving for the party instead.
Banking the difference deposits made Thursday last week - been slack with my blog posts but not the actual financial doings!! Hope you're all well
The last banking the difference item for the month is the paying the difference between the current mortgage payment ($1029) and the previous mortgage payment ($1178), being $149.
We paid that right before the mortgage payment was made, and also saved our monthly insurance payments to the offset account too. There's now just over $1000 there. We're really starting to see the interest reduction too - this month the interest was $584, which is the lowest interest charge ever, I believe! Which is really great.
Yesterday I decided to take a personal day on Monday, aka RDO, except paid for out of my annual leave. We have a really nice work lunch on Friday but my hair is now showing regrowth (it will be 8 weeks exactly - I usually try to stretch hair appointments to 10 weeks, but what is one to do?). I had the option of home-dyeing but when I called my hairdresser to ask for advice, she told me she could fit me in on Monday. I had an appointment with her in July, so I figure I will now see her Monday and move the July appointment to August. Yeah, taking a day to get my hair done may seem nonsensical to some, but I will feel better. And work is so quiet at the moment that I know it's no problem at all. So it works out for the month of June, I will be working two four day weeks because we have a public holiday next week too. One thing to say - Yay me!!!
Today B & I had a day out together. He wanted to go to a camping and outdoor expo, and then I thought about the OurDeal voucher I bought back in March (breakfast for 2 for $19, a crepe or omelette each plus beverage), and suggested that we have breakfast out and use it up also. This is the first time I have ever bought an OurDeal voucher (like Groupon), and it was such good value! B got an omelette which is normally worth $19, and then I got a crepe with salmon and we got coffees each too - about $50 worth of food! We could see why this café was selling these vouchers though. Lovely café, lovely food, but it was not near the popular main street or any foot traffic really. It was really nice though.
Then we spent a couple of hours at this expo- $17 entry each plus $15 parking was not cheap but it was nice to look around at so many things. We got an orange juice each $3.50, and a hot jam donut, each $2. We also bought a book which has shows various Australian free camping sites plus maps ($20), and I got sucked into buying a prawn peeler & deveiner ($12) - looking forward to trying that one out!
Hoping you all have a great weekend, off to read the blogs!
Last night I paid bills but as B needed to use the computer I didn't have time to blog, I just updated the sidebar. This week's bill savings were $138.21 ($66 saved on my phone, $45 on the train ticket and $27 saved on the gas bill).
Last week spending was fairly low so I decided to put $35 on my CC, so have added that to banking the difference as well, as a snowflake. Now looking at my pay though it's time to rein in the spending so I'll be able to do a few things I want to do (before it gets frittered away). I have clothes I want to buy and I'm running out of month
This is especially because the balance of the study subject was $283 and books were $166.21. I'm thankful that this is all claimable on tax.
We were planning on having a big party for B's 40th but for the third time he's suggested he would probably rather go on a holiday to Fiji instead. I think it's partly because his work payments haven't really been coming in (now apparently its this week. Hmmm) and also partly because I don't think he wants to spend all that money on a party. I will leave it up to him. Our 5 year Anniversary is this year so it would be the perfect occasion for a holiday and the prices I've researched are reasonable.
I called the lost dogs home and the dog we found got collected, so that's a happy ending. I guess we weren't meant to have a second dog.
I'm considering changing the 52 week challenge to the 50 week challenge so it ends on New Year's Eve, would be a really great celebration. At the moment it's TBA
Hope you're doing well everyone
As B got paid the other day, and I got paid today, I knew we would be ok to not have to watch every cent this weekend, so I decided to transfer the rest of the Banking the Difference from last week's bill payments, which was the savings on the phone bills - $88.02 for B, and $11.96 for the home phone.
Banking the Difference has now hit just over $2K ($2,004.63 to be exact), which is pretty awesome. Now along with the 52 week challenge money that will become $7.5K ($7,516.63 to be exact). Who would think that just by making a few simple changes there would be such an awesome payoff. I'm so thankful I stumbled upon this site and have you guys to share my experience, cheer me on and inspire me!
As we've really been watching what we spend down to the very last dollar for the last few weeks, this weekend I'm having a mini-celebration. I'm also having a mini-celebration because tomorrow is the 15th of May, our big deadline for work, and this year we sailed through it. Work has become so quiet (I have still have various jobs to do though so I'm not twiddling my thumbs or anything) for before 15 May - this time last year we had to work back every day and it was so busy that as soon as you walked in the door at work your head was stuck in whatever you were doing until you went home - no time for thinking about anything to do with the outside world. So to have everything done on time is really great and such a relief.
I got some nice wine (for more than the usual $6 a bottle - I got nice NZ Sauvignon Blanc for $14 a bottle, $10 a bottle and one other cheap bottle for $4), and I plan on getting Nespresso pods instead of pods from the supermarket. We don't really have any big expenses such as birthdays this weekend so I'm not bothered if we spend a bit more here or there as long as it's within range. Also thinking of making pancakes for breakfast and spinach & ricotta pasta roll-ups for Saturday night dinner.
I also transferred $1303 onto my credit card - $20 banking the difference and $1283 course fees for the latest subject, which starts June 1. I will then be back to working a fulltime work and doing 10 hours of study per week, so am currently looking at ways to structure my time better. I didn't do too badly last time, but time management is crucial with these things, so you have to keep on top of it and not get burnt out, or it will become too much for you.
Don't really have any plans this week other than visiting my sister with my mother for lunch - I usually spend around $20 on these outings and have a lovely time.
Have a lovely weekend everyone!
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