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September Bills Month Compared to Same Time Last Year

September 11th, 2017 at 08:36 pm

Last year I wrote about how we have a large amount of bills in the month of September and how high they are, and resolved to average out the annual expenditure and pay a set monthly amount from then on.

Well, it's a year on and we have been putting aside the averaged amount each month for mortgage and bills, which has definitely eased financial worries.

September 2017 is no different for bills though and exceeds our monthly amount we set aside by $878.53. We have no bills in October really though, so can easily make it up next month.

Last year in September bills exceeded the monthly amount by $1043, this year September bills exceed the month amount by $878.53. Our gas and electricity bills are lower than last year by $150 in total, so that represents the majority of the change.

I'm not sure that I need to recalculate the totals after all - as in work out all the bills for the period October 2016 to September 2017 and work out a new averaged amount as it is roughly the same as last year.

****

In other financial news, my car got serviced yesterday for the first time in a couple of years and cost $290 in total - $140 for the service, and $150 for new back brakes.

July -$911.17, August +$816.45

September 5th, 2017 at 08:37 pm

In July we went away and it was quite a spendy month, so we ended up in the red by -$911.17. In August we had a much quieter month and so were able to have $816.45 left over, so pretty much the majority of July's overspending has now been negated, which I'm very happy about.

The start of September has been pretty spendy though, so will be trying not to spend too much. First I needed a new pair of work shoes because the heels had worn off the ones I wearing, making them unsafe. I managed to find a pair for $70, which was a reasonable price. I was hoping for $50, so close enough.

Then on Saturday, I had bicarb soda all over the mattress (to get rid of dust mites) and was vacuuming it off when the power suddenly died. We tried using a different powerpoint, but nothing. This vacuum cleaner we've had for 8 years so we've got quite a lot of use out of it.

Due to still having bicarb soda all over the mattress we needed to get another one asap. We ended up with a Hoover pet bag powerhead vacuum cleaner for $410. I don't normally like bag vacuum cleaners but the salesman did say that the filters last longer and require less cleaning, which is a plus for me.

The vacuum cleaner does work really well I must admit! I haven't taken this money out of the EF because I think it's now running a bit low and we'll be able to cover it in this month's budget.

Yesterday I was thinking of just how glad I am that I stumbled on Savings Advice that three years ago! There are so many interesting stories and points of view to share, I feel like this site and everyone I talk to here is part of me and wouldn't want to lose it - so hopefully it's around for a while!

Sunday June 11

June 11th, 2017 at 11:52 am

I'm not completely sure what to write about but feel I should try and keep active with the blogging nonetheless.

Today was a no-spend day because we had a late night out with friends last night and have simply been too tired to go anywhere. A lot of today was spent sleeping. I could have done the grocery shopping but simply didn't have the energy so dinner for us was pies and chips from the freezer.

I am still not tracking spending through the app as I have missed the first 11 days and it is all a bit hard to remember what was spent, especially when part of it was cash transactions. I do want to be back tracking spending next month though. I actually did not track last June either because that it is the month I went to the UK on a holiday. I cannot believe one year ago today I was madly packing to go on a holiday on the other side of the world!

Speaking of which, here is a picture of me & SG from when we met up! (I am the one wearing the pink tshirt)



I apologise for being so tardy with putting this picture up, it was a very happy day and I was glad to meet SG.

Another thing of note today - on a completely unrelated matter - is our dog for the last few days has been madly chewing her claw. I happened to have a look at it today and the claw has completely grown around so we will need to take her to the vet to have her nails clipped. She has to have her vaccinations done anyway so we will combine the two things to be done on the same visit. Hopefully all up it shouldn't cost more than $150-$200.

Quick Hello

June 7th, 2017 at 12:20 pm

It's been 2 and a half weeks since I've blogged but it seems like forever ago.

I got through the majority of the statistics work and sat the exam. Because there was so much work and a few other things happened (my house of cards kind of fell down) I sat the exam without even studying the last two weeks of the course. When I say my house of cards kind of fell down, I had some personal stress plus lots of social things like public holidays and birthdays, so basically the last two weeks of the course I was either studying and catching up or attending social things. Although I barely studied the last two weeks of the course, I do feel like I kind of did ok. I had a score of 85% before the exam; the exam is worth 60% and I was able to do 75% of it ok. The other 25% unfortunately I left, so we will see what the end result is.

Unfortunately I missed the payment by the enrolment date for the next subject and I logged in on Monday thinking I could catch up but the subject wasn't even there. The payment was actually due the 24th of May and for some reason I thought it was later. I don't know what I am going to do yet because to be honest it was a bit of a relief to have a break. I got severely burnt out and the last few weeks, it got to the point where I just didn't feel like myself anymore. While I'm grateful for the opportunity to better myself I felt like everything was falling apart and I was missing out on all the stuff I loved because all my spare time was spent studying.

The day after the exam I got a cold so had to have the next day off work and was sick for a few days. This was all last week. This week I finally feel like I am getting back to my normal self. I have been sleeping better and am starting to learn to relax again, and am looking forward to going to the gym tomorrow night.

***

Tracking spending fell out the window a few weeks ago and I'm not sure when I will be back doing it. Because I was so busy though spending has dropped way down so there is no concerns there.

I checked the mail (which hadn't been done for 3 weeks) and paid some bills tonight, so that is all in order. We turned our spa off 2 months ago so the electricity bill is $130 lower than last year, which is great. (Not sure how much the spa will cost to fix but anyway!)

Because we average out our bills and put aside the same amount each month after we paid the car insurances in March and pretty much cleared out the bills account, I have started working out just how much surplus we should have from each month (the surplus being the monthly amount of $4041 less whatever the actual monthly bills are). This month the bills were actually $3969.67 so the surplus is $71.94. This surplus plus the surplus from the previous months is now $654.73, which we have to add to future bills.

I checked our shares tonight as 30 June is our year end so was wondering what our profit for this year would be. Last year's return was -7.90% and this year's return at this current date is 15.32%. I calculate return by increase/decrease in value plus investment earnings. So for two years we are looking at a rate of return of 7.42%, which is 3.71% each year. That's not too bad considering what you would earn in interest instead.

***

I loved FrugalTexan's idea of the SHE (sidetracked home executive) system and have started implementing the basic weekly plan. Monday night I did the shopping and tonight I paid the bills and attended to some paperwork. I will aim to do some cleaning tomorrow night and then some on Saturday.

I'm not completely sure about the card system though. I actually have a housework ideas app which I think would work fine, I just need to stick to the routine outlined.

I think that's all for now, must be off to bed!

March Spending Will Be Closed Off Soon

April 1st, 2017 at 05:30 am

As I mentioned a few days ago, for the first time in a long time our spending app and bank balance were both pretty close to each other.

We ended up finishing March with $399 left over. The only thing is because a lot of our transactions are credit card / EFTPOS transactions they don't show up immediately, especially over the weekend. I find that it takes about 3 days to see the transactions.

So I'm thinking of definitely closing off March by Tuesday the 4th.

There are a couple of things I want to do with the left over money once I know what it actually is. Firstly, put $59 towards month 3 of the $1000 Christmas savings challenge in order to complete it.

The balance will go to savings. It is the lowest it has been since tracking our joint since when B started his job in March last year, at 2.5% of our income. With about $340 (if that is what it ends up being) it would be around 5%-6% which is a bit better. Will post actual balances in a few days.

On another note, I have now updated the sidebar to reflect that we have completed another one of our goals, to pay off B's tax. (Ok it was more of a necessary goal than something we wanted to do, but still it felt good to complete something)

I then checked our balances in savings and shares; we are now standing at $10,366.25 in total!!! Part of it is due to the market being on a high (the shares have gone up by $842 which is a pretty substantial increase) so am not really sure if the balance will stay that way but it is nice at the moment.

The EF is actually part savings, part mortgage repayment as it is all sitting in the mortgage offset. In the end though if the money is needed then it is needed and will get used. I am just very strict about the actual definition of what constitutes an emergency so hopefully it won't get used.

Last Few Days Of March

March 27th, 2017 at 11:24 am

We're finally at the end of the big spendy month of March. Not spendy because of actual spending but because of the big outlay of cash from our accounts.

For a while because we've been building up cash to pay the car insurance policies and B's tax bill the end of the month hasn't really worried us. If we spent a touch more than the budget allowed it was no problem.

This month because the extra money is gone we have a completely accurate reflection of what is there!! There is the cash in the mortgage offset which is our emergency fund but I am pretty strict about leaving that be.

According to my spending app which I update and track religiously we have $750 left until Friday. According to the actual bank account we have $645 left. Not sure what I have missed but, never mind $645 it is.

On Thursday our weekly spending money in total of $575 will be drawn out the account leaving $70 left. B will then be paid on Friday.

We will be spending a bit on Thursday night because we are going out to a concert with friends so it will be an expensive night (which is pretty rare). Very proud of ourselves for sticking to our budget so well!

Withdrawal From The Holiday Fund

March 14th, 2017 at 11:26 am

Yesterday we made a small withdrawal from the holiday fund of $189.25. This was for an esky (large drinks cooler for camping) as our other one has been broken for a while. The holiday fund was $485 and is now down to $295.75. I like keeping a bit of money there just in case, and the football season is due to start next week so I will do the points challenge (whenever my football team wins I will put $1 per point to the holiday fund; it's a fun way to build some holiday cash when you don't actually have a holiday plan so that if some sort of holiday plan or idea happens there is a little bit set aside for it). Imasaver actually gave me that idea; wherever you are Imasaver I hope you're ok.

Other financial news is we received the gas bill ($131, up from last year) and the electricity bill ($491, down from last year); net difference for both was $3.63 saved compared to last year. More importantly as this big bills month closes over it looks like we could possibly have only $211 left over at the end of the month so any extra expenses will need to be funded from savings if they are over that amount.

By Thursday I will pay the $2780 for B's tax and make sure that the $2100 (roughly) is there for the insurance to debit from the account.

Ps I can see many of you have wild, crazy weather - please stay safe and best wishes for no damage or long outages!

11 Things For 11 Days

March 11th, 2017 at 06:10 am

It's been a little while since I've posted so rather than write about whatever the latest thing is, I'm going to write about 11 things (hopefully mostly financial) that have been going on in the last 11 days:

1. On Tuesday our dishwasher seal broke Frown. Luckily I was standing near it and it had only run for 3 minutes so there was no water damage. B had a look at it and found the manufacturers website so we bought a double pack of seals (just in case the other seal goes, so that we don't have to re-order) for $52.73 which they say will be delivered to us next Wednesday. We are both so sick of washing dishes by hand but thankfully have got ourselves into a more regular routine so it's a bit less painful.

2. I finally got around to checking my superannuation account (retirement account) and the balance is $92,008. Going by ceejay's years x income, by the time I turn 40 next year I need to have 2 x times my income so $108,000. I realized that combined with the taxable investments I hold outside of superannuation and earnings that hopefully the account will receive it should be a possibility. The earnings last year were a paltry 2.44% however over 5 years in total they were 38.75% which equates to 7.75% per year which beats the standard 5%. I am happy with 7.75%.

3. B got a letter from a superannuation account which was an employer one from a job he had 9-10 years ago stating that if he didn't give his instructions on what to do with the account they would be turning it over to the Australian Taxation Office so they could hold it in the unclaimed moneys department. We had a financial planner roll all of our employer superannuation accounts into one years ago however he missed this one, the current account balance is $4,187.50. The letter was dated 1st February and gave us until 22nd February however I don't think they sent it for a while because we saw the letter on the 28th so the money has now gone to the Tax Office. There will now be a lengthy process to get it and roll it over as B will need to apply in writing and we will need to wait a while most likely to receive it. How annoying.

4. We have decided not to go on the Phuket holiday. This is due to our friends not being interested in going anymore and also B not really being interested. I wouldn't mind going but I'm not too bothered that we aren't doing it anymore as I had a big trip overseas last year and generally like to go overseas every 2-3 years, otherwise it can be a bit expensive going on annual overseas trips. We are now looking at doing a camping holiday in the next state at a beachy sort of area instead, which I am looking forward to. I'm not sure of when we will go though, it would be sometime between July and September and would be dependent on B's work (my work is a bit more flexible at that time of year).

5. This month we pay B's tax of $2,780. All funds have now been saved and the money will be transferred over soon.

6. Our car insurances also get debited out of our account around the 19th of March; mine is $969.40 for a 14 year old car; B's is $1,121.16 for a 6 year old car. We have enough money in the account and because I averaged out the bills amount back in October we did not have to pay for any of it out of pocket which is great! Last year we had to find $461.40 to cover the remaining portion. All I need to do is work out which bank account B's car insurance comes out of, don't remember.

7. We made month number 2 of the Christmas savings challenge, so we now have $135 saved up. This month we are supposed to save up $95. We currently have $2 saved up so need to start working towards it.

8. I bought a replacement suit for work a couple of weeks ago for $132, which was an $87 reduction in price. This suit should last a long time so was happy to pay it.

9. B is on a health kick and has rejoined boxing classes. He went regularly just before we got married but then it died off after the wedding so it's been a few years since he's been. To test the waters instead of signing up for a membership we bought a 10 class pack for $130. So far he has done 2 classes this week and has lost 2 kilos so is pretty happy. If he decides after using up the class pack that he wants to rejoin, it is $19.95 per week (same as my membership).

10. Last week we had my family over for lunch and it was a warm day so we cooked up chicken with roast potatoes and salad, then my sister and I both did a dessert each. It was a lovely meal and for 7 people we spent a whole $37.86 Smile. You could spend that on 2 people going out for lunch so I was pretty happy.

11. It is week 2 of my study unit and I am coping ok with the workload. They say you need to allocate 10hours per week however this subject's tutor has said we should allocate 15(!?!) which I really hope is not the truth because I don't know how on earth I would fit that amount of time in. I really want to be diligent with doing 10hours from the very start to avoid having to do 20hours around exam and assignment time, but this week I am finding that I have put in 7.5hours and don't really have 2.5 more hours of work to do.... I will probably finish the online quiz I have to do and do some revision.

I struggled to think of the 11th thing but I'm glad to have jotted down some bits and pieces. Off to check the blogs!

Sometimes It Pays To Wait; Feb / March

February 28th, 2017 at 10:49 am

Yesterday I started another study unit and the textbook requirements weren't clear. It also wasn't clear because now I have committed to studying and enrolled in the university for the degree the method of payment is via a student loan. It said textbooks were required however on the enrolment letter it said to complete the form in time to ensure that your materials arrive in time so it was unclear as to whether I have to pay or it goes on the student loan and gets delivered. Then the university gave the login details and stated that no printed material would be distributed. (I am studying through distance education and while the majority of the units are through one university, some are through others). Due to not being sure of whether we buy the books or the university sends them and adds the cost to the student loan I decided to wait until the date the unit started. No books were sent and my form was submitted weeks ago (3-4) so it's clear I had to buy them. The cost through distance education was expensive at $168.75 for two. So yesterday I logged on to the course (which is at one of the different universities) and they had an ebook option with a discount code which amounted to $94.42! I was happy to use this option. It definitely pays to wait sometimes Smile.

****
Our shopping for February came in at $621, which for us is pretty good - I like it around the $600 mark so this is fine. Our biggest expenses for February aside from the normal mortgage and bills category (which equates to 47% of our monthly income) were B's savings towards his tax payment next month of $570 and our cat's expenses of $744 (vet visit, then her medical test, then boarding kennel when we went away).

I have low-level anxiety about the cash outflow that's going to happen in March. I've known about it for a while and have budgeted and saved but really hope nothing goes wrong this month as it will stretch us. Pretty much on the same day we pay B's tax bill of $2780 plus get two car insurance policies deducted from our bank account for the amount of around $2100 - so $4880 roughly; a big cash outflow.

****
I received the $60 Safeway everyday rewards the other day so transferred that to Christmas savings - $4 to go then month 2 is complete!

At this point in time this is all I can think of, hoping that you are all well.

2016 Savings Balances / 2017 Plans

December 28th, 2016 at 08:05 pm

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

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

Total: $8,804.21

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

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

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

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

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

Our plan for 2017 savings is:

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

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

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

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

Snowflakes 07/10/16; Life

October 7th, 2016 at 11:09 am

Challenge starting balance: $7,581.56
Plus:
- weekly EF savings x 2 $71.38
- Safeway rewards $10.00
- digital change $22.14
- QBE dividend $63.00
Challenge closing balance: $7,748.09

It's been a while between entries, have been super busy with this studying and trying to keep all the other areas of my life afloat too. I have to do 10 hours per week study, and last week as it was a public holiday we went away and therefore I only managed 6 hours.

This weekend is a very quiet weekend so will most definitely be catching up. I have made up last week's 4 hours, so tomorrow and Sunday I need to do 5 hours each day. I would have done more during the week but catching up on home duties after work took up some time. I'm looking forward to spending some blocks of time to increase my understanding of the material; have been so busy I feel like I'm doing the work but not really retaining anything or understanding much.

***

Because I didn't write an entry last week I didn't note down the EF savings, so this entry I have put two weeks in.

The supermarket chain I have rewards with, Safeway, have reintroduced their old rewards program again, so after spending the required amount (I think it was $100), I got $10 off the shopping, which I sent to Christmas savings. They have introduced their biggest rewards deal ever since I have been doing it - spend $90 per shop there for four weeks in a row to get 8000 points ($80.00 off the next shop). We've spent $37.76 there so far this week, have $52.24 to go, which can be done on the grocery shop for the week.

Trying To Get Ahead with all of her change jars prompted me to do an experiment for the month of September and I have been doing it still. What if every transaction from our checking account we round up to the next dollar and deposit it into our savings account? I know somebody wrote that there is an app for that, but I didn't find it in Australia so have just been doing it manually. So far we have saved $22.14.

We also received a dividend of $63.00 for our QBE shares. They are currently way down in value so I am considering buying another 100 but that would bring our cash down a bit so am sitting on the fence. Our averaged out purchase price is $10.70 per share and they dropped down to $9.33 which is a year low. (It was also a big loss so I was a bit worried) Now they are currently just under $10, so still lower than normal but at least we have not lost as much now. Will see what happens over the next month before deciding. Was actually going to buy in about January, give the EF a chance to build up a bit.

I also added $8.00 to the holiday fund, so the balance there is $-90.00 now.

***

This month we are on a five week month so funds are a little bit short. Our usual spending money is $580 ($500 into our checking and $80 onto B's card to cover his work expenses and takeaway) so have decreased it this month to $430 per week into checking and $65 onto his card; so usual monthly spending money was $2320, with these adjustments and an extra week included it only increases to $2475, which is not too painful.

We did work out his tax though which will be $2780 due in March, so have to save $463 per month. Ouch. Oh well, it must be done.

And also need to start saving $250 per month towards Thailand. And hopefully we can still afford $300 for my new car fund but we'll see. We need to start saving for Christmas so may need to shift some money out of certain categories to make it happen.

According to my Christmas saving challenge we need to save $330 this month, and so far have $32 saved however it is only the first week of October however I may even re-examine Christmas spending money and cut it down slightly.

Snowflakes 01/09/16; End of August

September 1st, 2016 at 08:26 pm

Challenge starting balance: $6,642.80
Plus:
- weekly EF savings $35.69
- football winnings $58.00
- plumber visit -$160.00
- addition to mortgage principal $259.25
Challenge closing balance: $6,835.74

The above transactions took place; weekly EF savings got deposited, I transferred over my team's big win (yay!), withdrew money for the plumber visit and added $259.25 to the mortgage being for June interest $559.25 less $300.

My team is now out of the finals so September is purely making up for the first six wins (if possible).

I also checked the EF balance on the 1st and have updated the sidebar. The mini EF is looking a little small because it is $2771.16 less $1445.94, less $192.00 (however on the upside thanks to the big win we are now below owing $200). Must get the tax return lodged and the $1073 back!

The maxi EF (the shares) dropped about $100. The MXI shares which I bought at $0.585 spent a couple of months well below what I bought them for- around $0.45, which I was not thrilled about. On 31st August though they raised up to $0.61 which is a bit of a relief.

The QBE shares which are the bigger portion (think $3200 compared to MXI $600) instead have dropped down! They are currently around $9.97- the average price I have bought them for is $10.70.

The main thing is, even if there is not a profit at the moment, there is no big loss.

***

September is a huge bills month - we are looking at around $1500 in bills which will stretch us. We could pay them but cannot also save our usual 10%, which doesn't thrill me.

I'm thinking I'd rather we pay half this month, half next month as we have no bills really in October. Then in November we start paying the monthly averaged amount of $4011. Much less stressful that way.

Reworking The Bills Budget

August 24th, 2016 at 11:13 am

I call September "Scary September" because we have high gas & electricity bills plus property rates plus roadside assistance. Plus plus plus basically.

In the interest of balance I decided to work out exactly how much we pay in bills per year and then divide it monthly and simply allow for that amount each month in the hope of avoiding the horrible September month.

We used to do this years ago and it worked well, so hopefully it will again. We did this up until B started his business and cashflow became very erratic for quite a while. Now that he is back earning a steady income we should be able to revisit this habit and hopefully breathe a little bit easier.

I'm not going to list the items we pay for or the amounts because frankly it's depressing! We just have to keep watching various things to try not to pay too much. (Eg our house insurance came in last month and has increased by $10 per month. We don't mind paying monthly as there is no charge for this. Anyway I compared the policy against some other insurers and found it is reasonable so we will stay with them)

Starting October, we will set aside $4011 (this covers all housing costs - mortgage, insurance, utilities, all car costs - loan repayment, insurances registration, cell phone costs, motorbike loan repayment and costs, and various other bills) per month.

Hopefully next September will be much more manageable!

Coincidence Or What?

August 23rd, 2016 at 10:37 am

Remember how I wrote about something going wrong with the Internet and not having wifi a couple of weeks ago?

Well I was in the middle of doing some budgeting and had a look at the September 2015 budget and our internet (iPad) bill was $200 higher exactly one year ago due to the wifi dropping out!!!

It shouldn't be this year as we realised in time but am I the only one who thinks that there is a bit of a conspiracy going on here or what???

Does anyone else know of things like this happening?

Snowflakes Update 25 July

July 25th, 2016 at 11:40 am

Challenge starting balance: $5,193.18
Plus:
- weekly EF savings $35.69
- football winnings $36.00
- fortnightly balance transfer payment $151.50
- repayment to B's credit card $10.00
- mortgage topup $280.00
- plus extra paid towards mortgage $31.00
Challenge closing balance: $5,737.37

The weekly EF savings got transferred out and I transferred last week's football winnings of $36.00. So far I am at $47.00 with that challenge and then my team won again! This time by 15 points so that will be next week's transfer. The holiday fund has been reduced to $-445 now.

The fortnightly balance transfer came out and then over the weekend I got the monthly credit card statement emailed to me, the balance is now down to $523.50!! Somehow I am ahead by $110 as opposed to my credit card paydown spreadsheet. I have no idea but it means that in September instead of final payment being $311.00, it will be $220.50.

We also threw $10 over to B's credit card from our weekly spending money.

April mortgage interest was $588 and in the month of April we paid $8 extra, $580 - $300 maximum interest we want to pay is $280, which we transferred over.

Then I saw that the mortgage balance was $120,061 and got excited and figured that perhaps we can pay $62 and it can be down to $119,999 by the end of the month, so have transferred $31 over from our spending money.

Speaking of spending, on the weekend we made up for the two weeks prior where we barely spent anything. We got B's birthday present, some motorbike riding gear for $300, these two gorgeous lamps I've had my eye on for a while for $168, black printer toner ink for $71.77 and a laptop bag for B's work for $46.

I had to put the lamps and the groceries for $116 on my credit card so it will be getting paid back out of next week's spending money. We have no social plans and will just do everything on the cheap next week. The purchases were worth it.

Another thing I bought is my first herb plant- parsley. It sits on our window sill, hope to get a lot of use out of it.

Whew so much writing !!

I enjoyed last week writing small posts about different financial matters, so hope to be back doing that tomorrow Smile.

Ps does anybody know what has happened to Imasaver? I just realised I haven't seen her blogs in a while and she's not on the "all blogs" list. Thanks.

I'm Back From The UK Trip; Goals Checkup

July 7th, 2016 at 07:11 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.

Final Holiday Transfer

June 1st, 2016 at 11:25 am

I've spent time working out the June budget so that we will be ok and worked out the holiday spending. It's not that pretty but it is what it is.

Final repayment of flights (1/3): 252
+ other travel items purchased on CC: 458
+ final instalment of spending money: 721

= 1431
- 803 savings transferred in from holiday fund
------
$ 628
====

The holiday fund is now sitting at $1537 to be repaid back once I am back from holidays. It feels like a lot but I did only book this holiday three months ago, and to go to Europe from Australia is a pretty expensive thing - our UK friends who come over save for a couple of years to be able to do this, so I have kept this in perspective. It will be fine.

The Mini EF is way higher than the usual $2500 cash amount I wanted to leave available so when more of the holiday fund is repaid I could definitely buy more shares.

The Maxi EF (the shares) last night was at $2,999.16! We have a $3000 share portfolio! (ok it has dipped down a bit today). Small victories Smile

Tomorrow I will be clearing the credit card and have just transferred the $803 over, and will be transferring some money to the travel money card. There is 518GBP there, I would like to have 750GBP by the time I go (and 300GBP cash). It will work out to 50GBP spending money per day, hopefully this is doable and I don't overspend too much.

***

In other news B and I have been watching House Rules (Australian renovation competition show) and they had a nice walk-in closet and B has decided he wants to change ours to look like it! He might do a bit of work while I'm gone on it.

I Am Going To See Scottish Girl!

May 31st, 2016 at 11:51 am

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

Whew! Hope you're all well.

Budget Changes

April 4th, 2016 at 11:59 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.

Musings

March 16th, 2016 at 11:21 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!

February Wrap-Up

February 29th, 2016 at 10:34 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 11:41 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

More Stuff To Keep Track Of

February 8th, 2016 at 10:53 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 6th, 2016 at 05:19 am

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.

Dipped Into Savings; and Coffee Pod Purchase

February 4th, 2016 at 10:50 am

A day after transferring all that was left over from last month's pay, I found out that B is not getting paid until next week. (I thought he was getting paid today)

So I ended up transferring $446 from savings to cover the weekly automatic savings payment (I don't want to get into the habit of putting that on hold or cancelling it), groceries, alcohol, my hair getting done, money to put in towards my friend's birthday present and money for B's social stuff ($20 this week). This week we will have to make sure we don't go over $120 on the grocery spend! I am determined.

Thankfully he is now billing his usual amounts so in a couple of weeks we should be back to normal.

***

Last year I got some really nice biodegradable coffee pods which were pricey but really nice. They emailed me a deal of 25% off 100 pods, which was quite good. I was going to buy four months worth (this would tip it into the free freight category) but when I tried to apply the deal it didn't work.

They may have sold out already. I ended up getting a 10 pack of pods (100 in total, it is 10 per sleeve) of different flavours to try out.

The last time I bought was October, I think. This is a company I don't mind supporting occasionally so we will call this my splurge. The 10 pack plus freight costed $83.20, so at $8.32 per packet of pods compared to my usual $4.76 it is a splurge! (Will not happen again until later this year). I'm looking forward to trying all of the different flavours.

***

A friend found a cruise she really wanted to go on next year for Australia Day, which goes for three days and would cost us $1598. As Thailand for us has been pushed back to next year also it would mean two expensive holidays in a year - really did not want to commit to that. With me it was more the money - our Thailand offer was for 7 nights accommodation plus flights was $1600; and this is a three day cruise not stopping anywhere and we still would have to get flights etc. Not thrilling.

B just wasn't keen on going. Unfortunately pretty much everyone else she has invited has also declined because of the expense - most people she has invited are families, so their cost was around $4000. So she's a bit upset at the moment because she thought it would be fun. Hopefully in time she will realise that it's not everyone's cup of tea, and it's very expensive, and be ok with it. At the moment she's pretty disappointed so I think I want to leave her be for a little while, and talk to her when it's all died off a bit.

January Savings & Monthly Wrap-Up

February 3rd, 2016 at 11:37 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!

365 Days of Gratitude, Day #3

January 4th, 2016 at 02:57 am

My thing I am grateful today is:



The Zumba class I attended this morning! It was a fun way to spend an hour. Today is my second day of my four day gym streak. As somebody who generally goes to the gym once a week (if I'm lucky), I am starting to feel sore.

Yesterday I did a 2km jog on the treadmill, today a 1hr Zumba class. I am hoping to do a Body Pump (weights) class and a Sh'bam (dance) class over the remaining two days.

I may actually get complete use of my gym membership this month. Admission to the gym or cost of a class is $10.00 each visit. My gym membership of $20 per week is deducted each Monday, and this month it will work out to be five Mondays, so $100.00. My four day gym streak will use up $40.00, leaving $60.00 for the month, so I can then go a minimum of 6 times for the remaining three weeks. Totally doable. (Ps going to the gym may be expensive but I enjoy it, and I like going to this gym as it is close to home. There are cheaper options however they are further from home. I do acknowledge that a gym membership is a luxury and more of a want than a need, as the truth is you don't need to go to the gym to get fit; there are always alternatives)

Financial doings for the day were:
- noticing that I had forgotten to buy ice cream and peanut butter but deciding to add it to next week's shopping list (we spent $100 this week which is all I want us to spend)
- creating a new spreadsheet for our budget. We have had our budget spreadsheet from September 2012 so it was starting to get a bit full. I have kept the same format however, as it works perfectly for us
- not much else other than trying to budget for the next two weeks. I had to transfer $150 from B's business account to his credit card for a work expense and he has $375 left there for our spending next week. If he has to transfer $175 for petrol (a possibility), we will be left with $200 to use for food and alcohol and other spending money. Still doable, we just need to watch what we do.

It is different compared to a year ago because we do have money we can fall back on and withdraw if needed. This is a nice feeling. However, I would so much rather not withdraw until needed.

No Christmas Debt Hangover; 2016 Goals Musings

December 28th, 2015 at 01:18 pm

Like many others on this site, I am happy to say that we have carried no debt for our Christmas presents etc. We don't normally carry much of a debt for Christmas presents, perhaps $100-$200 usually. This time, nothing (which was a great feeling).

I stopped tracking spending on December 22. I don't know what it is with me, in normal everyday life I track constantly, but when I hit holiday mode I just cannot do it (except for the last time we were away when I was really motivated). Part of it was also because we saved $800, which is the spending money that B normally covers; so rather than eating into our everyday money we are simply spending money which was allocated for this purpose. It has been so helpful having the spending money aside.

I won't say that the money situation has been stress-free because with him being self-employed it is never stress-free at Christmas time. Funny things always happen with his payments he is owed at Christmas time. This time he got paid for the larger invoice but not the smaller, even though they were invoiced on the same day. So instead of being worried about that, I was simply mildly annoyed. I know we'll get it in a few weeks.

On the financial side of things, I got paid my Christmas bonus from work. I knew that if I got it, I would buy some bar stools for the kitchen area, and bank the rest, so that it can be put towards a study unit. The bar stools came to $207. They only had one in stock, so we are waiting for the other two to be shipped in. We took the other one home though, it looks very nice! The balance of the bonus was $800, which is also the allocated spending money from the EF to cover B's wages, so instead of withdrawing from the EF, I just used the balance of the bonus. The $800 in the EF will be left there until needed.

I have simply been charging things to my credit card, so have just paid over all that has been spent. Such a lovely feeling to have that all squared out and back to what it was before.

****

Christmas was a busy blur; it always is! Christmas Eve was my work do - we went to a Moroccan restaurant and had a six course meal, which was really nice. Christmas day we had the inlaws over for lunch for the first time ever - that was busy as we pretty had to spring-clean the house beforehand! Everything worked out wonderfully though. Christmas night was at my sister's house, which was also wonderful. It was a hot day, just under 97F. We got home and the power was out, probably because so many people were using their airconditioners. So we sat outside on that really balmy night, listening to music and having a couple of drinks. WAs a really lovely end to a great day. Then on Boxing Day we had to go to B's extended family, aunties and uncles etc, which is always a nice day.

Yesterday I was so tired from it all though that I spent hours watching catch-up tv and music videos, and basically hibernating, to bring myself back to my normal self, rebalancing etc.

****

Now thinking about goals, I can't seem to find a concrete plan. I'm probably too tired still with too much going on. I know that this year, from this month onwards, I don't want us to pay more than $300 per month interest on the mortgage. At the moment on average, interest is about $560-$570, so we would be paying $260-$270 out of pocket against the loan. By doing this, as our monthly mortgage payment is $995, roughly 70% of each payment will then work out to be principal.

I also want to try to live off much less than what I am paid; for two reasons: 1. pretty much whatever savings/debt repayment goals there are will be easily met, 2. I want to feel like I don't need to rely on my full pay to make ends meet, because I think that so many people tell themselves they must earn $xxx when they could live off far less.

I will also update the sidebar to show mini-EF (available cash) and maxi-EF (invested cash). This currently stands at $2135 available cash and $1138 invested cash. Maybe if I aim to increase invested cash by $3000, then the total EF will be roughly around $5k.

So my rough plans for 2016 are;
- pay no more than $300 interest on the mortgage (average of $270 per month x 12 months = $3240)
- save a further $3000 to the EF
- continue debt repayment to credit cards as previously. When the $303 monthly balance transfer payment is finished after September, that $303 will instead become savings for my next car. (Hopefully I don't need to buy for a while though)($303 x 12 months = $3636)

Estimate of total savings cost for 2016 = $9876. Based on 2015 savings made, this should be possible.

Apologies for the super long post, I really needed to do some thinking out loud! Now, must fall into bed as it after midnight and I am exhausted. Goodnight all!

Final Balance Transfer; Final EOY Results!

December 19th, 2015 at 07:16 pm

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!

We Are Holding Christmas At Our House

December 15th, 2015 at 07:03 am

For the last couple of years we've tried to tell B's parents that as much as they love having Christmas at their house it's now too much for them (it is).

We told them we would hold it this year, and next year B's sister would hold it, and they should buy the meat (they are ultra picky so I don't want *that* responsibility).

Christmas night is reserved for my family as always.

I have downloaded a wonderful Christmas list app and it's looking like everything (presents, food, new dinner sets and cutlery) will come to $1040. Some things have already been bought and we saved $100 throughout the year, so it looks like currently there is $792 left but I'm hoping to whittle that down with discounts. (Ps I love productivity apps that can help you with organising an event, why use boring old paper!).

Looking forward to having Christmas! We do have to spring clean our place so it will be nice when it is sparkling too!


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