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Credit Card & Bills In Order; Another Snowflake

April 20th, 2017 at 11:37 am

Today I sorted out my credit card and have paid both down to $0 (not that there was a lot of out-of-pocket to pay). With the Virgin card I paid $348.32 but only $124 of that was out-of-pocket spending, the rest was budgeted for and with my other card I paid $33.74 for last week's transactions.

It was then a great feeling to clear the note I keep on my phone of the various expenses I have put on the cards! (To not let little expenses sink a ship, every time I charge something to my cards I note it down in a note on my phone - this allows me to keep track of what is going on there and also makes me think twice about what is put on there).

All credit cards are now in order.

I then paid for the animal registrations which I neglected to pay last week.

Today I had to get some makeup as I was running low and when I paid at the cash register they informed me that I have a $5 credit as it was my birthday this month! I then applied it to the purchase and put it into the Christmas savings account later.

I have updated my snowflakes spreadsheet including the dividends received. So far I have received $437 in snowflakes; the two highest snowflakes are the dividends received this month of $153 and $140 in Safeway Everyday rewards. Following that is Christmas savings (the balance to make up the challenge) of $74.92, digital change savings of $30.63, the Medicare refund overpayment of $21.15, Priceline rewards $10.58, savings on gift cards $4.50 and interest earned of $2.58.

Technically the savings items aren't really snowflakes but I still feel like I have to add them in there.

Last night B was snoring really loudly so I had my second awful night of sleep. Two nights of falling asleep at 1am and being up at 6am has made me feel like a dead woman walking. As a result I'm only doing a couple of small things tonight and will go to bed soon. Hopefully I can get up before work and watch some more of the lecture I was watching (to avoid leaving everything to the weekend). We had a pretty relaxing night and I'm looking forward to sleeping soon. Goodnight all Smile.

Credit Card & Bill Management; Another Snowflake

April 19th, 2017 at 12:25 pm

I am conscious that certain things have been let slide for a little while so I am trying to make amends before it is too painful.

Today and tomorrow my main priority is to get the credit cards to their correct balances. I have just fixed up B's credit card so that tomorrow when the automatic weekly transfer of $75 to that card hits, the balance will be $2,470.

We put $75 there per week to cover the compulsory car wash he must do for the company car each week plus his various coffees, lunches and miscellaneous expenses (eg going to the barber).

Unfortunately the card was sitting at $2,990... ! This was due to our easter trip, where he put fuel, alcohol and the new LED lighting kit we bought for the camper trailer on it amongst other small things. (We had to buy the kit while we were away because the batteries went flat on our main light source, luckily it was 25% off - the new lights make such a difference).

Anyway, I digress. I just transferred from our bank account $445.23, being $348.23 to cover the outstanding balance plus this month's payment of $97 against the mountain bike purchased. Ouch. These things add up - imagine if I had left this another two weeks?

So his card is now sorted. Tomorrow I will be paying down my Virgin credit card back to $0. I'm guessing that about $345 will need to be paid. (These charges consist of among other things: train ticket $137, balance of textbooks $55, balance of fuel $15, groceries $45, caravan park accommodation $90). My Virgin credit card hasn't been down to $0 since February, so it is pretty important to get that in order. (Around February I put school textbooks plus a new suit on it so have been paying these items down). All in all, I'm not terribly fussed about transferring over the money for either cards because all expenses have been entered into my spending app so there is nothing that is a nasty surprise.

In regards to bill management, I was so frantically busy last week that I simply paid the home phone and B's mobile bill and neglected to pay the animal's registration fees, must do that tomorrow night.

I received another $10 from Safeway Rewards so have transferred that to the Christmas Savings challenge. $56 towards this month is now sitting there so will only have to put in $44 at the end of the month. Must also update the snowflakes spreadsheet to include the dividends received the other but will get to that. Slowly getting everything back in order!

Fell Off The Wagon

February 23rd, 2017 at 10:27 am

I think I see a pattern here. When I came back from the UK I decided to go on an alcohol fast and it ended up being a period of low alcohol instead and unfortunately it has happened again - some things I have next to no willpower with. Why do I need to impose a restriction on myself anyway? I just bought one bottle of wine for the weekend so I can have a glass here and there. I had one tonight and that is all. This bottle was $15 which is my usual allowance I give myself for two bottles. Oh well.

Other spending today was petrol of $60, which should hopefully last a month. I also want to wash the car on the weekend too.

Tomorrow I am going to hunt for a new suit after work - I got a stain on one of my black suits which won't come out. I've had it for 2 1/2 years so got plenty of wear out of it. Unfortunately the material in my my favourite suit (1 1/2 years old) is also starting to wear dangerously thin; I can see the pants ripping one day so I actually am up for two new suits. I will put these one or two suits on my low rate credit card to repay back at around $40 per week until it's done.

Speaking of credit cards, small amounts of spending here and there meant I owed at the end of the credit card period $46.95 on one and $82.06 on the other - so have paid $64.51 this week and will pay the remaining $64.50 next week. It's amazing how these little things creep up, I barely remember what I bought - the scariest thing is when the credit card debt is larger can you even remember what you spent it on? I'm not going back to that place so will have to be more diligent with noting down what was spent on there.

Updates 17/1/17

January 17th, 2017 at 10:42 am

I have nothing overly exciting to report, just bits and pieces of various things, will try to run through my movements for the last couple of days:

- groceries: I could have spent $145 to earn more Safeway rewards but felt that our monthly spend was already pretty high. Instead we spent $115, so far we have spent $425 for the month with two weekends of grocery shopping to go. We may go over our monthly $600 but I am hoping to not go too far over.

- date night: B suggested going out to dinner but then I wanted to see the new "xxx" movie with Vin Diesel, which is not out until 19 January. We held off going out to dinner and I remembered that Safeway has 10% off movie gift cards at the moment. We had a little bit left over in our checking account yesterday so I bought a $50 gift card for $45. I was rather happy, I must say! We can both go to the movies and then there will be some left over for another movie day.

- productivity: I use the reminder app on my phone to do out of the ordinary things (not everyday tasks like washing, dishes and tidying up) however I struggle to actually "do" the tasks! I set myself the task of completing four things and failed this weekend. The things were:
1) descaling the coffee machine (I actually did it but the orange light on the machine is still flashing - I don't think I've done it properly so will need to get more descaling mix and do it again. Was super annoyed about this!)
2) fill out the Medicare form so we can finally get B's doctor co-pays refunded to us (expecting about $90). I have filled out the form and need one more signature before I can mail it off.
3) check that the cat's vaccinations are up to date before putting her in the boarding kennel. DONE. She is up to date which is great.
4) clean the study while running apple updates for both iPhone and ipad. Not done and did not have a spare 5-6 hours for this task.
I'm hoping that if I write about this stuff often enough I will move through the list quicker, because there are plenty more things to be done.

- B's credit card repayment: I transferred this month's $180 over, the balance is now supposed to be $2527 owing (with the additional $90 from doctor co-pays, $2617 owing)

- my credit card fixed payment offer: this is more a reminder that should the need arise I may be able to get 10.9% on set purchases with my credit card for 1,2 or 3 years. They have this offer out currently so it's a possibility in future. This credit card is 20% so definitely worthwhile remembering. You can either buy something or write a cheque to yourself.

- B dejavu: he is so funny sometimes. While in the UK I could not access the bank to do transfers but I have an app which allows me to view bank balances and transactions (that's all you are allowed to do, which is good I think for your ipad) so because B is not computer savvy I set up automatic transfers so he could have money for food etc from our pay account to our checking account. For the first week while I away I kept looking at it and he was barely spending anything on food and I was getting worried that he wasn't eating. Then I saw a small amount go on food and the rest on motorbike parts!!!! So the first week of work last week he was barely spending his weekly money on takeaway like he normally does and then... it all went on motorbike parts!!! Again! I don't mind because he's not over the top with spending. He said he planned the big spend while I was in the UK but he didn't even realise he was going to buy that stuff last weekend until about an hour before. I still say it's dejavu Smile.

- today: I went to bed early, then the cat woke me up early while B was in the shower to go to the toilet so was up an hour earlier than normal. I spent this hour drinking coffee and watching Code Black on my ipad. What a great start to the day! Maybe it can happen again tomorrow!

I guess I've chatted enough about various things, must go to bed.

This And That

January 9th, 2017 at 10:41 am

We received the new mattress and it's so comfortable! The bed is so much higher also. I'd been wanting to update one of the doona cover sets for a while and as we updated the mattress, I found a nice doona cover set for $78.

I paid for this on my Velocity rewards credit card and then yesterday bought far too many groceries on it ($173- note that there was also bulk toilet paper and pet food purchased here as well as some good deals on meat).

On the plus side we will now earn $20 Safeway rewards off the next shop. Safeway have been churning out the bonus rewards over the last few weeks, for spending $195 we earned $290 in rewards and they have a deal this week where if I spend $145 we will earn $200 in rewards (for $200 you will receive $10 off your next shop). As they have had rewards challenges going since the middle of December, I will actually look at our monthly shopping spend. If it looks like we're going to go over budget I may not bother with it.

However we generally spend $600 per month on food and it is the 9th and we've already spent $312!! Part of the $173 spent yesterday was some good meat buys including a pork loin roast but still, we only have $288 left. So, really if I'm going to spend $145 on food next weekend I will need to look at what we actually need or do some items as a fortnightly shop. You guys with your pantry challenge are helpful in this area!

Also, we repaid the credit cards not long after Christmas for the Christmas presents so I have about $233 in items ($45 half of my shoes from last month, $103 for the cat's arthritis medicine, $78 for the doona cover set and $7 for the balance of the groceries) sitting on my velocity rewards card. Both credit cards I have have a monthly cycle that finishes on the 20th of the month so it is important to clear them by then. I love that there is no more credit card debt hanging over my head! It feels like total freedom.

2016 Savings Balances / 2017 Plans

December 28th, 2016 at 08:05 pm

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

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

Total: $8,804.21

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

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

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

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

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

Our plan for 2017 savings is:

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

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

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

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

Merry Christmas Everyone :)

December 23rd, 2016 at 09:32 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Merry Christmas all, enjoy your day no matter what!

Rewards Credit Card

November 24th, 2016 at 09:12 am

I got my Virgin credit card statement today and was happy to see that for the last month I've been using it regularly and repaying it regularly and no interest was charged this time. After the balance transfer was repaid a couple of months ago I used it pretty much straight away and interest got charged so I held off on using it, now I'm glad to see that interest is not being charged just the way it should be.

Apparently I now have 602 velocity points. These can be used towards Virgin Airways flights or redeemed for gift cards. I looked up points to redeem gift cards, for 9000 points you can get a $50 shopping gift card.

When I get a spare second (like after the exam), I will look into ways to boost points. Four days of studying to go, hopefully I can remember everything.

Oh I have 6 NSDs now and I know tomorrow will be a NSD (unless an unforeseen and unavoidable emergency happens).

I don't know when your thanksgiving is but I am reading posts about it, so I hope you all have a safe and happy thanksgiving!

Snowflakes & Savings 24-10-16; Saturday Happy Events

October 24th, 2016 at 09:44 am

Challenge starting balance: $7,748.09
Plus:
- weekly EF savings x 2 $71.38
- Safeway rewards $10.00
- digital change $2.93
- Maxitrans dividend $10.50
- B's credit card debt repayment $180.00
- B's tax savings $403.33
- Phuket holiday savings $235.00
- my car savings $150.00
Challenge closing balance: $8,739.85

September was a huge month not only for bills but also because it was a five week month so October has been pretty lowkey. We repaid back the savings used to pay the bills and reduced our weekly spending in October to offset the overspending in September.

Still, I've had a bit of low-level anxiety with our money this month so have held off making savings transfers etc. Now that it is the end of the month nearly have felt like we could do it and be fine.

Among our snowflakes was a Safeway reward of $10, received today. That plus the digital change was sent over to the Christmas savings account; there is now $45.13 there, will top it up to $50 at the end of the week. Another snowflake was the Maxitrans dividend (small dividend but it is a small shareholding).

We sent another $180 to B's credit card - it is now sitting at owing $3012 - will be under $3k next month which is exciting.

I finally got around to lodging our tax returns last week! I will get back $1073 which will go back to the EF to repay the study unit; B owes $2780 from his business income which is due March 2017. This month we have saved $403.33 towards it.

I also saved $235 towards our Phuket trip; $1065 remains owing to be paid whenever we decide to go before September next year.

I also sent $150 to my car savings; normally should be $300 but we overspent a little this month so reduced it slightly. $124 was also repaid against the study unit.

While it would be great to be sending all of this to the EF, sometimes we have things which need to be paid (like B's tax) and things we should save a little for (like a trip which is booked).

****

Saturday's happy events were:

1. My sister and her husband sold their house for $70k above reserve at auction, which they were really happy about. My BIL is a MMM (aka Mr Money Moustache) convert and wants to retire in 5 years time (he'll be early 40s then). They are moving to the country and want to build a sustainable home so the extra $70k will definitely help their plans. Auctions are so exciting.
2. It was our 6 year wedding anniversary so we went out for a fancy dinner to celebrate Smile.

Hope you're all well!

Balance Transfer Card Not So Appealing Now

September 24th, 2016 at 01:36 am

Challenge starting balance: $7,545.87
Plus:
- weekly EF savings $35.69
Challenge closing balance: $7,581.56

As written a few days earlier, I finally paid off all of my credit card debt and was looking into earning some sort of reward for using credit cards now.

I linked up my Velocity Rewards account to the credit card as you can earn points, however while I knew the credit card had a high interest rate it is supposed to have 44 interest free days.

So it was completely free of any charges on Wednesday as per the website so I used the card on Wednesday night and repaid the transactions the next day. There was a total cost of $28.72 charged on it (for groceries).

So I have just received my credit card statement and have been charged $0.65 interest??? I don't care about the amount but why have I been charged interest when there was no previous amount owing? Unless I had to wait until the next monthly period before using the card?

I doubt I will want to sit on the phone with the credit card company to discuss $0.65 but I may hold off using the card for the rest of the month and then use the card and see if interest is charged when the card is used again. If interest is charged without the interest free period then I will probably keep the card as an emergency measure only and close it off after a while once I have found a replacement.

Balance Transfer Card Repaid!; Broken Door Lock

September 19th, 2016 at 11:40 am

Challenge starting balance: $7,353.93
Plus:
- weekly EF savings $35.69
- football winnings $46.00
- my FINAL credit card repayment to balance transfer card $110.25
Challenge closing balance: $7,545.87

That day finally came where my final payment to the balance transfer left the bank account! I imagine I will see a zero balance on that card either tomorrow or the day after.

Only $54 left on my normal transactional card to pay by the end of the month, will do this easily. (In a week or so, must get used to using the balance transfer card as a transactional card to accumulate points.)

I'm so glad to be off of that debt cycle where I was getting charged around $58-$62 in interest on a debt I couldn't afford to pay. I'm so glad I just had this moment where I had had enough and wanted things changed asap, and got the balance transfer card and got off the cycle of simply paying interest on things which had long been used up. I appreciate credit cards now because you can have funds available at your disposal no questions asked, but do not ever want to get complacent with paying interest again. I want to be much more careful with it now.

Feeling like I'm in a better place than a year ago, that's for sure. Next month onto saving for a new car! (that I hope to not have to buy for a long time!)

***

I paid the third round of my football wins over to the holiday fund; now owing only $98. Also paid back $124 against the study unit. Study is going well but I'm finding myself a bit time poor and when I get tired, I'm worn out. Luckily this only happens every few days. I'm into week 4 and not doing too badly.

***

On Saturday my car door broke, this time my driver door. This is an ongoing problem; has happened between 5-10 times in the time of car ownership and each time it happens I cannot lock the car until it's fixed. The last time it happened was April last year.

The cost of a new lock was $200 plus some beer as a thank you gift to my father-in-law for fixing it $31. Better than $400 at the mechanic which is the going rate. This is the last time my father-in-law will do it though, as he is getting too old. Next time it will be either B or the mechanic.

Because funds are a little tight I used the additional money I was going to repay on the mortgage to pay for the door lock. Didn't want to draw out from the EF again, once this month was enough ($160 for the sewer blockage).

I really want to get the mortgage down to $115,000 by the end of the year and it looks like all other things going ok, we should be able to.

Credit Card Sorted

September 14th, 2016 at 11:14 am

As written in my previous entry, my credit cards will be repaid in full by the end of the month (woohoo) and I have been trying to work out what to do with them.

My balance transfer card is actually a velocity rewards card (Virgin Airlines), so today I have linked up my credit card to my velocity rewards account, then in October when the debt is completely cleared I will start using it to accumulate points. Obviously paying transactions back as soon as possible to avoid being charged interest.

The annual card fee of $129 is valid for one year to use as a credit against a flight also. I'm interested to see what my points balance in a year will be!

Snowflakes 11/09/16; Credit Card Musings

September 11th, 2016 at 12:28 am

Challenge starting balance: $6,835.74
Plus:
- weekly EF savings $35.69
- football winnings $48.00
- my credit card repayment to balance transfer card $151.50
- B's credit card repayment to his card $180.00
- extra credit card repayment to his card $103.00
Challenge closing balance: $7,353.93

This week's additions to the challenge are the usual EF savings, plus football winnings for games 4-6 from my team (these were all fairly low wins so could add them all together), plus repayments to both my and B's credit cards.

With my credit cards, I am all set to be officially retired from credit card debt by 30th September. That has a nice ring to it, I must admit!

There are some small transactions on my credit card I use amounting to around $77 for 3/4 of a tank of fuel (which I pay back at $20 per week) plus some cosmetics I needed to buy.

There is the anticipated $110 remaining on my balance transfer card plus I have been charged a $129 annual fee for this card.

Which brings me to reassessing what I want to do with this card after it is paid off at the end of the month.

I had the idea of either earning cashback rewards on various cards after the cards were paid off to actually bring some income in after paying credit card companies interest and whatever charges for so many years; or getting a points card and using it to earn rewards.

Now that I have to pay this $129 I'm thinking I may as well keep this card open for a while to utilise the annual fee paid. I've kind of had a shift in thinking of my thoughts about credit card debt too, so I have to consider that.

The thing is our EF is generally at the moment around $7000 give or take a few thousand. So really the credit cards when they are paid off are technically an asset because they are credit available to be used at any point in time if needed, no questions asked.

So if there was a major emergency ie I suddenly lost my job we would be able to use the cash saved in the EF possibly to pay mortgage and bills and use the credit cards to pay for food and other necessities; and we would most likely have six to nine months emergency money available as opposed to two to three months with the cash only.

Perhaps I might revisit the points/cashback ideas in six months or so. Would need to change at least one credit card in any case. My everyday credit card I use has a 14% interest rate (best rate possible for the big 4 Australian banks) while the balance transfer card has a 21% interest rate - so will need another card to replace that with a much lower rate in the next few months. I could increase the credit available on the 14% card, but really I would rather get a lower rate card from a smaller institution - you can get around 8% cards.

Sorry for the super long post guys, I'm just trying to formulate ideas and plans and put them in writing to refer back to later! Feel free to add any thoughts or suggestions.

With B's card I paid the monthly $180 and then referred the balance against what I had in our debt paydown spreadsheet. According to the spreadsheet his card should be at $3192 - it needed an extra $103 repaid to reach this amount. Next month he will be owing just over $3000.

Snowflakes 18/8/16

August 18th, 2016 at 11:15 am

Challenge starting balance: $6,436.17
Plus:
- weekly EF savings $35.69
- balance transfer CC payment $110.25
- mortgage principal payment $16.00
Challenge closing balance: $6,598.11

Today true to my word I woke up 15 minutes earlier. It's amazing how tired I am with the 15 minute difference, it means a lot I guess! Should be used to it soon. I have to go to bed soon also, which is the other thing I need to get used to.

I used that time to pay the bills, B's speeding fine ($190)(ugh) and his driver licence renewal ($267).

Yesterday morning when I got up early I ordered my textbook ($140.94). My credit card is now just below $2000 which was nearly giving me an ulcer so I transferred the full cost of the study unit and textbook ($1445.94) from the EF. I did not spend 1 year 1 month (so far, next month is the final month) repaying credit card debt to become lackadaisical about large amounts sitting on the credit card, don't want to end up back in that hole! No way no how.

Seeing the cash balance in the EF after doing the transfer is now giving me an ulcer though, so need to get B's tax return sorted asap so we can lodge and I can get the $1073 refund to put straight back in the EF.

After work I went to the shops to get some food for dinner but also decided to do CB's 10 items idea. For $34.54 I got ravioli for dinner, liquid hand soap, toothpaste, meat for the dog, bread, peanut butter, potato chips, coffee pods, almond milk, mini chocolate bars and garlic bread. Ok, I got eleven things. We are running really low on food at the moment so need to build the pantry up a bit!

Goodnight all!

Snowflakes; Old Neck Injury Flared Up

August 4th, 2016 at 05:37 am

Challenge starting balance: $5,773.06
Plus:
- weekly EF savings $35.69
- football winnings $15.00
- fortnightly balance transfer payment $151.50
- repayment to B's credit card $180.00
- mortgage topup $174.21
Challenge closing balance: $6,329.46

We have a very spendy month in the bills department so this will be the majority of the snowflakes.

Weekly EF savings as usual, football game winnings from two weeks ago both went to the savings account.

My balance transfer credit card balance showed as $523.50 owing, which is less than the $614 balance there should be so have reduced the monthly balance transfer payment from $303 to $261.75, with $110.25 to be paid in the second fortnight of the month.

Next month by the end of the September I will have no credit card debt!!!!

What a turnaround from a year ago. Then in October I start to save for a new car (hopefully don't need to buy for a long time!).

I also have put $180 towards B's credit card debt and have added his credit card debt to my credit card debt paydown spreadsheet. We were able to afford the $180 payment due to his reduction in the car loan which he refinanced. According to the spreadsheet, his debt will be repaid in March 2018.

I then paid $174.21 against the mortgage principal (goal 1 on my sidebar). May mortgage interest was $563.61 and $89.40 had already been paid towards the interest. $263.21 - $89.40 = $174.21. We can't afford to pay two months this month, but as it is we should be into the $118000s next month which is good.

***

Non financial stuff (ok kinda financial): I am having my first sick day in 3-5 years today. Yesterday I hurt my neck (long running injury which flares up occasionally) and when I woke this morning could barely turn it to the right so knew I had to go to the chiropractors asap.

My sister lives a block away so I parked my car there, had coffee with her and got to see my toddler nephew; then went to the chiropractors.

As I am so stiff he could only work on me for about 10 mins, so I have to go back in 2 days time and in the meantime use Ice Gel four times a day. I booked a Saturday morning appointment, he said as for work to just play it by ear.

The charge for today was $64. Time to go put more Ice Gel on and watch a bit more tv.

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.

Various Financial Transactions

July 8th, 2016 at 03:17 am

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

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

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

***

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

And the happy news that she is ok!

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

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

I'm Back From The UK Trip; Goals Checkup

July 7th, 2016 at 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.

Possibly My Only June Blog Entry

June 6th, 2016 at 12:06 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Financial transactions for today:

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

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

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.

New Computer Keyboard & Fortnightly Transactions

May 19th, 2016 at 12:16 pm

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

$4K Reached; Travel Money Card Frustration

May 3rd, 2016 at 11:51 am

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

It's Been A While

April 20th, 2016 at 12:10 pm

Challenge starting balance: $3,297.90
Plus:
- 2 week's EF: $142.04
- 2 weeks balance transfer repayment: $151.50
- Safeway everyday rewards: $30.00
- Maxitrans dividend: $21.00
- QBE dividend: $60.30
Challenge closing balance: $3,702.74


April is typically a very busy month. We have Easter plus my birthday plus another family birthday (niece) plus another public holiday, Anzac Day, which remembers Australian and New Zealand soldiers who fought in the First World War, plus work gets busy in the lead up to our annual major deadline (15 May- this year 16 because it's on the Monday.

So I've been doing lots and simply jotting down the spending etc in our spending app. Financial things have been plugging away.

I have put the previous two week before's EF savings in the challenge total. I also transferred 2 weeks balance transfer payment - finally got around to updating my credit card paydown spreadsheet. I received a statement on the weekend stating that $1432.10 is now owing, according to my spreadsheet by the middle of May I will owe $1220.00 on the progress payment. By the time I go to the UK I will be down to below $1000, so am looking forward to that.

Along with the busyness, we have been going away, celebrating my birthday, adjusting to a new budget and it hasn't been pretty. Yes there are snowflakes up there but I have had to withdraw $405 from the EF to be able to save the certain amount each fortnightly pay for the UK holiday.

I am hoping we can make up for our overspending in May and start to find balance again. I decided to withdraw some money from the EF each fortnight because I didn't think it was fair that B suffers because I am going on an expensive holiday, so was thinking I need to save $580 per fortnight so would withdraw $290 per fortnight to ease the burden a bit and repay it back over the next few months. Was not thrilled about withdrawing $405 though, that was higher than I would have liked. For repayment purposes I will have the Mini EF and the Maxi EF at their current balances with a negative balance in the holiday fund. As it gets repaid it will be adjusted.

***

Have done well with the Safeway Everyday rewards and was happy to get dividends from both the Maxitrans shares and the QBE shares.

With Maxitrans the purchase price was $614.25 and the dividend received was $21.00. The return on that is 3.42%. Unfortunately the value is $546.00, so while the return is more the value is now in negative of $68.25. Not great but I was not planning to buy more of these.

With QBE the overall purchase price was $2183.61 and the dividend received was $60.30. The return on that is 2.76% and the value currently is $2243.16, up $59.55.

So overall the outlay was $2,797.86 and the remaining amount is $2789.16, down $15.18 in total. The return from dividends was 2.91%. The loss of $15.18 is -0.54% from the balance, so 2.91% - 0.54% = 2.37% overall return.

It looks like my return is currently roughly the same as an average savings account. You can get up to 3.60% interest however there are clauses, ie it is an introductory period rate and will revert back down.

Currently I'm happy with the return, will have to see how things go in 6 months time when the dividends get paid again!

Quiet Weekend Planned; Holiday Purchases

April 7th, 2016 at 12:45 pm

52 Week Challenge Opening Balance: $3,166.28
Plus:
- Weekly EF Savings $71.02
- Weekly credit card balance transfer repayment $60.60
52 Week Challenge Closing Balance: $3,297.90

I'm looking at buying a couple of Expedia activity vouchers so am thinking this weekend to keep everything very low-key to balance this.

The things I am looking at purchasing are tickets to go on The Eye with skip the line ($54pp) and tickets to spend the day at the Tower of London, the Crown Jewels and they have a beefeater tour ($43pp). When we (my UK friend and I) buy vouchers we buy for each other too, so I will be buying two of each thing. As this is around $200, I've decided that these will be my April purchases to cash flow.

My friend is getting the hop on hop off bus tickets and she is getting cheap accommodation to a surprise place - either Wales, Cornwall, Devon or Yorkshire - through some accommodation chain she is a member of. She is booking this for my last week and asked if I wanted the location to be a surprise. At first I was too excited so wanted to know whenever she booked, but now I think the surprise will be fun; so told her not to tell me.

All so very exciting!

As a result I want the weekend to be super quiet. I have to get my hair done, go to an inlaws birthday for lunch and that's about all I want to do! I know what the cost of hair will be; have set it aside. Hoping lunch will be cheap. I'd like to rent some DVDs ($7), get a couple of bottles of wine ($15 max in total) and make a nice dessert (up to $10 depending on ingredients needed).

Growing up my mother was a wonderful cook, we were spoilt. She used to make really nice desserts- rhubarb crumble, bread and butter pudding, chocolate pudding, rice pudding, and I can't remember the last time I ate anything like that, have been craving it. I saw a recipe for apple and peach crumble, so am looking forward to making it.

I'd also like to get our printer working again and spend some time on Sunday tidying up the study, downloading apple updates, printing off various holiday documents (as long as the printer ends up working!).

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

March Wrap-Up

March 31st, 2016 at 11:37 am

52 Week Challenge Opening Balance: $2,982.66
Plus:
- EF savings $71.02
- Balance transfer repayment $60.60
- Mortgage principal repayment $34.00
52 Week Challenge Closing Balance: $3,148.28

This week I made the EF savings, the balance transfer repayment and the mortgage was at $122,033.97 so paid $34.00 so it would drop down into the next thousand. Unfortunately with the outlay for the holiday I was not able to pay some of the mortgage interest charge so it would not be more than $300 interest paid.

For February I was able to save 9.38% of my pay, which was pretty good considering the outlay. It was a huge month financially. I was able to keep the other categories down/normal (food, fuel, entertainment, alcohol).

As it is the end of the month I have updated the EF breakdown. Our mini EF balance is still larger than our maxi EF, but only slightly.

The shares haven't really dropped too much in value since I bought them, so that's good - only about $43. Last month they were down $60 so there's a slight improvement there.

Ps. credit card debt is now below $1826 - it is moving towards $1523, so that is progressing well. My CC1 (my short term card) will be paid back in full by the start of June, is currently $1086.

Easter; UK Cost Tally So Far

March 29th, 2016 at 11:23 am

52 Week challenge opening balance: $2,851.04
Plus Weekly Deposit to EF: $71.02
Plus Balance Transfer Payment: $60.60
52 Week challenge closing balance: $2,982.66

Today we went back to work after the Easter break. We had a pretty cheap Easter, although they usually are as we generally go camping somewhere.

We managed to save to the EF, and to pay week 2 of the monthly Balance Transfer payment.

We had a get together with my friends on Thursday night; and then Friday morning we went camping with the inlaws. Easter has pretty much become their annual trip and it is a pretty fun time. I really feel like this year things went better, and just flowed instead of being hard work.

The only thing which was hard work was my MIL as she has onset dementia/alzheimers and was out of her environment. As her dementia gets worse so do her eating habits and she really struggles to eat. Before she was sick she would eat very healthy- light meals, salads. Now she eats what she is given by FIL and I think it may be too heavy for her body, but because she has dementia she doesn't remember what she used to eat. So on Saturday she grazed throughout the day but by dinner would only eat 2 bites and then refused to eat the meal FIL spent hours making. Understandable FIL was upset and refused to eat his also, and they left not long after.

I did an experiment with her though on Sunday as B and I were serving all of the food throughout the day. I only gave her small servings for each meal- 1 piece of toast, 1 egg and 1 piece of bacon for breakfast; a salad roll for lunch; a slice of cake for afternoon tea; green salad with home made chips, small piece of steak and small sausage. She also has many cups of tea throughout the day. Anyway, no complaint of belly ache! I'm calling that a win.

All in all the trip was a lot of fun, we were very relaxed. Then we got home and I barely had to do any grocery shopping because we brought back a heap of snacks, some meat, milk, margarine and there were a couple of meals in the freezer we were able to use up this week - by the end of the week the freezer should be empty.

***

The UK trip continues to be on my mind (not that it's a bad thing of course!). Last week my UK friend got given half price expedia vouchers and a few days later I was given one too. We started to work out London accommodation. We worked out we can see all the good things in two days, so have booked one night accommodation. It took a few days to sort out what kind of place we would like to stay in and what the best area is.

My friend's voucher expired so we had to use mine. We got a three star twin hotel room for $174. My UK friend will get the accommodation for the next week and whoever pays more will receive the difference from the other.

I was thinking I should start to do a tally to keep track of things, so here goes:

- Flights $1,773
- Groupon, indian dinner $76
- London accommodation $174

Total so far $2,023

I've kind of worked out there are three pay periods before going away and we can save $800 spending money ($2400 in total) and repay the flights back before going ($755 left to repay).

Basically what I also do is try to not spend very much of our weekly money so I can buy Groupons etc; aim to perhaps get something each week for $60-$90. The London accommodation is being paid back over two weeks, $87 per week - made the first payment last night.

Bought The First UK Groupon!

March 21st, 2016 at 11:14 am

52 Week challenge opening balance: $2,719.42
Plus Weekly Deposit to EF: $71.02
Plus Balance Transfer Payment: $60.60
52 Week challenge closing balance: $2,851.04

This month because of the flights instead of making the usual monthly balance transfer payment I paid as much as possible to the credit card and divided the $303 by 5, which brought me to $60.60 per week. Much easier to do and that way I could bring down the balance of the flights put on the card instead when I got paid. So last night I transferred it over, week 1.

I joined Groupon UK and after consulting my UK friend bought my first UK Groupon voucher! It is a meal for 4 people in their hometown (they can bring someone for the fourth person) for a 2 course Indian meal for £38, which came to $75.56 AUD. We had a quiet weekend so was able to easily get the voucher. It works out to $18.89pp, which is about the price of a main meal in Oz, so am happy with that deal.

Have had loads of fun researching various places but it has become so apparent just how expensive it is over there. Luckily our friend is also into vouchers so she's looking into accommodation deals.

When going overseas I've only really been to second world countries so it's been really easy to just wing it in terms of food and things to do. When everything costs either the same or less you don't feel like you need to plan everything, you know you can go there and sort things out when you arrive.

But travelling to a place which is more expensive than where you're from is different. So very grateful for all of your tips, don't know where I'd be otherwise. My friend's dad went to the UK years ago and came back with a $5000 credit card bill! So determined to not let that happen.

We're going to spend a couple of days in London seeing the sights: go on the London Eye, I want to see the Tower Bridge and the Crown Jewels and go on a double decker bus and I saw a deal to go to an Ice Bar and have a couple of cocktails, thought that would be nice.

I also want to have a traditional English afternoon tea and other English foods. My friend wants to take me to either Cornwall or Wales. All so very exciting Smile

Musings

March 16th, 2016 at 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!

I'm Going To The UK!

March 10th, 2016 at 11:28 am

52 Week challenge opening balance: $2,577.38
Plus Weekly Deposit to EF: $71.02
52 Week challenge closing balance: $2,648.40

What an interesting week it's been! I was trying to work out what I'd do for a holiday now that B is employed and doesn't get holidays for another year, and I really didn't want to stay home.

My friend didn't want to go on a cruise, it was too short notice for her. That's ok, no hard feelings. B suggested I see his family friend in the UK, and so I asked her and she replied back that she would be delighted to have me! I wanted an adventure of some sort and now it's happening!

In around three months I will be seeing a different land, it looks like of castles, rolling hills, quaint cottages and cobblestoned streets! Very excited.

Things like this make me feel so blessed. That I have the means available to go on the occasional holiday. That I have a great husband who understands that occasionally I just want to do something really super awesome. That I have the holidays available. That there is room available on my credit card to book the flight.

There was $143 owing on my card on Tuesday so I transferred some money from savings to bring it down to 0. Yesterday I then booked the flights. I did this because my card has 55 days interest free period but the interest free period begins on the date of the first purchase made.

The flights were on special, I paid $1773 for a return flight to Manchester (our friend lives around 2 hours away from London so this was much easier). The return flights for London were $1550 but then the cost of travel to London and the time spent travelling meant the Manchester flights were a better option. I want to see London, but not straight off a plane.

So it's all very exciting! You never know Scottish Girl I may get to come and see you Smile

B is finishing up his jobs before his new job starts on Wednesday - he thinks he may be done by tomorrow! He needs to cancel his business insurance, superannuation (as his employer will now pay it) and his professional association subscription payment. Unfortunately we just got him a new phone and iPad a few months ago on a higher plan which will probably barely get used. As the contract is 24 months it looks like we are stuck with that.

He got told his pay will be $75,000 a year paid monthly. His business will probably get enough to cover the car lease payment and some spending money but I foresee that while we wait for his first paycheck we may need to dip into the EF for a couple of weeks. Times like these I'm glad we have the EF, because the financial stress is not there - we have money to cover our needs when we need it and soon enough he'll have his first pay and we'll keep on boosting the balance up.

I'm trying to pay as much of the holiday expenses and save as much holiday spending as I can. I transferred the $518 from the Holiday Fund, so it is now $0. As soon as the money is in our checking account I will pay it against the airfare bought yesterday, which will leave $1255 owing. Hopefully living frugally for the moment will repay the airfare balance quickly and cover expenses and spending money. Wish me luck guys!

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


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