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February Snowflakes & Savings

February 25th, 2016 at 03:41 am

52 Week Challenge Opening Balance: $1,809.96
Plus:
- Priceline rewards snowflake $4.38
- Safeway grocery rewards snowflakes $20.00
- Mortgage additional repayment $288.00
- EF savings $71.02
- Credit card repayment $303.00
52 Week Challenge Closing Balance: $2,496.36

Money here is slowly getting back to what we know as normal, B is starting to get paid weekly instead of us having to stretch his payments to 2-3 weeks (yet the payments are worth 1-2 weeks).

So I've just kind of sat on transferring various payments (due to not being sure if we would have enough to do all the payments). It's probably more time effective to just do it all in one hit anyhow.

We received the Priceline and Safeway snowflakes at the start of the month (by reduced prices at the checkout) so when I got paid, I just transferred the amount over.

The mortgage additional payment and the credit card repayment are both monthly payments - the credit card is actually for the month of March but as the payment is due by the 7th, I just paid it at the same time as the other payments.

All that is left in the Bills account now is enough to cover all direct debits and $250 for the car being upholstered next week. Last year we noticed that the ceiling of my 13 year old car is starting to drop at the front but as we had so many other repairs, we put it in the not urgent category. Now the back is falling down as well as the front and you can see the ceiling drop in the rearview mirror, so we thought we'd better get it sorted out fairly soon - it will possibly get done next Thursday.

Spending this month is still low, so we're doing well in that area.

***

As I've decided not to study for the degree any further I spent the money set aside for the study unit by buying 100 QBE shares. I bought 50 in December for $12.15 and they dropped down, so I got 100 for $10.10. At the end of the month I will update the EF breakdown on the sidebar properly.

Work is also going well with the job change - I spent some time today doing some bookkeeping work for our clients and have been spending a bit of time each day training our part-timer in various aspects of my job. Possibly about a third of my job involves so many administrative duties it would take days to train someone in! So I figure 2-3 new things each day is enough to teach her while not overloading her. The idea is that she will be doing a lot of administrative overflow and be able to work more than 3 days per week.

I have plenty of things to write about but it's right before bed and I've gotten really tired all of a sudden! Hope you're all doing great Smile

Feb 18th

February 18th, 2016 at 03:18 am

Quick random blog post for today. I'm on the computer trying to do money transfers but for some reason I can't get into the banking website, I'll have to do it tomorrow, no drama.

When going to pay the weekly bills I realised that I forgot to pay our home phone and B's phone bill last week. They were due about the 8th and it is now the 18th! The phone company give $15.00 late fees for over 8 days, so that little error has cost us $30.00. Not thrilling!!! I guess I've had a lot on my mind lately. How annoying. Thankfully this doesn't happen very often.

When I did the balance transfer last year there was around $100 left on CC1, which kind of got paid down but never completely and started to kind of hover around $100. Well in the last few weeks, it has crept up to around $300.

As of a couple of days ago it was $441: the train ticket was $141, the coffee pods balance is $37.60 (every time we use a packet I pay $4.16 against the purchase), the bulk meat balance is $31 and our overspending last week (thanks to a double birthday) was $130. I paid $373 on there from my pay, which leaves the coffee pod purchase and the bulk meat purchase as the only things left to be repaid. It's good to have the balance back to being low again!

Well must get ready to go to bed, will have to pay bills tomorrow - let's hope it's working then!

January Savings & Monthly Wrap-Up

February 3rd, 2016 at 03:37 am

52 Week Challenge starting balance: $939.62
Plus:
Interest received $0.30
Credit card payment made $303.00
Left over money from January saved into EF: $425.00
52 Week Challenge closing balance: $1,667.92

January was a very low income month for my husband, so we cut our spending right down. The only bill we had to pay other than our mortgage and other set bills was a gas bill of $113, so we were lucky there also.

I left my pay sitting in the bank account our bills get deducted out of and was ready to use some of that if needed. (B & I agreed a long time ago that because my pay is always paid on the same day of the month, I pay the house bills. Because his income varies so much he pays the business bills and our spending money. I admit it's not as romantic as the couple who puts all their savings in one bank account but it means that because things are slightly separated, it is easier to handle. At my last job I was getting paid fortnightly and he weekly, and we used to have the money in the same account and it was a nightmare because it was so easy to spend on that one thing that would cause a debit to bounce. Now the accounts are separate, everything gets paid as needed).

Anyway, we only needed $110 from there. There was actually $925 left over but because I wanted to pay a water bill of $315 and my monthly balance transfer payment of $303, I simply put $425 into the EF - will put the other $500 in on around payday.

I actually can't believe there is that much left over from my pay! Having not much in the way of bills to pay was helpful. Probably the other thing that was helpful that we simply used what B had for spending money, even though it was low. So we were shopping at Aldi to bring groceries down, we went away camping which is super cheap because I tend to be of the belief that when we camp we don't shop so I get everything beforehand and then we have no spend days because we're enjoying ourselves camping and making the best of being in the outdoors. I spent $80 on clothes that were needed. We went out for three meals - the most expensive being on Sunday morning for brunch would you believe! $50 for two people having pancakes, bacon and eggs, coffee and orange juice. (It was really nice though)

So, I've checked the EF and have updated the sidebar accordingly. The mini EF has $2562.02 along with $1318 of funds set aside for the Thailand holiday payment and my study unit. The maxi EF (the shares) unfortunately is down $100 (exactly, would you believe!) from when we purchased the shares.

I had to pay some money onto my balance transfer credit card by the 7th and thought I may as well pay the whole lot for this month ($303) to save having to make two transfers. There will now be $2129 owing on this card, so that along with the $104 owing on CC1 brings my credit card debt to $2233 - now $3167 paid off from when I started this last year.

February may not be as low spend as there are more bills, so far the water bill of $315 plus council rates of $390, so we will see what happens.

I apologise for the super long post, must make a habit of posting more often to avoid this!

365 Days of Gratitude, Days #7-9

January 8th, 2016 at 05:32 pm

I find it hard to write blog posts every day, so am doing days 7-9 now (so Friday-Sunday).

The thing I am grateful for on day 7 is: Kobo! (my eBook store and app).



I am working through my Kinsey Millhone book (which is quite enjoyable, I might add) but yesterday morning while checking through my emails I received a $0.99 book sale email from Kobo. Their $0.99 book sales are great - they're either books they haven't been selling or new authors who are looking for exposure. For $10.34 I got two books, plus two box sets, one with 5 books, the other with 3 - so 10 books in total! I think I'm set for a few months Smile. Some are mysteries, some are romance.

The thing I am grateful for on day 8 is: Gemma, our cat.



She was my valentine's day present to me from my husband when we first moved into our home. She is now 13 years old, and loves to lay at the end of my side of the bed and give me cuddles in the morning Smile

The thing I am grateful for on day 9 is: Jessie, our dog.



She is 12 years old, and loves walks, playing fetch and sitting with us on the couch. People who said that diamonds are a girl's best friend never had a dog Smile

***

Financially not a lot has happened this weekend in the area of spending. We are simply trying to live quietly and not spend much. We will be getting an iTunes card because we want to rent a couple of movies, and I will have to draw up a meal plan for the week.

One thing that has happened though is that over the break I got a new driver's licence issued in my married name, as I am starting to change that over. I then got to thinking that instead of changing my details with certain things, that I would assess if I actually wanted to keep them or cancel them and change to a different product.

My credit card that I have had for many years is an example. So yesterday I was having a look at different cards, and I looked up introductory offers. With the Commonwealth Bank, if I apply for a card and spend $500 within a month, I will qualify for $250 cash payment - that would be a nice snowflake! The annual fee is $59, so if they deducted that straight away and I got the $250, then technically I would receive $191. Not bad. I could make the $500 spend by simply putting groceries and petrol on it.

The application date closes 31 January, so once I get my new licence, I will more than likely apply for it. Of course, I will check the fine print more thoroughly before doing so. And if I do apply and get accepted, I will close the original credit card I have.

Final Balance Transfer; Final EOY Results!

December 19th, 2015 at 11:16 am

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

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

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

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

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

$10,014.54!!!

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

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

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

Holiday Fund Snowflakes, Credit Card Payments

November 18th, 2015 at 02:42 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

Balance Transfer Payment No.3 Done

October 15th, 2015 at 02:46 am

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

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

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

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

Hoping you're all well!

Holiday Fund Complete Withdrawal, EOM transactions

September 23rd, 2015 at 05:12 am

So glad I thought of the holiday fund earlier this year, it has become so useful! Was not even thinking about overseas holidays at the moment but then yesterday a good friend of mine (whose wedding we went to in March) invited us to go with them and a bunch of friends to Phuket, Thailand next year! She found a deal of $800pp for 7 nights accommodation, airfares and breakfasts. We have not planned dates to go as yet but once we buy the package they are valid for two years - we imagine we will be going next year sometime. So excited - did not consider going to Thailand but many people have said how beautiful it is, and it looks gorgeous. Luckily B agreed to go! So there was $207.00 in the mini-holiday and deposits to lock in the deal were $150.00pp, so I transferred out the $207.00 from mini-holiday fund and $93.00 from our bank account.

Must do the tax return and get the EF back to what it should be.... So bad with procrastinating on this one...

I worked out to get 15% savings I would need to save an extra $188.

$58 of that had to go towards the Balance Transfer payment of $303.00. I transferred over the payment tonight and the balance in a couple of days on that card should read $3,644.00 - which is awesome. The balance on the actual CC1 is around $68 now, eventually it will be down to $0. No rush there, I just keep on transferring $10 per week.

The remaining $130 saved was part of the mortgage snowflake of $183.00 reduction in our mortgage compared to what the repayment used to be (B covered the rest).

I also transferred our insurance savings towards the two cars tonight as well of $180, there is now $580 saved up.

As it is the end of the month (well close enough) spending will be minimal from now on. I had a long day at work and craved a bottle of wine and gave in - there was $10 spent (had two glasses though, the rest is still there). But there is no weekend plans, so should be very quiet. Will need to be because most of the money is now spent! I am not bothered though because I feel like it is going to useful places.

Misc Transactions, Goals Progress, Dead Work Computer

September 17th, 2015 at 05:51 am

I will start off with the financial transactions for the week. The 50 week challenge payments for the week have been updated and I have added $110 to the Banking the Difference challenge, which was savings for my credit card for the $303 monthly balance transfer payment.

Like Mrs Frugalista, yesterday I was reflecting on my goals and the progress so far and how likely it is that by 31 December they will be met. I have dipped into the EF a couple of months ago and still owe $130 for that. Have also withdrawn $1283 for my study subject. So while the totals on the sidebar look wonderful, in actual the EF is a bit leaner than that! I need to do my tax asap to get the $1283 back. I'm actually due a bit over $1500 so the $130 will be repaid also. For our situation, it's so important to do this now while we're in high season before we get to low season and the tax refund then has to get used to live off, not repaying the EF. *So* don't want that.

B's card is shocking because he's been getting underpaid again. The sidebar says he has repaid $472.30 and $379.63 for the two challenges, yesterday I checked and he only had $155 available. I have since repaid $225.00 from his earnings tonight, so that he now has $380.00 available (as per Banking the Difference challenge).

So we have a bit of work to do to get back up to speed. *If* things go well, we get back to normal and all our money gets repaid back into the right places, and I continue to pay at least $100 on my credit card on top of the 50 week challenge, and we bank the difference for the mortgage savings of $183.00 per month, we should meet a pretty awesome goal of having saved/repaid $10,000. But as I'm seeing at the moment it will require some careful watching and ensuring the balances are repaid and not used (eg not dipping into the EF or using the credit cards).

But it is so important to not just plan and carry out the plan, but to also occasionally sit back, reflect on where your progress is and decide if any action needs to be taken, as I have just seen.

Finally - have had *the*worst*week* with computers, both at home and work!!! Monday night our computer would start but the monitor would then say "no signal" and go blank, nothing would happen. Then B came home a couple of hours later and tinkered around and 10 minutes later it was working. So glad about that, even if I lost 2 hours before that. Tuesday at work just after 5pm we were winding our day down and all of a sudden the network was lost, the server lost power. My boss got on the phone to IT and reset the server and it was ok. I got home Tuesday night and our toner ran out, and B put new toner in. But something went wrong with it and black wouldn't print. Have left it for now, we will look at it soon. Yesterday our part-timer couldn't get her computer on, they ended up finding out it was a problem with a graphics card and she got a new monitor, everything was working.

But today I got to work and when I turned my computer on, it had the graphics of the brand on the screen, and then it went black. Nothing. IT came and got my computer, worked on it for a couple of hours and brought it back. This time it loaded up to desktop stage but none of the programs would open. Then after we tried opening them an error message came up, and then the whole thing closed down. Our manager then spoke to IT, who said it sounds like the hard drive had died and it needs to be replaced. My boss looked at when it was purchased and would you believe it, it was only 3 months out of warranty!!! Talk about not good value for money!

I spent the day summarising things manually, just like accountants did in the old days, with a notepad and a calculator with a printer ribbon. Luckily I have the day off tomorrow so hopefully something is sorted out while I'm off work.

After all these dramas I am currently backing up our hard drive to an external hard drive we have. It's taking a long time though, so might turn it off and do it tomorrow while I know I'll be on the computer for a couple of hours, have to get some sleep.

Hopefully you all back up your computers! If not, please take the opportunity and do it!

Balance Transfer Card Due Date

September 6th, 2015 at 05:09 am

I received the credit card statement a while ago but didn't check the minimum payment due date. (I know, so not clever.) The credit card statement showed that I paid the $303 from last month and added on the $64 annual card fee. So from the close of the credit card statement to now I have paid $64 against the credit card, to clear the annual card fee.

So all weekend I've been thinking "really must check the due date for payment"... well I did and it's due tomorrow, the 7th! So I've shortpaid by $17 (the minimum payment was $81)! I had a look on their website to see if I will get charged any fees, it doesn't say. I promptly transferred $30 over, so the amount paid will be $94. I am still sticking to $303 per month though, so later on I will pay $273 instead. SO annoyed with myself! Grrr.

Anyway, now I know the due date, don't I...

Also, I forgot to share my thoughts of the Vacation movie, which I saw last week. I thought it was great! A bit gross in some parts, but it is a fun family movie where you will leave with a smile on your face and a warm feeling.

And just quickly (as I have to go to bed soon) food shopping was a respectable $145 for us, so was happy with that. Got the gas bill, which turns out to be $522 (up $17 from this time last year - due to running the heater all winter). The electricity bill is also so high because I use the dryer every weekend during winter. Looking forward to the weather warming up so I can stop using it.

I have accounted for all the bills for the month, with that and spending up to this point of time, am at 71% of the total budget. Will be continuing to try not to spend too much so we don't see a financial haemorrhage.

Scary September

September 3rd, 2015 at 05:10 am

Here September is wonderful because it is the start of spring and winter is on it's way out (happy dance!!). In our house September is scary because all our expensive bills fall due.

I did the monthly budget just to work out if we could afford to save the $183 mortgage saving to add to the mortgage principal - from August. Turns out we can, and so I did. That was important to me.

We have council rates ($400), an electricity bill of $612 and our telephone company had an outage a while ago and the wifi on my ipad stopped working. Unfortunately I didn't realise until possibly a week or more later. Then opened up the phone bill to find an extra $200 in data usage added on! I was so not happy!

Add to that a more than likely high gas bill which is expected to come in at the end of the month, and I am nervous.

I worked out that we can just afford the bills, necessities and our usual savings, and probably some small luxuries here and there. But as it's scary September, conservative and frugal is the name of the game. The aim is no super high grocery bills this month (I really will try!) and not overly high spending in the other areas.

In terms of the $303 credit card payment to come out in the middle of the month, I now have $72.40.

Lots of Little Things

August 28th, 2015 at 04:27 am

Lots of little things have been happening this week. B went to a friend's house on the weekend, and his friend's son had a stomach bug. This is of no relevance until B gets a job interview on Tuesday to be a new homes building supervisor.. To explain, B used to work in this job role up until about 8 years ago when he opened up his carpentry business. Now he wants to work in this role again to get out of physical work but it's hard to get considered for because of the 8 year gap.

So he got this interview because he knows someone he used to work with that recommended him. And then got the stomach bug five hours before the interview! He got lots of powerade to help him through it and soldiered on - luckily the interview only went for half an hour. He got a second interview today and unfortunately just missed out- it ended up being between him and one other guy so he did well. I just couldn't believe of all the time to get sick it had to be then!

With me, I have my exam for my study unit on Tuesday so have lots of studying to do on the weekend. I'll get through it. I've been really tired and emotional though, exhaustion set in and I was considering quitting everything and just doing bookkeeping. But then the work I do is interesting and it would be a waste of a good opportunity - I was given the chance to do a job it would normally be hard for me to get into and am lucky. So back to the drawing board it is Smile

Financial things - last night I paid $64 annual fee on the balance transfer card, paid back the EF $50 ($155 left to go now), have saved $21.20 towards the $303 balance transfer payment ($281.80 to go), paid around $60 in interest and credit repayment insurance on B's card. B's interest is creeping up because his income has been so erratic that he hasn't been able to repay all of his work purchases. Looking forward to seeing more of the income he's owed and a bit more stability there. I also saved $180 towards our car insurances - we paid for both in full in March and were planning on saving $180 per month. It's now August and we'd only saved $220, so really is time to resume those savings so we're not in for a big shock next March - $400 there now. All we need to do for August now is save the mortgage repayment difference from last year of $183.

I shopped for three weeks in a row at Safeway to get the $30 gift card and have now completed the requirements. On the final purchase I received a receipt saying that I will be getting a $30 gift card before 16 October, so that will be a nice snowflake. The next deal they have now is giving $10 off coupons for purchases over $100 - I've been given two, planning on using one this weekend.

Looking forward to seeing the movie Vacation tomorrow night and going out for dinner - we didn't spend much last weekend so have a bit extra spending money Smile

Hoping you all have a nice weekend Smile

Credit Card Payment 1 Plus Other Stuff

August 22nd, 2015 at 12:38 am

Yesterday I made the first ever balance transfer payment on the new 0% card. Have done a spreadsheet, kind of like Petunia and Banker Gurl have been doing, hopefully I can work out how to upload it here.
http://www.savingadvice.com/blogs/image.php?blog=5822&id=13587
Interest got charged on my normal credit card (aka CC1) with the amount being $14.72. MUCH better than the usual $53-60 per month! Of course, no interest at all would be even better Smile

I also repaid that interest plus $10 repayment, so CC1 has $115 owing now, and 0% Balance Transfer card has $3947, a total of $4,062. Progress is good.

***

Last week was a low spend week so when I did our weekly spending transfer there was still $70 in the eftpos account, so have paid that against the money owing back to the EF. New amount owed back to EF is $205. This weekend is also quiet, so hoping to throw a little bit more against that.

***

Yesterday I was planning on buying a $20 work shirt, but walked through a department store to get there, and they had a good brand shirt (Cue) marked down from $125 to $37.50. Their shirts are great and longlasting so did not have a problem spending the extra $17.50. It's so funny because last month when I was going to buy the $20 shirt I walked through the store and ended up getting the good quality one really cheap instead! Kind of like fate.

***

Another thing that happened yesterday was Mr Money Mustache posted an article which I saw in my newsfeed which talked about the lifestyle choices he makes - for example never driving except far away. He was talking about people feeling like they "have" to "do" certain things, like drive here, drive there, which means that they're spending extra gas money when really they could walk to a lot of the places they go to. It's all about the mindset. You don't "have" to "do" everything everyone else does.

So my frugal thing today was after walking the dog, I walked to the shopping centre to get the items needed for dinner. I checked my phone when I walked out the door, and then checked when I got to the shopping centre - 10 minutes walking time. Compared to 5 minutes driving time. No petrol used, no fumes created.

Dinner tonight is salmon, brown rice, sweet potato and capsicum (peppers I think you call them) mixed in together.

***

In terms of groceries, I am still doing the deal where you spend a minimum of $100 for three weeks in a row to get a $30 gift voucher. Have done the first two weeks, onto the last week. Last week's groceries ended up being high because I had to buy dishwasher balls and got some extra meat, so am hoping to spend only just over $100 there. Have already spent $15 so far though, so will need to watch the spending to ensure that we don't go too too far over. Don't want to be spending all our money on groceries after all Smile

***

Here the weather is glorious. It's a sunshiny 18 degrees (64 Fahrenheit), so am enjoying it before we get the cool weather change - is supposed to be 13/14 all week (55/57 Fahrenheit)

Another great thing is some of my favourite fruits are coming into season - got 2 big punnets of strawberries for $3 last week, so spent the week eating strawberries for dessert, and preparing strawberry smoothies for breakfast, and learnt about how to get them to keep fresh for longer so was cutting them up the night before, patting them dry and they were fine the next day. Yum. Looking forward to the mangoes going cheap soon too!

Hope you all enjoy your weekend!!

Savings Towards Balance Transfer Payment

August 17th, 2015 at 04:33 am

I got paid on Saturday so transferred $115 to the savings for the balance transfer payment ($60 interest saving + $40 raise + $15 bill savings). The 52 week challenge savings of $21.20 for CC1 also got saved there too.

The $115 went into the Banking the Difference challenge, and with that, the $21.20 and the $97.60 already saved there, I now have $233.80, so $69.20 to go until there is $303.

When I logged in there a while ago, there was no due date for the payment, but I think I will simply do it as soon as the full amount is there (most likely the end of the week).

Not much else to report really, have had a much quieter weekend than last one that's for sure - last night cooked a really yummy lamb roast. Quiet weekends are good for resting and recharging.

Party Success Now Back to Reality

August 11th, 2015 at 03:28 pm

The party went great! The party was pretty much like a holiday - because we had visitors from interstate and there was so much activity for four days pretty much all I could do was just completely immerse myself in the party and socialising.

As far as milestones go, I think B is pretty happy! All his family and friends were there and everyone had a great time. He gave me a big bunch of flowers when he was doing the speech to say thank you which was so nice.

No problem with the food and the drinks tab came way under at $1277! The bar lady was wonderful because she pointed out the best priced beer and wine and also got us to borrow a club members card (B's uncle is a member of the club we had the function at) so every drink was 10% discounted. The total party cost was $3401, and well worth it. We have many happy memories.

B ended up with enough vouchers to buy this expensive camping fridge he wanted, clothes, some money towards a new motorcycle helmet and got given an Apple TV thingy. All great!

-------

Now to get back to reality. Because the days before were just like being on holiday and party day was so busy, financially I ended up doing the same things as on holiday. I just transferred the usual weekly spending money and totally did not have the energy to track every dollar spent like usual. We still didn't overspend though which is great. I'm finding I'm so used to paying a low price, looking for a low price that even when I'm totally distracted and time-strapped, the habits are ingrained.

Last night I paid water bill and home phone- there will be around $15 in snowflakes there when we get paid in a couple of days (while we didn't run over, in our spending accounts they are pretty much down to zero). Looking at the bills we have to pay, my cell phone is next and there is a saving of $70 there.

On Monday there was $39 left in our spending account so I transferred $30 to go towards the $303 monthly payment on the balance transfer card (which has all officially happened now). So far there is now $82.60 there, $220.40 to go. In the next week there will be $85 from the snowflakes just mentioned, which will leave $135.40. When I get paid $100 will go there, so it is looking like within 1-2 weeks I can transfer the first $303 payment.

So, the $303 payment looks like it is in order, so next will be putting the $275 back into the EF, and also getting the Banking the Difference challenge restarted! That's exciting for me. The $85 previously discussed will be added to this challenge.

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Another possible snowflake I am working in the supermarket I have a rewards card with, Safeway, currently has a deal where if you spend $100 every week for three weeks in a row (starting 10th August and finishing 30th August), you get a $30 gift card! Have bought our shopping there this week and made the $100 minimum.

A habit I've been falling into lately is overbuying grocery shopping one week and then therefore underbuying the next (eg $200 one week, $80 the next for example). With this challenge I have to be above $100 for three weeks so I am trying to spend just over to ensure that for the three weeks we will make the $100 minimum spend. Groceries this week was $127.

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Hoping you've all been well, talk soon Smile

July Wrap-up & Balance Transfer Repayment Plan

July 31st, 2015 at 12:52 am

I don't talk about money mindfulness really but I do track pretty much every cent I spend each month, and work out how much time it takes me to earn each thing to put it into perspective.

Well for the month of July in between throwing all our money towards B's party and his irregular payments, I managed to live off 70% of my pay! (I only track my side of things for this exercise it would be too hard to work out exactly what he earns and how much time it took him to earn each thing). The remaining 30% was firstly 10% saved/repaid, so I allocated the final 20% to party savings. Was very happy with this result. Did I feel like I went without? Not majorly. I would have liked to have had a proper cocktail night with my friends though instead of being the driver.

Food was the lowest since April, alcohol was the lowest since May, petrol was same as usual. Clothes were $111 and all three items bought were sale/eBay items of good quality, so happy with that.

The new credit card arrived last night so I have activated it. I'm not sure if using it with a balance transfer means that I don't get an interest free period, the wording is unclear. When it comes down to it I don't care about using it anyway. Points would be nice but the main aim is no interest payable so for the moment I'm not going to use it.

I've decided to treat the balance transfer like a loan (because that's what it actually is) and do 14 equal monthly payments from a direct debit from our savings account. So $4250 / 14 = $303 per month. I cancelled the 52 week challenge debit to the other card to let it build up in the savings account instead. Will pay the remaining $147 to the other card at $10 per week.

Waiting to see when the first payment to the balance transfer card is due so I can organise the $303 to be debited from the account before then. I want this to be not long after payday (15th), hoping for the 20-25th. The $303 will be made up of $84 52 weeks challenge savings, $60 that would normally be paid on credit card interest, $40 raise money so it will just mean around $120 will need to be saved from somewhere, probably from bill savings or something.

Really wanting to simplify this as much as possible so it is foolproof, set in stone pretty much and I can move on to concentrating on other things. (Plenty to choose from! Building up the EF? Reducing mortgage balance? Etc etc. Many things to choose from).

Speaking of moving on from things, I've also gotten bored with counting the weeks of the 52 week challenge. It finishes on New Years Eve. No need to count the weeks. I will continue to update the sidebar weekly though. Oh, and because of the balance transfer repayment plan the card will be at $3038 owing!!! Did not ever anticipate it getting that low!!! The ducks are getting in a row & I am doing a happy dance Smile

Week 27, Card Approval, Football Win

July 26th, 2015 at 03:57 am

Week 27 has brought along lots of financial happenings. Firstly, I got approved for the 0% credit card! I applied Thursday night and told my boss he might get a phone call to verify my employment. On my lunchbreak I got a phone call from Virgin to verify my details and ask where I lived previously, which I gave to them. Fifteen minutes later I faxed all the proof of identity documents. A bit later on in the day when I had a chance I checked my email and found that pretty much as soon as I hung up they sent me an email confirming my application was approved! (And this was before I faxed the identity documents). So that's all very exciting.

I was looking at my accounts on Saturday morning and realised that I was supposed to ask for a balance transfer of $4350, not $4250! Oh well, this is one of those mistakes that is a good mistake because a little bit extra will need to be repaid. (Instead of $47 to repay, it is $147, but it is better in the long run)

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The party is now under two weeks away which is very exciting. Looking forward to it. B's credit card has taken quite a hit lately though because his work is so unreliable at the moment - the sidebar says a total of $751.69 has been repaid but currently there is only $236.00 available, so when he is lucky enough to get paid more than the bare minimum $515.69 will have to go back on there (mainly petrol he's bought).

We have allocated $2000 for a tab for the bar and now he is saying he's worried it will not be enough. My answer to that was if we both pretty much don't spend anything next week, maybe we can add some more to the tab. I am not volunteering our savings that it has taken months to accumulate to spend on alcohol, no way. Maybe if I see that he is willing to not buy anything at all, no beer, takeaway, for a weekend then I may volunteer some. But this is on the condition that we both live off the absolute minimum beforehand. I was thinking we usually spend about $550 after challenge savings, so we'll just spend $100 on food and put $450 on the tab.

I hope everything goes well and it is truly is an event to remember and look back on years later with fond memories, but I am so looking forward to getting back into my usual routine of saving and not being so stretched.

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Grocery shopping went well- my goal was to spend $80 and I have got most of the items for $49.33. Still need to buy a little bit more meat (cheap cut), lunch meat, bread, cat food and dinner vegetables. I think it can easily be done within the $30 left over. I was very happy about that!

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And my football team won, yay! They won by 37 points, so to add that to my mini-holiday fund will be $307.00 (when I get to be able to)

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Last thing, yesterday I went to the movies for the first time in a while. Didn't care about their popcorn or icecreams, so stopped in at the supermarket on the way there and bought some chocolate and savoury crackers for $4.45, brought the water from home. Glad I did, as the tickets went up to $20 each! Definitely an occasional treat now. I saw Trainwreck which was a really good movie - a bad girl turned good who finds love - very cool, sweet and funny.

Applied for New Credit Card & Balance Transfer

July 23rd, 2015 at 05:21 am

After all of your advice, I applied for a new credit card. I've filled out the form online, have printed off the application ID which I now need to send out tomorrow with various proof of identity documents.

I looked up on creditcardfinder.com.au best balance transfer cards and currently they have a balance transfer deal available with Virgin's Velocity Rewards card (thought of you bluesfemme!). They also have a points deal available where instead of getting 1.5 points for each dollar of the first $1500 spent, for the first three months you get 3 points for each dollar of the first $1500 spent.

I worked out that if I changed the way I spent, and pretty much put all of our living expenses on there, we would earn enough possibly for a flight to Fiji next year. We're not going overseas this year and were thinking of going next year, so this would be helpful.

The balance transfer lasts for 14 months, which is ideal. I wanted to have a balance transfer for up to 12 months, didn't want to string it out for 20 months (some of the deals available), as I know it will be paid within 12 months. (My plan for next year's challenges as we will have a bit of an EF is to focus more on CC repayment than savings - possibly simply pay the credit cards back for the first part of the year and then focus on the EF). I have requested $4250 to be balance transferred. The balance after tomorrow's challenge payment will be $4297, so there may be a small amount to payout, assuming I get approved of course.

There is no balance transfer fee but there is an annual fee of $64 (half of the usual annual fee). The credit card's interest rate is high, it is 20.74%, which is a major deterrent in incurring any more debt.

Wish me luck!

Misc Financial Transactions

July 22nd, 2015 at 05:58 am

I prepaid $60 onto my credit card for the interest charge and yesterday it got charged $53.50, so have counted the extra $6.50 as a snowflake in the Banking the difference challenge. Was so over the monthly interest charges that I started to apply for another card on a 0% balance transfer. Then chickened out when I had to put the employer details up - can't handle my boss getting the phone call! I guess this means I'm slightly embarrassed about my credit card debt because I so didn't want to have that conversation...

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We had $29 left over from our weekly pay, so I sent $24 over to repay the EF from what we borrowed. Now the amount owing is $275.93.

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B got paid his small pay for the week where he only worked 2.5 days. I bought more groceries last week in anticipation, spent $200, so my goal this week is to only spend $80. We need to buy fruit & veggies, some red meat, bread, almond milk, tinned cat food, lunch meat, eggs, and some snacks for B. Looks doable. I'm putting it here so I can be held accountable and will *not* buy extra stuff. Wish me luck guys!

Banked The Raise

July 16th, 2015 at 04:40 am

Well, actually I paid the raise against my credit card. As it was a snowflake I added it to the Banking the Difference Challenge- this challenge has now moved from the $2500 area to the $2600 area, so a bit of progress is good.

I estimated that the credit card would be $3,992 at the end of the year, so then I figured if I pop the raise of $40 per month on there too, by the end of the year 6 x $40 = $240 will be paid, leaving a balance of $3,752 - which is just slightly over a month's pay for me!!!

It will feel so much more manageable to be able to repay!!! I can see that the balance will drop down quickly after that.

On another note, I have been busy party planning the last few days. I'm using a really helpful app to keep track of guest rsvps, how long until the party and the to-do list. I'm pretty confident that it will all run smoothly. My sister Inlaw is really talented at making birthday cakes and has offered to make B's birthday cake as a present for him, which is really sweet.

June 30 -Halfway through the Challenges

June 29th, 2015 at 04:02 pm

The moment I've been waiting for has arrived! We're halfway through the two challenges created, yay. So to officially mark where we are $2438 has been saved for the 52 week challenge and $2458.04 has been saved for the Banking the Difference challenge, a total of $4896.04 saved. Woohoo!

Credit card debt is roughly $7.5k now ($4541 for CC1, $3003 for CC2, so rounding down we can say $7.5k), down from $9.1k at the start of the challenge. The EF was $2651 (up from $0) but unfortunately I had to withdraw $265.76 to cover the balance of personal and business spending expenses for the week. And then there's also $745 in the mortgage home offset account.

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With the savings for the party, we have enough to cover expenses and live on the bare minimum because we are short $4200 which I've earmarked as to be put straight to the party when these funds arrive. So we have the option of using credit cards to cover the shortfall or borrow from the EF. As we have the choice to choose from either I'm going to borrow from the EF. The EF is held in an online trading account separate from our bank (mind you I don't think I've traded for a couple of years! That will change as the EF grows) and earns a pitiful amount of interest, so while we might not earn interest there, at least we're not going to be paying extra interest on the credit cards.

Last weekend we had a birthday party at a restaurant so that was expensive and had to repay $265.76 on our credit cards that we overspent. I'm going to start a tally of how much needs to be paid back to the EF, so far $265.76.

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B's earnings for 11 months of the year are now $37633, tax payable $3777 (up from $3115). Will need to make up the difference of $662.

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Frugal things I've been doing: instead of buying invitations we designed them off a free template, did four to a page and glued them to a thicker paper backing. Found among our wedding invitation things 17 unused good quality envelopes worth $8.95 (woohoo) so only had to buy 20 envelopes. Envelopes, glue, textas and thick paper cost: $10.50.

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FrugalTexan inspired me with her banana and oat pancakes! I had a day off today so made them this morning, they were so yum!

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Super happy today, I feel like we've done so well!!!

No more interest free period on B's CC

June 12th, 2015 at 08:10 pm

At the start of the year (in one of our many money saving moves), we switched B's credit card from the high rate of 20% to the lowest possible rate with the same bank of 13.49%.

Then I noticed (and mentioned it in some of my blog entries) that no interest was getting charged. I wasn't complaining trust me Smile

Well last week we got a letter in the mail from the bank- we realised we made an error and did not charge any interest, as of this date you will be charged interest as per that particular credit card rate.

Thankfully they made no mention of back charging the interest, so I'm glad about that. And we got five months of no interest! I was able to include a couple of months in my challenge- I think around $120. So that's the end of that snowflake, I'm guessing monthly interest now will be around $35.

50 Week Challenge Week 19 & various

May 26th, 2015 at 03:27 pm

As discussed last week, I've decided to change the 52 week challenge to the 50 week challenge so it finishes on New Year's Eve. I've now updated the sidebar and so far it's looking like we'll have saved/repaid $7477.84- who knows what it will actually be? Conservatively I'm guessing it will be over $10K, but time will tell.

Grocery shopping this week was really low for us- $87 (and if you add 1/2 of the fortnightly meat purchase being $23, total spend was $100), which is what we were spending when we had no money. No idea why other than I have been taking advantage of lower price bulk buys which I'm sure has been helpful.

Other spending this weekend- dinner and cocktails with friends Friday night $160 for drinks, dinner and cabs. We have to live it up occasionally. We added some lighting to our spa area $43 and replaced two light switches $20. The spa area only had lights at the front so when you were in it, it looked really dark. Looks much better now.

Also some clothes shopping. We had a birthday function on Sunday and our smart casual clothes are getting a bit old. I got a really nice vest, woollen with a fake fur collar, and a long sleeve tshirt for $95. Expensive but good quality and looks good, so would be happy to wear it many times. I got two tshirts for B for $55 but one didn't fit & he didn't like the other one, but can refund them and we looked up other clothes on the Internet that we can buy instead.

B had two days off this week and so he took my car in for a wheel rebalance and tyre check. $55. They then pointed out that it looks like we need a new muffler and gave us details of a guy who would do it, he quoted $150-$170. B takes the car there and it turns out we will need to replace the muffler and whole exhaust system. $600 quote. Grrrr. And the ceiling lining has completely dropped and they say you can't glue it, you need to completely reupholster. $220 quote. Grrrr.

So I thought how much is a reasonable repair allowance annually for a 12yo car? I thought $1000, and forums I have read say that too. So $180 new door lock last month, $55 wheel balance, $600 exhaust system and $220 reupholstering will bring me to $1055. B will do the car service so all we will need to buy is oil & oil filter.

I'm a bit annoyed but we're lucky to have had many years of virtually no repairs.

Last thing, my coworker just quit her job yesterday, she's a mother of a 10yo boy and works 1-2 days per week. Why? Because her partner wanted her to work more to pay down his massive credit card debt. So now she'll be working full time (and she always looks tired now) but yet he still can't get around to switching his cards to a low rate/zero rate! I found out it is a $30k debt on 20%, split over 3 cards!! I did a quick calculation for her - $6k interest per year and this has been going on for 6 years!! I feel sorry for her and annoyed with him, his laziness is costing their family a fortune and she will now be exhausted. Grrrr. I just hope there will be a good outcome.

Soooo Close..

May 5th, 2015 at 03:44 am

I checked our combined credit card debt just now after the 52 week challenge payments got paid as I knew it was hovering around $8K (when we started the challenges in mid-January it was $9.1K) and as of now it is $8,001.56.

So close to being under $8K! At least next time we have to make a deposit it will be under $8K then. Progress is a beautiful thing.

In other news we received 2 possibly 3 snowflakes today. A cheque from our old car insurance for the overpaid portion on my car for the amount of $84.48 (or thereabouts- it's $84 something anyway). I received a Priceline cheque for $3.87. And Priceline have given me an offer of $10 off my normal foundation (this is a possible snowflake as they had this offer last quarter too but were sold out so I couldn't get it before the offer expired). Will update the snowflakes properly when they are actually banked/used.

Challenges Tally Month 3

April 16th, 2015 at 12:55 am

Today it is exactly 3 months since I started the challenges, so it's time to note down the progress for a quarter of the year!

For month 3 of the 52 week challenge, approximately $1,381.00 has been saved/repaid against the various places.

For month 3 of the Banking The Difference challenge approximately $1,563.75 has been saved/repaid against the various places.

For both a total of $2,944.75 has been saved/repaid. Total current goal $5512 + $1,563.75 = $7,075.75. This makes progress of having saved 41.62% of the total goal (if there was no more banking the difference for the rest of the year and we just stuck to the 52 week challenge).

The result so far for each account / card is:
EF = $1,545.23 saved
CC 1 = $462.96 repaid
CC 2 = $489.56 repaid
Mortgage = $447 saved

It's great to see some results, now it's just a matter of not getting too complacent. It still looks like we kind of have a mini-EF now which is good. Credit card debt at the start of the challenge was $9.1k and is now just under $8.2k, so is moving further away from the $10k mark (which to me is scary). Mortgage $127k (we'll tackle the savings and credit card debt first).

Made it to $4999! (Barely)

March 31st, 2015 at 12:10 am

I wanted to see my credit card owing $4999, out of the $5+ region, by March 31, to see a bit of progress. I made the $29 deposit required to do so (this has been added to the Banking the Difference challenge) but because we had a really expensive week it was a struggle to pay it.

With buying things for Easter plus a birthday plus big night out, we overspent. I'm not going to feel guilty about overspending because we've been good otherwise. We have a savings account with about 2 weeks bare necessities money in case B doesn't get paid, so we paid the overspent amount plus the $29 from there. (There's now $290 there so will need to go back to topping it up).

But- it was really nice to see $4999! I feel like that's a big accomplishment and that this debt will be going downhill from there.

On another note, work is crazy busy. I did something rare and took work home. (Really needed to). Had a problem and realised I'd need to spend some time reconciling, which I don't really have at work. I need to do some iPad updates etc so will spend some time on this job while it's happening. (And if I find the problem, it's one less stress in a stressful day).

Onward and upwards Smile

Challenges Week 11

March 27th, 2015 at 03:51 pm

Once again, typed up an entry, clicked "Save and Publish" and the damn thing disappeared into thin air! Ugh.

Take 2: the 52 week challenge amounts have been paid into various places (yay). Banking the Difference was not found in bill payments as such, but the difference in the mortgage repayment ($149 as per previous month), so that got sent to mortgage offset account. A bit under $500 sitting there now.

The other Banking the Diff saving turned out to be our credit card interest expense. I treat the interest expense as a bill and prepay the interest I think will be charged ($60 per card). My interest came in at around $55, so $5 saving there. B's card was the big saving with $0 interest charged! Not sure why. We swapped over the card to a low rate in Dec/Jan, and it says on the banking website 3 months interest free for cards opened between Feb & May. Who knows, maybe we got the deal too? I'm counting it as a snowflake and adding to the challenge.

As a result, B's card is doing great. I wanted it to be $3299 by March 31, it is that now (actually a bit under) so no extra repayment required there. My card will still need $29 transferred on Monday to meet my wish of seeing $4999 owing on March 31.

Hoping you all have a lovely weekend!!!

52Week Challenge Wk 10

March 22nd, 2015 at 11:40 pm

I wrote an entry yesterday and when I pressed "save & publish" it promptly disappeared. Maybe it's a good thing! I wasn't my usual self and was a bit cranky, so maybe I simply got to vent, let it all out and feel better without putting you all through my rant. (I feel better than yesterday).

We're now at week 10 and there's enough in the EF to consider it to be a mini-EF. I was thinking a mini-EF should be $1K per family member and readily accessible in a cash form, which means we're a bit over halfway there in that case. And then I was thinking the balance should be a maxi-EF which is saved/invested somewhere which earns a good return.

Checked the credit cards and my credit card stands at $5049 owing. Would love to bring that down to $4999 by 31 March. One more challenge payment will be made by then which will leave $29 to be made to reach that goal. If there are no more banking the difference payments I will pay the money. B's card stands at $3328 so we could also get that down to $3299. We'll see what happens within a week Smile

Challenges Tally Month 1!

February 16th, 2015 at 02:04 am

The fifth week of the 52 week challenge came out on Friday but rather than update on the weekend I really wanted to wait until exactly 1 month from the challenges start date, which was January 16th.

For month 1 of the 52 week challenge, approximately $533.00 has been saved/repaid against the various places.

For month 1 of the Banking The Difference challenge approximately $331.32 has been saved/repaid against the various places.

For both a total of $864.32 has been saved/repaid. Total current goal $5512 + $331.32 = $5843.32. This makes progress of having saved 14.79% of the total goal.

The result so far for each account / card is:
EF = $478 saved
CC 1 = $145.46 repaid
CC 2 = $92.60 repaid
Mortgage = $149 saved

This has been a good month and we are in the better times of the year. (October-December is never good for example) I'm pretty happy with the result, it's nice to have a little bit saved away.

Savings to Phone Plans & New Credit Card Rate

January 1st, 2015 at 08:41 pm

Our phone plans expired on 27th December, and our handsets got completely paid for on that date. As there are no problems with our mobile phones (aka cellphones) we decided to keep them and look for better plans.
So today we visited the phone shop which they are all with to see what they could offer us. Sometimes it is better to go in person because the consultant can tailor plans to meet your needs. (Of course we did our own research first though). My mobile phone did not get much of a reduction so I have taken it elsewhere. The plan is currently $60 per month and the best they could do is $45 per month, while elsewhere I have been able to get a $30 plan, so a 50% reduction and also have been able to increase my data by 50% from 1GB to 1.5GB.
Our home phone & internet bundle got increased from 25GB to a whopping 100GB for an extra $2 per month.
B's phone plan got reduced from $130 per month to $80 per month which is really good.
Then I changed over B's credit card rate from 20% to 13.49% (mine is already a low rate with my bank, 13.99%).
Very happy with these outcomes and looking forward to banking the difference!


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