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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.

NSD, Short Entry Today

February 7th, 2017 at 11:22 am

Today I was lucky enough to not need to buy anything for me or B so it was a no spend day. Just a quiet Tuesday. Work is going ok after the end of last week which is good.

Quickly the latest few financial transactions I have carried out are:
- tonight submitting the student loan application for the next subject in the degree
- shopping on the weekend was $168, a bit high, we seemed to run out of a few things
- with shopping I have completed week 2 of the 4 week spend $135 per week to receive $60 in rewards so am on track to receive that
- the Thailand calendar I ordered from eBay never arrived and was being sent from the UK so had to allow 3 weeks delivery. I sent the seller a message and they figured it had gotten lost in the mail so I could either reorder a calendar or get a refund. While I wanted the calendar I couldn't be bothered waiting another 3 weeks so asked for my $16.50 to be refunded back. I then found another calendar at a bookshop for $5.

I wasn't sure what else to get from the bookshop but then I saw a 4-ingredients cookbook which I have been interested in for a long time! It was $20 so have spent $7.50 out of pocket. Just like ceejay I am looking forward to trying out lots of recipes! I want to do one a week if possible Smile.

Christmas Savings Challenge Month 1: Met!

January 30th, 2017 at 10:23 am

Happy to say that I've now met $60 challenge amount for month 1 of the Christmas savings challenge! Next month is $75.

Things that have happened of note in the last few days are:

- Thursday was Australia Day so we had the day off work. I was seeing a friend who I haven't seen for nearly a year and who is not on facebook so this motivated me to upload some photos from the UK trip to show her. Because there are so many pictures I have uploaded the first week only and will do week 2 and 3 in the next two weeks. (ps my picture of my meeting with Scottish Girl is in week 3 so stay tuned folks!)

I was trying to add some of my favourite week 1 pictures but could not get it to work. Tips would be helpful, it's been a long time since I've done this!

- Friday I called up the university about a permanent place in my accounting degree. They have been sending many emails about it because I am eligible. It is now enrolment time again and Friday was the cut off date so I contacted them and was given a permanent place. Now because they require 4 units per year to be completed they don't require upfront payment and instead a student loan called "fee-help" is created. The interest rate is currently 1.5% after 11 months of any unpaid debt and they charge 25% of the unit fee per unit. However because this is directly linked to my work I can claim the fees as a tax deduction so can pay my tax refunds against the loan.

- Saturday was a very quiet day, I just relaxed at home and watched some DVDs. I also baked some dairy-free egg-free muffins for Sunday's visit to my sister and her family (my nephew is allergic to dairy and eggs). I made blueberry muffins and choc-apple muffins. The choc-apple muffins were divine! They were so moist and the apple and cinnamon flavours mixed amongst the chocolate worked well. Definitely want to try it again!

- Sunday I took my brother to see my sister, her husband and little nephew in their new place, which is now 1hr 10mins away from us. It's a lovely unit and they are very much enjoying getting to know their new surroundings. My nephew is now 2 and so cute! Love him to bits.

I also had an interesting conversation with my brother (the kind of conversation I love). He can't decide between getting a new car (say 3years old) or buying a house. He is in his early 30s and has $14000 saved. He earns around $800 per week, like me pretty much. He is not fussy about the house but a garage is on his must have list. Houses here that are around 1980s with a garage go for $320,000-$350,000 (unfortunately the prices all go up from there).

He can qualify for the $10,000 first homeowners grant offered by the state. I found out after talking to him that banks are again offering 5% deposit home loans. I did some mortgage repayment figures on a 5% deposit home loan and they equaled roughly half of his pay before any other expenses. I definitely think now that he should stick to 10% deposit instead. Hopefully property prices don't go up further! Maybe when he gets closer to 10% he can get pre-approval so if a good priced property comes up he can get it. But on the other hand what if the prices go up further? Not sure what to tell him. He currently pays $250 per week rent and the mortgage on 5% deposit would be $370 per week which would break him I think. I'd like to see him paying $300 per week (he won't be able to get a mortgage with $250 per week repayments)

Snowflakes 30-10-16; Into The $117's!

October 30th, 2016 at 10:20 am

Challenge starting balance: $8,739.85
Plus:
- weekly EF savings $35.69
- digital change $4.37
Challenge closing balance: $8,779.91

Our weekly EF savings were transferred over as usual, which is great but the two financial things of note were:

1) Our mortgage payment hit, and then interest was charged, the end result is we are now into the $117's!! New balance is $117,703. Very exciting. I don't think we will make $115k by the end of the year, but I do think we will make it to $116k.
2) My tax refund was received and was promptly sent back to the EF. The balance looks much healthier now! Breathing a sigh of relief.

Looking at the EF; the mini-EF is now $3,504.55 - this is the cash portion of the EF. The maxi-EF has only gone up $1 since last month! This is the shares portion of the EF. Thankfully the shares have only dropped a little bit; they were purchased for $3,826. So if the shares were at their purchase value the EF would then be $7330.55 instead of the $7,177 it currently is. Still it's great to be up into the next thousand, it feels like it has taken all year to get there.

***

Non-financial things were during the week we celebrated our 6 year wedding anniversary, then yesterday it was a beautiful spring day so we caught up on the gardening at home. We then said hello to our neighbours across the road and we had heard that the wife had changed jobs; she told me she was made redundant in the July of this year and it took her a full month to find a new job. She is the sole provider for her family; her husband has an illness so looks after the kids while she works. I told her I thought it was great that she was only out of work a month; she is really liking her new job.

Today we took our inlaws out for a country drive and we had lunch with them (I suggested this because we have spent the last couple of weekends with my family so thought it would be a nice thing to do), which was a really lovely day.

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.

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.

Into The 118's!!

August 30th, 2016 at 10:39 am

The mortgage got paid yesterday and interest of $548 got charged, bringing the new balance to $118,915 - we've moved on from the 119's and we're now in the $118's!!!!

I was really hoping we could hit $115k by the end of the year and it's looking like if we can put $500 extra in for October, November and December we could close the year at $115,571. (The $500 extra per month is as per the mortgage challenge on the sidebar).

Would be really awesome if we could close the year out in the $115's!!!!

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.

Into The $119's!!!!

July 29th, 2016 at 10:37 am

I woke up in a good mood this morning and checked the bank and was in an even better mood!

The mortgage payment got applied to the loan and interest got charged and it went down to $119,558 - first time ever under $120k!!!!

So ecstatic! I'm enjoying this day while I can because it's going to be a long time before we go down another $10k. I have been mentally happy dancing all day!!!

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.

Loan Approved

July 22nd, 2016 at 07:55 am

After emailing the required pre-loan quote and privacy form with B's signature, I received an email a couple of hours later confirming that the loan is approved, along with many more forms to sign and send back. All great news!

I also transferred $36 from last week's football winnings to the EF, for B's credit card we transferred an extra $10 onto it so will do a big snowflake update tomorrow counting these transfers in.

More Loan Stuff, Grocery Shopping

July 21st, 2016 at 08:06 am

When I talked on the phone to the finance company yesterday they needed to ask me more detailed financial questions so I said it's probably best to call on my lunch break. Good thing I did because I was then able to walk outside for a bit of privacy. They emailed me a preliminary quote for B to sign and a privacy form for him to sign along with a request for a copy of his driver's license and registration, and two most recent payslips. I said I'd email them back everything tomorrow.

After work I did the balance of the grocery shopping. I was running short on time on Sunday so only bought 2 days worth of food. The shopping came to $81.24 and then I bought a $6 bottle of wine. This was a cleanskin and was actually really nice.

Shopping so far this month is $415.80 with two weekends to go so we may go over our usual $600. I kind of am not really bothered because we've barely gone anywhere so what we're overspending in one area we're not spending in another.

Refinancing B's Car

July 20th, 2016 at 07:50 am

We're at the end of B's car lease and were required to pay a $15000 residual balloon payment on the car, which is due on the 5th August. We don't have that much money available so need to refinance.

I did a bit of research on the best loan interest rate and found 8.5%.

He got a phone call from the finance company asking what he wanted to do with the car and then a letter. As he is pretty busy with work and I handle the financial side of things I called the company back.

They said their current rate is 7.99% so I am happy with that. It will be a 2 year loan term and will come to around $750 per month. We currently pay $926 per month so I will put the difference towards his credit card debt.

While he had the business it was pretty much always maxed out. I'd make inroads into paying it down and then he'd get short paid and need to use the card to get by, it was a never ending cycle. Now he is an employee like me he barely uses it so I think if we pay the amount we've saved ($150-$175) onto that card it will be paid off around the same time the car is paid off. Exciting stuff Smile.

His motorbike loan will be paid off in the February of 2 years time and then the car and credit card will be paid off in the August.

We will have a spare $1200 per month then, which is very exciting. (I'm a bit scared to say too much more, plan too much more, in case things get jinxed).

I have to send some signed documents back before they draw up the actual contract. They say approval should happen tomorrow and all paperwork finalised next week, so it's all going to be cutting it fine.

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!

$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).

February Wrap-Up

February 29th, 2016 at 10:34 am

52 Week Challenge Opening Balance: $2,496.36
Plus:
- EF savings $71.02
52 Week Challenge Closing Balance: $2,567.38

The EF savings hit the account over the weekend so have added it to my challenge - really the only addition I expect over the next few weeks as I made all the savings payments in one hit.

For February I was able to save 21.17% of my pay and will also add $135.00 to the Holiday Fund. It was a quiet month, and my highest variable expenses were reupholstering the car ceiling for $250 and I spent $159 on clothes. I will be spending a bit on clothes over the next few months as from November-January I pretty much bought the bare minimum and things need to be replaced.

As it is the end of the month I have updated the EF breakdown. Our mini EF balance is still larger than our maxi EF, maybe in the next month I might buy some more shares to even out the balance. I don't want the cash portion to dip below $2000-$2500 though.

I have renamed the Thailand savings as the Holiday Fund as we are now going to Thailand next year. I am itching to book a holiday but at the moment there are a few factors that are making me hold off. I did say to B that no matter what I want something booked by the middle of March.

Work will be really busy up to middle of May and will well and truly die off by June-July. I barely took any leave last year because we were saving for B's party so I have lots of leave accrued now and within a couple of months will really need a break of some sort. Will be looking at doing something between June and August, depending on various factors.

The shares haven't really dropped too much in value since I bought them, so that's good - only about $60. I think the account (all balances combined) is possibly the biggest it's ever been! Ok, that's kinda sad. I'm going to have to get used to the balances increasing. Did anybody else have this problem when their savings were increasing?

I guess in perspective, there is a bit over 1.5 months of my pay there now, so even though the dollar value is increasing, in actual fact there's not "heaps" there. And if you combined both our pays, then there is 1 month's there. Really not heaps.

Another thing too, when you think of how many months salary you want to have in an EF, do you use your current salary as a guide or bare minimum monthly amount required? I would rather use bare minimum monthly amount required because if you were in a financial bind you should cut all expenses to the bare minimum, I believe. (I worked out my bare minimum to be between $2200 and $2500 per month)

Ps. credit card debt is now below $2000 - it is $1826, so that is progressing well.

Balance Transfer Payment No.3 Done

October 15th, 2015 at 09:46 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!

Lots of Little Things

August 28th, 2015 at 11:27 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

July Wrap-up & Balance Transfer Repayment Plan

July 31st, 2015 at 07:52 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

Applied for New Credit Card & Balance Transfer

July 23rd, 2015 at 12:21 pm

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!

June 30 -Halfway through the Challenges

June 29th, 2015 at 11:02 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.

****

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

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

****

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

*****

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

*****

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

*****

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

Challenges Tally Month 2

March 18th, 2015 at 10:12 am

Month 2 actually finished two days ago but I guess I've been busy and had other things on my mind. Now there's lot of money things to do, so need to get on it.

For month 2 of the 52 week challenge, approximately $957.00 has been saved/repaid against the various places.

For month 2 of the Banking The Difference challenge approximately $1,074.53 has been saved/repaid against the various places.

For both a total of $2,048.53 has been saved/repaid. Total current goal $5512 + $1,074.53 = $6,586.63. This makes progress of having saved 31.10% of the total goal.

The result so far for each account / card is:
EF = $1,087.97 saved
CC 1 = $301.78 repaid
CC 2 = $343.78 repaid
Mortgage = $298 saved

It's great to see some results! It 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 $8.5k. Mortgage $127k (we'll tackle the savings and credit card debt first).

I am a Revolver, not a Transactor

March 17th, 2015 at 06:40 am

No, not a gun.

Was doing some reading this morning and today's article was about the two types of credit card users there are. A "revolver" is the name given by the credit card industry for a credit card holder who carries a balance continually. They have a revolving balance. A "transactor" is a credit card user who simply uses the credit card for transactions and pays the balance off in full each month.

The scary part of this article is in Australia 2 out 3 credit card users are transactors, yet the 1 in 3 credit card users who are revolvers fund the entire credit card industry! Yikes. Makes me really want to get out of the revolving credit card cycle and into a transactional credit card cycle. The whole it being in your interest to watch the interest that you have to pay and all.

I don't think there's anything wrong with credit cards- used correctly they are a loan in your name that you don't have to go through a lengthy application process for. It's just misuse of the credit cards which is clearly painful for us (credit card users) and a big win for credit card industry.

I thought this article was really interesting, wanted to share.

52 Week Challenge Week 7/ low-spend week progress/ Debt Payoff

February 28th, 2015 at 11:44 pm

The debits for week 7 52 week challenge have been applied in the various places, and now the EF category there is just under $500. (With banking the difference also it is standing at around $810, so it's progressing well)

We have tried to spend as little as possible this week. Takeaway has been the lower end of our scale. Friday night B was out with friends and had McDonalds. I felt like getting a good quality bread (which is more than our grocery spend) so spent $3.50 on it instead of getting takeaway and had dim sims from our freezer for tea. B's Saturday takeaway was $6 chicken & chips (he can easily spend $15 on KFC, so swapped it this week)

We held a thank you dinner for B's parents and repaid them the final $700 of the money we had to borrow at the start of the year. They were very happy and we are so happy to have finished that chapter. Roast dinner with all the trimmings = $55 (we got a piece of roast beef plus we got all the vegetables also, bakery bread, nice icecream & cream to have for dessert, $9 vodka drink in case B's mum wanted something).

B plays poker once a week with his friends and they rotate whose house it is at. This week it is his turn. We decided to have a bbq for it, bbq meat = $25.

We have found that while we had to buy roast meat & bbq meat, we have enough food in our freezer to only buy 1 night's dinner this week so our spending has been offset by that reduction.

Of our $600 weekly spend, $256 has gone towards savings and debt repayment. ($106 52 wk challenge, $50 xmas gift card, $100 loan to inlaws). We have $143 left. With that I have to buy groceries (not looking at a huge spend), develop some photos and B wants to get some more alcohol before tomorrow night. Maybe we might go over but it won't be by much and it feels like we have done some good things this week.

First Repayment to Inlaws

January 26th, 2015 at 09:20 pm

Yesterday we made our first repayment back to the inlaws for the loan they gave us to help us out. We paid $300, $700 now remains owing.

They said only pay a bit each week, it's more important to get back on our feet, which is very helpful. They even said we can leave it if we want, but I think if someone is good enough to help you when you need it, you repay them as soon as you are able to.

Loan from the In-Laws

January 1st, 2015 at 11:26 am

My in-laws said from the very beginning when my husband broke his wrist that if we needed to borrow any money to please not be shy and ask, which we are so grateful for.
We stretched as far as we could but found that we need to borrow some money in order to get B back to work and to cover our expenses for the next 2 weeks.
So a couple of days ago we had to bite the bullet and ask for $1000. They were very good about it, gave us the money the next day and did not have a bad thing to say about it (they aren't the type of people to say anything bad anyway).
It's never a good feeling to borrow from family but hopefully being in this position will give us the motivation to never be in the position where we need to borrow from family again. Ugh. It's so not a good feeling.
We want to repay them $100 per week over a 10 week period. We would increase the amount but we need to ensure that we are not left short either. (So the cycle can be broken).

My 2015 Goals

January 1st, 2015 at 11:04 am

A new year begins and so it is time to create goals that are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant & timetabled).
Goal 1:
As our income is unstable for the moment I thought that the best thing to do was to a 52 week money challenge. I have chosen to do 2 x 52 week double money challenges. It might be a bit much for us, but we may also be pleasantly surprised. I will update the sidebar as we progress. We both have credit cards which are currently maxed out but also need to create an emergency fund, especially as B is self-employed. So for 2015 I would be happy to pay 20% of each credit card limit and to send the rest ($3692) to create the EF.
Goal 2:
Banking The Difference.
As we have had to cut so many costs and have become accustomed to spending the revised amount, once we are back receiving both incomes (hoping to be able to start February 1 2015), I would like to set aside the previous amount to spend on each item (for example grocery shopping $170 per week was our previous weekly spend) however actually spend the new amount (for this item $100-$110 per week) and send the savings to our credit cards and EF as per the 52 week challenge allocation. The only thing I will pay differently is the mortgage which has also dropped in the last couple of months- this difference will get paid against the mortgage.
Wish me luck guys!