It's been 2 and a half weeks since I've blogged but it seems like forever ago.
I got through the majority of the statistics work and sat the exam. Because there was so much work and a few other things happened (my house of cards kind of fell down) I sat the exam without even studying the last two weeks of the course. When I say my house of cards kind of fell down, I had some personal stress plus lots of social things like public holidays and birthdays, so basically the last two weeks of the course I was either studying and catching up or attending social things. Although I barely studied the last two weeks of the course, I do feel like I kind of did ok. I had a score of 85% before the exam; the exam is worth 60% and I was able to do 75% of it ok. The other 25% unfortunately I left, so we will see what the end result is.
Unfortunately I missed the payment by the enrolment date for the next subject and I logged in on Monday thinking I could catch up but the subject wasn't even there. The payment was actually due the 24th of May and for some reason I thought it was later. I don't know what I am going to do yet because to be honest it was a bit of a relief to have a break. I got severely burnt out and the last few weeks, it got to the point where I just didn't feel like myself anymore. While I'm grateful for the opportunity to better myself I felt like everything was falling apart and I was missing out on all the stuff I loved because all my spare time was spent studying.
The day after the exam I got a cold so had to have the next day off work and was sick for a few days. This was all last week. This week I finally feel like I am getting back to my normal self. I have been sleeping better and am starting to learn to relax again, and am looking forward to going to the gym tomorrow night.
Tracking spending fell out the window a few weeks ago and I'm not sure when I will be back doing it. Because I was so busy though spending has dropped way down so there is no concerns there.
I checked the mail (which hadn't been done for 3 weeks) and paid some bills tonight, so that is all in order. We turned our spa off 2 months ago so the electricity bill is $130 lower than last year, which is great. (Not sure how much the spa will cost to fix but anyway!)
Because we average out our bills and put aside the same amount each month after we paid the car insurances in March and pretty much cleared out the bills account, I have started working out just how much surplus we should have from each month (the surplus being the monthly amount of $4041 less whatever the actual monthly bills are). This month the bills were actually $3969.67 so the surplus is $71.94. This surplus plus the surplus from the previous months is now $654.73, which we have to add to future bills.
I checked our shares tonight as 30 June is our year end so was wondering what our profit for this year would be. Last year's return was -7.90% and this year's return at this current date is 15.32%. I calculate return by increase/decrease in value plus investment earnings. So for two years we are looking at a rate of return of 7.42%, which is 3.71% each year. That's not too bad considering what you would earn in interest instead.
I loved FrugalTexan's idea of the SHE (sidetracked home executive) system and have started implementing the basic weekly plan. Monday night I did the shopping and tonight I paid the bills and attended to some paperwork. I will aim to do some cleaning tomorrow night and then some on Saturday.
I'm not completely sure about the card system though. I actually have a housework ideas app which I think would work fine, I just need to stick to the routine outlined.
I think that's all for now, must be off to bed!
Viewing the 'Education' Category
It's been 2 and a half weeks since I've blogged but it seems like forever ago.
It feels like forever since I've blogged. Working plus studying has gotten really hard as there have also been several social things on that taken up a fair bit of time.
Although all of this time has been spent studying and simply getting through day to day life, I am severely behind in this subject as there was a lot more involved than I originally thought. It's a statistics subject, so the first few weeks were interesting, especially with the various excel charts that can be used but once algebra was brought into the equation I feel like I'm studying another language. Ultimately it's well beyond my capabilities.
I'm now one week from finishing this subject and am supposed to be sitting an exam next week and have no idea if I will even pass. When I was thinking about doing the subject B asked me if it was really worth it and I'm now inclined to say no, it's not worth it for me. My understanding is below what it should be yet my whole life in all others areas feels like it's falling apart and nothing is getting done.
As a result I'm at a place where I'm planning on withdrawing from the degree and am wishing to change jobs. I can accept myself as a bookkeeper instead of an accountant and would prefer to have my life in order than wholly putting everything into a degree while the rest of it all falls to the wayside, and the studying with the work is too much of a balancing act. I can still earn the same money and while there isn't as much upside to future earnings there is still the opportunity for an extra $10,000 to $20,000 per year if you become good enough at the role so I can live with that.
With changing jobs, we are about to hit a very quiet spell for the next couple of months and I would have to take leave anyway; but I really feel like a change as I have been working at the same company for the last 12.5 years. B has said that he will support me if needed, but hopefully savings will tide us over and we should be ok. I've seen plenty of jobs that I can apply for so am not too fussed.
So that's one big thing that's been going on.
Also, we had a trip to Thailand planned before where we purchased a voucher for 8 nights accommodation plus flights for $800pp and paid $150 each but the voucher expires this September and nobody was interested in going in the end so we thought it was cancelled. One of our friends had the idea of going next year instead around our 40th birthdays and was able to transfer the deposits over to a deposit on flights instead. We agreed and she has booked us flights at $800pp for early March next year.
As a result I saved away $700 last month into the holiday fund, so it is now at $995.75. We haven't received the flight itineraries and payment instructions yet but I trust that it is all in motion as she has said that it is booked.
It's been a little while since I've posted so rather than write about whatever the latest thing is, I'm going to write about 11 things (hopefully mostly financial) that have been going on in the last 11 days:
1. On Tuesday our dishwasher seal broke . Luckily I was standing near it and it had only run for 3 minutes so there was no water damage. B had a look at it and found the manufacturers website so we bought a double pack of seals (just in case the other seal goes, so that we don't have to re-order) for $52.73 which they say will be delivered to us next Wednesday. We are both so sick of washing dishes by hand but thankfully have got ourselves into a more regular routine so it's a bit less painful.
2. I finally got around to checking my superannuation account (retirement account) and the balance is $92,008. Going by ceejay's years x income, by the time I turn 40 next year I need to have 2 x times my income so $108,000. I realized that combined with the taxable investments I hold outside of superannuation and earnings that hopefully the account will receive it should be a possibility. The earnings last year were a paltry 2.44% however over 5 years in total they were 38.75% which equates to 7.75% per year which beats the standard 5%. I am happy with 7.75%.
3. B got a letter from a superannuation account which was an employer one from a job he had 9-10 years ago stating that if he didn't give his instructions on what to do with the account they would be turning it over to the Australian Taxation Office so they could hold it in the unclaimed moneys department. We had a financial planner roll all of our employer superannuation accounts into one years ago however he missed this one, the current account balance is $4,187.50. The letter was dated 1st February and gave us until 22nd February however I don't think they sent it for a while because we saw the letter on the 28th so the money has now gone to the Tax Office. There will now be a lengthy process to get it and roll it over as B will need to apply in writing and we will need to wait a while most likely to receive it. How annoying.
4. We have decided not to go on the Phuket holiday. This is due to our friends not being interested in going anymore and also B not really being interested. I wouldn't mind going but I'm not too bothered that we aren't doing it anymore as I had a big trip overseas last year and generally like to go overseas every 2-3 years, otherwise it can be a bit expensive going on annual overseas trips. We are now looking at doing a camping holiday in the next state at a beachy sort of area instead, which I am looking forward to. I'm not sure of when we will go though, it would be sometime between July and September and would be dependent on B's work (my work is a bit more flexible at that time of year).
5. This month we pay B's tax of $2,780. All funds have now been saved and the money will be transferred over soon.
6. Our car insurances also get debited out of our account around the 19th of March; mine is $969.40 for a 14 year old car; B's is $1,121.16 for a 6 year old car. We have enough money in the account and because I averaged out the bills amount back in October we did not have to pay for any of it out of pocket which is great! Last year we had to find $461.40 to cover the remaining portion. All I need to do is work out which bank account B's car insurance comes out of, don't remember.
7. We made month number 2 of the Christmas savings challenge, so we now have $135 saved up. This month we are supposed to save up $95. We currently have $2 saved up so need to start working towards it.
8. I bought a replacement suit for work a couple of weeks ago for $132, which was an $87 reduction in price. This suit should last a long time so was happy to pay it.
9. B is on a health kick and has rejoined boxing classes. He went regularly just before we got married but then it died off after the wedding so it's been a few years since he's been. To test the waters instead of signing up for a membership we bought a 10 class pack for $130. So far he has done 2 classes this week and has lost 2 kilos so is pretty happy. If he decides after using up the class pack that he wants to rejoin, it is $19.95 per week (same as my membership).
10. Last week we had my family over for lunch and it was a warm day so we cooked up chicken with roast potatoes and salad, then my sister and I both did a dessert each. It was a lovely meal and for 7 people we spent a whole $37.86 . You could spend that on 2 people going out for lunch so I was pretty happy.
11. It is week 2 of my study unit and I am coping ok with the workload. They say you need to allocate 10hours per week however this subject's tutor has said we should allocate 15(!?!) which I really hope is not the truth because I don't know how on earth I would fit that amount of time in. I really want to be diligent with doing 10hours from the very start to avoid having to do 20hours around exam and assignment time, but this week I am finding that I have put in 7.5hours and don't really have 2.5 more hours of work to do.... I will probably finish the online quiz I have to do and do some revision.
I struggled to think of the 11th thing but I'm glad to have jotted down some bits and pieces. Off to check the blogs!
Yesterday I started another study unit and the textbook requirements weren't clear. It also wasn't clear because now I have committed to studying and enrolled in the university for the degree the method of payment is via a student loan. It said textbooks were required however on the enrolment letter it said to complete the form in time to ensure that your materials arrive in time so it was unclear as to whether I have to pay or it goes on the student loan and gets delivered. Then the university gave the login details and stated that no printed material would be distributed. (I am studying through distance education and while the majority of the units are through one university, some are through others). Due to not being sure of whether we buy the books or the university sends them and adds the cost to the student loan I decided to wait until the date the unit started. No books were sent and my form was submitted weeks ago (3-4) so it's clear I had to buy them. The cost through distance education was expensive at $168.75 for two. So yesterday I logged on to the course (which is at one of the different universities) and they had an ebook option with a discount code which amounted to $94.42! I was happy to use this option. It definitely pays to wait sometimes .
Our shopping for February came in at $621, which for us is pretty good - I like it around the $600 mark so this is fine. Our biggest expenses for February aside from the normal mortgage and bills category (which equates to 47% of our monthly income) were B's savings towards his tax payment next month of $570 and our cat's expenses of $744 (vet visit, then her medical test, then boarding kennel when we went away).
I have low-level anxiety about the cash outflow that's going to happen in March. I've known about it for a while and have budgeted and saved but really hope nothing goes wrong this month as it will stretch us. Pretty much on the same day we pay B's tax bill of $2780 plus get two car insurance policies deducted from our bank account for the amount of around $2100 - so $4880 roughly; a big cash outflow.
I received the $60 Safeway everyday rewards the other day so transferred that to Christmas savings - $4 to go then month 2 is complete!
At this point in time this is all I can think of, hoping that you are all well.
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 .
As B got paid the other day, and I got paid today, I knew we would be ok to not have to watch every cent this weekend, so I decided to transfer the rest of the Banking the Difference from last week's bill payments, which was the savings on the phone bills - $88.02 for B, and $11.96 for the home phone.
Banking the Difference has now hit just over $2K ($2,004.63 to be exact), which is pretty awesome. Now along with the 52 week challenge money that will become $7.5K ($7,516.63 to be exact). Who would think that just by making a few simple changes there would be such an awesome payoff. I'm so thankful I stumbled upon this site and have you guys to share my experience, cheer me on and inspire me!
As we've really been watching what we spend down to the very last dollar for the last few weeks, this weekend I'm having a mini-celebration. I'm also having a mini-celebration because tomorrow is the 15th of May, our big deadline for work, and this year we sailed through it. Work has become so quiet (I have still have various jobs to do though so I'm not twiddling my thumbs or anything) for before 15 May - this time last year we had to work back every day and it was so busy that as soon as you walked in the door at work your head was stuck in whatever you were doing until you went home - no time for thinking about anything to do with the outside world. So to have everything done on time is really great and such a relief.
I got some nice wine (for more than the usual $6 a bottle - I got nice NZ Sauvignon Blanc for $14 a bottle, $10 a bottle and one other cheap bottle for $4), and I plan on getting Nespresso pods instead of pods from the supermarket. We don't really have any big expenses such as birthdays this weekend so I'm not bothered if we spend a bit more here or there as long as it's within range. Also thinking of making pancakes for breakfast and spinach & ricotta pasta roll-ups for Saturday night dinner.
I also transferred $1303 onto my credit card - $20 banking the difference and $1283 course fees for the latest subject, which starts June 1. I will then be back to working a fulltime work and doing 10 hours of study per week, so am currently looking at ways to structure my time better. I didn't do too badly last time, but time management is crucial with these things, so you have to keep on top of it and not get burnt out, or it will become too much for you.
Don't really have any plans this week other than visiting my sister with my mother for lunch - I usually spend around $20 on these outings and have a lovely time.
Have a lovely weekend everyone!
We managed to get through the weekend on $304 - just, but still did it. Our shopping was amazingly $121 including food for entertaining- it's B's turn to host his poker night, so he made meatballs & risoni for 8. For Mother's Day for the inlaws we had to bring a dessert so I made a double batch of white chocolate cupcakes with white chocolate ganache (one for inlaws do, one for poker do).
Mother's Day gift was $48 for inlaws, mine = $0. My mother has increasingly distanced herself from us and tolerates these occasions. But... I had the inlaws do & accidentally booked a get together with a friend so wasn't enthused about also seeing someone who really doesn't care about it. So I texted her asking does she want me to see her & I know it's not really her thing so I'll let her choose. Her response was father day doesn't exist here anymore (he died years ago) so let's pass this day onto the next generation (my sister had a baby last December). I wasn't expecting that! I was expecting doesn't bother me it's fine, not let's delete this day forever.
So I don't even know why I'm upset but I am. Of course I went on Facebook to rub salt in the wound because every single person it felt like was having an awesome day while my mother was just being a cold so-and-so. Grrr. But the rational side of me is winning. (And a day has passed) She is different now to what she was. That was then, and this is now. These things don't interest her. Family doesn't interest her. It's best to just accept it and try to let go of any negative feelings. Not everybody has the ideal family, and that's life.
Anyway, moving on from that.
A couple of good things. I caught up with an old friend last night who I hadn't seen in 6 months and we had so much to talk about! And still share lots of common interests which is really great! We are aiming to catch up again in the last week of May (unfortunately as well as having lots of common interests, we are both really slack with social arrangements), hopefully it will all work out. She has just moved 5 minutes drive away from me, and is sharing a beautiful house with a friend.
And the final good thing - my football team St Kilda won their third game for the year! By 7 points, so I sent $7 to the EF (So far the points has been 101 + 28 + now 7), and have added it to Banking The Difference challenge.
We had to pay for the 52 week challenge out of our buffer in the account (non-EF), there is now $141.20 there - not good. We are hoping B will receive money this week but I am preparing myself for a possible withdrawal from the EF (which will be as little as possible).
I have to withdraw money from the EF anyway to pay for a subject for my accounting degree, booking closes on the 20th. My work pays me bonuses which I use to pay for the subjects. So I will have to withdraw $1000 but then (unless things change for the first time ever) next month I will get the bonus and put it back in the account.
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.