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Sunday June 11

June 11th, 2017 at 04:52 am

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

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

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

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



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

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

Credit Card & Bill Management; Another Snowflake

April 19th, 2017 at 05:25 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April-18-2017

April 18th, 2017 at 05:25 am

Happy Easter to you all, hoping you have had a lovely Easter break.

I've had a massively busy couple of weeks so have only had time to focus on the necessities, but now I'm hoping to be back on my feet soon.

The reason my last two weeks were busy was because with this study unit last week I misread the study plan and accidentally did not do half of the work from the week before! It turns out the study plan ran over the page. I was having my coffee on Monday morning and working out my gameplan for the week when I realized the error I had made (it turns out this week was really busy; I had read two sections and did the corresponding work but over the page were another three sections to read with corresponding work for that and they were *long*). I was pretty upset. The normal weekly workload is 10hrs; because of Easter on Friday I did as much as I could on Monday-Thursday which was 7.5hours outside of work; barely had time to do anything else.

My birthday was last Thursday so went to dinner with B and he bought me a watch which was really nice. And he got a raise on my birthday! (so we got a raise haha; well we're married so we did anyway)

Then we went away camping with his family on their annual camping trip about an hour away from us which was really nice. We got back yesterday and are slowly getting back into routine.

This morning I got an email from Kobo about a book I wanted to read a long time ago which was marked down to $2.99 called The Ex by Alafair Burke. I don't normally buy books while I'm reading one but this seemed like a good deal.

Groceries were $17.60. We are going through eating the balance of our camping food but there is not a lot left. Still, I don't have the time to do a grocery shop so 10 minutes each day on the way home is fine.

Today I went back to work and back to studying, did 1hr17minutes - only 11hrs13minutes left.

As I am back in a bit of routine, I hope to be back blogging more now. Talk soon!

Kind Of Lazy Sunday

March 11th, 2017 at 08:56 pm

Two entries in two days doesn't happen to me very often but I am feeling like I have lots of time available so can spare a bit.

We're currently in the middle of a long weekend, tomorrow is a public holiday (Labour Day) so I don't have quite as much of the Sunday rush as I usually do. For me Sunday is generally a rest day - where I do the rest of the things I didn't get done during the week! So suffice to say I am usually rather busy.

We went away camping three weeks ago and will be going away next month at Easter so didn't want to have to put the cat in a boarding kennel again, and decided to stay home.

On Thursday my friend had a major meltdown and went missing. She is a single mother of 3 kids and her ex does not have the kids for very long and she is generally left with the bulk of parenting. The two sons play cricket and football so the ex is at every game and has the kids sometimes but it is generally a 2-3 hour period and doesn't generally have the daughter as she is 5 and he feels she is a bit hard to look after. Nobody knew she was this stressed. She put something up on FB on Wednesday night that she is so sick of her oldest kid who is constantly making life difficult and all she felt like doing was packing up and leaving. I did see the post and said "wow, she's never ever written that, he must have done something bad".

The next day her dad came over to mind the kids while she did a short work shift in the daytime (she works about 4hours and it is close to home), however she never came home. My other friend called me up about 8 to tell me she had run off and to see if I knew where she would be. The missing friend then accessed FB and told everybody not to worry, she is fine just very stressed out but not to try and find her as she doesn't want to talk to anyone. Her boyfriend didn't know where she was. Nobody did. The next few hours were spent speaking to various people to find out who knew anything. Just before bed I was speaking to one of our other friends who lives 2 states away (but we all speak regularly) and she said she was talking to missing friend's brother who said he thought she may have gone to the beach, which to me was a real worry in her state of mind.

The next morning I was speaking to my interstate friend and decided to contact missing friend's boyfriend for an update. He said that she came to his house very late at night and they talked for a while and in the morning talked some more but when he went to the toilet she left again. He said she wasn't acting right, she was very out of it and couldn't understand much of what he was saying. He wasn't as concerned as we were though which was so weird. He said she's done it before and will be ok. As he doesn't work and I was at work I asked him to go for a drive to the beach and see if she was there again. Sure enough she was. I then contacted interstate friend who contacted missing friend's family who were worried sick and her mother went down there and had a long chat with her.

I have never used my phone so much at work as I did on Friday! When I got home it was down to 4%. My friend is now staying with her boyfriend and her parents are minding the children while she gets some much-needed rest. I am still so worried about her though. We have looked up resources that she can use to help cope with parenting, eg psychiatrists and community services. To me it is such a massive thing to leave your children and basically spend hours sitting in your car - I didn't know if she was suicidal and that was my biggest fear. Please pray for my friend that she will get the help she needs and her children will be relatively unscathed from all of this. (We can only suggest services to her and cannot force her to use what is available)

Yesterday, after all of what happened on Thursday and Friday I really felt like I needed downtime to recharge. B went to the motorbike club he is a member of and helped them out today. I did some study and relaxed and then rented out a movie last night which I fell asleep to unfortunately.

Today I went for a swim in the morning at my gym, then bought some lasagna for dinner and bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes and orange juice for a bacon and egg breakfast tomorrow (because this is not normally something we can do on a Monday morning!). $24.71 was spent.

Then I bought some wine ($15.94 was spent)

Then I bought an iTunes card. This is a $30 card and there was 15% off, so amount payable was $25.50. All items today were put on my credit card, food and wine have been repaid already. When I repay the iTunes card I am going to also transfer the saved amount of $4.50 to the Christmas savings challenge because I am counting it as a snowflake.

Speaking of snowflakes, I spent 7hrs and 57minutes studying for my biggest snowflake (a subject in a degree which will be completed eventually and which would result in a significant payrise).

I now am going to sweep and mop the kitchen floor, fold some laundry and then B and I are planning on using the hot tub, which will be the perfect end to a lazy sunday Smile.

11 Things For 11 Days

March 10th, 2017 at 10:10 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sometimes It Pays To Wait; Feb / March

February 28th, 2017 at 02:49 am

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

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

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

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

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

Quick Hello

February 15th, 2017 at 03:17 am

Hi everybody, just wanting to say a super quick hello. Here's some financial goings-on in the last couple of days:

- yesterday we took our 15yo cat to the vet to get an old-cat profile done. This is various blood tests to see if she can tolerate a stronger dose of pain meds and a check on her organs. The check on her organs found that she has very early stage kidney disease so now the stronger dose has been ruled out. Hopefully with some dietary changes she will have an improved quality and length of life. $652 all up, so we have spent $712 on her this month. I am glad we got the medical done but really am now hoping to rein the spending in.

- on Monday I had to buy a birthday present for SIL so decided to get a gift card. Turns out the supermarket was having a $10 reward if you bought gift cards for certain shops. As this is a good shop, I bought the gift card for there, and received the $10 off a purchase tonight; have now added this to my snowflakes tally (SIL was happy too!)

- tonight I did my fourth weekly shop in a row and completed the required spending - now have $60 rewards waiting to be deducted off our next shop! This will mean that we will easily make month 2 of the Christmas savings challenge Smile.

I now have to go to bed but just thought I would check in and jot a few things down.

NSD, Short Entry Today

February 7th, 2017 at 03:22 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.

Possible Takeover For My Largest Shareholding

February 3rd, 2017 at 01:17 am

I don't really check what price the shares I have are that often - maybe a couple of times a week to ensure that they haven't massively dipped or also to see if there has been a big rise in price.

Anyway this morning I checked and they had risen a fair bit since the start of January but on the 31st there was a media release that a larger global insurance company had made an informal takeover offer. Who knows what will happen because apparently it is a rumour so far and nobody is verifying anything. However it was a media release on the stock exchange so there must be some truth to it.

These days I am more of a hold for as long as possible person so this was a bit of a shock and my initial reaction was now what? There are two reasons why I am like this: 1) at work we prepare financial reports for clients' retirement accounts and the shares that have the highest gains and income received the clients have had for many, many years and 2) it's so easy to lose money so if you find something good you should stick to it. Who knows I might change my way of thinking, but this is currently the way I think.

Apparently the offer is $15 per share which is above the current price and above the price I bought for. I wouldn't say there is a huge profit and then tax has to be paid on that also.. total outlay was $5194 and if the takeover goes ahead the sales proceeds would be $6000.

I will be watching in the next few weeks to see what happens and if I have to pick out another share to buy.. In the back of my mind I was thinking next time I want to get something more global.

In other news keeping up with this blog is so hard with my limited ipad internet access! I have 17 more days to go until the end of the billing month and my monthly data is restored. Normally during the week I would read quite a few blogs on the train but now I have to wait until I get home and quite often don't have a lot of spare time in the evenings, in between spending time with B and doing various housework items.

Spending today has been:
- descaling kit and 2 sets of coffee pods (occasional treat) $32.20
- sushi for lunch $5.60
- iTunes card $25.50 ($30 card with 15% off)
- half rockmelon, spinach & ricotta pastizzis $7
- wine $7

Yesterday I got another snowflakes to add to my yearly other sources of income spreadsheet, Priceline rewards to the value of $5.58. So far the spreadsheet total is at $48.75.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

UK Pictures Week 1; Recipe

February 1st, 2017 at 02:46 am

Hoping that I can now upload some of my favourite pics from Week 1 of the UK trip! Week 1 was spent settling in and exploring the surrounds closest to my friend's place in the West Midlands (I think? anyhow she & her husband are in the middle of England). Here goes:



A 15th century Tudor in the middle of town



This castle dates back to the 11th century. The green grassy surroundings were lovely also.



This street is in the town centre. I love all of their quaint streets!



And I love their traditional telephone boxes, they are so cool!



We don't have beaches like this with mossy cliffs in Australia. It was a totally different experience. It all looks so dramatic!

I will post some of Week 2 on the weekend Smile.

***

FrugalTexan requested recipes for the dairy free egg free muffins I made on the weekend. I thought the blueberry muffins were ok but really loved the choc-apple muffins, the recipe is as below:

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups plain flour (I used wholemeal, it made no difference)

1/4 cup NESTLÉ BAKERS' CHOICE Cocoa

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3/4 cup raw caster sugar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3 teaspoons white vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 medium granny smith apple, peeled, grated (see Notes)

1 tablespoon icing sugar mixture

Step 1
Preheat oven to 170C/150C fan-forced (the blueberry recipe had Fahrenheit temperatures, I think it was around 375 or 400 - just use the standard temperature for muffins). Line each hole of a 12-hole, 1/3-cup-capacity muffin pan with 2 paper cases.
Step 2
Sift flour, cocoa, bicarb, salt and 1 teaspoon cinnamon into a bowl. Stir in caster sugar. Whisk oil, vinegar, vanilla and 1 1/4 cups cold water in a large jug. Add 1/2 the oil mixture to flour mixture. Whisk until smooth and combined. Repeat with remaining oil mixture. Stir in apple. Divide mixture among prepared pan holes.
Step 3
Bake for 20 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly pressed. Stand in pan for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Step 4
Combine icing sugar and remaining cinnamon in a small bowl. Dust muffins just before serving.

Hope you enjoy! Now I must be going off to bed, speak soon. (There was no time tonight for financial updates, I think I will have some tomorrow though)


Weekend Doings

January 23rd, 2017 at 02:30 am

It was good that we didn't have to go to work on Saturday, being the day after the guy ran over all of those people. After the heaviness of Friday it was good to not go back there and spend a couple of days doing various bits and pieces. A few parts of the street have spots laden with flowers and teddy bears where various people died. They have a memorial at 5.30pm - I didn't go but I did stop at one spot and spent a minute in silence to pay homage. Now 5 are dead, one of those is the 3-month-old baby the guy drove into. Awful awful awful.
***
Saturday morning I started off the day doing my first body pump class (weights) in about 5-6 months, it was great, I want to do it again this week! Unfortunately I am now suffering from second day soreness. Moving anything is an effort!
***
I again consulted my reminder app to do a few productive things. They were:
- buy coloured printer toner for the printer (we can now use it again!)
- Check to see what can happen to the money we have in our mortgage redraw. I read that if it looks like we can't pay the mortgage some banks automatically can take whatever cash you have in redraw and use it for a mortgage repayment. Not that it will happen to us but all the same I want to know how much control the bank has over that money (the bank clerk looked at the loan information and said that the loan is so old he can't tell so he gave me the mortgage information centre phone number). He also said that he thinks we can get a way better rate. We currently have a rate of 5.29%. All the loans I have seen with the better rates have a minimum loan amount of $160,000 which I pointed out to him. He said most of them do but still give it a try and tell them we are looking at going elsewhere and see what they can do (and don't tell them he said that!). I said ok and looked around on the weekend and found a financial institution with a rate of 3.92% for our loan amount, which is a reputable institution so I think it's worth looking into definitely.
- Change my name with this bank to my married name. All associated cards got changed also. They couldn't change the name on our loan though so I have to go through the mortgage department for that.
- Spend some time cleaning out the study while doing an apple update on my iPad. Turns out it only took 4 minutes to download so I simply spent an hour cleaning. Next weekend, the iPhone if there is time available.
***
I got my bathers on the weekend from Zulily - $49 for a bikini bottom and two different tankini tops, very happy with the purchase and don't need to send anything back! Now just waiting on my Thailand 2017 calendar I ordered from eBay (one of my other Christmas presents), apparently it's due between now and the 25th.
***
On Saturday night DH & I went to the movies to see the new xxx movie with Vin Diesel and out for dinner first. Glad I got the movie card the week before because dinner came to $95.30. It was well worth it though to spend some quality time together! There is now $7 left on the gift card for whenever I/we go to the movies next.
***
Our monthly grocery tally now stands at $607.20 with one week to go and we now have to buy meat for maybe 2 nights for the rest of the month. I was hoping for a super low shop this week but Safeway have just given another rewards challenge - spend $135 per week for 4 weeks and receive 12000 points ($60). I activated the challenge, we'll see if I can stick to it.. I didn't stick to the last challenge because they set the spend amounts too high- it was spend $195 one week and $145 the next- I spent the $195 but it was close to a fortnight of food so couldn't spend $145 the next, we didn't need that much food. As a result they have lowered the challenge amount to $135 each week, which is probably a bit more doable.
***
I watched catch-up tv on my iPad using data for about 20 minutes for the first and last time.. I watch it using wifi at home and watched about 40 minutes of Code Black before work but then had to get ready, so I thought it's only 20 minutes, how much data can it use? Uh... lots!! I checked how much data the iPad had before doing it and the month just started so I had 4GB available.. I checked it this morning and it used 3.7GB!! There's only 300MB left until next month. I've now turned off the data and will turn it back on around the 20th next month, until then it's wifi or nothing!

Updates 17/1/17

January 17th, 2017 at 02:42 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First Safeway Rewards For The Year; Cat Stuff

January 12th, 2017 at 03:01 am

On Tuesday I cashed in my first lot of Safeway rewards for the year. I had to buy B his breakfast drink so also bought a few more items to bring the total to $20.38; I got charged $0.38 for the groceries because of the $20 credit reducing the price to pay.

Today we received our spending money so I promptly sent the $20 saved to the Christmas savings account - there is now $46 there so far! We will easily make the $60 goal for the first month of the challenge.

The other day I started a snowflakes spreadsheet; so far for the month of January we have received $27.83 ($6.29 digital change, $1.54 interest received for December and the $20 Safeway rewards). It all adds up! Looking forward to not having to find all the spending money for Christmas.

Other financial doings for today:
- I bought a bottle of wine for $9. Had a hard day and needed a couple of glasses to relax.
- I collected the cat's arthritis medication we are starting her on. The cost for this was $112.90; apparently this will last her two months.

We actually have big things going on with the cat. She will be 15 this year and recently has lost bladder control. The vet thinks it is due to her arthritis (hence starting the medication) - it is too hard for her to go in the kitty litter so she holds on until she can go outside when we are home. Unfortunately she cannot always wait...

We changed the kitty litter to a lower one with a much lower front part to give her easier access.. still no good. The vet said either the problem is either arthritis or a urinary tract infection but given her age and how she is moving we will try her on arthritis meds first.

Most of our house is tiled except the bedrooms and lounge which are carpeted so at night or when we go out we close all bedroom doors. She has her own bed in the entry to the lounge are and plenty of room to move around.

We didn't know what would happen when we went away but B's parents fed the cat and dog daily and let her out for a while each day, but her thing lately is first thing in the morning she needs to go so by the time they would come she would have made a mess.

We had to decide that when we go away she would need to stay at a boarding kennel. We're hoping she will be ok. We've found a place and have a couple of trips planned in the near future (starting off with only a couple of days) so have inspected a nice looking kennel and have booked her in. The price is $20 per night, which is reasonable.

Because of this going on holidays will now be much less often. We will still go to Thailand as planned but that will be the last trip for a good few years.

Most of all, we just hope that she is ok taking the arthritis medicine and staying in a boarding kennel occasionally. It's so hard watching our animals get old, and it seems like suddenly last year it happened instantly to both of them! They will always be our babies.

This And That

January 9th, 2017 at 02:41 am

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

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

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

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

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

Sick

December 7th, 2016 at 02:07 am

Unfortunately I had to take a sick day today, as I started coming down with a bad cold yesterday and my throat was too painful today. B also came down sick - this is our first time ever we have come down with a cold at the same time. It was really quite hilarious last night, and fun to have someone suffering the same ailments. We both had aches and chills and everything was just too DAMN hard!!

B had to go to the doctors to get a medical certificate so I asked my boss if he wanted me to get one too and he said no it's fine, which was nice. Colds are an expensive thing. I bought lemsip and B bought strepsils with anaesthetic in them so between the two of them we have been sharing. Today I then spent $15 on throat lozenges and a medicated throat gargle.

Last night I had no idea what to have for dinner because our throats were too sore for solid food. I ended up making pumpkin soup for me and B had a toasted cheese sandwich. I accidentally put too much garlic in the soup so couldn't eat it; B just couldn't eat his because it was too solid.

Then today we have steak and sausages defrosted to eat either today or tomorrow and I couldn't bear to throw it out or feed it to the dog so used the steak in a beef vegetable soup in the slow cooker which was really nice and so easy to make. The sausages I will deal with tomorrow.

B is now sicker than me. I think part of the reason is I slept through the night while he woke up every 10 minutes or so - he has been sleeping a lot today so hopefully is a bit better tomorrow. I do feel that having the day off was the best thing to do because it has really sped up my recovery time. I have energy when I'm sitting but get lethargic when moving around; if I went to work I would have been really lethargic and sick for a lot longer. My throat will still probably be really painful but think I will be over the lethargic side of the cold.

About the most useful thing I did today was actually plan out all the Christmas presents, there are now only two which have a question mark. I read the catalogues for ideas and then researched the stores I shopped at, trying to keep the presents generally between the $30-$40 mark. I don't want to say what the total will be but we can afford to pay for the presents this month and that's the main thing. It's good to be organised.

Snowflakes 14-11-16; NSD #4

November 14th, 2016 at 02:16 am

Challenge starting balance: $8,840.21
Plus:
- weekly EF savings $35.69
- digital change $2.85
- Safeway everyday rewards $20.00
Challenge closing balance: $8,898.75

The weekly EF savings got withdrawn, some more digital change got transferred to the Christmas savings account and then I redeemed $20.00 in Safeway everyday rewards tonight while getting some groceries - we only have $10.00 left there now.

The Christmas savings bank account is currently at $96.98, will be over $100 very soon. It may not pay for all of our presents but every bit counts. For example my main Christmas present that I would like is a gold bracelet to replace my fake gold bracelet, the cost of it marked down is $149 - I tried it on today and it looks nice. These savings could very well pay for that.

Speaking of Christmas presents, B wants to get a sticker kit for his motorbike at $300 (I'm told they will last a very long time though!). I told him he can order it, he is really very good with not wanting too much I don't mind a splurge now and again.

Just think, if I did this next year from January we could possibly effortlessly pay for Christmas...

On Thursday I had a NSD, then yesterday I was feeling pretty tired from having my friends over on Saturday night so decided not to do any grocery shopping and just use up what we had, and we had plenty of leftovers so it was fine, so then was able to add another NSD to the challenge! I could possibly make Wednesday and Thursday NSDs also - need to get petrol and the balance of the groceries tomorrow, so if I plan well enough that could be it until Friday.

I really need to do some more savings transfers soon and credit card repayment etc so you will see another entry soon.

NSD #2

November 9th, 2016 at 02:33 am

Mrs Frugalista got me thinking about the no spend November challenge. While I'm not doing nearly as well as her, yesterday was my second no spend day and tomorrow I plan on making it my third.

The fact that you are planning to spend on certain days only does make you think about what you are buying, and you tend to plan more. If I can get 10 days this month, that would be great.

Today I bought enough food for the next four days for us, groceries came to $56.61. I am then planning on not spending anything tomorrow, buying a tshirt on Friday and then buying required food on Saturday - I am hosting a small get-together with my friends so will need to pick up more food.

I have already got mini-quiches for hot food(we are doing nibblies and then later on putting some hot food in the oven, everybody will bring something each) and am doing a spinach dip in a cobb loaf for nibbles. Will no doubt buy a few more things but just a couple of extra things really.

On another note, I just paid some bills and among them was our water bill, which was a case of bill shock - it was up 45.51% from last year! Roughly $100 extra. We went through the bills and checked the gas meter, but later on I compared October's weather this year to last year and it turns out it has been much colder this year - we had 18 days where the heater was required to be on, compared to 9 last year when the weather was much warmer. I'm hoping we get a couple of months weather where no heater or air conditioner is required - November hasn't been too bad, I don't think we have turned the heater on since Saturday.

Snowflakes & Savings 07-11-16

November 7th, 2016 at 02:27 am

Challenge starting balance: $8,779.91
Plus:
- weekly EF savings $35.69
- digital change $3.61
- Safeway everyday rewards $10.00
- Melbourne cup winnings $11.00
Challenge closing balance: $8,840.21

I've been pretty busy lately so I think my goal at the moment is to just write a little bit about whatever happens each day.

The Safeway four week shopping challenge (where I had to spend $90 per week at Safeway for four weeks in a row to receive $40) has ended so there was $40.00 sitting there to be deducted off my shopping bill. Today I bought some groceries worth $13.80 so $10.00 was automatically deducted - I have then sent it off to the Christmas savings, along with digital change for the weekend plus some winnings for the Melbourne Cup.

The Melbourne Cup is a horse race and a big event in Victoria and we get a public holiday from it. Just for fun I chose some horses and while I didn't actually place a bet, I allocated the winnings to savings. Christmas savings are now $74.13, looking forward to reaching $100 on the weekend.

On the weekend I also sent $10.00 to the UK owing amount, it is down to -$80.00.

That's all, hope to talk soon tomorrow!

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

October 24th, 2016 at 02:44 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

****

Saturday's happy events were:

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

Hope you're all well!

What An Intense Week Last Week Was

October 18th, 2016 at 03:34 am

It's been an intense week. I had a massive assignment due on Sunday so spent pretty much every ounce of my spare time working on it from Tuesday to Sunday - about 12 hours. I find it interesting but felt bad about not really being present around DH. Was nice to spend this evening just relaxing and spending quality time with him.

I wish my work were open to me working 4 days a week so I could spend one full day studying instead of trying to cram it into every spare second of my free time but alas they have made it clear that they are not. Oh well, we can't have everything.

Anyway, after spending so much time studying I couldn't look at it yesterday, instead caught up on home duties after work that were much needed. Walked the dog, hung out the washing, caught up on dishes, cleaned the ensuite (really needed it), folded the washing, I think that's enough until next weekend. Need to go to the gym because I haven't been there in a while and then need to catch up on week 7 of study (last week, not heaps to do) and work on week 8.

*****

B has been sick on and off with the flu, went to the doctor for a flu shot and found out he has a combination of hay fever and asthma???? Not in his family history, we never expected this. They say it's only mild so we'll see how he goes with the puffer. He also has had a shoulder problem so has been given steroids for a few days and a referral if it doesn't get better. Doctors will be about $30-$40 after government co-pay and medicines were around $50. Let's hope he picks up soon!

*****

My spending yesterday was $4.12 for some watermelon for me, tomato soup for B and some chocolate for me, and $20 for fuel for my car - today was a NSD.

Another spending item yesterday (although not a cash outlay) was a $3.99 iTunes subscription for one month to Money magazine (it's Australian) because although I love flicking through the various areas of SA (articles, blogs, forums) it's important to occasionally spend some time reading Australian financial items.

Well that's all for now, speak to you guys in a few days!

Snowflakes 07/10/16; Life

October 7th, 2016 at 04:09 am

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

Sunday Goings-On

August 21st, 2016 at 01:19 am

It's been a pretty quiet day too, not too much to report.

My to-do list today was:
- walk the dog (had to do this early on as it's been rainy today)
- washing (the remaining three loads)
- vacuuming (I spent an hour vacuuming floors and places where spiders may hide and vacuuming and wiping the window sills in the front half of the house)
- grocery shopping (not good value for money today, the only things on special were fruit, muesli bars and gravy; we spent $129 as well as $11 for some hotdogs for B's poker night next week)
- cooking biscuits and soup and pasta for lunch (made the choc chip cookies which turned out ok, about to do soup for dinner; think I'll do the pasta for lunch tomorrow night)

I also added the study unit negative amount to my sidebar to remind me to get to work with preparing B's tax return so I can get my refund and reimburse the EF.

That's about all, think it will be an early night tonight!

Snowflakes 18/8/16

August 18th, 2016 at 04:15 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!

Forming New Habits & Adjusting

August 16th, 2016 at 03:38 am

Yesterday I woke up half an hour early to start adjusting my body clock to the new sleep schedule. Although I got my usual 7 hours sleep I was still pretty tired throughout the day but I noticed the most tired I felt was the first and the last 15 minutes of the day.

My plan is to spend three days waking up half an hour early, then three days 45 minutes earlier and then the last four days an hour earlier. My body should be in a routine then.

When I've been waking up earlier I've been doing things instead of just sitting there slowly waking up. Yesterday I put a load of laundry on, today I had to make my lunch because it got too late last night and I needed to be in bed by a certain time. Tomorrow I'm actually going to start going on the computer before work to get into that habit, of getting my mind to work in the study sense. Tomorrow I will be buying the required books for the unit, then on other days I will get B's tax stuff ready for his tax return so we can get our money back.

The other thing I've been doing to form my new study habits is reading something on the train in the morning which is not Facebook or blogs etc. This week I'm doing it in the commute only, next week I will also be doing it on the way home too.

This change of habits has definitely kept me busy!

***

Financial goings on is over the past two days my only spending was $28.50 for the balance of our groceries, $99 for the week. We will need to buy something for dinner on Thursday night when our spending money gets deposited though.

Weekend Doings; Said Yes To Part-Time Study

August 15th, 2016 at 03:48 am

Saturday I got my hair done then went out with my mother to have afternoon tea with my sister for her birthday, which was a really nice outing.

We actually got some good weather on the weekend and our garden has been much in need of some attention so yesterday we mowed lawns, weeded, cut back some overgrown bushes and hosed down pavers and decking in the pergola area. It looks so nice now.

I did a bit of grocery shopping, spent $70.86. That's not all of the food we need to get, but I'll get things as we need them.

We then had a hot tub to enjoy our nicely cleaned up yard Smile.

***

Yesterday was also the closing date for enrolment for another study unit in my accounting degree. After a few discussions with B, my mother and a bit of thought, I decided to enrol. It is a good opportunity doing something I like where I can realise my potential and also earn a good salary.

My job is interesting but part time studying as well as full time work becomes a 60 hour week, so work/life balance becomes really important, and studying on the weekend was not working for us (meaning quality time with B, and general upkeep of the house, not to mention my stress levels).

But then I used an app to track my time and realised if I can get up an hour earlier and use my 30 minute train commute each way that is 2 hours per day studying, and I like that idea better because this is happening in my work week instead of encroaching on my weekend which I don't think will work long term.

Last night I went to bed half an hour earlier so was able to get up half an hour earlier without any problems and pretty much felt fine today, just a little tired. Hopefully forming new habits makes part time studying a bit easier to maintain Smile.

The unit cost was $1305, need to do my tax return now to get the $1073 refund to put towards it. I paid on my credit card so that needs to be sorted out soon.

More Loan Stuff, Grocery Shopping

July 21st, 2016 at 01:06 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.

Possibly My Only June Blog Entry

June 6th, 2016 at 05:06 am

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!

Sick On The Busiest Week Of The Year

May 12th, 2016 at 05:00 am

I hardly ever take sick days. It usually comes down to the threshold - can you take something and get through it? If so, go to work. You never know when you might need those sick days. I haven't taken a sick day since 2011, when I was really sick and took four in a row.

Now I actually am sick but can't take the days because it is the busiest week of the year! Is that bad luck or what? Our major deadline is next Monday, I'll probably be better by the time the deadline is over. Grrr.

We visited both families on Mother's Day and SIL was sick with a cold. I woke up feeling funny on Tuesday and by 10am I knew I had a cold. I've had chills for Tuesday and Wednesday along with being lethargic, and today I am on the sore throat stage. So not looking forward to waking up tomorrow because it's probably going to be really painful by then (if past history is anything to go by).

I made a big batch of chicken noodle soup - nothing fancy, this recipe only took half an hour to make - and have been having it every day. Will have it for lunch tomorrow too. I have been living off Lemsip Max (it has added paracetemol and other things in it to ease the cold's symptoms) and eucalyptus soothers - eucalyptus is all I can taste.

Getting sick is not cheap - around $10 to make the chicken noodle soup; $3 for a 3 pack of soothers; $13 for Lemsip Max. But seriously I could not have made it through deadline time without all this stuff - at work I am pretty much functioning normally! (At home not so much!)

Looking forward to being healthy again, hope you're all well!

Happy Mother's Day!

May 8th, 2016 at 02:29 am

Happy mother's day to all you wonderful mothers!

Today we visited both of our mothers, was lovely to see everyone; fun times were had and I even got a present even though I'm not a mum Smile

It was a late birthday present from my brother - a bottle of perfume he got for free for buying my mum's present. It may have been a freebie but it was still very much appreciated!

***

I managed to reset my travel money card password the next day and got into the account, and transferred $730 on Friday, apparently it takes one business day to reach the account. Looking forward to seeing it there and buying my first lot of GBP. Will be buying travel insurance tomorrow night and I also want to buy a pair of compression socks for flying ($12) tomorrow night too.

***

I input all of our bills and income into our budgeting spreadsheet and realised we're on a five week month so we are living off $420pw instead of the usual $500. Challenging but we will do it.

Shopping this week I am happy to say was $130 as planned and we even get steak twice in a week - a definite luxury! Lately it's either really cheap or really expensive, there doesn't seem to be an inbetween.. I got pieces for $7.22 & $8- they can go up to $13 which is too pricey I think.

I saw Eddie the Eagle yesterday using one of my movie vouchers, $9 left there and spent $4.75 on popcorn and chocolates at the supermarket. It was a great movie, funny and very inspiring.

Then I rented a couple of DVDs for $7, Black Mass and Sisters, and had a movie night with B. They were also great movies.

Now the weekend has come to a close, we have $20 left in the bank and $5-$10 cash each, so didn't do too badly. We are sitting in a mostly dark house, watching tv in our comfy lounge room, and are soo relaxed; life is good.

It's Been A While

April 20th, 2016 at 05:10 am

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


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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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


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