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Sick On The Busiest Week Of The Year

May 12th, 2016 at 12:00 pm

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 09:29 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 12:10 pm

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


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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

Easter; UK Cost Tally So Far

March 29th, 2016 at 11:23 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

Total so far $2,023

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

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

More Stuff To Keep Track Of

February 8th, 2016 at 10:53 am

52 Week Challenge starting balance: $1,667.92
Plus:
Weekly savings into EF: $71.02
52 Week Challenge closing balance: $1,738.94

The weekly savings into the EF hit the bank account, so I thought I would update.

Grocery shopping was at $122 yesterday and I was very proud of myself - until this morning when I found that there were four items I had to buy that were needs and couldn't wait until next week. Add another $20 roughly! I tried to keep the total down as low as possible, so I guess it's the best I could do.

Valentine's Day is coming up so I thought this year we would just get little gifts, nothing too flashy. B wanted some motorbike things, so that was $31.45 and I wanted a nice daytime perfume (I have going out perfume and I have perfume I wear to work which is muted, but I wanted a fresh daytime one to wear when we go out for lunch or something). I got Hippie Princess by Vera Wang for $29.

The thing I need to keep track of is another snowflake. I got the perfume, and hair serum from Priceline where I got a $4.38 gift voucher. So now we have to transfer $24.38 to the EF when we get paid.

I'm still trying to work out what to do about the money we used from savings to cover B not getting paid last week. We used $446 plus I spent $47 on my credit card and had to transfer $50 onto his credit card. I haven't paid the $47 on my card yet but have already used $496 from our mortgage offset savings.

I think I'll see how he goes with the next couple of weeks with receiving money. If it looks like we only have enough for low spending and his business payments at the end of the month, I may just put it into his Christmas period costs from shutdown. (It is a shutdown cost because of the delays caused from Christmas shutdown). We used $800 at Christmas time and this $496 will bring it to $1296, so we would allow next Christmas for a slightly higher amount.

Keeping Track of Things We Owe

February 6th, 2016 at 05:19 am

It's about a week until we see some money other than our savings and there's a few balls in the air I need to keep track of...

*Last week I received a $20 snowflake from the shopping rewards, so when we have some cash I need to transfer it to the EF. Today I spent the $80 needed for the second week to get another $15 snowflake on my next shop, so the snowflakes balance to be transferred could increase by the time we receive money next (I don't think it will though).

*The coffee pods purchase. I consider coffee pods to be part of our grocery shopping so every time we opened a packet (we bought 10) I would include that in our weekly shop and transfer the money to my card. However the amount per packet is $8.32, which is much higher than the usual $3.70-$5. I decided that when we receive money I would transfer half the full amount over ($41.60) and then every time we use a packet pay $4.16. So we need to pay the $41.60.

*Meat: I got my hair done today ($110) and decided to stop in at the butcher on the way home (both are a suburb over). I was only going to get enough for our weekly shop but the bulk prices were so good, I got two-three weeks worth. Here's what we got:
- 2 pork steaks $6
- 2 x 2 chicken schnitzels $5.40 each
- chicken sausages $6
- beef mince $6
- 2 x 2 chicken marylands $3.80 each
- 2 x 2 chicken breast fillets $5.80 each
- 3 x beef rump steaks $8.85 each

The cost of the whole lot was $75.38, which I put on my credit card and will transfer over each weekly portion as we buy groceries (because we only have minimal cash). This week's meal plan:

- tomorrow chicken Maryland and roast vegetables
- Monday - we don't cook, it is get your own food night (because B has poker with his friends it is easier for me to make soup & toast or something)
- Tuesday - pork steaks & veggies
- Wednesday - steak & veggies
- Thursday - chicken alfredo with pasta
- Friday - we don't cook, it is get something from the oven or takeaway.

So the cost of this week's meat will be $3.80 + $6 + $8.85 + $5.80 = $24.45.

The price paid for the various meats is roughly the same as discount at the supermarket. The only thing is you don't always get discount at the supermarket, so it's good to have a couple of weeks on hand where we know it's for a low price.

*Grocery shopping: Budget this week $120. Spent so far $33.10 + $24.45 + $22.90 (some more purchases today) = $80.45, leaving just under $40 left. We need to buy fruit & veggies, lunch food, cheap meat for the dog (butcher didn't have this), bread and up-n-goes (cereal drink) for B, and cream for the chicken alfredo (and possibly pasta). May need to be creative, or may be ok.


So glad to get these figures out in the open and in front of me, I was worried I'd forget something.

Quick Friday Post

February 5th, 2016 at 12:20 pm

It/s last thing on a Friday night here but I'm not completely ready to go to bed so I thought I might just do a quick post. Bedtime's not far off though.

Not a whole lot to report, just a fairly pleasant non-eventful day. My co-worker went to a seminar for the morning and brought us back a blueberry muffin to share, so that was nice Smile.

I'm getting my hair done tomorrow (it is *so* in need of it) and later on that day it is my friend's birthday, so that works out well (having an occasion to wear nice hair too!). The friend's birthday is at another friend's place and we each have to bring a platter of food, as well as our drinks.

I decided to make a spinach dip and put it inside a Cobb bread (where you use the inside bread as the dipping portion). Have never tried this before so really hope it works!

Spent around $5 on the ingredients, need to get the Cobb bread from the bakery tomorrow. I also spent $33.10 on some of our groceries, things that were marked down - got almond milk, three packets of muesli bars, a big bottle of olive oil, potato chips, laundry liquid, wet cat food and denta stix for the dog. Denta stix are chew bones, but of course when I got home I realised I was going to look into a softer option for her because they are starting to get difficult for her to chew. Must remember next time!

I also got wine worth $9.20 (two bottles) and B's beer ($50).

B & I had a relaxing night just vegging out in front of the tv, we had sausage rolls and mini dim sims for tea - spent lots of time flicking through various things on the iPad (did do around 20 minutes worth of housework first though).

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Dipped Into Savings; and Coffee Pod Purchase

February 4th, 2016 at 10:50 am

A day after transferring all that was left over from last month's pay, I found out that B is not getting paid until next week. (I thought he was getting paid today)

So I ended up transferring $446 from savings to cover the weekly automatic savings payment (I don't want to get into the habit of putting that on hold or cancelling it), groceries, alcohol, my hair getting done, money to put in towards my friend's birthday present and money for B's social stuff ($20 this week). This week we will have to make sure we don't go over $120 on the grocery spend! I am determined.

Thankfully he is now billing his usual amounts so in a couple of weeks we should be back to normal.

***

Last year I got some really nice biodegradable coffee pods which were pricey but really nice. They emailed me a deal of 25% off 100 pods, which was quite good. I was going to buy four months worth (this would tip it into the free freight category) but when I tried to apply the deal it didn't work.

They may have sold out already. I ended up getting a 10 pack of pods (100 in total, it is 10 per sleeve) of different flavours to try out.

The last time I bought was October, I think. This is a company I don't mind supporting occasionally so we will call this my splurge. The 10 pack plus freight costed $83.20, so at $8.32 per packet of pods compared to my usual $4.76 it is a splurge! (Will not happen again until later this year). I'm looking forward to trying all of the different flavours.

***

A friend found a cruise she really wanted to go on next year for Australia Day, which goes for three days and would cost us $1598. As Thailand for us has been pushed back to next year also it would mean two expensive holidays in a year - really did not want to commit to that. With me it was more the money - our Thailand offer was for 7 nights accommodation plus flights was $1600; and this is a three day cruise not stopping anywhere and we still would have to get flights etc. Not thrilling.

B just wasn't keen on going. Unfortunately pretty much everyone else she has invited has also declined because of the expense - most people she has invited are families, so their cost was around $4000. So she's a bit upset at the moment because she thought it would be fun. Hopefully in time she will realise that it's not everyone's cup of tea, and it's very expensive, and be ok with it. At the moment she's pretty disappointed so I think I want to leave her be for a little while, and talk to her when it's all died off a bit.

January Savings & Monthly Wrap-Up

February 3rd, 2016 at 11:37 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EF, Tax Stuff, Grocery Rewards, etc

January 28th, 2016 at 11:35 am

52 Week Challenge starting balance: $868.60
Plus this week's EF savings: $71.02
52 Week Challenge closing balance: $939.62

This week's EF savings will be automatically transferred in the morning, so thought I would update now. Next week we will be over $1000.00, so that's exciting!

I think on Sunday, being the 31st of January, I will officially update the Mini EF and Maxi EF breakdown on the sidebar too.

***

The other day I lodged B's sales tax report and we also have to pay an amount towards his 2016 income tax. This is a percentage of his net earnings based on a rate the government give us. I looked at his earnings and worked out the tax payable so far to be $1904 and it turns out that in the first two quarters of the year we paid $1988! Very happy about that because that's something we don't have to try to find money for.

***

I had to buy catfood today so went to Safeway to get it and they had a few good deals on things- I spent $35 and got two weeks worth of catfood, a month's worth of biscuits, coffeepods, dinner for tomorrow night, stirfry sauce and deodorant for B. We have now spent enough to qualify for the first week of the snowflake.

I thought we had to spend two weeks of $80 in a row but as soon as I paid for groceries there was a printout saying that I now qualify to receive $20 ($15 for spending $80 plus $5 already in my rewards balance), so that will be good to add to the challenge also. Not sure what will happen next week though - maybe I will do the rest of the grocery shopping there on the weekend, get the snowflake then, and then next week do the grocery shopping there again to qualify for week 2 by spending over $80.

***

I also bought a bottle of wine for $8.50 (marked down from $17, so it is a fancy wine). I have not been good with my new years resolution of only drinking one bottle of wine per week, so will aim to do this this week. The only reason why I may have more is if we catch up for a friend's birthday on the weekend, which is likely as we spoke about it last week - no concrete plans have been made yet though.

Shopping Rewards & Camping Trip For The Dog

January 26th, 2016 at 11:19 am

I am a member of a supermarket rewards program which last year was doing some pretty good deals. In August-September the deal was spend over $100 in groceries three weeks in a row and receive a $30 gift card - which I did so, that was a good snowflake.

Then they changed it for a while to buy certain items and earn shopping dollars to be deducted off your shopping bill once it exceeds $10. This deal sucked. All of the things that you could earn shopping dollars on were overpriced and not something I would want to buy. I'm not going to spend extra just to receive money back? I'm happy to spend there instead of elsewhere as long as the spend is roughly our normal spend.

So now they have brought out a new deal - spend more than $80 two weeks in a row to receive $30 in shopping dollars to be deducted off your next shop. Finally something worthwhile from them.

So far this week we have spent $62.11, so for this week just under $18 remains. This will be easy to achieve as we will need to do a grocery shop on the weekend and week 1 runs on out on Sunday.

***

It is a public holiday here (Australia Day) and usually we take Monday off and have a long weekend away. I didn't get around to taking time off so instead we decided to go on a mini camping trip from Saturday morning to Sunday morning.

We were going to leave Friday night but there were major storms everywhere and flooding (nothing like what the US was dealing with at the same time though!) so we left first thing in the morning.

We thought it would be fun to take the dog on a camping trip too! It turns out the dog is a little old for this though and spent most of Saturday tired and out of her comfort zone. She had a big sleep that night though so on Sunday morning she realised we were staying in a giant playground and was very keen to explore everywhere!

She was very happy to be home though Smile.

We're not sure that we'll take her away again though because it looked like it took a lot out of her. She's 13 now, so does get more tired than when she was younger. It was a fun experience though, something out of the ordinary.

Jessie at the end of day 1:



A nice sunset while camping:



Jessie having fun on Sunday morning:






Days 14-17/365 days of things that made me smile

January 18th, 2016 at 11:13 am

Financially our weekend was fairly quiet. We are still watching our pennies as it will be a little while until B is back to getting full week's pays.

Our groceries came in at $136, which was higher than the $120 I had allowed but we ran out of a lot of toiletry items. There were a few other things bought here and there, but in the end we ended up spending about half of what we normally spend, which was good. I can see that next week we have money set aside at a half week's pay. Still not dipping into savings yet so that's pretty great! We may have to dip into something to cover B's car lease payment, or maybe we'll be ok and not have to - time will tell.

Doing this exercise of 365 days of things that make me smile makes me realise that really there are so many little things in my day that make me smile, sometimes it's hard to choose! And a lot of those don't involve spending a lot, which is awesome Smile.

Day 14:



Settling down on the couch with a nice glass of wine on a Friday night. Ceejay74 here is my wine glass kind of like yours Smile.

Day 15:



My Body Balance class. This is a combination of yoga and pilates, and usually by song 3 I am smiling. It is so relaxing and uplifting.

Day 16:



Spending time with my sister, who was her usual happy and chirpy self. Mum and I went to visit her, and took her out for lunch, it was a lovely day. She is intellectually disabled and in a government-run home on the other side of town (because Mum and my stepdad lived in that area). They take such good care of her. I don't see her often enough, but yesterday was a really lovely day.

Day 17:



Being lucky enough to live in a first world. Last night we were watching The Kingdom, and it just made me think of how lucky we are compared to other countries. A lot more freedom (eg not in a war zone or a risky area), electricity, running water, healthcare, etc etc the list goes on. When it all comes down to it, we do alright.

Day 11/365 Days of Gratitude

January 12th, 2016 at 11:03 am

For day 11, the thing I am grateful for is my all-time favourite tv show being played on tv. It is Medium, which got cancelled a few years ago.



I have every single DVD of all seven seasons and watch them occasionally. They very rarely get played on tv. But last night as I was going to bed I was flicking the channels, and it was just starting. Yes, I ended up falling asleep *very* late (as in just before midnight) but it was a funny episode and I so enjoyed it.

Yesterday was my first no-spend day for the year. I simply worked and went to a gym class, nothing was needed to be bought. I'm hoping that Wednesday and Thursday will be no-spend days.

Today I spent $10.50 on groceries: some more lettuce as we are using it up and having salad for tea tomorrow night, and a couple of Lean Cuisine meals because Thursday night I want to do a Zumba class which is around dinnertime. Am doing very well in January, with eating in moderation and exercising. Haven't lost the Christmas weight yet, but on my way.

Have a lovely day guys!

365 Days of Gratitude, Day #3

January 4th, 2016 at 02:57 am

My thing I am grateful today is:



The Zumba class I attended this morning! It was a fun way to spend an hour. Today is my second day of my four day gym streak. As somebody who generally goes to the gym once a week (if I'm lucky), I am starting to feel sore.

Yesterday I did a 2km jog on the treadmill, today a 1hr Zumba class. I am hoping to do a Body Pump (weights) class and a Sh'bam (dance) class over the remaining two days.

I may actually get complete use of my gym membership this month. Admission to the gym or cost of a class is $10.00 each visit. My gym membership of $20 per week is deducted each Monday, and this month it will work out to be five Mondays, so $100.00. My four day gym streak will use up $40.00, leaving $60.00 for the month, so I can then go a minimum of 6 times for the remaining three weeks. Totally doable. (Ps going to the gym may be expensive but I enjoy it, and I like going to this gym as it is close to home. There are cheaper options however they are further from home. I do acknowledge that a gym membership is a luxury and more of a want than a need, as the truth is you don't need to go to the gym to get fit; there are always alternatives)

Financial doings for the day were:
- noticing that I had forgotten to buy ice cream and peanut butter but deciding to add it to next week's shopping list (we spent $100 this week which is all I want us to spend)
- creating a new spreadsheet for our budget. We have had our budget spreadsheet from September 2012 so it was starting to get a bit full. I have kept the same format however, as it works perfectly for us
- not much else other than trying to budget for the next two weeks. I had to transfer $150 from B's business account to his credit card for a work expense and he has $375 left there for our spending next week. If he has to transfer $175 for petrol (a possibility), we will be left with $200 to use for food and alcohol and other spending money. Still doable, we just need to watch what we do.

It is different compared to a year ago because we do have money we can fall back on and withdraw if needed. This is a nice feeling. However, I would so much rather not withdraw until needed.

$14 For The Rest Of November? Maybe...

November 28th, 2015 at 12:46 pm

November finances have been an absolute shambles for me, because of visiting my Nan to say goodbye. I have been watching my spending like a hawk and trying to cut back wherever possible...

Mortgage and bills was semi-high, coming to $1441, due to usual bills plus a water bill, gas bill and council rates (property taxes). Savings & debt repayment lower than usual at $429 (still 12% of my pay though),but it's basically just 52 wk savings and credit card balance transfer repayment only.

Health items was $175 due to my $140 dentist visit today. No matter how poor I may be at the moment there is no way I'm re-scheduling that because I know I may not re-schedule that for a while and it will stretch out to the next visit. Happily only a clean and polish was required today. My dentist said one of my silver fillings is starting to wear and may need to be replaced, but will check on my next visit (May-June next year). Glad to keep up the maintenance on these things though, because prevention is better than cure.

Shopping was $300, which is about normal. Petrol was only $20, because B filled up my car at the end of last month and it lasted that long.

My main other spending item was I bought a pair of work shoes last night. My last pair I bought for $120 and they lasted 18 months (possibly 3 months too long, but anyway!). They were good leather so I was looking for something about the same. You guys have Black Friday sales and here we have been having four-day Cyber sales to match it, so we have been getting all of your US brands cheap. As a result, the Australian retailers are trying to match the sales to not miss out. So, I got a good pair of leather shoes worth $140 for $65. The shoes are not a want, but a need as my old shoes had holes in both soles and the leather on top was coming apart. And they were a bargain buy - would rather pay $65 than $120/$140.

Which brings me to Nana's trip. I put the whole price of $1359 into my spending app as well as all of my expenses, but knew that I could not afford to pay back $1359 in one whole month. So I figured I would adjust the amount I was over down and carry forward whatever was owed into the next month. So I am at $745 over. $1359 - $745 = $614.

So I'm thinking what if I can only spend $14 for the rest of November and then I will have paid back $600 against the $1359 trip.... This will involve instead of doing a full shopping trip just buying bits and pieces for the next couple of days and making up the difference in December.

An inventory of the food needed brings me to coffee pods (can get for $4), meat for the dog ($3-$5) and something for dinner... We have beef already and a couple of rolls, maybe just get a couple more ($0.80 each) and lettuce ($2-$3)...

Then $1359 - $600 = $759 carried forward towards next month, and at least I have a big payment to show for all of the scrimping and saving done! I don't know if I can pay back the $759 next month, but I will try.

Hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving! (we don't celebrate it in Oz however)

Banking the Difference on Mortgage, etc

October 25th, 2015 at 05:31 am

Hello all, hoping all is well!

My latest financial transactions of note are adding the $183 mortgage savings straight onto the mortgage principal. Have added this amount to the banking the difference challenge, and the anticipated end of year figures will now be:

$5300 50wk challenge + $3558.54 banking the difference
= $8858.54

At the same time, I also put our $180 monthly insurance savings into the mortgage offset too - we now have $760 saved up for that, so those savings are on schedule.

The mortgage interest rate has gone up so next month our payment might be a bit higher, which reduces the savings Frown

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On my mind as well as going away on our camping trip is paying for the balance of the Thailand trip next year. We paid $300 (which mostly came out of the holiday fund) deposit and $1300 remains, haven't been advised as to when it is payable so it's best to work towards repaying it anyway.

I lodged our tax returns and I receive back $1616. Of that $1283 goes back to the EF for the study unit I purchased, and $130 goes back to the EF for money we borrowed from it.

That will amount to a $203 snowflake which I will put towards our $1300 payment, leaving $1097 payable. Over the next couple of months I think our focus will be trying to save a decent amount towards it.

I also lodged B's tax return, but he is payable and that payment is coming out of his business income which he has saved.

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The only other thing on my mind right now is doing the grocery shopping. I was given a $10 off voucher if we spend over $100, so I'm pretty sure we will need to spend that - so there will be the first $10 towards the holiday fund!!!

$15 Reward & Cost of Wedding

September 13th, 2015 at 12:23 pm

This weekend while grocery shopping I received a $15.00 discount from the supermarket as a reward for shopping there for 4 weeks and spending over $100 each time (the $30 gift card for the first weeks is still due to arrive). Shopping was then reduced down to $100.40. Last week I paid a couple of phone bills and there was a $10 discount on one of them, so sent over $25 back to the EF (the $15 reward, the $10 bill saving). Now the amount owed back to the EF from what we borrowed is $130.00.

It is the 13th and I am now currently at 77% spent. Watching carefully.

I promised Debtfree-by-thirty that when I got around to it I would post up the cost of our destination wedding. I opened up the spreadsheet and it came in at $8615.88. I still think it ended up being around $10000 though, because I was carefully monitoring costs up to departing for the wedding, once we were at our destination there was way too much going on to track finances. Here is the breakdown as follows:

Flight to & from Queensland $651.88
Celebrant $640.00
Photographer $840.00
Wedding rings $734.00
Invitations $115.00 (we bought the material from a scrapbooking store and made them ourselves)
Catering $1200.00
Honeymoon accommodation $848.00
Hire car $452.00
Alcohol $500.00 (I have a feeling we allowed $500.00 but when we got there we may have spent $1000.00 as we bought beer, wines and many premixed spirit drinks)
Spending money $1000.00
Bride's Dress $890.00
Groom's Suit $200.00
Marquee & jukebox $545.00

I haven't included makeup etc, but when we arrived in Queensland I got acrylic nails (French manicure), spray tan, makeup done, hair done - it all could have come to about $500. While we there we put together thank you for attending bags with cards & sugar almonds, that was about $100 (maximum).

We had about 30 people at our wedding (in October 2010) and did not have to pay for a venue as we held the wedding on my sister-in-law's tropical rainforest property.

Hopefully this has been helpful, it was certainly interesting to reflect back over!

Balance Transfer Card Due Date

September 6th, 2015 at 12:09 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scary September

September 3rd, 2015 at 12:10 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lots of Little Things

August 28th, 2015 at 11:27 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hoping you all have a nice weekend Smile

Credit Card Payment 1 Plus Other Stuff

August 22nd, 2015 at 07:38 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope you all enjoy your weekend!!

Party Success Now Back to Reality

August 11th, 2015 at 10:28 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hoping you've all been well, talk soon Smile

Week 27, Card Approval, Football Win

July 26th, 2015 at 10:57 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Misc Financial Transactions

July 22nd, 2015 at 12:58 pm

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

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

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

Challenges Week 26 & First Ever EBay Buy!

July 20th, 2015 at 11:45 am

Week 26 of the challenges hasn't been too too bad. We did lots of little things that weren't really that expensive. I bought more food this week in anticipation of B's smaller paycheck next week - tried to buy bigger staples, or slightly more of them, so that there will be less food to buy in the grocery shopping. I accidentally bought too much meat, so it looks like I may only have to buy one meat item next week. This is great, because meat is the most expensive item.

On Friday I treated myself a little. My sister's birthday is today and she wanted a body shop body butter pack. They had a special where if you spend more than $30, you can get an item half price. Her gift pack was $36, so I did something I rarely do and gave into a sale item that I didn't plan to buy in the first place. I got a lovely body butter in the blueberry fragrance - it is sooo nice. Worth $23, paid $12.

Then later on, on Friday night I thought about the new handbag I want to buy before B's birthday party. I wanted a new handbag, but because this is a not needed item and really much much more of a want, I put a $20 limit on the bag and bought it from EBay. This is the first time I have ever bought off EBay so I'm really hoping to get the bag at the end of the week with no problems. Cross your fingers for me! The bag was a good brand, a black Jag bag, for $20 and free postage (woohoo). It looks really nice and didn't break the bank either Smile

A Snowflake, Environmentally Friendly Coffee Pods & Party Savings

July 8th, 2015 at 12:27 pm

Lots of goings on today!

Firstly I received a snowflake. For my online study unit I bought a book and then found that I had an older version from a couple of years ago and am allowed to use it, so returned it and received the refund today of $109.76. Postage to send it was $23.15, so net snowflake is $86.61. As I am not collecting snowflakes and the EF is owed $407.76, I transferred $86.60 to the EF, and now $321.16 remains owing.

The $86.60 is on my credit card so I transferred cash from our weekly spending money and need to use the $86.60 for weekly expenses. Had to pay back $17 for alcohol bought and $20.52 for petrol (they were bought ahead for this weekend), and bought coffee pods online (more below) for $22.50 and grocery items tonight for $7.04, so $19.54 remains to be spent. This may simply be next week's petrol expense I think.

I have coffee pod machine (which I love dearly) and have been reading backlash about the fact that once the coffee pods are used they cannot be recycled (Nespresso) and simply sit in landfill, which is a huge problem. The cheaper pods I often buy (Piazza L'Or) are not much better. However I have read about a better more environmentally friendly coffee pod made by a NZ company called Eco Caffe, where their pods are biodegradable. Today I ordered two sleeves a trial. They are the same price as Nespresso so are not cheap but when I think of the environmental benefit, I think it is an expense worth paying. The two sleeves are $14.80 with a postage charge of $7.70 (ugh). If you order more than $100 worth of pods, postage is free. So if they taste ok and I can buy that amount (depending on the useby date on the box - will have to look when I receive the two sleeves), it's about as cost economical as I can get it. (And I would have, say, four-five months worth of coffee pods- kind of like Toilet-Paper-Tracker with her tissues!). We'll see how this idea pans out.

Finally, we received the remaining two invoices, so have the party money saved away, which is a big relief. We are not out of the woods yet with him though, because they are still behind with their invoice payments (just not as behind). He also only will have worked for 2.5 days of this week so will not be invoicing out, so I am currently looking at the invoices he has owing and I can see already that in between slow payments and one week of nothing billed out, it's only the 8th but we will need to watch our money carefully to be able to make the car payment, his motorbike payment and superannuation (in total $1405) which is due at the end of the month. So I'm happy we have the party money but still a bit worried, not quite in comfort zone yet! A quiet week this week it will be!

Week 24 & Football Winnings = Mini Holiday Fund

July 6th, 2015 at 09:51 am

Week 24 ended up going pretty smoothly. I was stressed out last week about having to spend for a birthday party at the last minute when we didn't really have a lot of money available but it ended up ok.

I got invited out with my friends on Friday night, so I drove and had wedges with sweet chilli sauce and sour cream ($9) and bought a wine and soft drink, so did not spend much. I bought a perfume for the cousin worth $30 and she really loved it (was good because it was worth $60 and I have it, it's a great perfume called Wish). B found out we can bring our own alcohol which saved about $40. The restaurant was expensive, $70 for the both of us, so at least we didn't have to pay for overpriced alcohol! Groceries were as cheap as I could get - $94, which is what I was spending for us when B was off work. It was B's turn tonight to host the poker party (his Monday night event) so we spent $38 on food for entertaining- he did a beef casserole for 8 and I managed to score a plate (yum!).

We did have to draw some money again from the EF but not as much as last week - $142, $45 to cover the shortfall from spending and $97 to cover B's petrol for the week. Total amount now owed back to the EF is $407.76.

This week we are hoping B gets paid for all old and current invoices so then we can have the party pretty much paid for and start getting back to normal. I want to have the party money well ahead of time so that we can enjoy his birthday and make it a memorable occasion instead of it being a stressful occasion!!

Now for something I consider pretty exciting.. Every time my football team wins I save $1 for every point they win by. This weekend they won by 110 points!!! Their biggest win against this team in 119 years. I actually owe $2 for a win a couple of weeks ago and now $110 for last weekend's game. I felt like celebrating so thought you know what, I'm going to turn their winnings into a mini holiday fund! Travel is a big part of who I am and what I love- I love at least one holiday a year. So I worked out the winnings and have adjusted my sidebar accordingly. Currently there is $270.00 there.

The mini-holiday fund can be a contribution towards a holiday or perhaps simply a leisure event. I'm just giving these dollars a particular purpose. Our wedding anniversary is in October this year and we haven't really planned anything because our focus is on the party. For $270.00 we can get a room in the best hotel in Melbourne (marked down from $400), so we could go out for a really nice dinner and a great hotel room is already paid for. Or we could put that towards three nights in Port Douglas, Queensland ($100 might have to be paid out of pocket). Flights up there and back are pretty cheap. Swanky hotel or fun in the sun, what would you guys choose? Decisions decisions Smile

Party Savings, My Retirement Fund & A Gripe

July 2nd, 2015 at 12:48 pm

B got paid and after tax we have saved the majority of this invoice - $1470. Two more invoices to go and $2230 left to save. I can't wait to have it saved because I'm out of my comfort zone with having to save this much money in such a short amount of time - the anxiety I am experiencing is my indicator. $1470 is just under 40% of the required amount, I am reminding myself of this. And reminding myself that this will be a great night, and worth the anxiety.

B keeps telling me that we still have 5 weeks to we don't have to save so hard, but I worry that something expensive could come up and derail us, so it's better to get it over with. Even if the expensive thing is simply a slow-payer for his business! I do look forward to getting back into the challenges too - the mortgage dropped again, now it's $995 per month with a saving of $183, looking forward to adding that saving to the challenge, trust me Smile

Invitations got sent out to everyone this week, so that is an important thing done.

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All of the talk on this site about retirement funds has made me want to check mine - I really only look at the annual statements and that's it. Last year at 1 July it was $69000. So I decided that on 1 July I would get out the statement from last year and register to log into the website and check everything there. I did that, and found that it has increased to $79031! My current pay is $55000 per year, however I'm not sure that I would need that as a retired person, I'm imagining I could get by on $40000 a year. Remembering Ceejay74's post a while ago about saving amounts by looking at the annual pay and multiplying it by x depending on how old you are - I am 37, so would fit into needing 2 x times my salary in my retirement fund. If the market continued in this fashion I could have my actual annual salary by 40 multiplied by 2, but currently it is sitting at 2 x $40000, so I am happy with that.

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My gripe: my inlaws are lovely but have become accustomed to eating out at every birthday, which is so expensive! We had to go out for the MIL's birthday last Sunday and his cousin's birthday is this weekend. (Close family) The uncle told us that she just wants to go out with friends for her 30th. Now we get a phone call today that we the family are to go out a restaurant in an upmarket suburb for the family celebration the following night! Grrr. Two days notice is pretty rude for something where you need to buy a present, pay for two dinners and drinks. Do they think we're rolling in it and would just happen to have a spare $150 to blow??? No, they obviously didn't think.

To cut costs I told B that we would buy her present, not put in with his sister (she likes buying vouchers, so will ask for $50, whereas I will shop around and spend around $30 - I'm thinking perfume of some sort), and to call back his uncle and ask him if the restaurant has BYO alcohol (a lot of chinese restaurants do).

I know, looking at the bigger picture, it is good to have family that do these things and are close, and we will get to have a nice meal. Hopefully we can bring our own alcohol too to cut costs too. I told B that we will not be spending a lot on food this week - we have bulk bought so only need to buy meat and vegetables, everything else we have. We have a spaghetti sauce and spaghetti, so just need mince, and I am thinking instead of having steak etc of just buying a big packet of sausages and eating that a few different ways.

Apologies for the super long post! I am constantly telling myself to relax and not be so anxious - I figure if I keep doing this, keep breathing and going to my happy place, everything will all work out and it will all be fine.

50 Week Challenge Week 19 & various

May 26th, 2015 at 10:27 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Challenges Week 17 & Third Football Win

May 11th, 2015 at 09:33 am

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.


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