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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.

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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.

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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.

Work Issues Re Leave

February 5th, 2017 at 03:32 am

Warning: long post about my job below!

On Friday there was a misunderstanding at work which needs to be rectified tomorrow. The only reason why it wasn't rectified Friday was because it happened on closing time, and I needed a bit of processing time to work out the best way to deal with this.

I'm jotting this down here because I would like to have the information documented plus this is a financial site, and it's definitely of a financial nature. There are two matters that I am writing about:

Matter 1: Unpaid Overtime & Going Home Early.

I work at a small accounting firm (boss R, senior coworker C who is second in charge, myself next in hierarchy and junior coworker J), so it is salary income at a professional services firm, not wage income where you clock on and clock off and get paid an hourly rate. The hours are 9-5 with some overtime required to be worked if needed and I've always been ok with that.

I don't really do much overtime after work, maybe between 5 and 15 minutes a day, but we work a 7 hour day with 1 hour for lunch however I rarely take the full hour, only really if I go out on the lunchbreak. I am totally ok with this as I'm not really a lunchy type of person. I like to eat and read a bit from 12-12.30 then spend 15 minutes making a coffee and looking at my phone, and am back working at 12.45. So there is 15 minutes per day unpaid overtime before working back after work. C works through her lunch but she plays sports so goes home early 1 day a week for that and also goes to appointments and things in the daytime. R is like me, eats and reads and goes back to work. J always leaves the office and generally takes the whole lunchbreak but not always.

With my work sometimes R will go home early on a Friday and usually C will say ok is everyone ready to go at about 4.30, every now and then at 4 but not often - usually on a public holiday weekend.

A couple of weeks ago I asked R for half of a Friday off in the next few weeks by putting in a formal leave application for the 4 hours. He asked me what it was about and I told him but also said that if we were busy (it is our busy time of year) I don't mind leaving a bit later - I could work up to 2pm. I thought I was being nice. He said ok, in that case don't worry about the leave application, we'll play it by ear on the day, if needed work up to 2pm. Then he asked if I was ok to work last Friday which was a public holiday weekend (Thursday was the public holiday and he didn't want to close the office on Friday) and I said fine, no problem. Thought there was nothing else to note really? Friday I was working a normal day, my usual hours and that was it.

So on Friday R went home early and at 4.30 C asked if we were ready to go and we said yes thank you. I generally talk with C about when we leave early and it's by mutual agreement that it will not be before 4.30 on a normal Friday or 4 on a public holiday weekend. So I was just chatting and told her how I let J and I go home at 4 last Friday. She then yelled out "just how many liberties do you want to take V?!"

I had no idea what she was talking about so I asked her what she was talking about (no tone however, as I genuinely didn't know and was trying to work it out) and she said "so you went home early Australia Day weekend and now you want to go home half a day or so on the other Friday?" and I told her I put a leave application in for that, I was using my annual leave. It's just R said don't worry about it because I offered to work a bit more.

She then said not to worry about it because we (R & I) have something worked out between us. I then said to her that I'm happy to use my annual leave, that's why I put the application in. I would expect no less for a half day, it's not like going home an hour early. She then said to sort it out with R.

I think it's best to insist that he accept the leave application now. Even if I finished at 2 I doubt I would have 3 hours unpaid overtime to use up so it's the right thing to do and I'm more than happy to. Plus I do not want anyone to think that I am taking advantage of my boss by getting paid for time I am not working and may not have worked. I don't want anyone to think I am ripping anybody off.

With leaving at 4 last week, I know that from Monday to Wednesday I worked a shorter lunchbreak so there is 45 minutes unpaid overtime. I think from now on I am going to keep a spreadsheet with all of my unpaid overtime just so that I know if we get to go home early on a Friday I have actually earned that money, no questions asked. (And also in the event that the unpaid overtime starts to build up I will use up more of my lunchbreak so that I am not working too much time which is unpaid.)

Matter 2: My Long Service Leave

Not sure if you have long service leave where you are but here in Australia generally after more than 10 years of service in a job (or some industries you can have a portable long service leave which is contributed to by whichever employer you are working for, does not have to be 10 years in one job) an employee is entitled to around 1 week leave per year which can be either taken as leave or withdrawn as a cash payment.

Here employment standards change with each industry and they change all the time so you pretty much always need to deal with the government institution to find out what is currently correct.

A while ago C was talking to R about long service leave and he told her that we are not entitled to it. (I always kept this piece of information in the back of my mind to refer back to). I would actually like to know what my entitlements for long service leave are and would like to be able to see on my payslip the long service leave accrued as well the annual leave (currently we only see annual leave). And as this is currently worth 12 weeks pay it's quite a substantial snowflake!

I hope to deal with this in the next week or two, in the near future anyhow. Must make lunches and go to bed.

Monday Movements

July 18th, 2016 at 03:32 pm

Spent the weekend spending quality time with B plus we visited both our families. By the time it was Sunday night and I had just enough time to hang all the washing out all I felt like doing was my nails! Glad I did, they look so nice.

But after work I had to spend a good couple of hours cleaning up and various chores. Our weather is more rainy than not at the moment so quite often have to use the dryer. Not last night Smile.

I managed to fit most things on the clothesline and put all our socks etc on the clothes horse. My frugal contribution for the day Smile.

On the financial side of things it was a pretty quiet day. I gave B $20 for his poker game with his friends (at $5 per week they all have a lot of fun) and I spent $10 on a really good hair mask for me. I tend to buy the cheapest shampoo and conditioner I can get usually so why not splurge occasionally? I can't wait to wash my hair tonight and do the mask treatment Smile.

January Savings & Monthly Wrap-Up

February 3rd, 2016 at 03:37 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September Wrap-up

September 30th, 2015 at 04:50 am

I'm going to aim to keep this entry short, especially as I'm not using wifi at the moment, so should get off the internet soon. (And look at the modem again soon).

I've been noting down my figures but then I felt like using something a bit more visual. Something fairly simple, don't have the energy right now to work out how to use something with a bank feed and code things etc. I found an app called Spending and it's super easy to use and the top half of the screen looks like a chalkboard and simply states "Income" $$, underneath Expenses $$ and underneath that the amount you have left over.

The bottom half has a pie chart which shows percentage of each spending category. So simple and visually all I wanted!

Bills for September amounted to 63%. Bills are high in September because they're all lumped together and also because it's at the end of winter so we've been running the heater, dryer etc. Spring is here so not as much need to run everything.

Savings amounted to 15%. Spending on food etc was fairly low key and I tried to spend as little as possible on petrol, clothes etc.

I like the app, so I think for October I will use it but put in the bills and 15% savings and aim to live off the rest.

Holiday Fund Complete Withdrawal, EOM transactions

September 23rd, 2015 at 05:12 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Turning a 5 week month into a 4 wk month musing..

September 22nd, 2015 at 01:08 am

It's the 22nd today and I've survived September so far. It doesn't even feel like I've really struggled despite having to pay a whole lot of bills this month. Still have around $900 or so to shell out tomorrow but it's accounted for.

Am now through 90% of my pay. We allocate our spending weekly every Wednesday which this month would be 5 weeks in a month. Because the expenses have been high the next two Wednesday's would be living pretty scantily.

So I'm thinking why don't I transfer next week's spending money on the first, as the bills are lower next month. Then I can definitely save 15% and live kind of comfortably? I'm liking the idea of saving 15% this month as the last few months we've only been averaging about 7-8%, and that post in Donald's investment blog inspired me! And as only 8 days are left in the month it should be manageable.

July Wrap-up & Balance Transfer Repayment Plan

July 31st, 2015 at 12:52 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

52 Week Challenge Week 15 & bits and pieces

April 28th, 2015 at 05:03 am

Last weekend was week 15, and now in one section, the EF, we have hit triple digits! Progress is a beautiful thing Smile

Last weekend was the first of three weeks where we really have to watch our money, because of B's uncertainty of when he'll get paid next- they're saying three weeks so we'll budget for that.

I prepaid over the interest to his card and then it wasn't charged (still on $0, yay). I normally would have counted it as a snowflake but he bought petrol for work at $96, so leaving off the $62 received, we had to pay $34. (So we had a $567 less $34). So this weekend our money situation was semi-normal really. Missed out on a snowflake, and while we couldn't afford the party savings, we still made the 52 week challenge (which to me is crucial, as we need to build up savings and reduce debt). Have to pay some bills next week and there is enough in that account to make the banking the difference deposit (estimated at $143), so as long I can do that, that's good.

We had a quiet weekend, saw a movie called "The Longest Ride" which was a really sweet movie (directed by the director of "The Notebook" and "Dear John"). With groceries, spent our old spend of $170, but part of that was dogworming tablets and we just seemed to run out of a few things this week. Looking over the month, we haven't actually spent that much on groceries because we were away the first week of April and then my birthday was the second week (we had lots of left over food that week).

I have been spending all month jotting down the things I spend and how long it takes to earn each thing as an exercise in money mindfulness. A few things I can tell you is, with both the challenges combined, have managed to save 11.7% of my pay (or 18 hours that I worked within the month). I was aiming for 20% but after the last couple of weeks, it's not possible.

It's really made me evaluate what I spend on though. I don't feel like it's made me not want to spend but rather aim for a few quality things, here and there. I guess I can tell you, the bills portion - housing, insurances, bills, door lock repair to car, dentist visit and insurance savings amounted to 45% of my pay.

I saved $10 on petrol because I filled up once at the second week of the month, for $50 instead of $20 each week simply because I couldn't be bothered updating my notes! They do say that if you fill up once instead of small amounts here and there your fuel does last longer, and I found that it is true.

As I started this exercise in the second week of the month it's not totally accurate. I'm great with tracking expenses most of the time but whenever we go on holiday, I am officially on holiday. No updating finances - the bills get paid before we go, we have some money to spend and what it gets spent on I don't note down because I'm on holiday and relaxing is my priority.

But I found that this exercise is great for helping me live within my means, and to appreciate what I earn and what we can afford.

On another note, B got told about a job opening as a Building Supervisor for a new homes construction company, so we did an application letter for it and sent it with his resume. He thinks it would be a good idea because of the physical toll carpentry takes on the body, he could have a point there. If he's happy, I'm happy, so hopefully he gets it.

Also, last week I had to go over B's tax and work out how much he's earned from 1 July - 31 March, and he came in at $30,814 with $2396 tax payable. As we've paid just over $2400 for the year, there are no problems with not having paid/saved enough. I wanted him to make $40k, and I think he would just squeeze through, if he's lucky. (Of course if he gets a job, we won't have to worry about this anymore)

Money Mindfulness

April 10th, 2015 at 12:58 am

There is a quote I see quite often which is "the price of anything is the amount of life you pay for it".

Today my boss emailed me my payslip and for some reason (maybe I just needed a mental break for a minute) as I opened it that quote popped into my head. So I spent a bit of time actually analysing it.

My pay period starts on the 1st of the month, I work 154 hours a month for a rate of $23.27 after tax. As this is the amount I receive in the bank, I am using this rate.

I guess by doing this exercise I want to appreciate what my time spent at work pays for. It has made me appreciate having a monthly pay, that's for sure!

So far I've worked out: I have to work for 22hrs to pay for my share of the mortgage (we don't split money but for the purpose of how long do I have to work to pay for that thing, I am splitting because I am only looking at my time spent), for example. I have a page on my iPad where I have jotted down things bought & the time needed to work to pay for it. High point is so far $156 has been saved, equal to 6hrs 40 mins of my 154 hrs. Low point is the car door lock we had to buy cost $180 equal to 7hrs 40 mins of my time Frown

I also just bought a bottle of wine for $10 which is just under half an hour of my time. Happy to say it's nice & well worth it!