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Credit Card & Bills In Order; Another Snowflake

April 20th, 2017 at 11:37 am

Today I sorted out my credit card and have paid both down to $0 (not that there was a lot of out-of-pocket to pay). With the Virgin card I paid $348.32 but only $124 of that was out-of-pocket spending, the rest was budgeted for and with my other card I paid $33.74 for last week's transactions.

It was then a great feeling to clear the note I keep on my phone of the various expenses I have put on the cards! (To not let little expenses sink a ship, every time I charge something to my cards I note it down in a note on my phone - this allows me to keep track of what is going on there and also makes me think twice about what is put on there).

All credit cards are now in order.

I then paid for the animal registrations which I neglected to pay last week.

Today I had to get some makeup as I was running low and when I paid at the cash register they informed me that I have a $5 credit as it was my birthday this month! I then applied it to the purchase and put it into the Christmas savings account later.

I have updated my snowflakes spreadsheet including the dividends received. So far I have received $437 in snowflakes; the two highest snowflakes are the dividends received this month of $153 and $140 in Safeway Everyday rewards. Following that is Christmas savings (the balance to make up the challenge) of $74.92, digital change savings of $30.63, the Medicare refund overpayment of $21.15, Priceline rewards $10.58, savings on gift cards $4.50 and interest earned of $2.58.

Technically the savings items aren't really snowflakes but I still feel like I have to add them in there.

Last night B was snoring really loudly so I had my second awful night of sleep. Two nights of falling asleep at 1am and being up at 6am has made me feel like a dead woman walking. As a result I'm only doing a couple of small things tonight and will go to bed soon. Hopefully I can get up before work and watch some more of the lecture I was watching (to avoid leaving everything to the weekend). We had a pretty relaxing night and I'm looking forward to sleeping soon. Goodnight all Smile.

March Spending Will Be Closed Off Soon

April 1st, 2017 at 05:30 am

As I mentioned a few days ago, for the first time in a long time our spending app and bank balance were both pretty close to each other.

We ended up finishing March with $399 left over. The only thing is because a lot of our transactions are credit card / EFTPOS transactions they don't show up immediately, especially over the weekend. I find that it takes about 3 days to see the transactions.

So I'm thinking of definitely closing off March by Tuesday the 4th.

There are a couple of things I want to do with the left over money once I know what it actually is. Firstly, put $59 towards month 3 of the $1000 Christmas savings challenge in order to complete it.

The balance will go to savings. It is the lowest it has been since tracking our joint since when B started his job in March last year, at 2.5% of our income. With about $340 (if that is what it ends up being) it would be around 5%-6% which is a bit better. Will post actual balances in a few days.

On another note, I have now updated the sidebar to reflect that we have completed another one of our goals, to pay off B's tax. (Ok it was more of a necessary goal than something we wanted to do, but still it felt good to complete something)

I then checked our balances in savings and shares; we are now standing at $10,366.25 in total!!! Part of it is due to the market being on a high (the shares have gone up by $842 which is a pretty substantial increase) so am not really sure if the balance will stay that way but it is nice at the moment.

The EF is actually part savings, part mortgage repayment as it is all sitting in the mortgage offset. In the end though if the money is needed then it is needed and will get used. I am just very strict about the actual definition of what constitutes an emergency so hopefully it won't get used.

Work Issues Re Leave

February 5th, 2017 at 11:32 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.

Possible Takeover For My Largest Shareholding

February 3rd, 2017 at 09:17 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Christmas Savings Challenge Month 1: Met!

January 30th, 2017 at 10:23 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend Doings

January 23rd, 2017 at 10:30 am

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

New Tyres Became A New Mattress

January 6th, 2017 at 04:34 am

Hoping everybody had a lovely New Year's. We went away for a few days in our camper trailer, which was lovely but B's back got really sore from sleeping on the rock hard mattress. We put a foam layer on top of it to soften it but that has only lasted so long.

B thought my car needed a new set of tyres however after looking twice decided it was fine. We then decided to use the money allocated towards tyres towards a new mattress for our bed. We will then put one of our other mattresses into the camper trailer and get rid of the really hard mattress. We haven't bought a mattress in 15 years, so I didn't have any objections to buying a new one.

The maximum we had to spend was $1000 and the mattress came in at exactly that. I have just done our monthly budget (normally I do this between the 25th-3rd depending on how expensive I anticipate the month to be) and have found that we can afford this, we just need to not overspend our weekly allocated spending money; as in be super-diligent with this.

Looking forward to seeing what the new mattress feels like to sleep on!

My other financial transaction of note was that I have transferred all but the $110 allocated savings towards shares ($3018.59) into our bank account, which will be then transferred into our mortgage redraw account (which is also a mortgage offset account).

If the maximum interest paid pa is 3% but we are being charged 5.29% pa on our mortgage it seems to be more useful to reduce the interest payable on the home loan. (If anybody has anything to add here, I'm interested in hearing because I could be wrong).

As far as I knew we could have up to $15,000 in redraw. After we transfer the $3018 in there, there should be $5,065 so it would be quite a while before we hit $15,000. Eventually I will have to enquire with the bank as to how much is the maximum you can have here.

Must tidy up our room a bit before we get this new mattress put in tomorrow!

Doings Of The Last Few Days

December 5th, 2016 at 11:13 am

What's been happening this last few days? Here's a few things, financial and non-financial:

- the most important thing of the last few days is I said goodbye to my childhood home. It has been in my family 33 years. Maybe around 12 years ago, Mum sold it because she was moving in with my stepfather; so she sold it to my sister and BIL, who sold it in October and moved out on Saturday. They have pretty much changed the entire inside so it is really a shell of my childhood home. All the same, I took in every last detail for the last time ever. It was a pretty emotional moment. As B said, "you will always have the memories", which is very true.
- Christmas parties Saturday night and Sunday day, both related to B. I have a couple of weeks break from parties etc which is good, a chance to catch up on things and relax a bit.
- Spending has been all over the place, have only been tracking every few days. This weekend we were only slightly over though.
- We were over in spending because this morning my straightener died! I had one which we paid $200 for about 8 years ago, so it has really lasted well. As it was December and this is usually an expensive month, I picked one up for $40 from Priceline. Hopefully technology has improved straighteners and it lasts a while. If I don't like the quality I may get a better brand for my birthday (already have my Christmas present). This went on my credit card, need to repay it this week.
- Only starting to think about Christmas, which is standard for me. B and I already have our presents, and I have 11 presents to buy. Will need to either get them this weekend or next as Christmas weekend will be purely devoted to socialising, cooking and cleaning. If I plan well enough, I can get them all in a couple of hours.
- On Friday the combined value of shares and EF hit $8k! Exciting stuff.

Must make lunches and go to bed, talk soon.

What An Intense Week Last Week Was

October 18th, 2016 at 10:34 am

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

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

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

*****

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

*****

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

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

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

Snowflakes 11/09/16; Credit Card Musings

September 11th, 2016 at 12:28 am

Challenge starting balance: $6,835.74
Plus:
- weekly EF savings $35.69
- football winnings $48.00
- my credit card repayment to balance transfer card $151.50
- B's credit card repayment to his card $180.00
- extra credit card repayment to his card $103.00
Challenge closing balance: $7,353.93

This week's additions to the challenge are the usual EF savings, plus football winnings for games 4-6 from my team (these were all fairly low wins so could add them all together), plus repayments to both my and B's credit cards.

With my credit cards, I am all set to be officially retired from credit card debt by 30th September. That has a nice ring to it, I must admit!

There are some small transactions on my credit card I use amounting to around $77 for 3/4 of a tank of fuel (which I pay back at $20 per week) plus some cosmetics I needed to buy.

There is the anticipated $110 remaining on my balance transfer card plus I have been charged a $129 annual fee for this card.

Which brings me to reassessing what I want to do with this card after it is paid off at the end of the month.

I had the idea of either earning cashback rewards on various cards after the cards were paid off to actually bring some income in after paying credit card companies interest and whatever charges for so many years; or getting a points card and using it to earn rewards.

Now that I have to pay this $129 I'm thinking I may as well keep this card open for a while to utilise the annual fee paid. I've kind of had a shift in thinking of my thoughts about credit card debt too, so I have to consider that.

The thing is our EF is generally at the moment around $7000 give or take a few thousand. So really the credit cards when they are paid off are technically an asset because they are credit available to be used at any point in time if needed, no questions asked.

So if there was a major emergency ie I suddenly lost my job we would be able to use the cash saved in the EF possibly to pay mortgage and bills and use the credit cards to pay for food and other necessities; and we would most likely have six to nine months emergency money available as opposed to two to three months with the cash only.

Perhaps I might revisit the points/cashback ideas in six months or so. Would need to change at least one credit card in any case. My everyday credit card I use has a 14% interest rate (best rate possible for the big 4 Australian banks) while the balance transfer card has a 21% interest rate - so will need another card to replace that with a much lower rate in the next few months. I could increase the credit available on the 14% card, but really I would rather get a lower rate card from a smaller institution - you can get around 8% cards.

Sorry for the super long post guys, I'm just trying to formulate ideas and plans and put them in writing to refer back to later! Feel free to add any thoughts or suggestions.

With B's card I paid the monthly $180 and then referred the balance against what I had in our debt paydown spreadsheet. According to the spreadsheet his card should be at $3192 - it needed an extra $103 repaid to reach this amount. Next month he will be owing just over $3000.

Snowflakes 01/09/16; End of August

September 1st, 2016 at 08:26 pm

Challenge starting balance: $6,642.80
Plus:
- weekly EF savings $35.69
- football winnings $58.00
- plumber visit -$160.00
- addition to mortgage principal $259.25
Challenge closing balance: $6,835.74

The above transactions took place; weekly EF savings got deposited, I transferred over my team's big win (yay!), withdrew money for the plumber visit and added $259.25 to the mortgage being for June interest $559.25 less $300.

My team is now out of the finals so September is purely making up for the first six wins (if possible).

I also checked the EF balance on the 1st and have updated the sidebar. The mini EF is looking a little small because it is $2771.16 less $1445.94, less $192.00 (however on the upside thanks to the big win we are now below owing $200). Must get the tax return lodged and the $1073 back!

The maxi EF (the shares) dropped about $100. The MXI shares which I bought at $0.585 spent a couple of months well below what I bought them for- around $0.45, which I was not thrilled about. On 31st August though they raised up to $0.61 which is a bit of a relief.

The QBE shares which are the bigger portion (think $3200 compared to MXI $600) instead have dropped down! They are currently around $9.97- the average price I have bought them for is $10.70.

The main thing is, even if there is not a profit at the moment, there is no big loss.

***

September is a huge bills month - we are looking at around $1500 in bills which will stretch us. We could pay them but cannot also save our usual 10%, which doesn't thrill me.

I'm thinking I'd rather we pay half this month, half next month as we have no bills really in October. Then in November we start paying the monthly averaged amount of $4011. Much less stressful that way.

Emergency Plumber = EF Withdrawal

August 29th, 2016 at 10:14 am

Our weekend was mostly pleasant with the exception of having a sewer blockage!

B noticed on Saturday that the kitchen sink wasn't draining so had a look at it but couldn't fix it. On Sunday I was doing the morning dishes and it just wouldn't drain at all. B had a play around with it and first outside flooded and then inside flooded! We cleaned it all up but then B realised he couldn't fix it so we got his uncle to come today to have a look.

It turns out we have two sewers- one for the kitchen and because our house is long the other is for the bathrooms, toilets and laundry. So thankful it was only the kitchen that went!

His uncle came and then someone else had to come out to finish the work- total cost $160.

As September is a hugely expensive month this is going to be purely a withdrawal from the EF. To me an EF covers emergency needs (house, car, health) and unemployment assistance. Therefore this event falls under that umbrella. I will also reduce my challenge by that amount accordingly as this has been a reduction in savings.

Into The $119's!!!!

July 29th, 2016 at 10:37 am

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

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

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

Loan Approved

July 22nd, 2016 at 07:55 am

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

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

More Loan Stuff, Grocery Shopping

July 21st, 2016 at 08:06 am

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

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

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

Refinancing B's Car

July 20th, 2016 at 07:50 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My First Share Purchases Since 2013

December 11th, 2015 at 11:11 am

The last couple of years haven't been wonderful financially so I've had a trading account for many years but haven't had the funds to justify owning shares.

This year we're now in a better place and the EF is sitting in my trading cash account which earns next to no interest. Seriously we get about $0.30 a month! I like having the cash there though because it is a separate bank to all our other accounts and it is a hassle to withdraw funds so there is less temptation to withdraw all the time.

I decided to split it up into a mini EF and a maxi EF. The mini EF has $2000 plus $518 Phuket money plus $810 for the two weeks we are on holidays to cover B's salary (which is the spending money he provides us). The maxi EF is the $1221 shares purchased today. The idea is next year that the mini EF gets $1k so there will be $3k cash available and the balance goes to the maxi EF.

I bought 1050 Maxitrans shares for $635 including brokerage. It's been so long since I've bought that the minimum trade has gone up from $500 to $600! Maxitrans cost $0.585 per share. They are a local company who I invested in last time at $0.60 and sold for $1.40. I think they're good and I guess I'm being a loyal customer coming back for seconds!

The other shares I bought were 50 QBE insurance. I dealt with them recently for work and they were so efficient that I thought if there was any company I'd want to own a part of it would be them! Their figures checked out ok (by my unprofessional standards of course!), so I bought and hope to buy more Smile

I feel like things are falling into place now, and am glad to have our money somewhere we can get a return better than $0.30 a month!!

Big Outlay This Week

March 20th, 2015 at 07:04 am

Well we got B's car serviced and looked at after the electrics failed for the second time. They couldn't give an explanation why it happened but it was time to adjust the V-drive belt (like a timing belt I guess). $450 it all came to, so we knew it would be more this time so we're ok with that.

My car insurance bill came in last week- payable April 7. My car's now 12yrs old so when the insurance was higher than last year (only by $20 but it is the principle- the car is ageing and dropping in value, so really should insurance be going up?) B decided to shop around. While I deal with the financial side of things, B deals with anything to do with the cars.

So he called up another company and looked into prices for both of our policies. Because it is our first time with this company they offered a 15% discount for both cars. The net result works out to be $333 less than what we normally pay, so we agreed to move over to them. The only thing is they are all due and payable in full so we are getting $2142 withdrawn from our accounts today.....

I looked at our finances the night before and realised we can do afford to do it. Need to slow down the outpouring of money after this though!

While it is a lot of money (thank goodness for high season!) it solves a continuing problem we have. My car is generally $700-$800 which we usually pay outright. B's car being newer however (4yrs old this yr) is generally around $1300-$1500 which is too much for us to pay outright so then we have to resort to direct debit monthly which incurs an $145 administration fee (highway robbery).

Even though we have saved money I'm not going to count this in Banking the Difference (I think we have outlaid enough at the moment), but instead starting next month I will save a monthly instalment (what we just paid divided by 12) into our mortgage offset account. So one year later we will have the full insurance amount and goodbye sky high direct debit fees, hello mortgage interest reduction!

Semi FebFast

February 3rd, 2015 at 09:18 pm

My hubby has been feeling the damage of the holiday season. Too much alcohol, plus weight gain. I nearly fell over last night when he suggested doing a FebFast (he likes beer).

Do you guys have that where you are? It's spending the month of February sober. You actually enter in a fundraiser and get people to sponsor you (we have FebFast, DryJuly and OcSober). We're not entering just planning to abstain for the month.

I call it semi because I had a glass of wine last night. Last glass & not planning to buy anymore. I looked at our weekly spend on alcohol and decided we could use that money to go to the movies Saturday night instead. At the moment thinking it be a good thing to do and looking forward to going to the movies instead Smile

Hopefully back to two incomes real soon

January 5th, 2015 at 09:50 am

Got some happy news today. B has work lined up tomorrow and has been given the ok from the hospital to go back to work full-time with no more therapy. Yay!!! Hopefully we're back to two incomes real soon (and then the saving will begin!).

I started back at work today and it was hard with a capital H. Long day. Hopefully will be back in the swing of it all and feeling great by Wednesday.

I changed my mobile phone on Friday and when I got to work today my sim card from them came in today's mail, super quick. Tomorrow I have to call them to activate the phone with them. Hopefully no hiccups and will all go smoothly.

Savings to Phone Plans & New Credit Card Rate

January 2nd, 2015 at 04:41 am

Our phone plans expired on 27th December, and our handsets got completely paid for on that date. As there are no problems with our mobile phones (aka cellphones) we decided to keep them and look for better plans.
So today we visited the phone shop which they are all with to see what they could offer us. Sometimes it is better to go in person because the consultant can tailor plans to meet your needs. (Of course we did our own research first though). My mobile phone did not get much of a reduction so I have taken it elsewhere. The plan is currently $60 per month and the best they could do is $45 per month, while elsewhere I have been able to get a $30 plan, so a 50% reduction and also have been able to increase my data by 50% from 1GB to 1.5GB.
Our home phone & internet bundle got increased from 25GB to a whopping 100GB for an extra $2 per month.
B's phone plan got reduced from $130 per month to $80 per month which is really good.
Then I changed over B's credit card rate from 20% to 13.49% (mine is already a low rate with my bank, 13.99%).
Very happy with these outcomes and looking forward to banking the difference!

My 2015 Goals

January 1st, 2015 at 11:04 am

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

Hi Everybody

December 6th, 2014 at 10:52 pm

Hi everybody,
I stumbled across this site back in July whilst we had a lot of money things going on- in a month's time we were going on a holiday I had wanted to go on for years and all of these other money things kept on popping up. (Ps it was to Fiji and was just as awesome as I had hoped, will have many wonderful memories for years to come) And so I accidentally found this site and fell in love with it, the various articles and loved the blogs, because it's refreshing to see people speak openly about their financial situation with the aim for improvement, and achieving as much as possible. A lot of the time money is one of those things- nobody talks about it but everybody is doing something about it!
I can think of so many things I want to do financially and this site is great because I believe it is a like-minded environment. I believe saving is good as also is spending less.
I knew I wanted to join the blog and thought just before the new year is a perfect time.
At the moment we are currently on one steady income and one unsteady income, as my husband broke his wrist in mid-October and has been off work since then. (I work in an accounting firm full-time while he is a self-employed carpenter) We have income protection insurance so have been getting some money (one month's pay to last us until mid-January) so the focus has been on stretching our money as much as we can, so this site has been very helpful.
As it gets closer to the New Year some goals will be planned.
Looking forward to sharing this blogging adventure will you all!