DH and I went away a couple of weeks ago to a place called Merimbula, New South Wales, Australia. It was a week long camping trip - while the camping part was relatively inexpensive, we certainly didn't hold back from sightseeing and enjoying the local fresh seafood.
We are now back to normal. Spending was high in July, so like a lot of you, August is to be a quiet month. We are trying to use up food in our cupboards and avoid spending too much.
Here are some pics of Merimbula:
This is a picture of a rainbow lorikeet, which there were quite a few of at the caravan park where we stayed - they are so friendly!
Looking forward to speaking with you all about various financial matters now that we are back at work and back to normal!
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DH and I went away a couple of weeks ago to a place called Merimbula, New South Wales, Australia. It was a week long camping trip - while the camping part was relatively inexpensive, we certainly didn't hold back from sightseeing and enjoying the local fresh seafood.
B went away over the weekend to a dirtbike race he participated in, so while he was away I had a family do for my sister's birthday in the daytime and dinner and drinks with friends in the nighttime.
My sister wanted a bottle of liqueur and some shower gel from a shop called Lush from me and my brother. We got her a bottle of Bailey's for $25 plus spent $35 at Lush on shower gel and shower scrub; so $60 there plus $5 for a card and $5 spent on biscuits and snacks for lunch. Normally I make something but was a bit time and energy poor so I simply bought some small things instead. Total spend $70 and then my brother gave me $40 for his share.
I had to fill up on fuel (spent $45) before driving me and my brother to their house, which is an hour away.
They made us a lovely lunch of bbq chicken (bought) with roast potatoes and roast carrots, with a coconut cake afterwards. My nephew is now 2 1/2 and is sooo cute! My sister loved the presents also; we had a great day.
Then last night I went out for dinner and drinks with friends. I paid $11.93 for the Uber to get us there; and then only paid $28 for a round of drinks. We had light dinners and a round of drinks with dinner, but for some reason my friends paid the bill and by the time I went to put some money in the bill was already covered. My share there would have been $30, but I think as I paid for the Uber and one other round it all evened out so didn't feel too bad in the end.
We weren't out very long, only 3 hours and only had 3 or 4 drinks so it was a very inexpensive night while being loads of fun .
B is on his way home now so should be due in a couple of hours, so will be great to see him after a couple of days!
So it's been around 3 weeks since my last blog post.
There are a few things of note but due to time constraints I'll limit it to one of our biggest things and will write about the other things later.
We took our dog Jessie to the vet three weeks ago as she had a claw that was grown over and needed her nails clipped. We hadn't gotten her vaccinations done yet so also organised to have those done. Unfortunately while they were doing her medical checkup they found that she is blind in one eye and going blind in the other, which is really upsetting. The vet said that once a week they have an opthmalogist come out to the clinic who could check her eyes properly and ensure that the vet had prescribed the correct eye drops.
As my work is quiet I took an annual leave day the week after and took her to see the opthmalogist. The opthmalogist found that she actually has the same amount of sight in both eyes however it is only 10% or less - he said to consider her blind as all she would be able to see is light or dark and possibly some shapes but that is all, and eventually this will all fade out.
The blindness is caused by cataracts and the surgery to fix it will cost $5500. As she is 15 there are no guarantees that she will make it through the surgery or how long she will live for so we have decided to make life as comfortable as possible for her. She moves around well and we simply need to make sure that we keep the pathways around the house clear (she knows them well). She will need to be given voltaren eye drops daily to ensure that the cataracts don't cause inflammation, which is what they say happens.
Financially the vet visit, the opthmalogist visit and the eye drops came to $475, but when things like this happen you do the best you can. Emotionally it's been very sad and upsetting to watch her deteriorate, it's been so hard. The literature I've read and the opthmalogist have said that she will already have adjusted to having only minimal sight which is a silver lining I guess... our poor baby .
I'm not completely sure what to write about but feel I should try and keep active with the blogging nonetheless.
Today was a no-spend day because we had a late night out with friends last night and have simply been too tired to go anywhere. A lot of today was spent sleeping. I could have done the grocery shopping but simply didn't have the energy so dinner for us was pies and chips from the freezer.
I am still not tracking spending through the app as I have missed the first 11 days and it is all a bit hard to remember what was spent, especially when part of it was cash transactions. I do want to be back tracking spending next month though. I actually did not track last June either because that it is the month I went to the UK on a holiday. I cannot believe one year ago today I was madly packing to go on a holiday on the other side of the world!
Speaking of which, here is a picture of me & SG from when we met up! (I am the one wearing the pink tshirt)
I apologise for being so tardy with putting this picture up, it was a very happy day and I was glad to meet SG.
Another thing of note today - on a completely unrelated matter - is our dog for the last few days has been madly chewing her claw. I happened to have a look at it today and the claw has completely grown around so we will need to take her to the vet to have her nails clipped. She has to have her vaccinations done anyway so we will combine the two things to be done on the same visit. Hopefully all up it shouldn't cost more than $150-$200.
It's been 2 and a half weeks since I've blogged but it seems like forever ago.
I got through the majority of the statistics work and sat the exam. Because there was so much work and a few other things happened (my house of cards kind of fell down) I sat the exam without even studying the last two weeks of the course. When I say my house of cards kind of fell down, I had some personal stress plus lots of social things like public holidays and birthdays, so basically the last two weeks of the course I was either studying and catching up or attending social things. Although I barely studied the last two weeks of the course, I do feel like I kind of did ok. I had a score of 85% before the exam; the exam is worth 60% and I was able to do 75% of it ok. The other 25% unfortunately I left, so we will see what the end result is.
Unfortunately I missed the payment by the enrolment date for the next subject and I logged in on Monday thinking I could catch up but the subject wasn't even there. The payment was actually due the 24th of May and for some reason I thought it was later. I don't know what I am going to do yet because to be honest it was a bit of a relief to have a break. I got severely burnt out and the last few weeks, it got to the point where I just didn't feel like myself anymore. While I'm grateful for the opportunity to better myself I felt like everything was falling apart and I was missing out on all the stuff I loved because all my spare time was spent studying.
The day after the exam I got a cold so had to have the next day off work and was sick for a few days. This was all last week. This week I finally feel like I am getting back to my normal self. I have been sleeping better and am starting to learn to relax again, and am looking forward to going to the gym tomorrow night.
Tracking spending fell out the window a few weeks ago and I'm not sure when I will be back doing it. Because I was so busy though spending has dropped way down so there is no concerns there.
I checked the mail (which hadn't been done for 3 weeks) and paid some bills tonight, so that is all in order. We turned our spa off 2 months ago so the electricity bill is $130 lower than last year, which is great. (Not sure how much the spa will cost to fix but anyway!)
Because we average out our bills and put aside the same amount each month after we paid the car insurances in March and pretty much cleared out the bills account, I have started working out just how much surplus we should have from each month (the surplus being the monthly amount of $4041 less whatever the actual monthly bills are). This month the bills were actually $3969.67 so the surplus is $71.94. This surplus plus the surplus from the previous months is now $654.73, which we have to add to future bills.
I checked our shares tonight as 30 June is our year end so was wondering what our profit for this year would be. Last year's return was -7.90% and this year's return at this current date is 15.32%. I calculate return by increase/decrease in value plus investment earnings. So for two years we are looking at a rate of return of 7.42%, which is 3.71% each year. That's not too bad considering what you would earn in interest instead.
I loved FrugalTexan's idea of the SHE (sidetracked home executive) system and have started implementing the basic weekly plan. Monday night I did the shopping and tonight I paid the bills and attended to some paperwork. I will aim to do some cleaning tomorrow night and then some on Saturday.
I'm not completely sure about the card system though. I actually have a housework ideas app which I think would work fine, I just need to stick to the routine outlined.
I think that's all for now, must be off to bed!
It feels like forever since I've blogged. Working plus studying has gotten really hard as there have also been several social things on that taken up a fair bit of time.
Although all of this time has been spent studying and simply getting through day to day life, I am severely behind in this subject as there was a lot more involved than I originally thought. It's a statistics subject, so the first few weeks were interesting, especially with the various excel charts that can be used but once algebra was brought into the equation I feel like I'm studying another language. Ultimately it's well beyond my capabilities.
I'm now one week from finishing this subject and am supposed to be sitting an exam next week and have no idea if I will even pass. When I was thinking about doing the subject B asked me if it was really worth it and I'm now inclined to say no, it's not worth it for me. My understanding is below what it should be yet my whole life in all others areas feels like it's falling apart and nothing is getting done.
As a result I'm at a place where I'm planning on withdrawing from the degree and am wishing to change jobs. I can accept myself as a bookkeeper instead of an accountant and would prefer to have my life in order than wholly putting everything into a degree while the rest of it all falls to the wayside, and the studying with the work is too much of a balancing act. I can still earn the same money and while there isn't as much upside to future earnings there is still the opportunity for an extra $10,000 to $20,000 per year if you become good enough at the role so I can live with that.
With changing jobs, we are about to hit a very quiet spell for the next couple of months and I would have to take leave anyway; but I really feel like a change as I have been working at the same company for the last 12.5 years. B has said that he will support me if needed, but hopefully savings will tide us over and we should be ok. I've seen plenty of jobs that I can apply for so am not too fussed.
So that's one big thing that's been going on.
Also, we had a trip to Thailand planned before where we purchased a voucher for 8 nights accommodation plus flights for $800pp and paid $150 each but the voucher expires this September and nobody was interested in going in the end so we thought it was cancelled. One of our friends had the idea of going next year instead around our 40th birthdays and was able to transfer the deposits over to a deposit on flights instead. We agreed and she has booked us flights at $800pp for early March next year.
As a result I saved away $700 last month into the holiday fund, so it is now at $995.75. We haven't received the flight itineraries and payment instructions yet but I trust that it is all in motion as she has said that it is booked.
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 .
Happy Easter to you all, hoping you have had a lovely Easter break.
I've had a massively busy couple of weeks so have only had time to focus on the necessities, but now I'm hoping to be back on my feet soon.
The reason my last two weeks were busy was because with this study unit last week I misread the study plan and accidentally did not do half of the work from the week before! It turns out the study plan ran over the page. I was having my coffee on Monday morning and working out my gameplan for the week when I realized the error I had made (it turns out this week was really busy; I had read two sections and did the corresponding work but over the page were another three sections to read with corresponding work for that and they were *long*). I was pretty upset. The normal weekly workload is 10hrs; because of Easter on Friday I did as much as I could on Monday-Thursday which was 7.5hours outside of work; barely had time to do anything else.
My birthday was last Thursday so went to dinner with B and he bought me a watch which was really nice. And he got a raise on my birthday! (so we got a raise haha; well we're married so we did anyway)
Then we went away camping with his family on their annual camping trip about an hour away from us which was really nice. We got back yesterday and are slowly getting back into routine.
This morning I got an email from Kobo about a book I wanted to read a long time ago which was marked down to $2.99 called The Ex by Alafair Burke. I don't normally buy books while I'm reading one but this seemed like a good deal.
Groceries were $17.60. We are going through eating the balance of our camping food but there is not a lot left. Still, I don't have the time to do a grocery shop so 10 minutes each day on the way home is fine.
Today I went back to work and back to studying, did 1hr17minutes - only 11hrs13minutes left.
As I am back in a bit of routine, I hope to be back blogging more now. Talk soon!
After waiting a few days and putting all final transactions into March we ended up with enough left over to add $61.97 to Christmas savings and $136 each to the cash account and the shares account. The final savings rate of all our income for March was 5.5%, which I am more happy with than 2.5% as it was previously going to be.
It's a busy couple of weeks here so I think I will simply share a snapshot of a day here and there. It's busy because not only is it my birthday next week but it is also Easter and we are planning on going camping so I must get all of my study work done before we go, not to mention shopping for it all etc. So between now and next Wednesday I have to get 20hours of study done.... have done 3 so far, my plan is to get the current week done by Saturday then spend Sunday-Wednesday doing the next week. Won't have much time for much else, this will definitely keep me out of trouble!
Things that happened today:
- found out yesterday I lost my earphones on the train which is really annoying. We don't have any spare ones at home so will need to buy. Can get them for around $10 and also want to get a new ipad case as this one is falling apart; want one this time that can stand up while watching tv or movies on it; this is priced at $30.
- I finished a really lovely book called Narrow Margins by Marie Browne. It is a lighthearted funny book about a family who nearly goes broke so they sell their house and buy a narrow boat to live on instead. It was so funny that there were often times on my lunchbreak where I had to bite the inside of my mouth so I wouldn't burst out laughing! I have now bought a new book called the The Murder of Allison Baden-Clay for $14.99; my first ever true crime book. This case is 5 years old and had always intrigued me so it will be interesting to read about it in more detail.
- B needed $75 to enter in his motorbike race so I withdrew $80 and bought myself a $5 bottle of wine (should I call that cash withdrawal fees?)
- This month we were supposed to be saving most of our money left over towards the Phuket holiday which is no longer happening. B now wants to spend some money on the garden, he is thinking possibly $200 and I am now thinking that I would really like us to be in Fiji next year for my 40th birthday so would like to save $225 each month towards that, starting this month. He was also asking if we could get that $300 we paid as a deposit back which I need to look into; I'm doubtful though as it was paid nearly two years ago and isn't far off expiry.
Not much else to report on today's happenings, must get myself to bed, got to sleep far too late last night (for me far too late was 11.20pm when I need to wake up at 6) and don't want to do it again.
Well I have just now paid B's tax bill of $2780.95. That is DONE. It took 6 months for us to save up the money and I am so glad to not have that expense anymore. It is money we owed because it is a portion of his earnings from the business but it certainly was not fun saving up to pay a big bill. Oh well.
After the tax was paid, I swept the first two months of the Christmas savings challenge into the tax account because it turns out it pays slightly higher interest.
I then sorted out which bank accounts the car insurances will be getting deducted out of; turned out his car is still getting debited out of the business account. So $2090.56 car insurance sorted out now. DONE. It is due to be withdrawn somewhere between the 19th and the 21st. Part of me thinks the bank account for his should be changed but part of me thinks that we may be looking for another car insurance provider next year anyway as it went up $149.16 this year, I imagine it will go up again. My car is amazing because it is 14 years old yet is nearly $1000 a year to insure. Part of me wonders if it is even worth having comprehensive these days with a 14yo car because the market value if stolen or written off is only $3000-$5000. What a crock it all is. Anyway that task can also be ticked off the list. DONE.
Then we received the dishwasher seal on Tuesday night. We managed to get ourselves into a dishes routine so as to not be too bothered by not having a dishwasher and B spent some quality time giving the dishwasher a deep clean while we waited for the seal. Then it arrived and after a couple of nights and a bit of water all over the floor, my handyman husband fixed it so now we don't have to call out a repairman or (worst case scenario) buy a new dishwasher. I am so blessed to have a husband who is so handy with repairing things and tinkering with engines. So we can cross that off the list too! FIXED.
That's about all I have at the moment in the way of news. The $5000 outflow from our bank accounts is enough financial news! Thankfully the dishwasher is fixed so no outflow there thank goodness.
Two entries in two days doesn't happen to me very often but I am feeling like I have lots of time available so can spare a bit.
We're currently in the middle of a long weekend, tomorrow is a public holiday (Labour Day) so I don't have quite as much of the Sunday rush as I usually do. For me Sunday is generally a rest day - where I do the rest of the things I didn't get done during the week! So suffice to say I am usually rather busy.
We went away camping three weeks ago and will be going away next month at Easter so didn't want to have to put the cat in a boarding kennel again, and decided to stay home.
On Thursday my friend had a major meltdown and went missing. She is a single mother of 3 kids and her ex does not have the kids for very long and she is generally left with the bulk of parenting. The two sons play cricket and football so the ex is at every game and has the kids sometimes but it is generally a 2-3 hour period and doesn't generally have the daughter as she is 5 and he feels she is a bit hard to look after. Nobody knew she was this stressed. She put something up on FB on Wednesday night that she is so sick of her oldest kid who is constantly making life difficult and all she felt like doing was packing up and leaving. I did see the post and said "wow, she's never ever written that, he must have done something bad".
The next day her dad came over to mind the kids while she did a short work shift in the daytime (she works about 4hours and it is close to home), however she never came home. My other friend called me up about 8 to tell me she had run off and to see if I knew where she would be. The missing friend then accessed FB and told everybody not to worry, she is fine just very stressed out but not to try and find her as she doesn't want to talk to anyone. Her boyfriend didn't know where she was. Nobody did. The next few hours were spent speaking to various people to find out who knew anything. Just before bed I was speaking to one of our other friends who lives 2 states away (but we all speak regularly) and she said she was talking to missing friend's brother who said he thought she may have gone to the beach, which to me was a real worry in her state of mind.
The next morning I was speaking to my interstate friend and decided to contact missing friend's boyfriend for an update. He said that she came to his house very late at night and they talked for a while and in the morning talked some more but when he went to the toilet she left again. He said she wasn't acting right, she was very out of it and couldn't understand much of what he was saying. He wasn't as concerned as we were though which was so weird. He said she's done it before and will be ok. As he doesn't work and I was at work I asked him to go for a drive to the beach and see if she was there again. Sure enough she was. I then contacted interstate friend who contacted missing friend's family who were worried sick and her mother went down there and had a long chat with her.
I have never used my phone so much at work as I did on Friday! When I got home it was down to 4%. My friend is now staying with her boyfriend and her parents are minding the children while she gets some much-needed rest. I am still so worried about her though. We have looked up resources that she can use to help cope with parenting, eg psychiatrists and community services. To me it is such a massive thing to leave your children and basically spend hours sitting in your car - I didn't know if she was suicidal and that was my biggest fear. Please pray for my friend that she will get the help she needs and her children will be relatively unscathed from all of this. (We can only suggest services to her and cannot force her to use what is available)
Yesterday, after all of what happened on Thursday and Friday I really felt like I needed downtime to recharge. B went to the motorbike club he is a member of and helped them out today. I did some study and relaxed and then rented out a movie last night which I fell asleep to unfortunately.
Today I went for a swim in the morning at my gym, then bought some lasagna for dinner and bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes and orange juice for a bacon and egg breakfast tomorrow (because this is not normally something we can do on a Monday morning!). $24.71 was spent.
Then I bought some wine ($15.94 was spent)
Then I bought an iTunes card. This is a $30 card and there was 15% off, so amount payable was $25.50. All items today were put on my credit card, food and wine have been repaid already. When I repay the iTunes card I am going to also transfer the saved amount of $4.50 to the Christmas savings challenge because I am counting it as a snowflake.
Speaking of snowflakes, I spent 7hrs and 57minutes studying for my biggest snowflake (a subject in a degree which will be completed eventually and which would result in a significant payrise).
I now am going to sweep and mop the kitchen floor, fold some laundry and then B and I are planning on using the hot tub, which will be the perfect end to a lazy sunday .
It's been a little while since I've posted so rather than write about whatever the latest thing is, I'm going to write about 11 things (hopefully mostly financial) that have been going on in the last 11 days:
1. On Tuesday our dishwasher seal broke . Luckily I was standing near it and it had only run for 3 minutes so there was no water damage. B had a look at it and found the manufacturers website so we bought a double pack of seals (just in case the other seal goes, so that we don't have to re-order) for $52.73 which they say will be delivered to us next Wednesday. We are both so sick of washing dishes by hand but thankfully have got ourselves into a more regular routine so it's a bit less painful.
2. I finally got around to checking my superannuation account (retirement account) and the balance is $92,008. Going by ceejay's years x income, by the time I turn 40 next year I need to have 2 x times my income so $108,000. I realized that combined with the taxable investments I hold outside of superannuation and earnings that hopefully the account will receive it should be a possibility. The earnings last year were a paltry 2.44% however over 5 years in total they were 38.75% which equates to 7.75% per year which beats the standard 5%. I am happy with 7.75%.
3. B got a letter from a superannuation account which was an employer one from a job he had 9-10 years ago stating that if he didn't give his instructions on what to do with the account they would be turning it over to the Australian Taxation Office so they could hold it in the unclaimed moneys department. We had a financial planner roll all of our employer superannuation accounts into one years ago however he missed this one, the current account balance is $4,187.50. The letter was dated 1st February and gave us until 22nd February however I don't think they sent it for a while because we saw the letter on the 28th so the money has now gone to the Tax Office. There will now be a lengthy process to get it and roll it over as B will need to apply in writing and we will need to wait a while most likely to receive it. How annoying.
4. We have decided not to go on the Phuket holiday. This is due to our friends not being interested in going anymore and also B not really being interested. I wouldn't mind going but I'm not too bothered that we aren't doing it anymore as I had a big trip overseas last year and generally like to go overseas every 2-3 years, otherwise it can be a bit expensive going on annual overseas trips. We are now looking at doing a camping holiday in the next state at a beachy sort of area instead, which I am looking forward to. I'm not sure of when we will go though, it would be sometime between July and September and would be dependent on B's work (my work is a bit more flexible at that time of year).
5. This month we pay B's tax of $2,780. All funds have now been saved and the money will be transferred over soon.
6. Our car insurances also get debited out of our account around the 19th of March; mine is $969.40 for a 14 year old car; B's is $1,121.16 for a 6 year old car. We have enough money in the account and because I averaged out the bills amount back in October we did not have to pay for any of it out of pocket which is great! Last year we had to find $461.40 to cover the remaining portion. All I need to do is work out which bank account B's car insurance comes out of, don't remember.
7. We made month number 2 of the Christmas savings challenge, so we now have $135 saved up. This month we are supposed to save up $95. We currently have $2 saved up so need to start working towards it.
8. I bought a replacement suit for work a couple of weeks ago for $132, which was an $87 reduction in price. This suit should last a long time so was happy to pay it.
9. B is on a health kick and has rejoined boxing classes. He went regularly just before we got married but then it died off after the wedding so it's been a few years since he's been. To test the waters instead of signing up for a membership we bought a 10 class pack for $130. So far he has done 2 classes this week and has lost 2 kilos so is pretty happy. If he decides after using up the class pack that he wants to rejoin, it is $19.95 per week (same as my membership).
10. Last week we had my family over for lunch and it was a warm day so we cooked up chicken with roast potatoes and salad, then my sister and I both did a dessert each. It was a lovely meal and for 7 people we spent a whole $37.86 . You could spend that on 2 people going out for lunch so I was pretty happy.
11. It is week 2 of my study unit and I am coping ok with the workload. They say you need to allocate 10hours per week however this subject's tutor has said we should allocate 15(!?!) which I really hope is not the truth because I don't know how on earth I would fit that amount of time in. I really want to be diligent with doing 10hours from the very start to avoid having to do 20hours around exam and assignment time, but this week I am finding that I have put in 7.5hours and don't really have 2.5 more hours of work to do.... I will probably finish the online quiz I have to do and do some revision.
I struggled to think of the 11th thing but I'm glad to have jotted down some bits and pieces. Off to check the blogs!
I think I see a pattern here. When I came back from the UK I decided to go on an alcohol fast and it ended up being a period of low alcohol instead and unfortunately it has happened again - some things I have next to no willpower with. Why do I need to impose a restriction on myself anyway? I just bought one bottle of wine for the weekend so I can have a glass here and there. I had one tonight and that is all. This bottle was $15 which is my usual allowance I give myself for two bottles. Oh well.
Other spending today was petrol of $60, which should hopefully last a month. I also want to wash the car on the weekend too.
Tomorrow I am going to hunt for a new suit after work - I got a stain on one of my black suits which won't come out. I've had it for 2 1/2 years so got plenty of wear out of it. Unfortunately the material in my my favourite suit (1 1/2 years old) is also starting to wear dangerously thin; I can see the pants ripping one day so I actually am up for two new suits. I will put these one or two suits on my low rate credit card to repay back at around $40 per week until it's done.
Speaking of credit cards, small amounts of spending here and there meant I owed at the end of the credit card period $46.95 on one and $82.06 on the other - so have paid $64.51 this week and will pay the remaining $64.50 next week. It's amazing how these little things creep up, I barely remember what I bought - the scariest thing is when the credit card debt is larger can you even remember what you spent it on? I'm not going back to that place so will have to be more diligent with noting down what was spent on there.
Yesterday was the first day of the new billing period for the Internet on my iPad and I am sooo happy. The month of restricted internet wasn't too painful as I have games I can play offline and books downloaded but the time spent on the blog really suffered, so it's good to be back to normal again and not really have to watch the data usage.
I have pretty much gone from one restriction to another in the same day though. The last two weekends have been busy and full of fun (2 weeks ago went out with friends, last weekend went away with hubby and his friends - all couples and families) and I feel like I've probably had too much alcohol so really want to have a bit of a break.
FebFast, DryJuly and OcSober are quite popular here; they are basically a month of abstaining from alcohol in February, July and October and you can get people to sponsor you and donate the proceeds to charity. Nowadays they have also added in abstaining from sugar if you like instead of alcohol.
I am two days in of a two week stint of alcohol fasting. Ideally I would like to do a fortnight each in February, July and October. I don't really drink during the week but will probably miss the wine on Friday and Saturday nights; I foresee snacking and possibly baking to deal with this. Wish me luck!
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.
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!
Hoping that I can now upload some of my favourite pics from Week 1 of the UK trip! Week 1 was spent settling in and exploring the surrounds closest to my friend's place in the West Midlands (I think? anyhow she & her husband are in the middle of England). Here goes:
A 15th century Tudor in the middle of town
This castle dates back to the 11th century. The green grassy surroundings were lovely also.
This street is in the town centre. I love all of their quaint streets!
And I love their traditional telephone boxes, they are so cool!
We don't have beaches like this with mossy cliffs in Australia. It was a totally different experience. It all looks so dramatic!
I will post some of Week 2 on the weekend .
FrugalTexan requested recipes for the dairy free egg free muffins I made on the weekend. I thought the blueberry muffins were ok but really loved the choc-apple muffins, the recipe is as below:
1 1/2 cups plain flour (I used wholemeal, it made no difference)
1/4 cup NESTLÉ BAKERS' CHOICE Cocoa
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup raw caster sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 teaspoons white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 medium granny smith apple, peeled, grated (see Notes)
1 tablespoon icing sugar mixture
Preheat oven to 170C/150C fan-forced (the blueberry recipe had Fahrenheit temperatures, I think it was around 375 or 400 - just use the standard temperature for muffins). Line each hole of a 12-hole, 1/3-cup-capacity muffin pan with 2 paper cases.
Sift flour, cocoa, bicarb, salt and 1 teaspoon cinnamon into a bowl. Stir in caster sugar. Whisk oil, vinegar, vanilla and 1 1/4 cups cold water in a large jug. Add 1/2 the oil mixture to flour mixture. Whisk until smooth and combined. Repeat with remaining oil mixture. Stir in apple. Divide mixture among prepared pan holes.
Bake for 20 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly pressed. Stand in pan for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Combine icing sugar and remaining cinnamon in a small bowl. Dust muffins just before serving.
Hope you enjoy! Now I must be going off to bed, speak soon. (There was no time tonight for financial updates, I think I will have some tomorrow though)
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)
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!
This is not a financial post, because my head's just not there at the moment (not to mention it's Friday night so we are relaxing in front of the tv).
Lunchtime today was just a normal day. I went out and did some errands, then had a quick sandwich which I was debating about putting in a complaint in.
Went back to work and about an hour later my boss got a message from his daughter saying the city centre is in lockdown... Turns out a guy with mental problems on a likely drug binge deliberately drove into about 30 pedestrians on a street around the corner from my work... Three died, more are critical..
It's so weird to have something that you normally see on the news happen so close to where you are. And the people who died- a man, a woman, a toddler.. He deliberately hit a pram, the three month old baby went under the car and is critical...
I'm shattered, and pretty emotional because it happened so close to where I am.. How do emergency services deal with this, day in, day out? I've been relaxing for hours and still feel emotional!
Appreciate your loved ones, today is an example of how short life can be..
I have nothing overly exciting to report, just bits and pieces of various things, will try to run through my movements for the last couple of days:
- groceries: I could have spent $145 to earn more Safeway rewards but felt that our monthly spend was already pretty high. Instead we spent $115, so far we have spent $425 for the month with two weekends of grocery shopping to go. We may go over our monthly $600 but I am hoping to not go too far over.
- date night: B suggested going out to dinner but then I wanted to see the new "xxx" movie with Vin Diesel, which is not out until 19 January. We held off going out to dinner and I remembered that Safeway has 10% off movie gift cards at the moment. We had a little bit left over in our checking account yesterday so I bought a $50 gift card for $45. I was rather happy, I must say! We can both go to the movies and then there will be some left over for another movie day.
- productivity: I use the reminder app on my phone to do out of the ordinary things (not everyday tasks like washing, dishes and tidying up) however I struggle to actually "do" the tasks! I set myself the task of completing four things and failed this weekend. The things were:
1) descaling the coffee machine (I actually did it but the orange light on the machine is still flashing - I don't think I've done it properly so will need to get more descaling mix and do it again. Was super annoyed about this!)
2) fill out the Medicare form so we can finally get B's doctor co-pays refunded to us (expecting about $90). I have filled out the form and need one more signature before I can mail it off.
3) check that the cat's vaccinations are up to date before putting her in the boarding kennel. DONE. She is up to date which is great.
4) clean the study while running apple updates for both iPhone and ipad. Not done and did not have a spare 5-6 hours for this task.
I'm hoping that if I write about this stuff often enough I will move through the list quicker, because there are plenty more things to be done.
- B's credit card repayment: I transferred this month's $180 over, the balance is now supposed to be $2527 owing (with the additional $90 from doctor co-pays, $2617 owing)
- my credit card fixed payment offer: this is more a reminder that should the need arise I may be able to get 10.9% on set purchases with my credit card for 1,2 or 3 years. They have this offer out currently so it's a possibility in future. This credit card is 20% so definitely worthwhile remembering. You can either buy something or write a cheque to yourself.
- B dejavu: he is so funny sometimes. While in the UK I could not access the bank to do transfers but I have an app which allows me to view bank balances and transactions (that's all you are allowed to do, which is good I think for your ipad) so because B is not computer savvy I set up automatic transfers so he could have money for food etc from our pay account to our checking account. For the first week while I away I kept looking at it and he was barely spending anything on food and I was getting worried that he wasn't eating. Then I saw a small amount go on food and the rest on motorbike parts!!!! So the first week of work last week he was barely spending his weekly money on takeaway like he normally does and then... it all went on motorbike parts!!! Again! I don't mind because he's not over the top with spending. He said he planned the big spend while I was in the UK but he didn't even realise he was going to buy that stuff last weekend until about an hour before. I still say it's dejavu .
- today: I went to bed early, then the cat woke me up early while B was in the shower to go to the toilet so was up an hour earlier than normal. I spent this hour drinking coffee and watching Code Black on my ipad. What a great start to the day! Maybe it can happen again tomorrow!
I guess I've chatted enough about various things, must go to bed.
On Tuesday I cashed in my first lot of Safeway rewards for the year. I had to buy B his breakfast drink so also bought a few more items to bring the total to $20.38; I got charged $0.38 for the groceries because of the $20 credit reducing the price to pay.
Today we received our spending money so I promptly sent the $20 saved to the Christmas savings account - there is now $46 there so far! We will easily make the $60 goal for the first month of the challenge.
The other day I started a snowflakes spreadsheet; so far for the month of January we have received $27.83 ($6.29 digital change, $1.54 interest received for December and the $20 Safeway rewards). It all adds up! Looking forward to not having to find all the spending money for Christmas.
Other financial doings for today:
- I bought a bottle of wine for $9. Had a hard day and needed a couple of glasses to relax.
- I collected the cat's arthritis medication we are starting her on. The cost for this was $112.90; apparently this will last her two months.
We actually have big things going on with the cat. She will be 15 this year and recently has lost bladder control. The vet thinks it is due to her arthritis (hence starting the medication) - it is too hard for her to go in the kitty litter so she holds on until she can go outside when we are home. Unfortunately she cannot always wait...
We changed the kitty litter to a lower one with a much lower front part to give her easier access.. still no good. The vet said either the problem is either arthritis or a urinary tract infection but given her age and how she is moving we will try her on arthritis meds first.
Most of our house is tiled except the bedrooms and lounge which are carpeted so at night or when we go out we close all bedroom doors. She has her own bed in the entry to the lounge are and plenty of room to move around.
We didn't know what would happen when we went away but B's parents fed the cat and dog daily and let her out for a while each day, but her thing lately is first thing in the morning she needs to go so by the time they would come she would have made a mess.
We had to decide that when we go away she would need to stay at a boarding kennel. We're hoping she will be ok. We've found a place and have a couple of trips planned in the near future (starting off with only a couple of days) so have inspected a nice looking kennel and have booked her in. The price is $20 per night, which is reasonable.
Because of this going on holidays will now be much less often. We will still go to Thailand as planned but that will be the last trip for a good few years.
Most of all, we just hope that she is ok taking the arthritis medicine and staying in a boarding kennel occasionally. It's so hard watching our animals get old, and it seems like suddenly last year it happened instantly to both of them! They will always be our babies.
We received the new mattress and it's so comfortable! The bed is so much higher also. I'd been wanting to update one of the doona cover sets for a while and as we updated the mattress, I found a nice doona cover set for $78.
I paid for this on my Velocity rewards credit card and then yesterday bought far too many groceries on it ($173- note that there was also bulk toilet paper and pet food purchased here as well as some good deals on meat).
On the plus side we will now earn $20 Safeway rewards off the next shop. Safeway have been churning out the bonus rewards over the last few weeks, for spending $195 we earned $290 in rewards and they have a deal this week where if I spend $145 we will earn $200 in rewards (for $200 you will receive $10 off your next shop). As they have had rewards challenges going since the middle of December, I will actually look at our monthly shopping spend. If it looks like we're going to go over budget I may not bother with it.
However we generally spend $600 per month on food and it is the 9th and we've already spent $312!! Part of the $173 spent yesterday was some good meat buys including a pork loin roast but still, we only have $288 left. So, really if I'm going to spend $145 on food next weekend I will need to look at what we actually need or do some items as a fortnightly shop. You guys with your pantry challenge are helpful in this area!
Also, we repaid the credit cards not long after Christmas for the Christmas presents so I have about $233 in items ($45 half of my shoes from last month, $103 for the cat's arthritis medicine, $78 for the doona cover set and $7 for the balance of the groceries) sitting on my velocity rewards card. Both credit cards I have have a monthly cycle that finishes on the 20th of the month so it is important to clear them by then. I love that there is no more credit card debt hanging over my head! It feels like total freedom.
It's now Christmas Eve here, merry Christmas everybody!
It's not very often that I have Christmas Eve off work but it's Saturday so that's good. Have done the Christmas shopping except for two gift cards which B will be getting (it's from a hardware store so that's his domain).
I got a bonus from work, which is great as always - very much appreciated. We will be able to repay the Christmas shopping which is awesome as we can start off 2017 with a fresh slate. There is $159 on one card and $223 on the other which relate to Christmas presents, so $382 to be repaid. The gift cards will be $100 and then we want to spend possibly $130 on a portable speaker (UE Boom 2), which we will use when camping. The other $400 I may leave aside for another study unit, I'm not sure.
B's sister came down from interstate for three days, which was lovely. His family had a quite a few happy moments and on the last night we went out for dinner to my favourite Chinese restaurant, which was great!
Yesterday we had our work Christmas do at my boss's favourite restaurant. It has very high quality food and is five minutes from our office, what's not to like? I then came home and relaxed with B and did my nails for Christmas. I wanted something Christmassy so spent $2.50 on a colourful glitter polish (did red underneath).
Today promises to be a standard busy Christmas Eve. There will be cleaning, food shopping (the balance of ingredients plus vegetables), doing my hair, wrapping presents and baking. We're not motivated to put the Christmas tree up so it may not happen.
We go to lunch at my SIL's tomorrow so I'm making red velvet cupcakes and want to put candy canes on top. Then we'll be hosting Christmas dinner so because we only have limited time we're cooking the meat today and will reheat it tomorrow while we cook the vegetables. Mum and my stepdad are vegetarians so I'm making a quiche for them and my nephew is allergic to dairy and eggs so for dessert I'm making a chocolate mousse with coconut milk and almond milk, along with Christmas coloured jelly.
Merry Christmas all, enjoy your day no matter what!
As Alice4now said, it's now 12 days until Christmas. I don't know that I watch heaps of Christmas movies but I do like to read a light-hearted Christmas book around this time of year, so bought Christmas at Coorah Creek off Kobo for $2.65. This is a romance story set in the Australian outback.
My only other Monday spending was $25 on a new heel for my two week old shoes. Last Thursday was an expensive day! I was walking to work and clipped my heel on the kerb as I was crossing the street and completely snapped the heel off. That meant that 1) I needed new shoes and 2) I needed to fix broken shoe. On the way to work the only shoe shop is Nine West so a pair of patent flats on sale set me back $90! I think my work shoe collection is complete for a while now....
I got to use my new straightener properly and am happy to see it works well, I hope to keep it for a while (and $40 is a better price than the previous $200)
B and I are both better now pretty much which is great. I have some residual sinus problems, hopefully they fade off soon.
Have done half the Christmas shopping pretty much, spent around $170. The other half of the presents are more expensive, expecting to spend around $300 there. If I'm lucky enough I can grab those presents after work or in my lunchtime around my work area, instead of going to the awful busy shopping centre in my area.
Unfortunately I had to take a sick day today, as I started coming down with a bad cold yesterday and my throat was too painful today. B also came down sick - this is our first time ever we have come down with a cold at the same time. It was really quite hilarious last night, and fun to have someone suffering the same ailments. We both had aches and chills and everything was just too DAMN hard!!
B had to go to the doctors to get a medical certificate so I asked my boss if he wanted me to get one too and he said no it's fine, which was nice. Colds are an expensive thing. I bought lemsip and B bought strepsils with anaesthetic in them so between the two of them we have been sharing. Today I then spent $15 on throat lozenges and a medicated throat gargle.
Last night I had no idea what to have for dinner because our throats were too sore for solid food. I ended up making pumpkin soup for me and B had a toasted cheese sandwich. I accidentally put too much garlic in the soup so couldn't eat it; B just couldn't eat his because it was too solid.
Then today we have steak and sausages defrosted to eat either today or tomorrow and I couldn't bear to throw it out or feed it to the dog so used the steak in a beef vegetable soup in the slow cooker which was really nice and so easy to make. The sausages I will deal with tomorrow.
B is now sicker than me. I think part of the reason is I slept through the night while he woke up every 10 minutes or so - he has been sleeping a lot today so hopefully is a bit better tomorrow. I do feel that having the day off was the best thing to do because it has really sped up my recovery time. I have energy when I'm sitting but get lethargic when moving around; if I went to work I would have been really lethargic and sick for a lot longer. My throat will still probably be really painful but think I will be over the lethargic side of the cold.
About the most useful thing I did today was actually plan out all the Christmas presents, there are now only two which have a question mark. I read the catalogues for ideas and then researched the stores I shopped at, trying to keep the presents generally between the $30-$40 mark. I don't want to say what the total will be but we can afford to pay for the presents this month and that's the main thing. It's good to be organised.
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.
Life is super busy here, I am in my 12th week of this online subject and the exam is next Monday. I've also had a good friend move house so we have been having going away get-togethers, and have been helping her with the move; then had another old friend's 40th on Saturday night.
I've been keeping up with the coursework but will have a pretty intensive week of studying to brush up on various bits and pieces. This studying of economics really gets you thinking about productivity and efficiency just to name a couple of things.
I haven't told my work I am studying as yet because I didn't know if I would continue the studying and would rather tell them when I know that I can do it and stick at it. (Sticking at it is the hard part because even with the best time management other parts of your life get left behind and public holidays crop up and then studying becomes hard). So they don't know, but I will need to take a sick day to go to the exam.
I do have snowflakes to report but I think I will just do it at the end of November, much easier.
Please accept my apologies for not answering back to the comments on my last post guys! I am looking forward to not being frantically busy all the time and being able to interact with you guys a bit better again.
Also, I'm hoping Imasaver is ok, was just thinking of her.
Mrs Frugalista got me thinking about the no spend November challenge. While I'm not doing nearly as well as her, yesterday was my second no spend day and tomorrow I plan on making it my third.
The fact that you are planning to spend on certain days only does make you think about what you are buying, and you tend to plan more. If I can get 10 days this month, that would be great.
Today I bought enough food for the next four days for us, groceries came to $56.61. I am then planning on not spending anything tomorrow, buying a tshirt on Friday and then buying required food on Saturday - I am hosting a small get-together with my friends so will need to pick up more food.
I have already got mini-quiches for hot food(we are doing nibblies and then later on putting some hot food in the oven, everybody will bring something each) and am doing a spinach dip in a cobb loaf for nibbles. Will no doubt buy a few more things but just a couple of extra things really.
On another note, I just paid some bills and among them was our water bill, which was a case of bill shock - it was up 45.51% from last year! Roughly $100 extra. We went through the bills and checked the gas meter, but later on I compared October's weather this year to last year and it turns out it has been much colder this year - we had 18 days where the heater was required to be on, compared to 9 last year when the weather was much warmer. I'm hoping we get a couple of months weather where no heater or air conditioner is required - November hasn't been too bad, I don't think we have turned the heater on since Saturday.
Challenge starting balance: $8,739.85
- weekly EF savings $35.69
- digital change $4.37
Challenge closing balance: $8,779.91
Our weekly EF savings were transferred over as usual, which is great but the two financial things of note were:
1) Our mortgage payment hit, and then interest was charged, the end result is we are now into the $117's!! New balance is $117,703. Very exciting. I don't think we will make $115k by the end of the year, but I do think we will make it to $116k.
2) My tax refund was received and was promptly sent back to the EF. The balance looks much healthier now! Breathing a sigh of relief.
Looking at the EF; the mini-EF is now $3,504.55 - this is the cash portion of the EF. The maxi-EF has only gone up $1 since last month! This is the shares portion of the EF. Thankfully the shares have only dropped a little bit; they were purchased for $3,826. So if the shares were at their purchase value the EF would then be $7330.55 instead of the $7,177 it currently is. Still it's great to be up into the next thousand, it feels like it has taken all year to get there.
Non-financial things were during the week we celebrated our 6 year wedding anniversary, then yesterday it was a beautiful spring day so we caught up on the gardening at home. We then said hello to our neighbours across the road and we had heard that the wife had changed jobs; she told me she was made redundant in the July of this year and it took her a full month to find a new job. She is the sole provider for her family; her husband has an illness so looks after the kids while she works. I told her I thought it was great that she was only out of work a month; she is really liking her new job.
Today we took our inlaws out for a country drive and we had lunch with them (I suggested this because we have spent the last couple of weekends with my family so thought it would be a nice thing to do), which was a really lovely day.
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