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Snowflake & Electrician

August 27th, 2017 at 08:40 pm

It's been so long since I've blogged, possibly about three weeks, that I'm not going to write about every little thing that has happened, it would take far too long. I was sick for a week and then my energy levels were a bit low but am feeling a bit better now, so will simply write about the most recent financial things going on.

On the weekend, I received a $10 snowflake in the form of a Safeway everyday reward (grocery shopping). I added this to our Christmas present fund. I was hoping to have $1000 by Christmas but have been a bit lax with the $1000 challenge and monitoring it. Anyhow, we now have $375 for Christmas presents so it will certainly be helpful!

The other thing that happened on the weekend was we had an electrician around to wire up our new spa! It arrived the weekend before, so now we can happily use it - we had an outside powerpoint installed so that if anything happens to it, it doesn't affect power to the house. (This is all I can tell you because I am not particularly savvy with anything mechanical/electrical). We thought it would be around $400 but as B used an electrician through his work, he was only charged $200, which was really great.

Ps. the spa is wonderful, worth every cent!

Hope everyone is well!

First EF Withdrawal For The Year

July 19th, 2017 at 12:33 pm

This year we haven't needed to make a withdrawal from the EF until today. B was on his way out and mentioned that his car was really slow to start and may need a new battery, so he was going to see how the car went today and decide on whether or not to replace the battery.

Well he made it out of the driveway and halfway across the road and then it promptly died! We pushed the car out to a safer spot and called roadside assistance. After all, this is what we pay for Smile.

They came out to our house with a new battery for which we paid $319. Because this month has been crazy with spending and this is technically an emergency, we withdrew it from the EF. Glad that we have the funds available to cover true emergencies like this. I think we have about $2200 cash now so will look at boosting this back up again next year.

Thailand Trip Back In Motion

May 21st, 2017 at 12:37 pm

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.

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 Savings = 5.5%, April-5-17

April 5th, 2017 at 12:36 pm

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.

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.

Yay For Snowflakes

March 19th, 2017 at 11:08 am

I can probably think of things to write about but all I feel like writing about really is that we got an unexpected snowflake in our bank account Smile. Late last year B went to the doctors three times within two months and used to receive the Medicare rebate refund by cheque however they advised that it is only done electronically now.

We filled out the form and sent it off before Christmas but never received anything back. We repaid the doctors visits on B's credit card except for the $90 we estimated we would receive. I checked the bank account and found three separate deposits of $37.05, so $111.15 in total.

I transferred $90 to B's card and counted the other $21.15 as a snowflake. I updated the snowflakes spreadsheet and so far for March we have $27.94 in snowflakes. According to the Christmas savings challenge we are required to save $95 this month so need about $67 so should be able to make up the balance at the end of the month.

Done; Done; And Fixed

March 16th, 2017 at 10:49 am

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.

Withdrawal From The Holiday Fund

March 14th, 2017 at 11:26 am

Yesterday we made a small withdrawal from the holiday fund of $189.25. This was for an esky (large drinks cooler for camping) as our other one has been broken for a while. The holiday fund was $485 and is now down to $295.75. I like keeping a bit of money there just in case, and the football season is due to start next week so I will do the points challenge (whenever my football team wins I will put $1 per point to the holiday fund; it's a fun way to build some holiday cash when you don't actually have a holiday plan so that if some sort of holiday plan or idea happens there is a little bit set aside for it). Imasaver actually gave me that idea; wherever you are Imasaver I hope you're ok.

Other financial news is we received the gas bill ($131, up from last year) and the electricity bill ($491, down from last year); net difference for both was $3.63 saved compared to last year. More importantly as this big bills month closes over it looks like we could possibly have only $211 left over at the end of the month so any extra expenses will need to be funded from savings if they are over that amount.

By Thursday I will pay the $2780 for B's tax and make sure that the $2100 (roughly) is there for the insurance to debit from the account.

Ps I can see many of you have wild, crazy weather - please stay safe and best wishes for no damage or long outages!

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)

First Safeway Rewards For The Year; Cat Stuff

January 12th, 2017 at 11:01 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2016 Savings Balances / 2017 Plans

December 28th, 2016 at 08:05 pm

I don't know what I will be doing over the New Year, it is all changing but generally around this time I find it hard to blog and update so I've had a look at the savings account and the final balances are as follows:

Cash (Mini EF): $2,233.21
Study unit (from Xmas bonus): $500.00
Holiday fund: $485.00
Shares (Maxi EF): $5,586.00

Total: $8,804.21

Yesterday I bought another 100 QBE shares for $12.48 per share. These shares are doing really well at the moment. Therefore the mini EF is slightly smaller than usual.

I've decided that I'm going to do a savings challenge on a smaller scale this year and simply budget our savings.

The challenge I am planning on doing is a 12 month Christmas savings challenge. SA had a 12-week $1000 challenge, so I have used the same amounts but modified it into a monthly plan. The January deposit required of $60 already has around $18.50 in the account, which is great.

In 2017 we are going to be doing a few much-needed things to our house as well as taking a holiday, so there will be less going to savings than in previous years. I feel like we have had two good years to repay debt and build up savings so this is kind of a year off from that.

I have cancelled the weekly EF savings debit and have created a yearly planner showing which month each goal will be accomplished, savings will be transferred accordingly.

Our plan for 2017 savings is:

- B's tax $1390 (due March)
- B's credit card repayment $2160
- Phuket balance of deposit $815 (due around April)
- Phuket spending money $2000
- New security doors for house $1000
- Garden updates to front and back $1500 (due by September, our spring time)
- New tyres for my car $600 (due asap - could be up to $1000, we will save the balance)
- Savings - shares $1265
- Savings - cash $1270

Based on these items, the percentages for the categories is as follows:
- Tax/debt repayment 30%
- Travel 23%
- House spending 21%
- Car spending 5%
- Savings 21%

B's credit card won't be repaid by the end of the year, but the balance will be much lower. With regards to travel, it is probably going to be our last overseas holiday for a couple of years (unless we do something for my 40th). I had a category for a new car fund but have been finding it too hard to do this as well as repay debt so may simply when B's loan is paid off in 1.5 years use the amount we were paying for that loan to save for a new car.

If I don't get around to checking in, hope you all have a wonderful new year!

Snowflakes 14-11-16; NSD #4

November 14th, 2016 at 10:16 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Snowflakes & Savings 07-11-16

November 7th, 2016 at 10:27 am

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

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

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

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

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

That's all, hope to talk soon tomorrow!

Snowflakes 30-10-16; Into The $117's!

October 30th, 2016 at 10:20 am

Challenge starting balance: $8,739.85
Plus:
- 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.

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

October 24th, 2016 at 09:44 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

****

Saturday's happy events were:

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

Hope you're all well!

Snowflakes Update

July 17th, 2016 at 10:17 pm

Challenge starting balance: $5,146.49
Plus:
- weekly EF savings $35.69
- football winnings $11.00
Challenge closing balance: $5,193.18

Last week the usual weekly EF savings of $35.69 got transferred over on Friday so that got added to the challenge balance.

As I am now not saving every spare dollar towards the holiday I am doing the same football challenge as last year. For every point my team (St Kilda) win by, a dollar will get added to the challenge and will go towards the holiday fund.

So last week my team won by 11. Then over the weekend they won again! This time by 36 points. That will be a nice snowflake. They have won 8 games so far this year so on the weekends that they lose I will backdate and add those wins to the challenge.

This brings the holiday fund in negative of $-481 now.

I am trying to post a bit more regularly so I hope to do small updates each day. We'll see how this goes! (And you never know I may finally upload my UK pictures to show you guys!)

I'm Back From The UK Trip; Goals Checkup

July 7th, 2016 at 07:11 am

Challenge starting balance: $4,744.82
Plus:
- Fortnightly balance transfer repayment: $151.50
- Weekly EF savings: $35.69
Challenge closing balance: $4,932.01

Hi everybody, I'm back from the UK trip! Had a really lovely time, it was amazing. Saw so many cool things, had quite a few "wow" moments. It was so lovely to meet SG in Scotland, had a really nice lunch with her and her family and my friend.

I will upload pictures when B is around - I had problems doing it last time, so pictures will come soon.

My friend and her husband were such wonderful hosts, they took me to see so many places and made a really big effort to show me the UK side of life, especially food. I am so grateful to have been able to do this big trip.

They live in the middle of England so we checked out lots of castles, historic buildings and English gardens in their area; they took me to a place near Yorkshire where we stayed in a really nice caravan; we went to London for a couple of days and to Scotland for a couple of days.

Financially I only overspent by $102. They are pretty frugal so we cooked a lot of meals at home and mainly ate out on the weekend and when we were away in London and Scotland. My main expenses were meals when out, gifts and alcohol. I am currently staying sober for the rest of July to make up for it! In Australia we have a charity thing called Dry July, so while I am not entering it officially - I had a few drinks at the start of the month so can't - I am basically doing the same things as the people who enter it (except for raise money). I am now on Day 2.

I was lucky enough to have wifi so was able to speak to B pretty much every day. All the same I was very happy to come home! B said the cat was driving him crazy because she was meowing non stop. As soon as I got home I gave her lots of cuddles and it soon stopped. I guess this is her way of telling me I was gone too long!!

The dog decided that she was a daddy's girl and ignored me for the first night and day - now after feeding her and walking her, I am back in her good books and all is normal again.

Jet lag - all I can say is oh my god!!! Yesterday (my first full day back - I got back into Oz the night before) - I experienced a new level of tiredness I have never had!!! Even my bones ached and I was too tired to sit up. Today I don't feel wonderful but have more energy. All the same, I am going in the spa soon to try and help the aches. I guess if you sit mostly still for 27 hours you can expect a touch of pain.

It was still worth it though Smile

***

While I haven't been posting or commenting on the blogs, whenever I've had a chance I've lurked and even on holidays my mind was never truly off financial stuff.

I didn't track expenses for the entire month of June, simply set automatic transfers weekly for our spending money and B's credit card, and fortnightly transfers for my balance transfer repayment. I decided I liked having our spending money and B's credit card payment get deposited every Thursday so simply changed the weekly spending amount from $300 to $500 (being for both of us), and left B's credit card payment at $80 per week. I can simply look at the monthly budget and if something needs to be changed it is very easy.

Being halfway through the year I looked at my 2016 goals and realised that while I have saved just over $2000 into the EF, I have only realistically paid no more than $300 per month mortgage interest for the first two months of the year so need to work on that goal.

As a result I have adjusted the weekly EF savings from $71.02 down to $35.69 (being $3000 - $2072.10 / 26 weeks), and will be working more on the mortgage interest - will write more about that next week.

***

Back in March I took the dog to the vet for a checkup and they reported that she has two broken teeth and needs her teeth cleaned, with an estimated cost of $900-$1100. It never left my mind that I needed to get this done and as I have a day off work tomorrow (I don't start back until next week); I have booked her in to get the work done. As she is 13, I really really hope she will be ok. Cross your fingers for her.

Possibly My Only June Blog Entry

June 6th, 2016 at 12:06 pm

Challenge starting balance: $4,378.78
Plus:
- Monthly balance transfer repayment: $303.00
- Mortgage repayment: $63.00
Challenge closing balance: $4,744.82

Realistically this will probably be my only blog post for June. I would love to write more often but it's crucial that I keep an eye on my energy levels when I'm this busy. I need to not forget stuff and I need to not get sick, so while I need to keep a close eye on the to-do list I also need to be strict with rest. Maybe I'll write some during this week, we'll see how we go.

In May we overspent by $416 which came out of the savings in the mortgage account. Because of all of the outflow I decided that just for one month I would stop the EF savings and sweep that money into the mortgage savings we dipped into instead.

So for June the only savings/debt repayment we'll be doing is $303 for the balance transfer and $63 for the mortgage. The balance transfer will be $917 and the mortgage will be $120,999!!!

I took a day off on Friday as work was quiet and I got to thinking about if B does do something on the walk-in robe he was planning and that I should probably do a major declutter of my clothes and things. I threw out 2/3 of my wardrobe!!! 1/3 was just old and worn to an inch of it's life so I threw that out and the other 1/3 will go to charity. These are generally wrong size clothes that did not get worn much so are in good condition.

There is a door at the other end of the wardrobe which goes through to another room so if B does anything while I'm gone it will only be sealing it up and plastering over it.

Thankfully the GBP has gone up! I transferred my last lot over to the travel money card and looked up the rate and to buy on the card it is about 0.475, which is better than 0.46. I was really worried it would drop even further but luckily it's gone up instead. Tomorrow I will buy so there is 750GBP and then will buy cash so there is 300GBP cash.

Financial transactions for today:

- Bought a Aus/UK electrical adaptor so I can charge phone, straightener etc $11.50
- Transferred $495 to the travel money card account so I can get 232GBP (currently 518 there)
- Paid $72 on my credit card- groceries were $89 and we had $72 cash. I have been eating down all of my food (me & B have different workday breakfasts, lunches & snacks) and have barely had to buy anything for me. Had to buy almond milk, apples and a chocolate bar! The rest of B's food and our dinner food, animal food and cleaning supplies. I was craving sushi last week and decided that instead of buying more lunch food I would eat mine down and buy sushi for lunch 2 days this week - we would have to spend this money anyway. Looking forward to sushi tomorrow!
- Had to pay my phone company $30, was not happy about this! They told me to pay $100 bond to activate global roaming which I did; as soon as the money hit the account they issued me with my monthly invoice which is not due until the 18th and promptly deducted the $30. Grrr. Had to quickly transfer in business hours so they can get it asap and activate it before I go.

Financial transactions done with, very much looking forward to visiting the land of the castles, cottages, cobblestoned streets and of course Scottish Girl!

Plodding Along

May 24th, 2016 at 11:24 am

I wish today's post was uplifting but have had a bad day, and am so not in an uplifting frame of mind. Work has really quietened down, which stresses my boss out and then it filters down my way.

I wish I was more understanding but I tend to get annoyed and just withdraw instead. Ie it's not my fault, I am sorry that in the quiet period I am simply a costly overhead while in the busy period because I have been here a long time and know what I am doing, I do my work as quickly as possible, as efficiently as possible and you make a fair bit of profit from it. I don't say this of course, but these are my thoughts.

I have 13 business days until my trip and if the days are like today I don't know how I will cope. I'd actually be happy to work part-time in the quiet period (which could very well be July-December), and may offer this. I wouldn't mind a bit of a change of scenery anyway. Seriously though if the work dies off I am going to offer unpaid leave. Financially not the greatest move but sanity would thank me.

I realised I finish on the Friday, have Saturday off and then go on Sunday morning, so would be happy with a little more preparation time.

Thank you all for listening to me. I feel a little bit better already.

***

On another note, the GBP is getting slammed! I bought some money a couple of weeks ago for 0.4827 on my travel money card and 0.4965 cash; on Monday I bought more on the travel money card and it was 0.46! All of these problems with the EU stuff in the UK, I take it.

***

Financial transactions for today:

*repaid $71.69 on my credit card for groceries purchased on Sunday. We had a big weekend so overspent - this week is the last week of the month and we have $452 left for food, petrol, and other miscellaneous items. Tough but doable as long as we stick to what we have left and try hard not to overspend.
*bought a groupon to go on the Churnet railway in the UK. Apparently it passes through a place called "Little Switzerland" and it looks really pretty. I got us a family daypass for $38.16AUD / 18GBP.

That's all folks, hoping for a better tomorrow!

New Computer Keyboard & Fortnightly Transactions

May 19th, 2016 at 12:16 pm

Challenge starting balance: $4,040.78
Plus:
- 2 week's EF: $142.04
- 2 weeks balance transfer repayment: $151.50
- Mortgage repayment: $44.50
Challenge closing balance: $4,378.82

A while ago we replaced the batteries in the keyboard and it seemed to work fine until it died last night. We only replaced them last month so came to the conclusion that it was the keyboard that was the problem, not the batteries.

So today on my lunchbreak I got us a keyboard & mouse combo (upon B's request). I ended up buying a middle of the range Hewlett Packard set for $48, with the flat keys I've become accustomed to from work and really love now. Typing is a dream! Our previous keyboard was top of the range Logitech with buttons to instantly do this and that - go to the internet, open up a calculator etc. We never even used that stuff and they were priced at $100 which I felt was far too pricey. Feeling much better about $48 than $100.

***

Then got home tonight and B set it up for us, it is all working fine and have just now been able to do my favourite thing of the fortnight - money transfers. (This time it was my pay we received)

Logged into the EF and transferred $290 over as half holiday savings. The EF is now around $6k, so nice that this is the new normal. (Don't want to say anymore and jinx it). I actually received $10 Safeway everyday rewards last week and paid it against the amount owed from the holiday fund.

I am currently not fussed about repaying it back yet, will be fully into repaying this after the trip. I then transferred $360 to the travel money card account and also some to cash to buy GBP from the money exchange.

Paid $151.50 towards the balance transfer card - it would now be $1,068.50 - can't believe it was around $4250 back in July last year! Very happy about the progress.

Paid $44.50 against mortgage interest - our loan balance is now $121,498 - next month it will be $120,999!!! That is very exciting to be down into the next lot of numbers.

***

Other than that I have been recovering from my cold, it was actually pretty bad - I was sick for 6 days before I started feeling better. The last couple of months have been so hectic, especially the last couple of weeks with the major deadline I am now focusing on rebalancing. Less rush, more relaxation. I have not caught the early train one day this week and have been leaving pretty much on time. Went to the gym last night for the first time in a while. I'm just trying to get back to my more relaxed self.

Other news is B has been going well at his job and in one of their meetings today they were talking about employees who were doing well (the senior managers were speaking) and his name was one of the names mentioned which is great news. (They were talking about employees who looked likely to receive a bonus). Really nice to see that he's doing well and making a good impression Smile

Holiday Financial Transactions, EF Thoughts

May 9th, 2016 at 11:04 am

My $730 that I transferred over to the travel money card hit the bank today so I converted the money to GBP. The $730 AUD converted at a rate of 0.4827 GBP, and I received 351.41 GBP after conversion fees (1% of the transaction). Looking around at other currency converter sites it seems pretty standard, so that's good.

Tonight I got around to buying travel insurance, paid $139 for a policy with CoverMore. I shopped around for cheaper travel insurance policies but upon reading the bad reviews decided to stick with CoverMore, they have better reviews. I did increase the excess to $250 to reduce the price of the policy though.

After that I bought a pair of compression socks for flying from OurDeal for $19, have heard good things about them.

Finally I logged into the EF and transferred the $49 over to our savings account - soon will need to exchange $180 for GBP cash (want to have a bit available for small purchases).

I have now updated the sidebar to show the EF breakdown. I don't mind borrowing a little bit from the EF and repaying that amount when I return home.

Looking at the EF, in a month or two will buy some more QBE shares - want to have 300 at least by the time the next dividend is to be paid. Or might wait until about August.

The other thing I want to do with it is move the cash portion to a higher interest account, but will look at doing that after coming back. (Along with refinancing B's car - going to be busy, I think!).

In the account (aka Mini EF) I want to have a minimum balance of $2500 and will probably increase that by $500 annually. The rest of the EF savings will be investments in the Maxi EF.

$4K Reached; Travel Money Card Frustration

May 3rd, 2016 at 11:51 am

Challenge starting balance: $3,702.74
Plus:
- 2 week's EF: $142.04
- 2 weeks balance transfer repayment: $151.50
- Mortgage repayment: $44.50
Challenge closing balance: $4,040.78

B got paid on the 30th so have now made the fortnightly challenge payments; happy to say the challenge total has now hit $4k! It took just over 4 months to get here.

I decided to change the bank account our automatic EF savings gets withdrawn from to be from the account our pays go into; before it was in another account and I was always having to transfer money over there. Much easier.

I sent over the balance transfer to the bank - realised it was due by the 7th so thought I'd better hop to it. That card balance is now $1,220 and only four months to go; it's starting to get exciting. Did I used to pay credit card interest? It's now a distant memory, hasn't happened for nearly a year.

Mortgage interest that got charged last month was $589 and I realised that if we can just pay the $89, we will be under $121,500; should be $121,498. That was motivating so this pay we saved $44.50.

***

Now for the thing that is making me want to bang my head on the desk.... I got around to setting up my travel money card, they sent me out the cards and tonight I have activated the cards and had to set up a user name and password. It then asks you to choose two security questions and write the answers.

I thought I had the details of how to transfer the money to the card and realised I'd gotten something wrong, so had to log back in. (of course I'd logged out...). Type in the user name and password, and it gives me two completely security questions!!!

Aaaargh. I've now been locked out of it temporarily. I've possibly typed in a slightly different password I'm guessing (the user name is easy for me to remember). I'm annoyed at the moment because I was looking forward to sending over the money but I guess it will have to wait until tomorrow. Or until I have to speak to a banking operator.... Grrr, so annoyed. And possibly over-tired. Will need to revisit this later. (And get some zzz's now).

Budget Changes

April 4th, 2016 at 11:59 am

52 Week Challenge Opening Balance: $3,148.28
Plus:
- Snowflake- Safeway Everyday Reward $10
- Mortgage principal repayment $8
52 Week Challenge Closing Balance: $3,166.28

To start with the additions to the challenge: when paying for something at Safeway they gave me my $10 reward off the groceries purchase price, so I transferred that to the EF today. I also saw the $8 bank fee got charged to the mortgage which put it back over $122k, so I paid the $8 back.

****

We've operated our budget on a monthly basis for the last 11 years since working at my job but after doing a completely joint budget as of 1 April, I'm already realising that perhaps we need to do things differently. (Not perhaps but we *must* do things differently).

I think it's a combination that we can see more income than we usually see and this month has already started to be expensive and looks like it will get out of control in a big way.

B gets paid on the 30th and received just under $3k for 2 weeks work (next month working a full month will be just under $4.5k as the tax is a bit higher). As he closed the business he advised me that his friend who has work for him occasionally (and he would work for the friend occasionally- instead of paying each other they would simply trade their time) is owed 5 days work and because the business is no longer open, they can't trade time anymore and he needs to pay him. 5 x $350 per day... We paid him one day and now owe him four. We'll pay another 1 or 2 days from his next pay, his friend is fine with this.

We now have to pay the car lease from our personal funds, which is $926 per month because even though it is no longer used for the business. It is high because the car was bought brand new. It's a good car and we're going to keep it. The lease expires in August and has a balloon of $15000 due. We are going to get a personal loan to refinance; looking quickly the best rate I can see is 11.83%, so that on a 3yr loan of $17000 maximum is $573 per month. Will be a much better result and as the car won't be driven as much we'll keep it a long time.

So first we had these two expenses, plus my UK trip savings, plus it's my birthday this month so we had to repay the $330 bike plus we had to get B glasses which were $400 and new work boots worth $126 and for a month we didn't have very much income left to live off.

I spent time juggling things around and just thought B gets paid on the 30th, I get paid on the 15th, why are we bothering with a monthly budget? It will be so much easier to manage on a fortnightly basis, especially as the bill repayments are now spread out evenly throughout the month.

So first in my budgeting app I deleted the amount of any transactions after the 15th, but wrote the amounts in the detail line, so after the 15th I will put them in.

I then analysed the percentages of the various categories to try and work out what is a reasonable spend and adjusted accordingly. I had to juggle some things around, some things will need to have part of the cost repaid from his next pay at the start of next month. Eg the glasses and the work boots. I made sure that our EF savings and my balance transfer repayments continue at the same amount.

So now after much juggling we're sitting at $504 for this week to live off (which was better than $983 for two people for 26 days). Live off means food, fuel,we have to go out for a birthday lunch and other miscellaneous exps like alcohol.

I'm really hoping this new method will work. Many years ago we got paid fortnightly and it all worked out ok, it just takes getting used to.

March Wrap-Up

March 31st, 2016 at 11:37 am

52 Week Challenge Opening Balance: $2,982.66
Plus:
- EF savings $71.02
- Balance transfer repayment $60.60
- Mortgage principal repayment $34.00
52 Week Challenge Closing Balance: $3,148.28

This week I made the EF savings, the balance transfer repayment and the mortgage was at $122,033.97 so paid $34.00 so it would drop down into the next thousand. Unfortunately with the outlay for the holiday I was not able to pay some of the mortgage interest charge so it would not be more than $300 interest paid.

For February I was able to save 9.38% of my pay, which was pretty good considering the outlay. It was a huge month financially. I was able to keep the other categories down/normal (food, fuel, entertainment, alcohol).

As it is the end of the month I have updated the EF breakdown. Our mini EF balance is still larger than our maxi EF, but only slightly.

The shares haven't really dropped too much in value since I bought them, so that's good - only about $43. Last month they were down $60 so there's a slight improvement there.

Ps. credit card debt is now below $1826 - it is moving towards $1523, so that is progressing well. My CC1 (my short term card) will be paid back in full by the start of June, is currently $1086.

February Wrap-Up

February 29th, 2016 at 10:34 am

52 Week Challenge Opening Balance: $2,496.36
Plus:
- EF savings $71.02
52 Week Challenge Closing Balance: $2,567.38

The EF savings hit the account over the weekend so have added it to my challenge - really the only addition I expect over the next few weeks as I made all the savings payments in one hit.

For February I was able to save 21.17% of my pay and will also add $135.00 to the Holiday Fund. It was a quiet month, and my highest variable expenses were reupholstering the car ceiling for $250 and I spent $159 on clothes. I will be spending a bit on clothes over the next few months as from November-January I pretty much bought the bare minimum and things need to be replaced.

As it is the end of the month I have updated the EF breakdown. Our mini EF balance is still larger than our maxi EF, maybe in the next month I might buy some more shares to even out the balance. I don't want the cash portion to dip below $2000-$2500 though.

I have renamed the Thailand savings as the Holiday Fund as we are now going to Thailand next year. I am itching to book a holiday but at the moment there are a few factors that are making me hold off. I did say to B that no matter what I want something booked by the middle of March.

Work will be really busy up to middle of May and will well and truly die off by June-July. I barely took any leave last year because we were saving for B's party so I have lots of leave accrued now and within a couple of months will really need a break of some sort. Will be looking at doing something between June and August, depending on various factors.

The shares haven't really dropped too much in value since I bought them, so that's good - only about $60. I think the account (all balances combined) is possibly the biggest it's ever been! Ok, that's kinda sad. I'm going to have to get used to the balances increasing. Did anybody else have this problem when their savings were increasing?

I guess in perspective, there is a bit over 1.5 months of my pay there now, so even though the dollar value is increasing, in actual fact there's not "heaps" there. And if you combined both our pays, then there is 1 month's there. Really not heaps.

Another thing too, when you think of how many months salary you want to have in an EF, do you use your current salary as a guide or bare minimum monthly amount required? I would rather use bare minimum monthly amount required because if you were in a financial bind you should cut all expenses to the bare minimum, I believe. (I worked out my bare minimum to be between $2200 and $2500 per month)

Ps. credit card debt is now below $2000 - it is $1826, so that is progressing well.

January Savings & Monthly Wrap-Up

February 3rd, 2016 at 11:37 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EF, Tax Stuff, Grocery Rewards, etc

January 28th, 2016 at 11:35 am

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

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

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

***

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

***

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

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

***

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

2016 Goals, 365 Days of Gratitude #2

January 3rd, 2016 at 08:21 am

Have decided to keep the financial goals as listed on the sidebar, but to include all amounts saved (planned and snowflakes) in the 52 week challenge.

Non-financial goals are to decrease my alcohol intake slightly. I buy 2 bottles of wine per week, so my goal is to only buy 1 bottle of wine per week. I will probably spend the money saved on small items of clothing that I leave far too long to buy!

My other non-financial goal is to keep the kitchen bench clear and wiped daily. This is because just before Christmas we got these lovely bar stools to match the area, and it would look so much nicer.

We have kept the automatic savings payments as per previously, the first payment came out on Friday January 1. The 52 week challenge is as follows:

Starting balance: $0
Plus:
EF savings $71.02
Part payment towards balance transfer amount $75.00
Snowflake of discount on tshirt bought $9.00 (this was sent to CC1)
Today's closing balance: $155.02

I also need to note the insurance savings made last month. We now have $1,120 and by March will have $1,660. The payment due is around $2000 so there will be a small amount extra to pay.

***

We got back from visiting our friends yesterday, and had a really lovely New Years Eve. We are already getting back into the swing of things. I washed 3 loads of washing today, did grocery shopping ($100) and went to the gym. I want to go to the gym a few times before going back to work on Thursday to work off my holiday eating Smile

***

I love the 365 days of gratitude and enjoy seeing what you are all grateful for. Here are my things:

1. Being able to show my face to all of the people who read this blog regularly. This is me on the top left, hello everyone!

2. Being able to go back to where we always used to camp with our friends on Friday, it was so nice being at this place again! (It's called Tocumwal, it's on the Murray River in Victoria). Ps on the bottom right is a koala we had to give way too coming out of the campsite, wish I could have got a better photo but it was not to be!


No Christmas Debt Hangover; 2016 Goals Musings

December 28th, 2015 at 01:18 pm

Like many others on this site, I am happy to say that we have carried no debt for our Christmas presents etc. We don't normally carry much of a debt for Christmas presents, perhaps $100-$200 usually. This time, nothing (which was a great feeling).

I stopped tracking spending on December 22. I don't know what it is with me, in normal everyday life I track constantly, but when I hit holiday mode I just cannot do it (except for the last time we were away when I was really motivated). Part of it was also because we saved $800, which is the spending money that B normally covers; so rather than eating into our everyday money we are simply spending money which was allocated for this purpose. It has been so helpful having the spending money aside.

I won't say that the money situation has been stress-free because with him being self-employed it is never stress-free at Christmas time. Funny things always happen with his payments he is owed at Christmas time. This time he got paid for the larger invoice but not the smaller, even though they were invoiced on the same day. So instead of being worried about that, I was simply mildly annoyed. I know we'll get it in a few weeks.

On the financial side of things, I got paid my Christmas bonus from work. I knew that if I got it, I would buy some bar stools for the kitchen area, and bank the rest, so that it can be put towards a study unit. The bar stools came to $207. They only had one in stock, so we are waiting for the other two to be shipped in. We took the other one home though, it looks very nice! The balance of the bonus was $800, which is also the allocated spending money from the EF to cover B's wages, so instead of withdrawing from the EF, I just used the balance of the bonus. The $800 in the EF will be left there until needed.

I have simply been charging things to my credit card, so have just paid over all that has been spent. Such a lovely feeling to have that all squared out and back to what it was before.

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Christmas was a busy blur; it always is! Christmas Eve was my work do - we went to a Moroccan restaurant and had a six course meal, which was really nice. Christmas day we had the inlaws over for lunch for the first time ever - that was busy as we pretty had to spring-clean the house beforehand! Everything worked out wonderfully though. Christmas night was at my sister's house, which was also wonderful. It was a hot day, just under 97F. We got home and the power was out, probably because so many people were using their airconditioners. So we sat outside on that really balmy night, listening to music and having a couple of drinks. WAs a really lovely end to a great day. Then on Boxing Day we had to go to B's extended family, aunties and uncles etc, which is always a nice day.

Yesterday I was so tired from it all though that I spent hours watching catch-up tv and music videos, and basically hibernating, to bring myself back to my normal self, rebalancing etc.

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Now thinking about goals, I can't seem to find a concrete plan. I'm probably too tired still with too much going on. I know that this year, from this month onwards, I don't want us to pay more than $300 per month interest on the mortgage. At the moment on average, interest is about $560-$570, so we would be paying $260-$270 out of pocket against the loan. By doing this, as our monthly mortgage payment is $995, roughly 70% of each payment will then work out to be principal.

I also want to try to live off much less than what I am paid; for two reasons: 1. pretty much whatever savings/debt repayment goals there are will be easily met, 2. I want to feel like I don't need to rely on my full pay to make ends meet, because I think that so many people tell themselves they must earn $xxx when they could live off far less.

I will also update the sidebar to show mini-EF (available cash) and maxi-EF (invested cash). This currently stands at $2135 available cash and $1138 invested cash. Maybe if I aim to increase invested cash by $3000, then the total EF will be roughly around $5k.

So my rough plans for 2016 are;
- pay no more than $300 interest on the mortgage (average of $270 per month x 12 months = $3240)
- save a further $3000 to the EF
- continue debt repayment to credit cards as previously. When the $303 monthly balance transfer payment is finished after September, that $303 will instead become savings for my next car. (Hopefully I don't need to buy for a while though)($303 x 12 months = $3636)

Estimate of total savings cost for 2016 = $9876. Based on 2015 savings made, this should be possible.

Apologies for the super long post, I really needed to do some thinking out loud! Now, must fall into bed as it after midnight and I am exhausted. Goodnight all!


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