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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.

11 Things For 11 Days

March 11th, 2017 at 06:10 am

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 Frown. 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 Smile. 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!

Fell Off The Wagon

February 23rd, 2017 at 10:27 am

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.

Quick Hello

February 15th, 2017 at 11:17 am

Hi everybody, just wanting to say a super quick hello. Here's some financial goings-on in the last couple of days:

- yesterday we took our 15yo cat to the vet to get an old-cat profile done. This is various blood tests to see if she can tolerate a stronger dose of pain meds and a check on her organs. The check on her organs found that she has very early stage kidney disease so now the stronger dose has been ruled out. Hopefully with some dietary changes she will have an improved quality and length of life. $652 all up, so we have spent $712 on her this month. I am glad we got the medical done but really am now hoping to rein the spending in.

- on Monday I had to buy a birthday present for SIL so decided to get a gift card. Turns out the supermarket was having a $10 reward if you bought gift cards for certain shops. As this is a good shop, I bought the gift card for there, and received the $10 off a purchase tonight; have now added this to my snowflakes tally (SIL was happy too!)

- tonight I did my fourth weekly shop in a row and completed the required spending - now have $60 rewards waiting to be deducted off our next shop! This will mean that we will easily make month 2 of the Christmas savings challenge Smile.

I now have to go to bed but just thought I would check in and jot a few things down.

Twelve Days Until Christmas! Monday Stuff

December 12th, 2016 at 09:21 pm

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.

Sick

December 7th, 2016 at 10:07 am

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.

Doings Of The Last Few Days

December 5th, 2016 at 11:13 am

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

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

Must make lunches and go to bed, talk soon.

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.

July EOM EF Balance; New Coffee Machine

July 31st, 2016 at 08:25 am

Challenge starting balance: $5,737.37
Plus:
- weekly EF savings $35.69
Challenge closing balance: $5,773.06

As always, on Friday the weekly EF savings got transferred to the EF account.

I've just checked the balance for the end of July and it is as follows:

Mini EF: $2,743.35
Maxi EF: $3,784.50
Holiday Fund: $-445.00

All in all, $6,527.85. The Maxi EF, the shares portion of the savings gained $200 from last month. The Maxitrans shares are down by $120 and the QBE shares are up by $80, so not awesome but not too bad.

***

No football winnings this week as my team lost and we didn't have enough spare money to transfer the $15 over from last week so will do that next week.

***

I've been saving for another coffee machine because the current one has been leaking for quite a while, even though I've descaled it. B had a look to see if he could pull it apart and change a seal but no, not possible.

I had $40 saved. This morning while using it, it made an unmistakably bad and scary sound so it was apparent that this was it, time to go to the shops.

The remainder of this purchase is coming out of August money!

Good Guys had the best price for Nespresso coffee machines and I saw one for $229 (rrp is $329) pretty much exactly the same. But.... then I spoke to a salesman.

We ended up with a slight upgrade, getting a Nespresso Lattissima for $399 (rrp is $515, so we got a good deal as they are running that model out), which I'm happy about as this machine does your milk and coffee at the same time, there's a bit of time saving there.

Still have mixed emotions though because instead of saving $100 we overspent by $170. I think in the longterm we'll see the value though. Mr Money Mustache would not be proud though!

Dipped Into Savings; and Coffee Pod Purchase

February 4th, 2016 at 10:50 am

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

***

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

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

Thank You EBay & Needs Vs Wants

December 16th, 2015 at 06:45 am

I've been using my email on my phone regularly over the last few months and it is so helpful at the moment because the stores I am buying from are listing their sales and discounts.

B wanted solar panels for the camper trailer for Christmas. The shops retail price is around $350 but eBay has them for around $190. B's parents said they will give him cash to put towards it so I said to put cash for me too instead of buying me a present. So $190 less $80 for our presents brings it to $110 out of pocket.

eBay had a 10% of everything sale so while the price went up to $195, we then received $19.50 discount. Nice! Thanks eBay Smile

Tonight I am buying dinner sets for 8 people and cutlery. All of ours is mismatched and we are short of cutlery. First I was going to spend $40 for two dinner sets from Kmart and $70 for proper silverware from Harris Scarfe.

Then Mr Money Moustache got into my head! $110 is a big outlay on top of Christmas presents and food for Christmas dinner.. Do we really need fine silverware? We need plates and cutlery. Fine silverware is a want. Perhaps that can be a birthday present or next year's Christmas present from the Inlaws.

So I have found cute Christmas plates for $12 per set and nice cutlery at $15 per set, so I am hoping for a total outlay of $54. Hopefully they have what I want in stock Smile

Christmas/End of Year Stuff

December 10th, 2015 at 11:34 am

It's been a little while since I've written! I finished my study unit and have been slowly adjusting back to 40 hour weeks instead of the 50-60 hour weeks I've been dealing with when I had to study as well as work. It's nice to have a bit of free time.

And now Christmas is just around the corner! We put the tree up a couple of days ago which is really nice. And my family decided that the adults would partake in a Kris Kringle for the first time ever! The presents must be worth between $40 and $60 per person, but this is a reduction in presents as we would normally have to buy 5 presents and now it is one per person. Happy about that.

B's family we will need to buy 4 adult presents for, not completely sure what yet. Then there are four nephews and one niece. I have $100 in gift cards saved up from previous months which I will use to pay for two nephews and the niece (or three nephews? will work out the same anyway). So we are looking at two presents for my family; four for B's; plus two kids; so I'm guessing around $250-$300 in presents. We'll see what it ends up as.

My Christmas present is half the anniversary present; it is an eternity ring. A gorgeous ring marked down from $600 to $420, with the stones set in a V, which sits perfectly in front of my engagement ring. We have been paying it off on layby since the middle of last month, so no problems there. Speaking of anniversary presents; my gift to my husband was changing my name but my marriage certificate request was denied as I had the wrong person certify my ID, so now have to redo that by getting the police to certify and sending it back. I have 60 days, and was notified on November 2, so will have to get moving on that one! I want it done by early next week.

B wants a solar panel for our camping stuff, which has been priced at $180 on eBay. His parents said they will give cash towards it, so I said they can give cash towards my present too. That means we will be out of pocket there about $100.

I have still been living quietly to try and get back to normal after my trip to see Nana; hoping to finish the year out with that dealt with. Then B had problems at work and didn't get paid last week, so we were really out of pocket.

I ended up having to transfer $880 from savings and use up his tax savings money of $634. It's so amazing that it can take so long to build and can be gone so quickly! At least it was there though.

As a result this week when he got paid, most of it pretty much went. He is supposed to be getting a good pay next week, but it will need to last us. I think he gets one more pay before Christmas, and then we will need to wait until around the 20th January.

I am still planning to allocate two weeks spending money for him from our EF though, so that will help us. I was thinking a maximum of $1000 but really I think I will just see what we need, we could possibly be comfortable with less. I think this is a good idea for him as he is self-employed though - everyone deserves to have a holiday free of trying to work out how you will pay for your time off! At least this way he can relax the same way I, as an employee, does.

Finally, I am steeling myself for a profit downgrade when it comes to the challenges.. The EF and CC1 have had the correct amount saved/repaid, however CC2 (which we use for B's work) is generally lucky to have around $250 free! So according to the challenges $1068.63 will be repaid by year end - so that will likely need to be reduced by $750. The mortgage savings - hopefully the $880 used last week will be repaid by year end. $293 was repaid tonight. I am hopeful that we will repay it.

So instead of $5300 + $4076.54 = $9376.54, it could be $5300 + $4076.54 - $750 + $303 (balance transfer CC1 payment not made yet but will be made)

= $8929.54.

Who knows, maybe I can find $72 to push it over $9k?
Anyway even with a profit downgrade, it's still a billion times better than what we had 1 year ago!! I'm still happy with that.

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

November 28th, 2015 at 12:46 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Spring Capsule Wardrobe

October 4th, 2015 at 10:19 am

Ceejay inspired me with her capsule wardrobe so as we are at the start of spring I researched spring capsule wardrobes, decided on one I felt was appropriate to me and got as many clothing pieces together as possible and evaluated what I would need to purchase.

Luckily most of my clothing is in good condition and I bought some summery tops before we went away in March and have barely worn them because the season then changed.

I have two pairs of jeans, Capri cargo 3/4 pants, shorts and a denim skirt for bottoms. I have five different cardigans- some long sleeves, some short. I have two tshirts and three tank tops, and four going out tops. I also have two going out jackets and three dresses, a pair of flip flops, a pair of sneakers, some dressy flip flops, and two or three pairs of going out shoes. Oh, and three long sleeve tshirts.
And because I tend to stick to black, white and beige (too much of these), with some denim, some coral pinks and some navy, everything matches.

So according to the capsule contents, I need a long sleeve shirt! That is all for the next three months!!

I found one for $38. I also want to get a short sleeve tshirt and a going out top. Hoping to spend $100 for all three.

Next will be a capsule for work clothes because they say to separate the two. Aiming to complete my casual spring clothes capsule by the middle of the month then will look at work clothes in the last couple of weeks in October.

Challenges Week 26 & First Ever EBay Buy!

July 20th, 2015 at 11:45 am

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

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

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

50 Week Challenge Week 19 & various

May 26th, 2015 at 10:27 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Challenges Week 14 & bits and pieces

April 19th, 2015 at 09:02 am

As always, the 52 week challenge debits got paid. I was a bit busy during the week so didn't get around to paying bills until just now (I usually do this Wed/Thursday).

This week's bill savings were $133.27, from the following places:
- business insurance $9.68
- my phone $55.45 (thank you $30 plan!)
- animal registrations $7.50 (our cat has a reduced fee to due to her age now- lower price for animals over 10 years old)
- train ticket savings $60.64

Other stuff that went on:

I went to the dentist for the first time in 4 years, due to a chip on one of my fillings. Amazingly, that was my only problem (I'm strict with brushing, flossing & mouthwash). So a clean, polish & filling patch up was $270. I'm pretty happy that there was only 10 minutes of physical pain and, while $270 sounds a lot, over 4 years it works out to $67.50 per year. Not bad.

We are starting to plan B's 40th, which is 4 months away, and saved our first $100 towards it. While we're not sure how many people will be there, we do want to pay for food and alcohol. (We're not sure what type as yet though, that is negotiable)

We had some friends over from dinner last night that we hadn't seen since January, so was a lovely catch-up. We decided to do a last BBQ of the season. All up $60, however we put leftover meat in the freezer and are eating salads again tonight.

Today I went for a swim first thing, then went to the shops and spent some of my birthday vouchers- I got a pair of winter pajamas for $20, and my friends got me a Rebel sport voucher worth $150, so I got a nice tracksuit worth $130. Was great spending money that wasn't my own for once! (or our own I should say)

Then we went "camping shopping" eg getting things for our camper trailer. Today we ended up replacing my broken chair. We got a good chair worth $140 for $70, which I was very happy with.... If you are sitting around a campfire all night, a good chair is something that is money well spent. This chair is fairly straight with padding, I think it's a bit better for your back.

Food shopping wasn't too too bad at $120, however I pretty much got the bare minimum. Tonight we are having steak & salad, tomorrow ham, cheese & mushroom omelette, Tuesday pork & vegies, Wednesday & Thursday meatballs with tomato risoni (new meal, however looks like I can stretch to 2 nights).

Time to cook tea & then catch on blogs. Hope y'all had a lovely weekend!

Challenges Week 13 & money to repay CC

April 12th, 2015 at 10:26 am

Week 13 of the challenges has been a huge week. Not so much for the challenges, but more because tomorrow is my birthday and we have been celebrating all weekend. Currently we're winding down in preparation for the work week, so I thought I'd create an entry while we have some downtime.

Of the 52wk challenges, the EF is now creeping up to $1000, will be nice when it hits it!

Of the banking the difference challenge, my team St Kilda won the football by 28 points, so $28 will be transferred to the EF. Yay!

After Easter, a heavy workload at work and going out to our niece's birthday on Thursday night, I was glad that I thought ahead and decided that this birthday would be a quiet one. When we have parties with all our families, mine & B's, a birthday celebration becomes not only expensive but a lot of work. Before Easter I decided that as my birthday is not a special year, all I want to do is go out with my friends on Saturday night, and have my family over for afternoon tea on Sunday. B also came out with my friends, amazingly he was ok with being the only male, was very proud of him.

For my friends I decided to do nibbles platters plus put on some frozen food (mini-quiches, sausage rolls, spring rolls etc), and for my family, nibbles platters. So I decided when shopping to look for buy 2 get discounts deals. For celebrations I buy mostly brand name food. It's a celebration so I allow leeway in the budget to enjoy the nicer things. $111 in total, $10 was for grocery items however. Didn't have cash or money in checking, so used CC & need to repay tomorrow when I log into Internet banking.

Got my hair done, this was $95, paid cash.

Bought petrol & am hoping to stretch this for 3 weeks (fingers crossed), $50, which needs to be repaid back to CC.
Bought alcohol & am hoping to stretch that to 3 weeks too, $47.48, this needs to be repaid back to CC too.

So in total, I need to transfer back $209 back to CC tomorrow (rounded it up slightly), and $28 to EF.

We didn't go out until 10.30 so only had a few drinks, $65 was spent.

Had such a lovely time with friends and family! I'm glad that I decided not to do anything huge, because I had a great time, am relaxed and feel like I'm glowing! I love the people in my world Smile

Banking The Difference deposits & this and that

April 8th, 2015 at 12:44 pm

It was a happy time tonight, where I got to pay bills and there were savings galore! It was time to pay the phone bills for B & for home. B's phone bill was the big saving because the new plan has officially kicked in, there was a saving of $88.02 there, and the home phone had a saving of $12.71 (only because I am now in the habit of paying on time, thus avoiding their exorbitant $15 late fee), so total banking the difference deposit today was $100.73. I forgot to add the business insurance savings of $9.68, will need to do that next time.

I notice that Banking the Difference has now clicked over to $1,535.75 so adding that to the $5,512 52 week challenge money, I am now anticipating by mid-January $7,047.75! We've just clicked over into the $7k zone now, happy times Smile

But to bring the happy times down a notch, we had a kind of expensive day today. Hubby found out the whipper snipper was broken and since we have had it since we moved in 14 years ago, the part needed to fix it is no longer available. $190 for a new whipper snipper. Then I noticed that my car central locking has been making a weird noise so when B went to look at it, he found that the driver side passenger door lock is broken. This is the fourth time we have this lock problem, it happens on various doors. B knows how to fix it which is good, but parts will be around $150.

So some great things, some speedbumps. We can afford the whipper snipper and door lock, so there is not much stress there. They are just things which need attending to.

I also got a rewards card in the mail for Safeway/Woolworths (supermarket). As I have credit card debt, I am not interested in a rewards credit card until the debt is paid off, but I see no harm in earning rewards from supermarket shopping (this is not a credit card at all). I also got a Dan Murphys rewards card, and I am still using my Priceline rewards card (I get about $5 a quarter, but I would shop there anyway so enjoy receiving the money).

One of the best ways to pay for Christmas presents is...

February 27th, 2015 at 06:53 am

By paying with gift cards.

A friend of mine did that last year or the year before and put a picture up on Facebook of all the cards she bought, and I thought that was such a wonderful idea.

I figured if I divide the Christmas spend by 10 and buy 1 card per month from February to November our Christmas spending will be taken care of, and not only will one headache be taken care of, but it should add to the enjoyment of the season. (Sure I could save the monthly instalment into the EF and withdraw at Xmas but I want the EF to be a place where money floods in erratically & often and dribbles out only in the event of a true emergency, no transfering between accounts willy-nilly).

Gift cards have a 1 year expiry date so I will buy first the ones I know I will be shopping with and last the ones that we will be giving.

Last year because we were so broke our Christmas shopping was phenomenally low - $180 and we only bought for the niece and nephews. We felt bad, it's not really the meaning of Christmas to make other family members miss out because of our money dramas. It sucked.

So as it's the 27th of February I thought I'd better get card number 1 and bought one for $50.. 1 down, 9 to go!

Changing My ideals about what should be brand new

February 5th, 2015 at 07:09 am

I'm not one to op-shop. I probably won't change in that respect.

But when visiting my sister last month (who had a baby with her husband and because they went from 2 wages to 1 they drastically overhauled their finances) I was reading a tip in a frugal living book she borrowed.

It goes: research what you want to buy, then look not only for the best deals but also check eBay.

Which made me think really how much stuff do we need to buy brand new? I don't think I care anymore about certain things. Last night I felt like Internet shopping, gave myself a maximum limit ($20) and bought an umbrella for $12. I do need one.

Then the tip popped into my mind (of course after buying!) and I checked eBay. I could have got an umbrella just like the one I bought for the same price but not paid shipping (eBay had it listed as free for that item as long as you choose standard). I paid $12 plus $10 shipping on my site.

So then I thought I don't care if things like umbrellas and accessories are second hand? So my ideals have kind of changed when it comes to shopping. I think from now on I am happy to search eBay for accessories and little items here and there (like for example I want to buy a shower timer, an iPad case and a phone case- so I don't care if they're secondhand)

What items do you guys search eBay for?

Spending Downgrade. And then downgraded again :)))

January 23rd, 2015 at 08:40 am

My sunglasses broke 1 month into being really poor and because they are a non-essential item they had to wait 2 months until we were semi on our feet.

I missed them so decided this month I would buy a pair.

Two sunglasses ago I had Orotons which lasted 4-5 years. The next much cheaper pair lasted just 2 months.

I could either save for Orotons ($165 cheapest price) & get them later but really wanted them this month. Money available this month is $100 max.

So found brands in the $100 range & decided to buy.

Went to the shop and before I spoke to anyone decided to just try on sunglasses & see what I like. Focused on looks and also UV protection, sunglare & polarisation. And found a nice pair with good ratings for $50!

So I downgraded and then downgraded again and am perfectly happy with what I bought! So happy to finally have sunglasses again.