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Credit Card & Bill Management; Another Snowflake

April 19th, 2017 at 05:25 am

I am conscious that certain things have been let slide for a little while so I am trying to make amends before it is too painful.

Today and tomorrow my main priority is to get the credit cards to their correct balances. I have just fixed up B's credit card so that tomorrow when the automatic weekly transfer of $75 to that card hits, the balance will be $2,470.

We put $75 there per week to cover the compulsory car wash he must do for the company car each week plus his various coffees, lunches and miscellaneous expenses (eg going to the barber).

Unfortunately the card was sitting at $2,990... ! This was due to our easter trip, where he put fuel, alcohol and the new LED lighting kit we bought for the camper trailer on it amongst other small things. (We had to buy the kit while we were away because the batteries went flat on our main light source, luckily it was 25% off - the new lights make such a difference).

Anyway, I digress. I just transferred from our bank account $445.23, being $348.23 to cover the outstanding balance plus this month's payment of $97 against the mountain bike purchased. Ouch. These things add up - imagine if I had left this another two weeks?

So his card is now sorted. Tomorrow I will be paying down my Virgin credit card back to $0. I'm guessing that about $345 will need to be paid. (These charges consist of among other things: train ticket $137, balance of textbooks $55, balance of fuel $15, groceries $45, caravan park accommodation $90). My Virgin credit card hasn't been down to $0 since February, so it is pretty important to get that in order. (Around February I put school textbooks plus a new suit on it so have been paying these items down). All in all, I'm not terribly fussed about transferring over the money for either cards because all expenses have been entered into my spending app so there is nothing that is a nasty surprise.

In regards to bill management, I was so frantically busy last week that I simply paid the home phone and B's mobile bill and neglected to pay the animal's registration fees, must do that tomorrow night.

I received another $10 from Safeway Rewards so have transferred that to the Christmas Savings challenge. $56 towards this month is now sitting there so will only have to put in $44 at the end of the month. Must also update the snowflakes spreadsheet to include the dividends received the other but will get to that. Slowly getting everything back in order!

Done; Done; And Fixed

March 16th, 2017 at 03:49 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 04:26 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!

Fell Off The Wagon

February 23rd, 2017 at 02:27 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 03:17 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.

NSD, Short Entry Today

February 7th, 2017 at 03:22 am

Today I was lucky enough to not need to buy anything for me or B so it was a no spend day. Just a quiet Tuesday. Work is going ok after the end of last week which is good.

Quickly the latest few financial transactions I have carried out are:
- tonight submitting the student loan application for the next subject in the degree
- shopping on the weekend was $168, a bit high, we seemed to run out of a few things
- with shopping I have completed week 2 of the 4 week spend $135 per week to receive $60 in rewards so am on track to receive that
- the Thailand calendar I ordered from eBay never arrived and was being sent from the UK so had to allow 3 weeks delivery. I sent the seller a message and they figured it had gotten lost in the mail so I could either reorder a calendar or get a refund. While I wanted the calendar I couldn't be bothered waiting another 3 weeks so asked for my $16.50 to be refunded back. I then found another calendar at a bookshop for $5.

I wasn't sure what else to get from the bookshop but then I saw a 4-ingredients cookbook which I have been interested in for a long time! It was $20 so have spent $7.50 out of pocket. Just like ceejay I am looking forward to trying out lots of recipes! I want to do one a week if possible Smile.

Possible Takeover For My Largest Shareholding

February 3rd, 2017 at 01:17 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Weekend Doings

January 23rd, 2017 at 02:30 am

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

Updates 17/1/17

January 17th, 2017 at 02:42 am

I have nothing overly exciting to report, just bits and pieces of various things, will try to run through my movements for the last couple of days:

- groceries: I could have spent $145 to earn more Safeway rewards but felt that our monthly spend was already pretty high. Instead we spent $115, so far we have spent $425 for the month with two weekends of grocery shopping to go. We may go over our monthly $600 but I am hoping to not go too far over.

- date night: B suggested going out to dinner but then I wanted to see the new "xxx" movie with Vin Diesel, which is not out until 19 January. We held off going out to dinner and I remembered that Safeway has 10% off movie gift cards at the moment. We had a little bit left over in our checking account yesterday so I bought a $50 gift card for $45. I was rather happy, I must say! We can both go to the movies and then there will be some left over for another movie day.

- productivity: I use the reminder app on my phone to do out of the ordinary things (not everyday tasks like washing, dishes and tidying up) however I struggle to actually "do" the tasks! I set myself the task of completing four things and failed this weekend. The things were:
1) descaling the coffee machine (I actually did it but the orange light on the machine is still flashing - I don't think I've done it properly so will need to get more descaling mix and do it again. Was super annoyed about this!)
2) fill out the Medicare form so we can finally get B's doctor co-pays refunded to us (expecting about $90). I have filled out the form and need one more signature before I can mail it off.
3) check that the cat's vaccinations are up to date before putting her in the boarding kennel. DONE. She is up to date which is great.
4) clean the study while running apple updates for both iPhone and ipad. Not done and did not have a spare 5-6 hours for this task.
I'm hoping that if I write about this stuff often enough I will move through the list quicker, because there are plenty more things to be done.

- B's credit card repayment: I transferred this month's $180 over, the balance is now supposed to be $2527 owing (with the additional $90 from doctor co-pays, $2617 owing)

- my credit card fixed payment offer: this is more a reminder that should the need arise I may be able to get 10.9% on set purchases with my credit card for 1,2 or 3 years. They have this offer out currently so it's a possibility in future. This credit card is 20% so definitely worthwhile remembering. You can either buy something or write a cheque to yourself.

- B dejavu: he is so funny sometimes. While in the UK I could not access the bank to do transfers but I have an app which allows me to view bank balances and transactions (that's all you are allowed to do, which is good I think for your ipad) so because B is not computer savvy I set up automatic transfers so he could have money for food etc from our pay account to our checking account. For the first week while I away I kept looking at it and he was barely spending anything on food and I was getting worried that he wasn't eating. Then I saw a small amount go on food and the rest on motorbike parts!!!! So the first week of work last week he was barely spending his weekly money on takeaway like he normally does and then... it all went on motorbike parts!!! Again! I don't mind because he's not over the top with spending. He said he planned the big spend while I was in the UK but he didn't even realise he was going to buy that stuff last weekend until about an hour before. I still say it's dejavu Smile.

- today: I went to bed early, then the cat woke me up early while B was in the shower to go to the toilet so was up an hour earlier than normal. I spent this hour drinking coffee and watching Code Black on my ipad. What a great start to the day! Maybe it can happen again tomorrow!

I guess I've chatted enough about various things, must go to bed.

First Safeway Rewards For The Year; Cat Stuff

January 12th, 2017 at 03:01 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.

New Tyres Became A New Mattress

January 5th, 2017 at 08:34 pm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2016 Savings Balances / 2017 Plans

December 28th, 2016 at 12:05 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!

Twelve Days Until Christmas! Monday Stuff

December 12th, 2016 at 01:21 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.

Snowflakes 14-11-16; NSD #4

November 14th, 2016 at 02:16 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.

NSD #2

November 9th, 2016 at 02:33 am

Mrs Frugalista got me thinking about the no spend November challenge. While I'm not doing nearly as well as her, yesterday was my second no spend day and tomorrow I plan on making it my third.

The fact that you are planning to spend on certain days only does make you think about what you are buying, and you tend to plan more. If I can get 10 days this month, that would be great.

Today I bought enough food for the next four days for us, groceries came to $56.61. I am then planning on not spending anything tomorrow, buying a tshirt on Friday and then buying required food on Saturday - I am hosting a small get-together with my friends so will need to pick up more food.

I have already got mini-quiches for hot food(we are doing nibblies and then later on putting some hot food in the oven, everybody will bring something each) and am doing a spinach dip in a cobb loaf for nibbles. Will no doubt buy a few more things but just a couple of extra things really.

On another note, I just paid some bills and among them was our water bill, which was a case of bill shock - it was up 45.51% from last year! Roughly $100 extra. We went through the bills and checked the gas meter, but later on I compared October's weather this year to last year and it turns out it has been much colder this year - we had 18 days where the heater was required to be on, compared to 9 last year when the weather was much warmer. I'm hoping we get a couple of months weather where no heater or air conditioner is required - November hasn't been too bad, I don't think we have turned the heater on since Saturday.

What An Intense Week Last Week Was

October 18th, 2016 at 03:34 am

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

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

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

*****

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

*****

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

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

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

Snowflakes 07/10/16; Life

October 7th, 2016 at 04:09 am

Challenge starting balance: $7,581.56
Plus:
- weekly EF savings x 2 $71.38
- Safeway rewards $10.00
- digital change $22.14
- QBE dividend $63.00
Challenge closing balance: $7,748.09

It's been a while between entries, have been super busy with this studying and trying to keep all the other areas of my life afloat too. I have to do 10 hours per week study, and last week as it was a public holiday we went away and therefore I only managed 6 hours.

This weekend is a very quiet weekend so will most definitely be catching up. I have made up last week's 4 hours, so tomorrow and Sunday I need to do 5 hours each day. I would have done more during the week but catching up on home duties after work took up some time. I'm looking forward to spending some blocks of time to increase my understanding of the material; have been so busy I feel like I'm doing the work but not really retaining anything or understanding much.

***

Because I didn't write an entry last week I didn't note down the EF savings, so this entry I have put two weeks in.

The supermarket chain I have rewards with, Safeway, have reintroduced their old rewards program again, so after spending the required amount (I think it was $100), I got $10 off the shopping, which I sent to Christmas savings. They have introduced their biggest rewards deal ever since I have been doing it - spend $90 per shop there for four weeks in a row to get 8000 points ($80.00 off the next shop). We've spent $37.76 there so far this week, have $52.24 to go, which can be done on the grocery shop for the week.

Trying To Get Ahead with all of her change jars prompted me to do an experiment for the month of September and I have been doing it still. What if every transaction from our checking account we round up to the next dollar and deposit it into our savings account? I know somebody wrote that there is an app for that, but I didn't find it in Australia so have just been doing it manually. So far we have saved $22.14.

We also received a dividend of $63.00 for our QBE shares. They are currently way down in value so I am considering buying another 100 but that would bring our cash down a bit so am sitting on the fence. Our averaged out purchase price is $10.70 per share and they dropped down to $9.33 which is a year low. (It was also a big loss so I was a bit worried) Now they are currently just under $10, so still lower than normal but at least we have not lost as much now. Will see what happens over the next month before deciding. Was actually going to buy in about January, give the EF a chance to build up a bit.

I also added $8.00 to the holiday fund, so the balance there is $-90.00 now.

***

This month we are on a five week month so funds are a little bit short. Our usual spending money is $580 ($500 into our checking and $80 onto B's card to cover his work expenses and takeaway) so have decreased it this month to $430 per week into checking and $65 onto his card; so usual monthly spending money was $2320, with these adjustments and an extra week included it only increases to $2475, which is not too painful.

We did work out his tax though which will be $2780 due in March, so have to save $463 per month. Ouch. Oh well, it must be done.

And also need to start saving $250 per month towards Thailand. And hopefully we can still afford $300 for my new car fund but we'll see. We need to start saving for Christmas so may need to shift some money out of certain categories to make it happen.

According to my Christmas saving challenge we need to save $330 this month, and so far have $32 saved however it is only the first week of October however I may even re-examine Christmas spending money and cut it down slightly.

Phone Bond Refund Received

August 13th, 2016 at 02:12 am

They said 3-5 days for the $100 phone bond refund to be received and it came through yesterday which is really great. I promptly transferred it back against the holiday fund, so we now owe back $259 there. Getting there slowly.

After work we went to the camping store where B got vouchers for his birthday and got a camping toilet, had to pay $40 out of pocket.

Then we got my sisters birthday present ($18) and some groceries ($6.30) and some wine for me ($19).

After that we went home and had a quiet evening. Remember how wifi got turned off and I resolved not to turn it back on? Well I had a bad moment, was desperate and tried to turn it back on! It didn't work, appears something is not working so I am still on minimal Internet. Maybe it's not the worst thing after all?

B's Birthday; New Work Bag

August 9th, 2016 at 04:06 am

Part of the reason why August is so spendy is because it's B's birthday. His birthday was not a special year so we didn't throw a huge party this time, but we still did lots.

He went motorbike riding with family at one of his country friend's houses which is on 20 acres of land. Fuel for the bike was $18 and he spent $15 on a bbq lunch (he also bought breakfast on the way though).

Then on Sunday we went out to lunch with all of his family, which was a nice day. $32 for a cake, $54 for lunch for us two and $35 for drinks. I actually had $80 for drinks in cash but won $45 on the poker machines so that offset the spending!

Then yesterday, Monday was the actual birthday. I bought B a box of chocolates and a nice card. I got his birthday present a few weeks ago so didn't need to get anything else. Last night we went out for dinner on a double date and his friend was joking to the waitress and asked if B got a free drink because it was his birthday and she replied "no he gets a free meal!". We totally didn't see that coming!

The restaurant was a bit pricey so even with B's free meal and 10% discount, it was still $65. It was a lovely night though.

***

I've had on my wish list a while a new work bag. My work bag is so old the material on a lot of parts is completely worn. So every now and then I check Myer's website to see if they have a sale. They have the best quality bags here, they last for years.

Well yesterday they did! They had 30% of all bags. Normally I go for black or darker colours but there was nothing below $129. They had a nice caramel coloured bag for $109 (not my usual colours I choose, but I just thought it was a great bag). I got to the checkout and when the lady swiped it the price went down to $55 and then I got 30% off!!! Total price: $38.50!!!! I was doing a happy dance.

***

Thank you everyone for your well wishes, my neck has pretty much healed up now. I haven't had to put any ice gel on today, which is good.

Now I just need to repay the $122 in chiropractor fees, the $38.50 bag and $40 in miscellaneous charges by the end of the month if I want to reach my goal of having nothing owing on my credit card by the end of the next month.

I can do it, I just need to curb the spending! Wish me luck guys. I am practising restraint now.

Snowflakes; Old Neck Injury Flared Up

August 3rd, 2016 at 10:37 pm

Challenge starting balance: $5,773.06
Plus:
- weekly EF savings $35.69
- football winnings $15.00
- fortnightly balance transfer payment $151.50
- repayment to B's credit card $180.00
- mortgage topup $174.21
Challenge closing balance: $6,329.46

We have a very spendy month in the bills department so this will be the majority of the snowflakes.

Weekly EF savings as usual, football game winnings from two weeks ago both went to the savings account.

My balance transfer credit card balance showed as $523.50 owing, which is less than the $614 balance there should be so have reduced the monthly balance transfer payment from $303 to $261.75, with $110.25 to be paid in the second fortnight of the month.

Next month by the end of the September I will have no credit card debt!!!!

What a turnaround from a year ago. Then in October I start to save for a new car (hopefully don't need to buy for a long time!).

I also have put $180 towards B's credit card debt and have added his credit card debt to my credit card debt paydown spreadsheet. We were able to afford the $180 payment due to his reduction in the car loan which he refinanced. According to the spreadsheet, his debt will be repaid in March 2018.

I then paid $174.21 against the mortgage principal (goal 1 on my sidebar). May mortgage interest was $563.61 and $89.40 had already been paid towards the interest. $263.21 - $89.40 = $174.21. We can't afford to pay two months this month, but as it is we should be into the $118000s next month which is good.

***

Non financial stuff (ok kinda financial): I am having my first sick day in 3-5 years today. Yesterday I hurt my neck (long running injury which flares up occasionally) and when I woke this morning could barely turn it to the right so knew I had to go to the chiropractors asap.

My sister lives a block away so I parked my car there, had coffee with her and got to see my toddler nephew; then went to the chiropractors.

As I am so stiff he could only work on me for about 10 mins, so I have to go back in 2 days time and in the meantime use Ice Gel four times a day. I booked a Saturday morning appointment, he said as for work to just play it by ear.

The charge for today was $64. Time to go put more Ice Gel on and watch a bit more tv.

July EOM EF Balance; New Coffee Machine

July 31st, 2016 at 01:25 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!

Snowflakes Update 25 July

July 25th, 2016 at 04:40 am

Challenge starting balance: $5,193.18
Plus:
- weekly EF savings $35.69
- football winnings $36.00
- fortnightly balance transfer payment $151.50
- repayment to B's credit card $10.00
- mortgage topup $280.00
- plus extra paid towards mortgage $31.00
Challenge closing balance: $5,737.37

The weekly EF savings got transferred out and I transferred last week's football winnings of $36.00. So far I am at $47.00 with that challenge and then my team won again! This time by 15 points so that will be next week's transfer. The holiday fund has been reduced to $-445 now.

The fortnightly balance transfer came out and then over the weekend I got the monthly credit card statement emailed to me, the balance is now down to $523.50!! Somehow I am ahead by $110 as opposed to my credit card paydown spreadsheet. I have no idea but it means that in September instead of final payment being $311.00, it will be $220.50.

We also threw $10 over to B's credit card from our weekly spending money.

April mortgage interest was $588 and in the month of April we paid $8 extra, $580 - $300 maximum interest we want to pay is $280, which we transferred over.

Then I saw that the mortgage balance was $120,061 and got excited and figured that perhaps we can pay $62 and it can be down to $119,999 by the end of the month, so have transferred $31 over from our spending money.

Speaking of spending, on the weekend we made up for the two weeks prior where we barely spent anything. We got B's birthday present, some motorbike riding gear for $300, these two gorgeous lamps I've had my eye on for a while for $168, black printer toner ink for $71.77 and a laptop bag for B's work for $46.

I had to put the lamps and the groceries for $116 on my credit card so it will be getting paid back out of next week's spending money. We have no social plans and will just do everything on the cheap next week. The purchases were worth it.

Another thing I bought is my first herb plant- parsley. It sits on our window sill, hope to get a lot of use out of it.

Whew so much writing !!

I enjoyed last week writing small posts about different financial matters, so hope to be back doing that tomorrow Smile.

Ps does anybody know what has happened to Imasaver? I just realised I haven't seen her blogs in a while and she's not on the "all blogs" list. Thanks.

Monday Movements

July 18th, 2016 at 03:32 pm

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

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

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

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

Possibly My Only June Blog Entry

June 6th, 2016 at 05:06 am

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!

Final Holiday Transfer

June 1st, 2016 at 04:25 am

I've spent time working out the June budget so that we will be ok and worked out the holiday spending. It's not that pretty but it is what it is.

Final repayment of flights (1/3): 252
+ other travel items purchased on CC: 458
+ final instalment of spending money: 721

= 1431
- 803 savings transferred in from holiday fund
------
$ 628
====

The holiday fund is now sitting at $1537 to be repaid back once I am back from holidays. It feels like a lot but I did only book this holiday three months ago, and to go to Europe from Australia is a pretty expensive thing - our UK friends who come over save for a couple of years to be able to do this, so I have kept this in perspective. It will be fine.

The Mini EF is way higher than the usual $2500 cash amount I wanted to leave available so when more of the holiday fund is repaid I could definitely buy more shares.

The Maxi EF (the shares) last night was at $2,999.16! We have a $3000 share portfolio! (ok it has dipped down a bit today). Small victories Smile

Tomorrow I will be clearing the credit card and have just transferred the $803 over, and will be transferring some money to the travel money card. There is 518GBP there, I would like to have 750GBP by the time I go (and 300GBP cash). It will work out to 50GBP spending money per day, hopefully this is doable and I don't overspend too much.

***

In other news B and I have been watching House Rules (Australian renovation competition show) and they had a nice walk-in closet and B has decided he wants to change ours to look like it! He might do a bit of work while I'm gone on it.

I Am Going To See Scottish Girl!

May 31st, 2016 at 04:51 am

It's been a very busy week and part of this has been organising a visit to see Scottish Girl when on holidays soon! Very excited.

My friend I am staying with hasn't been to Scotland in years so she was more than happy to come too, so we will get on a train to go there, meet SG, stay at a hotel and do some exploring. My friend lives in the middle of England so going to Scotland takes a while but is not a massive trek.

We have booked the train tickets and hotel so it is now locked in. It's really funny how this fits into the trip - it is basically 2-3 days before I fly back to Oz so I guess I am preparing myself for long travel. We go to Scotland, come back the next day, then go out to a garden concert which is all day Saturday and then on the Sunday evening I fly home.

I've organised my phone to get put on global roaming and paid the $100 (refundable) bond. I will then be able to text back to B in Oz with no problem, and whoever else I need to text. It's a text only plan, calls are not allowed but that does not bother me, it's fine.

***

Tracking is already starting to be hard. I can see the whole of June being wiped out because my focus will not be on finances. However, as on all holidays I take, while the focus is not on tracking finances, it is on keeping costs down.

B does not handle the money at all and was worried about it because it is new to him so I have tried to set up various automatic transfers so all he will have to do is check the bank account once a week and pay a bill if needed.

I have set up $300 to get transferred from our account to the checking account so he will have cash for groceries and whatever else, $80 onto his CC for his work expenses, $151.50 fortnightly onto my balance transfer CC, and $936 once a month to go into the account his car lease gets paid out of (cannot wait to refinance that in August! the loan we are looking at is around $300 cheaper).

Tomorrow I will do the June monthly budget just to ensure everything will be ok and tweak whatever is needed. And also transfer my final batch of holiday savings to the travel money card and a portion cash; and clear my CC down to $0 before the trip.

So many things to remember, hope I get everything! B is very helpful though, he is always thinking of stuff too.

***

Work is still quiet, but they dropped hints that they were cranky and I dropped hints that I only have two small jobs left but don't want to whinge or bother anyone. They have let me be and I have tried to string my work out as long as possible until more regular work starts flowing back in.

I finished my last job today and my boss gave me another one so at this stage have not had to take extra leave.

On my last day we are going out with work associates (the auditors who audit our accounting work) to a very swanky restaurant. I got a brand new top I can wear but my black jacket is looking pretty old and the fabric is on it's way out, so I am in the market for a new jacket.

My black work jacket I wear three days a work so no matter what the cost is after six months it's time for a replacement. The range I see at the moment goes from Target at $35 to $70 Tokito at Myer to $100 Basque from Myer... As I am going on a huge holiday I'm inclined to buy the Target jacket, but I'll try on all three and see how I go.

Whew! Hope you're all well.

Holiday Financial Transactions, EF Thoughts

May 9th, 2016 at 04:04 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.

Happy Mother's Day!

May 8th, 2016 at 02:29 am

Happy mother's day to all you wonderful mothers!

Today we visited both of our mothers, was lovely to see everyone; fun times were had and I even got a present even though I'm not a mum Smile

It was a late birthday present from my brother - a bottle of perfume he got for free for buying my mum's present. It may have been a freebie but it was still very much appreciated!

***

I managed to reset my travel money card password the next day and got into the account, and transferred $730 on Friday, apparently it takes one business day to reach the account. Looking forward to seeing it there and buying my first lot of GBP. Will be buying travel insurance tomorrow night and I also want to buy a pair of compression socks for flying ($12) tomorrow night too.

***

I input all of our bills and income into our budgeting spreadsheet and realised we're on a five week month so we are living off $420pw instead of the usual $500. Challenging but we will do it.

Shopping this week I am happy to say was $130 as planned and we even get steak twice in a week - a definite luxury! Lately it's either really cheap or really expensive, there doesn't seem to be an inbetween.. I got pieces for $7.22 & $8- they can go up to $13 which is too pricey I think.

I saw Eddie the Eagle yesterday using one of my movie vouchers, $9 left there and spent $4.75 on popcorn and chocolates at the supermarket. It was a great movie, funny and very inspiring.

Then I rented a couple of DVDs for $7, Black Mass and Sisters, and had a movie night with B. They were also great movies.

Now the weekend has come to a close, we have $20 left in the bank and $5-$10 cash each, so didn't do too badly. We are sitting in a mostly dark house, watching tv in our comfy lounge room, and are soo relaxed; life is good.

Quiet Weekend Planned; Holiday Purchases

April 7th, 2016 at 05:45 am

52 Week Challenge Opening Balance: $3,166.28
Plus:
- Weekly EF Savings $71.02
- Weekly credit card balance transfer repayment $60.60
52 Week Challenge Closing Balance: $3,297.90

I'm looking at buying a couple of Expedia activity vouchers so am thinking this weekend to keep everything very low-key to balance this.

The things I am looking at purchasing are tickets to go on The Eye with skip the line ($54pp) and tickets to spend the day at the Tower of London, the Crown Jewels and they have a beefeater tour ($43pp). When we (my UK friend and I) buy vouchers we buy for each other too, so I will be buying two of each thing. As this is around $200, I've decided that these will be my April purchases to cash flow.

My friend is getting the hop on hop off bus tickets and she is getting cheap accommodation to a surprise place - either Wales, Cornwall, Devon or Yorkshire - through some accommodation chain she is a member of. She is booking this for my last week and asked if I wanted the location to be a surprise. At first I was too excited so wanted to know whenever she booked, but now I think the surprise will be fun; so told her not to tell me.

All so very exciting!

As a result I want the weekend to be super quiet. I have to get my hair done, go to an inlaws birthday for lunch and that's about all I want to do! I know what the cost of hair will be; have set it aside. Hoping lunch will be cheap. I'd like to rent some DVDs ($7), get a couple of bottles of wine ($15 max in total) and make a nice dessert (up to $10 depending on ingredients needed).

Growing up my mother was a wonderful cook, we were spoilt. She used to make really nice desserts- rhubarb crumble, bread and butter pudding, chocolate pudding, rice pudding, and I can't remember the last time I ate anything like that, have been craving it. I saw a recipe for apple and peach crumble, so am looking forward to making it.

I'd also like to get our printer working again and spend some time on Sunday tidying up the study, downloading apple updates, printing off various holiday documents (as long as the printer ends up working!).

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Easter; UK Cost Tally So Far

March 29th, 2016 at 04:23 am

52 Week challenge opening balance: $2,851.04
Plus Weekly Deposit to EF: $71.02
Plus Balance Transfer Payment: $60.60
52 Week challenge closing balance: $2,982.66

Today we went back to work after the Easter break. We had a pretty cheap Easter, although they usually are as we generally go camping somewhere.

We managed to save to the EF, and to pay week 2 of the monthly Balance Transfer payment.

We had a get together with my friends on Thursday night; and then Friday morning we went camping with the inlaws. Easter has pretty much become their annual trip and it is a pretty fun time. I really feel like this year things went better, and just flowed instead of being hard work.

The only thing which was hard work was my MIL as she has onset dementia/alzheimers and was out of her environment. As her dementia gets worse so do her eating habits and she really struggles to eat. Before she was sick she would eat very healthy- light meals, salads. Now she eats what she is given by FIL and I think it may be too heavy for her body, but because she has dementia she doesn't remember what she used to eat. So on Saturday she grazed throughout the day but by dinner would only eat 2 bites and then refused to eat the meal FIL spent hours making. Understandable FIL was upset and refused to eat his also, and they left not long after.

I did an experiment with her though on Sunday as B and I were serving all of the food throughout the day. I only gave her small servings for each meal- 1 piece of toast, 1 egg and 1 piece of bacon for breakfast; a salad roll for lunch; a slice of cake for afternoon tea; green salad with home made chips, small piece of steak and small sausage. She also has many cups of tea throughout the day. Anyway, no complaint of belly ache! I'm calling that a win.

All in all the trip was a lot of fun, we were very relaxed. Then we got home and I barely had to do any grocery shopping because we brought back a heap of snacks, some meat, milk, margarine and there were a couple of meals in the freezer we were able to use up this week - by the end of the week the freezer should be empty.

***

The UK trip continues to be on my mind (not that it's a bad thing of course!). Last week my UK friend got given half price expedia vouchers and a few days later I was given one too. We started to work out London accommodation. We worked out we can see all the good things in two days, so have booked one night accommodation. It took a few days to sort out what kind of place we would like to stay in and what the best area is.

My friend's voucher expired so we had to use mine. We got a three star twin hotel room for $174. My UK friend will get the accommodation for the next week and whoever pays more will receive the difference from the other.

I was thinking I should start to do a tally to keep track of things, so here goes:

- Flights $1,773
- Groupon, indian dinner $76
- London accommodation $174

Total so far $2,023

I've kind of worked out there are three pay periods before going away and we can save $800 spending money ($2400 in total) and repay the flights back before going ($755 left to repay).

Basically what I also do is try to not spend very much of our weekly money so I can buy Groupons etc; aim to perhaps get something each week for $60-$90. The London accommodation is being paid back over two weeks, $87 per week - made the first payment last night.


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