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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.

Bought The First UK Groupon!

March 21st, 2016 at 04:14 am

52 Week challenge opening balance: $2,719.42
Plus Weekly Deposit to EF: $71.02
Plus Balance Transfer Payment: $60.60
52 Week challenge closing balance: $2,851.04

This month because of the flights instead of making the usual monthly balance transfer payment I paid as much as possible to the credit card and divided the $303 by 5, which brought me to $60.60 per week. Much easier to do and that way I could bring down the balance of the flights put on the card instead when I got paid. So last night I transferred it over, week 1.

I joined Groupon UK and after consulting my UK friend bought my first UK Groupon voucher! It is a meal for 4 people in their hometown (they can bring someone for the fourth person) for a 2 course Indian meal for £38, which came to $75.56 AUD. We had a quiet weekend so was able to easily get the voucher. It works out to $18.89pp, which is about the price of a main meal in Oz, so am happy with that deal.

Have had loads of fun researching various places but it has become so apparent just how expensive it is over there. Luckily our friend is also into vouchers so she's looking into accommodation deals.

When going overseas I've only really been to second world countries so it's been really easy to just wing it in terms of food and things to do. When everything costs either the same or less you don't feel like you need to plan everything, you know you can go there and sort things out when you arrive.

But travelling to a place which is more expensive than where you're from is different. So very grateful for all of your tips, don't know where I'd be otherwise. My friend's dad went to the UK years ago and came back with a $5000 credit card bill! So determined to not let that happen.

We're going to spend a couple of days in London seeing the sights: go on the London Eye, I want to see the Tower Bridge and the Crown Jewels and go on a double decker bus and I saw a deal to go to an Ice Bar and have a couple of cocktails, thought that would be nice.

I also want to have a traditional English afternoon tea and other English foods. My friend wants to take me to either Cornwall or Wales. All so very exciting Smile

More Stuff To Keep Track Of

February 8th, 2016 at 02:53 am

52 Week Challenge starting balance: $1,667.92
Plus:
Weekly savings into EF: $71.02
52 Week Challenge closing balance: $1,738.94

The weekly savings into the EF hit the bank account, so I thought I would update.

Grocery shopping was at $122 yesterday and I was very proud of myself - until this morning when I found that there were four items I had to buy that were needs and couldn't wait until next week. Add another $20 roughly! I tried to keep the total down as low as possible, so I guess it's the best I could do.

Valentine's Day is coming up so I thought this year we would just get little gifts, nothing too flashy. B wanted some motorbike things, so that was $31.45 and I wanted a nice daytime perfume (I have going out perfume and I have perfume I wear to work which is muted, but I wanted a fresh daytime one to wear when we go out for lunch or something). I got Hippie Princess by Vera Wang for $29.

The thing I need to keep track of is another snowflake. I got the perfume, and hair serum from Priceline where I got a $4.38 gift voucher. So now we have to transfer $24.38 to the EF when we get paid.

I'm still trying to work out what to do about the money we used from savings to cover B not getting paid last week. We used $446 plus I spent $47 on my credit card and had to transfer $50 onto his credit card. I haven't paid the $47 on my card yet but have already used $496 from our mortgage offset savings.

I think I'll see how he goes with the next couple of weeks with receiving money. If it looks like we only have enough for low spending and his business payments at the end of the month, I may just put it into his Christmas period costs from shutdown. (It is a shutdown cost because of the delays caused from Christmas shutdown). We used $800 at Christmas time and this $496 will bring it to $1296, so we would allow next Christmas for a slightly higher amount.

January Savings & Monthly Wrap-Up

February 3rd, 2016 at 03:37 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Days 14-17/365 days of things that made me smile

January 18th, 2016 at 03:13 am

Financially our weekend was fairly quiet. We are still watching our pennies as it will be a little while until B is back to getting full week's pays.

Our groceries came in at $136, which was higher than the $120 I had allowed but we ran out of a lot of toiletry items. There were a few other things bought here and there, but in the end we ended up spending about half of what we normally spend, which was good. I can see that next week we have money set aside at a half week's pay. Still not dipping into savings yet so that's pretty great! We may have to dip into something to cover B's car lease payment, or maybe we'll be ok and not have to - time will tell.

Doing this exercise of 365 days of things that make me smile makes me realise that really there are so many little things in my day that make me smile, sometimes it's hard to choose! And a lot of those don't involve spending a lot, which is awesome Smile.

Day 14:



Settling down on the couch with a nice glass of wine on a Friday night. Ceejay74 here is my wine glass kind of like yours Smile.

Day 15:



My Body Balance class. This is a combination of yoga and pilates, and usually by song 3 I am smiling. It is so relaxing and uplifting.

Day 16:



Spending time with my sister, who was her usual happy and chirpy self. Mum and I went to visit her, and took her out for lunch, it was a lovely day. She is intellectually disabled and in a government-run home on the other side of town (because Mum and my stepdad lived in that area). They take such good care of her. I don't see her often enough, but yesterday was a really lovely day.

Day 17:



Being lucky enough to live in a first world. Last night we were watching The Kingdom, and it just made me think of how lucky we are compared to other countries. A lot more freedom (eg not in a war zone or a risky area), electricity, running water, healthcare, etc etc the list goes on. When it all comes down to it, we do alright.

Monthly Payments; Days 12&13/365 Days of Gratitude

January 14th, 2016 at 03:25 am

I got paid a day early (probably should put that as a thing to be grateful for! As well as having income) so have made a couple of payments which can be added to the 2016 52 Week Challenge.

Starting balance: $226.04
Plus:
Mortgage repayment (572.52-300) = $272.52
EF: $71.02 (will be coming out tomorrow so we'll add it to this week's total)
Debt Repayment of Balance Transfer credit card: $228

Today's ending balance: $797.58

As we are in low season, we are spending so little at the moment that making these transfers feels like we are spending heaps! Not spending much though means that as yet we haven't had to dip into our savings which is a good thing.

Low season for us means that this week was B's first official week back but because of extremely hot weather and materials not being ready (because people are either still coming back to work or not at work yet from the holidays), he has only worked two full days plus two half days with no work tomorrow. It takes his industry a little bit longer to get back into full work mode. So weeks of half work and half pay are common in January and if things aren't going well, also February.

Anyway, enough of that - we are dealing with it fine.

The thing I am grateful for on day 12 is getting within a kilo of having my Christmas/new year's weight gone! That was a happy moment on the scale! Especially as the last class put me in so much pain it's taken 3 days to recover Smile

Simply a stock photo here:



The thing I am grateful for on day 13 is having a relaxing evening watching tv with my husband and our furbabies Smile



Another stock photo, just imagine there's a dog & cat here too!

365 Days of Gratitude, Days #7-9

January 8th, 2016 at 05:32 pm

I find it hard to write blog posts every day, so am doing days 7-9 now (so Friday-Sunday).

The thing I am grateful for on day 7 is: Kobo! (my eBook store and app).



I am working through my Kinsey Millhone book (which is quite enjoyable, I might add) but yesterday morning while checking through my emails I received a $0.99 book sale email from Kobo. Their $0.99 book sales are great - they're either books they haven't been selling or new authors who are looking for exposure. For $10.34 I got two books, plus two box sets, one with 5 books, the other with 3 - so 10 books in total! I think I'm set for a few months Smile. Some are mysteries, some are romance.

The thing I am grateful for on day 8 is: Gemma, our cat.



She was my valentine's day present to me from my husband when we first moved into our home. She is now 13 years old, and loves to lay at the end of my side of the bed and give me cuddles in the morning Smile

The thing I am grateful for on day 9 is: Jessie, our dog.



She is 12 years old, and loves walks, playing fetch and sitting with us on the couch. People who said that diamonds are a girl's best friend never had a dog Smile

***

Financially not a lot has happened this weekend in the area of spending. We are simply trying to live quietly and not spend much. We will be getting an iTunes card because we want to rent a couple of movies, and I will have to draw up a meal plan for the week.

One thing that has happened though is that over the break I got a new driver's licence issued in my married name, as I am starting to change that over. I then got to thinking that instead of changing my details with certain things, that I would assess if I actually wanted to keep them or cancel them and change to a different product.

My credit card that I have had for many years is an example. So yesterday I was having a look at different cards, and I looked up introductory offers. With the Commonwealth Bank, if I apply for a card and spend $500 within a month, I will qualify for $250 cash payment - that would be a nice snowflake! The annual fee is $59, so if they deducted that straight away and I got the $250, then technically I would receive $191. Not bad. I could make the $500 spend by simply putting groceries and petrol on it.

The application date closes 31 January, so once I get my new licence, I will more than likely apply for it. Of course, I will check the fine print more thoroughly before doing so. And if I do apply and get accepted, I will close the original credit card I have.

365 Days of Gratitude, Days 4 & 5

January 6th, 2016 at 01:02 am

The picture I am putting up for day 4 of my 365 days of gratitude is the flourless chocolate cake I had for morning tea, it was sooo yummy.



B had to go to the other side of town for a work meeting so we decided to turn it into an outing. While he saw the client I found a cafe and set up a tab. It wasn't too spendy, $20.10 for 2 lattes, a piece of flourless chocolate cake for me and a half serve of eggs on toast for him (1 egg on 1 slice of toast).

Our day was slightly spendy but we probably go out for meals alone only once every 3 months so I'm not bothered. Later on we went out for lunch and a couple of drinks which in total was around $50. We also bought B a new shaving set worth $40 as his other one died.

I later went to the gym. B has been given a complimentary one month boxing membership and is testing it out to see if there will be no damage to the wrist he broke last year. I was thinking that if he likes it I may swap my gym membership for a boxing membership to go with him - that way we can go together. He may be more likely to go then, and we can work out our evenings around our classes (eg cook quick meals or reheat meals to cut down on time spent). The gym class I went to was Body Combat. This class went for an hour, was advanced and did lots of boxing moves and kickboxing moves. I'm afraid I only lasted 20 minutes! His boxing classes only run for 30 minutes so I could probably last; and the class I went to gave me an idea of the moves you do.

All in all a very nice day Smile

Then, my thing I am grateful for on day 5 is the ability to just kick back and watch catchup tv on my iPad! I didn't get to the gym for my 4th day because I was too sore and instead watched the latest episode of Chicago Fire. Was sooo relaxing. (Note that the picture included is simply an image I looked up on the net)

No Christmas Debt Hangover; 2016 Goals Musings

December 28th, 2015 at 05:18 am

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

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

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

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

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

****

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

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

****

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank You EBay & Needs Vs Wants

December 15th, 2015 at 10:45 pm

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 03:34 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 04:46 am

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)

Heart & Soul Happy, Pockets Empty

November 6th, 2015 at 01:41 pm

Hi everyone. I've been lurking on the blogs here & there, but have had too much going on to be able to post.

Last week B & I went on our camping holiday as planned. We cooked breakfast and dinner camping style and ate out every day. We went bike riding, to a winery, also to a brewery, to a national park, we did so much stuff. Because I really wanted to be able to put some money towards Phuket payment of balance of trip, I actually tracked all expenses while on holiday. I never do this normally but it was important know how we were going. By the end of October there was $260.00 left over, so have put it towards the holiday (as part of the banking the difference challenge).

We also spent the weekend visiting friends too. Then I got home on Sunday and mum called me up to let me know that nana had gone into renal failure, and if we wanted to say goodbye it needs to be done asap. All our family other than immediate family is in New Zealand. Nana was 86 and has had diabetes for many years. Last year she got sick with giant cell arteritis and never really recovered.

I love my nana very much so decided I had to go see her. Unfortunately my mother has just become so unfamily oriented. I saw nana last year when she was sick and had to beg her to go and see her. It was like pulling teeth. Then they had a great time and it was really happy. When she called me she said there's no point going as she won't know what was going on and she wasn't going because she already had happy memories.

I thought about and decided to go anyway. I wasn't really hearing back from anyone and didn't want to impose, so booked a hotel room instead of staying with relatives. My aunt told me off because she made up the bed as she thought I was coming, I wish I did stay there. The hotel room was nice though. I was in New Zealand from Wednesday through to last night, the entire cost (flights, accommodation, food) was $1400. Ouch. I only have $140 left for the month after accounting for bills and some savings, so it will be a quiet month.

The most important thing though is I got to see my nana and say goodbye to her. As soon as I got there l told her thank you for holding on for me and she started to move to hug me (I then had to hug her as she was far too weak). I got to tell her I love her, and chatted to her about many things, and we all reminisced of happy memories of her life. It was a lovely day and I now feel like I got closure. I will miss her.

She stayed alive until my cousin arrived from Australia yesterday morning and then died about 20 minutes later, she had declined rapidly by then. The funeral is next Tuesday. I wish I could be there but can't, I got to say goodbye that's the most important thing. RIP nana, love her so much.

My Spring Capsule Wardrobe

October 4th, 2015 at 03:19 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.

Withdrawal from the Holiday Fund

September 9th, 2015 at 05:04 am

Last week I did something exciting and applied for annual leave! This year we are doing more camping things, so we are going away to see friends a few hours away for a weekend and we are also going away camping for four nights for our wedding anniversary to a place called Bright, which is in the mountains and is really beautiful.

The campsite at the caravan park was $45 per night, so $180 in total. I decided to withdraw $100 from the holiday fund (because that's what it's there for) but didn't want to withdraw too much either. Because I've withdrawn $100 from the holiday fund I've reduced the holiday fund and the Banking the Difference challenge on the sidebar accordingly. This way we pay $80 out of pocket for the accommodation, feels much better, less of an outflow. So $207 is left there, might add some here and there to build it up a bit.

Very much looking forward to both holidays Smile

Other things of note:
- no charge for paying the minimum late on the balance transfer card, woohoo!
- the fan belt on the dryer broke. We have had it for 12 years now so B was thinking maybe it's time to replace it. Instead I found a parts kit (there are four or five different parts, and the dryer fan belt is one of those things) for $56 in total off eBay. When it arrives B will fit it. I am so lucky to have such a handy husband!

Now Saved/Repaid Just Over $8K

August 14th, 2015 at 12:18 am

Last night when doing our weekly money transfers I realised that as I bought some wine last week I don't need to get any this weekend so transferred the usual spend of $15 to go towards the $303 monthly payment. This is a saving to go into the Banking the Difference challenge.

I added it and also the $30 transferred on Monday to my Banking the Difference sidebar and excitingly we have jumped up into the next thousand!

$5300 + $2708.54 = $8008.54

Happy dance!

On another note as of last there was $97.60 saved and then today 52 week challenge money of $21.20 was added, now there is $118.80 to go towards the $303 balance transfer payment.

Party Success Now Back to Reality

August 11th, 2015 at 03:28 pm

The party went great! The party was pretty much like a holiday - because we had visitors from interstate and there was so much activity for four days pretty much all I could do was just completely immerse myself in the party and socialising.

As far as milestones go, I think B is pretty happy! All his family and friends were there and everyone had a great time. He gave me a big bunch of flowers when he was doing the speech to say thank you which was so nice.

No problem with the food and the drinks tab came way under at $1277! The bar lady was wonderful because she pointed out the best priced beer and wine and also got us to borrow a club members card (B's uncle is a member of the club we had the function at) so every drink was 10% discounted. The total party cost was $3401, and well worth it. We have many happy memories.

B ended up with enough vouchers to buy this expensive camping fridge he wanted, clothes, some money towards a new motorcycle helmet and got given an Apple TV thingy. All great!

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Now to get back to reality. Because the days before were just like being on holiday and party day was so busy, financially I ended up doing the same things as on holiday. I just transferred the usual weekly spending money and totally did not have the energy to track every dollar spent like usual. We still didn't overspend though which is great. I'm finding I'm so used to paying a low price, looking for a low price that even when I'm totally distracted and time-strapped, the habits are ingrained.

Last night I paid water bill and home phone- there will be around $15 in snowflakes there when we get paid in a couple of days (while we didn't run over, in our spending accounts they are pretty much down to zero). Looking at the bills we have to pay, my cell phone is next and there is a saving of $70 there.

On Monday there was $39 left in our spending account so I transferred $30 to go towards the $303 monthly payment on the balance transfer card (which has all officially happened now). So far there is now $82.60 there, $220.40 to go. In the next week there will be $85 from the snowflakes just mentioned, which will leave $135.40. When I get paid $100 will go there, so it is looking like within 1-2 weeks I can transfer the first $303 payment.

So, the $303 payment looks like it is in order, so next will be putting the $275 back into the EF, and also getting the Banking the Difference challenge restarted! That's exciting for me. The $85 previously discussed will be added to this challenge.

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Another possible snowflake I am working in the supermarket I have a rewards card with, Safeway, currently has a deal where if you spend $100 every week for three weeks in a row (starting 10th August and finishing 30th August), you get a $30 gift card! Have bought our shopping there this week and made the $100 minimum.

A habit I've been falling into lately is overbuying grocery shopping one week and then therefore underbuying the next (eg $200 one week, $80 the next for example). With this challenge I have to be above $100 for three weeks so I am trying to spend just over to ensure that for the three weeks we will make the $100 minimum spend. Groceries this week was $127.

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Hoping you've all been well, talk soon Smile

Party Is Now Sooo Close...

August 7th, 2015 at 12:48 am

The lead up to the party is kinda like the lead up to a holiday. Frantically busy to the point of exhaustion but you know that really soon the reason for it all will be upon you and you're going to be having a ball! That's what keeps me going.

My study unit had an assignment due today so I spent all last weekend doing it and mailed it on Monday. Then spent the week organising the photo board for B which was a lot of fun for both of us, going through years of photos and reliving old events.

Catering which was originally $1425 dropped down to $1050, because of people who couldn't come and the fact that they don't charge for kids under 12. The money we saved got spent on balloons ($165- for 10 table packs, a large 40 balloon and they blow them up with helium for you) and photo board stuff ($35). The actual photo board is a canvas you can paint on so B said leave the plastic wrapping on and afterwards I can do a painting for the house. (I have paint and have done a few, nothing truly artistic mind you).

And we are paying the band slightly more (our choice). We plan on giving them an extra $200.

We ended up deciding not to increase the drinks tab because when all is said and done $2000 is a lot of money and this is not a wedding (where drinks are always fully covered).

Now I'm on my way home about to start this crazy long anticipated weekend! Just wanted to say hello to everyone, have been too busy and exhausted to post a blog before now. Can't believe it's now here!

Week 27, Card Approval, Football Win

July 26th, 2015 at 03:57 am

Week 27 has brought along lots of financial happenings. Firstly, I got approved for the 0% credit card! I applied Thursday night and told my boss he might get a phone call to verify my employment. On my lunchbreak I got a phone call from Virgin to verify my details and ask where I lived previously, which I gave to them. Fifteen minutes later I faxed all the proof of identity documents. A bit later on in the day when I had a chance I checked my email and found that pretty much as soon as I hung up they sent me an email confirming my application was approved! (And this was before I faxed the identity documents). So that's all very exciting.

I was looking at my accounts on Saturday morning and realised that I was supposed to ask for a balance transfer of $4350, not $4250! Oh well, this is one of those mistakes that is a good mistake because a little bit extra will need to be repaid. (Instead of $47 to repay, it is $147, but it is better in the long run)

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The party is now under two weeks away which is very exciting. Looking forward to it. B's credit card has taken quite a hit lately though because his work is so unreliable at the moment - the sidebar says a total of $751.69 has been repaid but currently there is only $236.00 available, so when he is lucky enough to get paid more than the bare minimum $515.69 will have to go back on there (mainly petrol he's bought).

We have allocated $2000 for a tab for the bar and now he is saying he's worried it will not be enough. My answer to that was if we both pretty much don't spend anything next week, maybe we can add some more to the tab. I am not volunteering our savings that it has taken months to accumulate to spend on alcohol, no way. Maybe if I see that he is willing to not buy anything at all, no beer, takeaway, for a weekend then I may volunteer some. But this is on the condition that we both live off the absolute minimum beforehand. I was thinking we usually spend about $550 after challenge savings, so we'll just spend $100 on food and put $450 on the tab.

I hope everything goes well and it is truly is an event to remember and look back on years later with fond memories, but I am so looking forward to getting back into my usual routine of saving and not being so stretched.

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Grocery shopping went well- my goal was to spend $80 and I have got most of the items for $49.33. Still need to buy a little bit more meat (cheap cut), lunch meat, bread, cat food and dinner vegetables. I think it can easily be done within the $30 left over. I was very happy about that!

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And my football team won, yay! They won by 37 points, so to add that to my mini-holiday fund will be $307.00 (when I get to be able to)

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Last thing, yesterday I went to the movies for the first time in a while. Didn't care about their popcorn or icecreams, so stopped in at the supermarket on the way there and bought some chocolate and savoury crackers for $4.45, brought the water from home. Glad I did, as the tickets went up to $20 each! Definitely an occasional treat now. I saw Trainwreck which was a really good movie - a bad girl turned good who finds love - very cool, sweet and funny.

Challenges Week 26 & First Ever EBay Buy!

July 20th, 2015 at 04:45 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

Snowflakes Withdrawal

July 13th, 2015 at 03:32 pm

Three weeks ago I stopped my banking the difference challenge where whenever there is a bill reduction the difference gets saved away, due to saving for the party. So I've been paying bills and not saving the reductions and it's been killing me!

We had $6 left in our checking account after weekend spending so I thought I might pay it back against the money we borrowed from the EF. Then I thought maybe just a couple of small bill savings too??

Last week we paid for business insurance, the home and B's phone bill. The savings on the first two are $15.23. B's phone bill is $78.00 less than last year but that looks a bit unattainable at the moment.

So I repaid $21.23 ($6 unspent & $15.23 bill savings). Previous amount owed to the EF was $321.16, new amount owing $299.93. Getting back to normal!!

A Snowflake, Environmentally Friendly Coffee Pods & Party Savings

July 8th, 2015 at 05:27 am

Lots of goings on today!

Firstly I received a snowflake. For my online study unit I bought a book and then found that I had an older version from a couple of years ago and am allowed to use it, so returned it and received the refund today of $109.76. Postage to send it was $23.15, so net snowflake is $86.61. As I am not collecting snowflakes and the EF is owed $407.76, I transferred $86.60 to the EF, and now $321.16 remains owing.

The $86.60 is on my credit card so I transferred cash from our weekly spending money and need to use the $86.60 for weekly expenses. Had to pay back $17 for alcohol bought and $20.52 for petrol (they were bought ahead for this weekend), and bought coffee pods online (more below) for $22.50 and grocery items tonight for $7.04, so $19.54 remains to be spent. This may simply be next week's petrol expense I think.

I have coffee pod machine (which I love dearly) and have been reading backlash about the fact that once the coffee pods are used they cannot be recycled (Nespresso) and simply sit in landfill, which is a huge problem. The cheaper pods I often buy (Piazza L'Or) are not much better. However I have read about a better more environmentally friendly coffee pod made by a NZ company called Eco Caffe, where their pods are biodegradable. Today I ordered two sleeves a trial. They are the same price as Nespresso so are not cheap but when I think of the environmental benefit, I think it is an expense worth paying. The two sleeves are $14.80 with a postage charge of $7.70 (ugh). If you order more than $100 worth of pods, postage is free. So if they taste ok and I can buy that amount (depending on the useby date on the box - will have to look when I receive the two sleeves), it's about as cost economical as I can get it. (And I would have, say, four-five months worth of coffee pods- kind of like Toilet-Paper-Tracker with her tissues!). We'll see how this idea pans out.

Finally, we received the remaining two invoices, so have the party money saved away, which is a big relief. We are not out of the woods yet with him though, because they are still behind with their invoice payments (just not as behind). He also only will have worked for 2.5 days of this week so will not be invoicing out, so I am currently looking at the invoices he has owing and I can see already that in between slow payments and one week of nothing billed out, it's only the 8th but we will need to watch our money carefully to be able to make the car payment, his motorbike payment and superannuation (in total $1405) which is due at the end of the month. So I'm happy we have the party money but still a bit worried, not quite in comfort zone yet! A quiet week this week it will be!

Week 24 & Football Winnings = Mini Holiday Fund

July 6th, 2015 at 02:51 am

Week 24 ended up going pretty smoothly. I was stressed out last week about having to spend for a birthday party at the last minute when we didn't really have a lot of money available but it ended up ok.

I got invited out with my friends on Friday night, so I drove and had wedges with sweet chilli sauce and sour cream ($9) and bought a wine and soft drink, so did not spend much. I bought a perfume for the cousin worth $30 and she really loved it (was good because it was worth $60 and I have it, it's a great perfume called Wish). B found out we can bring our own alcohol which saved about $40. The restaurant was expensive, $70 for the both of us, so at least we didn't have to pay for overpriced alcohol! Groceries were as cheap as I could get - $94, which is what I was spending for us when B was off work. It was B's turn tonight to host the poker party (his Monday night event) so we spent $38 on food for entertaining- he did a beef casserole for 8 and I managed to score a plate (yum!).

We did have to draw some money again from the EF but not as much as last week - $142, $45 to cover the shortfall from spending and $97 to cover B's petrol for the week. Total amount now owed back to the EF is $407.76.

This week we are hoping B gets paid for all old and current invoices so then we can have the party pretty much paid for and start getting back to normal. I want to have the party money well ahead of time so that we can enjoy his birthday and make it a memorable occasion instead of it being a stressful occasion!!

Now for something I consider pretty exciting.. Every time my football team wins I save $1 for every point they win by. This weekend they won by 110 points!!! Their biggest win against this team in 119 years. I actually owe $2 for a win a couple of weeks ago and now $110 for last weekend's game. I felt like celebrating so thought you know what, I'm going to turn their winnings into a mini holiday fund! Travel is a big part of who I am and what I love- I love at least one holiday a year. So I worked out the winnings and have adjusted my sidebar accordingly. Currently there is $270.00 there.

The mini-holiday fund can be a contribution towards a holiday or perhaps simply a leisure event. I'm just giving these dollars a particular purpose. Our wedding anniversary is in October this year and we haven't really planned anything because our focus is on the party. For $270.00 we can get a room in the best hotel in Melbourne (marked down from $400), so we could go out for a really nice dinner and a great hotel room is already paid for. Or we could put that towards three nights in Port Douglas, Queensland ($100 might have to be paid out of pocket). Flights up there and back are pretty cheap. Swanky hotel or fun in the sun, what would you guys choose? Decisions decisions Smile

Party Savings, My Retirement Fund & A Gripe

July 2nd, 2015 at 05:48 am

B got paid and after tax we have saved the majority of this invoice - $1470. Two more invoices to go and $2230 left to save. I can't wait to have it saved because I'm out of my comfort zone with having to save this much money in such a short amount of time - the anxiety I am experiencing is my indicator. $1470 is just under 40% of the required amount, I am reminding myself of this. And reminding myself that this will be a great night, and worth the anxiety.

B keeps telling me that we still have 5 weeks to we don't have to save so hard, but I worry that something expensive could come up and derail us, so it's better to get it over with. Even if the expensive thing is simply a slow-payer for his business! I do look forward to getting back into the challenges too - the mortgage dropped again, now it's $995 per month with a saving of $183, looking forward to adding that saving to the challenge, trust me Smile

Invitations got sent out to everyone this week, so that is an important thing done.

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All of the talk on this site about retirement funds has made me want to check mine - I really only look at the annual statements and that's it. Last year at 1 July it was $69000. So I decided that on 1 July I would get out the statement from last year and register to log into the website and check everything there. I did that, and found that it has increased to $79031! My current pay is $55000 per year, however I'm not sure that I would need that as a retired person, I'm imagining I could get by on $40000 a year. Remembering Ceejay74's post a while ago about saving amounts by looking at the annual pay and multiplying it by x depending on how old you are - I am 37, so would fit into needing 2 x times my salary in my retirement fund. If the market continued in this fashion I could have my actual annual salary by 40 multiplied by 2, but currently it is sitting at 2 x $40000, so I am happy with that.

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My gripe: my inlaws are lovely but have become accustomed to eating out at every birthday, which is so expensive! We had to go out for the MIL's birthday last Sunday and his cousin's birthday is this weekend. (Close family) The uncle told us that she just wants to go out with friends for her 30th. Now we get a phone call today that we the family are to go out a restaurant in an upmarket suburb for the family celebration the following night! Grrr. Two days notice is pretty rude for something where you need to buy a present, pay for two dinners and drinks. Do they think we're rolling in it and would just happen to have a spare $150 to blow??? No, they obviously didn't think.

To cut costs I told B that we would buy her present, not put in with his sister (she likes buying vouchers, so will ask for $50, whereas I will shop around and spend around $30 - I'm thinking perfume of some sort), and to call back his uncle and ask him if the restaurant has BYO alcohol (a lot of chinese restaurants do).

I know, looking at the bigger picture, it is good to have family that do these things and are close, and we will get to have a nice meal. Hopefully we can bring our own alcohol too to cut costs too. I told B that we will not be spending a lot on food this week - we have bulk bought so only need to buy meat and vegetables, everything else we have. We have a spaghetti sauce and spaghetti, so just need mince, and I am thinking instead of having steak etc of just buying a big packet of sausages and eating that a few different ways.

Apologies for the super long post! I am constantly telling myself to relax and not be so anxious - I figure if I keep doing this, keep breathing and going to my happy place, everything will all work out and it will all be fine.

June 30 -Halfway through the Challenges

June 29th, 2015 at 04:02 pm

The moment I've been waiting for has arrived! We're halfway through the two challenges created, yay. So to officially mark where we are $2438 has been saved for the 52 week challenge and $2458.04 has been saved for the Banking the Difference challenge, a total of $4896.04 saved. Woohoo!

Credit card debt is roughly $7.5k now ($4541 for CC1, $3003 for CC2, so rounding down we can say $7.5k), down from $9.1k at the start of the challenge. The EF was $2651 (up from $0) but unfortunately I had to withdraw $265.76 to cover the balance of personal and business spending expenses for the week. And then there's also $745 in the mortgage home offset account.

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With the savings for the party, we have enough to cover expenses and live on the bare minimum because we are short $4200 which I've earmarked as to be put straight to the party when these funds arrive. So we have the option of using credit cards to cover the shortfall or borrow from the EF. As we have the choice to choose from either I'm going to borrow from the EF. The EF is held in an online trading account separate from our bank (mind you I don't think I've traded for a couple of years! That will change as the EF grows) and earns a pitiful amount of interest, so while we might not earn interest there, at least we're not going to be paying extra interest on the credit cards.

Last weekend we had a birthday party at a restaurant so that was expensive and had to repay $265.76 on our credit cards that we overspent. I'm going to start a tally of how much needs to be paid back to the EF, so far $265.76.

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B's earnings for 11 months of the year are now $37633, tax payable $3777 (up from $3115). Will need to make up the difference of $662.

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Frugal things I've been doing: instead of buying invitations we designed them off a free template, did four to a page and glued them to a thicker paper backing. Found among our wedding invitation things 17 unused good quality envelopes worth $8.95 (woohoo) so only had to buy 20 envelopes. Envelopes, glue, textas and thick paper cost: $10.50.

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FrugalTexan inspired me with her banana and oat pancakes! I had a day off today so made them this morning, they were so yum!

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Super happy today, I feel like we've done so well!!!

Financial & Non-Financial Going Ons

June 8th, 2015 at 01:16 am

Had a really spendy start to June. Got my hair done ($105), the car exhaust system replaced ($580) and then bought a new suit ($285). I had to replace it anyway so I thought may as well do it to wear to a fancy lunch. The suit was bought on my credit card - I repaid $85 this weekend, have $200 to go. The car exhaust system and my hairdo were bought using extra money in the home loan offset account. Will be repaid by the end of the month.

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When doing B's tax I calculated how much he earned and to the end of April it was $34596, tax on that is $3115 - we have paid $2400 so have to start making up the difference, $200 has already been saved and we will make up the balance soon.

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One of my games I play on my iPad is words with friends and one of their new options is to play in another language- I studied Italian all through high school so I thought why not? It's so much fun!! It's like this whole new little world has opened up, am really enjoying it.

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Just finished a really great book last night called The October List by Jeffrey Deaver - it was slow to start (which wasn't a problem with me as I've been a bit too busy to be engulfed in a book - a chapter here or there has worked well for me) but last night I was able to sit down and read the last three chapters (which were long), did not disappoint! I guessed half of the ending but the rest of the ending took me by surprise, delivered lots of twists and turns, which every thriller should. Highly recommend it.

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Today I took the dog to my friend's place, who lives by the beach and went for an hour and a half walk with my friend and her 5yo son, was a really lovely morning Smile

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And finally, my last piece of news of what has been going on in my life lately - B's 40th party. We didn't know what we were going to do for it, and B was ummming and ahhhing, and thinking of perhaps going away on a holiday instead. It looks like we will most likely have the party. I have no idea how many people will come - the list we drew up was 88 in total but some people live interstate, and it is likely that they won't be able to come. We're looking at having it at our house (there'll be a fair bit of work there) and B said to just do finger food, but we thought we will also check out catering. The caterer we used for my 30th now has a website (um my 30th was quite a few years ago now!) and their prices look reasonable - $15.90 per adult for 3 meats, 4 salads & 3 desserts, $11.90 per child.

We're thinking of going with the catering option (I can't see myself handling the food for 88 people maximum singlehanded!), and providing the alcohol also. (More calculations required there).

The party is exactly 2 months away (on a Saturday) so we need to do proper calculations (especially for the alcohol portion!), prepare invitations this weekend and book the caterer. I hope we go ahead with it, I'm starting to get excited! I already have various ideas going through my head.

Financially it will probably be a stretch, but I think once we start to have concrete estimations of price we will be more motivated to save whatever we have towards the party, especially as it's only 2 months away. If we go ahead with the party, the 50 week challenge will still be proceeding as normal, but I will be putting the Banking the Difference challenge on hold for the 2 months while we are saving for the party instead.

Mortgage Payment & Misc

May 30th, 2015 at 01:12 am

The last banking the difference item for the month is the paying the difference between the current mortgage payment ($1029) and the previous mortgage payment ($1178), being $149.

We paid that right before the mortgage payment was made, and also saved our monthly insurance payments to the offset account too. There's now just over $1000 there. We're really starting to see the interest reduction too - this month the interest was $584, which is the lowest interest charge ever, I believe! Which is really great.

Yesterday I decided to take a personal day on Monday, aka RDO, except paid for out of my annual leave. We have a really nice work lunch on Friday but my hair is now showing regrowth (it will be 8 weeks exactly - I usually try to stretch hair appointments to 10 weeks, but what is one to do?). I had the option of home-dyeing but when I called my hairdresser to ask for advice, she told me she could fit me in on Monday. I had an appointment with her in July, so I figure I will now see her Monday and move the July appointment to August. Yeah, taking a day to get my hair done may seem nonsensical to some, but I will feel better. And work is so quiet at the moment that I know it's no problem at all. So it works out for the month of June, I will be working two four day weeks because we have a public holiday next week too. One thing to say - Yay me!!!

Today B & I had a day out together. He wanted to go to a camping and outdoor expo, and then I thought about the OurDeal voucher I bought back in March (breakfast for 2 for $19, a crepe or omelette each plus beverage), and suggested that we have breakfast out and use it up also. This is the first time I have ever bought an OurDeal voucher (like Groupon), and it was such good value! B got an omelette which is normally worth $19, and then I got a crepe with salmon and we got coffees each too - about $50 worth of food! We could see why this café was selling these vouchers though. Lovely café, lovely food, but it was not near the popular main street or any foot traffic really. It was really nice though.

Then we spent a couple of hours at this expo- $17 entry each plus $15 parking was not cheap but it was nice to look around at so many things. We got an orange juice each $3.50, and a hot jam donut, each $2. We also bought a book which has shows various Australian free camping sites plus maps ($20), and I got sucked into buying a prawn peeler & deveiner ($12) - looking forward to trying that one out!

Hoping you all have a great weekend, off to read the blogs!

50 Week Challenge Week 19 & various

May 26th, 2015 at 03:27 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.

Banking the Difference deposit & other stuff

May 21st, 2015 at 12:58 am

Last night I paid bills but as B needed to use the computer I didn't have time to blog, I just updated the sidebar. This week's bill savings were $138.21 ($66 saved on my phone, $45 on the train ticket and $27 saved on the gas bill).

Last week spending was fairly low so I decided to put $35 on my CC, so have added that to banking the difference as well, as a snowflake. Now looking at my pay though it's time to rein in the spending so I'll be able to do a few things I want to do (before it gets frittered away). I have clothes I want to buy and I'm running out of month Smile

This is especially because the balance of the study subject was $283 and books were $166.21. I'm thankful that this is all claimable on tax.

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We were planning on having a big party for B's 40th but for the third time he's suggested he would probably rather go on a holiday to Fiji instead. I think it's partly because his work payments haven't really been coming in (now apparently its this week. Hmmm) and also partly because I don't think he wants to spend all that money on a party. I will leave it up to him. Our 5 year Anniversary is this year so it would be the perfect occasion for a holiday and the prices I've researched are reasonable.

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I called the lost dogs home and the dog we found got collected, so that's a happy ending. I guess we weren't meant to have a second dog.

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I'm considering changing the 52 week challenge to the 50 week challenge so it ends on New Year's Eve, would be a really great celebration. At the moment it's TBA

Hope you're doing well everyoneSmile

Banking The Difference deposit

May 14th, 2015 at 04:43 am

As B got paid the other day, and I got paid today, I knew we would be ok to not have to watch every cent this weekend, so I decided to transfer the rest of the Banking the Difference from last week's bill payments, which was the savings on the phone bills - $88.02 for B, and $11.96 for the home phone.

Banking the Difference has now hit just over $2K ($2,004.63 to be exact), which is pretty awesome. Now along with the 52 week challenge money that will become $7.5K ($7,516.63 to be exact). Who would think that just by making a few simple changes there would be such an awesome payoff. I'm so thankful I stumbled upon this site and have you guys to share my experience, cheer me on and inspire me!

As we've really been watching what we spend down to the very last dollar for the last few weeks, this weekend I'm having a mini-celebration. I'm also having a mini-celebration because tomorrow is the 15th of May, our big deadline for work, and this year we sailed through it. Work has become so quiet (I have still have various jobs to do though so I'm not twiddling my thumbs or anything) for before 15 May - this time last year we had to work back every day and it was so busy that as soon as you walked in the door at work your head was stuck in whatever you were doing until you went home - no time for thinking about anything to do with the outside world. So to have everything done on time is really great and such a relief.

I got some nice wine (for more than the usual $6 a bottle - I got nice NZ Sauvignon Blanc for $14 a bottle, $10 a bottle and one other cheap bottle for $4), and I plan on getting Nespresso pods instead of pods from the supermarket. We don't really have any big expenses such as birthdays this weekend so I'm not bothered if we spend a bit more here or there as long as it's within range. Also thinking of making pancakes for breakfast and spinach & ricotta pasta roll-ups for Saturday night dinner.

I also transferred $1303 onto my credit card - $20 banking the difference and $1283 course fees for the latest subject, which starts June 1. I will then be back to working a fulltime work and doing 10 hours of study per week, so am currently looking at ways to structure my time better. I didn't do too badly last time, but time management is crucial with these things, so you have to keep on top of it and not get burnt out, or it will become too much for you.

Don't really have any plans this week other than visiting my sister with my mother for lunch - I usually spend around $20 on these outings and have a lovely time.

Have a lovely weekend everyone!


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