You are viewing: Main Page

Bills Paid For The Month, Direct Debit Charges, Increased Wage from Job Change

March 21st, 2022 at 06:19 am

Rather than plan a blog entry I thought I would just spend 10 mins blogging of whatever comes to mind (sometimes it's just easier to get things done that way).

I usually log everything into a spreadsheet once a month and pay the bills all at the same time, around the 15th of the month.  Life just got busy last week as we went away camping on the weekend and had a few things to do beforehand.  Anyway, as soon as I had free time I sat down and checked the balances, listed the bills to be paid and any extra out of the ordinary spending.

I have been noticing a slight bill creep each month, some things we can probably change, others I am not completely sure of yet.  One thing for example is our caravan insurance is due for renewal next month and when we got it last year they stipulated it be paid by direct debit - looking at the renewal notice I can see an $84 administration charge for monthly direct debits, so I will contact them and see if we can pay it in one payment instead.  I hate paying administration charges on direct debits, and if possible would rather pay things in one payment only.

My wages went up slightly due to changing my work hours around - instead of working 3 days, I am working 5 mornings; so am working 20 per hours per week and no unpaid lunch break is required now (it was 3 days of 20 hours with 30 mins lunchbreak, but because my shift is under 5 hours by law I don't need to take a lunchbreak).  I'm actually really enjoying working the mornings and feel like I want to keep this routine, and set my business up to work in the afternoon.  Anyway as a result of this, I was able to withdraw less from my payout of my old job and withdrew $448 to bring my wages up to my $3000 monthly requirement.

Hope everyone's well!

We Got A New Puppy!

February 21st, 2022 at 10:53 am

Hi everybody!  It's been a while since I've posted an entry (in fact this is my first for 2022) but I have been reading everybody's entries, life has just been a little busy lately.  A pleasant kind of busy though, because in the middle of last month we got a new puppy!

I had been doing a 52 week challenge to save for new pets (which I wasn't completely regular with), we saved about $200 intermittently.  We were originally intending to wait a few years for a couple of new pets but I guess we just missed having the company of pets in our home and started to fall in love with the idea again.

We got given some cash from our FIL which is how we funded the purchase of the puppy.  He is a Jack Russell Terrier (like our beautiful dog who passed) and is so adorable! As we haven't had puppies for around 19 years now it has taken a little while to remember what life with a puppy is like!  It's so full on - nothing is off limits!  He is probably 75% well behaved 25% not.

Life has certainly become more fun though, and he is very much a member of our family!  It's so much fun going through all of the first milestones and watching him learn and grow.  He is such a confident sweet little puppy!

One thing I have done with the pets this time around is called one of our bank accounts "Holidays & Pets", set up a weekly deposit of $20 to be deposited there and have created his own spreadsheet. We could have opted for pet insurance but I think we have so many insurances as it is that it is simply another thing to deal with, another person to contact etc and decided that I would simply rather we set up a sinking fund as such instead.  For the first year that account will mostly be to pay vet bills and we are paying for any other purchases from our monthly spending money (there is always a big outlay when you first get a new pet setting things up and getting them bits and pieces).  He will getting desexed/neutered at 6 months old and the vet has quoted $350 for the procedure so there should be enough in the bank account for that when it happens.

New Investments, 52 Wk Challenge, New Couch

November 23rd, 2021 at 04:26 am

It's been nearly a month since I have blogged but all is fine here.  I am now working 3 days per week at my job, which is really great.  The job is going well and I can now plan to get some clients to fill up the remaining two days; now that I know exactly how much time I have available I can work more strongly towards that.

We got all of our banking stuff sorted and tax returns lodged, so it has been great to have that done and to spend less time on that area.

Financial stuff done today is:

Share Investing

I've kind of always had a little bit of money in shares and started spreadsheeting that properly in 2015.  I realised over the last month that I've had roughly $5500 invested for a couple of years now and the cash in the brokerage account has been steadily growing.  I admit, once money gets deposited there it generally stays there except for in a dire emergency, but thought it might be a good idea to re-balance and invest a bit more.  I worked out if I invested $1000 per year from 2015 and reinvested all of the investment earnings technically I should have $7682 invested.  To re-balance I bought 20 shares in an ETF for the amount of $1928 and 1000 shares in a small healthcare company for the amount of $562.  That now brings me to a balance of $7681 invested (current market value on everything $7972).  This should cover me to December next year before I have to think about adding any additional capital.

52 Week Challenge

I have not been keeping track of this but we had a bit of a surplus in our spending account so I paid 2 weeks of the challenge, that brings us to have now $212 saved towards some new pets.

New Couch

I decided to use part of my tax refund on a new couch for the back room/dining area, costing $1100 for a three seater recliner couch in leather lookalike material which is apparently very easy to clean.  It looks lovely and is very comfortable!

Never Ending Life Administration

October 27th, 2021 at 01:27 am

As we near the end of October it seems that every spare minute of my time has been taken up with reorganising our bank accounts.  It has been such a long, tedious process.  We received an advice from our bank that they are restructuring our bank accounts to only allow one transaction account (the checking account) and our other bank account that we used as a transaction account to get our salaries deposited and all direct debits would change from a transaction account to an internet only savings account that does not allow direct debits or periodic payments.  Ugh.

I am so glad that DH suggested changing banks altogether because of the time it has cost us (mainly me).  I had to trawl through the bank account to list all debits and then contact everybody, which has been such a time consuming process.  It has been time consuming because there were so many financial institutions (ok, quite a few, it feels like so many) and each financial institution has a different process.  Some were fine with updating the bank details over the phone, others expected you to fill out the form and scan it back, some you had to log in online and go to this section of the website.  It has been such an annoying process.  The only positive out of it all has been getting reacquainted with the various institutions that we use and listing all of our debits down in an organised manner.

Thankfully I can already see the payments coming out of the new account and we have now moved most of the money over to the new bank.  It is looking like this weekend we will start using the eftpos card for the new bank and the process should be pretty much complete.

Another tedious life administration thing I had to do this month was change my name with my super fund (retirement account) for my new employer to deposit into.  I have pretty much changed my name everywhere, now just have two things to go.  But again, this was a matter of complete a form, get the marriage certificate photocopy certified, send it all off.

It is actually our wedding anniversary today, we have now been married for 11 years!  (I guess it is pretty bad that I am still changing my name on things, but I had a lot of things to change).  It is a lovely sunny day just like when we got married which is nice.

I have to do my last bit of life administration for a while hopefully, which is do our taxes - they are due on Sunday.  The process does not take too long though, hopefully we will get nice refunds back.  Then after that we will go out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary, and it will be the first time we have eaten out since possibly June or July?  (We only got out of lockdown last week).  We are going out to dinner at a lovely inner city suburb by the water, so am looking forward to it.  Hope you are all well!

Big Mortgage Repayment, New Bank Accounts

October 4th, 2021 at 07:50 am

I think my last blog entry was in the start of September?  I know it's been a little while.  I've been working now for just over a month so have completed my work's trial period.  In Australia employers can choose from 3 months to 6 months for an employee's probationary period but my boss just wanted 1 month.  If an employer doesn't want to hold on to an employee during the probationary period here they can simply let them know that they have not passed the probationary period and give them the date the employment ends; and if an employee finds that they do not want to work there long term they are also free to leave without notice during the probationary period.  So as of last week I have passed my probationary period, which is great!  

I'm a big believer in if you receive an amount of money unexpectedly (or just money that is not your average pay) you should save half and spend half.  So I got to thinking about my payout from my previous job and decided that I would save half of whatever is left now that I have a part-time job.  Half is around $7000 so DH and I decided that probably the best thing to do with this money is make a large payment on the mortgage, so I paid $6060 down against the mortgage, bringing it down to $79,999!

There's just under 10 years left on the loan so this is motivating to bring the balance down even further.

Now there is just under 6 months pay of my package, being a lesser amount required from it due to employment earnings too.  That will give me time to build up the business, or if that doesn't work out, get a job for the remaining days of the week.  We'll just see how the next couple of months pan out with all of this.

The other big thing that is currently happening is we are currently in the process of changing banks.  After 20 years of being with the same bank we received a letter at the start of September advising us that they are restructuring our bank accounts and we are now entitled to one checking account and all the rest will become savings accounts which do not allow direct debits or a lot of other transaction types.  As one of the bank accounts that they have decided to turn into a basic internet only savings account is where our pays are deposited and all of our direct debits and bill payments come out of this is extremely annoying!

They have given us until the 22nd of October to change the bank account where all of our deposits and debits are withdrawn, and advised that we can open another bank account but we still have to change everything out of that bank account, so after speaking with DH we decided to change banks entirely.  DH is currently on forced shutdown until tomorrow as his industry got closed down for 2 weeks due to the pandemic so today we met with the new bank and opened four bank accounts and a credit card in DH's name doing a balance transfer for the amount owing on his card (around $2500).

It was a very quick process meeting with the bank and getting them to set up everything, which is great!  Now I will need to spend tomorrow and the day after notifying all of our direct debits of the new bank account to withdraw from.  The only upside of this whole process is we will no longer have to pay account fees anymore and years ago DH got talked into putting credit card protection on his credit card so we will not have to pay that anymore as the card will be closed soon.

With DH's balance transfer there is 30 months interest free so I am thinking of setting up automatic repayments each month until it is cleared, and doing the same thing for my credit card also.  We generally repay every purchase within the week, or the month at worst, so this is just old debt hanging around.  All we will need to do is keep our current habit of repaying everything purchased quickly and the problem of the old debt will be eventually sorted.

I also paid four weeks towards the 52 weeks saving challenge for some new fur babies, the balance is now $106.

Unemployment Week 6 - Got A Job!

September 9th, 2021 at 07:44 am

Happy to say that my work trial was only really for the morning and that by lunchtime I was offered the job!  I'm really happy that searching for a job is now over and done with, the people are lovely and I feel like I could be there for a while.

I was going to post earlier but got sick after my second Pfizer dose - nothing requiring hospital visits, simply a short cold then a bad sinus infection for around 6 days, so was certainly not up to doing a blog entry.

This is my third week of working there; I am working 2 days per week as an accounts/administration officer at a hair and beauty wholesaler/retailer.  It's a completely different industry so is quite interesting to learn all about.  It's only a 10 minute drive from home which is awesome.  We are currently in lockdown so I am working shorter hours as they only have skeleton staff on, but my hours on one day will be increasing once lockdown is over and they are already talking about work to give me for my third day (which I said I am totally fine with as I was looking for up to 3 days).

It is all very exciting though - it is a newly created position so Iast week I got to order new stationery for my desk and was given a new computer.  My hourly rate is only $0.50 less than my previous job but I don't have to pay for a train ticket anymore (which would cost $1.00 per hour worked), so I have a tiny increase per hour.  I'm just glad to be pretty getting the same pay as I did not want to drop too much.

In other news, I have just transferred $30.00 to the 52 week challenge (covering two weeks) for our new pets savings. 

Unemployment Week 5, Landed Work Trial

August 24th, 2021 at 03:08 am

I'm a bit behind on entries, it's actually the start of week 6, but I will report week 6 at the end of the week.  After my last entry where I was getting annoyed with the job hunting process all of a sudden everything sped up into action.  In our state we have generally had short snap lockdowns this year so I think a lot of potential employers were just waiting out the lockdown (I have found that a lot of potential employers prefer to interview in person rather than Zoom; maybe everybody is completely sick of Zoom!).  This outbreak is spreading out of control though and nearly four weeks later it does not show any signs of slowing down, so I think potential employers have realised that the need to have their positions filled outweighs their interview preference and they just have to use Zoom.

On Friday I got a call asking for an interview first thing Monday morning, then on Sunday I got an email from someone else asking me to come to this business's home office (I declined due to lockdown and offered a Zoom interview instead). I ended up having two different interviews on Monday, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, which was definitely good practice in getting used to interviewing.  On Tuesday I got a call from another company and got an interview Thursday, and had to speak to them again on Wednesday so by the time I interviewed on Thursday I had a pretty good rapport with them.

The Thursday interview is for an accounts/admin job 2-3 days per week at a hair and beauty wholesaler and is a 10 minute drive from home.  The people seemed lovely, the interview went well and I was really happy to hear from them two hours later asking me to come back next week for a day to see if I like them, if they like me, and if I can do the work.  I've never had a work trial for an office job but read later on that it is common in retail and hospitality (they are retail).  Also is common with people who don't want to go through second interview processes and want the spot filled quickly.  Wish me luck on this one!

(I'm aware that right now it is a trial, not a secured job as yet, but am hopeful to get the job)

Pretty much as soon as I got the call asking for me to attend the work trial I got an email from the Monday afternoon interview asking for my references.  In the interview they stipulated that I would have to work at their home office and they are happy to obtain a work permit because it is an essential service however I know for a fact they are not an essential service so just didn't have a good feeling about them (if I get caught with a dodgy work permit it is a penalty of around $10,000!), so was happy to tell them that I have accepted another position.  I did research which businesses are essential services and there is no way that they are.

In financial news, things are going well - we have spent 41% of our variables budget and it is the 24th so that is great; we should finish the month off in a good position.  We had to replace our bedside table lamps today and spent $143, really this is the biggest expense we have had in a while.

Also I made our first deposit to the 52 week challenge, for the amount of $6.

Unemployment Week 4, Pet Savings Goals

August 12th, 2021 at 08:41 am

I have now hit four weeks unemployed, and on the 15th am due to withdraw the second month of my payout from the last job.  The amount I will be withdrawing is $3000.  Last month on the 31st we had $620 leftover from our pays, so I could possibly withdraw a bit less but I am thinking I will wait until we have a bit more leftover at the end of this month (ie if we have $1000 left over I might withdraw $2500 instead of $3000).

I have been applying for jobs, so far I have applied for 24.  Last week I applied for a job and had a response back from the employer at 9.30 at night asking for an interview, which I had on Tuesday.  It felt like it went ok but I am not sure about the vibe, it didn't feel great.  The job was working 10 hours per week, with the opportunity for extra hours as the company grows so in the interview I told the interviewer I'd be happy to go up to 20 hours per week and she replied back with that they are happy to accommodate school hours and I got a funny look when I replied that I don't have kids... as in if you don't have kids why do you only want to work 20 hours a week?  My husband said to just tell them that your husband has a well-paying job which is enough to cover the shortfall (he is very proud that he earns enough to be able to say that, and I am proud of him for doing so well; not that I am expecting him to pay for everything)

It just seems like I am expected to explain what I am doing in my free time because it's not standard to only want to work half a week, when in actual fact it's nobody's business.  Yes, in the other half of the week I do want to get my own business going, but I am careful not to apply for any jobs that say part-time with opportunity for full-time.  If a mother wants to work part-time to be with her kids more it is viewed favourably but it feels like if a woman just wants to have a bit of time-out to live a slower pace of life it is frowned upon.  I'm happy to tell people at the moment how many hours I'm willing to work and that if I decided to go to full-time I would come to them first, and there is no second part-time job that people have to work around. 

So I was so annoyed about it all that I saw an ad for temp professionals and have decided that maybe that's what I will focus on instead.  So today I applied for a temp professional role and maybe that is how I will focus for the time being, because then I will be free to work around my business.  In regards to my business, I am planning to launch my website in September - I had to give myself a deadline to work towards.  Yesterday I got my second client through my old work, which was great.

In other news, DH and I started looking at pets properly last night.  Last year both our cat and dog passed away, with our cat Gemma being just over 18 and our dog Jessie being just under 18.  While I am not too fussed about the breed of cat, DH (and I) really love Jack Russell terriers.  I haven't seen any Jack Russell terriers at rescue places unfortunately so it looks like we may need to buy a bred puppy, which starts at about $2000.  I gave the idea of perhaps saving a bit each year until we have enough and DH was fine with that.  I'm guessing a kitten will be up to $400 - I want to get the kitten from a rescue home.  We love watching this show called the The DogHouse where they match rescue dogs up with prospective owners, I want to do something like that with kittens.  Right now I'm drawn to ginger/champagne coloured kittens but we will see what we end up with!  Generally we would spend $1000 per year on our pets and we have not spent anything yet this year on pets so I'm thinking that's what our savings goal will be, and we should comfortably be able to open our home to a couple of fur babies in about 2-3 years.  Nobody could replace our Jessie and Gemma but it will be nice to give a good home and share lots of cuddles with a couple of new fur babies.

Of course, the disclaimer is that we will save the $1000 as long as we can afford it while I am not working....  or maybe this is motivation for a new 52 week challenge?  Maybe it is...

Musings Unemployment Week 3

August 4th, 2021 at 08:11 am

I'm now in my third week of unemployment, so far I am not in too bad a place.  I have not hit the very stressed point yet.  I read somewhere that at the moment there are a lot of jobs but potential employers are being slower than usual to interview potential employees and make final decisions.  I definitely think there is a bit of truth in this.

I have applied for 16 jobs so far in this three weeks of unemployment.  I did also apply for one right before I resigned and got a phone call an hour after resigning requesting an interview and had to do three interviews for that job; I decided that I was not in such a need of a job straight away that I needed to interview while working as I didn't like the idea of sneaking around and it was exhausting fitting interviews into my lunchbreak.  So back to my three weeks unemployed, I have applied for 16 jobs since I finished up from my old work and have two interviews lined up for next week.

One interview is for a job I applied for on the 20th of July and the interview is next Thursday, so the interview will be 3 weeks and 2 days after I applied for it... The other interview I have is for a job I applied for yesterday and got an email from the director at 9.30 last night, so this job is much quicker to act to fill their vacancy.  Unfortunately I couldn't schedule it before the camping trip, so hopefully it won't make too bad of an impression (it is at the start of next week).

I went to the gym twice this week, which is a good healthy habit I am rebuilding and hopefully will be able to keep.  I have also slowly been building up the time I spend on my bookkeeping business.  Today I listened to part of a business podcast and then spent 2.5 hours working on the overdue work for the one client I have.  I'm starting to really focus on getting up to date with his work, because my next focus is creating the website for the business.

When I had to work 5 days per week from November last year to my date of termination last month I saved the money earned into my brokerage account (a great place to save because generally once money goes there it doesn't leave that account since it is held at another bank which I don't really check that much!), and found that it amounted to $4500.  So last week I transferred that money into the business account and then repaid all of the business bills for the year that were sitting on my credit card (this amounted to $1067).  I don't know how much the website will cost but the money transferred over is to pay for it.   I have a friend who used to be a website designer so she has offered to help me set it up which is great.

B and I have been good with spending, however spent a little bit on the weekend for extra camping items ($155) and B's birthday present ($210).  He loves camping so will be very happy to be away for his birthday!

A New Chapter Has Begun

July 29th, 2021 at 08:35 am

It's been a very long since I posted and has been a very big few months.  Last year my work (now my old work) asked me to work full-time and I agreed to work full-time until May, which they agreed to... however the job I was doing graduated into really needing full-time work, which was no longer my plan, as I want to run my own business!

So last month I took the leap and resigned!  It was time.  I worked there for just over 16.5 years, which is a wonderful effort.  They were lovely people and we got along well, so I valued that and it made it easy to stay working at the same place for so long.  But ultimately I wanted better work life/balance and the job was working in the city travelling a minimum of 1hr15mins each way.  I was sick of the travel before the pandemic and working from home made me realise that travelling that long each day is too long to commute.

So I was working as an assistant accountant/bookkeeper with an annual wage of $59,148 and an hourly rate of $32.50.  But I guess if you look at the travel time included the daily amount earned for the day of 7 hours was $227.50 (before tax), but add in 2.5 hours it took to get to the job and get home and the hourly rate dropped down to $23.95.  It just did not seem worth it anymore.... but we'll see what financial position I am this time next year, and whether I got it right or got it wrong!

My work was fine about it.  They dropped a few hints that perhaps they thought I was crazy to leave secure employment, but I am looking forward to some personal growth (along with a shorter commute) and a different way of life, but they gave me a lovely send off of lunch one day and a lovely morning tea the next - it was all very sweet and emotional because it was the end of an era.  Because I was there for so long I walked away with long service leave of 15 weeks pay and holiday pay of 8 weeks pay, so this is a nice financial cushion to tide me over until I get my next role.

I worked out that I need to transfer $3k per month to contribute towards our bills and spending money, so we now have 5 months left.  So far we haven't been spending too much and have been living pretty comfortably, which makes me happy that we should be ok for a little while.

Because I had not had holidays since 2019 and was pretty run-down DH ordered me to take a rest of 2 weeks, just apply for a couple of jobs each day and mainly relax, which I've been doing.  I have been applying for jobs, and have been catching up on emails and bills with the bookkeeping business which got left to the wayside when I got really rundown, but have also been watching movies and going for little drives, and we are going away camping next weekend which is exciting.

I am hoping to commute up to about 45 minutes each way but have agreed with DH that if I get to 3 months without a job I will apply for city jobs again.  Last week I got a call about a city job and got an email interested in me working for them however it was also inner city, so we will see if I have to bite the bullet and go back to long commutes!

But next week will mark my third week out of a job so my new schedule will start... I have created a schedule to give myself structure and avoid falling into the trap of laziness, working towards getting a job for half of the day (currently am thinking of allocating the morning but if I get interviews in the afternoon then I will swap it around), and building up my bookkeeping business for the other half of the day.  I now have 2 clients - one who I have had for a long time (and have a lot of catching up to do to bring him up to date - both of our faults!) and one from my previous boss, as he doesn't want to do the bookkeeping work (he is a high-ranking accountant so this is not a good use of his time and I am grateful though; this work is up-to-date and will take about half an hour a day).

I have been following your blogs (and commenting occasionally), and now that I have more time available look forward to blogging more regularly and speaking with you all more regularly!

Wednesday 24 February

February 24th, 2021 at 06:48 am

Hi everyone,

I read your blog entries all the time but it seems that whenever I am busy blogging goes out the window.  So rather than talking about the last nearly two months, it might be easier to just share a daily snapshot from today of the things I have been doing (in the same fashion as MonkeyMama has been doing).

Today I worked from home as I only go into the office 2 days a week and work from home the other 3 days.  (My boss has said that he is happy for us to continue in this fashion indefinitely rather than constantly have to adjust whenever there is a lockdown).  Because I worked from home it has been a NSD.

While it has been a NSD, I did pay a couple of bills - council rates (probably the same thing as property taxes in the US) for the amount of $489 (this is quarterly) and registration for one of DH's motorbike for the amount of $134.20.  While paying the bills I realised that there wouldn't be a loan payment for DH's bike anymore as we paid it out last week so transferred $500 over to savings for our caravan.

We bought a caravan a month ago, which is currently getting made but finance does not start until we collect it so I decided to use the money we would normally spend on a motorbike loan repayment to put it towards the deposit.  The larger our deposit when we get it, the smaller the loan because while we have been approved for the full amount we can borrow less if we can contribute a cash portion.  We were going to get a caravan in our 50s but fast tracked it a few years because DH is struggling to set it up.  We are planning on keeping the caravan for a very long time and know that we will get a lot of use out of it.

The other thing that happened today is that DH resigned from his current job as he has landed a job with a company he was previously working for.  He took a $10k paycut last year after being made redundant so this job is paying $5k more, bringing it to $5k less than what he was making pre-pandemic.  He knows what this company he is going to is like and was comfortable there before, so he is looking forward to settling in there and being there for a long time.  Luckily his current job took the resignation well and were happy that he gave them a full month's notice when he has only been there 9 months.

Glad to see you're all well and it has been so interesting reading about people getting the Covid vaccines because ours have only started this week.  As I am an adult under 50 without underlying health conditions, I am in the fourth group of our population listed to receive it, so probably won't get it until July to September this year (that's what the government website advises).

Goodbye 2020... and both of our pets....

January 2nd, 2021 at 08:33 pm

Hello fellow SA'ers,

I haven't blogged in a while because unfortunately our beautiful dog started to get sick with a paw infection around August-Sept, and we got her to the vet a couple of days after the last blog entry.  The vet gave her lots of meds for the paw infection however gave a disclaimer that it was possibly a tumour but only time and a proper diagnosis would tell.  After a month of giving her the meds, going backwards and forwards to the vet we got the cat scan done and a needle inserted to withdraw cells from the infected area and the diagnosis came back with a malignant melanoma... as she was just under 18 we opted to forgo surgery and instead had a vet come to our home a couple of weeks later to put our beautiful baby to sleep.  While we miss her so much we are so blessed that I could work from home in order to care for her.

The September-October period was swallowed up with caring for her and of course emotions involved so financially we were on autopilot for a while; actually until the end of November.  Luckily though in that period we only spent the usual weekly allowance and there were no major bills, so around December when I went back and looked at everything we were still pretty much on track.

Also, in September-October I completed my bookkeeping course, which is super exciting and was something nice amongst a very hard time.  My boss asked me to work five days a week and I agreed to work it for 6 months as long as he signs off on all bookkeeping time done for the company which will go towards my experience required to become a Registered BAS Agent (the final requirement I have to complete is 1000 hours of time spent providing BAS services).

So, I guess to go over 2020, while the main part of it was that it was the year of goodbyes of both of our pets and the rainbow bridge, these were the main points:

- we had to say goodbye to both of our pets (emotionally hard but also financially hard - pet expenses for 2020 were $5400)

- I got the car I had been wanting for a long time (paid 1/3rd cash upfront with a five year loan for the remaining balance)

- DH got retrenched from his job, received a good redundancy package and another job quickly after.  We still have some of the money left, which we have agreed he can spend on a project bike, as this is one of his interests.

- I passed my bookkeeping course which will greatly help in my aim to be a Registered BAS Agent and have my own business

- we were supposed to go to the UK in July however due to the pandemic our tickets were cancelled and 3 months later we received a full refund which got applied straight to my credit card (which is how payment was made).  We still have the remainder of the holiday savings in the holiday account however due to uncertainty with when we can travel, saving for this is not a priority right now.

- my credit card debt has gone down dramatically due to the refund being applied against it.  I have become better with using the card and pretty much only have everyday expenses going on there which get repaid in 1-3 months, business expenses and interest expenses.  Progress is better but still needs to be made in this area

- our mortgage continues to drop rapidly now which is exciting, it is just over $90k with 11 years left so we will be working to speed this up

- cash is higher now as I am saving away the fifth day I work currently in preparation for taking the next step in my business etc, and we have not spent the redundancy package remainder nor the holiday money

So it was definitely a year of extremes!  We are still getting used to not having any pets anymore and plan on giving ourselves a rest as caring duties over the last four years increased and we want a bit more freedom to go away here and there without having lots to organise.  We're thinking of possibly having a 4-5 year break so if we actually do get to go away to the UK we are not leaving a cat or dog behind for a few weeks.  We will see how that goes though because we definitely miss the adorable quirks and love pets give.

I have updated my sidebar (however the EF breakdown is not accurate right now), and for once have used the financial tracking software throughout the whole year without fail, so will go over the expenses (have exported the spreadsheet) and will possibly blog about that too.  Definitely have to work out 2021 goals, there will definitely be a blog post about that as it is a big focus on my mind right now.

I have been lurking on the site but I hope everyone has had a wonderful Christmas break, New Year's and looks forward to planning their 2021!

Flight Refund Received

September 1st, 2020 at 07:26 am

My biggest news is that today we received the refund for the cancelled UK flights to my credit card. We received $3012, which only leaves a balance of $680 owing on that card.

I am ecstatic! I have been worried about how high the cards are and to have this reduced by so much is a big peace of mind. I can now afford to pay this card off in full within two months.

I am also really pleased that our travel provider advised us that it would take 12 weeks to receive the flight refund back and it took exactly that time - we received the money on the day. I have heard some horror stories of people not receiving their pandemic travel cancellations for ages and sometimes not even the full amount, so I am really pleased with the travel provider.

With the 52 week challenge the money I would normally be putting on that card will now go back to the holiday fund as eventually we will need to buy the flights again. I doubt we'll be able to travel for a couple of years but should not leave the saving for too long as it is an expensive trip.

My boss also reimbursed me for the home office computer equipment I was required to buy, for the amount of $330; which is to be repaid onto the other card. This card will now be under $3000 and paying that off will be the next course of action after the $680 credit card debt is repaid.

Definitely have to have the mindset of repaying the card in full each month to avoid the cards creeping up again! I may set up debits to have the full amount debited from the bank account to avoid this happening again once each card is repaid.

25% of 52 Week Mega Money Challenge Completed!

August 20th, 2020 at 02:30 am

I'm happy to say that we're now at Week 13 of the 52 Week Mega Money Challenge (in which both DH & I are repaying part of our credit card debt), which marks 25% of the way done!

The credit cards are slowly getting there. It's just great to see progress on the goal as well as sticking to the goal, which is sometimes easier than done!

Life Right Now In These Crazy Times

August 13th, 2020 at 07:49 am

Life here is very quiet but still busy as always. We have been in Stage 4 Lockdown for the last two weeks, so mask wearing is mandatory, the government has severely restricted the types of businesses that are essential, we are only allowed to travel up to 5km from our homes with the allowance of one person doing food shopping and exercise is restricted to one hour per day outside. Our cases started skyrocketing scarily and it was very stressful watching the news for a while. I am fine with limiting movement outside to bring transmission down - it is not a big thing to do but will have a big impact.

We did not know what Stage 4 Lockdown would involve so I spent three days in the leadup to it buying meat, alcohol, and any other purchases that I figured we would need in 6 weeks. It turns out Australia's Stage 4 Lockdown is not as strict as New Zealand - we have butchers, bottle shops and takeaway still open. Hardware is open only to tradespeople.

So I put all the food, alcohol and purchases on my credit cards and have been repaying it back a bit each week.

B & I are both still working though which is good. I am also coming up to the end of my bookkeeping course so have a very busy month ahead of me. If I do not complete the course on time it will cost $100 to extend it and the extension is valid for a year. I don't think I will need to extend it but I guess there is a small possibility.

So we are not going out but there is plenty to do at home! Last weekend it was B's birthday and we celebrated by having a spa, takeaway for dinner and a virtual music night with friends.

We are not spending very much at all. I am just letting the money sit in our spending account for if we need it but we are spending far less than usual. We might have takeaway here and there but I am trying to limit it as we are in a pandemic and everything is risky. I am generally doing the grocery shopping by click and collect to avoid walking through the supermarket.

The news is saying that we will likely have a meat shortage in a few weeks because the government reduced the abbattoir capacity to 2/3 because a lot of the Covid cases were spread within the abbattoirs as it is a hot environment where the workers work close together so it was spreading like wildfire. The news is also saying that we will likely have a food shortage because the borders are closed so fruit and vegetables cannot be brought into our State unless the other State government allows trucks only. We are currently well stocked for food but I think I will need to think ahead for more things to buy as well as things we can replace the foods with if they do have the food shortage.

These are such crazy times... Our cases have been falling though so our Government is saying by Christmas we could be out and about (still with mandatory masks though)

Hope you are all doing as well as possible in these crazy times!

I Got A New Car!

July 23rd, 2020 at 07:24 am

In these uncertain times, buying a new car is probably not advised, however we have been saving for a long time and planning for a long time. It just so happened to take place during a recession.

I have had my old car for 15 years and while it was running fine, I knew a little while ago that I would want something smaller and had my eye on a Volkswagen Golf, and a specific model at that, with certain requirements.

It turned out that the things I wanted were going to only be put into cars at the very top of the range from 2018 onwards and we did not see the need to spend that much money. Therefore we decided to get the model we wanted at the price we wanted.

The car I got is a 2016 model and it is a little hatch with a slightly larger engine size and is very zippy! It drives like a dream and has all of the mod cons which I am finding exciting to have. (Of course as I keep my cars for around 15 years they won't be mod cons for long!!)

We paid $7000 cash and had to get a loan for the remaining $20000. Because I got the renovations loan last year I could not get the loan in my name so we had to get it in B's name. Oh, the headaches involved in getting that loan!!

It took 3 weeks to get the loan, because we decided to get a secured loan. The secured loan interest rate was much lower however if we knew of all of the requirements for information and the fact that the bank dictates what you can buy with the money, we never would have opted for a secured loan. It was an absolute nightmare. I thought getting a secured loan was like years ago when I got one and you basically got the loan, and provided the car registration certificate and they listed it against the contract, but no this was not the case at all.

We were very lucky that the seller of the car was not in a hurry to sell and could see that I really wanted it so was happy to wait.

The loan is for 5 years and repayments are $428 per month. We were already saving $270 each month so this is a bit higher but not too bad for us.

We also sold my old car straight away because B simply mentioned we were selling it to someone he works with and they instantly said they will buy it because they want a safe car for their daughter and they know how well we treat cars. In fact, we dropped the car off the day before our second lockdown.

I am so so so happy with the car though!!! Now that the dust has settled, and I have got over the very busy few weeks this process has involved, I am enjoying it so much and am so happy!!!

We tinted the windows and I am hoping to get some nice wheels for it if there is enough received from my tax return. It looks gorgeous.

52 Week Mega Money Challenge Weeks 3 & 4

June 17th, 2020 at 07:17 am

Hi all, I have been a bit slack with recording the 52 week mega money challenge payments for weeks 3 & 4.

In week 3 it was a public holiday, so I decided that as public holiday weekends are generally a bit more expensive I would save the smaller payments for these weekends.

So with week 3 I paid $25 on my cards (two-thirds on Virgin, one-third on NAB) and $20 on B's card.

For week 4 we paid $62.50 on my cards so I have listed that my share has been paid for the $125 week. I have split the payments into one-third on my NAB card and two-thirds on my Virgin card; this has been based on the proportion of both cards owing at the start of the challenge. We then paid $102.50 for B's card so I have listed that his share has been paid for the $205 week.

B is about to get his first pay from his new job so we will be able to do our new monthly budget - I have worked out how much the 52 Week Mega Money Challenge works out to per month for the two of us and it is $574. This is a lot of money however we have a lot of credit card debt and it is a good idea to get in control of it.

With other credit card news, last week we finally got the letter from our airline advising that they will not be making any overseas flights next month (when we were supposed to go overseas) so we are now eligible for an 18 month travel credit or a full flight refund. Due to the uncertainty of it all, we opted for a full flight refund; so we were advised that $3012 will be getting refunded onto my Virgin credit card in around 12 weeks time. While I am sad we are not going next month, it will be really nice to clear most of the balance of that card.

I have lots of other money news so will probably do lots of other blog posts about each thing. Speak to you all soon!

52 Week Mega Money Challenge Week 2

May 28th, 2020 at 06:53 am

Because I'm trying to be diligent with our mega money credit card challenge I made sure that on our payday, the challenge payments were made also.

This week it was my turn to have $100 on my cards so I have listed that my share has been paid for the $200 week. I have split the payments into $33 on my NAB card and $67 on my Virgin card; this has been based on the proportion of both cards owing at the start of the challenge.

And because this week it was B's turn to have $65 repaid so I have listed that his share has been paid for the $130 week.

B started his job this week and is going well however they are a lot stricter than his previous firm so he is really busy trying to figure out all of the new practices. They are different to his last company because their business practices are really well developed - they even have their own app for payroll! All he has to do is put his password in at any time and he can see all his payroll information which is so different to his last company, who really withheld that information. I think it will be good for him working there.

Not much to report with me, I am plodding along. We did buy a BBQ over the weekend, as we haven't owned one for years and have friends visiting us so are looking forward to breaking it in!

52 Week Mega Money Challenge Week 1

May 21st, 2020 at 07:25 am

To get our credit cards under control, I have decided to do a 52 week challenge, as these have worked so well in the past. This time the one I am doing is the 52 week Mega Money Challenge which starts at a $5 payment and finishes at a $260 payment. The total amount repaid on our credit cards would be $6890, which will be split exactly in half.

B owes roughly $3700 on his and I have two cards in which I owe around $4200 excluding the pet expenses which we will be repaying soon.

I have listed two columns, one listed B and the other listed V.

This week B needed $100 on his card so I have listed that his share has been paid for the $200 week. This week I needed $65 repaid so I have listed that my share has been paid for the $130 week.

I am really aiming to be diligent with keeping up the challenge and look forward to lower credit card balances!

DH Got A Job!!!

May 19th, 2020 at 02:22 am

Very happy to say that yesterday DH got offered a job!

He had a second interview on Friday with the company's general manager and got offered the job yesterday.

He did have to take a $10,000 pay reduction however paycuts are happening right across the industry so we were prepared for that and were fine with it. What he is getting paid is still good for us and we can continue to live comfortably.

He starts next Monday, and it makes him unemployed for just under a month, which isn't too bad at all in this current climate. We're just so happy that he got something so quickly. He thinks the people are ok too, so fingers crossed it all goes well.

We will have a bit of the redundancy package to spend on house items and save away, which is good. At this stage we are unsure of how much will be left as his employment contract says he is paid one month in arrears so we need to see what happens there.

We had pizza for dinner last night to celebrate Smile.

I have decided to embark on a 52 week mega money challenge to repay back both of our credit cards, will write more about that later in the week.

For now, we are just enjoying the lack of uncertainty!