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Archive for March, 2015

Made it to $4999! (Barely)

March 31st, 2015 at 07:10 am

I wanted to see my credit card owing $4999, out of the $5+ region, by March 31, to see a bit of progress. I made the $29 deposit required to do so (this has been added to the Banking the Difference challenge) but because we had a really expensive week it was a struggle to pay it.

With buying things for Easter plus a birthday plus big night out, we overspent. I'm not going to feel guilty about overspending because we've been good otherwise. We have a savings account with about 2 weeks bare necessities money in case B doesn't get paid, so we paid the overspent amount plus the $29 from there. (There's now $290 there so will need to go back to topping it up).

But- it was really nice to see $4999! I feel like that's a big accomplishment and that this debt will be going downhill from there.

On another note, work is crazy busy. I did something rare and took work home. (Really needed to). Had a problem and realised I'd need to spend some time reconciling, which I don't really have at work. I need to do some iPad updates etc so will spend some time on this job while it's happening. (And if I find the problem, it's one less stress in a stressful day).

Onward and upwards Smile

Challenges Week 11

March 27th, 2015 at 10:51 pm

Once again, typed up an entry, clicked "Save and Publish" and the damn thing disappeared into thin air! Ugh.

Take 2: the 52 week challenge amounts have been paid into various places (yay). Banking the Difference was not found in bill payments as such, but the difference in the mortgage repayment ($149 as per previous month), so that got sent to mortgage offset account. A bit under $500 sitting there now.

The other Banking the Diff saving turned out to be our credit card interest expense. I treat the interest expense as a bill and prepay the interest I think will be charged ($60 per card). My interest came in at around $55, so $5 saving there. B's card was the big saving with $0 interest charged! Not sure why. We swapped over the card to a low rate in Dec/Jan, and it says on the banking website 3 months interest free for cards opened between Feb & May. Who knows, maybe we got the deal too? I'm counting it as a snowflake and adding to the challenge.

As a result, B's card is doing great. I wanted it to be $3299 by March 31, it is that now (actually a bit under) so no extra repayment required there. My card will still need $29 transferred on Monday to meet my wish of seeing $4999 owing on March 31.

Hoping you all have a lovely weekend!!!

52Week Challenge Wk 10

March 23rd, 2015 at 06:40 am

I wrote an entry yesterday and when I pressed "save & publish" it promptly disappeared. Maybe it's a good thing! I wasn't my usual self and was a bit cranky, so maybe I simply got to vent, let it all out and feel better without putting you all through my rant. (I feel better than yesterday).

We're now at week 10 and there's enough in the EF to consider it to be a mini-EF. I was thinking a mini-EF should be $1K per family member and readily accessible in a cash form, which means we're a bit over halfway there in that case. And then I was thinking the balance should be a maxi-EF which is saved/invested somewhere which earns a good return.

Checked the credit cards and my credit card stands at $5049 owing. Would love to bring that down to $4999 by 31 March. One more challenge payment will be made by then which will leave $29 to be made to reach that goal. If there are no more banking the difference payments I will pay the money. B's card stands at $3328 so we could also get that down to $3299. We'll see what happens within a week Smile

Big Outlay This Week

March 20th, 2015 at 07:04 am

Well we got B's car serviced and looked at after the electrics failed for the second time. They couldn't give an explanation why it happened but it was time to adjust the V-drive belt (like a timing belt I guess). $450 it all came to, so we knew it would be more this time so we're ok with that.

My car insurance bill came in last week- payable April 7. My car's now 12yrs old so when the insurance was higher than last year (only by $20 but it is the principle- the car is ageing and dropping in value, so really should insurance be going up?) B decided to shop around. While I deal with the financial side of things, B deals with anything to do with the cars.

So he called up another company and looked into prices for both of our policies. Because it is our first time with this company they offered a 15% discount for both cars. The net result works out to be $333 less than what we normally pay, so we agreed to move over to them. The only thing is they are all due and payable in full so we are getting $2142 withdrawn from our accounts today.....

I looked at our finances the night before and realised we can do afford to do it. Need to slow down the outpouring of money after this though!

While it is a lot of money (thank goodness for high season!) it solves a continuing problem we have. My car is generally $700-$800 which we usually pay outright. B's car being newer however (4yrs old this yr) is generally around $1300-$1500 which is too much for us to pay outright so then we have to resort to direct debit monthly which incurs an $145 administration fee (highway robbery).

Even though we have saved money I'm not going to count this in Banking the Difference (I think we have outlaid enough at the moment), but instead starting next month I will save a monthly instalment (what we just paid divided by 12) into our mortgage offset account. So one year later we will have the full insurance amount and goodbye sky high direct debit fees, hello mortgage interest reduction!

Banking The Difference payment made

March 18th, 2015 at 10:59 am

Another week, another round of bills to pay.

Had to get the monthly train ticket, plus pay the electricity and my cell phone bill. Savings on all three totalled $115.95, as below:

Train ticket savings $45.00
Electricity bill savings $29.37
Cell phone bill savings $41.58

Loving how the train zoning changed and I see that drop every month! The electricity bill saving is nice and so is the cell phone bill savings- and I barely notice any difference between the previous "superior" provider and my $30 provider. The internet is not so wonderful occasionally, that is the only difference. It's mostly fine.

Challenges Tally Month 2

March 18th, 2015 at 10:12 am

Month 2 actually finished two days ago but I guess I've been busy and had other things on my mind. Now there's lot of money things to do, so need to get on it.

For month 2 of the 52 week challenge, approximately $957.00 has been saved/repaid against the various places.

For month 2 of the Banking The Difference challenge approximately $1,074.53 has been saved/repaid against the various places.

For both a total of $2,048.53 has been saved/repaid. Total current goal $5512 + $1,074.53 = $6,586.63. This makes progress of having saved 31.10% of the total goal.

The result so far for each account / card is:
EF = $1,087.97 saved
CC 1 = $301.78 repaid
CC 2 = $343.78 repaid
Mortgage = $298 saved

It's great to see some results! It looks like we kind of have a mini-EF now which is good. Credit card debt at the start of the challenge was $9.1k and is now just under $8.5k. Mortgage $127k (we'll tackle the savings and credit card debt first).

I am a Revolver, not a Transactor

March 17th, 2015 at 06:40 am

No, not a gun.

Was doing some reading this morning and today's article was about the two types of credit card users there are. A "revolver" is the name given by the credit card industry for a credit card holder who carries a balance continually. They have a revolving balance. A "transactor" is a credit card user who simply uses the credit card for transactions and pays the balance off in full each month.

The scary part of this article is in Australia 2 out 3 credit card users are transactors, yet the 1 in 3 credit card users who are revolvers fund the entire credit card industry! Yikes. Makes me really want to get out of the revolving credit card cycle and into a transactional credit card cycle. The whole it being in your interest to watch the interest that you have to pay and all.

I don't think there's anything wrong with credit cards- used correctly they are a loan in your name that you don't have to go through a lengthy application process for. It's just misuse of the credit cards which is clearly painful for us (credit card users) and a big win for credit card industry.

I thought this article was really interesting, wanted to share.

52 Wk Challenge Wk 9 / Domestic Weekend / Car Things

March 15th, 2015 at 10:34 am

Sometimes I think if I didn't post and update weekly about the 52 week challenge I'd completely forget where exactly I am with it! It's helpful doing this. Anyway the debits have come out as usual and the balances are increasing as expected.

After the holiday last week, this weekend was very domestic. We cleared away nearly all trace of suitcases etc, washed nearly all the clothes (not done yet, a couple of loads to go) and had a big clean-up, as in cleaned the house from top to bottom (as opposed to the usual rush job which ensures that surfaces etc are clean). I hope to not see another cobweb for a while! I think I got everything. And other things just got cleaned better than usual (eg shower). We felt pretty accomplished by the end.
This took me most of the weekend so meal plans are out the window. As we've been home, not much has been spent so I guess that counteracts not having time to go to the butchers or Aldi. It is Coles and Safeway all the way this week. I'm guessing this may cost an extra $20 or so, which I'm happy to pay as we have seen some good results, our house looks cleaner than it has in a while.

We've been meaning to do car services for a while now and my goal was to have both cars done by Easter (April 2? around then anyway). The electrics cut out on B's car about a month ago and he never got around to booking a service. Well he drove it a couple of days ago and the electrics cut out again and when he looked at the manual it said "get to the mechanic asap", so we're not sure what we're up for. B has said that he can service my car (I think because it is now getting older he is not as worried about doing it as he was before) so it looks like he will do that to offset an expensive car service on his. If it helps our bottom line and doesn't wreck my car in the process I'm all for it!

That's about all from me, hope you're all doing well Smile

Challenges Week 8 Wrap-Up & back from holiday!

March 11th, 2015 at 10:03 am

We're back from our short cruise holiday/friend's wedding! We had fun, it was a very nice trip and we'll have many good memories for years to come because these are friends that we don't normally go away with. Would we go away on a cruise again? Probably would not rush to. I got motion sickness which was unpleasant for a short period of time.

As I can speak anonymously, we had an interesting situation. It was a destination wedding so we had to obviously pay our own cruise fares, flights, etc. I was happy to because the concept of going on a short cruise with my friends interested me. My boss said "you know they would have got the wedding for free right?" (I don't care if they did and I'm happy they got upgraded to a suite with a balcony) My friend said "don't be surprised if they don't pay for the wedding meal or drinks", which I replied "I don't think they would do that"- well there were no prices on the meal menu so we thought it was paid for like a typical wedding do so when we went to order drinks the waiter turned around and said "cruise card please" (you put money onto a card issued by them as a form of monetary denomination). We found out we had to pay for our own drinks for the wedding meal and the only reason our meal was free was because it was incorporated into the cruise fare! I'm all for saving money but to me this was beyond stingy, especially as everyone would have paid minimum $500 to go to the wedding! Rant over. What are your thoughts on the matter?

The 52 wk challenge debits came out as normal and we put money on B's credit card to pay for items on holiday and when we got back the challenge money was there plus $149 extra so I am calling that a snowflake and have added it to banking the difference challenge. My team also won by 50 points last weekend so that was a big win and therefore threw $50 over to the EF. Banking The Difference challenge now has hit over $1K, woohoo!

Banking the Difference deposit $72.46

March 3rd, 2015 at 09:54 am

Had to pay bills again before next week (the phone companies charge late fees of $15.00 per bill and I forgot to pay on time last month so was *not* doing that again, $30.00 is a lot of money to pay for such a stupid thing) and sort out the bank accounts so there is enough money in each one. This time paid B's phone and the home phone - no saving from the home phone but big savings on B's- $62.78. Plus there was also $9.68 saved on his business insurance so added that to the challenge too, so a total of $72.46.

The bank accounts are now getting to the lowish sort of place (as happens with us between about the 5th & 15th of each month), so it might be a good thing that no more bills are required to be paid for a couple of weeks. However we got our electricity bill in the mail today, there will be a $30.00 saving when we have to pay it around the 20th - yay!

So far anticipated savings by mid-Jan next year are 52 week challenge $5512 + Banking the Difference $874.96 = $6,386.96.

Banking The Difference deposits & Week Wrap-Up

March 2nd, 2015 at 09:53 am

Our mortgage came out today (instead of in February we are having two withdrawals in March? Usually it's the 28th of every month? Anyway) so there was a saving of $149 compared to this time last year, so sent that straight to the mortgage.

I also received a snowflake of $37.05 into the EF account courtesy of a Medicare rebate (government rebate from the doctor's fee), so added that to the challenge.

I actually want to do a variation of the Banking the Difference challenge too. Imasaver gave me this idea from when her football team The Braves wins she deposits to her challenge then. Australian football has just started this week, which runs to August-September (August if the team is unlucky and doesn't get into finals, September if they do get into finals). My team, St Kilda, is a pretty on-off team. They have had some spectacular years and some miserable years. While I might not be an avid football follower, they will always be my team. My variation is $1 per point they win by goes to the EF (we will see how this goes! they finished bottom of the ladder last year). Last weekend they lost by 3 points so no addition to the EF then.

Our low-spend week ended up being us overspending by $20, which while not being wonderful is a definite improvement on the last two weeks. B wanted some alcohol for his poker game, which turned into me getting some too, which caused the blow-out (can never resist good sav blanc!).

This month we go away on a short cruise for my friend's wedding. The cruise got booked and mostly paid for before B broke his wrist which is why we decided to still go. We knew if we didn't go we would have lost the $540 we paid on plane fares which really wasn't a nice thought. It's going to be our last holiday for a while, really excited about it. It also works out well that B is doing so well at the moment now that we don't have any money stresses from his business. Now to just get through the pre-holiday stresses of getting everything organised!