Home > Archive: April, 2015

Archive for April, 2015

52 Week Challenge Week 15 & bits and pieces

April 28th, 2015 at 12:03 pm

Last weekend was week 15, and now in one section, the EF, we have hit triple digits! Progress is a beautiful thing Smile

Last weekend was the first of three weeks where we really have to watch our money, because of B's uncertainty of when he'll get paid next- they're saying three weeks so we'll budget for that.

I prepaid over the interest to his card and then it wasn't charged (still on $0, yay). I normally would have counted it as a snowflake but he bought petrol for work at $96, so leaving off the $62 received, we had to pay $34. (So we had a $567 less $34). So this weekend our money situation was semi-normal really. Missed out on a snowflake, and while we couldn't afford the party savings, we still made the 52 week challenge (which to me is crucial, as we need to build up savings and reduce debt). Have to pay some bills next week and there is enough in that account to make the banking the difference deposit (estimated at $143), so as long I can do that, that's good.

We had a quiet weekend, saw a movie called "The Longest Ride" which was a really sweet movie (directed by the director of "The Notebook" and "Dear John"). With groceries, spent our old spend of $170, but part of that was dogworming tablets and we just seemed to run out of a few things this week. Looking over the month, we haven't actually spent that much on groceries because we were away the first week of April and then my birthday was the second week (we had lots of left over food that week).

I have been spending all month jotting down the things I spend and how long it takes to earn each thing as an exercise in money mindfulness. A few things I can tell you is, with both the challenges combined, have managed to save 11.7% of my pay (or 18 hours that I worked within the month). I was aiming for 20% but after the last couple of weeks, it's not possible.

It's really made me evaluate what I spend on though. I don't feel like it's made me not want to spend but rather aim for a few quality things, here and there. I guess I can tell you, the bills portion - housing, insurances, bills, door lock repair to car, dentist visit and insurance savings amounted to 45% of my pay.

I saved $10 on petrol because I filled up once at the second week of the month, for $50 instead of $20 each week simply because I couldn't be bothered updating my notes! They do say that if you fill up once instead of small amounts here and there your fuel does last longer, and I found that it is true.

As I started this exercise in the second week of the month it's not totally accurate. I'm great with tracking expenses most of the time but whenever we go on holiday, I am officially on holiday. No updating finances - the bills get paid before we go, we have some money to spend and what it gets spent on I don't note down because I'm on holiday and relaxing is my priority.

But I found that this exercise is great for helping me live within my means, and to appreciate what I earn and what we can afford.

On another note, B got told about a job opening as a Building Supervisor for a new homes construction company, so we did an application letter for it and sent it with his resume. He thinks it would be a good idea because of the physical toll carpentry takes on the body, he could have a point there. If he's happy, I'm happy, so hopefully he gets it.

Also, last week I had to go over B's tax and work out how much he's earned from 1 July - 31 March, and he came in at $30,814 with $2396 tax payable. As we've paid just over $2400 for the year, there are no problems with not having paid/saved enough. I wanted him to make $40k, and I think he would just squeeze through, if he's lucky. (Of course if he gets a job, we won't have to worry about this anymore)

Time to tighten the belt a bit....

April 22nd, 2015 at 12:15 pm

Our finances have been travelling pretty well, so lately I've been feeling that maybe I don't need to have blog label "trying to survive the rollercoaster ride of my finances"... and then I'm reminded why I have that label up there.

1) to remind me that my husband's work is seasonal, so when savings get to a certain point not to get too complacent, because there are three months of the year where work is hard to come by and savings are needed.
2) because he's self-employed there can be big ups and downs.

Right now we're dealing with a sucky small business problem. Hopefully it will be short-lived, and expenses will not balloon out in this time.

He's been lucky enough to work for about 12-18 months (somewhere in that area) for pretty much one guy at a new homes company. The company pays weekly-fortnightly (some of B's jobs take longer than a week, which is the reason why I say weekly-fortnightly) and we've never had a problem with them.

But.... the guy changed jobs. (as these things happen)He told B that he wants B to do his jobs for him because he loves the quality of B's work (he's a great carpenter), and there will be so much work he should have 1, maybe 2 apprentices. We were talking about getting an apprentice but we're still slowly getting back on our feet after him being out of work so long. So we said we'd think about getting 1, but as we are being conservative, nothing has come of this. (We don't want to hire staff until we know for sure that there is enough work for them, otherwise we wouldn't be able to afford it).

So he changed about a week ago, and B just started working for him at his new job this week. B finds out that they pay fortnightly too, but there is a waiting period first of a week, so you are looking at receiving money in 3 weeks (not great). Day 2 of working there (today) and the other carpenter for this company, who happens to be related- it's a family owned company, finds out the supervisor has got somebody outside of the company doing carpentry work and completely cracked it. As he is family and has six employees, the new supervisor had to apologise and state that B will only be doing one job for him, he will use the family-owned carpenter now.

Lucky we didn't hire someone!

So he is looking at one week of work, which will be paid in 3 weeks, and the previous company he was working for do have work for him (luckily) but not for a couple of weeks. UGH.

The four months of no work taught me what rock bottom is for us financially, so I know what we can function on. We should be ok. But we are both on the same page (discussions have been had), that we don't have a lot of money to spend. That way if we really need something we can dip into the EF, but it's a last resort.

We have three weeks of $567 per week to live off including business expenses (where it gets dicey- B's car can cost $100 a week to fill if he gets a full week of work).

I saved $149 to the mortgage, as the difference between old and new mortgage, and the monthly insurance savings. I updated Banking the Difference, but I'm guessing that's my last snowflake for 3 weeks or so.

Wish us luck to make it through the next few weeks with little out of the ordinary expenses guys!

Challenges Week 14 & bits and pieces

April 19th, 2015 at 09:02 am

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

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

Other stuff that went on:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Challenges Tally Month 3

April 16th, 2015 at 07:55 am

Today it is exactly 3 months since I started the challenges, so it's time to note down the progress for a quarter of the year!

For month 3 of the 52 week challenge, approximately $1,381.00 has been saved/repaid against the various places.

For month 3 of the Banking The Difference challenge approximately $1,563.75 has been saved/repaid against the various places.

For both a total of $2,944.75 has been saved/repaid. Total current goal $5512 + $1,563.75 = $7,075.75. This makes progress of having saved 41.62% of the total goal (if there was no more banking the difference for the rest of the year and we just stuck to the 52 week challenge).

The result so far for each account / card is:
EF = $1,545.23 saved
CC 1 = $462.96 repaid
CC 2 = $489.56 repaid
Mortgage = $447 saved

It's great to see some results, now it's just a matter of not getting too complacent. It still 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 $8.2k, so is moving further away from the $10k mark (which to me is scary). Mortgage $127k (we'll tackle the savings and credit card debt first).

Challenges Week 13 & money to repay CC

April 12th, 2015 at 10:26 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Money Mindfulness

April 10th, 2015 at 07:58 am

There is a quote I see quite often which is "the price of anything is the amount of life you pay for it".

Today my boss emailed me my payslip and for some reason (maybe I just needed a mental break for a minute) as I opened it that quote popped into my head. So I spent a bit of time actually analysing it.

My pay period starts on the 1st of the month, I work 154 hours a month for a rate of $23.27 after tax. As this is the amount I receive in the bank, I am using this rate.

I guess by doing this exercise I want to appreciate what my time spent at work pays for. It has made me appreciate having a monthly pay, that's for sure!

So far I've worked out: I have to work for 22hrs to pay for my share of the mortgage (we don't split money but for the purpose of how long do I have to work to pay for that thing, I am splitting because I am only looking at my time spent), for example. I have a page on my iPad where I have jotted down things bought & the time needed to work to pay for it. High point is so far $156 has been saved, equal to 6hrs 40 mins of my 154 hrs. Low point is the car door lock we had to buy cost $180 equal to 7hrs 40 mins of my time Frown

I also just bought a bottle of wine for $10 which is just under half an hour of my time. Happy to say it's nice & well worth it!

Banking The Difference deposits & this and that

April 8th, 2015 at 12:44 pm

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

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

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

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

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

52 Week Challenge Week 12- Done!

April 7th, 2015 at 08:07 am

Week 12 debits got paid, so it's progressing well, no real interesting numbers this week though.

We used our camper trailer for the first time over the Easter holidays, which was nice. We were holidaying with my inlaws which was 50% fun, 50% I deserve a medal! I just hope hubby got some good memories. His aunt, uncle, cousins and nephews are fun.

I found four days with MIL and FIL very hard work though. MIL has onset dementia/Alzheimer's so swings between lucid and with it and her normal self when she has energy, and regressing to about a 3yo when she is tired and needing to be entertained from morning until night (and constantly watched). If she is not entertained she stares into space or complains constantly or constantly repeats the same thing or becomes obsessed with the time to the point of shooing anybody onto their next appointment so they are not late! Aaargh. The most success I had with her was treating her like a 3yo- do you want to come for a walk? Can you help with this? (Drying dishes for example). Eg making sure she is occupied. I feel sorry for FIL, this must be so hard for him.

However he is hard work in another way. Bossy, so we had a few disagreements about food-making. I thought as it is my & husband's camper trailer we would mainly be organising the food and cooking it (you know, like a normal couple!) but he barged in every time I would start to make something and not sit down (because it is really so difficult to cook hot cross buns and butter them...). He has a big control issue with food, it has to be perfect or he gets really upset, so I decided to be the bigger person and let him cook all the meals so he can eat his perfect food. He cooked a roast on the last night and decided it wasn't cooked to his standards and threw a huge tantrum. We all said it wasn't that bad (it wasn't) and later on I told my husband he acts like a three year old and could you imagine if I acted like that??? And he said, please don't!

At least I had fun drinking wine, eating chocolate and enjoying nature while having an Internet connection!! There's a silver lining in every cloud! (But no, don't want to go away with them again anytime soon.....)