Home > Archive: January, 2016

Archive for January, 2016

EF, Tax Stuff, Grocery Rewards, etc

January 28th, 2016 at 11:35 am

52 Week Challenge starting balance: $868.60
Plus this week's EF savings: $71.02
52 Week Challenge closing balance: $939.62

This week's EF savings will be automatically transferred in the morning, so thought I would update now. Next week we will be over $1000.00, so that's exciting!

I think on Sunday, being the 31st of January, I will officially update the Mini EF and Maxi EF breakdown on the sidebar too.


The other day I lodged B's sales tax report and we also have to pay an amount towards his 2016 income tax. This is a percentage of his net earnings based on a rate the government give us. I looked at his earnings and worked out the tax payable so far to be $1904 and it turns out that in the first two quarters of the year we paid $1988! Very happy about that because that's something we don't have to try to find money for.


I had to buy catfood today so went to Safeway to get it and they had a few good deals on things- I spent $35 and got two weeks worth of catfood, a month's worth of biscuits, coffeepods, dinner for tomorrow night, stirfry sauce and deodorant for B. We have now spent enough to qualify for the first week of the snowflake.

I thought we had to spend two weeks of $80 in a row but as soon as I paid for groceries there was a printout saying that I now qualify to receive $20 ($15 for spending $80 plus $5 already in my rewards balance), so that will be good to add to the challenge also. Not sure what will happen next week though - maybe I will do the rest of the grocery shopping there on the weekend, get the snowflake then, and then next week do the grocery shopping there again to qualify for week 2 by spending over $80.


I also bought a bottle of wine for $8.50 (marked down from $17, so it is a fancy wine). I have not been good with my new years resolution of only drinking one bottle of wine per week, so will aim to do this this week. The only reason why I may have more is if we catch up for a friend's birthday on the weekend, which is likely as we spoke about it last week - no concrete plans have been made yet though.

Shopping Rewards & Camping Trip For The Dog

January 26th, 2016 at 11:19 am

I am a member of a supermarket rewards program which last year was doing some pretty good deals. In August-September the deal was spend over $100 in groceries three weeks in a row and receive a $30 gift card - which I did so, that was a good snowflake.

Then they changed it for a while to buy certain items and earn shopping dollars to be deducted off your shopping bill once it exceeds $10. This deal sucked. All of the things that you could earn shopping dollars on were overpriced and not something I would want to buy. I'm not going to spend extra just to receive money back? I'm happy to spend there instead of elsewhere as long as the spend is roughly our normal spend.

So now they have brought out a new deal - spend more than $80 two weeks in a row to receive $30 in shopping dollars to be deducted off your next shop. Finally something worthwhile from them.

So far this week we have spent $62.11, so for this week just under $18 remains. This will be easy to achieve as we will need to do a grocery shop on the weekend and week 1 runs on out on Sunday.


It is a public holiday here (Australia Day) and usually we take Monday off and have a long weekend away. I didn't get around to taking time off so instead we decided to go on a mini camping trip from Saturday morning to Sunday morning.

We were going to leave Friday night but there were major storms everywhere and flooding (nothing like what the US was dealing with at the same time though!) so we left first thing in the morning.

We thought it would be fun to take the dog on a camping trip too! It turns out the dog is a little old for this though and spent most of Saturday tired and out of her comfort zone. She had a big sleep that night though so on Sunday morning she realised we were staying in a giant playground and was very keen to explore everywhere!

She was very happy to be home though Smile.

We're not sure that we'll take her away again though because it looked like it took a lot out of her. She's 13 now, so does get more tired than when she was younger. It was a fun experience though, something out of the ordinary.

Jessie at the end of day 1:

A nice sunset while camping:

Jessie having fun on Sunday morning:

EF Update & Misc

January 22nd, 2016 at 11:03 am

Another weekly payment went through to the EF, it is now $284.08, with the 52 wk challenge standing at $868.60.

Have simply been plodding along in Oz, and trying to do what needs to be done? Financially the New Years resolutions (plans) are progressing well.

Cutting down from 2 bottles of wine a week to 1 hasn't happened. Gonna need a whole lot more willpower for that one.

The other non-financial resolution was to keep the kitchen bench tidy; happy to say that resolution has fared a bit better.

I also had to do B's monthly sales tax report and checked on his earnings for 6 months: it is $28,223. This is up about $8000 from this time last year and that is because last year he was off work from mid October to mid January. How much have we saved up? Not enough. I worked the tax out to be $1904, I think he's already paid $600 back in September and we have to pay $600 in the next week or so. But at least there's 6 months to make this up so I'll start withholding more from his payments that come in from now on. This is why it's handy to keep a close eye on your earnings when you are self-employed.

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

January 18th, 2016 at 11:13 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 11:25 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
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!

Day 11/365 Days of Gratitude

January 12th, 2016 at 11:03 am

For day 11, the thing I am grateful for is my all-time favourite tv show being played on tv. It is Medium, which got cancelled a few years ago.

I have every single DVD of all seven seasons and watch them occasionally. They very rarely get played on tv. But last night as I was going to bed I was flicking the channels, and it was just starting. Yes, I ended up falling asleep *very* late (as in just before midnight) but it was a funny episode and I so enjoyed it.

Yesterday was my first no-spend day for the year. I simply worked and went to a gym class, nothing was needed to be bought. I'm hoping that Wednesday and Thursday will be no-spend days.

Today I spent $10.50 on groceries: some more lettuce as we are using it up and having salad for tea tomorrow night, and a couple of Lean Cuisine meals because Thursday night I want to do a Zumba class which is around dinnertime. Am doing very well in January, with eating in moderation and exercising. Haven't lost the Christmas weight yet, but on my way.

Have a lovely day guys!

Day 10, 365 Days of Gratitude

January 11th, 2016 at 06:45 am

The thing I am grateful for is a late train! This was an earlier train than usual but my usual train was cancelled. So instead of having to wait 20 minutes I had to wait one minute Smile.

Today I've been doing a bit of holiday shopping in the event that we don't go to Thailand this year (we won't know until the end of the month most likely). They had deals for Fiji - I worked out if we want to go, say in August for example, it will cost $1435 (roughly $240 per month for 7 months), so we may very well do this if Thailand doesn't happen this year. Would so love to know what we are doing, but as it's a very delicate situation, I can't ask yet. My friend had the operation on New Year's Eve and the doctors looked and did not see anything worse than already found, so she has to wait for biopsy results. Another friend advised that it could be a month before hearing back.

My fingers are crossed for her to be ok, I just can't wait to hear what's going on.

365 Days of Gratitude, Days #7-9

January 9th, 2016 at 01:32 am

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 Day #6

January 7th, 2016 at 09:50 am

This entry will be short & sweet Smile

The thing that made me smile on day 6 of 365 is the new Kinsey Millhone book by Sue Grafton (X) that I got today, using the gift card given to me by my mother for my birthday.

I have already read four chapters, and am happy to see that she is still her normal, witty self. I can see a busy few days ahead of me! This book has me absorbed already.

Today was my first day of work for 2016. The first half of the day was really hard - I was so foggy in the morning. By the afternoon (and my second coffee) I was pretty much working as normal. Have a really busy couple of months ahead of me, so pretty much hit the ground running.

We do have a couple of phone bills that need to be paid, and I will transfer $200 over for our living expenses (will be a quiet weekend). Not too many financial things need to be done at the moment though.

I am tired though, so will probably try to get an early night. Talk to you guys in the next day or so!

365 Days of Gratitude, Days 4 & 5

January 6th, 2016 at 09:02 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)

365 Days of Gratitude, Day #3

January 4th, 2016 at 02:57 am

My thing I am grateful today is:

The Zumba class I attended this morning! It was a fun way to spend an hour. Today is my second day of my four day gym streak. As somebody who generally goes to the gym once a week (if I'm lucky), I am starting to feel sore.

Yesterday I did a 2km jog on the treadmill, today a 1hr Zumba class. I am hoping to do a Body Pump (weights) class and a Sh'bam (dance) class over the remaining two days.

I may actually get complete use of my gym membership this month. Admission to the gym or cost of a class is $10.00 each visit. My gym membership of $20 per week is deducted each Monday, and this month it will work out to be five Mondays, so $100.00. My four day gym streak will use up $40.00, leaving $60.00 for the month, so I can then go a minimum of 6 times for the remaining three weeks. Totally doable. (Ps going to the gym may be expensive but I enjoy it, and I like going to this gym as it is close to home. There are cheaper options however they are further from home. I do acknowledge that a gym membership is a luxury and more of a want than a need, as the truth is you don't need to go to the gym to get fit; there are always alternatives)

Financial doings for the day were:
- noticing that I had forgotten to buy ice cream and peanut butter but deciding to add it to next week's shopping list (we spent $100 this week which is all I want us to spend)
- creating a new spreadsheet for our budget. We have had our budget spreadsheet from September 2012 so it was starting to get a bit full. I have kept the same format however, as it works perfectly for us
- not much else other than trying to budget for the next two weeks. I had to transfer $150 from B's business account to his credit card for a work expense and he has $375 left there for our spending next week. If he has to transfer $175 for petrol (a possibility), we will be left with $200 to use for food and alcohol and other spending money. Still doable, we just need to watch what we do.

It is different compared to a year ago because we do have money we can fall back on and withdraw if needed. This is a nice feeling. However, I would so much rather not withdraw until needed.

2016 Goals, 365 Days of Gratitude #2

January 3rd, 2016 at 08:21 am

Have decided to keep the financial goals as listed on the sidebar, but to include all amounts saved (planned and snowflakes) in the 52 week challenge.

Non-financial goals are to decrease my alcohol intake slightly. I buy 2 bottles of wine per week, so my goal is to only buy 1 bottle of wine per week. I will probably spend the money saved on small items of clothing that I leave far too long to buy!

My other non-financial goal is to keep the kitchen bench clear and wiped daily. This is because just before Christmas we got these lovely bar stools to match the area, and it would look so much nicer.

We have kept the automatic savings payments as per previously, the first payment came out on Friday January 1. The 52 week challenge is as follows:

Starting balance: $0
EF savings $71.02
Part payment towards balance transfer amount $75.00
Snowflake of discount on tshirt bought $9.00 (this was sent to CC1)
Today's closing balance: $155.02

I also need to note the insurance savings made last month. We now have $1,120 and by March will have $1,660. The payment due is around $2000 so there will be a small amount extra to pay.


We got back from visiting our friends yesterday, and had a really lovely New Years Eve. We are already getting back into the swing of things. I washed 3 loads of washing today, did grocery shopping ($100) and went to the gym. I want to go to the gym a few times before going back to work on Thursday to work off my holiday eating Smile


I love the 365 days of gratitude and enjoy seeing what you are all grateful for. Here are my things:

1. Being able to show my face to all of the people who read this blog regularly. This is me on the top left, hello everyone!

2. Being able to go back to where we always used to camp with our friends on Friday, it was so nice being at this place again! (It's called Tocumwal, it's on the Murray River in Victoria). Ps on the bottom right is a koala we had to give way too coming out of the campsite, wish I could have got a better photo but it was not to be!