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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!

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...

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!

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!

Snowflake & Electrician

August 27th, 2017 at 08:40 pm

It's been so long since I've blogged, possibly about three weeks, that I'm not going to write about every little thing that has happened, it would take far too long. I was sick for a week and then my energy levels were a bit low but am feeling a bit better now, so will simply write about the most recent financial things going on.

On the weekend, I received a $10 snowflake in the form of a Safeway everyday reward (grocery shopping). I added this to our Christmas present fund. I was hoping to have $1000 by Christmas but have been a bit lax with the $1000 challenge and monitoring it. Anyhow, we now have $375 for Christmas presents so it will certainly be helpful!

The other thing that happened on the weekend was we had an electrician around to wire up our new spa! It arrived the weekend before, so now we can happily use it - we had an outside powerpoint installed so that if anything happens to it, it doesn't affect power to the house. (This is all I can tell you because I am not particularly savvy with anything mechanical/electrical). We thought it would be around $400 but as B used an electrician through his work, he was only charged $200, which was really great.

Ps. the spa is wonderful, worth every cent!

Hope everyone is well!

Credit Card & Bill Management; Another Snowflake

April 19th, 2017 at 12:25 pm

I am conscious that certain things have been let slide for a little while so I am trying to make amends before it is too painful.

Today and tomorrow my main priority is to get the credit cards to their correct balances. I have just fixed up B's credit card so that tomorrow when the automatic weekly transfer of $75 to that card hits, the balance will be $2,470.

We put $75 there per week to cover the compulsory car wash he must do for the company car each week plus his various coffees, lunches and miscellaneous expenses (eg going to the barber).

Unfortunately the card was sitting at $2,990... ! This was due to our easter trip, where he put fuel, alcohol and the new LED lighting kit we bought for the camper trailer on it amongst other small things. (We had to buy the kit while we were away because the batteries went flat on our main light source, luckily it was 25% off - the new lights make such a difference).

Anyway, I digress. I just transferred from our bank account $445.23, being $348.23 to cover the outstanding balance plus this month's payment of $97 against the mountain bike purchased. Ouch. These things add up - imagine if I had left this another two weeks?

So his card is now sorted. Tomorrow I will be paying down my Virgin credit card back to $0. I'm guessing that about $345 will need to be paid. (These charges consist of among other things: train ticket $137, balance of textbooks $55, balance of fuel $15, groceries $45, caravan park accommodation $90). My Virgin credit card hasn't been down to $0 since February, so it is pretty important to get that in order. (Around February I put school textbooks plus a new suit on it so have been paying these items down). All in all, I'm not terribly fussed about transferring over the money for either cards because all expenses have been entered into my spending app so there is nothing that is a nasty surprise.

In regards to bill management, I was so frantically busy last week that I simply paid the home phone and B's mobile bill and neglected to pay the animal's registration fees, must do that tomorrow night.

I received another $10 from Safeway Rewards so have transferred that to the Christmas Savings challenge. $56 towards this month is now sitting there so will only have to put in $44 at the end of the month. Must also update the snowflakes spreadsheet to include the dividends received the other but will get to that. Slowly getting everything back in order!