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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!

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!

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!

Restrictions Eased In Our State Today; Covid Savings

May 11th, 2020 at 07:19 am

Our state had our restrictions eased today however not as much as other states. While cases have dropped dramatically in Australia, our state's cases have had the highest rate of new cases (14 overnight while other states have had 1).

Mother's Day was yesterday and other states eased their restrictions on Saturday so there were many celebrations. Our State Premier held off announcing restrictions until today which angered many people as they could not celebrate with their families. I think it was the best choice though because while the cases are dropping we are still in a pandemic and nothing is back to normal yet.

Our restrictions are still roughly the same- workers have still strongly been encouraged to work from home where possible, however now we are allowed to have up to 5 visitors in our homes and hiking, golf and other exercises which are non-contact and non-close contact are allowed.

I have missed my two closest friends so we have arranged to have a get-together at my house on the weekend. The weather is supposed to be nice so we will sit outside. In light of it still being a pandemic though I have said I will not be serving any food or drinks and we should not share food or drinks, so BYO whatever you feel like eating or drinking. It will only be a bit of a catch up outside and there will no hugging or kissing on cheeks obviously. So excited!

I have read something today about the amount of money people working from home have been saving on commutes and have realised that for this month we would have spent about $140 on my train ticket. I did not include this in my budget and am just thinking that perhaps while I work from home to leave this aside for an expected increase in heating and electricity costs. The government has said that employees working from home can claim a deduction for home office running costs however this won't be received until after June 30 (our tax year end) whenever we lodge our tax returns. The actual gas and electricity bills will be received before that though so it might be a good idea to set this aside.

Are any of you saving money due to working from home during Corona Virus?

Wednesday Ramblings

May 7th, 2020 at 09:32 am

Couldn’t think of a name for the blog post so Wednesday Ramblings it is 😊.

We have been going ok with our reduced redundancy budget.. I’ll call it that because that’s why we’re trying to stretch what we have. Of our $410 from last week the last of it got spent today. Groceries were just under $150 and of that we bulk bought sausages and lemon pepper chicken pieces. They are saying meat is selling cheap here however I saw it going cheap a couple of weeks earlier- we got 4 schnitzels for $2, 2 x Malaysian coconut chicken skewers at $2 each, lamb sausages for $2 and kangaroo meatballs for $2. Lately it’s not so cheap. However I know from past experience that when you are on a reduced budget meat can tear a hole through it so my aim is try and bulk buy as much as possible.

DH went for an interview last week and has a different interview this week. He is applying for jobs daily however is up against a lot of applicants. For example today a job closed and they revealed 137 other people applied. Meanwhile while we are trying to stretch what we have for as long as possible his family are trying to push us into buying shares to make money! DH got pretty upset because his family are totally not on our wavelength and are super comfortable. While we can last a while before unemployment benefits are required and it does not look like we are anywhere close to losing our house, we are most certainly not going to put our money into a volatile share market... much better to see clearly what we have for each month.

Today my employer contacted us to say that he qualifies for the JobKeeper subsidy (an Australian government initiative which pays businesses $1500 per employee per fortnight that they forward on to the employee so that the employer is relieved of paying their wages for up to 6 months). He did not say anything about our jobs or wages in the email and spoke more about using the money to cover IT costs and to get us to upgrade our home offices. I didn’t think JobKeeper would be replacing my income because of this but still called to clarify and luckily I was right. I completed the form and then decided that the things I need to bring my home office up to standard is a stand for the main monitor to bring it in line with my head height and another monitor as my work likes us to work with two monitors. B (DH) is going to work with me over the weekend to clean up the home office and set it up and hopefully we will get reimbursed for this soon.

My boss also offered to put me back on to 5 days a week which was really sweet as he knows B is unemployed now. I have been working Fridays as I have been behind and finally made the time up, and was looking forward to having my Friday back (plus am stressing about my course i am behind on). I thanked him and let him know I would think about it, but just want a bit of a rest this week. If B cannot find work and I went to 5 days per week it would be an extra $800 pay per month and I would probably have to do my course and bookkeeping business stuff on the weekend. For this week though I need a bit of time to rest.

In other financial news, an Australian financial institution has come under fire for readjusting the amount of money their customers can have in their mortgage redraw without telling them and putting the excess funds on to the mortgage balance as a repayment! Some people lost up to $24000 of available funds and it has sparked outrage because some people needed that money and were simply parking it for the time being. As soon as I read that I instantly moved part of B’s redundancy package we parked in our offset account into a different savings account not linked to our mortgage. Scary stuff.

In non financial news I am missing our cat like crazy. It was 2 months today. My mind is rational and says it was her time and it is good she is not in pain anymore but my heart still can’t comprehend she’s gone and there is a big hole there. Of course we’re very thankful for the 18 years of wonderful memories but it’s still hard. Our dog has recovered really well from her eye problems which is great, she is not in danger anymore. She’s nearly 18, who knows how long she could live to? (She still has quite a bit of energy)

We find out on the weekend if lockdown restrictions in our state are loosened however even if they are I don’t plan on doing much while this virus is around and we are heading into winter next month here - will probably lay low for the next few months.

Good News Then Bad News

April 26th, 2020 at 09:39 pm

It seems like whenever there is good news lately it’s immediately followed by bad news lately.. for example I had an idea with my business and got my client to agree to it (officially signing up my services and signing an agreement to have regular payments to me direct debited), then the day after I found out the cat was dying.

Sooo.. last Tuesday I spoke with the client and we arranged to meet the next day (social distancing of course). I had been in contact backwards and forwards with the direct debit company and had my account set up and all ready to go. (My idea with my bookkeeping business is that it is actually an ongoing process with regular work, rather than accounting which is often a once yearly job.. here in Australia it is becoming popular to charge clients with a monthly package fee rather than hourly which I like the idea of and have decided to implement; and my thoughts are that if you are charging a set rate it would be great to have the payment direct debited from the client’s account rather than me chase them up). So the great news is I have set up the direct debit form, my new client engagement letter and most importantly signed the client up 😁. The client is a tradesman and based on the number of transactions he needs done per month he is on the lowest package of $110 per month (roughly 2 hours work per month), and he has opted to have the direct debit withdrawn weekly, which is just over $25 per week. That’s my happy news - I was super happy to have an official client signed up and a few business processes implemented....

So that was a big high for me that I am thankful for.... but the next day life laughed at us.. B found out that he is getting made redundant.... so he is now one of the 1/4 of our population out of work..... super stressful times.... he did quite well at his job and made it to a low 6 figure salary so the redundancy package he received is quite good. He received 8 weeks (including unused holiday leave of 1 week), which I have roughly worked out could last us 6 months on a super tight budget (provided nothing goes wrong) before we have to dip into savings. Let’s hope that he can get a new job soon though..

Sidenote: B went in to his work on Monday, returned the company car, phone, tablet and any other company items. He heard past coworkers say that when they quit they had to wait four weeks for their holiday pay. We didn’t want to go through that so I checked the employment laws with Fair Work Australia and found that according to his industry all final payroll entitlements must be paid within 2 business days. Thankfully they obeyed the law and we had our money on Tuesday afternoon.

We have had 2 other times in our past where our money situation was pretty dire - both when B had the business and injured himself and was unable to work and income protection didn’t pay, so we know how to live off small amounts of money. Our new budget until he gets a job again is $160 per week for food, $50 for takeaway and $100 spending money each. Spending money includes alcohol, petrol, clothing if needed, beauty items if needed.

I have also included $300 per month for things that might come up - for example our dog’s eye specialist appointment was on Thursday and that was $150, so half of our incidentals money until the 15th of next month is gone.

I worked out on our tight budget we need $3545 per month from his pay, and that we have approximately 6.5 months of his pay before we need to use savings, apply for unemployment benefits. We will still apply for unemployment anyway though as B received his employment separation certificate however I imagine it will be a while before we see any money from the government as they make you use up your payout first (which we are).

I moved $10k of the payout to the mortgage offset account (because we may as well reduce interest if we can), and all the other months to another account. To keep things simple we will still make payday 15th of the month (each month we set aside spending money and deposit a certain amount into our EFTPOS account on the same day of each week).

We hope B will find work soon - he is being good about applying for jobs either daily or every second day, and making sure he is up each day so if he gets called in to interview he is ready to go. There aren’t many jobs out there though and there is a lot of unemployment which is scary....

Wish us luck in these hard times... While we know what to do to get by, it is still hard... So thankful for this site to help keep me focused and all of your tips you have and share..

Payday Tweaking Done

December 2nd, 2018 at 09:01 am

I have so many financial things to write about I could blog daily for a month but free time is minimal (especially leading up to Christmas) so I'll just stick to one of our larger financial matters.

Probably one of the biggest things we've been dealing with lately is adjusting to both being paid monthly on the same day and re-tweaking the budget. In DH's last job he got paid monthly at the end of the month while I get paid monthly in the middle of the month. It kind of meant that we could set aside an amount for bills and withdraw weekly our spending money without worrying if we had overspent really because there was always another pay coming in in the next fortnight.

Then when he changed jobs in May the payday changed to the middle of the month. It was fine in the beginning because we had a little bit of extra money to fall back on, and then I had the broken collarbone so we weren't really overspending because we weren't going out much and we knew what we had was going to doctors and hospitals etc.

By August and September though the extra money had been spent and we were starting to go out more so we actually started running out of money because the buffer we had got used up. In the month of September we actually ran out of money within the first two weeks so the remaining two weeks were not fun at all! It was then that I decided that our current budgeting system had to be tweaked especially as it looked like we were going to run short in our bills account which is a big no-no for me.

We have two bank accounts that barely get used so I decided that we would have the set monthly amount for mortgage and bills left in the bills account and whatever money is left over to be spent on things we both agree on, repaid on credit cards if needed and the remaining money to be divided by four or five weeks (whichever is relevant for that month) and transferred into one of the bank accounts we don't use. The other bank account we don't use is now used as a holding account for short term purchases we want to make (example: the month of October we put $1000 in for our Perth spending money and $400 for the back tyre we were replacing on the Harley).

This updated method has definitely reduced my stress levels as I know what we can spend weekly and there's less likelihood of running out of money. Because we overspent for a few months the credit cards also have balances which we are repaying but I am saving that for another post.

New Car Savings, Murphy Strikes Again

August 3rd, 2018 at 07:46 am

I was listing the events that happened each week and keep getting my weeks mixed up, so that's all getting a bit hard! The point is I'm now back in the groove of writing weekly so I'll keep that up without listing each week's number.

Since I wrote last I've been to my post-operation appointment with the orthopaedic surgeon and he believes everything is healing in the way it should, which is great. I've been cleared to drive and resume normal activities within reason but must wear a sling in crowded places. Every day I'm healing a bit more. I'm now going to weekly physio appointments up until the final post-operation appointment at the start of September.

The good money things which have happened is we have found out that B's final car loan payment is next month! As previously agreed, I am going to take part of what we would pay each month and put it towards savings towards my new car. His payment is $742 per month - I would like to get a car for around $25000 in four years time, so worked out to do this would need $520 per month. Hopefully my car will last that long - the engine is pretty good but it is now 15 years old. Need to pick out and organise an internet account with a high interest rate soon 😊.

Now for the bad money things.. as well as having surgery which we had out of pocket costs for to the tune of roughly $3000, we last week decided to make two large purchases (the security doors for $3000 and the exhaust for the Harley for $1200). This would have been fine over a few months. But on Monday night the hot water service blew up. Grrr. That is $1500. Then a night or two later the dishwasher jammed up and it looks like it is a problem to do with the computer board in it... our savings are pretty much cleared out from the hot water service and exhaust so we are washing dishes by hand at the moment. A dishwasher is not a necessity and there has been so much money spent lately the thought of spending more is making me ill. This situation is looking kind of like the spa purchase last year where we repaid the credit card back over four months. Once I have final costs I will work out how much we need to repay per month.

All the same, even with the above expenses I am still determined to set up an account for the car and set up a monthly savings direct debit into it. The thing is, if you have a car loan you will always have to pay it monthly no matter what the situation is so I want us to be disciplined to save in the same way.

Weeks 25-26: Broken Collarbone, Surgery Required

July 8th, 2018 at 07:55 am

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about falling off a motorbike and having a sore shoulder. I simply thought it was bad bruising, a soft tissue injury, however have found out that it was a broken collarbone which completely snapped in two and separated about 2cms apart!!

I really have not been in a lot of pain so it was all very surprising. It was also why we didn't go to emergency and get it all fixed straight away.

As I'm not in a lot of pain the public healthcare system hasn't put priority on my injury. The doctor referred me to an orthopaedic surgeon but said as long as the appointment is within 3 weeks that will be fine. The surgeon he referred me to wasn't available until 24 July and my nurse friend told me that is way too far away: I'm at risk of a worse fracture or it healing up wrong, needing surgery and requiring it to be re-broken in the process. Ugh.

I found a reputable surgeon who was available four days later and saw me last Tuesday. He strongly suggested surgery (joining both bones up with a plate and 3-4 screws).. I don't want it however he has said that it will take 4-6 months to heal with no guarantee of the collarbone rejoining, so then surgery would be required anyway. Therefore I have agreed to have the surgery, which takes place tomorrow morning.

It could have been a day surgery but the surgeon said to stay overnight does not cost much more and it is better to be monitored on the first day so I can get appropriate pain meds. Also it is an hour's drive from home so could be a very rough journey home straight after a surgery.

We are using our private health insurance for this as it is a time-sensitive issue. So far these are the costings:

Physio $105
X-ray $113
Orthopaedic surgeon consultation $110 ($200 - $90 refundable back from Medicare)
Orthopaedic surgeon surgery fee $1435 ($2158 - $723 refundable back from Medicare and private health ins)
Anaesthetist estimated surgery fee $750
Private health ins excess for hospital (surgery & staying there afterwards) $500 (private health ins then pays whatever the balance is)

TOTAL: $3013

I spent this weekend getting our finances up to date and have found that we had a surplus last month of $2109 so there will not be much to pay for out of this month's spending money and there is no need to dip into savings (yay!!)

I have been instructed to take a week off work on sick leave to recover, and B is taking two days off to take me to the hospital, be there during the surgery and look after me the next day when he brings me home. He has looked after me so well since the accident Smile.

Wish me luck!! Will let you know how it goes when I am able.