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Week 20

May 24th, 2018 at 12:57 am

I can't believe I haven't blogged at all this year!!! I thought I blogged at the start of the year but just checked, and not so. Seeing Shiela's comment that she's missed seeing my blog prompted me to not just lurk, but blog. The first few months has been very very busy but now we are in a quiet patch so it's time to resume old habits. I may try Shiela's habit of blogging weekly and titling the blog by week number.

A very quick summary of the first four-five months:

- January: lots of public holidays in Australia for this month; was basically either at work or away (we not only have the two weeks of Christmas off but also Australia Day weekend) or catching up
- February: the realisation that we were going away to Thailand and it is leading up to my busiest time of year at work. Have not worked so hard in a long time! Started an hour early every day, pretty much worked through lunch and worked back. Got an astonishing amount of work done, didn't have time for anything else and was super stressed. Most importantly though I got the required work done so that's all that matters.
- March: we went to Thailand for two weeks!! It was amazing. I will have to do a separate post with pictures, stories and will try to outline what we spent. The second half of the month was spent recovering and getting back to normal.
- April: it was my 40th birthday in the middle of the month, so we threw a party at home which was pretty big, we had just under 50 people and had it catered for. It was a great night, and pretty much everything I would want in a milestone birthday celebration. Also in April DH decided to change jobs, and found a job working at a friend's company which turns out to be in the same suburb as we live (slightly higher pay too).
- May: B started the job and is still getting used to it. We've had a lot of money come in this month due to his final pay from the previous job, and his new work also paid a pro-rata amount for 3 weeks pay. Important to note though that this must last until the middle of next month. Another big thing that happened is we bought a new camper. It was the kind of thing we wanted to get eventually but we had friends who bought a caravan and were selling their camper much cheaper than what it is worth. To get it we had to empty our savings so I was very nervous before we got the extra pay! We still have to sell our camper, will start advertising it next week.

What with the Thailand holiday and my birthday my credit cards have somehow crept up to around $2500. Reading the SA blogs has started to make me accountable to the cards again, so am focusing on reducing the balances down and getting them repaid.

I think that's all for now, hope you have all been well!

Credit Card & Bills In Order; Another Snowflake

April 20th, 2017 at 04:37 am

Today I sorted out my credit card and have paid both down to $0 (not that there was a lot of out-of-pocket to pay). With the Virgin card I paid $348.32 but only $124 of that was out-of-pocket spending, the rest was budgeted for and with my other card I paid $33.74 for last week's transactions.

It was then a great feeling to clear the note I keep on my phone of the various expenses I have put on the cards! (To not let little expenses sink a ship, every time I charge something to my cards I note it down in a note on my phone - this allows me to keep track of what is going on there and also makes me think twice about what is put on there).

All credit cards are now in order.

I then paid for the animal registrations which I neglected to pay last week.

Today I had to get some makeup as I was running low and when I paid at the cash register they informed me that I have a $5 credit as it was my birthday this month! I then applied it to the purchase and put it into the Christmas savings account later.

I have updated my snowflakes spreadsheet including the dividends received. So far I have received $437 in snowflakes; the two highest snowflakes are the dividends received this month of $153 and $140 in Safeway Everyday rewards. Following that is Christmas savings (the balance to make up the challenge) of $74.92, digital change savings of $30.63, the Medicare refund overpayment of $21.15, Priceline rewards $10.58, savings on gift cards $4.50 and interest earned of $2.58.

Technically the savings items aren't really snowflakes but I still feel like I have to add them in there.

Last night B was snoring really loudly so I had my second awful night of sleep. Two nights of falling asleep at 1am and being up at 6am has made me feel like a dead woman walking. As a result I'm only doing a couple of small things tonight and will go to bed soon. Hopefully I can get up before work and watch some more of the lecture I was watching (to avoid leaving everything to the weekend). We had a pretty relaxing night and I'm looking forward to sleeping soon. Goodnight all Smile.

Credit Card & Bill Management; Another Snowflake

April 19th, 2017 at 05:25 am

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!

Fell Off The Wagon

February 23rd, 2017 at 02:27 am

I think I see a pattern here. When I came back from the UK I decided to go on an alcohol fast and it ended up being a period of low alcohol instead and unfortunately it has happened again - some things I have next to no willpower with. Why do I need to impose a restriction on myself anyway? I just bought one bottle of wine for the weekend so I can have a glass here and there. I had one tonight and that is all. This bottle was $15 which is my usual allowance I give myself for two bottles. Oh well.

Other spending today was petrol of $60, which should hopefully last a month. I also want to wash the car on the weekend too.

Tomorrow I am going to hunt for a new suit after work - I got a stain on one of my black suits which won't come out. I've had it for 2 1/2 years so got plenty of wear out of it. Unfortunately the material in my my favourite suit (1 1/2 years old) is also starting to wear dangerously thin; I can see the pants ripping one day so I actually am up for two new suits. I will put these one or two suits on my low rate credit card to repay back at around $40 per week until it's done.

Speaking of credit cards, small amounts of spending here and there meant I owed at the end of the credit card period $46.95 on one and $82.06 on the other - so have paid $64.51 this week and will pay the remaining $64.50 next week. It's amazing how these little things creep up, I barely remember what I bought - the scariest thing is when the credit card debt is larger can you even remember what you spent it on? I'm not going back to that place so will have to be more diligent with noting down what was spent on there.

Updates 17/1/17

January 17th, 2017 at 02:42 am

I have nothing overly exciting to report, just bits and pieces of various things, will try to run through my movements for the last couple of days:

- groceries: I could have spent $145 to earn more Safeway rewards but felt that our monthly spend was already pretty high. Instead we spent $115, so far we have spent $425 for the month with two weekends of grocery shopping to go. We may go over our monthly $600 but I am hoping to not go too far over.

- date night: B suggested going out to dinner but then I wanted to see the new "xxx" movie with Vin Diesel, which is not out until 19 January. We held off going out to dinner and I remembered that Safeway has 10% off movie gift cards at the moment. We had a little bit left over in our checking account yesterday so I bought a $50 gift card for $45. I was rather happy, I must say! We can both go to the movies and then there will be some left over for another movie day.

- productivity: I use the reminder app on my phone to do out of the ordinary things (not everyday tasks like washing, dishes and tidying up) however I struggle to actually "do" the tasks! I set myself the task of completing four things and failed this weekend. The things were:
1) descaling the coffee machine (I actually did it but the orange light on the machine is still flashing - I don't think I've done it properly so will need to get more descaling mix and do it again. Was super annoyed about this!)
2) fill out the Medicare form so we can finally get B's doctor co-pays refunded to us (expecting about $90). I have filled out the form and need one more signature before I can mail it off.
3) check that the cat's vaccinations are up to date before putting her in the boarding kennel. DONE. She is up to date which is great.
4) clean the study while running apple updates for both iPhone and ipad. Not done and did not have a spare 5-6 hours for this task.
I'm hoping that if I write about this stuff often enough I will move through the list quicker, because there are plenty more things to be done.

- B's credit card repayment: I transferred this month's $180 over, the balance is now supposed to be $2527 owing (with the additional $90 from doctor co-pays, $2617 owing)

- my credit card fixed payment offer: this is more a reminder that should the need arise I may be able to get 10.9% on set purchases with my credit card for 1,2 or 3 years. They have this offer out currently so it's a possibility in future. This credit card is 20% so definitely worthwhile remembering. You can either buy something or write a cheque to yourself.

- B dejavu: he is so funny sometimes. While in the UK I could not access the bank to do transfers but I have an app which allows me to view bank balances and transactions (that's all you are allowed to do, which is good I think for your ipad) so because B is not computer savvy I set up automatic transfers so he could have money for food etc from our pay account to our checking account. For the first week while I away I kept looking at it and he was barely spending anything on food and I was getting worried that he wasn't eating. Then I saw a small amount go on food and the rest on motorbike parts!!!! So the first week of work last week he was barely spending his weekly money on takeaway like he normally does and then... it all went on motorbike parts!!! Again! I don't mind because he's not over the top with spending. He said he planned the big spend while I was in the UK but he didn't even realise he was going to buy that stuff last weekend until about an hour before. I still say it's dejavu Smile.

- today: I went to bed early, then the cat woke me up early while B was in the shower to go to the toilet so was up an hour earlier than normal. I spent this hour drinking coffee and watching Code Black on my ipad. What a great start to the day! Maybe it can happen again tomorrow!

I guess I've chatted enough about various things, must go to bed.

This And That

January 9th, 2017 at 02:41 am

We received the new mattress and it's so comfortable! The bed is so much higher also. I'd been wanting to update one of the doona cover sets for a while and as we updated the mattress, I found a nice doona cover set for $78.

I paid for this on my Velocity rewards credit card and then yesterday bought far too many groceries on it ($173- note that there was also bulk toilet paper and pet food purchased here as well as some good deals on meat).

On the plus side we will now earn $20 Safeway rewards off the next shop. Safeway have been churning out the bonus rewards over the last few weeks, for spending $195 we earned $290 in rewards and they have a deal this week where if I spend $145 we will earn $200 in rewards (for $200 you will receive $10 off your next shop). As they have had rewards challenges going since the middle of December, I will actually look at our monthly shopping spend. If it looks like we're going to go over budget I may not bother with it.

However we generally spend $600 per month on food and it is the 9th and we've already spent $312!! Part of the $173 spent yesterday was some good meat buys including a pork loin roast but still, we only have $288 left. So, really if I'm going to spend $145 on food next weekend I will need to look at what we actually need or do some items as a fortnightly shop. You guys with your pantry challenge are helpful in this area!

Also, we repaid the credit cards not long after Christmas for the Christmas presents so I have about $233 in items ($45 half of my shoes from last month, $103 for the cat's arthritis medicine, $78 for the doona cover set and $7 for the balance of the groceries) sitting on my velocity rewards card. Both credit cards I have have a monthly cycle that finishes on the 20th of the month so it is important to clear them by then. I love that there is no more credit card debt hanging over my head! It feels like total freedom.

2016 Savings Balances / 2017 Plans

December 28th, 2016 at 12:05 pm

I don't know what I will be doing over the New Year, it is all changing but generally around this time I find it hard to blog and update so I've had a look at the savings account and the final balances are as follows:

Cash (Mini EF): $2,233.21
Study unit (from Xmas bonus): $500.00
Holiday fund: $485.00
Shares (Maxi EF): $5,586.00

Total: $8,804.21

Yesterday I bought another 100 QBE shares for $12.48 per share. These shares are doing really well at the moment. Therefore the mini EF is slightly smaller than usual.

I've decided that I'm going to do a savings challenge on a smaller scale this year and simply budget our savings.

The challenge I am planning on doing is a 12 month Christmas savings challenge. SA had a 12-week $1000 challenge, so I have used the same amounts but modified it into a monthly plan. The January deposit required of $60 already has around $18.50 in the account, which is great.

In 2017 we are going to be doing a few much-needed things to our house as well as taking a holiday, so there will be less going to savings than in previous years. I feel like we have had two good years to repay debt and build up savings so this is kind of a year off from that.

I have cancelled the weekly EF savings debit and have created a yearly planner showing which month each goal will be accomplished, savings will be transferred accordingly.

Our plan for 2017 savings is:

- B's tax $1390 (due March)
- B's credit card repayment $2160
- Phuket balance of deposit $815 (due around April)
- Phuket spending money $2000
- New security doors for house $1000
- Garden updates to front and back $1500 (due by September, our spring time)
- New tyres for my car $600 (due asap - could be up to $1000, we will save the balance)
- Savings - shares $1265
- Savings - cash $1270

Based on these items, the percentages for the categories is as follows:
- Tax/debt repayment 30%
- Travel 23%
- House spending 21%
- Car spending 5%
- Savings 21%

B's credit card won't be repaid by the end of the year, but the balance will be much lower. With regards to travel, it is probably going to be our last overseas holiday for a couple of years (unless we do something for my 40th). I had a category for a new car fund but have been finding it too hard to do this as well as repay debt so may simply when B's loan is paid off in 1.5 years use the amount we were paying for that loan to save for a new car.

If I don't get around to checking in, hope you all have a wonderful new year!

Merry Christmas Everyone :)

December 23rd, 2016 at 01:32 pm

It's now Christmas Eve here, merry Christmas everybody!

It's not very often that I have Christmas Eve off work but it's Saturday so that's good. Have done the Christmas shopping except for two gift cards which B will be getting (it's from a hardware store so that's his domain).

I got a bonus from work, which is great as always - very much appreciated. We will be able to repay the Christmas shopping which is awesome as we can start off 2017 with a fresh slate. There is $159 on one card and $223 on the other which relate to Christmas presents, so $382 to be repaid. The gift cards will be $100 and then we want to spend possibly $130 on a portable speaker (UE Boom 2), which we will use when camping. The other $400 I may leave aside for another study unit, I'm not sure.

B's sister came down from interstate for three days, which was lovely. His family had a quite a few happy moments and on the last night we went out for dinner to my favourite Chinese restaurant, which was great!

Yesterday we had our work Christmas do at my boss's favourite restaurant. It has very high quality food and is five minutes from our office, what's not to like? I then came home and relaxed with B and did my nails for Christmas. I wanted something Christmassy so spent $2.50 on a colourful glitter polish (did red underneath).

Today promises to be a standard busy Christmas Eve. There will be cleaning, food shopping (the balance of ingredients plus vegetables), doing my hair, wrapping presents and baking. We're not motivated to put the Christmas tree up so it may not happen.

We go to lunch at my SIL's tomorrow so I'm making red velvet cupcakes and want to put candy canes on top. Then we'll be hosting Christmas dinner so because we only have limited time we're cooking the meat today and will reheat it tomorrow while we cook the vegetables. Mum and my stepdad are vegetarians so I'm making a quiche for them and my nephew is allergic to dairy and eggs so for dessert I'm making a chocolate mousse with coconut milk and almond milk, along with Christmas coloured jelly.

Merry Christmas all, enjoy your day no matter what!