52 Week challenge opening balance: $2,577.38
Plus Weekly Deposit to EF: $71.02
52 Week challenge closing balance: $2,648.40
What an interesting week it's been! I was trying to work out what I'd do for a holiday now that B is employed and doesn't get holidays for another year, and I really didn't want to stay home.
My friend didn't want to go on a cruise, it was too short notice for her. That's ok, no hard feelings. B suggested I see his family friend in the UK, and so I asked her and she replied back that she would be delighted to have me! I wanted an adventure of some sort and now it's happening!
In around three months I will be seeing a different land, it looks like of castles, rolling hills, quaint cottages and cobblestoned streets! Very excited.
Things like this make me feel so blessed. That I have the means available to go on the occasional holiday. That I have a great husband who understands that occasionally I just want to do something really super awesome. That I have the holidays available. That there is room available on my credit card to book the flight.
There was $143 owing on my card on Tuesday so I transferred some money from savings to bring it down to 0. Yesterday I then booked the flights. I did this because my card has 55 days interest free period but the interest free period begins on the date of the first purchase made.
The flights were on special, I paid $1773 for a return flight to Manchester (our friend lives around 2 hours away from London so this was much easier). The return flights for London were $1550 but then the cost of travel to London and the time spent travelling meant the Manchester flights were a better option. I want to see London, but not straight off a plane.
So it's all very exciting! You never know Scottish Girl I may get to come and see you
B is finishing up his jobs before his new job starts on Wednesday - he thinks he may be done by tomorrow! He needs to cancel his business insurance, superannuation (as his employer will now pay it) and his professional association subscription payment. Unfortunately we just got him a new phone and iPad a few months ago on a higher plan which will probably barely get used. As the contract is 24 months it looks like we are stuck with that.
He got told his pay will be $75,000 a year paid monthly. His business will probably get enough to cover the car lease payment and some spending money but I foresee that while we wait for his first paycheck we may need to dip into the EF for a couple of weeks. Times like these I'm glad we have the EF, because the financial stress is not there - we have money to cover our needs when we need it and soon enough he'll have his first pay and we'll keep on boosting the balance up.
I'm trying to pay as much of the holiday expenses and save as much holiday spending as I can. I transferred the $518 from the Holiday Fund, so it is now $0. As soon as the money is in our checking account I will pay it against the airfare bought yesterday, which will leave $1255 owing. Hopefully living frugally for the moment will repay the airfare balance quickly and cover expenses and spending money. Wish me luck guys!
Viewing the 'Credit Cards' Category
52 Week challenge opening balance: $2,577.38
52 Week Challenge Opening Balance: $1,809.96
- Priceline rewards snowflake $4.38
- Safeway grocery rewards snowflakes $20.00
- Mortgage additional repayment $288.00
- EF savings $71.02
- Credit card repayment $303.00
52 Week Challenge Closing Balance: $2,496.36
Money here is slowly getting back to what we know as normal, B is starting to get paid weekly instead of us having to stretch his payments to 2-3 weeks (yet the payments are worth 1-2 weeks).
So I've just kind of sat on transferring various payments (due to not being sure if we would have enough to do all the payments). It's probably more time effective to just do it all in one hit anyhow.
We received the Priceline and Safeway snowflakes at the start of the month (by reduced prices at the checkout) so when I got paid, I just transferred the amount over.
The mortgage additional payment and the credit card repayment are both monthly payments - the credit card is actually for the month of March but as the payment is due by the 7th, I just paid it at the same time as the other payments.
All that is left in the Bills account now is enough to cover all direct debits and $250 for the car being upholstered next week. Last year we noticed that the ceiling of my 13 year old car is starting to drop at the front but as we had so many other repairs, we put it in the not urgent category. Now the back is falling down as well as the front and you can see the ceiling drop in the rearview mirror, so we thought we'd better get it sorted out fairly soon - it will possibly get done next Thursday.
Spending this month is still low, so we're doing well in that area.
As I've decided not to study for the degree any further I spent the money set aside for the study unit by buying 100 QBE shares. I bought 50 in December for $12.15 and they dropped down, so I got 100 for $10.10. At the end of the month I will update the EF breakdown on the sidebar properly.
Work is also going well with the job change - I spent some time today doing some bookkeeping work for our clients and have been spending a bit of time each day training our part-timer in various aspects of my job. Possibly about a third of my job involves so many administrative duties it would take days to train someone in! So I figure 2-3 new things each day is enough to teach her while not overloading her. The idea is that she will be doing a lot of administrative overflow and be able to work more than 3 days per week.
I have plenty of things to write about but it's right before bed and I've gotten really tired all of a sudden! Hope you're all doing great
Quick random blog post for today. I'm on the computer trying to do money transfers but for some reason I can't get into the banking website, I'll have to do it tomorrow, no drama.
When going to pay the weekly bills I realised that I forgot to pay our home phone and B's phone bill last week. They were due about the 8th and it is now the 18th! The phone company give $15.00 late fees for over 8 days, so that little error has cost us $30.00. Not thrilling!!! I guess I've had a lot on my mind lately. How annoying. Thankfully this doesn't happen very often.
When I did the balance transfer last year there was around $100 left on CC1, which kind of got paid down but never completely and started to kind of hover around $100. Well in the last few weeks, it has crept up to around $300.
As of a couple of days ago it was $441: the train ticket was $141, the coffee pods balance is $37.60 (every time we use a packet I pay $4.16 against the purchase), the bulk meat balance is $31 and our overspending last week (thanks to a double birthday) was $130. I paid $373 on there from my pay, which leaves the coffee pod purchase and the bulk meat purchase as the only things left to be repaid. It's good to have the balance back to being low again!
Well must get ready to go to bed, will have to pay bills tomorrow - let's hope it's working then!
52 Week Challenge starting balance: $939.62
Interest received $0.30
Credit card payment made $303.00
Left over money from January saved into EF: $425.00
52 Week Challenge closing balance: $1,667.92
January was a very low income month for my husband, so we cut our spending right down. The only bill we had to pay other than our mortgage and other set bills was a gas bill of $113, so we were lucky there also.
I left my pay sitting in the bank account our bills get deducted out of and was ready to use some of that if needed. (B & I agreed a long time ago that because my pay is always paid on the same day of the month, I pay the house bills. Because his income varies so much he pays the business bills and our spending money. I admit it's not as romantic as the couple who puts all their savings in one bank account but it means that because things are slightly separated, it is easier to handle. At my last job I was getting paid fortnightly and he weekly, and we used to have the money in the same account and it was a nightmare because it was so easy to spend on that one thing that would cause a debit to bounce. Now the accounts are separate, everything gets paid as needed).
Anyway, we only needed $110 from there. There was actually $925 left over but because I wanted to pay a water bill of $315 and my monthly balance transfer payment of $303, I simply put $425 into the EF - will put the other $500 in on around payday.
I actually can't believe there is that much left over from my pay! Having not much in the way of bills to pay was helpful. Probably the other thing that was helpful that we simply used what B had for spending money, even though it was low. So we were shopping at Aldi to bring groceries down, we went away camping which is super cheap because I tend to be of the belief that when we camp we don't shop so I get everything beforehand and then we have no spend days because we're enjoying ourselves camping and making the best of being in the outdoors. I spent $80 on clothes that were needed. We went out for three meals - the most expensive being on Sunday morning for brunch would you believe! $50 for two people having pancakes, bacon and eggs, coffee and orange juice. (It was really nice though)
So, I've checked the EF and have updated the sidebar accordingly. The mini EF has $2562.02 along with $1318 of funds set aside for the Thailand holiday payment and my study unit. The maxi EF (the shares) unfortunately is down $100 (exactly, would you believe!) from when we purchased the shares.
I had to pay some money onto my balance transfer credit card by the 7th and thought I may as well pay the whole lot for this month ($303) to save having to make two transfers. There will now be $2129 owing on this card, so that along with the $104 owing on CC1 brings my credit card debt to $2233 - now $3167 paid off from when I started this last year.
February may not be as low spend as there are more bills, so far the water bill of $315 plus council rates of $390, so we will see what happens.
I apologise for the super long post, must make a habit of posting more often to avoid this!
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 . 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
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
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.
Last week among financial things I made my final balance transfer payment of $303 per month for 2015. The balance transfer card should be at $2734 owed after the payment hits. It's good knowing that I will close the year out at under $3k credit card debt compared to $5400 at the start of the year.
I was thinking about adjusting the totals down to reflect what the balances actually are but have decided against it. The reason being we did actually save that money at some point during the year. It was simply used for certain purposes. Some of it was used on holiday purposes. Some of it was used to cover B not being paid in the first week of December. Unfortunately what was used on B's card I cannot exactly say what it was for; a lot of it would have been work stuff, fast food, motorbike stuff.
Eventually we will need to look at that card and work out some sort of solution. He doesn't need a card with $3700 credit because his spending habits are to spend whatever is available. Probably a card with $1000-$1500 credit is better for him. Big enough to make decent sized purchases (eg car stuff) but not big enough to cause too much drama. So eventually, probably after my balance transfer has been done, we will organise a balance transfer for him and a new card with a much lower balance.
Anyway back to end of year stuff. I am doing end of year totals now before christmas and new years in the event that we are a bit too busy for me to sit down and work this out, and I know that no more savings will be made for the year. My end of year total will be as follows:
50 Week Challenge $5300 + Banking the Difference $4379.54 + $90 Caravan Park accommodation spent + $210.00 Phuket Holiday Deposit spent + $35.00 Cash Savings =
Thank you all for sharing my first year of savings challenges, your advice and your journeys with me. You have all helped me to become a bit more financially responsible and you have all inspired me in your own different ways!
(Most likely by the time you read this I will have updated the Banking the Difference category to read $4679.54, with $818.00 holiday fund)
What does next year hold??? I'm not sure yet. I don't feel I need to do two separate challenges anymore. I think I will work out a couple of goals and plans, maybe possibly do one challenge like Imasaver but with a different name to $20 challenge. I have roughly 11 days to decide, so the thinking cap is on!
I got my tax refund a couple of weeks ago, which included a $203.00 snowflake(the rest was simply repaying the EF, which has also been done). Add to that a $30 Safeway gift card for my three weeks of spending over $100 per week on groceries a few months ago, another $10 gift voucher for Safeway and a Paypal refund of $15.00 for a top I bought for my spring capsule which wasn't in stock after all. (I didn't see any like that for that price, so decided I couldn't be bothered and claimed it as a snowflake!).
The total amount added to the holiday fund was $258.00, bringing the holiday fund to $518.00. As earlier discussed, the holiday is on the backburner so this will be the last deposit for the year I imagine.
Banking the Difference is now $4,076.54, so that plus $5,300.00 will bring an anticipated year end balance of $9,376.54. In a way better place than this time last year!!!
I paid the balance of the $303.00 monthly balance transfer payment, that card is now at $3,034.00. There is still a balance of around $30.00 on the original credit card. One day I'll clear it out completely!
I also repaid the last of the New Zealand expenses on the original credit card (which I use as a transaction card).
Have barely been spending, have been spending lots of time studying for my degree unit which is near its end, and my body is at its end of its tether also. Battling sinus and a toothache and possible ear infection - but really I think it's all sinus-related. Tired and achy is not a great thing. At least the financial house looks a bit more orderly! (Other than that life here is not too bad, husband and animals are well).
Today was payday so as soon as I was able to, I transferred the money out of the account and paid the third balance transfer payment! Only 11 more to go.
Once the payment hits the balance transfer card will be at $3341.00. It's so good to have the credit card debt under control and not be charged interest anymore.
The balance transfer payment was $303, with $106 coming from 52 week challenge savings and the remaining $197 coming from today's pay, which got added to the Banking the Difference challenge. The totals for these two challenges at the end of the year will now be:
52 wk challenge $5300 + Banking the Difference challenge $3375.54 = $8675.54.
Hoping you're all well!