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Hello! 👋 It’s Been A While...

May 27th, 2019 at 03:25 pm

Hi everyone! It’s been so long but have had a really full few months where basically a lot of my downtime just got depleted. Busy at work, going away for weekends here and there, and then in March we went away to Tasmania with friends for our first ever motorbike tour. It was really wonderful! I’m not great with uploading pictures because a lot of the time I write my blog posts from my iPad and it seems harder than doing it off the PC but if you have a moment google these places: Cradle Mountain, Salamanca Place in Hobart, and Wineglass Bay. These places are absolutely beautiful. The trip wasn’t that expensive as there was a group of us so we shared our accommodation which works out cheaper than just 2 people.

We were home for one week however when DH went for a ride on his dirt bike and fell off, fracturing his wrist and ankle on the same side of his body..... He required more care than me last year because of the whole side of his body being compromised. Luckily though both fractures were not too bad so no surgery was required and he was back to being able to do everything after about 6 weeks. He was more uncomfortable than anything. Life was definitely pretty busy for a while though.

Financial things that have happened of note:
- DH got a pay rise of about $300 per month (yay B!)
- With all of the busyness life has thrown me I stopped tracking expenses about February. I just felt it was a better use of my time to focus on the big picture for a while. We aren’t overspending which is the main thing.
- I’ve had credit card debt for a while and I was noting every little thing I bought and repaying various items bought. That simply got confusing and it felt like debt was not getting repaid. About mid April I started noting both balances and simply make repayments - the only thing I charge to the credit cards now are grocery shopping and my monthly train ticket (and PayPal gets charged to one). Everything gets repaid pretty much instantly on top of repayments to debt. As of last Thursday my Virgin card was $2095 and my NAB card was $1468.
- We fixed our home loan in April for 3 years @ 3.99%
- We took out a $20000 loan last month for landscaping and floating floors. No more major renovations will occur until this loan is repaid. Really looking forward to seeing our place looking nice!

That’s all I can think of now. I’ve been lurking and am glad you’re all well! I’m looking forward to blogging a bit more now life has calmed down a bit!

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.

NSD, Short Entry Today

February 7th, 2017 at 03:22 am

Today I was lucky enough to not need to buy anything for me or B so it was a no spend day. Just a quiet Tuesday. Work is going ok after the end of last week which is good.

Quickly the latest few financial transactions I have carried out are:
- tonight submitting the student loan application for the next subject in the degree
- shopping on the weekend was $168, a bit high, we seemed to run out of a few things
- with shopping I have completed week 2 of the 4 week spend $135 per week to receive $60 in rewards so am on track to receive that
- the Thailand calendar I ordered from eBay never arrived and was being sent from the UK so had to allow 3 weeks delivery. I sent the seller a message and they figured it had gotten lost in the mail so I could either reorder a calendar or get a refund. While I wanted the calendar I couldn't be bothered waiting another 3 weeks so asked for my $16.50 to be refunded back. I then found another calendar at a bookshop for $5.

I wasn't sure what else to get from the bookshop but then I saw a 4-ingredients cookbook which I have been interested in for a long time! It was $20 so have spent $7.50 out of pocket. Just like ceejay I am looking forward to trying out lots of recipes! I want to do one a week if possible Smile.

Christmas Savings Challenge Month 1: Met!

January 30th, 2017 at 02:23 am

Happy to say that I've now met $60 challenge amount for month 1 of the Christmas savings challenge! Next month is $75.

Things that have happened of note in the last few days are:

- Thursday was Australia Day so we had the day off work. I was seeing a friend who I haven't seen for nearly a year and who is not on facebook so this motivated me to upload some photos from the UK trip to show her. Because there are so many pictures I have uploaded the first week only and will do week 2 and 3 in the next two weeks. (ps my picture of my meeting with Scottish Girl is in week 3 so stay tuned folks!)

I was trying to add some of my favourite week 1 pictures but could not get it to work. Tips would be helpful, it's been a long time since I've done this!

- Friday I called up the university about a permanent place in my accounting degree. They have been sending many emails about it because I am eligible. It is now enrolment time again and Friday was the cut off date so I contacted them and was given a permanent place. Now because they require 4 units per year to be completed they don't require upfront payment and instead a student loan called "fee-help" is created. The interest rate is currently 1.5% after 11 months of any unpaid debt and they charge 25% of the unit fee per unit. However because this is directly linked to my work I can claim the fees as a tax deduction so can pay my tax refunds against the loan.

- Saturday was a very quiet day, I just relaxed at home and watched some DVDs. I also baked some dairy-free egg-free muffins for Sunday's visit to my sister and her family (my nephew is allergic to dairy and eggs). I made blueberry muffins and choc-apple muffins. The choc-apple muffins were divine! They were so moist and the apple and cinnamon flavours mixed amongst the chocolate worked well. Definitely want to try it again!

- Sunday I took my brother to see my sister, her husband and little nephew in their new place, which is now 1hr 10mins away from us. It's a lovely unit and they are very much enjoying getting to know their new surroundings. My nephew is now 2 and so cute! Love him to bits.

I also had an interesting conversation with my brother (the kind of conversation I love). He can't decide between getting a new car (say 3years old) or buying a house. He is in his early 30s and has $14000 saved. He earns around $800 per week, like me pretty much. He is not fussy about the house but a garage is on his must have list. Houses here that are around 1980s with a garage go for $320,000-$350,000 (unfortunately the prices all go up from there).

He can qualify for the $10,000 first homeowners grant offered by the state. I found out after talking to him that banks are again offering 5% deposit home loans. I did some mortgage repayment figures on a 5% deposit home loan and they equaled roughly half of his pay before any other expenses. I definitely think now that he should stick to 10% deposit instead. Hopefully property prices don't go up further! Maybe when he gets closer to 10% he can get pre-approval so if a good priced property comes up he can get it. But on the other hand what if the prices go up further? Not sure what to tell him. He currently pays $250 per week rent and the mortgage on 5% deposit would be $370 per week which would break him I think. I'd like to see him paying $300 per week (he won't be able to get a mortgage with $250 per week repayments)

Snowflakes 30-10-16; Into The $117's!

October 30th, 2016 at 03:20 am

Challenge starting balance: $8,739.85
Plus:
- weekly EF savings $35.69
- digital change $4.37
Challenge closing balance: $8,779.91

Our weekly EF savings were transferred over as usual, which is great but the two financial things of note were:

1) Our mortgage payment hit, and then interest was charged, the end result is we are now into the $117's!! New balance is $117,703. Very exciting. I don't think we will make $115k by the end of the year, but I do think we will make it to $116k.
2) My tax refund was received and was promptly sent back to the EF. The balance looks much healthier now! Breathing a sigh of relief.

Looking at the EF; the mini-EF is now $3,504.55 - this is the cash portion of the EF. The maxi-EF has only gone up $1 since last month! This is the shares portion of the EF. Thankfully the shares have only dropped a little bit; they were purchased for $3,826. So if the shares were at their purchase value the EF would then be $7330.55 instead of the $7,177 it currently is. Still it's great to be up into the next thousand, it feels like it has taken all year to get there.

***

Non-financial things were during the week we celebrated our 6 year wedding anniversary, then yesterday it was a beautiful spring day so we caught up on the gardening at home. We then said hello to our neighbours across the road and we had heard that the wife had changed jobs; she told me she was made redundant in the July of this year and it took her a full month to find a new job. She is the sole provider for her family; her husband has an illness so looks after the kids while she works. I told her I thought it was great that she was only out of work a month; she is really liking her new job.

Today we took our inlaws out for a country drive and we had lunch with them (I suggested this because we have spent the last couple of weekends with my family so thought it would be a nice thing to do), which was a really lovely day.

Balance Transfer Card Repaid!; Broken Door Lock

September 19th, 2016 at 04:40 am

Challenge starting balance: $7,353.93
Plus:
- weekly EF savings $35.69
- football winnings $46.00
- my FINAL credit card repayment to balance transfer card $110.25
Challenge closing balance: $7,545.87

That day finally came where my final payment to the balance transfer left the bank account! I imagine I will see a zero balance on that card either tomorrow or the day after.

Only $54 left on my normal transactional card to pay by the end of the month, will do this easily. (In a week or so, must get used to using the balance transfer card as a transactional card to accumulate points.)

I'm so glad to be off of that debt cycle where I was getting charged around $58-$62 in interest on a debt I couldn't afford to pay. I'm so glad I just had this moment where I had had enough and wanted things changed asap, and got the balance transfer card and got off the cycle of simply paying interest on things which had long been used up. I appreciate credit cards now because you can have funds available at your disposal no questions asked, but do not ever want to get complacent with paying interest again. I want to be much more careful with it now.

Feeling like I'm in a better place than a year ago, that's for sure. Next month onto saving for a new car! (that I hope to not have to buy for a long time!)

***

I paid the third round of my football wins over to the holiday fund; now owing only $98. Also paid back $124 against the study unit. Study is going well but I'm finding myself a bit time poor and when I get tired, I'm worn out. Luckily this only happens every few days. I'm into week 4 and not doing too badly.

***

On Saturday my car door broke, this time my driver door. This is an ongoing problem; has happened between 5-10 times in the time of car ownership and each time it happens I cannot lock the car until it's fixed. The last time it happened was April last year.

The cost of a new lock was $200 plus some beer as a thank you gift to my father-in-law for fixing it $31. Better than $400 at the mechanic which is the going rate. This is the last time my father-in-law will do it though, as he is getting too old. Next time it will be either B or the mechanic.

Because funds are a little tight I used the additional money I was going to repay on the mortgage to pay for the door lock. Didn't want to draw out from the EF again, once this month was enough ($160 for the sewer blockage).

I really want to get the mortgage down to $115,000 by the end of the year and it looks like all other things going ok, we should be able to.

Snowflakes 11/09/16; Credit Card Musings

September 10th, 2016 at 05:28 pm

Challenge starting balance: $6,835.74
Plus:
- weekly EF savings $35.69
- football winnings $48.00
- my credit card repayment to balance transfer card $151.50
- B's credit card repayment to his card $180.00
- extra credit card repayment to his card $103.00
Challenge closing balance: $7,353.93

This week's additions to the challenge are the usual EF savings, plus football winnings for games 4-6 from my team (these were all fairly low wins so could add them all together), plus repayments to both my and B's credit cards.

With my credit cards, I am all set to be officially retired from credit card debt by 30th September. That has a nice ring to it, I must admit!

There are some small transactions on my credit card I use amounting to around $77 for 3/4 of a tank of fuel (which I pay back at $20 per week) plus some cosmetics I needed to buy.

There is the anticipated $110 remaining on my balance transfer card plus I have been charged a $129 annual fee for this card.

Which brings me to reassessing what I want to do with this card after it is paid off at the end of the month.

I had the idea of either earning cashback rewards on various cards after the cards were paid off to actually bring some income in after paying credit card companies interest and whatever charges for so many years; or getting a points card and using it to earn rewards.

Now that I have to pay this $129 I'm thinking I may as well keep this card open for a while to utilise the annual fee paid. I've kind of had a shift in thinking of my thoughts about credit card debt too, so I have to consider that.

The thing is our EF is generally at the moment around $7000 give or take a few thousand. So really the credit cards when they are paid off are technically an asset because they are credit available to be used at any point in time if needed, no questions asked.

So if there was a major emergency ie I suddenly lost my job we would be able to use the cash saved in the EF possibly to pay mortgage and bills and use the credit cards to pay for food and other necessities; and we would most likely have six to nine months emergency money available as opposed to two to three months with the cash only.

Perhaps I might revisit the points/cashback ideas in six months or so. Would need to change at least one credit card in any case. My everyday credit card I use has a 14% interest rate (best rate possible for the big 4 Australian banks) while the balance transfer card has a 21% interest rate - so will need another card to replace that with a much lower rate in the next few months. I could increase the credit available on the 14% card, but really I would rather get a lower rate card from a smaller institution - you can get around 8% cards.

Sorry for the super long post guys, I'm just trying to formulate ideas and plans and put them in writing to refer back to later! Feel free to add any thoughts or suggestions.

With B's card I paid the monthly $180 and then referred the balance against what I had in our debt paydown spreadsheet. According to the spreadsheet his card should be at $3192 - it needed an extra $103 repaid to reach this amount. Next month he will be owing just over $3000.

Into The 118's!!

August 30th, 2016 at 03:39 am

The mortgage got paid yesterday and interest of $548 got charged, bringing the new balance to $118,915 - we've moved on from the 119's and we're now in the $118's!!!!

I was really hoping we could hit $115k by the end of the year and it's looking like if we can put $500 extra in for October, November and December we could close the year at $115,571. (The $500 extra per month is as per the mortgage challenge on the sidebar).

Would be really awesome if we could close the year out in the $115's!!!!

Snowflakes 18/8/16

August 18th, 2016 at 04:15 am

Challenge starting balance: $6,436.17
Plus:
- weekly EF savings $35.69
- balance transfer CC payment $110.25
- mortgage principal payment $16.00
Challenge closing balance: $6,598.11

Today true to my word I woke up 15 minutes earlier. It's amazing how tired I am with the 15 minute difference, it means a lot I guess! Should be used to it soon. I have to go to bed soon also, which is the other thing I need to get used to.

I used that time to pay the bills, B's speeding fine ($190)(ugh) and his driver licence renewal ($267).

Yesterday morning when I got up early I ordered my textbook ($140.94). My credit card is now just below $2000 which was nearly giving me an ulcer so I transferred the full cost of the study unit and textbook ($1445.94) from the EF. I did not spend 1 year 1 month (so far, next month is the final month) repaying credit card debt to become lackadaisical about large amounts sitting on the credit card, don't want to end up back in that hole! No way no how.

Seeing the cash balance in the EF after doing the transfer is now giving me an ulcer though, so need to get B's tax return sorted asap so we can lodge and I can get the $1073 refund to put straight back in the EF.

After work I went to the shops to get some food for dinner but also decided to do CB's 10 items idea. For $34.54 I got ravioli for dinner, liquid hand soap, toothpaste, meat for the dog, bread, peanut butter, potato chips, coffee pods, almond milk, mini chocolate bars and garlic bread. Ok, I got eleven things. We are running really low on food at the moment so need to build the pantry up a bit!

Goodnight all!