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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.

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.

I Got A New Car!

July 23rd, 2020 at 07:24 am

In these uncertain times, buying a new car is probably not advised, however we have been saving for a long time and planning for a long time. It just so happened to take place during a recession.

I have had my old car for 15 years and while it was running fine, I knew a little while ago that I would want something smaller and had my eye on a Volkswagen Golf, and a specific model at that, with certain requirements.

It turned out that the things I wanted were going to only be put into cars at the very top of the range from 2018 onwards and we did not see the need to spend that much money. Therefore we decided to get the model we wanted at the price we wanted.

The car I got is a 2016 model and it is a little hatch with a slightly larger engine size and is very zippy! It drives like a dream and has all of the mod cons which I am finding exciting to have. (Of course as I keep my cars for around 15 years they won't be mod cons for long!!)

We paid $7000 cash and had to get a loan for the remaining $20000. Because I got the renovations loan last year I could not get the loan in my name so we had to get it in B's name. Oh, the headaches involved in getting that loan!!

It took 3 weeks to get the loan, because we decided to get a secured loan. The secured loan interest rate was much lower however if we knew of all of the requirements for information and the fact that the bank dictates what you can buy with the money, we never would have opted for a secured loan. It was an absolute nightmare. I thought getting a secured loan was like years ago when I got one and you basically got the loan, and provided the car registration certificate and they listed it against the contract, but no this was not the case at all.

We were very lucky that the seller of the car was not in a hurry to sell and could see that I really wanted it so was happy to wait.

The loan is for 5 years and repayments are $428 per month. We were already saving $270 each month so this is a bit higher but not too bad for us.

We also sold my old car straight away because B simply mentioned we were selling it to someone he works with and they instantly said they will buy it because they want a safe car for their daughter and they know how well we treat cars. In fact, we dropped the car off the day before our second lockdown.

I am so so so happy with the car though!!! Now that the dust has settled, and I have got over the very busy few weeks this process has involved, I am enjoying it so much and am so happy!!!

We tinted the windows and I am hoping to get some nice wheels for it if there is enough received from my tax return. It looks gorgeous.

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!

Fell Off The Wagon

February 23rd, 2017 at 10:27 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 11:22 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 10:23 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 10:20 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 11:40 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 11th, 2016 at 12:28 am

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.