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Possibly My Only June Blog Entry

June 6th, 2016 at 05:06 am

Challenge starting balance: $4,378.78
Plus:
- Monthly balance transfer repayment: $303.00
- Mortgage repayment: $63.00
Challenge closing balance: $4,744.82

Realistically this will probably be my only blog post for June. I would love to write more often but it's crucial that I keep an eye on my energy levels when I'm this busy. I need to not forget stuff and I need to not get sick, so while I need to keep a close eye on the to-do list I also need to be strict with rest. Maybe I'll write some during this week, we'll see how we go.

In May we overspent by $416 which came out of the savings in the mortgage account. Because of all of the outflow I decided that just for one month I would stop the EF savings and sweep that money into the mortgage savings we dipped into instead.

So for June the only savings/debt repayment we'll be doing is $303 for the balance transfer and $63 for the mortgage. The balance transfer will be $917 and the mortgage will be $120,999!!!

I took a day off on Friday as work was quiet and I got to thinking about if B does do something on the walk-in robe he was planning and that I should probably do a major declutter of my clothes and things. I threw out 2/3 of my wardrobe!!! 1/3 was just old and worn to an inch of it's life so I threw that out and the other 1/3 will go to charity. These are generally wrong size clothes that did not get worn much so are in good condition.

There is a door at the other end of the wardrobe which goes through to another room so if B does anything while I'm gone it will only be sealing it up and plastering over it.

Thankfully the GBP has gone up! I transferred my last lot over to the travel money card and looked up the rate and to buy on the card it is about 0.475, which is better than 0.46. I was really worried it would drop even further but luckily it's gone up instead. Tomorrow I will buy so there is 750GBP and then will buy cash so there is 300GBP cash.

Financial transactions for today:

- Bought a Aus/UK electrical adaptor so I can charge phone, straightener etc $11.50
- Transferred $495 to the travel money card account so I can get 232GBP (currently 518 there)
- Paid $72 on my credit card- groceries were $89 and we had $72 cash. I have been eating down all of my food (me & B have different workday breakfasts, lunches & snacks) and have barely had to buy anything for me. Had to buy almond milk, apples and a chocolate bar! The rest of B's food and our dinner food, animal food and cleaning supplies. I was craving sushi last week and decided that instead of buying more lunch food I would eat mine down and buy sushi for lunch 2 days this week - we would have to spend this money anyway. Looking forward to sushi tomorrow!
- Had to pay my phone company $30, was not happy about this! They told me to pay $100 bond to activate global roaming which I did; as soon as the money hit the account they issued me with my monthly invoice which is not due until the 18th and promptly deducted the $30. Grrr. Had to quickly transfer in business hours so they can get it asap and activate it before I go.

Financial transactions done with, very much looking forward to visiting the land of the castles, cottages, cobblestoned streets and of course Scottish Girl!

Sick On The Busiest Week Of The Year

May 12th, 2016 at 05:00 am

I hardly ever take sick days. It usually comes down to the threshold - can you take something and get through it? If so, go to work. You never know when you might need those sick days. I haven't taken a sick day since 2011, when I was really sick and took four in a row.

Now I actually am sick but can't take the days because it is the busiest week of the year! Is that bad luck or what? Our major deadline is next Monday, I'll probably be better by the time the deadline is over. Grrr.

We visited both families on Mother's Day and SIL was sick with a cold. I woke up feeling funny on Tuesday and by 10am I knew I had a cold. I've had chills for Tuesday and Wednesday along with being lethargic, and today I am on the sore throat stage. So not looking forward to waking up tomorrow because it's probably going to be really painful by then (if past history is anything to go by).

I made a big batch of chicken noodle soup - nothing fancy, this recipe only took half an hour to make - and have been having it every day. Will have it for lunch tomorrow too. I have been living off Lemsip Max (it has added paracetemol and other things in it to ease the cold's symptoms) and eucalyptus soothers - eucalyptus is all I can taste.

Getting sick is not cheap - around $10 to make the chicken noodle soup; $3 for a 3 pack of soothers; $13 for Lemsip Max. But seriously I could not have made it through deadline time without all this stuff - at work I am pretty much functioning normally! (At home not so much!)

Looking forward to being healthy again, hope you're all well!

Happy Mother's Day!

May 8th, 2016 at 02:29 am

Happy mother's day to all you wonderful mothers!

Today we visited both of our mothers, was lovely to see everyone; fun times were had and I even got a present even though I'm not a mum Smile

It was a late birthday present from my brother - a bottle of perfume he got for free for buying my mum's present. It may have been a freebie but it was still very much appreciated!

***

I managed to reset my travel money card password the next day and got into the account, and transferred $730 on Friday, apparently it takes one business day to reach the account. Looking forward to seeing it there and buying my first lot of GBP. Will be buying travel insurance tomorrow night and I also want to buy a pair of compression socks for flying ($12) tomorrow night too.

***

I input all of our bills and income into our budgeting spreadsheet and realised we're on a five week month so we are living off $420pw instead of the usual $500. Challenging but we will do it.

Shopping this week I am happy to say was $130 as planned and we even get steak twice in a week - a definite luxury! Lately it's either really cheap or really expensive, there doesn't seem to be an inbetween.. I got pieces for $7.22 & $8- they can go up to $13 which is too pricey I think.

I saw Eddie the Eagle yesterday using one of my movie vouchers, $9 left there and spent $4.75 on popcorn and chocolates at the supermarket. It was a great movie, funny and very inspiring.

Then I rented a couple of DVDs for $7, Black Mass and Sisters, and had a movie night with B. They were also great movies.

Now the weekend has come to a close, we have $20 left in the bank and $5-$10 cash each, so didn't do too badly. We are sitting in a mostly dark house, watching tv in our comfy lounge room, and are soo relaxed; life is good.

It's Been A While

April 20th, 2016 at 05:10 am

Challenge starting balance: $3,297.90
Plus:
- 2 week's EF: $142.04
- 2 weeks balance transfer repayment: $151.50
- Safeway everyday rewards: $30.00
- Maxitrans dividend: $21.00
- QBE dividend: $60.30
Challenge closing balance: $3,702.74


April is typically a very busy month. We have Easter plus my birthday plus another family birthday (niece) plus another public holiday, Anzac Day, which remembers Australian and New Zealand soldiers who fought in the First World War, plus work gets busy in the lead up to our annual major deadline (15 May- this year 16 because it's on the Monday.

So I've been doing lots and simply jotting down the spending etc in our spending app. Financial things have been plugging away.

I have put the previous two week before's EF savings in the challenge total. I also transferred 2 weeks balance transfer payment - finally got around to updating my credit card paydown spreadsheet. I received a statement on the weekend stating that $1432.10 is now owing, according to my spreadsheet by the middle of May I will owe $1220.00 on the progress payment. By the time I go to the UK I will be down to below $1000, so am looking forward to that.

Along with the busyness, we have been going away, celebrating my birthday, adjusting to a new budget and it hasn't been pretty. Yes there are snowflakes up there but I have had to withdraw $405 from the EF to be able to save the certain amount each fortnightly pay for the UK holiday.

I am hoping we can make up for our overspending in May and start to find balance again. I decided to withdraw some money from the EF each fortnight because I didn't think it was fair that B suffers because I am going on an expensive holiday, so was thinking I need to save $580 per fortnight so would withdraw $290 per fortnight to ease the burden a bit and repay it back over the next few months. Was not thrilled about withdrawing $405 though, that was higher than I would have liked. For repayment purposes I will have the Mini EF and the Maxi EF at their current balances with a negative balance in the holiday fund. As it gets repaid it will be adjusted.

***

Have done well with the Safeway Everyday rewards and was happy to get dividends from both the Maxitrans shares and the QBE shares.

With Maxitrans the purchase price was $614.25 and the dividend received was $21.00. The return on that is 3.42%. Unfortunately the value is $546.00, so while the return is more the value is now in negative of $68.25. Not great but I was not planning to buy more of these.

With QBE the overall purchase price was $2183.61 and the dividend received was $60.30. The return on that is 2.76% and the value currently is $2243.16, up $59.55.

So overall the outlay was $2,797.86 and the remaining amount is $2789.16, down $15.18 in total. The return from dividends was 2.91%. The loss of $15.18 is -0.54% from the balance, so 2.91% - 0.54% = 2.37% overall return.

It looks like my return is currently roughly the same as an average savings account. You can get up to 3.60% interest however there are clauses, ie it is an introductory period rate and will revert back down.

Currently I'm happy with the return, will have to see how things go in 6 months time when the dividends get paid again!

Easter; UK Cost Tally So Far

March 29th, 2016 at 04:23 am

52 Week challenge opening balance: $2,851.04
Plus Weekly Deposit to EF: $71.02
Plus Balance Transfer Payment: $60.60
52 Week challenge closing balance: $2,982.66

Today we went back to work after the Easter break. We had a pretty cheap Easter, although they usually are as we generally go camping somewhere.

We managed to save to the EF, and to pay week 2 of the monthly Balance Transfer payment.

We had a get together with my friends on Thursday night; and then Friday morning we went camping with the inlaws. Easter has pretty much become their annual trip and it is a pretty fun time. I really feel like this year things went better, and just flowed instead of being hard work.

The only thing which was hard work was my MIL as she has onset dementia/alzheimers and was out of her environment. As her dementia gets worse so do her eating habits and she really struggles to eat. Before she was sick she would eat very healthy- light meals, salads. Now she eats what she is given by FIL and I think it may be too heavy for her body, but because she has dementia she doesn't remember what she used to eat. So on Saturday she grazed throughout the day but by dinner would only eat 2 bites and then refused to eat the meal FIL spent hours making. Understandable FIL was upset and refused to eat his also, and they left not long after.

I did an experiment with her though on Sunday as B and I were serving all of the food throughout the day. I only gave her small servings for each meal- 1 piece of toast, 1 egg and 1 piece of bacon for breakfast; a salad roll for lunch; a slice of cake for afternoon tea; green salad with home made chips, small piece of steak and small sausage. She also has many cups of tea throughout the day. Anyway, no complaint of belly ache! I'm calling that a win.

All in all the trip was a lot of fun, we were very relaxed. Then we got home and I barely had to do any grocery shopping because we brought back a heap of snacks, some meat, milk, margarine and there were a couple of meals in the freezer we were able to use up this week - by the end of the week the freezer should be empty.

***

The UK trip continues to be on my mind (not that it's a bad thing of course!). Last week my UK friend got given half price expedia vouchers and a few days later I was given one too. We started to work out London accommodation. We worked out we can see all the good things in two days, so have booked one night accommodation. It took a few days to sort out what kind of place we would like to stay in and what the best area is.

My friend's voucher expired so we had to use mine. We got a three star twin hotel room for $174. My UK friend will get the accommodation for the next week and whoever pays more will receive the difference from the other.

I was thinking I should start to do a tally to keep track of things, so here goes:

- Flights $1,773
- Groupon, indian dinner $76
- London accommodation $174

Total so far $2,023

I've kind of worked out there are three pay periods before going away and we can save $800 spending money ($2400 in total) and repay the flights back before going ($755 left to repay).

Basically what I also do is try to not spend very much of our weekly money so I can buy Groupons etc; aim to perhaps get something each week for $60-$90. The London accommodation is being paid back over two weeks, $87 per week - made the first payment last night.

More Stuff To Keep Track Of

February 8th, 2016 at 02:53 am

52 Week Challenge starting balance: $1,667.92
Plus:
Weekly savings into EF: $71.02
52 Week Challenge closing balance: $1,738.94

The weekly savings into the EF hit the bank account, so I thought I would update.

Grocery shopping was at $122 yesterday and I was very proud of myself - until this morning when I found that there were four items I had to buy that were needs and couldn't wait until next week. Add another $20 roughly! I tried to keep the total down as low as possible, so I guess it's the best I could do.

Valentine's Day is coming up so I thought this year we would just get little gifts, nothing too flashy. B wanted some motorbike things, so that was $31.45 and I wanted a nice daytime perfume (I have going out perfume and I have perfume I wear to work which is muted, but I wanted a fresh daytime one to wear when we go out for lunch or something). I got Hippie Princess by Vera Wang for $29.

The thing I need to keep track of is another snowflake. I got the perfume, and hair serum from Priceline where I got a $4.38 gift voucher. So now we have to transfer $24.38 to the EF when we get paid.

I'm still trying to work out what to do about the money we used from savings to cover B not getting paid last week. We used $446 plus I spent $47 on my credit card and had to transfer $50 onto his credit card. I haven't paid the $47 on my card yet but have already used $496 from our mortgage offset savings.

I think I'll see how he goes with the next couple of weeks with receiving money. If it looks like we only have enough for low spending and his business payments at the end of the month, I may just put it into his Christmas period costs from shutdown. (It is a shutdown cost because of the delays caused from Christmas shutdown). We used $800 at Christmas time and this $496 will bring it to $1296, so we would allow next Christmas for a slightly higher amount.

Keeping Track of Things We Owe

February 5th, 2016 at 09:19 pm

It's about a week until we see some money other than our savings and there's a few balls in the air I need to keep track of...

*Last week I received a $20 snowflake from the shopping rewards, so when we have some cash I need to transfer it to the EF. Today I spent the $80 needed for the second week to get another $15 snowflake on my next shop, so the snowflakes balance to be transferred could increase by the time we receive money next (I don't think it will though).

*The coffee pods purchase. I consider coffee pods to be part of our grocery shopping so every time we opened a packet (we bought 10) I would include that in our weekly shop and transfer the money to my card. However the amount per packet is $8.32, which is much higher than the usual $3.70-$5. I decided that when we receive money I would transfer half the full amount over ($41.60) and then every time we use a packet pay $4.16. So we need to pay the $41.60.

*Meat: I got my hair done today ($110) and decided to stop in at the butcher on the way home (both are a suburb over). I was only going to get enough for our weekly shop but the bulk prices were so good, I got two-three weeks worth. Here's what we got:
- 2 pork steaks $6
- 2 x 2 chicken schnitzels $5.40 each
- chicken sausages $6
- beef mince $6
- 2 x 2 chicken marylands $3.80 each
- 2 x 2 chicken breast fillets $5.80 each
- 3 x beef rump steaks $8.85 each

The cost of the whole lot was $75.38, which I put on my credit card and will transfer over each weekly portion as we buy groceries (because we only have minimal cash). This week's meal plan:

- tomorrow chicken Maryland and roast vegetables
- Monday - we don't cook, it is get your own food night (because B has poker with his friends it is easier for me to make soup & toast or something)
- Tuesday - pork steaks & veggies
- Wednesday - steak & veggies
- Thursday - chicken alfredo with pasta
- Friday - we don't cook, it is get something from the oven or takeaway.

So the cost of this week's meat will be $3.80 + $6 + $8.85 + $5.80 = $24.45.

The price paid for the various meats is roughly the same as discount at the supermarket. The only thing is you don't always get discount at the supermarket, so it's good to have a couple of weeks on hand where we know it's for a low price.

*Grocery shopping: Budget this week $120. Spent so far $33.10 + $24.45 + $22.90 (some more purchases today) = $80.45, leaving just under $40 left. We need to buy fruit & veggies, lunch food, cheap meat for the dog (butcher didn't have this), bread and up-n-goes (cereal drink) for B, and cream for the chicken alfredo (and possibly pasta). May need to be creative, or may be ok.


So glad to get these figures out in the open and in front of me, I was worried I'd forget something.

Quick Friday Post

February 5th, 2016 at 04:20 am

It/s last thing on a Friday night here but I'm not completely ready to go to bed so I thought I might just do a quick post. Bedtime's not far off though.

Not a whole lot to report, just a fairly pleasant non-eventful day. My co-worker went to a seminar for the morning and brought us back a blueberry muffin to share, so that was nice Smile.

I'm getting my hair done tomorrow (it is *so* in need of it) and later on that day it is my friend's birthday, so that works out well (having an occasion to wear nice hair too!). The friend's birthday is at another friend's place and we each have to bring a platter of food, as well as our drinks.

I decided to make a spinach dip and put it inside a Cobb bread (where you use the inside bread as the dipping portion). Have never tried this before so really hope it works!

Spent around $5 on the ingredients, need to get the Cobb bread from the bakery tomorrow. I also spent $33.10 on some of our groceries, things that were marked down - got almond milk, three packets of muesli bars, a big bottle of olive oil, potato chips, laundry liquid, wet cat food and denta stix for the dog. Denta stix are chew bones, but of course when I got home I realised I was going to look into a softer option for her because they are starting to get difficult for her to chew. Must remember next time!

I also got wine worth $9.20 (two bottles) and B's beer ($50).

B & I had a relaxing night just vegging out in front of the tv, we had sausage rolls and mini dim sims for tea - spent lots of time flicking through various things on the iPad (did do around 20 minutes worth of housework first though).

Hope you all have a lovely weekend!