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Bills Paid For The Month, Direct Debit Charges, Increased Wage from Job Change

March 21st, 2022 at 06:19 am

Rather than plan a blog entry I thought I would just spend 10 mins blogging of whatever comes to mind (sometimes it's just easier to get things done that way).

I usually log everything into a spreadsheet once a month and pay the bills all at the same time, around the 15th of the month.  Life just got busy last week as we went away camping on the weekend and had a few things to do beforehand.  Anyway, as soon as I had free time I sat down and checked the balances, listed the bills to be paid and any extra out of the ordinary spending.

I have been noticing a slight bill creep each month, some things we can probably change, others I am not completely sure of yet.  One thing for example is our caravan insurance is due for renewal next month and when we got it last year they stipulated it be paid by direct debit - looking at the renewal notice I can see an $84 administration charge for monthly direct debits, so I will contact them and see if we can pay it in one payment instead.  I hate paying administration charges on direct debits, and if possible would rather pay things in one payment only.

My wages went up slightly due to changing my work hours around - instead of working 3 days, I am working 5 mornings; so am working 20 per hours per week and no unpaid lunch break is required now (it was 3 days of 20 hours with 30 mins lunchbreak, but because my shift is under 5 hours by law I don't need to take a lunchbreak).  I'm actually really enjoying working the mornings and feel like I want to keep this routine, and set my business up to work in the afternoon.  Anyway as a result of this, I was able to withdraw less from my payout of my old job and withdrew $448 to bring my wages up to my $3000 monthly requirement.

Hope everyone's well!

Never Ending Life Administration

October 27th, 2021 at 01:27 am

As we near the end of October it seems that every spare minute of my time has been taken up with reorganising our bank accounts.  It has been such a long, tedious process.  We received an advice from our bank that they are restructuring our bank accounts to only allow one transaction account (the checking account) and our other bank account that we used as a transaction account to get our salaries deposited and all direct debits would change from a transaction account to an internet only savings account that does not allow direct debits or periodic payments.  Ugh.

I am so glad that DH suggested changing banks altogether because of the time it has cost us (mainly me).  I had to trawl through the bank account to list all debits and then contact everybody, which has been such a time consuming process.  It has been time consuming because there were so many financial institutions (ok, quite a few, it feels like so many) and each financial institution has a different process.  Some were fine with updating the bank details over the phone, others expected you to fill out the form and scan it back, some you had to log in online and go to this section of the website.  It has been such an annoying process.  The only positive out of it all has been getting reacquainted with the various institutions that we use and listing all of our debits down in an organised manner.

Thankfully I can already see the payments coming out of the new account and we have now moved most of the money over to the new bank.  It is looking like this weekend we will start using the eftpos card for the new bank and the process should be pretty much complete.

Another tedious life administration thing I had to do this month was change my name with my super fund (retirement account) for my new employer to deposit into.  I have pretty much changed my name everywhere, now just have two things to go.  But again, this was a matter of complete a form, get the marriage certificate photocopy certified, send it all off.

It is actually our wedding anniversary today, we have now been married for 11 years!  (I guess it is pretty bad that I am still changing my name on things, but I had a lot of things to change).  It is a lovely sunny day just like when we got married which is nice.

I have to do my last bit of life administration for a while hopefully, which is do our taxes - they are due on Sunday.  The process does not take too long though, hopefully we will get nice refunds back.  Then after that we will go out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary, and it will be the first time we have eaten out since possibly June or July?  (We only got out of lockdown last week).  We are going out to dinner at a lovely inner city suburb by the water, so am looking forward to it.  Hope you are all well!

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.

Unemployment Week 6 - Got A Job!

September 9th, 2021 at 07:44 am

Happy to say that my work trial was only really for the morning and that by lunchtime I was offered the job!  I'm really happy that searching for a job is now over and done with, the people are lovely and I feel like I could be there for a while.

I was going to post earlier but got sick after my second Pfizer dose - nothing requiring hospital visits, simply a short cold then a bad sinus infection for around 6 days, so was certainly not up to doing a blog entry.

This is my third week of working there; I am working 2 days per week as an accounts/administration officer at a hair and beauty wholesaler/retailer.  It's a completely different industry so is quite interesting to learn all about.  It's only a 10 minute drive from home which is awesome.  We are currently in lockdown so I am working shorter hours as they only have skeleton staff on, but my hours on one day will be increasing once lockdown is over and they are already talking about work to give me for my third day (which I said I am totally fine with as I was looking for up to 3 days).

It is all very exciting though - it is a newly created position so Iast week I got to order new stationery for my desk and was given a new computer.  My hourly rate is only $0.50 less than my previous job but I don't have to pay for a train ticket anymore (which would cost $1.00 per hour worked), so I have a tiny increase per hour.  I'm just glad to be pretty getting the same pay as I did not want to drop too much.

In other news, I have just transferred $30.00 to the 52 week challenge (covering two weeks) for our new pets savings. 

Unemployment Week 5, Landed Work Trial

August 24th, 2021 at 03:08 am

I'm a bit behind on entries, it's actually the start of week 6, but I will report week 6 at the end of the week.  After my last entry where I was getting annoyed with the job hunting process all of a sudden everything sped up into action.  In our state we have generally had short snap lockdowns this year so I think a lot of potential employers were just waiting out the lockdown (I have found that a lot of potential employers prefer to interview in person rather than Zoom; maybe everybody is completely sick of Zoom!).  This outbreak is spreading out of control though and nearly four weeks later it does not show any signs of slowing down, so I think potential employers have realised that the need to have their positions filled outweighs their interview preference and they just have to use Zoom.

On Friday I got a call asking for an interview first thing Monday morning, then on Sunday I got an email from someone else asking me to come to this business's home office (I declined due to lockdown and offered a Zoom interview instead). I ended up having two different interviews on Monday, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, which was definitely good practice in getting used to interviewing.  On Tuesday I got a call from another company and got an interview Thursday, and had to speak to them again on Wednesday so by the time I interviewed on Thursday I had a pretty good rapport with them.

The Thursday interview is for an accounts/admin job 2-3 days per week at a hair and beauty wholesaler and is a 10 minute drive from home.  The people seemed lovely, the interview went well and I was really happy to hear from them two hours later asking me to come back next week for a day to see if I like them, if they like me, and if I can do the work.  I've never had a work trial for an office job but read later on that it is common in retail and hospitality (they are retail).  Also is common with people who don't want to go through second interview processes and want the spot filled quickly.  Wish me luck on this one!

(I'm aware that right now it is a trial, not a secured job as yet, but am hopeful to get the job)

Pretty much as soon as I got the call asking for me to attend the work trial I got an email from the Monday afternoon interview asking for my references.  In the interview they stipulated that I would have to work at their home office and they are happy to obtain a work permit because it is an essential service however I know for a fact they are not an essential service so just didn't have a good feeling about them (if I get caught with a dodgy work permit it is a penalty of around $10,000!), so was happy to tell them that I have accepted another position.  I did research which businesses are essential services and there is no way that they are.

In financial news, things are going well - we have spent 41% of our variables budget and it is the 24th so that is great; we should finish the month off in a good position.  We had to replace our bedside table lamps today and spent $143, really this is the biggest expense we have had in a while.

Also I made our first deposit to the 52 week challenge, for the amount of $6.

Unemployment Week 4, Pet Savings Goals

August 12th, 2021 at 08:41 am

I have now hit four weeks unemployed, and on the 15th am due to withdraw the second month of my payout from the last job.  The amount I will be withdrawing is $3000.  Last month on the 31st we had $620 leftover from our pays, so I could possibly withdraw a bit less but I am thinking I will wait until we have a bit more leftover at the end of this month (ie if we have $1000 left over I might withdraw $2500 instead of $3000).

I have been applying for jobs, so far I have applied for 24.  Last week I applied for a job and had a response back from the employer at 9.30 at night asking for an interview, which I had on Tuesday.  It felt like it went ok but I am not sure about the vibe, it didn't feel great.  The job was working 10 hours per week, with the opportunity for extra hours as the company grows so in the interview I told the interviewer I'd be happy to go up to 20 hours per week and she replied back with that they are happy to accommodate school hours and I got a funny look when I replied that I don't have kids... as in if you don't have kids why do you only want to work 20 hours a week?  My husband said to just tell them that your husband has a well-paying job which is enough to cover the shortfall (he is very proud that he earns enough to be able to say that, and I am proud of him for doing so well; not that I am expecting him to pay for everything)

It just seems like I am expected to explain what I am doing in my free time because it's not standard to only want to work half a week, when in actual fact it's nobody's business.  Yes, in the other half of the week I do want to get my own business going, but I am careful not to apply for any jobs that say part-time with opportunity for full-time.  If a mother wants to work part-time to be with her kids more it is viewed favourably but it feels like if a woman just wants to have a bit of time-out to live a slower pace of life it is frowned upon.  I'm happy to tell people at the moment how many hours I'm willing to work and that if I decided to go to full-time I would come to them first, and there is no second part-time job that people have to work around. 

So I was so annoyed about it all that I saw an ad for temp professionals and have decided that maybe that's what I will focus on instead.  So today I applied for a temp professional role and maybe that is how I will focus for the time being, because then I will be free to work around my business.  In regards to my business, I am planning to launch my website in September - I had to give myself a deadline to work towards.  Yesterday I got my second client through my old work, which was great.

In other news, DH and I started looking at pets properly last night.  Last year both our cat and dog passed away, with our cat Gemma being just over 18 and our dog Jessie being just under 18.  While I am not too fussed about the breed of cat, DH (and I) really love Jack Russell terriers.  I haven't seen any Jack Russell terriers at rescue places unfortunately so it looks like we may need to buy a bred puppy, which starts at about $2000.  I gave the idea of perhaps saving a bit each year until we have enough and DH was fine with that.  I'm guessing a kitten will be up to $400 - I want to get the kitten from a rescue home.  We love watching this show called the The DogHouse where they match rescue dogs up with prospective owners, I want to do something like that with kittens.  Right now I'm drawn to ginger/champagne coloured kittens but we will see what we end up with!  Generally we would spend $1000 per year on our pets and we have not spent anything yet this year on pets so I'm thinking that's what our savings goal will be, and we should comfortably be able to open our home to a couple of fur babies in about 2-3 years.  Nobody could replace our Jessie and Gemma but it will be nice to give a good home and share lots of cuddles with a couple of new fur babies.

Of course, the disclaimer is that we will save the $1000 as long as we can afford it while I am not working....  or maybe this is motivation for a new 52 week challenge?  Maybe it is...

Musings Unemployment Week 3

August 4th, 2021 at 08:11 am

I'm now in my third week of unemployment, so far I am not in too bad a place.  I have not hit the very stressed point yet.  I read somewhere that at the moment there are a lot of jobs but potential employers are being slower than usual to interview potential employees and make final decisions.  I definitely think there is a bit of truth in this.

I have applied for 16 jobs so far in this three weeks of unemployment.  I did also apply for one right before I resigned and got a phone call an hour after resigning requesting an interview and had to do three interviews for that job; I decided that I was not in such a need of a job straight away that I needed to interview while working as I didn't like the idea of sneaking around and it was exhausting fitting interviews into my lunchbreak.  So back to my three weeks unemployed, I have applied for 16 jobs since I finished up from my old work and have two interviews lined up for next week.

One interview is for a job I applied for on the 20th of July and the interview is next Thursday, so the interview will be 3 weeks and 2 days after I applied for it... The other interview I have is for a job I applied for yesterday and got an email from the director at 9.30 last night, so this job is much quicker to act to fill their vacancy.  Unfortunately I couldn't schedule it before the camping trip, so hopefully it won't make too bad of an impression (it is at the start of next week).

I went to the gym twice this week, which is a good healthy habit I am rebuilding and hopefully will be able to keep.  I have also slowly been building up the time I spend on my bookkeeping business.  Today I listened to part of a business podcast and then spent 2.5 hours working on the overdue work for the one client I have.  I'm starting to really focus on getting up to date with his work, because my next focus is creating the website for the business.

When I had to work 5 days per week from November last year to my date of termination last month I saved the money earned into my brokerage account (a great place to save because generally once money goes there it doesn't leave that account since it is held at another bank which I don't really check that much!), and found that it amounted to $4500.  So last week I transferred that money into the business account and then repaid all of the business bills for the year that were sitting on my credit card (this amounted to $1067).  I don't know how much the website will cost but the money transferred over is to pay for it.   I have a friend who used to be a website designer so she has offered to help me set it up which is great.

B and I have been good with spending, however spent a little bit on the weekend for extra camping items ($155) and B's birthday present ($210).  He loves camping so will be very happy to be away for his birthday!

A New Chapter Has Begun

July 29th, 2021 at 08:35 am

It's been a very long since I posted and has been a very big few months.  Last year my work (now my old work) asked me to work full-time and I agreed to work full-time until May, which they agreed to... however the job I was doing graduated into really needing full-time work, which was no longer my plan, as I want to run my own business!

So last month I took the leap and resigned!  It was time.  I worked there for just over 16.5 years, which is a wonderful effort.  They were lovely people and we got along well, so I valued that and it made it easy to stay working at the same place for so long.  But ultimately I wanted better work life/balance and the job was working in the city travelling a minimum of 1hr15mins each way.  I was sick of the travel before the pandemic and working from home made me realise that travelling that long each day is too long to commute.

So I was working as an assistant accountant/bookkeeper with an annual wage of $59,148 and an hourly rate of $32.50.  But I guess if you look at the travel time included the daily amount earned for the day of 7 hours was $227.50 (before tax), but add in 2.5 hours it took to get to the job and get home and the hourly rate dropped down to $23.95.  It just did not seem worth it anymore.... but we'll see what financial position I am this time next year, and whether I got it right or got it wrong!

My work was fine about it.  They dropped a few hints that perhaps they thought I was crazy to leave secure employment, but I am looking forward to some personal growth (along with a shorter commute) and a different way of life, but they gave me a lovely send off of lunch one day and a lovely morning tea the next - it was all very sweet and emotional because it was the end of an era.  Because I was there for so long I walked away with long service leave of 15 weeks pay and holiday pay of 8 weeks pay, so this is a nice financial cushion to tide me over until I get my next role.

I worked out that I need to transfer $3k per month to contribute towards our bills and spending money, so we now have 5 months left.  So far we haven't been spending too much and have been living pretty comfortably, which makes me happy that we should be ok for a little while.

Because I had not had holidays since 2019 and was pretty run-down DH ordered me to take a rest of 2 weeks, just apply for a couple of jobs each day and mainly relax, which I've been doing.  I have been applying for jobs, and have been catching up on emails and bills with the bookkeeping business which got left to the wayside when I got really rundown, but have also been watching movies and going for little drives, and we are going away camping next weekend which is exciting.

I am hoping to commute up to about 45 minutes each way but have agreed with DH that if I get to 3 months without a job I will apply for city jobs again.  Last week I got a call about a city job and got an email interested in me working for them however it was also inner city, so we will see if I have to bite the bullet and go back to long commutes!

But next week will mark my third week out of a job so my new schedule will start... I have created a schedule to give myself structure and avoid falling into the trap of laziness, working towards getting a job for half of the day (currently am thinking of allocating the morning but if I get interviews in the afternoon then I will swap it around), and building up my bookkeeping business for the other half of the day.  I now have 2 clients - one who I have had for a long time (and have a lot of catching up to do to bring him up to date - both of our faults!) and one from my previous boss, as he doesn't want to do the bookkeeping work (he is a high-ranking accountant so this is not a good use of his time and I am grateful though; this work is up-to-date and will take about half an hour a day).

I have been following your blogs (and commenting occasionally), and now that I have more time available look forward to blogging more regularly and speaking with you all more regularly!

Wednesday 24 February

February 24th, 2021 at 06:48 am

Hi everyone,

I read your blog entries all the time but it seems that whenever I am busy blogging goes out the window.  So rather than talking about the last nearly two months, it might be easier to just share a daily snapshot from today of the things I have been doing (in the same fashion as MonkeyMama has been doing).

Today I worked from home as I only go into the office 2 days a week and work from home the other 3 days.  (My boss has said that he is happy for us to continue in this fashion indefinitely rather than constantly have to adjust whenever there is a lockdown).  Because I worked from home it has been a NSD.

While it has been a NSD, I did pay a couple of bills - council rates (probably the same thing as property taxes in the US) for the amount of $489 (this is quarterly) and registration for one of DH's motorbike for the amount of $134.20.  While paying the bills I realised that there wouldn't be a loan payment for DH's bike anymore as we paid it out last week so transferred $500 over to savings for our caravan.

We bought a caravan a month ago, which is currently getting made but finance does not start until we collect it so I decided to use the money we would normally spend on a motorbike loan repayment to put it towards the deposit.  The larger our deposit when we get it, the smaller the loan because while we have been approved for the full amount we can borrow less if we can contribute a cash portion.  We were going to get a caravan in our 50s but fast tracked it a few years because DH is struggling to set it up.  We are planning on keeping the caravan for a very long time and know that we will get a lot of use out of it.

The other thing that happened today is that DH resigned from his current job as he has landed a job with a company he was previously working for.  He took a $10k paycut last year after being made redundant so this job is paying $5k more, bringing it to $5k less than what he was making pre-pandemic.  He knows what this company he is going to is like and was comfortable there before, so he is looking forward to settling in there and being there for a long time.  Luckily his current job took the resignation well and were happy that he gave them a full month's notice when he has only been there 9 months.

Glad to see you're all well and it has been so interesting reading about people getting the Covid vaccines because ours have only started this week.  As I am an adult under 50 without underlying health conditions, I am in the fourth group of our population listed to receive it, so probably won't get it until July to September this year (that's what the government website advises).

Life Right Now In These Crazy Times

August 13th, 2020 at 07:49 am

Life here is very quiet but still busy as always. We have been in Stage 4 Lockdown for the last two weeks, so mask wearing is mandatory, the government has severely restricted the types of businesses that are essential, we are only allowed to travel up to 5km from our homes with the allowance of one person doing food shopping and exercise is restricted to one hour per day outside. Our cases started skyrocketing scarily and it was very stressful watching the news for a while. I am fine with limiting movement outside to bring transmission down - it is not a big thing to do but will have a big impact.

We did not know what Stage 4 Lockdown would involve so I spent three days in the leadup to it buying meat, alcohol, and any other purchases that I figured we would need in 6 weeks. It turns out Australia's Stage 4 Lockdown is not as strict as New Zealand - we have butchers, bottle shops and takeaway still open. Hardware is open only to tradespeople.

So I put all the food, alcohol and purchases on my credit cards and have been repaying it back a bit each week.

B & I are both still working though which is good. I am also coming up to the end of my bookkeeping course so have a very busy month ahead of me. If I do not complete the course on time it will cost $100 to extend it and the extension is valid for a year. I don't think I will need to extend it but I guess there is a small possibility.

So we are not going out but there is plenty to do at home! Last weekend it was B's birthday and we celebrated by having a spa, takeaway for dinner and a virtual music night with friends.

We are not spending very much at all. I am just letting the money sit in our spending account for if we need it but we are spending far less than usual. We might have takeaway here and there but I am trying to limit it as we are in a pandemic and everything is risky. I am generally doing the grocery shopping by click and collect to avoid walking through the supermarket.

The news is saying that we will likely have a meat shortage in a few weeks because the government reduced the abbattoir capacity to 2/3 because a lot of the Covid cases were spread within the abbattoirs as it is a hot environment where the workers work close together so it was spreading like wildfire. The news is also saying that we will likely have a food shortage because the borders are closed so fruit and vegetables cannot be brought into our State unless the other State government allows trucks only. We are currently well stocked for food but I think I will need to think ahead for more things to buy as well as things we can replace the foods with if they do have the food shortage.

These are such crazy times... Our cases have been falling though so our Government is saying by Christmas we could be out and about (still with mandatory masks though)

Hope you are all doing as well as possible in these crazy times!

52 Week Mega Money Challenge Week 2

May 28th, 2020 at 06:53 am

Because I'm trying to be diligent with our mega money credit card challenge I made sure that on our payday, the challenge payments were made also.

This week it was my turn to have $100 on my cards so I have listed that my share has been paid for the $200 week. I have split the payments into $33 on my NAB card and $67 on my Virgin card; this has been based on the proportion of both cards owing at the start of the challenge.

And because this week it was B's turn to have $65 repaid so I have listed that his share has been paid for the $130 week.

B started his job this week and is going well however they are a lot stricter than his previous firm so he is really busy trying to figure out all of the new practices. They are different to his last company because their business practices are really well developed - they even have their own app for payroll! All he has to do is put his password in at any time and he can see all his payroll information which is so different to his last company, who really withheld that information. I think it will be good for him working there.

Not much to report with me, I am plodding along. We did buy a BBQ over the weekend, as we haven't owned one for years and have friends visiting us so are looking forward to breaking it in!

DH Got A Job!!!

May 19th, 2020 at 02:22 am

Very happy to say that yesterday DH got offered a job!

He had a second interview on Friday with the company's general manager and got offered the job yesterday.

He did have to take a $10,000 pay reduction however paycuts are happening right across the industry so we were prepared for that and were fine with it. What he is getting paid is still good for us and we can continue to live comfortably.

He starts next Monday, and it makes him unemployed for just under a month, which isn't too bad at all in this current climate. We're just so happy that he got something so quickly. He thinks the people are ok too, so fingers crossed it all goes well.

We will have a bit of the redundancy package to spend on house items and save away, which is good. At this stage we are unsure of how much will be left as his employment contract says he is paid one month in arrears so we need to see what happens there.

We had pizza for dinner last night to celebrate Smile.

I have decided to embark on a 52 week mega money challenge to repay back both of our credit cards, will write more about that later in the week.

For now, we are just enjoying the lack of uncertainty!

Restrictions Eased In Our State Today; Covid Savings

May 11th, 2020 at 07:19 am

Our state had our restrictions eased today however not as much as other states. While cases have dropped dramatically in Australia, our state's cases have had the highest rate of new cases (14 overnight while other states have had 1).

Mother's Day was yesterday and other states eased their restrictions on Saturday so there were many celebrations. Our State Premier held off announcing restrictions until today which angered many people as they could not celebrate with their families. I think it was the best choice though because while the cases are dropping we are still in a pandemic and nothing is back to normal yet.

Our restrictions are still roughly the same- workers have still strongly been encouraged to work from home where possible, however now we are allowed to have up to 5 visitors in our homes and hiking, golf and other exercises which are non-contact and non-close contact are allowed.

I have missed my two closest friends so we have arranged to have a get-together at my house on the weekend. The weather is supposed to be nice so we will sit outside. In light of it still being a pandemic though I have said I will not be serving any food or drinks and we should not share food or drinks, so BYO whatever you feel like eating or drinking. It will only be a bit of a catch up outside and there will no hugging or kissing on cheeks obviously. So excited!

I have read something today about the amount of money people working from home have been saving on commutes and have realised that for this month we would have spent about $140 on my train ticket. I did not include this in my budget and am just thinking that perhaps while I work from home to leave this aside for an expected increase in heating and electricity costs. The government has said that employees working from home can claim a deduction for home office running costs however this won't be received until after June 30 (our tax year end) whenever we lodge our tax returns. The actual gas and electricity bills will be received before that though so it might be a good idea to set this aside.

Are any of you saving money due to working from home during Corona Virus?

Wednesday Ramblings

May 7th, 2020 at 09:32 am

Couldn’t think of a name for the blog post so Wednesday Ramblings it is 😊.

We have been going ok with our reduced redundancy budget.. I’ll call it that because that’s why we’re trying to stretch what we have. Of our $410 from last week the last of it got spent today. Groceries were just under $150 and of that we bulk bought sausages and lemon pepper chicken pieces. They are saying meat is selling cheap here however I saw it going cheap a couple of weeks earlier- we got 4 schnitzels for $2, 2 x Malaysian coconut chicken skewers at $2 each, lamb sausages for $2 and kangaroo meatballs for $2. Lately it’s not so cheap. However I know from past experience that when you are on a reduced budget meat can tear a hole through it so my aim is try and bulk buy as much as possible.

DH went for an interview last week and has a different interview this week. He is applying for jobs daily however is up against a lot of applicants. For example today a job closed and they revealed 137 other people applied. Meanwhile while we are trying to stretch what we have for as long as possible his family are trying to push us into buying shares to make money! DH got pretty upset because his family are totally not on our wavelength and are super comfortable. While we can last a while before unemployment benefits are required and it does not look like we are anywhere close to losing our house, we are most certainly not going to put our money into a volatile share market... much better to see clearly what we have for each month.

Today my employer contacted us to say that he qualifies for the JobKeeper subsidy (an Australian government initiative which pays businesses $1500 per employee per fortnight that they forward on to the employee so that the employer is relieved of paying their wages for up to 6 months). He did not say anything about our jobs or wages in the email and spoke more about using the money to cover IT costs and to get us to upgrade our home offices. I didn’t think JobKeeper would be replacing my income because of this but still called to clarify and luckily I was right. I completed the form and then decided that the things I need to bring my home office up to standard is a stand for the main monitor to bring it in line with my head height and another monitor as my work likes us to work with two monitors. B (DH) is going to work with me over the weekend to clean up the home office and set it up and hopefully we will get reimbursed for this soon.

My boss also offered to put me back on to 5 days a week which was really sweet as he knows B is unemployed now. I have been working Fridays as I have been behind and finally made the time up, and was looking forward to having my Friday back (plus am stressing about my course i am behind on). I thanked him and let him know I would think about it, but just want a bit of a rest this week. If B cannot find work and I went to 5 days per week it would be an extra $800 pay per month and I would probably have to do my course and bookkeeping business stuff on the weekend. For this week though I need a bit of time to rest.

In other financial news, an Australian financial institution has come under fire for readjusting the amount of money their customers can have in their mortgage redraw without telling them and putting the excess funds on to the mortgage balance as a repayment! Some people lost up to $24000 of available funds and it has sparked outrage because some people needed that money and were simply parking it for the time being. As soon as I read that I instantly moved part of B’s redundancy package we parked in our offset account into a different savings account not linked to our mortgage. Scary stuff.

In non financial news I am missing our cat like crazy. It was 2 months today. My mind is rational and says it was her time and it is good she is not in pain anymore but my heart still can’t comprehend she’s gone and there is a big hole there. Of course we’re very thankful for the 18 years of wonderful memories but it’s still hard. Our dog has recovered really well from her eye problems which is great, she is not in danger anymore. She’s nearly 18, who knows how long she could live to? (She still has quite a bit of energy)

We find out on the weekend if lockdown restrictions in our state are loosened however even if they are I don’t plan on doing much while this virus is around and we are heading into winter next month here - will probably lay low for the next few months.

Good News Then Bad News

April 26th, 2020 at 09:39 pm

It seems like whenever there is good news lately it’s immediately followed by bad news lately.. for example I had an idea with my business and got my client to agree to it (officially signing up my services and signing an agreement to have regular payments to me direct debited), then the day after I found out the cat was dying.

Sooo.. last Tuesday I spoke with the client and we arranged to meet the next day (social distancing of course). I had been in contact backwards and forwards with the direct debit company and had my account set up and all ready to go. (My idea with my bookkeeping business is that it is actually an ongoing process with regular work, rather than accounting which is often a once yearly job.. here in Australia it is becoming popular to charge clients with a monthly package fee rather than hourly which I like the idea of and have decided to implement; and my thoughts are that if you are charging a set rate it would be great to have the payment direct debited from the client’s account rather than me chase them up). So the great news is I have set up the direct debit form, my new client engagement letter and most importantly signed the client up 😁. The client is a tradesman and based on the number of transactions he needs done per month he is on the lowest package of $110 per month (roughly 2 hours work per month), and he has opted to have the direct debit withdrawn weekly, which is just over $25 per week. That’s my happy news - I was super happy to have an official client signed up and a few business processes implemented....

So that was a big high for me that I am thankful for.... but the next day life laughed at us.. B found out that he is getting made redundant.... so he is now one of the 1/4 of our population out of work..... super stressful times.... he did quite well at his job and made it to a low 6 figure salary so the redundancy package he received is quite good. He received 8 weeks (including unused holiday leave of 1 week), which I have roughly worked out could last us 6 months on a super tight budget (provided nothing goes wrong) before we have to dip into savings. Let’s hope that he can get a new job soon though..

Sidenote: B went in to his work on Monday, returned the company car, phone, tablet and any other company items. He heard past coworkers say that when they quit they had to wait four weeks for their holiday pay. We didn’t want to go through that so I checked the employment laws with Fair Work Australia and found that according to his industry all final payroll entitlements must be paid within 2 business days. Thankfully they obeyed the law and we had our money on Tuesday afternoon.

We have had 2 other times in our past where our money situation was pretty dire - both when B had the business and injured himself and was unable to work and income protection didn’t pay, so we know how to live off small amounts of money. Our new budget until he gets a job again is $160 per week for food, $50 for takeaway and $100 spending money each. Spending money includes alcohol, petrol, clothing if needed, beauty items if needed.

I have also included $300 per month for things that might come up - for example our dog’s eye specialist appointment was on Thursday and that was $150, so half of our incidentals money until the 15th of next month is gone.

I worked out on our tight budget we need $3545 per month from his pay, and that we have approximately 6.5 months of his pay before we need to use savings, apply for unemployment benefits. We will still apply for unemployment anyway though as B received his employment separation certificate however I imagine it will be a while before we see any money from the government as they make you use up your payout first (which we are).

I moved $10k of the payout to the mortgage offset account (because we may as well reduce interest if we can), and all the other months to another account. To keep things simple we will still make payday 15th of the month (each month we set aside spending money and deposit a certain amount into our EFTPOS account on the same day of each week).

We hope B will find work soon - he is being good about applying for jobs either daily or every second day, and making sure he is up each day so if he gets called in to interview he is ready to go. There aren’t many jobs out there though and there is a lot of unemployment which is scary....

Wish us luck in these hard times... While we know what to do to get by, it is still hard... So thankful for this site to help keep me focused and all of your tips you have and share..

Hello, It’s Been A While!

April 11th, 2020 at 08:23 am

Well where have the months gone? It’s been forever since I’ve blogged and now I can see that my blog is now retired - it says the last entry is December 2018 however I know I did do a couple of entries last year but I think they got wiped when the site got hacked. Anyway I miss you guys and I have been lurking, just haven’t got around to actually doing a blog entry. Who could’ve ever pictured what is going on with the world right now? It’s insane.

I’m currently working from home and now it is going okay, I have some sort of a routine where I’m pretty much just trying to stick to the exact hours I work when I’m at work.

So what’s been going on in the last nine months? I went down to working four days a week and I’m still doing it - I have been doing a course which I’m still in the middle of doing, am halfway through it however only have a few months to go so might possibly need to extend it or really put a lot of energy into getting as much done as I can. This was all for the aim of starting my own business doing bookkeeping which I still want to do and have been putting a bit of energy into it. So far I have a laptop, one client but I’m not really trading yet because I’m still learning - I will wait until I finish my course before I decide to start a website.

So that’s what’s been going on with work - at home we have had a lot of problems with our dog and our cat in the last few months. They are both little old ladies however our dog who was going blind had to have an eye removed just before Christmas which was all pretty horrible and then we decided to have our cat fully checked out and it turned out that her kidney disease became really advanced and she had blood in her urine which means that over 70% of her kidneys have been lost. Unfortunately we had to make the decision to put her down, at the start of March. It was so hard saying goodbye to her but we were able to have the vet come to the house and she was able to be euthanised in her favourite spot in the garden surrounded by us. We miss her so much but it was the best thing to do so that she would not pass away in pain. Last week we found out that our dog has an ulcer in her good eye and it was very touch and go but by Thursday the vet said that she was over the worst stage but it will still take a month to heal and we are not sure if she can keep the eye. The ulcer is very serious and she requires medicine every four hours so I am lucky to be able to work from home to be able to do this. All the same though we decided that if they say that she has to have the eye removed as she is now 17 we won’t put her through that and so we may possibly put her down instead... it’s so hard being without the cat and think that we may not have the dog either is heartbreaking but she shouldn’t be in pain so like the cat we have to do the best thing for her.. hopefully it doesn’t come to that though as she seems to be recovering well.

Financially we are ok. The credit card debt is higher than before (mainly due to lots of vet bills and travel expenses due to our upcoming trip) but we are trying to control it. I always find though that when I am blogging and talking to you all I am much better with managing debt and savings as you all keep me accountable 😊.

In terms of savings we have $5750 towards my next car plus around $3000 in shares. Due to market volatility we have lost around $1000-$1500 but as we won’t be selling anytime soon hopefully it will all come back up. Anyway it’s good to have a bit of money available in the event it’s needed.

In December last year we booked flights to go to the UK to visit a family friend for a few weeks in July this year. As Coronavirus was starting to turn bad I had it in the back of my mind that it might not be safe to go this year and now it’s clear we can’t go so tonight I bit the bullet and filled an online flight cancellation form with my travel provider. We have decided that we will go at pretty much the same time next year if everything is ok.

Glad to be back blogging and looking forward to trying to stay accountable with you guys!