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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!

March Savings = 5.5%, April-5-17

April 5th, 2017 at 12:36 pm

After waiting a few days and putting all final transactions into March we ended up with enough left over to add $61.97 to Christmas savings and $136 each to the cash account and the shares account. The final savings rate of all our income for March was 5.5%, which I am more happy with than 2.5% as it was previously going to be.

***

It's a busy couple of weeks here so I think I will simply share a snapshot of a day here and there. It's busy because not only is it my birthday next week but it is also Easter and we are planning on going camping so I must get all of my study work done before we go, not to mention shopping for it all etc. So between now and next Wednesday I have to get 20hours of study done.... have done 3 so far, my plan is to get the current week done by Saturday then spend Sunday-Wednesday doing the next week. Won't have much time for much else, this will definitely keep me out of trouble!

Things that happened today:
- found out yesterday I lost my earphones on the train which is really annoying. We don't have any spare ones at home so will need to buy. Can get them for around $10 and also want to get a new ipad case as this one is falling apart; want one this time that can stand up while watching tv or movies on it; this is priced at $30.
- I finished a really lovely book called Narrow Margins by Marie Browne. It is a lighthearted funny book about a family who nearly goes broke so they sell their house and buy a narrow boat to live on instead. It was so funny that there were often times on my lunchbreak where I had to bite the inside of my mouth so I wouldn't burst out laughing! I have now bought a new book called the The Murder of Allison Baden-Clay for $14.99; my first ever true crime book. This case is 5 years old and had always intrigued me so it will be interesting to read about it in more detail.
- B needed $75 to enter in his motorbike race so I withdrew $80 and bought myself a $5 bottle of wine (should I call that cash withdrawal fees?)
- This month we were supposed to be saving most of our money left over towards the Phuket holiday which is no longer happening. B now wants to spend some money on the garden, he is thinking possibly $200 and I am now thinking that I would really like us to be in Fiji next year for my 40th birthday so would like to save $225 each month towards that, starting this month. He was also asking if we could get that $300 we paid as a deposit back which I need to look into; I'm doubtful though as it was paid nearly two years ago and isn't far off expiry.

Not much else to report on today's happenings, must get myself to bed, got to sleep far too late last night (for me far too late was 11.20pm when I need to wake up at 6) and don't want to do it again.

11 Things For 11 Days

March 11th, 2017 at 06:10 am

It's been a little while since I've posted so rather than write about whatever the latest thing is, I'm going to write about 11 things (hopefully mostly financial) that have been going on in the last 11 days:

1. On Tuesday our dishwasher seal broke Frown. Luckily I was standing near it and it had only run for 3 minutes so there was no water damage. B had a look at it and found the manufacturers website so we bought a double pack of seals (just in case the other seal goes, so that we don't have to re-order) for $52.73 which they say will be delivered to us next Wednesday. We are both so sick of washing dishes by hand but thankfully have got ourselves into a more regular routine so it's a bit less painful.

2. I finally got around to checking my superannuation account (retirement account) and the balance is $92,008. Going by ceejay's years x income, by the time I turn 40 next year I need to have 2 x times my income so $108,000. I realized that combined with the taxable investments I hold outside of superannuation and earnings that hopefully the account will receive it should be a possibility. The earnings last year were a paltry 2.44% however over 5 years in total they were 38.75% which equates to 7.75% per year which beats the standard 5%. I am happy with 7.75%.

3. B got a letter from a superannuation account which was an employer one from a job he had 9-10 years ago stating that if he didn't give his instructions on what to do with the account they would be turning it over to the Australian Taxation Office so they could hold it in the unclaimed moneys department. We had a financial planner roll all of our employer superannuation accounts into one years ago however he missed this one, the current account balance is $4,187.50. The letter was dated 1st February and gave us until 22nd February however I don't think they sent it for a while because we saw the letter on the 28th so the money has now gone to the Tax Office. There will now be a lengthy process to get it and roll it over as B will need to apply in writing and we will need to wait a while most likely to receive it. How annoying.

4. We have decided not to go on the Phuket holiday. This is due to our friends not being interested in going anymore and also B not really being interested. I wouldn't mind going but I'm not too bothered that we aren't doing it anymore as I had a big trip overseas last year and generally like to go overseas every 2-3 years, otherwise it can be a bit expensive going on annual overseas trips. We are now looking at doing a camping holiday in the next state at a beachy sort of area instead, which I am looking forward to. I'm not sure of when we will go though, it would be sometime between July and September and would be dependent on B's work (my work is a bit more flexible at that time of year).

5. This month we pay B's tax of $2,780. All funds have now been saved and the money will be transferred over soon.

6. Our car insurances also get debited out of our account around the 19th of March; mine is $969.40 for a 14 year old car; B's is $1,121.16 for a 6 year old car. We have enough money in the account and because I averaged out the bills amount back in October we did not have to pay for any of it out of pocket which is great! Last year we had to find $461.40 to cover the remaining portion. All I need to do is work out which bank account B's car insurance comes out of, don't remember.

7. We made month number 2 of the Christmas savings challenge, so we now have $135 saved up. This month we are supposed to save up $95. We currently have $2 saved up so need to start working towards it.

8. I bought a replacement suit for work a couple of weeks ago for $132, which was an $87 reduction in price. This suit should last a long time so was happy to pay it.

9. B is on a health kick and has rejoined boxing classes. He went regularly just before we got married but then it died off after the wedding so it's been a few years since he's been. To test the waters instead of signing up for a membership we bought a 10 class pack for $130. So far he has done 2 classes this week and has lost 2 kilos so is pretty happy. If he decides after using up the class pack that he wants to rejoin, it is $19.95 per week (same as my membership).

10. Last week we had my family over for lunch and it was a warm day so we cooked up chicken with roast potatoes and salad, then my sister and I both did a dessert each. It was a lovely meal and for 7 people we spent a whole $37.86 Smile. You could spend that on 2 people going out for lunch so I was pretty happy.

11. It is week 2 of my study unit and I am coping ok with the workload. They say you need to allocate 10hours per week however this subject's tutor has said we should allocate 15(!?!) which I really hope is not the truth because I don't know how on earth I would fit that amount of time in. I really want to be diligent with doing 10hours from the very start to avoid having to do 20hours around exam and assignment time, but this week I am finding that I have put in 7.5hours and don't really have 2.5 more hours of work to do.... I will probably finish the online quiz I have to do and do some revision.

I struggled to think of the 11th thing but I'm glad to have jotted down some bits and pieces. Off to check the blogs!

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.

Quick Hello

February 15th, 2017 at 11:17 am

Hi everybody, just wanting to say a super quick hello. Here's some financial goings-on in the last couple of days:

- yesterday we took our 15yo cat to the vet to get an old-cat profile done. This is various blood tests to see if she can tolerate a stronger dose of pain meds and a check on her organs. The check on her organs found that she has very early stage kidney disease so now the stronger dose has been ruled out. Hopefully with some dietary changes she will have an improved quality and length of life. $652 all up, so we have spent $712 on her this month. I am glad we got the medical done but really am now hoping to rein the spending in.

- on Monday I had to buy a birthday present for SIL so decided to get a gift card. Turns out the supermarket was having a $10 reward if you bought gift cards for certain shops. As this is a good shop, I bought the gift card for there, and received the $10 off a purchase tonight; have now added this to my snowflakes tally (SIL was happy too!)

- tonight I did my fourth weekly shop in a row and completed the required spending - now have $60 rewards waiting to be deducted off our next shop! This will mean that we will easily make month 2 of the Christmas savings challenge Smile.

I now have to go to bed but just thought I would check in and jot a few things down.

Twelve Days Until Christmas! Monday Stuff

December 12th, 2016 at 09:21 pm

As Alice4now said, it's now 12 days until Christmas. I don't know that I watch heaps of Christmas movies but I do like to read a light-hearted Christmas book around this time of year, so bought Christmas at Coorah Creek off Kobo for $2.65. This is a romance story set in the Australian outback.

My only other Monday spending was $25 on a new heel for my two week old shoes. Last Thursday was an expensive day! I was walking to work and clipped my heel on the kerb as I was crossing the street and completely snapped the heel off. That meant that 1) I needed new shoes and 2) I needed to fix broken shoe. On the way to work the only shoe shop is Nine West so a pair of patent flats on sale set me back $90! I think my work shoe collection is complete for a while now....

I got to use my new straightener properly and am happy to see it works well, I hope to keep it for a while (and $40 is a better price than the previous $200)

B and I are both better now pretty much which is great. I have some residual sinus problems, hopefully they fade off soon.

Have done half the Christmas shopping pretty much, spent around $170. The other half of the presents are more expensive, expecting to spend around $300 there. If I'm lucky enough I can grab those presents after work or in my lunchtime around my work area, instead of going to the awful busy shopping centre in my area.

Sick

December 7th, 2016 at 10:07 am

Unfortunately I had to take a sick day today, as I started coming down with a bad cold yesterday and my throat was too painful today. B also came down sick - this is our first time ever we have come down with a cold at the same time. It was really quite hilarious last night, and fun to have someone suffering the same ailments. We both had aches and chills and everything was just too DAMN hard!!

B had to go to the doctors to get a medical certificate so I asked my boss if he wanted me to get one too and he said no it's fine, which was nice. Colds are an expensive thing. I bought lemsip and B bought strepsils with anaesthetic in them so between the two of them we have been sharing. Today I then spent $15 on throat lozenges and a medicated throat gargle.

Last night I had no idea what to have for dinner because our throats were too sore for solid food. I ended up making pumpkin soup for me and B had a toasted cheese sandwich. I accidentally put too much garlic in the soup so couldn't eat it; B just couldn't eat his because it was too solid.

Then today we have steak and sausages defrosted to eat either today or tomorrow and I couldn't bear to throw it out or feed it to the dog so used the steak in a beef vegetable soup in the slow cooker which was really nice and so easy to make. The sausages I will deal with tomorrow.

B is now sicker than me. I think part of the reason is I slept through the night while he woke up every 10 minutes or so - he has been sleeping a lot today so hopefully is a bit better tomorrow. I do feel that having the day off was the best thing to do because it has really sped up my recovery time. I have energy when I'm sitting but get lethargic when moving around; if I went to work I would have been really lethargic and sick for a lot longer. My throat will still probably be really painful but think I will be over the lethargic side of the cold.

About the most useful thing I did today was actually plan out all the Christmas presents, there are now only two which have a question mark. I read the catalogues for ideas and then researched the stores I shopped at, trying to keep the presents generally between the $30-$40 mark. I don't want to say what the total will be but we can afford to pay for the presents this month and that's the main thing. It's good to be organised.

Doings Of The Last Few Days

December 5th, 2016 at 11:13 am

What's been happening this last few days? Here's a few things, financial and non-financial:

- the most important thing of the last few days is I said goodbye to my childhood home. It has been in my family 33 years. Maybe around 12 years ago, Mum sold it because she was moving in with my stepfather; so she sold it to my sister and BIL, who sold it in October and moved out on Saturday. They have pretty much changed the entire inside so it is really a shell of my childhood home. All the same, I took in every last detail for the last time ever. It was a pretty emotional moment. As B said, "you will always have the memories", which is very true.
- Christmas parties Saturday night and Sunday day, both related to B. I have a couple of weeks break from parties etc which is good, a chance to catch up on things and relax a bit.
- Spending has been all over the place, have only been tracking every few days. This weekend we were only slightly over though.
- We were over in spending because this morning my straightener died! I had one which we paid $200 for about 8 years ago, so it has really lasted well. As it was December and this is usually an expensive month, I picked one up for $40 from Priceline. Hopefully technology has improved straighteners and it lasts a while. If I don't like the quality I may get a better brand for my birthday (already have my Christmas present). This went on my credit card, need to repay it this week.
- Only starting to think about Christmas, which is standard for me. B and I already have our presents, and I have 11 presents to buy. Will need to either get them this weekend or next as Christmas weekend will be purely devoted to socialising, cooking and cleaning. If I plan well enough, I can get them all in a couple of hours.
- On Friday the combined value of shares and EF hit $8k! Exciting stuff.

Must make lunches and go to bed, talk soon.

Snowflakes 14-11-16; NSD #4

November 14th, 2016 at 10:16 am

Challenge starting balance: $8,840.21
Plus:
- weekly EF savings $35.69
- digital change $2.85
- Safeway everyday rewards $20.00
Challenge closing balance: $8,898.75

The weekly EF savings got withdrawn, some more digital change got transferred to the Christmas savings account and then I redeemed $20.00 in Safeway everyday rewards tonight while getting some groceries - we only have $10.00 left there now.

The Christmas savings bank account is currently at $96.98, will be over $100 very soon. It may not pay for all of our presents but every bit counts. For example my main Christmas present that I would like is a gold bracelet to replace my fake gold bracelet, the cost of it marked down is $149 - I tried it on today and it looks nice. These savings could very well pay for that.

Speaking of Christmas presents, B wants to get a sticker kit for his motorbike at $300 (I'm told they will last a very long time though!). I told him he can order it, he is really very good with not wanting too much I don't mind a splurge now and again.

Just think, if I did this next year from January we could possibly effortlessly pay for Christmas...

On Thursday I had a NSD, then yesterday I was feeling pretty tired from having my friends over on Saturday night so decided not to do any grocery shopping and just use up what we had, and we had plenty of leftovers so it was fine, so then was able to add another NSD to the challenge! I could possibly make Wednesday and Thursday NSDs also - need to get petrol and the balance of the groceries tomorrow, so if I plan well enough that could be it until Friday.

I really need to do some more savings transfers soon and credit card repayment etc so you will see another entry soon.

July EOM EF Balance; New Coffee Machine

July 31st, 2016 at 08:25 am

Challenge starting balance: $5,737.37
Plus:
- weekly EF savings $35.69
Challenge closing balance: $5,773.06

As always, on Friday the weekly EF savings got transferred to the EF account.

I've just checked the balance for the end of July and it is as follows:

Mini EF: $2,743.35
Maxi EF: $3,784.50
Holiday Fund: $-445.00

All in all, $6,527.85. The Maxi EF, the shares portion of the savings gained $200 from last month. The Maxitrans shares are down by $120 and the QBE shares are up by $80, so not awesome but not too bad.

***

No football winnings this week as my team lost and we didn't have enough spare money to transfer the $15 over from last week so will do that next week.

***

I've been saving for another coffee machine because the current one has been leaking for quite a while, even though I've descaled it. B had a look to see if he could pull it apart and change a seal but no, not possible.

I had $40 saved. This morning while using it, it made an unmistakably bad and scary sound so it was apparent that this was it, time to go to the shops.

The remainder of this purchase is coming out of August money!

Good Guys had the best price for Nespresso coffee machines and I saw one for $229 (rrp is $329) pretty much exactly the same. But.... then I spoke to a salesman.

We ended up with a slight upgrade, getting a Nespresso Lattissima for $399 (rrp is $515, so we got a good deal as they are running that model out), which I'm happy about as this machine does your milk and coffee at the same time, there's a bit of time saving there.

Still have mixed emotions though because instead of saving $100 we overspent by $170. I think in the longterm we'll see the value though. Mr Money Mustache would not be proud though!