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hello everyone!

July 31st, 2011 at 12:44 am

It's been over a month since I last posted, sorry everyone. I have missed SA, and I find I think about a lot of you sometimes. Even though I've never met any of you, you all feel like my extended family. I've tried explaining this to DH once before, and he doesn't really understand. (I suppose, we do use the 'imagine-everyone-you-don't-know-on-the-internet-is-a-huge-fat-guy-sitting-in-his-underwear' example with my little sister when she decides to not use her brain and adds strangers on facebook, myspace, etc).

I see there are lots of newbies here too, welcome! (I was, once upon a time, a 'regular', however it seems I don't get time to scratch let alone write a blog post, and when I do, I find I don't have much content, so I delete it! I'm determined to post this one though.

So, for about a year now I've completely stopped recording our expenditure/earnings etc. The organisational freak in me sometimes has a spin-out and panics a little bit. I did think, about six months ago, that I felt like I had no idea where we were with our savings and expenditure. I feel like I'm walking on a tightrope very high with no safety harness. However, the bank account begs to differ. It seems that once we relaxed a bit with our financial situation, it did the world of good. Perhaps recording everything isn't for us; maybe doing that meant we had more binges and blowouts because we both always felt like we were pinching pennies. Whatever the reason, our bank balance is almost at where it was when we first bought our house and had a bonza of additional funds from settlement. Basically, the EF I've always stressed about having, is actually there for once.

We just submitted our tax returns for the 10-11 financial year too, and are getting a nice $2300 back. Where is it going? Savings, of course.

I passed my last subject, LAW1101. I'm now about to start my third week of STA2300 (data analysis) and CIS1000 (business information system concepts). I'm actually liking them a lot! Having been met with looks of horror and pity when telling people one of my next subjects was data analysis, I think I'm now shocking people even more by telling them I'm enjoying it. But... someone has to right? And if I didn't like it a tiny bit, then why the heck would I be studying accounting anyway?

I've been applying for a couple of jobs a week. So far, no luck, but I'm waiting on three recent applications I submitted. Fingers crossed!

On the current job front, well, things are still the same level of frustrating. Atleast ALL the staff are frustrated, and at the same person (our boss, and his wife). In some way, that makes it bearable. We are able to joke an whine to each other about it, and pretty much everyone is in some stage of looking for a new job.
Our boss seems to be doing a whole lot more lying lately, and is intent on talking himself (and his wife) up on the social status ladder. He goes through stages of doing annoying things. Lately it's this.
I am not the type of person that cares about what someone earns, how big their boat is, what car they drive, how prestigious their house location is, etc. But, I have to listen to my boss talk about his friends in this way. It actually makes me a little sad, as I've realised lately that I don't know his friends names, what they're like, what they do in their spare time (other than sail their yacht around), how well they get along with their spouse, if they're funny, or a little weird, or their quirks etc. When I talk about my friends, that is what I talk about. I talk about THEM. I've also caught him lying outright (to a customer he didn't even know, who happened to have a bank uniform on) about how his wife is a bank manager. First of all, she hasn't worked at a bank in about two years. Secondly, she approved loans, she was never a manager.
Little things like this, EVERY DAY, begin to drive a person insane.

That, and the wife still hasn't apologised for yelling at me after I told her my sister couldn't work because she was in hospital. So, I'm not really a happy chappy at work right now.

In other income-related news, DH's dad is partly handing his business over to us in a few months while he moves interstate to help his parents (DH's grandparents) fix up their house. Before that happens, I am working with our accountant to turn it into a company. I think eventually DH's dad will retire and hand the business over to us. Things are actually going alright in that section of our lives, for once. Normally it is all sorts of hell with the family's business, but not right now.

My little sister was diagnosed with PCOS last week. I am not really sure how they picked it up because she does not exhibit any appearance related signs (hirsutism, obesity, acne etc) but atleast she knows at a young age and can learn to cope with it now.

Tomorrow will be DH's third week of not drinking alcohol. He has struggled with it, but it is for a good cause. We decided long ago that when we wanted to conceive we would stop all drinking and unhealthy habits, for atleast two months before initially trying. So that is another bit of exciting news: we hope that by the end of the year we'll be pregnant. I'm hopeful, anyway. We're both relatively young and so we hope it shouldn't be too difficult, but have known people who have struggled, so at the same time we're not overly confident that it will be something that happens straight away. We'll see.
My sister having PCOS has made me worry a little bit. I'm not sure if it's something that is genetic? Should I be checked for something like that?

What else? Our dogs are well. I actually took them for their yearly check up and was told they are too fat! So, I have begun to feed them slightly less dry food and take them for walks more often. I did slack a bit with the walks during my exam preparation in June. They seem to have lost a little already (it's been a bit over a month).

I think that is all of my news. I have not had much time to scroll through everyone's regular blogs - so feel free to leave me a little update of what's been happening in your life lately in the comments section! Big Grin




bought ourselves a tv (& cute pic)

December 5th, 2010 at 09:49 pm

As some of you know, DF and I have been looking at buying a new television for a very long time. We have gone through three of the older tube-style tv's this year (one was DF's, one was mine, and one we were given). So finally, on Saturday, we bought ourselves the one that we have been looking to buy since the beginning of the year, it's a 40" Sony Bravia LCD tv. They have come down a lot in price in the past few months, what with all the LED's and 3D TV's coming out. And even though we *could have* spent a few hundred more and got one of those, we didn't.

DF is always hard to convince about these things - he doesn't look at it as saving $300 by buying an LCD, instead he looks at it as 'We could get an LED for what we would have spent on an LCD three months ago.' Big Grin

Me? I'm not interested in always having the latest and greatest. It is something I think DF and I will never agree on. He likes STUFF. I am happy with the basics, pretty much. I don't need a new computer, therefore, I don't want one.

In total we spent $990, with a 5 year warranty. The tv itself was $861 - ticket price on that day was $1126.00 - I think we did well at bargaining it down.
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In other news, we got our new mobile broadband starter pack with a mini wi-fi modem - and (after much hassle - I think I was nearly ready to kill something) IT WORKS! And it works good, which is the main thing. We have to invest in a wi-fi adaptor for DF's computer ($42) but from then o... it's all savings baby!

Old Plan (24 month contract - expired)
Home Phone: $29.95
5gb ADSL Internet: $44.95
Total: $74.90 + approx $5 in monthly calls

New Plan (12 month contract)
4gb Peak, 8gb Off-Peak Mobile Broadband: $29.95

So, we are saving between $45 and $50 a month! It means though, we will not have a landline phone. We do not use it anyhow, TBH it is mainly to order pizza Big Grin, which we can do online. With the old plan, you could not have internet by itself, it had to have a phone line, and that was the cheapest I could find.

We both have generous mobile cap plans, so if we have relatives that want to talk to us for a while for a catchup, we can just call them.

Next in line is our life insurance and superannuation. I am looking forward to this saving as well, it will be roughly $50-$60 a month in savings PLUS linking our superannuation to our online banking so that we can actually see how much we have in there (it does not allow us to withdraw from it though, in case you are wondering).

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And finally, Aldi is opening locally in TEN DAYS! I am sooooo excited. Big Grin

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I think that is all my updates for now. Oh! DF has put in a quote for a large job that needs to be completed before christmas, and he will probably be getting a large sum for it. We were talking about putting it towards our wedding rings and Soundwave concert tickets we were eyeing off.

Is it really *that* unconventional to go to a heavy metal music festival for your honeymoon...?


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And to end the post, here is a cute pic of Banjo:



Smile

reaaaallly big catchup post!

December 1st, 2010 at 10:32 pm

Whew, lots of things going on here at the moment, so I thought it was best for a quick update post.

I am really hating my job right now. Something seems to have changed, and I just dread going to work each day. I think that it is just that our boss and his wife seem to have stopped caring for their employees. They were always fantastic bosses up until the past few months, when everything seems to have just changed.
My boss bought a boat, and so now all he ever does is whinge about money, or talk about his boat, or talk about how he wishes he was in his boat - and no one cares to listen to him about any of those topics. It really doesn't do him any favours, because the first thought that comes into anyones head when he mentions money is 'Well, you just bought a boat, things can't be that bad'.
Secondly, there's no Christmas party this year. I would totally understand if it were for money reasons (even with the purchase of the boat!) but their reason? 'Oh, we are just so busy this year, with a wedding to go to and our son graduating from kindergarten.' Wow. Way to make your staff feel appreciated! Frown
Thirdly, our closing times changed, from 5.30pm to 5pm. This does not effect me or my wages, but the way they went about it was just rude. When shifts were first cut down at the start of the economic crisis, they sent a letter home two months before the shift cuts started, saying they were sorry but they could not do anything about it, costs had to be cut etc. This time? Not a word of warning, no explanation until the changed roster came out. (Rosters are done a week in advance). I just don't understand why they couldn't have done what they did previously!
And lastly, and I guess, most importantly, I just feel like strangling my boss every time I look at him. Smile It is not just me though, it is everyone. He has become erratic, extremely inconsistent with his words and actions. He will say one thing and do another, constantly contradicts himself, blames other staff members for doing things he told them to do, bitching about staff members to everyone but never telling the actual person involved what's wrong... Just so frustrating. He's very passive aggresive, doesn't like confrontations. I actually had an argument with him last week (first argument I've ever had with a boss before - it involved me confronting him over something he'd said about a staff member), and he hid from me for an hour and would not talk to me. Mature!

Anyway. SO I am not really sure how much longer I can last, if things do not change/go back to normal. Perhaps I have been looking for an excuse like this, but then again I do not have great confidence in finding another job and settling in. I guess everyone is like that though. New job jitters?

The thing that sucks is that I like the WORK. It is just everything else that I hate right now.

DF and I had a discussion about children. He has suddenly decided (probably because his sister is due to give birth in January) that we should have children soon. Like, next year soon. I know that there are good times and bad times to have children, but in the end, there is never a 'perfect' time - so many people have said 'there's never going to be that perfect financial/mental point to have a child, you just cope as it happens.' It's totally true. BUT! I think that if we were EVER going to pick a year to have a baby, next year would be the absolute worst time. I am sure we would obviously learn to cope and make ends meet - but I also think if we had any choice in the matter (which we do) we should make the choice to atleast post-pone this for one more year. Why?
Several reasons: 1) this 'wedding party' that DF wants nest year will take up valuable baby saving funds, not to mention time, and will only add stress to our lives. I don't want to have to deal with morning sickness and all the goodies that come with pregnancy AS WELL. 2) We will need to replace my car. It is unsafe, getting to be unreliable, and also extremely noisy etc. What we want will be new-to-us, but will have to be saved and paid for obviously - not going to be easy to do on one wage. 3) I have just started studying. I atleast want to do one year! 4) We are going to have to consider seriously in the next month or two, getting a business loan and starting our own business. Yet again, not something I want to deal with in its' initial stages as well as pregnancy. Eugh! Can't imagine anything worse!

and my last reason being - I want to achieve certain health, weight and fitness goals before I have a baby, as sort of a mental exercise so that post-baby, I can say to myself 'you did it once, you can do it again'. I am currently only half way through, so would like to be able to complete this.

Is that too much to ask?

ANyway, I think DF has given up on the idea anyway. Only because I said all the logical stuff that he agrees with, and the only reason he doesn't agree with me completely is because he 'wants' to start a family now. I told him, waiting one extra year isn't going to hurt anyone, and cousins being 2 years apart is not going to matter that much. (right???)

And I guess the last of my news is that we now have a 'boarder' living with us, in the form of my sister. I know most of you probably already knew this as I posted about it a few months ago; but when I last posted about it, this was a temporary arrangement. It is now about to become semi-permanent. I say semi-permanent, because there are rules involved. If the rules are obeyed, she can stay. If not, well...

We might finally be buying a new tv! prices have dropped a lot lately, and we are hopeful of getting the one we want at roughly $900.

At the moment DF and I are tossing up whether to go to a festival in late February. We have not been to one in two years - and we are really interested in the lineup (one of DF's favourite bands, Primus, is one of the headline acts). It's also pretty different, genre-wise, than other festivals we've been to and focuses on metal. I'd be super excited if we could go. Some of you may know some of the bands (check it out at www.soundwavefestival.com/lineup - I mean, who hasn't heard of Iron Maiden? Big Grin) However, it's probably the most we've ever had to pay for a single ticket before - $169 each. OUCH. So, we'll see. It's still a while away and tickets have not sold out yet. So, keep your fingers crossed for us that some special person drops $340 in our lap some time soon!

One way I am trying to save the money (and also, in general, just save money, regardless of whether we go or not) is that recently I've changed a few of our utility providers and a few other things, which should result in atleast $100 a month in savings, if not more.

Hmmm... I think that is all my news for now. Whew! Quite a catchup post, I wonder if anyone made it, reading all the way to the end? You deserve a cookie!

stressing out. updates. etc.

September 13th, 2010 at 08:21 pm

Our tax refund hit our account today. Woo! ~$3k.

Though it is rather stressful at the moment. I am trying to not let it weigh me down too much, but DF's dads business is not doing so well. Just when DF's dad had turned a corner financially speaking, and it looked like he might be able to manage his money appropriately - the industry up and dies on us! I am keeping my fingers crossed that he gets a slew of jobs to keep them super busy up until the new year - which is generally what happens, but not so sure it will happen this year with the economy and all. They say it's picking up, but I don't know who 'they' are or where they work either.

What worries me most is DF's ability to find another job. Well, let me rephrase. I don't doubt his ability to find a job (he is skilled in several industries), rather his motivation. Sometimes it seems like he has blind faith and loyalty to the business, and won't consider looking for outside work. Even when there is no work, he will do something to do with the family business (which equals no pay, obviously) instead of, I don't know... day labour? listing some junk on ebay?

So, that is what is stressing me right now. Even though the tax refund calmed my fears a little bit, not I am not so sure if we should go ahead with our plans to buy a new TV. We are already discussing downsizing from the original idea of a 40" to a 32". I know a flat screen TV is not a neccesity - which is why we have not bought one yet - but it is something we have wanted to buy ourselves for a reallllly long time (like, five-years-long-time). And seeing as every tube-tv we have has broken in some way or another, bar the one we are currently using - which is about to, I might add, it is not as if we are going out and just buying one because everyone else has one.

*sigh*

Anyway. To further stress me out, DF has a couple of days off work right now, and is utilising his apprentice (who must work every day - or get paid for doing nothing) to paint the exterior of our house. I just wonder how much the paint is going to cost. Frown Though, I do forget sometimes that we have money put aside for renovations. And I guess we are saving a lot of money by not paying someone to do it. And atleast DF is actually doing something productive. I guess I should just calm down and breathe. Smile

Thanks for letting me get that out. You know when things seem so much bigger in your head? Yeah, that.

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In other news, I registered Banjo finally today, and re-registered Jed for the year. $20 it cost to register them! Instead of $224 it would have cost if we hadn't de-sexed and microchipped them. The surgery will pay for itself in two more years. Big Grin
On another note, they also seem, dare I say, a little happier? Since the surgery there has been NO, I repeat NO pee on our deck. It's incredible. And Jed seems to be finally mellowing a little bit, which is nice. Though we have another couple of years with Banjo acting like a crazed little thing before they both settle down. Banjo is much nicer and easier to hold than Jed (don't know how long that will last - Banjo is definately smaller than Jed which is one thing, but he is still growing), though now Jed will have moments where he will sit on your lap and not try to cover your face in slobber and claw you. Big Grin For about two minutes. This morning I read two pages of a book before I had to put him down. It was lovely!

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I know this completely contradicts my previous whine about money (or lack of), but in my defense I have been looking out for this sale for aaaaages. It just so happened to appear during the week where I have a big stress. *sigh*.
Anyway: every year Clinique have a special 'Gift Time' sale where if you spend over $60 you get a free makeup bag full of products. I always try to buy my foundation during this time. I pretty much buy foundation and an eyeliner pencil- any other makeup products I use come directly from this 'freebie' I get. I'm kinda cheap when it comes to makeup - except for the fact that I don't actually use 'cheap' brands, I buy the absolute basic items and everything else I do without unless I get it for free somehow. So anyway, I bought it today. The foundation is $49 and the eyeliner is $36. Eyeliner lasts me about 3 years - foundation about 1. They did not have my shade in stock, so they gave me a sample pot and will call me when it comes in. I also signed up for their rewards program. For every 200 points you get $10 to spend. I already have 85 points. It's at a chemist, so I am sure I will buy other items from them anyway.

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I made a delicious pumpkin, feta & caramelised onion tart for dinner last night. We had it with a garden salad and steamed vegetables, and because DF is working at home today, I was able to take the leftovers for lunch. Big Grin So good!

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My little sister is due to go home tomorrow as our mother is back from her trip. I have noticed over the week how much my poor little sister cares about what people think/what she looks like/what clothes she wears/letting down her friends/going to parties etc. Also realised how much I DO NOT CARE. Big Grin Is that a good or a bad thing? I am polite and nice, which helps I guess. Not sure if DF and I were at all a grounding influence on her, but I hope to maybe some extent we were. She does not get a lot of support from our mother, but maybe staying with us she has realised there is a bigger picture in life than the things she is currently worrying about. In *so many* ways my little sister and I are similar, but unfortunately my little sister is rather impressionable, which I never was. I wasn't really an outcast at school but I was always on the sideline because I didn't really understand why everyone worried about stupid little things when there was so much more to consider in life.

Weekend To-Do List, Enrolment

September 3rd, 2010 at 06:46 pm

I have completed a few things on my Weekend To-Do List, but have a lot more to do. Always the way!

I got one of the biggest jobs out of the way though. I enrolled! I have picked the first two classes I will be studying as well, starting 15th November through til February, and have finalised all of my funding and HECS-HELP loan. So I think all I have to do now is wait for my course materials to arrive in the mail. Exciting!

It took me ages to figure out how everything works with the courses and prerequisite courses, but I think it will all work out. And it's possible I may finish WAY earlier than in 6 years time if I can handle the workload - but also found out that I have 9 years to complete the course if something arises.

So, feeling a lot better about having all that sorted out.

I also completed and sent off both of our tax returns. YAY! $2900 coming our way in the next two weeks. New TV and the rest is going to savings.

And now this is everything else I want to accomplish this weekend:

- 2 x loads laundry, fold & put away. X
- Wash Dogs bedding. X
- Give Dogs their monthly flea products. X
- Wash Dogs.
- Sweep our deck & tidy, remove clutter.
- Tidy my desk.
- File all loose paperwork.
- Vaccuum & mop entire house. X
- Water outdoor plants. X
- Tidy lounge & dining areas. X
- Clean Walls & Windows. X
- Fruit & Vegetable Shopping @ Markets tomorrow.
- Meet a friend for coffee.


My plan is to get as MUCH AS POSSIBLE done today so I don't have to do anything tomorrow except market shopping & coffee with a friend. Big Grin

McAfee Virus Software

August 31st, 2010 at 04:53 pm

Was just checking our credit card bill for the month and came across a $129.95 charge that neither of us authorised. It was for a virus protection subscription renewal for DF's computer. I called them to ask why we had been charged and it turns out DF had not unchecked the automatic renewal box when registering last time. Because only last year we discovered that one license actually protects 3 computers, we decided to let DF's expire and then use mine (which has another 126 days left), then of course only renew mine after that - at a discounted on-line rate of $89.95 (which I see you don't get if you tick the automatic renewal box!!! Sneaky!).

The customer service guy was very helpful and breezy, and refunded the amount for me. Whew! Thought I was going to have to fight for it - technically it was our fault for not reading the fine print, but no, everything was fine. I guess maybe because he could see that my subscription was still valid, so we would be returning customers no matter what. Better to have one subscription for life, than double charging and refusing to budge - then losing that customer after the next years expiry! Smart company... Smile I'm not complaining.

Revisiting our Spending Plan

August 24th, 2010 at 07:46 pm

I call it a spending plan because we're not really ones for 'keeping to a budget' like some. I admire those who do it (including the whole thing of not buying XXXX for two days because it will put this weeks budget out, etc etc) but it really doesn't suit us. But, we do have a 'spending plan' which I try my best to keep track of. Up until recently I tracked every cent, but the past two months I have laxed. I was thinking our spending plan is probably outdated a bit, and I think a re-doing of the plan and our weekly expenses was in order. Having an up-to-date plan might spur on my interest in keeping track again. Well, fingers crossed anyway.

So, this is what I have come up with:

Mortgage Payments: $480
Extra Mortgage Payments: $20
Savings: $180
Bills: $200
Groceries: $150
Misc: $100
Fun: $80
Petrol: $70
Personal Loan: $37
Total: $1317.00

This accounts for an average income per week on the lower side with a bit of a surplus after the above expenses. More often than not, our weekly income is higher, but I'm keeping it lower so we don't get our heads stuck in the clouds.

Now, for some explanations. Looking at the expenses, I'm sure you're probably wondering 'where's this expense?' 'Where's that?' etc. I have put everything into very general categories this time. For example:

Bills include the following: Mobile Phone, Internet, House & Contents Insurance, Car Insurance, Life Insurance, Car Registration, Car Repairs, RACQ Membership, Gas, Property Rates, Water, Electricity and Pet Expenses.

Misc covers a variety of expenses that don't occur regularly, such as health & grooming, gifts, bank fees, charity donations, clothing, stationery, electronics and house purchases etc.

I have upped our grocery limit to $150, from $120. Generally it is ~$130, so any surplus we have will flow through to other areas. I just don't want to feel bad or stressed out by constantly going over the 'grocery limit' each week. While to some people's standards our grocery expenditure is outrageous, I don't really care. We cook from scratch, use wholegrain products, buy organic and locally grown produce, and use cleaning & body products that don't hurt the planet or our health and wellbeing. And we're alright with that. It's taken me a while to realise that this is something I truly don't mind spending money on. If I can find the items I normally use, cheaper, then ok. If not, oh well. Life goes on.

Personal Loan: is actually going to be paid off shortly, I just keep forgetting to transfer the remaining money. So this $37 a week expense won't be up there for much longer. We will probably add this amount to our EF savings, and have in mind that we will probably look at buying a new (to us) car in the near future.

Savings: Our total amount per week in savings is actually divided into four categories:
- EF (Goal 1: $5000, Goal 2: $7500, Goal 3: $10000)
- Baby (Goal: $30 000)
- House Renovations
- Short-term
The total amount saved per week goes into ONE account, which I keep track of on a spreadsheet. (It is actually our mortgage account, to reduce interest. No, we don't get charged for withdrawals or deposits).

Most of the savings are self explanatory, except Short-term. Basically Short-term covers all sorts of higher priced entertainment and consumer-ey expenses like seeing a band, gallery exhibitions, ink, higher-priced book purchases, art purchases, electronics, screenprinting supplies, furniture etc.

Fun has been reduced by $60 (Used to be $60 for me, $80 for DF.) Now that we are earning roughly the same amount, I figured now was the best time to reduce it to LESS than 10% of our take home and equal it out. DF's weekly spending has reduced anyway, since he is home-brewing. Basically our fun money covers any frivolous purchases we don't feel like explaining Big Grin or the odd take-out or movie night.

Petrol is generally less than $70 a week, but better to plan for more than less right?

Mortgage Payments & Extra Payments: Technically, our normal mortgage payment pays off extra AS WELL. But I figured it is better to schedule an extra $20 to go in as well. Can't hurt.

The one thing I have not put in there is university costs, because I have no idea what they are. But, our EF should take care of this if our 'Misc' doesn't as I don't think it will really be all that much to get started.

So, that's it. Feeling very motivated with our new spending plan and can't wait to talk it over with DF and get it into action. What does everyone think?

Tax Refund!

August 2nd, 2010 at 12:04 am

I did our tax on the weekend. Funny that I do this stuff every week for work, but our own tax I can't bear to look at. Watching Proactiv info-mercials would be a thousand times more exciting.

I think the reason is probably because both DF and I have a habit of throwing our reciepts in the general direction of our office, not actually putting them in the designated place (which is a basket on my desk). So 'doing our tax' was actually comprised of these separate tasks:

- finding all of our work-related deductible reciepts
- sorting them in piles of his and hers
- adding up my log book
- finding out my engine capacity, because I've forgotten what it is from last year
- finding our group certificates
- finding a previous notice of assessment for the sequence number (which allows you to do your tax online)
- finding out how much interest we had earnt on all our accounts.
- filling in the e-tax program and clicking 'send'.

Looking at these tasks, you would think the average person would take an hour, maybe two. Well, somehow I found it extremely neccesary to wash, hang out and fold six loads of laundry, make a cup of tea, play with the dogs several times, make a sandwich, watch an episode of Robot Chicken, bake a batch of cookies, call a friend about what to wear to dinner that night, call DF to see if he was coming to dinner, call another friend to tell her she needed to adjust the seat booking because DF wasn't coming, make a coffee and rearrange my desk. So a job that was meant to take an hour actually took about five. Big Grin

All worked out in the end though, we are getting around $3000.00 back!

Hmmm, I am thinking that is a good amount to use as a starter for our 'fence fund'. We are thinking of fencing the entire property, instead of just our flat yard bit. If we did the whole property, the dogs would have TONNES of space to run around in and explore...

saved some $$$

July 31st, 2010 at 05:06 pm

As some of you are probably aware, DF and I are big music fans. Up until we bought our house, one of our biggest expenses were music festivals, the second probably being buying actual music. Without doing any calculations, I'd say we easily spent $2k a year each attending festivals (four or more a year). Accomodation, transportation, tickets, drinks, food and an overpriced tshirt sure add up!

So obviously that expense was cut when we decided to jump headfirst into the joy that is 'the mortgage'. We have not been to one since the Big Day Out 2009.

But, buying music is still something that we occasionally shell out on. My dad works in the music industry and we are regularly blessed with packages of 20 or so discs of music that he knows we like. Always a good day when I find one of those on the doorstep! (This also explains why I don't download music, if anyone is wondering - my dad would probably disown me. I don't mind loading it from a friends copy if it has been bought, but I won't support illegal downloading).

DF and I have very similar tastes in music, there are some that one likes and the other doesn't care for, but for the most part we like the same stuff.

However, it becomes hard to buy something when the other doesn't like it. Neither of us see the point in buying a cd if the other doesn't like it. Odd I know, as a normal couple would probably think the opposite way: the person who didn't like it wouldn't want the other to buy it. *shrugs*

Being the weird child I am, I have a love for death metal, especially when I'm working. (I'm sure people could read into this in some psychological way, and I'm also sure some people probably think it is in some way related to the devil - like some people also believe the world is flat... *cough*) Anyway, DF doesn't like it at all and I've never bothered to buy any because of this, and my dad doesn't work in that genre (and doesn't have any desire to aquire any for me Frown), so I usually just listen to it, streamed from youtube or some other source, because I'm too cheap to buy it just yet, if only one of us is going to enjoy listening to it. (I'm working on it though. "Listen to that guitar, dammit! There's some skill right there, I sure as heck couldn't play like that... if I could play a guitar at all..." Eh! Can't say I didn't try...)

So I just discovered that my little brother (little, being 16) has pretty much all that I could ever ask for. He happily put it all on my iTunes (I think this was the moment he discovered that his OLD sister may, in some extremely minute way, be just a tiny bit cool), and I didn't have to spend a cent, and DF doesn't have to listen to it in some justification of the money spent on it. Thanks lil bro!

first glance at july

July 27th, 2010 at 07:36 pm

I have put in the final figures for July - though I am sure there will be a few dregs to catch up on, cash expenses here and there of DFs etc etc and a few grocery purchases. However, it seems we are ahead this month by around $300, and that includes paying for the dogs vet visit, which was over $600. So technically speaking, we are ahead by $900, because I have that money aside in our bills account.

I'm going to put $400 into our mortgage account, and another $200 into savings. The rest will serve to top up our 'buffer'.

Next month might be a bit spendy, I am planning on getting new curtains, and also have a booking that will cost ~$350. DF wants to buy some new work shoes, and I need some too. I get the cheapest ones I can find, because I need to replace them every couple of months, so I get the cheapest I can find which are about $12. DF's don't get covered in flour regularly Big Grin so he can spend a bit more on his and they will last him a couple of years. I am thinking they will be about $100.

Also, I have a car service booked for next Tuesday (but that will come out of our Bills account), our bi-annual rates are due ($739) and I want to get a tooth removed (~$200). EEEP! Next month is going to be a whole lot of sitting at home watching TV and brainstorming ways to make extra money Big Grin

Speaking of extra money, has anyone on here heard of threadless.com? It's a great site, I buy a t-shirt here and there from them because I love that real people actually design them, and some of them are excellent! I was thinking of designing one to see how it goes, I have a couple of ideas.

Basically people vote on your shirt idea, and if you win, it gets printed. Was wondering if it would be in bad taste if I linked to it from here when I finally get around to it? Are you actually allowed to do that, or is it against SA rules?

decorating ideas

July 20th, 2010 at 08:52 pm

I haven't been recording our daily expenditure lately, so I don't really have an accurate reading of how we've been doing this month. I'm really annoyed at myself. I guess we will just call July a relaxed month, and go back to it full swing when August starts. I still haven't gotten around to putting an expense tally on our fridge, which I think will help.

And there are things I want to buy, for our house. Thankfully not expensive things. Well, maybe added up, but in small bite sized chunks it won't be. Every time I go to another couple's house I get inspired by their decorating or storage ideas. Not in a 'let's go and spend hundreds of dollars so that we can copy them' way, but in a way that gets me thinking about what we could do with those niggling annoying things that... annoy me. Just storage, mainly. And decorating. And nifty things. All that jazz.

For instance, we have the same curtains that the previous owner had. Most are fine, but the kitchen, bathroom and toilet ones annoy me because they're lace, and don't really seem to serve a purpose. And the one that is at the door leading from the dining room to our deck, is floral. I feel like I live in an old lady's house. Not that there's anything wrong with that... except that we aren't old ladies, and it's really not our style.

So I've gotten DF's approval to search for, and eventually purchase, curtains for this area in sort of a baroque-print-style. Can't wait. I think I know the perfect store too, and they're quite affordable.

The lace curtains, well, we'll see for now. I might try and find something that slightly matches the dining curtains. Or I think DF has some black fabric dye - has anyone ever dyed lace? Is it tricky to do???

Other things I want to achieve:

Bathroom Storage. DF's aunt and uncle had this nifty little cupboard in their bathroom, that was about 6 inches wide, but about 5 feet tall (did you see how I used non-metric measurements? huh? huh? Big Grin). It would be the *perfect* thing for our bathroom, because it's very small, and we don't have much space. Because at the moment all of our toiletry items are shoved into three drawers and a small cupboard under the bathroom sink, and it's really an absolute mess. DF hasn't quite warmed to this idea yet, but that's because he only has a razor, a hairbrush and some nail clippers. Everything else, he thinks it's fine to 'borrow' off me, and therefore my overstocked drawer of lotions and hair products and accessories and moisturisers is my problem...

A cake stand. Or rather, a cupcake stand. Okay, so it's technically not a neccesity by any means. But I've been meaning to get one, because we have a few parties every year and usually have some type of cupcake or cake, because I made them one year and now everyone expects me to make them every time we have a party, because apparently they're 'amazing'. LOL. So, I've seen an idea in a magazine, where someone made a cupcake stand out of old china plates superglued together in a three tiered tower (with obviously something in between to separate them - I was thinking of using teacups to keep with the theme of tea and cake). So I was going to attempt to make this, and use plates and cups from op shops. The whole thing will probably cost me around $5. Might post a picture if I'm happy with the results.

A bag holder. You know those 'sleeve' type things that you stuff your plastic bags in? Well we need one of those. I was thinking of making one, so then I could get the type of material I want, and it wouldn't cost a lot either because I'd need less than a meter. Except I'd have to hand sew it, because we don't have a sewing machine.

While we're on that topic, I'd love to get a sewing machine. I might put that on my wishlist. I haven't used one since year 8 (10 years ago) though, so it's basics for me! Pillow covers and mending things I think, for me. LOL.

Office Tidy-Up. There are a few things I think would make our lives a lot easier in terms of home office organisation. I use the term 'home office' loosely, because it is used for a variety of things:
- working from home (me)
- screenprinting design & research (primarily DF, some me)
- art research & creation
- computer games (DF) and computer use (both)
- craft, card decorating etc (me)
- filing

So you see, there's a lot that goes on in this small space, and it can get messy pretty quickly. So I've come to the decision that it needs to be organised, fast. The decision was made on the weekend after frustration boiled over, in the form of DF not being able to find an acetate cut out and turning it pretty much upside down. That's when we said Hmmmm. Time to fix this.

So it's going to be a pretty involved process, but I have started with the filing portion. DF has a lot of crap to sort out, but I think once he sees what I am doing, he will get motivated. He's like that Big Grin. But my plan is to aquire a whole lot of slightly ab-normal storage facilities to keep stuff in. For example: cool mugs for pens, 70's tupperware containers for papers & craft items, funky jars etc etc. That kind of thing.

Any other suggestions re: storage? What cool ideas have you come up with?

Also, I've been nagging DF to make me some extra shelving for the kitchen. We have space for it, it's just a matter of getting the timber, painting it and putting it there. I want a couple put up, and I think this will definately help with making things look more organised. Of course, once that is achieved, I'll then want some nice spice jars Big Grin Though I already know the style I like: there is a certain brand that sell artichoke hearts in small jars for $1.99 and I LOVE the shape of the jar, it's sort of short, squarish rounded with a wide-ish lid... So, it's just a matter of cooking lots of things with artichoke hearts Big Grin

weekend, TV, hair straightener, aldi

July 10th, 2010 at 11:49 pm

DF and I just got back from a long weekend away with his family, which was lovely. DF's BIL has a holiday house which we stay in occasionally, and because we're 'family' we don't have to pay either (it is $50 a night otherwise) Big Grin

Weekend Expenditure:

Meal Out: $55
Drinks: ~$15
Groceries: $7
Food: ~$20
Petrol: ~$60

We will also have to pay a bit more for groceries, but don't know how much yet, as DF's sister did the shopping. I expect around ~$40 or so.

We got home in time to check out an electrical and appliance store that was having a sale on TV's.
I think we have decided on the TV that we are eventually going to get. If we found one we wanted under $1k today, we would have bought it. As it happens though, my dad is able to get a staff discount so I might see what price he can get for us.
The one we have decided on is a 200hz 40" Sony Bravia HX series HD LCD TV. The sale price today was $1698, marked down from $2199. The quality seems to stand out more than the others it was around - though I know that sometimes it can have a lot to do with contrast settings as well. But it was much more clearer and defined. Is anyone here a wizz at these things?

Because it is much more than we were originally going to spend, we are going to wait a couple more months before we buy it. DF also wants to try and get a free Xbox with it Big Grin And it will probably be even less in price by then.

How exciting.

So we didn't buy a TV, but I did end up buying a new hair straightener. I have been planning on getting a new one for months now, but haven't gotten around to it. And the deal they had, I couldn't refuse. Even DF said I would be crazy if I didn't buy it. It is a Vidal Sassoon Tourmaline Ceramic Straightener. Original price was $119.95, and sale price was $59, plus it came with free ceramic curling tongs and a three year warranty. I don't see how I could go wrong!

Anyway, in other news we found out that an Aldi store is being built closer to us! It is only 30 minutes drive from our house, or 10 minutes drive from my work! Which is a far cry less than 45 minutes from our house, or 30 minutes from work. This means I'll be able to do weekly shops there, and will definately increase savings, as there are often a few things I underestimate how much we need, then have to buy them at the supermarket halfway through the month, and pay more. So even though I sound like a frugal-grocery-nerd, this is probably the most exciting news of the week for me Big Grin

quiet weekend

July 2nd, 2010 at 07:35 pm

I'm having another quiet-but-busy weekend. DF is working again, and I am just hanging around at home today. I am going to try and get all our landry done today, weather permitting. I have already done three loads, and it seems to be quite windy, which is a good thing!

I've scrubbed the shower and tidied a bit, mopped the floor and given the doggies their last dose of pain medication. They seem to be doing well!

I am planning on cleaning out and sorting our pantry today, that is my one big job of the weekend.

Also I am going to make the orange and almond cake I made a few weeks ago. This time I'm going to make it in a square tin, shallower, and cut it into fingers. Exciting! I love this cake. It's not too sweet, and you can't eat a lot of it. It's delicious with tea or coffee, and gluten free. YUM.

Tomorrow I am going to the markets for our fruit and vegetables, taking them home, and then going to ANOTHER market with a friend. LOL. Didn't plan it very well, but I will just get up early, around 6ish. On the plus side, I'll also miss the crowds, which is annoying when you're trying to shop for food.

We're having brunch at one of her friends patisseries as well. I have been there a few times. He is French, super friendly, and makes the most amazing little cakes. Mmmm... I will try and remember to take a photo! Probably won't happen though Big Grin

Other than the vet, we did not really have a very spendy week, which is good (because the vet cost a LOT!).

This week coming I am going to try and get our tax returns filed. DF and I earnt prety much the same amount for the year! Actually, tbh I earnt $1k more. This is mainly because of DF having a few slow months, but also because he did a lot of work for cash. Where that's gone, I have no idea Big Grin Just joking. Mainly used for fresh fruit and vegetables, because market vendors obviously don't take cc's!

Hopefully we get a decent amount of tax back. I'm pretty sure it should be in the $1-2k range, which will be a nice boost to the EF & mortgage. yay. If it's more, I *may* consider bringing our LCD TV purchase closer. I can just picture DF jumping up and down like a little kid 'can we? can we? pleeeeassse?' LOL! Big Grin

savings

June 15th, 2010 at 08:15 pm

The pizzas we made yesterday were delicious! So, just a note for anyone that has leftover pita breads, or some in the freezer: you can make pizzas out of them. (I was going to make the base from scratch, but decided to use the pitas because I wouldn't use them for anything else).

DF got his iPhone a few days ago. Only a month or so to go until I can get mine. AND I will be able to get the one DF has, on a lesser per month plan. (actually the same plan I have now) YAY.

DF is getting paid for some weekend work he has been doing this month which is exciting. It will be around $1000.00. The money will just be absorbed into our EF because of the new stove we bought. It would have gone towards a new TV and a punching bag - but I think we have to accept that those things will have to wait a little longer than we initially thought.

I'm thinking more seriously about moving our superannuation over to our bank. It has much less fees than the fund we're currently with. I think it will cost around $160 in total fees a year each. Not bad.

Plus we will be able to see at a glance exactly how much superannuation we have, instead of guessing (our current fund doesn't seem to send letters that regularly...not really impressed)

And we can get our life insurance taken out of that fund. I might do some more research into what the coverage is though. No point in having insurance if it's not going to cover you when you need it.

My goal for the rest of the month is to set up a savings plan for our house renovations goals. Also I'd like to set up a car fund too, and a few other small funds for various short term things. DF's going to have to sit down with me and listen! LOL.

thinking of going prepaid for broadband... monthly bill cost analysis

May 17th, 2010 at 09:31 pm

For awhile now I have been researching internet plans & costs.

I want to reduce our monthly living expenses, and seeing as we are pretty no-frills anyway, it's quite difficult. We don't have cable television, subscriptions of any kind, or memberships to anything either.

Basically we have car costs, insurances, electricity, gas, groceries, petrol, mortgage, a personal loan, internet & phone, mobile phone, pet costs & property rates.

Other things like health costs, fun & entertainment & house repairs are variable and sometimes non existent, or can be cut back at any sign of trouble.

Those are our expenses in a nutshell.

Petrol expenses can't be helped that much, short of using one trip for multiple purposes and driving like a granny.

Personal Loan is nearly paid off, we're not worrying about it too much as it's less than $1k now and I'd rather have that money available to us at this time. If our account experiences a nice surge upwards, I'll transfer the money straight away. In the meantime, security means more than $37 a week payment that will soon be gone anyway.

Property rates are fixed, nothing we can do to change what they are.

Mobile phone, I'm on a plan that suits my usage, and will be until November. DF will shortly be ending his work plan (in september) and starting up a personal mobile plan, so that will actually be an INCREASE in monthly expenditure for us, but it is the right thing to do by his dads business. I will just have to see how DF's usage goes and fingers crossed he can go down a value level on his plan, bringing it from $80 a month to $50, like mine is. I'm hoping by September/November, iPhones will be available as a free upgrade and we'll both get one Big Grin It would be at no extra cost, so I don't see why not. Currently the cheapest model is $6 a month + plan costs. Giving it until September I am pretty sure they will be $0.

Pet costs... We get a discount at the vet because we have 2 dogs - and soon their registration will go from $112 each a year to just $10 a year when we get them desexed & micro chipped. An initial cost of ~$500 will pay for itself in a few short years, and probably solve a few other problems (like weeing everywhere!) along the way. Their food, I will not skimp on. Simple as that.

Foodwise, I've blogged about how I've saved money by doing a monthly shop at Aldi. So while I've only been doing that for a few months, my guesstimate is that it's a monthly saving of between $20-$40.

Electricity bill has been decresed over the past six months by always switching the power points off at the walls, and the lights. We don't have aircon or heaters and we don't use a clothes dryer. Monthly saving is around $10, I *think*, but of course it is hard to tell, especially when we are billed every three months, and have only been living in this house for a little over 12 months.

Our gas bill is non-existent (as in - gas for cooking via stove/oven) because the stove and oven still aren't fixed, and we haven't used all the gas since the previous owner filled the bottles before we bought the place. So that's a plus, I guess. Smile

I'm looking at decreasing our monthly life insurance cost by rolling our superannuation over to our main bank, and having our life insurance billed from our superannuation account. If we choose to, we can make additional deposits into our superannuation account and recieve 150% of that amount from the government as well (it's a government superannuation building incentive).

Our house and contents insurance actually went down I think, because we renewed our policy. (It was automatic, so technically didn't do anything at all...)

The bill that has been on my hit list for some time now is internet and home phone. We don't use our home phone, and the only reason we have it is so that we can have an internet connection. So we're wasting around $45 simply because there's no other way to get around it. Recently there's been a few releases of different ways to access the internet from home, regularly (mobile usb stick broadband, naked dsl etc, that kind of thing).
I'm looking into Pre Paid USB sticks because I think it might be a good idea cost-wise and will probably save us money. I'm just worried I guess, because we've had the same plan for over two years now and never had a problem, you know when you're about to take a leap into something new, it's kind of scary? Ok, so technically we're not doing anything life-changing... it's just an internet plan... Big Grin

So what I'm looking at is:

For a start-up pack, we pay ~$140 and get the usb stick and 5gb.
The 5gb expires in 6 months.
On average, we use around 1.5gb-2gb a month. So that would be 9-12gb usage in 6 months. So far so good, we'll either use up the 5gb each before the 6 months is up, OR just come close.

So far, that's $280 for 6 months of internet access.

If we were to STAY with our current plan, we would be spending ~$462 (current plan costs ~$77 a month for 5gb per month of usage - which we never come close to anyway. So far, that's an approx saving of $180. But the initial outlay is a straight up $280. Hmmmm.

Initially my list of pros and cons included running out at a time when we couldnt recharge (seeing as we mainly use the net at night anyway) but you can now do it all online, so that doesn't even present an issue anymore.

The recharge costs are:
575MB 15 days exp $15
750MB 15 days exp $20
1.15GB 30 days exp $30
2.3GB 30 days exp $40
3.45GB 30 days exp $50
4.6GB 60 days exp $70
6.9GB 60 days exp $100


If we were to both get the 1.15gb each month we would still be saving money, and we could play it smart and share a USB to stretch out recharging, overlapping at 2 week intervals instead of recharging at the same time. But I think most months we would only need a 750mb recharge each. Which would be a saving each month of $37.

Anyway. So the cost issue is worked out, I just need to work out the technical side of things, like if we can actually use it, what the coverage is, speed etc. Hmmm. Well, atleast it's a viable option *so far*.



I spent a lot today!

May 8th, 2010 at 09:14 pm

Started off buying two almond croissants for Mothers Day. Went to mums and had a coffee with her and my little sister. Then went to the shops for a few random things, but ended up finding good deals on items that I had been meaning to buy for a while.

Even though individually the items were good prices (compared to what I have seen around) all up I spent a fair bit today Frown

Todays Expenses:
2 almond Croissants: $5.80
Coffee: $4.35
Underwear x 2: $55.26
DF's home brewing supplies: $18.25
Ankle Boots: $49.00
2 x Watersaver Planter Troughs: $28.00
Animal Repellant: $10.54
Pumpkin Seeds: $1.32

Total Spent: $144.52

Also put $20 fuel in my car. It was $1.35/L for E10! Which is expensive, but, it's Sunday, so I don't know why that particularly shocks me.

I'm excited about the shoes, I might post a picture later on. I'm waiting for DF to get home from work to tell me if he thinks they look any good, as I usually need a second opinion. Big Grin

The animal repellant is to stop the doggies going where we don't want them to go. They have been naughty digging holes underneath our stairs that leads from our backyard up to our deck. Grr! Also I was thinking of spraying the stuff on all the areas they like to pee on, hoping that maybe they stop doing it. Has anyone ever had success with this???

I bought the pumpkin seeds to scatter over our hill. I figured that we may as well utilise the hill the best we can, because we're too lazy to do any upkeep on it (It's really steep! And I hate weeding! Isn't that a good enough excuse???). If the pumpkin grows rampant, atleast it will be a useful plant, and might possibly overtake any weeds on there.

As soon as I got home I did about an hour of repotting/gardening/planting etc. I replanted my basil plants (about 10 of them grew in a pot that I was growing lettuces in, the orginal basil plants seeded and died - then after I planted the lettuces, the basil grew as well!). So they are in a separate trough all on their own now. I also scattered some extra seeds in the pot too.

I watered, fertilised and added more potting mix to my lettuces, and added more seeds to that too.

Then with my last trough-pot, I sprinkled a heap of mint seeds. I love mint, so even they all turn into seedlings, I won't mind.

Also I moved our tomato plants over to the trellis that DF set up for our passionfruit. I'm not sure if you should grow tomatoes and passionfruit together, but oh well. We'll see how it goes.

Also found my marigolds, which I thought were dead, had regrown from seeds dropped from the original plants flowers. They were just growing from a random patch of dirt where I'd kicked over the planter pot. Big Grin So I moved one of the seedlings to my lettuce trough in the hopes of deterrring those pesky grasshoppers.

From now on my gardening technique will be referred to as Accidental Gardening, because most of my success is purely accidental.

So I feel like I accomplished a little bit today, and it's only 2pm! After this entry is finished, I'm going to give the house a vaccuum and mop, then bring in the dry clothes off the line and tidy the kitchen. Then I might watch some Scrubs while I fold washing.

For my only day off this week, I feel like I achieved a good amount, granted I do what I plan to this afternoon. Poor DF is sick with the flu, has worked 14 days straight and has atleast another 7 to go WITHOUT A DAY OFF. Frown

So far this week I have stuck to our menu plan. I find that I don't stick to a particular meal-for-each-day plan, but rather pick what we feel like out of a list of meals for each week. It seems to work better that way - sometimes if you make an eating plan so rigid, you end up ordering takeaway because you can't be bothered cooking what's on 'The Plan'. Tonight I'm thinking of making a sundried tomato pesto sauce over pasta with steamed green beans, grilled capsicum and parmesan cheese.

Well, time to drag myself off the computer and start vaccuuming!

savings at aldi

May 4th, 2010 at 05:14 pm

I collected a few reciepts to see how much I'm saving at Aldi, to get a rough idea of whether or not it's actually worth going there. So, listed below are a few items that we regularly buy, the first price is the supermarket price (Bi Lo, Woolworths, Coles) and the second price is Aldi.

Tinned Tuna 95g: $1.82 - $1.29
Coffee 250g: $8.49 - $4.99
Muesli Bars 6 pack: $4.99 - $2.99
Cola 2L: $3.47 - $0.99
Chocolate 200g: $4.29 - $2.79
Plain Yoghurt 1kg: $5.74 - $4.69
Chocolate Biscuits: $2.89 - $1.79
Cheese 1kg: $9.99 - $5.99
Rice 2kg: $6.99 - $3.49
Dishwash Liquid: $2.49 - $0.99
Tinned Tomatoes: $1.19 - $0.75
Coconut Cream: $1.09 - $0.85
Pasta 1kg: $1.42 - $1.14
Toilet Paper 16rolls: $9.00 - $4.99
Laundry Liquid 2L: $5.99 - $9.99
Pesto Tapenade: $4.37 - $2.69
Handwash: $7.50 - $2.99
Raw Sugar 1kg: $1.12 - $0.89

So yes, I think continuing to shop there is going to save money in the long run Big Grin

still keeping track

April 27th, 2010 at 07:39 pm

I'm still keeping track of our daily expenses. It's almost like second nature to me now. DF is getting quite good at it too Smile

The past few months have been difficult, what with DF's work slowing down. Seeing as DF is meant to earn nearly TWICE what I do, you can imagine I stress out a little, when his earnings start to drop to the $200-$300 a week mark. Frown Having a buffer in our account has made things definately more easier to cope with, but even with that, when it starts to get a little low I do find I panic a little.

The silver lining to this situation was that because I've kept track daily, I have been able to say to DF 'We're spending too much'. Although some things can't be helped, I noticed DF really tightened his belt too. And because we've now been dealing with this for about five months, it's almost like it's always been like this. We're still doing things, and there are definately things we could cut even more, so it doesn't feel as though we're deprived. But we seem to be managing pretty well.

This month has been the first month in a while where there is a reasonable amount left over at the end of the month ($1400+). It's going to top up our EF, and pay back DF's mum for money she loaned us when buying last year.

But still, it feels odd to me to have a good amount to allocate to extra savings, EF, household items in need of replacement, even some extra fun money etc. Even though mid-way through last year, this was a regular occurrence. I guess this is where we have to take stock and realise that the hard times are only easy to get through if you prepare for them, when things are NOT so tough!

a thinking post

April 12th, 2010 at 05:38 pm

In an earlier blog entry I posted that I would only have one day off this week. Well, I am home sick today. Frown Be careful what you wish for! Technically, I am not sick. I just have terrible stomach cramps. Most of the female bloggers on here know what I'm on about. *sigh*

So I thought it would be a good idea to post an update of sorts.

Work is still pissing me off. My boss came in for an hour or two yesterday. There's not much product, but hey! What can I do about it? I'm not working a minute extra when the problem could be easily fixed.

I got to thinking yesterday about how this might be approaching the end of my working there. I'm not going to leave any time soon, of course, but you know when you get the feeling that you've been at one place for long enough? So this University thing could be coming at a good time. I'll continue working as long as I possibly can there, and I don't think I'm in any danger of being sacked, but with Uni, my job will just feel like a source of money now, and not a responsibility or a future. You know what I'm saying?

But then again my feelings about work could change. I sense that it might not just be work that I'm annoyed at. I think I'm going through a phase of being annoyed at everything right now. My best friend and I had a... thing. I wouldn't call it an argument, but I was SO angry at her.

Basically I don't want to post the details because it involves her obsessive compulsive disorder, but she told me something I told her I didn't want to know. Then I got pissed off at her because I didn't want to know, and because of what she told me, and because she told me even though I told her I didn't want to know. Confused yet? Big Grin And then she couldn't understand why I was angry, because she thought it (what it was she told me) was a fantastic idea. When in fact I felt like I was going to throw up. But I couldn't tell her that because I've always encouraged her to talk about things. So I guess I just shot myself in the foot. But I *did* tell her I didn't want to know, just this one particular time. Why is that so hard to understand?

Anyway, so none of that actually makes any sense. But the point of the story is that even though we decided to pretend our argument never happened, I'm finding it hard to be around her without getting annoyed at her. It's just that her frustrating behaviour with money (which I've blogged about in the past)transcends into all aspects of her life. She just goes 'This is a great idea!' and goes ahead and does something without thinking at all about the cons, and even when you (or a group of friends) gather around and try to explain them, she just shakes her head and says 'Don't be silly, this will be fabulous'. It's just who she is. I just find it hard to take sometimes.

*sigh*

In other news, the family business is plodding along splendidly. That has to count for something right? Big Grin They have work in front, and seem to be just making their bills each week. It has surely taken at least a little stress off my mind. Funny how things have a habit of balancing out, even if it is ever so precariously.

We have loads of basil growing. I think I'm going to attempt my own pesto some time this week.

It's raining today, ever so fitting for a day off when you don't feel like doing anything Big Grin

But I am going to attempt some things. On the weekend we had a big day of cleaning. I cleaned out all the cupboards in the kitchen, we cleaned the front deck and the back verandah, DF put down another home brew, and I cleaned the bathroom and mopped the floors. I think today I might tidy our office, sort through my clothes (again - but this time I am going to be RUTHLESS!) and sort through some music. Also, put dinner on in the slowcooker and make a shopping list for tomorrows grocery shopping.

A friend of ours who lives in LA called yesterday. He and his soon-to-be wife are coming to stay with us in November! DF has not seen him for two years, and I have not seen him for probably 5 years. Woah, time flies! Makes me think about the future, when (hopefully) we have the funds to be able to take a holiday and fly over and visit them one day too.


My Bills Expenditure for an ENTIRE YEAR

April 5th, 2010 at 08:41 pm

I think itís time to re-evaluate the amount I put away for bills each week. As time passes, companies like to up their prices, sneaky sneaky! Also, I have other things that Iíd like to put into this category, like pet expenses. Technically itís all money, and itís all coming out of our account, but Iíd feel better knowing that say, flea treatments and heartworm tablets are allocated to the Bills Expenses each month. Then I know itís there, and it doesnít eat into our other funds. Ya know what Iím sayin?

So, currently I put aside $180 a week for bills. This covers, on my guesstimations:

House & Contents Insurance:
$69.56 (monthly) $834.72
Life Insurance:
$53.67 (monthly) $644.04
Phone & Internet:
$79.00 (monthly) $948.00
Mobile Phone:
$55.00 (monthly) $660.00
Electricity:
$240.00 (3-monthly) $960.00
Gas:
$100.00 (per bottle - approx 6 monthly) $200.00
Car Rego:
$1058.00 (2 cars, yearly) $1058.00
Car Insurance:
(1 car, yearly) $478.00
RACQ:
(yearly) $62.00
Car Repairs:
(yearly approx) $1000.00
Property Rates:
(yearly) $1900.00
Bank Fees:
$395.00 (yearly package fee)

Total Estimate for Yearly Bills: $9 139.76

Here are the actual figures for last year:
(NB: the brackets show how much less or more we spent based on the initial budget)

House & Contents Insurance: $763.46 ($71.26 less)
Life Insurance: $684.01 ($39.97 more)
Phone & Internet: $1131.83($183.83 more)
Mobile Phone: $645.17 ($14.83 less)
Electricity: $886.43 ($73.57 less)
Gas Bottle:
$0.00($200.00 less*)
Car Rego: $1058.00 (on budget)
Car Insurance: $383.90 ($94.10 less)
RACQ:
$70.00 ($8.00 more)
Car Repairs: $2063.92 ($1063.92 more**)
Property Rates: $2240.21 ($340.21 more)
Bank Fees: $409.05 ($14.05 more)
Actual Total for Yearly Bills:
$10 335.98 ($1196.22 more)

* The tenants who lived in our house before us filled the gas bottle up before they left (part of their tenant agreement) and we hadnít used it all up by the time the stove/oven broke. J

** Some of the car repair expenditure went to fixing up DFís project car, which I forgot to itemise L So this could mislead the figures a bit. However, with hindsight itís probably a good idea to put some money in the bills budget for that anyway, seeing as eventually it will become his daily drive.


Does anyone have any other things they put into the Bills category that I am not currently putting in there?
(Note: I do not have: heating or cooling expenses, parking expenses, gym membership, water expenses, cable television, magazine subscriptions.)

updates of a random nature

March 30th, 2010 at 08:20 pm

Thanks to my massive ($131) Aldi shop three weeks ago, I have not had to buy many groceries these past few weeks. For once our grocery expenditure was UNDER budget for the entire month (by $4 each week - but still...atleast it was under!)

I am going to try and be more motivated to save those small amounts here and there. The mild annoyance of researching phone plans etc and grocery shopping at three different places will hopefully be offset by the savings. Hopefully. Big Grin

Today is grocery-shopping day and I only have to get a couple of items. I have to keep in mind that we are going away for the easter weekend to a friends holiday house. DF's sister is doing the shopping, and we are transferring the money into her account once she works out the cost. Last time it was around $25, which isn't too bad. I expect it to be around the same again.

Finally got a replacement tray for our coffee machine. It started to rust out last year, and I called Sunbeam as it was still under warranty - in AUGUST 2009. They told me they had 'developed' a new tray that had a plastic lining and was stainless steel, apparently even though the rest of the machine is stainless steel, the old tray was not. It was a 'design flaw'. Pfft. I call it 'cutting costs'. :P

Anyway, so it arrived yesterday. Only took 7 months.

Ummmm... Sold a couple of books on ebay. I think the sale price covered the fees and postage, and I might have made about 40c. But oh well. Waiting for my friend to finish In Treatment and return it to me, so I can re sell it. With the earnings from that I was hoping to buy X Files season 4 Big Grin

Our boys (and by boys... I mean our dogs) will most likely be getting de-sexed in April, if all goes well. And in May I think we might have enough of a surplus to consider buying a new TV. LCD and Plasma prices have reaaaallly dropped lately. Vieras are $595. When they were first released I think they were about $1200. Exciting stuff!

Normally I'd roll my eyes at someone getting excited about buying a flat screen tv, only because it's (usually) associated with bad money choices. HOWEVER. Our current television is around 12 years old, and the cables from the set-top box, xbox and dvd player are held in place with paddle-pop sticks and pieces of folded up cardboard. Yep! Big Grin Kind of in need of a new tv... about two years ago. After that we will be looking at a new dvd player. Unless the tv comes with a built in one, which would save a whole lot of hassle and drama.

found $10

March 17th, 2010 at 10:43 pm

I was walking in the parking lot on the way to work this morning and saw a $10 note on the ground. No one was around (it was 6am after all) so that baby was all mine! It's going into my tattoo fund. Other monies that I have added into the fund:

$22.10 staff lotto winnings
~ $10.00 loose change found around the house
$15.45 poker winnings from a few years ago (all in 5c pieces)
~$30.00 added over the course of a few weeks.

Yay. So basically that's the artists tip lol. Big Grin

I have the money in a big jar. When it's full, I will post a picture of it and will get your guesses for how much you think is in there. It will be like a competition. Except there will be no prize Frown other than knowing you won. Teehee Big Grin

thinking about changing superannuation funds...

March 16th, 2010 at 06:34 pm

Before I post this, I just want to explain that I DON'T see superannuation as my one and only retirement funding option. I actually HATE the idea of superannuation, of having limited control over 'my' money. While it's all good and well that the government made some sort of step into forcing people to save for their later years, I personally don't like it and the highly publicised encouragement of putting money into an account that a lot of people haven't researched other than whether or not you get a free department store Gift Card when you roll over your funds.

That's my opinion, and before you try, no one here is ever going to change my mind on it, and no one is ever going to convince me to put extra money into it to 'save' for retirement. We both have other options that we are working towards and neither of us are especially excited about the conventional methods of retirement funding. When I find a fund that I am completely happy with, I *may* contribute additional earnings into it, but as of yet, I don't. So please don't blather on about it more than you have to. Smile

Ok, so now that's all said, this is what my real post is all about:

Our bank also runs a superannuation fund. We were told about it when we bought the house, and I put it to the back of my mind. I recently came across something that is making me consider rolling our funds over.

Currently we are with the biggest, most well known superannuation in Australia. I have no issues with them, they're not particularly spectacular either. They seem to get a lot of aussie sporting heroes to do their advertising campaigns, and that's about it. *shrug*

We have our life insurance with our bank because with the loan package we took out, we get a 15% discount on insurance products, and a multi policy discount too. (and yes, because of the cover options they offer as well...) Currently we pay around $54 a month for $200k worth of death and permanent disability cover, for myself and DF.

So I found out the other day that we can roll our superannuation funds over to our banks' fund, and have our insurance taken out of our superannuation fund. Wooaah, you're all thinking now. Bad news.

Not entirely.

You see, our superannuation fund is pre-taxed money. You only pay tax if you withdraw it before you turn... whatever the current retiring age is. 55? 60? something like that.

On top of this, if I were in fact to make extra contributions (yes, you heard me say it) to the TOTAL of the amount of our life insurance each month, the government would pay double that, because of the superannuation scheme they have going.

So technically if I were to pay the amount of life insurance into the account, it wouldn't make a bit of difference to our financial situation, only that I'm getting something that I wouldn't ordinarily be getting.

Hmmmmm. Something worth thinking about?

I'm not sure. Another plus, although only out of convenience, is that every time I log onto my bank account, we will be able to see how much super we have, instead of waiting for the yearly statement. Not that I particularly care, but it would be interesting to know nonetheless.

DF had a good point though. Is it kind of like we're putting all our eggs in one basket? We have basically all of our banking with one bank. We also gain from all the discounts too, but still...

Another plus is that our banks fund does not pay commissions, and the fees are much lower.

Hmmmm.... thinking thinking thinking

omigod! FREE! my favourite type of stuff...

March 15th, 2010 at 07:45 pm

An aquaintance of my best friend just moved overseas for four years. She gave my friend four boxes of personal stuff to look after for her, and then gave her all of her belongings and told her she could keep it or give it away. The girl who went overseas left with just a backpack, so you could imagine how much was left over.

Here's the clincher: my best friend, as some of you might know, has OCD. And it just so happens that it is of the 'germ' variety, and the idea of using someone else's belongings stresses her out immenseley.

So in swoops me with my giant superhero cape, to scavenge, *ahem*, SAVE the day. Big Grin

DF emptied his work van and we packed it full of:

an 8 foot high solid timber book-case
a nearly new single mattress
a single bed-head
a brand new woolen mattress protector
three single sheets and a pillow slip
over 50 super-good quality clothes hangers
an over door towel or hat hook hanger
an electric frypan
assorted brand name water tumblers and coffee mugs
assorted Culinare kitchen utensils (tongs, vegetable peeler, flipper, colander)
knives, forks, spoons, bread knife
a stainless steel mixing bowl
assorted storage containers and jars
about $100 worth of food
an extension lead
two extension lead powerboards
5 bathmats
2 teatowels

Two things, the book case and the frypan, are things that we actually NEEDED but had put off buying yet. Bathmats, funnily enough, are something I had been thinking that we needed but didn't want to buy, bcause, well, an old towel works just as good and doesn't cost.

DF strongly believes in 'asking the universe' for things, and I guess this proves that it actually works. (Jed is another example of that Big Grin)

gardening, friends.

March 11th, 2010 at 10:04 pm

Nearly a NSD today, I bought milk from the corner shop (1L - $2.25) because I ran out this morning.

I did not even start this months Put It In Park challenge. Sorry!

But I have begun to keep a log book for tax again. I realised I was running out of time (I have to keep three months worth of driving records in order to claim my vehicle for work use, as I use it to run errands for work sometimes - and the three months has to be before June 31st).

Ebay has free listings for auctions starting under 99c until late March, if anyone is interested. I think I might spend a little time trying to find some things to list this weekend. even if I only get 99c for a few items, I will atleast have gotten rid of some things, allowed someone else to enjoy the benefits of it without it going to landfill, and reduced clutter in my house. Not to mention, making 99c. lol Big Grin

I was meant to have coffee with a friend today, but I couldn't get hold of her.

Then I was going to have coffee with another friend, but she's been frantically moving furniture that a friend has given her, from her friends house to her parents garage. So we are meeting up tomorrow. And then on Sunday I am catching up with a friend I have not properly seen for about 7 years.

Have been thinking lately, how fast does time fly?! This friend, F, left school in year 11. I continued on and graduated, and other than the occasional text or phone call, and a random meeting at a pub (she was working) I have not seen her since 2003. I feel bad because she was my BEST friend from the age of 13-15. Frown But hey, atleast we're meeting now, right?

I think I may have enough tomatoes on my tomato plants to make a WHOLE SALAD!!! Big Grin

My lettuces seem to be growing much better this time. Yay. Also noticed some basil has cropped up, after all this rain we've had. Oh, and for those who commented on how it's impossible to kill mint: I did kill it. I have watered it and fed it fertiliser in the hopes of making the scrawny scraps turn green and grow again, alas it has not. I killed it. I really did. I killed MINT. *sigh*

I will be attempting to make a rough MONTHLY plan of meals this weekend, so that I can do a proper shop at Aldi on Tuesday. How organised am I?! Big Grin
I want to make the drive there worth it, otherwise whatever I save on groceries will go straight into my petrol tank anyway. And I know where I'd rather my money going, if I had a choice!

(although, by doing some super rough calculations, I worked out that the drive from my workplace to Aldi and back again will cost me at the MOST $3-$3.50 in fuel, which isn't too bad really).

updates

February 21st, 2010 at 10:56 am

I have been generally sticking to the meal plan that I made for myself about a week and a half ago, which is great Big Grin We have not had takeaway and other than running out of coffee and milk, I haven't really had to go to get supplies for anything other than on shopping days.

This afternoon I will post another weeks worth of meals. I think we will be eating out on the weekend, as we are staying at DF's cousins house to help her with moving and putting in a new floor at her new house. (DF is making $200 in side money too, which is nice! Technically I am too, as I'm helping. I am dreading it, as every time I help DF with work, my hamstrings KILL me the next day) Smile

It is 4.50am here on Monday, another week of work JUST about to begin. I listed a book on eBay, after selling one last week. But it hasn't had any bites. Keep your fingers crossed for me. I have two more books to list but I have to finish reading one first.

I screenprinted my little sister a shirt for her birthday, I am sending it by express post today. The shirt was $12 and the postage will be about $5 - hope she likes it.

My plan is no takeaway this week again. We did well last week and the week before, our expenses are going well, except my $80 shorts Frown but I wore them yesterday, LOVE them.

DF built Banjo his kennel last week and it's finally sitting next to Jeds. He went in it straight away, and Jed in his. It's so cute. When you go outside they both run out to greet you. Big Grin

two more points to the challenge

February 11th, 2010 at 04:00 am

Today I had coffee with a friend, but she paid for me Smile Next time I will pay for hers.
Yesterday I also had coffee with another friend (I know right? I'm a social butterfly...) but I used a reward card that had enough points on it to redeem for a small double shot mocha.

Does this count? If I did not have the reward card, I would have not purchased the coffee with cash, as I wanted to add an extra point to the challenge...?

Saved $3.45

February 8th, 2010 at 08:45 pm

I just switched my mobile phone bill to an e-statement, as they decided to start charging me a $2 fee for paper statements last month.

Also I decided to pay our electricity bill by B-Pay, which saved a 0.6% processing fee (which works out to be $1.45).

Isn't it funny how many fees they try to hit you up with?

In other news, our electricity bill is around the normal cost, which at first was VERY disappointing for us because we have been diligently turning powerpoints off when things are not in use (only thing using power when we are not home/not using something is the fridge - for obvious reasons) etc etc. HOWEVER then I realised that for the same length of time as the bill, we have been cooking with electricity, as opposed to gas which we would have used if the stove or oven was going. So technically our work has paid off... sort of.

natural beauty care...?

January 30th, 2010 at 02:48 pm

I found a book at the library with recipes to make your own skin care items and have found it really interesting. Lately I have been getting more and more concerned about the chemicals in things I use every day.

I rather wish I didn't know sometimes. I know a lot of it is very extreme and the anti-cosmetics movement uses fear to make their point - but it is hard not to think I have several forms of cancer just from standing in close proximity to the items in my bathroom drawer.

While I think it would be a while before I gave up a lot of things (clinique foundation, for one) I think there are a few bits and pieces I can incorporate into my routine to see how it goes.

Financially it makes sense too. The recipes call for things that I already have in the house anyway (chamomile tea, oats etc) and the finished products will end up being cheaper in the long run, even if I do have to buy some items in the end.

I'm not one to throw everything out and rush head first into it. I will be using up my old stuff and just experiment with the natural products to see how they go.

If I find that I am not liking the home-made stuff, I might have to bite the bullet and start looking for commercially made natural ingredient beauty products. But I think it would be nice to be able to make your own.

Thoughts? Ideas? Recipes? Anyone?

saved $160

January 4th, 2010 at 02:06 pm

I have been whining at DF that we need a filing cabinet. There are piles of paperwork on my desk and it annoyes me to put them back in archive boxes, only to get it all out again when I need something.

So a few weeks ago we went and looked at Officeworks, and I was put off by the price. $170 for a two-drawer one (with smooth flowing drawers - I am not going to pay money for crap) and $400 for a four-drawer one.

We decided to wait a while. DF went back this week and there was a four-drawer one on special for $200, which was a good quality one, and the last one in stock - and postbox red. Hmmm. I wasn't that keen on the colour, or the fact that it was 4 drawers either. It would mean we were paying an extra $30 for something we don't need anyway. Too big.

So I told DF not to buy it. Yesterday he called me and said he was in an op-shop, and there was a 2 drawer filing cabinet for $40. He bought it and now it's in our office!

How is that for a stroke of luck?!


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