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Archive for May, 2009

May Expenditure Totals

May 30th, 2009 at 08:15 pm

Income: $5454.10

Expenditure: $5250.89

Mortgage Payments: $1572.46
Groceries: $498.81
Petrol: $246.74
Phone & Internet: $77.39
Car Registration (2 x 1 year): $1058
Electricity: $79.35
Car Repairs/Expenses: $63.00
Mobile Phone: $58
House Insurance: $69.56
Life Insurance: $53.67
Car Payment: $148.00
House Spending: $189.00
Work Expenses: $20.00
DF Fun: $413.83
WS Fun: $234.04
Clothes: $211.90
Dining Out: $78.60
Entertainment: $153.54
Misc: $19.00
Bank Fees: $2

Remaining: $203.21

NOTES: Groceries are higher this month due to our housewarming party - however, we are only $4 over 'budget' per week. This is probably due to me cleaning out the pantry at the same time. So it is good I decided to do that this month!

Car Registration is what really set us back this month. I mean, it didn't set us back, but, if we didn't have to pay it, it would mean we could have sent $1058 more to our mortgage or savings this month. As it is, we only have $203 remaining after all of our expenses. Which means, next month should be great. (SHOULD be).

DF is still spening more than his allowance per week. This month it was $23 per week. I said to him 'I have spent $2 less per week than I am allowed, and you have spent $23 more!' and he said 'yeah but you don't buy alcohol!' and I said 'yeah, but I get $20 less than you per week, and I have coffee with friends three times a week, buy my makeup and clothes and magaziens out of that too, remember!' Hrrrmmmmph!

Clothes expenses are actually out of my stimulus money - but it is an expense, and I added our stimulus money into last months income, so that is why I am listing the spending this month.

Dining out and entertainment aren't too bad, but could be better. $50 of that was for food for the party too (I bought it from work so it didn't really count as groceries).

DF got a cash withdrawal from another atm so we were charged a $2 fee, that's why we have bank fees this month. GRR! lol.

The $203.21 remaining will be paid into the mortgage. I am also going to start next week putting $180 into our E-saver account for bills. When I pay a bill I will just record it, and then transfer it back at the end of the month into our main account.

I am also going to start splitting the leftover money each month into two groups: mortgage pay off and EF fund. Even though it will be going into the same account, I will record it in a spreadsheet so that I have totals of how much we have put into each. Once things start settling down we will work out a buffer amount of how much we want in our everyday account (I was thinking $5k is a nice round number, but it's possible we could do $10k).

So, here's to June!

we need to spend MORE on our credit card!!!

May 29th, 2009 at 02:48 pm

So I realise it's a rather controversial title. But I also realise there are a few people here who carry my line of thinking in the rewards aspect of credit cards.
There is NO WAY in the world do I ever advocate a credit card for anyone remotely irresponsible with spending. Let me just say that!
Credit cards are a very useful tool for many people. I have never had a problem with mine, and I currently have about 6. (I intend to close some and only have two or three very soon.) I also know that people get themselves in debt with credit cards over things that they can't help, like medical expenses or vet clinics or car repairs. That is unfortunate, but with motivation and a plan these things can be rectified.

Ok, so back to my title (just had to put a disclaimer in there!!! so that people realise I know what I'm talking about!)

I got our bill for the month. The past two months it's been roughly the same amount, so I would say our spending is pretty much the same as the months go along. We've managed to earn around 5300 points in just over two months. 3000 points equals a $25 gift card, so I can safely say that we probably earn around $50 every three months, or a bit more. Points are, I think, 1 for every $1. I am not quite sure. It could be $2 = 1 point... anyway. They have a lot of special offers that contribute to points as well, which helps. It's a good rewards scheme in our neck of the woods.

HOWEVER: THIS IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH!

My grand plan was to earn enough to offset our $395 annual fee ($395 for an everyday account, unlimited withdrawals, homeloan account, offset account, free redraw, free extra payments, free gold credit card, free debit card, free high interest savings account, free financial planning interview, 10% off insurance, 0.05% off the standard rate - ok so obviously NOT free, but $395 a year for all those ain't that bad here).

Anyway, so $50 every three months means $200 a year. Which means in the end our banking costs us $195. Take into account we probably earn around $5 in interest a month, so that's $135 a year in banking fees.

So, I have come to the conclusion that we do not spend enough on our credit cards - OR we do not earn enough interest. My problem is, to earn interest, we have to put our money in an account that does not SAVE us interest off our homeloan, so that is basically out of the question. I do not think we can spend enough to offset the entire amount, but I think with planning, we can utilise our cc's a bit better. Currently we do forget and pay cash/debit for a lot of things. So this is a bit of a wakeup call I guess! It will make me think when I pull out a card to pay for something - but not in the usual way!


engagement ring search, part 2

May 26th, 2009 at 09:07 pm

So, as some of you will have read in my last post, I called two jewellers that I had heard good things about.

The first, quoted an approximate price of $1800 for the band, plus the gem price.

The second asked me to go in and look.

Yesterday a friend took me to a place she had heard about. They go to Thailand to buy their gems, and while they are reasonably priced, this is my issue with them:
The gems originally come from the gemfields IN AUSTRALIA, are sent to Thailand to be cut & polished (and I am assuming, sometimes treated). Then these buyers go from Australia to Thailand, to bring them back to Australia.
So, I really don't like outsourcing like that.
Also, they do not come with a certificate. They guy tried to lead us to believe that, if you're spending 'only $200' on a gem (which would be $500 in a jewellery store) you don't need a certificate. He said, as long as you like it, what's the big deal.
And I do agree with that. BUT I do not want to make someone else rich because they fooled me. I would rather pay $50 for a treated gem, and know it's a treated gem, than pay $200 for a treated gem that I have been led to believe is natural and untreated. I just believe in honesty. Is that so bad?

Does that make any sense? Or am I just being picky?

So, today in my lunch hour I went to the second shop I called.
The woman was quite helpful at the start. She even pulled out a band that had already been made, but someone had decided not to buy it. It was beautiful, very elegant and simple, in white gold.

I asked about the gems and she showed me some that are from the Australian gem fields. She asked why I wanted Australian only - and I told her 'oh, I just like to... you know, keep the money in the Australian economy...'
WHY did I say that? *sigh*
Is it really such a big deal that I do not want to buy anything that may have come out of conflict? I get people rolling their eyes at me. Like I should just not care where they come from. I am going to be looking at it every day for the rest of my life, it is meant to be a symbol of love, why would I want that symbol to make me sick to my stomach every time I look at it?
Is that too hard to understand?

So anyway, back to the story:

So I asked the lady a round about price for the ring, including the gem I had taken a liking to. She said it would be around $1800, because the ring was already made, and that is priced on 'old gold' prices, whatever that means. So we are getting somewhere. First shop, $1800 for the band. Second shop, $1800 all up.
I also get a 10 year warranty and lifetime service & cleaning on the ring, as well as having all the appropriate valuations and certificates, for both the ring and the gem.

You know, it is funny. As soon as she gave me the price and showed me some more stones, it seemed she either got bored of me, or decided that if I wasn't going to buy anything right then and there, she must latch onto someone who potentially would. And it is a shame, because everything was going great until she gave me the price (and I had a GOOD reaction to the price) and then all of a sudden her attention was on someone else who had walked in the door (even though she was sitting down with me) and then another worker of the shop. So I don't know, it's possible I mis read the situation, but I was trying to tell her when I would call, but she didn't seem to hear me, so I just took a card. Maybe it's something to do with the economy and sales? People giving up before they've done the full pitch now? I don't know. It was interesting. I am trying to not take much offense to it, they have a good reputation after all.

---------------------------

The next thing I need to consider is, in August there is a Gem Festival. It is about 11 hours drive from where we live. So, I could potentially source my own gem. But, it would be over two months before I even get it, let alone get the ring made.

And then I have to factor in the cost of driving there, staying over night, and then driving home. My friend has already offered to go with me (she is actually more excited than I am about this whole thing - it's odd - or maybe I am just the odd one). And then I got home and DF said he would go too.

But now I just dont know if I want to wait that long!

*sigh*

Anyway, sorry about my rambling. I am trying to get things sorted in my head, and it ends up being about as clear as mud in the end anyway. Blah!

ring, ring, ring...?

May 24th, 2009 at 11:45 pm

So, I have begun the hunt for an engagement ring.

I've left it rather last minute seeing as we had an idea last week to announce the engagement at our housewarming party. I know it's possible, but I don't want to really announce it without a ring. It's a bit of an anti-climax.

And yes, I know we've both been slack. I just didn't know where to start, so I never actually started... Frown

And yes, I also know that the boy is meant to go and get it and bring it to me, but we are really not very traditional in that sense. I think he would rather leave it to me so he doesn't have to worry about it. He will come with me to get it and try it on, but I already know he doesn't have time during the week to do anything other than work. And while they have work, they should be working! Especially in 'these times'.

So I have called two jewellers who I have heard good things about, and am already over it. $1800 for a plain band? not including the gem?

*sigh*

To be honest, the lady that quoted me that price was super helpful, and explained the differences between cast and handmade etc.
I am going to go in and have a look at the second place, as they have a wide range that are already made, and they said they have quite a few with sapphires. (what I am after)

Any tips?

my year without sex

May 23rd, 2009 at 07:33 pm

haha. yeah right.

No, actually... it is the title of a movie that I saw last night at the cinemas with a friend. I do not normally like paying full price for a movie ($16.50) but after watching it, I am happy that I did.

In the US you probably won't have it at the cinemas(but I could be wrong), it is an Australian film. Very well done with quirky characters, about a lower-middle-class family who's mother suffers a brain aneurism. She is not allowed to do heavy lifting, hold in sneezes or have sex. It's a great movie, if you ever get a chance to watch it, do so. It's a great look at ordinary life in a family, and all of the characters are really endearing. The family goes through such a tough year, made worse by the fact that the mother isn't feeling as close to her husband, and seems to also be going through a 'revelation' type phase of her life, almost like a mid-life crisis. So, as I said before, it's a heartwarming story, see it if you ever get the chance.

We also went out for dinner before the movie, to a nice little vegetarian restaurant. I have been there a few times, it was originally run by hare krishnas but they have taken a step back. Their merchandise is still there, and they still play their music, though. They also give out over 200 meals per week to the homeless.

Anyway. So dinner was $13.50, movie was $16.50, and I also bought a coffee.

Yesterday I also went to the growers market for fruit and vegetables, and spent $27.50.

This morning I went to another market with the intent of buying marigolds to plant near my lettuces, so the bugs don't eat them, but about half the stalls weren't there! The weather has been very windy and rainy lately, so I understand. But they missed out on my sale! I spent $4 on a coffee.

I am planning on going to the supermarket for a few odds and ends. I think I may even be able to stretch this pantry challenge to the week after next week! Why? Because we will probably have leftovers from the party, which I would like to incorporate into our meals next week to use them up.

Oh I nearly forgot:
My exercise challenge for the month was to do 12 sessions of 40 minutes or more of exercise.
Well!
Week 1: 2 sessions (40 minutes yoga each)
Week 2: 5 sessions (60 minutes yoga each)
Week 3: 6 sessions (5x60 minutes yoga, 1x40 minutes pilates each)
Week 4: ?

So, I have done 13 sessions, and I have a whole week to go. I have exceeded my goal and have 7 days left to go!

Next week I plan to do atleast two sessions of pilates, as well as yoga. I know that I will be unable to do any on Saturday, and possibly Sunday, as we will have people over.
I know that yoga is meant to be relaxing, but the dvd that I have is actually really hard! (which I like!) DF snorts and says 'yeah, but I bet it doesn't get your heart rate up', and well, there are several sequences where I am out of breath, so ha!

Budget Overhaul: Part One

May 22nd, 2009 at 07:21 pm

I have decided it is about time I worked out our bills budget. Actually, our budget in general. I am not the type to stick to a budget religiously, but if I have a figure in my mind, I automatically factor that into things when purchasing or choosing to spend money. Of course we go 'over' in many categories, but who's making the rules anyway? We are. So we're breaking our own rules. And if we aren't hurting anyone, or going into debt, does it REALLY matter? Everything sorts itself out in the end.

Having said that, I like to be super organised anyway. I like to have everything written out, and planned. Not that I necessarily stick to any plans, but I like to have them! Wink

I want to start putting away money each week again for our bills. While it will take away from our main account, and may mean a little bit more interest on our home loan in the process, the amount would only be very small, so I think peace of mind is more important in that respect. I just paid DF and my vehicle registration for the year, and it occurred to me that if we didn't have a nice balance in our account, the $1058 I had just forked over would worry me a bit. A year ago it would have not worried me, because I used to put a weekly amount into a bills account. Now we do not, as I wanted to have all the money in one account. But alas, I have realised I am not 'that' type of person. *sigh* I need to have atleast some things split up so I can relax a little in terms of money and accounts. It just makes me nervous to have all of our money together.

So, I endured the painful process of estimating our bills for a year:

House & Contents Insurance 69.56 monthly
Life Insurance 53.67 monthly
Phone & Internet 79 monthly
Mobile Phone 55 monthly
Electricity 240 3 monthly
Gas 100 6 monthly
Car Registration 1058 yearly
Car Insurance 478 yearly
RACQ Membership 62 yearly
Car Repairs 1000 yearly
Property Rates 1900 yearly
Bank Package Fee 395 yearly

I cannot think of any other bills at the moment. Is there anything missing???

At the moment, with the current amounts, that would mean that we spend approximately $9139.76 on bills per year. So if I were to put that away weekly, it would equal $175.76 per week. So if I rounded it up to $180 per week, that should cover everything.


party/food

May 20th, 2009 at 01:01 am

I am doing well with the pantry challenge. I have decided to not make 'plans' for any meals for the rest of the week and just cook whatever I feel like for dinner when the time comes. Today I bought yoghurt, vege chips and frozen spinach. I didn't have to buy them, I was at the grocery store with a friend and thought 'oh, a new vege chip flavour!' (lime and chilli) and 'oh, that looks like a yummy gourmet yoghurt!' and 'oh i have a pizza base in the freezer, that spinach will do nicely...!'

anyway! I didn't do too much damage, $11.23 all up.

I may just buy the basic fresh fruit and veges at the farmers market on the weekend and stock up on VERY BASIC supplies, like milk, at the supermarket, and continue the challenge into next week.

I will have to start organising for our housewarming next week too. Eeek!

The food plans have been revolving in my head for the past couple of weeks. Here is what I have so far:

To be out when guests arrive:
- Chopped carrot & celery with homemade hommous dip.
- A couple of gourmet bought dips (cashew & basil, beetroot & pinenut).
- These nifty little parmesan dippers I am planning on making, made out of puff pastry and then sprinkled with parmesan and twirled, then oven baked.
- Some lavash bread sprinkled with olive oil and rosemary, then oven baked for a few minutes til crispy, for dipping.

- Some fruit. I was thinking maybe just a bowl of grapes, as I don't want anything that will go brown. (ew).

- A few packs of potato chips.

For a bit later on:

- A couple of bags of spiced potato wedges with chilli sauce.

- Mini guinness pies (DF's request)

- Mini quiches

- Mini cupcakes

- Mini spinach & fetta rolls.


I was thinking that would probably be enough. Then I might go with gamecocks suggestion and order some pizzas later on for who ever is still hanging around at about 7.30-8pm. I'll probably stock up on some soft drinks and ice teas for the non-drinkers. (I'm not planning on drinking myself except perhaps a glass or two of champers).

Does that sound like an alright plan?
So far I have had 13 RSVP's as yes, and 4 maybes, but the official rsvp date is on Friday. I am expecting a Yes from 8-10 more, and am not sure about another 10 or so. All of our friends are quite slack on rsvping, they assume we know they are coming. It's all good and well for laid back events where everything is BYO, but it annoys me to no end when you're actually planning the thing. GAH!

that nice blanket i mentioned in my last post?

May 18th, 2009 at 03:35 pm

Well, DF and I went in and bought two. It was a $96 saving, and we only spent $69. We do not have a lot of blankets, but we do have 6 available places for guests to sleep (a double fold out sofa, a day bed, a single futon, a double blow up mattress and two single beds )- so it was a neccesary investment.

We also bought a book each. DF bought an antiques price guide. It was also on sale from $125 to $20. We would never buy it for $125, but $20 is a good price seeing as DF will actually use it. I bought a cooking book by Rick Stein, for $10, saved $20.

Today I have a doctors appointment. Fingers crossed for me everything is good!

ooops!

May 17th, 2009 at 11:52 am

In my last entry, I mentioned we bought a new fleecy cotton blanket as a guest blanket?

Well!

I opened the packet, and DF and I both immediately fell in love with it. It feels like cashmere, it's so soft!

So we have decided to use it ourselves, and go back and get another Big Grin

It is just a perfect weight and softness - it is not too thick but not too thin, and has a heavy feel to it, perfect for winter. I washed it and we used it as a top-sheet instead of our flanellete one last night - it's like sliding into a little bit of heaven! *sigh* So soft on your skin...

So I better go back and buy another before the sale expires - I do not want to pay $55 for it, but $23 is a good price.

spend spend spend yay!

May 16th, 2009 at 10:42 pm

Well, that's what today felt like anyway.

We had to buy some new towels and a guest blanket. It took us about half an hour to decide what towels to buy in Myer. They were having great specials on Sheridan, Vue and Country Road towels, but in the end we opted for some organic cotton towels made by an australian made and owned company. And they were softer anyway! We bought 4 @ $15 each (2 beige and 2 x navy), and 2 x navy handtowels @ $10 each.
We also bought a beige fleecy cotton blanket that was marked down from $55 to $23. And then we decided to buy some flanelette sheets for our bed, marked down from $70 to $40, seeing as it is winter... Big Grin
AND THEN we decided to have lunch out as well, @ $46.40.

eating out of the pantry Part 2

May 16th, 2009 at 12:22 am

Well, I have done the shopping for the week, so I thought I would type out a list of everything I have on hand. Not only because I like doing lists (Big Grin), but I wanted to see what everyone elses ideas were for meals. Lunches and breakfasts are sorted out. I am interested in trying out the sachets for the slow cooker - so that I can do it from scratch next time Big Grin

Freezer:
1 x Serve vegetable pasta sauce
1 x serve mexican beans
2 x serves lentil dahl
bag of frozen peas
1 loaf sourdough rye bread
1 loaf multigrain bread
5 sheets puff pastry
200g beef chuck steak
3 vegetarian sausages
3 packs of 6x beef sausages
1 x vegetarian patty

Fridge:
skim milk /plain yoghurt
plain yoghurt with fruit
butter / parmesan cheese /tasty cheese
feta/ricotta/filo pastry
coconut milk/ sliced beetroot
kalamata olives /sundried tomatoes
chilli/bbq/tomato/soy sauce
tahini/assorted jams/mustard
whole egg mayonaise/8 free range eggs
rice vinegar/balsamic vinegar
pumpkin/bok choi/carrots/brocolli
cucumber/grape tomatoes
mixed lettuce leaves/fresh spinach
green beans/unhusked corn cob
sweet potato/potato/zucchini
lemon/onion/garlic/ginger
plums/bananas/pears

Pantry:
large variety spices/herbs
risoni pasta/spaghetti/penne
flat rice noodles/vermicelli
lentils/ taco shells
white rice/arborio rice/brown rice
sultanas/currants/apricots
pinenuts/walnuts/ tinned peaches
chickpeas/kidney beans/cannelini beans
tinned tomato/tomato passata
wholemeal SR/Plain flour/rice flour
oats/semolina/coconut/yeast
golden syrup/honey/ chocolate chips
castor/brown/raw sugar
tuna/olive oil/bi carb
muesli/beef & red wine casserole slow cooker sachet/beef rendang sachet/garlic & herb lamb shank slow cooker sachet