<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Category: Savings
 

Viewing the 'Savings' Category

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.
-------------

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).

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

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

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

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...?


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

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.

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

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!

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

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.

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

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!

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

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?