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SAVING CHALLENGE

October 18th, 2018 at 06:20 pm



Saving for Caravan/Campervan/Camper Trailer Challenge

For the last couple of years now DH and I have been discussing that in the future we would like to get either a caravan, camper trailer or even a van that we can convert into a campervan. The reason why we hired one when we went to Tasmania back in May is because we wanted to try what it would be like sleeping in one. We want to travel around Australia (or at least part of it), this will probably happen in 5-years’ time and maybe hopefully even sooner than that. And we believed this one of the best way to see this beautiful country of ours.

AIM: $15K in 3 years (at least a starting point)

By/From:
- Gifts – any gifts we receive that’s useful to us (I will decide on individual basis)
- Savings from Grocery – we will stick to our $300 p/m budget if we spend less than this amount the leftover money will go to this saving challenge.
- Savings from Entertainment Money – same goes with this, we will have $150p/m budget (Netflix is included in this amount).
- Any Cash Rewards that we might get (eg. Credit card rewards)
- NSD’s – ($3 per NSD) – I actually still take note of our NSDs in my spreadsheets, so I would like to bring this back just like when I used to save up for my Sunny day savings few years back.
- Savings from buying something we NEED cheaper. Good incentive to make sure we are getting the best value for our money.
- Extra Income – if it happens I would like to put part of it in this saving challenge (Any of our current or future investment income, eg. Dividend money is not included in this)
- Tax refund – If any, I would like some of it to go here also.
- Trading Income – I very rarely do trading these days, the last time was over a year ago. I just haven’t been motivated enough to do all that work, I just been investing long-term, so much less work. But I think I might start doing it again but with very small amount of money and if I make some I will put a percent of the profit into this challenge. DH also pledges to contribute some money into this saving challenge if he makes some money from his trading. He does a bit more trading when he has time, he likes it, he likes following the market. I have just over $1,700 in my CFD trading account. DH probably got around that same amount in his account, whenever he gets his account above $2K he takes some out as reserves and when it goes below $1.5K he put some back in. It really is just “play” money.

I’m going to keep this money separate so I’m thinking of opening a new bank account or maybe a sub-account from our current savings account if it is available I haven’t checked yet.

Normally I would have started this challenge in the beginning of next year but I’m really eager so I’m going to start next month. I just read a book that also motivated me to start now, why wait? We will try to keep our spending plan to as close to this year for next year.
DH is about to finish the tax return for the last financial year; I’m hoping we will get some more money this time. Last time we had to pay a bit for DH.

So, here we go. I’m excited about this!




Car Service and some Financial Updates

October 16th, 2018 at 08:21 pm


Car Service = Yesterday’s car service was $321.20 - it included the normal service and a change in fan belt.

Increase in Income = DH got an increase but only CPI rate, not surprising really, income here have mainly stagnated in the last few years.

Salary Sacrifice = We’ve decided to increase DH’s Super contribution to hopefully decrease his tax. He is salary sacrificing few hundred dollars per month. Now that the house is paid off this makes a lot of sense for us.

Garden = I’m still getting a lot of swiss chard, I even gave some away to a couple of friends. I’ve been trying out different dishes with it. The other night I made crust less quiche with it. It was very good. A lot of seedlings I planted couple of weekends ago are now coming through. I’m just hoping we get a bit more rain this summer.

WEEK 41

October 15th, 2018 at 07:50 pm



Grocery = $54.96, almost on budget.

Car Fuel = $70.50, this was a lot but it was almost empty and prices are really high at the moment.

Carpet Cleaner Hire = On Saturday we went and hire one of those carpet cleaner for 24 hours. We cleaned couple of rooms that has carpet, 3 couches, 4 rugs and the car. It cost us $73.85 including the cleaning liquids that was needed for the machine and a spray bottle of a spot cleaner. There are enough leftovers we can use for next time. The hire of the machine for 24 hours was only $43.60 ($5 was for the upholstery handle). This is our first time using and I was happy with the result, I want to regularly do this, maybe at least once a year. With the dog around it’s good to give these things some deep cleaning.


SALVO = we took a bag of stuff to the charity, then I got a couple of books and DH got a Wii game, total $10.

This morning DH dropped off the car to the mechanic, not sure how much it will cost yet.

WEEK 40

October 8th, 2018 at 05:44 pm

Week 40 already, 12 weeks to go for end of the year. Man that went fast.

Last week we celebrated our 12th anniversary and on the weekend DH’s birthday.

GROCERY – $76.13 bought some extra stuff for DH birthday get together.

Anniversary & Birthday – We went out for our anniversary spent $120. We had Italian. For DH’s birthday we spent $144.92 for gift, sweets, snacks and drinks. We had bbq, the weather was beautiful.

Laundry – We were meant to get our winter quilt washed a couple of weeks ago but it got push back, we finally did it on Sunday. It cost us $9. And also got a latte to share while waiting for the washing, it cost $4.80.

Added: I forgot to mentioned that I got a hair cut on the weekend - $20.

SEPTEMBER 2018

October 2nd, 2018 at 09:39 pm



Total Spending for the month = $1600.05

GROCERY = $277.35, a bit more than I was hoping for but still under $300 so we are still doing very well since September had 5 Saturdays.

WATER & GAS BILL = $393.60

HOUSEHOLD & GARDEN = $215.15

ENTERTAINMENT = $349.59 , high, very high. Celebrated few birthdays and got far too much takeaway food.

GIFTS = $157.75

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 2018 GOALS ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Financials-

*Put as much money we possibly can into Investments (at least $45K).
We are now at $42K, so we should achieve this goal in October.
*Save $4K for Holiday money.
N/A this month
*Save $5K for future House Repairs/Future Remodel.
Still not sure what we want to do with the house but I decided that the savings that we have been contributing to the “Car Fund” will now be for this (if we ever need it). We have been putting $200 into a couple managed funds for 10 years now; it has mainly been earmark as “Car Fund”. Last year the account got to just over $40K, we decided to take out $10K (we don’t need $40K to buy a new car, if when we get a new car we will be getting the one around $20-25K). So, that 10K got invest into something else. Anyway, last time I looked it was again almost to $40K mark (although it might have gone down since then, the market has been down in the last few weeks). We will just continue putting $200 a month and see where it can get to.

Other –

*Read 70 books.
I didn’t have as much time to read. I listen to a bit of audio books while doing the grout. Also I finally found a Dave Ramsay book, first time reading his book.
134. One of Us is Lying - Karen Mcmanus (2 Sep)
135. The House - Simon Lelic (6 Sep) - Audio
136. Stuffocation - James Wallman (7 Sep)
137. Minimalist: A Better Life with Less - Anthony Wright (9 Sep)
138. Altruism - Matthieu Ricard (14 Sep) - Audio
139. The Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank (15 Sep)
140. The Honourable Thief - Meaghan Wilson-Anastasios (17 Sep) - Audio
141. Hag-Seed - Margaret Atwood (19 Sep) - Audio
142. The Total Money Makeover - Dave Ramsay (20 Sep)
143. The Awakened Millionaire - Joe Vitale (23 Sep)
144. Don't Wake Up - Liz Lawler (24 Sep) - Audio
145. Econobabble - Richard Deniss (25 Sep)
146. Find Your Why - Simon Sinek (26 Sep)
147. Ash and Bones - Mike Thomas (29 Sep) - Audio


*Learn Spanish.
I put in more time on this in September.

*Workout 3/4 times a week.
I would actually give myself an A here for September, I just need to keep it going in October.

*Try new recipes every other week.
I forgot about this in September. I cooked a lot of stir fry because we got a lot of snow peas and swiss chard right now in the garden.

*Blogging once per week.
Yes.

*Continue Garden/Landscaping.
Have been doing a bit more work outside.

*Wake-up early (before 7am)
Yes

*Continue Decluttering.
Yes – we have been doing some spring cleaning. I need to drop some more stuff to the charity place.

WEEK 39

September 30th, 2018 at 10:04 pm



GROCERY – $43.07 – it could have been less but we bought some snacks to have for the football grand final game, our team was in the grand final but unfortunately we lost (maybe next year). But we had fun eating chips, dips and cheese and drinking beer while watching it.

GARDENING/LANDSCAPING – Spent $109.21 on stuff for the garden, it is best time to start working in the garden again. I also bought some more seedlings and seeds.

FABRIC – Also got some fabric to cover the couch, $60 (9 meters long).

Eating Out – Still been loving the Vietnamese food too much and being out an about we have been getting some food on the run - $49.30. We can’t seem to stop.

WEEK 38

September 25th, 2018 at 10:32 pm



GROCERY – $65.07, we went to this butcher shop we haven’t been to for 3 months or so. We end up getting more than we intend to.

GIFT - $110 for a friend’s 40th.

LUNCH & GOLD CLASS MOVIE - $88.50, also for the friend’s 40th birthday.

It was a bit of spending on the weekend but it was good to be out with friends.

WEEK 37

September 18th, 2018 at 10:32 pm



GROCERY – an even $42. It's more in line with we are aiming for.

I haven’t done much else but painting the grout. I finally finish it today. I was hoping to do it for a week but it has taken a week and a half.

The weather is warming up so I will be putting away the thick winter quilt for the lighter one. I will go to the laundry mat this weekend to get it wash. Our washing machine is too small for it. And then I can put it away for the next 6-7 months. I will also put away the electric blanket until next year.

WEEK 36

September 11th, 2018 at 03:31 am


GROCERY - $70.77, a bit over than what I wanted to spend but just when I thought I’ve finished my shopping, in the last shop I went to I found they were having good sales of chicken breast so I decided to get some. Bought a bit of household items this weekend (dishwashing powder, toothpaste, handwashing soap ,etc).

GIFTS = $47.75, for our niece’s first birthday. We had to send it via post we can’t go to the party this weekend.

CLOTHING = Bought DH couple of new business shirts, they were only $10 each. He got rid of 3 shirts. We are currently doing one in one out with our clothes. I also got a workout jacket to replace one I am about to throw out once the weather gets warmer. That was also $10.

EATING OUT – We went out for Vietnamese food and coffee and cake afterwards, $30.30

GARAGE SALES - $35.50 - mainly got a set of knives. DH and I have discussed of getting one last month, so when we saw it we got it. They still look fairly new. We also got a nice painting, a handmade pottery and some garden pots.

SEEDLINGS – Got some seedling, tomatoes and Thai chillies for $7.60

HOUSE REPAIRS – we went to the hardware store to get some paint for grout. Also got some other stuff I need to make some little fixes around the house. All up it cost $19.87. My current project for the week is to re-grout some areas and then paint all the grout in three areas (3 rooms). We already have some grout but it is hard to match the current grout so we decide to just paint the lot to match and to make it look fresh. So far it is looking so much better but it is a bit fiddly, it will most likely take me a week or so to do the three areas.

WEEK 35

September 4th, 2018 at 09:41 pm

We had a fairly reasonable weekend.

GROCERY - $56.44, $15 was spent on 1 kilo ground coffee (it was on sale, 50% off) and we also spent $10 worth of mixed nuts and fruits and a bag of pepitas (this should last at least a month). This is what we normally have for in our breakfast. DH makes our breakfast, he would soak rolled oats with homemade kefir, in it he would also put frozen berries and the mixed nuts & fruits. He would normally make enough for 2 to 3 meals. In the morning we would normally add slices of banana and whatever else fruit we have, normally strawberries, avocados, and whatever is in season.

BIRTHDAY – we went out for lunch on Saturday for a friends 40th, spent $90. I bought her gift last month.


That’s it.

August 2018

September 2nd, 2018 at 11:21 pm

Total for the month was $1,247.36. Not too bad and it was mainly because we did not have utility bill due (this is going to be different story in Sept) and there was no property rate again in August (but it is starting again in Sept, for 10 months and we just receive the statement, it is going up a bit). Some highlights on our spending:

GROCERY = Total for the month was $246.99, under $250 so I’m happy. I think we will try to keep our grocery spending at this level, so around $45-50 per week.

TRAIN FARE = Big one this month $245.04. DH bought a 4 week pass on the last day of Aug. DH decided to take a break from taking the early train in September so he and I can do our workouts in the morning together. So he won’t be getting discount (well… he is still get a bit for buying bulk rather than the daily pass) on his train fare in September but it is now all paid for the next 4 weeks.

ENTERTAINMENT = this was not too bad actually $175.18

ALLOWANCE = but this was not so good…$165.39. DH had to go to a lot of farewell lunches at work.

GIFTS = we had few gifts to buy for $213.00




~~~2018 GOALS~~~


Financials-

*Put as much money we possibly can into Investments (at least $45K).
Back in early to mid-July DH signed up to salary sacrificed more into his Superannuation (retirement) fund, which means he has been getting less take home pay but it should save around $3K a year in tax. So, we got less money to put into this goal but this should still get fully funded in around 2-3 months’ time.

*Save $4K for Holiday money.
N/A this month but we are thinking of going somewhere in November.

*Save $5K for future House Repairs/Future Remodel.
N/A


Other –

*Read 70 books. – For the month of August I challenged myself to finish 1 book a day and I actually managed to do it.

101. What Lies Between Us - Nayomi Munaweera (1 Aug)
102. Witness to a Trial: A short Story Prequel to The Whistler - John Grisham (2 Aug)
103. The Other Side of Happiness - Brock Bastian (3 Aug)
104. How you Learn is How you Live - David A. Kolb & Kay Paterson (4 Aug) - Audio
105. The Power of a Half Hour - Tommy Barnett (5 Aug) - Audio
106. The Whistler - John Grisham (6 Aug)
107. The Five Levels of Attachment (Toltec Wisdom for the Modern World) - don Miguel Ruiz Jr. (7 Aug)
108. Free Yourself from Debt - Paul Clitheroe (8 Aug)
109. Last Seen Alive - Claire Douglas (9 Aug) - Audio
110. The Breakfast Club for 40 Somethings - Vanessa Stoykov (9 Aug)
111. The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (10 Aug)
112. Frugal Isn't Cheap - Clare K. Levison, CPA (11 Aug)
113. Life in the Refrigerator Door - Alice Kuipers (12 Aug)
114. Hangman - Jack Heath (13 Aug)
115. Living Thin - Antonia Magee (14 Aug)
116. Happiness - Matthieu Ricard (15 Aug) - Audio
117. Broke Millennial - Erin Lowry (16 Aug)
118. Chaos to Calm - Shannah Kennedy & Lyndall Mitchell (17 Aug) - Audio
119. The Money Motivator - Paul Hannah (18 Aug) - Audio
120. The Mood Elevator - Larry Senn (19 Aug) - Audio
121. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee (20 Aug)
122. Don't Sweat the Small Stuff... and it's all small stuff - Richard Carlson Ph.D. (21 Aug)
123. Hyper-Capitalism - Larry Gonick & Tim Kasser (22 Aug) - (Graphic book)
124. The Star Principle - Richard Koch (22 Aug) - Audio
125. The Money Motivator - Paul Hannah (23 Aug) - Audio
126. Civil Disobedience - Henry David Thoreau (24 Aug)
127. Skin in the Game - Nassim Nicholas Taleb (25 Aug)
128. Enchiridion - Epictetus (26 Aug)
129. Metamorphosis - Franz Kafka (27 Aug)
130. The Duel - Anton Chekhov (28 Aug)
131. Get to the Point - Joel Schwartzberg (29 Aug) - Audio
132. The Little Book of Big Happiness - Bernadette Fisers (30 Aug) - Audio
133. 12 Rules for Life: an antidote to chaos - Jordan B. Peterson (31 Aug)



*Learn Spanish.
Still been doing 15 on Doulingo and have been watching some YouTube videos in the last couple of weeks. I will focus more on this in September maybe spend 3-4 hours per day instead of just 20 mins.

*Workout 3/4 times a week.
DH and I are going to do a bit more extensive work out in September. It was okay this month but really nothing to write home about.

*Try new recipes every other week.
I tried a couple, one was a disaster.

*Blogging once per week.
Yes

*Continue Garden/Landscaping.
Did do anything but we got to harvest some Swiss chard, snow peas and coriander from our dismal winter vegetable garden.

*Wake-up early (before 7am)
Yes

*Continue Decluttering.
Didn’t do anything this month but I will do some spring cleaning soon.

WEEK 34

August 28th, 2018 at 04:30 pm



The weather was very nice so we went to the park on the weekend.

Grocery - $54.56

Fuel - $57.76

Gifts - $103.00 (for 2 birthdays next weekend)

Short and sweet since I will be posting the end of the month summary in a couple of days.

WEEK 33

August 21st, 2018 at 09:31 pm



Grocery - $64.98, we got a bit of meat on the weekend. We are at $192 spending for the month and I am hoping to keep this under $240-50 this month. I think it is doable.

Lunch Out - $22, the weather was terrible on the weekend and I really wanted some Pho soup.

Garden – $31.00, we got some soil for this native plant that I want to re-pot to a bigger pot also got a couple solar lights for the garden.

Gifts – $110, we had to get a couple of gifts for a friend’s new baby and mother in-law’s birthday.


WEEK 32

August 15th, 2018 at 12:12 am



Grocery - $32.45, we only needed some stuff.


Second-hand Store – We checked out this store near this Aldi we went to on the week (not our normal Aldi), they were selling CD’s for $1 and I found a little Spanish/English dictionary for $2 and another book. We end up spending $14 there.

It was a quiet weekend.

WEEK 31

August 6th, 2018 at 07:50 pm



Grocery - an even $95.00. This is what happens when I don’t put a limit on spending, end up spending twice as much than necessary. About $40 was spent on some unusual stuff, things that we rarely get. The main thing was the sashimi grade salmon, tuna and king fish. We made some of them into sushi and the rest just ate it as sashimi.


Train Fare - $50


Eating out - we went to the shopping centre to mainly get out if the house. Had lunch and had our monthly ‘meeting’ while having coffee and cheese cake. Total $34.95.

JULY 2018

July 31st, 2018 at 04:49 pm

Total Spending = $951.07
UNDER 1 GRAND!!! I can’t remember if this has ever happened before.

This was a very low spend month but not very frugal because we went out a lot so Entertainment expense was high and for some reason we were craving a lot of Vietnamese food. We spent $287.29 under the Entertainment category. And then DH had few lunches out because there are a lot of people at his work that are left this month, so Allowance spending for the month was $58.95

GROCERY - $179.17 (under our $180 for the month). DH wants us to continue this challenge but I’m a bit reluctant I don’t even really know why. Although, I think this experiment has been really good for us, eating a lot less meat has been really good not just for monetary reason. Actually eating less overall has been an eye opener. It just shows that we might have been over eating. Cutting down on food spending meant we had to be selective and only buying food that is necessary and has high benefits for us. We never went hungry but sometimes I opted to skip some meals if I thought I don’t need to eat yet. I’ve discovered that it is sometimes okay not to eat until your body tells you so. I have been doing a bit of short-term (intermittent) fasting. I think it has been better for my insides too.

The rest we spent on:
Gas - $103.72
Mobile Phone - $30
Household Goods - $96.34
Fuel - $40.70
Train Fare - $100
Personal/Medical - $31.00
Misc - $23.90

No Property Rates – for this month and next month.



~~~2018 GOALS~~~

Financials-

*Put as much money we possibly can into Investments (at least $45K). – We got to put a bit of money this month because of low spending and 1 extra income. I think another 3 months and we might have this one done.

*Save $4K for Holiday money. – This is probably should have been labelled budget or limit instead of save. N/A this month

*Save $5K for future House Repairs/Future Remodel. – The same goes with this one. This is a budget and then anything extra goes under future remodelling of the house. Although, lately we have been thinking that we might just sell up and get something smaller and if that happens soon we might sell the house as is.


Other –

*Read 100 books. ---DONE! I never thought I could read more than 1 book a week but apparently I can read 3 books a week and might even be able to do better. Now that I’m used to it I think it is doable for me do read 4-5 books a week. Mindset!

87. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - J.K. Rowling (6 Jul) – Audio (I actually really enjoyed this audiobook. I was never able to read this book before. I have actually tried reading this book twice before but just could get into it, the same goes with those Twilight books. I know, I probably should be locked-up for admitting this. Lol)
88. Memory Man - David Baldacci (8 Jul)
89. The Joy of Less - Francine Jay (10 Jul)
90. You Can Do It! - Paul Hanna (12 Jul) - Audio
91. Goodbye, Things - Fumio Sasaki (13 Jul)
92. By the Book - Julia Sonneborn (14 Jul)
93. The Art of Tidying Up - Kim Carruthers (17 Jul)
94. Clutter Busting your Life - Brooks Palmer (19 Jul)
95. The Book Thief - Markus Zusak (22 Jul)
96. The Perfect Stranger - Megan Miranda (23 Jul) - Audio
97. The World of Philosophy: Stoics and Epicureans - Daryl Hale (24 Jul) - Audio
98. A Monk's Guide to a Clean House and Mind - Shoukei Matsumoto (25 Jul) - Audio
99. The Secret - Rhonda Byrne (26 Jul)
100. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens (31 Jul) – I finally finished this one. It has taken me months to read it. It’s my own copy so I kept putting it aside for the library books.



*Learn Spanish. – Still going


*Workout 3/4 times a week. – Still trying


*Try new recipes every other week. – ummm I can’t remember, I think this might been a no.
**Actually I just went through my blog and I forgot about the brussels sprouts, that was definitely new to us**

*Blogging once per week. – Yes


*Continue Garden/Landscaping. – Too cold still. Only did some weeding in the veggie garden.


*Wake-up early (before 7am) – Yes


*Continue Decluttering. – Major one in the garage for our annual rubbish collection.

WEEK 30

July 29th, 2018 at 06:51 pm



Grocery = $42.75. DH did the grocery shopping, I had a headache. I just have to give him a detailed shopping list and a budget. He did very well. He got everything that was in the list, even the extras ‘if there was any money left’.

Items he got:
- 4 litres Milk
- 1 doz Eggs
- 1 loaf of Bread
- 2 Frozen Slow Cooked Beef Pie
- 1 bag of Rolled Oats
- 1 bottle Passata
- 1 whole Chicken
- 2 Frozen Salmon Fillets
- 1 big Beef Rump (almost a kilo??)
- 1.5 kilo of Potatoes
- 1 Red Onion
- 2 Toothbrushes
- 1 bag of assorted Vegetables (for $2) – 8 tomatoes, 2 cucumber, 1 eggplant, 10 baby okra, 1 brussels sprout, 2 pickled onions, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 potato, a small piece of ginger, 2 sweet potatoes and 1 capsicum.

WEEK 29

July 24th, 2018 at 02:15 pm



Grocery = $68.62 – got 20 kilo of rice for $33.00
$43.58 left in this month’s grocery budget.

Items we got:
- 20 kilo sack of Rice – this normally last around 25 weeks.
- 3 litres Milk
- 1 doz Eggs
- 1.8 kilo of Pork Shoulder (it was $5.95 per kilo, on sale)
- 500g of Butter
- 200g of Bacon
- A bottle of Passata
- 105g can of Salmon
- 500g of Spiral Pasta
- 50g of Recipe Base
- 400g Turkish Bread
- Dried Noodles
- 500g Zucchini
- 8 Bananas
- ¼ Japanese Pumpkin

Gas for BBQ – DH got a new tank of gas for our bbq that was $23.90

AFL (Australian Football League) – our game was again on cable TV so we thought we couldn’t watch it live again. We didn’t go out to the pub again instead we found out that we can watch it online for as little as $5 per week (cancel anytime) and it had 2 weeks for free. So we signed up for a week, cheaper than a pint of beer at the pub. For the whole season the fee is $99, maybe we will sign up next year.

Plumbing Issues

July 19th, 2018 at 09:43 pm

On the weekend we were starting to have the same problem with our sewage pipes as couple of months ago. The plumber did warn me when he unblocked the pipes that the problem might be bigger than blockage. He wouldn’t know though unless he put a camera in there (he didn’t have one with him and it would cost more) but when he was unblocking it he said it didn’t feel right. He thinks it might be a problem at the intersection where our pipes meet the main pipes. DH was going to try to call either the council and/or the water company to find out where that intersection might be located in our property. The plumber tried to look for it but he couldn’t find one, and when he asked me about it I had no I idea there is such a thing. Apparently, there should have been a pipe or a vent that sticks out from the ground, and that sometimes they can collapse and cause blockage. We have lived here for almost 20 years I’ve never seen one, neither has DH. So both DH and I were anticipating that if this is cracked/collapsed pipes then it will cost thousands. Few days later it was getting worst.

Yesterday DH called the water company instead of the plumber, he was fully expecting for them to say ‘to call the plumber’ but they were actually very helpful and came over an hour after the call, he actually got here before DH (DH left work early so he could be home for it). I explained to him what happened and what the plumber has said to me. He mentioned that some houses especially houses built at certain time, which ours falls under, might not have the vent pipe. And he also said that plumbers are only allowed to go a certain distance, so maybe he couldn’t go too far with his machine. This guy got so much better machines, it only took him less than 10 minutes and he had a camera, we got to see what was inside our pipes, it looked really squeaky clean and he also pointed out the intersection, according to him it looks good. Hopefully that is the end of it and we won’t have to deal with it for another 10 years.

He was really helpful and just before he left he suggested that next time it happens to call them first instead of the plumber; it won’t cost us for them to come to assess the problem instead of the other way around. Next time we will for sure. I’m just thankful it only cost us $250 for the plumber and we didn’t need to do any digging up and replacing pipes. We were so relieved.

WEEK 28

July 16th, 2018 at 04:43 pm

Grocery = $32.55, under budget.

Items we got:
- 3 litres Milk
- 2 doz Eggs
- 2 litres White Vinegar (mainly use for cleaning)
- Frozen Puff Pastry
- 1 Whole Chicken
- 1 bottle of Passata
- 1 can of Whole Tomatoes
- 1 can of Cannellini
- 500g of Spaghetti Pasta
- 1 pack of Custard Biscuit
- 1 box of Tissue
- 1 bottle of Tomato Sauce
- 1 Loaf of Bread
- 1 Fillet of Fish
- 1 tube of Toothpaste
- 1 Sweet Potato
- 4 Mandarins
- 3 Onions
- 1 Garlic
- 1 bag of Carrots (on sale for $1)
- ¼ Pumpkin
- 2 Tomatoes



Annual Hard Rubbish Collection – This week our council is picking up rubbish that they don’t normally collect weekly. So we spent few hours Saturday afternoon going through some stuff in the garage that we’ve keep in there for storage. We ended up taking a car boot full of stuff to charity shop and some we put at the front. We throw out an old lawn mower, a chair that has been gather dust, some old appliances that no longer work, some kitchen stuff (old pot, chopping boards, etc) and the big fish tank that leaked last year that DH couldn’t fixed. Slowly but surely we are decluttering, I try to throw few items out every single day.

Date – It feels like it has been forever since we went out on a proper date. And as some kind of reward with our hard work on Saturday we went out for lunch on Sunday and made a nice outing for the whole Sunday afternoon. It was expensive but no regrets, we sent just under $200. Another reason for going out was to be able to watch our team football game play on tv. The game was only shown on cable tv, which we don’t have. So we went to a Texan smoked bbq restaurant where they show sports games. DH work very closed to this place so he has been here last year for work lunch and has mentioned about taking me to this place one day. We spent the first half of the game there and then we moved on to the gaming room in the casino (this whole place is in a casino complex) where they have a sport bar where we drunk some beers and watched the second half of the game. We lost Frown. Then we played the roulette (also lost), spent a bit of time there making sure DH is not over the limit to drive, then we went home. We had so much food for lunch that we decided not to have a proper dinner, just a bit of soup.



GAS for the Car - DH filled up, $40.70. We haven't been driving so haven't had to fill up for the last 6-7 weeks.

WEEK 27

July 9th, 2018 at 06:04 pm


Grocery = $35.25, right on target.

Items we got:
- 4 litres Milk
- 1 doz Eggs
- 2 bags of Rolled Oats
- 600ml Cream
- 500g Frozen Raspberries
- 1 can of Sliced Pineapple
- 105g can of Pink Salmon
- 95g can of Tuna
- Loaf of Bread
- 1 Continental Cucumber
- 9 Bananas
- 600g Pork Leg Chop
- 2 Fish (Leather Jackets)
- 2 bags a assorted vegetables - it had 8 Brussel Sprouts, 3 different coloured Capsicums, a baby eggplant, broccoli and 5 tomatoes

This is probably my first time buying brussel sprouts, we’ve had those couple times before in restaurants and hated it. But on the weekend I thought I should give it another try. I cut them in half and roasted them with a lot of butter. It was actually yummy.

I also roasted some of the tomatoes and capsicums, while I had the Brussel sprouts on and made soup out of it, nice to have soup on these cold winter days. I know there’s a heat wave in the US at the moment but believe me the weather we had here on the weekend was horrible also, very strong wind. Apart from going grocery shopping we didn’t go anywhere. We stayed in bed for most of it with our electric blanket, reading our books and watching Netflix, I’m obsess with those FBI files and real detective shows at the moment.

Decluttering

July 4th, 2018 at 05:56 pm

Rob62521 asked me about whether reading books about decluttering and minimalist has helped. This was my answer. And I decided to make a blog post about it just for keeping a record.

Yeah the books has been great in helping us see how ridiculous some of the reasons we have for keeping stuff around. I don't think we will be really become a minimalist but we want to live a simpler life. We are not really hoarders to start with (I think?) but we are trying to learn new habits that will hopefully help us be more organise and have a clutter free house. Getting rid of the excess stuff will definitely help and to be more selective in what we allow into the house hopefully will minimise stuff accumulating to start with.


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



This is where my focus at the moment. Financially almost everything what we are doing is set automatically. So I guess, I needed a new hobby and this is one of them -simplifying my life.

This is a total turn around to what I was think we should do just over a year or so ago. AT one stage I was seriously thinking of turning one of our spare room into a walk-in closet. I even took measurements, drawn up a plan and made a list of things to get to build shelves and what not. I think I spent another 2 months thinking about it and try to convinced DH that we should do it. After a while, for some reason I decided that it was going to be too much work (& DH wasn't too keen on doing all that work) and I guess my interest in my grand plan waned and I decided that instead of spending my time constantly organising stuff that I should just get rid of them. Now my aim is to only have enough clothing that would fit in our tall boy and a small hanging area (about a metre long). We are almost there probably another 10 to 15% to go. We got rid of a lot already. We got 2 tall boys at the moment and one of them is almost empty, once that is not needed it will be gone. Right now I am happier with this option.

JUNE 2018

July 3rd, 2018 at 02:13 am


Total spending for June 2018 was $1,319.37. The cheapest month so far this year, this is going to be hard to beat but I’m hoping to be able to do it in July though.

A quick look at some of the numbers:

Groceries – Total for the month was $177.41, under than our $180 budget.

Water Bill – Was $207.07 for the quarter.

Vault Rental – We paid $288 for the year this month.

Entertainment– Netflix, eating out and other items that we consider as entertainment added to $105.19 for the month, this is about average for us.

Clothing – Mainly the shoes = $88.92

Allowance Money – $71.07, DH’s lunch couple of times and books and CDs we got from charity shops.

Doggie Items – $92.99, mainly for the bags.


==ooo00ooo00ooo --2018 GOALS-- ooo00ooo00ooo==

Financials-
*Put as much money we possibly can into Investments (at least $45K). - We just calculated our net worth we are up $48K since the start of the year. It is always good to see we are heading at the right direction.

*Save $4K for Holiday money. – N/A for this month

*Save $5K for future House Repairs/Future Remodel. – We will put money under this once Goal #1 above is done.

Other –
*Read 100 books.
69. The Tattooist of Auschwitz -Heather Morris (1 Jun)
70. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck - Mark Manson (3 Jun)
71. Lie to Me - J.T. Ellison (4 Jun) - Audio
72. The Barefoot Investor - Scott Pape (5 Jun) - Audio
73. The Power of Having Fun - Dave Crenshaw (6 Jun) - Audio
74. The Badass Librarians of Timbuktu - Joshua Hammer (7 Jun)
75. Debt: The First 5,000 Years - David Graeber (13 Jun)
76. Stories We Tell Ourselves - Sarah Francoise (14 Jun)
77. The 80/20 Principle - Richard Koch (15 Jun) - Audio
78. 29 Seconds - T.M. Logan (16 Jun)
79. Power Up your Mind - Bill Lucas (20 Jun) - Audio
80. Essential: Essays by the Minimalist - Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus (22 Jun)
81. For Whom the Bell Tolls - Ernest Hemingway (25 Jun)
82. Work Simply - Carson Tate (27 Jun) - Audio
83. Anatomy of a Scandal - Sarah Vaughan (28 Jun)
84. Eat that Frog! - Brian Tracy (29 Jun) - Audio
85. The Art of Discarding - Nagisa Tatsumi (29 Jun)
86. Minimalism - live a meaningful life - Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus (30 Jun)

*Learn Spanish.
Back up to 58 consecutive days again.

*Workout 3/4 times a week.
This is always a struggle, for some reason I just can get consistent with my workout but I try to do some 4 to 5 days a week but deep down I’m not happy with my effort. I feel like I should be doing more but I hate exercising. Weight wise I don’t have any issues. My weight has been fairly the same my adult life. I eat fairly healthy and I try now to over indulge. The thing that I need to watch out for is make sure my core strength is strong because when I don’t work on it that’s when I get lower back pain.

*Try new recipes every other week.
I did so well in trying out few simple recipes this month.

*Blogging once per week.
Done

*Continue Garden/Landscaping.
It’s cold so nothing much is happening out there

*Wake-up early (before 7am)
Check

*Continue Decluttering.
DH borrowed a bunch of books from the library about decluttering and minimalism and I have read some of them as well. These books have been helping us (mostly him since he has a bit more hard times letting some stuff go but I can also see some of my short comings). We are slowly getting rid of stuff for sure, it will take us awhile but I think we are doing it the right way for us.

WEEK 26

June 30th, 2018 at 01:25 am

I've decided to post this earlier than usual, but it is already 6pm on Saturday 30th of June here. I want to move on to my end of the month post in couple of days.

Grocery = $33.00 even, which is around $25 US dollars.

What we got (I’ve decided to include the prices for this week – Aust dollars of course):
- 3 litres Milk ($2.99)
- 1 Whole Chicken ($5.25) – noticed that I have been buying this for few weeks now because Aldi have reduced the price down to $3 a kilo.
- 1 doz Eggs ($2.79)
- 1 kg Plain Flour ($0.75)
- a loaf of Bread ($0.99)
- a bag of Rolled Oats ($1.19)
- 7 Bananas ($2.34)
- 250g of Strawberries ($1.99)
- 3 Carrots ($0.76)
- A handful of Mixed Salad Leaves ($0.67)
- 1 Red Capsicum ($0.90)
- 1 packet of Custard Biscuit ($0.69)
- 4kg of Laundry Powder ($3.69)
- 24 rolls of 3ply Toilet Tissue ($8.00)

Apart from chickens we haven’t really been buying much meat this month. We have been slowly getting through what we have in the freezer. We don’t really eat that much meat these days so we still have a good amount of meat in the freezer.
DH and I just been discussing this challenge, we both agree to continue in July. The same deal $180 grocery budget for the month. We will actually have more money to spend per week than this month because July only got 4 Saturday whereas June had 5 ($45 p/w instead of $36 p/w). But I am anticipating that we will need to buy another sack of rice (20kg) in July. Last time it cost $31 that was back in Feb, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the prices have gone up for few dollars. So, for the next couple of weeks I’m going to continue spending only $35 per week and then on the 3rd week of July get the sack of rice.

Cons about this challenge:
- Must plan, can’t just go to the shop without a list (I already do this about 90% of the time so it was not such a hassle for me).
- No room for snacks, expensive items and impulse buying.
- Can’t indulge – have to buy no-name brand and no-frills items to stretch the money (although this really did not bother us since we already do this anyway for most of the things we buy)
- Can’t take advantage of bulk sales because if you do that’s all you are able to get and will have to eat a lot of it for the week (this was probably the hardest thing to do for me).

Pros about this challenge:
- Well saving money is on the top of the list.
- Healthier because we are not eating snacks and process food (although we were not big on these stuff to start with). We mostly bought items that are considered ‘ingredients’.
- It cuts down on the waste and I love it. Probably not buying bulked items helped on cutting waste. And have made me used up items we already have that needs to be eaten now.
- It made me more creative in cooking and motived me to try out new things.
- It cut down on the shopping time because our shopping list was considerably shorter.


Door Stopper - replaced one for $1.50

Lunch - DH forgot his lunch yesterday of roast pork and vegetables in the fridge. He was really looking forward to it too. But sometimes these things happens. He end up getting a co-worker to buy him a burger and chips since he was too busy to go get one himself. I guess that's why he forgot his lunch he got too many things in his mind, they got few major project going on and so he is just too busy. Anyway, the burger and chips were $15.

WEEK 25

June 27th, 2018 at 02:50 am



Grocery = $30.96. We did well.

What we got:
- 5 litres Milk
- 1 Whole Chicken
- 2 doz Eggs
- 1 box of Corn Flour
- 1 bottle of Passata
- 4 Hamburger Rolls
- 0.12kg of Mixed Nuts and Dried Fruit
- 1 Avocado
- 2 small Lettuce (was on sale - $1.50)
- 1 bag (10) Tomatoes (was on sale $1.50) – A couple were bruised and had to be thrown out but it was still a very good deal.
- 1.5kg of Potatoes – This was only $1 because it was on sale
- 2 Brown Onions
- 0.265kg Broccoli
- 0.045kg Ginger
- Deli Ham

New Shoes – DH’s work shoes are on its last legs, so went shopping on the weekend. There were some good sales happening because it is our end of financial year at the end of the month. There was also ‘buy the second pair for half price’ – so I end up getting a pair of boots. For both we paid $84.92.

Lunch Out – While out shopping we went out for lunch ($20.60) and also got coffee and cheese cake ($13.95) after buying the shoes.

WEEK 24

June 17th, 2018 at 08:47 pm


Grocery = $41.55. Over $5 than what I wanted to spend but I got a bit this week.
What we got:
- 5 litres Milk
- 1 Whole Chicken
- 1 can Whole Tomato
- 500g Penne Pasta
- 1 box of Tissues
- 1 pack of Biscuit ( I like to have 1 or 2 with my afternoon coffee)
- 1 pack of 6 Burger Buns
- 0.48kg of Beef (2 x Porterhouse cut)
- ½ Cauliflower
- 1 can of Coconut Cream
- small container of grated Parmesan Cheese
- 0.9kg of Potatoes
- 0.68kg of Sweet Potatoes (these are so cheap at the moment so I got more)
- 0.44kg Pumpkin
- 5 Carrots (0.7kg)
- 7 Bananas
- A handful of Mixed Salads
- 3 Green Capsicums (0.4kg)
- 2 Tomatoes (these are not in season so they are expensive are terrible at the moment)
- 1 Red Onion
- 1 Pink Himalayan Salt Grinder (was on sale and running out soon)
- 3 small bags of Spices (I got Garam Masala, Oregano and Cinnamon Sticks – they were on sale, 3 for $2.50)
The last two items were what took us over the budget, they were not on the list but I have run out of garam masala and cinnamon sticks and almost running out of dried oregano. I should also note that I had cucumber and avocado on the list but didn’t get them. Cucumbers are crazy expensive at the moment and the avocado looked awful, both were not worth getting.

Water Bill – $207.07 for the quarter, this is about average amount for us at the moment.

Electric Bill – Our new charges for the quarter was $58.43 but since we accumulated $94.72 credit in the last bill so now we are left with $36.29 credit. I guess cutting down spent watching TV help cut down our electric bill further.

Exercise Leg Bands – Mine broke 2 weeks ago, DH got some online for $13 for 6 in the pack (different resistance).

WEEK 23

June 12th, 2018 at 03:07 am


Grocery = $35.30
What we got:
- 4 litres Milk
- 500g Frozen Blueberries
- 1 Whole Chicken
- 1 kg of SR Flour
- 375ml of Cream Cleanser (cleaning cream)
- 1 big Turkish Pide/Bread
- 1 Loaf of Bread
- 2 doz of Eggs
- 3 Onions
- 1 Bulb of Garlic
- 0.125kg of Ginger
- 0.87kg of Pumpkin
- 2 Pears
- 1.08kg of Sweet Potatoes
- 0.16kg of Spinach
- 1 big Eggplant
- 1 litre of Soy Sauce - this was the only thing that I didn't have in the list but I had some money leftover and we will soon be running out.

Doggie Poo Bag – DH order another batch of doggie poo bag, they are compostable made from corn, $84. It should last us a year and a half.

WEEK 22

June 4th, 2018 at 09:35 pm

Grocery = $36.60
I was actually hoping to only spend $35 and it would have been but Aldi forgot to put the right price for the corned beef (beef silverside) that we got. It was supposed to be $7.14 because of it was on sale from $8.92 ($1.78 difference). This happened because I left DH to pay of the grocery while I went to the grocer shop few doors down. DH just didn’t look at the receipt after. Unfortunately, I only realised the wrong charge when we were already home and it was not worth going back. Oh well life happens and now I get to blog about it.

We at least got everything that was in my shopping list. So this is what we got:
- About 1 kg of Corned Beef – this was the only thing that was not on the list but because it was ‘on sale’ was the only reason we got it. It will not go to waste at least.
- 1 kg block of Cheese
- 3 litres of Milk
- 1 whole Chicken
- 500g of Frozen mixed berries
- 1 Avocado
- 250g Cherry Tomatoes
- 1 small bottle of Mustard – so last week while cleaning the fridge I accidently dropped the mustard bottle, it was still half full.
- 2 Apples
- 1 bunch of Asparagus
- 1 Pomegranate
- 200g Mushrooms

Netflix – We decided to put on Netflix again.

May 2018

June 1st, 2018 at 10:28 pm



Total Spending for May 2018 was $2,685.64

Grocery – $281.53

Household goods/ Repairs/Garden total = $327.17. $250 was for the plumber.

Gifts – was a biggie because of mother’s day and a friend’s birthday, it was $214.06

Utilities – Only got to pay Gas for $91.51

Holiday – So most of the month’s expense was because of the holiday which was $1,154.23


= 2018 GOALS =
Financials-
*Put as much money we possibly can into Investments (at least $45K). - we are around half way mark.

*Save $4K for Holiday money. – So far this year we have spent $1,746 that means we got $2,254 in our holiday spending plan for the year

*Save $5K for future House Repairs/Future Remodel. – We will put money under this once Goal #1 above is done.

Other –
*Read 70 100 books.
48. The Day Trader - Stephen Frey (3 May)
49. Bluebird's Egg and Other Stories - Margaret Atwood (4 May) - Audio
50. Every Single Secret - Emily Carpenter (8 May)
51. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind - Yuval Noah Harari (11 May)
52. The Road Less Travelled - M. Scott Peck (14 May)
53. Into the Water - Paula Hawkins (15 May) - Audio
54. Alias Grace - Margaret Atwood (17 May)
55. The Happiest Refugee - Anh Do (17 May) - Audio
56. The Drunken Botanist - Amy Stewart (18 May) - it took 3 months to read this, I just like picking it up once in a while esp when I'm drinking.
57. 10 Key Steps to Wealth - Paul Clitheroe (18 May) - Audio (very short book)
58. The Break - Marian Keyes (21 May)
59. Lost Temple - Tom Harper (22 May) - Audio
60. Savings and Investment - Paul Clitheroe (23 May) - Audio (short book)
61. The Woman in the Window - A. J. Finn (24 May)
62. My Name is Lucy Barton - Elizabeth Strout (24 May) - Audio
63. How to be Debt-Free - Paul Clitheroe (25 May) - Audio (short book)
64. Work Smarter: Live Better - Cyril Peupion (27 May)
65. Most Dangerous Place - James Grippando (28 May) - Audio
66. Turtle All the Way Down - John Green (29 May)
67. The 10 Pillars of Wealth - Alex Becker (29 May) - Audio
68. 7 Money Rules for Life - Mary Hunt (30 May)

*Learn Spanish.
I missed one day when we went away to Tasmania, I just totally forgot. After 100+ consecutive days, I’m now back to having 20+ consecutive days again.

*Workout 3/4 times a week.
Since we got back from our holiday I have been working out 6 days a week, just having Sundays off. I’m hoping to continue doing this for 100 days in a row.

*Try new recipes every other week.
I tried one new rice dish.

*Blogging once per week.
Done

*Continue Garden/Landscaping.
Put up new clothesline

*Wake-up early (before 7am)
Still getting up early and I have been reading first thing in the morning.

*Continue Decluttering.
DH has been doing most of the decluttering this month, he has been listening to the minimalist podcast and every night has been going through more of our paperwork in the office room. He has done a lot of shredding. A week ago I went through our clothes to get rid of some summer clothes that we won’t need next summer. We are just doing a bit at a time.

There you go another month down.

Challenge Time

May 29th, 2018 at 06:52 pm



In the last couple of days I have been cleaning and re-organising the fridge and the pantry. And now I got items that need to be consumed as soon as possible put to the side, I didn’t want to put them back in the pantry and just forget about them again. As of today, we have spent $1,439.21 on groceries this year (5 months), an average of $287.85 per month (under our budget of $300 per month). It is just under $9.60 per day which is $4.80 per person per day. I’ve decided and DH agreed to lower our grocery money next month to $3 per day per person, which will be $180. I think it will be fun and it will help use up some of these food that are nearing expiry.


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