Grocery - for the week $74.21
Household - we did some work around the house. Changed our water filters that cost $56.98.
Bought few bags of topping soil for the back lawn, it was just under $25.
Train fare – DH topped up his pass $50 worth.
Gas – Gas for the house was $84.60 for the last 2 months.
Quiet week we are having.
Not much spending yet which is good.
Grocery - $36.10
Internet - $65
Gas for the Car - $36.26
Movies - We went out and watch a movie for $26. DH bought the tickets on-line for only $13, that was $9 savings per ticket.
Health Insurance - $163.23
Here are my goals for this year. I’m finding it hard to have many financial goals these days. When I first started blogging 11 years ago I think 95% of my goals were financials. Everything is just automatic for us now. We don’t really need to do much just keep an eye on our spending to make sure it doesn’t get out of hand.
*Put as much money we possibly can into Investments (at least $45K).
*Save $4K for Holiday money.
*Save $5K for future House Repairs/Future Remodel.
*Read 70 books.
*Workout 3/4 times a week.
*Try new recipes every other week.
*Blogging once per week.
*Wake-up early (before 7am)
Overall spending for 2017 was $36,679.59, the $7,336.79 of it was to pay off the mortgage. So $29,342.80 of it was for everything else. As long as we can keep it $30K or less per year is ideal for us. $35K per year will be the target if we go overseas for a holiday.
There were only really a few of things that we went over budget. The worse one was Car Repairs and Services that was over by $1,304.90, the budget was for only $700 for the year and that have been fine most years. Unfortunately, there were few things that we had to get fix and replaced in 2017. DH’s train fare was another item that went over budget by $262.84 but the good news though is that fuel cost for the year for our car was under by $394.15, so they kind of cancelled each other out. Another biggie that I’m not particularly happy about is we way over in the Takeaway by $349.35 but this was then again offset by under spending in Restaurant category by $487.98. But still getting too much takeaway was bad.
The rest of our spending’s were fairly spot on to what we budgeted for. I will still need to tweak few things around for 2018 though. I probably should increase Car repairs and services since our car is really old now. Also need to decrease Private Health Insurance but increase Medical since we are now paying for dental and optical with cash without rebates.
My goals for 2018 were:
*Pay off Mortgage – DONE!
*$30K into Equities/Investments – We did really well this year in putting money into our investments, more than we thought we would be able to.
*Save $5K for Holiday money – We only spent $1,822.66 this year so we will be rolling the balance ($3,177.34) over to 2018. In 2018 I aim to save $4000.
*Save $5K for future House Repairs/Remodel – Spent $1,366.50 in 2017 so we will roll over $3,633.50 into 2018. Our goal for 2018 is to save $5,000 again for 2018.
*Read 50 books – DONE, read 64 books.
*Workout 4 times a week - I did really good at the start of the year but faded in the last couple of months.
*No buying soft drinks – I did excellent here.
*Blogging once per week – I think I did fairly well, only missed few times and that was because I had nothing to write about.
*Garden/Landscaping – We have done some work and will continue in 2018.
*Flossing everyday – Done very well at this and will hopefully continue doing it from here on.
*Wake-up early (before 7am) – Very BAD, probably only done it 30% maybe even less. I need to better in 2018.
*Decluttering – We have done well at this and hopefully will continue to do more in 2018.
*Organise my emails – DONE.
I’m now looking forward to achieve more of my goals in 2018.
This is just a quick rundown on what happened in Dec 2017. I will be posting the overall 2017 numbers next anyway.
Total expense for the month was $3,453.49.
Groceries - $310.88 (this does not include Christmas food spending)
New mobile phone - $210
Garden – spend a little bit of money for the garden $43.13
Car Registration – the biggest cost for the month - $800.80
Eating out - $162.30 was on the high side.
Reading – I took time off from reading this month. I think I’m going to increase my goal next year to 70 books for the year.
63 The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye - David Lagercrantz (2 Dec)
64 The Paradox of Choice Why Less is More - Barry Schwartz (4 Dec)
Decluttering – I’ve been doing a bit more decluttering again. I throw away a lot of old magazines and bunch of books I will never read again.
Christmas Spending – We had a very low key Christmas, I used the $30 gift card and $100 EFTPOS card to buy groceries for Christmas celebration. It was more than enough I think in the end there was still few dollars left. So it was perfect. For few days after Christmas day we’ve been eating the leftovers, and we finally finish the last bit of the glazed ham for lunch today. As for gifts we mainly sent gift cards (online) and cash to our relatives. All up $820.05 spent on Christmas this year.
Credit Card Rewards – Last month DH signed up for a credit card to get a cashback reward of $300 (spending $1000). DH used it to pay our annual car registration ($800.80) and the recent water bill ($247.62). The other day they already credited the $300 into the account. They have also taken out $59 for the annual card fee. And I think paying off those bills with the credit card accrued less than 2% fee. So really we are getting around $220 cash reward.
Tassie Holiday – We already spent some of that cash reward. The other night we bought 2 returned airfares to Tasmania. The airline was having a nice Boxing Day sale. All up it only cost us $156, the last time it cost us $436, so it was a very nice saving. We won’t be going until early May; they weren’t any sales fare before that. I was thinking of making this as my birthday celebration since it will only be two weeks after my actual birthday. We are finally going to Cradle Mountain this time and then I can use that gift card I got from my brother from my last birthday.
New Mobile Phone – I got a new mobile phone, it won’t actually get here for another month but DH ordered one for me the other night. Before buying that phone we hardly spent money on our phones this year. We budgeted $360 for the year but we’ve only spent $120 so we decide to get me a new phone because my current phone is old and I can’t upgrade anything or put on any apps any it, there is just no room. The new phone cost $210 it is probably the only excessive spending this year really, well maybe apart from my 40th birthday celebration. No regrets though.
Grocery – Week 1 – $30.70; Week 2 - $41.51; Week 3 - $105.94 – TOTAL=$178.15 so far this month
Utilities – Water bill for the quarter is $247.62, and the electric bill for the quarter is $17.10 in credit.
Car Registration – We paid the annual car registration and that was for $800.80
Netflix – We decided to put on Netflix again, it was a surprise that we actually got the first month for free.
I didn’t bother posting a blog last week much happened, the only thing exciting we did was go to the musical Aladdin. I got the tickets as a belated birthday present from a couple of friends. The tickets were $130 each so it was very nice of them. The only spending we did was $1 for a coffee in the nearby 7eleven before we went in.
Total spending for the month of November 2017 was $2,112.01
Grocery – We were spot on budget in our grocery spending this month, $301.82.
The only significant spending this month was for our trip to Tasmania, the weekend camping and the $400 donation. If it weren’t for these things we would have been way under 2 grand this month. A very good month for us I say, now onto December, the holiday season. We aren’t planning anything big just simple quiet Christmas.
57 Origin - Dan Brown (3 Nov)
58 4 3 2 1 - Paul Auster (14 Nov)
59 Antifragile - Nassim Nicholas Taleb (19 Nov)
60 Alexander Hamilton - Ron Chernow (26 Nov)
61 A Guide to the Good Life - William B. Irvine (27 Nov)
62 Introducing the Ancient Greeks - Edith Hall (29 Nov)
We went camping on the weekend, the weather was just absolutely beautiful on the weekend (right now it raining but still pleasant temperature wise). We took our little doggie and she was so much better this time around, she is getting used to sleeping in the tent. She just love being outside but the only downside is she had to be in her leash all the time but I think she got used to that as well.
Camping Spending – Campsite fee was $25, we got gas for the car $29.23, and got some food for $26.65. Total was $80.88
Grocery – Was all up $137.09. Stocked up on some meat, in particular chicken breast and pork belly, they were cheap at the moment. Also $28 of that was for 3kg honey we got near the campsite. We got a kilo of honey from there last time and we really liked it.
Gardening/Landscaping – We are again doing some work outside in the garden. We got few bags of pre-mixed concrete/cement to put between the rocks that border some of our garden beds. I’m hoping by doing this it will stop the weeds growing between the rocks which are pain to pull out and because of our dog we can’t just weed killer to get rid of them, I never really liked using them to start with anyway. The cement mixed are $6.50 a bag I think we will need get some more before get it done.
Grocery – So far this month we spent $40.86
Gas Bill - $94.47 for the latest bi-monthly bill
TASMANIA TRIP – As I mentioned in my last post we made changes to our holiday plan again. We were going to go away for a week but the weather over there were still chilly that we just decided to go for 2 nights/3 days. I’m still trying to recover from this cough that I got and it keeps coming back when the weather is cold. So we’ve already have come back home. DH didn’t bother changing his holiday taken off from work so it has been good having him home. The weather is supposed to be really good this weekend so we might go camping somewhere near home, just for a night. The costs run down of our trip - FLIGHTS that we bought last month was for $436.00. ACCOMODATION was free because we stayed at my brother’s future father in-laws house. My brother place is only a 1 bedroom cabin. We did however bought a $46 bottle of wine as a thank you gift for letting us stay at their place. TRANSPORTATION cost was for $45 taxi ride to the airport, my brother couldn’t drop us off he had to go to work. FOOD and OTHER cost us $217.20, we visited a small town where the oldest bridge in Australia was built by the convicts and a winery nearby, basically we drunk a lot and ate a lot. TOTAL at the end was $744.20.
TAX – I forgot to talk about our tax refund we got last week. All up it was almost break-even. I got $657.73 refund while DH had to pay $83.10 and then we had to pay accountant fee for $550 so in the end we only got $24.63.
DONATION – We donated $400 the other day.
$100 EFTPOS Card – Apparently when we change our health insurance after 60 days or something they give you $100 EFTPOS card. I’m thinking of using this for Christmas.
Horse Racing – The other day was a public holiday here because of spring horse racing. We and a couple of friends decided to have lunch at a pub and watched the race there. We had a bet amongst ourselves. I won the $20 pot. Lunch and grog was $74.00
This was a big month. Total for the month $3189.60.
Some of the reasons why this was an above average month:
Birthdays & Anniversary – We tend to go out a bit in October to celebrate our anniversary and DH’s birthday, so entertainment expenses tend to be higher on this month.
GIFTS – This was extra high this month. Last weekend I took 3 of my friends out for brunch as birthday presents. And I got some clothes and toys for my new niece to take with us when we go visit. Total under this category was $315.47
CLOTHES – When we went out to get baby clothes we also bought some clothes for us. I replaced a couple of jeans that I have thrown out both had broken zippers and bought a black skinny jeans and I also got a leather jacket, something I’ve been thinking of getting. For DH we got him a bunch of underwear and a business shirt. End up spending $197.99, we only got about $60 left in our yearly budget for clothing, it should be doable. Good news though is I cleaned out our wardrobe again and thrown out/ give away 2 more bags of clothing this month. We are getting there with decluttering.
PLANE Tickets – We finally bought our tickets for our travels to Tasmania to visit my brother’s new baby. That was for $436. (There is yet another change of plans which I will blog about next time).
CAR SERVICE & REPAIRS – Yesterday DH had to take the car again for service. Last week while cleaning the car DH noticed that one of the back doors wouldn’t lock and also few months ago there is a part in the booth that broke which needed replacement. Since these things need done and our car is actually due for service in few weeks he just got the whole thing done. So on top of that tyre that needed replacement earlier this month in total we spent $766.70 on the car repairs and services this month. Yikes!
Some highlights for the month on top of the above expenses:
GROCERY – End of the month total is $280.19, under by almost $20 *happy dance*. This week end grocery shopping was $44.95.
ELECTRIC BILL – The last quarter bill was $156.24, the biggest for the year. Next bill should be a lot lower since the days are getting longer and we should be getting sun shining on our solar panels.
INTERNET - Good thing about this month was our internet was free!
BOOKS - I challenged myself to read one book a day for 5 days at the start of the month. I did pretty well; although I must be honest and say that I kind of cheated since the first two books I already started a bit last month. Still I was pretty happy about it. Then the week after when I was sick I couldn’t read a thing. It would have been a good time to do some reading since I was in bed for most of it but I just couldn’t concentrate on what I was reading.
47 Making Money Made Simple - Noel Whittaker (2 Oct)
48 The 4-Hour Work Week - Timothy Ferris (3 Oct)
49 Cannery Row - John Steinbeck (4 Oct)
50 Seneca - Letters from a Stoic - Translated by Robin Campbell (5 Oct)
51 The Art of Free Travel (A Frugal Family Adventure) - Patrick Jones & Meg Ulman (6 Oct)
52 Ego is the Enemy - Ryan Holiday (16 Oct)
53 The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck (22 Oct)
54 Nietzsche: A Complete Introduction - Dr Roy Jackson (25 Oct)
55 How to Become a Stoic - Massimo Pigliucci (29 Oct)
56 Stoicism and the Art of Happiness - Donald Robertson (31 Oct)
I forgot to note that I made it to my goal of reading 50 books this year. Sweet! I'm still gonna keep going and see how many I'll end up reading by the end of the year. I'm almost half way through reading the new Dan Brown book 'Origin' right now.
Grocery – for the week $123.36, we went to the market for some meat.
Brunch – Had brunch with some friends it was my treat as a birthday gift for 3 friends. Everyone enjoyed it and I didn’t have to go shopping for useless stuff. I paid $140.80 for everything.
Short and sweet for today, nothing much is happening here.
I was sick all week last week and still at the tail of this annoying cold. So in the last month I’ve had a head cold and was better for about a week then last week was even worst cold (I got it from DH) and it has taken a while to recover from it, almost 3 boxes of tissues later I can finally think again. The last couple of days has been a lot better but still have been coughing but hopefully it won’t come back again.
Groceries – First week spent $60.91 and on the weekend we spent $50.97, so we are doing well so far this month.
Zoo – Last Sunday (before I got sick, although I was starting to feel awful then) we took a friend for lunch and then to one of the zoo here in Melbourne, she is from overseas and only here for couple of months. We spent all up $115.12, we used our annual zoo passes but we paid for our friend.
Flat Tyre – Last Friday night DH was about to get pizza for dinner when he notice the car felt funny when he drive it out of the driveway, luckily he noticed it right away as was able to get back in the garage. Friday night pizza got cancelled. DH changed the flat into the spare the next morning and then took it to the nearest tyre place. Luckily the one that got a nail on it was one of the old tyres at the back that would have needed replacing soon. On March (was on my March 28th 2017 blog) when we got the car serviced they replaced the 2 front tyres and suggested that the back ones will be done in the next service. DH asked them about the other back tyre and they feel like it could last a bit longer still. So the one tyre replacement was $110.
Roadside Assistance – On the topic of our car, last night DH just paid our annual roadside service assistance it was for $99.75
Groupon – On Sunday even though I still wasn’t fine we went out for dinner for couple of hours, it was good to be out of the house though. We booked this thing a month or so ago so we didn’t want to cancel it. We had tapas and it was okay it was lacking something though it was a bit bland for my taste. Luckily, we got Groupon because if I had to pay full price it would have been very disappointing. $45 for dinner and drinks and also paid $10.08 for parking (8 cents for card processing, and there was no cash option).
I think that's all I got for now.
Overall expense for September was $1,665.60. That was not a bad month I was expecting it to a lot worse than that so I’m really happy about it.
Groceries – This was really the only thing that was bad but it was mainly that spending we made on the last two days of the month for the party on the 30th. The total on grocery spending for the month was $370.82, so we were over by $70.82, the biggest so far this year.
BBQ – We had people over for the barbeque. We watched the AFL grand final after our bbq lunch. We had 6 people over, we had a little bet ($1 per person), DH and I lost so we are $2 poorer, lol. Went overboard with food and because we have been eating out a bit the last few days we are still have some leftovers. After the game we played ‘Cards against Humanity’ that was fun and everyone stayed to have some leftovers for dinner.
Anniversary – The next day was our anniversary. We had lunch at Nobu and afterwards we went to the city library, DH wanted me to get a library card there. I only tend to go to the city few times a year these days but they have a bigger collections of books and especially e-books than our local library so I’m looking forward to be able to access that at least. I borrowed some books then we walked back to the casino where Nobu is and where we parked our car. We had time to kill before we need to go to the movies so we decided to play the Roulette, we played for about half an hour and in the end we walked away with $30 more than we started. At the movies, even though our movie tickets were free we still end up spending $18.10 on popcorn and drinks.
Overall Anniversary Spending:
Lunch - $104.55
Parking - $6.00
We shared coffee while gambling - $4.90
Snacks at the movies - $18.10
(minus) Winnings - $30.00
TOTAL = $103.55
Probably one of the cheapest anniversary celebrations we’ve had in recent years.
DH B’day – Last night we went out for dinner for DH’s birthday, it cost us $52.
41 The Pearl - John Steinbeck (4 Sep)
42 The Moon is Down - John Steinbeck (13 Sep)
43 Thinking Fast and Slow - Daniel Kahneman (15 Sep)
44 The Daily Stoic - Ryan Holiday & Stephen Hanselman (20 Sep)
45 The Fault in Our Stars - John Green (22 Sep)
46 The Obstacle is the Way - Ryan Holiday (25 Sep)
My other goals have kind of got neglected in Sept, I will try to do better in Oct. I did however eliminated more clothes from my wardrobe, I'll need to go through DH too soon then will need to take them to the Salvos. Workout has been slow getting back to my routine since I was sick.
Grocery – Total for the week was $99.10, spent a total of $45.56 on meat. We would have enough food for the rest of the month except we have people coming over on Saturday for the grand final Australian Football game at our house. We decided to have a barbeque and we will be having sausages, hotdogs, hamburgers and maybe some lamb and chicken. We only got less than $20 in the grocery budget left for the month so that will not be enough. I think I will need around $50 for the party. We got plenty of alcohol and I’ve asked people to BYO softdrinks if they want any since I’m still on my ‘no buying softdrink’ this year goal. Anyway, lets hope I can keep thinks around $50. I do have two $30 gift cards that I got given last Christmas maybe I’ll use one of those and I’m thinking of keeping the other for Christmas.
Movie Voucher – Speaking of Christmas gift, DH just found a $100 movie voucher that his parents gave us last Christmas. It was emailed to DH and he found it on the weekend when he finally decided to clean his email. I really need to remember this stuff because DH is hopeless at remembering this sort of stuff. He printed it out and I got it up on the fridge. The movie voucher is expiring this December so we really need to use it soon. We can probably go twice maybe even 3 times to use it up. This Sunday is our 11th year anniversary so we might go to the movies and dinner to celebrate.
Internet Disconnection – As mentioned in my last post we changed Internet provider. DH tried out the old connection and found out that they haven’t disconnected it yet, when they were meant to on the day DH called them. DH called them again on Monday to remind them to disconnect it. DH was again told that he will need to pay $45 disconnection fee (don’t even know why the disconnection fee is now $45 when last week it was $165 – lol- bunch of comedians, they are). Luckily, last week when DH finally got to talked to someone at the end they talked on those instant chat thing and DH actually took screen shoots of their conversations. So they tried again to make DH pay for disconnection fee and it still didn’t work.
Grocery (the Good) – Spent $31.92 this week.
Eating Out (the Bad) – We spent a bit on eating out and getting some soup. We went to a restaurant that is near our place it has been there for years but it is only now that we finally decided to try it out. We had lunch there on Saturday. It’s a nice place and food was really good and prices were very reasonable as well, will definitely be going there again. We also decided to go to the park on Sunday for a picnic lunch; we didn’t bring any food from home we got take away instead. And to top it off DH has not been feeling well so we got some soup. All up the eating out and buying food we spent $73.20.
Free Dinner – Not only did DH got few free lunches last week and the other week, he also got free dinner and drinks on Friday night. His whole team got invited out for dinner to celebrate a job they did two months ago. He and others did had to spend few hours for that weekend two months ago to do some work for it, DH only had to do his part at home, so yeah well deserved for them.
Internet – Few months ago and then another last month we got mails from our (now previous) internet provider letting us know that by early November they will be disconnecting our internet and home phone services unless we switch into their NBN service. NBN is the National Broadband Network, which is essentially fibre optic cable rolled out across the country. Originally it was proposed to roll out fibre right up into each home, but this was later changed to just use whatever connection already exists at the home for the final part. In our case since we had Telstra cable installed in our house by the previous owner, that is what we are getting. This is similar to what is used for cable TV in the US, and in fact can also be used for cable TV here. The NBN is a government owned company which provides the infrastructure, and then you go to a retailer to buy the actual services. That way all retailers use the same infrastructure and have to compete on price, customer service, and quality of service provided (some retailers don’t provide sufficient bandwidth so get major slowdowns during peak periods). The company we signed up for seems to be quite cheap and also doesn’t seem to have the slowdown problems.
When DH signed up, he found a promotional code that got him the first month free, and they double our data allowance for the first 6 months! Also there is no lock-in contract, whereas some of the bigger providers lock you into a 2 year contract. The price will be $65 per month the same as our previous internet cost but since we don’t have to have the home phone anymore it will be saving us $15 per month. It will be less than the unlimited data we have been using for the last year but a lot more than what we used to have prior to that which was 120GB, now it will be 500GB but for the next 6 months it will be 1000GB.
When DH called the previous provider, Optus which we have been with since 2001, they tried to make him pay a $160 early termination fee as they told him he was on a 2 year contract. This was rubbish for 2 reasons: 1. they told him last year when he changed plans that he wouldn’t be put on a contract; 2. they’re the ones telling us we need to change service or we’ll be disconnected. DH spoke to a different person and they have now agreed to not charge the disconnection fee.
My brother’s girlfriend had a little girl yesterday, I’m an aunty again. We will be visiting them in Tasmania in November.
Onto financial matters –
Groceries – All up it amounted to $72.45 just a tad under budget for the week. $18 of it were on cleaning and laundry products, I tend to only get these once or twice a year.
Free Lunch (Is there such a thing?) – DH has been attending workshop at work and they have been providing lunch. Last week he had 4 of them and he got another 3 and a half days of it this week.
Property Rates – We got a new bill statement for the 2017-18 and it is increasing to $1913.89 – last year it was $1873.70 – we will be paying it monthly ($191.34) for the next 10 months.
Been sick and not been in the mood for cooking this week.
The weather here have been wet, so not much to do but read and watch the Australian stock market go up and down. Here are some of our personal finance highlight for the week.
Groceries – Total spend for the week was $83.91, a little bit over than our weekly budget for this month but will pull it back next weekend.
Water Bill – Great news we got $100 government rebate off our current water bill. I’m not sure what this rebate is about (most likely to do with the desalination plant), anyway whatever it is for I will gladly take it! Normally, this 3rd quarter bill is a lot more than usual because of some annual fees that we have to pay but the government decided to give us a break. So the bill amount was going to be $292.31 but now it is reduced down to $192.31. Unfortunately though this bill came with new rate prices that we will have to pay next bill. It doesn’t look too bad, in line with inflation rate I guess.
Gas Bill – Also got the gas bill due this month and that is for $101.72. I think this might be the first time ever since we stopped using gas for heating that we have a bill that is over $100. I don’t think our actual usage have change it is most likely increases in rate prices.
Health Insurance – We decided to change health insurance to one that is known as “Member’s Own”. On the 1st of April our health insurance went up again and DH and I have been thinking that it is time to evaluate our current health cover. DH have been looking into it for few months now and have finally decided to drop the EXTRAS (i.e. dental, optical and some hospital covers), so for now we will just have the Basic Cover and we will just cash flow the usual dental and optical visits. We weren’t even in the comprehensive cover we were under intermediate. The optical is just mainly for me anyway, last time DH got his eyes check which was earlier this year he still got 20/20 visions apparently plus normal eye checks are covered by Medicare anyway. The only thing we seems to get out of it is free cheap prescription glasses, and the fancier ones we have to pay extra even though we spend so much extra already for the so called “EXTRAS”. Anyway, after some calculations we might be able to save around $500-$700 per year. Our monthly payments will go down to $163.23 from $280.78. Before 1st of April it was $262.75, there was $18 per month increase, which is about $216 for a year enough for one dental check-up and clean visit. So we believe it is worth trying it out at least for the next year or so.
Overall spending for this month was $1,668.72. Four months in a row that we spent less than $2K per month which is great. I think September is going to be expensive though we will have a big water bill, there will be some annual fees attach to the next bill and property rates will again be due. This month we didn’t have any utilities due as well which helped the low spend month. Father’s day and some birthdays are on next month and there are already some invites to go out. Anyway, some individual items below:
Grocery – It was under budget and on the weekend we got some big items like a 20 kilo sack of rice and 1.5 kilo of Milo. We spent a total of $285.30 on grocery, almost $15 under budget.
Birthdays – My mother in-law and my mum’s birthday was on this month so we spent some money on gifts. Also I used up some of my allowance money; I’ve hardly spent any of that money this year. I took my mum and 5 of her friends for lunch on her birthday yesterday. We went for buffet lunch, 5 of them were seniors so we got good discounts for them. It was really good place especially for the price I was very impressed normally I’m not too keen on those type of places but I would definitely go back there again. It was for only $130.30 for 7 people.
Books/Reading – I mentioned in one of my recent post that I don’t think I will be borrowing much books from the library but it seems like I’m actually wrong, I’ve actually borrowed few and some magazines as well.
33 The Back Road - Rachel Abbott (5 Aug)
34 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain (10 Aug)
35 The Taste of Fear - Jeremy Bates (13 Aug)
36 Six Frames of Thinking about Information - Edward de Bono (14 Aug)
37 Money Master the Game (7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom) - Tony Robbins (24 Aug)
38 Rich People Problems - Kevin Kwan (26 Aug)
39 Surrender - Helen Hardy (29 Aug)
40 Calico Joe - John Grisham (31 Aug)
Workout – I need to do better than 3 days a week.
DH got notice that he will be getting a pay raise, it is only for 2.5% so just in line with CPI. He has given up getting a pay raise this year so I guess this was unexpected. Not much really but every bit helps.
Grocery - This week we spent $74.02. One more week left for the month and we’ve only spent $185, which left us $115. I have plan to stock up some things this coming weekend.
Fitness Tracker – Someone at DH work gave him 2 brand new fitness trackers. The guy bought that it for himself and his wife but it never showed up so he decided to cancel it and bought it somewhere else and now long after he got his money refunded they showed up in the mail. It seems like everyone at his team already have them except for DH so he offered it to him for a beer or something small of value just to cover the credit card fee that he incured for international purchased. DH was happy to do it. He bought him some chocolates since he loves them, not even $5 worth. And next time they go out for drinks DH will shout him a beer or two.
Our Saturday was filled with shopping which means spending money.
Grocery Shopping – This weekend we spend a total of $48.86 on our weekly food shopping. Spent $9.17 on meat, another whole chicken they are still on sale at Aldi and some pork with bones great for making soup which I kind of have a craving for at the moment. The weather was beautiful on Sunday so we actually barbequed the chicken. I butterfly the chicken and I made some peri-peri sauce to marinate it. It was yum and had enough for Monday lunch and dinner.
Manchester and Clothes Shopping – I wanted to get another quilt cover of our king size donna. For this sort of stuff I go to this store about 15 minutes away from our house. Not many people know or really care to shop at this place so I love shopping here. It is a shop were big shops, like Target and other department stores (Myer, Big W, etc.) dump their old stocks or when factories get too much in stock and the department stores don’t want them then they sale it at this store. A lot of the products are of good quality and heavily discounted. Most people tend to snob this place but I love it.
I got the quilt cover for $39.99, the initial price for it at the original store was $150. It’s good quality and has two patterns/designs that are reversible.
While there we found that they were having sales on suits. They originally have them for sale at $79.99 (at other department stores these would have been sold for around $200+) but had them further discounted down to $49.99. Just could not passed up on those. DH mainly wear suits for work so they get used a lot. We then took it to seamstress to get the pants shorten, and that was $12.
Also got a couple of other clothing items while there, we haven’t bought anything for 3 months. All up we spent $132 at the shop. I budgeted $720 for clothing this year we’ve spent $445 so far.
Lunch out – We had Vietnamese for $26 for couple of dishes. We just wanted try out this new restaurant, it was okay but probably won’t be back.
Wine – Bought some more wine, 13 bottles all up for $89.30 (just under $6.90 a bottle). That should last us for the rest of the year. I think we roughly spend around $150 to $200 a year on alcohol so this is about par to what we always been spending in previous years.
New Library Card – My old library card (in our local library) was issued about 15 years ago and I haven’t used it for probably 7-8 years? So basically the new fancy computer systems they have these days don’t recoginsed it. Last weekend when DH went to the library and shown the librarian his old card they kind of laugh at him because none of them recognised it. The guy that was serving him showed it to the other people there because they were really fascinated by it. Anyway, I don’t know how much I will used the library because I already got so many books to read as it is. I will probably mainly borrow non-fiction books because most of my books are fictions.
*Currently listening to Trouble is a Friend by Lenka, she’s an Australian singer and song writer.
Grocery – We bought mainly staples, fruits and vegetables this weekend. All up it totaled $61.45. We actually end up buying a couple of whole chickens because they were really cheap at Aldi, it was only $3 a kilo, for two chickens we paid $9.76. We also got a big block of cheese (1kg) for $6.
Weekend – We occupied the rest of the weekend mostly reading, listening to music (mainly myself) and podcasts. DH is currently obsessed with podcasts, personal finance in particular. Since we paid off the house and most of our money is now put into investments/savings he has really taken interests. It is more fun than paying off debt. It has now become a new hobby for him, he is reading a lot of personal finance books too. He even went to the library on Sunday afternoon to borrow PF books, it really is amazing.
New Headphone – DH bought a new headphone on ebay for $25.30. His current one is broken from listening to too much podcasts, he is currently using an old crappy one in the main time.
July was a very good low spend month.
Total spending was $1,336.31
Groceries – Total for grocery bill this month was $293.33. We actually came under. DH did great doing the shopping on the weekend. He stuck to the list and came under $40.
We still have some odd items in the freezer that I’m trying to use up before stocking up on meat again. The other night I found a whole fish which we had to go with some leftovers and then last night I cooked a couple of gourmet sausages for dinner. There has been a lot of leftover bread that get shoved in the fridge before they go off, we have accumulated a bit of those, that DH on the weekend used some of them to make bread and butter pudding with frozen blueberries and chopped up dried dates. Another thing we tend to end up collecting in the freezer are odd ends of cheeses, last week I made macaroni and cheese out of those, I think I ended up using 5 different kinds of cheese. DH really liked it and we didn’t die from it so bonus!
So I probably won’t do a big shop for another 2 weeks. We tend to always start the month with big shopping trip but I think we can hold it off this month. We always then end up with a tight budget towards the end of the month; I want to try to delay that this month. Grocery is probably really the only item in the budget that I try to be as strict as possible (I guess entertainment/going out to eat is another category that I make sure to be tight as well) because it has a great possibility of getting out of hand if I don’t watch it closely. Most of the other categories in our budget are mostly just happen automatically these days.
Main reasons for the low spend month:
Property Rates – We pay for property rates (tax) every month for ten months in a year, July and August are the month we don’t have to pay.
No Restaurant – This wasn’t planned at all but I’m glad, BUT we did spend a lot on takeaway food and this has been the trend in the last 3 months. So we need to rein this in from now on.
Household Items – We only spend $80 in under this category this month, the electric blanket, new trolley and some LED light bulbs.
Decluttering – Did very well this month with the help of our annual rubbish collection.
Workout – I have been bad. The cold weather is kicking my butt and I’m struggling, just don’t have much motivation to do anything physical. Also my ankle has been sore last week (this is probably because I haven’t been working out regularly), it’s nothing too dramatic really but it was still bothering me so I had to make sure to give it a rest. I was able to do a couple sessions of Abs workout last week, 30 mins all up, that was it. Today was the first time I was able to do a full workout for over a week.
Reading – One book a week, although that Thomas Jefferson book took me 3 months to read.
28 Sycamore Row - John Grisham (6 Jul)
29 Soulless, The Girl in the Box - Robert J. Crane (11 Jul)
30 Thomas Jefferson, The Art of Power - Jon Meacham (16 Jul)
31 Scaredy Cat - Mark Billingham (22 Jul)
32 Early Retirement Extreme - Jacob Lund Fisker (31 Jul)
That’s it for July 2017.
* Currently listening to Fleet Foxes, new discovery of mine… I know I’m like a decade or so late, I tend to be slow to these kinds of things. I’m trying to experience new things.
* So on that note – Song of the week for me is “Ragged Wood” by Fleet Foxes.
Electric Blanket – We bought an electric blanket. I was on sale at ALDI from $65 down to $45. DH and I never had an electric blanket before but I used to have one when I was younger. We have been using it for few days now and it has been great. We put it on for about half an hour just before going to bed, we turn it off going to sleep.
Grocery – We did very well with our lastest couple of grocery shopping trips, on the weekend for example we achieved to spend under $20. We got $40 left for the last weekend of July to spend. I think that might be enough to buy what we need for the week. The main thing we will need is coffee, milk and eggs. There are still a bit of meat and chicken in the freezer. I actually want to get through those stuff that has been hiding at the bottom/back, some of stuff in their might have been there for months. I just want to used and clear those before restocking again.
Pizza – We have been loving getting Domino’s Pizza lately on Friday nights. We been having them with a bottle of wine while watching Friday night footy or if the game is not that exciting we watch a movie on Netflix. They are only $5 each. We tend to get a couple which each enough for dinner and some leftover for the next day.
Nothing much else is happening here.
Groceries – We will definitely be over our monthly budget this month it will be mainly because this month has 5 Saturdays. I’m trying to see if we can get away with just buying the most minimum items that we need. The basic staples like milk and eggs. We got a couple of dishes in the freezer; bolonese sauce and pulled pork.
Annual rubbish collection – Currently we have our local council annual rubbish collection, this when we can throw out big items like and old fridge or old TVs. We throw out a really old computer monitor, an old trolley and some old broken items that we could fit in the usual weekly rubbish bin that we got.
Batch cooking – We are trying to do more batch cooking in the last couple of months, so far so good. That’s way we got the beef bolonese sauce and the pulled pork.
Netflix – We decided to turn it off for the month of August. I haven’t really been watching as much been busy with reading and listening podcast these days. I’m sure we will put it on again for Sept and Oct and then probably have a break again in Nov when we will most likely be away.
Not much else is really going on here.
Holiday Destination – I was asked about our holiday in my previous blog entry. Our holiday plans have changed a lot since we planned about it last year. We initially thought about going to Mauritius and South Africa and we thought this year might be a good time to do it. Mauritius was our (really mainly mine) honeymoon destination but we couldn’t afford it 10 years or so ago so we kind of made this promise to do it when the house is paid off. Well I guess things you plan to do 10 years ago can change, it kind of doesn’t have that much appeal to me anymore, I mean I would still love to go one day but just not as eager. The problem is twofold; if we go we want to do for at least 3 weeks or more to make it worthwhile but right now DH can only really take off work for a week or so and the other reason is we don’t want to leave our for that long. The last time we went overseas we went for about a month and we really missed her and she really missed us (according to my mom). So anyway we are forgoing Mauritius and South Africa for the moment, maybe in another 10 years.
But we still really wanted to get away this winter, somewhere warm. So we thought about going to maybe New Caledonia or Vanuatu, a lot closer from home so we will not need to spend 18+ hours just travelling to get there. We came up with this idea just before Easter, this destination would have been a lot cheaper than Mauritius and SA and gave us time and money to do the NSW/Sydney holiday during Easter break. But for some reason it has taken us a lot longer to get new passports that we decided to just forgo the idea of going overseas at all this year.
Side note: I don’t know why I’m learning basic Spanish? I just realised I should probably learn basic French since both Mauritius and New Caledonia are French speaking countries. Maybe one day. It will be an incentive to learn French and then visits these countries.
The idea of going somewhere warm was still really appealing to us since we are in the middle of our winter so last month DH actually mentioned that maybe we should just head up north to Cairns for a week in late July to early Aug. We started looking into it until my brother came for a visit two weeks ago.
Back story about my brother since I have not mentioned it here before, he moved to Tasmania last year to be with his girlfriend. They were doing long distant thing for over a year and since it is easier for him to move and she owns a house there and she can’t move because of her work he made the move last years. Not long after, just few months after he moved there they got pregnant and the baby is due mid-September. We planned to visit them and see the new baby early Nov when we have a public holiday in the first Tues of Nov (Melbourne cup day), just for 3 to 4 days. But when my brother came he give me a gift voucher as my belated birthday present, it is for this place called Cradle Mountain about 4 hours away from Hobart where they live. I’ve never been to Tasmania and this place is a must see destination in Tassie. So, now our plans have changed yet again. So now DH is going to take the rest of that week off and it should give us 8-9 days to visit Tassie. I think instead of flying we are going to take our car and take the Spirit of Tasmania boat instead. We are just starting to look into planning it. I’m really looking forward to it but it just means we can’t really get away this winter, oh well another 7 weeks and it will be the start of our spring season.
Security Deposit Box – This was another question I got in my previous blog. We got this box about 2 years ago now. We decided to get one when DH got that job overseas so we didn’t have to take some important stuff with us. Anyway, even though DH had to eventually quit that job we decided to keep the box for now. It’s a small box don’t really remember the exact size of it. The box is kept in a private company instead of in the bank, we could get one from the bank they have a really long waiting list apparently. The ones at the bank would have been cheaper probably 40% less but anyway we got one for now and I don’t know we will always keep it but it’s not really too bad price wise (got to remember this is in Australian dollar, we tend to always pay for more here). Maybe we will try to sign up with the bank again, something we will look into next year.
Gas Bill – got the recent gas bill for $89.03 this is for two months’ worth.
Netflix – Just got noticed from them that the prices will be going up starting early August. The one we get will increase from $11.99 to $13.99 per month.
I have not blog for the last couple of weeks because really I have just been really boring, nothing much has been happening here lately which is good financially. It’s the middle of our winter and I just don’t want to do much, I basically just been hibernating.
Total Spending for the month was $1,959.74
Groceries – for the month was $303.88 just a tad over so that was very successful month even though we had a couple of get together at our place for that month.
Utilities – Only the water bill was due and that was for $211.22.
Dentist – Both DH and I went to the dentist in June and in both occasion it was all covered by our private health insurance.
New Glasses – I also went and got a new pair of glasses. It was also covered by our health insurance. I just the one that have no frills in them because I only really need to get one as a spare and since it’s for free (well kind of, not really free if you consider how much we pay on our private health insurance).
Safety deposit box – We got one for the last couple of years now and the annual fee was due couple of weeks ago and it was for $288.
Dog tablets – got a year worth of tables for the doggie and the was $84.72
Passport Photo – for both of us that was $33.90.
Lunch Date – as a reward for finishing stage 2 of my workout, I went to the city to have a lunch date with DH, we had burgers, chips and beers – lunch special for $15. So $34 all up since we share a cup of coffee afterwards. It was the same day as I had my dentist appointment and when I got the new glasses since they were in the same building.
The rest were spent on the usual items.
Books – It was not a good month for reading actual books. I spend too much time listening to the personal finance podcasts instead and also have been trying to learn basic Spanish.
26 The Art of War - Sun Tzu (1 Jun)
27 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens (14 Jun)
Total spending was $1,744.98, it’s always very good when it is under 2 grand. Although for the first time this year we went over our grocery budget of $300, end up spending $316.43. It would have been under but we saw chicken breasts on sale and got over 2 kilos of it. Nothing major really happened last month that why spending was relatively low. Everything was fairly normal except for the gifts category because of Mother’s day. Only thing that we got that would be under sundry category would be the garment streamer for $49 our old one died. They are a lot cheaper and better quality these days and cheaper than always get clothes dry cleaned.
Books - Still doing a bit of reading.
22. Glimpse of Death - Leslie Wolfe (7 May)
23. Untouched, The Girl in the Box - Robert J. Crane (15 May)
24. A Time to Kill - John Grisham (29 May)- I thought I've read this before but I don't think I have because I can't remember the story at all. It must be the only early of his books that I've missed.
25. The Richest Man in Babylon - George S. Clason (31 May)- This one was definite a re-read, I try to it once a year.
Also doing really well in all of my goals I have even been waking up around quarter to 7 in the morning although, I probably need to clean my email in box again. I’m very happy with decluttering this month we got rid of a bit of stuff.
Grocery - $106.72
Transportation – Fuel -$40.50 and Train Pass - $137.76
DH had 2 lunches out – Total $35.00
Internet and Home Phone - $80.00
Tolls – Finally got the total amount for the tolls we used last month –$ 42.87
Not much happened this week really. The only thing worth reporting is we took a booth full of stuff to the Salvations Army. It was to get rid of more excess stuff.
Again it has been a quite weekend I guess we are still recovering from our trip.
Grocery - $49.38
Mother’s Day – All up we spend $122.39 on gifts
Lunch Date – We went out for lunch on Saturday for Chinese and coffee and cake afterwards, all up $36.40
Wines – 6 bottles of one of my favourite wines $44.70, bought bulked because normally they cost $10 a bottle.
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