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Archive for April, 2008

April $20K Challenge

April 30th, 2008 at 06:30 pm

Here's our April actual numbers:



Overall, we did really well but we over spent on groceries this month. This was mainly due to stocking up on some essentials. Also, entertainment was way over than where it should be and I've got to cut down on my snack consumption.

We are ahead by about $300 or 1.3% as you can see on this graph.



We are going pretty well at the moment but there are some areas that we need to improve. So for May we will try to cut down on entertainment and my allowance budget.

Xmas & Emergency Funds are now Fully Funded

April 30th, 2008 at 04:57 am

Due to extra income this month we got both the Xmas Fund and EF fully funded. It's a great feeling. We also managed to put $630 extra towards the Car fund this month.

I've updated the "Funds Snowball" page in My Pages (sidebar). I've put in another table which I will update every month.

Goal #3 and #4 is done.

We should be able to fund the Car Fund next month. Although I anticipate a bit more expenses next month. I think our property rate is due again. Also I just got my rebate check from Medicare and all up I will have to cover $200 towards the payment for my anesthesists, I'm happy with that, it's like getting 50% off.

I will update our $20K challenge later. Overall, it looks very good but as usual there where overbudget on some categories.

SAVING FOR SUNNY DAY

April 28th, 2008 at 03:52 pm

I was listening to an Audio Book called "The Money Motivator" last week. The only new thing that I got from it was the idea of Saving for Sunny Day. People usually save for rainy day, which is what Emergency Fund is all about. I think we have come to a point in our personal finance journey to start saving for sunny days. This will be a fund for when a great opportunies will come along. So saving for it now, should help give us an opportunity to take advatage of what ever will come along in the future. I don't know what it is yet but would like to save up for it. I will take $100 out of the $500 per month saving just for this.

2 NSDs in a row

April 23rd, 2008 at 04:00 am

WooHoo!! We haven't done that for a while.
We are up to 6 NSD for the month, still not very good. Hopefully we can manage another 2 before the end of the month.

Done more yard work and still tackling the garage.

Nothing much...

April 21st, 2008 at 04:53 pm

...is happening around here. We did a lot of yard work on the weekend, and I am still trying to clean the garage. It's a lot more work that I anticipated.

Been spending a bit of money this month, we've only had 4 NSD this month so far. I think this is the lowest NSD month ever. We are already over our entertainment budget for the month. We went to Nobu, really expensive but soooo good. Sashimi...yum! So, no more going out for the rest of the month for us.

DH just got back from getting the car (the LPG gas) tuned, he reckon it's still not running efficiently enough. He thought it would cost around $100, but the guy only took couple minutes tuning it and didn't charge DH for it. Hopefully it will be working better now, which should save us a bit more fuel exp.

Thatís about it folks.

Extra Money and Record High Petrol Prices

April 16th, 2008 at 04:05 am

I'm so excited, DH got paid yesterday and it included some back pay of about $1,500. This means we might be able to fully fund not only the Xmas Fund but also the Emergency Fund this month. And should be able to put a bit more in the Car Fund.




I also just got a check from my health insurance, they are contributing $49.95 towards my $400 bill for the anesthesists. I'm still waiting for the Medicare check before I can pay the bill. Hopefully they will contribute a bit more, the more I can get from them the less I will have to pay out of pocket. But every little bit helps.

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On the news today, here in Victoria (Australia) we just reached a record high price of over $1.50 per litre of petrol. The highest one was actually $1.52(+). Converting that into US Gallon, it will be around $5.75 per gallon!!! Aren't you guys glad you are not driving your car around here? And I am just so glad that we converted to LPG!!




Nothing much happening...

April 14th, 2008 at 03:20 pm

As the title suggest, nothing much happening in my world lately. I haven't done anything in cleaning the garage. It's a bit cold out there. Right now I'm just thinking of cleaning the study while the weather is not very good outside. So, I think I'm going to give myself two weeks to clean the garage and the study. I also got normal housing cleaning to do. Hmmm...it's never ending.

Finish cleaning out summer clothes

April 12th, 2008 at 03:24 am


I finished putting away our summer clothes. The closet is a lot more organised. The summer clothes are in a container and have just put it the spare bedroom.

Next item in the list is to organise the garage. I'll give myself till next Saturday to do it.



12/4/08

Fuel Consumption

April 11th, 2008 at 05:45 pm

It's been 3-4 months now since we got our car converted from petrol to LPG. Well I thought I should share with you guys the results so far. From Jan to Mar we spent $221.51, which is an average of $73.83 per month. To compare it to last year we average $96.79 per month, which means we are currently saving almost $23 per month. Itís probably more, since we had been driving a bit more this summer and the petrol prices are now about 10-20 cents more expensive than this time last year. LPG were also more expensive here during summer (about 10 cents) due to higher demand for it in the US and Europe winter.

Overall we are very happy with our decision to convert our car, we havenít covered the cost of the conversion yet, but now we can go away on the weekends a bit more. It is also cleaner to the environment.

Spent some money today

April 9th, 2008 at 04:04 am

I had to buy another bus ticket today. I got the 5 x daily ticket because it's cheaper than just getting the daily tickets separately. I also spent some of my allowance money on coffee and some snacks today. Other than that not much else happened today. I still haven't started cleaning out our wardrobe Frown

A lot of our expenses are slightly increasing, the lastest one is our health insurance. Starting this month we willl be paying almost $4 extra per month. When I get rid of my bank fees, the $4 per month bank fees will perfectly cover it.

Cooking & Cleaning Frenzy

April 8th, 2008 at 04:27 am

Today was my day off and it was a NSD. Spent the whole afternoon cooking, I cooked stir fried noodles and shepherdís pie (be freezing the pie). After cooking I clean the kitchen from top to bottom. I wash the walls, scrubbed the cabinet doors, wiped the top of the fridge (it was filthy) and finally I moped the floors. Now the kitchen is spotless.

I think I might start writing down things I need to do around the house. Hopefully it will motivate me. I will aim to do at least one mini project a week. This week I aim to get our wardrobe organize, I want to put away our summer clothes into one of those big plastic containers which I can put away in the spare room. There are so many things we need to do around the house but I get so lazy and there are things that always gets in the way. Maybe putting it down here will help me get my act together.

How come I canít add anymore categories?

Net Worth

April 7th, 2008 at 06:04 pm

Our net worth has increase by $40K in the last 3 months. This was mainly due to DH's bonus and the gov't co-contribution to my retirement fund. It could even be more if I actually increase the value of our house, but I like to value it very conservatively. I think it is probably about $30-50K more than what I value it right now, this is base on the value a house across us that got sold couple of months ago. There is a great demand for houses in Australia right now, which is pushing the prices up. Experts have predicted that value of housings could increase another 40% in the next 5-10 years. By that time, our house should double the value of our house from when we bought it.

NSD & House work

April 6th, 2008 at 05:00 am

Today was a NSD, didn't go anywhere today and that normally means not spending any money. We stayed home and just did some house work. It was nice sunny day today, perfect weather for gardening. We planted most of our seedlings and after that I did some cooking (beef casserole). I cooked it for about two hours, the meat was really tender. And tonight I just did some ironing while watching CSI. I just hate ironing, so I tend to do it while watching TV.

Will be paying the electricity bill tomorrow, hopefully won't be spending anymore than that.

good night.

Savings Overhaul

April 5th, 2008 at 03:04 am

I've made a decision to change the way I am going to go about the way I save for our funds. Rather than only spreading the minimum amount to each funds each month, I've decided to do a snowball effect instead. I will only be putting $500 in the Saving each month until each item is fully funded. This is how it is going to look like. Hopefully we can follow it and maybe even achieve our targets earlier.



With this new strategy, I hope to save a further $7,000 for the remaining of this year. The $10K (see sidebar) might just be a bit too much but with extra effort and with some extra income we could get there. We will see, and I will just leave that goal there for now.

The remaining amount to fully fund each item is listed on top of the table. I estimated that we have about $2,300 left each month to distribute towards the funds/savings. We should be getting some extra money this month (the rebate I already received and DH should be getting a bit extra this month too). If I'm diligent in getting my tax return done in early July, I should get the refund in Aug. I estimate it to be around $1,000.

I want to fund the House Fund sooner that the others because we will be needing some of it sooner than later. As for the Holiday Fund, we got enough to spend for our weekend getaway this month. It should only cost us couple hundred dollars. We are also planning a long weekend away in Aug, which should only cost few hundred dollars. I think we have enough money in the funds to accommodate for these expenses. After all these, we wonít be able to get away until Oct and the destination will most likely be somewhere overseas. As for the Tuition, I am not in a hurry to fully fund this until the end of the year. We wonít need 1/3 of it until Nov/Dec.

With this new strategy we will be achieving something almost every month, which makes it more fun.

Shopping & Time to Change the Batteries

April 5th, 2008 at 02:08 am

Eventhough we already went shopping yesterday, we didn't get any meat and only got some fruits/vegies at Aldi. Today we went to the market to get some meat, more fruits and vegies (meat are so much cheaper at the market). We also got some 9volt batteries for our smoke alarms. Today is our last of day light saving and when we normally change our smoke alarm batteries.

Changes and Shopping

April 4th, 2008 at 03:42 am

The weather is getting colder, and the day is getting shorter. i don't think our summer vegies will last that much longer. There are still a lot of tomatoes, some are still green. I don't think those will ever ripen. I will give them to mum, she can pickle it. There are still some egplants and capsicums to harvest. We got 2 pumpkin the other day, I gave some to mum, and baked some of it...it was very yummy. There are still some in the fridge, i might make some pumpkin soup tomorrow (DH's favourite).

Three weeks ago, we planted some seedlings for our winter crop. Unfortunately, two days ago, it was really windy here due to the cyclone activities in Western Australia and it destroyed about half of our seedlings. Lucky I planted lots. We will need to plant the seedlings permanently this weekend. Then hopefully in two months time we will be eating a lot of beans and snow peas.

Went grocery shopping after work tonight. Prices are getting really bad, the milk we get are now worth $3.19. It used to be only $2.99 few months ago.

City Trip

April 2nd, 2008 at 09:43 pm

I just got back from spending most of the morning in the city. I had a dentist appointment at 9:30am so I went with DH (he was on his way to work). The city center is about 30mins train ride from our place. The dentist was another 10mins tram ride from the train station where I got off.

After the Dentist, I went to my health insurance office and got my rebate back from my surgery last month. I got $340 back. They gave me $200 in cash (the max they could give over the counter) and the rest will be deposited into my bank account. The dentist visit today was free, already paid for it last time (which I got full rebate back from my health insurance). It was only 5mins check up, just to make sure it is healing up nicely.

Then after that I went to the Medicare office to lodge the payments for the Anaesthetist. I should get two cheques (1 from Medicare and 1 from my health insurance), I don't don't how much it will be. I will have to cover the rest. The anaesthetist will cost $400, hopefully I won't have to pay too much out of pocket.

And then after that I went to the bank that I have been looking into to open a joint account with DH. I was able to get all the info that I need to open the account. There is no monthly fees (so I should be able to save $4p/month) but there are a lot of limits. Can only use ATM 5 times a month and then after that it will cost $2 each time. There is an unlimited online transactions - so that's good. EFTPOS are also unlimited. but going in the bank's branch will cost an arm and a leg - $5 each time. Although I don't think I will be going into a branch that often since the closest one is in the city. I just don't get there that often. DH won't be using the account that much at all. Hopefully we can open it sometime this month, DH and I will have to make time for it. To open it we have to deposit $2,000 but once that account is establish there is no minimum amount requirement, so we will have take it out right away. I will use the EF money to open it.

After at the bank, I also went to a jewellry store where we got my engagement ring to get my ring cleaned. I can get my ring clean there for free anytime I want. Unfortunately, they were still close Frown. They open really late for some reason.

By 12:00pm, I went to meet up with DH for lunch. He works about 5mins from the city, so I caught another train to get there. We just had subway.

I didn't get home until 2pm, I'm really tired now. Too much excitement for me Wink.


Bank Fees

April 2nd, 2008 at 03:24 am

Someone in my previous post asked why i pay $4 a month for bank fees. Unfortunately that is probably one of the best deal last year for the stuff it allows me to do. DH used to pay $10 per month and that is why he doesn't have a bank account at all anymore. His bank use to have our mortgage and he used to use it for free until we change our mortgage over to a lesser interest rate (different institution). All of DH's pay just goes straight to the mortgage account (a redraw account, which helps lowers the interest rate paid for the month). This account is connected to one of his creditcard, which what he uses as his bank to redraw money from the redrwa account. We have only really come across a problem once, it was when he had to cash in cheques. he didn't have a bank to cash it in. So he had to sign it at the back and had to put it in my bank.

For the last year now I have been keeping my eye on the bank that don't charge fees, most of them requires having minimum balance (not very beneficial to us, I could get more than $4 p/m by putting the money in the mortgage or online account). However, last month we did came across one that might be really good for us to open a joint account with. Hopefully we will have some free time soon to go in the city to open a new account.

Mar 2008

April 1st, 2008 at 04:00 am

This is the March numbers for our $20K Challenge. Overall not too bad, managed to just go below the average exp per month that we should be aiming for.



We are still a bit behind when you compare the $ to the time that has already lapsed. We should be able to catch up at the end of April.





The other expense that are not included in the challenge for this month is totally another story. Just the mortgage, dental surgery, and tuition for this month was over $5000. Thankfully DH got a pretty good bonus from work. Overall, we saved 67% of our income this month. This is after putting over $2,800 into our various funds.

On another news, I have been spending a lot of time again tinkering with our spending plan. There are a lot of changes happening with our finances so changes to our plan is necessary. Plus I just love working on our personal finance.

The big bonus should have made a big impact on out overall net worth. I will update our net worth for the 1st Qrt of the year next time.