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Archive for January, 2009

Jan Total and Feb Goals

January 31st, 2009 at 10:32 pm

I met all my financial goals last month but didn't make a dent on the other stuff. We spent $1,820 out of the $19K challenge. About $1,200 of it was for our annual car and home & content insurance. It was a very good month overall.

I am particularly very happy about our $100 grocery challenge for the month. I guess the most obvious goal for this month is to make sure we keep the grocery expense within our normal grocery budget (which is about $230p/m). BTW we did our first grocery shopping for the month today and spent just over $120. I tried not to get too much meat, just in case we get another blackout. We lost our power the other, luckily it was for just over an hour (unlike some households who didn't have power for 2-3 days in a 40+ deg celcius heat).

Another good thing that happened last month is I managed to put more than double what I expected to put in the Household fund. yea!

And 17 NSD for the month! A record for us.

Anyway, here's my goal for the month of Feb:
* Declutter Spare Bedroom (Started)
* Put junk into boxes in garage
* Do some painting
* $1K into Saving/Invest
* $900 into H/hold fund
* Grocery budget under $240 ($119.56 left)
* 10 NSD for the month

I really hope to be able to get some of these non financial goals done this month.




1 Feb - 5:30pm

Update

January 29th, 2009 at 06:18 pm

Yesterday was almost a NSD but DH had to fill up the car. All up this month we've only spent less than $89 on fuel, that hasn't happened for awhile.

Can you believe that yesterday it got to 44.3 deg celcius at 4:43pm? ha! We got so hot that we finally put on the air conditioner at home for the first time this summer. We are trying so hard to conserve electricity but we just couldn't take it anymore yesterday. But we are the lucky ones actually, unfortunately there were households that didn't have power. There were people on the news that had to throw away everything in the fridge. What a waste of money. Some of the electric company just don't have enough juice to cope with the extra usage. That's why we are trying to conserve our electricity. I woke up this morning and felt like I haven't slept for a week. I can't wait for the change to come.

BTW the vegie garden is pretty much dead, I feel like crying about it. We can't water it much because there's water restriction in our area Frown.

We will probably get takeaway food again tonight. Something light, it shouldn't cost too much. Just don't have the appetite at the moment.

It's really funny that I'm omplaining about the heat and most of you are saying that it's too cold.




30 Jan - 1:15pm

Broken by the heat

January 28th, 2009 at 07:12 pm

We are in the middle of those 1 in a century heatwave at the moment. 5 days in a row of ~40deg celcius temp, I am melting people! For those of you who follows the Australian Open tennis (held at my home town) would know what I'm talking about.

Last night we succumbed to the heat and got takeaway food, it was just so hot to do any cooking. So our no takeout run has come to an end. I decided today to cook dinner early this morning when it was a bit cooler, so we will atleast have food tonight.




29 Jan - 2:15pm

Update

January 23rd, 2009 at 07:26 pm

It's been pretty quiet here at my end lately. DH filled up the car few days ago eventhough it was only half empty because it was really cheap. He only spend just over $12 on it. We then had 2 more NSDs, we are up to 15 for the month now. I decided not to get milk until today. I just used some of our long-life milk (we stock up on these for emergency and DH uses it for making bread).

So today we went out to get some groceries. We got some milk, bread, meat, cheese and fruits. All up we spent $19.05, which left us with $4.76 for the month. I think we should be okay, we should be able met the $100 grocery budget for the month. I might need some eggs in few days time.

Well I better update my sidebar. Have a great day everyone.



24 Jan - 2:30pm

Almost

January 20th, 2009 at 07:03 pm

Almost bought some takeaway food yesterday but hold off and made it 3 NSD in a row. I met my goal of at least 12 NSD for this month. I think we will have to get some fresh milk today and I'm not sure when DH will need to fill up the car again.

Yesterday was very hot and that's why we contemplated getting takeaway for dinner but luckily the weather changed in the afternoon. So I made sang choi bow for dinner instead. Monday's dinner was bangers and mash and Sunday was butter chicken and chickpeas.

I'm happy that we stayed strong yesterday and that we haven't gotten takeaway at all this year so far. Also I haven't bought coffee for almost 3 weeks!




21 Jan - 2pm

Weekend Update so far...

January 17th, 2009 at 07:14 pm

The last few days have been very spendy, but I am hoping to get back to having NSD's again, starting today.

Yesterday (Saturday) we went out for lunch and also rented some DVD's. Overall it was pretty cheap entertainment. Rented 4 movies for $10 sure beats going to the movies where it is around $14 per adult ticket. So far we've watched Batman the Dark Knight and Taken.

Picked from the garden.





18 Jan - 2pm

Car Insurance

January 15th, 2009 at 02:28 pm

Yesterday it was the home & content insurance and today our annual car insurance bill in due Frown. Its bad but I kind of glad that most of these big expenses are out of the way early in the year and we don't have to worry about them for next 12 months.

Last night's dinner was steak with gravy & roasted vegies. I also made lasagne for lunch and dinner today, so no cooking tonight.

Better go and pay that car insurance now.




16 Jan - 9:30am

Payday

January 14th, 2009 at 03:59 pm

Today is DH's payday, yea! Unfortunately, a lot of bills come out today too. Just paid the internet and the annual home & content insurance. Also $1000 is put a side for saving this month.

Used up the zucchinis last night for dinner. Made zucchini and pasta with cream sauce. Had some salad to go with it. I think we could go for another week without going to the shop. So far we are on track with our goal of only spending $100 on groceries this month.




15 Jan - 11am

Last night & Clothing

January 13th, 2009 at 04:24 pm

Yesterday got very hot, and was just not a weather for slaving in the kitchen. I thought about getting takeaway food but neither one of us was game to go out in the heat. So since for 2 days in a row, DH has been asking me about what we are going to do with the leftover turkish (flat) bread, that was of course a hint that he wants me to make a dip to go with it. So last night I made tsatsiki dip (I used sour cream because I didn't have any yoghurt), great way to use the cucumber I picked from the garden the other day. And I just pan fried the turkish bread with olive oil to go with the dip. That made DH very happy, he could eat a truck load of those. We then filled up with some of the leftover minestrone soup. And for dessert (we rarely have dessert) was chocolate bavarian icecream cake. We ate that while watching a game of cricket. So yeah managed to have another NSD yesterday, and I think today should be one too. Tomorrow will be a different story though, we got over $1K of bills to pay in the next 2 days alone.

Great news is I haven't bought coffee since the beggining of the month, I think I used to averaged about 2/3 times a week last year, this is really helping with NSDs. Also as a result I haven't spent any of my allowance money this month yet.

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While I was cleaning the wardrobe last week I was taking note of what we will need this year and the only thing that I could see is getting DH new work pants in few months time. He sure have enough business shirt, really I think he could wear one a day for a month without having to wash them. We don't really need much, especially since we got some new clothes from xmas. Maybe when winter comes I might want (not need) a new coat. And I also been wanting to get a new comfy work shoes.





14 Jan - 11:30am

Daily Update

January 12th, 2009 at 04:13 pm

I'm really killing NSD this month, after yesterday's NSD we are now up to 8 for the month. Another 4 and we will achieve our goal of having 12 NSD for the month.

Today's weather here is going to be hot so I made sure to water the vegie garden well last night. While doing that I also harvested more silverbeet (they grow so well), 3 baby zucchinis and the first cucumber for the season.

I made casserole last night, had it with steam rice. And had some extra to put in the freezer.



13 Jan - 11am

Daily Update

January 11th, 2009 at 07:22 pm

Yesterday was another NSD.

Had silverbeet (from the garden) pie for dinner last night, I used the leftover filo pastry that I had in the fridge. This was my first time making it and it actually turned out really good. I made 1 big one for our dinner and a small one for DH's lunch. To go with the pie I also made apple, celery and walnut (waldorf) salad. And I also made chicken stock, half of which I made into minestrone soup for my lunch. There are a lot of leftover for few more lunches or entree meals.

A bit busy today, so I will keep this short. Take care everyone.



12 Jan -2:30pm

Can it be done?

January 10th, 2009 at 04:46 pm

I told DH about only spending $100 this month on groceries, initially he said it is doable (when he thought there were only 2 weeks left in the month) but then he realized we still have 3 weeks to go and now he thinks it can't be done...lol. This is definitely streching it, so I need a plan for this to work. Firstly, I went through the pantry and the fridge to see what we have. And then I wrote out a rough menu plan base on those ingredients. Basically, we will have to make a few pasta dishes, curries, beans and vegies to stretch out our stock. Hopefully it can be done if not then no big deal.



11 Jan - 12pm

Daily Update

January 10th, 2009 at 01:24 am

Just got back from my mum's place. I gave her one of the chicken I bought earlier today. On the way there we filled up the car (less than $18 worth, I left the receipt in the car). And we also stopped by at the shop to get some blank DVDs and got a bottle of milk for mum for our afternoon tea. The milk will go under out grocery bill. So we spent another ~$39 today on top of this morning's shopping.

BTW yesterday was a NSD and I'm hoping tomorrow will be another NSD. I think our good run of NSD will be drying up though. A lot of the bills comes in the middle of the month. I'm aiming for a dozen this month so half way there.




10 Jan - 8:30pm

1st Grocery shopping for the year.

January 9th, 2009 at 07:49 pm

DH and I went grocery shopping today for the first time this year. We actually run out of fresh milk 2 days ago but we held out until today. We just open one of those long life milk. They are great for emergency usage such as the other day.

Anyway, today we went to Aldi, the butcher shop, and fruit & veg shop. They pretty much next to each other. All up we spent $73.49 and this is what we got for that amount of money.




What we got from Aldi($50.74):
4kg bag of Potato (was on sale for only $1.49 a bag)
1.5kg of Bananas
1kg Carrots
1kg Raw Sugar
Can of sliced pineapple
Hot Dogs*
Cream
Juice
2pk Sponges
Sour Cream
3lt of Fresh Milk
1lt of Long life Milk
3x Fabric Softener
Cranberry Sauce
Bacon*
1/2kg Broccoli
Coffee
Marmalade
2x Biscuits*
2x Bread
2x Can of Tomatoes
2x Can of Tuna
Oats
Muesli
Box of Tissue
Cleaning Cream
Dishwashing Liquid
Disinfectant

What we got from the Fruit & Veg shop ($10.75):
Spring Onions
1/2 Celery
Apples
Lemons
1/4 Pumpkin
Capsicums
1/2 Cauliflower
1bg of Turkish Bread


Only thing that's not in the photo are the 3 whole chickens that I got from the butcher shop for $12. It was a very good deal, it saved about $1 per kilo compare to Aldi.

Tonight's dinner will be roast chicken and vegies, one of DH's fav. And I'm thinking for lunch tomorrow will be leftover roast chicken with salad wrap in Turkish bread.

I don't think we will need much more for the rest of the month. I'm hoping to only spend another $25 for the month. I think I might make this a goal - to only spend $100 on grocery this month.




10 Jan - 2:30pm

Daily Update - Hey No Spender!

January 8th, 2009 at 03:34 pm

Not much to update really, yesterday was another NSD, our 5th NSD for the month...yipee. We had spag bol for dinner with salad and DH toasted some of his homemade bread and rubbed garlic on it. The leftover is for lunch.

I spent some time gardening yesterday and took some photos of the plants:



One of the basil plant/pot.



Lemongrass - not looking as good these days. I think I need to either replant the whole thing in the ground or at least replant half of it to another pot. Probably needs more watering too, this one tends to get neglected. I guess it needs more TLC.



Chilli plant - some are ready for picking.




9 Jan - 10:30am

Received another deal in the mail today

January 8th, 2009 at 01:26 am

Got a letter from our internet provider today, wanting us to renew with them for 12 months (i.e. go on another 12 months contract with them) for 10% discount. DH and I are thinking about it. Last year we did research on finding a better internet deal but we come to a decision that this company's deal is what is best for us. So yeah we are thinking about this deal. I don't think we will be changing provider in the next 12 months, so may as well right? Although it is really not much saving around $50 for the whole year. We have been out of contract for couple of years or so now. Generally, we don't like to be locked in but in this case it might not be a bad idea, especially since we have been with them for about the last 7 years. DH will give them a ring hopefully tomorrow and he will decide then whether we will go ahead or not.


8 Jan - 8:30pm

Daily Update

January 7th, 2009 at 05:27 pm

Since before christmas DH has been doing research on our home and content insurance. He finally decided on one and we got the papers for it yesterday. He decided to go with the same company as our car insurance. They give us a 10% discount and some further discount because we decided to pay it yearly instead of monthly. Another reason for the saving is we got rid of a pesonal item, now that we have reasonable savings we can cover it. That personal item was costing a lot to insure, but its not really worth that much. So we will just "self insure" that item. Isn't it funny how the least you can afford it (insurance that is) the more you need it, just in case.

Anyway, the new insurance will take affect on the 15th of this month and DH will cancel the other one on the 16th. The new payment will be $488.50 for the year. In comparison, last year we paid $1,017.96 in total. Almost $530 p/a savings! It's a good idea to look at your insurance policy every couple years. You never know.

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The weather is a bit cooler today. Last night's dinner was osso bucco on a bed of mash potato with a side of peas and gremotala. I bought those osso bucco 2 weeks ago from the market, it was really good. I love the market, they have a lot of stuff that you just can't get from the supermarket. The herbs i used(thyme, oregano and parsley) were all from the garden.

Oh I also finished cleaning the wardrobe last night.



8 Jan - 12:30pm

Refund

January 7th, 2009 at 04:05 am

Received a $75 cheque from our electrical company today for overcharging us last month. Also I was checking my saving account online tonight to make sure I have enough funds in there, to my suprise there was a $35.53 deposit in there from my health insurance. Keep them comin'!

It will all go towards the household fund.




7 Jan - 11pm

Daily Update

January 6th, 2009 at 02:52 pm

Not much to update really. I made spring rolls to go with the leftover for dinner last night.

Yesterday turned out to be a NSD. I've really decided to cut down on buying coffee this year, and so far so good. It has also helped on having more NSDs.

I did more work on decluterring the wardrobe last night but I was too tired to finish it off. I should get it done tonight.



7 Jan - 10am

Doing the Happy Dance!

January 5th, 2009 at 04:07 pm

Our mortgage interest payment went through last night and it was for just over $936. A lot less than I expected it to be! Woo hoo!! This is a great moment for us, it's one of those milestone moment. In comparison, this time last year we paid $1,352 in interest. That's over $400 difference, which is almost 2 months worth of groceries for us.

Last night's curry was pretty good, I really like how the eggplant taste in the curry. DH also made a loaf of bread, which he took for lunch with a can of tuna. He has been craving for homemade bread for a while now and finally decided to make some last night.

My latest home project/to-do at the moment is cleaning and decluttering the walk in wardrobe in the master bedroom. I spent about half an hour on it yesterday and should be able to finish it later today. It doesn't really need much work, I just want to get those clothes that we haven't used all year out of there. Also I've put away most of the winter clothes into to the spare bedroom closet. We won't need them for another 3 months.



6 Jan - 11am


Daily Update

January 4th, 2009 at 03:50 pm

Our mortgage payment should come out today, I been waiting for this to see how much the interest payment will be this month. I'm really hoping it will be below the $1,000 mark. If it doesn't come out today then it will be another NSD, which would make it 4 days in a row. Either way I will be happy.

Last night's dinner was Stir fry vegies with Hokkien noddles and Tofu. And there are plenty of leftover for lunch today. I been trying to make at least one vegetarian or seafood dish a week. We are meat eaters but only in small amount.

Went out to the vegie garden early this morning and was able to harvest for the first time this summer a couple of baby zucchinis (they taste nicer when they are smaller) and 2 eggplants. So I'm thinking of making curry with those for dinner tonight.




95 NSDs in 2008

January 3rd, 2009 at 09:42 pm

I just counted our NSD in 2008 and we managed to have 95. I would like to break 100 mark this year. I'm a bit stricter at what constitute a NSD for us, I only included days that no money was spent and that included bills and usual expenses, not just allowance money. All up I managed to pay myself $475 (which is $5 per NSD), and have put it under our Sunny Day Savings (see "My Pages" for details).

Nice Summer Day

January 3rd, 2009 at 08:25 pm

It's a really nice Sunday afternoon right now, we are just relaxing gearing up for tomorrow's back to work day Frown . Lunch was riccotta and spinach in filo pastry with a side of salad (mostly from the garden - lettuce and rockets were from the garden).

We got the statement for our annual car insurance (due in a week or so). It is less than what I anticipated it to be, which is fine by me Smile . It will only be $686.60, under budget by $23.40 (great start for our 2009 challenge). Last year the increase for this insurance was around $50 more than the previous year, but it only increase by less than $10 this year...yipee!

Oh today should be a NSD. 3 days in a row for us!

Leftover Money and Xmas Fund

January 2nd, 2009 at 05:17 pm

We managed to have over $3,200 leftover money in December. $1,550 of it was from DH's tax refund. I've decided to first off to fully fund the Xmas & Anniversary Fund for 2009. So for next year we've set a side $1,000 for Xmas and our Anniversary celebration (last year I only put a side $850 but only for xmas fund). We were under budget with our 2008 Xmas fund by $97.37, so I have just topped it off with $902.63. I've just put this money in my ING account for now until we will need it, meanwhile it can earn some interest. Well, Christmas and anniversary is sorted out for the year. I've never done this before and it's a great feeling!

I decided not to put as much money in the saving, instead I put most in the EF and a little bit in the car fund.So now we currently have $2K in car fund and $5K in EF.

Only about $350 was put in the saving. So my goal last year of putting another $10K in savings from Apr to Dec didn't quiet work out (only saved 52%). I'm not to worried about it because that is actually $5K extra than what I hoped we would be able to save last year.

So now we can concentrate on achieving our 2009 goals. Firstly, funding the household fund. Unfortunately we will only be able to put in $200-$300 by the end of this month because we got big expenses coming up. Our yearly car insurance is due mid-Jan. But I am hoping to get my tax refund in the next couple of months and that will all go towards the household fund. That's the plan for now anyway.


2009 Budget (Challenge)

January 1st, 2009 at 09:03 pm

3rd entry for today, I'm trying to make up for the last week of not much blogging.

I finally finalise our 2009 budget, I had to make some small changes. We are hoping to only spend $19K this year on these items.



*Amount increase from last year.

-I'm trying out a new title for my blog, still not sure if I'll keep it this way though.

Why DH is getting 50% pay cut on his allowance next year?

January 1st, 2009 at 07:13 pm

Basically he doesn't use it so he loses it -lol. He seems to have problem spending his allowance money. Most of it this year was only spent when he forgets his lunch or if there was a special occasion at work were he might need to spend some of it. But most of the time he spend it either on something for us or on me.

I on the other hand spend what I got up to the very last amount, as evident in this year's allowance spending. I tend to stick to my budget. But because DH spend his money on me it kind of like I got double allowance so if I don't have it in the budget I won't be tempted to think that I got some money reserve somewhere.

DH has been so good that he sure deserves a good reward. Since we are under on our $20K challenge by $260, he got $150 to get whatever he wants with it.

End of the 2008 $20K Challenge

January 1st, 2009 at 07:05 pm

So here it is the total for the year. We made it with just under $260 to spare. Although I have decided to give DH $150 bonus out of the $260. I think he deserve it, he is really good with not spending his allowance money and he will be taking a big pay cut on his allowance this year.






Now let's start the 2009 challenge!