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Archive for January, 2011

Weekend Update

January 31st, 2011 at 05:27 pm

Our weekend was really busy and very very hot. We got a heatwave for almost a week now and still more to come.

Saturday we spent all morning driving around shopping. We went for a small grocery shopping to Aldi only spent over $26. We did really well with our grocery budget in January, we still got over $36 leftover. The budget for Jan was $230, so we only used less than $200. I am trying to decide whether to get the annual Costco membership this week, they are having some sales at the moment to celebrate their 2nd year of trading here in Melbourne. The annual fee is $60, so I was thingking of using that $36 and then the rest will come from Feb grocery budget.

We also stop by to the Skylight/Roof ventilation shop to pay for the deposit. Someone will be coming by tomorrow to install them, I can't wait. I am hoping the roof ventilation will help to get rid of the hot air in the roof. The skylight will be install in our new ensuite bathroom.

Saturday afternoon we went to buy some floor tiles, we managed to get them really cheap. Only spent $144 for 8 meter sqaure and it also included a big bag of tile glue. We also score free 2 soap holders and 2 toilet holders. I don't know if we will actually used them yet maybe the soap holder will work. They are worth around $15-$20 each, so not a bad score.

We then went to the hardware store near our place to get some timber to use as studs, we also decided to get supplies that we will need eventually. All up that cost us almost $300, the most expensive thing was the waterproof paint and stuff, that was around $150 but definitely worth doing it now. We also had to get some floor boards to replace one that is rooten and a couple where the old shower drain pipe used to be.

We put up the studs to were the new walls is going to be, we still need to get more timber. Unfortunately we couldn't carry all of what we need in the car. We finished everything we need to do for now by Sunday lunch. We thought about going back to the hardware store to get more supplies but the temperature got too hot to bother doing anymore work. We are just doing a bit at the time, both DH and I are enjoying it. These are skills that we are willing to learn, it comes handy. Couple years ago we did our laundry and my FIL helped us and taught us everything we know now. In the past I used to stress out so much over the cracks in the walls/ceilings. I used to worry that the whole ceiling will collapse on top of us and now it doesn't bother me at all anymore because now I know how to fix it myself.

Some Tax money :)

January 24th, 2011 at 09:51 pm

Yesterday I blogged about needing more cash/cash flow in the next month or so to pay for trades people that we will need to hire. I was actually thinking of withdrawing money out of my bankwest account (which is the EF accout) or out or the redraw account. I almost did it too especially after I received our AMEX bill of over $2300, the cost of the new fridge that we got last month is in it now. I was really hoping that I didn't need to, I talked to DH about it we both decided to wait until mid next month the AMEX is due to withdraw the money out. He thinks we might not need to withdraw any money out since he will get paid next Friday. And if still short of cash we then withdraw some from those accounts.

Well today we just happened to received our tax refund (for 2009/10),2 cheques 1 in my name and the other under DH, in total just a bit over $2,900. I called DH right away and not even an hour later we were in the bank near DH's work depositing in the cheques. They say it might take few days for it to clear. I knew that and that is why I was really keen to cash it in right away because tomorrow is public holiday here and will most likely have tradies coming on Thurs/Fri, so I really didn't want to wait until Sat to deposit it into the bank. I can now relax about the cash flow shortage issue. Sometimes things just workout. Smile

After the bank, DH and I decided to have lunch out together again. This was not plan. It was a lot nicer than Taco Bill though. We had Thai where they had their lunch specials for $10.50 a meal including drinks. I had chicken satay and rice with coke and DH had red curry and rice with a glass of red wine. DH will have to bring back his packed lunch home again tonight, which means I don't need to cook dinner tonight. Eventhough it was plan and we now only got about $4 in the entertainment/eating out money, we were glad we went out for lunch today to make up for last week's lunch date.

Weekend Update

January 23rd, 2011 at 11:23 pm

- NSD on Friday and Sunday, which make it 12 NSD for the month.

- Went grocery shopping on Sat, spent just over $56. Also picked up drycleaning for $31.90.

- Then we went to the Hardware store to get stuff we need for our renovation. Spent over $122. Sat afternoon and Sunday morning DH managed to take down the sliding door and it's frame. We also took out the old shower after, the only way it would fit through. It is weird seeing it laying flat in the garage now. We have taken about half of the wall off. Next weekend we hope to put up more studs to replace where the sliding door used to be, we have decided to move the door to the other side . BTW I hated the sliding door and so glad it is now gone...

- We also went to a skylight store, just to get an idea on what's out there. Now that we decided to brick up the window we will need a skylight. The one the both DH and I like is really good but it's not the cheapest (around the middle range). This window really need replacement, so we decided to just brick it up. By doing so it will solve few of our problems, one is noisy neighbour. And we eventually want to install a water tank in that space which should help the problem with the gutter overflowing too much when there is a really heavy rain.

I really really want to put more money into the mortgage but I have to hold off. Unfortunately most trades people only accept cash, which is fair enough.

The other problem we also have it that no one calls back when they say they would call back and the one that does over-charge a lot. The guy that says he will call back about 2 weeks ago now never did and when we tried to call him his phone is not working anymore. It's weird.

I remember 8 years or so ago we used to have people knocking on our door asking if we need worked done around the house. We did but unfortunately we didn't have the cash then to do it. I wish I had the money then but I am also glad that we didn't go on debt for it.

We will eventually get it done but now I know that it will take a lot longer than that I hope for.

Taco Bill

January 20th, 2011 at 05:46 pm

After the asbestos removalist left yesterday I decided to go to the city to meet up with DH for lunch. We try to have a lunch date at least once a month. For some reason after last month's lunch date we walked passed Taco Bill and decided then that this month's lunch date we will go there. I actually haven't been there for about 10 years, so I was keen to see what it is like these days and DH always wants nachos. Well it was terrible, it cost us over $27 for 2 tacos with a bit of mexican rice, a plate of nacho and 2 small drinks. It tasted awful. For that amount of money I could have made it so much better. Now I remember why I stopped going there, never again. We were so disappointed that we decided to go somewhere else for dessert and coffee.

For coffee and dessert we went to a nice but a bit more expensive French patisserie. Their macaroons are to die for, it is so yummy. We spent $20.15 there for 2 lattes, 2 macaroons and a cake. I decided to pay for it out of my allowance. It is the first time I spent any money out of my allowance this month. I really don't have anything I want to spend my money on this month. I think I want to save my money to get an ipod later this year...maybe. I been wanting 1 for a while now but it one of those things that I can live without.

Asbestos

January 19th, 2011 at 03:08 pm

I got someone here at the moment removing the asbestos that was under the old tiles in our ensuite bathroom. It will cost me $300, this was definitely not in my budget for this renovation but at the same time I did thought that we might have asbestos somewhere. It was widely used when this house was built in the 60's. Oh well, $300 is a lot but I would rather be safe than sorry. The boss guy yesterday said that unfortunately $300 is their minimum charge so even if the area was twice as big it would cost about the same.

At least I know how much to budget for it in the main bathroom when we start renovating that in few months time. Unfortunately, we have the same tiles in the main bathroom and we are 99% sure that the underlay underneath will be the same.

This guys are at least pretty good though, they came right on time when they say they will be here. Unlike the guy we hire the other week to brick in our window. He said he will call back last week to confirm when he can do it but we haven't heard from him at all. We might have to call someone else now. Well he missed out cause I actually was going to hire for a lot more other stuff around the house to do. He could have made a bit of money from us. I guess it is better to find out now that later when he is half way through a job that won't get finish.

Oh they just finish, I better go and pay them.

Weekend (lost half of my blog entry)

January 16th, 2011 at 11:37 pm

Thursday and Friday happened to be a NSDs. We are doing really well with our NSD this month, 8 out of 17 so far.

Saturday we went grocery shopping, spent just over $57 all up, $28 was spent at Aldi and the rest at the market.

Also found out that Dh paid for our annual car insurance, he was meant to do that last weekend but he wanted to do a bit of research during the week to try and get us a better deal. In the end we are staying with the current company we are with but he opted to get the lesser claim, I think instead of $8800 we will only get $7700 for our car. This over all saved just over $22.

We also spent money on cricket tickets for Sunday game. They had special cheap tickets to celebrate 30years of one day games.


ARGGGHHH>>>> I lost half of my entry!!! WHY???


I can't be stuffed typing it all again, I got to get dinner ready now. This has been happening a lot lately, I've lost entries 3 times this month already. This is really annoying.


I will talk about finding what is most likely an asbestos in our ensuite bathroom when DH started pulling out the tiles on Saturday next time.

Got to go for now.



Banana bread

January 13th, 2011 at 06:13 pm

Yesterday a couple of bananas wasn't going to survive much longer so I made banana bread out of them.

Today I am currently making chicken stock out of the leftover chicken roast I made few days ago.

Yesterday was a NSD and today could be also if we don't go grocery shopping. We are running out of milk so we definitely need to go get some either tonight or tomorrow. Maybe if it stops raining tonight we will go.

Good News!

January 12th, 2011 at 11:18 pm

DH is getting a promotion starting next month, but no extra pay until end of June. Basically, it is in a trial basis so if DH or the company wants to bail out they can. We both don't mind about the money, DH is just happy that he is finally getting some good recognition for his hard work. And that his decision to quit his previous job has turn out to be for the best, not only for better money but also better future prospect. There was no future in that previous job and I believed that he stayed in that job a year longer than he should have but then again the economy a year ago was really bad so he had to suck it up a bit then. While, after 3 months in this job he is already getting a promotion. It is also a recognition for getting his MBA (2 years of sacrifice while working full-time).

No extra money but it is still a really big deal for DH. June is not that far away anyway. Plus he wasn't expecting a pay rise until his current contract ends in 2 years so getting one in June will be a bonus.

Another change I'm making this year.

January 11th, 2011 at 08:14 pm

I've decided to pay myself $10 instead of $5 for every NSD we have this year. This of course would again go into my "Sunny Day Savings" (see under my Pages on the sidebar). I started this saving since 2007, I got the idea after reading a personal finance book. I can't remember what the book is called now, but the idea is somewhat opposite to an emergency fund. I used it when I see a good bargain. Back in 2008-2009 I used to put $200 a month into it but have now cut it out and have only put NSD savings into it. In previous years, I've bought shares with this money and so far they have been a pretty good buy. Last year we spend some of the money on our holiday to Fiji and to buy my Kindle.

Basically this money I use for things that I consider as an "opportunity", not necessary to make us extra money, although all those shares that I've bought with this money so far has, but also for things that I consider a bargain. The fijian holiday for example the flights were half price. And the kindle I bought because the Australian dollar went above the US (which hasn't happened for about 30 years?), which made it a lot cheaper than back when it first came out and I have been wanting to get one since.

Anyway, it is really just a saving with no name for it. It is just some sort of a game that I play with myself. It make saving more fun for me, getting a reward for having a NSD.

Making a change this year.

January 9th, 2011 at 10:12 pm

This year we decided to go back using cash only on Groceries, Entertainment, and our Allowances. I think by using cash we get a better hold of our expenses. We used to only used cash on these things but last couple of years we stopped, I don't really know why? I guess, it is a bit of a hassle going to ATM to get the cash. It is a lot easier to just use the cards, and that is the problem it is too easy to spend the money without thinking about it.

Payday

January 6th, 2011 at 11:15 pm

Today is DH's payday, the money will probably not go into to our bank account until late tonight.

Yesterday we went grocery shopping and spent just over $51. I'm hoping not to go shopping again until next weekend.

This weekend I got a lot of bills to pay and I was going to put $1,000 into the mortgage but I might wait another week just in case we might need the case to pay labourers that we might hire next week.

Other than paying bills this weekend we will be spending our time clearing out the ensuite, maybe even taking out the old tiles.

2011 Goals and 20K Challenge

January 4th, 2011 at 08:04 pm

We only got 5 goals this year and they are mainly continuation to last year.

Goal 1: Save $10,000 into the Household Fund (2 bathrooms renovation).
Action Plan: To be fully funded by April, ~$2,500 per month.

Goal 2: Save $1,700 into the Christmas/Anniversary Fund.
Action Plan: To be fully funded by May.

Goal 3: Add $5,000 into the Car Fund.
Action Plan: To be fully funded by December 2011.

Goal 4: Add $3,000 into the Holiday Fund.
Action Plan: To be fully funded by December 2011.

Goal 5: Prepay $20,000 into the Mortgage by the end of the year.
Action Plan: Put any extra money towards this goal.
Everything is pretty much straight forward. We are planning to throw anything extra into the mortgage this year. Any bonus, interest received, dividends, etc. will be paid into it.

$3000 into the holiday fund is a lot for this year and we are not really looking to go on holiday this year, except for visiting family interstate. Visiting family interstate doesn't normally cost for more than few hundred dollars. But we are planning to go overseas (somewhere in Asia) late next year, that will cost a bit so if we can save for some of it this year it will not be as tight next year. I always look at our Holiday Fund as our reward for hard work. I am hoping that by the time we take this holiday to Asia we would have paid an extra $50,000 into the mortgage. Won't that be sweet.

---------------
We are going back to 20K challenge this year, 19K was just way too tight. I've omitted the item donation. We decided to sponsor a child again this year, we used to do this years ago and unfortunately had to stop when DH was unemployed. Now is the time to start it again, we will try it for a year. I guess I don't want to classified it as living expenses esp since we can get tax refund for it. I will still budget for it but it will not be included in the 20K challenge.

I have made the necessary adjustments and I hope that things will not change too much this year.

20K Challenge:

Grocery - $2,800.00
Utilities - $2,200.00
Rates - $1,350.00
Home Phone - $300.00
Mobile - $250.00
Internet - $550.00
Fuel & Fare - $2,400.00
Car Registration - $630.00
Car Insurance - $502.00
Home Insurance - $525.00
Health Insurance - $2,520.00
Entertainment - $2,000.00
Gifts - $800.00
Personal/Medical - $700.00
Clothing - $300.00
Allowances - $1,820.00
Miscellanous - $353.00

TOTAL = $20,000.00

I hope we do better this year than last year.
I hope everyone here in SA achieve their goals this year.
We can all do it guys!





2010 and some Update

January 3rd, 2011 at 04:36 pm

Was meant to do this blog few days ago but I have been in pain. My neck and left shoulder has been really sore for a week now. It was worst yesterday, DH had to help me get out of bed.It is feeling a bit better today after taking few painkillers yesterday. I hate taking medicines, I normally refuse to take any until I can't take it anymore. Typing still hurts my shoulder a bit but the neck is a lot better.

Anyway, our final total for 2010 for our living expenses (excluding mortgage) came to $22,468. That is $3,468 over the budget. The main problem were:

-Entertainment over $1,141 (we went crazy and the budget was not realistic, I have increase this item this year)

-Medical/Personal Expense over $702 (a lot of major injuries last year and it appears that is still continuing now)

-Clothes/Manchester over $606 (had to buy DH a new suit for new job and other items that we probably didn't need)

-Fuel & Fare over $433 (just general increase in price, i have also increase the budgeted amount for these items this year.

- Utilities over $326 (again fees have been going up and will continue to this year)

- Groceries over $246 (this is not bad at all, our budget here is tight to start with but a $3,046 groceries for a year for 2 adults who loves food is fairly reasonable)

- Misc Items over $179 (we need to cut this out this year).

Well, there you go not a very good year last year but I am hoping to improve this year.

We did managed to more than achieved our financial goals (sidebar goals), however I wasn't as good at keeping up with the non-financial goals. The good thing about a new year is we can start and try again. I have a feeling that this year will be better than 2010. DH and I had good talked yesterday (while I was stuck on the sofa dealing with my neck and shoulder) about what we want to achieved this year. Our priority will be to renovate the bathrooms and then pre-paying the mortgage as much as possible. To start with we put in $500 into the mortgage principal yesterday in the middle of our discussions. And we also agreed to put in another $1000 on Friday when DH gets paid for this month. We could put a bit more but we need to keep cash on hand for the renovation.

I will put up my 2011 goals later, I think I need to rest my shoulder for now.

I hope everyone is having a great new year so far.