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Holiday away and Camper Trailer

November 12th, 2018 at 04:35 pm

We went away for 2 weeks, total spend was $708.63.

Accommodation = $105.00 for 3 nights camping
Transportation = Fuel cost $303.10
Food = $300.53

October (portion) = $439.14
November (portion) = $269.49

It was a great holiday just relaxed and watched the sunset (a lot).

On our 3rd day there, as we were driving from the market, just a block from the in-laws house at this parking area by the lake there was a sign for sale next to this camper trailer. A guy and his family were there, they had the tailer set up. We thought that looks interesting and we wondered how much it would be. We didn't bother stopping by because we wanted to get home (i.e. to the in-laws place) for lunch. Anyway, we talked about it during lunch and decided that we should go back and check it out. At this stage we didn’t think we would get it, we thought it would cost around $5k but we were interested to see what it was like. We were surprise that the price was for only $2,650 and that we would like it. We umm and ahh and slept on it. The next day they lowered the price on Gumtree (this is probably like Craig’s List in the US). We felt that they just want to get rid of it because they already got a replacement, an upgrade, they bought a caravan. So they don’t have room anymore in the garage for it.

We message them to ask to look at it again and if they are willing to accept $2300. They agreed. We made sure we could tow it in our car; it was all good so we bought it. It has a nice little kitchen, we can hook it up to power and there are a lot of space. It is a good solid trailer and can be taken off road if we want it to.

We decided to put this under holiday spending. So far this year we have spent $2,454.63 on holidays, I budgeted $4,000 for the year so we are way under, with a leftover of $1,545.37. We don’t have plans to go anywhere until next year.

Change to our Challenge?
We are going to still go ahead with our saving challenge. We will most likely keep this camper trailer for 5 years and then maybe upgrade? That's what tends to happen.


May 8th, 2018 at 10:28 pm

We went on a holiday for 6 days/5 nights, just got home yesterday. When we got home we went and got some food that should last us until the end of the week when we can then do a big shop.

Grocery - $27.29

HOLIDAY – We flew to Hobart Tasmania. We decided to rent a tiny campervan; it was an interesting experience – a lot of fun. The first two nights we stayed in Hobart at a campsite near my brother’s place that was right next to a river. We ate at their place on our first night and breakfast as well. On the second night we went out to a restaurant DH paid for it, it was pricey almost $200 worth. We visited a famous museum called MONA and an old brewery. On the 3rd day we drove to Launceston, about 2 hours north from Hobart, we stayed their overnight and then drove up to the mountain, another 2 hours away, called Cradle Mountain. We did a nice 2-hour walk around Dove Lake it was beautiful even when it was raining on and off throughout our walk. We had a massive feast after our walk I used a voucher that my brother gave me for my birthday last year. We ate so much we didn’t need to eat dinner that night. That night we stayed just at the bottom of the mountains, about an hour away. We got a great view of the (rocky) mountains and when it got dark so many pademelons came out to feed at the campsite. The next day we went back to Launceston and explore the place a little bit, we end up going to a gorge, then we drove back to Hobart for our last night. Again stayed at the same campsite and had out last dinner at my brother’s place.

The cost (we used up money we got from a CC promotion last year for the airfares so that is not included here):
Accommodations - $100 ($20 per night)
Transportations - $500.82
Food - $428.51
Other - $124.9
TOTAL = $1,154.23


April 24th, 2018 at 12:23 am

This was an expensive week, there were few things we had to spend money on and last week was my birthday so we went out for dinner, it was low key celebration.

Groceries – spent a total of $76.70

Birthday Dinner – We went to a nice Italian restaurant that we haven’t been to for over 2 years, one of our favourite. We spent $115.50, I ate way too much that I skipped breakfast and lunch the next day. They were big servings we are not used with those these days normally, most restaurants hardly have anything on the plate. I received few more gift cards.

Clothes & Bed Sheets – We had to throw away most of our thermal under garment so bought new ones because winter is coming. That was $48.95. While there we found a nice Flannelette Bed Sheets sets for $29.99. I love those for winter.

New Convection Oven – We had to get a new one because the other one died half-way to using it - that was only $45.

Paint – DH built a screen wall outside, it will help to hide the clothes line. Most of the materials he used were reclaimed wood except for a couple posts. It will need painting, bought some for $53.70. It will have a lot of left overs that I can used in the future.

Internet – Just like our health insurance we have an option of free paying. We can pay a year in advance and get 2 months for free, a saving of $130. DH paid $780 for the year.

Car rental Deposit – We are visiting my brother and family again. We decided we will need transportation so we can visit other towns. Last night DH paid the deposit of $107.08.

I think that’s it for now.

MARCH 2018 (WEEK 12 & 13)

April 3rd, 2018 at 09:23 pm

Not much really to report for Week 12 – spent $6.80 on grocery. Week 13 we were away for 10 days visiting DH’s parents interstate (12-hour drive away).

March 2018 highlights:

Total expense for March was $4,239.86

Groceries - $248.82 in total for the month, under because we weren’t home for over a week.

Water & Gas – Both add up to $322.02

Transportation Exp – Fuel, train fare and car repairs was a bit because of getting to re-gas the car air-conditioner, all up it was $452.74

Alcohol – Went out to stock up on alcohol and end up spending $153.15

Health Insurance – Half of March’s expense went to pre-paying the health insurance. $2,121.99, this included paying for the month of March’s health insurance.

HOLIDAY SPENDING – Overall, it was a fairly frugal holiday $479.09 in total. Fuel cost us $204.28 and the food and other expenses were $249.81. We bought groceries few times and cooked for everyone a couple of times. We also went out for dinner once to celebrate our nephew’s 22nd birthday. On the way home we opted to stop over night at about half-way point and camp for the night, the campsite cost us $25. The March portion for this holiday expense was $306.57 (I decided to divide the expenses to 2 months when the actual spending was done).

2018 Goal review:

*Put as much money we possibly can into Investments (at least $45K). – Still motoring along

*Save $4K for Holiday money. – We spent some this month obviously

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

Other –

*Read 70 books. – I did a lot of reading this month.

10. Y is for Yesterday - Sue Grafton (4 Mar)
11. The Mark of a Millionaire - Dexter Yager & Ron Ball (5 Mar)
12. The Nightingale - Kristin Hannah (8 Mar)
13. The Confession - John Grisham (9 Mar)
14. Making Time, Making Money - Rita Davenport (11 Mar)
15. The Laws of Lifetime Growth - Dan Sullivan & Catherine Nomura (12 Mar)
16. China Rich Girlfriend - Kevin Kwan (15 Mar)
17. The Black Swan - Nassim Nicholas Taleb (17 Mar)
18. Sigmund Freud's Mission - Erich Fromm (18 Mar)
19. Unf*ck Your Finances - Melissa Browne (20 Mar)
20. Stock Market Strategies that Works in Australia - Matthew Brooks & Paul Nojin (21 Mar)
21. Red Sparrow - Jason Matthews (23 Mar)
22. The Day She Can't Forget - Meg Carter (24 Mar) – Audio**
23. The Travelling Companion - Ian Rankin (24 Mar)
24. 1984 - George Orwell (26 Mar)
25. On the Happy Life - Seneca (27 Mar)
26. Finance: Budgeting: Save Money, Invest for Retirement and get Debt Free - Andrew W. Welch (28 Mar)
27. Deal Breaker - Harlan Coben (29 Mar)

** I borrowed an audiobook from the library. This was good to listen to while doing some cleaning and packing. I eventually finished it while we travelled interstate. In the past I’ve tried audiobooks and found that I couldn’t follow it unless I’m also looking at the words, but this book was really good, the story was easy to follow.

*Learn Spanish. – Still doing about 15 to 20 minutes a day.

*Workout 3/4 times a week. – I didn’t do any while away but did a lot of walking and playing with the dog outdoors, like at the park and at the beach.

*Try new recipes every other week. – Only did one in March

*Blogging once per week. – I missed last week, I didn’t bring my laptop and so I left my personal finance spreadsheet at home.

*Continue Garden/Landscaping.¬ – We did a little bit of stuff before we went away.

*Wake-up early (before 7am) – I have been very good even on our holidays when I didn’t have my alarm clock on I was still waking up around 6am.

*Continue Decluttering. – We done a lot of shredding of old papers. DH has been downloading online statements and scanning the ones that he couldn’t get online. So the paper statements that we don’t need any more we shredded, I would say almost couple thousand pages. Our filing cabinet that was full to the brim is now less than half full.

Reviewing 2017 Personal Finance and other Goals

January 2nd, 2018 at 02:59 am

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.

Other -

*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.


November 15th, 2017 at 05:18 pm

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.

Tassie Trip and other matters

November 9th, 2017 at 12:43 am

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

October 2017

October 31st, 2017 at 10:17 pm

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.

Just answering some questions

July 13th, 2017 at 01:39 am

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.


April 26th, 2017 at 01:00 am

We are back from our 11 days holiday to New South Wales (NSW). We decided to drive all day to get there on Good Friday, the trip took over 12 hours we left home at 4am, got stuck a bit in traffic trying to get for one side of Sydney to the other side and then from Sydney all the way the DH’s parents, even with tollways there were still a bit of traffic. We spent Easter weekend at my in-laws, they live about an hour or so north of Sydney. DH’s sister and her husband and toddler daughter also came up from Canberra to spend Easter weekend at there place. On Easter Saturday, we got invited to have lunch at DH’s brother’s place. We gave the kids (4 of them) Easter eggs and cash gifts since we haven’t seen them since Aug last year. So it was part of Christmas gift as well. Also the oldest just turned 21 late last month so we gave him $100. In total, we end up spending $253 on gifts. Easter Sunday, SIL and her husband celebrated their 1st year anniversary they went to the winery for the day while MIL looked after the little girl. We just relax a bit and helped FIL cut a tree down that has been causing issues with their plumbing, he is in mid 70’s and has hurt himself recently so DH did most of the heavy work, while FIL and I just helped cleaned it up. Luckily unlike our palm tree this tree was a lot easier to cut down it only took us less than 2 hours to get the job done. We also did some painting for him, we didn’t finish it but it at least got it started for him.

On Easter Monday we went to Sydney to celebrate my birthday, we spent two days there and stayed overnight at a fancy hotel with a great view of the Sydney Opera House from the bed. We bought a yearly pass to the Taronga Zoo, which we went on both days, it wasn’t too much out of the way to travel. We went there early before we checked in to our hotel and then we stopped there again on the way back to DH’s parents place. The zoo passes we will be able to use in our state zoos too (we got 3 here in Victoria). On the first day at the zoo we saw a baby pygmy hippopotamus (about 2 months old) and on the second day we saw a couple red pandas. And of course we saw other animals but those were my favourites at this zoo. We had a nice dinner at near Sydney Opera House and also has a great view of the Sydney Bridge and then walked back to our hotel to have cocktails at the bar there. All up my birthday celebration costs $664 including parking which was $67 for those 2 days. The zoo annual pass were $192 for both of us.

DH also got me a new kindle which I was not expecting at all since the Sydney trip was supposed to be the birthday present. On this trip I ended up finishing 3 books and have started on a couple. The long drives helped. We drove probably almost 3000 kilometres.

We went back to DH’s parents place for couple of nights and then we went camping father north of there to a place called Nelson’s Bay for couple of nights. $46 per night. This is a beautiful area - our camp site was only about 200 metres walk to the beach. In our camp sites there were a lot of wild rabbits and possums and birds of course. The possums were very friendly that DH actually ended up hand feeding a couple of them bananas. DH’s parents came by to have lunch with at our camp site on the first day, which was great to get them out of the house. On the way back to the in-laws we checked out other scenic sites, at one place we were lucky to see dolphins swimming there at least 20 of them.

We then spend another night at the in-laws and then on the 23rd we left to drive home. We stopped by at a small town called Gundagai, which is just over half way between in-laws place and our home. We camp over night by the river that cost us $25 for the camping site, fairly cheap. And then we got home and picked up our doggy from my mum’s place mid-afternoon on the 24thof Apr.

Overall cost for the Holiday/birthday:
Gas - $236.81
Food and Drinks - $416.19 (Grocery $148.84, Snacks 56.30, Restaurant/Takeaway $169.55 and Alcohol $41.50)
Souvenirs - $10.25 (Just fridge magnets)
Overall Birthday Cost – $664.00

I found that NSW is slightly more expensive that here in Melbourne. Gas for the car was around 10 cents more expensive and food is about the same. Even their zoo pass was more expensive, luckily DH thought about going online and buying it from Melbourne zoo instead, it would have cost us almost $80 more because not only it was dearer they also required and an extra $20 per ticket for first time buyers there.

The only expenses I haven’t accounted for yet are for the tolls we used to get across Sydney. I will be in the next CC bill or I think they might email at the end of the month.

Change my mind

March 31st, 2014 at 11:00 pm

We got $320 left in March I was going to put it towards goal#2 but I instead put it towards goal#3 and have already spent it.

I found a great deal online for a place that we will go for our Anniversary. Our anniversary is not for another 6 months but this deal was really good it is to a place called Lake's Entrance. We love this place, it's about 3-3 1/2 hours away. We been there few times and even stayed there overnight as one of the places that we went to on our honeymoon (that was the last time we went there so it will be 8 yrs by the time we go back) . And DH was apparently conceived there (hahaha!). This resort that we will be going to was the one I really wanted to stay at on our honeymoon but since we were struggling then we just couldn't afford it. $200 a night was just too much for us then especially for just an overnight stay. The place was fairly new then. The deal I got is $299 for 3-nights (but will have surcharge of $60 for Saturday night stay) including breakfasts everyday, some credits on restaurant meals, drinks and massages. It also had other offers which I can't quite remember it all at the moment, I think one was a free tour to a blueberry farm nearby and some cooking class voucher. So there are a lot to do and I'm very much looking forward to it.

We will be going the weekend after our actual anniversary because it falls during school holidays I rather not go then, we will probably still go out somewhere on the actual night but it will be something small. I always make sure we do something special for our anniversary that's why it is in my financial goals. DH's birthday is just 2 days after our anniversary so it is even more reason to celebrate for us.

I normally try to limit the spending around $500 (definitely no more than $600) because I like to leave $1,500 to go towards Christmas spending.

My budget for this will look like this:
Accommodation - $299
surcharge - $60 I think this is payable later.
Transport - $30-50 This might include tolls if we want to get there quicker.
Food - $100 -$150 We will bring some food and drinks with us, unfortunately there is no kitchen so we will be limited on what we can bring. We will have at least one nice ("fancy") dinner out.

Anything more than this will have to come out of our allowances.

*No news about how much the car repair will amount to yet. DH will be home soon though, I'll find out then. I'm really hoping it is not too much. The no phone call from them kinds of a good news. They said that if it is small job they can do it today but if it is big we will have to book it some other time. If it is big and costly they would have called us by now.


November 29th, 2012 at 04:13 pm

Today is our last day of the month, the property rate will be taken out of the account today. We are done with this month.

Grocery - $272.68 (over $52.68) *We were way under last month on this so we were low on some item this month.*
Utilities - $102.45 (under $97.55)
Rates - $142.00 (under $0.46)
Home Phone - $14.95 (under $55.05)
Mobile - $70.00 (over $20.00)
Internet - $55.00 (even)
Fuel & Fare - $199.84 (under $0.16)
Health Insurance -$249.21 (under $0.79)
Entertainment -$116.70 (over $6.70)
Gifts -$0.00 ($50.00)
Personal/Medical - $85.65 (over $25.65)
DH Allowance -$100.00 (even)
DW Allowance - $75.00 (even)
Miscellaneous - $65.55 (over $35.55)

TOTAL = $1,533.57 (under $63.43)

Had 9 NSDs so $90 into my Sunny day saving fund.
Household fund and Xmas Fund is now fully funded.
Have also put in another $1,650 in to the Holiday Fund Smile .

Thinking about 2013

November 27th, 2012 at 07:44 pm

I have been looking at our budget/spending (the 21K challenge) this year and also our potential spending plan for next year. By the end of this month we will have just under $3000 left for the month of December but according to the budget we could live off on $2,400-$2,500, so in the end of this year we will be under budget by around $500-600.

Next year we will most likely try to do the $21K challenge for the year again. The number will change in some categories. I know that utilities, health insurance and transportation costs will be higher than this year.

Also been making plans for a holiday that we will be taking in February next year. We have already booked the flights, my mum is going with us and we are paying for her too. We are budgeting $10K for this trip, by the end of the year we should have 75-80% already of it save so another ~$2K to go for next years budget.

I'm anticipating lower income next year but our goals and budget will be very similar to this year. Wash-rinse-repeat...

Anniversary Weekend Getaway

August 29th, 2012 at 06:42 pm

I found and already booked a place to stay for our anniversary. We will be going south, about 3+ hours away from our place. The town is called Warrnambool, it is on the coast just pass The Great Ocean Road. It is known for whale watching, Im hoping we will be able to see one, October is the end of the season though so Im not expecting too much. The place we will be staying at is near an underground aquifer and so they have their own naturally heated geothermal spa, I cant wait to try that.

The overnight stay will cost $129 including breakfast, bottle of sparkling wine, unlimited access to the geothermal spa (they are normally $15 per person) and late check-out. This will leave us with $171 for gas, food and fun stuff that we would like to do. We will probably bring some food with us too.

Long Weekend

June 6th, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Last week DH and I discussed about maybe going away this weekend since it is a 3-day weekend (its the Queens birthday holiday on Monday). We thought about maybe going to a place called Lakes Entrance (about 3 hours away from our place), we havent been there since our honeymoon visit. I thought about maybe going there for an overnight stay (Sunday night) then coming home Monday afternoon. Unfortunately, with all the rain we have been having the whole area is flooded. Some town has been evacuated and a lot of the roads are closed. So I think we will just stay home and we will make it a footy weekend, i.e. we will be watching footy all weekend. It will be a stay-cation instead.

Airfare and Gift Basket

May 7th, 2012 at 09:51 pm

This morning I saw an ad on TV for an airfare sale, its buy one get another seat for free. Unfortunately, its only on Oct to early Dec and for limited number of flights. I called DH at work and we decided to visit his parents in late October. We will only go for a weekend, so only an overnight stay. Actually found an $89 (for two) for an early Saturday morning flight. But we have to pay $89 each for a Sunday night flight home. This was the best value we could find in peak time. Normally these days it will be at least $120 each 1-way. The total cost in the end is $283 (including a $16 fee to pick your on seats). DH thought it was necessary, he wanted us to seat together. I couldnt care much for it because it is only an hour flight, but DH wanted it and it is nice to have DH seating next to me when I have ear pressure problem while flying, it can be very stressful and he helps me relax.
Im budgeting $500 for this trip. Will need about $60-70 for taxi back and forth to the airport, the in-laws will pick up/drop us off from their end. We will give $100 to the little kiddies as belated/early birthday gifts. This will leave us around $50 for spending, just in case we will need to buy food.


Last night I finally got around to ordering the wedding gift basket, it has a bottle of nice sparkling, two champagne glasses, champagne bucket and chocolates. It should be delivered this afternoon, just got an email from them this morning telling me that they are about to dispatch it. I like their customer service. It cost $115, including $15 for delivery.
The pilaf turned out really well last night, it is a very good one pot meal. Tonight Im planning to make Singaporean noodles but without prawns. Dont have any and Im allergic (but I still eat them coz I love them).

Been Gone and Back

October 21st, 2011 at 12:42 am

We had a fantastic holiday. It rained on the first day (we got the tail end of the storm from up north Bangkok area) but for the rest of our holiday the weather was perfect. Apparently, the week before it was raining non-stop, so we were lucky. On the first day when it was raining so hard we spent most of it shopping at a big shopping mall. I got a bit of Christmas shopping done, stuff are a lot cheaper than here in Australia but then again anywhere else is cheaper than here.

We did a lot of swimming, the pool in the our resort is salt water instead of chlorine, which I found so much better. We decided not to go swimming in the ocean though, because of terrible weather it was not very clear and it was very rough. We just walked on the beach and bought some fruits in the near by street vendors. DH got addicted to banana pancakes and coconut juice, they were everywhere and so cheap.

We ended up spending ~$1,400 (although I still need to confirm this when our Amex bill comes, there might be a slight difference due to exchange rate). Around $325 however are christmas/gift spending. So in the end we spend just a bit over $78, $1000 was our budget for spending. Coincidently, we spent $77.21 on duty-free alcohol in Singapore airport, this was a last minute decision to get some. For it we got 2 1 litre bottles of Baileys and 1 litre bottle of Chivas Regal, this would have cost over $100 here.

Overall this is what we spent = $3,456.88:

Accommodation - $199.00
Airfares - $1,735.82
Shots - $260.00
Airport Transfers - $75.00
Travel Insurance - $108.63
Holiday Expenses - $1,078.43

Was hoping to only spend $3,000 but because of the shots and insurance it didn't leave us much for spending. Still $1,000 on spending is still very good.

The $325 on top of this expenses was mainly spent on DH suit, that was for $170, it would have cost here for at least $250+. The material feels really good and it fits him perfectly, we've always had problem getting him the perfect pants because his legs are shorter proportion to the rest of his body. Also got couple of Adidas shirts for $6 each, one for DH and one for my brother's birthday present. I also found a bag I been looking for, I got one for only $25, the cheapest I could find them here in Australia was for $60. Also got some stuff for my mum and DH's mum.

Unfortunately/fortunately, our resort was not near the shops so we didn't have as much opportunity to go shopping or to spend too much money! We had to get a taxi or tuk tuk to get to the markets and shopping malls. The resort did have a complimentary tuk tuk every hour that would take you to one of the nearest beach Nai Harn and they had some shops there but not that much. We took advantage of that couple of times, I went there to get my Thai foot massages, 1 hour massage for only 300 Baht (~$10 Aus) compare to the one in the resort which cost over $1,800 Baht (~$60) and then they probably then put an extra 10% for service fee and 7%VAT. The food were 2 to 3 times more expensive in the resort but because the taxi cost around 400-600 Baht one way it was not worthy going somewhere else to eat, unless you are already there for something else. We however found the buffet breakfast to be cheap, we managed to get it for $12 each per day instead of $17 by buying it all in one go. It was really nice that we probably eat too much of it. We found that we didn't really need much for lunch because of having too much for breakfast. We also found it to be cheaper to organise things ourself rather than going through reception, we went on an elephant trekking it cost us half than if we organise it through reception, and it includes free pick-up and drop off. We asked them to dropped us off to the town where we organise our tickets, which is only a block away from where we had to pick up DH's suit, which saved us 400Baht.

Wow this is a long entry. I will try to post photos later, if I don't get too lazy.

Both arms are really sore today

September 8th, 2011 at 07:46 pm

I ended up with 3 shots, 2 in my right arm and 1 in the left. They were for hepatitis A, tetanus and pandemic influenza. We ended up paying $260, so $130 each. I've already taken this out of the holiday fund. Now we just need to get travel insurance.

Before going to the doctors last night DH had to also go to his physio for his arm (tennis elbow injury). Thank godness that was fot the last time he has to see him. He has been going for over 2 months now (once a week). He had to pay full price yesterday because we have now used up all the deductables for physiotherapy for the year. It ended up costing him $65, instead of the $22.50 in the previous weeks. i just hope he doesn't get another injury for a long while, then maybe we can finish our renovation.

After yesterday, I really need a NSD today.

Another trip to the doctor

September 7th, 2011 at 07:11 pm

Last month I saw the doctor twice. It seems like DH and I have been going to the doctors a lot lately. DH got his ultrasound result for his hip the other day and it is some kind of blood clot (not the scary type) that will just go away by itself. But unfortunately his eye will need surgery, the antiboiotics didn't work. He has to go see an eye specialist. It will just be very minor procedure.

Tonight we got another doctor's appointment, we are going to see the doctor about getting shots for our trip. I'm not looking forward to it. Frown I don't how much it will cost, I won't be suprise if it cost aroung $100 each. This will come out of the holiday fund.

Last night we went crazy and got some KFC. DH also paid for gas bill last night.

Booked our flights

August 17th, 2011 at 10:05 pm

I've been looking at the net and even contacted some travel agencies for over a month now trying to find a reasonable airfare price. Last night I finally found one that was very good, cost wise and travel time. With this one, we will have a stop over in Singapore airport but will not require to stay over night. The cheapest one that the travel agent found required stay over night in Singapore. We almost went with it but I thought to have one last look online last night. Luckily, I did because there were new flights available for our dates that was a lot cheaper. It's about $400 cheaper all up.

Accommodation and flights are now paid for. So far we've spent $1935. I'm hoping to only spend $3,000 for this trip. We still need to get shots and travel insurance. This will probably only leave us $700-800 to spend. Hmm I don't know if this is enough for 8 days. I think if DH and I try we could save about $200 from our allowances by then. This will give us $100-120 per day. So far we don't have plans to do much extra activities. We want to wait until we get there to see what we want to do and if the weather is good. I'll be just as happy staying by the pool or at the beach relaxing and also going to the market or shops to look around. I'm not that big on buying too much souvenirs. But I am thinking of getting DH a suit made over there but that will be taken out of our normal clothing budget.

After taking out the flights and accommodation cost we only have $340 left in the Holiday Fund this year. The other $1000 (for spending money, shots and insurance) will come from our Anniversary/Xmas Fund. It is just appropriate since we are going there for our 5 year anniversary. So we will only have $700 to spend on Christmas this year. Actually it will be less since we alreay spend some on gifts.

If things get really pricey, I always have my Sunny Day Savings to fall back on (see My Pages sidebar), it has about $850 in it right now.

I'm starting to really get excited about this trip now.

1 more day til pay day! Looking forward to putting some extra money into the mortgage tomorrow.

No Vietnam, Yes to Airconditioner.

August 16th, 2011 at 12:07 am

We decided not to go to Vietnam afterall but we will still go ahead with Thailand. Unfortunately, Vietnam would cost us too much and it added too much time spending flying and waiting by the airports, which is not my idea of a holiday. Maybe one day we will visit DH's cousin now that he has decided to stay and live in Vietnam for a while.

The money that we were going to spend for Vietnam we decided to spend instead replacing our ~30 old air conditioner that is not working that well anymore. There was a nice sale on it the other week. Hopefully they will be installing it tomorrow.

Been going out a bit on lunch date with DH. It's middle of winter here but the weather has been really balmy. Great for lunch dates but it makes me think that our summer will be extra hot this year.

Mortgage Update

July 15th, 2011 at 01:06 am

Put in another $1K into the mortgage today. Yea!
DH is getting paid next week so we should be able to put a bit more again. I'm aiming to put $2K extra a month for the rest of the year.

Spent a bit of money in the last few days, we had relatives came and stayed with us. Grocery bill was a lot higher than normally, they are picky eaters. Also took them out for dinner, it was someones birthday and ended up spending close to $200. I'm glad this doesn't happen often.

We received a wedding invite last week, to be held in Vietnam in the same month we are planning to go to Thailand. At this stage we are hoping to do Thailand and Vietnam at the same time.

Family health issues and Fiji Holiday

May 26th, 2010 at 03:00 am

A lot has happened to us this month that I dont even know where to start telling you about it. 3 weeks ago we had to go interstate for an emergency because of DHs grandmother, she was critical in the hospital, luckily she is now recovering. Without hesitation we flew out few hours after hearing the news. We stayed with my in-laws for few days, our accommodation and most of our foods were covered. We still however, spent all up $770+ on airfares, car rental, taxis, and a bit on food. Ive decided that this money will come out of our Emergency Fund. I will probably repay the EF at the end of the year. I just want to achieve all my financial goals this year first before I do anything else.

2 weeks ago we went to Fiji for our holiday this year... it was fantastic! We stayed for a week, and spent a bit too much. We went over our budget by over $600! Oops! I have decided to take this money from our Sunny day savings. Our Sunny Day saving is for anything that we really feel like spending it on. In the past Ive mainly used it to buy some shares. This is where my $5 per NSD normally goes into and in the past I used to also put $200 a month into it but I have currently stopped this regular monthly deposit. Despite the overspending we really enjoyed our holiday and wished we stayed longer (I will try to post some photos on the weekend).

It feels like we havent been home at all this month. Financially, it is going to be a so-so month, there are some big bills due like our quarterly property rates/tax and a lot of medical bills for DHs injury. Also, in the last few days DH and I havent been feeling too good. I think it is probably from too much travelling and the change in the weather, luckily we havent really spent any money for it and we are now recovering well.

Hopefully, I will be able to catch up on everyones blog in the next few days. I missed you all.

Some Photos from our Holiday

September 15th, 2009 at 12:23 am

Our holiday cost was just few cents below $1,930. It was worth every cents. Our accommodation was expensive but was very nice, the view from the balconies (it had 2) was priceless. Hopefully next time we go to this side of the country I'll be game enough to snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef.

Back from our Holiday

September 13th, 2009 at 01:24 am

We got back couple of days ago but was too busy to blog. I haven't even uploaded any of our photos from the holiday yet. We had a great time, and the bonus was that we went way below our budget. I budget $2,500 but only spent less than 2 grand. We saved a lot by cooking all our meals, we didn't eat out at all, only spent some on some snacks. We could have saved more, but the food in the island on average costs about 2 to 3 times more than want it is normally at home. The costs for activities were pretty reasonable. We did a lot of swimming, kayaking, hiking, cruising around the island with a golf buggy and just relaxing while watching the sunset. We also went on a boat cruise to "find Nemo" at the coral reefs.

Hopefully, in the next few days I can finalise everything and might even put up some photos.

Costly Trip but was a lot of fun

August 1st, 2009 at 10:10 pm

The actual trip it self wasn't as much as I expected it to be, it was about $100 less than I anticipated (all up we spent just under $310. What cost a bit that wasn't in my budget was when I broke my favourite sunnies Frown. While trying to put my gear on I dropped it and simultaneously took a step forward, with my ski boot on I stepped on it breaking it into several pieces. There was no rescuing it. I bought that thing less than 3 years ago for $180, so that was the unexpected cost. I will need a new one before we go away for our vacation to the Whitsundays (to the beach) in few weeks time . I was actually thinking already of getting a new one (with prescription) this christmas. I guess I will be getting it earlier than planned but I will just get an ordinary sunnies and keep wearing contact lenses. I was also already planning to get my new prescription glass this month but I think I might get them around Christmas time and I think I will get one with transition lenses instead. I seem to have a lot to think about Smile.

Fortunately and unfortunately it wasn't sunny, so I didn't really need my sunglasses but it wasn't the best condition for skiing. There wasn't much fresh snow so it was more ice. This is not the best snow field in Victoria, and we would definitely will go somewhere else next time. The place took almost 4 hours to get to, next time I would rather we go to the ones that take 6 hours or so but nicer resorts. I would also prefer to go for few days rather than just a day trip to get more time on the snow.

Not the best weather. Loved watching the kids and some adults getting ski and snow board lessons.

Planning a get away

July 20th, 2009 at 07:53 pm

DH earned some extra money this month (couple hundred dollars on overtime) and we are thinking of spending it on a day trip.

The trip will probably cost a bit more than couple hundred dollars so we might have to take some out from our allowances or holiday fund.

There is nothing really to update here. I'm still trying to save as much from our grocery budget. It is slowly getting better but I think we might to have a challenge next month to only spend $150-$180 on grocery. It will require a lot of planning but I think it can be done. It would mean doing menu planning again.

Update and Holiday Planning

June 11th, 2009 at 07:06 pm

Had problem logging on here yesterday.
Anyway, I got really lazy yesterday and didn't do much at all. I did managed to do some ironing (which I hate so much!). DH spent some money on gas and I also got him to get us some toilet paper.


We have decided to go to the Whitsundays for our holiday this year. We are going in 3 months time. We currently have just less than 2 grand (saved last year) in the Holiday Fund. I will most likely start putting more money in it again in 2 months time. My budget for this trip will be around $2-$2.2K. The flight are reasonably cheap but the accommodations are not.

Last Week...

July 21st, 2008 at 03:16 am

was another very expensive week. Both DH and I went to see the dentist last week. I will have to go back next month for some fillings. DH had to also see the doctor twice. Not to mention the car service was very expensive. The rest was spent on groceries, take-away and gas, and also some snacks. Apparently, the accommodation that we booked last week will not actually be paid until we go on our holiday so I will take that amount out. I guess if we decide not to go we won't have to pay, that's good.

We only got 1 NSD last week. Hopefully we will have a bit more than that this week and to start the week today was a NSD Smile

I got a massive headache right now so I'm off to bed early.

Short Update

July 14th, 2008 at 06:03 pm

We haven't had a NSD for over a week. Spent a bit of money last week. I bought some gifts, food, fuel, snacks and of course the tyre repair.

The other day we booked and paid for our accommodation for our up coming holiday. Not too bad i guess.

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