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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.

WEEK 18

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

WEEK 16

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:
Financials-

*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.

~~~~~OOO000OOO~~~~~

My goals for 2018 were:

Financials-

*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.

Camping

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!


~~~~~OOO000OOO~~~~~

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.

NSW HOLIDAY (EASTER and 40th BIRTHDAY)

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.