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Solar Panels

April 9th, 2015 at 08:35 pm

Back in Mar 2011 I blogged about our solar panels. We got it installed that month and at that time DH calculated that it would take us about 4 years to breakeven. Well, it is now 4 years later. Oh by the way our first electricity bill for the year came last month it was for $23.13 CREDIT. The previous bill in Dec was for only $8.89 (debit) so we were not required to pay so they just carried it forward to this new bill. So the current balance is $14.24 credit. We will not get this in cash because we have opted for any credit to just carry if forward to the next bill.

I did some calculation of our electric bills:

In 2010 (the year before the Solar panel) we spent $763.49 on our electricity.
*Dec 2010 there was an increase in rates.

2011 it was $653.77.
*Dec 2011 there was an increase in rates. Mar 2011 we got the Solar Panels installed.

2012 it was our best year and we actually got $249.44 CREDIT.

2013 electricity only cost us $87.56 debit.

2014 was $452.71.
This was a lot higher than previous years mainly because we had my brother with us for 6 months that year. *Dec 2014 there was another increase in rates.

So assuming that without the solar panels we would have paid around $800 per year (accounting for the rate increases and my brother staying with us) it would have amounted to $3,200 in 4 years. Instead we only paid $944.60, so a saving of $2,255.40.

The Solar Panels cost were:
Cost Including Installation $7,857.00
(minus) Government Rebate $5,360.00
Out of Pocket $2,497.00
Payment to the Electric Company (for connection) $215.78
TOTAL = $2,712.78

So, that is still $457.38 in the negative. But I also had to calculate our gas bill because we now only use electricity for heating in winter instead of gas.

Gas Expenses:

2010 was $757.57 - the year before solar panels

2011 was $675.01
*Jan 2011 there was an increase in rates

2012 was $579.55
*There were 2 rates increases in Feb and Jul

2013 was $408.89
*Again another rate increase in Jan 2013

2014 was $463.34
*Another rate increase in Jan but it decrease in Jul 2014 because of the removal of the carbon tax.
Note also that my brother stayed with us for 6 months.

Again an average of $800 per year would have been a reasonable gas bill for us. So that would have been $3,200 for the 4 years but instead we only paid $2,126.79 (we normally use gas for cooking and hot water), a saving of $1,073.21. Overall this takes us to $615.83 in the positive. So yeah we are now break-even, it probably really happened mid last year. Obviously, the government rebate helped a lot in breaking even a lot sooner.

Update

February 27th, 2015 at 02:55 am

Time to get back to blogging, hi everyone! Life been busy lately but I still try to keep up with our finances.

The last time I blogged my brother was still living with us. He moved out late September. It doesn’t feel like anything has changed really, he was never really here that much and when he was here he was really quiet and just keeps to himself in his room talking to his gf/ friends.

Last year we budgeted to only spend $21,500 on our 'living expenses'. I decided on this amount and that start of the year before my brother moved in with us for 6 months. In the end we over spent to the total of $22,850.We were over by $1,350 but my brother actually gave us $200 a month to cover for his utilities and food, a total of $1,200. So in total we were really only $150 over.

The main focus for us last year was paying as much as we can on our mortgage. We paid off just over $40,900. The current balance is just under $28,000, this includes another couple thousand dollars that we have paid off since the start of the year. We will have to decide in July if we want to just pay it off. It will depend on DH's job. His current jobs will most likely finish end of June unless his employment gets extended again or if he kind find another job. He is now looking been applying for a new job but IT jobs is a bit slow at the moment though, it will take him awhile but we are hoping he can find one before June.

I have been very busy with our stock market trading/investing stuff. Our goal for a while now was to pay off the house and have $100k worth of investments by the time DH turns 40 (DH turns 40 in Oct this year). The house is not quite paid off yet but we have hit the $100K mark in our equity investments. I guess the step is to get it to the $200K mark. I'm hoping we could get there by my 40th, which is just over 2 years from now. This might be a bit ambitious but I think once the mortgage is gone we can throw more money on it and if the market continue to go up then anything is possible, but of course it could go the other way too.

That's it for now. I should be able to finalise Feb spending tomorrow.

Looking forward

December 18th, 2012 at 05:07 pm

Next year I am looking forward to:
1. Seeing the mortgage go under $100K Ė we are getting very close, it could be a nice birthday present for me in April.
2. Hitting the 1/2 a million (this sounds better than $500K) mark in net worth. We are currently around $470K. As long as the stock market and real estate is stable next year then we should hit this mark.
3. Going on holiday with family, it will be nice family reunion, most of them I havenít seen for almost 20 years.
4. Having $70K+ in shares and managed funds, currently at $59K. This is dependent on the stock market doing well.
5. Also hitting the $120K+ in our retirement accounts, again I am relying for the stock market to be at least stable. Just contribution alone should get us very close to the $120K mark.

Feb 2010 Result

February 28th, 2010 at 04:42 pm

Budget vs Actual: we just made it!




Feb to do list:
- Put $300 into Xmas Fund (DONE)
- Put $300 into Holiday Fund (DONE)
- $1,500 into Household Fund (DONE - even managed to put in extra $65)
- Read 2 books (Failed - Still reading the first book)
- Go for a swim and jogging or hiking (DONE - I was really good, have done some physical activities in Feb, I hope to continue it again in March. I've been recording my activities on the Wii Fit)
- Clean outside area (Done a lot but still got a lot to do - to be continue...)

So far so good, 2 down 10 months to go...


Ohh I almost forgot about the eat at home challenge - we did okay 24 out of 28.

August 2009

September 1st, 2009 at 12:27 am

Saving = $1,000 which was put into the mortgage account.

Also, $1,190 into the Household Fund.

All left over money from Aug to Nov will be allocated this way - $1000 into saving and the rest into the household fund. In Dec it will be put into Xmas/Anniversay Fund for 2010.

I've been thinking a lot lately about our 2010 goals, I have even spoken to DH about it already. He seems to be all for it, he is easily persuaded though. Initially, we were just going to have similar goals as what we have this year but now we are really eager to finish all our major renovations by mid-next year because we are getting sick and tired of living in a place that is always "under construction".

So next year we will postpone putting money into the EF. We currently have $8K in it, which cover about 6 mnths worth of living expenses. It should be enough for now and we will continue funding it again in 2011. Car fund will have to stop for a year also. We are not planning to get a new car for another 4-5 years. Right now we have about $5,000 in it so anything untowards were to happen with our current car we got that to fall back on. Well, that's what we are thinking at the moment, I guess we got another 4 months to finalize our goals for 2010.

Better go and update my side bar.

Oh by the way we had 11 NSDs in August.

Some money into the Holiday Fund

July 31st, 2009 at 07:30 am

I decided to put everything extra into the Holiday Fund, which was $1260. There should be enough money in it now for our upcoming holiday.

Anything extra in the next 3 months will all go towards the Household Fund, that is quite deflated at the moment and there are a lot of work we need done this summer.

July recap:
* Had 10 NSD.
* Spent a bit too much on junk/miscellanous stuff.
* Utilities (Gas & Electricity) were through the roof.
* Everything else were not too bad - just a typical month.

- Just updated my sidebar -

Update

May 10th, 2009 at 06:37 pm

Yesterday was our mother's day celebration, it got quite expensive but it was worthy.

Nothing much to really update these days. I bought a pj and track suit pant yesterday. This is the first time we spent money on clothing this year, so out of our $450 budget for the year we've only spent just over $50 so far.

Xmas Fund and met a goal.

May 7th, 2009 at 11:06 pm

I just checked my ING account, which has our xmas fund of $1,000 in it. I deposited that money back in January and it is now at $1,013.64. I anticipate to earn about $35- $40 by christmas, that should buy the ham or a gift for someone.

We actually achieved goal #2 at the end of last month, so we achieved that 1 month ahead of schedule. And we have also started goal #3. This was mainly thanks to DH bonus this year. It was a very small bonus but still it helps.

House Repairs

December 17th, 2008 at 05:17 pm

Got the handyman here right now doing some repairs that should have been done years ago. We finally have some money to do the necessary repairs around here. We just refuse to put any of these stuff on credit, it will take a while but it will be so much better. Right now we got just a bit over $1500 left in the household fund and this job will cost about that much. I'm hoping to put more money in it at the end of the month. And this will be the first item to fund next year. My goal is to put at least $5K next year, that would probably cover some electrical work and insulation replacement. I think it will take us 5 years to do/save for all the items that we want done around the house. This is the first year of doing some repairs. We are just prioritising our to do list. I do wish sometimes to just click my fingers and everything be all done, ohh don't I wish!

Great way to start a New Year - mortgage interest will be less than $1K p/m

December 10th, 2008 at 08:28 pm

This month the interest we paid on the mortgage was just over $1,012, that means next month it should be less than the $1K mark. The interest should be going down further for next mortgage payment because the Reserve Bank lowered our rate by full 1% earlier this month, I'm not sure yet whether our bank will honour the full cut amount. Also there is talk that they might even lower it again next month or so. This is of course good news for us.

Our main goal next year is to put as much into to the mortgage. I'm hoping that by the end of next year the interest payment will hit less than $900 per month. Won't that be really great. Maybe the crazy plan of paying off our mortgage in our 30s would be feasible then (about 8 years to go). Man that would be a dream come true for sure! I'm so happy with just the possibility of it actually coming to reality. Even if it takes an extra 2 years or so to pay off it would still be a good achievement for us.

Pay day

September 17th, 2008 at 11:55 pm

Well today is pay day but it wouldn't clear until tomorrow. DH also got paid earlier this week. We now fully funded the tuition fund. And have now achieved all our goals for all our funds this year.

At the end of this month we should have $500-$600 extra money this month. That is even after already putting away savings and paying off a lot of bills. So now we got to decided what to do with the extra money. There are a lot of options of coure. Should we just put the extra money towards savings or should we keep putting more money towards our various funds? Right now I am not all that happy with our EF especially now with all this economic disasters. Also the the car fund is not as much as I want it to be, particulary now that we will probably need to get the brakes replace. And we could always use more in the house fund for all the projects/repairs we need done around here. So I guess starting on next year's goals wouldn't be so bad. And maybe also putting more towards savings.

So I guess that kind of answered my question. It always help to think things out loud. I will of course need to discuss all of these with DH, he might have some other ideas. We will see at the end of the month what we will end up doing.

Juneís $20K Challenge & First 6mnth analysis

July 2nd, 2008 at 03:57 pm

Overall, Juneís expenses were not too bad. The biggest expense was for our quarterly property rate/tax. The big increase in fuel consumption is due the changes in the way we are travelling to work. We are now driving more than taking public transport, it is actually about the same maybe even a bit cheaper (now that we converted our car to gas). Also the biggest advantage is it cuts our travel time, we get to go home almost an hour earlier. We are spending more fuel but have cut down on our public transport expense.

The usual suspect for over spending were quite good this month; grocery exp was reasonable and our entertainment spending was not bad (especially compare to last month).

First 6 Month Analysis:
We are at the half way point of our challenge so I thought I should analyse our progress thus far. Well the biggest worry is the Entertainment category - we are WAAAAAYYYY over, bloody hell we are over. We spent $720 in the last 6 months, which only leaves us less than $280 for the rest of the year. Thatís $46 per month! It will be mission impossible to get this category under budget. Good thing we got our Allowances to fall back on. We are way under in these, especially DHís side. I should have been worrying about our entertainment budget more than the grocery budget. But it is just so hard when friends got a get together, it is impossible to avoid spending. We canít just sit there and watch everyone eat, could we? Plus there are two of us, so it doubles the expense. Ultimately I donít regret the time we spend with our friends and really the experience is worth more than any money in the world. But in saying that I hate being this much over our budget, maybe the budget was too low to start with. Last year we spent $1,750 on entertainment, so maybe I was just too unrealistic. Or Iím I just trying to justify our over spending? Argh...

The other categories are very reasonable most things that are over are only over by few dollars. The mobile phone budget is way over but Iím not that worried about it, our usage (for 2 mobile phones) is ridiculously low compare to most people. In the old days I used to spend $150 in a month on my mobile phone! My how Iíve changed my ways Ė I guess I was very young and stupid then. Even our grocery bill is only $20 over, which Iím very happy about. Overall, we are under by $600+! I canít wait until the end of the year.







Edit: Opps! Clothing is actually over.

So here's to the second half of 2008. cheers!



April $20K Challenge

April 30th, 2008 at 06:30 pm

Here's our April actual numbers:



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

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



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

Car Expenses & Other Bills

January 4th, 2008 at 03:32 pm

DH just took the car to the repairer yesterday to get the brakes fix. It cost $273, the cheapest one we could find. Other places were quoting as double that!

We also just received our annual car insurance the other day, it is due on the 17th of Jan. It's over $677.

Paid Gas and Electric bill the other too. All up it was $158.86. The electric bill is a bit high, it has been really hot around here. New years day it got to 42 deg Celcius and didn't get below 30deg until 5am the next morning. So our air conditioner has been getting a work out. Today it will be 37deg, same as yesterday. It's bloody hot!

Final Recap of 2007

January 1st, 2008 at 04:29 am

Okay finally got all the final totals for December. We managed to save 25% of our income this month. It was actually more but I decided to put $200 into the Car Fund, $50 in the EF and $250 into upcoming Medical expense.

So these are the final numbers for 2007 goals:
1. Pay $11,500 off cc by July.
Total Paid = $10,014 (83%)
NG: Pay $12,000 off CC in 2007.
Updated:25/11/07

2. Pay off Personal Loan ~ $3,000 (around $2,100 left).
Total Paid = $2034.50 (100%)
NG: Pay off Personal Loan by July.
PAID OFF 19/07/07

3. Contribute $1,000 to Ret Fund.
Current Total = $1,750 (175%)
DONE June 07

4. Have $3,000 EF.
Current Total = $2,000 (66%)

5. Have $5,000 Saving.
Current Total = $13,375.72
(267%)

6. Have $1,000 Car Fund.
TTD = $2,050 (205%)
Deduct = $247.00 (Service & Batt)
Deduct = $550 (LPG & Parts)
Deduct = $575.40 (Car Rego)
Current Total = $677.60

7. Have $3,000 Holiday Fund.
TTD = $3,600.00 (120%)
Deduct= $540.33 (April Holiday)
Deduct= $2,888.69(O'seas Holiday)
Current Total = $128.18

8. Have $1,000 Xmas Fund.
Current Total = $655 (65%)
Xmas Spending = $633.62

9. Put $5,000 into Investment.
Current Total = $5,198 (103%)
DONE Dec 07

This is our overall financial performance for 2007:



EDIT: For some reason I my pie chart is not showing. SO I will just write it out.

Debt Repayments - 33%
Household Expenses - 13%
Transportation Expenses - 5%
Insurance Expenses - 3%
Educational Expenses - 5%
Other Expenses - 10%
Superannuation (Retirement) - 2% (this does not included our employers compulsory contribution which should be 9% of our pre-tax income).
Shares (Investments) - 7%
Mini Savings - 6% (these are cash savings for near future expenses, I really see this as an expense as well not as a saving.
SAVINGS - 16%

Hopefully this year we will have a higher percentage in the saving and investment items Smile

2007 Recap

December 29th, 2007 at 04:30 am


Well, it has been a great year, and we hope to have an even better year in 2008.
Iíve been blogging for almost a year now. One of the best things I did this year was to put my goals in my blog where I got to see it almost every day. I didnít quite achieve all my goals; however, I was aiming really high.

What have we achieved this year?

Credit Card debt Ė we managed to pay off more than 2/3rd of our CC debt. We could pay it all off now but choose not to. For us it makes more sense to put the money in the mortgage redraw account instead because of its higher interest rate. Will most likely get rid of it by the end of 2008 (maybe?).

Personal Loan and Retirement Ė The personal loan was paid off half way through the year. We used to pay $40 a week for this loan. We now used half of that amount to fund my retirement account, which the Australian government match it by 150%. Unfortunately, they only match up to $1K, thatís why I only put $40 every two weeks.

Emergency Fund Ė Sad to say that we only achieved 65% of this goal but might still have a bit of money to put in at the end of this month. I guess this wasnít high in our priority list mainly because the saving in the redraw account of our mortgage can also be thought of as our EF but I really donít want to think of this way. I really donít want to touch that money unless we really really really have to. Iíve decided next year Iím going to set up a regular deposit into this account, plus any extra money I could find until it is fully funded.

Long Term Saving (Redraw Account) Ė Itís looking like that after this month we should have almost $14K into this account (although I will probably take some money out to put in the medical fund and other slush funds that need extra funding). So overall, we should have at least $13K into this account, which means we more than double my saving goal! We should be able to double this amount next year because DH will be receiving a big bonus and a severance payment after the work his working now finishes. The great thing is he already has a new job line up.

Car Fund Ė Although we more than achieved the goal, I would have really like to have a bit more in there to start saving for our next car. Also, our car insurance should be due next month (havenít received the bill yet but I think it will be coming soon), which means this fund will be deflated even further. I think next year I will have a separate account for the car registration and car insurance as the Car Fund (for repairs and money towards the new car).

Holiday Fund Ė we are 20% over the budget but no regret what so ever. Next year will be more than this year we are already planning a nice couple of holidays. We will have to budget $5-$6K for it, I think. Of course, will try to spend less than that.

Christmas Fund Ė although was not fully funded we managed to have a great Christmas without going over the budget.
Investments Ė this went beyond my expectation, I really didnít think we would have been able to achieve this one but somehow it did. This amount is not even including interests and/or dividends that we received.

Overall, this year our Net Worth surpassed the $100K mark.

DH Tax refund and EF

December 27th, 2007 at 02:23 am

Just cash in DH 2005 tax refund today, as promised I will put some of it to the EF. But decided to only put $300 (instead of $500 as I initially wanted) and put the $200 towards a medical expense that is schedule for some time in the next two months. I've already set up a Fund for it last month and already got $250, so this would make it $450 (about half way there). I might even put more money in it at the end of this month, depends how much saving we have at the end of this month.

Christmas Total and other random talk

December 25th, 2007 at 09:47 pm

Well, we managed to stay under budget. We still got just over $21 left in the Xmas fund. Smile
I think I will use the left over for NY eve celebration. Our christmas was good, ate too much as per usual. Spent most of it buying great gifts. Just love giving gifts. It's great to have money set a side for this kind of occassions, no stress at all. We will be doing it again next year. I'm thinking of putting $70 p/month for it.

I'm still tinkering with my spending plan for next year, pretty much done. I'm getting really excited about next year, we will be focusing more on investing and saving. There will be quiet a bit of money coming in around early next year.

We are about to open 2 managed funds (maybe be 2?), domestic and international. Pretty much decided which once ones we want to get, we already got the money set aside for it (from the company shares that we sold few months ago). We will then be putting $100 p/m for each funds. Hoping to keep these for at least 10years or more, maybe until retirement. We'll see.

Overall, our spending this year has been very good, way better than the previous years. But I would like to do even better next year. I've already told DH of an idea I got on lowering our expenses (it will be our personal challenge for 2008), he seems to be with me in this one. I am in the process of putting together a plan to achieve this goal/challenge. And will blog about it once it's done. In my head it's achievable!



Spending and potential savings

December 8th, 2007 at 03:33 pm

A lot has been happening here, financially, for the last week. This could be a long post, unless I get tired.

Firstly, we finally got our car converted from "petrol" to "LPG (gas)". It cost $2400 but it was only $400 out of pocket because we will be able to get a $2,000 rebate back from the federal government (which should take 2 weeks to get processed). We should be able to save around 40-60% on our fuel bill from now on. It was interesting to see the difference in prices. Last week before the conversion we filled up the car (although there was still some in the tank) and it cost us $72 whereas the cost to fill up the LPG tank for the first time was only $40, a saving of $32 (44% saving). DH thinks the saving should pay off the conversion in about 5-6 months time. We are planning to keep the car for another 7-10 years. I was thinking to keep budgeting the same amount for fuel per month and will just save up any saving towards the car fund (for repairs, rego, car insurance and for our next "new to us" car).

On another financial news, I counted my coins in my piggy banks and there are $135 that I can add to our xmas fund. In total we have $655. Already spent over $200, already bought turkey and bought about half of the gifts already. Only need to get some seafood (can't do that until the day or two before xmas)and already thought of what to get for the other gifts just needs to get them. Most of the gifts for the inlaws I just got online they live interstate so it was easier and cheaper.

It was spendy yesterday, I bought a lot of clothes, it was planned and did get a lot for my money. Spent $114.89 for 3 tops (work clothes), 2 jackets (work clothes), 1 top and bottom summer pj, and 5 pairs of sport socks.

Well thats it for me for now. Hopefully we will be able to stay under budget for xmas, I will update my total after christmas.

Update

December 3rd, 2007 at 08:50 pm

It's that time of the month to update my sidebar numbers.

We managed to save 13% of Nov's income.
I've put a bit more money in the xmas Fund. I will also empty my piggy bank maybe next week, and that money will also go towards the xmas fund.

Last month of this year-long challenge, I can't believe we achieved so much. Budgeting does really help!

Last 6 months analysis & Next 6 months forecast

July 4th, 2007 at 02:42 am

This is our Jan-Jun expenses and savings:



I can't believe half of our income went to Debt repayments!

This is what we hope to get in the next 6 months:





I will do more itemised analysis later.