We have been getting a lot of tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchinis from the garden this summer. There has also some strawberries and a handful of blueberries. We have been having salads everyday.
All this week DH has to catch the bus part way to work instead of the train all the way because they are doing some work on the train tracks. Not all buses has the ticketing facilities, I think most of them are school buses they have no need for it (it is our school holiday that's why they are using them). So DH hasn't been paying for some of his trip. I think it will be at least $20 savings for the week. And because of the inconvenience they have been providing breakfast, DH got free banana yesterday. They've also been giving away bbq breakfast sausages, he has opted not to have any of those.
Viewing the 'Savings' Category
We have been getting a lot of tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchinis from the garden this summer. There has also some strawberries and a handful of blueberries. We have been having salads everyday.
I'm bored right now, just waiting for this month to end so I can finalise August numbers. Had NSDs on Monday and Tuesday.
I'm starting to plan for our annivesary, which is in October. We will probably stay overnight somewhere. I think we could do it for $300 for everything. We both don't want to do anything big this year, we just want to go somewhere in our state that we haven't been to and just relax for the weekend. I will be saving $200 for it this month and another $100 next month.
I don't think we really need $2000 for christmas/anniversary (Goal #3) this year I think we can get away with $1000-$1200. We would rather save it for our overseas holiday next year.
On Friday I got to check my retirement fund, DH also decided to check his on the weekend. Our retirement funds is now over $101K. Finally!!!. The last $20,ooo has taken so long because of the GFC. Hopefully it will stay above $100K from now on.
I also did a quick look at our networth estimate, I think it has increased over $20K since end of last year. Slow but steady we go
We just received this quarter's electric bill and its fantastic! This is what it looked like:
Solar bonus and rebate = $93.63CR (this is the amount the electric company paid us for the energy that we put back into the grid)
Peak usage charge = $53.86
Off-peak usage charge = $37.01
Off-peak Service charge = $15.30
Supply Charge = $66.19
GST = $17.24
Other rebate = $8.04 CR (we get this discount because we have our gas in the same company)
TOTAL AMOUNT DUE = $87.93
I had a looked at the last 2 years bills and we average at $197 per quarter.
So we've saved over $100 in this quarter and this is in the middle of our winter bill and we have slowly been using more of the electric appliances than the gas ones. DH and I are hoping that the summer bill will be even better.
The last bill was $147, that was when we got the solar panels installed half way through it.
At this stage, we still got about 5 years to break-even.
I've decided to pay myself $10 instead of $5 for every NSD we have this year. This of course would again go into my "Sunny Day Savings" (see under my Pages on the sidebar). I started this saving since 2007, I got the idea after reading a personal finance book. I can't remember what the book is called now, but the idea is somewhat opposite to an emergency fund. I used it when I see a good bargain. Back in 2008-2009 I used to put $200 a month into it but have now cut it out and have only put NSD savings into it. In previous years, I've bought shares with this money and so far they have been a pretty good buy. Last year we spend some of the money on our holiday to Fiji and to buy my Kindle.
Basically this money I use for things that I consider as an "opportunity", not necessary to make us extra money, although all those shares that I've bought with this money so far has, but also for things that I consider a bargain. The fijian holiday for example the flights were half price. And the kindle I bought because the Australian dollar went above the US (which hasn't happened for about 30 years?), which made it a lot cheaper than back when it first came out and I have been wanting to get one since.
Anyway, it is really just a saving with no name for it. It is just some sort of a game that I play with myself. It make saving more fun for me, getting a reward for having a NSD.
Was going to post this yesterday but I got distracted with emails.
We managed to save $2000 for the month of November, $500 of it was put into prepaying the mortgage. Overall, it wasn't that bad, again entertainment was over (what else is new). I think we will try to get it out of our system until the end of the year. Next year it will have to stop. The dental work I got done and the property rate also made up a lot of our expenses in November.
So we only got $1000 to go to achieve Goal #6 for the year. We should be able to do it but I don't think we will be able to save $2000 though. Our car registration is due.
Our 19K challege is way out of hand now (I will update my sidebar after this). Really I got no excuses anymore.
By the way, yesterday was NSD, first one for the month of December. Oh and we had 11 NSD in November, I will try to achieve this again this month. I think today could be another NSD, but I'm not really sure yet, DH might get his monthly train ticket today.
On another news, we received our $250 wish card from claiming our AMEX points, and it did came with 2 movie tickets. I will probably give those tickets to my brother and his gf for christmas as part of their xmas presents.
At this stage we will probably have about $1,800 - $2000 extra this month. Which we call as money into "savings". Starting this month we were going to put this money into our mortgage as extra payments. However, at the moment the stock market is looking good for an entry. So at this stage, I'm thinking of buying more shares instead of paying the mortgage. DH doesn't mind either way.
I guess it doesn't really matter. Our big 5 year goals at the moment is to hopefully pay off the mortage in the next 5 years or at least have enough cash in the savings to pay it off (this goal is really ambitious but doable we really work hard at it) and to also have $100K worth of stocks not including what's in our retirement/superannuation funds. So, either way we are still working towards our goal.
Right now I got corned beef cooking in the slow cooker. I will roast some vegies later to go with it for dinner. It's over a kilo so we will probably have it for few days. I am looking forward to having it in a sandwich for lunch tomorrow. yumm.
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.
Today is DH's payday, yea! Unfortunately, a lot of bills come out today too. Just paid the internet and the annual home & content insurance. Also $1000 is put a side for saving this month.
Used up the zucchinis last night for dinner. Made zucchini and pasta with cream sauce. Had some salad to go with it. I think we could go for another week without going to the shop. So far we are on track with our goal of only spending $100 on groceries this month.
15 Jan - 11am
I just counted our NSD in 2008 and we managed to have 95. I would like to break 100 mark this year. I'm a bit stricter at what constitute a NSD for us, I only included days that no money was spent and that included bills and usual expenses, not just allowance money. All up I managed to pay myself $475 (which is $5 per NSD), and have put it under our Sunny Day Savings (see "My Pages" for details).
We managed to have over $3,200 leftover money in December. $1,550 of it was from DH's tax refund. I've decided to first off to fully fund the Xmas & Anniversary Fund for 2009. So for next year we've set a side $1,000 for Xmas and our Anniversary celebration (last year I only put a side $850 but only for xmas fund). We were under budget with our 2008 Xmas fund by $97.37, so I have just topped it off with $902.63. I've just put this money in my ING account for now until we will need it, meanwhile it can earn some interest. Well, Christmas and anniversary is sorted out for the year. I've never done this before and it's a great feeling!
I decided not to put as much money in the saving, instead I put most in the EF and a little bit in the car fund.So now we currently have $2K in car fund and $5K in EF.
Only about $350 was put in the saving. So my goal last year of putting another $10K in savings from Apr to Dec didn't quiet work out (only saved 52%). I'm not to worried about it because that is actually $5K extra than what I hoped we would be able to save last year.
So now we can concentrate on achieving our 2009 goals. Firstly, funding the household fund. Unfortunately we will only be able to put in $200-$300 by the end of this month because we got big expenses coming up. Our yearly car insurance is due mid-Jan. But I am hoping to get my tax refund in the next couple of months and that will all go towards the household fund. That's the plan for now anyway.
I forgot to mentioned that we had 8 NSD in Aug, so I put in $40 into the New Laptop Fund. I really don't like the name of this fund. So I have decided to put this money into the "Sunny Day Savings" instead. Right now we got $500 in that savings. That will make that a pretty reasonable savings now. There are few options for this money, maybe a new LCD TV (the naughty option but has been a want for a long long time for us), could be added to my trading account (which would be the reasonable option), or I could even add it to the Emergency fund (the boring but grown up option). I think an opportunity will come and I will know then what to do with this money.
Last month was an expensive month due to some minor medical expense, which required some on going treatment for a bit over a month. Overall it will cost few hundred dollars. We are now over our personal/medical budget for the year. I guess I should have allocated more fund into this category. Some of the money in the miscellanous should be enough to cover the excess.
Here's what we spent our money on in July. Overall we are still on target.
Eventhough we had extra expenses in July that was not expected we also had extra income that we weren't expecting. We were able to put a bit of money into our savings and have fully funded the House Repair/Maintenance Fund. Paid off the tuition fee with a bit extra put away for next time. Also put $1,000 away in the holiday fund.
I say for now because I really don't know how much I should be saving for this. I will probably put more money in this fund at the end of the year when I should have extra cash to throw around.
We managed to have $2,222 this month togo towards funding our funds. As usual, I'm paying myself first by putting $500 into saving ($100 of which will go towards "Sunny Day Saving"). Most of it went to tuition (due the end of this month), since the decision to do 2 subjects instead 1 was made we had to put money into this category first instead. Only put $100 into the holiday fund. We got over $1,800 balance in the holiday account now, we won't need much of it this year maybe next year. As for the household fund, in total I put in $500 although $155.50 was spent on things we need/want for the house and the left over $344.50 is what's put in the fund. We have to definitely start beefing this up more since we will probably use all the money in the fund hopefully this month or next month. Depending on when the repairer can come to do the house repairs.
I've made a decision to change the way I am going to go about the way I save for our funds. Rather than only spreading the minimum amount to each funds each month, I've decided to do a snowball effect instead. I will only be putting $500 in the Saving each month until each item is fully funded. This is how it is going to look like. Hopefully we can follow it and maybe even achieve our targets earlier.
With this new strategy, I hope to save a further $7,000 for the remaining of this year. The $10K (see sidebar) might just be a bit too much but with extra effort and with some extra income we could get there. We will see, and I will just leave that goal there for now.
The remaining amount to fully fund each item is listed on top of the table. I estimated that we have about $2,300 left each month to distribute towards the funds/savings. We should be getting some extra money this month (the rebate I already received and DH should be getting a bit extra this month too). If I'm diligent in getting my tax return done in early July, I should get the refund in Aug. I estimate it to be around $1,000.
I want to fund the House Fund sooner that the others because we will be needing some of it sooner than later. As for the Holiday Fund, we got enough to spend for our weekend getaway this month. It should only cost us couple hundred dollars. We are also planning a long weekend away in Aug, which should only cost few hundred dollars. I think we have enough money in the funds to accommodate for these expenses. After all these, we wonít be able to get away until Oct and the destination will most likely be somewhere overseas. As for the Tuition, I am not in a hurry to fully fund this until the end of the year. We wonít need 1/3 of it until Nov/Dec.
With this new strategy we will be achieving something almost every month, which makes it more fun.
Saved money today by washing the car by hand. You might think what's the big deal, people wash their own car everyday. Well, here in Victoria, Australia due to the drought we have water restrictions right now and part of it is we are only allowed to wash our car using a bucket (we cannot use the hose). Or you can go to a carwash that use recycle water, which cost quite a bit. It took forever to wash the darn thing (it was filthy, haven't been wash for months), and was really hot too.
It saved me around $15-$20 dollars.
This is going to be our version of the $20 Challenge.
Our challenge for 2008 is to keep these items in the list under $20K for 2008. As can be seen, we spent over $23K+ on these items in 2007. Conservatively, we probably should budget $22K for these stuff but this is not called a challenge for nothing! I love a challenge, and so we are turning the knob a little bit tighter. I think if we can reduce the grocery, entertainment, gifts and miscellaneous items we should be able to do it. I do anticipate that the entertainment and gifts will be a lot lower this year (wonít be spending as much this year for our anniversary).
Iím already accounting for an increase in the utility bills (there has been a lot of talk in the media about this already). Property rate has already increase for the last 6 months and will continue for the next 6 months and will most likely increase further after that. Have increase the home phone but will try to not use the mobile phone as much. Our internet usage can be erratic, to be in the safe side I have increase it. Fuel should be lower this year since our gas conversion. Fare will be increasing in the middle of the year as per usual. For insurances, I just hope they wonít go up too much but we are already planning to increase our coverage for the health insurance (to include maternity) around the middle of the year. The amount for the Personal/Medical will not include the surgery that was meant for Dec in here (in my 2008 year budget I have put this as a separate item). I have lowered this quiet a bit, there were stuff that we did last year that we shouldnít need this year, eg. I wonít need contact lenses I got enough that should last for over a year. The miscellaneous item is really the thing that I hope we can really keep down. Need to be more discipline about not buying useless stuff.
I would really like to save $3K for these items this year. That $3K would really be great contribution to the holiday fund (as a reward).
Things that are not in the ($20K challenge) list but are in the 2008 spending plan are:
CC repayments Ė Will be paying minimum and will reassess at the end of the year on whether we want to just pay it off or not - $1,600
Medical (surgery) Expense - ~$1000
Tuitions Ė Depends on how many subject will be doing this year, still undecided (kind of playing it by ear on how busy it is at work) - $3,100 maybe
Text Books Ė Depends on above decision - $420 maybe
Baby Fund - $50p/m ($600)
Car Fund - $150 p/m ($1,800)
EF - $50 p/m + some from extra income (until fully funded - $3000, only need $1K now) ($600)
Xmas Fund - $70 p/m ($840)
Repair/Furniture Fund - $500 p/m (planning to make some major repairs this year) ($6000)
Holiday Fund - $350 p/m (but if we can achieve our $20K challenge we wonít need to put away as much and will put more in the savings) ($4,200)
Various Retirement and Investments - $330 p/m ($4,000)
LONG TERM SAVINGS - $500 p/m + whatever extra left in the monthís income ($6,000).
I am really excited about 2008 itís going to be a great year.
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.
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
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
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.
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!