Had to spend a bit of money this week…
Groceries – we don’t need much this week, spent $36.35
Car – DH took the car to get the air conditioning re-gassed, unfortunately the filter need to also be replaced because it was blocked. All up it cost $200.20
Private Health Insurance – This one is a biggie. We got an email asking us if we wanted to prepay our health insurance for a year. Prepaying would mean we can pay using the current price instead of the new rate that will increase starting next month. It will increase by around 7-8%, I believe, which is $11.80 increase per month. It cost $1,958.76 with a total saving of $141.84. It doesn’t seem much but it still a saving. This is another example of where having savings helps you save money by taking advantage (opportunity costs) of these types of opportunities.
Electric Bill – (yet another example of taking advantage of an opportunity cost), by having a solar panels we now have so much lower electric bill. Although it cost us some money (over $2K) to get it installed it has now paid dividend. Last bill was $17.10 CREDIT and this current bill was $77.62 CREDIT, I love summer! Anyway we now have a total credit of $94.72 that will hopefully offset some, if not most of next bill. It is a paradox whereby only the “rich” can afford to buy cheap (not that I’m saying I’m rich or anything like that!) but every bit helps.
Portable Speaker – Using a gift card (another one we got as a gift for Christmas) DH bought one of those portable speaker. DH wanted to get one to mainly use in the car for when he wants to listen to podcasts and music. It sounds so much better than just using the phone speaker or our 18 year old car’s speaker and no need for cable with Bluetooth connection. We went to the store looking to buy one he looked at online but he saw another one, the same brand, which was just a little bit better in terms of hours play. He looked it up online store for this store to see how much they were selling it for; online it was $20 less so he asked the lady at the counter if could get it for the price online, it was no problem. It saved him the hassled of buying it online. So he paid $59, which leaves us with $41 left in the gift card.
Viewing the 'Weekend Spending' Category
We had a 3-day week-end here. We mainly just relaxed, did a couple of hours of tinkering outside in the garden and we went to the zoo for few hours on Sunday. We were going to do a good clean out of the garage but I think we are going to try and do that next month instead, after Easter holidays. We were going to hire a skip bin, they are around $250-$300 (the one we normally hire, they drop off the empty bin, we fill it up and they pick it up) but I think we are going to try and take the rubbish to the tip ourselves and hire a trailer instead, they are around $30-50 to hire for 4 hours (depending on size) and the tip pay is around $60-80 per trailer load. We probably got about 2 to 3 trailer load. Most of the rubbish is broken bricks, soils and building materials which would require extra pay if we hire that skip bin.
We did a little bit of spending this weekend.
Groceries – was $113.47. We stocked up on some dental products; toothpaste, mouthwash, toothbrushes and floss. Also got some snack for a trip we are going on later this month.
Clothes – There was a sale and I kind of did some new underwear so spent $33.92
Gifts – Got a gift for $25.97
Zoo – Zoo spending was minimal since we already got the annual passes which are expiring next month. Only spent on $2 parking and $5 on a pricey latte, DH and I shared even though the large was very small.
Netflix – Cancelled Netflix again since I probably won’t be watching it much for the next month or so. I will probably put it on again in June; a lot of new shows/seasons will be release then.
The spending have slowed down – could only be a good thing.
Grocery – was a tad high went to the butcher place where I been going to once a month for the last 4 months. Total for the week was $92.20
Train Pass – DH topped up his train pass, he put in $50. DH has been doing so well this year I think he has saved around $100 already by getting to work early. He has been taking advantage of Early Bird Train Travel. Here your journey is free if you get to your destination before 7.15am. He has done this except on 2 occasions.
Garden – Bought some bags sands for paving worth $31.16
Salvo – we took some stuff to the Salvation Army, while there I bought 3 books worth $6.75 (funny I got rid of 4 books but gain 3 back). This money came out from my birthday money from last year I still got over $50 left I haven’t spent. I barely spent my allocated allowance money these days, I’ll probably buy a new laptop next year.
Spending for the weekend was just over $300, whenever it is above $300 I tend to consider it to be high. We went a bit crazy on buying some stuff for the garden.
Grocery - $90.36, this could have been lower but Valentine’s Day this weekend so I got some fancy cut of meat.
Beauty products – don’t buy these often but I spent $21.95
Eat-out – We were out and about for most of the weekend so we eat out couple of times, all up $27.10
Garden Items – Got bunch of stuff including those pebbles that I wanted to get for the rock garden, the 15kg bags were actually $11.95 so I got 2 bags which was more than enough. I think I mentioned in my previous blog that I was going to get 1.5kg, well there are hardly any rocks in 1.5kg bag. The 15 kg was way cheaper. Then since we were at the nursery we end up getting bunch of other stuff that was not necessary but I wanted and I actually had in my list of things to get there. After all of that we end up spending $128.63. That place is a dangerous place for me.
Clothing – Was not planning to go clothes shopping but we were near this store that we got gift cards for. The gift cards we got from Christmas. They were having 40% off on some items that was already discounted so we had a look and end up getting 3 things. One was an ultra-light puffer jacket for DH, they are great for when we go travelling and I got 2 things, 1 The North Face a long sleeved shirt and another thick zipped up shirt. I’ve recently got rid of 2 hoodie shirts so these are replacements. We used up one of the $100 gift card and we still got another left but we didn’t know what else to get.
We had a 3-day weekend here for Australia day public holiday. We didn’t do anything because the weather was very hot again. We just had staycation and relax and watch some more cricket games. It was great to just stay home, we actually got invited to go to the beach near my friends place to celebrate Australia day but it is over an hour drive and would just been too tiring. DH has been getting up early and working long hours so he really needed the weekend to catch up on sleep. The heat doesn’t help though; the other night the temperature didn’t get below 27degree Celsius thankfully it rained last night and the temperature has cold down considerably today.
Staying home was not only good for DH to get rest but was also good for the wallet. We only went out to get groceries and got a takeout for end of the week thing that we have been doing for a while now.
Grocery – Spent $61.12
Takeout – was $14
We are doing well this month compare to 12 months ago. I will look into end of the month numbers tomorrow.
Grocery (the Good) – Spent $31.92 this week.
Eating Out (the Bad) – We spent a bit on eating out and getting some soup. We went to a restaurant that is near our place it has been there for years but it is only now that we finally decided to try it out. We had lunch there on Saturday. It’s a nice place and food was really good and prices were very reasonable as well, will definitely be going there again. We also decided to go to the park on Sunday for a picnic lunch; we didn’t bring any food from home we got take away instead. And to top it off DH has not been feeling well so we got some soup. All up the eating out and buying food we spent $73.20.
Free Dinner – Not only did DH got few free lunches last week and the other week, he also got free dinner and drinks on Friday night. His whole team got invited out for dinner to celebrate a job they did two months ago. He and others did had to spend few hours for that weekend two months ago to do some work for it, DH only had to do his part at home, so yeah well deserved for them.
Internet – Few months ago and then another last month we got mails from our (now previous) internet provider letting us know that by early November they will be disconnecting our internet and home phone services unless we switch into their NBN service. NBN is the National Broadband Network, which is essentially fibre optic cable rolled out across the country. Originally it was proposed to roll out fibre right up into each home, but this was later changed to just use whatever connection already exists at the home for the final part. In our case since we had Telstra cable installed in our house by the previous owner, that is what we are getting. This is similar to what is used for cable TV in the US, and in fact can also be used for cable TV here. The NBN is a government owned company which provides the infrastructure, and then you go to a retailer to buy the actual services. That way all retailers use the same infrastructure and have to compete on price, customer service, and quality of service provided (some retailers don’t provide sufficient bandwidth so get major slowdowns during peak periods). The company we signed up for seems to be quite cheap and also doesn’t seem to have the slowdown problems.
When DH signed up, he found a promotional code that got him the first month free, and they double our data allowance for the first 6 months! Also there is no lock-in contract, whereas some of the bigger providers lock you into a 2 year contract. The price will be $65 per month the same as our previous internet cost but since we don’t have to have the home phone anymore it will be saving us $15 per month. It will be less than the unlimited data we have been using for the last year but a lot more than what we used to have prior to that which was 120GB, now it will be 500GB but for the next 6 months it will be 1000GB.
When DH called the previous provider, Optus which we have been with since 2001, they tried to make him pay a $160 early termination fee as they told him he was on a 2 year contract. This was rubbish for 2 reasons: 1. they told him last year when he changed plans that he wouldn’t be put on a contract; 2. they’re the ones telling us we need to change service or we’ll be disconnected. DH spoke to a different person and they have now agreed to not charge the disconnection fee.
My brother’s girlfriend had a little girl yesterday, I’m an aunty again. We will be visiting them in Tasmania in November.
Onto financial matters –
Groceries – All up it amounted to $72.45 just a tad under budget for the week. $18 of it were on cleaning and laundry products, I tend to only get these once or twice a year.
Free Lunch (Is there such a thing?) – DH has been attending workshop at work and they have been providing lunch. Last week he had 4 of them and he got another 3 and a half days of it this week.
Property Rates – We got a new bill statement for the 2017-18 and it is increasing to $1913.89 – last year it was $1873.70 – we will be paying it monthly ($191.34) for the next 10 months.
Been sick and not been in the mood for cooking this week.
Again it has been a quite weekend I guess we are still recovering from our trip.
Grocery - $49.38
Mother’s Day – All up we spend $122.39 on gifts
Lunch Date – We went out for lunch on Saturday for Chinese and coffee and cake afterwards, all up $36.40
Wines – 6 bottles of one of my favourite wines $44.70, bought bulked because normally they cost $10 a bottle.
Saturday we went to shopping for food, we didn't get (nor do we needed much), spent $37.41.
Went and watch my brother play footy again, it was his 50th game, they won again 202 to 26, I think it was. Only spent $1 for a cup of coffee there, we actually took some sandwiches and some fruit that we got shopping that day to have for lunch.
That night we got invited to someone's 65th birthday. Bought a card for $1 and gave $50 cash gift.
On Sunday the only thing that got charged was my mobile phone, it get automatically get topped up when my credit gets below $2. That was for $10.
Total spending for the weekend was $99.41 - it's good to see it under $100.
The weather this weekend was almost perfect, we should have picked this weekend to go camping, oh well can't predict the weather.
Saturday we decided to go and watched my brother play footy, his team had a fantastic game they won by over 200 points (248 - 13), that rarely happens. while there we shared a sausage roll (haven't had one of those for years) and a cup of coffee each, was for only $5. Their game was held near a trash and treasure market place so decided to stopped by to see if I could get a case for my new mobile phone, found one for $10. We got there late in the afternoon so we didn't have to pay to enter which would have been $1 each. Also got a wheel that we can use to fix our gate, $2. And spent another $2 for a dog leash for my mum's dog. Afterwards we went grocery shopping, all up spent $65.39 on grocery this weekend. Went home, made Paella and opened a bottle of wine with it, read a book while doing a bit of crocheting.
Sunday we went out to get a new washer for a tap outside. Then we went back to the shoes store that we got DH's new shoes last weekend to get it replaced because there was something wrong with it that I didn't see until we got home. When we got there we found out that they are now on sale, it was almost 65% off, from $49.95 down to $18. So instead of exchanging it we got a refund and just purchased two pair of shoes (different style) for $36. Then we stopped by at another store nearby and got a jumper for DH, underwear, bra, toothpastes, hand towels and DH's favourite bar soap. All up we spent $27 there. Then lastly, we went to Big W to get leg bands they were also on sale from $15 down to $10. Total spending for the weekend = $163.55.
When we got home DH fixed the tap while I made roast pork and then we watched our footy team play on TV, we lost. Had dinner. Relaxed watching more TV and finished reading my book. End of weekend.
On Wednesday DH took the car to the shop to get repaired, that cost us $264 but DH will need to take it to get the ABS looked at. The mechanic can't fix the ABS, it will need an electrician of some sort.
Thursday afternoon we decided to cancelled our camping booking because the weather was going to be terrible, we were heading to the Highlands and the weather was going to be snowing, wet and windy. Just unfortunate because the weekend before that the weather would have been perfect. This trip was planned about 2 months ago, when we got a voucher for it. I think we will go in October instead now.
Luckily, we cancelled it because on Friday when DH and I decided to go out shopping (DH was home because he took a holiday on Friday for the camping trip), we noticed a lot of liquid/oil pouring out of the car as we were driving out of the driveway . So instead of going to the shops we just drove it straight to the car repairer. The repair shop is closed to an Asian store so we went there instead and got some stuff (spent $14.15 for a bit of stuff good value for money) and just walked home (less than 30 mins away).
Apparently, when they were replacing something in the car on Wednesday they accidentally bumped something off. It was an easy fix but the car was there for 3 hours. Lucky we found this out while we were near home and not while were camping. DH didn't noticed anything when he drove the car back home Wednesday night so it didn't get trigger until we drove it out that Friday. Now we have a trail of fluid all the way from the garage to the road and maybe even all the way to the repairer place, by the time we got there it ws empty.
Saturday we did our proper grocery shopping, we went to Aldi and got Milo at Woolworths, all up we spent $64.45 on food this week. And then we got something for Mother's day and also got myself a couple of jumpers and a pair of socks. The jumpers and socks only cost me $21. Also got DH new work shoes but we will need to go back and get it replaced.
On Mother's day we went to my mum's place and had a bbq my brother was there as well and we all got a lot of left over to take home.
We had a relatively quiet weekend. Our car was making some weird noises so we didn't wantto drive it too much. We just went grocery shopping and dropped off some stuff to the Salvo, which was just a crossed the street of the Aldi that we went to. Spending for the weekend was less than $100.
DH already booked the car for service on Wednesday. Its next service is not until next month but since it is making that noise and we are going camping this weekend we need to get it check before driving it 3-4 hours drive to the country.
DH spent some of his weekend applying for jobs. The rest of the weekend I spent tinkering in the garden, DH helped a bit too. He loves being outside, it was great to see him a lot more relaxed on the weekend. He was a bit stressed out again on Wed and Thurs night, he keep wondering whether he has done the right thing quitting. I assured him that he did and that we will be alright. From what he has been telling me about his work I am 100% sure that he is doing the right thing. So far this year DH counted 15 people that has left (that's about 1 a week). He has seen 3 people this year that cried because of work issues.
The other developer is now also considering of leaving earlier than end of June, she doesn't want to take on DH's job. She knows how much ha was to do and deal with, not only dealing with the customer that they support but also dealing with the boss (DB). She's also thinking of travelling in mid-June. Not sure if she will actually do it but she has told few people about already.
DH got a couple of lead today about some work so hopefully something will pan out soon.
Crap the roof is still leaking. Luckily we decided to not to fix the hole in the ceiling yet because when it rained on Saturday we found that it is still leaking. So we decided to just make a bigger hole in the ceiling to see where the water is coming from, we should have done that in the first place. So we found another tile that is broken, we can clearly see where the hole is now. DH thinks that he might be able to change the tile from inside the house rather than having to go up on to the roof. We will have to wait when the weather is good, too wet at the moment. The drip of water is just going straight to a bucket it is not hitting any timber so there will be no further damage to the ceiling.
Apart from that we had a quiet weekend. We stayed home on Saturday, the weather was terrible anyway. We watch our footy team played, we won! Yeee...
Today (Sunday) we went and watch The Avengers, before the movie started someone got sick, I think they he an epileptic fit and they had to call the ambulance to take him to the hospital. After the movies we went grocery shopping to Aldi, spent less than $45.
It has been a busy week. It was my birthday last week. We spent a bit of money. To say it was a spendy weekend is an understatement. But I scored some really cool presents. DH spoilt me on my birthday. We over indulged, it wasn't planed but we truly enjoyed it anyway. The best thing l got is a Samsung Note with S - pen . It's a nifty gadget. DH picked it, he did all the research and found a pretty descent deal online. He found one that was $130 cheaper than that were in the shops. I'm absolutely loving it. I've used all of my saved allowance money for it and the rest will come out of gift category of the budget, $160. My allowance money added to just under $500 and then the in-laws gave me $100, which I added in as well.
Another thing that got is a new phone, I have now officially joined the 21st century. That was for $88 unlocked, so I'm just using the same sim card as before. I don't think I will bother getting a data for it yet. I will just use our wi-fi at home. I don't think I will be using it much since I have the note and laptop to use at home. And if I'm away from home 95% of the time I'm with DH so I can just use his. My friends also spoilt me. I got Gold class tickets to the movies, a book gift card, a bottle of wine and mum got me a mattress protector.
DH also took me out to dinner on my actual birthday and then we went to a winery with some friends and also to dinner with some of them on Saturday night.
Oh I forgot to mentioned (just really busy at the moment) that DH put some money into the mortgage to get it under $20K. His mum told him that they don't need to borrow money to paint there house. The weather at there place is so crazy at the moment, their power was off for few days because of the massive storm they got. A lot of people in there area is flooded, luckily for them they are on top of a hill. Anyway, I think they will just wait until the weather is warmer again to get it done. DH used the tax refund and that extra pay this month to put $5,600 which make the mortgage balance down to $19,974.99
House Alarm Battery
The battery for our house alarm needed replacing. I think the last time we replaced it was over 5 years ago. DH bought one after work and was easy install for him to do. The battery cost $50.
Broken Roof Tile
We had to get someone to replace a broken roof tile. Luckily we already got some spare tiles around. We paid $50 and it only took him 10 minutes to do it. It was worth it. Another two quotes we got were for $150 and $250. Normally we do a lot of repairs ourselves but DH is not too keen on heights. He can get up a ladder but he won't actually get on to the roof. The broken tile was just out of reach for him to do. And he absolutely would not let me get up there either. $50 was a lot of money for 10 minutes work but it was necessary. Now we will have to fix the ceiling in the guest room where there is a little water damage because of it.
The shares that we purchase last month through Share Purchase Plan (SPP) was settled the end of last month. The plan that DH and I decided was to sell half of it right away so we can get part of our capital out. We got the maximum amount we could get but didn’t want to keep too much of it long-term. Since then it has just been going up so we decided to wait and see where it might go until on Wednesday last week we decided to sell some but since it has gone up a bit more than expected we decided to only got 1/3 out. The 1/3 got us almost 40% of our capital back, so we are happy with that.
It was a costly weekend. On Saturday we did the usual grocery shopping for the week and then went to Bunnings (hardware/garden store) to get some netting for the garden. We got those white cabbage butterflies/moths around and they just love laying their eggs on my vegetable leaves. I thought putting netting around them especially the cabbages and cauliflowers would be the best way, don't like to use sprays. We end up getting a really big size because it was half price and best value for money, only couple dollars more than the smallest size. While there we saw that they have a greenhouse on sale for half price as well, from $50 down to $25.
Saturday night we were invited to a 50th birthday celebration. It was held in one of those reception places normally more for weddings. Actually, been to this place back in 2001 for a friend’s wedding, unfortunately it is not what it used to be. The food were terrible, DH thought he had the worst steak ever. Everything was over cooked, I think they reheat things and that's why they end up so over cooked. It was a big party around 150 guests, it would have cost a lot. We just gave $100 cash as a gift, I had no idea what to get. They hired a photo booth and we all had fun with that.
Sunday we decided to go to a Trash and Treasure market, spent $34 which includes $2 entry fee for both of us. Got $10 of 4 tubs of seedlings, they were about half the price instead of getting from a nursery. I remember to back here next time. Also got 4 pot holders for $2, couple of plastic tubs, few metal brackets and a plaster saw for $1. The best thing we found a glass lid for our fish tank for only $4. Back in December we got a bigger fish tank from a friend but it didn't have a lid so we have been looking for one since then. The lid is millimetre perfect for our tank. One of the biggest things we got on the weekend and were a bit pricey was 6 rubber mats for the gym area in the garage that we are creating. It totalled just under $180 but it has been the cheapest thing we have seen out there.
On Sunday we also both got a haircut. I really needed one. All up the weekend expenses were just over $550. This coming weekend is not going to be cheap either.
Our long-weekend was pretty quiet, we did more work outside as clean the garage (half-way through it now). We did go out and did some shopping, we got a new little bbq and a small foldable table that we can use outside and should be able to take camping as well. They were both on sale. While shopping we ate out for lunch to a fairly inexpensive Chinese/Dumpling place. Apart from that we mainly stayed home and watched more Breaking Bad – it was BB marathon weekend for us and now we have finished it. We will probably now move on to watching "Better call Saul".
Normal monthly mortgage payment went through and the interest paid for this month was $112.17, so principal paid was $1,105.80. Balance right now is $25,574.99.
I did a calculation of our net worth for the end of the first quarter and we just hit $700K. That was a nice increase from the last time I looked at our net worth.
The cabbages are now about double in size and the cauliflowers are doing well. And the beetroots and beans and also starting to shots up. There are more kales and snow peas seedlings that have come up but the coriander are dead except for 1 and even that is not looking to good. And those seeds that DH planted are not happening.
Day light saving time finished on Sunday and now it feels like winter. I don't like it.
I did not go anywhere on the weekend. The only time we spent money was Saturday night when DH went out to get pizza, Pepsi and milk. All up it cost $21.75.
We spend all weekend working outside again. We are trying to get things done outside while the weather is still warm. We planted some more vegetables. We planted some cauliflowers and also decided to plant some seedlings; I do not know how well they will go some of them might be a bit old.
Most of our weekend was spent paving a little area in the backyard for the big rubbish bin that we have. We have some paver just laying around so it was good to make use of them and it tidy up the backyard. It took a while to level the area but we got there.
Saturday night we spent watching more Breaking Bad and that's when we decided to get Pizza for dinner and open a bottle of wine. Sunday A.M. we spent finishing the paving and in the afternoon to until 10pm we spent watching the final of world cup cricket. Australia won against the Kiwis. Yay!
Friday night DH called his parents. His mum asked if they could borrow $3K if they need it. Long story short, they got money it's just it might be hard for them to get it out in short notice. They are getting their house painted (outside) but it could happen next week or it could happen in 3-4 months. If it happens in 3 months they won't need to borrow but if it happens sooner they will be short in cash because their money in term-deposit at the moment. Normally they have more cash than they need but because they just bought a new car this month they have dried up the savings account. We are more than happy to help them out, they have helped us a lot in the past when DH was unemployed. So the money that I was thinking of putting into the mortgage (extra) we will just keep for this. This is the extra pay that DH will receive this month. I will still put the tax refund money into the mortgage. If they do end up needing the money we will encourage them not to pay it back. We both just want to give it to them. We have offered to give them some money in the past to pay back some of the money that they have given us but they always refused. So this will be good time to pay them back.
We finally got the tree stump and roots out. It has taken us over 2 weeks working on it a bit every day. It is a very heavy bugger so we just left it in the front yard. We are not sure what to do with it, we talked about making a feature out of it or just put it in the rubbish. I think we might have our annual green rubbish collection in May, I'm pretty sure it was in May that they collected it last year. I won’t be surprise if we get the notification for in next month. If we throw it out DH will have to cut it smaller they will not accept it at this size, too heavy. DH should be able to use the chain saw on it now.
Most of soil that we dug out we used to build a couple of raised garden beds. We just added some chicken manure and mushroom compost. So far I have planted snow peas and kale from seeds in our usual veggie garden patch. In the new garden beds I got some seedling for it, so far I planted lemon grass, coriander and cabbage.
We will be building couple more garden beds, just need to clean more of the bricks. It takes a bit of effort to do I'm not in a hurry so just doing a bit every day.
We did some food shopping this weekend. We went to the market to stock up the freezer. Then we went to Aldi to get the usual food items we need for the week. And then lastly, we went to another store to mainly get toilet rolls and other things that we couldn't get at Aldi.
At the shopping centre car park, we ended up waiting for this lady to get out so we could get her car park space. When she finished putting her shopping in the car I offered to put her trolley away, just to hurry things along it was easier for both of us (and I gave her a dollar to swap for the dollar she had in the trolley). She could get out quicker while DH could get in to the space while I put the trolley away. Anyway, she left her receipt in the trolley and there was a discount of $10 off for the store we were about to go and there were other discounts for their liquor store as well. I didn’t even knew that they do those discounts in this store but I think you have to spend over $200 to get those, which obviously she did. I knew about the liquor store discount but hose normally involves buying 1 and you get another 1 free type of discount. So the $15 plus shopping only cost us $5 or so. It paid for the toilet rolls. I find that a lot of people tend to just leave their shopping receipts in the trolley and I tend to just pick them up and put them in the bin. I will be checking them a closer from now on.
Yard Work -
We spent most of our weekend doing yard work. I was hoping to do some planting but instead we spent most of it digging out a tree stump that is in the front yard that is pushing the brick wall fence. We end up destroying a row of a brick edging in front of it, we had to it is the only way to get to it. I'm not too worry about destroying it because we need to re-do the yard anyway. It has needed it for years. We had drought here for a long time that destroyed a lot of our plants. Because we were in water restriction for a long time we didn't bother doing too much with it. Our water restriction these days is a bit more relax and we can actually water our plants now. And I have been buying more drought tolerant plants from garage sales in the last 2 years. It will take us months to do it but I'm hoping we can get it done by next summer. First thing is to get this massive tree stump out. It's been over a year since we cut it and have been poisoning it few times but it is taking forever to die and now the next door neighbour is complaining about it so that's first priority at the moment.
With all this bricks and soil around I decided that I will make garden beds out of them, I just want to experiment with it. If it turns out good then maybe I'll make a permanent feature of it in the backyard.
Saturday Night –
We went out with some friends for a 9 course meal with wine at a Thai restaurant. A friend that organise the get together bought a voucher so it was only $39 per couple. But parking in the area was highway robbery and it didn't help that our meal went on for 3 hours. It took 1 hour for the first dish to come out, so DH had to go out in the rain to put more money in the meter, ended up spending $12. It is a terrible area there is not many options for parking so the council just take advantage of it. We are not going to that part of town anytime soon. We all joked about maybe the restaurant has a deal with the council to get people to spend more on parking. Oh well, it was still great catch up. One friend I haven't seen since last year.
We went grocery shopping, didn't really get much (don't need much); grapes, onions, milk, eggs, potato, chicken and 10 kil0 bag of rice. We still got plenty of rice but they were selling for half price, thinking about it now I probably should have got 2 bags.
Coffee & "Business Meeting"-
While at the shops we stopped by at one of our favourite café, it is in the same shopping centre. Lately, we have been coming to this café once or twice a month. We like to come here and have a "business meeting". Business meeting for us is talking about our finances especially our stocks/stock market/investments. When it comes to our trading/investing we are both very involve with it. We both like to see what each other thinks about a certain stock, should we be buying, selling or just holding, etc.. We have also been discussing a lot about our mortgage and other financial stuff. This time we talked about getting our mortgage down to $20K next month. It is kind of the thing that I want to get /celebrate for my birthday next month. And we think we should be able to do it if we can get our 2013-14 tax refund (I'm 90% sure we will get it by then), that would probably be around $2000-$2500 after accountant fee. We calculated that we will need $5,500 to get to $20K. So the rest we can get from the 'extra pay' next month. It's not really an extra pay, it just happens that DH will get paid 3 times next month instead of only twice (forth-nightly pay deal thing). So if we use that 'extra' pay next month we should be able to do it without derailing out other goal too much. The other goal is to hoard cash in the bank (around $20,000) just in case DH's job contract might not get renewed in June. We got around $13 at the moment.
We mainly talked about one of our stock that is doing a Share Purchase Plan (SPP) at the moment (due 24th of March). We talked about whether we should participate in it and where are we going to get the money from? Luckily, we have sold some stocks this year and we actually have enough to fully participate in the SPP. The SPP price is about $2 at the current price. The plan is to get the maximum amount and then sell half of it as soon as possible to luck some profit and then keep the other half long-term. This is one of our best performing stock so I am happy to add more of it in our portfolio.
We both really enjoy our meeting in this café, great atmosphere for it. The coffee is great and they have nice assortment of cakes to go with it. The servings are large so we normally just share a large coffee and slice of cake (DH decided to get NY cheesecake this time). All up it was $13.90. DH offered to pay for all of it out of his allowance since he was the one that really wanted the cake because I was still full from lunch but when it got to our table I still ate a bit of it so I said that we will split it. I actually have a lot of allowance saved up than him. Apart from weekends I really don't have chance to spend it before when I was working part-time it use to get spend a lot on coffee and snacks. I've actually now accumulated $500 but I have big plan to spend a big chunk of it for my birthday next month.
Oh my, this is a long post.
Monday was public holiday here. We spent most it doing some needed work around the house. It was good to tick off some of the items on the 'to do' list.
Saturday we talked about going to the movies to watch The Hobbit and then going out for dinner, I have been wanting to watch it since it came out here on Boxing Day but something else keeps coming up. Since then we have seen a couple of movies with other people none of them was into watching The Hobbit. Unfortunately, when we checked the session time it wasn't on anymore. I actually checked it the week before and it was still scheduled that weekend so they might have just taken it off. So we had to go with Plan B instead. We decided to borrow Season 4 of Game of Thrones and got some Chinese and opened a bottle of wine instead. It was a lot cheaper than going to the movies and eating out at a restaurant. So in between doing work around the house we watch Game of Thrones, 10 episodes for only $10 rental.
We also went out to do some shopping. We decided to get a new quilt and cover. The new queen size bed is a lot thicker than the old one so we decided to get a king size quilt and cover. I've always wanted to get a bigger size bedding to solve the problem of us fighting over it in the colder months. One of us always end up hogging the whole thing, I don't think we would have that problem this winter. Got a pretty good prize for it, just over $150 for an Australian wool & made quilt, quilt cover and 2 pillow cases.
I just harvested the last tomatoes and the basil is now starting to flower so it is also nearing the end. We got so much basil don't normally get these much but this year has been great. I made some pesto last night and had it with some pasta. I'm trying to use it so we can start planting some winter crops.
We only spent $8.90 on mainly vegetables and $3 for milk. I don't think we will need anything else for the rest of the month. So, all up this month grocery bill came to $211.33. A lot better than what it was in the last quarter. Now we just need to keep it up.
This week's menu:
Saturday night we had a get together with friends. Spent $66 including parking.
Sunday, we spent most of the day cleaning up the garage and afterwards I decided that I really wanted burgers so we got Hungry Jack's (Burger King). I paid for it out of my allowance, $23.
Monday: Yesterday I made Thai fried rice with pork.
Tues: Today we are going to have tuna and salad.
Wed: Ribs - DH wants more ribs.
Thu: Leftover and chickpea/beans salad.
Fri: Either we will get pizza (Domino's pizza are now selling for $5) or we might be going out.
This week's grocery spending wasn't too bad, ended up spending $66.96.
Hardly did any cooking this week. We went to a party on the weekend and got to take home some food. and also DH got free lunch and snacks from work yesterday. I'm going to try have even less grocery spending this weekend. We got a lot of stuff that we can use next week.
DH got the car repaired the other day, they installed a brand new exhaust and did a lot of other services to it. All up it cost $462. Less than what I expected.
I know it's halfway through the week already, I'm a bit late.
Yesterday DH got his pay for last month (last one from his old agency), 3 weeks worth. A lot more than expected, which is good since last week's pay was less than I expected.
Did do much on the weekend but grocery shopping and got a cast iron French pan from Aldi, it was only for $25 and it's great. The grocery only came to $55.52, probably the lowest amount for the year.
The menu for this week was:
Sat - Pizza, we made it and got some leftover dough in the freezer. Probably cost around $8 to make.
Sun - Meatloaf and roasted vegetables (est. cost $6)
Mon - Butter chicken with Rice (around $10)
Tue - Spaghetti Bolognese (pretty cheap probably less than $5)
Wed - Today I'm planning to have grilled salmons with salad (probably est. cost of around $9)
Thu - Leftover - planning to have leftovers we still have some of those chilli con carne in the freezer.
Fri - Ratatouille with Tuna and Egg Salad and Quinoa (maybe $6-7 worth).
Our car is due for service, it will most likely need a new exhaust pipe or something. A bit of it feel off last month. Hopefully it won't cost to much.
Paid the normal monthly mortgage repayment on Friday. The usual $1218, $219.89 went to the interest and $998.11 to the principal (so close to $1K)
Saturday we went to an antique market (1hr away), a short day trip. We bought some stuff, one of the random stuff I got was Life magazines from the 1947 and 1948, interesting read. I love the old advertisements in it too. DH got an old shaving razor, he collects them.
On the way home we stopped by this small town where they had a small farmer's market. Got $13.30 dollars worth of vegetables, fresh from the market near by.
In the late afternoon we went to Aldi and other stores to do more grocery shopping. All up we spent a total of $63.30.
I'm working hard on trying to get our grocery budget back to a reasonable state. So back to doing a weekly menu. Most of the time I just have a rough idea of what I'm going to make for the week, and we normally do alright to stay close to the budget until this few months. Making a weekly menu and just grocery shopping based on that should help cut down on grocery expenses. And I'm even going further by estimating the cost of each meal (I think I need a hobby lol). This was the menu for this week:
Sat: Paella - this costs roughly $6.40
Sun (lunch): Pumpkin and Lentil Stew - costs roughly $1.10
Sun (dinner): Chicken Drumettes marinated in homemade Nando's style sauce - costs around $4.00
Mon: Chilli Con Carne - costs roughly $11.20 (made a lot, put some in the freezer). The red wine cost a bit but we got to enjoy the rest of it with the meal.
Tue: Pasta carbonara sauce - ~$2.00
Wed: Beef ribs (currently cooking in the slow cooker) - cost roughly $6.00
Thu: We will have leftovers tomorrow. My brother won't be eating with us. We will most likely have ribs leftover.
Fri: Spanish Omelette - around $2.00? Potatoes are in season right now, very cheap.
Okay, I'm gonna have to work on next week's menu.
I lost my entry . I don't even know how it happened??? Oh well. This will be a shorter version.
On Saturday we went to the market we used to go all the time until it got too crowded, everyone found out about this place I guess. It is only about 5 mins away from our house so it is very convenient but the parking is a nightmare. It was worst this time around, it is just getting more crowded, that reminded me the reason why we haven't been to this place for over a year.
But I did get some good deal, like the 3 kilos of bean for only $2 and the roasting beef (over 1 kilo size) for only $9.
Made Sunday roast out of it, we had enough for lunch and dinner and still had enough leftover for lunch the next day.
Saturday night we went out to the city and had Chinese, I was good and didn't have too much rice. I really tried to have a low carb weekend and really didn't have any on Sunday. I got to say it is working. The love handles are shrinking. But today I am really craving it so I made this:
Ricotta pancakes with fruit salad. Oh needed that.
The dinner out was a celebration on finishing the Phase 1 of our workout. We went a bit crazy and ended up at the casino. We ended up at the sports bar there and also did some gambling, and of course lost some money. It was good to watch a bit of the world cup at the sports bar, the atmosphere was great. We watch the first half of Colombia v Greece game. The Colombian fans were very cheerful, especially when they got a goal very early on. I can't believe we stayed out until after 3 am. I felt terrible the next day but it was so much fun.
On Saturday we got through our first week of our exercise program and Sunday was rest day thank goodness. I was a bit sore but not too bad at all after working out for 6 days in a row. So 1 week down another 11 to go. We are actually enjoying it a lot. My midriff area (which is my main problem) have shrunk already, the love handles have gone down probably about 30%. DH is starting to get a 6-pack. To go with these exercises we are doing we have been eating a lot more fruits and vegetables. I think right now I'm spending extra $10-15 a week on it. The smoothies have been great at eating more vegs and fruits. I'm actually eating 2 breakfasts, and having extra snacks but everything in small portions. I really don't want to loss weight but I need to eat more to have the energy to exercise. So far so good. I'm getting in to a good routine at the moment.
On our rest day DH and I went to the movies. We went and watch X-men. The movie was free, we got a free ticket that we really needed to used because it was expiring next month. And for my birthday last month a friend gave me a gift card to the movies. The gift card still got $60.50 left but it won't expire for another 2 years, I think. DH did get popcorn and coke, he could have used the gift card but we didn't think about it until after he got them, next time. The popcorn is not too bad but coke is a big no no but I only really have them now when we eat out.
The rest of the weekend were as per usual, grocery shopping and doing the washing. We also bought some exercise mats and DH replaced the sliding door lock.
Weekend was a lot of fun. Bought a lot of fruits and vegetables for our smoothies. Also bought a squat rack for DH at a garage sales for only $100. He included a bench and couple 20kg weights for only $10. Also got a heavy duty ratchets and strap for only $10, they were selling the set for $15 (they are normally around $50+ new) but got them down.
Parts of the squat rack (the long side bits) wouldn't quiet fit in the car but luckily we only live a block away. DH had to carry them home.
We went out for dinner with couple of friends Saturday night it was really good but a bit pricey. We went all out it will be our last big dinner out for the next 3 months. DH and I will be starting the Tapout program today, it will be going for 90 days and we want to do it right, which means eating right. I'm looking forward to it but at the same time I'm a bit scared.
Now that is cold outside DH and I are not doing as much running, so we decided to look for a workout we can do inside. DH already do weights at least 2 times a week I sometimes do it with him but I'm not great at it. I also get on the exercise bike but I get a bit sore on the bottom if stay on it for too long, I like to use it for warm up and warm down. Anyway on the weekend we tried out an exercise that is similar to Tapout on youtube. We quite liked it so last night DH bought the first version of tapout on ebay for $46.
Apart from doing a bit of working out on the weekend we also went shopping grocery and shopping for Mother's day gift. We also spent couple of hours watching my brother play footy (Australian Rules Football), he plays competitively in the amateur league. Unfortunately they lost to the top of the ladder team and he got injured in the first quarter, he got kicked in the shin and it bruised the bone according to their trainer guy. He kept playing though but he was very sore after.
Yesterday the mortgage payment for this month went through.
Principal = $981.25 (getting closer to $1K)
Interest = $236.75
Balance = $52,661.66
It has been a very expensive 2 weeks. We have had two long-weekends in the row which equated to a very social and very expensive weekends. First the Easter weekend, which was a 4 days weekend, and my birthday at the same time. Then the weekend after was a 3 days weekend, we celebrated what we call ANZAC day, which probably similar to Veteran day in the US.
So on those 6 days we went out for dinners twice one of which was a very expensive birthday dinner. Two lunches out one was when we went to the country for a day trip. Also had a couple of take-away. Went to bar couple of times. And had a high tea at some fancy hotel (this one was at least half price deal). We had fun so no regrets but a little bit lighter in the pockets though.
Last week we had 4 NSDs in a row only spent $10 for a pizza we had while watching our footy team on tv (we won, yippee!).
Weekend is always the time we spent a bit of money. We went grocery shopping and I bought winter pjs, I really needed a new one now that it is getting colder here (had to throw out couple old pjs that were no good anymore). Luckily they were on sale so also decided to get DH a pair, all up for both it only cost $23.80.
Saturday night we went out to a Korean BBQ with bunch of friends, lots of fun. I got a groupon voucher for all 8 of us and it only cost $26 each for a 7 course meal with drinks each. Not bad. My friends decided that it was close enough to consider it as a celebration of my birthday. They got me a mushroom kit and I also got $80 worth of movie voucher. I've never grown mushrooms before so it should be interesting. It has been few days now since I set it up and all I see is dirt.
On Sunday, DH and I spent most of the day doing yard work. Also went to the garden store to get some soil and seeds for winter crops.
Been meaning to blog about this. I made this garden bench, my summer project, took me over a month to make it. Most materials are scraps that we already at in hand from previous renovation work we've done around here. I think I probably only spent $20 on it.
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