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End of the 2008 $20K Challenge

January 2nd, 2009 at 03:05 am

So here it is the total for the year. We made it with just under $260 to spare. Although I have decided to give DH $150 bonus out of the $260. I think he deserve it, he is really good with not spending his allowance money and he will be taking a big pay cut on his allowance this year.

Now let's start the 2009 challenge!


December 19th, 2008 at 10:03 pm

I've really got nothing to say, haven't done anything. The handyman finished yesterday and nothing has been happening since then.

Lunch today will be eggplant from the garden. I was thinking of going to the market but DH is not feeling well and still in bed trying to sleep it off. I'll probably just do the washing and some light cleaning. I should also be able to finish my financial planning for next year and will post it later.

There are 12 days to go until the end of the year and I got around $600 left in the 20K challenge and $106 will go towards to 2 charities that we've picked to give to this christmas. All the bills due this month has been paid, I wanted to pay it all off before the holidays so I won't forget about it. We got over charge by $60 in our electricity bill this month. Hopefully we should get a credit in the next bill. Also for some reason our gas bill has been coming due a week earlier (it started previous bill)than what it used to be, which make it now due a month early. This latest gas bill should have been due the first week of Jan, but its now due on 31st of Dec. This kind of ruined the utilities budget for the year. But not too worry we had enough in the 20K challenge to cover it.

I have been working on another challenge for next year, it will be very similar to this year. This type of budgeting is not for everyone but it works for someone like me who like having something to aim at and it restrict me from overspending.

Nov $20K Challenge

December 2nd, 2008 at 12:07 pm

Here's the numbers for November $20K Challenge. I can't believe there's only 1 month left of this challenge. I can't wait to finalise everything at the end of this month.

Well today was the first NSD for the month. Last month we had 9 NSDs, so it was pretty good.

October Update

November 4th, 2008 at 12:38 am

I've been MIA from blogging. Just been so lazy lately. On the good side the laziness probably help keep our spending down in Oct and made it to be the best month this year.

I think I will make my goal this month to blog at least 3 times a week. It probably be about boring you've been warned.

Sept – the worst month for the year...

October 7th, 2008 at 03:44 am

Yeah, it was the worst month for our $20K challenge. Here’s the quick synopsis of Sept spending:
Good: Home Phone was a bit lower than usual. Allowances were not too bad. Even Entertainment spending wasn’t even that bad.
Bad: Utility bills all come at once (but at least we won’t have to worry about them in Oct). Grocery bill was a bit over but most of the grocery I did at the end of Sept is being used for this month. Also spent some money on clothing, most of it was necessary.
Our challenge is not looking very good at the moment but I guess, even though we spent over $2,200 for the month it wasn’t really for things that were not necessary.

The problem now for us is that the weather is getting warmer and everyone is celebrating something, which means more spending on restaurants and gifts. At least these are things we value so I don’t mind spending money on this stuff. But as always it’s a constant balance not to go overboard. There are a lot of long-term goals that we want to achieve, and they can only be done if we start saving as much as we can now. But yeah we still also want to live a good life now while we are young.

So even though Sept was the worst month so far this year we still managed to put away some saving and also managed to fully fund the tuition fund and put an extra $600 to the car fund.

I also have looked at our 3rd quarter net worth, amazingly, it actually went up by about 9% most of it from cash and increase in house value. Also our stocks actually have gone up too. I bought 2 stocks about 2 months ago, 1 is up and the other is down. Both of them paid dividend late last month. So all up despite how the market is, it’s not too bad. Most of the decrease is the money in our retirement funds. Oh well it has 30 years or so to recover.

August $20K Challenge Update

September 1st, 2008 at 10:49 am

Overall, it was a pretty good month:

Grocery - the lowest we spent in a month this year.
Utilities - No bills due for this month (unfortunately Sept is going to be a lot more than normal).
Clothing - didn't spend a cent.

Transportation - not really too bad considering we just filled up the car. Extra usage due to a day trip we took for this month.
Allowances - mine in particular was a bit over.

Entertainment - way over!! And it is not going to get any better for Sept either. Oh well. I think I really under estimated this category by a lot.
Medical - an injury that need medical attention. Could not be avoided. It could have been more (almost twice as much) if we didn't have private insurance. I think the rebates we received this year from our health insurance pretty much paid for our premiums for the year.

FUNDS SNOWBALL (see My Pages):

I've fully funded the Holiday Fund (woohoo!), also managed to put some money in the Tuition fund. The tuition should be funded by the end of this month. We will only need to put in another $800, anymore than that will be too much. So by the end of Sept I will achieved my funds snowball goal, couple of months earlier. I'm gonna need to think of new goals.

I really need to blog more (even about boring stuff), it tends to help my budget. I might make this as one of my goal for this month.

July 20K challenge

August 2nd, 2008 at 09:14 am

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.

Junes $20K Challenge & First 6mnth analysis

July 2nd, 2008 at 10:57 pm

Overall, Junes 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. Thats $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 DHs 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 cant just sit there and watch everyone eat, could we? Plus there are two of us, so it doubles the expense. Ultimately I dont 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 Im 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 Im 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 Ive changed my ways I guess I was very young and stupid then. Even our grocery bill is only $20 over, which Im very happy about. Overall, we are under by $600+! I cant wait until the end of the year.

Edit: Opps! Clothing is actually over.

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

May 20K Challenge

June 5th, 2008 at 08:39 am

Just a quick update of my 20K Challenge. Been so busy lately just don't have much time to blog. But I should at least update my challenge. Overall, May was a very good month, although we went over our entertainment budget by quite a bit.


TIME v $

I will also be updating my Funds Snowball, just check it out under My Pages.

April $20K Challenge

May 1st, 2008 at 01:30 am

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.

Mar 2008

April 1st, 2008 at 11:00 am

This is the March numbers for our $20K Challenge. Overall not too bad, managed to just go below the average exp per month that we should be aiming for.

We are still a bit behind when you compare the $ to the time that has already lapsed. We should be able to catch up at the end of April.

The other expense that are not included in the challenge for this month is totally another story. Just the mortgage, dental surgery, and tuition for this month was over $5000. Thankfully DH got a pretty good bonus from work. Overall, we saved 67% of our income this month. This is after putting over $2,800 into our various funds.

On another news, I have been spending a lot of time again tinkering with our spending plan. There are a lot of changes happening with our finances so changes to our plan is necessary. Plus I just love working on our personal finance.

The big bonus should have made a big impact on out overall net worth. I will update our net worth for the 1st Qrt of the year next time.

FEB 2008

March 1st, 2008 at 07:26 am

There was something wrong with my spreadsheet last month, I miscalculated our saving. Oh well, it is fix now and we have now caught up to where I want us to be.

Our Feb's numbers for our 20K challenge.

We saved 14.5% of our income this month.
We spent of our fun money (allowances and entertainment) this month. Hopefully, March will be better.

40 days in & Bills

February 9th, 2008 at 10:13 am

Just realise that this month there are no utility bill due. However the quarterly property rate is due this month.

Nothing is really happening this month, bought some new pjs for both DH and myself. Pretty much spent the monthly amount allocated for clothing.

Valentine's day on Thursday and we don't really have any plans. We don't like going to restaurants on that night, just too many people. I will probably just cook something special and have a candlelit dinner. We haven't done that for a while, it could be nice.

We are now 40 days into our challenge and so far we've spent a just a little over than we're we should be at.

I like looking at things this way, it just let me know where we should be at. We basically just need to peg the spending down a bit. But in saying that we haven't gone over the budget yet. I just like us the be as tight at the start and then be able to relax towards the end rather than playing catch up. Just like having a breathing room.

$20K Challenge - January 2008

February 1st, 2008 at 12:11 pm

Haven't been here for awhile, but have been keeping up with our challenge. I'm still deligently keeping note of our spending everyday (to the cent).

One month into our challenge, I think we did alright. We paid off the car insurance for the year and was the biggest expense we had. Also spent a bit on the Med/Per items. Got a bit sick and also bought some beauty items that should last for months.

Here are the numbers:

Quick Entry

January 14th, 2008 at 11:36 am

I been meaning to blog but for some reason something always gets in the way. I've even started a blog couple of times but never managed to finish it.

There have been a lot of things happening here. We just got a letter from our electric company last week advising us that our bill will now be going up by 14%. Thanks for that!

Also last week our mortgage company has again increase rate by 0.2%. So, that's another ~$35p/m. Thank you very much!

Plus there's more, our water bill will also be going up around 20% per year for the next 5years to cover the cost for the new desalination (sp?) plant. Yeah baby!

Really these are just the few reasons to tighten the spending further.

We did a lot of cooking this weekend. I've already got my menu set up for the rest of the month and we shouldn't need to get much more stuff. We probably will need more milk and some fresh veggies, another $10 worth of food. Still got ~$40 in the grocery budget so, I'm really hoping to be able to save some money on groceries this month.

We have so far spent 3% (%585.72) of the $20K Challenge.

Ahhh, I need sleep now. Good night.


January 2nd, 2008 at 09:37 am

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 (wont be spending as much this year for our anniversary).
Im 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 wont 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 shouldnt need this year, eg. I wont 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:
Mortgage -$16,200
CC repayments 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 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 Depends on above decision - $420 maybe
Various Funds:
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 wont 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 months income ($6,000).

I am really excited about 2008 its going to be a great year.