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Feb update

February 7th, 2007 at 03:50 am

I'm getting less and less time lately to come here and give updates - I updated stats today - it looks worse I think than what it is - as the emergency fund was used to complete our landscaping in the house - its nice to have our trees, hedge and flower beds in - make it more homely. But the emergency fund at $60 is at danger levels, but if I had to I can use other savings if I needed.

And due to some unexpected expenses at the end of January - the credit cards were used at the end of the month - but I have some back money due to me this month so provided I have no unexpected bills that can go in off the credit cards.

I know I have the option to cash in some investment - but I don't want to touch that until May 07. And once we get past March 07 I usually find the first 3 months the hardest to stay on budget, I think I will be in a better position for May, but I will be clearing the personal loan at that point.

Busy at work so until next time.

Back again

January 31st, 2007 at 01:56 am

The start of the month may have started well and stayed on budget - but the end of the month has made up for such a good start - A lot of expenses - trees and hedge done in garden - had to pay landscaper $2,000 - Four new tyres $230 - I had a puncture last week and all four tyres needed to be replaced. Laying foundation for a wall at the front of our house - still don't have a final cost for that - I guess some of this was not unexpected - but it still hits our savings. I used the credit card for tyres - as we have some money due back from 2006 taxes about $650 - so that will help. Been busy at work lately, haven't had time to post much lately - good to be busy too.

Down to $20

January 22nd, 2007 at 08:47 am

Mostly painting this weekend - groceries came in at $122.19 - which is very consistent with previous two weeks. We did pay $55 for paint/rollers etc - not budgeted but it kept us busy - MIL's birthday today another $50 - but thanfully the meal out was cancelled. All of which means that we have enough food in the house, gas in the cars, and we are all healthy so we should make it to thursday when its pay day. dw has $20 in her purse - but main checking account is down to $6 - so if we do need money I'll have to go to savings - but I think we can make it to thursday as we are - nothing like a challenge.

Trees & Painting

January 19th, 2007 at 07:23 am

We are trying to get on top on the 1001 things that need to be done in the house, and we are planning on doing some painting this weekend - two rooms. And we also had some hedging put down last weekend - it looks good so far, but will take a few years to mature - I think the trees are arriving tomorrow as well. The ground might be too wet to put them in - but we can see tomorrow.

The trees and hedging will cause a big dent in my Savings B account - it will be about $2,000 when its all done, its unfortunate - but expected. The paint I'm trying to deal with from my checking account, and although not budgeted I think I can just about afford some paint - and of course it has the added bonus of keeping us busy so we won't be out spending this weekend - other than the paint. I'll do the grocery shop tonight - so if I can come in under $150 (Its been about $123 the last two weeks) I should be OK. Next Thursday is payday - so a bit of financial juggling to get there - but at least won't be using credit card - or debt card as I now call them.

I read an article - can't remember where - but they suggested you replace the words 'Credit', and 'Loan' - with the word 'Debt' anytime you hear it. Suddenly whatever is on offer doesn't sound that appealing, Instead of 'Credit Card' its 'Debt Card', instead of 'Need a loan quickly' its 'Need a debt quickly' - same thing but I can guarantee that the finance companies will never change.

One income

January 17th, 2007 at 08:25 am

With the possibility of one income I spent a bit of time playing with a spreadsheet to see how we would cope long term (at the moment we have some in income protection insurance coming in as my dw was laid off last Oct - but thats good for 12 months). I did my first draft of a 2008 plan with one income, and provided we save this year for the big yearly expenditures, insurances, taxes, services we should be OK I think if we stay on budget - and this year (so far) we are showing that we can stay on budget - possibly even under budget. I had a 'feeling' we could get by on one income - what I did today was to see would we still be able to save a bit as well - or would it all just pile up on top of itself in 2009 - It seems crazy to be talking about 2008 and 2009 now - but we are considering my dw staying out of work to mind the kids and I'm trying to see if we can really afford this or not. For the moment it gives us something to talk about at home - the joys of budget spreadsheets!!!

Got out

January 15th, 2007 at 08:48 am

We managed to book the babysitter last Saturday night and get out for a while, we said we try to use our babysitter more this year. Nice to get out and see a movie together. It was a good weekend, groceries were $122.92, and we got out in the fresh air a few times - all wrapped up - its very cold, but the sun broke through every now and again. Monday morning came way too fast - but I'm top of things at work pretty much - so I'm not stressed in work anymore. I think January might be my best month yet for budgeting/planning - but I have an insatiable desire to sort out finances once and for all - big expectations for 2007 so far so good.

More or less on budget to date

January 12th, 2007 at 03:32 am

I need to do the weeks grocery shopping tonight, I'm amazed at how much this month to date has stayed pretty much on budget. We discussed last night about the credit card debt, and our plan to pay it off. We are due a refund from educational assistance, our healthcare is due to give a partial refund from doctor and consultant visits last year, and we are owed some tax back from an overpayment last year also. It would be nice if these refunds could be used for savings but maybe next years refunds might go there. For the moment we are staying on track budget wise.

We also seem to be surviving the cold and flu season well, with no major complaints on the health front. You can't plan for illnesses, and what of course happens is because you can't plan for them, you don't plan for them, and then when it happens your plan is immediately thrown out of shape. I'm watchful for any surprises at the minute. I keep going back to last year spreadsheet and checking what expenses we had in January 2006 in case they repeat this month.

MIL birthday is at the end of the month, last year we went to a local restaurant and purchased present, this year I expect the same year - between the present and restaurant it was a about $150 last year, a little too expensive, but its a big family thing. I'm hoping to cut the cost this year. January is a recovery month following the turmoil of christmas, so anything that can reduce expenditure in January is most welcome. I'm hoping this year to lose a bit of weight, so maybe a cheap light salad at the restaurant might help as well

Planning

January 10th, 2007 at 05:25 am

When I wasn't paying attention and planning/budegting my finances pay days seem to just come and go - now days it seems a long wait until pay day comes round. I can depress myself when I think of the money that I let slip through my fingers in my 20's and early 30's - such is life I guess. Tomorrow is pay day, and I get to move some money around, pay a few bills, and move money to savings etc. Its the first pay day of 2007 as well. I've had no financial surprises this month so far - long may that continue, so I think the next two weeks will be key to staying on top of the budget for January. Today is certainly quiet so another 21 days like this and we will come in just under budget

No spend day

January 9th, 2007 at 06:29 am

Today is a no spend day - nothing in but good news is nothing out either. At work I can preload my id card with credit - we operate a cashless system at lunch time - so I was able to get breakfast and lunch - but it came off my card - I've been good this year and cut back on food I buy in work, but I know it would make more sense to make my own lunch and bring it in - but I just can't seem to make that jump - so the compromise is to cut back. Soda's are out, expensive water is out, chocolate is out, sweets are out. Basic breakfast, and lunch is the order of the day. I've definetly seen the money last a bit longer this week doing this.

The last few nights our ds has been waking between 4am and 6am most nights - it doesn't make it easy when it comes time to get up for work. Thankfully last night he slept through - and I feel much better for it, it is great when every one in the house gets sleep.

My dw has applied for a job as an accounts assistant in a nearby hotel - it would be fantastic if she got it - no news yet of her even getting an interview - but fingers crossed. We've prepared for her being out for a while, with the kids her job needs to be local, and flexible and this sounds like it might be right - so as these jobs don't show up too often, she decided to go for it now.

Under on Groceries

January 8th, 2007 at 06:16 am

Grocery bill at the weekend was $122.99, I was pleased with that as we had diapers, and washing powder on the list. I budget $150 every week for our groceries, most weeks we just come in below that, but I guess we still have some excess left since Christmas. Anyway its good to come under any time. We brought the kids to a local show yesterday, kids entertainment stuff, they had a ball, and my work offerred us half price tickets too. We finished up our day our in McDonalds - the kids had a blast.

I need to bring my mother (69) for a hospital appointment this thursday, its a bone density test. I think this is fairly routine, other than her under active thyroid which she takes medication for she is in good health - although I wish she would give up the cigarettes, but she has cut back considerably.

And to start the year off to a good start - we put our first set of savings $10 away for christmas 2007. It pays to start early - Hopefully we can keep this going every week through the year.

Back to normal?

January 3rd, 2007 at 03:34 am

Thankfully things seem be returning to normal, after the holidays. Still a bit of a shock to the system to be getting up early again, but I'm sure in a day or two I'll be used to it.

I did buy a new suit in the january sales - but when two shirts and two ties got added the total was a spend of $329.99 - but the Savings A account was put in place for this expense.

But overall it was a quiet christmas for us, the kids played with toys and only for new years on my sil's house we weren't out over the week. 2007 will be a busy year at work, and I have great hopes that it will be a great year financially for us.

Christmas feeling

December 22nd, 2006 at 04:12 am

I have that 'happy Christmas feeling' today, even the bank applying the quarterly interest of $2,415 to my mortgage account hasn't got me down - (I knew it was coming) interest is accrued daily and applied quarterly. I tend to take a complete break from any computer related equipment over the Christmas, so I'll be back in 2007. Until then...

Have a safe and happy Christmas, and wishing you all a most prosperous 2007.

Just Ramblings

December 21st, 2006 at 01:55 am

Its thursday, and every thursday I move $20 to Savings A account so that is up at $560, not huge, but considering its just $20 a week building this up I like watching it grow. And my dw will make a payment off the personal loan later today, and add $25 to our Savings C account.

We had some problem this morning with a heating pump not working so I had to call the plumber who can call today at 16:00 so hopefully that won't cost too much. But this time of year heating is a must. The heating is zoned, upstairs is working, but only half the radiators down stairs are working, we had a similar problem at the start of the winter, but the pump had just become stuck then, he may replace it now $$

In work today we have our christmas lunch, normally a good spread, and they do a draw for some prizes, top prize this year is a 32" LCD TV (fingers crossed - wouldn't that be nice) - but I don't have much luck on draws.

Really looking forward to christmas holidays now, I'll finish tomorrow, and I'm back to work on the 2nd Jan. We are staying
at home again this year, we had my sister in law's family last year, but this year it will be just the four of us. Hopefully the antibiotics will have kicked in and cleared what infections my dw and ds have at the moment, but they are sounding better already.

We must clear the recycling corner at home as well before all the extra packaging arrives for Christmas - it does get out of hand this time of year.

My dd attends dance classes every Thursday afternoon during the school term, she really enjoys it, dances are to usually to disney songs, so whats not to like I guess. Anyway they have their christmas concert tonight so I'm looking forward to that. We have a neigbour sitting with our ds while we are at it, normally its a bit later when we go out and he would be a sleep, so hopefully he won't act up tonight for her, we'll be using every distracting technique in the book the get out the door.

The plan

December 20th, 2006 at 04:43 am

Reviewing my budget for 2007, between retirement fund, saving stamps, the three savings accounts, and the investment account I will be saving $960 a month.

I was hoping to increase the % that I pay into the retirement fund in 2007 but that was before my dw was laid off, I'm in my current job three years now, and they have a non contributory defined benefit pension plan, as well as a defined contribution plan which they give a 2% match on, so I doing enough to get the 2% match but was hoping to increase the % but I'll wait until we have more certainty before I do that, I feel very lucky to have joined the defined benefit plan, but I was used to paying 5% in a previous job to get their 5% match, and would like to get back to at least 5% again even if I'm only getting a 2% match.

The saving stamps is something my dw enjoys - I would prefer to put the money we spend on saving stamps into a high interest savings account but dw enjoys the saving stamp process and takes comfort in the fact that the money won't be spent on something else, the grocery store offers a free stamp per book if the book is redeemed in the month of December so that works out at 2% interest, so to keep the equilibrium stable at home, we'll do saving stamps in 2007 again. We typically do $20 a week in stamps.

The three savings account are online savings accounts and as I get paid biweekly I put $20 every pay packet into Savings A this has built up nicely since June 06 when I started it, but as my sister in law is getting married in June 07, it should afford me a new suit, my dw a new dress, and we will probably give a cash present to them both, so what will be left in Savings A by the end of June will be interesting. Savings B has the remains of what severance money my dw got, and Savings C gets $25 every two weeks it is our old emergency fund, but has become my car fund.

We are also getting a $430 monthly cheque on an income protection policy we had on my dw, this is currently going in to clear the credit cards but as soon as they are at zero, that cheque will be lodged to the Savings C account which I have earmarked to change my car in a year or two. We already changed my dw car in 2006 from what severance money she got when she was laid off, but we currently have 2 cars and no loans on them which is good.

The investment account is currently getting $250/month, and as our emergency fund is low, I will use this money in another few months to build up the emergency fund, and pay for our summer holiday to France, and we have some home improvement jobs to complete as well in 2007.

I won't hear my performance percentage increase until March 07, the last two years I have been pleased with the increase, lets hope I will be again this year!!!

Overall the plan is in place for 2007, but I know you can't plan for life and the curve balls it can throw at you from time to time so I expect an interesting journey, but hope I can stick to my budget/plan and achieve some of my goals that Iíve set for the year.

Year to date

December 19th, 2006 at 08:50 am

2006 was the first year I paid serious attention to our personal finances, you might say it was my new years resolution for 2006 and I stuck at it for the year. I'm hoping to improve on what has been done in 2006 in 2007.

But 2007 has its own challenges as my dw recently was laid off when the company she worked for closed, and with two kids we are trying to find a suitable replacement but looking for part time/flexible hours within a short drive of our home will probably require a lot of luck, for the moment my dw is attending some night classes and getting up skilled so time will tell what happens next for her.

The weather is just horrid, and my dw and ds are at the doctor today ds has a throat infection, and both dw a chest infection - more antibiotics I guess, but hopefully it will see us right for christmas.

Looking forward to christmas at this stage, I do hate the whole getting presents sorted we seem to have so many people to buy for, and try as I might there doesn't seem to be any way to reduce the list. But at least this year we wrapped up last sunday, and have no more presents to buy this year. We did save this year for christmas so it didn't have the wipe-out effect on our finances as it does every other year - although next year I think we'll have to save more for it.

The only other big expense thats coming up - and i'm afraid our emergency fund is going to get hit for it - is that we are getting some trees and hedging put down - we moved into our house in Jan 2005 and we are now at the tree and hedge stage. But it will be Jan 07 before that work gets complete.

Day 1

December 19th, 2006 at 04:38 am

A quick entry today as it took me longer than I thought to get my stats together, but I'm glad I did now.

I've been browsing for a while and reading a lot of the blogs, and I thought I would get my ramblings in one place and become more active around here.

Thanks for all the interesting blogs that are going here.