Maths Nerd applied to Euro trip 2019 – the cost of my month travelling Europe

I could do endless posts on photos of my month in Europe. But instead, I want to publish my costs. We all have our things… when I’m feeling uncertain or bored; or when I’m looking for a fun project, I often come back to the barre spreadsheet (I’m only a ballet dancer in my head).

All mine in Santorini

So since the start of 2018, I’ve been tracking daily expenses in a ASIC app. It was likely a strategy to get more comfortable with contracting, potentially changing jobs and salary etc etc. So when I was in Europe in May this year, I continued the habit but in a spreadsheet to manage different currencies.

Cute huts that slept two for my overnight tour to Plitvice Lakes National Park

Let me lay it out – who knows, someone might find it helpful?

Total nights away: 31 (hyperlinks to where I stayed, I don’t earn anything for the recommendations)

LocationTypeNightsCost per nightTotal cost
Santorini, GreeceVilla4252.5 Euro1010 Euro
Budapest, HungaryHostel (3) & AirBnB4AU$ 46.74AU$186.96
Naples, ItalyAirBnB6AU$82.5AU$495
Dubrovnik, CroatiaHostel125.20 Euro 25.20 Euro
Makarska, CroatiaAirBnB149 Euro49 Euro
Split, CroatiaHostel2100 HRK200 HRK
transit nights2
Windsor, EnglandBrother’s400
Llundudno, WalesHotel – 2 rooms2169.42 GBP 338.85 GBP
Heidelberg, GermanyFriend’s200
Paris, FranceAirBnB3AU$138.25AU$414.76
TOTALAU$3244.99
AVG of paid nights AU$153 AVG of allAU$111.9
Budapest hostel – my original bed. I opted for a change – upper bunk with a curtain and storage box at the foot of the bed. Perhaps a mistake, given I got bed bugs

As you can see I move around the types of accommodation, both for an budget perspective but also a socialisation side. I am so pleased I went extra luxe in Santorini – not that I know what cheap options existed! I ended up arriving at 4am off a long ferry trip, and left at 6am on another morning. So it was nice to have somewhere entirely to myself – not worry about waking anyone. I had breakfast delivered three mornings, so tasty and healthy. I only moved locations in Budapest due to bed bug bites – so I found an AirBnB near the airport as I had an early flight.

Back to privacy in my AirBnB in Naples with ensuite bathroom.

My accommodation costs are on par with my transport costs, which included a flight from Sydney to Athens via Singapore, and departing from Paris. One leg of the four was on Scoot which is a budget carrier.

WhatHowCost (AUD)
Sydney to Athens/
Paris to Sydney
Flight$1374.25
Athens to SantoriniFerry$62.67
Santorini to BudapestFlight$192.84
Budapest to NaplesFlight$212
Naples to BariCoach$18
Bari to DubrovnikFerry$269
Dubrovnik to MakarskaCoach$22.37
Busabout overnight tourCoach$289
Split to Frankfurt flight cancelledFlight$217.23
Split to Luton*Flight$156.19
Heathrow to Frankfurt*Flight$321.99
Frankfurt to HeathrowFlight$178.30
London to ParisTrain$155.22
TOTAL$3,469.06
No wonder I paid SO MUCH, my overnight ferry room was four berths!!

I passed customs and immigration for my Split to Frankfurt flight, and THEN it was cancelled. I wasn’t keen to wait endlessly in a long line for alternative arrangements, so booked a flight to London, knowing I could crash with my brother. It did then cost a considerable amount more to resume the planned itinerary from Frankfurt. I had a friend who I love dearly who lives in Heidelberg, near Frankfurt. And she’s on maternity leave, whereas my brother and his GF were at work. It also costs a LOT to fly out of Heathrow; but it’s the closest airport to my brother. I do expect to get the costs of the cancelled flight reimbursed, and given accommodation was free in both locations, I’m not too fussed.

Hostel in Dubrovnik – only one in a HUGE four bedded dorm in a tiny hostel.

What did I spend eating and taking tours and local transport?

CountryTotal spent AU$NightsAverage cost per day
Greece$430.874$107.70
Hungary$395.834$79.17
Italy$819.166$136.50
Croatia$600.435*$120
England/Wales$504.326$84.05
Germany??2??
France$330.943$110.31
DAILY AVERAGE$ 102.23 TOTAL$ 3,169.21

*technically 6, one night was on a ferry between Italy and Croatia

In England, I ate from my brother’s pantry and occasionally paid for meals for the three of us. We took turns. In Germany, I am spoilt rotten by my friend, and we largely eat at home for two out of three meals. I did buy two pair of shoes, and paid for some incidentals when my friend was distracted by her darling daughter! But my tracking lapsed!

A legit single room in Wales
My brother and his GF got a double room, and this was their view. I was on the other side of the building – the wind turbines were AMAZING

So the total costs:

Accomodation + Transport + Spending =

3,244.99 + 3,469.06 + 3,169.21 = $9,883.26

Undoubtedly, I could have eaten less (my waist band tells me that!). Places like Wales and Greece, I certainly could have stayed in cheaper places. And I flew a lot of places, whereas with a better coordinated itinerary, I might have used less fuel intense travel options. I did find much of my scattered travelling came about as the planned routes or flights weren’t running as it wasn’t yet ‘high season’ of summer. Live and learn.

Ah Parisian roof tops, be still my heart

Interestingly, I don’t set budgets for holidays, but just try to do things as I usually would – the occasional splurge but usually toe a restrained line. I did noticed in late 2018, my annual budget had a $6,000 line item for travel :/ And that would include interstate travel for weddings or other family events. So yeah, I was a little off the mark there!!

Do you budget for holidays? How do you work out how much to set as a limit – is it based on your savings, or on what others advise a destination costs?

Dave Ramsey made me wanna

So, for reasons I can no longer recall, I started to follow David Ramsey for Australians on Facebook.  I have a history of reading personal finance blogs, and whilst they often drive me insane (the content is very repetitive, and they all want to monetise… And a little ranty). This is how I’ve come to know the bible belt financial gospel guru.  Aside from books, he also has a podcast.  I do not listen to it.

I know the basics – there’s baby steps, and they are pretty darn simple and logical to me, a daugher of a banker

  1. Save a $1000 emergency fund
  2. Pay off consumer debts, start with the smallest debt and work through them.  AKA Debt snowball
  3. Save for (three to) six months of expenses
  4. Pay into your retirement fund at 15% of income
  5. Save for your children’s education
  6. PAY OFF YOUR MORTGAGE
  7. Spend/donate etc

That’s from memory… If I got it wrong, I’m not too fussed.  My post is about what reading all these posts have made me wonder…

How long would it take me to pay off my mortgage?

I kept turning the idea over in my head, and couldn’t work it out.  So I broke it down.

First I’d get my offset account to “fully paid up”.  For long term readers, you might recall that I go to this point with a previous lender.  I am onto my third lender – each time the fixed term component ‘matures’ I review the market and go for the lowest interest rate.  Cause..  loyalty gets you no where.  So I started with

  • ANZ (2 years, all fixed), then went to started in Dec 2011
  • Bankwest (3 years, 20% variable with offset, 80% fixed), and now I’m with
  • ING (2 years, 40% variable, 60% fixed) started in Jan 2017

When I looked at my regular ‘inputs’ to my offset account, I could work out roughly what goes in monthly, less what goes out monthly (namely, moving money out of offset to the two mortgage components), and a quarterly strata bill.  I did a calculation and found out I could do it 10 months.  Which was pretty darn close.  And then… I received an inheritance, quite unexpectedly (and I never count those sorts of things). And now I’m close to 6 months. (And I don’t plan to put all the inheritance onto the mortgage, I plan to purchase two ‘big ticket’ items which I see as heirlooms  – one is a gorgeous desk and the other is getting a ring made.  Cause… a paid of mortgage is great, but the two items will hold memories, and were things I was saving for before this unexpected windfall).  Let’s call that out – it would be January 2018! Wow.  By my birthday!

My place is NOT this pretty

And then, I looked what would happen if the same monthly amount *could* go onto the fixed mortgage month on month, knowing it can’t due to stupid rules.  That’s not the point – the point was to motivate myself with the timeline of when I could have it ALL paid off – and the answer was, that amount would take 2 years and seven months.   I was gobsmacked it was such a small duration of time.  You ‘buy’ 25 and 30 year mortgages!  And I’m talking about August 2020.

Of course, I don’t have a step 5 to fund of Dave Ramsey’s plan.  (And I’m at 12.5% +$50p/w on my retirement). And I’m at prime child rearing age, so I’d happily have this plan hijacked by having kids.  But each month I’m not pregnant (ha! I’m single!) is a month I could shoehorn some money into that mortgage and get closer to that end goal of NO MORTGAGE!

I dream of a garden like this (via)

Oh, and 2020 is a much mentioned year where I work.  Because politician Fred Nile got it written into law that if our company was sold (aka long term leased) there could be NO job reductions until 2020.  Well… provided there wasn’t an agreed forced redundancy policy introduced – and you can be sure our strong union will die fighting a forced redundancy policy.  But there’s this concept of job guarantees (when we have 3,570 employees, and Treasury did also say that could be certain types of contractors) until 2020.  And… well… No one knows where we are at relative to that magic 3,570.  To me, it doesn’t matter.  Working hard is what matters.  Take it a day at a time.  That being said, so many people say ‘well we won’t have jobs in 2020’.  I cannot think that far in front of me, there’s enough going on RIGHT NOW.  But, that some mythical 2020 is when I could have a mortgage paid off.  Imagine… I could be someone who takes in rent from my tenants (ha) and due to the rent differential, could live on the spoils.  Ha! It’s not a plan I conceive actually happening, but it’s fun to imagine!

Now every time the doom and gloom mongers say ‘2020’ I will think about having no mortgage.  What fun!

Feel free to check in, in a few months.  Who knows, I might get seduced by international travel, and adjust this back a month or two… Let’s see.

Post Euro trip expenses

For my recent trip, I had a spreadsheet running in advance of departure, and it had pre trip expenditure.  As my trip unfolded, I was curious to see how my spending went, and so added things to the spreadsheet.

Glacial lagoon

I prepaid all my tours in Iceland, with Extreme Iceland, which was

The above cost just shy of 90,000ISK which converted to about $1,100 AUD.  I would say it was money incredibly well spent, if not a little pricey when I was paying.  For every tour, I had door to door transfers/collections in great vehicles with wifi. I really couldn’t have asked for much more.  Meals weren’t included, but many stops were provided and advice (ie buy now, pricier or less choice later).  When I combine the Iceland activities to the other holiday activities, such as the tulip gardens entry fee as well as the entry to Oradour-sur-Glane,  activities end up being 17% of the money spent.

Little twingo – my first car hiring experience solo

Travel costs include the flights to Europe, which were the cheapest I have ever seen them at $1,300 return.  They was Sydney > Doha > Amsterdam then Paris > Doha > Sydney in May.  As I mentioned in another post, I took the opportunity to upgrade the Doha > Sydney leg, and even still, the total flight cost was below what I have come to expect for this journey.  When I include the costs of two days of car hire, tolls and petrol, as well as a few ICE/TGV trains in Germany and France, my total for travel comes in at 50% of my costs.

Chic Icelandic hostel

Accommodation varied between countries

  • Netherlands: AirBnB  ~$75 per night
  • Iceland: Hostels ~$70 per night
  • Germany: AirBnB ~$70 per night
  • France: chain budget hotels & private room in hostel ~$85/$55

Without this blog, I’d not have noticed that I cam in around $70-75 AUD most nights.  I can say that my AirBnB experiences were all great! The locations were wonderful, the hosts helpful and in most cases, breakfast happened to be covered, which I LOVE!  The last night in Paris was in a hostel that I knew well and was well located for an early departure.  I’m sad I missed their breakfast, as it’s worth every cent.  Accommodation came in at 15% of my spend.

Then one has two cheeses with two meats in a square pizza

All that’s left is cash purchases and meals, and for what I can itemise and best guess, feeding myself was 13% of costs.  That leaves only about 5% either unaccounted for or not in these broad categories.

I didn’t set a budget for this holiday, so I can’t comment on how my spend compared to that!  What I can say is that I think I am content with what I spent, for what I saw and experienced.  What I’ve really noticed is the shift away from ‘shopping’ styled holidays, where I replenish my wardrobe with stores that aren’t in Australia, to a greater focus on seeing the things I’ve longed to see.  This also helps with luggage and transit 🙂

A new car…

I’ve never owned a car outright, as long time readers might recall from this post. That’s all about to change!

I have decided at the ripe old age of 31, that it’s time to buy my very own car.  It due to some frustrations by the limitations of work’s car – I can only drive it to and from work, and for work.  So it limited the flexibility to do things ‘on the way home’.  And playing and training for water polo is a little tricky! I used to have a team mate live locally, but no longer.  So car pooling is out.

I started with a budget, of course.  Then I knew I wanted some convenient features – being reversing sensors and steerin gcontrols for the radio, and hopefully Bluetooth connectivity for mobile phone calls.  OH, and I realised I forgot to say – I was only going to buy a used car.

Initially I thought about a hatchback.  They are very adaptable to large bootloads of Ikea furniture – I know from all my years sharing a Hyundai Accent.  Dad and I went to, coincidently a home I’d inspected when it was for sale, to inspect a BMW 118i.  It was priced high for what it offered in terms of kms and age.  I offered a fair price, but the sellers were successful in getting their asking price.  I can’t fault them on that!

via
via

However, after looking at the profile of many of the possible hatchback options, I didn’t like the profile.  I didn’t love the car I inspected.  I just felt… ho hum.  It’s pathetic, but then, there’s so much choice in the car market, I figured I would be better to buy something I loved!  I’d always liked the rear profile of an Audi A4.

So this past weekend, I planned to inspect a few A4s, and encouraged by my parents, I put in an offer.  There was some back and forth, but I’ve now put down a holding deposit on a silvery blue 2009 Audi A4, which is coincidentally diesel.  The car I drive currently, the Hyundai i30, is a diesel, and I have no issues or concerns with it.  I have paid a holding deposit, and the coming weekend will be an independent inspection.  Part of me is steeling myself for ‘bad’ news, given the car is 110,000km under it’s belt.  But better to know what I’m putting my money into, now and into the future.

via
via

I’ll be the first to admit – I’m mildly terrified.  It’s a HUGE lump sum payment.  It’s like buying property.  It’s ultimately easier to damage badly, at least I think so! Although, I keep recalling, it’s JUST a car – I can just as easily sell it if it doesn’t work how I’d hoped.  And if I realise I went too big, or it’s too hard to park, or uses too much petrol, I’ll at least have tried and failed at the car I’ve long admired.  You can only learn through failure.  I much prefer that idea to the idea of always wishing I’d got what I ‘really wanted’

It’s hard to imagine the flexibility and freedom a car will provide me.  At any time, I can go anywhere.  In any weather.  I look forward to having the open road, and suburbs, and choices open in front of me!

2014 goals review

Reviewing my 2014 goals:

Fun – 12 in 2 list

For 2014, I’ll do the following (some of which I did earmark to do in 2013, but it didn’t happen):

  1. Silent retreat -didn’t happen, but I did research options to do something in San Fran whilst on Holidays
  2. Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb I got a voucher as a birthday gift in January 2014!!!
  3. Go jet skiing (done over the Christmas holidays, thanks to the BF!)
  4. Learn to surf: 2015 thanks to a generous gift from my BF!
  5. Dinner at Aria: planned for early February
  6. Read the new testament bible Done in September
  7. Run a half marathon
  8. Plan and prepay my funeral – cough cough, not so fun, didn’t happen, but the cash is there?
  9. Zorbing (a weekend away at the Gold Coast)  The place went out of business…

The other 3?  Well my friend stopped living in NZ, so that was scraped.  One was a dinner at a fancy restaurant, which I did for my birthday in 2013. The third was a knife skills course which I did in 2013

Health – monthly challenges

These were a wash! I started out strong, but then it all went bust!

Jan: Stair challenge start, progress, end

Feb: Drink 3L water per day: start

Mar: Squats and abandoned 🙁
Apr: Push up challenge – increase the number everyday fail
May: Morning stretching/yoga fail – though some attempts made
Jun: Planking challenge fail
Jul: Mental health: daily act of kindness fail
Aug: Mental health: daily gratitude journal fail – though attempts made
Sept: 1 internet free day per week fail
Oct: Ocsober fail
Nov: Coffee free challenge fail
Dec: +1 walking fail

Interestingly, I did have a week or two when I woke to do yoga before work? So that was something.  But generally my coffee intake increased.

Financial goals

I prefer my fingernails bare, but this is amazing, and just like Aussie money source: http://www.morenailpolish.com/2013/01/aussie-nails-show-me-money.html
I prefer my fingernails bare, but this is amazing, and just like Aussie money
source: http://www.morenailpolish.com/2013/01/aussie-nails-show-me-money.html

This is one category I always kick a** at!  So, for 2014, I will:

1. Save $20,000 in my mortgage offset account (in addition to the starting balance) as of mid Septmber, met this, and by the end of the year exceeded it by $8k!

2. Save $200 a week in for holidays yep, it’s all automated, but now bundled into goal 1 so it’s all in one place

3. Save $10 $20 a week for my ‘one day’ dream of a first class holiday to Paris and NYC (First class flights and accommodation).  I plan to spend 20 years saving slowly for this one. $20 per week, cause why not!

4. Save $100 a week for ‘charity’ which I will also withdraw from when I do support fundraising etc. automated too my friend! But kept separate from the pot in goal 1. $20 automatically goes to Church, from this $100.

 

Social

Plan a dinner party or similar once a quarter. Passed

1. Started with a pizza night for water polo girls in Jan 🙂 Easy and fun.

2. Excess cheese? Informal wine and cheese Sunday arvo.

3. Another polo dinner of Nachoes.  

4. Halloween party hosted at a friends home but catered by both of us.

Inspiration for the zen I'll try to create source: www.sheknows.com
Inspiration for the zen I’ll try to create
source: www.sheknows.com

Email my brother at least weekly whilst he’s in South America (until Sept 2014) so so – not 100% success rate on the stated frequency, but we stayed in contact.

Career

Ekk, seeing I didn’t submit my 16 x 700 words long episode reports in 2013, this goal will role over.

I will also start to think more (again) about the next step in my career. Whilst I wasn’t thinking about it, someone was, and I’ve been acting in a promotion of a role for a few months.  And I’ll apply for the position when it’s advertised

Keeping it Creative

I’ve realised that I like to create things, like my gingerbread house, or the candy cane wreath.  I really enjoy mending clothes, or sewing.  I even made a map of the world with stamps!  So I’m going to try and do more of these sorts of things.  One crafty thing per month.  Pinterest and blogs will guide me, I hope.

I’ve covered my router with a hard cover book; made earphone holders out of old plastic cards; cross stitched a baby’s blanket.  Then for Christmas, I made another gingerbread house (and a trifle, but that’s less crafty!).  I also made bunting and decorated jars for my upcoming 30th and did another baby’s blanket!

Overall, I think I did well on most of my goals.  I really let myself down in the health department, despite doing a three month healthy eating and exercising plan which I paid for.  I lost and gained roughly the same amount of weight, which puts me back where I was.  Again, I’m trying to be healthier since Christmas day, and have cut out almost all sugar.  That being said, I’ve still had juice and soft drink and the occasional taste of sweet things.  But I have tried to eat less than I was in the later months of 2014.

How’d you go with your 2014 goals? Feel free to link to your posts!

Goals Update – September

To be honest, usually I spend the month editting and drafting my monthly goal update post.  Not this month! So, there’ll be no list of my meals.  And everything feels a bit sketchy!

For new readers, every month, I like to check in with the ‘New years goals‘ I set.  It’s a regular reminder of what I’d like to be doing!

Financial

Save $20k $26k cash by 22 Dec (for when I get a mortgage offset account): stalled
August: $21,140.13
September: $21,020.20 (-$120)

Such a nice looking number, but sadly not on target for my stretch $26k goal.  Thanks to… booking a holiday to Vietnam with the BF!

12 in 2 Adventures savings fund: hahaha what? nope
July: $749.93 (how’d that go down?)
August: $1.72 (-$748,21)
September: $1.73 (+$0.01) Oh for interest!

Grocery spend: improved from August’s HUGE spend

I’m loathed to share figures, as Australia’s costs vs other countries and readers might be misinterpreted.  Let’s just say, it’s a little more than double my ‘usual’ spend when I lived alone.  I’m happy with that.  22% is on meat, 13% on dairy (we eat so much cheese!).  I’m pleased that fruit and vege % spend are up on last month.  I’ve got a piece of fruit a day as a snack (banana or apple), plus frozen berries on my porridge.  Vegies aren’t so simply integrated, yet.

Volunteering hours: alright (poorly remembered though!)

Sat 13th: 4hrs doing church flowers

Health

Cook at home twice a weekAchieved! 

The BF and I have a great ‘menu’ for every week, which helps the ‘I don’t know, what do you want’ conversations.  I’ll get a few more photos together, and then I’ll share it with you.

Sugar: Totally not on my radar

Although, after our housewarming this weekend (I’ll bake a number of treats), I’m pledged to try and join Lucinda Sans in her first mention of the Droptober challenge to eat less sweets.  Here’s the rules she published.

Train for polo – Training to run a half marathon:  inconsistent, but some running

Actually, the summer water polo season is starting, so far I’ve not been to training, due to a cold, then my lift/carpool hurting her toe, and the next week being out of town.

However, on the running front, I did a 9km organised run, and I’ve signed up for the Neon run in October (5km) and the Color Run in February (5km).  This past week, which is technically October, I’ve run twice, though quite short distances, and once the week before.

Cultural

2 films a month: wow, another month with no cinema visits

2 books a monthachieved

I read World War Z (remember I saw the film earlier this year?)  The book was totally different, as commenters warned me.  I enjoyed the book, but it took me a while to get through it.

Then I read Plastic Free, by Beth Terry which I reviewed earlier this week.  I really enjoyed it!

I’m in the middle of Mr Know-it-all by A.J. Jacobs.  I read his book about reading the bible and living it literally, and was reminded of this book of his thanks to Lucinda’s review.

Social

Call/connect with an out of town friend: Did wonderfully

I had a friend from Orange come to town, and we met for a hot chocolate.  Another friend stayed two nights in our guest room when she came to Sydney for a wedding (I’d seen her a few weeks ago in Melbourne!).  A very dear friend in Brisbane has been great at encouraging me via Facebook, so I feel closer there, and another friend who used to live in Sydney and moved to Alice Springs, and then to the UK, we had a great chat on Facebook the other evening.  We couldn’t believe it was three years almost to the day, that I’d visited her in Alice!

Career

Certification: last edits needed, then submit them in October

All my episode reports are written, and long enough.  My external mentor has reviewed them all, and now I need to make some improvements and submit them!  I hope to have them submitted by the end of October.

Sorry there wasn’t any photos… How are your new year’s resolutions progressing?

Goals Update – August

Every month, I like to check in with the ‘New years goals‘ I set.  I’m getting a little rusty on updating some of my reporting (like meals and volunteering), but if nothing else, it’s a regular reminder of what I’d like to be doing!

Financial

Save $20k $26k cash by 22 Dec (for when I get a mortgage offset account)nicely replenished with a tax return
July: $18,035.56
August: $21,140.13 (+3,104.57)

12 in 2 Adventures savings fund: something had to give in the month of rent + mortgage
July: $749.93 (how’d that go down?)
August: $1.72 (-$748,21)

Grocery spend: increase achieved

That’s a blog post in and of itself – probably on Monday.  Let’s just say it’s more than doubled, and we’re shocked!

Volunteering hours: alright (poorly remembered though!)

Sat 3rd: 4hrs doing church flowers

Sun 4th: 1 hr doing Sunday School

I’m sure there’s heaps more – bad at tracking!!

Ah that's right - I did church flowers this month!
Ah that’s right – I did church flowers this month!

Health

Cook at home twice a weekAchieved! Since no eating out month (and the BF being around all the time), I’m much better at eating hearty, homecooked meals!

Items in bold were cooked at home from scratch

(Thu)
Dumplings out (Fri)
Apple sauce (sick) (Sat)
Domino’s pizza (Sun)

week 1 –
Soup and garlic bread (Mon)
Mac & cheese (Tue)
Leftover Mac & cheese (Wed)
Nothing – feeling bloated (Thu)
Cauliflower risotto – as in no rice!(Fri)
Mum’s birthday dinner (Sat)
Roast lamb (Sun)

week 2 –
Quesadillas (Mon)
Out for a 30th (Tue)
Pizza Risotto (Wed)
Omelette (Thu)
Leftovers?! (Fri)
Thai out for another 30th (Sat)
Roast beef (Sun)

One of the most vibrant things I've seen whilst on site!
One of the most vibrant things I’ve seen whilst on site!

Week 3 –
Cornbread, with pork mince with homemade taco spice (Mon)
Macaroni with anchovies and bacon (Tue)
Leftovers (Wed)
Crust Pizzas out(Thu)
Schnitzel/grilled chicken & chips <- ready made (Fri)
Beef sliders (even using left over cabbage!) (Sat)
Pulled pork nachos with Mexican beans (Sun)

week 4 –
Macaroni & Cheese (Mon)
?? (Tue)
Red Rooster (Wed)
Mexican out (Thu)
Gnochhi, then Nutella pizza (out) (Fri)
Risotto (Sat)
Dinner at parents for Father’s Day (Sun)

The boyfriend has taken the lion’s share with cooking.  He doesn’t need recipes, it’s tasty and it’s about 1/3 to 1/10th of the time it takes me.  I enjoy weekend prepping ‘weird’ hand and home made meals (like gnocchi).

Sugar:

What? Surely I didn’t think I’d stop eating sugar.  I have a killer caramel cheesecake recipe, remember! With a gluten free gingernut biscuit bases… mmmm.  And then… there was a lemon meringue pie for the greater good of the family.

Made this for the big family dinner for Mum's birthday.  She got a coconut and date mousse (as it was sugar free)
Made this for the big family dinner for Mum’s birthday. She got a coconut and date mousse (as it was sugar free)

Train for polo – Training to run a half marathon:  sort of – good weeks and bad

Stopped for a week after I got some bad shin splints!  So I just bought some new shoes to (hopefully) help.  Thankfully I googled for a outlet, and shaved $70! (!!!!) off the price by buying the old style.

Cultural

2 films a month: still  none!?

2 books a month: achieved

I finished Zero Waste Home and I will add to my blogger friend’s review.  I’m likely to be a little harsher, I looked very intently on all that was said :p  I did read something else, but hmmm not sure what.  Maybe there wasn’t

Social

Call/connect with an out of town friend: YEP!

Thanks to a Melbourne trip I caught up with a friend!

Career

Certification: oh so close…

 Oh so close – I have the 150 hours (over the past three years), and I have one episode report that’s too long (a mash up of two ‘episodes’ and totally disjointed) and one that’s too short AND makes no sense… I have no idea what I was trying to write/say!

Goals Update – July

Every month, I like to check in with the ‘New years goals‘ I set.

Financial

$20k $26k target by 22 Decah, maybe this will need to be adjusted again with the move.  I’ll leave it for now, and see how things settke
June: $17,938.69
July: $18,035.56 (+$96.87 thanks to moving costs :()

12 in 2 Adventures: failed: not done any adventures, working on the two long term ones, and no adding to savings
June: $898.81
July: $749.93 (how’d that go down?)

Grocery spend

I thought I’d add a quick update, seeing my July challenge was no eating out, I figured my grocery spend would go up.  It hasn’t, it’s about the same.  Although, I probably ate at the bf’s more this month, so that might be why?

Volunteering hours
Tue 2nd: 4.25hrs at the co-op
Sun 7: 1hr at church
Sun 14: 2hrs at church

Health

Cook at home twice a weekdefinitely achieved with my ‘no eating out’ month, but records are patchy!

week 1 –
Leek tart(Mon)
Coop food provided (Tue)
Wedding meal (Sat)
no more records?

week 2 –
no record for the rest of this week, except:
Multi course birthday dinner (Sat)
Chinese roast beef with vegies (Sun)

week 3 –
Another forgetful week!
Dinner @ parents (Sat)
Pizzas (ready made from grocery store) (Sun)

week 4 –
Gnocchi with tomatoes (Mon)
Sweet potato chips (Tue)
Fried Rice (Wed)
Sushi (Thu) <- yes bought out
snacks/leftovers (Fri)
Macaroni & cheese (Sat)
Spaghetti bolognese (Sun)

Week 5
Quesadillas (Mon)
Leftovers from Mon (Tue)
Beef with rice noodles (Wed)

Sugar – so so, not commited like I have been, but not entirely a free for all
It started well, but ended poorly, with lots of cakes at work, including me trying a gluten free sponge recipe, making a GF chocolate cake, using a packet mix for brownies (just to use it up). I also made a vegan cheesecake with dates and a touch of sugar. Then I also ate dessert at the fancy friend’s b’day dinner, and we bought ice creams in the past week. Sigh!

Train for polo – Training to run a half marathon: just platueaing! Something I want to achievely work on once I’m settle in my new home
2nd – couldn’t run 3kms to Co-op, so mainly walked with some jogging stints
9th – home to co-op, 2.93kms with some running
12th – 1.23km walk to the bf’s work
13th – 2.83km jog with hills around the bfs, with running
15th – 4.8km run back from dancing, some walking
22nd – 4.4km est, home to pole dancing, more walking than running
23rd – 4.3km mostly walking to/from hair dresser
29th – 1.53km jog/walk to appt

Cultural

2 films a month: failed (though did see two DVDs)
I can hardly believe I’ve not seen a movie in a cinema in a month – that is SO unlike me. I did mention to the BF that perhaps we could see something last night. I did watch two DVDs recently, one based on the IRA (slow burner, not really recommended). The other one was called The Factory and was better than I expected – it stars John Cusack and Jennifer Carpenter (from Dexter), and follows serial abductions of prostitutes, until John Cusack’s daughter also get abducted. There’s an awesome twist too!

2 books a month: achieved
I read Bottlemania, which you can read the review of here. Other than that, I finished The Heart Broke In by James Meek, and here’s my review (gosh that seems like a long time ago I read that!). Lastly, I’ve started on a book about called Nice Girl by R.j. Chin about Keli Lane. Keli Lane has been convicted of murder of her second child, who disappeared after an informal adoption. This is one of three children she had in secret, the other two being formally adopted. Her fourth child lives with her. This story is compelling to me, because… Keli was my boss at the school she was employed at during the years much of this drama happened! She was an Olympic water polo hopeful, and recruited me as a casual coach at her school. She left suddenly during my time working at the school. Based on the half of the book I’ve read, most people who knew her, myself included, do not believe she killed her baby. I think it’s rotten you can be convicted of murder when there’s no proof of murder. I’m sure there’s crimes committed, but murder is certainly not one of them! Here’s some more background in wikipedia

Social

Call/connect with an out of town friend: achieved
YES! A friend I made in Paris, who at the time lived in Wollongong, has been in Sydney since Feb. So I finally had her around for a cuppa, before moving out of my place. I also spoke to a number of school friends with the bad news of a friend’s death. Lastly, I semi spammed my nearest and dearest (but not local) with the link to my new house, so they could ooo and ahhh… So all round, a great month on social connections.

Career

Certification: minimal progress

Seriously, other than three hours spent at talks for continuing professional development (I need 150 hours).  I booked into a pricey course to get another 16 hours.  I’ve also been meeting with both my mentors, I’ve really not moved forward with this one as much as I could have. I need to set some time to get onto this and get it DONE!

Looking for next roleachieved, will remove from goals list

I’m in the new role, and I’m swamped. Let’s say I was under utilised in the last role, and now I hardly can think straight! But I love being busy, just perhaps not at the same time as moving house!!

July Challenge: No eating out

Although it’s not the true end of the month, I thought I would check in with my experience of my self imposed challenge not to eat out for a month!

1. I was innovative, with packing everything for a two day road trip. So I know I can be ‘frugal’ and skip eating out. (I will summarise grocery costs at the true end of the month, and see if there’s been a noticeable increase, and probably update this post with more info).

2. I did cheat. There were a handful of take away coffees (some even in single use take away cups!). There was one breach in the first weekend, and then two breaches the following two weekends. I also went out with my next door neighbour for Vietnamese. I didn’t want to reject her suggestion (it’s our first ‘date’), and cooking at home wasn’t practical with going to open houses on the same night.  Last night I got sushi from the sushi place outside the grocery store – so it’s sort of out, and sort of not?!

source: www.mslimalicious.com
source: www.mslimalicious.com

3. My boyfriend was on board (but bored!). He encouraged me to stick at it (like last night! He cooked nachos, but I didn’t want nachos). Though it’s become a common placeto say ‘we’ll do that/go there in August’.  Bring on August and some dates!

4. I did buy some ready made meals from the grocery store, such as garlic bread, soups and (freezer) pizzas. I’d like to move away from processed foods, as I’ve mentioned before, but it’s just too hard sometimes to balance all the things you want to do, with LIFE! So I gave myself leave passes.

5. I’ve certainly spent less money, with every week having some of my weekly allowance still in my wallet. That being said, I’ve spent way more than a usual month as I outlined here, and more recently with the rental bond and that sort of thing.

Overall, it was an interesting challenge.  I proved to myself that I can cook at home, and eat at home, and it’s not all that taxing, though I do occasionally take short cuts with ready made meals.  It is a little more socially challenging to not eat out, and my relationship with my colleague seems less strong after missing our weekly lunch date.  Actually, in light of my role change, a few one on one lunches might have been better to keep the relationship strong, even though I’m ‘jumping ship’.

On the whole, I don’t think I’ll re-do this challenge for the sake of it.  It’s good to know I can tighten the belt, but it’s all been a bit too much of a challenge in these later weeks of the month, with all the moving plans.

 

Random Round Up

TGIF! Wow, for someone who only works every second Friday, my body was shocked and dismayed to have to work this Friday! And usually, on a super tired morning, I’d stop for a mocha on the way to work.  But a mocha has both sugar in it (which I’m trying to trim down on til the end of July) and it’s ‘buying takeway’ which I’m also not doing in July.  Thankfully, there’s a coffee machine at work, and I got a hit the minute I got in!

In today’s random Friday wrap up, I’ll just collect my thoughts, and receipts, and look at how the week, and the month so far have been, in Carla’s of Daily Half Dozen’s relaxed style (I know we share some readers, sadly I won’t be as concise as she is!).

Money

Yikes, what a week! Last week, I got a double pay, thanks to back pay, overtime and on call pay.  So I quickly siphoned that off to my savings goal of $26k by 22 Dec for my mortgage.  I even paid two weeks of my mortgage last week.  It was all going so well…

This week I got paid my new normal weekly pay.  And then I proceeded to spend $1400 on a two day course!  To regular readers, this is part of getting my chartered professional engineer status – I need 150 hours of continuing professional development.  75 of these hours can be ‘anything’ – which cover all the internal courses we do more or less annually.  But the remaining 75 hours are divided into specific ‘skill sets’ and I was woefully under subscribed in ‘area of practice’ courses.  So I found a course in August, but with two days until the ‘early bird’ rate of 10% off ended, I signed up straight away.  In the past, these courses have been paid for by my employer.  Sadly, with the current climate, I am not at all confident I’ll be reimbursed this time.  Nonetheless, I’ve found some paperwork, and commenced my case with my (new) boss.  He’s on board, and willing to watch me fight 🙂

After paying for the course, other enjoyable hits to the budget included

  •  finally fixing the ikea kitchen lights (that’s a post in itself!) for $160.  This will be reimbursed by Ikea
  • I helped crowd fund a great book from a blog I love 52Suburbs – you won’t be disappointed if you like photography and diptychs
  • I got all my nails done in preparation for the wedding, which set me back $85.  You know how I feel about the cost of being vain, so this was a hit!

Right after getting them done
Right after getting them done

  • accommodation for the wedding was $180. Most places in Orange are minimum two night stay, so it severely limits the competition if you’re looking to stay one night.  It was well worth it though!
  • thanks to An Exacting Life, I went and found concert tickets! I’m due to see Rudimental in September (which I initially thought had sold out), and then also bought two tickets at the same venue for theatresports next weekend.  I’m sure I’ll enjoy both, but that was another $140
  • for the first time in months, I had acupuncture AND physio (which I was having weekly for a long while).  Combined, my out of pocket was $90, better than the $120 it could have been
  • I’ve signed up for a 9km bridge run ($57)! I can reimburse myself from the 12 in 2 adventure fund though.  Sadly the 5km color run I was going to do with my family sold out quick sticks, so we’ll volunteer instead, to still be involved.  Whilst on 12 in 2 goals, I’ve also found an accountability partner for running (Pauline for Make Money Your Way) and for the bible reading I have Brian from Done by Forty who I met through comments at Jen’s blog The Happy Homeowner – yay to have encouragement!

That’s about all, til I spoke to the physio about my running and shin pain.  She suggested I needed new running shoes – I’d like to get some for the ~$100 mark, but in Australia, it’s more likely to be ~$200.  I’m almost tempted to take that US trip I’m dreaming of, to save me the $100 dollars.

And I’ve decided I’d like to try skinny jeans after a great wardrobe post by Into Mind, though I did wander around, and now I’ve decided I need to at least TRY skinny jeans whilst I’m this side of retirement… I mean seriously, why have I never owned a pair?  I just think they might be the silhouette update I’ve been looking for. (yes I think of what I’m wearing in terms of the shape, and I’ve been a little less than impressed with a lot of my winter wardrobe of late).  So that’ll likely be another $100.

I’m not game to add this all up – but let’s just saw, I’m sad to see a lot of last week’s gains be lost this week or so.  Hopefully some reimbursements will settle it out, otherwise I’ll just have to be ok with achieving my savings target slower.

Stuff

I’m getting so hung up on ‘stuff’.  The price of stuff vs the quality.  Thinking about the conditions of who made it.  The wage they were paid.  Should everyone earn what an Australian ‘minimum’ wage is?  It’s all getting to me – and came up last night with my parents who’ve just enjoyed 2.5 weeks in Asia, where a watch was $2.90.  How do you work out a fair price?

This thought process was probably kickstarted by a radio segment where I heard the found of Slavery Footprint speak about the way they are trying to change industries (rather than companies) to address slavery.  You can input your ‘stuff’ to work out how many slaves you had.  Best part of the interview was when he mentioned that his people emailed Steve Jobs – to which he off handedly suggested ’email the Queen too’.  His staff explained that Jobs always replied to emails.  And he did! He said ‘thanks for bringing this to my attention, I’ll look into it’.  And since then, Apple’s gone form being a secret company, to disclosing their suppliers and the conditions and what Apple is doing to improve things.  Certainly heartening.

Screen capture from http://slaveryfootprint.org/
Screen capture from http://slaveryfootprint.org/

The radio presenter had 34 slaves.  I got 44.  You should try it – it’s a cute interface if you have 5-10 mins to spare!  You can fine tune every step by pressing the cog on the left (shown above), which I did for food, technology & clothing (using my wizz bang inventory, and it was still hard!) <- actually I went back and tried to fine tuned them all, til they cleared my old clothing tally!

I think that’s all that’s on my mind.  I have the fancy birthday dinner this Saturday (my one eating out exception that I planned at the start of my ‘no eating out’ July Challenge).  It’ll be great – I believe it’s 5 courses of south american food, with the option to match wines (sorry Lucinda, it’s not a dry July for me!).  It’s also another cost, but hey, I knew this one was coming.

Let me know how your slavery footprint goes when you get a chance – I’d love to talk about that more!