Goals Update – April

Financial

My backpay came through this week, which now means I’m on a higher salary. ¬†It also means all my savings targets got a generous boost! ūüėÄ

$20k target by 22 Dec: On target to achieve

Mar 13: $13,003.17 (adjusted from March goals post to include interest of $53.11)

Apr 13: $14,522.79

12 in 2 Adventures: Ahead of target

Start of month $229.76

End of month: $797.56 + $89 paid for knife skills course

Generosity target of at least $100 per week not quite there

(weeks Mon thu Sun – and based on when things were withdrawn from my accounts):
week 1 Р$45 + $70 (dad) + 12hrs volunteering (babysitting, flowers, Sunday school)
week 2 – $20 + $80 to the cause spoken about here
week 3 – $20 + 2 hrs volunteering (babysitting/cleaning)
week 4 – $35 + $50 for a swim-a-thon of a colleague

I don’t want to share too much of my 12 in 2 goal to read the bible, but let’s just say I’ve started, and in a year, I should have the whole thing licked. ¬†Why am I bringing it up here? ¬†Well I read about giving, but silently, so only God knows. ¬†Made me question publishing it on the blog. ¬†But then I realised, the blog is helping me do it – in the sense that it reminds me to give to those less fortunate. ¬†What are your thoughts? ¬†Should I just retire this segment from my goals update? ¬†It does feel a little… show-off-ish

Health

Cook at home twice a week: achieved

Bold means I made it myself! ¬†March was a roaring success – and April on¬†average¬†wasn’t too bad. ¬†I had one week where I didn’t hit my target, but given I’d been sick in the stomach and then super busy, I’m not 100% worried. ¬†I’ve seen an increase in eating at home of late, so that’s a bonus. ¬†Most of my meals out seem to be homecooked too – either at a friend’s or my parents. ¬†I still buy lunch 2 days a week – Mondays and on the weekend at least once usually.

Chicken and Leek terrine, thanks to coles.com.au
Chicken and Leek terrine, thanks to coles.com.au

Udon noodles (Thu)
Leek & Chicken Terrain and focaccia (Fri)
Leek & Potato bake (Sat)
Vietnamese noodles with prawns (Sun)

*can you imagine me coming home with EIGHT leeks – it was comical*
week 1 –

Chicken & Leek terrain with leek and potato bake leftovers (Mon)
Rocket salad with beef (Tue)
Apple sauce (sick!) (Wed)
Chicken soup – leftovers (Thu)
Ginger and Lemongrass stir fry (Fri)
Snack food at water polo presentation night (Sat)
Nothing ūüôĀ still sick from WED! (Sun)

week 2 – let’s not talk about some of the nutritional decisions I made this week, shall we?
?? (Mon)
Chocolate cake (Tue)
Pizzas (Wed)
Garlic pizza – inhaled pre concert (Thu)
Sushi – nearly made me sick (Fri)
Wedding (Sat)
Roast chicken at friend’s place (Sun)

week 3 –

Dosa with curried root veges¬†– I used mustard when I couldn’t buy mustard seeds, it works (Mon)
Vegie pasta bake at a friend’s (Tue)
GF pizza(Wed)
Lasange at my parent’s (Thu)
Italian out (Fri)
Coconut buns and chicken dim sum (Sat)
Leftover GF pizza (Sun)

week 4 –

Chickpea Salad (Mon)
Pizza (Tue)
Nachos at BF’s (Wed)
Curry at parents (Thu)
Sushi (Fri)
Roast lamb and potatos at BF’s (Sat)
Chicken Ceaser Salad at BF’s(Sun)

Sugar Рout the window!

Train for polo Рoff season

Cultural

–¬†2 films a month:¬†achieved

Sunday night in week 1, my darling took me to Identity Thief I felt pretty rotten, which can be evidenced by the fact that the only Maltesers I consumed were those brought to my mouth! That’s unheard of! Funny funny film – even though BF is convinced I don’t like comedy. ¬†I ¬†also Die Hard – Die Another Day. ¬†Gosh I’m good to my bf! Next up,¬†Warm Bodies I think.

Р 2 books a month: achieved

Grotesque sort of straddled the months, but¬†definitely¬†in this month was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn which I¬†thoroughly¬†enjoyed – you can read my review. ¬†I tried to get into¬†Blown with limited success (had it on the go for two weeks). ¬†I think picked up¬†The Winter Garden by Laura Hillenbrand, and I’m really enjoying it!

Social

Call/connect with an out of town friend –¬†not achieved

Not going great with this – I did send some messages but really not enough.

Career

–¬†Certification:¬†on target

Seems I missed two of the sixteen competencies when I was writing out the framework, so whilst i said LAST month I only had three to go, I really had five! So now I’ve done two more, I have three to go. ¬†Only four are at the proper length though, so more work is needed

–¬†Looking for next role:¬†making progress

After some scheduling difficulties, I’m had an information interview with a company this week. ¬†I’m not sure I’ll make the change, given it’d mean longer hours and a lower salary, and the only real carrot for me is that I could move to France (or somewhere else, but France is where I’d like to go, and their ‘home’). ¬†Nonetheless, I’ll make sure to look at their job ads monthly just in case.

I also now have a professional mentor, outside my company, thanks to the professional body that I’m doing my certification through. ¬†We meet in early May at an event, so it shall be interesting to see what I learn and how I grow.

Saving money with health insurance

In Australia, health insurance is something the individual (couple or family) funds. Only people lucky enough to work for US based, or international firms, are granted employer sponsored health care. ¬†By and large, our public system is pretty good, and many people survive with public health insurance only and live a long and healthy life. ¬†However, over the past decade, our government has been creating ‘incentives’ to have private health insurance. ¬†When I say ‘incentives’ – I’m not really sure how they’ve sold it to us, cause, really, it’s disincentives!

When you earn over a threshold, you will have a levy added to your tax if you don’t have private health insurance. ¬†Therefore, with the minimum health cover, which must include¬†hospital¬†cover, will sometimes be less than the levy you’d get on your taxes. ¬†For this reason, myself and many others purchase health insurance. ¬†Also, once you’re over 30, every year you don’t (or didn’t) have health insurance increases the cost of your cover. ¬†So really, once you’re earning some good coin, or you’re ‘old’ (over 30 :p), you pretty much have health insurance. ¬†Now that everyone is on the bandwagon, then there are the premiums.

source: roleofgovernment.edublogs.org
source: roleofgovernment.edublogs.org

Thankfully, my employer (who is large, employing 5000-8000 within our state) has¬†negotiated¬†some reductions in premiums at certain health insurance companies. ¬†The down side is – it seems that if you buy a product online, the ‘saving’ is added¬†retrospectively. ¬†This meant, when I first started with this company, I actually bought MORE than a year’s worth of coverage. ¬†Well that seemed all well and good, at the time.

Every April, health funds are welcome to increase their levies. ¬†And they do! ¬†Every March, they advertise HARD to ‘buy now, and save buying when rates go up’. ¬†Therefore, I like to pay my annual premium every March, and delay the cost of higher levies for another year. ¬†All this is well and good, provided every year, the premiums come out in March. ¬†When you start to get more than a year ahead paid in advance, things start to look a little… uncertain.

What happens when you throw Easter long weekend into the balance?

Nothing good!

NIB iphone app
NIB iphone app

I saw this coming. ¬†I called my health insurer, NIB, in early March. ¬†I spoke to them about how much I’d owe and when it would be direct debited (the ONLY thing I allow to be direct debited – because I get an¬†additional¬†saving for this). ¬†We discussed that I would pay a 11-month payment in March 2013. ¬†So in March 2014, I could go back to buying a year, and always owe (and be charged) in March. ¬†Sadly, this did not happen. ¬†Who knows why? ¬†I have letters¬†assuring¬†me of the cost and the date. ¬†I have the phone calls too. ¬†And I have an online account which has another magic number on it.

*Sigh!*

I had the money waiting to be put on the credit card, which hadn’t been drawn. ¬†At least I knew my cover was still continuous (not due to lapse til mid April).

I¬†promptly¬†called NIB about the lack of a withdrawal, and they were great (that’s why I feel OK sharing their name with you). ¬†They totally admitted their stuff up (they’d inputted the¬†withdrawal’s¬†date with the wrong year d’oh). ¬†As it was their mistake, they offered me the same ‘cheapest’ price from the many I had (there was the¬†number¬†on the first letter, the second letter (cheapest), the online account). ¬†Now that we’re in April 2013, the price wouldn’t cover the 11 months I’d asked for, but they offered to ‘pay’ the difference between the rate I was quoted, and what it had changed to. ¬†Thank you, health fund, for being sensible, accepting some blame and saving me money!

In a related update – once I’d paid this bill, I closed the account where I’d be saving $20 weekly for the premiums. ¬†By closing the account, I got rid of the last account with that bank, bringing me down one bank – remember my bank round up a little while ago

12 in 2 list – a time and money plan!

Zorbing with OZBallsSource: http://www.ozball.com.au/Image_Gallery.aspx
Zorbing with OZBalls
Source: http://www.ozball.com.au/Image_Gallery.aspx

I’ve decided if I’m every going to get this list done, I need a plan – to save the money, but also to DO the things I’ve listed. ¬†Two on going task (bible reading and half marathon running) are both currently in practice. ¬†As for the other 10, I’ll list them in chronological order. ¬†Sadly one goal has been deleted, but it’s for the best reason!

Activity list Proposed date

Cost

Dinner at Quay Jan 13
Knife skills course May 13

$89

Go on a silent retreat 3-14 July 13

??

Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb Sept 13

$218 – $298

Do Bridge Run (half way to half) 22 Sept 13

$55

Go Jet Skiing Nov 13? Dec 13

$300/per hour

Learn to Surf Nov 13 ‚Äď 3 days

$445

Dinner at Aria Jan 14

$420

Read the new testament Mar 14

$0

Run a half marathon May 14 or Sept 14

$120

Plan and prepay funeral Nov 14

$6000

Zorbing Jun 13

$110

+$105 in flights

$1997

You can see the grand total has omitted the funeral prepaying – it’s just such a large chunk… so I have to have $2k raised over 21 months, that’s only $95 a month. ¬†I can surely find that! ¬†I’ll now sling any ‘extra’ cash at the end of the week into an ‘adventures’ fund (remember, I put a set amount away every week towards my $20k goal to refinance my mortgage at the end of this year). ¬†Here’s to getting fun stuff onto the agenda, but still meeting my savings targets!

Goals Updates – March

To see the start of this series, click here, and then there’s Jan Update and Feb Update. ¬†My weeks are based on Monday through to Sunday. ¬†But where a week ends mid week, I do funny things as you’ll see below!

Financial

$20k target by 22 Dec Рon target with planned contribution of $165 per week.

Last month: $12,130
This month: $12,950 *Despite borrowing from this for my ‘generosity’ target, I’m still on track for my $20k goal :D*

Generosity target of $100 p/w Р100%+ achieved

Last week of Feb: additional $20 (+ 9hrs volunteering)
week 1 – $25 to church +$100 petrol in someone’s car, $50 for beer (which I don’t drink) <- this last one might be a stretch!
week 2 – $70 to church (+1hr volunteering)
week 3 – $20 to church + $10 for sympathy flowers + $465 to a friend in need (this was calculated to get me to a complete $100 in this month and the last)
week 4 – $20 to church + $70 gift

Exceeding my planned per week goal, for the year. Having a set ‘amount’ per week makes me less resentful than I used to be. So whilst it might seem perverse to track my generosity, it IS helping me to feel and BE more generous, and that’s exactly what I wanted!

Health

Cook at home twice a week: I’ve started tracking the spend on my part for meals out – some I’m paid for, others I pay for both/all

Last week of Feb- ?? (Thu)
?? (Fri)
Steak and Mash at BF’s (Sat)
Mac/tuna/cheese with Roast Vegies (Sun)

Tuna bake mmmmsource: taste.com.au
Tuna bake mmmm
source: taste.com.au

week 1 –
leftovers (mac&cheese) (Mon),
Thai out$10 (Tue),
Sushi out – thank you dinner $0 & beef curry made(Wed),
Pizza out $50 (Thu)
Mexican out $20 (Fri),
Pub food $0 (Sat), KFC $18 (Sun)

week 2 –
leftovers (curry) (Mon),
Dinner at parents (Tue),
Beef, bacon and egg pies (Wed),
Omlette’s at BF’s (Thu)
Mexican pub food $15 (Fri)
Pizza at BF’s (Sat)
Indian out with parents $0 (Sun)

week 3 –

Tuna pasta bake (with GF substitutions for me!) (Mon)
Dinner out at a South American resturant $45 (Tue)
Cheesy garlic pizza (Wed)
Chorizo & Leek risotto (Thu)
Brazilian BBQ out (Fri)
Homemade pizzas (store bought bases!) (Sat)
Sausages at a friends (Sun)

**both weekend days, I had lunch out – French 3 course for a Hen’s on Sat ($36) and with a friend from out of town on Sun ($20)**

week 4 –
Udon noodles (Mon)
Chinese out – it’s my bf’s fave place/dish and we’ve not been there since Jan, so I figured it was a good dinner before his week away (Tue)
Birthday dinner for brother at my parents (Wed)
Udon noodles (Thu)
Leek & Chicken Terrain and focaccia (Fri)
Leek & Potato bake (Sat)
Vietnamese noodles with prawns (Sun)

Sugar¬†– I haven’t been ideal for lent. I’ve broken lent for multi course (prepaid) dinners, twice. And nibbled some brownies I made for Easter. And a Caramello Koala passed my lips in a bought of cramps and general frustration with the world. At least each slip up, I was mindful of why I had recommitted to no sugar (Lent) and that’s at least part of the purpose.

Train for polo¬†– 0% on water polo, but encouraging on the exercise front. ¬†So let’s say… 40% achieved. Sigh – no, I decided a house guest got me off the hook, even though she ended up having the night out with another friend. So that’s a no for the first week. ¬†And now the season is over, maybe I should adjust this goal for gym sessions? Given I want to run a half marathon, as part of my 12 in 2 goals, I should really start being accountable to y’all (and myself) with how I’m going! ¬†I did play polo the Sunday of Week 1, then a gym session Mon, Tue and Thu – cardio and weights. ¬†From then on, I’ve been training for my half marathon goals, with a run every second day – which I blogged about last Friday

Cultural

– 2 films a month – 100% achieved

Side effects – great movie, though not the pick me up I was hoping for, seeing it was a lot about depression. That being said, it was cleverly written.

One sure fire way to lighten my life is to see a movie, so on Sunday I wedged in a movie between church and seeing my parents. I saw Goddess which is an Australian musical. Let me say, I HATE musicals, but i LOVED this film. It’s very modern, and hilarious to boot. And Ronan Keating taking off his shirt once or twice wasn’t too shabby either. The story is based around the wife, and her frustration at being at home with 2.5 year old twins, so she starts a web cam to keep in contact with her husband (Ronan Keating) whose in Antarctica. Except he never signs on, but the rest of the world gets in on the action! It was a great feel good movie, and just what the doctor ordered!

–¬†2 books a month – 50% achieved

I started with¬†The Blade Itself by Marcus Sakey, and I have a review should you be interested. Thanks to The Exacting Life, and her comments on the last few books I read, I picked up Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto from the library, and reviewed it here. Actually I picked it to read next as it’s slim, so I knew I could get it finished by month’s end. Review is here I’ve also started on another Japanese book – seems to be an (unintentional) theme – called¬†Grotesque. ¬†Reminding me far too much about cliques and exclusion and cruelty in high school!

Social

Somehow this missed Jan, Feb and mid Mar.  Opps!

Call/connect with an out of town friend –¬†well a friend from Brisbane was in Sydney, so we had lunch. ¬†But I think this is a cheating ‘win’ on this goal – that involved next to no¬†initiative¬†on my part ūüôĀ

Career

–¬†Certification – 400% achieved!¬†OK maybe 200% achieved as I haven’t made them all perfect. I added one further episode, so I have only three outstanding. ¬†The last three are pretty tricky, so I might need to meet with my colleagues who are also doing the certification and get some inspiration. ¬†Then I need to improve the 13 episodes I’ve already written, getting them to at least 500 words, and ensuring they are as good as they can be.

Looking for next role Also something I’ve left off on past months. ¬†I’m happy to report that at a water polo BBQ fundraiser, I discovered one of the parents works for a company that supplies materials to my company. ¬†So I spoke at length to him about opportunities at his company. ¬†He’s already sent me the monthly job list, but the only suitable one needed 15 years experience. ¬†So this parent has decided I should meet an engineer in his company and speak to him about what I might be¬†interested¬†in there. ¬†The ‘talk’ shall happen on 5th April. ¬†I’m not 100% sure this company will get me my ‘ultimate’ career, but I’m not accepting a job there just yet, so it’s well worth¬†investigating¬†a little further.

Happy Easter/Passover to everyone! Looking forward to other goals updates out there – can’t believe we’re a quarter of the way through the year!

Goals Updates – Mid March

I’m impatient. ¬†It’s just in my nature. ¬†So I thought I would post a ‘mid month’ update, and hopefully right my course on all my goals and targets¬†annually. ¬†To see the start of this series, click here, and then there’s Jan Update and Feb Update. ¬†My weeks are based on Monday through to Sunday. ¬†But where a week ends mid week, I do funny things as you’ll see below!

Financial

$20k target by 22 Dec Рon target with planned contribution of $165 per week.

Last month: $12,130

This (half) month: $13, 020 (roughly $1k increase thanks to a big storm and 10hrs of overtime!)

Generosity target Р50% achieved

At least $100 per week :
Last week of Feb: additional $20 (+ 9hrs volunteering)
week 1 – $25 to church, $100 petrol in someone’s car, $50 for beer (which I don’t drink) <- this last one might be a stretch!
week 2 – $70 to church
week 3 –
week 4 –

Health

Cook at home twice a week: hard to call – enough meals made to limit buying lunches, but not the true two per week! Maybe 80% achieved?

I’ve started tracking the spend on my part for meals out – some I’m paid for, others I pay for both/all

Last week of Feb-
?? (Thu)
?? (Fri)
Steak and Mash at BF’s (Sat)
Mac/tuna/cheese with Roast Vegies (Sun)

week 1 –
leftovers (mac&cheese) (Mon),
Thai out$10 (Tue),
Sushi out – thank you dinner $0 & beef curry made(Wed),
Pizza out $50 (Thu)
Mexican out $20 (Fri),
Pub food $0 (Sat),
KFC $18 (Sun)

week 2 –
leftovers (curry) (Mon),
Dinner at parents (Tue),
Beef, bacon and egg pies (Wed),

week 3 –
week 4 –

Sugar¬†– I’d say 40% achieved, cause I’m oh so generous with myself…

I did give into a froyo on the 9th, and again on the 12th (Taro is just SO delicious), and some mazipan was in the date i had on the 10th – as well as any sugar that’s in Simnel cake for mothering Sunday (but I don’t count that). I’m still ‘loopholing’ sugary drinks, but given they are a treat when out, I’m not so concerned. I am disappointed that I’m not seeing a huge physical change, as I have other times I’ve done this, but I think there’s a lot of lent to go yet! Truly, it’s more than 40 real days!

Train for polo¬†– 0% on water polo, but encouraging on the exercise front. ¬†So let’s say… 40% achieved.

Sigh – no, I decided a house guest got me off the hook, even though she ended up having the night out with another friend. So that’s a no for the first week. ¬†And now the season is over, maybe I should adjust this goal for gym sessions? Given I want to run a half marathon, as part of my 12 in 2 goals, I should really start being accountable to y’all (and myself) with how I’m going! ¬†I did play polo the Sunday of Week 1, then a gym session Mon, Tue and Thu – cardio and weights. ¬†Got to 3.2km on Tues!! It’s a start.

Cultural

–¬†2 films a month – 50% achieved

Side effects – great movie, though not the pick me up I was hoping for, seeing it was a lot about depression. That being said, it was cleverly written.

–¬†2 books a month – 50% achieved

After calling to Facebook, I refilled my ‘to read’ list with the library. I started with¬†The Blade Itself by Marcus Sakey. ¬†I’ll have a review for you on Tuesday.

Career –

–¬†Certification – 400% achieved!¬†OK maybe 200% achieved as I haven’t made them all perfect.

My target was two a month, to be complete by July. ¬†But wow, after a few extra hours in the office (cause it’s better than going home and practically back to where work is (with my bf who he lives closeby my work), I have only 3 more ‘episodes’ of 16 to start. The other 13 aren’t perfect, or long enough, or polished enough. But having something is¬†definitely¬†better than nothing! ¬†So I’m really really happy with the porogress on this goal.

Ways I ‘spend’ money

In response/reflection to the Ways I ‘save’ money¬†post I wrote yesterday, I thought I’d look at the luxuries/vices that I do in fact ‘waste’ my money on!

  • take away coffee: ¬†It always seems (nowdays) to be a bonding/social thing. ¬†I’ll buy it on weekends with my father or my bf. ¬†I’ll buy it when I’m working overtime (also on weekends). ¬†I’ll seldom buy a take away coffee alone, at least not in the last 6-9 months.
At least I use my KeepCup - brown lid, yellow brand - from my work's previous brandsource:www.keepcup.com
At least I use my KeepCup – brown lid, yellow brand – from my work’s previous brand
source:www.keepcup.com
  • eating out: As identified in my Glaring Grocery discovery post, whilst my grocery bill is small, as a percentage of my income, I must surely be spending a lot on eating out. ¬†Now my ‘two meals cooked at home’ a week goal is tracking where I eat EVERY dinner, I’ll soon see patterns, and perhaps adjust accordingly.
  • taxis:¬†When I grew up, I never ever caught a taxi, but then again, I was a child and my parents drove us around! ¬†It did mean that I didn’t ‘think’ about taxis til I was about 22, and moved to a not so nice suburb, and thought the better of walking home after a night class. ¬†Drinking lots was not a reason (back then). ¬†Nowdays, I’ll use a taxi if I’m feeling too ill to walk home, it’s too hot/cold/wet, after drinking. ¬†The fares are almost always less than $20, and seeing I don’t own a car, I feel like the cost is OK.
  • over paying my taxes:¬†I do this to avoid a bill, but also cause I like the (usually) 4 figure cash injection in the winter months, especially for my next ‘spend’ category.
  • international holidays:¬†As a child of world roaming parents, I almost consider travelling a ‘normal’ thing. ¬†Therefore, I usually save up for a trip overseas each year – in Australia’s winter and the Northern hemisphere’s summer. ¬†Nothing planned for this year, but a brief thought of Christmas in the snowy parts of the US.
  • home wares:¬†since the start of 2012, I’ve owned my own home, so I drop a fair amount of coin on ‘stuff’ for it – less so now, though the post Christmas sales saw me buy a few big ticket items I’d been thinking about all year.
  • house modifications:¬†2012 was a big year for costs outsourcing projects in my home such as painting, bath resurfacing, light rewiring, additional security bars, re-carpeting. ¬†There’s still some lingering tasks I’d like to get done this year too, see my House List for more details.

Writing this list made me think of more ways I ‘save’ money, which is interesting. ¬†Seems I really have the saving (or spending adverse) mentality instilled in a lot of different¬†facets¬†of my life. ¬†How to splurge? ¬†What are your vices?

Ways I ‘save’ money

Sometimes saving money is as simple as just not spending it, rather than spending less or finding a cheaper way. ¬†There’s a number of things I notice others do, and think ‘wow, imagine how much money I’d spend if I did that/bought those?’ ¬†These things are

source: www.omnilab.com.au
source: www.omnilab.com.au
  • magazines: I never ever buy them. That’s not to say I wouldn’t LOVE to know what Kim Kardashian has done now, or the latest decorating trends. ¬†I just can’t justify the $5-$10 for the drivel and paid advertising. ¬†And then the ‘waste’ (even if it is all recycling). ¬†Best I send the publishers a message by not buying them. ¬†There’s always the library.
  • books: Whilst I have no philosophical opposition to the purchase of books, I can’t handle the clutter they create. ¬†I’d rather borrow books from¬†family, ¬†friends or a library, and keep my collection concise.
  • hair colour: I’m ‘only’ 28, but I’ve never felt the need to colour my hair. ¬†Not that I have the best natural shade, but it’s what God gave me, and it’s not too shabby! ¬†However, until recently I also didn’t spend much money on… (Thanks to Simply Living Free for the link to My Journey to Ithaca¬†who has so many well articulated reasons that I couldn’t agree with more)
source: www.homehaircuts.com
source: www.homehaircuts.com
  • hair cuts: up until a month ago, I would not cut my hair until I could no longer brush it – when the split ends had taken over! However, since I shaved my head (which was done for free by a friend – and raised close to $5k), I have decided to enlist a professional to help me grow it out with style. ¬†I’m not sure the Bart Simpson look is what I want!
  • cleaning products: I planned to move into my own home and only use green products – which means I’ve never owned oven cleaner, window spray, toliet cleaner, floor cleaner, surface spray etc etc. ¬†I do however have dishwashing liquid, vinegar, bicarb soda, soap and washing soda. ¬†Oh and a plethora of microfibre cloths.
  • phone plan: ¬†I’ve always bought my phones outright, and then selected my credit in the form of a prepaid or postpaid plan. ¬†This gives me flexibility, and prepaid really helps manage costs – particularly when you add global roaming! ¬†I’m yet to get a ‘scary’ bill, and I wear that with a badge of honour!
  • internet: I don’t have ‘internet’ at home. I use my phone for all my browsing. ¬†Given I have internet at work, my parents and my boyfriends, I like the mental quietness of only having the internet on my small phone. ¬†And given it’s a smart phone, there’s pretty much nothing it can’t do!
  • smoking:¬†I have never smoked (except in a VERY realistic dream!). ¬†I haven’t even experimented with any drugs, so this is one clear way I’ve avoided a black hole of costs!
  • gambling: I never buy a scratchie, lottery ticket or anything similar. ¬†I even (try to) avoid being in the sweeps for ‘the race that stops a nation’ – the Melbourne Cup.

What things do you do without to save money?

Goals Update – February

There’s three days left (of my ‘weeks’ system) but it is technically the end of the month today so…

Financial

$20k target by 22 Dec: I moved money onto the mortgage this month, so my $20k target took a hit. However, over the year, I should be able to reach this goal by the slight reduction in weekly payments on my mortgage!

End of Jan: $14,249

End of Feb: $12,130

source: mundabor.wordpress.com
source: mundabor.wordpress.com

Generosity target Р55% (or 89% if adjusted) achieved

of at least $100 per week (weeks Mon thu Sun – and based on when things were withdrawn from my accounts):
week 1 (28/1 onwards) – $120: $100 to MS Colour Run to get a friend to her target. ¬†I wished I’d registered and done the run too…! + $20 church (2 hours)
week 2 – nothing ūüôĀ other than $25 to church
week 3 – nothing beyond the $20 to church
week 4 – as above…
week 5 – $20 to church and $20 to a friend (4+ hours)

It seems like money has gotten away from me this month, I was feeling it on the third week. ¬†When I analyse this week’s spending, it doesn’t really add up why. ¬†Although I did buy myself an external HDD so I could return one I’ve borrowed, and consolidate files on discs and an old HDD. ¬†That was $100, which I would have otherwise have had ‘surplus’ for charity. ¬†I also bought three months credit in one go, rather than month by month, so that’s a higher ‘cost’ to take out this week than usual.

With my charitable donations, I’m behind $275. However last month I was ahead $220, so if I average it out, I’m doing ok. ¬†Difference of $55.

Health

Cook at home twice a week – 90% achieved

week 1 (28/1 onwards) –

At BF’s – can’t recall what we had (Mon),
Birthday roast at parents (Wed)
ghnocci with oven dried little tomatoes (Thu),
Leftovers? (Fri),
Cousin’s 18th (Sat),
Pub nachos after polo (Sun)

week 2 –

I usually cook Mondays, but I can’ t recall.
Chicken Soup (Tue),
Ravioli with roast eggplant at friend’s house (Wed),
Garlic bread (Thu),
Fancy b’day dinner at Quay (Fri),
Party food (Mexican) (Sat)
Nachos at pub (Sun)

Dessert at Quay: Jersey cream, salted caramel, ethereal sheets
Dessert at Quay: Jersey cream, salted caramel, ethereal sheets

week 3 –
Roast vegies (Mon),
Tacos made by BF (Tue),
Bro’s B’day dinner at parents (Wed),
No dinner – feeling ill (Thu),
B’day dinner out (Fri),
Cheese souffle, beans and sweat potato (Sat),
Lamb roast and vegies at parents (Sun)

week 4 –
Chicken tagine with quinoa (Mon)
Spaghetti (and macaroni) puttanesca (Tue)
Cauliflower based pizza – YUMMO!(Wed)
Tacos at boyfriends (Thu)
Thai out with uni friends (Fri)
Pizza out with visiting school friend (Sat)
Roast chicken at parents (Sun)

Woot! Good week.

week 5 –
Rice salad and poached ginger and soy chicken (mon)
Calamari risotto (Tue)
Dinner at parents (Wed)

The book that started it allsource:sweetpoison.com.au
The book that started it all
source:sweetpoison.com.au

Sugar Р98% achieved since Lent started.

Well it was the birthday week in the first week, so there were a lot of cookies consumed! And some homemade cheesecake by me. ¬†And some ‘tries’ of the bf’s icecream.

As of Lent (13/2/13), these are my infractions:

Thu 14th – shared lemonade with b/f ¬†at movies. ¬†I think I’ll ‘loophole’ drinks otherwise it’ll be a very dry month! ¬†However My mocha will become a Cap. ¬†Also had a few lemonade sips on Sun 16th after a really tough water polo game (no substitutions – I’m too old to play a whole 24 minute game!). ¬†Also ate a dessert my friend made – Mango-misu. ¬†No added sugar, but the soaked biscuits would have come with. ¬†I also had an energy drink, laden with sugar – but I’ll claim ‘loophole’! x 3 (seems they are becoming prevalent, as I realise coffee is causing me pain)

Train for polo Р60% success

week 1 – no training due to public holiday Monday, trained Feb 4th (though then was off sick for the rest of the week!) and Feb 11th and Feb 18th. ¬†This last week, I skipped, after 10 hours working on Sunday I didn’t want to be tired all week (with training making another late night). In the end, I still had a late night… ¬†I could possibly go to the alternate training tonight, but I’m already finding things I’d rather be doing :s

Cultural

–¬†2 films a month – 100% achieved

Saw¬†The Impossible¬†technically in January but in the week that I’m counting as Feb for whatever reason. ¬†This is an inexact science! ¬†For Valentine’s day, I saw Silver Linings Playbook¬†– very unsure why it’s been so successful!

–¬†2 books a month¬†– 100% achieved

source: www.manningvalleybooks.com.au
source: www.manningvalleybooks.com.au

Started the month with Leon and Louise , by A. Capus.  Finished it soon after due to being bed bound with a cold.  Next moved to the gift from a neighbour I think called The Wind Up Bird Chronicles by Haruki Murakami.  I shall write reviews if anyone is interested.

source: http://www.bookdepository.com/book/9780099540953?redirected=true&gclid=CKj-u5z317UCFYYipQodIQsAmg
source: http://www.bookdepository.com/book/9780099540953?redirected=true&gclid=CKj-u5z317UCFYYipQodIQsAmg

Career

–¬†Certification¬†– 100% achieved

Well, there’s much¬†uncertainty¬† but nonetheless, we had a meeting here, and a few days later I worked on another career ‘episode’ report. ¬†I think I’ve done 5 now of the 16 (mind you, they’ll need ‘polishing’). ¬†So I just need to keep chipping away at this, and hopefully I’ll get more done. ¬†Reporting it here is certainly helping me.

To make this goal measurable I’m now going to set myself the task of two episodes a month. ¬†With that in mind, I should be done around July! Yay – seems so easy now.

People like U

I found the coolest little comparative ‘site’ run by my favourite bank – Ubank. It’s called People Like U.

It’s so cool to compare yourself to others – that’s why there are blogs and reality TV shows of course… ¬†But I just can’t imagine how much data crunching went on to analysis all the data from NAB and Ubank to bring together such a spiffy little viral website. ¬†I mean, any bank could have done this, it’s not revealing any state secrets in the agreegated data. And there’s the option to ‘update’ the information – and this is gold to both the bank – but also to the bank’s clients. ¬†The stores or companies listed bank somewhere, and it might just be with NAB (the traditional big 4 bank that owns Ubank).

Ubank's People Like U Source: www.peoplelikeu.com.au
Ubank’s People Like U
source: www.peoplelikeu.com.au

There are less than 10 people like me – based on my age, gender, income, own/rent & living siutation (alone vs couple vs family) and suburb. ¬†It then tracks ‘me’ vs others on spends in categories.

It was interesting to compare myself to my boyfriend (who alerted me to this gem), and how it thinks we spend on different categories. ¬†Obviously, it knows nothing about me (like how much I’ve travelled). ¬†What I find puzzling is in the drilling down in categories:

Source: People Like U Shopping profile
Shopping profile
source:www.peoplelikeu.com.au

Are Australian’s really shopping THAT much at Nordstroms and Bloomingdales – they aren’t even in Australia! ¬†And if they are in the top three, how much are we, as a nation, spending? ¬†What is Ouffer anyhow? ¬†But then you can drill into another level and this is what you get:

source: www.peoplelikeu.com.au
Fashion details
source: www.peoplelikeu.com.au

It’s interesting how they have ‘preferred’ and ’emerging’ brands. And are these ‘brands’ clients of NAB/Ubank? Or is this truly where we spend the most frequently? Of course, click on any of those square and you head right to google (surely it’d be more magical for the brands if they went straight to their brand’s homepage), still, there’d be people ‘winning’ (to channel that horrible man) from this little gimmick!

Then in another layer (pressing the top right little lightening bolt) you get your bills vs the rest of the population:

source: www.peoplelikeu.com.au
Bill Shock
source: www.peoplelikeu.com.au

Even if you’re not Australian, I think it’d be fun to have a look at how this all works. Have fun!

**This post is not endorsed or sponsored. Yikes, I’ve been blogging for a few months, I’m not sure I’m a blip on anyone’s radar! This is just something I found fun, and lines up with my list making/goal setting/spend tracking habits, so it seemed to fit for a post! **

My list of banks

I have more bank accounts than is usual.  But, most are suit a practical purpose.  For those that are in semi retirement, I wonder whether I should declutter them, though they are costing me nothing and causing me no grief.

ANZ ANZ

My main¬†financial¬†institution in the ANZ bank. ¬†It’s one of the ‘big 4’ in Australia. ¬†It’s also my father’s former employer – which is how I came to have my very first account with them (that I still have to this day).

I also have my mortgage with ANZ. ¬†I flirted with all banks when I started looking about two years ago. ¬†I dated Heritage Building Society pretty seriously when I put in an offer for another loft apartment. ¬†Sadly, HBS were scared of the long term commitment. ¬†Despite pre approval, their valuation of the property (which also includes ¬†a risk analysis of a number of factors), came back lower than what I’d offered. ¬†The timing of my offer was around the same time I was heading to Israel and the US for a few weeks, so I didn’t have the luxury of time to move to another lender, and recommence the loan process. ¬†It was ¬†a shame that HBS didn’t come through, as I liked the idea of supporting a building society.

By the time I got serious again about buying, rates had changed, and a Big 4 came out looking VERY competitive. ¬†I knew I wanted a fixed 2 year term, so it was simple to compare. ¬†There are SO many choices in a mortgage, I intentionally narrowed the field early. ¬†I’m well aware there are pros and cons of every loan type, and this suited me best then (and now).

I also have an¬†E*Trade account which is ANZ’s trading account. ¬†This was something I got into in 2009, and haven’t really actively pursued since. ¬†I basically have an itty bitty portfolio – money I don’t miss, but know is silently sitting there, perhaps growing a little as I reinvest my dividends.

Ubank

Ubank

This is probably my preferred bank. ¬†They make me happy! They have great online tools, their call centre is in Australia, you don’t need to spend time or energy setting up your first account with them – they use all sorts of modern identity checking methods, without making me get things signed by a justice of the peace. ¬†They also offer tricky checks to move your money – which trip up others when their overseas, but I’m never without my Australian mobile phone, ¬†so I’ve not had a problem to date.

I have several savings accounts with them. ¬†I have my ‘cushion’ account – a nice way of saying it’s an emergency fund, as it will also hopefully grow to be my mortgage refinancing account at the end of this year. ¬†I also dip into it for expenses I can’t cover with week to week pay, but aren’t regular, planned expenses.

I also have my ‘bills’ savings in another Ubank account. ¬†There’s no cost to any of these accounts and I feel more comfortable with this ‘seperate’ from the slowly increasing ‘Cushion’ above.

Finally, I have a third Ubank account that’s currently in the black at the tune of $4.68! ¬†It’s my former ‘holiday’ fund. ¬†I don’t have a clear holiday plan in my head (a date or a location), so I’m not actively contributing to the account.

ING

ING Direct

More savings accounts! Before Ubank, ING Direct was the leader in the field. ¬†At last check, they did also have better interest rates on their high interest savings accounts, but only for new customers (which I am not). ¬†Sometimes, ‘new money’ qualifies, but not this time. ¬†I don’t mind ING, but it’s all about interest in these accounts. ¬†And I don’t¬†think¬†I’ve EVER had to call them, so that is a bonus in my book.

I have two accounts with them. ¬†The first is for ‘Health Insurance’. ¬†I think I thought I should utilise this bank, seeing I had active accounts. ¬†Hardly logically, but still. ¬†I put away money every week for my annual health insurance premium. ¬†I prefer to pay annually than await the direct withdrawal weekly or monthly from the health fund. ¬†At least this way, I’m in control!

The second account has 50c.  I could close this account.  Perhaps I will.  I have now

Bankwest

Bankwest

When I grew up (hahaha) and was moving to France for a year in 2006, I thought it would be worthwhile to have a credit card for emergencies. ¬†I found the cheapest card (ie no annual fees) that offered a competitive interest rate (at least when I was applying). ¬†I applied, with bated breath, as I was a student with a variable, casual job – so my ‘salary’ wasn’t easy to ascertain. ¬†Interestingly, the bank did NOT reject me (as ANZ would have, based on their policies). ¬†I’ve not had any emergencies, but do use the card to tide me between pays, or buy a great deal on an airfare. ¬†I don’t think I’ve ever paid interest!

I also have two¬†one¬†savings accounts with Bankwest – one with 46c and 51c each. ¬†A legacy from times where i would use ING and Bankwest to leverage their ‘introductory’ offers to ‘new deposits’. ¬†Seems like I could declutter these two as well.

I love that when I rang, there was no ‘press this number for this’ and I got right onto a real person.

28degrees

28degrees (GE Capital)

My newest ‘bank’ was for a credit card that offers no foreign transaction fees. ¬†I used this as my sole ‘money’ whilst in Dubai/Morocco/France last year. ¬†I was happy with being able to withdraw as a cash advance at no cost with the positively loaded card. ¬†My only disappointment was the delay on showing transactions on it’s website. ¬†Given this lack of functionality, I won’t give up my other credit card, and this card will be left solely for travel (or, if the other card gets stolen with the cash card).

BNP

BNParibas

I still maintain an everyday transaction account¬†with this French bank, from when I lived there in 2006. ¬†The charge an annual fee – my only account to do this. ¬†And I’m willing to pay it, knowing HOW hard it was to GET the account (France is chicken and egg with¬†accommodation¬†and bank accounts – you need one for the other). ¬†I plan to move back to France one day, so this account lingers. ¬†I love that it accesses real money but it’s also a ‘credit’ card at least for booking stuff online. ¬†So modern – this sort of functionality didn’t happen in Australia in 2006!

In summary I have

– 1 mortgage

– 2 credit cards

– 2 ‘everyday’ banking accounts (with cards and direct access to money)

– 1 trading account

7 5 savings accounts

13  11 ACCOUNTS across 6 banks! No wonder I sometimes confuse my passwords. I think this list has made me realise I can cull at least two savings accounts (one each at Bankwest and ING), if not more!

And that’s just what I did – no sense talking about it. ¬†I just did it. ¬†It was so simple as well – just rang both banks. ¬†I think it took more time to ID me than to close the accounts!