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This week's budget

August 15th, 2005 at 06:19 am

215 - rent
30 - groceries
40 - spending
30 - electricity
10 - phone
65 - preschool
60 - christmas club

450 - TOTAL

POTENTIAL SAVINGS = $370 ($185 on credit card and $185 in ING Savings Maximiser)

If at first you don't succeed...

August 15th, 2005 at 06:09 am

Try, Try, Try Again.
Everything was going great financially last week until I got a phone call on Friday night from my father in law. He bought me a playstation eye-toy and eye-toy game. It was really nice of him except we didn't own a playstation2 (we have an Xbox). I pointed out this slight problem to him and he said that saving money can wait a week, he would duck down to the Pawn shop and get me one second hand and I could give him back the money when we visited on the weekend. It cost me $140, I just didn't have the heart to say no and it really is a fun way to excercise. It gets better though. We went to the markets yesterday and picked up a few really good deals. I got a winter coat for $15, 6 boxes of tissues for $4 a new watch with matching bracelet, necklace and earings for $14 and a cane picnic basket for only $5. Hubby's parents also bought me a silver coated antique serving tray (which I fell in love with), a pair of gloves and four learning computer games for Zac. They also gave us a bag full of cleaning agents, two bottles of moisturising cream and a set of glasses. We spent a lot more money than planned this week but managed to get a lot for what we spent. All we can do is try saving again this week.

We are considering getting finance to buy a car. I'm in two minds about this. As much as I want a car they cost a fortune in maintenance and fuel and I'm worried it will be a very long term commitment and hold us back with our other financial goals. We only plan on borrowing about $7000, enough for a good quality second hand car, but still I don't know if it's a good idea or not.

Back Again

August 10th, 2005 at 01:56 am

Well, we are finally settled into our new place and everythings going great. Hubby passed his driving test and brings the work ute home so we now have a lot more freedom. We took Zac into Sydney to visit the Powerhouse Museum and he loved it! It wasn't busy so we let him run around and play in the different kids playgrounds they've got set up all over the place, he's walking so well now. His birthday went well. He got spoiled by everyone and is now the proud owner of a lot of new toys including a motorised four-wheeler motorbike (which he hasn't quite worked out how to use).

We got $3200 back from our taxes and Family Assistance but only have $500 of it left - which I put on the credit card - so much for paying it off. Our washing machine died our first week here and flooded our apartment and the one below us so we went out and bought a new one for $650, we got a front loader because they don't use as much water and we are on strict water restrictions. We also bought a tallboy and matching bedside tables because we didn't have anywhere to put our folded clothes and that was another $630. Another $500 went on our first big grocery shop, which included the purchases of all our toiletries, cleaning supplies and mop and broom. $180 went on our security deposit for getting our electricity connected. The rest of it, well i'm not entirely sure where it's all gone. Some of it was for takeaways during our first week, some went on things we still needed for the house such as bathroom mats and clothes racks so I can air dry our clothes and not use the dryer as much, and cloth nappies and pilchers for Zac . Apart from that it's all just vanished into thin air I guess.

The good news is, we are on top of all our bills and have everything we need for the house so it is time to get serious about saving. I just paid our bills for the week and we've already done the groceries which was a big one and i've put $100 into the savings account.

We did the big grocery shop at Aldi. It's the first time i've been there to do a proper shop and I was so impressed. We bought two shopping trolleys full of groceries for only $212. This will feed us for 2 - 3 weeks. We still had to go to another store to get a few other items but we took advantage of the situation and stocked up on a few of their loss leaders while we were at it and I used my staff discount card. Not everything is cheaper at Aldi, I discovered that I can get some of the fresh produce and meat at cheaper prices when they are on sale at the fruit market, butchers or supermarket so I will still be careful to shop around for those items. Everything else i'll be buying from Aldi though. They're Mamia nappies are exceptional quality, much better than huggies. Zac was always leaking through Huggies but I haven't had that problem once with Mamia.

Our bills this week:
Rent - 215
Groceries - 320 (for several weeks)
Phone - 20
Electricity - 30
Preschool - 65 (it went up)
Savings - 100
Train - 50
Spending - 40
Sponsor child - 45
Christmas Club - 60
TOTAL- $945 (Hubby did a lot of overtime last week)

Next weeks savings should be a lot better.


July 13th, 2005 at 09:04 am

WE GOT IT!!!!!!! We get the keys on friday and will be moved in next weekend! I'm so so happy! We're finally going to be a family living away from my parents for the first time!!!

I'm also over the moon because I got to see Mr 11 months walk for the first time today!!! He took three steps. He has walked twice before this but both times I was at work.

More good news...my sister is lending us a fridge until our new one is delivered in december. So now we don't have to pay to rent one!!!

Now all we need is for hubby to pass his driving test on Tuesday and everything will have fallen into place!!!

It's times like these you've got to LOVE life!!! (and exclamation marks!!!)


July 12th, 2005 at 01:25 am

Well, I looked at the other two-bedroom townhouse yesterday and discovered the reason for it being so cheap. The outside of the building looked really good but you get inside and OMG! THe floor of the WHOLE house was mis-matched tiles, the walls were just house bricks, the bathroom was in the laundry which had a back door (so you'd be sitting on the dunny and someone would walk in from the backyard), the stairs were BARE CONCRETE like porch stairs only REALLY STEEP, you get to the top of the stairs and it's just one big room with a couple of benches thrown in for a kitchen and a wire sticking out of the wall for tv connection. The really weird thing was the bedrooms being downstairs and the living room upstairs, it's usually the other way around, Mum and I were peeing ourselves laughing all the way home!

I looked at a two-bedroon apartment yesterday afternoon and it is PERFECT! The rent is at the top of what we had budgeted for but it will be worth it if we get it. It's nice and big with a new kitchen, bathroom and laundry, it's open plan and has a verandah coming off the living room with big double glass doors so there is plenty of light. As soon as I walked into this place it just felt like home, I can see us living there quite comfortably. I lodged my application with the real estate this morning so now we just have to wait. They will contact us within the next 48 hours to let us know the results. I'm a little bit nervous about it, the application form asked for rental receipts and a reference from the last real estate we went through, both of which the last real estate was too lousy to supply us with so I explained it to the receptionist and I just hope she passes the message on to the property manager for us. Fingers Crossed!!!

You guessed it...

July 10th, 2005 at 10:32 pm

I still haven't been able to look at that townhouse, the people living in it are refusing to answer the real estates messages, obviously they don't want people looking at the place until they've moved out. The real estate was really rude when I went in to see them so i've started looking elsewhere. There is only one other place that sounds suitable and i'm going to arrange to look at it today. I'm a bit dissapointed though because it's only two bedrooms and there are no lock-up garages but the rent is $35 a week cheaper so it can't hurt to look right?

Forgot to add...

July 5th, 2005 at 11:11 pm

I've been going through my copy of the Complete Tightwad Gazzette and writing down all the ideas that i can use to save money. The plan is to tick off each idea as it becomes a habit and work my way down the list. Here's what i've got to start with:

1) Record all spending habits. Write down everything we spend money on.
2) After three months, divide the list into essentials and non - essentials, cut down on the non-essentials
3) Start a price book
4) Shop regularly at second hand stores and garage sales for everything from clothes to furniture that we need.
5) Hang washing on the clothesline, avoid the dryer.
6) Make pizza from scratch insead of getting home deliveries.
7) Cut right back on soda consumption.
8) Pack all work lunches.
9) Start eating for good health, avoid junk food, watch portion sizes.
10) Switch to cloth nappies and home made wipes.
11) Squash toilet paper rolls so they don't unroll as easily so we will use less.
12) Start bulk buying things on special that we will use before they expire.
13) Exercise and get healthy to reduce medical costs.
14) Wash any zip lock bags that haven't stored meat or poultry.
15) Work out what the cost of each meal you cook is and regularly use your cheapest meals.
16) Re use bread bags as short term freezer bags for meat.
17) Make crumbs out of stale bread and store in the freezer.
18) Make washers or baby wipes out of worn out old towels.
19) Use old cloth nappies as cleaning rags.
20) Make popcorn for snacks (not the microwave kind)
21) Invest in an aloe vera plant to treat wounds and burns. Offspring can be given as presents.
22) Re use wrapping paper
23) Eliminate conenience foods from your shopping. Divide things into portion sizes yourself.
24) Buy store/generic products unless there is a good deal on name brand which brings the cost below generic.
25) Do the shopping at a time when the fresh foods departments have done their mark downs.
26) Never waste food. Always find a way to use leftovers.
27) Find the minimum effective amount of everything. (shampoo, washing powder, dishwashing liquid, etc.)

That's all i've got so far and i'm only a third of the way through the book.

Waiting waiting waiting...

July 5th, 2005 at 09:59 pm

Still haven't heard from the Real Estate about looking at that townhouse. It's school holidays here so maybe the tenants have gone away and the real estate can't get in contact with them. If the real estate hasn't called me by 4pm i'll call them to find out what's going on.

Hubby and I both worked some overtime last week so I was able to pay all the bills, put $200 away for his driving test and save $250 for our move. It helps that we did a big grocery shop last week and didn't need to get much yesterday. We now have all the money we need for our deposit on the townhouse. Next week we'll put aside some money to hire a ute to help us move and the week after that we'll put aside money for our first grocery shop. Everything's falling into place, just as long as we can get this townhouse.

It's tax time for us and I can't wait to get our group certificates so we can do our taxes. We've got a couple of thousand dollars heading our way which will more than pay off that credit card and leave us 100% debt free.

Not much...

July 2nd, 2005 at 08:35 am

..to report today. I spent $8.80 on morning tea and lunch at work which isn't too bad. Of course it would be better if i actually packed my lunches. I found out that hubby applied for the wrong driving test so it's now been pushed back a couple of weeks so i'm not too happy about that. He applied on line and i offered to do it for him because he wasn't too sure what he was doing but he insisted he could handle it...i can't get mad though because i'm stubborn like that too. He's a bull (taurus) and i'm a ram (aries) so we are both as stubborn as each other and are constantly clashing horns and neither of us likes to admit it when we are wrong. But it's usually him that's wrong i swear!

Mixed Emotions

July 1st, 2005 at 07:19 am

My partner and I decided we will start trying for another baby in about 2 years so we can get some money behind us and enjoy Zac before the next baby comes along. I was really happy with this decision and it is what I wanted...so why am i so upset that the pregnancy test i did today was negative? I should be happy and I know we will have another one in a few years but right now, because I thought I might have been pregnant, I feel really sad that i'm not. I guess i've learned the hard way not to forget to get my pill prescription filled.

On a brighter note, I have found the perfect place for us to live. It's a 3 bedroom townhouse with a double lock-up garage and storage space. It has a verandah which overlooks the lowlands (farmers paddocks) and the blue mountains, it's right next door to a park with playing equipment (it's not in the centre of town so it never gets busy or noisy) Zac's preschool is just around the corner and it will only take me 10 minutes to walk to work. I'm trying to arrange an inspection but it is still occupied so i have to wait for the real estate to organise it with the tenants. They are ringing me on Monday to let me know when i can see it. I've really got my fingers crossed that we get this one, I hope there's not too much competition for it.

More good news, my partner was told at his driving lesson yesterday that he's ready and doesn't need to take two lessons next week so that's going to save us $50. He'll just have the one lesson immediately before his test. I REALLY hope he passes first time.


June 28th, 2005 at 11:15 pm

I have done a weekly budget for when we have moved and have slightly overestimated some things just in case.

Rent - 215 (this is the most we are willing to pay when we find an apartment)
Elecricity - 30 (this is slightly more then we paid when it was just the two of us)
Phone & net - 20
Preschool - 60
Sponsor child - 15
Christmas club - 60 (only until the end of october then we will cut down to $15)
Spending - 40 (this is to cover weekend fun, will save some for camping, going to the zoo etc)
Extras - 30 (this is to pay off lay-bys, clothes, any inexpensive gifts we find, things like that)
Groceries - 130

TOTAL $600
All money leftover from Spending, Extras and Groceries will go into individual labelled jars for spending later.

Between the two of us we earn a minimum of $800 a week, that's on a bad week. So we should be able to save a minimum of $200 every week as long as we stick to our budget. Obviously any unexpected costs such as medical will have to come out of our savings if we can't cover it with any money that's saved from Extras, Spending and Groceries. Thankfully we are all healthy and our Christmas club payments are only that high because we are paying off a new fridge, stereo and stainless steel banquet frying pan with it. After going through a few second hand appliances before we had Zac, we decided to buy some good quality new appliances (nothing flashy) so we had the warranty and guarantees to cover them.

Good news, my partner finally got back paid for some overtime he worked so we are able to pay all of the storage unit bill this week. Next week we have to pay for his driving test and two lessons, then we are free to continue saving the week after that.

Frugal Days and Emergency Rooms

June 27th, 2005 at 01:17 am

I'm sitting here extremely tired right now because I spent half the night in the emergency room with Zac. He was just screaming non stop which is really out of character for him and i couldn't find anything wrong, no fever or rash or anything to upset him. The doctor at the emergency room couldn't find anything wrong with him either and kept us in there for two hours observation before he sent us home saying Zacs cold was probably just upsetting him a lot. As soon as we got out into the carpark Zac threw up all over my Dad, it would seem he has inherited my fear of being sick and holds onto it for as long as possible. To top things off it was only 1 degree celcius and my dad had locked the keys in the car so we had to wait for Mum to come and rescue us. Zac seems to be better now though, he's sitting in his high chair eating vegemite toast and blowing rasberries with mouthfulls of water and getting it everywhere. I love all the cute things he does, even if he does make a mess.

I've had a couple of good days managing our money. On Saturday i went to a discount shop at lunch time and bought 4 Enid Blyton books, they're illustrated in colour (not like the ones i grew up reading) for only $3.99 each, they were originally $9.99 each and i'm going to put them away in the gift box for a present for Zac when he's a little older. I went to one shop to look for tea towels and found them on sale 3 for $2 but looked in another shop and i found some that were 4 for $1.25 so i bought them instead.

On Sunday we went to a big clearance sale at a local department store and walked out with...NOTHING. We decided there wasn't anything in there that we really needed and decided to spend a small fraction of what we had planned to spend to rent out a couple of DVD's and buy a bag of lollies so we could enjoy a movie night.

Daisy came back from the vets and thankfully wasn't pregnant because that would have cost us an extra $80 if she was. The kittens she'd already had have both found new homes now so all the cat issues are over. My next focus is paying the $376 storage unit bill. I might have to pay half this week and half next week otherwise we won't be able to eat.


June 22nd, 2005 at 08:21 am

It has occurred to me how great it will be once my partner has his licence. He will be getting a payrise as well as a company ute, which comes complete with free fuel. We'll be able to check out garage sales, clearance sales etc without it costing us a cent in petrol! If we pack our lunches, snacks and drinks for any long trips, we won't be wasting money on takeaways either. It also means we will be able to plan family camping trips as well. My parents have all the camping equipment you can dream of so we can borrow all of their stuff, pack food and all we'll have to pay for are site fees, fishing licences and bait, which won't amount to much for a holiday at all.

I've tracked down a nearby Warehouse that sells bulk cleaning supplies, including things such as toilet paper, paper towel and rubber gloves. They deliver to businesses all over the place, including my partners workplace and he said that their products are really good quality. I looked at their prices on-line and their products are heaps cheaper then reatail. For example, their laundry powder turns out to be less than a dollar per kilo and the cheapest i've found laundry powder anywhere else it was $2 per kilo and that was for a cheap brand on special! I emailed them to find out if they sell direct to the public and they said yes and they'll even deliver to me for free on one of their regular runs. We'll be paying them a visit once we've moved out that's for sure!

Miss Daisy, my cat, is at the vets ready for her desexing, microchipping and vaccination tomorrow and they quoted me $243.50 but it will be more if she's in heat or pregnant. Her kittens are only 7 weeks old so i'm hoping that she's not. It's a lot to pay for a cat that my parents are going to keep because i don't want to have her cooped up in an apartment when she's always been an outside cat. She is my responsibility though so i don't really mind.

The Start of a New Lifestyle

June 21st, 2005 at 04:26 am

I've been researching ways in which i can save money ever since Zac was born 10 1/2 months ago. We have been living with my family ever since he was born because we were so careless with our money and didn't save for my maternity leave. In just two short months we will be back out on our own and i can't wait! My parents have been very generous letting us live here, we have been paying board, food and utilities but not as much as we would have paid if we were still living on our own.

I have so many plans for ways we can save money once we have moved out. A lot of it is too hard to do here because my parents have their ways of doing things and i don't feel it's my place to change that. I did however get mum to start buying generic paper towel instead of the most expensive one on the market and she has agreed that it is great quality and does the job just as well.

There are so many things i have learnt about saving money that i never would have thought of on my own. I'm really looking forward to putting my new found frugal abilities to the test. In the coming years we would like to get married, have more children and buy a house. We have one credit card which we owe $1500 on so that will be our first priority, then we will start our emergency fund to cover those little surprises that tend to pop up.

For now i'm just biding my time. We have saved $1000 towards moving out and have $500 more to go but i've got a cat to get desexed, microchipped and vaccinated (about $230), a storage unit bill to pay ($376), my partner's driving lessons and test (up to $500 for the next month if he passes first time) and we are all in need of some winter clothes. I went to the second hand baby shop and picked up some great stuff from there but he needs more. So saving isn't looking too good for the next month but i am putting the odd $5 or so into my ing account every week, just for my own sanity.