Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Starting again... again

So things have really, seriously changed around here.

I've moved 1600km away from where I was previously based.

I've taken a job with a $20K a year increase in wages.

I've taken a home with a lower weekly rental cost and no on-top outgoings, which has lowered my monthly costs.

BUT, there were expenses in getting here, obviously.

The debt landscape has changed. I'm looking a little worse off than I was before, but I'm in a stronger position to deal with it, which is positive. I know that this move has been the best thing for me to do, personally and professionally.

Work has offered to pay $4000 towards my moving expenses, however it will be paid as an incentive bonus - one payment at 3 months and one at 12 months. Which is fine by me. Those will both go to debt when they come in and I'll continue to work at paying down the balances in the meantime.

So, how bad is it?

Total debt:

$13,680 Credit Card   - this is moving expenses
$32,178                    - this is the loan from my Dad, zero interest. The money I had put aside to pay him back was spent on moving expenses, with his blessing. He wants me to pay him back in lump sums of ~$5K, so I need to hold the money before I give it to him. More on that in a minute.

I have eliminated the TV debt completely and have no other debt.

GRAND TOTAL: $44,858

My current account holding funds for repaying my Dad is sitting at $1,200.

I have preset the repayments into Dad's loan holding account to $450 per fortnight, and once the credit card is paid off, I'll be redirecting funds to Dad's loan instead. I have unlinked it from my internet banking, so the only way I can access funds from that account is to physically attend the branch and get them to move it for me. Mostly I've done this so I can't rob it - which is a risk, because I'm crappy at saving.

At this point, any extra that I have at the end of the fortnight will be put to the Credit Card, simply because it has interest and Dad's loan doesn't. Plus the sooner I clear it the sooner I can get Dad's loan snowballing up. I'm paying an automatic $300 into the Credit Card each fortnight.

Dad isn't worried about how long it takes to pay him back, but I want to clear it as soon as I can. It was good of him to loan it to me and I'm conscious that I've been given a gift in not having to pay interest.

I'm intending to punch a bit harder at my debt over Christmas / New Year. I'm acting up into my managers role for nearly a full month over January and should have additional pay for that. I'm considering whether I can do some side hustle, but in a new town its difficult to know what might be around.

Its frustrating to me that over the past two years I've gained far more debt than I started with. ARGH!

I feel like each time I get going on the process of paying it down, something happens (and it is all my own choices, I get that) to drive the debt up.

On the up side this time around, I have managed to both increase my income and reduce my expenses, so its not all bad. Yes, my move cost me money but once paid off it will be putting me in a stronger position to buy a house. And that is still my end game. Debt free, home owner.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Me Made May and a debt update

Me-Made-May is keeping me busy, as I realise that my me-made wardrobe is probably not as strong as it could be, particularly for cold weather!

My lovely daughter bought me a Mothers Day gift which was so very thoughtful - a $50 voucher to Spotlight, a big box fabric and craft store. 

So we went along to see what was about, and as it turned out, the store was in the process of moving locations, which meant that there were some super specials on the apparel fabrics in store.

I picked out three crepes suitable for work tops, and a scuba knit suitable for a dress / skirt. When we got to the counter, I was delighted to find that the fabric (which was already over 50% off) was further reduced by another 50%. So the fabric which was over $20 retail per meter originally, I was getting for $5 per meter or less. But wait! I'm a member of the VIP Club (free to join, additional discounts) and it bought the total down even further.

In all, my four cuts of fabric - enough to make two tops each from the crepe and a skirt, a top and a dress from the scuba knit - came in at just $19.  I could not be happier! 

I've made the dress and skirt from the scuba knit - both turned out really well and have been worn to work already. All of the top fabric is laid out ready to be cut, I just need to find some time to get that done. I'm really happy with my choices, in that I thought carefully about what I had in my wardrobe and what would add value to what I already owned, and what would effectively mix and match. Once the tops are made up, they'll add some real versatility to my wardrobe, at very little cost. Yay!

Now, on to the debt update! New debt numbers as of today, with regularly scheduled payments of $150 towards the TV debt and $350 towards the family loan:

Starting Net Worth (28 April 2017)

Current Net Worth 

Total Debt Paid to date:

That brings the TV debt down to $1,885 and the Family Loan down to $31,228.

I'm not sure exactly whether it is best to put the extra against the Family Loan or the TV debt. I guess if I was being completely risk averse, I'd put it towards the TV debt, because its the only one that has the possibility of future interest. Plus, if I can kill it earlier, I can snowball those funds into the Family Loan... but somehow putting the extra to the Family Loan makes me feel happier. Hmm. Something to consider.

I do still hope to make a larger payment this fortnight, and will transfer that across later in the week if I'm able to manage it... and when I decide which one its going to!

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Update - May payments

Sorry for the absence, I've been ridiculously busy at work and away from home for a number of days.

Pleased to say that my scheduled payments went ahead last week, with $150 going to my TV debt and $350 to the family loan.

Starting Net Worth (28 April 2017)

Current Net Worth

Total Debt Paid to date:

That's a figure that's starting to look a bit respectable. Next round of payments are due next week and I expect to make slightly larger payments, all going well.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Sponsoring to save some $$

I normally purchase an $85 membership to my daughters sporting club.

This entitles us to "free" entry to all home games, which works out to be cheaper than paying entry at each home game she plays. I buy a membership in order to save some money, given that we do attend every home and away game through the season. Unfortunately there is no way of saving on the entry to out of town games, but I do budget for this item.

This year, she bought home a sponsors pack. She hasn't previously received the pack because sponsorship is something only the older players seek - she's playing some games with the senior team this year so they gave her a pack. Every senior player is encouraged to get at least one players sponsor, and if they get 5 sponsors they receive their own membership ($85) free of charge.

Now, my daughter doesn't have to pay membership yet, because she's under 18. Only 18+ players have to pay membership. So she gets in free to every home game regardless, because she's a junior player. Still, I had a read of the sponsorship pack to find out what was on offer.

Turns out that sponsoring a player gets you membership PLUS extra bonuses, including one sponsors game where you have all-you-can eat and drink (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) in a special marquee. You also get your name up on the sponsors wall, which is kind of nice I guess, particularly if you have a business to advertise.

So how much is sponsorship? 


I am so annoyed that I didn't know about this sooner. I could have saved an additional $10 a year and had a nice day out as well, for something I buy anyway!

If you have a child who plays sports, it might be worth investigating if they have player sponsor deals like this one - you may save yourself some additional money.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Shoe negotiations - teenagers

I took my daughter shopping for new sports shoes yesterday.
It was our second attempt at it, the first trip having ended in an argument. 
My daughter is very strong willed and while I say that she gets that from her Dad, I know she gets it from me! 

Anyway, I did some exploration online before we went and had money set aside for this purpose. 
Sports shoes designed for the particular sport she plays and  suitable for what she needed from a support / hard wearing point of view  averaged about $150 for a basic shoe from a good brand. 

When she was young, I bought cheap shoes and found that they generally fell apart by mid way through the season. She plays outdoor winter sports and is involved in training and extension activities associated with athletics and running. To make sure the shoes last, I now I invest in good quality shoes without buying top of the line. This time, she was pushing for shoes at the $300 plus price point, well above what I was prepared to pay and for no reason other than because she wanted a particular colour that was only available in the most expensive shoe. That's what caused the argument the first trip and why we didn't buy anything. 

Before this trip I negotiated with her. She has a job and had birthday money to use. I said that I would buy shoes up to $150. If she wanted a more expensive pair, she could pay the difference. 

She eventually settled on a pair at $237 and paid me the difference. 

It was a good outcome I think - she got what she wanted and I spent what I had budgeted. She also chose a very slightly cheaper shoe than her original choice  and we bought the shoes on sale saving a little more. 

I felt good knowing that we'd been able to negotiate an outcome we were both happy with and which demonstrated to her that I wasn't prepared to spend excessive amounts purely for fashion. 

She ended up spending only part of her birthday money (she got $200, spent $87). She's saving the rest. 

Friday, 5 May 2017

Me Made May

This month I'm participating in Me-Made-May, something that the online sewing community gets into each year. 

The idea is that you take a pledge to wear the clothing that you make for the month of May. The beauty of it is the you can pledge at any level you like - at least one piece a day right through to everything you wear being handmade.

I've been sewing for a number of years, and I have a reasonable collection of clothing that I've made myself. 

I made a dress last week, that took me overnight to make, and cost only the fabric ($25). I needed something to wear to a funeral and I could easily have gone out and spent $80 - $150 on a nice dress for the occasion. Instead, I invested a little bit of my time and a little amount of money into fabric, and made something that fits me perfectly and I feel really great in.

Sewing isn't always the thrifty answer, but it can be a very positive way to save some money on specialty items. I can certainly make professional dresses at a significantly lower cost than buying them.

Me Made May is a great opportunity for me to look at what I've  made and how I can wear it in my everyday life, in order to get the best value from my hobby.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Thrifty cooking

I've been eating a low carb diet for a while now, and I love it. I have great health results, so much more energy, sleeping better, it's amazing.

But I need to balance that against my budget. 

Rice, pasta and beans, potatoes and carrots  are the staple of most frugal meals. I don't eat any of those things. 

I think this winter the slow cooker is going to be my friend. Cheap meat, veg I can eat, and rice for my daughter. I have mine with zucchini noodles to bulk it out. Easy and delicious. 

There are ways to manage frugal living even on special diets. 

(Oh, and in case you're wondering, I started this way of eating because of a food allergy that made me violently ill. I had also put on a lot of weight. This way, I can avoid my allergen and lose weight. 14.5kg down so far - or 32lbs. Not bad!).