30 Dec 2017

another trip to the dump!

Today was another productive decluttering day. We filled the van with old furniture and 'stuff' from inside the house this time. Included was:

  • a small bookcase
  • a queen size mattress topper
  • a ratty old doona
  • a large coffee/games table
  • a wooden chest - used to be my 'glory box' years ago
  • a broken office chair
  • a broken lounge chair
  • plus some other general rubbish
So it has created some space in the house which is great!  I'll be back into it again tomorrow. 

29 Dec 2017

more 'stuff' decluttered...

The last few days I have been busy with more decluttering, interspersed with some sewing.  I've sorted a lot of the clothes and started working in the spare room.

I have a big fabric stash and its overflowed from the sewing room into the spare room, along with a heap of other 'stuff' that needed a place to live.  I had three big bags of fleece in there so I cut out some stuffed toys and some cuddle rugs - (I sew for some charities) and its been nice to sew when I need a break from cleaning & sorting. It will help use up my excess fabric as well.

We've planned another trip to the dump tomorrow and once the op shops open next week we'll take a load of donations down to them as well. At times I feel like I'm making progress but then I have moments where it just seems like such a huge job! A lifetimes worth of stuff here, plus some of my mums stuff as well. But I'm making progress bit by bit!

I love it when I log in here and see the numbers on that retirement countdown going down- it helps to see an end date.

24 Dec 2017

Decluttering has started!

We've been busy for the last two days getting started with the decluttering.

Yesterday we filled a van load full of old broken stuff from around the house yard and took it to the tip:

  • old garden chairs
  • broken garden pots
  • broken plant stand
  • 5 large cardboard boxes from furniture
  • old bits of timber
  • some rubbish from the garage
I've been working on decluttering our bedroom and six garbage bags later I'm not far off being finished!  I think another full day should just about do it. I've done the wardrobes, almost all the ensuite where we had lots of 'stuff' stored and I'm half way through the drawers.

 I was pretty ruthless with the clothes. I tend to hang on to things far too long - like 15 years too long!  I feel like I have to get the wear out of them even if they are no longer flattering. I often upcycle clothes too. The more I put out, the easier it got!  I have a pile of clothes waiting to be altered which I'll get to over the next few weeks.

 I had originally planned to sell a lot of my old clothes and pay the money off the mortgage. But by the time I was done I decided that I am just going to donate them and be done with it. It is easier and will take far less time for me to do some of this extra work that has been offered instead of listing them for sale and posting them out to people. 

Before we started work on decluttering I went around the yard and to each room and took photographs. I'm not going to post them here but I'm going to take new photos each month to see how much progress I am making, The house is a real mess and we're in the 'can't have anyone over' CHAOS that flylady talks about, so I figure photos will help me keep working on it.

well thats Christmas Eve almost over here, tomorrow we'll have Christmas with the family and then back into the decluttering come Boxing Day.

21 Dec 2017

2018 Goals

I've spent some time re-jigging our budget in the expectation of DH having his hours cut later in the year and setting some goals for 2018. I'm aiming high as I really just want to get this mortgage paid off asap and reach those retirement savings goals.

2018 Goals

Home Mortgage- get balance under $100,000
Retirement Savings: Increase balance by $50,000
Redraw: balance: $0
Credit Card balance: $0
Extra Income: $10,000

weight < 70gs

To earn extra income I'll be using the money I get from doing surveys, credit card and loyalty card discounts, cashrewards and selling stuff we no longer need as well as doing some extra work. We need to declutter a large four bedroom home down to fit into a four room unit, so there will plenty to get rid of and sell off.

I also want to reduce my food & grocery spending so I'm going to make a page to track that. We have three adults to feed and I have lots of food allergies which impacts on the bill combined with the others being fussy! I'd love to get it down to $100 /week but not sure how we'll go. But I'll give it my best shot.

19 Dec 2017

What a difference a day makes...

I was feeling pretty down about DH's work to get cut back in six months after we had spent quite some time working out the calculations for our retirement in five years time. But the following day I was asked to apply for some online contract work with a company I had recently registered with.

Today I spoke with them and if I get the work it would pay three times the rate of pay of I currently earn! I am gobsmacked at the pay rate, I've done similar work in the past but the rate was a third less, minus me paying for room rental and GST which reduced it down to the same as what I earn at work. I will have no overheads with this as I'll work from home.

My plan is to take on some extra work and pay it all off the mortgage. 12 hours a week would double my current income, though I probably won't do that much. But if working online can get me to retirement sooner I'm in! So tomorrow I have to redo my resume, set up my online profiles and get photos done then complete my application.

I'd love to be able to leave my job before five years  - who knows - this might be an option that allows me to do that.

15 Dec 2017

A spanner in the works..

well, just as all our plans and calculations are looking good here, we just got thrown an unexpected curve ball today. hubby got called in to the office and told they want to reduce his job hours to part time. They want him to do more duties, but in less days - an impossible task!  Since this new management took over they have laid off four staff and one resigned two weeks ago.

Management doesn't seem to understand the industry they work in (a non-profit) has different values, goals and regulations to corporate cut throat business world they come from. Anyway, we have a few months till they are going to cut his hours. Its a real bummer in terms of our budget. It could be a sign they are moving to lay him off and trying to making him quit first to save money. So I'm not sure whats going to happen but in the mean time we just need to stick to our plan and focus on cutting the budget.

I did the grocery shopping this morning. Spent $99.03
At the moment I'm making cottage pie for dinner to use up some leftover roast beef.

12 Dec 2017

Super funds

I've been busy doing financial paperwork today. I used to manage my own retirement funds but I'm in the process of rolling them over into a new super fund. So this morning I completed the final forms and then went down to the bank to organise the rollover cheques.

To Do:
  • Finalise superanuation rollover
  • Change paypal funds from credit card to bank account
  • Do new YNAB budget for 2018

11 Dec 2017

Retirement Trial and planning ahead.

Simplifying my life is where I'm at right now. I've had most of this year off on paid leave and its given me time to get my health back on track and get a feel for what it would be like to be retired. I've really enjoyed it and its given me time to do a lot of reading and planning.

I used to think I'd never retire as I really love my work, but thats changed now. I have so many interesting ( to me) things I want to do that I've had no trouble filling my days. And more than anything I have noticed how good it feels just not to have to worry about work. I want that freedom and it will be a bit of an adjustment returning to work in the New Year.

I started the morning off with a lovely walk at 5.30 this morning. Hubby and I have some nice green areas to walk through and its a lovely way to start the day. I want to keep that up, its nice to have time to catch up while we walk.

Our basic, but flexible retirement plan is this:
  • pay off the home mortgage asap 
  • both salary sacrifice maximum into retirement funds
  • then make extra payments  off IP #2
On retirement in five years time renovate bathroom & kitchen, repaint house and finish gardens before selling our home. These funds will be used to clear any remaining mortgage on IP #2 with the rest put into super funds.

After the house is sold we want to do some travelling for a few months. In that time we'll repaint IP #2 and move in when we return. Our stuff will go into storage while we're away.

IP #1 - we may keep and rent out for income or sell. We'll make that decision down the track.

We have a holiday planned for 2018 but after that we'll probably do smaller holidays till we retire.

Of course all this could change if we get laid off or if illness occurs but it feels good to have made a clear plan and know what we are working towards. I'm currently working on simplifying our finances and reducing a lot of time and paperwork - thats my goal for this week! Then I'll get a new budget done for 2018.

10 Dec 2017

... and so it begins!

Well, here I am with a fresh new blog... a little about me..

About 7 years ago life was much more complicated. After a family crisis, job losses and a long period of ill health we found ourselves in debt to the tune of  $72,000.

It wasn't debt from spending lavishly on 'stuff'- most of it was debt accrued in trying keep our family afloat during a really horrible, incredibly stressful few years.

 I discovered Dave Ramsay and personal finance blogs which kept the wolf from the door as I followed his advice on keeping the four walls, managing creditors and getting started on our debt snowball.

About 4 months after discovering Dave I found a well paying full time job and hubby also found employment. We set about rebuilding our finances.  By 2012 we had paid off $102,000 in credit card debt and student loans

After paying off debt we changed our focus on investments, given our age and my good income we wanted to take advantage of tax deductions and invest in real estate. We bought two units, one was chosen for us to downsize into and the other is in a university town several hours away. Hubby maxed out his superannuation ( retirement) salary sacrifice and we started paying extra on our mortgage. Despite a higher income, we continued to live simply, aiming to live off one income and save the other most months.

A few years later and it's clear the real estate investments were the right way for us to go. We have had only one weeks vacancy with out tenants and no problems. Both units have gone up significantly in value - much more than what we could have saved on the mortgage or earned on savings. The research we did before purchasing paid off!

The other decision we made after paying off debt was to travel. Life is short. We've seen too many friends and colleagues suddenly get ill and all the dreams they had for 'retirement' will never happen. So we take a good trip each year and really enjoy it! We've been very focused on paying down the mortgage as well as building retirement savings for the last few years.

We have now made the decision that we'd like to retire in five years - the end of 2022 - I'll be 60, hubby a few years older. We might then work part time but my job is very stressful and it does take a toll on my health, so I think five more years is well and truly enough! Setting a day has really helped us focus and its exciting to feel there is an 'end' date to work.

I decided to start blogging to help me keep accountable to our financial goals and also to just enjoy meeting other bloggers with similar interests and goals. I'm excited to think about 'life after work'. I love the work I do but its becoming more and more difficult as government policies keep hacking away at the welfare sector and services keep getting cut. I've just had 12 months off on paid leave and go back in a few weeks.

So I guess my blog will be about the day to day 'stuff'  of life as we save, declutter, downsize, simplify and move towards our goals. When not working I love sewing, curling up with a good book or going walking.