26 Mar 2018

Monday morning...

Its Monday morning here and I'm back to work today, not really looking forward to it as I am now quite behind and I know its going to be busy! I'm tired already and I've only been back a few months - at least this week is a short week with Good Friday off.

I saw my dr on Friday and she was very pleased with my progress. I have a month to get my weight down further before blood tests to see if insulin resistance has improved. So more exercise, more healthy eating and less snack foods for me!

I made a batch of almond biscuits using this recipe as a basis, they taste great and satisfy my need for crunchy foods.

I also cooked up a batch of veggies - pumpkin, carrots, onions, sweet potato so I can just reheat them as needed.

I used $30 worth of vouchers for the shopping this week but I've still spent too much this month. Will add it all up for the end of month tracking.

Overall it was a good weekend, feeling much better after being sick,  but I just have the Monday morning blahs I think....  anyway I'll keep plodding along - only four more years to go :)

22 Mar 2018

Chicken Soup & Mortgage Progress

Well at the moment I'm off work sick, feeling pretty second hand at the moment but at least I can rest up at home. DD made a lovely big pot of chicken soup and we've been eating that - its the perfect comfort food when we're all sick with the latest bug thats doing the rounds.

I love making soup and I love eating soup! This recipe had lemongrass and ginger in it which gave it a lovely warm feeling on my sore throat. Its a recipe we'll make again.

Here is the recipe she used: Chicken Stock & Soup Recipe.

On the mortgage front today I made some extra payments to bring the balance down to $158,975.  Thats takes us to the end of Year 10 on the original amortisation schedule.  It means we've paid 5% off the mortgage since we started this blog.  The next goal balance is $155,123 which will take us to end of year 11 balance.

To reach my end of year goal of <$100,000 we will need to pay $1475/week. A big goal but I'm going to just keep believing I can get there somehow. My extra work starts next week which will help but I still need to work on reducing expenses further.

Tomorrow I'm off to see my doctor for an annual checkup and then back home for the day to curl up on the lounge and rest.

21 Mar 2018

We have tenants!

We put our unit back on the rental market last week. It only took a few days for us to have some enquiries and we've now got new tenants ready to move in. We've increased the rent as well so its working out nicely.

I need to renew our landlords insurance so I'll get some quotes first. I do that for all our insurances and utilities each year -get quotes and compare policies. It amazing how much you can save just by taking the time to compare the details and ring about prices. Years ago loyal, long term customers got the best deals but that has all changed now. Companies offer better deals to new customers so if I have to change to save money I do.

Today is payday -can't wait for the money to go in so I can send some to the mortgage! Its been really busy at work this week and really stressful. I'm certainly in a 'ready to retire' mood this week and seeing those numbers countdown in the sidebar is helping.

Do you chase the best prices on utilities & insurances when they come up for renewal?

19 Mar 2018

A morning at the Highland Games

The last few days we've had temperatures in the mid 30's -so hot days and hot nights that are usually long gone at this time of year. Yesterday my daughter, my niece and I went to the Highland games. Fortunately we were able to find shady places for most of the morning.  They had erected a castle front in the middle of the oval which added a lovely touch. The bands all entered through the castle gate when it was their turn to play.

I love listening to bands play but I have to say I love the Scottish bands the most. I used to do Scottish dancing when I was a kid and we would dance at fairs like this and in the Eisteddfod.

I remember when I was about 6 or 7,  I had been practising for my Eisteddfod performance to a tape of the bagpipe music. On the day I went out on the stage and instead of hearing a tape of the music, standing behind me was a bagpiper. Well I did my first bow and just froze at the sound of the bagpipes!! I stood there till the music ended, then did my last bow and walked off. The sound of loud bagpipes is fantastic and I love it - but that first time, with him right behind me was too much lol!

We stayed a few hours and had a nice walk around, watched a bit of the dancing and bought some gluten free chutney from the lady I had bought jam off a few weeks ago at the Farmers Markets. There were some nice craft stalls with sewing and patchwork and other homemade goodies, as well as lots of Scottish goods.

 But after a while the wind got really strong and the heat was getting worse, so we went into town and had cake & coffee before doing  the grocery shopping.  All in all it was a lovely day costing only $2 entry and $14 for the chutney.

Work has been very busy the last few weeks and I've been a bit unwell so my goals for shopping, exercising and eating well have slipped a bit- will update on that soon.

Good news is that I had the meeting about the extra work and its going ahead so extra mortgage-smashing money is coming!

13 Mar 2018

Mortgage interest under $500.

The interest for the mortgage just got withdrawn for the month - $498.62.  I'm finally under $500 a month! I've put the monthly interest in the sidebar so I can track it.

I just paid $500 into the account to cover the interest. For a few months now I've been paying the monthly mortgage interest like a bill, to keep that balance moving downwards asap. Currently its $160,881.

I've also added another page with the amortisation schedule for the original mortgage - $200,000 over 30 years. We are almost at the balance for the end of Year 10.

To reach my 2018 goal of < $100,000 is not going to be easy, but I just keep focusing on that number and believing we can do it. I know I'll have a nice big tax return to use and I have a meeting this week about extra work. All that income will go off the mortgage.

DH has had some hassles at his workplace over the last few weeks.Not sure how its going to turn out - wether it will settle down or wether they will offer him a payout. Hopefully it settles down and we can just keep on plodding along towards retirement!

* I added some photos to the post about our retirement unit:

10 Mar 2018

Visit to our retirement unit!

We got the keys to our rental unit yesterday and went down to have a look after work. It was great to see inside again - its been a few years- and nice just to spend some time there thinking about where we will  put things when we move in. I took a heap of photos so I can refer back to them.

This morning we were down there again taking measurements and deciding what repairs we want to do. If we do things now its a tax deduction. If we leave them till we move in they aren't. We are going to change the lights over to LEDs as that will be more economical. We also need to regrout the shower and we will also make a wooden top for the window seat which is showing a bit of wear and tear. The garage floor could do with a repaint so we'll get a quote on that as well and some more pavers for the garden.

After making our list of jobs we went off to Bunnings and bought our supplies.I'm looking forward to going back down tomorrow for a while to do some more planning while DH does the grouting.

Our unit has just four rooms and a small garden. Its a timely reminder of just how much downsizing we need to do over the next few years! I have several bags of 'stuff' to go to Vinnies so I might try and drop those off tomorrow.  In the meantime I've been on pintrest pinning ideas for the little garden and for storage in small places.  Can't wait till we're retired and living there for good!

Heres a few pics of where we'll be headed in a few years time.

The kitchen and lounge/dining room

The second bedroom upstairs, which will be my sewing room.

The ceilings in the front of the unit are all lovely and patterned.

We have a small yard for an outdoor setting and a smaller side yard off the kitchen as well.

Looking back from the kitchen to the lounge/dining area. The door opens to the garage / laundry which will be DH's workshop area when we move. We'll park the cars in the street.

There is also small bathroom and lovely large main bedroom with leadlight windows behind those curtains. The window seat looks out over the garden and that timber on the floor goes on the seat.

So I need to cull our 'stuff' from 30+ years here in our big four bedroom home to fit into our little four room home over the next few years.

8 Mar 2018

End of week update!

I've been unwell the last few days, painful feet from arthritis and not sleeping very well.  Had to travel for work and did a few teaching sessions where I was on my feet for several hours. Last night I woke up in the middle of the night with really bad arthritis pain in my feet and ankles. So I was off work today and will probably just go in for the morning tomorrow.

Is frustrating as when I get a flare up I can't take any medications for it, I just have to rest. I haven't walked all week and I haven't eaten the best as I've been so tired after work. This is the cycle I don't want to be in again. I need to get myself back on track over the weekend with eating better and sleeping better.

On a positive note our tenants have cleaned the house properly. We'll go and have a look on the weekend and see if we need to do any small repairs before renting it again. I'm excited to see it!  I'm going to take photos and measurements of all the rooms so I can plan what furniture will fit.

I received a bank statement today which is a bit confusing. If it is correct it means that I have a large sum of money owning to me from my time off work. But it seems like an error that big is unlikely. I can't contact the bank directly - have to go through the pay office so I'll be on the phone to them first thing tomorrow morning. I really hope I am owed this money - it would really make a big dent in the mortgage - so fingers crossed!

6 Mar 2018

Mortgage & tenant update.

We got a letter from the bank about our mortgage payment yesterday. They have reduced our monthly payment by $33. It says that each year they review loans to see if payments need to increase, decrease or stay the same. In 30 years of having various mortgages I've never had a letter like that before!

DH spent 20 years working in banking. He said they are worried we are increasing payments and will pay it out early so this is a recalculation to encourage us to pay less. Of course we won't reduce our payments, in fact I'll keep trying to increase them and this reduction just means more goes off the principal each month.

In an interesting twist, our tenant has up and vacated over the weekend after initially protesting that they would be unable to move out when the lease was up at the end of the month. Its all very odd! They have paid up to date but said they didn't have time to clean thoroughly. The agent is inspecting today and fingers crossed theres no damage. If its not properly cleaned it will come out of the bond.

When we lease it are planning to increase the rent by $20/week so that is an additional $1000 income each year from this IP. Can't wait to get the keys and have a look inside again!

5 Mar 2018

March Goals

I've been inspired by The Hawaii Plan to set some monthly goals.  I've been back at work two months now and the time is flying by. I feel like I'm slipping back into old patterns where I'm too tired to do anything much except go to work and do the shopping. The messy house is annoying me and the decluttering has come to a halt.
Here's my monthly goals for March:

  • grocery spending < $600
  • make payment on holiday
  • take out travel insurance
  • pay $4000 off mortgaage
  • walk 4 days a week
  • walk 100 miles
  • lose 2kgs
  • do brain training 90 mins/week
  • increase fruit & veg
  • do a stocktake of stockpile
  • thorough clean of kitchen & pantry
  • blog efforts to eat out stockpile
  • clean out one garden bed in front yard
  • finish the paper shredding
  • meeting re extra work
  • set up office space at home
  • finish one more clue of 'On Ringo Lake' quilt
  • evening meditation/relaxation before bed
  • finish kids blankets and post
  • read two 1001books  
While there are parts of my job I enjoy, its about to get much more stressful as colleagues start getting laid off from the end of this month and the workload will increase.  I need to keep my focus on my goals and on life outside of work.

Are you a goal setter?

4 Mar 2018

Grocery Shopping

Week 3 of a $60 minimum spend.

Butcher: $22.21  23 sausages (2kgs)

Bakers Delight: $10   6 cheese & bacon rolls, 4 bread rolls

Coles: $194.05  savings: $37.28  &  $10 off

2kg potatos  $7
300g cornflour $1.50
2kg sugar $1.80
1.5kg sweet potato $5.88
6 bananas $3.15
150g garlic  $2.50
4 apples $2.61
200g carrot $2
6 red onions $3.33
1.3kg lamb roast $17.53
2 pkts pasta $2
250g parmesan cheese $6.10
2 400g gluten free chicken $16
250g cucumber  $2.50
3 punnets perino tomatos $9
600g yoghurt $4.50
2 pkts quick oats $2.60
450g butter $4.50
10 gluten free tortillas $4.45
5 Gluten free wraps $5
1.6kg puff pastry $6.85
3 litres olive oil $25
125g raspberries $3.90
250g strawberries x 4 $14
1 pkt chips $3.20
100g ham $2.50
20 tortillas $5.90
1 pkt licorice $4
3 pkts cruskits $9
1 pkt choc chip biscuits $2.50
27 rolls toilet paper $11.25
3 rolls paper towel $3
1 BBQ chicken $9

Total spend this week: $226.26

I bought a few expensive things this week - probably because I'm feeling a bit tired and irritated with work after a frustrating Friday. And I know I have a difficult week coming - have to spend a few days with a bullying boss.

I feel like a nice roast lamb dinner so boned lamb was on special $14 kg. I also bought some gluten free chicken and wraps - they are expensive but I have them now and again as a treat. We also ran out of olive oil so I bought the 3litre tin for $25 which is a much cheaper way to buy it.

The baked dinner didn't happen as I opened up the cupboard under the sink a while ago to find everything soaking wet!. The pipe to the sink is leaking where it joins the tap and will need a plumber. So I've had to empty out two soaking wet cupboards full of 'stuff' all over the kitchen benches to dry. The shelves have soaked up the water so they will need replacing but we will live with them till we're ready to renovate the kitchen. I'll need to get them dried out thoroughly to prevent mould though.

I didn't get any decluttering done this weekend. Ended up sleeping all afternoon. I am really noticing how much energy working takes out of me. I miss being home and I miss having my days to myself.  Just have to keep on working the plan!

3 Mar 2018

A brilliant sunrise!

“How sweet the morning air is! See how that one little cloud floats like a pink feather from some gigantic flamingo. Now the red rim of the sun pushes itself over the London cloud-bank. 
It shines on a good many folk, but on none, I dare bet, who are on a stranger errand than you and I. How small we feel with our petty ambitions and strivings in the presence of the great elemental forces of Nature!” 

Arthur Conan Doyle - Sherlock Holmes

This mornings sunrise was just stunning!

 The sky was filled with clouds and as the sun rose the clouds were edged in pink...

Then is changed to the most brilliant orange - it looked like the sky was on fire..

As we got closer to home this cloud appeared...

It was a great way to start the weekend!  We walked a different route this morning and bumped into one of DHs mates out walking his dog at 6am. We usually see a few tradies walking to work and as it gets lighter the joggers and dog walker start appearing. Its nice that walkers are friendly, everyone says hello and the dogs always look so happy to be out.

The good thing about walking is it gets me out of my head - I need to switch off from work on the weekends and after being out early it really does help me keep things in perspective and stop overthinking things. Well, time for me to get on with some weekend chores and decluttering.

1 Mar 2018

February Progress Report

       Its time for another progress report!

  • Mortgage $161,494  down from $165,175
  • Redraw $5, 592 down from $5,762
  • $3851 total mortgage debt reduction

Retirement Savings

Our retirement savings did really well this month!
  • mine: $94,003
  • DH:   $258,117
  • total:  $352,120
  • $17,643 increase in savings

I am  disappointed with how much we spent on groceries this month. I thought we had cut back much more than we actually have. Still spending too much at the corner shop - 13 visits this month so thats better, but still too much. We used $20 in survey vouchers, $30 CC points and saved $73.26 on groceries.

  • Coles: $431.52
  • Corner shop: $235.88
  • IGA: $23.68
  • Bakers Delight: $55.74
  • Butcher: $32.77
  • Markets; $17
  • Total: $779.59
  • $135 less than last month


I'm so pleased with my exercise and diet this month! We walk regularly at 5.30am and I've upped my veggies and decreased the junk food with good results.

  • weight: 90.2 - loss of 2.9kgs = 6.4lbs
  • walked 162 kms = 100 miles

I'm doing much better at keeping a good work/life balance since I went back, saying 'no' more often.  I earned $100 in extra work (outside of my job) this month and may have a contract for more of this work soon.


We installed the outside blinds on half the windows and it really helped lower the temperature inside. We have not done any more work on the yard and the decluttering.