30 Apr 2018

11 Bags to the op shop!

I haven't done much decluttering lately so yesterday I decided to get back into it. I had some bags already filled with clothes and household goods ready for the op shop and I spent some time going through my wardrobe for clothes that were no longer needed.

 By the time I finished I had eleven big garbage bags filled for the op shop so we drove down and dropped them off. Its freed up quite a bit of space and I feel like I'm in the right frame of mind to get back to getting rid of 'stuff' in the house.

I also have started working on shredding whats left of all the paper. My goal is to have all the paper shredding done by the end of May.

I've also started doing my flylady zones again. The house is a real mess and I find I manage better when I  follow the flylady system and do my 15 minutes zone work each day.

29 Apr 2018

Grocery Shopping

Although I haven't been posting my grocery shopping lists the last few weeks I've been tracking how much I save on each shop. I'd like to the detailed lists but am just finding I'm too busy now I'm back at work. Hoping I can get back to doing it some time in the future.

At the moment my offers for Coles are at $100/week for 4 weeks and Woolworths $35/week for 4 weeks.

This week we spent:

Coles $122.27
Woolworths $37.49
IGA-B $10.83

Savings were:
Coles $39.90 saved + $10 CC points =  $49.90 saved
Woolworths+  $32.50 saved

So this week we got  $252.99 worth of groceries  for $170.50

 One really good thing that has happened is that that our corner shops area is now being turned into a much bigger complex with a supermarket. Its good because there is so much building work and road work going on there and its so difficult to get in that we just have stopped going there - which is saving us money.

My stockpile is really full despite trying to reduce it and the freezer is also going down very slowly. I plan on getting stuck into eating through this food during May.  Once this current points promotion is done I am going to start doing more shopping at IGA-B. There fresh produce is cheaper than Coles and really good quality. So we'll spend less at Coles after next week. I know I can get the grocery bill down lower if I just put a bit more effort in, and blogging about it does help!


28 Apr 2018

Mortgage milestones & holiday plans

I made an extra payment on the mortgage to reach the end of Year 11 total on the original amortisation schedule.


So our current mortgage balance is now $154,682. My next goal is to get under $150,000


It feels good to mark another year off that chart and to see how much interest we have saved.

We made some changes to our holiday plans and had to pay extra to change our flights. I also didn't take into account some of the taxes that get applied so our final price is more than I originally planned. However its going to be an awesome holiday (Canada, Alaska, Japan) so it will be worth it!  I need to spend the next month or so paying for it so I won't be making as much extra payments off the mortgage till that is done.

26 Apr 2018

Anzac Day - a day out and about

Yesterday was Anzac Day in Australia. Its the day when we commemorate and honour servicemen and women.  I had two great uncles who served in WWII and when I was a young girl we had a lovely next door neighbour who was one of the original Anzacs that landed at Gallipoli. He had lied about his age and was only 15 years old when he went to war, looking for an adventure. As a kid I used to read to him after school and just generally follow him around while he fed the chook's, worked in the garden, chopped the wood. Each year on Anzac day a taxi would arrive to take him to the Anzac parade in town. He was an important person in my life at that time so I remember him with great affection at this time of year.

Yesterday my daughter and I decided to go for a bit of a drive and have a day out together which was lovely. We spent some time at the park and walked around enjoying the changing autumn leaves and the last of the spring flowers.





We visited the fernery....








... and the begonia house, which was just filled with beautiful flowers















It was so nice to get outside for the day and to just switch off from the world for a while. Nice to spend a day with DD just relaxing and chatting. Its a reminder to me to not get so busy with work again that I forget to take time out to enjoy myself.  This is the sort of day I look forward to having more of when I retire, but I need to not wait until then to enjoy myself.


19 Apr 2018

Gas bill & health costs

Our gas bill arrived this morning and I was pleasantly surprised. I've gone back to paying bills weekly this year. I pay $25 a week towards gas.We have gas hot water and gas oven.

My bill was $155.86  for three months and once that was deducted I have a credit balance of $243.73. Our gas use is down 2MJ a day which is good. Our daily cost is $1.71.

So while I have savings on the gas bill this month, I'll have increased medical costs. I need to refill most of my meds, which are not on PBS, so that is expensive. Over the last week I've had bad flare up of my gut problems.So I need to repeat the SIBO testing - it costs $180. If I need the treatment after that - which I expect I will - that is about the same cost.

So I'm back on my basic elimination diet that I follow when this happens. At the moment I'm on chicken broth and stewed apple, tomorrow I'll add pumpkin. Its a process I'm used to and have had to do many times over the years so I know what works for me and get relief pretty quickly.

One good side effect is I'll lose some more weight pretty quick, but its not the best way to do it! I had lost 10 lbs before this happened which I'm really pleased about.

So I will probably not make as much extra payments off the mortgage this month as I had hoped but I'll catch up next month when I get paid for the extra work.

16 Apr 2018

This and that...

Last week was a sad one at work. Attending farewells, saying goodbye to colleagues who've lost jobs. Some have worked there for 30+ years, dedicated teachers.  At one farewell all my conversations were about peoples plans for either retirement, hanging in until possible redundancy, or applying for other jobs.

This is my third restructure. I'm so over it. The organisations' values are not the same as they used to be and all of us 'oldies' are not wanted anymore. I no longer speak up about things as I used to. There is no point wasting my energy unless I really have to. I am there to set myself up for retirement and I am ticking off the days until I can leave.

Yesterday I did the grocery shopping. My savings were: $20 in survey vouchers, $10 CC points and $38.64 savings from specials. So at Coles I got $270 worth of groceries for $200. My plan had been to track all my grocery spending in detail on my blog but I am just too tired now that I'm back at work for a few months and alsodoing the extra work. So I'll track the savings only for the time being.

We didn't walk much last week at all, DH has hurt his knee so will give it a rest until next weekend before we start again. I do miss it when we don't go. The picture in this post is from the last day we walked.

I've made no progress on the house decluttering at all, or the yard. I am going to just spend April getting caught up at work and then get stuck into the house again in May.

Well thats a quick update on a few things. I'm feeling reasonably good, just very busy. I'm managing to keep out of the stress and politics at work most of the time so that is good. I'm just accepting that I need to knuckle down and work hard for a year or so but it will be worth it when the mortgage is gone for good.

1719 days to go!

12 Apr 2018

Extra work and extra expense...

Its been another really busy week here, work is full on with dramas at the moment and I can't wait till next week when it will quieten down a bit and I can catch up on paperwork.

I've had to spend some money on my second job - bought a few books that I'll need $142,  my printer died yesterday so a new printer $212 and I have other expenses of approx $150/month. I'm enjoying it though and it's all part of me getting experience so that I can have the option of a bit of part time work after I retire if I want.

The other company that I was going to do some work online for emailed me again yesterday about doing some work so I'm looking at that again as well, perhaps a few hours on the weekends.

Its going to be a bit of a balancing act of not doing so much that I get too tired and unwell but if I can do this extra work for a year or so we would reach our goal so much faster. 

I also made a $1000 payment off our holiday this week. I want to get it all paid for before we go so will make payments more often now.

I'm looking forward to the weekend!

9 Apr 2018

Food & weight loss success.

The last few weeks I've been flat out at work and working two days a week after my day job doing the extra work I took on. So not as much time for blogging unfortunately.

I've been doing really well with eating lots more veggies and fruit and less processed food.  I made a lovely soup yesterday using up all the veggies that had seen better days and added a couple of tins of beans, some turmeric, cumin, herbs, rocket and celery leaves. It cooked away all day in the crockpot and tasted really good. I froze it in single serves.



I always chop the leaves off the celery and freeze them, then I use them up in soups.  I also do that with any herbs that might be starting to wilt. I never use salt in cooking (history of kidney problems) and I find celery is a good replacement.

I've been eating lots of salads for lunch with pumpkin or sweet potato, no cheese, dairy or oil, so eating two avocados a week as well as a handful of nuts & seeds each day.


I cooked up a big pan of zucchinis, tomato and onion- just cooked them in a little stock, no oil and then put them in a tray in the oven for a while. So I just add some pumpkin or sweet potato or other veggies for an evening meal



I made a big batch of chickpea and veggie curry and froze it in single serving sizes so I can grab a meal easily when I get home from work.



My basic meal plan this month is no meat, dairy, oil or sugar. I have had a few things 'off-plan' but I'm 95% on plan.  I feel much better, achey joints have stopped, concentration is better and I could not resist jumping on the scales this morning - I have lost 3.6kgs / 8 lbs since the start of the month!!

So I'll keep on eating this way and I'm back to walking now daylight savings is over. I get my blood tests done at the end of the month and hopefully I've got  the insulin resistance down. 





3 Apr 2018

12 months debt reduction progress

This morning I posted my progress report to my thread at the Simple Savings forum. It's a year since I started tracking this financial goal to retire at the end of 2022, and when I added up my progress over the last year I was pleasantly surprised!

12 month debt reduction progress:
  • credit card debt reduced by $7,010
  • mortgage redraw reduced by $70,343
  • mortgage reduced by $17,661
  • Total debt reduction: $94,014

About half of that was money that my father left me unexpectedly. That means that we have been able to pay one whole wage towards debt over the last year!

My calculations tell me that we could retire reasonably comfortably on about $40-$45,000 a year, That would still allow us to travel and live life pretty much as we do now. Seeing that we have lived on about that amount of money without feeling deprived is really encouraging.

Well its back to work now after four days off over Easter.  Went for an hours walk earlier which was great and I'm feeling very motivated after seeing these numbers.  Just gotta keep plodding along towards that goal!

1 Apr 2018

March Progress Report

Mortgage
  • $158,464, down from $161,494
  • redraw $9,157, up from $5,592
  • $535 total mortgage increase
Retirement Savings
  • mine - $93,157
  • DH - $252,042
  • Total - $345,199
  • $6,921 total decrease
Groceries

Another month where I spent than I'd like. Mostly due to all of us being sick and having to work longer hours. When I'm tired and unwell its just easier to grab food at the corner shop and my tracking gets behind as well.

I will add these numbers in later.

Health

We've all been sick with whatever the latest viral illness is thats doing the rounds. Headaches, sore throat, nausea and it hangs around for several weeks unfortunately. I also had a flare up of arthritis which slowed down my walking efforts. I gained 600g, which is OK given how little exercise I've done.

I saw my dr and she's pleased with my progress but I need to add weights training, up the exercise and get more weight off, so next month I'll be going back on Dr Fuhrmans eating plan.

Work

Work has really ramped up to being more than I can keep up with. I missed a few days sick and I'm doing the best I can to stay out of the politics. Colleagues have been leaving as they get laid off and its been high stress due to some serious incidents.  I'm doing better at managing the stress but I'm looking forward to the day when I don't have to!  I started my extra work which is demanding, but enjoyable.

DH's workplace has been very difficult. He has let them know he will leave with a payout - not at all ideal and will seriously impact our plans. Every day I expect he will tell me he's been laid off.

Home

We haven't done any major work around the house this month, mainly due to everyone being sick and working longer hours.  I have done a bit more decluttering, but only a little.

Other

We issued notice to our tenants to move out after they were caught out attempting to deceive us about finances. We did a few minor repairs to the unit and it has been leased to new tenants at a higher rental income.

We had an unexpected car repair bill of almost $700 and I also am reducing the use of the credit card, so I paid it ahead of time. I also accidentally paid $1000 off a credit card we no longer use!  This resulted in our mortgage/redraw payments actually increasing our debt this month - but it will be corrected next month.