30 Jul 2018

Getting rid of more 'stuff'.

I've had a busy weekend here, sorting and decluttering. In our lounge room one wall is a floor to ceiling bookcase and its a spot where we tend to just put bits and pieces, empty pockets and anything we can't think of a place for. It ends up just getting stacked with other 'stuff' and has looked pretty rubbishy for a long time now.


Well this weekend I completely cleaned it out! ... and what a difference it makes!
I filled four small bags of rubbish, one box of books to be donated. I tossed out years of professional journals that I never read.

The books that were left to be sold on fishpond I decided to donate. I started selling books there several years ago when I first decided to declutter. In total I have sold 110 books and made $1,135.33 from those sales. That money was paid straight in to the mortgage. There was about 25 books left to sell and I just thought its time to donate them and be done with it.

I've always been a book lover and when I was younger could never imagine getting rid of books but downsizing takes priority now and I still have plenty left. I tend to buy audiobooks and kindle books now as it saves space and they are less expensive.

Now the shelves are all clean and tidy with two shelves completely empty. I cleaned up the area in front of the bookcase as it was also just junked up with boxes and bits and pieces. It feels good to walk out and see the area nice and clean!


28 Jul 2018

Good news!

Well the good news is that DH still has a job!  His job will be part-time and he will be paid out for the days lost. So his actual income will stay the same for a few months while that payout happens. It really the best option we could hope for in the current workplace environment. Someone else was laid off yesterday so we're just glad he's still got a job.

So in looking at our finances my first goal now is to pay down the redraw to $0 and then cancel it. Then we'll get back to our mortgage payoff goal.

This weekend I'm finishing up our tax paperwork so I can submit it next week. Our tax return will go a long way to reducing the redraw.

Its a relief to know whats happening and now we can get on with redoing the budget.

In other good news I checked our superannuation fund and we have reached our goal for for 2018 - $380,000 in retirement funds!   and theres still five months of the year left.  Thats two goals for the year achieved and three more to go (mortgage $100,000, redraw $0 & weight 70kgs).

Time to go - I'm heading outside to try and watch the lunar eclipse.

27 Jul 2018

Another mortgage milestone ... & job changes

I've just transferred extra money off the mortgage for this month and that has taken us to a new milestone - the end of Year 13 on the mortgage amoratisation table. 

Our new mortgage balance is now $144,285.

and in other news...

DH has been called to a meeting today to discuss his job. There are two possible outcomes - 1 is that he is made part-time, we had been advised they were considering this earlier in the year and 2 is that he gets laid off - two people have lost their jobs last week.

Without going in to all the details I'll just say that there has been a deliberate downgrading of his position in order to say it is no needed. His job has effectively been changed from management to clerical and its been a very frustrating few years watching this happen. Prior to this 'management' he really enjoyed his work and colleagues. They've gradually got rid of almost all the senior staff that used to work there with the same process so its not a very happy or rewarding workplace anymore. It's the same as what is happening in my workplace - slash and burn and get rid of all the more experienced staff.

Anyway,  it certainly puts a bloody great spanner in my five year retirement plan whichever way it goes. But at least by the end of the day we'll know exactly what our new financial situation will be so we can make some changes. It might just be that DH becomes 'semi-retired' overnight -then I can put him to work around the house!




25 Jul 2018

Free groceries & job interview

Well my job interview went well yesterday. The work doesn't start till later in the year and it would be a few hours a week online with an option to increase hours later if I wanted to. But on considering it overnight I've decided not to go ahead with it. 

Its the same sort of work I talked to another company about earlier in the year but at a lot less pay. That company was OK with me contacting them again when I decide I want to do some work which I plan on doing when my current extra job ends. Since the first business pays a much higher rate, I'll go with them when I'm ready.

What has been good is that the interview has really boosted my confidence that will be able to earn some extra income after I retire if I want. So it was worth it for that alone. Plus its reassuring to have years of experience recognised instead of age being a problem.

Yesterday I received a $50 Coles voucher in the mail. Often I do surveys for students gathering data and at the end some of them offer a gift card prize draw. I always enter as I know most people won't. Well now I'll be getting $50 worth of free groceries! 

21 Jul 2018

Job interview coming up

Yesterday we had some light snow in town in the afternoon, not enough to settle on the ground though. Some of the roads were closed due to snow around the area. It was so cold!

After work I had my eye check up and was pleased to find out my eyesight has actually improved a bit over the last two years! The checkup cost me nothing and I didn't need to get new glasses so $0 spent at the optometrist.

When I got home I found an email from a company where I applied for some part time work a few months ago. It's work I can do from home, similar work to my day job but I'd do it online and in a specific area that I really enjoy running classes in at my day job.

Apparently they had wanted to interview me when I first applied but my email bounced back and ended up in the spam folder. Yesterday they saw it and contacted me to see if I'm still interested. Of course I said Yes!  So I have an interview with them next week.

My plan with doing any part-time work is that it helps me build more skills and make contacts for part time work after I retire if I want to do that. Any money I earn I pay off the mortgage so it helps us financially but I also get a lot of enjoyment out of these types of jobs which is important for me to stick at my day job. So I'm excited about them contacting me and looking forward to finding out the details.


19 Jul 2018

Gas Bill

This morning I got the gas bill. We have gas cooking and gas hot water.  Our bill came in at $193.11 (for 3 months), so thats $2.12 per day.  Our average daily use is 42.61 MJ, down from last year at 44.52 MJ. We've reduced our gas use by 4.29% for the same time last year which is really good.  So our bill is $50.62 in credit.

The last bill I had 3 months ago was in credit almost $250 so I put the regular payments on hold. Now that its down to $50 I'll restart regular payments so it stays in credit.

Yesterday on the way home from work I was so tempted to stop and buy some chips and chocolate! But instead of that I rugged up and went for a 45 minute walk. I felt good for doing it and I do need to get moving again so it was good to make a start.

18 Jul 2018

Mid Week Musings...

Its been lovely and quiet at work, I've really enjoyed the chance to clean out cupboards and get (almost) fully caught up with my paperwork. One person has left our team so their work will fall on the rest of us but since they were a very unpleasant, difficult person its almost worth it to not have to put up with them!

We have slate floors in most of our house instead of carpet. In this very cold winter we are having its cold walking on the floors when you get up in the morning or be in bathroom in the mornings. So I've decided that this weekend I'm going make a few rugs for the floor. I have quite a few old towels that are getting a bit bare and holey and a huge fabric stash. I'm looking forward to having a weekend DIY project for the house!

Speaking of the house, its in real need of a lot of work. The gardens are overgrown and a lot of the shrubs need pulling out and trees need to be removed. Most of it is still the original gardens planted 30 years ago. And once the garden was stunning. But as we both got various injuries and money ran out when we both lost our jobs, spending time and money in the garden just didn't happen. The yard looks terrible and is filled with half finished projects. So I'm trying to make a realistic plan for what we can accomplish to improve it over spring/summer, starting with just pulling out all the old, dead shrubs which will take me a while.

I always find the second half of the year easier to get through than the first. Work settles down a bit from the chaos of first term, and I take my holidays which are about 9 weeks away. This year I am taking 6 weeks off so when I get back its just the run down to Christmas. I'm feeling quite positive about how we're progressing towards our goals for 2018 at the moment!

15 Jul 2018

Coldest morning in 27 years!

Well this morning records for coldest temperatures have been broken all over the place!  Here it was the coldest morning in 27 years at -8 deg C so we've been rugged up all morning till the sun finally broke through just after lunch.

Its the weather for a hearty beef stew and so I have one simmering away in the crockpot - it smells great and I'm looking forward to dinner tonight.

Yesterday afternoon I did something I haven't done a few years. I spent an hour soaking in a nice hot bath, listening to an audiobook. It really did me good - I felt so relaxed afterwards.

I have missed having the energy and time for myself that I had when I wasn't working. I'm trying to take time to do more nice things for myself that aren't expensive. As an introvert I'm very happy just spending time at home reading, sewing, watching TV, gardening, crocheting and crafting. I don't feel the need to go out and do things on weekend or after work.  I'm quite happy at home and can entertain myself easily. I'm sure my life looks quite boring to others but it suits me very well.  I find I have nothing to contribute to the Friday and Monday conversations about what people are doing on the weekend.

Are you happy being a 'homebody' or are you an extrovert who likes to go out and do things?

14 Jul 2018

Back to the Dentist!

Dentist.1 I just got back from the dentist where I had another filling done. The cost was $210.  I still need to have the X-Rays of my wisdom tooth done to check whats happening there. If there are no problems with this filling ( it was quite deep) or my wisdom tooth then I am good for another 12 months.


I am very fortunate to have a lovely dentist who is very good with people get anxious about dentists visits. When I was growing up I had a few bad experiences with dentists. As a result I avoided going as the anxiety would get so bad I'd be sick. In my mid 20's I ended up needing fillings removed and replaced and a few teeth pulled due to my avoidance. Not long after that I found my current dentist and I've been with her ever since. Now I do still get a little bit anxious but its not too bad and get my checkups regularly.

So I have my fingers crossed that I don't need any more work done.

After my broken tooth and amalgam leakage, I did a lot of reading about dental products and I changed from regular tooth paste to the OraWellness products. I can't believe how much cleaner my teeth feel. One night I used the regular toothpaste and the taste in my mouth when I woke up was awful! I will never go back to regular toothpaste again.  In a few short weeks the OraWellness products have reduced the infection and inflammation around the wisdom tooth and got rid of any plaque that was on my teeth. I'm really impressed with how quickly they have worked.

Well, as I'm writing this the anaesthetic is starting to wearing off and it all feels reasonable so far. Its absolutely freezing here - 3 deg C - so I'm going to stay inside and keep warm while I work on sorting these papers and setting up financial files. DH is just heading out the door for a bike ride - its got to be rain or snow to stop him! 

13 Jul 2018

Killed the credit card

The credit card is now fully paid off. I ended up just paying it out from the redraw to get rid of it. Although it puts the redraw balance up a bit, I'm just glad to have it paid off. Now I just need to not use it except for travel or emergencies.

The mortgage interest was $487 this month - its finally under $500. This morning I've made an extra payment of $1500 which takes the mortgage balance down to $145,367.

I have my tax almost ready to go to the accountant but yesterday in the mail I got a GST form sent about my SMSF. This makes no sense at all as my super fund is being wound up and there is no GST on savings - its very confusing, so I have to try and chase that up today and work out what is going on.

 In the meantime its really cold here at the moment. minus 3 degrees C overnight most of this week and its only going to get colder. When I retire I think I'll join the grey nomads on the annual pilgramage to chase the sunshine!

11 Jul 2018

Killing the credit card

A few quiet days at work  and few good nights sleep and I feel quite energised this morning!  I've been up cleaning and sorting out paperwork this morning. Today I need to ring up and try and sort out these missing rates payments.

Its time to really tackle the credit card which we were using for points and to leave money sitting longer in our offset account to reduce interest. I've reached the point where I just want to stop using it for day to day purchases. The reality is that I spend more easily, and lately as I've been tired out, I've used to too much buying snack foods and coffee etc.

 So this morning I have removed it as an automatic payment for anything (paypal, a few subscriptions & online shopping sites). I pay off the last months balance each month, so that means the credit card should be at $0 by mid August. Then it will only be for emergencies or travel.


To Do List for July:

  • get completely caught up with paperwork at work
  • finish eating out freezer and defrost
  • complete decluttering in lounge room
  • sort paperwork on kitchen table and clear table
  • set up new files for finances 

9 Jul 2018

this and that

Another Monday rolls around again and this week I will have a much quieter week at work as its holiday time for the students. For me it will give me a chance to get a lot of paperwork done so it should be a good week.

On the money front -

I have automatic payments set up to pay my rates and its always worked well until now. They have changed the BPay number and so I need to find out where my payments have been going for the last few months! Its $383 that is not showing up as being paid.

I've stopped using the credit card for grocery shopping and am starting to transfer some of my regular payments from the credit card over to my everyday account. By the end of they year I want to be not using it all and have a balance of $0.

Right now I'm preparing our paperwork for the accountant. I'm just waiting on my group certificate which I should get this week. I expect a big tax cheque this year which will all go towards debt reduction.

... plodding along!

3 Jul 2018

Getting things done...

Work will be a bit quieter for the next few weeks so this is when I try and get caught up on paperwork and just take a bit of a breather.

Last week I decided to do a bit of re-organisation in an attempt to not get so behind with it all. I am going back to using GTD (getting things done).

I used to use it pretty thoroughly a few years ago and I still do parts of it, but its time to get more organised and get back into the full swing of it.

GTD has five basic steps:

Capture:  Collect what has your attention. So anything that is on your mind is written down, papers & notes that need something done with them are all collected and put in an inbox, or in one place, ready for processing.

Clarify: The next step is to make a decision about every item in your inbox, handling each item once. There are eight different 'buckets' you can put the items into:

  • trash
  • someday/maybe
  • tickler file
  • reference
  • waiting for
  • next actions list
  • calendar
  • projects list
There are some excellent diagrams of the GTD processing showing this. If it takes less than two minutes to do something then you just do it straight away, if its longer than that then you put it in the appropriate place. I've set up a tickler file at work which is already been helpful. GTD also suggests you organise next actions by context (home, computer, email, errands,etc).



Organise:  Put is where it belongs!  What I like about GTD is that its very flexible. Everyone organises differently and a quick search will show you many different paper based and online based systems. Mine is a notebook that I use for capture and next actions. Anything that enters my head that I need to do I just write it down straight away so I've 'captured' it and can forget about it. I also bought an A4 page to a day diary which is where I've created some checklists for habits I'm working on and the days top 3 next actions for various projects. For my work calendar I use outlook.

Reflect:  Each week do a review and do a mind sweep to capture anything else that needs your attention. So lists are reviewed and updated. 

It seems the system has changed a little since I last read the book but the basics remain the same. I am just using it as I did in the past. It can appear quite complex at first and I think its easy to get distracted by the organising instead of actually just getting things done - some peoples systems are quite complex! But for me it feels good to get back to it and though I still have a lot of 'stuff' to process at home and at work I am already being more productive. GTD doesn't separate home and work life which I like.







1 Jul 2018

June Progress Report

This month has gone by really quickly!

Mortgage
  • $146,991 down from $152,990
  • redraw $16,955  up from $15,099
  • $4,143  total mortgage reduction: 
This month we finished paying for our holiday and used the redraw for this. We were able to make some extra payments off the mortgage and it feels good to have that balance under $150,000

Retirement Savings
  • mine- $103,103
  • DH - $269,286
  • total - $372,389
  • total increase - $8,651
Our retirement savings are going up faster than I expected which is great! We both salary sacrifice the maximum of $25,000 a year which also includes employer contributions. 

Groceries 
  • $50 cc points
  • $40.46 savings
  • $90.46 total savings 
We did well eating out of our freezer and pantry this month. The frezeer is almost half empty now. Our grocery spend was OK but we spent too much on snacks and take away this month which is what happens when I get too tired from work. 

Health

My weight has gone up by 3.1kgs this month. Its a direct result of being exhausted from work and reaching for a coffee and carby snacks. I also have not exercised this month. Its annoying to see the weight gain but very clear why. I have to get back on track with diet, exercise and managing stress. 

Work

Well my regular job has been just really stressful this last month. I am quite behind but the only consolation is that everybody else is as well. My extra job has been a real pleasure. I did not do as many hours this month so only billed $780.

Home

I didn't get too much done on the decluttering front last month.