31 Dec 2020

December & Annual Progress Report

Well its the last day of 2020,  a year like no other! Time for the monthly & annual progress report on Year 3 of my 5 year plan to retire.

In 2020 DH's income went up as he returned to full time work. My income went down considerably as my second job dwindled down to less than one hour per week. We both contributed the maximum to our retirement savings (super), watched it plummet early in the year and then watched it bounce back.

Mortgage

Monthly progress: 

  • current balance: $62,991
  • down from: $66,976
  • total reduction: $3,985 
Annual progress: 
  • start balance: $101,991
  • end balance: $62,991
  • total reduction: $39,000
Savings

Monthly Progress:
  • current balance: me: $194,374   DH: $368,364  total: $562,738
  • up from:             me: $189,980   DH: $361,150
  • increase:             me:    $4,394    DH:    $7,214
  • total increase:     $11,608
Annual Progress: 
  • start balance:   me: $157,700   DH: $341,226
  • end balance:    me: $194,374   DH: $368,364
  • increase:          me:   $36,674   DH:   $27,138
  • total increase: $63,812
Work

This month I've been enjoying the holidays & not thinking about work too much.

In 2020, along with the rest of the world we worked from home for almost half the year. Covid meant that most of my work has been via phone or zoom & while my workload decreased significantly, I had more crisis to deal with as students were impacted by covid job losses & isolation stresses, but overall it was a good year for me at work this year as I wasn't there much lol!

Home

Although we spent a lot of time at home this year, we did not get many of the jobs done that I had hoped for. I did keep on with decluttering though. I think we will focus on the mortgage payoff & then address the house/yard jobs.

Health

I went off track a bit this year with my health, comfort eating, gaining weight & spending a lot of time vegging out in front of the TV or online - not the greatest stress management strategies I know! Diagnosed pr-diabetic & several arthritis flare ups - health must be the priority for 2021.

Other

My sewing, quilting & reading all got pushed aside this year and I did not get near as much time at my hobbies as usual. However I started volunteering, did some sewing & crochet for charity & got involved in some local groups online which I have enjoyed. We have not met with family since March. I'm looking forward to when we can all get back together again.

I'm looking forward to 2021 and happy to say goodbye to 2020. 

25 Dec 2020

Christmas Day

We've  had a very different, but a very nice Christmas Day here. We had zoom calls with family, it was lovely to catch up with my son - I do miss him. We've watched Christmas movies - Home Alone, The Santa Clause, The Muppets Christmas Carol & listened to a few choirs while we've lazed about for the day.

Lunch was a lovely roast lamb dinner followed by beautiful gluten free plum pudding which was a gift from one of DH's friends last night. A local bakery gave him the unsold baking after closing and so they dropped off a gluten free pudding & Christmas cake for me. Gosh it was good!

My hope is that next Christmas we can all be back together with family & that the world has returned to some sense of normal.


24 Dec 2020

A Christmas Eve Mortgage Milestone!

 

Woohoo!!  

It's Christmas Eve here and after two months of big bills I've finally got back to paying extra off the mortgage. 

Today we hit another mortgage milestone - the end of Year 24 on the amoratisation table - new mortgage balance is now:

$63,834. 

I've been on holidays for two weeks now and its just so lovely to get up and do things in my own time. I've been busy decluttering, crocheting, working on my goals for next year and thinking about how good it will be to retire. 

Our Christmas plans have been changed due to the covid outbreak in NSW, We will be having Christmas at home instead of with our extended family. My in-laws are in their mid 80's & MIL has been in hospital recently with heart problems, so it's just better if we wait a bit longer to get together.

Today we'll be doing some cooking, watching Christmas shows and organising zoom meetings with family for tomorrow. 

I thought I'd share this Aussie Christmas Song that all kids in Australia grow up with: Six White Boomers.


5 Dec 2020

The Christmas season has begun!

 Its a beautiful Saturday morning here. We had a few days of temperatures in the high 30's (C) during the week so its nice to back in the mid 20's for the weekend. We had our Christmas party yesterday at work. Our local team joined with the state wide team via zoom. It was fun with lots of staff making funny videos about 2020. Later today we have a Christmas luncheon for DH's work. It will be nice to eat out again and to just enjoy lunch outside in the good weather.

I finished my crotchet rug this morning.  Our cat loves to sit in amongst the crotchet and chase the balls of wool. I'm keeping this one for myself as I love the bright colours and its just the right size for keeping warm when I'm sitting on the lounge or if I have a quick nap. 



I have spent a bit more money than I planned in the last few weeks.  We have a LOT of big bills every November but I really needed to buy some summer dresses and some new shoes after several years of no clothes buying. All were bought on sale which is usual for me, but I need to plan better for the end of the year expenses next year. 

My plans for the weekend are to go to the Christmas lunch today and tomorrow do some housework and set up the Christmas decorations. I am enjoying seeing all the different Christmas posts and even snow for some bloggers. Time to enjoy the Christmas season!


1 Dec 2020

November progress report

 Time for another monthly update.

Mortgage

  • current balance: $66,976
  • down from: $68,752
  • total reduction: $1,776
November is a huge month of bills for us so we paid less off the mortgage than usual.

Savings

  • total: $551,030
  • up from: $522,775
  • total increase:$28,255
Great to see our savings going up again! 

Work

I've been learning a new stats program that we start using in 2021 which will save us a lot of time. There could be an option for me to work at a higher grade job next year so I've been talking with my manager about that. This could also open up an opportunity for me to go part time in 12+ months which might be a very nice step towards retirement. Unfortunately I can't just be appointed internally, it has to go to open application so I've dusted off my very old resume for an update over the Christmas break. 

Home

I made some progress in the sewing room and laundry with the decluttering. Not much else got done this month.

Health

Unfortunately my walking attempts seem to aggravating my arthritis so its very slow and steady. I'm aiming to walk every third day and halve the distance to see if that makes a difference. 

I'm looking forward to planning 2021 and setting my goals. Only eight days to work and then holidays!

30 Nov 2020

Sharing the Dignity - Its in the Bag!

 For the last few years I've made up bags for the It's in the Bag collection each November for Share the Dignity, a charity that supplies feminine hygiene products to women domestic violence and homelessness charities. Each bag has basic hygiene products, soap, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, deodorant, pads, tampons and optional gifts as well.  There are teen bags and mother& baby bags also.  Its a great charity and I had thought I might volunteer for it when I retired.

Well this year I thought why wait till I retire? Stop putting everything off till later and start doing some of those things right now. So I signed up to help collect the bags, check them and deliver them to the charities.

I'm so glad that I did! 

Its been a wonderful week seeing the generosity of women helping women. The care and attention that has gone into these bags, the beautiful notes written, the hard work of the volunteers - faith in humanity restored!  

Right now I have my bags all sorted and ready to go to my charity, possibly later this week. Its been a busy, but very enjoyable week and I'm looking forward to the next event in April.

I made up three teen bags and one womens bag this year. I've decided next year I'm going to focus on mother & baby & teen bags as there is a real need for those. Heres my teen bags before packing getting some love from the cat.






DD and I both celebrated our birthdays this last week. We both had the day off work and went out for lunch. Its the first time since March that we have been anywhere other than work of grocery shopping and it felt wonderfully normal to be out having a meal!   The cafes & restaurants are still limited in how many people they can have inside so it was about half the usual number of seats but they have been allowed to put some tables outside so its good to see local businesses back in action.

Time for me to go to work, only two weeks left until holidays!


23 Nov 2020

How time flies!

 Its been a busy time since I last posted. 

We celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary a few days ago. How quickly the years have gone by! It seems like not so long ago we were busy moving into this house with our children 6 & 4 years old. Painting, planting, decorating and enjoying our young family. We'd built our home with a plan to stay here and grow old, and I guess thats exactly what we're doing. There are a lot of happy memories here and many more to come in the years ahead.

However our house and really does need a 'makeover'. Its a bit faded and worn and theres lots of work that needs to be done before we retire. At the moment we're still going back and forth on what can wait a bit longer and what can't. 

I've been busy decluttering and have six bags ready to go to the op-shop. I'm making slow progress in the sewing room and planning on getting rid of a desk in there which will free up a lot of room. 

Other than that I've been doing lots of planning for next year, doing calculations and trying to work out the best options financially. I might be working in a higher paying position at work next year, I should find out this week. It will be more money but also more responsibility but its only for 12 months if I get it.

I'm excited for the end of the year. Restrictions here are easing and borders have opened up between states. Our state has had no new community cases of Covid for 15 days now and you can feel people feeling relieved and more hopeful. At work we still have restrictions until the new year. I have only seen three clients in person since March as they were urgent issues, everyone else is still via phone or telehealth. In the new year the plan is to slowly return to normal so long as numbers stay down.

DD has been unwell and I spent three hours in emergency with her yesterday with asthma. There is dust and smoke in the air at times and very changeable weather so there has been an increase in 'thunderstorm asthma' here. A young boy came running in having a very bad asthma attack while we were waiting which was awful to see but the staff were fantastic as they always are here. We have a great local hospital. DD is much better today and will have a few days off. She a severe asthmatic but very well controlled and diligent about her medications which is good. 

So, thats a very quick catch-up lol!  

I'm thinking of my US readers with all the worries there. Sending you good thoughts and warm wishes for the Thanksgiving holiday, stay safe xx

9 Nov 2020

Sewing room progress

 


Just got back from short walk as I'm building back up slowly after my arthritis flare. Its a beautiful morning outside, lovely blue skies with a cool morning breeze. Watching the sun come up never gets old! My ankles are protesting a bit so I might go with walking every 2nd day this week.

Over the weekend I was glued to the TV watching the election results. Yes I was out of bed in the early hours and saw the announcement live that Joe Biden had won. It feels like the world has taken a collective sigh of relief with the news. Listening to his speech, and Kamala's, was like a breath of fresh air. 

I'm making slow progress in my sewing room, slow because I'm enjoying going through my fabrics and projects, its very relaxing just to be sorting fabric and wool and thinking about what I'd like to make. I enjoy having lots of different projects on the go at the same time so I can swap and change what I'm working on. I've missed not sewing so much this year and its time to get back to it.

I've decided to just set my sewing machine up in lounge room as that is where I prefer to sew. If its set up there I sew every day as its easy to just do a bit of sewing throughout the day. I've been working on half square triangles for my Blue Ridge Beauty quilt over the weekend and looking out fabrics for Bonnies next mystery quilt - Grassy Creek.

Time to get ready for work, only five weeks left to go!

6 Nov 2020

Work is so slow at the moment!

This week has flown by! I've spent most of this week at work catching up on little jobs I've put off and doing a lot of filing and paperwork that needs to be sorted. Work is very, very quiet, theres hardly anyone on campus and enrolments are way down. I think we're starting to see the impact of Covid along with years of government cutbacks to our sector. It will be interesting to see if things improve next year or if this is going to continue long term. So I've planned to have a big cleanup of the storeroom and a re-organise of my office and files. That should keep me occupied until Christmas and then I'll be all ready for whatever the new year brings.

I had a meeting with my manager yesterday, while nothing is certain, it looks quite likely that the long awaited (6 years) restructure will go ahead next year. Whereas before I was told I had a good chance of redundancy, some workplace changes in 2020, including Covid impact, have actually made it more likely that I will still have a job, possibly less hours and a change in some duties. 

At this point I don't really care what the outcome is. I just want to know. Six years of being told every year to prepare for restructure and then six years of being told we're going to postpone it for 12 months is just too much. I really hope we finally can get this done in 2021!

I caught up with two colleagues I haven't seen since March which was lovely. I'm fortunate to work with some really good people and many I've known for years. I've missed those regular work catch-ups over a cuppa.

I've also been glued to the TV ( at home & at work) following the election. Its so different to our system and interesting to watch. Hopefully the result comes soon and we can return to some decency in the Whitehouse. It feels like the whole world is hanging on the result at the moment. Its an election that affects us all.

I'm looking forward to the weekend as my arthritis flare is almost over so I'm back on my feet and ready to stuck into some more jobs around the house.

1 Nov 2020

October Progress Report

 Time for another progress report!

Mortgage

  • current balance: $68,752
  • down from: $70,595
  • total reduction: $1,843
I sent less additional payments to the mortgage this month, and more to savings. We're still on track to meet our 2020 goal but I've been doing a few calculations lately and we might be making some changes to our goals which I'll write more about in a future post.

Savings

  • me: $175,408
  • DH: $347,367
  • total: $522,775
  • total increase:$14,315
Our retirement savings are increasing, with extra payments into my super and DH's contributions for the last two months deposited.

Work 

I've been off work for all of October which has been nice.  I go back this week for six weeks and then I am on leave for the Christmas break. 

Home 

I enjoyed spring cleaning for a few weeks and got quite a bit done, including defrosting the freezer and decluttering the pantry, but I've been out of action for over a week now so no painting done as planned. 

Health

Not so great this month, no weight loss and not much exercise due to an arthritis flare up. Hopefully next month is better!

29 Oct 2020

Veggie Prep paid off!

 Last weekend I decided to try something new - prepping my veggies for the week ahead. After putting the shopping away I chopped up:

  • carrots
  • onions
  • zucchini
  • pumpkin
  • broccoli
  • beans
  • capsicum
  • salad greens
all put in bags in the fridge so we could quickly prepare a salad at lunchtime and cooked veggies in the evening. The next day I cooked a tray of pumpkin, frozen cauliflower, tomato's & onions, made some salad dressings and a big pot of split pea soup (16 serves for the freezer). I'm just trying to get more organised so I have no excuse not to eat well when I go back to work.

Well the next day I ended up with a bad arthritis flare and I've been living on the lounge since only able to walk to the bathroom as my feet are quite painful. So no more spring cleaning has been done at all. 

But having done that prep work has made it so much easier to eat really well while being laid up. Lunches have been salads and soups, dinners have been steamed & stir-fried veggies, tray bake veggies and meat. Its saved so much time and its something I'm going to continue. 

Today I'm able to walk about a little more as the pain and swelling in my ankles is going down. This will certainly slow down my exercise & weight loss for a few weeks. But I'm feeling better today and plan on working on my budget and goals for 2021 while I rest up.

23 Oct 2020

Pottering about the house...

 How time flies when you're having fun! I've been happily pottering about the house these last two weeks and really enjoying my time off work. 

Its nice to have all the washing done, dried, folded and put away all in the one day. To sit and enjoy a cup of tea with the cat in the sunshine, read a book and just do things without feeling rushed or too tired. The first week I napped almost every afternoon. The second week no naps and sleeping a good 7-8 hours a night. Not working agrees with me :) 

So far I've cleaned the pantry and got rid of some old pots and pans. I ordered a new set which should arrive today. Original price was $599 and I paid $199 so a good bargain. I defrosted our chest freezer. If anyone has ideas on how to organise it so food doesn't get 'lost' in the bottom I'd love to hear them. 

I've tidied up two bedrooms, sorted lots of clothes, some have gone to the op shop, others I cut up for rags. This coming week I am planning on getting the lounge room, laundry and sewing room done. I probably won't get around to painting but getting the spring cleaning done feels good, its will be nice to have the whole house clean and organised before I go back to work.

Do you enjoy just pottering about the house? Do you have any ideas to organise a chest freezer?


9 Oct 2020

Holiday at Home

DH is slowly improving. He is still going to the hospital twice a day but they have decided not to go ahead with surgery and just treat with antibiotics. He has a bit more use of his hand this morning but I think it will take a while till its fully healed. So I am doubtful he's going to be able to paint or do the work around the garden we had planned for spring. I'll need to step up and do a bit more I think.

I decided yesterday that I would take a few weeks leave. I had been saving it but I think I would feel better if I can get some spring cleaning done, possibly some painting and also work on losing some more weight. So I'll be off work for the rest of the month. Here's my 'To Do' list for October:
  • clean and re-organise the pantry
  • finish sorting clothes 
  • take donations to op shop
  • organise sewing room
  • paint the hallway, bathroom, toilet
  • reach 88kgs weight
  • general spring clean of house
I'm looking forward to getting my house back in order and having some time to myself during the day. Today I just need to do some emails this morning and then I'm ready to get started. 

7 Oct 2020

Hospital trips and tax refunds

 We've spent the last few days making trips back and forth to the hospital. Last week DH had a problem with his hand that ended up with us making two trips to the ER late at night. Since then he has been admitted to 'ambulatory care' or hospital in the home, which means he goes to hospital twice a day for treatment, which sometimes takes a couple of hours, and then returns home. 

Yesterday he had more scans and discussions with the orthopaedic surgeon. Initially they planned surgery for today but last night they decided to wait another 24 hours to see if his hand improves, as they would prefer not to have to operate. So its a day by day process at the minute. 

I've taken a few days off work to drive him to and fro as my work is quiet at the moment. Hopefully it all resolves soon and surgery isn't needed. I think it will put DH out of action for a while so plans for painting and work around the yard will be slowed down. 

In other good news we submitted our tax returns yesterday. Our refund was not quite as big as I had hoped but its still a substantial amount, so there will be some extra to go off the mortgage in a few weeks. 


3 Oct 2020

September Progress Report

 Its been a quiet month here. Just plodding along and making progress on the mortgage.

Mortgage

We had another good month of spending very little and making good progress on the mortgage payoff. Next payday we will reach the 60's!!

  • current balance: $70,595
  • down from: $76,393
  • total reduction: $5,798

Savings

  • me: $167,542
  • DH: $340,918
  • total: $508,460
  • total decrease: $163
Work
Its been very quiet at work which has been nice. I'm still not seeing clients face to face and working via telehealth which will probably continue until the end of the year.

Home
No major work done at home this month. DH hurt his hand and had a trip to the ER. Its still very painful so he's unable to do much around the place. 

Other
My initial good weight loss has stalled for the last two weeks so I need to up the exercise. Fortunately my blood sugar readings continue to be in the normal range. 

September has been just a quiet month all round, with lots of time to think about changes I want to make and plans for 2021. We're still only going to work and to get the groceries even though numbers are way down. In our state we have now had 7 days with no new community cases and restrictions are slowly easing. People can now stand and drink in pubs and clubs, wedding parties can dance now and our graduating students can have end of year events. I just hope our numbers continue to stay down. We're feeling very fortunate here at the moment seeing what is happening around the world.

Stay safe xx



25 Sept 2020

Another Mortgage Milestone!

 

With this weeks mortgage payment we reached another milestone - Year 23 on the amoratisation table had been crossed off. 

Our mortgage is now $72,897.  

My next goal is to reach $67,200 - the end of year goal to keep on track to be mortgage free before we retire.

October is a big month for bills with house & car insurances all coming due in the next few weeks. Also my hours at my second job have been down so we have less extra income coming in now. Hopefully our tax refund doesn't take too long so we can keep making good progress this year.

Not much has been happening here. Work continues to be quiet and we are still just going to work and collecting our groceries. Our Covid numbers have been very low which is great news, only 4 cases in our state yesterday, all from people in quarantine. I just hope the numbers keep going in the right direction and life can start to get back to normal soon. We have a meeting at work today to discuss first term next year so it will be interesting to see what is planned. We got told yesterday that our restructure should start next year, but I'll believe it when I see it. In the meantime I'll keep working on getting the mortgage paid off asap.

 


15 Sept 2020

Electricity bills & health goals

 Our winter electricity bill arrived yesterday and I'm pleasantly surprised. We were all working from home for most of the billing period (3 months) and using two large rooms whereas usually we would only be heating one room morning & evening.

Our bill was $789 and we used 2,136 kw. Last year, for the same period, when it was used much less, our bill was $932 and we used 2,545 kw. That was before we replaced the reverse cycle air conditioning so I'm glad we replaced it and its definitely much more efficient.

I'm pleased to say I've lost 13lbs so far. I've been fasting for 24 hours at least two days a week, most other days I just eat two meals. I can already feel the difference as my focus and concentration is better. For the last 4 days my blood glucose levels have been in the normal range.  

I made a big pot of split pea soup on the weekend - I just love it! I've upped my fruit & veggie intake and started walking in the mornings. Work is VERY quiet and thats been good - much less stress the last two weeks. So I'm making progress on the health goals which feels good.


31 Aug 2020

August Progress Report


Mortgage 

This month we really focused on spending less and eating what was already in the house. Those savings, combined with our holiday refund, meant we really made good progress on the mortgage this month.
  • current balance: $76,393
  • down from: $83,590
  • total reduction: $7,197
Savings 
  • DH: $341,549
  • me: $167,074
  • total savings: $508,623
  • total increase: $14,722
Work

Work is starting to get busy again the last few days, still all done by phone or zoom but I have to be in the office five days a week. Its been nice to catch up with colleagues but its a long way from returning to normal. Some students are on campus but a lot are still online.

Home

After snow last week the weather is now warming up ready for spring so it will be nice to be able to get a bit more done outside and get some of the inside jobs completed with warmer weather.. Yesterday DH trimmed some shrubs & took a load of branches to the dump. I'm going to take a week off in a few weeks and get stuck into spring cleaning. 

Health   

My first week losing weight went well but I have stalled since then. I'm going to do a few 24 hour fasts this week as I need to get this weight off quickly. I also haven't been exercising as much so thats my focus for September - I need to get moving!

Other

I feel like life is just on autopilot at the moment. We only go to work and pick up the groceries and that is it. Its been like that since March and even for a homebody, introvert like me its getting a bit old. But we are fortunate to have no Covid cases currently in our town so thats the positive side. 

There is a lot of frustration in town in recent weeks as sporting clubs continue to hold large competitions that bring people from far away and the council continue with tourist events that will bring tens of thousands to the town in coming weeks despite a lot of opposition. Its hard because the businesses rely on the tourists and city folk are being encouraged to book local holidays but on the other hand we do not want people from covid hotspots visiting. There is no easy answer and feelings are running high.  

Financially its been a great month and I'm really looking forward to being able to get out more as it warms up. 

Keep well and stay safe xx


26 Aug 2020

plodding along...

 I've been back a work full time a few weeks now. Its fairly quite at the moment so I'm spending time cleaning out years of old 'stuff', catching up on paperwork & catching up with colleagues. Our workplace has done well with enforcing social distancing & increased cleaning so I feel OK being there. Our local area still has only one case of covid and so far NSW seems to be keeping the numbers down. 

I have not been doing anything interesting - just plodding along with work & home, keeping warm and watching a lot of TV. We had a lot of snow last weekend, but it didn't stay on the ground where we live. I'm looking forward to the warmer weather so I can get outside more and start walking again.

Our real estate agent contacted us about increasing the rent on our unit. We discussed a new lease with our tenants with a small increase but they are looking to buy a house so they do not want to sign a lease. We've decided to just leave the rent as it is for a few months and we'll put it up when they leave. They have been excellent tenants, probably the best we've had so we're happy to give them some time to find a house even though our agent tells us we could give them notice and probably get $20 - $40 more per week - the last thing they need while house hunting is to have to find a new house - money isn't everything. 

We've had a really good month of throwing money at the mortgage, despite the fact my second job is very late with my pay again.  Its easy not to spend at the moment!

13 Aug 2020

Another Mortgage Milestone!!

 

I logged into my bank account this morning to find that our deposit for our cancelled cruise this year had been refunded!  I cancelled the holiday back in March.

 I admit I have been worrying if we would actually get the money back or if they would run out before they got to us, as I have heard of some travel agents going bust in recent months. But fortunately we got back $2,700. Almost all of our deposit.


I immediately transferred it off the mortgage, plus our usual payment and am excited to say our new balance is now in the 70's!!   

$79,645

So we are now past Year 22 on our Amoratisation table and 5.5 years into our mortgage. Its a nice boost to our payoff and makes me feel even more determined to get it paid off asap.

Last night I attend a webinar by our superannuation (retirement funds) company. I knew most of what they talked about but what I did find really helpful was the costed out examples they gave of retirees collecting a part pension along with their super money. It was really reassuring to see the numbers as I do not really want to keep working full time for too long just to try and build a huge retirement fund. Qualifying for a part pension will make quite a difference to retirement and it seems that we will be able to do that. So I feel a bit more confident today that we're doing OK with our plans.

9 Aug 2020

A good week!

 This last week has been a good one. I returned to work which went well, I'm still working via telehealth and it was a very quiet week which gave me time to settle back into the office. The family of kangaroos that lives in the paddock next to our workplace were trying to catch the sun when I arrived on Friday. This lovely roo was finding the sun & checking me out as arrived for work.



I've also had a good week with my weight loss - 6lbs and 4" off my waist so I'm really pleased with that. I've been exercising each morning before work, using the treadmill & bike & doing some you tube zumba videos. I made a big pot of soup with butternut pumpkin, beans & whatever bits & pieces of vegetables were left in the fridge. There were 20 serves for the freezer so its an easy quick lunch on workdays.


The other good news this week is that our superannuation savings have just gone over $500,000 again! So we're closer to being back to our pre-covid balance but I think the markets could be up and down for a while yet with the pandemic. But it feels good to hit that target again.

Its very cold here today. Its snowing about 30 minutes away from us so we're having a quiet & cosy Sunday in front of the TV. I can't wait till spring weather so we can get out more and get walking again. 


1 Aug 2020

July Progress Report

June has been an interesting month - heres the numbers!

Mortgage
  • current balance: $83,590
  • down from: $86,657
  • total reduction:$3,067
Savings
  • DH: $332,314
  • me: $161,587
  • total: $493,901
  • total increase:$16,586
Work

I'm in the process of going back to work on site and will be back full time after this week. Its quite frustrating to be honest, that schools/colleges are exempt from social distancing. Its recommended but not essential which is creating a LOT of stress amongst colleagues, myself included. 

Home

This month I finally threw out our old lounge suite! It was really old and quite tattered. I've been holding off buying a new one for years to save money. However DD bought a new lounge chair and she had a lovely lounge that we had stored in the spare room - so now its replaced the old one and it all looks much better.

Health

Oh my goodness. Early in the week I went and had some bloodwork done for my annual check up. Well yesterday afternoon my doctor rang to tell me I have diabetes.  While I know I fit the profile - middle aged overweight post menopausal women with sedentary lifestyle - it was a shock. I do think being at home for four months over winter has probably been a big contributor to it. I had noticed my eyesight was not as good but put that down to days of being online and in zoom meetings a lot while working from home.

So he believes I can turn it around if I act straight away and take drastic action. I have until November to lose over 25kgs (56lbs) or he wants to put me on medication. I am willing to do whatever it takes and will be following Dr Fuhrmans guidelines. My mother and grandmother both had Type 2 diabetes and then Alzheimer's - which is the one thing I dread more than anything. I was a director of a Dementia Unit  years ago - I have no illusions about whats in store for me if I don't change my diet and exercise habits. 

So my health goals have to be my absolute priority for the next 16 weeks.

Other

We had a Covid case in the town next to us yesterday, the first case for three months. DD and I both saw our drs this week and both had strict instructions to stay home except for work and grocery pick up, to isolate as much as possible at work and to wear a mask at work if in contact with people. We have surgical masks but I'm going to make us some washable ones as well.

How was your July? How is your workplace managing covid risk?



30 Jul 2020

Passed the half way mark on the mortgage!

I'm excited today - we passed the halfway mark on the mortgage, just one month late. Its now under $83,999! Woohoo!!

That means we've paid over $84,000 + interest off our mortgage since we started our five year plan two & a half years ago. Finally there is less in front of us than behind us - we are on the home straight now and I think it will go down faster as our interest payments get less and less.




via GIPHY

29 Jul 2020

Early morning birdsong

Like a lot of people at the moment, I'm finding the constant news cycle, and the negativity on social media to be pretty draining. I stopped watching the news apart from once in the morning a few weeks ago and I limit my time on social media. I can't escape the 'news' at work as that is what most of my clients are worried about.

I've always been an early morning person. So now I am using that time better by doing some exercise inside and catching up on chores or reading. When it warms up we walk in the morning - I'm looking forward to being able to get back to that soon.

Today I went outside to sit and listen to the birds and watch the sun come up. I took this little video from my front verandah so you can hear the early morning birdsong just before sunrise- its a much better start to the day than listening to the news. Turn the volume up.





Ilona over at Life After Money has been posting some lovely walks and talks over the last few weeks which I'm enjoying - thats been my little escape to the country. I think we need to do whatever helps us keep our peace of mind at the moment.

What are you doing that helps you to keep stress manageable?

26 Jul 2020

Saturday shopping- Sunday relaxing

Yesterday was chilly here with a big frost to start the day off and some rain late in the day. A good day to be inside.  I usually pick up our shopping early on Saturday mornings, the shops are quieter and its all done and put away early in the day. When I did this weeks order online I decided to stock up as I had my $150 voucher to use and I also want to restock my pantry a bit, but as I put the order through I found out the voucher can only be used in person - so that mucked up my budget for the week.

This week I did well with the half price specials. I love Twining's tea but I won't pay $11 for 80 teabags so when they are half price I stock up. I bought six boxes which should do me until the next time they are on sale. Peanut butter was half price - $2.85 and roast beef lunch meat was 2 for $5. Those were my best buys for the week.


Its one week now since the school holidays finished and our town had thousands of visitors for the fortnight. So far there are no new cases in our town but the person I work with in my second job had to be tested again - fortunately results were clear. I've made the decision that I will continue to work from home for my second job after that, as I had been going to resume face to face work this week which is when I found out she'd been tested. I can work online using zoom so will continue with that.

Well its early Sunday morning here and its raining, which sounds lovely on the roof!. I am about to catch up with a friend in the US so long as the weather doesn't interfere with the internet. Then I'm going to have a cosy afternoon of crotchet in front of the TV.


23 Jul 2020

One day at a time...

Over the weekend I started working on a new quilt top. I initially wasn't too keen on the colours and was going to donate it but its really grown on me as I've worked on it so I think it will find a home here once its done. Its no particular pattern, I just make it up as I go along. It was good to do a bit of sewing again,  I miss it and its a good distraction from all thats going on in the world right now.

Heres a pic of the fabrics I'm using. It was a set of fat quarters from my stash.



In other crafty news my crotchet rug is growing nicely. Mostly I'm using up leftover wool. However my temperature blanket is behind by about a month, so I need to get back to that this weekend and do some catching up.




On the work front I've been back in the office for a few hours this week, next week I'll go a few more days and work up from there. I'm finding it all a bit stressful to be honest. I'd be much happier just continuing to work from home but I guess we'll see what the next few weeks bring with Australias covid cases on the rise.

 Is anyone else finding their concentration is not so great? I think I'm just mentally a bit weary of it all. Right now I'm just focusing on 'one day at a time' as best I can, not thinking too far ahead. I'm grateful we are safe and well & have all kept our jobs, we are more fortunate than many at the moment.

DH had some good news yesterday!  Along with increased work hours he received a long overdue pay rise so that will be helpful. We've had a few additional expenses this month and the car has more repairs booked. This reduced how much extra I could pay on the mortgage this month but if all goes to plan I will hit that half way mark next week.




16 Jul 2020

A quick update

Its been an interesting week. I must admit my concentration and focus is not the greatest after three months working from home, I find I'm quite easily distracted  and my concentration is not as good as usual, so I think it will take me a bit to adjust to being back at work. My boss has said to come back gradually which is good. I'll go in for a few hours on Monday to start with.

Financially we've had a few wins. I got paid $150 grocery voucher to do a 45 minute survey yesterday so that was a win. Grocery prices are still up so this is a big help. I'm just accepting that its costing more at the moment with the pandemic and its not worth stressing over.

DH will be going back to full time work next month. Even though he has enjoyed being part-time, it was never his choice to reduce his hours. So him having a full time income again will be good and help us reach our goals a bit easier.

In the meantime I'm trying to keep warm, we've had some really cold, frosty mornings here this week, focusing on one day at a time, and avoiding too much news.

Stay safe XX


8 Jul 2020

Back to work!!

Well yesterdays plans were quickly derailed as my workplace has now announced we are to be back at work after next week. In a complete turnaround from the 'you must work from home' instructions for the last four months, including being told this again last Friday, they announced it with no warning at all.

So the day was spent trying to get my head around it and in team discussions about how will all be managed. Our area has not had any cases for weeks now so I know realistically that the risk is low. However our town has been filled with tourists over the last week which is a worry along with the fact that Melbourne cases are rising rapidly and the borders were been closed between NSW & Victoria yesterday. It is school holidays here so thousands of people had 24 hours to get back across borders, those coming back from Victoria to NSW could have been exposed so I guess the next 2-3 weeks will determine how we fare in NSW.

I'm not happy about it and I probably could get a medical certificate but on the other hand I do not want to be seen as being difficult. At this stage my plan is to return but not do any face to face work and I'll see how it pans out. If I think its too risky I'll take leave.

On a positive note its a lovely sunny day here and its also payday. Knowing I only have one week left at home I want to get a bit more cooking for the freezer done and a bit more decluttering.


6 Jul 2020

Monday, Monday...

I'm going to try an post more often. I feel I'm slipping into a bit of a 'rut' of just keeping busy to distract myself but not really getting anything much done, so I'm hoping if I blog more I'll get a bit more motivation in these strange 'covid' times.

Last Friday DH had to put the car in for repairs. I'd budgeted $350 but apparently it needed more repairs than DH expected as the final bill came to just over $1000!  So I raided the emergency fund to cover it.

I think I need a bigger emergency fund. Or I might just keep more in the offset account for a while until this pandemic situation is more settled.

Each Sunday we try and prep something for the freezer. Yesterday DD cooked up a huge batch of bolognaise sauce and then made two large trays of lasagna and 16 individual serves of meat sauce. I love the way the house smells when cooking lasagna & it tasted great.

My plans for today in between work, is to catch up on my crotchet, my temperature blanket is quite behind, and to do some decluttering in the pantry.

2 Jul 2020

June Progress Report - The Half-way mark!

Well I've reached the half-way mark of my five year goal to retire. It feels good to see that we are close to being on track with our mortgage payoff and doing better than expected with our retirement savings goal. I'm not sure how this will all end up but I'm just continuing with my original date for the time being and focusing on reducing that mortgage asap. 

The last few weeks I've not been doing much, just 'escaping' by watching TV and taking a break from all thats going on in the world - some days it just feels a bit surreal so I had some time out and feel better for it.

So here's our progress for the last month:

Mortgage
  • current balance $86,657
  • down from: $90,966
  • total reduction $4,340
Our half way goal for the mortgage was $83,999 - so we are a little behind, but will catch up with my tax return soon. My second job did not pay me on time this month so that is a significant amount not paid on the mortgage yet.

Savings
  • DH: $321,106
  • me:  $156,209
  • total: $477,315
  • total increase $12,386
Now that the new financial year has started ( July 1st) I have recommenced my salary sacrifice payments to my retirement fund. Our savings are heading in the right direction again which is good.

Work
I am still working from home for July. I'm finding it much less stressful and feel like I'm more productive as people can't just drop in for a chat. Yet again our restructure /possible redundancies has been delayed until next year. I think covid has changed the options around work for me and my manager has told me part time work/working from home more could all be on the table in the future. But as this restructure has been going on for years now I'll just keep plodding along with my five year goals.

Home
I really did not do much at home last month, no painting, no decluttering of the sewing room- just a lot of slacking off!! hopefully this month I do better.

Health
I am sleeping so well! 7- 8 hours a night - instead of 5-6 when I in the office & really busy. No change in my weight and not a lot of exercise, I tend to hibernate in winter and I need to get moving this month.

Other
We have no covid cases here fortunately but panic buying has returned after cases in Melbourne (thousands of miles away!) toilet paper, flour, rice, pasta, paper towel, tissues are all limited again as everyone has started panic buying in case it spreads outside Victoria. We're still only going out when its essential and DH is back in his office. 

My plans for July are mainly getting my taxes done and pottering about the house, working on a few sewing projects.


11 Jun 2020

Another Mortgage Milestone!

Good news!!

Our new balance is $89,290, which takes us into the 80's and past the Year 21 balance - another mortgage milestone on our amoratisation table

It feels so good to cross out another line on that chart - only nine more to go!  

My new strategy of pay the extra mortgage payment first and then budget with what is left is working really well.  I'm avoiding spending money on anything that isn't essential this year and its paying off. Also as the interest comes down that helps speed up our progress.

My next immediate goal is to reach $84,000 - the half way mark. 




9 Jun 2020

Decluttering plans

Yesterday was a public holiday here. We spent the day doing a general tidy up in the house, getting caught up with the washing and vacuumed all the floors. DH had to do some repairs on the toilet which took a while. I washed some curtains and hung another 'new' pair in the lounge room
Today I'm planning on taking a few loads of clothes and household items to the charity shop which will clear out some more room. Our local op shops open this week. I just hope they have room to take them as I'm sure lots of people have been decluttering while working from home the last few months so I'm sure they'll get lots of donations in the next few weeks.
We've decided to turn DS's old bedroom into a gym area. DS lives away and come home usually only at Christmas time. Over the years, instead of paying gym fees, I have bought a stepper, treadmill and rower which currently sit in lounge & family rooms - and occasionally get turned into temporary clothes drying racks! If they were all in the one room, along with yoga mats & hand weights - then it would tidy up our living spaces and it just means exercising in a different room. We could get a blow up bed for DS to use when he visits. 
So today, after we do the op shop run, we'll be working on decluttering DS's bedroom. There hardly any of his stuff there anymore. Its just become a bit of place to stash bits and pieces. 

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."William Morris




6 Jun 2020

Holidaying at home.

Earlier in the week I made a big pot of split pea soup and froze eight individual serves. I love soup and its been my breakfast each morning this week - its been quite cold here with some light snow about half an hour away so soup for breakfast really hits the spot. 

There were a few good specials at the supermarket this week so I will be doing some more cooking for the freezer this week as well. 

After 10 weeks working from home (12 for DH) we are both taking a week off - we're having a holiday at home and I'm really looking forward to getting some work done around the house.

When we made the decision to change our downsizing plans and stay in this house when we retire, it meant that we will need to do different work on the house than if we were selling. We've been making plans for a big vegetable garden so that we can reduce our food costs when we retire. 

I love gardening and years ago we had beautiful gardens including a veggie garden out the back. But both of us had a few significant injuries that slowed us down a lot and now, after years of neglect,  we just have an overgrown mess to transform. I'm excited to get started! I'll be quite happy to spend my retirement pottering about house & garden all day, and having the time to work in the garden.

Yesterday I made a list of what I'd like to get done before we retire and I've added it as a new page at the top of the blog. We need to update kitchen & bathrooms, get solar power put on and make the yard easier to manage. Theres painting to do and insulation needs to be re-done.  We still have quite a lot to get done to be ready to retire and so this week we'll be getting started on that list. I don't plan on spending huge amounts and we'll DIY as much as we can. 


1 Jun 2020

May Progress Report

May was a good month financially. Tracking our spending in YNAB has really helped me identify the money leaks and plan my spending much better. Working from home has also saved us money, even though the cost of groceries has gone up.


Mortgage
  • current balance:$90,996
  • down from: $95,866
  • total  reduction: $4,870
This month I have put every extra cent I could find off the mortgage in an effort to get closer my 'half-way' goal of $83,999  as soon as possible. I've paid the extra mortgage payments first each payday and then budgeted with whats left. I've also stopped using the credit card. Even though we paid it off each month it just made it too easy to overspend.

Retirement Savings
  • DH:$311,004
  • me: $153,925
  • total:$464,929
  • total increase: $14,617
Our retirement savings are starting to recover as the market goes up. I reached my limit for pre-tax contributions via salary sacrifice this week so I've cancelled those for this financial year.

Work

We're all still working from home for the next month. I'm finding it far less stressful than working in the office even though its starting to get busier. Even though social distancing restrictions are easing here people still have to continue to work from home if they are able to. I'm glad my workplace is going slow on any return to work.

Home

Well my plan to declutter my sewing room last month got swapped for decluttering my wardrobe and bedroom. That is all the work we did on the house last month. I've taken some time off next week and I hope to get a bit more done around the house then. Hoping I can convince DH to do some more painting and do some work in the yard before winter really sets in.

Health

Not much exercise as the rain and cold has reduced the days we've walked. But I have finally got myself back on to the diet that is best for my health. Its very strict but it addresses so many of my health issues and I can feel the improvement in my sleep, my joints, my gut and on the scales. I was on the diet for several years after some serious health problems and its a relief to eating this way again. 

June plans:

Our financial year ends on June 30th so I need to start preparing information for our taxes as I want to submit them early in July. 

Patsy over at The Working Pantry has started a working pantry class on facebook so I am looking forward to learning more to improve my pantry.

... and I need to get back to my sewing machine!





18 May 2020

Order Restored!


I've had a lovely weekend here, slowly putting my bedroom back together after a thorough clean. I've moved some furniture and have been enjoying re-organising the wardrobes and drawers.

Its been quite enjoyable just to fold and sort the clothes when now I only have what fits, what gets worn and what fits in the space. The room feels calm and tidy and there is order instead of overstuffed closets and piles of excess 'stuff' that had no space to be stored.  Today I have just the clothes that need ironing to do and then its complete. I quite enjoy ironing when I'm not in a rush to get it done before work, so in between work commitments today I'll iron a few baskets and then I'm done.

Mortgage Payoff:

I'll be exactly half way through my five year goal on 30th June.My mortgage balance should be $83,999 at the half way mark so I have some catching up to do.

My plan is to pay a full mortgage payment each fortnight on top of our regular weekly payment which would be three payments a month. I'll also put the income from my second job straight to the mortgage. It means a really tight budget but I'm going to do my best to stick to this plan. I got paid for my second job on time this month and have paid it all off the mortgage.

Well its Monday morning here, time to get started with the day and get ready for a day of work meetings. I had been doing some my  day job work in my bedroom but I'm going to stop that as I just want to keep it peaceful and free of stress.

"Your home should be the antidote to stress, not the cause of it" 
Peter Walsh


12 May 2020

Autumn Spring Cleaning & Lockdown changes.

We're still enjoying the beautiful Autumn weather here, cold and foggy mornings with the sun out and blue skies by morning tea time.  The trees are all changing colour and starting to drop their leaves.



Over the weekend I finished the decluttering of our clothes & wardrobes.

I've filled 10 large shopping bags with clothes/shoes etc to be donated when the op shops open up again. Everything has been washed except one basket of woollens that I'll hand wash over the next few days.

My next step in this big declutter will get done over the coming week in between working from home, and basically we'll be doing an 'Autumn spring clean':

  • wash curtains
  • wash wardrobe surfaces & spray with surface spray
  • wipe cedar oil on the  back of chests of drawers
  • fold & hang clothes back into bedroom 
I can't wait till its all done and I will only have the clothing that we actually use. Its going to free up a lot of space and now that I've started I'd like to go through the rest of the house, room by room and be more ruthless with the decluttering. 

I'm ready to just let things go and live with less and being at home is giving me time and energy to get jobs done around the house.

So far there is no talk of any of us returning to the workplace. Some social restrictions have eased this week: 
  • five people can visit a home
  • cafes & restaurants can have 10 seated customers
  • 10 people can gather outside
  • 10 people at weddings
  • 20 people can attend a funeral
  • people are still to work at home if possible
  • travel is still limited
  • many businesses providing personal services remain closed
  • some hairdressers are opening
  • students started attending school one day per week
We still have no new cases in our area and hopefully our numbers stay low as restrictions start to ease a bit. Fortunately state premiers (like governors) are setting their own rules & not rushing to re-open as our Prime Minister would like. 

We will be staying home apart from getting shopping and DH had a coffee with a friend yesterday - they sat in the park. The majority of people are being sensible with the few that aren't getting much more attention in the media than they deserve.

Stay safe everyone xx




6 May 2020

The Great Wardrobe Declutter!

On Monday morning I was doing a bit more sorting in my wardrobe, only planning on spending 15 minutes or so decluttering in the bedroom. Next thing I know a moth flew out of the wardrobe, I shook the clothes and another one emerged.

... and so began The Great Wardrobe Declutter, which is still in progress...

I decided that since I was going to wash everything I might as well downsize our clothes and get rid of at least half of what we own. Fortunately work has been very quite this week so I've had plenty of time to sort, wash, dry, iron clothes. And I'm still not done!

I've kept far too many clothes that no longer fit me in case I lose weight. I'm not doing that anymore, they are all gone. I have kept five pair of black and navy pants for work, that should see me out till retirement. I've kept four dressier dresses that I can wear out, two long dresses in case we ever cruise again and one winter coat.  I had been keeping three other long dresses to sell but I've decided its just time to pass them on and free up space.

I love scarves and have a LOT of them. I wear scarves every day in winter so they all get used. But I bit the bullet yesterday and got rid of about one third of them. I also sorted my jewellery and almost halved it. I do not spend much on jewellery at all, often buying items off aliexpress or op shops. Years ago our house was broken into and all my jewellery was stolen, it wasn't a lot but the sentimental value to me was priceless, every gift my DH had given me, items my mother had owned, my wedding and engagement ring, DH's rings - all stolen. It was really distressing. I did not replace any of it and never will. It would just be a reminder of what was taken. Since then I only buy cheap junk jewellery that makes me happy and I will not miss it if it gone. So I have a lot of it, but now I have much less.

Today I'll sort through my tops and my woollens and my shoes and keep on washing everything. Once I get all the clothes washed we'll clean the furniture and start re-organising it all, it will probably take the rest of the week to get through it all.

I'm really enjoying just being at home and being able to get things done around the house. I am seeing this big declutter as a way of letting go of a lot of things that I will no longer need in retirement and preparing for living a simpler, less cluttered, less stressful life - having Just Baggage Enough.


3 May 2020

Reclaiming morning simplicity

For years I used to start my day with a lovely quiet time in the mornings. I'd do some meditation, some journalling, followed by either reading or watching something uplifting and working on my plans and goals. Its a great way to start each day but somehow over recent months/years its slowly disappeared and I started to turn on the TV to catch the morning news both local and international.

Being home all the time for the last few weeks I've really seen how far we have fallen down the TV hole and how much time it can take up. I enjoy TV, but I have just let it become a constant. I limit how much news I watch about covid but I'm still spending too much time in front of the box.

So from today I'm reclaiming my quiet mornings and starting the day with some simple comforting routines. I want to get back to meditating, affirmations and focusing on creating a simple peaceful home.  I started this morning and I already feel better for it. Time to just sit and be peaceful before the day gets started.

After my quiet time I listened to a podcast while I sorted out a big pile of paperwork that has been sitting on the end of the kitchen bench for months. My kitchen bench is now cleared off completely and looks much better. Today I need do some washing and start decluttering my sewing room.

The sun is shining this morning even though its still quite cold outside so we might walk after lunch. With the change in temperature I'm getting to use some new colours in my temperature blanket



Do you have a quite time in the morning? How do start your day?



"When you arise in the morning think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive- to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love." 
Marcus Aurelius 


1 May 2020

April Progress Report


This last month has gone really quickly!

The month started with beautiful sunny Autumn days and in the last 48 hours we've had our temperatures drop with light snow expected over the weekend. It's time to turn the heater on and rug up ready for winter.

Heres the numbers for April:


Mortgage:
  • current balance:  $95,866
  • down from: $98,709
  • total reduction: $2,843 

Retirement Savings:
  • DH: $302,293
  • me:  $148,019
  • total: $450,312
  • total increase:$7,643 

A slight improvement in our retirement savings this month. We just continue to invest the maximum into our pre-tax contributions each month.  Our emergency fund is up to $500 which is a separate account from our offset accounts. I want to get that fully funded quickly.

Work

We're all still working from home and expect this continue at least till the end of May. I've found as the month went on I feel like there is little separation between work & home - its odd. Work is not too busy, but far more stressful incidents to deal with, made more difficult by the social distancing and the closure of so many support services. Domestic violence and alcohol consumption have gone up and a lot of people are struggling to cope with the social isolation. I've taken today off as I just need a break from it. 

Home

I've done a bit more weeding in the garden. I've hung the curtains in the lounge room, it still needs carpeting but that can wait till later. I've been nagging DH about doing some more painting so I'm hoping that happens soon. I've started sorting my sewing room - thats my goal for May.

Health

We're all healthy and well. There have been no new covid cases in our region for almost two weeks and there is just one active Covid case in our region. Some restrictions ease a little from today such as 2 adults and children can visit other households, schools will start slowly increasing students attending and some public parks/beaches will re-open for exercise only.

So far we've been fortunate in Australia, but there is concern about a second wave so most people are still being sensible and staying home unless absolutely needed. A lot of testing is happening here to try and find any hotspots. Anyone with a cough or cold is tested, they put calls out in different locations for the public to come and be tested, our state (NSW) is aiming for 8,000 tests every day to try and identify any community spread as we head into flu season. 

My goals for May are:
  • cut grocery spending
  • menu plan 
  • declutter & tidy sewing room
  • don't use the credit card!


27 Apr 2020

Interest Rates Reduced!

Our bank has reduced the interest rates on the mortgages and its made quite a big saving for us.  Because we have three mortgages (2 IPs & PPOR) and the redraw, the total reduction in monthly payments is $408/month.

Usually when interest rates go down we just keep paying the same amount so we are always ahead in our payments. But this time I am going to reduce all the payments except our PPOR mortgage to the minimum and redirect them to the PPOR mortgage, so an extra $408 going towards the mortgage payoff from next month. That is really going to help us make faster progress.

DH made me a desk over the weekend so now I have space I don't have to share while I'm working from home. We've put the curtains up in the lounge room/current office space, they don't match  but they will do for the time being.

We've started walking at lunchtime now as the mornings are getting a bit cool - I love Autumn!




Roses are starting to bloom...





....  and this little magpie is a friendly visitor to our house each day..



Another week done and dusted. take care everyone xx

21 Apr 2020

This and that...

My chrysanthemums are flowering! - they are a cheerful spot of colour in my overgrown garden at the moment. I've been doing a bit of weeding each day and am making very slow progress on the garden beds.

I've paid a bit more into our emergency fund so our balance is now $240.

My second job is very late in paying me this month. Its really annoying when they do this! My pay is now almost 2 weeks overdue.

Yesterday I felt just really worried about everything. An email from work about going back (yes, they had confirmed last week I was supposed to continue working from home) just set me off really. I just felt anxious and worried all afternoon and didn't sleep well at all. I just want to be finished with working so much! I'm tired of it, I really am. But all I can do at the moment is keep plodding along with saving & reducing debt.

I really hope this pandemic does not set our retirement plans back but realistically I think it probably will. Anyway, I guess we are all entitled to have a few anxious days at times like this.

Well I'm going to go and try and get some work done before DH wakes up and the emails start arriving for the day. I think I need to keep busy today so I don't think so much!


17 Apr 2020

A New 'Normal'

Yesterday had the most beautiful sunrise...


I'm so glad I'm an early bird and get to see sunrises like this.

Today is the end of my third week working from home and DH's fifth week. We seem to have passed that initial, anxious/fearful stage and are settling in to a new kind of of 'normal'. It helps that in our town there have been no new cases for almost three weeks. We've all been told we will be working from home until the end of May.

This week we've settled into some better routines. We walk everyday at 6.30am, stop for morning tea at 10 and lunch at 12. After my work day ends I go out and work in the garden for about half an hour. Dinner is at 6.30.

I don't want to use the big supermarkets in town as they are too busy. So we get a Hello Fresh delivery most weeks which gives us three main meals and several meals of leftovers for $120. Aside from that we eat out of the pantry & freezer.

About every 7-10 days  we collect the mail and pick up a few staples like milk, bread, eggs & meat at the corner store on the next block, its about 10 minutes inside the store and thats our only time out apart from our daily walk. The shop assistants all wear gloves which are changed between each customer and theres usually only a few people there when we go. When we get home we wipe over all our groceries before putting them away, change our clothes and wash our hands.

I'm coping well with not going out and I'm honestly not missing anything. I feel less stressed and am sleeping much better. I think DH & DD are missing the social interactions and just being able to go out and do things. But we're all adapting OK to this new way of doing things.

Yesterday was payday and after paying the bills, and putting extra money in the offset accounts I paid our regular mortgage payment and everything extra off the mortgage. Our mortgage balance is now $96,977. 


13 Apr 2020

A different kind of Easter & Unity Quarantine Quilt

Easter felt very different this year. I've spent almost every dinner Easter with my in-laws since I was 16 - thats 41 years. My DH has spent every one of his 61 years with his parents for Easter. Its the one time  when everyone in the family comes home.

When we were younger we would all go to Easter mass together - the late night service which is really beautiful - lighting the Easter candle outside in the darkness, all following the priest inside and then one by one lighting each others candles so that gradually the whole church filled with candlelight. I'm not a Catholic but this was my favourite church service. The church was a very old, little country town church made of stone, filled with atmosphere. I have many happy memories of Easter with my in-laws.

Even though we talked on the phone it felt quite odd not to be there. Usually they would be getting prepared to go away for the winter months but they cannot leave due to the lockdown travel bans, so they will be having their first winter at home for many years. Hopefully we can get together for Christmas.

So it was a different kind of Easter for us, but I am just grateful that so far everyone is safe and well.

On another note I am enjoying having more time to sew. I've been doing Bonnie Hunters Quarantine Mystery quilt - Unity  I've finished clue one:



 ... and I'm busy working on clue two right now...





I just love being able to have the extra time to sew, crotchet, read blogs, weed the garden and potter about. I am really looking forward to getting more sewing done - lots of UFO's for me to finish and so many quilts I want to make.

Happy Easter everyone, stay safe xx


11 Apr 2020

Mortgage Milestone!

Good news!

We've just hit another mortgage milestone on our amoratisation table - we're now paid up to Year 20!

Our new balance is $97,773

This is Year 5 of our mortgage so we're 15 years ahead and another step closer this mortgage paid off. Only 10 more lines to cross out on that chart and we are done!

Because  the mortgage interest has gone down so much since I started this blog ($572 to $260), the balance is going down much faster now. I can't wait to have it gone completely.

One thing working from home has shown me is how much I am ready for retirement.  I just want to be able to slow down and in the last week I've been able to do that. I'm not sure how long it will last but it does reinforce to me that I need to do my best to stick to my original retirement date for the sake of my health and happiness.

Paying off the mortgage before we retire is a key part of our plan. To have a mortgage in retirement we would need to have an extra $360,000 in savings using a 4% withdrawal rate. If we do need to access the aged pension it would be even more important that we didn't have a mortgage.

We've been discussing and doing calculations on changing our plan to move into our rental unit for a few months now and we've now made the decision that we will be staying here. But I'll write more about that another day.

The sun is shining here so we'll go walking later. So far our town has had no more coronavirus cases for almost two weeks so that is encouraging.



5 Apr 2020

Weekend Walking

We've had lovely weather here. Steady rain every night, sounds so lovely on the roof and soothing to listen to when I can't sleep. Followed by lovely Autumn sunny days. After the smoky dry summer of bushfires the air now smells fresh and clean, the birds are well and truly back and everything is green again.

On Saturday we went for a walk just after lunch. Saw people pulling up their cars to pick mushrooms which are popping up all over the place. This creek is usually very low, you can jump over it but its full again now.




This little turtle must of been washed out of his usual spot.




Saturday night we had cottage pie with a cheesy potato top for dinner - great comfort food and some leftovers for during the week.




This afternoon we went walking in a different direction. This magpie was happy to pose for a photo in front of a small dam that has been empty for months and months - now filled up after all the rain. Isn't that blue sky beautiful...




We turned off into the streets behind our place, beautiful colours everywhere with the trees just starting to turn. There were quite a few people sitting out the front of their houses, kids waved, people smiled. Everyone seems to be more friendly in this time of being locked down.




So now we're just making home made pizza for an easy Sunday night dinner. I'm feeling grateful for the rain, the bright colours again after months of brown everywhere and that we're all safe and well at the moment.

How has your weekend been? Are you able to get outside where you are or are you confined due to the various lockdowns, shelter in place etc?