28 Mar 2020

Working from home - finally

Well I am now officially working from home- I pretty much told my boss that I was no longer coming in, its far too dangerous and I could either work from home or go on leave.

My immediate boss is very supportive and bang - it was arranged just like that. The relief was enormous.

DD found out last night that she will also be working from home now. She needs to go in to the office on Monday morning to get some supplies and then the three of us are staying put in this house.

We have plenty of food in the stockpile and once we make it past the 21 days we'll know that we don't have this virus.

DS is still working which worries me. He's in an office and they are taking all precautions but I am hoping they will close this week. 

The numbers in our town have gone up including some medical staff from the hospital. It still all feels a bit surreal. I'm glad most people seem to be just self isolating despite the slowness of our governments response and increasingly confusing directions. 

So this weekend I need to create two more workspaces at home and I have some cooking to do. I am looking forward to having some time to get in and do some jobs around the house and garden and possibly use up more of my fabric and yarn stash in the coming months.


25 Mar 2020

Shut the schools!

Our state STILL has schools open!  I am pretty angry about it, we have been told to prepare to work at home but it seems like no-one has the balls to actually call it.

So far this week I've spent my work days dealing with very distressed students and mental health crisis - all by phone. And packing up my workplace, sorting paper files, delivering training in preparation for working from home. I hope to God they tell us today or I am just going to take leave.

In Australia we've had thousands of people put out of work, we've seen lines around the block at Centrelink offices, and their website keeps crashing as people are trying to register for welfare. Quite a few of my clients or their partners have lost jobs in the last week. I expect that DS will be laid off soon as well. DD is just waiting to be told to work from home, hopefully today.

Right now I'm grateful that we are so far ahead on our home loan and that we don't have debt. DH & I's jobs are pretty secure and we both have long service leave and plenty of sick leave (months) to fall back on. We had a courtesy call from our bank yesterday which was nice. Home loan payments can be put on hold and to contact them if we need to re-arrange finances in the future.

So at times like this its normal and natural for us all to be anxious and feeling stressed. I've cut my TV viewing way back, news just half hour morning and night - I only need to know whats happening locally. I've cut back social media - and  I've started exercising in the morning to help manage my stress.

I also wanted to mention a wonderful, frugal forum that I have been a member of for many years. Simple Savings  is very low cost, it even has a 'leg-up' program for people struggling financially and its filled with so much wisdom, frugal tips and community. My day would not be the same without it. They also have a Facebook group but I found it was very, very different to the forum, just not the same sense of friendship as the forum. So if you are looking for frugal help hints and frugal friends I can truly recommend Vault membership @ $21. Fiona is also updating her book '$21 challenge' to release it as an e-book soon.

Ok, thats enough for today, just quickly sharing my thoughts before I head off to work. Take care, take a moment to slow down and breathe, we will get through this xx

20 Mar 2020

Busy, busy, busy!

Its 2 am here and I'm just sitting watching CNN, eating a roast beef sandwich, decompressing from a very busy day!

Australia has now closed its borders.I was surprised our government actually did this but I think its a good move. We now have a confirmed case in our town.

They are still insisting schools stay open though. The Catholic education system had made the decision to close schools but then the prime minister intervened to prevent that unfortunately.

There were meeting yesterday, and there is another one today to discuss staff working from home. I spent yesterday contacting my clients and setting up phone/video appointments, copying files that I will need and sorting paper files that I'll need to take home, attending meetings (all online) and doing some training.

After work I did my second job via Zoom, instead of face to face as that organisation has already shut down and is working from home now. The person I was working with yesterday hasn't done any tele-health work so we spent most of our time planning for that. I had discussed me leaving but as they are now also working from home we've decided I will keep working.

By the end of the day I was really tired, but I actually had a good day as I was busy and productive, I feel good when I can help people and at the moment my experience with tele-health & teaching is useful for many people who don't use technology everyday in their workplace.

So I've had a few hours sleep and today I have more training, phone/video consults. I'm really hoping we get the 'work from home' go ahead for next week.

In other news we had busloads of people come into our town and raid the three supermarkets - then they moved on to two other towns nearby and raided them. They hired a bus, drove 3-4 hours to panic buy out our town and its infuriating to see people so greedy! I had read about this happening in another state but never expected it would happen here. Its interesting how differently people can respond to a crisis, some with kindness and others with selfishness. I do believe that kindness wins out in the end.


17 Mar 2020

So far no coronovirus & no working from home for me.

Well DH started working from home today. His office has closed until further notice with all staff to work from home. I'm impressed with how his workplace has handled it all. Quite a few other businesses in town have closed and many parents are keeping their children out of school.

My workplace, as its government, is slower off the mark. We have this ridiculous 1.5 metre social distancing rule - yeah- has anyone ever seen a group of teenagers?  The idea that teachers can keep kids 1.5 m apart in a classroom is ludicrous! And  they all sit next to each other in the breaks anyway.

I think the government is trying to keep schools, TAFE's and universities open for the next three weeks until end of term and then they might shut them down for a longer holiday period. It's frustrating though, and stressful. So I don't have permission to work from home yet.

I am also considering quitting my second job, which is in a building filled with teenagers. I will discuss it with them this week. As much as I like the extra money, as someone with several auto-immune disorders I think my health is more important at the moment. So thats the next decision I have to make.

So far in our town there re no confirmed cases. The hospital has set up an infectious ward in a separate building to the main hospital and a testing clinic.

Kim from Out My Window is running a challenge to keep us all occupied and producitive. I'm trying to think of what I can do for tomorrow, which is good as it's already distracting me :)


16 Mar 2020

Interesting times!

How quickly things change. Watching the coronavirus spread around the world and seeing different peoples, and countries, reactions feels a bit surreal.

Here in Australia we're getting a slow response from government, much too slow and confusing, conflicting messages.

I'd be happy to go into lockdown but unless the whole family does it there is not much point. DD and I both have illnesses that make us more susceptible so its quite a worrying time. I am really hoping that our workplaces shut down soon.

Last week I had two days off work with a cough and cold. I had been to a meeting where someone later had to be isolated for possible exposure. Fortunately their test came back negative. We're going into the cold and flu season here so its that time of year when everyone starts coughing and sneezing.

A friend of ours flew to the US yesterday. They don't seem to worried but l think he's really taking a big risk and have told DH he will have to stop socialising for while with him when he returns.

We had done some extra shopping to top up our stockpile. There is no toilet paper in the shops, people were shopping in masks and gloves. Rice, flour, pasta, tissues, baby wipes and paper towel, mince meat, are all limited to two items.  This morning I've heard that some supermarkets are now cancelling online shopping order deliveries. I'm glad that keeping a well stocked pantry is just routine here.

Financially- I moved some money and bought $5,000 of VAS for $64.30 ( An Aussie index EFT) and will buy some VGS ( US index EFT) at some point.  I plan on continuing investing the same amount as usual.

take care everyone xx




8 Mar 2020

Back to YNAB Budgeting


Well I've had a really good morning doing our new budget. I feel like I've spring-cleaned' the finances and I'm ready to knuckle down and go hard on the mortgage payoff again.

I have gone back to using YNAB for budgeting. I can see how my spending has crept up over the last six months or so and while the credit card was always paid off in full every month, it was too easy to just spend a little extra here, there and eventually everywhere.  I think using YNAB will get me back on track.

I'm also going to stop using the credit card! By using the card we would delay payment and that money would sit in our offset account longer - lowering the interest. But I've paid it down to $0 this morning and don't plan on using it unless we are travelling or its an emergency.

Speaking of travelling, we have cancelled our cruise for the end of the year. We did lose some money but as someone with several health conditions, I am not willing to risk travelling until the coronavirus is a bit more understood and under control. I think we'll just sit out overseas travel this year.

We've got the craziest stockpiling of toilet paper going on in Australia at the moment! People fighting over it, one man getting tasered and all the supermarket aisles are empty. I'm not sure why its toilet paper. I bought a 32 pkt last week for .22 cents a roll because it was on special - (which is when I always buy it). Our pantry and freezer is all full so no need to buy anything extra at the moment.

Are people panicking about Coronavirus where you live? Are they stockpiling anything?

5 Mar 2020

Mortgage no longer six figures!


How good it was to log into the bank this morning and see the new mortgage balance:


                  $99,972


We are FINALLY under six figures, a few months later than planned but it feels so good to finally get here!  Now when I look at that number its only 10 lots of $10,000 - or 20 lots of $5,000 - thats what I need to focus on from here on in. I might make a payoff chart that I can colour in.

So we've have paid a total $78,581 ($67,298 + $11,255 interest) off the mortgage since I started blogging. Thats an average of $3022 per month. I have another month of a lot of bills and then I'll be able to get back to throwing every extra cent  at the mortgage.

3 Mar 2020

February Progress Report

February has been a really busy month  Heres the numbers:

Mortgage
  • current balance: $100,277
  • down from: $101,221
  • total reduction: $944
Not a lot of progress on the mortgage this month.

Retirement Savings
  • DH: $344,899
  • me: $157,790
  • total: $501.689
  • total reduction: $12,938

Our balance two weeks ago, before the market started dropping  was $524,000  - so its only dropped 2.3% so far. I am not worrying about the market drop, it means I'm now buying stocks at a discount. In the 2008 GFC I made the foolish mistake of moving my retirement funds and so missed out on a lot of money as the market recovered. I've learned my (expensive) lesson and I'll just keep saving the same amount regardless of the market.

Home

Just plodding along with my flylady routines. I got my pantry decluttered and, given the corona virus warnings, have restocked most of my stockpile. Not much else done as I have just been too exhausted from work.

Health

Not so great this month.  The last few weeks have really shown me how much my work impacts my health. I'm not sleeping well, feeling on edge and having trouble keeping up.  I walked in the morning 12 times and most weeks walked at work 3 x a week. I have put back on some of the weight I lost.

Work

Work has been really busy and very stressful including several critical incidents.  Its lots of stress at the moment so I'm just not keeping up very well at all. I return to my old second job this week. Months like this really remind me of how well I felt when I had my year off and how much I want to feel like that again.

Life

I have been too tired to do anything outside of work this month and didn't get much done on my quilting project. But I did start piecing some kids quilt tops which I really enjoy and I crotchet most evenings. I also finally got some reading in this month and did my fair share of napping on the lounge on the weekends.

Also I emptied the emergency fund this month to help pay for the air conditioner, so that will need to be refilled.