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?



3 Apr 2020

March Progress Report - the coronavirus editiion!

March has seen the world impacted by coronavirus and here in Australia we are now in a 90 day lockdown.

It feels like so much we took for granted has changed in the last month and priorities have changed as we all refocus on surviving this virus.

Heres how the finances look today:


Mortgage:
  • current balance $98,709
  • down from $100,277
  • total reduction $1,568
I'm still paying some extra money off the mortgage, but much less than I had planned. I'm keeping more money in the offset and increasing the funds in the investment properties offsets just in case my tenants have any difficulties paying.

Retirement Savings:
  • DH $302,146
  • me $142,523
  • total: $442,669
  • total reduction -$59,020 
Our retirement savings have taken a huge hit as expected. Its still a shock seeing that number though. I'm going to adjust my savings goal back to original goal of $500,000.We are continuing with our usual pre-tax payments.

Home/Work

We're all working from home now and have adjusted to it pretty well. I'm enjoying having more time to spend with DH and we're back to walking most mornings as we can go a bit later now we don't have to rush back to get ready for work. DD and I are sharing a workspace and we can just shut the door on that room at the end of the day. When I'm in a meeting or doing phone calls I go up to my bedroom. I will confess that I actually fell asleep while working from my bedroom last week - slept for three hours half sitting up on the bed lol!

Health

We are all well here and stocked up with our medications for the coming months. I've added a half hour of exercise/zumba in the mornings, it really does help me feel less stressed. I'm also doing the 100 pushup challenge - I'm up to 21 today. My weight - well as a stress eater I'm not going to worry to much about my weight right now.

I feel like this week things have started to settle down as we have a bit more clarity about whats happening with work and with the lockdown. Now we can just focus on each day and getting through the next 3 months safely.  I'm going to use the time to do a bit more decluttering and also to get my sewing/craft room tidied up and get into some of my unfinished projects.

take care, stay safe xx