31 Dec 2021

December Final Progress Report


Well its time for the monthly progress report and I've decided this will be the last one. The way I manage our money is changing now as we get closer to retirement & I am ready to focus less on the financial side of life and on tracking every cent.  Keeping track of our progress every month has really helped to keep me accountable and to stick with saving and debt payoff even when it felt so slow. What I have learned from tracking everything is that small amounts make a difference and that tracking every cent IS important when you're paying down debt and trying to turn around your finances. So will continue to track our expenses in YNAB but I won't be doing monthly finance updates here on the blog anymore as our goal has been reached exceeded. 

Here's the numbers:


We are not paying more off the mortgage anymore, instead that money sits in the offset account as our emergency fund/everyday expenses account. A summary of the mortgage payoff since I started this blog is on the Mortgages page.

Monthly Progress:

  • current balance: $30,470
  • total reduction: $0
Annual Progress:
  • start balance: $62,991
  • end balance: $30,470
  • total reduction: $32,521


Our savings are in our super accounts and we both salary sacrifice the maximum amount. I am gobsmacked at how much this has grown in the last year due to a good share market & compounding interest.  A summary of our savings since I started blogging is on the Savings page.

Monthly Progress:
  • current balance: $719,588
  • up from: $708,860
  • total increase: $10,728
Annual Progress:
  • start balance: me: $194,374  DH: $368,364 = $562,738
  • end balance:  me: $259,119  DH: $460,469 = $719,588
  • increase:        me: $64,745    DH: $119,243 
  • total increase: $156,850
So 2021 has been a really busy year for me with all my focus being on work. I'm not sorry I did the management job but I'm glad it's over. I didn't post much as there really wasn't a lot to say.

But this last week I have slept so well and I am starting to feel a bit more energised. I started decluttering my sewing room, which I am thoroughly enjoying. I gave the blog a makeover because now I'll be blogging about things other than work and yes, a lot of it will be sewing & quilting and work around the house & garden.

We spent the year close to home due to Covid, and we all worked at home for several months in 2022. Right now Omicron is just spreading like wildfire here. Our new premier and our out of touch government have just let it rip and they don't give a toss for those in the community that are vulnerable. I will feel a little safer when we have had our boosters but I'm keen to avoid going back onto campus with a lot of people so I may even leave a bit earlier if I am forced to go back to soon.

Well this is the end for the financial part of this retirement journey. Theres only 12 weeks until I finish at work but essentially all I will be doing is finishing up an handing over, Heres hoping that 2022 is the year that covid starts to lose its grip and we can return to a bit more normal life. 

25 Dec 2021

Merry Christmas!

 Its a lovely Christmas morning here. The sun is shining, the sky is blue and theres a nice cool breeze. Heres hoping it doesn't warm up too much as the day goes on.

Yesterday I finished up the management role that I've been doing this year. I'm relieved that its done and dusted. It's just been one of the busiest, stressful work roles I've had. I slept like a baby last night. 

I went into the office a few days this week and cleaned out all my cupboards & filing cabinets, bought home all my own stuff from my office and took the pictures down from the walls. Lots of happy memories going through everything! 

 I did a lot of shredding and sorting of paper files. I have one pile of about 30 files that I need to go through and about a weeks worth of data entry to do and then I am completely up to date, ready to walk out the door for good in 90 days. 

I wanted to get it done in case we had to work from home again due to Omricon and its good thing that I did as we are now working from home until February. But now I am just there to finish up and handover. My mind is already in retirement mode!

We will be having a quiet Christmas today and we'll catch up with family via zoom. We always have a traditional roast dinner at lunch time which I'm looking forward to. 

 I have two weeks of holidays now and will be back to blogging more regularly again. Thanks for visiting my blog and for your encouragement & comments over this last year.  Wishing you all a safe and happy Christmas and a peaceful holiday season.

"What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future." Agnes Pahro. 

16 Dec 2021

98 Days - 14 weeks to go.

How amazing to see my retirement countdown showing only 98 days to go today!  At the moment I'm technically on leave for a week but in reality I'm still working & attending meetings. Only one more week to go,  then holidays and then I can hand back a lot of this work and start slowing down a bit.

A few things have happened since my last post. I had my birthday and was given some beautiful quilting fabrics - (I'll get back to posting some pics soon), we decorated our Christmas tree on the weekend, & the Christmas shopping is done. I've signed up for a quilting BOM next year and been poring over my sewing magazines marking projects I'd like to make. 

We were going to have Christmas with family but now that Omicron is on the rise and cases in our town are on the rise we're going to have Christmas at home again.  We can't get our booster shots until the end of January and we had AstraZeneca so apparently our immunity is pretty low right now. 

DH had alerts that he's been in contact this last week even though we rarely go anywhere, but two weeks ago we had huge sporting event here with thousands of visitors and it was then declared a Covid exposure site.  Fortunately we are now all at home, either on leave or working from home so we'll just stay in until we get the booster dose.

Well thats just a quick little update for now. Hoping to get back to more regular blogging soon.

2 Dec 2021

November Progress Report

Heres the numbers for the month:


  • current balance: $30,470
  • down from: $40,866
  • total reduction: $10,396
  • current balance: $708,860
  • up from: $698,450
  • total increase: $10,410

Only 113 days to go until I retire!! 

I'm feeling so tired and also so excited at the moment. Yesterday I finally confirmed the date that I am leaving work and put in all the leave forms.  Next week I will let colleagues know at our last staff meeting for the year. I need enough time to handover some projects and catch-up on a lot of work before I go. Not long to go now. 

It's been crazy busy at work the last few weeks as the long awaited restructure was announced and I've spent day after day in meetings. I am so grateful to my past self for frugal living and sticking to my savings & debt payoff plans over the years as I am not having to worry about losing my job like many others but about to retire 8 years early. 

We received our tax returns and put it all off the mortgage even though we had decided not to pay any more on it. It's a hard habit to break paying extra off that mortgage. That took us to Year 28 on the mortgage amortisation table so another mortgage milestone passed this month.

This week I bought a few things at the black Friday sales, some courses I'd like to do were half-price and I will actually have time to do them soon! I've been busy with Share the Dignity collection and delivery. I've been daydreaming about the sewing and quilting I want to do next year and what it will feel like to have some energy for life outside of work. `In the meantime I have holidays coming up soon which will be a nice break. 

4 Nov 2021

October Progress Report

Here's the numbers for October:


  • current balance: $40,866
  • down from: $43,731
  • total reduction: $2,865
  • current balance: $698,404
  • up from: $690,450
  • total increase: $7,954
I feel like a lot has happened this month. We've both given notice at work and started to tell a few people that we're retiring next year. The reactions have been all positive and some a bit surprised. 

DH will leave mid-year as he will need to spend time training his replacement & wants to stay until a major project is completed. I'll leave after first term, or even a few weeks earlier. That will give me time to handover from the management job I've done this year and have some time to catch-up on unfinished work before I go. 

I have just 5 weeks left to work this year, then  10 - 13 weeks next year - it feels amazing to finally be almost at the end after so long working toward this. I have so many plans for the house and garden, so many quilts to sew and books to read. I am counting down the days!

Financially we will make some changes. We will now stop paying extra on the mortgage - which feels very odd after it being such a focus for so long - and put that extra money in the mortgage offset account. We'll keep salary sacrificing the maximum into super and then mid next year start drawing a transition to retirement pension. 

I haven't done a lot outside of work as we have a bit of a covid outbreak here in the last two weeks.  I've had two tests and then the associated days working from home even though we really do not go out much at all. Everything is delivered, we only go to work and the occasional visit to the shop. Travel has now been opened up to our area from Sydney with thousands of visitors expected to visit for various events. So we will continue being home bodies for the next few months until we get our booster shots in February. 

I've found it hard to blog regularly this year with so much work & little else happening. Now that its easing up a bit I hope to get back to blogging more regularly.

4 Oct 2021

September Progress Report

Another month down and only one more term left in this management role thank goodness. On the finance front, here are the numbers:


  • current balance: $43,731
  • down from $45,990
  • total reduction: $2,259
  • current balance: $690,450
  • up from: $678,595
  • total increase: $11,855

 We've all been working from home during September and are still in lockdown which will probably end in the next few weeks. I am expecting to have to go back to the office next week which I am really not looking forward to.

 Last week I was on leave and spent a lot of time dealing with work issues & attending meetings including one where we were very rudely told off for working from home. It was quite insulting & very disrespectful. Each of us in that meeting was on holiday but still made time to attend. To be told off like that was just one more reminder of how toxic this workplace is & how much I want to leave. I keep reading about The Great Resignation and I could quite likely be a part of it the way things are going. 

On a positive note, I've been doing lots of decluttering and have several bags of old clothes ready to donate when the op shops open up. I went for a lovely walk with an old friend a few days ago down by the river. 

It was a beautiful spring day and we spent a few hours catching up, while we enjoyed the views and got some exercise.  We followed a walking path that goes along the river & even though we're still in town, just 10 minutes from home, it feels like you are away from the traffic & noise.

Its magpie swooping season here and although there were plenty of maggies about there was no birds swooping at us as we walked.

The view back towards town. I remember as a kid we were not allowed to swim in the river but  I used to sneak down with a friend and go for a swim sometimes in summer. At the moment there are lots of snakes about so it's not the smartest idea to swim here right now.  

Today we have a public holiday here so I'll be doing some more decluttering and perhaps a bit of cooking for the freezer. We are meeting with the financial planner again next week to make some decisions so I'm looking forward to that and to enjoying this lovely spring weather in the next few weeks.

30 Sept 2021

Mortgage Milestone!

We've hit another mortgage milestone today, we passed Year 26 on the amortisation table with a mortgage balance of $43,723. I can't wait to get into the 30's!

Our extra payments have slowed down a lot as we adjust to not having the extra income from my second job to throw at the mortgage but we're still on track to reach $33,000 by the end of this year. 

At the moment we're still in lockdown and working from home. I'm supposed to be on holiday this week but have been contacted every day and have two meetings to attend today - all things I can't say no to in this management role.  But the end is in sight, I just have to keep plodding along for a bit longer.

Our next mortgage goal is $34,066.

10 Sept 2021

Choosing the date!

 DH and I have been having lots of discussions about when to actually leave work and how best to spread out our leave for the best tax advantage. I've also talked to one of my managers at work about leaving who was so supportive and excited for me. It's starting to feel real!

I've just updated my countdown in the sidebar to my new date - 220+ days earlier than my original five-year plan. So I'll work first term plus the holidays next year so I have time to hand over and finish up my work projects. If I do decide I want to leave earlier than that (if covid gets bad here) then I can just bring my date forward.

Eleven weeks of that time will be student holidays - I will have four of those weeks off over Christmas)  and twenty-one weeks will be term time. I have only 32 weeks until I retire and twenty-eight weeks left to work!    Doing a little happy dance here :) 

8 Sept 2021

More Good News !

 I'm feeling much better than I was a few days ago after our appointment with the financial planner yesterday. After running the numbers and doing various projections he assured us we have enough to retire now if we want to and we will be OK. Seeing our costs and spending projections in detail, with dates up until age 105 was really helpful. We will not run out of money on our current spending.  I felt relieved, now we can start planning the income details and thinking about retirement dates. 

 There is still a lot of detail to be sorted out and I will work at least till the end of the year to complete this contract and possibly for a few months next year to finish up and handover. But it feels so good to know I could actually finish working when I choose to.

So I am excited and relieved today after seeing the projections. The end is in sight! This time next year I won't be working or worrying or feeling tired all the time. I'll have time to read, sew, garden, cook, go for walks and do whatever I want all day long. Now I need to start planning what needs to be done before I leave work and when to actually leave. I'm sure work will not feel as stressful now as I know there is not long to go!

3 Sept 2021

Progress Report: August - the covid edition

August has been a really tough, and stressful month. I haven't posted because my posts would just say 'worked all day, worked extra, fell asleep on the lounge". 

Too much work, not enough staff + covid + being a mental health professional dealing with vulnerable, at-risk youth, & currently in lockdown has just been too much some days. 

I've been working from home for most of the last month due to covid cases in our town and all my team are also in areas under lockdown due to covid cases. Sadly, we have had several young people take their lives which impacts the whole community.

So I am very tired but OK, just two more weeks until a short vacation period and then one more term to go. I am seriously considering if I retire earlier than planned though as I'm watching these covid cases go up and up each day. We are meeting with the financial planner again next week to look at various projections. It would be wonderful if I could finish up this year instead of next - I feel like covid has changed everything. I'm just so grateful that we have been saving so I am now in a good position to leave if I decide to.

Heres the numbers:


  • current balance: $45,990
  • down from: $47,650
  • total reduction: $1,660
  • current balance: $678,595
  • up from:$665,116
  • total increase: $13,479

9 Aug 2021

Good news!

 I've had a lovely week. DH and I took a few days off together making it a four-day weekend. Neither of us did any work and it was really nice just to have some time to catch up and hang out together. 

We met with our financial planner and had a very detailed talk about what we want our retirement to look like, how we'll spend our time & money, and going over our current finances. And the good news was that he thinks that we could probably retire much sooner than we had planned. That was a pleasant surprise and a relief. I just feel that all the hard work has paid off and we are going to be OK. 

In 2010 we were in a bad place financially and we have turned that around. I felt a bit emotional after our meeting ended, and since then I have just been daydreaming about what's ahead - gardening, sewing, being free to fill my days as I please. There is still a lot more detailed planning to be done before anything will happen officially but I feel less stressed already. 

1 Aug 2021

July Progress Report

 July has been a difficult month. I have spent my time working, sleeping, and working at home after hours & on weekends. The workload is just crazy and exacerbated by dealing with covid lockdowns, being very short-staffed ( I am covering 4 positions) and the area I cover was just increased with more staff to manage. Added to that is preparations for restructuring so lots of meetings & reports.

I am very tired and life has been too far out of balance.

So I'm very glad that it's August - the start of a new month!  I am going to work at getting some more balance back in my life and I only have a few more months left of this workload. 

Heres the current numbers:


  • current balance: $47,650
  • down from: $49,111
  • total reduction: $1,461
  • current balance: $665,116
  • up from: $649,758
  • total increase: $15,356
I've been saving this month to pay the financial planner and also I have some big annual bills to pay so my mortgage payoff has slowed down and next month will likely be the same.

We reached our 2021 savings target a few weeks ago - I am just amazed to watch how quickly our superannuation is growing. 

This week I've been getting our finances ready for the accountant and also preparing information for the financial planner. We had our investment property valued and I was stunned to see how much it has grown in value! It has more than doubled.  I felt quite emotional as we could sell that property now, clear all debt and still have money left over to invest. I am not sure what we will do yet but it feels good to know that we have options.  

So August is about me getting back into some better routines, relaxing more, and working less.  DH and I both organised to work just three days this week, so we can step back a bit from work. I have meetings with HR about part-time options and with the financial planner at the end of the week. Only 501 days to go!


1 Jul 2021

June Progress Report

 Its the end of the financial year and time for another monthly update.  I've been on leave from work for the last week but due to covid lockdowns here I've been attending a daily update meeting and doing about an hour of emails each day. DH has been working from home and so it has been nice to be here together. I'm working from home next week and then will return to the office, but it will be back to telehealth for a few weeks until the covid numbers go down. DH and I have both had our first dose of Astrazenica and DD is due to get Pfizer in two weeks so I will feel a little safer once she's had that first dose.

This last month has been fantastic for our superannuation as the market is on the rise. We're not far off meeting our savings goal for the year.

Earlier this week we met with a financial planner. We're going to get them to review our finances & retirement plans so we can be sure we're making the most of various tax strategies. I'm excited to be at this stage of fine tuning the details. 

Heres the numbers for the last month:


  • current balance: $49,111
  • down from: $52,627
  • total reduction: $3,516


  • current balance: $648,758
  • up from: $629,559
  • total increase: $19,203

21 Jun 2021

Five days to go

 I have just five days to go until the end of term and boy am I looking forward to the end of this week. I am taking a week off and then will work from home for a week and I really do need to take a break.  

I'm back to just going to work, trying to sleep, eat & do washing and then back to work and no time or energy for anything else. It's certainly not something I could keep up for too long. My plan for the holidays is to have a big clean-up in the house and to get myself back on track with eating better, exercising, and catching up on sleep. 

If all goes to plan this time next year I will be working part-time. I am so looking forward to it! 

16 Jun 2021

Busy, busy, busy!

I feel like time is going by so quickly at the moment!  We've had a long weekend here which was nice -lovely to have a 3-day break from work. We had snow here, the heaviest falls in years with snow laying on the ground for most of the day, lots of roads blocked and lots of branches falling off trees due to the weight of the snow. 

I also had to buy a new washing machine as my old one died a few days ago. I got a new machine from appliancesonline - great prices ($398) and they collect the old one and install the new one. I had it the next day after ordering. It's so much easier to buy online these days instead of having to go to a store. 

Right now I'm counting the days down until I have a week's leave - only eight more working days to go!!  I'm just working and sleeping at the moment, nothing else is getting done and I need some time to get some housecleaning done and refocus on getting a bit more balance back in my life. 

This job is good in many ways but I certainly couldn't keep up this pace for too long and stay healthy. I have only half my staff at the moment and I'm covering four people's roles which is impossible to do fully so lots of prioritising and lots of working at home in the evenings. I just remind myself it's temporary and strangely not as stressful as my usual job. The good thing is that we are exceeding our financial goals and the end is in sight (547 days!). 

31 May 2021

May Progress Report

Time for another progress report! We're back to focusing on the mortgage payoff.  Our income is less now as my second job has finished. I still do the occasional consult but not having that extra income has definitely slowed down our savings and debt payoff rate. But its nice to work less and I was ready to stop so its all good.


  • current balance: $52,627
  • down from: $55,380
  • total reduction: $2,753
  • current balance: $629,559
  • up from: $616,801
  • total increase: $12,750

I had my first dose of Astrazenica after work last Friday.  I felt fine that evening, not even sore at the injection site. But mid-morning Saturday my whole arm started to ache, my joints hurt and I felt really tired. Fortunately, it only lasted a couple of days I feel back to normal now.

I'm hoping to catch up with a few friends in June and use up the last of my vouchers from the government on a meal and a movie. I'm also hoping to take some time off at the end of term so I'm counting down the days!

27 May 2021

Back to Mortgage Payoff!

I'm ready to get back to smashing out this mortgage payoff! I had been going to wait until the end of next month to get back to it but a few things have happened in the last week that make me want to get the mortgage gone asap. 

I'm starting to hear about some of the changes that might be happening at work next year, changes I won't really like much. I want to be in a position to go part-time and that will be much easier if the mortgage is gone. Two of my good friends at work have told me they are leaving at the end of the year. I will really miss them, we've worked together for about 15 years and my day will not be the same with them gone. 

It's all motivation to keep on with my retirement plan and I won't feel comfortable retiring with a mortgage. 

So it felt very good yesterday to make a nice big payment off the mortgage to bring the balance down to $52,890. My plan now is to just go all out on getting rid of it asap, to stop overthinking things, and Just Do It. I've still got 9 months left at this higher salary, very busy job and it would be great to end that being mortgage free.

22 May 2021

Mortgage Milestone!

Even though we've slowed down on the extra mortgage payments temporarily, we're still making steady progress towards its payoff. We've just hit another mortgage milestone with this weeks payment -  the end of Year 25! 

Our new mortgage balance is now $54,345. 

Our next milestone goal is $44,439.

I have to admit not much is happening here with me at the moment other than a lot of work! I was planning to go into the office today, first time ever on a weekend,  but will work at home instead for the morning to try and catch up a bit. Then I'm meeting an old work friend for lunch. I'm really looking forward to catching up with her, we've worked together on and off in different workplaces for the last 16 years and we have a lot of fun together. 

We'll use our government vouchers for our lunch so it won't cost much. The NSW government gave each person $100 in vouchers - two $25 ones for dining in a cafe or restaurant and two $25 ones for visiting any tourist attraction, so museums, events, theme parks. I have until the end of June to use them so I need to plan a visit somewhere in the next few weeks.  It's been a really good strategy to get people out spending again after Covid restrictions eased up, great for small businesses as everyone loves a freebie. 

17 May 2021

Still here!

It's halfway through another month this morning and I realised I haven't posted since my last progress report! Time for me to get back to blogging more regularly I think. I'm still here and still plodding along :) 

My main reason for slacking off blogging has been work - which is very busy and the last few weeks I've been bringing work home every night. By the weekend I am just very tired and spend most of it catching up on sleep, doing a bit more work, and getting ready for the week ahead.   From this week I will be down to half staffing so it's not improving any time soon. I'm trying to pace myself so I can last the distance.

Strangely enough, I don't feel as stressed as I did last year. I find myself thinking about being retired often, thinking that this time next year I'll be doing things for the last time. I happily daydream about what it will be like to spend a day sewing or just go for a walk during the day, having the time to shop for bargains and grow a veggie garden.  I'm secretly excited at being only 18 months away from leaving! In my head I've already left.

With the finances - I'm going to keep adding extra to the retirement funds instead of the mortgage until the end of the financial year - (June 30th). Then I will reassess and recalculate. It's looking like the long-awaited restructure at work will happen before the end of the year so I should know more about what's ahead in early July.

Our retirement savings are doing very well and we're basically at a point where we could stop now & coast FIRE. I feel like time is just flying by so fast now!

2 May 2021

April Progress Report

 I decided to take a break from blogging & being online as much this last month. The time out has been good and I'm back now with our progress report for April. Here's the numbers:


  • current balance $55,380
  • down from: $56,678
  • total reduction: $1,298
  • current balance $616,801
  • up from: $596,502
  • total increase: $20,299I
I was pleased to see such a big increase in our retirement savings this month - the combination of extra payments plus a rising market. 

I've been enjoying the change in work. Its less stress but more work. I am a bit tired but I remind myself its only temporary. 

I think that one part of me feeling less stress is knowing that I'm getting closer to my last year of work. I just don't feel as invested in the workplace as I used to and I'm making decisions knowing I won't be a part of this team for very much longer - its given me more objectivity and the ability to keep out of the politics. 

I have had three offers of more consulting work in the last month. I turned down two of them and said yes to one as its just one hour per/fortnight working with a great client. It feels good to be able to be choosy and it gives me confidence that I'll be able to pick up a few hours work here and there if I want it when I retire/semi-retire.

I'm not making any great progress here... I tell myself it will be easier when I'm not working...

Other:  We were able to spend Easter with our family which was wonderful after having to miss Christmas due to covid restrictions. It was so lovely to see everyone and feel that return to 'normal life' after a long year apart. We caught up again yesterday for FIL's 89th birthday. Not a lot is happening apart from that. I do a lot of daydreaming about what I want to get done in the house and garden- it feels like the second half of this five year plan is going much quicker than the first!

1 Apr 2021

March Progress Report

I feel like the months are flying by very quickly! This month we made a decision to redirect extra mortgage payments towards retirement savings and IP debt reduction. Here's our numbers for the month.


  • current balance: $56,678
  • down from: $58,899
  • total reduction: $2,221
  • current balance: $596,502
  • up from: $585,718
  • total increase: $10,784
Its very busy and I've been doing some travelling & some long days but overall my new job is going well. I've also been doing some training again which I quite enjoy. I have a few days off coming up over Easter which I'm looking forward to. 

I've been trying some vegetarian recipes, lentil pie, lentil bolognaise, chickpea stews and have found them very tasty. So we're eating a few less meat meals each week now. I cooked up 30 serves of lentil & vegetable soup last weekend for the freezer. Not much walking as its dark in the mornings now.

Overall things are going well, most financial matters are automated and its just a matter of continuing to plod along. Today is the last week of Term so I have a few weeks to catch up on work before students return and then work should be a bit less time consuming. 

19 Mar 2021

Changing Financial Goals

The last few weeks I've been flat out working with not much energy left for much else, hence the lack of blog posts. But I have been going through our finances, doing lots of calculations and re-examining our goals as we get closer to the final year of our five year plan. And so we've made a few changes to our financial goals for 2021 - I guess thats the 'personal' part of personal finance. 

So whats changing and why.

We're stopping the extra payments off our mortgage. Our mortgage is currently 19 years ahead and will be paid off in four years with no additional payments. Or, if we needed to, we could just pay $90/week for the remaining term of the mortgage. So we've got a great buffer there and an affordable mortgage if we were suddenly out of income. While mortgage interest rates are low and savings are getting good returns,  it makes financial sense to put additional money into savings where it will grow & create additional income for the future. Emotionally, I really want to pay off the mortgage asap - but logically, this is the best financial decision.

We're increasing our savings.  I'l be paying some of the extra money that would have gone to the mortgage into our retirement savings. The more we have in savings the more choices we will have and we can payout the mortgage on retirement if we wanted to.

We're paying extra on the investment property loans. I'll be directing some extra payments off the IP mortgages as I would like to have a 6-12 month buffer on mortgage payments before we retire. Its just another safety measure in case of tenant problems or financial problems. 

Overall I'm feeling pretty good about where we're up to financially. I've updated our new goals in the sidebar.

I'm feeling tired from work, it's much busier, but in some ways less stressful than my previous job. I'm really hanging out for the student holidays in two weeks!!   

3 Mar 2021

A trip to the park

 We went for a visit to the local park after work for a bit downtime and to just soak up the beautiful view and the peaceful atmosphere after a very busy day at work.

The park was opened in 1890 and was designed as an English country town park despite the very different weather conditions between Australia and the UK. Its just a beautiful place and has many big, old trees that were bought out from England. Right in the centre of town, its just a very big part of local life. 

Some of the garden beds were being replanted, others were in full bloom.

The bandstand sits in the middle of the park and still used for musical events. Its a popular place for wedding photos.  There a beautiful old fountain, a duck pond, a fernery & a begonia house. Its just beautiful! 

I sometimes think about the people who designed and planted it back in the 1880's. Trying to grow an English garden in the hot Australian weather. Having the imagination to 'see' how majestic those huge trees would look years into the future and possibly trying to bring a little bit of Mother England back into their lives.  We spent about hour at the park and I felt much better for it.

"A society grows great when old men plant trees 

whose shade they know they shall never sit in" 

Greek proverb.

1 Mar 2021

February Progress Report

Time for another progress report! 


  • current balance $58,899
  • down from $60,089
  • total reduction $1,190
  • current balance $585,718
  • up from  $576,578
  • total increase $7,140

I've been very busy at work in my new job, mostly taking in a lot of information about various projects and attending hours of meetings each day. Its very busy, but I am quite enjoying it so far.  I'm actually feeling less stressed than usual to be honest, I have a great manager who has been really helpful while I'm learning the ropes. 


No weight loss this month and my morning walks have dropped off too. I have just been very tired with the extra work responsibilities & sitting about too much.  I did get my mammogram results back and they were clear & I also did my bowel cancer screen & that was clear as well. 

February has flown by so quickly & I need to get back on track with the exercise & diet. I also want to go through our expenses to see where we can make some savings as I didn't get this done during February as planned. Overall I'm feeling more optimistic this week - only 654 days to go! 

5 Feb 2021


 It rained on and off overnight last night and so the air was lovely and fresh when we walked this morning. Everything is so green and lush right now, so different to 12 months ago. We've been walking a different way this week for a change and this morning we were treated  to a beautiful sunrise!  Thought I'd share it with you before I head off to work. 

"Always there was a moment - a quick slip of time - when the sun broke free of the trees and bled from its yoke, spilling in red-orange rivers over the silk."

Terry Kay. To Dance With the White Dog.

4 Feb 2021

Job upgrade & budget review plans


Well I was successful at the job interview earlier in the week and I'll start my new position in a few weeks. 

Now that its settled and I'm starting to get some more detailed information on some of the projects I'll be working on.

 I'm actually starting to look forward to having a bit of a change. 

 I expect it will be a very busy year ahead though as the long awaited restructure is going ahead so there will be job losses and job changes ahead. 

So I've decided that for the moment I will just be paying the minimum on the mortgage and stashing my cash until the dust settles at work with all these changes. 

I am hoping its all done by Easter and then we can reassess what we need to do financially.

In the meantime I'm going to do a complete review of our expenses and look at where we can make some savings. We're doing reviews of our budgets on Simple Savings this month. 

Some of us are using this review of budgeting thats using 10 categories of spending drawn from the ABS Household expenditure survey to review spending, so I've signed up for that.

Do you budget? How often do you review your spending?

" A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went" Dave Ramsey

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

30 Jan 2021

January Progress Report

Another month gone and its time for a progress report. 


  • current balance: $60,089
  • down from: $62,992
  • total reduction: $2,903
  • current balance: $576,578
  • up from: $562,738
  • total increase: $13,840

Its been quiet so far this year on our campus and student numbers are down which is a concern. Some classes have delayed their start dates hoping they get more enrolments. I think due to Covid people are taking whatever work they can rather than studying in these uncertain times which is affecting enrolments. I've applied for a higher position and have an interview this week. Other than that its been nice to catch up with colleagues in person after only seeing them on zoom for most of the last year.


Well I set a goal to lose 3kgs (6.5 lbs) this month and I did it!  I started the year at 97.2 kgs & today I weigh 92.8. Thats a total loss of 4.2kgs - 9lbs.  I've been walking about 3 days a week and eating better so its good to see that result. I had my eye checks done, got new glasses & booked my mammogram.

It's raining here, lovely and cool and it will do the garden good - soften it up for weeding. I've got to go into work for half and hour to deliver a quick talk and then its back home for an afternoon of crochet & movies.

29 Jan 2021

Ups & Downs... overthinking


The last week or so has felt like a real emotional roller coaster. 

All self created mind you, and all in my head, worrying over which way to go with my finances as I start the 4th year of this goal to retire. 

 Feeling panicky and anxious about running out of money, worrying if I'm doing the right thing.  Crazy stuff! 

I've had days of feeling really good, that all is going to plan and we're going to be fine financially. Then I've had days of real anxiety thinking 'what were you thinking! you can't retire!You won't have enough!" and so on...

Then I go over and over where to put the money - the mortgage - the savings - or the work that needs doing around the house - each day preferring a different solution. Just overthinking everything.

Yesterday I started to get a grip on it and reminded myself that the whole reason I made a plan and a blog in the first place was to help keep me on track - on the path that I planned out in my year off. I made a specific financial plan so that I wouldn't be on this emotional roller coaster, so I wouldn't make impulsive decisions or get sidetracked. And so far we are doing better than we thought we would.

Remembering that helped and I do feel better this morning. Its the worst worry/anxiety I've had about it since I started this blog -perhaps its normal to worry as you get closer? I don't know...  Anyone else suddenly panic as they get closer to retirement? 

What I've decided to do is reset my goals for 2021 back to the original goal of reaching the $33,000 mortgage balance. That is the minimum I need to do to reach our five year goals -If we do more thats OK but $33,000 is now the goal. The $650,000 savings goal for 2021 is our salary sacrifice + employer contributions + 7% interest. We already blew past our original savings goal of $500,000 in super so what am I worrying about?

If I have extra I am going to start to build a bigger buffer in the IP offset accounts and start with some of the work that needs doing on the house.

So hopefully I can quiet my racing mind next time it starts to panic and just focus on being in the here and now, not worrying about what the future holds. I'm a firm believer in just keeping on with consistently taking small steps in the right direction - eventually that really adds up to a lot of progress! Right now I need to just work the plan and not buy into the mind chatter.

Aside from that I've been busy at work & have an interview for the higher position next week. Fingers crossed it all goes smoothly!

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

14 Jan 2021

New glasses.

Yesterday I finally got my eye tests done and my new glasses ordered. It was due about six months ago but I just never got around to it. 

I've noticed I've been squinting more the last few months. I spend far too much time looking at a computer screen so I was pleased to hear my eyes are healthy but I still needed a new prescription. 

My last glasses were wire rimmed, not very noticeable against my face. But now the hair around my face is grey and my eyebrows have gone white so I decided I wanted to get some brightly coloured glasses to add a bit of colour to my face. So the frames I chose are a mix of shiny purple/blue/pink colours - very noticeable! I also got new prescription sunglasses. The cost for both was $349 which I was pleased with. Now I just have to wait three weeks to pick them up.

I also booked my mammogram. They have hardly any appointments outside of work time so its not until February. But that gets another medical check up out of the way. 

Yesterday I was in the library at work looking through a stack on Country Style magazines. The librarian told me I could have them all if I wanted as they were going to be tossed out. Well I said thanks and I now have lovely big pile to read for free. I don't buy magazines as I find them expensive but I do enjoy some of the home & garden magazines so these were a nice freebie!

Do you put off medical check ups or are you up to date with them?  Do you buy magazines?

12 Jan 2021

Back to work!

Yesterday was my first day back at work after the holidays. I always enjoy that first day back as theres few people around and no-one else working in my building so it gives me some time to get organised before it gets busy again.

One of the first things I did was swap my Year 3 printed calendar for my 'Year 4' one. When I set my five year goal I printed of five years of calendars on that first day back at work. Every week I cross the days off as I get closer to my retirement goal. I've saved them all and they do help keep me motivated.

So at the moment I'm working on my job application for a higher grade position for 12 months. I had a meeting about it yesterday, it's certainly going to be a lot of work to get my head around in a short time. 

Our tenants gave notice and moved out last week. Our new tenant has moved in and we raised our rent as it was little behind the current market. So now the rental income completely covers the loan repayments which is great. 

I've also signed up for course/mentoring for the next year to help me create an online business doing the consulting I do in my second job. My plan is to spend this year planning & setting up so that next year I can start doing a bit of work part-time & I will continue that when I retire. That way I can work for myself just one day a week & use that money to live on, leaving my savings to grow for a bit longer before accessing them.

I'm off now for a morning walk!


2 Jan 2021

2021 Goals

2021 is Year 4 of my five year plan to retirement! Woohoo!!!!

So far we are doing better than I expected.  DH has decided he wants to work another 3 years and then go part time. I have decided to apply for a higher grade position for 12 months.  My second job is now only an hour a week so the higher grade job at work will replace some of that income. My main goal this year is to pay off the mortgage asap. Its a huge stretch goal for us, but we're going to give it our best shot. Our minimum mortgage goal this year is $33,000. We'll continue to salary sacrifice into super as well and our superannuation goal for 2021 is $650,000

Financial Goals

  • mortgage: $33,000 min
  • redraw: $10,000
  • retirement savings $650,000