Simple Savings to the rescue!

Funny how trying to save money is a lot like dieting… the more you think about not spending or not eating something, the more you want to!

Today I’m going through the Simple Savings vault, and checking out for ideas that might suit us. Gotta be worth a crack, hey?

  • Using pencil cases to divide the cash allocated fortnightly (or weekly) to ‘Fuel’ and ‘Food’. Using cash will make it easier to see when the money runs out, as opposed to using the debit card, which isn’t quite as ‘in your face’. Any money left over (would be a hallelujah moment for me, I’m sure!!) could either come off the budget for the next period, or back into the savings account.
  • No drive days. This should ensure there is some money left in the fuel kitty! How much, is up to us. Okay, me. I haven’t ridden a pushbike so far for years and years…
and my idea for today:
  • Paying us wages for cooking and cleaning. I haven’t quite worked this totally, but the gist is that we were going to give ourselves spending money for personal items, so this could either make it seem like we were paying our way, or give us extra. I don’t clean anywhere near what I should, because a) I don’t like it, and b) it’s boring. I was going to get a cleaner, so my time should be worth theirs, surely? And if I’m getting paid to do it, it’s not the same as HAVING to do it, is it? He cooks all the time, so if I’m getting paid to clean, then he can get paid to cook – or we can swap, or help each other out. The plan is to reward ourselves for working, encourage us to work together, and to spend time together. Even if we give it a trial for a fortnight, we can see how it goes.

 

Phone and Internet costs… *le sigh*

I almost had a monumental saving… I’ve been studying phone and internet plans and bundles for the past 2 hours, and believed I had it.

Currently I pay for two separate providers, so by bundling I could save money… except my preferred provider doesn’t have phone bundling in this area, and the second provider can only offer slower speed internet.

So from the current $160pm, I had it down to $109, then $85 – and mentally I was spending that extra $900 per year… only to find out I can go slower for $105, or leave it the same… and with two gamers in the house, I think slower will get me smothered in my sleep. Or not asleep. .. *le sigh*

I suppose I can change the home phone down to a ‘pay as you go’ option – it’s a really crappy line, and most of our calls are via mobiles or internet now, so it’s likely to be no big deal – which will take it down to $121pm for both. It’s a $460 saving I guess, which is better than a kick in the teeth!

Why is Australia so DAMNED expensive, for crap service and shit quality?

**edited: Have just considered the fact I do actually use the phone sometimes, so would need to include $20 for the actual calls made… ARGH. I hate this stuff.

Planner – almost done!

Four hours, lots of screeding through paperwork, pencil shavings, bits of eraser and two beers later – it’s *almost* done.

I have to say almost, because there’s some things I don’t know the cost of (ie car registration), or when the bills are due (ie building insurance), but a few phone calls in daylight hours should fix that up pretty quickly. It’s looking a bit scary, because we have some pretty huge outgoings (ie multiple mortgages and associated costs), and some tidy amounts coming in to cover those costs (ie multiple rents). While we’re not rolling in it, we appear to be breaking even (touch wood!) – and we really need to be BECAUSE:

We brought a new car today.

I have been needing one for a while (he prefers bikes, so all the car dealings are mine by default!), the one we have needs a lot of work done to it, and it’s really not worth it, so I’ve slowly been coming around to the idea of a new one (sure – it’s only taken him TWO YEARS to talk me around!). This one will be fine for my daughter to drive around town while she’s learning; it’s a older (10 years used to be nothing on a car – remember?!?!) type, and very sturdy, so it should see her fit for a year. Then once she has her open licence, she can trade it in on a newer one. And once ours is paid off, we can either upgrade, get a newer 4WD, or another house (that would be his option!). It was while we were doing all the financial jiggery pokery that we realised that both of our finances are a bit all over the place (while I’d worked out that mine needed consolidating a while back, he needed to see the picture for himself), hence the financial planner.

The idea now is that both of our wages will be going into new individual personal bank accounts. Each of us will keep a ‘slush fund’ – as small as possible, but allowing a dinner/movie treat once a fortnight or month – and the rest will go into a joint bill paying account. The planner allows us to allocate funds on a fortnightly basis, as each bill is calculated monthly and yearly, and then divided between pays – so instead of having to come up with ‘X amount’ in a given pay to cover a particular bill, all of the bills are calculated together, thereby ‘sharing the load’ across the entire year. Hopefully we’ll get as many bills electronically as possible, and be able to direct debit them. It will mean that I will need to get over my phobia of looking at bank accounts (for fear of what I might see – usually it means I have been bad, and the outcome will be bad. And it’s usually correct.), and take a more responsible attitude towards book keeping.

Associated with this bill paying account will be our savings account. Any excess money that we can put into the account over and above the minimum bill paying requirement will be syphoned off into the savings account. Having all of these accounts with the same bank as our mortgages will make transferring money easy enough. The mortgage account will remain a stand alone account for the time being, as an offset account wouldn’t be of any benefit to us at this time. Rents go in to this account, mortgage payments come out, and associated costs (such as insurance, pest control, body corporate fees, rates and utilities) either come out before the rent gets to us, or from the balance of the account.

So, within the one bank, we will have:

  1. The mortgage account: rent in, mortgage payments and associated costs out;
  2. Two individual accounts: pay in, bill money out, slush fund accumulated;
  3. One joint bill paying account: bill money in, excess money in, bill payments out, savings out; and
  4. One savings account: excess money transferred from bill paying account.

The goal/aim/challenge is to pay off the car as quickly as possible, then to replicate the success to finance the deposit on a new property. I haven’t got figures yet, so I haven’t got a time frame, other than ‘as fast as possible’. By setting up the accounts like this, it means that we both need to be more responsible for where/how we’re spending our money (no more ‘whim’ purchases from eBay for this black duck – the bucket won’t be quite so bottomless anymore!), and we’ll have to save for special things again, which will make us more concious of where it’s going. It’ll be interesting to see how much money I will end up having to myself a fortnight… I stopped looking at where it was going years ago – and I don’t think he ever did! It’s quite a challenge, and I’m looking forward to it. Lets see how these figures end up…

 

Remember those old recipe card boxes you used to see everywhere?

but noone actually used them?

I think I want one. Somehow the idea of flicking through cards seems easier than through books (plus it will save my books from being ruined!) or scrolling up and down a screen… I’ve seen the cards in the shops, I’ll just have to get a pack and find a box for them. Can’t be *too* difficult, surely??

Delicious crockpot stuffed chicken breasts

It’s 0330, and I’m blogging 🙂

And also a bit peckish! THIS looks absolutely a) wonderful, b) delicious and c) simple, I’m going to try it 🙂

(once I’ve finished trying to get rid of stuff out of the pantry and freezer of course! Still working our way through it, it’s actually harder than I thought, mainly due to there being SO much food in there – and we still haven’t eaten those tacos *sigh*… had to pick up fruit and  eggs and greens – and cannot find my powdered soy milk for love nor money. I’m going to have to go into town for it!)

The best laid plans…

often go astray. Or something like that.

Tonight ended up being a leftover/rummage/fend for yourself, based on the fact that He has to work tonight, so I am not inspired to make tacos for only 2.

The bank accounts will need to stay as they are for another 12 months… while it would be simpler consolidating them, it will also be very time consuming and very frustrating (I *hate* dealing with banks!) for very little gain, so I’ve decided to leave them for now.

As for the investment account, I’ve discovered I can open it for much less than I thought – $500 with a monthly payment of $100, as opposed to a stand alone $2000 investment. I think if we take the lesser option, it won’t eat such a hole into the funds in the first instance, and the payments can just be skimmed off the savings account without much notice (at this stage – biting my tongue here, as I know the powers that be are wont to do strange things at times!). I’ll look into that tomorrow if I get a chance.

The other thing I need to do is check up on the house insurance – the summer months in the tropics have a tendency to throw nasty storms and/or cyclones at us, and I have a sneaking suspicion that there is one property that isn’t properly covered… ie. I found the paperwork I thought I’d sent 6 months ago… My laziness may just cost us a lot of money, and I need to sort it out as soon as possible. And LEARN!

For goodness sake!!