Monthly Archives: February 2014

Week 45 – Spend and Debt update…and oh, my trip to New Zealand!

So..I am a bit over my spending allocation this week..

Spending funds allocated for Week 45 – $110.00 – This amount is for Wednesday (just been) through to Wednesday (coming)

Actual funds spent for Week 45 – $150.95. 

$40.95 over budget and still 2 days to go until I ‘pay’ myself again 😦

Also, it has been a ‘short’ week as I was in New Zealand and using my allocated NZ spending money until Wednesday eve.

Monday: New Zealand

Tuesday: New Zealand

Wednesday: New Zealand

Thursday: $15.00 groceries, $4.00 tank top (this was an emergency purchase as the one I wore to work ripped at work!), $3.95 health / beauty purchase, $4.00 card, $15 gift, $5.00 health /beauty purchase

Friday: $3.60 coffee, $5.60 takeaway lunch, $10.00 drinks

Saturday: $8.80 coffee (for myself and bf), $6.00 canvas – to make a cool artwork from a tea towel I purchased in NZ – my only souvenir! , $9.00 storage box, $12.00 scales

Sunday: $20.00 tithe to church, $29.00 breakfast – took mum out as she had paid for me the fortnight before.

Additional payments this week – not part of my usual fortnightly expenses but had been allocated to the budget for this fortnight:

$185.00 for accommodation for a friends wedding – interstate – in March

$76.00 for the wedding gift

Wins and fails for week 45

  • My ‘no spend’ days were non existent this week – fail! – and I went well over spending budget!
  • Wins: Both the accommodation and wedding gift came in slightly under the budget I had allocated, $200 for accom and $100 for gift. Also, we received our first electricity bill and it was $177, so $88.50 each. I’d actually put aside $190.00.

Starting debt at March 2013: $14,774.12 (ok, something weird is going on with my ‘Week’ numbers for my updates – I started the debt breakup in March 2013 but I am only up to week 45 on my updates? I think I may have messed up my tally mid last year when ceased posting as work was crazy hectic and I was on the verge of a mental breakdown! Anyways, my next update will be at 1 year pretty much and will start my tally again Year 2 – week 1 etc.)

Current Debt: $5,775.05

Debt paid: $8,999.07 (so close to $9,000.00 in repayments!)

Week 45 report reporting on my expenses that come from my allocated ‘spending allowance’ per week. All other regular and fixed expenses are outlined in my budget here and automatically debited etc. Grocery spend – although variable, is outlined in my fortnightly budget too.

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Get real – stop buying stuff you can’t afford

So here’s a cold hard little debt busting fact:

When you are up to your eyeballs in debt, you can’t afford expensive hobbies. You can’t afford go out to eat at 5 star restaurants every week. You can’t afford to shout rounds of cocktails to your friends at Friday night drinks. You can’t afford that expensive faceceam – even if it on special.

Before I got serious about debt repayment, I played a little (and financially dangerous) game of spending tug of war when it came to the things I really couldn’t afford.

I told myself these things:

  • I deserve it.
  • I’ve had a tough week.
  • It’s on special.
  • The world might end if I don’t get it.
  • It’s not a lot of money.
  • Whats the point in going out for just one drink?
  • It will make me happy.

The last reason is possibly the worst of them all. I was happy in the moment I purchased whatever it was. Then I felt anxious, guilty and hopeless about my ever mounting debt and my seemingly inability to stop spending money.

Truth is, most of my blow out expenditure was on nights out – booze and food. Drinking + making intelligent financial decisions do not go hand it hand. For me, anyway.

I don’t even know how many ‘mornings after’ I woke up to an empty wallet and a vague feeling of handing over my credit card to the bar to buy drinks time and time again.

This sort of spending – silly, wasteful spending – had to stop. Even the seemingly not so silly spending did!

Even spending $15.00 (that’s not much right??) over your budget each week adds up to $780.00 a year! Thats $780 towards debt freedom or savings!

If you are in debt, you have given up the freedom to spend money left right and centre. Quit the vague promise to yourself to ‘put more money towards my debt this year’.

Be clear in your commitment. Draw up goals. Plan. Budget.

And stop buying stuff you can’t afford.

 

 

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A slow shopping spree

I SO miss buying clothes. Debt smashing is rewarding and all, but damn, sometimes I just want to bust out and buy a new wardrobe.

Right before I left for my South American backpacking adventure I spent quite a lot of cash on the items I needed for the trip – backpack, locks, headlamp etc. I also spent quite a bit on clothes.

When you have a small amount of clothes on high rotation for months and months, you want to start the trip with clothes you aren’t already sick of wearing. I am pretty much sick of my entire wardrobe at the moment. Unnecessary clothing purchases were the first thing to go when I got serious about paying off debt and saving.

In preparation for my trip to Central America, I have decided to approach my clothing purchases in a different way. I have prepared a list of the items I want to take and plan to purchase these throughout the year and pop them in a box to stay all nice and new for my trip!

Sure, I could put the money aside instead but I think this approach will give me the little shopping hit I need occasionally, and it’s just a bit of a different way to prepare 🙂

Here is my list:

  • 3 x pair of shorts
  • 3 x t-shirts
  • 3 x singlets
  • 2 x casual summer dresses
  • 2 x hoodies
  • 2 x leggings
  • 1 x pair of jeans
  • 1 x pair of hiking pants
  • 1 x rain jacket
  • 1 x cardigan
  • 1 x jacket

I will be taking other things (underwear etc!) but these are the things I’d like to have new 🙂

Speaking of holidays, I’m off to New Zealand tonight! Just for a week 🙂  but I can’t wait! I won’t be posting my normal weekly spend report on Sunday but I’ll check in after my trip and let you know how I went on my holiday spending – holiday budget vs actual spend.

Ciao!

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Week 43 – Spend and Debt update

Week 43 report reporting on my expenses that come from my allocated ‘spending allowance’ per week. All other regular and fixed expenses are outlined in my budget here and automatically debited etc. Grocery spend – although variable, is outlined in my fortnightly budget too.

Spending funds allocated for Week 43 – $35.55 – yep, super duper small allowance this week! I am heading to New Zealand next week (YAY!) so really wanted to channel as much cash as possible into my spending for NZ!

Actual funds spent for Week 42 – $24.85. Under budget! Yay!

Monday: No spend.

Tuesday: No spend

Wednesday: No spend

Thursday: $7.45 lunch takeaway

Friday: $4.95 coffee, $5.95 lunch, $1.00 movie rental

Saturday: $2.00 movie rental

Sunday: $3.50 coffee

I passed my 2 spend free days per week challenge, actually had 3 days!!

Starting debt at March 2013: $14,774.12

Current Debt: $5,850.05

Debt paid: $8,924.07 divided by 43 weeks = $207. 53  debt repayment per week on average

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Budget makeover : 2011 vs 2014

This week I found an old notebook with some previous budgeting records. I have always tracked my money on the fixed expense side of things, and it was quite interesting to see this old record from August 2011:

Circumstances in 2011 – I was single and living alone in an apartment I absolutely loved, right on the beach – the cost of rent not allowing me to save a lot. I am big on fitness and health and I recall at this time in my life I was doing several paid classes (not included in a gym membership) of boxing per week plus personal training. I was also trying to save for my South American backpacking adventure. My phone, laptop and whitegoods were all on rental contracts – which, in my mind, are debt.

Fortnightly budget 2011

My wage was $1677.00 per fortnight (actually $50 more per fortnight than I earn now)

  • $44.00 laptop rental ($84 per month)
  • $185.00 payment to credit cards
  • $600.00 rental payment ($1200 per month)
  • $50.00 phone (I was on a contract that went came to between $90 – $100 per month)
  • $12.50 internet (pre paid, $25.00 per month)
  • $75.00 personal loan – I was only making minimum repayments ($130.00 per month, at that stage my loan was smaller)
  • $32.00 boxing classes ($64.00 per month)
  • $40.00 personal training ($80.00 per month)
  • $25.00 whitegood rental ($50.00 per month)
  • $100.00 travel ($200.00 per month)

So that left me with $513.50 which is $256.7 per week for groceries, spending money and savings. I know I spent around $100 – $120 on groceries per week when I lived alone. So that would be about 136.00 for savings and spending. No wonder I found it difficult to save money during this time, although I constantly did feel like I was saving, but not large amounts.

I didn’t include electricity, or any buffer.

Circumstances for 2014

I live with my boyfriend, closer to my workplace (less travel) and split costs of rent, groceries and electricity. We have a small older apartment, which has been very very hot during the summer (no aircon) but I can see already from the summary below that our decision to rent a modest place has really impacted savings.

Fortnightly budget 2014

My wage is $1620.00 per fortnight

  • Rent: $295.00 ($590.00 per month – $610.00 less than 2011)
  • Travel: $45.00 ($90 per month – $110.00 less than 2011)
  • Phone: $15.00 prepaid  ($30 per month – $60.00 less than 2011 and no contract)
  • Internet: $15.00 – On an internet plan for $30.00 per month – $5.00 more than 2011)
  • Electricity: $20.00 – I had no inclusion of electricity in 2011 budget.
  • Gym: $47.80 ($96.20 less than fitness costs 2011)
  • Groceries: $250.00 ($5.00 more than 2011 per week – however, I’ve actually got this as an allowance in my budget now)
  • Tithe / donation: $20.00 (didn’t have giving allocation in 2011 budget)
  • Loan repayment: $160.00 – ($190.00 more than 2011. My minimum is higher at $173.00 but I am making addition payment of $73.50 per fortnight towards the loan)
  • Buffer: $50.00 (didn’t have a buffer allocation in 2011 budget)
  • Spending: $230.00 – Most weeks will leave me with $115.00 as spending / entertainment money.
  • Savings: $490.00 from March 2014 – my 2011 savings were variable based on what I had left over, however I have built the amount of $490.00 into my budget for 2014. The start of this year has been variable due to NZ trip and 2 interstate trips.

So 2 main things have changed.

I have rid myself of most contracts and 2 credit cards and I include everything in my budget now, rather than just seeing what I have left to pay the variable amounts (spending, savings and groceries)

So it was interesting – and encouraging – to come across an old budget and see I have made progress. Slow progress, but I’ll take it as a win!

 

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Be consistent in the little things

It is important to keep your eye on the prize. The BIG picture – the reason you set the goals you have to reach the outcome you want. My BIG picture is to Travel The World Debt Free.

But it is SUPER, DUPER important to remain consistent in the LITTLE things. The day to day activities and actions that you need to do to reach that BIG goal.

To me, consistency in taking positive actions and steps– in all areas, finance, health, relationships, career – is KEY.

Consistency forms habits. And good habits in personal finance are priceless.

What LITTLE things am I doing every day / week to make the BIG thing (Debt Freedom!) a reality?

  • I record all my expenses. Every day. I log them into the notes section of my phone, then I put them into a spreadsheet at the end of the day.
  • I try (SO HARD 😉 not to buy takeaway coffees every day! Everyone has a little spend vice…the ‘small’ amount that adds up and burns a hole in your pocket! Mine is coffee.
  • I listen to personal finance podcasts or read PF content via blogs / books / internet almost every day. This helps keep my goal at the forefront of my mind – I get hints and tips and feel inspired!
  • I say No to the items I really don’t need right now. Consistently saying no, delaying gratification and not letting frivious purchases sidetrack you actually becomes very rewarding. And, the more you do it, the easier it becomes!
  • I review my budget weekly. A weekly review can curb any major blowouts and keep you on track.
  • I donate to my piggy bank. This is a fairly recent habit I’ve developed, but already I can see over time with consistent donations this little piggy will be laughing all the way to the bank!

What little things are you doing consistently to reach your big goal?

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What do you do for work?

My fellow debt blogger over at  20andjuststarting   asked me this question on a recent post. And I too am curious to know what other debt and PF bloggers do to earn a crust.

Me, I’m a full time Event and Communications Coordinator. I have to say, it’s a pretty sweet gig and I do enjoy my job. My salary is probably  slightly less than industry standard, given I work within the not for profit sector.

I’d like to be able to make some extra cash like so many who are smashing debt do, but I’m always a little stumped on this one…I don’t really fancy getting a second job…I did do that for awhile and it just amounted to BURNOUT. While Im all for debt repayment, I need to stay sane as well. It would be cool to have a little side hustle, but I just don’t know what!

So, fellow debt bloggers – what do you guys do for work? Any ideas on ways to earn extra cash would be appreciated!

 

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January 2014 – At a glance debt and savings stats

During 2014, I will be posting a monthly ‘at a glance’ update on my Debt and Savings balances.

At the end of January, things were looking like this:

Debt

Credit card 1 – $0.00

Credit card 2 – $0.00

Personal loan: $5925.05

Savings

$140.54

Things are going to be fairly quiet and unexciting around the savings corner until March!

Later alligators 🙂

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My fortnightly budget for 2014

So folks, this is my regular fortnightly budget – my take home pay each fortnight is $1620.00

  • Rent: $295.00 – I split the rent with my boyfriend
  • Travel: $45.00 – Bus fare to and from work. Most days I am lucky enough to get a ride to work with my boyfriend so it is mostly just the journey home I pay for.
  • Phone: $15.00 – I have a prepaid phone and $30 recharge voucher lasts me the month – for calls and texts, mostly the data runs out before 30 days.
  • Internet: $15.00 – On an internet plan for $30.00 per month (not prepaid)
  • Electricity: $20.00 – We are yet to receive our first electricity bill, which we will split evenly, so at the moment I am putting $40 per month away for this but will adjust accordingly when the first bill arrives.
  • Gym: $23.90 – I spent a lot of time deliberating whether or not to keep my membership, and instead just work out at home with some basic equipment and running. However, the gym recently started offering classes at no additional cost to the membership, which is awesome,  and  I decided to keep my membership.
  • Groceries: $250.00 – Grocery costs I also split with my boyfriend and have been tracking the expenses on our grocery spending. Although it does sometimes vary, $250 is a good amount to put aside each fortnight.
  • Tithe / donation: $20.00 – I donate $40 a month to a children’s home in India run by a Christian pastor and his wife. The home assists young Indian girls create a life outside child prostitution which is rampant in that part of India. I was very moved by the pastor and his wife when they spoke at a church sermon here in Australia last year and decided to allocate my donation to the home. It is my plan to increase this amount slowly.
  • Loan repayment: $160.00 – My set monthly repayment is $173.00 so I have allocated another $73.50 per fortnight towards the loan.
  • Buffer: $50.00 – For the first time, I have allocated a ‘buffer’ amount into my budget. It isn’t too large but it is better than nothing!
  • Spending: $230.00 – Most weeks will leave me with $115.00 as spending / entertainment money.

So, where does that mean I will be saving each month? And what about other expenses?

As of 5th March, I will be saving $490.00 per fortnight. Up until then, the amount allocated for savings is smaller and varied, I will outline these in my fortnightly budgets.

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Week 42 – Spending Allowance and Debt Update

This is my first weekly stats update for awhile! I’m now in the 40’s weeks. The Debt Breakup has been around almost a year 🙂

To keep things simple, moving forward I will only be reporting on my expenses that come from my allocated ‘spending allowance’ per week. All other regular and fixed expenses are outlined in my budget here and automatically debited etc.

By tracking my spending expenses on these updates, you guys can see if I have stuck with my allocated allowance for the week! With all other regular expenses allocated, the spending allowance really will be the make or break of my budget if I consistently meet (or don’t meet) the target.

Spending funds allocated for Week 42 – $90.00

Actual funds spent for Week 42 – $102.35

$12.35 overspent – not too bad considering I wasn’t expecting to go to the lunch on Thursday

Monday: No spend.

Tuesday: No spend

Wednesday: $7.95 lunch

Thursday: $15.00 lunch (this was a work lunch which I kinda had to go too)

Friday: $10.00 lunch for bf, $12.95 gift, $4.95 card, $19.00 drinks

Saturday: $8.50 coffee, $11.00 shoes

Sunday: $13.00 breakfast

I passed my 2 spend free days per week challenge 🙂

Starting debt at March 2013: $14,774.12

Current Debt: $5,925.05

Debt paid: $8849.07 divided by 42 weeks = $210.69 debt repayment per week on average

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