Tag Archives: living

Money – Getting the feel of it

Over the holiday season I read a book called:

It’s Your Money: Becoming a Woman Of Independent Means by Gail Vaz-Oxlade.

One of the tips she gave, is to physically handle your money. Get back in touch with the paper.  I’ve heard this tip before, so it’s not anything new but I’d never really tried to put it into action. It’s so easy to swipe your debit card for purchases. Money just becomes numbers and dots on a screen.  Unless you have many different bank accounts for all money allocations (which she also recommends) if you are like me, you are constantly doing the sums in your head to figure out what still needs to come out of that amount in your account.

But this year I’ve got my lil’ envelope plan going on!

So, I set up direct debits for as many of my expenses as I could, so BOOM! they are just whisked away on payday with no chance to spend. My holiday savings go direct to my savings account.

Then I withdraw a lump sum of cash which includes:

  • Spending money for both weeks (I get paid fortnightly)
  • Buffer fund
  • Electricity
  • Any other ad hoc expenses: ie, at the moment I am saving for my trip to NZ

Then I allocate the cash into the appropriate envelope and I’m done!

So really, once I withdraw that cash, there is no reason for me to do the sums on what is left in my account and I actually handle the money. Plus I don’t get hit with the $2.50 withdrawel fee from ATM’s when I use other banks to withdraw cash. Man I HATE those fees!

All that remains in my account as a fluctuating balance is the money for groceries and regular loan repayment as that is deducted at the end of each month.

And…I’m going really old school with a piggy bank!

Well, it’s more like a piggy box. That doesn’t have pigs on it. It has elephants. But I digress…

I am trying to put in $2 coins and $5 notes into the box – not every single $5 note as I would go through cash pretty quick! But all my $2 coins.

This year is about seeing the money I spend!

Do you have a great tip on how you allocate your funds?

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Week 18 – Run your own Debt Race

I am running my own debt race. The last few months I have realised that the pace that I set can change from time to time, but as long as I am moving forward, I will cross the finish line. It may be later than I planned, but I will finish regardless.

In an earlier post, I compared paying off significant debt to running a marathon. I actually ran my first marathon at the start of June, and let me tell you, now I know what it feels like to run a marathon, the analogy could not be more true!

Where have I been these last few months? Ive been here, plugging away at debt, but Ive relaxed my grip on the expectations I placed on myself to meet my targets every week, and every month. If I didn’t relax, I would have given up all together.

I came out at the start of this debt breakup totally focused on clearing this debt in 8 months. I stood at the starting line of the marathon, believing I could finish by 4 hours and 40 mins. I had this time set in my head, just like I had an 8 month deadline to be debt free.

And they both started so well. But like many marathon rookies – EVEN THOUGH I KNEW THIS – I ran to fast at the start. I was excited to be there, all that training, and I just wanted to run.

When I paid my first debt repayment in February, I was champing at the bit to get this thing rolling, budgeting my way to what appears now, to be a fairly unrealistic timeframe.

And don’t we always start with a bang on any new endeavour. But where does the hard work come in? Not at the start when it’s all new and fresh and ‘Yeh baby, I can DO this!!” *high fives self*

The hard part comes in when you are in the thick of it, on the longest stretch, where it just seems there is no fcking end in sight. During the marathon, that was the 26km – 35km stretch. I’d lost sight of the 4 hour 30 min pacer – he smashed past me about 22kms. I knew then, that I wasn’t going to finish in the time I wanted. Although I felt no different physically, mentally, that realisation almost shut me down. I wanted to give up. I just told myself to let it go – run your own race.  I slowed down at that point, if I didn’t, I would have burnt out at the pace I was running and wouldn’t have been able to finish. Mid race, I adjusted my mental expectations, set a new pace and kept going.

Run your own race.

I am at that same stage with debt. I’m deep into the second card repayments – and it’s once step forward, 2 steps back. I wasn’t where I had planned to be at this stage and it was doing my head in.I wanted to give up and say fck it, everyone is in debt – why bother? Then head to the nearest mall and drop 1k on a new wardrobe 😉

But instead, I have just adjusted my expectations of myself and what I can afford to pay off, and what I do want to spend my money on. I don’t want to miss out on living my life. I don’t want to not buy a coffee everyday – yes peoples, you will hear no more griping about coffee on this blog. Ive come to peace with the fact that coffee is my little burst of morning happiness, and for $3.90 a day – I’m buying that happiness 😉

I finished the marathon in 4 hours 56mins. Longer than I expected. But I FINISHED.

I will break up with all my debt. It will take longer than I thought. But I will FINISH.

Don’t give up. Change your pace if you need to. And keep moving forward.

So peeps, here is my debt summary at 18 weeks:

Credit card #1: 0.00

Credit cards #2: $2140.00

Personal loan: $6977.00

Total debt: $9117.00

Total starting debt: $14,744.12

Debt reduced by week 18: $5627.12

Ps – I cracked the under $10,000 mark and didn’t even realise until I did the sums just now!

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The cost in time

Time is the one thing money can’t buy. And everyday we ‘sell’ our time in exchange for money. And then convert that money to possessions and experiences.

So money is just the middle man. What is really purchasing those possessions / experiences / basic necessities – is our time.

Similar to a previous post – when I looked at what it would cost me in time to pay off my debt – here are some figures on the cost of things in time in a job that’s paying, lets say, $20.00 per hour. If I spent:

  • $1000 per year on coffee, that’s: 50 hours
  • $15,6000 (my old rental cost!) a year on rent: 780 hours
  • $2000 a year on takeaway :100 hours
  • $1500 a year on alcohol: 52.5 hours
  • $5000 on a holiday: 250 hours

I find it so interesting to see the cost in terms of time rather than money. I think it really helps me focus on what I should (literally) be spending my time on! What are the things most important to me.

Every minute I live, I can never get back.

My employer pays me for every hour of my time.

I can never go back to my boss and say ‘hey, can I get back the last 5 years of my time cos I’ve just realised I haven’t acquired or experienced with it things that really were important to me’

Spend your time wisely 😉

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Challenge – The Gift of Change (Start Date, 7th April – End Date, 31st October)

I really enjoy giving gifts. As they say, to give is better than to receive.

Living  back at home with my folks has been a huge gift to me financially. It has afforded me the opportunity to really tackle this debt head on by dramatically reducing my living / lifestyle costs. I pay $140 a fortnight to my parents for board, which basically covers food. I have asked them to let me (yes, I had to ask because they were happy for me not to) to chip in on electricity costs to the value (approx $170 – $200) of what I used to pay per quarter when I lived alone. Compared to what I spent on rent alone when I lived out of home, these costs are soooo minimal!

My folks don’t actually know the total amount of my debt. They know I am on a debt smashing mission and I plan to tell them the total amount at the end of October when I am DEBT FREE!!

I also want to give them a gift, to say thank you for the opportunity to pay off my debt and change my life. I know that is what a lot of parents would do, let their kids come back home, but I know not everyone would have this option. There is no way I could be debt free by October without living back at home. And I am very grateful.

I am starting my Gift of Change Challenge. I have a jar. Every $2 coin and $5 note I receive from now on is going into my Gift Jar.

I don’t know why I chose $2 and $5 notes. I just did. I don’t know how much will be there at the end. But it will go towards the Thank You gift I want to give my folks.

I’ll also give an update each week on how my Gift Jar funds are progressing!

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