Monday, November 2, 2009

$144 left for 9 days

Monday, November 2, 2009 0
I just realised that I didn't really post my fortnightly budget last week. Well, I budgeted $170 for each week. I've gone over $14 my first week so now I only have $156 left until the 11th of November.

Here's what the spending looked like:

Thurs (29th Oct)

$20 - manicure
$43 - treated friend out to a Thai dinner. We usually treat each other out and now it's my turn

Friday - (30th Oct)

$12 - groceries - I was recovering at home with a sore ankle so I needed supplies to last me through the night while watching DVD's and while J is at work all night

Saturday - (31st Oct)

$7.80 - guava juice & lemonade
$15 - liquor - my share for vodka & champagne

We had another engagement BBQ at J's parents place. It was good fun & there was so much food!

Sunday - (1st Nov)

$25 - wine festival entry - this came to about 3 full glasses of wine
$15 - food at the festival

I caught up with a friend of mine over the weekend and we went to a wine festival being held on the beach. It was a great day!

Monday - (2nd Nov)

$9.80 - lunch at work
$2.50 - giant cookie
$45.90 - groceries

Total: $196.00

There's too much going out & it's only going to get worse. I think we have somewhere to be every week this November & December before we leave for Japan that I don't even think I can contribute anything else to my savings. I guess all things considering, I would still be pretty happy to end the year with actual cash in the bank since I've only started saving in August and I've already got $4000 in there.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Expensive Private Health Insurance

Friday, October 30, 2009 0
One of my major expenses every month is my private health insurance for which I have a top cover - hospital + extras. I pay roughly $125 a month and I get 75% back of everything that I pay for provided it's below the capped plan. The main reason for this is dentistry. I grew up in a country where dental care and 6-monthly dental check-ups are for the rich. When I complained of a tooth ache when I was around 13, my aunt took me to a dentist for the first time in my life (that I remember) and he immediately took the tooth out. I didn't go to a dentist years after that. Until a couple of years later when it really started to hurt and I had to get two root canals. A root canal costs around $1200 to $1500 and without a health cover, I had to pay that in full (and J paid most of it anyway). That's why I decided to get the top cover - just in case!

I had a little mishap on Tuesday during a training session. I was jogging down a very steep hill when I twisted my ankle & could only shuffle the following day. I went to a physio & the bill came to $90. Very expensive! My insurance covered $67.50 of the cost so I only paid $22.50. Not bad for a long appointment!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Need to stay on track...

Saturday, October 24, 2009 0
J & I just had a big weekend last week for my birthday trip to Melbourne. It was great and we ate so much. We did manage to do a little shopping but we mostly used gift vouchers that we've acquired over the year (also from our engagement party). J is away again this weekend to a Bucks weekend interstate. I guess this kind of bucks parties are becoming more common nowadays. As they say, the wedding is usually the bride's "thing" so the groom has to compensate with a large bucks party, most of the time with strippers (yikes!).

We both need to keep on track of our finances at the moment. And I haven't updated my expenses spreadsheet in a week. I didn't really overspend in Melbourne but I did think that I will go under my $500 budget but it was just right. Maybe I should set myself a lower budget next time?

My Week 2 budget is still on track but the next few weeks is going to be so busy leading up to the holidays and of course, Japan! It's going to be expensive but exciting at the same time.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Thursday, October 22, 2009 2
I really want one of these....

but I know I'll get sick of it after two weeks! I think I'll just wait for the Kindle...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Off to Melbourne

Friday, October 16, 2009 0
Tomorrow morning, J & I are flying off to Melbourne for the weekend to celebrate my birthday. This is J's gift to me (the flight + accommodation for 2 nights) and a special birthday dinner. He is the best!

Yesterday after work, 2 of my work friends & I had our manicures done ($20) and one of my friends treated me to a yummy Thai dinner. Tonight, J & I are going to Night Noodle markets in the city to meet up with a few of our friends. I've really had a smorgasbord of wonderful food lately!

Budget for the next two weeks (Oct 15 to 28)

Income: $1970

Rent: $400
Family: $249
Personal Training: $90
Uni Loan: $146
Credit Card: $115
Japan travel fund (to J): $325 (paid to my CC)
Week 1 budget (15 to 21): $500
Week 2 budget (22 to 28): 150

I've severely inflated my Week 1 budget due to our Melbourne trip which would include copious amounts of eating out and hopefully shopping. What I don't spend I will insert in my credit card debt.

Our Japan budget is becoming confusing so I might document it now. J paid for our fares which is $1170 each so therefore I owe him that amount. Last pay, I gave him $450 so that would mean I now him only $720.

I booked our accommodation to Tokyo though for 5 nights which came to $650 or $325 each so instead of me paying him another $325 I just inserted that in my credit card instead.

So I now owe him $395 which I will give to him on my next pay!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Expensive October

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 0
I've braced myself that October is going to be an expensive month for me. It's my birthday on Saturday (the 17th) and I usually celebrate all month long. I love birthdays and I couldn't resist - I never used to be this way. When I turned 20, I was hyperventilating because I thought I was "too old" but I'm turning 28 in 3 days and I just could not wait. Finally, I'm relishing getting older!

My $200 Week 2 budget just sufficed (kind of - I had to use the black card once or twice). Some major expenses include:

$23 - treated a friend at work to a birthday lunch on the 8th. She bought me lunch today for my birthday. Now we have a new tradition!
$50 - Sydney Harbour Island hopping ticket - my girl friends and I went on a half day cruise around the islands (4 in total) and it was fun albeit a bit cold. We bought drinks and food and just ate and chatted our way through out the whole day
$20 - wine & beer. We had dinner at J's parents place and we brought some drinks over.

The remaining was spent on groceries and more food! We've eaten out so much since last week. Last Saturday night, we had Spanish tapas for a friend's birthday dinner, we had the Indian dinner on Sunday night and I treated J to Thai on Monday night.

And I'm going out again for the next two nights... eep, that's another post in itself plus new budget!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

On the job front...

Saturday, October 10, 2009 2
Due to my desire to be incredibly anonymous on this blog, I haven't really posted anything about what J & I actually do for a living. We both work for the government, the same government department although in different locations and definitely different roles.

J & I have the same degree which is Social Science & Criminology (we met at university) and our professions are related (kinda!) to what we've essentially studied which is a good thing. I started working for this government department in June 2008 as a Level 1/2 (civilian govt employees have levels which goes up to 11/12. A Level 11/12 would probably take me 10-15 years to achieve). In March and April of this year, I relieved in a Human Resources/Finance position which is a Level 5/6. The money was good but I don't think I could have done that job for very long. Towards the end of April, I started relieving as an Intelligence Analyst which is also a Level 5/6 and I'm still doing that role now. I got the opportunity in relieving because the manager (Level 9/10) had to go on holidays and the IA got to relieve in the manager position. It was only supposed to be for 3 months but then when the manager got back, she moved to another manager position in another location. Hence, the IA is still currently doing the manager position and I'm still in the analyst position.

This is the job that I essentially wanted to do when I applied. Since I started in April, I now have 6 months of experience which is enough for me to apply for an analyst position in another location. Everything at work is still kind of a jumble and it all depends on whether we're going to have a new manager by early December. If we do, then we all go back to our original positions and I go back to being a 1/2. I know that whatever happens, I would still definitely have a full-time job but I do want an analyst job.

Due to the GFC (or Global Financial Crisis, etc), government departments have frozen their hiring which means not many positions are being advertised so the chances of me getting a permanent job somewhere else is very slim. Although there are still analyst positions that are being advertised but in another location.

At this moment, we live very close to my work and since I don't have a car, that's very convenient for me. But 2 analyst positions has become available in the last week which I'm going to try and apply for. It's a bit out of the way and it would require me to travel about an hour and a bit more (2 buses and some walking for the other location & a bus and a train in the other) but I really don't mind the extra travel. The position is for 12 months. That means IF I do get it, then I would only stay there for 12 months then at the end of those 12 months, I either go back to being a 1/2 unless I could then find a permanent analyst position or some other job.

I feel like I've been playing musical chairs for months and I still don't know where I'm going to land. As a 5/6, I'm earning $400+ a fortnight than a 1/2 which is also one of the reasons I don't want to go back to being a 1/2. There's also the fact that I actually like being an analyst and it's a career path that I want to eventually pursue later on. J is helping me with my application so hopefully I get one of the two analyst positions.

*fingers crossed*

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Week 1 Budget Round-up

Wednesday, October 7, 2009 0
Week 1: October 1 to 7
Budget: $150

Thurs (1st Oct)

$3.50 - iced tea
$30.60 - groceries
$1.90 - bus home
$30 - charity (friend's bike ride for MS)

Fri (2nd Oct)

$1.90 - bus to work
$2.50 - Cadbury chocolate
$1.90 - bus home

Sat (3rd Oct)

$12 - 5 weekly DVD's from Blockbuster

Sun (4th Oct)

$20 - dinner at Sushi Samurai

Mon (5th Oct)

$10 - groceries

Tues (6th Oct)

$7 - can of V and carrot cake for a snack at work

Total: $121.30
Left: $28.70

I think I'm definitely going to be on budget for this week. I only have today left and I actually still have money to spend! Today, I'm meeting some friends for a Cate Blanchett play in the city around midday. Because it's a matinee, I really hope that Cate would be there instead of her understudy. And look at that! I haven't bought a single piece of clothing for the week, that used to be rare for me but now it's becoming normal!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Rent Increase - Boo!

Saturday, October 3, 2009 0

Our rent at the moment is $450 weekly. In June this year, we've received a letter from the real estate agent offering us another contract,

I note from our records that your Tenancy Agreement is due to expire shortly. The landlord has instructed me to offer you a further Agreement for 12 months under the same terms and conditions.

I have pleasure in advising you that the rent is not to be increased.

The other day, J & I received this in the mail,

I have been instructed by the Landlord of the above property to increase your rent by $10 per week from $450 to $460 per week... The rent is being increased to this level taking into account factors such as the current demand for rental accommodation in the area and the length of time you have lived in the property. I believe the increased rent to be in line with current rental market value and fair to both parties.

So they're planning on changing it on the 5th of December. And we have until before then to make up our minds on whether to accept it or not. J said that he's going to write them a letter. One of the reasons we decided to stay in this place is because they said they're not going to increase the rent and we understood that to be for the whole lease period which is one year. Our next lease ends in September and although J and I want to move to a cheaper 1-bedroom place late next year, we still want to stay here until our lease ends.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Streetcar Named Desire

Thursday, October 1, 2009 0
Budget for this week: $150 (period from Oct 01 to Oct 07)

When setting up my weekly budget, I usually have a look at my calendar to see what my plans are for the week. Here is a play by play of what I have planned until Wed (of course, this could change at any minute).

Oct 01 (Thurs) - Work, stay at home for dinner as J is working night-shift

Oct 02 (Fri) - 10 hours of work today, straight home after a long week, J is working again

Oct 03 (Sat) - PT session in the morning, no plans for the afternoon, probably chill at home and watch a few DVD's, J is working night again

Oct 04 (Sun) - absolutely no plans - might go out for a quick brunch with J once he wakes up.

Oct 05 (Mon) - public holiday today. My friend has invited J & I to her new apartment for lunch. Her mom is also newly arrived from China and this lady cooks the best dumplings! I will bring some wine for my friend and a box of chocolates for her mom (she gave me a box a few Christmases ago). I'm budgeting $25 for this.

Oct 06 (Tue) - back to work, very very busy day - another 10 hours, hopefully J will cook me dinner so I can go straight to bed

Oct 07 (Wed) - I took a day off today because my gfs and I have booked a Cate Blanchett play back in January of this year - it's Streetcar Named Desire at the Sydney Theatre Company. The seats have already sold out in January so we could only get a 1pm showing and that's why I have to take the whole day off. My friends & I might have coffee afterwards but I definitely want to be back home for dinner. Budget for the day: $30 (Tickets already paid for)

You might have noticed how pedantic I am about planning my days. I live for my 30 Boxes and check it all the time. I used to over book before but now I'm starting to like being a homebody for a while. Let's see if I can make it through the week with $150.

Budget: Period from Oct 1 - Oct 14

Income: $1970

Rent: $400
Family: $249
Private Health: $127
Personal Training: $89
Uni Loan: $146
Credit card: $150
Travel Fund to J: $450
Week 1 budget (01 to 07): $150
Week 2 budget (08 to 14): $200

My week 2 budget is larger because I'm going out with a few friends to celebrate my birthday. We're going island hopping ($48) and then I have another friend's birthday dinner coming up on the 10th.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

New goals - JAPAN!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009 0
The good thing about goals is that they are flexible and ever changing. J & I seriously set down our goals in August of this year and the major one is to save up enough money for a home deposit so that we can get a mortgage by next year. Since August, we've saved up $8000 together. I've never been much of a saver so saving $4000 by myself in a short span of time (while still paying down debt) is an achievement for me. Now I know I can do it and I can do it easily.

Our goal to get a mortgage is still intact but there are other forces in play such as an impending wedding, paying down debt and travelling. Initially, we were going to save up 5% of our loan and get a mortgage immediately, now we've decided to save up a little bit more so that we would have more money to use for our mortgage. But that can change any minute as I'm quite impulsive.

J & I are going to have two weeks off for Christmas & New Years this year and we don't usually get to spend December holidays together because J has to work most NYE so we wanted to celebrate somewhere special. At first, we were planning on going for a 7-day road trip from Sydney to Queensland. I made a budget and it was going to be much expensive than I thought it would for an Australian holiday. And honestly, I don't think it was going to be worth it and I wasn't going to be happy with it in the long run. So we've decided to go to JAPAN!!! Yep, we're heading off to Japan for two weeks this December to celebrate Christmas and NYE in TOKYO! I'm so excited!!!

This will of course impact heavily on our savings. We already have $4000 each (plus J has an EF of $2500) saved up and we've decided NOT in any circumstances touch this money. So what we're going to save in the upcoming months from October to December will be our Japan money. I think it's definitely going to be worth it!
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