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Archive for February, 2013

Taxes are paid up … at last…

February 25th, 2013 at 11:16 am

$4294 paid in full since April last year – just can’t believe that this outstanding tax is finally paid! It has been outstanding since April 2009 but I was just not able to pay and then finally last year I called them and made the necessary arrangements.

I actually had another 2 months to pay off the remaining $1000 but decided to just go for it and clear it – so that’s what I did.

My reasoning whilst I was setting my budget for March 2013 was I looked at my situation:
now that I have the new car (yes I got it on Tuesday last week!! Smile) and it has a 5 year warrantee and maintenance plan and...
I have medical insurance with enough in the savings portion for acute/emergency events and... there is enough money to cover all our regular monthly expenses so...
I decided to use most of our EMF to get rid of this monthly budget item – so there is a grand total of $100 left in the EMF!!!

At the end of March, I will get the EMF back to where it should be and then start snowballing the rest of my debts – roll-on December 2013.

We got paid today, so for the salary period for February we managed a total of 12 NSD – a record for us. It definitely made a huge difference to the way that I had to plan our meals and make sure that we used what we had – it reduced number of errands & saved mileage/gas.

For the month of March we are going to try for 14 NSD and hopefully as we get more organized we will get better at achieving them.

I found February to be especially challenging and am really pleased that it is now nearly over – I don’t know why I felt so pressured most of the time, tired and just somewhat unsettled. Maybe the car story, maybe because we have been so busy at work, DD just starting high school, I’ve just started studying again – who knows?

The past few days have been better, we seem to be working out a routine that works better for DD and myself – things are starting to feel more manageable and DD has been helping more around the house.

Even small daily improvements over time make a big difference - this is what I tell myself Smile

Will update the side panel next time… take care…

Whoa we did it - 10 No Spend Days...

February 18th, 2013 at 10:20 am

and we still have 6 days till pay day(with not much to spend anyway!!!! Smile Smile)

Even DD has almost forgotten what it is like to pop in to the store on the way home from work - I LOVE IT!

Seriously, work was long...... my back is completely locked up and I had to get someone to help me lift, pick up things and generally get stuff done. Pretty much useless. Frown

It is my study day tomorrow so at least I won't be on my feet all day and only have to take and fetch DD from school. Do you think the horizontal study position will work? No? Me neither but it was worth a thought!!!

My To Do List for today:
- Ironing NOPE
- Study 2 hours NOPE
- Clean apartment (quick vacuum & dust)NOPE
- Cook supper OUT THE FREEZER
- Call to reinstate car insurance (was reduced to minimal while driving my friends car)NOPE
- Change DD’s orthodontist appt YES!
- Oh and of course – go to work! YES!

Jokes aside, I got through the day and now I am heading off to bed to that horizontal position.

See you tomorrow... take care...

Just another day...

February 17th, 2013 at 11:46 am

Managed to get quite a lot done but not everything!
- Finish the laundry - DONE
- Ironing - NOPE
- Clean the apartment - NOPE
- Study for at least 5 hours – 3 HOURS
- Help DD with a school project - DONE
- Tidy up - DONE
- Menu plan for the week (pay day is only on the 25th so we have eat what we have!) – DONE

So tomorrow:
- Ironing
- Study 2 hours
- Clean apartment (quick vacuum & dust)
- Cook supper
- Call to reinstate car insurance (was reduced to minimal while driving my friends car)
- Change DD’s orthodontist appt
- Oh and of course – go to work!

Really wish the weekends were longer – this weekend flew by! Saturday we out and about sorting out the car, I helped my cousin to get her sewing machine setup, my aunt treated us for lunch and then I went to my friends to let them know when I would be returning their car. So that was the end of Saturday!

Today I woke up with a muscle spasm in my back and have been hobbling around like a very old lady – have taken some anti-inflamatories and DD rubbed it for me but even sitting is uncomfortable. I must have been sleeping in a strange position last night. Hopefully by tomorrow it will okay.

Still another week to pay day – why has it felt like such a long month? I think reading everyone’s entries made me feel like I also wanted to pay something!? (how very strange!) but it’s true.

Reworked and checked the budget last night – and there’s still enough to reduce our debt every month even with the new car payment.

Today was another NSD - #9 for the month and maybe tomorrow will make it #10 – maybe maybe…

See you tomorrow and take care…

Signed the docs for my car...

February 16th, 2013 at 01:10 pm

So the saga of the car ends today!!

My friends decided that they didn’t want to sell the car I have been using since December, so my search was speeded up and…

My aunt and my cousin found me a car - 2011 model, marked down because the new shape and model was launched last year and they had excess stock; we ended up paying $12995 for a car with 14,000 miles, 5 year warrantee and 5 year service/maintenance plan.

And how did I finance it?

(Blush) I gave my $4000 and my aunt gave me $4000 and the rest was loaned by the family.

So I have incurred more debt and there are no excuses!
So now I add $4995 to my outstanding debt and increase my monthly debt payments by $100 per month.

Although I am conflicted about the debt I feel like it was the right decision for me at this time. To have a car finally that is not going to cost me a fortune like my past 2 cars did, is going to give me more peace than the extra debt.

If things get really tight then I will need to do an extra shift a month and that will cover the payment.
At least I don’t have to worry about breaking down or not being able to get to work because my car is in the workshop or how am I going to pay for repairs etc etc....

Had to have a tooth removed on Friday and this time I went to Maxilla Facial Surgeon instead of letting the dentist do it – what a difference. No pain, no swelling, no nothing – it was well worth the extra cost which I believe is going to be covered by medical insurance anyway.

Had another NSD today – not counting the car!!!! Ha Ha Ha!!!

Need to get back to studying tomorrow and the weekend routine – haven’t been at all organized the past week. So need to:

- Finish the laundry
- Ironing
- Clean the apartment
- Study for at least 5 hours
- Help DD with a school project
- Tidy up
- Menu plan for the week (pay day is only on the 25th so we have eat what we have!)
- NSD

That’s it for today … see you tomorrow…

PS Will do the update of the side panel tomorrow!!!!

What would you do?

February 14th, 2013 at 10:18 am

We are aiming for 10 NSD this month and up to today we are at 7 NSD - DD and I are really focused on eating what we have, putting off the errands to the shops and adding to the NSD's.

Today at work one of my colleagues approaches me and says "can you give me $5?" - I was busy preparing for our patients tomorrow and was so taken aback that my answer was "nope can't do DD took the last $5 this morning to school for valentine's day".

Then on my way home, I was thinking about it - we are doing all we can to avoid spending $$$ and yet my colleague expects a handout! Huh???

No please, no could you lend me..., no reason ... nothing!

So my question is what would you do?

So other than that:
- we had a NSD as I mentioned
- ate supper which I cooked last night
- am really pleased it's Friday tomorrow Smile





Just a quick update...

February 12th, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Was as home today - a study day today but didn't get much done in that department. Caught up on the household chores which I had not done on Saturday because I trying to get ahead on my assisgnments :0

Popped out to get tylenol and paracetamol $8.47
Then the grocery store for milk, veg, bread, juice, joghurt, cheese $22
Total Spent $30.47 - $4.53 less than I planned

Have started thinking about the budget for the end of Feb - we get paid on the 25 Feb and I want to know exactly what is going where and make sure that I am in line with my goals for 2013.

Hope you all have a great day ... see you tomorrow..

A NSD to celebrate and then...

February 11th, 2013 at 11:32 am

(was feeling so proud of myself) and the phone rang...

my well meaning family called to say:

"we found you a car - its a 2011 model, only 18,000 miles for $10,134... so if you put your $4000 in and we put $3000 in and you get $3000 finance then.... huh???????????????

And I flipped completely - I was so angry (but DD was still awake and of course listening to every word of the conversation) that I just became abrupt and said that we would talk in the morning.

And then I just sat here and cried... I would love to get finance so that I can get a nearly new car but I CAN'T because I am not credit worthy! The little dignity I had and all the debt I have paid off just faded into insignificance...

My progress seems so slow...

February 10th, 2013 at 09:34 am

There are times when I feel like I am standing still - like this weekend! No money to push to debt, no money to save - just a stalemate...

The mundane tasks that have be done just seem like chores and everything takes so much longer. I feel like I sound tonight - tired!!!!

So now that I have had my moan, it's time to look for the good things: Smile
- I finished 2 assignments yesterday and submitted them (2 weeks early)
- still haven't bought takeout since I got back here Smile
- am more aware of what I am and am not spending - had really let things slip and slide (guess that is why my debt is taking so long to go away)
- feeling more focused than I have for a long while

Tried to capture my budget tonight and realised that I had left the information in my locker at work - so that will be done tomorrow evening - I promise!

Spent last evening trawling through the blogs again and the time just disappeared - before I knew it, it was midnight and I felt too tired to do my own entry soooo.... tonight I started the other way around Smile

I was reading my own entries from way back and it is so interesting to see how much more time I had when I was working from home. Amazing how travel time takes up chunks of the day, not being able to juggle the home chores and errands have to be carefully planned.

But the advantages of being employed far outweigh that freedom - I love my job as a registered nurse, the hours I work are fabulous and the benefits (even after 4 years I can't believe the company gives us so much extra)!.

Up until the end of last year, I was able to work overtime - that meant an extra $200 a month but with studying I decided that would have to be put on hold. The benefits of the extra qualification will make up for the overtime pay in the long run. (Well that's what I keep telling myself).

Okay well that's it for today... see you tomorrow...

Well another year has passed...

February 7th, 2013 at 12:04 pm

I am going to be 51 yrs YOUNG tomorrow Smile Smile It's really funny to think that I am doing stuff now that I should have done when I was 31 - but hey who's counting not me (well not with any meaning!)

Took DD to the store so she could buy my gift and I ended buying Washing Powder that was on special - saved about $3 not much but I'll take it.

And then I bought myself a present for $5 - lotto tickets for the draw tomorrow night - jeez you never know?????

Work was good but didn't feel like studying tonight so I have been reading the entries and catching up on all your news.

You are all so organised and focused - it is amazing and so motivating. Promise to get my numbers and specific goals up this weekend - that way I will focus better and make my entries more interesting and specific.

We are due for salary increases at the end of March, and I am dying to see what the % will be - considering the state of the economy both locally and globally. We have been getting about 7% over the past 3 years and if this is maintained I think we will be doing well.

BTW someone asked about our retirement funding in SA - we have 2 options: through our employers or private investment/insurance companies.

Retirement through the employer is a great option because they pay a compulsory 7.5% of your salary value and then we are allowed to contribute up to 12% (I am contributing 10%)on pre-tax salary amount. On top of that we are allowed to contribute to other options outside of the employers offering - one of my goals is to get to 30% contribution but only once we have purchased our new home. (So a while to go still!)

We are also allowed to stagger our retirement payout ages for example, a woman can start retirement payouts from the age of 55 yrs and continue to 65 yrs (complusory payout) - I have 2 maturing in 4 years which I am going to use to settle the mortgage of our "still to be purchased" home.

Then I still have others maturing at 60 and of course, my current employers retirement kicks in a 65 so we should be okay. Plus as we know, nurses never ever stop working Smile

Feedback on 3 Bills I forgot to include in my budget for January:
Swimming training for DD $40 Paid
Balance of College fees for me $175.55 Paid
Utilities $49.33 (high for us) Paid
have had to use the savings to pay them - stupid and careless but at least we had the money to pay them

So the new balance on our EMF is: $4,714

BTW sold my big freezer at the end of December - it was costing too much in electricity to run and I wasn't able to keep it fully stocked anyway. So I am waiting for $75 for that and will put it back into the EMF.

Still looking for other ways to keep my money in my wallet and in the EMF account Smile

Take care....

Why do the days pass sooo.... fast....

February 6th, 2013 at 11:17 am

it seems like an hour ago I was making my last entry and yet a full 24 hours has elapsed???????

I was asking one of my patients (71 yrs old) today - "why does it feel like we never have time for everything - I seem to remember my mother having time to bake, sew, visit friends, play tennis, help us kids with projects etc."
Her answer was "we were satisfied doing more simple things more of the time compared with now, now we want to do all the exciting advanced new things most of the time! I see it with my grandchildren they are so caught up in technology - when they look up 3hours are gone and they haven't even had a conversation with anyone!"
Hmmm... something to think about...

This evening DD has to complete a project for her second language, Afrikaans (similar to Finnish, Dutch) so I put away my study stuff, took supper out the freezer and decided to do it with her - a small thing in my life but a big thing in hers. Actually, the conversation during the time together was more important that the project result (in my humble opinion anyway) - I got to find out all the gossip at school, who says what about who, what the teachers are doing/not doing, what the friends are up to etc and now have a better idea of the new class she is in. BTW we start our new school year in January (not like you in the USA in the fall) so getting caught up was great.

AND we had a NSD again - #3 for February!!

Managed to do my 2 hours of study tonight but battled a bit because Wednesday and Friday I start a surgical slate in the OR (Operating Room) at 06:30 and today was a long one but we finished on time at 4pm Smile

Since I have been back as a Registered Nurse in the OR, I haven't had to buy clothes except a replacement pair of jeans now and then. As you all know we work in scrubs and leave them at the hospital for special cleaning. So when we returned DD's speedo yesterday I saw a dress and pair of pants I really liked - well loved - until I saw the price!!!!!!!!! Didn't like them anymore - how do you girls and guys afford to dress yourselves in different outfits everyday. I would battle now after 4 years of scrubs. Must take some pretty nifty mix & matching Smile

Well those are my thoughts for the day ... take care everyone... see you tomorrow...

So I just lost my entry for the day ...

February 5th, 2013 at 12:16 pm

and now I am off to bed - so here is the short version:

No takeout: saved $9
DD on board with NSD and Not on List = no buy therefore only spent $19 versus the $35 budgeted for weekly groceries
TOTAL SAVED: $25

3 Bills I forgot to include in my budget for January:
Swimming training for DD $40
Balance of College fees for me $175.55
Utilities $49.33 (high for us)
so will have to use the savings to pay them - stupid and careless but at least we have the money to pay them Smile

Managed to exchange the speedo for the right size so there was no extra cost there Smile

And now it is time for bed ... so take care..

Made it back but only after I got my study time in ...

February 4th, 2013 at 12:42 pm

After making supper from scratch tonight all I wanted to was come back here and start catching up everyones news but a Monday evening is a study evening for me - so I managed 2 1/2 hours and now here I am Smile
Thanks for the welcome back.
Today was relatively busy at work - but managed to leave the hospital on time at 4pm and fetch DD from school by 4:30pm.
Had planned supper last night so it was easy to prepare and eat (& I made an extra 3 portions for freezing) - the takeouts since I have been studying part-time have been taking unnecessary money out of our budget - so I decided yesterday - no more unless it is a special occasion and not just convenience/laziness.
Didn't spend a cent today - NSD #2 for February
Tomorrow DD has swim training - I bought her a new speedo about 2 weeks ago but it doesnt fit properly so before we can go I will have to take her to change it to a smaller size or even a different style. But at least I wont be spending money.
Still no news on the car - really wish my friends could decide if they are going to sell the car to me otherwise I am going to have to start looking around. Cars in SA are really expensive, so finding good deals can take time.
Will get into more details about the budget and the challenges as I get back into the daily entry
Have a good day ... "see you tomorrow..." Smile

Hello hello hello... I missed you all so much!!!

February 3rd, 2013 at 03:16 am

For the first time since the end of 2009, I have internet access at home again - had to stop it to save myself - had to stop the access to online casinos!!!
Now I have it again but no longer have banking facilities which allow me to transfer money to the casinos AND online gambling is now illegal in South Africa.
Jeez I can't believe I just said all that without hesitation to people I don't even know - oh well it's the truth.
My life has changed so much - going back to nursing was a great challenge but now I love it and have even gone as far as registering to upgrade my qualification to a Degree Status in Nursing Science.
This will take about 4 years and lots of $$$ but worth it in the end (part-time).
On the financial front, have made progress but not as much as I would have liked but I have to remind myself that dealing with an addiction AND getting used to working in a structured environment again is no easy task but I did it.
Really want this year to be the year when I say "I AM DEBT FREE!"
And the only way it is going to happen is by using this blog and your support and encouragement to get there.
We are still in a rented apartment, so as soon as the debt is settled we can start saving for the deposit on a new home.
Unfortunately, we had a challenge at the end of 2012, our 15year old car died on us - was only worth $2,265 but required $2,831 worth of repairs AND it wasn't even economical to run - a real gas guzzler. We managed to sell it for $2,800 even though it was not running to the mechanic who was looking after it - I was relieved to see it go - there were more repairs on the horizon and on a nurses salary, no way was I going to pay more on that car!!!
So now we are borrowing a car from a friend of mine and hoping that they will sell it to us - that will solve another challenge. Here's hoping.
Other than that we are happy and content, life has been good to us the past 4 years and DD and I have settled nicely into a normal life (vs my old life of addictive behaviour).

So what are my goals for 2013:
1. Purchase a car - cash only
2. Pass all the courses/modules I have registered for (6) with 70%
3. Finish paying off debt by the 20 December 2013
AND
4. Be happy and full of gratitude for the journey I have taken in my life even with the ups and downs.

Speak to you tomorrow!!!!!