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Determined & refocused...

April 15th, 2013 at 05:54 pm

Last night I was clearing my desk after studying and came across my salary payment advice for end of March, and realized that I have been so distracted with studying that I hadn’t adjusted our budget yet to include the 7.2% salary increase for 2013.

Pulled out my budget from 2007, when I returned to a salaried position in the nursing to see what how our budget has changed.

Very interesting exercise, not much has changed except that our rent has increased and of course, the cost of gas and food etc. but not enough to explain why we have not 1.) finished paying off our debt or 2.) saved more money in the EMF!!!

I think I have just become a bit too comfortable the past 2 years or so – it amazes me how quickly I fall back into the old patterns. So from today I am going to start tracking the “savings” I make by doing and not doing certain things and putting a value to it – I am tired of just drifting along.

So here goes… this weekend:
Cleaned apartment – saved $20 by doing it myself (home help is inexpensive here so a full day costs $20)
Coloured my hair – saved $27
Gym – 2 visits saved $5.56
Recycled left over paper from DD’s school books - $2
Borrowed DVD’s from a friend - $9.33
Total: $64.89

Now that makes me feel like I am doing something worthwhile Smile

Now back to the books

An enlightening day but....

April 6th, 2013 at 05:50 pm

not too much studying done!

Why is it that when there is studying to be done, I find a million gazillion better things to do Smile

Took DD to have her hair braided today - budgeted but OMG it's so expensive to have braids and extensions. $50!!! But it's done now and she looks lovely.

The printer cartridge - found a generic one for $17 at the flea market. Before I took I asked the lady twice if I could bring it back if it didn't work and she said yes so.. I bought it. Rushed home and it works just fine - nice saving.

Then I popped in to the local gym to find out if we could transfer our membership from another branch - well that idea just kinda got blown out of the water - they wanted $62 per month versus our current $30 per month. Oh, but "if you are a member of a certain medical insurance scheme, you can get 80% discount"!!! Well sorry no - we belong to another medical scheme.

But it got me thinking "if that medical scheme offers benefits like discounts to a gym group what does ours offer?".

Back onto the internet, and lo and behold, we have a wellness programme, which costs $21 per month upfront and entitles you to the following:
15% discount on monthly gym fees
$33 per month rebate if you go to gym more than 12 times for that month
$11 standard rebate if you are even a gym member
AND
2 movie tickets per month for $3.30
AND
numerous other discounts....

So...
working out will pay us if we stay at our current gym - ha ha that means we will reduce our monthly gym fees from $30 to $2.50 per month - a saving of $27.50 per month which we will put into the computer fund.

Now how is that for creative investigation...

I love it...

AND

our biggest group of chain stores has just introduced a "coupon system" which you download onto your cell phone - at the check out counter you hand in the pin code and they deduct the coupon values Smile

This is a first in South Africa and I am loving it....

What a good day today have been Smile Smile Smiles all round.

AND now I am going to study Frown

Haven't been here a while...

March 30th, 2013 at 08:21 pm

Have had to finish 7 assignments- all due by the end of April but decided that was too close to exams so just got stuck in and got them done and out the way by the 26 Mar. Finished the last one on Tuesday (26 Mar) and then realised that exams start in 5 weeks time and I haven't even finished reviewing my course materials - yikes !!!
Managed to put in 9 hours today on one of my subjects and catchup some of it and tomorrow I will try for another marathon day...
On the money side, we had a really tight March because I settled that outstanding tax bill - but still managed to meet all our commitments.
We got an increase at work – 7.2% . I was ecstatic – in these economic times it was very generous. Already allocated part of the increase to my pension fund, some to debt reduction and some for pleasure i.e. plan to transfer to a gym around the corner so that DD and I can swim/train all year round.
I love my job as well so the increase has made it even better – how cool is that.
We are into the beginning of autumn here and can already see the days are shortening and the evening/morning temperatures are dropping.  I really don’t enjoy winter here – we are just not equipped for the winter but then I guess we must be one of the few countries in the world who can have a -3°C with bright sunny days and a wind chill factor of a further -5°C. But it is really is not so long and spring starts again early September, with a few left over cold spells.
Hope you have a Happy and Blessed Easter tomorrow (if you celebrate Easter) – will pop back again soon
See ya…

Taxes are paid up … at last…

February 25th, 2013 at 07:16 pm

$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…

Signed the docs for my car...

February 16th, 2013 at 09:10 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!!!!

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

February 5th, 2013 at 08:16 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..

A busy weekend ahead...

January 11th, 2008 at 05:09 pm

starting with a visit to a friend who needs help with curtains for her new house. She has some curtains which needed adjusting and new ones which have to be made up. I do this part-time so I'll be able to earn some money this coming week. (Won't charge her the usual rate because she is a friend!)

Was looking at our food levels and I have to admit it is time to shop BUT the challenge: limited money - only have $12 in my wallet. Rather than dive into the EMF, I checked the cuphoards looking for things I can sell and found:
A retractable indoor washline which has never been opened - I bought it last year when we moved into our apartment. So I called the store and they will give me a voucher which I will then use for food. Yeah $28.50 and EMF remains untouched.

I just kept going after that and found some more things which I will take in on Monday to the second hand store - hopefully I will get at least $30 for that lot. Will keep you updated.

I read an article the other day about "money lying around your home" and now I understand Smile Smile

Things To Do this weekend:
- shopping
- finish sewing book bags for the Grade 0 children (I was paid for them last year and have a few more to do)
- laundry
- ironing
- label and cover books for school for DD
- Goals for next week i.e. sales activities
- clean apartment
- baking - muffins, cookies,
- cooking - chicken pies & casserole

Oh I am tired already!!!

Speak to you tomorrow...