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Need to get focused...

April 8th, 2017 at 03:54 am

Since I have been debt free, I haven't been as disciplined with my spending as I used to be. If I could still be doing what I used to be doing when I was in debt, my savings balance would look amazing!

So I am going to try again and maybe by being accountable here it will help to keep track of what I am doing everyday and what I focus on.

My shifts have changed so I won't be doing a daily entry but even 3 times a week will be better than nothing at all.

My goals for 2017 weren't even properly done until today when I decided to start blogging again.

So here goes:
1. Finish my Post-graduate degree by October 2017
2. Save $12,000 towards my retirement
3. Sewing machine replacement fund $5000

Decided to add the sewing machine goal - maybe if I have something that is really important to me I will stop wasting and making impulse buys.

Savings Increasing...

August 12th, 2016 at 11:49 am

When God has a plan, and we are willing to go along everything works perfectly. Just after my last entry, my aunt gifted me $7000 quite unexpectedly. When she told me I was so astounded that I was speechless - it took me days to really get my mind around it. Gratitude and more gratitude - that is all I can say.
All the money was saved! $1000 into the Mini EMF. $6000 into the Retirement Savings. Done!
I am so grateful that I am debt free otherwise all of it would have had to go to paying down debt.
Haven't had much time to blog, the study load this semester is just huge. Have spent more than I should on takeout because of deadlines for assignments and projects. And of course haven't been able to work any additional shifts. Keep telling myself it will all be over in 3 months time and then I can have my life back!!
Love reading everyone's daily entries - gives me a break from the books! Take care...

Saving Advice increases my productivity...

July 10th, 2016 at 09:37 am

...otherwise I have nothing to write about Smile.
Today I got up late, but determined to have a really productive day - created a To Do List:
Send in a 3 for 1 offer: send the receipt for my free unit for my purchase of 3 bottles of vitamins DONE.
Check email and clear old emails for 10 minutes (only!) DONE
Cook and freeze
- apple crumble (use up the apples in the fridge) DONE
- bran muffins (to take to work) DONE
- chicken pies DONE
Make homemade granola cereal DONE - it is so expensive in the store. Making it from scratch is healthier and more affordable.
DD needs more pillowcases to match her bed linen. She was given a double bed from my aunt and last weekend I adjusted the duvet cover, which I made in December. Fortunately, I embroidered (by machine) extra pieces of fabric so it shouldn't take too long to make the extra pillowcases. DONE
Oh and I also need to make another big pillow - fortunately I have left over fabric and the filling from old pillows. NOT DONE
Worked out my study schedule for the semester and now I really wish I was finished - it is so time consuming. 17 Assignments due by the 26 September and exams start on the 19 October.
My biggest challenge during the semester is balancing everything. Spending time with my daughter, staying on budget, no takeout, making sure I get enough sleep and that my stress levels stay within reasonable levels.

No spend day - yeah!!

Well I now need to get some studying done - see you tomorrow...


Oh my goodness... how things have changed...

July 8th, 2016 at 07:06 am

went to return DVD's today and was about to pop into the convenience store for Coke and a snack and realised that I couldn't or shouldn't being doing any of that anymore. So just got fresh bread and left.Our DVD contract costs us $10.66 per month and allows us to take out 4 DVD's per day as long as they are not in the "New Releases" section. Most months we take out about 60 DVD's so it costs in the region of $0.77 each.
This is our only form of entertainment, as we dont have cable and avoid the movie houses, internet is just for education i.e. link up to dstance university for me and reserach for my daughter.
My last result for the past semester was published to day and I managed 3 distinctions out of the 4 exams I wrote - was so excited as the exams were really tough.
Have already paid my costs for the new semested which starts on Monday R6600 ($440) and my text books came to R2300 ($153). Really not too bad considered that I am going to graduate with an honours program as well.
Todays challenge:
# Tidy away the clutter in the sitting area
# Laundry - 2 loads
# Kitchen - handwash dishes (no dishwasher), tidy and dust
# Supper - roast chicken and roast vegetables
# Watch DVD after the kitchen is clean and tidy after supper
# Complete and submit the 1st assignment for this semester once the universities website comes back on line.

Lately, I have also lost my routine. Going to bed too late means that I am too tired to get up in the morning SO from tonight I have to be in bed by 10:30 latest when I am not working the next day.

On work days, bedtime must be 20:30 as I get up at 05:30 and work 12 hour shifts sometimes longer if I have surgical procedures that take longer.

Well lets see how much progress I can make this semester both academically, financially and of being organised.
Have a good day everyone.

Gratitude...

June 15th, 2015 at 11:16 am

Found myself looking today at all the reasons for feeling grateful..
A new colleague of mine at work, shared with me that a few months ago she had to leave her home taking her 2 children with nothing but a suitcase! She "ran away" in the middle of the night to get away from her abusive husband with only the promise of a safe bed for her and her children.
Imagine, the despair and how frightened she must have been. Well, she made it to our city and because she has a brilliant attitude has managed to get shifts as a nurse BUT someone told her husband where she was. Sadly, he arrived and beat her and has taken the 1 child and no-one knows where they are.
Not only has my colleague continued to work but her faith that God will provide and keep them all safe prevailed. She arrives at work with warmth and smiles for everyone.
So while we work ourselves out of debt and save like crazy for whatever, I find myself thinking of her and what she would say. I think it would go along the lines of "be grateful for what you have, tomorrow it may be gone..."
Tonight as I get into bed, I wont be thinking about my retirement, I will be thinking of her and praying that she gets her daughter back and that they are able to free themselves from this terrible curse.

New goals and challenges ahead...

June 14th, 2015 at 12:19 pm

only 20 days debt free and I still haven't fully realized what I have achieved. So today I sat down and started reading some of the blogs and quickly realized it was time to get focused again.

The first thing I noticed, is how focused everyone is on retirement and secondly how this forum helps cheer you on to reach goals that you never thought you would reach. ever!

So here I am now 53 years with only 12 years to go before I retire and very short on retirement savings. So my key focus has to be retirement savings at all costs with security for an emergency and enough money to get my daughter started at college. She will have to work for a grant or bursary after this money is finished or self-fund but that is the way it is.

I have just put her into an international school so that she can improve her opportunities for studying overseas on a scholarship and that is where I have spent the education fund mostly. So far it has been a great decision.

I am now in my 3rd year of my post graduate degree so next year I will be finished. That money will be put back into saving for my retirement funding.

I don't want to be one the nurses who are still having to work at 70 because they didn't have enough saved.

By the way I left my debt balances up in my panel as a reminder to me of how far I have come and also to encourage others that they too can get there.

Oh well that's about it for now... keep dreaming of the promise of financial freedom... its nearly here for all of us!!!

It's done... all done...

June 2nd, 2015 at 11:08 am

The day has arrived - WE ARE DEBT FREE!!!!!

And I still don't believe it, cant believe it and don't know how to really process it. My whole life I have had DEBT, never in all my working life have I been debt free.

Its taken over 9 years of challenge, dealing with a gambling addiction, closing a business, selling my home and going back to the full-time employment AND here I am, still ok.

If someone had told me it would be possible, I would never have believed them. Now that it is done, I don't know how I did it.

Could it have happened quicker? Absolutely, but I was learning life lessons along the way and re-establishing values.

Could I have done it on my own? Never! So many people have given me encouragement, assistance and courage when times were really tough, celebrated the successes and cheered for the progress.

And now... it feels so strange.

But I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to celebrate this day and that the experience has made me a better person.

So once again, I live my life "one day at a time"....
and think about setting new goals.


Updated and getting there...

March 23rd, 2014 at 04:05 am

Have been watching everyone's progress and just couldn't resist today. Finally I am nearly there - 8 years later!!!

And I love my life now!

Compared to the stress and pressure that I used to be faced with everyday and every night, my journey has had so many lessons (and I am still learning every day).

On the 1 May 2014, I will have been back in full time employment for 5 years, as an ORN. And here's the first lesson:
- It's not what you earn that gets you where you want to be but how you manage what you earn.
My income dropped by 30% but in return I got subsidized retirement contributions, medical insurance, overtime pay, specialization allowance, uniform allowance and a guaranteed 13th cheque every December.

Second lesson:
The simpler you can make you life, the lower your cost of living will be. When I was a sales exec I needed an extensive wardrobe, hairdresser every 6 weeks, larger car for the high mileage, help at home to look after my daughter and so the list goes on...
Now that I wear a uniform and work shifts, I am able to keep my clothing to a minimum, fetch my daughter from school, do my own housework (unusual in S Africa), low car expenses, lower car insurance etc

Third lesson:
Paying off debt is a journey not a project. If you don't change your habits then the debt will come back again because your behavior hasn't changed.

Fourth lesson:
Gratitude gets you through the worst days - there is always someone worse off than you, so being grateful for what you have and where you are gives you the courage to do one more day.

Fifth lesson:
Enjoy today for today and always look for one more thing to do which will save you a $1 - its the singles that make up the hundreds Smile

Hello and Happy 2014 to everyone...

January 6th, 2014 at 12:18 pm

I can't believe, I have been away from here for so long Smile but I am back for a while - at least until the study load gets too heavy again.

Have made more progress on my debt since I last posted and haven't created any more debt - now that deserves a big round of self applause.

What I have noticed though is that the daily spending is not as controlled as it used to be, so it is time to get back on track and tracking again daily.

Will update and give you all my news - actually had a good 2013 with a lots of personal accomplishments and growth areas. Am looking forward to 2014 with more optimism than I have had in a long time.

Everything is good and we are and have been so Blessed - all I can say is thank you and thank you and thank you!!!!

Speak to you tomorrow Smile

Finally listed and defined my goals for 2013

April 16th, 2013 at 02:16 pm

Better late than never Smile

Am really trying hard to stay focused and making sure that I tell my money where to go!!

Goals for 2013:
Computer Savings: $780 now $76
EMF: $1405 Now $426
Reduce debt by: $4815 paid $0
(extra payments)
College Fees: $525 now $0
College Books: $110 now $0
DD Savings: $835 now $584

Now that I have them up here I am hoping that I will be able to make more regular payments towards each of them and "see my progress".
The extra debt payment is my snowball amount which I want to start applying once the EMF in funded to $1405 - can't be worrying about the Murphy again. (he had his turn with the car tires last week - enough already!)

Take care everyone - sad to hear about and see the results of the Bomb blasts in Boston...

Determined & refocused...

April 15th, 2013 at 10:54 am

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