Money chat

Let’s talk money! Right now I am a little nervous, although in some ways we are in a good position with me doing some part time work and my husband working away the last few months have been a challenge. I have to add we are in a fortunate situation and doing ok with money but we could do better, and if we don’t reign it in could be a lot worse. Through roster changes, sickness and other likes we have ended up earning less than standard. This has resulted in a bit of a credit card bill.

$4500 to be exact.

Now $1500 was a deposit for the new built in robes which we will use my tax return for.

$500 was for payment for car mechanics as a result of an accident which is being claimed back. Note done!

There are also a few medical claims I need to lodge. Must do this.

But the rest is just spending. We have budgeted this year for our tax returns and mid year bonus and money from selling a car to go towards certain items- namely renovating the house, the birth of the next baby ( we are private) and having a savings buffer of at least $10k.

It’s not that we waste a lot of money, honestly we don’t eat out much, we don’t shop heaps but things do slip through the net. So I am challenging myself to a $150 shopping budget per week ( sounds a lot but this includes cleaning products, nappies, toiletries etc) or $100 if possible. I plan to do this using meal plans and using up items in freezer and cupboard. I may even start posting a meal plan here. I plan to start keeping track of this by using a cash in envelope method.

I have been treating myself a bit, mainly to beauty products, and whilst I don’t regret these purchases they need to stop. Each week the husband and I get pocket money to spend as we see fit. I am going to try and save at least half of mine ($50per week) and put it in savings for a new wardrobe in a year or so once i have reached my ultimate post baby goal. Again I plan to use a cash in envelope method for the money I can spend and not touch the rest. Into my savings account I will also put money I make from selling any items I am not truly going to use on eBay. Any beauty products I have got and never used I may also sell.

Honestly we are pretty well set up our supers are in order, we have insurances and we pay a little extra on our mortgage every time but now my husband works away our goal is to
save routinely from his paychecks ( however little). In not getting accustomed to the money we are not tied to a fifo life.

Whilst I know we only are on less for a period of time until I am back to working full time in a couple of years. However, that doesn’t mean we are in stalemate right now- no siree we can still creep forward at the pace which suits us at the moment!

Are you budgeting? Have you got savings goals?

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Having a baby on a budget-#2

There are no two ways about it having a baby is expensive. However, in my experience, there are some cheaper ways to do things.

We were given so much for our baby. We didn’t have a baby shower, as I really don’t like them, but we had plenty of generous gifs when she was born and also lots of people gave us second hand items.

My suggestion is borrow, use second hand items from gumtree and ebay don’t be snobbish. Some of the toys may be really faded but if it proves to be a favourite you can always go and get a nicer one knowing your money will be well used. Milly gets through toys fairly quickly and I love to be able to use them and then sell or pass them on without regret. I did choose an item I loved and got this new ( the jumparoo) but I got it on half price sale so it was a bargain and would resale for what I paid anyway.

We were given a lot of items or sold a lot cheap and second hand this was brilliant. I had no qualms if I was so sleep deprived and she had done an almighty poonami just binning an outfit if I knew it had served three kids. It also helped having back up clothes if you didn’t make it to laundry and she had pooed and spewed her way through six outfit changed that day! I have just been through all of her clothes and made a massive pile to pass on to pregnant friends ( what goes around comes around). I did buy, and was given, some more special clothes all of which have been saved away incase the next baby is a girl and if not will be sold.

For Christmas we knew she would get a lot of smaller toys so we put all our money into a larger, good quality toy, which would last. Again, we got it on sale.

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We also put away some toys from birthday and Christmas and every now and then I put some away and get new ones out… Also people often ask what she would like. I had a list. I hate it when people specify actual items as, in my opinion, a lot of the joy is in choosing, but I offered an area… bath toys, books, outdoor toy etc that way you have a variety.

Baby food is pricey. Milly has home made with recipe books you can get from a charity shop ( mine were a gift), I try and do homemade at home and shop bought pouches when out. I pick these up when they are on special. Some days its too hard, I haven’t heated/defrosted food in time etc and in that case we use a pouch… honestly you can only do your best.

Look at smaller ways to treat yourself. A monthly beauty box, bath bombs, a book. Time is often short and money is less. Each time I sold items I rewarded myself as well as her with a little something. You need to feel good in yourself as a mum too.

Finally, I would say in my experience. Try not to stress it. Milly has great stuff and spent yesterday in a nappy playing with a box and old waterbottle! be inventive people didn’t used to have all this stuff. Also, be realistic. IS everything  really worth selling? I prioritise what I sell and other stuff is passed on or sent to charity. I wouldn’t have time to sell everything and I really have found by being as generous as we can to others it really does come back around.

ANY BABY BUDGET TIPS FOR ME?

Having a baby on a budget- #1

Over the last year I have learned a few things about budgets, babies and now we look set for me to potentially not return to work I think its time to write down some of the learning to share with folks.

So you find out you are pregnant, holy bejeezus, time to freak out! Actually its a time to be really happy, but also to acknowledge life is going to change A LOT!.  First up, in most instances, you have 9 months to get straight and prepared. This advice is not about having a baby on a super tight budget it is about having a baby on your budget. So first thing have some conversations. Our conversations revolved around, our thoughts for the future; would he be working?, would I be working?, would he be working away? For us we hoped that I may be able to work part time, IF I WANTED, and he would be working at home a lot for the first year and we would review.

Once you have an idea of long term income, work out what your budget it. We always base it on worst case scenario ( or lowest income scenario) for us this is him working, from Perth and me at home. Then work out your outgoings and see if they meet the incomings. For us they didn’t!

We then worked on reducing outgoings, we combined insurances saving a few hundred each week, made sure we had all insurances necessary ( after all you will be responsible for a little person so you do need to be sensible), moved our house to a more competitive mortgage, spoke to people about bills ( our back to base monitoring just halved our bill when we mentioned not requiring it any more) and generally know where your money goes.

Now it was conversation time again, once bills had gone out it was time to look at food and try to plan and shop more sensibly which I have written about before

We also didn’t want to have any arguments around money. He likes a beer, playstation games and I like makeup and clothes so we each had pocket money each week. This is used for food not from the kitchen, trips out and our chosen indulgences aswell.

Then talk about other expenses. We placed an importance on keeping me fit in pregnancy so spent money on pre pregnancy exercise and physio. We also had our baby privately which we thought was a good use of money.

The luxury of doing this early meant we had 9 months on both incomes to practise, because you wont get it right straight away, we actually saved a lot of my salary which meant we had a buffer. This buffer was money we could both decide to spend on items- we are coming to the end of it now but bought baby nursery items needed, paid for the birth and health care, a new bigger car ( bought outright) and we had the house re insulated and cladded ( which means we can stay here for another baby). It has also meant a relatively stress free first year of Milly’s life with a mum at home full time which in our opinion was priceless.

How did you prepare your budget for a baby?

BUDGET

  Finance. It is a big word. It is something we all have to deal with on a day to day basis for the whole of our lives. In my personal opinion I pride myself on money not being overly important to my happiness. At the same token in order for it not to affect my happiness too much It is something I have had to work at. Some people love shopping, drinking, fine dinners and spending for others happiness is financial freedom and I feel I fall into this category.


Let me explain. I have always had a history as a pretty good saver. After university I had few savings. In fact I still have few savings but I do have investments. I prefer to have less money available for me to spend so it works for me to have around 90% of my pay designated to other bank accounts. A few years ago my other half and I decided that we needed to get smart about all of this. We got some help from a finance man and we now have all our Super (pension) in one moderate risk location, we have a house and we have lots of insurances for ourselves and our items. If you are going to spend on a big ticket item (such as a house or car it really does make sense to insure it). Take all these and your regular bills and this is the start of a budget. These are your non negotiable and included in this is the mortgage.

You then have the next level of spending; this is your life spends. Things which are pretty essential to your living how you want to. For me this is food (which is an essential but I include it here as I spend more than just basics on a weekly shop to get better quality food), foxtel, some pocket money and anything else you may need. I prioritise fresh food over eating out so we spend, what I would consider, a fair bit on the weekly shop. After talking to others it is not outrageous and it seems that we don’t buy heaps of junk or anything I just don’t limit fresh food. I do shop at cheaper, locally sourced shops where possible. My car is a very small car which  costs $45 to fill. I don’t watch the fuel prices as I fill this car once every 2 weeks at the most. We also use my car over the ute for long journeys as it is cheaper to run. We have foxtel at home which is a luxury because he loves the sports channels and I love UK TV, we also have a linked in deal for internet and cheap calls to the UK. Plus our mobiles. All of these items are non essential but fairly reasonable to our lifestyle. All the above comes out of our joint account which we each pay a set amount into. I also consider trips back to the UK essential items, not a holiday. Obviously this is a luxury but for me it is more important than other luxury items so it falls in this category.

Once all of this has gone out of our accounts we have spending money. Each month we both have a set amount to spend. This is in our private accounts and it is enough that you can have a few treats ( meals out etc, clothes) or save for something bigger. I like wishing for items and having a limit on our money means that this still happens.I love this way of doing things as it means I have no idea or care what he spends his money on and he isn`t bothered about mine. I know couples who monitor each others spending and this is a great way not to.

What is left is savings. For us this goes on the mortgage or in an offset account against the mortgage. Until a few months ago this money went on paying off the car and student loans etc.

I have found this works for us. You have to be honest about the kind of life you  lead so your personal budget is workable for you. I found paying off one item at a time worked. This year we would like to get to a point where we have a couple of months wages saved to help out in any untoward situations. 

Obviously we can make a decision to spend some money on a holiday or something like that and we can take that money from the offset account. We have also done our house very slowly and done a lot of work ourselves which has saved lots.

I think our budget is pretty reasonable and I feel that I am ok at sticking with it which must mean it is comfortable. At the same time my spare money is not so big I can afford everything; I use wish lists and I turn down social occasions if I have already been out a lot that month.

As another note I use a credit card. Ours gives us frequent flyer points and also free travel insurance for all flights booked with it. If you can be disciplined enough to pay it off regularly I would recommend this.

I always have a note on my iphone for each month of where the money needs to go and as soon as payday comes around I transfer it. I then have a second budget for my spends for the month. Example… I am paid in 2 days and I know that of my pay I need to spend the following; mobile bill, hair cut, eyelash extensions for the wedding, hens night and this will leave me with a little free money for other activities.

I think not having too much spare money means you look after what you have. I also sell clothes on ebay which frees up money for new items. I am also an avid sale shopper. I think this is all good practise as we may have times in our lives without 2 incomes and this way of life would be sustainable there would just be less saving.

Budget and finance seems to be something people don`t often talk about. I recognise freely that we have a lot and are in a fortunate situation. I am always interested in  how other people organise their money.

Image: google images
How do you fix your budget???

A very budget Christmas….mark 2

So as the other half doesn’t read my blog I can post a few details of what I got for him to unwrap on Christmas Day Incase anyone else needs stocking filler ideas. I also, in my frenzied shopping state, may have accidentally bought the dog a cat ball! Bad maman.

So I set myself a budget of around $100 which sounds like a lot but doesn’t go too far in perth. I wanted to get lots of things for him to unwrap and a lot were the kind of things we would buy anyway but I got them now to bulk it out. I won’t say lots of the actually gifts Incase the sly old dog does check I here. If you are reading cob I love you and bought you novelty boxer shorts and some tampax that should have put him off just Incase!!!

Actually some of the stocking fillers I found included

Gold coins
A Christmas goblet for Christmas wine $1 Kmart
Candy canes
A crossword book
5 x $1 Christmas lotto scratch cards… This could be the gift which keeps in giving

The rest of the stuff was a few slightly bigger $20 gifts and a whole arrant of cheaper items which all go together as a package.. Cryptic huh?

I am pretty pleased with this, as I didn’t want to do a big gift as he had already had it I think I did well. I came in under $100 until I saw a toothbrush which plays lady gaga whilst you clean your teeth with a different song for the morning and evening.. Which he needed. Or more to the point I needed him to have!

what are your top bargain stocking filler tips?

Just call me

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Budget update

As I may have mentioned before I have put myself on a strict budget this year with some clear savings goals for this year and next year and a joint plan for the next few years to allow myself and the other half to get ahead a bit before we start to think about two becoming three (or four!).

In terms of the big savings I am pretty good, we have a joint account for the mortgage ( which we pay a little extra on each month) , bills and food and I am getting better at getting the food bills down and eating out less every month. Each month I put a large chunk of my wages onto a specific bill which I am paying off one by one…. Such as my student loan or car loan. I am also saving for the wedding adventure next year.

As you can imagine this leaves me with… Not too much each month. It is with this money that I am rubbish. I am good at sourcing bargains using gumtree etc but not good at getting rid of unused stuff on gumtree… So this weekend I am clearing out and selling items we have not used for 12 months on gumtree.

I had done a clear out where I got rid of items which were too big for me but I think I need to be honest and now I am settled in my role realise I need far fewer clothes now I live away every other week and have a uniform. I also have items which I would love to wear but just don’t… It’s probably better to sell them now rather than hold on to them until they are no longer on trend and no one wants them..so today I re clear out the wardrobe and am listing loved items which I just don’t use on eBay tomorrow… I will add some links and pictures on here, possibly with a summary of why I am selling them so I don’t re buy items with the same problems.

To be honest Australia is quite a lot more expensive than England so I do still like to get clothes etc from the uk and save up to buy when I have a trip home. It’s hard when you have lost weight to learn not to buy everything in sight as it looks so much nicer now.

I think I may need a budget in a budget… And for my next break to put my head down, spend zilch and paint my house!

How do you budget? Any finance management tips?