Intentional Spending – September

I’ve realised it’s been a long time since I’ve put money into the mortgage. I’ve been putting money into my savings account every month but not so much the mortgage. I’ve been lucky that my fiance has been working a lot of overtime so he’s been putting in enough to cover both our share and then some which has been great. I on the other hand have been using that money to pay off all my various medical fees because I didn’t want to transfer money from our offset account if I didn’t need to.

September Spending

  • Make up – up to $50.00
  • Train ticket for check up with the surgeon – $6.00
  • Train ticket for final check up with surgeon – $6.00
  • Flights to Brisbane – up to $700.00
  • Book accommodation for QLD – up to $1500.00
  • Flights to NZ – up to $1000.00
  • Nephew’s Birthday present – $100.00
  • Food for Grand Final Day BBQ – up to $100.00
  • Doctors appointment – $80.00

This is my list of additional purchases.

  • Black loafers/shoes for work – up to $150.00
  • A new water bottle that tallies how many bottles have been drunk, is BPA free and made of glass – $50.00
  • Single serve bowls that can be microwaved x 4 – up to $50.00
  • iPod – $219.00 Note – I’m not sure about this item anymore. The specific iPod I wanted seems to no longer be for sale and the next one up is $299 and is the size of a phone so I’m not entirely sure I want to purchase this. I’m going to keep it on the list for a couple of months whilst I shop around for the one I want
  • Flat black ankle boots – up to $200

I feel like there is more but for the life of me I can’t think of anything else. My diary doesn’t have many plans in them for this month that requires spending but that seems like a very little, albeit expensive list. I’ve also added another item to my additional list. A pair of flat black ankle boots. I have wedged and heeled boots but not flat ones so I’d like a pair to add to my wardrobe.

The money I sent to the ATO for my HECS debt was returned to me. Obviously it didn’t go through so I’ve put that money back into savings. I’m still waiting for medicare to approve the rebate for the anesthetist bill so I can take it to the private health insurance.

In the next couple of months I’m going to start looking at purchasing new furniture and artwork for the house. I’m hoping that in the next couple of months the new door and floors will have been put in so I can start looking at what I want to do with the rooms. These purchases will most likely go into additional purchases as they will be purchases as I find things that I like.

Budget Spend – $4262.00
Additional Spend – $669.00

Intentional Spending – July Wrap Up

Wow, I did really bad at calculating all my expenses this month. I’m so over and I knew it around the 20th July which was 6 days after pay day.

Here’s how I fared in July’s Intentional Spending.

  • Lunch at the Sofitel for a friend’s birthday – $110.00
    Lunch ended up being $116.00. And delicious.
  • Xrays etc for surgery – $850.00
    Xrays and moulds were taken – $850.00
  • Dinner with friends – $100.00
    My fiance paid for this dinner.
  • Train/Uber for Barossa Dirt – $30.00
    We used the train both ways – $6.00
  • Drinks for when my best friend is back in town from overseas – $50.00
    Drinks turned into lunch first so I paid for that – $62.10
  • Train/Uber for fiance’s mid year social for work – $50.00
    Got the train to and from the event – $6.00

Here’s how I overspent

  • Dinner after Barossa Dirt – $82.00
  • Forgot about my water bill – $232.00
  • Going away drinks for a colleague. Not once, but twice. And I paid for the first rounds. I have to stop doing that because I’m always driving so never get shouted drinks – $42.00
  • Forgot about the coaching course I signed up for. Whilst I had the deposit money saved, I forgot about the monthly payments – $396.00
  • Impromptu dinner out with girlfriends. One decided on a last minute visit from Perth so of course that meant dinner and drinks – $25.00
  • New headlights as both my mine blew within a couple weeks of each other – $19.00
  • New Pj’s – $24.00
  • Internet Extender (so the wifi actually reaches my old bedroom whilst I’m staying at my parents place – $49.95
  • New jacket – $39.00
  • Online Diploma (I like studying for fun) – $49.00

I spent an extra $957.95.  Whilst it is a lot, I’ve included the water bill in there. Part of my savings strategy is to put away money for these types of bills but if I can, I like to just pay them out of my everyday account because then the money I’ve put in the savings can be moved to an actual savings account. The course is something I’m going to have to be really mindful of because it is almost $400.00 extra a month that I knew about but didn’t really realise it if you get me. I know I can do it – it may mean tweaking how much I’m putting away for stuff for a few months.

I also bought an item that wasn’t on my list nor was it on my clothing list but an item I realised I wanted whilst reading Natalie’s Intentional Spending post and that is a leather jacket.  Initially I wanted a real leather jacket and was happy to spend up to $300.00 but wasn’t happy with anything I’d found. I was in Target one day wandering and found a faux leather jacket that I quite liked. It had silver hardware which was good as I don’t like the gold and whilst it had zip details it didn’t go overboard. Plus it was on sale for $39.00 so I decided to buy it. I’m really happy with the purchase because it was pretty much exactly how I envisioned what I wanted except it’s not actual leather.

I didn’t purchase anything under the Additional Purchases however my fiance did end up buying a doorbell. I’m fairly sure it’s haunted as it makes a weird barking/electronic noise in the middle of the night but it’s a doorbell that I did not have to pay for so it’s now crossed off the list.

Budget Spend- $1130.00
Actual Spend- $1040.10
Extra Spend – $957.95

How To: Plan For Bills

For some reason I still get surprised by bills that arrive in the mail. I’ve lived out of home for over 4 years now and yet I’m never prepared when my water bill comes, or when the rates arrive or anything else. It’s never an issue of not having money, it’s more that I want to be more prepared for these things.

So this is what I’m going to do.

  • Print out 2 calendars with all the months and dates on them.
  • Write down all payments that happen on a certain day of the month in each month on both calendars
  • Go through the last year of bank statements and write down when bills were paid (I generally pay all my bills within a couple of days of receiving them).
  • Write them down on the one of the calendars and Ta Da! I have a list I can work off for the upcoming year.
  • Write down on the unused calendar at the start of the month when bills can be expected.
  • Stick it up somewhere and cross them off as they start arriving and noting what day they are paid/due.
  • Add any new bills to the calendar.

The good thing is that once this is done, it’s done. I don’t have to do it again until the following year and it’ll be a much easier process as I’ll only have to refer to the previous calendar. It’s also a good method because you don’t have to rely on a calendar year or a financial year. You can start and end at any month. I’m planning for my current calendar to be from September 2017 to August 2018.

I hope this helps to minimise the surprise of bills arriving. Lucky for me it’s never been an issue to pay bills but I’d just like to be more aware of when they’ll arrive.

Wedding Budget Tips That Are Actually Helpful

Personal finance became an interest of mine in throughout 2016. I’ve always been ok with money but it never worried me to spend without thinking. Now that I have more responsibilities in my life, it’s become apparent that there’s so much more for me to learn.

At the moment I’m juggling a mortgage, car expenses and bills. I’ve just finished paying my braces off so am now saving for jaw surgery and for home renovations.

I’m also saving for a wedding.

I’m no stranger to wedding blogs. I’ve read a lot of articles about DIY and saving money when it comes to weddings but none of them seem to resonate with me.

My biggest issue is that the tips always seem to be really generic and focus on changing what you may want completely.  I get so frustrated by the ‘Have a cocktail reception instead of a sit down dinner’ or ‘Buy a second hand or off the rack dress’ or ‘Hire an up and coming/student photographer for 2 hours’ because it’s not always practical advice.

Whilst they are worth considering, what happens if you do actually want a 3 course sit down dinner? What if you don’t want a second hand dress or want to design your own? What do you do if you want an established photographer for 12 hours because you want to capture every moment of your day?

These tips are in line with those articles you read where couples have amazing looking weddings for $3000.

Except the reason it’s $3000 is because the groom’s mother is a caterer, his step father owns a picturesque winery, the brides aunt is a dress maker, the maid of honours’ cousin is a florist and a family friend is a photographer and their services are gifts to the bride and groom. These articles don’t really provide you with any real help on how to save money on a wedding except to know people. Whilst I think it’s great to utilise what you can, not everyone has family and friends who have the skills or resources to help when trying to keep costs down. And perhaps not everyone wants to ask favours of their family and friends.

But in saying all that, here are some tips that I think are actually helpful

  • If you are not attached to a date, consider an off-peak month. Many venues have cheaper rates and also a lower minimum as they just want to have their venue filled. You may also be able to negotiate some freebies or upgrades. This is also something to consider if you have a dream venue in mind but not enough people to reach their minimum requirements.
  • Look into different days. Saturdays are the most sought after so venues can charge a significant amount more. I chose a Friday as it ends up being $120 pp rather than $170 pp as it would have been on a Saturday.
  • Book early – the venues that I looked at tended to have prices for each year. We locked in a venue for 2018 and because we booked so early, we locked in the 2016 price.
  • Consider all options if you’re unsure of what you want. Look into a sit down dinner, a cocktail reception and a high tea. You can also look into a courthouse wedding with a lunch, brunch or bbq afterwards. There are so many options now that accommodate all budgets.
  • Do what you want and not what you’re supposed to do. My sister and husband didn’t have a cake at their wedding and guess what? Not a single guest noticed.
  • Weigh up your options between a venue that’s all inclusive and one where you have to organise the lot and compare whether there’s a saving to be made. Also consider the work you will need to do on your part and whether you want to accommodate that.
  • Packages vs bar tab. You know your guests best. If they’re big drinkers a package may be a cheaper option for you. If they’re not, it may be worth getting a bar tab. There’s also options like a cash bar, BYO or a dry wedding.
  • Think of the season. If your heart isn’t set on something really specific, seasonal foods and flowers may be a cheaper option than trying to get something out of season.
  • Be true to yourself. Don’t think you are going to DIY everything if you hate crafty things. I love to think that I’ll DIY but I’m lazy and don’t want to stress about it so I picked a venue that does everything for me.
  • If you want an established photographer that’s too expensive, look at the packages available and see if you can get one tailor made for what you want. Many photographers will happily work with you to see if they can accommodate your budget.
  • Think about your bridal party and what you want to pay for. It could be everything or it could be nothing or it could be bits and pieces. But decide early on what you want to do to make it easier on your budget and for your bridal party as well.
  • Ask questions. I asked a million questions before deciding on my venue because I wanted to know exactly what I could and couldn’t do. The worst the venue could say to something that I knew wasn’t included was no.
  • Look at non-wedding specific vendors. I looked into cars and was appalled at how expensive wedding cars were. I then looked at chauffeurs and they were about 1/3 of the cost.
  • If booking with a venue, ask if they have any deals with hotels nearby. My venue has 3 hotels they have a partnership with so myself with my fiance and my guests can have discounted rates should we choose to stay at a hotel.

These are just some things to consider when planning your wedding. I’m sure there are a lot more but these are the ones that I personally found the most helpful when trying to work out a budget.

I’d love to hear any other tips you have!