Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Catching up on 'things'

With no technology ~ sometimes there is only the time to stop... 

Gee there is quite a bit to catch you all up on...

No car for 8 days, coinciding in part with no comms for 10 days makes for a very frugal period of time ~ creative making do and knowing only so much can be carried on a push bike! Fifteen days of prehistoric survival. No phone or internet, only mobile which changes to a 'plan' with free internet . . . on 24/11 . . . so there you have it. Cut off from the world ~ at the least the lawnmower was repaired at some point in there. We were fine with the mower ~ the repairer called us to advise how going, when going, collected and going.

Let's get the whole recap started with the car ~ the initial quote was $625, although this changed the day before Husband took it in as the wrong engine details had been provided. Now the quote was $700 ~ no sweat, better than $1000! That was Tuesday night, 9 November, organised SmallBoy to be taken to and from school, with the possibility of needing the next day (better safe than sorry). Husband was running a little behind schedule to get to the mechanic by 5pm using the deadly treddlie and called to say he'd be there no later than half past.  No point mate ~ she's not ready...

Ten minutes to collection time arranged and cool as 'it ain't gonna happen'.  Foine ~ not really ~ but what can we do?? Even though Friday here was a public holiday for Show Day, the mechanics would be and we'd have a car for the weekend. *phew* It's my birthday that weekend ~ and Show weekend ~ we could watch the Saturday fireworks from outside, enjoy a picnic at the side of the road even and avoid the expense and crowds. Not renown for reliable, safe, timetabled buses on the weekend ~ the only other (non) option is taxi and that isn't going to happen either!

Saturday came ~ so did the mechanic - to pick me up and drive me to a doctor appointment which had only been put back three times and I really did need the medication by Saturday. Friday even when said 'car for the weekend' was still on the 'wonder if it will be our car, a loan car or no car' level, we could have gone in after hours for prescriptions only and tried for Monday when, surely our car would be ready. Cap it off ~ didn't get to the Show, so that was a savings win; plus the weather was disgustingly bad and fireworks got cancelled so missed out on nothing there. 

It was a beautiful day on Wednesday 17 November when finally the car, set to be ready any time from the previous Wednesday, was actually there for retrieval, driving, to have the new registration paid for awaiting adhesion to the windscreen since Thursday 11 November, to avoid driving unregistered as of Sunday 14 November ~ a very auspicious day in the big scheme of things ~ my birthday. We did get a discount on the final bill, to cover my taxi home from the supermarket across from the doctor on Saturday - we were now expecting visitors up on Sunday as we were car-less (still) and unable to travel! 

All up, we were charged $600 ~ the original quote, less taxi fare ~ and having fared us well for the local, about town run *thinks*  ~ let's just say the longer journey of Melbourne and back was substantially more eventful that the usual trip, resulting in a lot more country-side seen, a lot less people visited and yet another family semi-inconvenienced with the need to bring the SmallBoy home to us... again!!  Saving $100 on the bill was good - but might be needing that to check all is actually running properly after the weekend drive.

Budget Re-done; Out-goings Reduced ~  

When we started our Mission, our financial status as at the end September / start October is listed on the Financial Report page.  We shall leave that as is, to show a starting point and this entry will show our financial status as at the end November / start December ~ the journey over the past two months. 

Our income has increased slightly - Husband and I each receive an additional 50c to our main payments, there is also a nominal increase in one of those family payments. We now receive $1340pf. *party*

The VISA interest rate has been reduced from 20.9% to 9.2%, the minimum repayment is down from $336pm to $100pm however we've kept paying $150fn (min), plus extra when under budget as mentioned in the Weekly Updates and your gifts.  All this has reduced the amount owing from $5836.33 to $4962.64 with $500 to be put on this week from the ATO :P

The Mortgage repayments have been kept up to date and (relatively) on time. While not forming part of the 'debt' we are striving to eliminate, it does form part of our regular outgoings and stress levels, we've reduced that from $165,900 end of Sept to being $164,300 end of Nov with $245 in redraw! All those little $5 deposited each Monday and Friday automatically is such a good practice

The Mortgage is the good side of our home loan package ~ time to hear the adventures relating to the evil twin, The Line of Credit... 

When we started, the Line of Credit was $21,764 - pushing the final few cents of its $22k limit (excluding the NIVA which we refer to later) ~ today the Line of Credit sits at $23,309 in debit. Just prior to Hellstra unleashing its evil communication-severing service 'magic' ~ we had been talking to our lovely lender about ways we could ease our financial stress and burdens without losing the house, or fear of losing the house, paying but not necessarily all the 'due' totals. On 12 December, documentation was emailed to us, thankfully downloaded and saved that day because that was the end of phones and the sudden limiting of Internet access.

Earlier in the month, we posted the outcome of a reader 'dare' ~ finally getting in touch and doing something about the never-reducing Line of Credit. We might not have been able to send anything using the convenient electronic/Internet connected methods accustomed to when our Internet provider InterNode has the ability to use the wholesaler (Hellstra) on a line connected to our place ~ no, not going there...

We did the math and checked it thrice ~ and have asked the NIVA part of our $25k LOC be reduced to $1k from $3k as we are not using it and is better there as a buffer of just in case we need cash, it is there. This 'pushes' $2k back into the LOC without trying to 'balance' a $3k-NIVA, and back under $22k (just). We are in the process of arranging to effectively 'freeze' the mortgage side of the account for three months, meaning $520pf is free'd up for 3 months ($3200ish) which can be paid against the LOC and bring it down to $19-$20k, during this same time. 

There have been reductions made to our usual outgoings, shopping visits are able to stretch further especially now we can actually see items in the pantry ~ gee it is brighter in there with the wall gone! Must get those curtains up! Using 'new found' specials in the cupboard as made the menu planning easier and requires less from the supermarkets.  We are getting under the $150pf mark most fortnights now, $100 spent 'rich' week and as much under $50 the 'poor' week as possible.  The summary is now:

The Normal Outgoings 

$ 200.00 pf  ($522.13 pf) ~ Mortgage (min) ** if auth'd by 4 Dec, next due
$ 150.00 pf  ($200.00 pf ) ~ Food, groceries and sundries
$   90.00 pf  ($117.92 pf) ~ Internet, land line, mobiles 
$ 100.00 pf ~ Gas + Electricity payment plan 
$   57.07 pf ~ Insurance – House, contents, life
$   75.00 pf ~ Council rates, water rates, registration
$   20.00 pf  ($90.00 pf) ~ Doc (now public, was private); Meds
$ 5.00 pf ~ Microsoft Gold fees – connects XBox, Wii for me, Skype
$   20.00 pf  ($50.00 pf) ~ Savings
$ 100.00 pf ~ Fuel – petrol
$ 847.07 pf   ($1317.12 pf) Total per fortnight outgoings

We've stayed up to date, some with changes, on:
The Struggled Goings
$   33.00 pf ($44.00 pf) ~ Refrigerator rental - yoemans
$ 197.90 pf ~ Personal loan – wyndham
$   75.00 pf ($91.40 pf) ~ VISA (min)
$ 100.00 pf ($150.00 pf) ~ $5 - $10 to bills, water, home care, mortgage, bills collect 
$ 375.90 pf  ($482.40 pf)

Incoming pf:  $ 1342.90  ($1256.94)
Outgoing pf:  $ 1262.97  ($1800.42)

Outstanding Accounts
$ 836.00 ($870.00) - HomeCare Services
$   36.00 ($106.00) - School fees
$ 370.00 ($390.00) - Dental account
$ 249.90 - Magazine subs
$ 590.00 ($800.00) - Electricity and Gas - payment plan costs set
$   43.33 ($192.28) - Water arrears 
$1301.40 ($1421.40) - Collections

(reduced total by $570)

We have reduced our out-goings to free up almost $80 cash a fortnight, removing the struggle to try and find an additional $600 on top of our incomings each fortnight and continue to pay down the balance on overdue/outstanding bills. eBay has helped, as has reader gifts. But most of the action has been from Husband and myself, and a heap of understanding, tolerance and contribution by SmallBoy. Every canteen order not ordered is $5 we don't need to 'find as automatic' twice a week. The mortgage amount budgeted above most likely is to the LOC, it still going to be made within our budget and not beyond. In-roads have been made on bills outstanding - everything has a lower outstanding amount. We see that as a positively positive negative...

 ~ Action Stations ~  

As soon as the car was back, it was off to the library with ready, printed, finally signed and dated printed and hand written forms, letters, statements and guff to get the application in progress. Sure, cost $9.90 to send an eight page fax from a library, but its an investment in obtaining relief and reduction.  Chalk it up to experience because with the phone back on for the weekend (!?), yesterday I called our Salvos Centre and found this next set of requested papers can be sent for free from the Salvation Army Community Support office. Taking that as having saved $10 to get the medical reports and other guff required in addition to the first fax... *arrgghh*

Learn from our experience people ~ if you ask the right worded questions to the right person at the right service you will get an answer you can obtain help without it being for food or bills. Saving $10 to send a fax is huge - half a $21 Challenge week!  

The outcome of the Hellstra debacle did mean the line our Internode account was 'connected to' ceased to exist to our land-line ~ oh, and seriously, when you get the recording 'the number you are calling has been disconnected' think phone company cock-up not late bill payment, please :D ~ to get the Internet and VOIP we had to reconnect. We did need to come up with $120 immediately for that ~ we do have a credit on our land-line account for that same amount, it will pay the line rental for 5-6 months so that frees up $17 for a few months!

 ~  A Little Income-Tax Boost  ~  

And we've been rather wise ~ well, we think so ;D
With a little under $3500 in refunds being received (off course while with no car to go sign and collect, then no Internet to use/move the funds once paid into our account) ~ we decided on Friday we will put $500 onto the VISA, $500 onto the Mortgage, $1000 into the high interest savings for the LOC once the NIVA limit is reset, the final $1000 was used to secure solar panels with the maximum rebate and RECs higher than our outgoing electricity charges before changes to the limits end of the month. We've got a year to have the roof ready for panels that will be needed, but it secures all the rebates to $10k. The remainder of the refund is towards SmallBoy's birthday, my sisters' birthdays and Christmas...

Currently searching for any methods to get the roof fixed and stabilised for a 3kw system - even though we have not purchased that big, it can be expanded upon over the years and best have it roof ready now don't you think. As we expect to get the family tax payment reconciled and balanced with Centrelink, this might throw a few hundred of outstanding entitlements to top up the Christmas cheer, New Year merriments and some over for the LOC which should have been sorted by the time that is calculated. Fingers Crossed!

More to get ready for the Weekly Update tomorrow ~ so we shall leave the re-cap there for now. We are really pleased with our efforts, changes and boy is there heaps to get onto eBay this weekend.  Yes Tupperware fans ~ there will be some awesome items including a full original Back2Basics set, still in the box. Maybe two...

The Menu Plan and week schedule will be out on 'Mands on a Mission' on FaceBook later tonight ~ a small shop is expected this week (it is big shop week, but we might make it under budget as we use the pantry supplies). Feel free to 'like' or 'follow' or whatever there is to click and stay up to date!

Shall catch up tomorrow night 

1 comment:

  1. Mands - you are making such great inroads. Hope you are really proud of yourselves!!