Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Super Sunny Day ~ and a Financial Challenge

Here bugs - chickens checking out the day's work 

It's been a great day here in the coldest place in Victoria. Sure ~ this could be debatable but when there is a FaceBook page called "Have you been to Antarctica - no, but I live in Ballarat", it is safe to say the place has notoriety for being bitterly, bloody cold!

Before we get into the day ~ including the necessary spending to make sure we are fire-safe, fire-ready ~ please consider the following challenge...


Last week, the Reserve Bank raised our interest rates by .25% - however the news that one greedy, glutinous bank decided this was not enough and raised its rates higher, really hit a sore point in many people's pockets and accounts. So far this has not hit our mortgage, however we expect it will by the middle of the month as this is when it seems to change with each increase (end of the month if its a decrease, but that's a discussion for another time).

As mentioned previously, the interest rate being charged on our credit card was up over 20% ~ that is one fifth of the balance and a ridiculous amount when you think about it.  Every $1000 we spend means an extra $200 ~ so on $5k, that is an extra $1000. We can go higher, but you get the picture (we get the charges!) No wonder the banks are raking it in

So I called VISA and asked if we can get that brought down to under 10% - halve it or more. Nothing ventured, nothing gained the old saying goes - right?!  Well - not only did we get our interest rate lower- it was lowered more than 50% to a much more 'reasonable' 9.2% PLUS no annual fee ever again. That alone saves $90 a year. 

There was an article in the paper saying most people find it too hard to change banks to better their financial position. Our Prime Minister and Treasurer suggest to provide the banks with motivation to start 'healthy competition' we should change banks. All the newspapers are touting 'six easy steps to change banks' as the way to go. We say - you can do this with one phone call.  Really - why go through the rigmarole of changing banks when you can negotiate them down to a lower rate in a telephone conversation taking about 10 minutes?  No paperwork, no hunting around - one call, one conversation, one instant change of interest rate - no new numbers, pins or accounts. 

So, before you look to change banks - ask your bank what it can offer to keep you as a customer. Works every single time.  Have a few competitor rates on your computer screen and aim for the one you'd like to be getting and see if they can match it. 

We challenge every single person with a credit card with an interest rate higher than 15% to call their bank and ask for it to be lowered. And, if you successfully get an interest rate cut of 5% or more, tell us about your 'win'. Consider putting a few dollars into the Treasure Chest or Spare Change Jar as a thank you to us for challenging you to make that call.

We will make it easy and provide you with the following dialogue to help you :

You:  "Hi, I'm calling about my credit card interest rate and was hoping you could reduce it to below 12% "  (or be daring and say 10% - I said 'reduce it be under 10%')  

-  [[ don't let the operator speak yet, continue with ]]  - 
"See I've had XYZ Bank offer me a card with 9.6% ongoing interest, and I've seen CitiBank offering under 2% on their credit card but I've been with you guys for the past (4) years and really have little to complain about other than my current interest rate - - can you help me out??"

- [[ OK - let the operator speak now ]] -
If you get any grief, or comments like - you've not been keeping on top of your current payments - say:

"I know. The interest is killing me ~ that's why I thought it would be better to call and see if you could help me, rather than just leaving you and going with the better rate that XYZ has offered me"

Obviously XYZ Bank needs to be a different bank to the one you bank with.  We usually mention one of the big banks advertising heavily at the time.

See how you go and let us know ~ tipping there will be success!!

Keeping Our Mission in mind ~ if you do happen to follow this suggestion and succeed, please consider putting something into our Spare Change jar or shout us a few Cafe Memories via the Treasure Chest to say Thanks for the heads up.  We will definitely say thank you in return *big smiles*

So - about our day
It was a surprisingly beautiful day here today ~ and we spent it cutting the grass, both with the trusty scissors and a mightily expensive, but extraordinarily beneficial, slasher half-day hire to bring the high grass down low.  $99 to hire for four hours - but what a massive four hours it was. Husband has done a terrific job over the grass both inside and outside the gate (as you do) and the little vegetable beds have been weeded ready for planting in some of the seedlings we have been growing in tubs in our 'nursery'. The soil is lovely and warm, well turned and oh so inviting for little bebe veggies to go in. 

The little roosters have been moved into the final corner of 'Big Bed' where all the blackberries have grown up again. No doubt they will have that eaten and scratched up by the end of next week and we can start readying that for planting the summer crops.  We didn't get potatoes into the tyres as hoped, but the tubers we had stored in a box and sitting in the fernery have decided to grow anyway, there in the box so we'll let them go for it where they lay.  Honestly, its probably the best place for them this year and will mean that area will be inundated with potatoes and break up all the old soil ready for next year's eating pleasure!

SmallBoy has somehow managed to get enough sun to be a little sunburnt - so not the intention, but he will be all browned up by Monday. He was so eager to help with the gardening (not!) ~ but collecting the bugs, larvae, worms and snails for the incarcerated chickens keep both him and the chooks happy and involved in the day's activities. After throwing four wheelbarrow loads of lush, green grass to the cows over the fence he was inside for some xBox time and the chooks were let out.  They all ran straight for the newly weeded garden beds and had a fine old time eating what every insect life they could get their beaks into! 

We sold a dozen fresh googie eggs to a lovely local lady and have had two other enquiries, which will hopefully see some of the eggs go to good use.  We've got 9 dozen in the fridge, thanks to the addition of a few chookies we are 'baby-sitting'.  Mother-in-law will take a dozen home with her, two are designated to a girl-friend who has been struggling with the dollars too - the rest are up for sale!  Mind you - we get 6 to 8 eggs each day so as fast as they go, the eggs keep on coming! Our neighbours get a dozen each week and for the friendly relationship we have made with each, it is so worth sharing the yokes!!  

Tomorrow we will get the final corner of weeding done then get down to the Botanical Gardens to see the Bonsai exhibition.  SmallBoy reckons it will be 'dumb' but as he was able to explain all about the workings of bonsai, we think he will enjoy it as much as we will. 

The Daily Report has been update and pictures of the garden will be uploaded into Mess to Impress shortly. It really has been a busy, busy day!!  Hope yours was just as productive!

Until tomorrow ~


  1. Hi Mands
    Well done in getting your rate decreased.
    I tried today but struck out - he told me as I only have a limit of $550 & $0 owing, there was nothing he could do. Bugga!
    Anyway good for you

  2. Good on you Nicole ~ tipping you are pleased its your zero balance that prevented a discount! I've had a message from a young lass with $25k owing who took her rate from 21% to 11% ~ she called her super hero! And added $1 to the spare change jar. Thanks Renegade Rosie!!