Saturday, February 12, 2011

Toddling on...

New day ~ took it slow and admired my surroundings.

Having been on Centrelink payments exclusively for the past six months, I am  amazed anyone can have a positive, fulfilling life or lifestyle for a long period of time. Perhaps 12-24 months as a stop-gap necessity due to loss of employment or illness, and in the beginning with my loss of income we had savings at hand to draw from. When Husband's hours were reduced as part of the financial crisis we could still manage comfortably and continue some additional payments on the mortgage and additional expense repayments. On benefit payments alone it is a struggle *understatement*

So Less Is Best ~ we can attest to this statement! Not just on the expenditure side of life, but also the clutter. Oh it is starting to look a little more respectable and you can see the floor - and its vacuum'd!! It will never ever be featured in Better Homes and Gardens but gee it might just be welcoming...

Lessons Learnt So Far

I guess the biggest lesson learned was to have income protection or some form of insurance on both income earners salaries ~ even if one is 'just doing admin'. Especially if you have just taken out a mortgage and not finished paying off a $25k credit card and started a personal loan for $15k.

It's wrong to say we've been without $250k salary income over the past five years ~ but using the 'if' statement of "if this hadn't happened" that's four years of my income and one year (pro-rata) of Husband's that we've not had.
Weather any storm with planning
~Mands Top Ten tips to get your finances in order

1. Don't ignore the problem

2. List and prioritise your debts

3. Design a personal budget

4. Live within your personal budget

5. Stop using a credit card ~ If you must use a credit card, avoid luxury/impulse items

6. Learn to negotiate ~ 9% interest on the credit card is better than 21%

7. If you can't pay the bill or lower the debt in (2), contact your provider - ask for a payment plan

8. Learn to save ~ $10 a week is $520 saved annually

9. Check if you are eligible for government advice, assistance or payments

10. If you are threatened with legal action, get advice

Whatever you do ~ number one is up the top for a reason. If there a problem and you ignore it, let it continue to build up or pretend it isn't important, the end result is an even bigger problem with less negotiating ability at your end. Over the years I've asked for (and received) extra time to pay an account, an interest freeze on the credit card for six months, a payment plan to suit my budget (not their preferences) and removal of fees and charges to enable the original amount to be paid. I have read it costs a telephone company $100-$200 to solicit a new customer so removing a $5-$50 late fee or penalty  and to keep you as a customer is beneficial for the company as much as it is for you.

At the start of November last year, I provided the spiel I use to talk to our credit card provider when requesting a rate reduction.  You can check out the Financial Challenge dialogue and try it for yourself. I know one reader let me know she had success ~ would love to know if anyone else does.

I noticed the BareFoot Investor had something similar this week to help people get fees or late charges reversed ~ I let Scott know I haggle on everything possible. I wonder if he is following Our Mission?  Hey Scottie, Dude *chuckles, inside joke* if you do ~ please throw a few dollars into the Treasure Chest! You can use one of my saving tips in return. Greatly appreciated!! 

And a quick note ~ the stormy photo above was taken by me this morning looking out over the back paddock. Apparently this dark, stormy, humid weather is an effect of both Cyclones Anthony and Yasi moving inland. Yasi has been large enough to run its 'tail' into Victoria and I've taken some sensational photos as the weather has been moving through. Just a wee brag because I think my storm pics are better than my floral, fauna and foodie pictures. *blushes*

As Prince Dastan ~ brilliant
Must go ~ bed time. And having spent the last 111 mins watching Jake Gyllenhaal in the Disney movie 'Prince of Persia: Sands of Time' I am hoping for some very sweet dreams. If you've not seen it - do yourself the proverbial favour and get it out from the video store and watch it. Sure, Jake is well worth the look but the movie is visually stunning, the performances are brilliant and, having never seen or played the video game it is based on, such an exciting and adventurous movie. Twists and turns and acrobatics that will stun and amaze!

Got some cheap, easy and healthy recipes to share this weekend ~ I hope you will join our journey as we reduce our debt slowly but steadily and get back to saving some money!!  And remember ~ any spare change you can donate to help will be gratefully accepted - just pop it in the Spare Change Jar or use the bank account listed on the Q+A page.

Night everyone ~ thanks again for reading, liking and sending your messages through *cheers*

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