A bit of history. 2020 I finished on Simple Savings with the hope I would be buying a home. We all know what 2020 will be remembered for but I did manage to buy a home. I also managed to incorporate a health scare. All is well health wise and we moved into our home May the 7th 2020. Me and my two teenagers. Now here's the thing,I was 64 when I got the mortgage. I had to borrow through a second tier lender because of my age and they would only give it to me for 15 years. I borrowed $332,365 it was structured like this....$12,356 was on a flexible plan meaning I could pay as much as I wanted as long as the minimum was paid.The interest rate was a huge15.49% and they gave me 7 years to pay that off. The remainder was $320,000 interest only at 5.4%For the first year. So of course I wanted to get rid of that $12,356 as soon as possible. At this time I was earning good money and threw everything at it and I managed to get rid of it in 4 months.

I got a bit lazy after I paid that off and just continued to pay the $1600 each month on the $320000. I saved a little but spent a bit here and there as well.I then found out that I could pay back $10,000 of the principle without it affecting anything but not a cent more other wise I would have to pay a fee for breaking the fixed period. So the first thing I did was up the monthly payments to $1900.After a couple of months I asked them for a transaction summary(There is no online services) And to my horror I saw that I had paid back, including the $12,356 ,$14,486.36 But in interest I had paid a huge $11,210.65....OMG I was gob smacked. So here is what I decided to do......

1.Focus on getting the mortgage down in five years.

2.Researched all the saving challenges I could find and came up with some myself.I had to keep it fun and I had to be working on at least one of them each day.

3. Make sure my sinking funds,Rates,shoolFees,holidays.and bills accounts were getting added to each fortnight so I didn't need to dip into my savings to pay these.

Now a good wack was going onto the mortgage anyway,$19000 a month. I Have decided to double that.This means my wage from my main job will be servicing this mortgage. I have another income stream of not quite $20,000 a year. We will be living on that.

So anything I can save above and beyond my normal wage will be going into the mortgage fund and added to the two payments of $1900.The secret will be to pay it into the Mortgage account every chance I get as the interest is calculated daily.So I can only pay up to $10,000 off the principle until it gets renewed in May.So at the moment the balance is$315,664.29 And I plan to get it down $310,664.29 by the beginning of May 2021.

So what saving challenges have I been doing.

1. I remember this one from years ago on simple savings. I want a $1000 but it looks huge so just save $1 a 1000 times. As soon as any cash adds up to $1 it goes in a tin and then recorded on a sheet. Since the 1st of Jan I have 135 dollars. As part of this $1000 I am also saving all the $5 notes that come to me. I have $150 worth of 5's total is$285. I have a piece of graph paper with 1000 squares on it and for each dollar that goes into the tin or $5 note a square gets coloured in. I may or may not transfer this over to the savings account before the $1000 is reached I'm thinking about this.

2.I budget $3 a day for power, I can check each day how much we spend. Anything below the three dollars goes into the savings account. Yesterday we only used $1.93 so $1.7 went in. I only started this challenge on Tuesday and have $3.33 but I like this as I do it every day.

I will post once a week on here what my total is ,savings and mortgage balance.The balance will be readjusted each month when they send me a transaction summary.

3. Each Friday I take a Card from a kids Bingo game and choose a number. Depending how much money I think I can smuggle from my cash envelopes or from an account I will transfer over to savings. Of course this all has to be doable so the number that I chose this week was 48 but instead of $48 I made it $4.80. it's important for me to make it work and to do something everyday.
4. Each Monday I pick a playing card from a pack and find that money and pay that across. Last Monday was a Ace which is $11. I took that from my food envelope.Again I could have paid $1.10 but I wanted to push the boat out haha.

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10 comments!


Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Some years I have been more focussed on observing it than others. Last year, in the aftermath of my son's sudden death, Lent just passed me by. This year, in the face of global tragedies, I increasingly feel the need to be thankful for all I have, and to grow my willingness to share.

Because of COVID, many of the fundraising event our Parish relies on were cancelled. This year, I'm trying to think of ways to contribute more, and so I thought I'd use Lent as an opportunity to give up some things and donate the money to my church.

For those who don't know, Lent is the lead up to Easter. For many (Christian) traditions it's a time of reflection, self-assessment, and voluntary sacrifice. Some people give up foods like chocolates, or meat, other people give up things like telly or smoking, or give up time to do charitable works, or fast and pray.

The things I am choosing to go without for the next 6 weeks are:

  1. Chips, chocolate and store bought biscuits or crackers
  2. Paying someone to whipper snip for me (I could cut the rough bits with scissors, or ask to borrow my neighbour's and have a go myself)
  3. I'll stay home more so I spend less on bus fares and use the time to read library books
  4. No take away food, take food with me, even if I don't think I'll be out all day.
  5. Limit my coffee buying to one per week.
  6. In March, do 2 x $21 challenges.

I am sure I will come up with other things to save money as I go on. I also have some other things I'm planning to do (like watch less telly, and write more) that don't easily translate into savings, but I'm sure have a positive knock-on effect

If anyone would like to join me in their own Lenten challenge, I would love to give and receive encouragement. I don't think this challenge will be too hard, but I know from past experience how my "wants" can derail me. Support is welcome!

71 comments!


Dave Ramsey

I have been watching Dave on Youtube and find that most of what he says makes sense and I am already doing most of it but my way.

I am slowly building up my emergency account. I could have my first $1000 but then I would need to take out the car rego so it's my way versus Dave.

Lowest debt first (also highest interest) paid off at the end of next month. Snowball the next one.

I always thought that you should pay off the hghest interest debt first but it makes sense when Dave said it is a mindset thing that once the smallest is done it will keep you going to the next one is paid off etc. Can't believe one episode I watched they had 39 credit cards!!!!!!! One is enough LOL

Am able to make little extra payments to mortgage each week. This is in redraw so extra if needed.

Frugality

Have watched and read a few articles on this too and have realised yes I am frugal when it comes to a lot of things. I have been for a long time.

I take my lunch to work. May buy twice a year.

Always change out of work or town clothes when I get home. Habit from school days I think.

Takeaways - I won't pay for them. If we have them it is because DS wants them and he will pay. Fish and chips or pizza from the supermarket are a lot cheaper.

I don't op-shop as the only time I have is a Saturday morning and I am busy doing other things (and I forget). I get a lot of clothes handed down from DD. We get great sale catalogues at work at the end of each season but I rarely buy anymore.

Me

This year is all about saving hard to move in a couple of years - maybe sooner.

I love handcrafts and have lots of supplies. I am hoping to use as much as possible up this year. There are man UDOs that I need to get done or passed along.

My only expense will be batting for quilting projects and cottons.

I have some furniture to paint and was going to do some yesterday but it was cool and drizzly in the morning.

DD supplies all my cardmaking goodies so no cost there.

14 comments!


Happy New Year!!

Made myself a timetable/schedule to keep me on track to do things.

I have a holiday timetable and a timetable for the rest of the year. Christmas break and school holidays still have an affect on me even though I have nofamily members going to school at present.

So far I have been using it for less than a week and have ignored two days scheduled routines. hangs head in shame....

I am doing crochet classes online on the days that I would be doing knitting/crochet and volunteering. So far first segment is almost done. Discovered that trying to see strands in off-white is just as difficult as white and black and navy. :-) Sewing up the six blocks is 3/4 done. Next lesson is crocheting them together. Need to finish the sewn together blocks first.

My planned routine for the evenings is to sit with DH while he watches/snoozes TV. A few evenings a week are taken up with caring for his feet health and lymph drainage. Crocheting of other projects is done during the evening around planned caring.

I'm supposed to be baking today. W.e.l.l, I washed up. Fed the cats and generally tidied the kitchen, but I did not pull out any baking supplies.

Time to do some work. Me thinks.. Think it will be crochet as it is too late to start baking now. Maybe next Wednesday.

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313 comments!


Mimi (Guardian of the Home & Budget) - 11 Apr 2014

You can use any chocolate you like and they're especially delectable made with Lindt or Couverture chocolate for grown ups.

For the kids, it's easiest to just use Chocolate Melts.

You might have heard about 'tempering' chocolate. I largely find this is unnecessary, as by using the microwave method to melt the chocolate, and removing it before the bits are quite melted, it's automatically tempered. Just zap it and stir every 30 seconds, removing from the microwave when there are still a few chunks, then stir until smooth. Easy!

These are so cheap and easy and pretty, that you might never buy real Easter Eggs again.

Mimi's cheap and cheerful Easter Freckles

Makes 6 egg ring sized freckles

You'll need:

200gms of chocolate

6 egg rings (or you can do them freehand or use another cookie cutter shape, sticking with more basic shapes like hearts or eggs)

Cake decorating sprinkles of any sort

Clear cellophane for wrapping

Satin craft ribbon and fluffy craft chickens

Baking paper

Then just:

Lay out a sheet of baking paper about 30 cms long, on the bench or table.

Set out the egg rings or cookie cutters or trace shapes on to the paper to use as a guide. This amount of chocolate is enough for 6 egg ring sized freckles, so you need six egg rings, or shapes traced out.

Break the chocolate up and put it in to a microwave safe jug or bowl. If you're using Melts or buttons, then obviously this step is unnecessary.

Microwave the chocolate on 50% power for 30 seconds at a time, stirring it after each zap.

Once it's at the stage, where as I mentioned previously, it's largely melted, but some large lumps remain, remove it and stir vigorously until the chocolate is smooth.

Divide the chocolate equally between the shapes or rings, and smooth the tops. Sprinkle with 100's and 1000s or my favourite, metallic pearl cachous.

Allow to sit for about 15 minutes until firm. The ones done on traced shapes will just lift off. The ones in cookie cutters or egg rings need to be very gently pressed around the edges to release them. Gently does it though or your freckles will break.

Sit your freckles on top of one another inside a large square of clear cellophane and tie it off with some ribbon. Stick a fluffy chicken to it with a piece of tape would with stick side out into a ring, and stuck to the back of the chick, then to the wrapping.

Done!

A really gorgeous Easter gift for about $2-$4.

You can use different types of chocolate, you can marble two kinds of chocolate together, you can layer dark and white, use different sprinkles, or decorate the top one with a sugar rose or other sugar ornament from a cake decorating supplier.

Have fun!

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32 comments!