Archive for January, 2009

Savings going up

Well, I just had my second payday and I feel we are starting to make some progress. We were able to add $1300 this fortnight to our house deposit account, and have been adding $200/week to our emergency fund since the beginning of the year.

That puts our current savings at $800 for the emergency fund and $2900 for the house deposit. On Friday, another $200 will go in the emergency fund and make that $1000.

I also just recently had a change of heart and moved a $500 award (which I received when I finished uni) from the efund into the house deposit account, just to give that one a bit more of a boost.

I also aim to find an extra $1500 to make up for the first 2-3 weeks of the year, when I was not yet receiving my pay and we were therefore unable to put money into our house deposit. I’d like to find some creative ways to come up with this money, and aim to start by finding $150 to add to the house deposit account this weekend. I’ll let you know what I come up with.

In the meantime, we keep on `keeping on’, as they say. Work is busy and I was not paid my overtime this week, however I’m happy to let it accrue and receive it next fortnight.

Here is a list of all the things I have resisted buying in order to do this:

– a used treadmill

– some new bedding

– having my hair chemically straightened

– a new work wardrobe

My wants continue despite debt freedom, unfortunately!

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Obsessed with owning a home

Well, sorry for the lack of posts folks, but my first two weeks at work have been crazier than expected. I’ve really enjoyed it though and have accumulated a few hours of overtime each week, so there might be a little extra in my pay this week.

Today, however I am home for Australia Day! A public holiday is a nice chance to relax with my son and enjoy life in this fantastic country, though hubby is working as usual. For once though, the sky is cloudy and its’s not beach weather. I guess it might be a good day to relax in bed (so why am I online 🙂 ).

One thing I haven’t kept you updated on over the last few weeks is my yoyoing plans for the future. I am so desperate to own our own little patch of dirt, and this does not fit with our long-term plan, which is to save 20% deposit first. Part of the reason for my feelings of desire is that mid-year, the first home owners grant drops from $14K to $7K. I don’t want to miss out on that extra cash, but I also recognise that staying here long-term would make that extra $7K pale into insignificance.

We are still living in my father-in-law’s house and things are comfortable. However, there are two problems. One is that we are very much entertainers, and it is next to impossible to do that in any relaxed fashion with my FIL around. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful at the amazing opportunity living here has provided us financially. It has helped us pay off our debt and get ourselves together while I finished study.

But there is a price. There is a tremendous amount of care and worry involved, and sometimes that is hard. It is also hard to have friends around when an 80-year-old joins you at the table every time to dominate the conversation with gruesome tales of death from WWII. I do like hearing these stories and value his sacrifice, but perhaps not when my friends are visiting for a casual coffee and girly chat. Is that wrong? For eight years I have studied almost every weekend and we have had little or no money, so I feel it’s time to return to a social life.

The other problem is that I feel this deep-seated desire to set down roots and own something that is ours. I want to raise our child in a house that I love, one that I might look back on fondly. I can’t explain my desire to do this, but it feels almost as strong as the nesting instinct I experienced during pregnancy. Australians apparently have one of the highest rates of home ownership in the world, and owning a home is very closely tied with our self worth, so that could be part of it too.

All this means that I can’t help myself but scour the real estate guide each Saturday, even driving past houses I like. This, despite the fact we don’t yet have any real down payment.

On the plus side, we can probably accumulate close to $15K by the end of May, and between this and the $14K grant, we could be very close to a reasonable deposit. But I just can’t make myself settle on whether it is better to wait, save for longer, or just go with my heart and buy by mid-year. Repayments aren’t the problem, just trying to make financial sense. The global economic outlook should be good from my perspective, but it makes me even more confused because everyone keeps telling me houses will be worth even less in a year, so I should hold off! May be I should close my ears and just stop listening!

Let me know what you think. Should we wait and save more, or buy before July and claim a bigger grant? Some further info: a house would probably be in the $350K range (remember: Aussie dollars) and we could easily make the repayments, plus continue to put $200/wk towards our emergency fund. By June, our efund would have about $5K, and be more like $10K by the end of the year. The $29K we would have (the grant + deposit savings) would need to cover moving and buying costs, so I figure we would have about a 7% deposit. We should have adequate money in our billpaying account to cover insurances and annual rates.

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Where’s it from?

So, $986.66 appeared in my bank acount today! Not sure if it my long-delayed reimbursement for university travel expenses, or my first week’s net pay because the details are yet to come. If it’s the latter, I know I won’t be getting that much every week. It’ll just be because payroll have calculated tax on my income as if I worked the whole fortnight (effectively `halving’ the taxable income). Therefore I’ve paid less tax than usual this first pay.

I kind of hope this is my wage (not the reimbursement) because if so, it is more than I expected this week and I can still be sure that the reimbursement will be over $900. So I’ll check tomorrow – if both come in, it will be a good week for our bank balance!

My plan is to `find’ $14 to add to this money and boost our e-fund up above $1500 by the end of tomorrow. Yay!  Might have to look down the back of the couch again to find some coinage!

Oh, and my husband won $19.86 in lotto – that should make up for a few of the many entries he’s purchased in the past! 🙂

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First day of work – the package is good

So today was my first day at my first job, spent mostly in `orientation’ sessions. I heard all about fire safety, patient safety, etc etc … and then the payroll lady turned up (is it bad that this was my personal highlight – maybe not after 8 years of being at university??).

The best news she had to share was about the great superannuation contribution arrangements offered by my (government) employer. Legislation in Australia forces all employers to contribute the equivalent of 9% of an employee’s income to their pension plan, with no compulsory `match’ required from the employee directly.

However, my employer has an arrangement where if the employee does contributes to the pension plan at the rate of 5% of their salary, the employer will increase its contribution to 12%! That means each year my pension plan will have ingoing contributions equivalent to 17% of my ordinary income and I don’t have to do a thing to arrange it!

So I think that ticks off one of my financial goals for the year already:

“Goal 7: Salary sacrifice $25/wk from my wage”

Of course, this will also affect my calculations about how much I should get in the hand each fortnight, but that’s OK too. 

In other exciting news, I am to be paid fortnightly, but pay week is next week. So I will get `half pay’ (one week) this coming pay period. We’ll have to wait another two weeks before our goals really start to get off the ground. Once I get that full pay slip, I can book in with the financial planner to get the most out of the other generous salary sacrifice arrangements that my employer has in place.

I have to admit, having started work (finally!) has led to finally feeling like we are going to get started on the goals we have had – but not acted on – for so long. I can’t wait for us to get financially sound.

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