Archive for April, 2009

Friends and money

My husband recently travelled south for a birthday party for a friend he’s had since high school. A large number of his buddies also went down, and my husband organised the flights for one of them, since he saw some good deals online, knew the guy was intending to go and wanted to let him know about the deals. Well, he must have booked the flights five weeks ago, and the actual weekend for the trip came and went two weeks ago. They went and had a great time. But guess what? Not a cent has yet been forthcoming!

I asked hubby about it when they got back. He said his friend had told him that he hadn’t been paid correctly and so didn’t have the money yet, but that he would get him the cash `in a couple of days’. It’s not a small amount, at least not to us – it’s $360 for his flights that we are waiting on.

The positive side of this equation is that  we are finally in a position where we don’t owe this money to our credit card, as I used some of our week-to-week cash to pay it back pretty quickly. But part of me feels like he’s not that concerned because we have a double income and I think he figures that we don’t need it. Not that he’s checked that with us. Every dollar we have is going in to improving our financial situation at the moment. That means I haven’t bought lots of things that I’d love to get.

I guess I’m just mostly annoyed because it’s something I would never do. That is, I would never allow friends to book a flight for me if I knew I couldn’t pay the cash back to them quickly. And believe, me, for most of my life that’s exactly the position I’ve been in, where I’ve had to say no to group activities because I didn’t have the cash. I studied at university for eight years while my friends travelled the world, meeting up with each other in exotic locations and pressing me to come too. I know it’s not easy to say no when friends get together.

I guess we should probably just let it go, on the understanding that you don’t lend friends money if you expect to get it back. It just seems that `lending’ wasn’t what I believed we were doing when we ordered those flights.

What does everyone else think? Am I being unreasonable? Should I be more understanding that he just doesn’t have a lot of cash and miscalculated what he could afford?

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Time for a new look

Well, I haven’t posted for a while, and to be honest, the reason is that I was bored. Not so much with saving and tracking our money, but with this site.

So a new look was in order – hopefully, that’ll clear out the cobwebs and hopefully you like it and it remains easy to read.

I’m back at work now and very focused on our goals at the moment, due in part to the imminent arrival of two cheques.

The first is the money coming to us from the stimulus package , which should total $900 each. This money has already been earmarked to create our `debit account’. Remember how one of my financial goals was to create an account that we would draw on (and repay!) instead of our credit card? I don’t want this account to handle emergencies. Instead it is for things that have to be paid for immediately, even if the cash for them is not yet in. Some recent examples included the money I had to outlay for travel for my last elective – the refund of $900 took three months to finally arrive. A similar example came when we decided to go on our houseboat trip. The stimulus cheques were paying for the trip, but as you have just heard, they are yet to arrive. Luckily, we have underspent lately and we managed to pay off the trip with money intended to start our debit account. In any case, I do feel we have fulfilled the intended aim of the stimulus cheques (by going on our houseboat adventure), even if it does look like we are actually squirelling the cheque itself away. I also hope to use some upcoming rostered overtime to bounce that $1800 up to $2000 neat. And that will mean another of our financial goals for 2009 is met. Here’s hoping all goes well!

The second cheque will come from child care rebate for the previous quarter (ending on march 31). That should come in the next few weeks and will total about $1300. We intend to use $1000 of this to put into superannuation, because this may be the last year I am eligible for the government co-contribution. I hope to be eligible for the top rate of $1500, but I guess we’ll see when the tax year is over. In any case, if we do this another 2009 financial goal will be met.

Then we will be in an interesting situation … I had said that in a perfect world we would put any more extra savings or lump sums towards 2 `secondary goals’ – $5000 worth of shares, and then a much-needed new-to-me car. But I wonder if I will feel able to do either of these in reality. We probably can expect at least $2500 at tax time (since I have only been working for half the year), plus about $1500 in rostered overtime for me in the coming couple of months. Should this money go towards a home deposit, instead of either of these `extra’ goals?

I feel like there might not be a better time to get into the sharemarket than now, but maybe we are better off meeting one goal at a time. Maybe it’s silly to try to buy stocks when all our money should go into maximising our house deposit … I guess I’ll know when the money is actually in our accounts. Until then, figuring out what to do with this money is a bit like counting your chickens before they’ve hatched!

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