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Archive for December, 2009

Review of My Daily Living Allowance for missing months of 2009

December 31st, 2009 at 11:33 pm

It is time to review my daily living allowance for the missing two months of my 2009 budget.

These were January 2009 and last month of 2009 December. So by adding in here so I can finalize 2009 as I am going back to monthly summaries for 2010.

As I missed posting January 2009 here when I started so I am adding it to the December 2009 posting so that I can sign off on this challenge and have all the data in the same year.

These are the categories for this challenge.

Items ----- Approx Budget-----Spent

Eating out ----------$67.00------$84.05
Groceries -----------$271.00-----$173.03
Non-Food -----------$33.00------$27.17
Clothes--------------$67.00------$46.00
Grooming------------$25.00------$63.68
Gas -----------------$50.00------$34.01
Pets ----------------$98.00-------$72.77
House Items --------$83.00------$14.65
Fares ---------------$17.00-------$0.00
Entrainments -------$25.00------$46.67
Garden --------------$17.00------$25.13
Gifts & Donations-----$67.00-----$100.16
Medical & Scripts ----$30.00------$188.95
Misc -----------------$17.00------$0.00
Personal Allowance --$168.00 ---$122.28

Average for the month $1035 - Total $998.85

No Spending days over the 62 days = 31 days in total.

As I missed posting January 2009 here so I am adding it to the December 2009 posting so that I can sign off on this challenge and have all the data in the same year.

Again I had glasses add to medical as I was out of pocket $165 this year. In grooming I would have been shopping for hair dye as I do bulk if I find the right price at anytime of the year. Always buy clearance stock most of the time it because of new packaging or a change in colour and I only use only use red tone ones so I normally in luck here. I will buy a year supply if I can.

Have a Happy New Year everyone

December 31st, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Well it that time of the year again, all the fireworks are on. I can see them from back door or at my neighbour house which does give you a better view.

But you also can view Sydney one on TV which is the best in Australia. We as a nation go all out on fireworks of some reason. I do remember when we were allowed to have own bonfires in the back yard or in large paddock as a kid. Mostly it was a neighhood ones where a number of family pooled together and took they own fireworks along that was much safer than everyones sky rockets off everywhere and setting houses on fire. Now days you cant do this anymore as you need a pyrotechnic licence here and only large venues can do it now, that is not to say people still get hands on some fireworks and let it of illegally too!

No spending day

Last lunch outing for the year

December 30th, 2009 at 10:54 am

Today was my monthly lunch with friends; we went the casino again but to a different restaurant this time. They have charged the rules there. Early on you could get a meal for $10.00 with Coffee and Cake with about 10 different meals to choose from with table service, now it has charged a great deal, it self service in that you get your own tray, cutlery and napkin tell the chef which meal you are having then you move on to get a cake if you are having that then to cashier.

Most of us a have members cards but different colours so if you white one which by the way most do have that one then you are classed a non-member and need to paid $14.00 for same thing as before but the menu for this meal now is a pick of two dishes only, all other meals are $9.00 or $12.00 and extra for coffee & cake of $6.90. Personally I was not happy with the meal today but our lot the majority wins!

So next month we may go back and see what the other restaurant has in store for us. They may be changing the rule there too!

So I had Chicken Kiev but I have seen the same piece of heart shaped chicken in the supermarket deli as Chicken Schnitzel pieces for about $2.50 each. I had to pay $14.00 less my Senior 5% off for it with small salad and chips along cake & coffee. It was better the two beef rissoles I would think!

Christmas food leftovers

December 27th, 2009 at 05:55 am

I dont have that many leftovers as the others have kept the meat & salad leftovers but I got all the Christmas sweets treats that was leftover this year. Greek shortbread, Apricot balls, white chocolate crackles, a mini plum pudding and coconut ice animal lollies that the children made. I do have some brandy custard in my fridge so I will be right for sweet treats for a week or two with what I have in the freezer too! All White food again but for coconut ice which is bight pink!

I also was given today more gifts today of box of chocolates and tin of Belgium Chocolate Cookies, these were from DF-M daughter who flew in last night to bring DF-M home and then she flew back home today! Her mother doesnt like flying on her own. Her other daughter and family took her down (interstate) earlier in the month but only stayed for two weeks.

No spending today

My crazy presents update

December 25th, 2009 at 07:37 pm

Christmas has come and gone here, I had lunch with my DS in laws, White Christmas Dinner with turkey, chicken, ham off the bone, potato salad, pasta salad and coleslaw when you looked at the plate everything had tones of white. Including the desserts wine trifle and lemon meringue pie there was a plum pudding and fresh cream but no one wanted it! Its summer here so we went swimming between courses in my DS pool, sun was out but some light showers though the day.

As for the presents that I bought, they were happy with them! My DS still played billiards but never when I am around. My DIL gift was something she was looking at in the home catalogue this month.
As for the 3 year olds gift they were happy to have something that wasnt a toy and could put all the other bits into it. She got a Barbie pool for Christmas but left her Barbies dolls at her place, so my DIL end up digging up one of her childhood memory Barbies for her to play with she had 13 of them! Her Mum s plant was well received as she had killed the one she had.

As for my Christmas presents I got a beautiful long silver chain to go with a silver owl drop I got earlier in the year, CD of Susan Boyle I Dreamed a Dream, DVD Masterchef & cookbook , DVD Boxed set of Miss Maple with 4 movies, DVD Australia movie, Baking calendar for 2010, Dutch Pancake Maker plus Secret Santa present of some toilettes.

One of my DIL presents from her mother was ideal for someone who loves going shopping on Boxing Day. A Small Christmas Tree with paper gift tags on it each gift tag had $50 note on it!

So my crazy presents were not that crazy after all but they were more lot more frugal than what the others had bought.

Christmas Eve Food Bargains

December 24th, 2009 at 09:52 pm

As its Christmas Day here, I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season.

Yesterday I went to our local Food for Less Store at 5pm about 2 hours before closing on Christmas Eve. (It has different times to other supermarkets here.) The manager was marking down all the markdown goods as I was one of two people in the store he was calling to me which was the best deals as he wanted to get rid most of these items. I went for Brandy Custard which was markdown 50% off Monday price. As I only walk refrigerator areas if I am not shopping for anything in the aisles, when I got to the meat section I found the manager. He asked if I looking for anything, no as I have got an almost full freezer but then said the porterhouse steak was marked down for $5.65 from $18.82, four nice thick pieces too! Chicken thighs markdown to $2.06 from $8.39. At the baking section all the markdown were 75% off so no baking for few days, I cant heat my oven for these prices Double Chocolate Butter cake $1.37 from $5.48 Banana bread slices $1.06 from $5.98 and 8 mini chocolate chip muffins .69c from $3.89 I would never have bought these at full price ever. All in my freezer for now! I got to get over Christmas day first. I never even cooked this year as it just me here and I will be going to my DS place for Christmas Lunch today.

Saving $35.23 - Cost $14.33 -RRP $49.56 (71% overall discount which is not bad for here as we have no coupons at all!)

The final lot road works done!

December 22nd, 2009 at 10:06 am

Well the local council finishing gang came yesterday and finished the road surface off. No dramas this time, but I am just leaving my car in its garage and will take it out on Christmas day as I dont need it until then. The road is still warm but driveable even after a very heavy storm today. The heat coming off the road this morming was hot.

I can walk or catch a bus to where I wish to go. In fact I did catch a bus today to the city so I could post a special letter that I need to make sure that it was posted and not lost. I posted it in the main post office as our postal workers are on strike and it on then or off kind of strike just before Christmas for the last few days.

While in the city I paid in full my credit card so I will start the New Year debt free but not for long as all my early January bills are starting to arrive. Its no big worry as I have the money ready to cover them.

Crazy Presents for Christmas

December 21st, 2009 at 12:05 am

Buying that extra little crazy or silly presents for Christmas is something I do all the time.

I give store gift cards as the main presents each year plus a crazy or silly present. I do have very practical view on gifts I just dont like buying rubbish. I am always on looking out for bargains when I shop.

So this year is no different I had just two gift still to buy when I did my wrapping up. Both token gifts one for my son and other his 3 year old niece. I budgeted around $20.00 for both gifts.

I was in the toy section of the Target store, looking at what was available for the 3 year old what is very spoilt and she likes DORA items. All toys were 25% off but the prices were still not in price range. I only do see her once or twice per year and she is on my DIL side of the family. I did pick out 2 cheap dolls but then I found a DORA laundry basket near the price I could pay, $12.88 markdown from $25.00. So I put back the cheap doll that I had my hand while walking back I came across the sporting department. In which I found my son gift that was practical and little crazy. Billiard accessories, table brush $3.48 to 65c, billiard chalk $3.52 to 66c, mixed piece care kit $15.65 to $2.51 and tip replacement kit $8.96 to $2.24 they were all markdown so some of the items were markdown by 50% off and further 25% off as they were classed as toys plus 5% retired staff discount off the total also. Not bad all up. In the end I paid $18.37 for both gifts thats $12.24 for laundry basket and $6.13 for the billiard accessories. I still dont know if my son still plays billiard but he does have a very large slate billiard table in his family room.

Saving (RRP $56.61 -$18.37) = $38.24 so my crazy gifts are not so crazy after all!

Update!

December 18th, 2009 at 05:32 am

They finish doing the road base just now!

They did give up doing a normal job on it. When they got it dug up they found some of the White Clay was still wet. Yes potter clay no wonder it kept breaking up after heavy rain, so in the end they did main roads surface job on it, its something not done normally on side streets, only where heavy traffic past over all the time. The road base is now 100% asphalt road base surface to 200mm deep 40 tonnes of it with a felt sheet over the clay to start with then asphalt on top of that. No rain today. They were extra careful near the water pipe, it will be a nightmare to dig up if they ever have too! Now the finisher gang is to come early next week to put the final bitumen surface on top. Hopefully thats all for next 15 years or so!

They have to do it again!

December 17th, 2009 at 09:29 pm

Well the road gang is back today to dig up the road yet again! It rained while the water pipe was being fixed and as the natural surface is clay which becomes very soft when wet with over 20mm of rain in 20 minutes it did just that with the runoff. When the biggest machine drove over it the road base gave way under the 3 tons weight of that machine. So today they are digging up about 20 metres most in front of my house and over the water pipe again so here hoping that they dont break it again.

Bit of a hick up this morning

December 15th, 2009 at 10:13 am

They are still working on my street at the moment; they have finished the kerbing & channeling. Today they started on the road surface; outside my stretch they needed to go down to 225mm not the normal 125mm of road base. So while digging out the old road surface they broke the water pipe to my house. This is while I was doing the washing today. So I never got to finish washing until seven hours later. Water board had to replace the copper piping for 6 metres of 9 metres wide street. While at it they put in a new washer for the water meter too!

This broken pipe put the road gang back by about 3 hours as they still had to finish the job to a certain point before they stopped for the day. Now they will do second half of the street tomorrow then when they finish the topping gang will come and finish the job on Friday or before Christmas I hope.

New Glasses

December 14th, 2009 at 06:22 am

Around this time each year I get my eye tested and a new pair of glasses order as I am allow one pair each year on my health fund up to $250 worth. I go to optical store that bulk bills so that I am not out of pocket that much. If I left it a few more weeks I would missed out for this year glasses.

Today I pick up my new glasses, this year I got two pair ordered, one pair I provided an old frame so that I can replace my house glasses as they were so old and brittle that they needed replacing ASAP. I am luck that I have had no change in the lens prescription so that I can use all other ones for different jobs.

Last year I got sunny & glasses that I got were not as good as they should have been when driving so now I will need special pair in the car in both sunny & clear glasses for day & night driving. If I am not wearing glasses I can not drive as I can't see past the bonnet clearly! I do have enough pairs to do this and to keep them in the car at all times. So today costs for value $418 plus with extra special discount were $115 for two lots of lens and one very nice Italian frame. Not bad when you can get it. I am getting back what I paid into my health fund each year so I come out even when I add some dental work and chiro refunds onto it.

Saving today $303

A lesson on shopping center vouchers!

December 11th, 2009 at 10:28 pm

If you read in an earlier post I said that I still have a $100 worth of vouchers that I need to spend by the end of the year at one shopping center.

Well I did manage to get my son to take me there, but by the time I got to his place because he was coming off night shift and needed to sleep first, I got to his place around 2.30pm after getting caught up in Friday afternoon traffic with all the semi trailers (18 wheeler trucks) some doubles coming to the warehouses or depots near his house.

We changed cars and head off to the shopping center which he works at too! This is about 20 minutes from his house as he hadnt had any breakfast let alone lunch we first stop in Lunch hall, just leaving me one hour to shop. So the first shop that used the vouchers as not all stores did. I bought there.

Restocked my underwear & nightwear as I was 20% ahead with my vouchers in the first I think I did pretty well, 2 night gowns, 4 bras that fit, 10 pairs of pants all for $82.69. Now you know me, I like a bargain and yes they were all on special at 25% off for bras and nightwear and 50% off pants.

I end up with $15 worth of voucher left so as I was going out for dinner with son & DIL, I end up giving them the vouchers as part of my share of our meal plus the extra cash to make up the different. We had a Chinese Banquet for 4 but as only there were 3 of us, I got to take home any leftovers now I can see a least 3 meals this weekend will be Chinese leftovers, Chicken & Corn Soup, Fried Rice, Sour & Sweet Pork plus mixture of the chicken dishes. Its not everyday that I have Chinese banquets but I do like them. Normally my son would the leftovers for his next days meals but they are not working this weekend and have a party to go to Saturday.

As for using these kinds of vouchers again, I would not buy them again when you take in the gas and the time to get there. It wasnt worth gas to go back and spend that extra $15 worth of vouchers when the others go there 5 days a week.

As for saving on the day

$20 off the cost vouchers (paid $80 for them)
Underwear & nightwear save $34.50 of RRP
Paid $30 for the meal but took home $30 worth of meals
Snack 2.45 with coffee save $2.45 on free coffee (Senior%)

All up spent $115.14 for the day
Value RRP $152.09 plus $20 off vouchers & leftover food to take into account.

A lot stuff stored in cupboards

December 7th, 2009 at 11:10 pm

Someone said the other day Do remember what you have stored before you go and buy more.

This is very true, I must have bought over the years heaps of stuff from bargain bins as well closing down sales that I have been to over the years. So much so that my storage areas are now overflowing with stuff, all good and usable too! I now dont go to any closing down sales or even look in to many bargain bins anymore I just leave it all for others now. I may from time to time look at food bargain bin ones if its a great buy that I will use very soon then I may buy it.

I can get very mad with myself if I need something and then have bought it just because that I forgot that I had it in the store cupboard. I have bought over the years number items because I did direct selling at one time and finish up with a lot of stuff leftover that I still need to use up even now!. I just dont even think about buying these items in supermarkets or department stores now!

One cupboard is still full of beauty products as I dont go by best before dates, I will use them up if they still look ok to me as they are all still sealed. Most were samples or special deals that I got as I end up my own best customer so I got out that side line once I work this out.

Climate Smart Meter & Solar Panels

December 6th, 2009 at 04:02 am

About 12 months ago I got a Climate Smart Meter Power checker installed here, one of our state government deals to reduce power usage here. Its a device that checks how much power you are using that minute and it cost. I needed do a battery change a few months back so the pricing got changed by accident and now is out by a few cents for each watt. Not that I am worried that much as the power cost has gone up since then and its in the pipeline that its to go up a lot more over next few years something like 25% more.

My hot water is not on this tariff but still shows on the climate smart power meter, when this is on 49c less any phantom power and then if you put anything else then its more. I am averaging around 12.6c most of the time. Lowest before charging batteries was about 1.6c but now is about 2.35c at night with no hot water on and just phantom power for things that needs to be still on and with no fridges or freezer on.

A few months ago I got six solar panels installed here, another government grants to the tune of $8000 plus our state government working on bulk order deal that in the end costing to low income earners a few hundred dollars to have installed this offer is now over. After nearly two months our energy supplier finely came and installed the new meter so that I can get rebates on any extra solar power that is sent to the grid because I wasnt using it. Daytime power is now mostly solar powered and I even sending some back to the grid.

Its now 14 days since that meter box was changed. I have use 83kW of grid power and generated 56kW of solar power and sent to the grid 16kW on top of what I have used. I am averaging 1/3 solar and 2/3 grid kW use per day. I have been monitoring it for 78 days now, so I can see a pattern forming of using 8 to 9 kW on grid power and generating between 4 -5.9 kW of solar power per day..

Last summer I was using 16.27kW per day with very mild use of an Air Con at times when temps got over 34C inside the house.

So in all it will cut my bill down to a bearable price and ever more if I get solar hot water installed next year as my name is down for another grant for that one too! I would never be able to afford it if I had to pay full price. So I have done my little bit for Climate Change in this household but I will be on the look out to do more in the future.

Update
Costing of all is well over $9500 in the end I am out of pocket only $355 including the Climate Smart Meter which I got a refund of the cost from the local council.

Still to come is the Solar Hot Water worth over $2500 out of cost I am told will be with senior discount around $100 out of pocket. Which checking my inbox just a while ago I am just now waiting for the grant approval then it will just need to wait my turn for installing.

With all these schemes will, its hope save on building extra coal power stations in the near future. We do have the sunshine here as I am getting over 13 hours per day with my solar panels now!

Review of My Daily Living Allowance for October & November

December 5th, 2009 at 12:02 am

Its time to review my daily living allowance for the past two months of my 2009 budget.

These are the categories for this challenge.

Items === Approx Budget===Spent

Eating out==$67==$106.27
Groceries==$271.00= = $171.05
Non-Food==$33.00= =$16.34
Clothes ==$67.00==$35.47
Grooming==$25.00==$14.70
Gas==$50.00 ==$31.45
Pets== $98.00 ==$68.44
HH items==$83.00==$145.43
Fares== $17.00 ==$20.00
Entrainments== $25.00 ==$0
Garden ==$17.00==$41.88
Gifts & Donations ==$67.00== $4
Medical Prescription ==$30==$84.28
Misc ==$17.00 ==$99
Personal Allowance ==$168.00 ==$136.74

Budgeted for this period $1035 spent $975.50

No Spending days over the 56 days = 22 days in total.

As I said in the last review of Daily living allowance which is my challenge this year, these are the areas which I dont a fixed spending amounts but can go over board at any point. But can cutback quickly if the need does rise. Approx amount for the two months.

Here is a summery of this spending period. More medical out of pocket expenses not covered in the fixed budget. Along with going out a little more than normal and eating out a lot more than normal. Along with buying more books in personal allowance with portion of this amount are books.

Reusing Past Christmas Decorations

December 2nd, 2009 at 11:55 am

Its time to think Christmas again so all my Christmas storage areas got raided today and things that I will use this year have come out to be used yet again! All my decorations are reused from year to year as I have stopped buying them now!

I have just finished putting up my decorations, two small Christmas trees one is Advent Christmas tree and other one is two feet Christmas that I bought over 11 years ago when I gave up on large trees and all work that goes with it. I put out some things to remember the past generations and memory of years gone I have put the plastic wreath on the door and hand made one in a fixed window plus out the angels that people have given the family over the years. Now it down to doing my Christmas card which I have enough to last a lifetime as a lot are now sent via email instead. As for wrapping paper now with not having a lot of people to give gift to its now enough for lifetime too!

Now its down to look at my gift list and last of my Christmas shopping before the shops are fill with children and people buying last minute gifts. I now dont walk fast enough for them so I avoid this time of the year in shopping mall if I can!