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Eight days a week

December 30th, 2014 at 11:27 pm

Years ago when i was a struggling single parent I used to get paid on a Wed and would immediately make a cash withdrawal for groceries, gas etc. One day there was a bank glitch and my pay didn't go thru for 24 hours. We made it on baked beans and potatoes, but i decided thereafter I would always wait a while before pulling my money out. I started making a withdrawal every 8 days instead of weekly, so consecutive weeks were Thurs, Fri and so on back round to Wed with a week's cash in reserve. After a few months I got ahead of myself, with a buffer in the checking account that I kept in case i overspent in one budget category, I wouldn't have to borrow from another. It also came in handy at Christmas.

I think I will start doing this again.

Bring it on

February 12th, 2010 at 06:45 am

I have over nz$1,000 in my bill paying account. I like to keep the balance at around $500 so I always have at least one month's buffer. I estimate this month's bills will come to $320. Can't wait for them to be paid and the end of the month to come so I can transfer the surplus to my EF. How weird is that - impatiently waiting for bills to arrive.

El Cheapo rules!!

July 1st, 2007 at 08:35 pm

I impressed myself with the end of the month's tally:

Income 1,005.33 (keep picking up all those pennies!)

Expenses 388.73
Household/toiletries 7.90 (Hurrah for vinegar and baking soda)
Groceries 64.70 (but now all staples in pantry are used up)
Eating out 9.80
Transport 10.00 (used only invalid's discount bus pass)
Clothes 1.20 (very happy about this - great pair of shoes, hardly worn)
Donations 8.00 (still have to make regular contribution to church so that will put total up)
Misc 39.50 (I wasted .90 on a library fine and 5.50 on bank fees because I let the balance slip below the required limit for free checking)
Power 119.00 (real frosty)
Phone/net 79.18
Home and contents insurance 49.45

If only every month could be like that! - but I did not have to pay some expenses this month such as medical and property taxes, or home repairs. However, now there is 616.60 safely stashed for future contingencies.

Free tracking

June 19th, 2007 at 09:14 am

I was looking for an alternative to MS Money, as I don't like it very much. I tried downloading pearbudget and a couple other freebies, but none of them would do all I wanted so I am juggling all these little spreadsheets whenever I want to update something.

Anyway, I'm going to check out this Lite version of AceMoney. it's supposed to do everything except multiple accounts, so as I am mainly concerned with my checking account, it might be worth a go

I also found this online tracking site, which means you can enter your data from anywhere, instead of having to save all the reciepts and enter them on the home computer.


February 1st, 2007 at 08:37 pm

This is a free budget program I downloaded at the end of last year. Today I came up against an annoying feature. I personalised my categories on the setup page at the beginnign of the year, BUT it has not carried them through to this month's page. It reverted to the default categories. I don't know if this is a design fault or due to my ancient computer systme.

The other complaint I have against it is that you are allowed only 10 categories. Other than that it does a fairly good job of tracking - I like it better than Microsoft Money. So I will stcik with it for the rest of this year while I keep looking for a different program.

From one month to another

January 29th, 2007 at 07:52 pm

It's not quite the end of the month but I don't think there'l be any more financial transactions.. I downloaded pearbudget at the beginning of the year and these are the results of January spending:

Variable $228.28 (budgeted $240)
Regular $373.78 (budgeted $381)
Irregular $235.00 (budgeted $125.)

Total expenses $842.06. I had $819.06 saved from last month, so only had to dip into savings a little -that pesky wasps' nest! I have recieved the money for my last job, $837.21, to live on for this month. Work and Income will not renew my disability allowance, so I will be getting unemployment of $168.62 per week after that. Hope to get another job before then.

So I decided to only take out $30 a week cash and use that for groceries and toiletries. Everything else can wait. I don't think I will get as bad as that guy who decided to live of $30 a month, but it will be a challenge to see how frugal I can be while still eating healthy. This morning I checked my pantry and saw I had some coconut cream and some cardomom, so made a stovetop rice pudding for breakfast.

Getting computer savvy

July 16th, 2006 at 03:48 am

I admit I am not very techie. Until now I've relied on ds to do things like download freebies and generally fix things up when they go wrong. But with him in England, I'm having to figure out more for myself. A friend recently upgraded his computer, and he gave me a copy of Works Office Suite 2000, and - ta da! - I installed it all by myself. It has a copy of Microsft Money on it, and I've been busy entering all my info. Up to now I've had all these funny little spreadsheets I created myself. (OK I'm anal, I track to the penny)

Halfway thru year

July 1st, 2006 at 12:15 am

Time to inspect the damage caused by ds flitting the nest. Apart from the money I spent on him, this month's expenses came to $NZ646.61 Not bad, could be lower in theory, but since I live on a low income anyway, and have to watch pennies all the time, I tend to rationalise my treats.

Property taxes 87.40
Electric 101.00
Insurance 48.78
Phone 44.78
Internet 27.95
Grocery 113.25
Eating out 18.75
Church 58.25
Household 4.00
Prescription 4.00
Hobbies 5.00
Shoes 29.95
Travel 60.00
Misc. 43.55

However, I am above budget for the first 6 months of the year. To keep within budget I have NZ4,672 to spend for the rest of the year, or 778 per month. I want to see how much of that I can save into my battered Emergency account, so have decided:

Sign up to Stashalong for 6 months and not purchase any more yarn or materials.
Don't buy any more outer clothing.
Restrict use of ATM to one cash withdrawal per week, and pay for all purchases in cash. Once cash is gone, that's it for week.
Eat out only once per month.
Only one trip out of town per month.
Restrict long distance calls to family to once a week.

End of April

May 1st, 2006 at 12:05 am

Hmm, something has gone amiss with my tracking. According to the added totals in my littel pocket book notepad:
Income 925.25
Expenses 624.67
Savings 300.58

But when I checked the difference between last month's bank balances and this, I came up with an increase of $346.05. Oh, well it's more money for me.

The banks have sent me statements of interest earned during the year. $70.27 for the main account, and $19.34 for the smaller one. Alas, I have to pay interest at 19.5 cents in the dollar. Don't you think if the govt was really serious about wanting us to save for our retirement, they'd make all savings tax free?

$5 a week

April 12th, 2006 at 09:16 pm

Long before David Bach wrote The Automatic Millionaire, i figured out i needed to make my savings automatic. From my bill paying account, $20 comes out every week into an investment account (used to be retirement, but I can't do that any more), and $25 a month goes into an emergency fund.

But now, I have an extra $5.31 a week, courtesy of the govt's cost of living increase. Well, I know power and property taxes keep going up, so i guess it will get eaten eventually, but in the meantime what to do?

I've wanted to try tai chi for a while, another trip to India would be fantastic,and and and...if I'm not to wind up with a heap of great memories, but suffering in my old age, I'd better make arrangements to put this money somewhere not-get-at-able now. Then I can have the money and use the interest for neat stuff. Guess I'm better beef up the emergency fund a bit faster. Should be able to increase it to $50 a month.


April 11th, 2006 at 09:08 pm

I read in some financial book that the less money poeple have, the more they micromamnge it. Well, I guess my income isn't very big to a financial adviser (the books I read seem toss off figures like $60,000 a year which leave me feeling very small). However, it's accounting for every dollar that got me to my current situation.

I make use off the pay splitting my bank offers. $105 goes every week to a bill paying account. Things like insurance, utilities, are paid automatically out of that account. I never touch it, never worry about paying regular bills. Over time, with the small safety margin I build in, it has got an extra month's worth of expenses in it.

I also have $30 a week going to a "Freedom Fund". This is used for any expenses related to the house, like repairs or buying new appliances. This is the one I need to concentrate on rebuilding, as it took a hammering last month.

The third account is my travel savings account which I use for holidays and trips. It gets $10 a week. At the moment it has $440 in it. I'm trying to get that up too as I want to go to Australia at the end of the year.

That leaves me with $28.29 for variable expenses. I'm happy to say that the annual cost of living increase has just come thru and I'm now getting $53.68 to micromanage. So I have $84.21 in my check account and I'm dividing it as follows:

Medical costs 25.00
Clothes $10 (need new shoes soon)
Toastmasters $20 (saving for 6 month fees)
Personal $5 (haircuts, gifts etc)
Yoga classes $11
Tickets for ballet with friend $10

My son pays me $50 cash each week for rent which I use for groceries and walking around money. I try to save as much of this as possible for my "Travel the Trans Siberian" stash.

Works for me.

How much I get

February 24th, 2006 at 03:14 am

My weekly income at the moment is NZ$173.29. I have my 22 yo son living with me, who pays me $50 each week in rent.(He buys his own food) I intend to save as much of this as possible, and put it in Govt bonds. Then I can say I'm living off the Govt without shame.

The first thing to get rid of is the car, as it is quite old and getting to the stage where it costs more to repair than it's worth. I also have difficulty concentrating on driving on my current meds, so the other road users will thank me. I am eligible for a discount bus pass, and my dr has recommended that I walk as much as possible, so that will be a saving.

My basic living expenses are around $320 a month for rates(property taxes), power, phone, house and contents insurance and phone and Internet connection. I have a Community Services Card which gives me a subsidy on prescriptions. At the moment I am eating a vegetarian diet with absolutely no sugar or any manufactured snacks. I don't eat out much apart from church potlucks, and I don't drink alcohol. It sounds very austere, but I have been to India and since coming back I have lived very simply. I know how to count my blessings.

At the moment I am saving $10 a week for holidays (mainly church camps and retreats, or visting family) I also save $10 a week into what Mary Hunt calls a "Freedom Fund". At the moment I have $980 in it. I also need to look at putting money aside in case I have to make changes to my house or move to a more disability friendly house. I would need to be practically destitue and in a wheelchair before I get any financial help for that. I save a further $25 a month into an emergency fund, which currently stands at $512 in an online bank.

All in all, pretty good. I am so glad I am not renting in our current housing market, and I have the skills to cope. I used to do volunteer work as a budget advisor, and I learned a lot from the mistakes I saw other people making.