Month two is done.
Running total: $8140.14
Credit Card balance at close: $1988
To say that we are blown away by the results is possibly an understatement.
Since the last blog I have had several people ask me for more detail on how we are calculating the savings.
Here's the go:
We have an equity manager home loan which means that we use a credit card for all our purchases and our wages are paid directly into our bank account to sit off our home loan.
We have had our current loan for 3 years and have successfully, essentially, paid nothing off the house in the time we have been here. Now - that's an achievement :)
At the start of January we cleared our credit card balance to zero and took the balance of our home loan account. Each month, when we zero out the credit card balance, we deduct the opening home loan balance from the closing home loan balance = the savings for the month.
So - what's been happening this month?
The first challenge was getting Oscar get back to school at minimal cost. The school booklist was ordered and paid last year so that was no problem. We checked the school uniform from last year and discovered that with a few minor repairs (compliments of my Nan) that we did not need to buy any new uniform items. Shoes were a different matter!
Ebay to the rescue again. I managed to pick up a pair of basic school shoes that someone's little boy had worn once and grown out of. Basically new and in the box.
I should point out that I am not on the payroll for Ebay, nor is it the only great source for second-hand kids items, but I certainly find it useful when I want to search for something specific.
I also discovered a new website for second hand books - www.brotherhoodbooks.org.au. Brotherhood Books is a new Social Enterprise from the Brotherhood of St Laurence and is intended to encourage the recycling of high quality books and to contribute funds to the Brotherhood’s charitable operations. Plus - they have a $6 flat rate for freight. The website is great, it's all for a good cause and I can still buy the odd new book.
We've also spent our fair share of time in opp shops around Ballarat. What a treasure trove they are!
Traditionally the opp shop for me is a source of wacky, cheap costume ideas, but no more. At the Salvation Army shop in Howitt St, Wendouree I found so many things that I could easily have purchased (had my pocket money extended to accommodate my wants).
There was a whole rack of brand new shoes, in boxes, that had clearly been excess from a retail outlet. Not just clunky, ugly shoes but great summer sandals with just the right amount of bling. The shoes had their original $40 price tag on them but they had been marked down to $7 a pair. We also found stock of a great cookbook, that clearly had not sold well in stores, at its original $40 price tag marked at only $20.
February Budget Favourites
Recipe: Mexican Meatballs - www.taste.com.au/recipes/893/mexican+meatballs - We fed 4 adults and 1 child with this one and it was delicious!
Gift Idea: Blockbuster and EB Games have proved a valuable resource for pre owned games and ex-rental movies. With a child who loves his DSI and the family Wii to be able to buy second hand games is a huge saver. Plus Blockbusters ex-rental movies are great as gifts for kids and adults alike. Some of them start at only $10.
Packing a picnic: Early in Feb we attended a long awaited concert (tickets purchased in 2011). Instead of paying through the nose for soggy, deep fried food and a soft drink we packed a picnic in the car and ate before we went into the concert. We also packed an extra can of soft drink to drink in the car on the way home. Just doing that saved us at least $20 in food.
So many times we have been asked the question "If you're saving that now, what were you spending it on?". I honestly can't answer that because I'm struggling to work that out myself. We're certainly not going without things we need. I don't look around the house and miss anything.
The only thing that we have noticed that we do differently is that we eat out alot less. Less takeaway, less after dinner trips to the supermarket for treats, less restaurant visits. That said when we do decide to eat out the food tastes unbelievably good. It has become a special thing again to eat out. Something that we had taken for granted - apparently.
There is no doubt that we won't save that kind of money every month. The cars will both need tyres this year, the cost of living continues to rise and it is inevitable that there will be unforeseen expenses. By sticking with the plan we feel confident that every month will continue to see our savings grow and the prospect of a lovely swimming pool becomes more of a reality.
Until next month.