Expense Review – September 2021

I’m sure you’ll agree with me that this year is just flying by. At the time of writing this post it’s already mid October, and I’m well behind in my blog posts. September was a good month for us and we managed to get a tonne of things done on the renovations.

Our renovations continue to be our biggest expense and to date we have spent over 20k this year on completely renovating the ground floor of our house. September renovation expenses came to just over 4k, and we a few more thousand to go.

To view all previous expense review tagged posts click here.

Top 5 Expenses – September 2021

These charts are from my Income and Expense Tracker click on the image for the link.
  1. Renovations = $4,239.35

Notes: The majority of this month’s renovation expenses were a shower screen ($1672), plumbing ($800), and a vanity ($1400). The other purchases were small items from Bunnings or from the paint shop. Our bathroom is now completed, and we are now finishing off the laundry. We are currently awaiting some items from IKEA which are on back order. We have hit a bit of a problem with our renovation savings in that we have run out of savings. We are now trying to finish the last bits within our current income, and are trying desperately not to reduce our investing. Something may have to give, but at this stage we haven’t had to reduce our investing. We are now hoping to be finished our renovations by mid November (and might have our downstairs area listed on Airbnb in December).

  1. Mortgage = $1,544.73

Notes: In September we finally completed our home loan refinance, and have set up our loans to enable us to start debt recycling. We managed to get a great variable rate of 1.99%.

  1. Utilities= $779.95

Notes: Our utilities include our mobile phones (4 phones @ $104.95 per month), Internet (MyRepublic @ $59 per month), Water, Gas and Electricity (We use Reamped – link here for $50 referral code).

  1. Food and Alcohol = $626.35

Notes: We had a good month with our grocery bill. We do our main shop at Aldi and shop at other places depending on the specials available. We shop online at BWS to make use of cashback rewards (If you want to sign up use this affiliate link – You’ll get a $10 bonus once you make your first transaction).

ShopAmount
Aldi$453.95
BWS$89.00
Woolworths$25.30
Bakers Delight (Bakery)$21.90
Fancy Bottle Shop $20.69
Foodland$12.05
IGA$3.46
Total$626.35
Breakdown of Food and Alcohol spending
  1. Health and Medical Items = $453.95

Notes: Our Health and Medical expenses were quite low compared to previous months as we only had one visit to the doctor. This category is also made up of our Private Health Insurance (Silver Family Cover for Hospital and Extras), which costs $156.85 per fortnight. Health and medical costs are a non negotiable in this medically challenged family.

Year to Date Comparison

These charts are from my Income and Expense Tracker click on the image for the link.

We spent $7,877.11 in September and $11,612.73 in August which is an decrease of $3,735.62 on last month. We spent $262.57 per day in September which is down from last month’s $374.60 per day.

Other Expenses (% of total expenses) – September 2021

These charts are from my Income and Expense Tracker click on the image for the link.

New Expenses (September)

No new expenses.

Changes we’ve made this month (September)

No changes made.

Changes to expect next month (September)

Next month I will be starting a new job and I’m in desperate need of some new clothes so I expect our clothing expenses to increase in October.

Year to Date Expense Overview ($)

These charts are from my Income and Expense Tracker click on the image for the link.

Total Spend 2021 (To Date) = $77,632.82 or an average of $8625.87 a month for 2 Adults and 2 Children (Aged 13 and 10).

Investment Rate 2021 (To Date) = 43.68% (includes wages and side hustles)

Our goal investment rate at the start of the year was 60%, however we created this goal before I took a 30k (after tax) pay cut in March. Given the massive pay cut and the renovations we are doing this year I’m happy with where we are at. More importantly we are still tracking to our current goal of hitting financial independence by January 2029.

Notes: I track my Income and Expenses via my tracker available on my Etsy Store Link Here .

Income and Expense Tracker with Automated Dashboard Single | Etsy

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Expense Review – August 2021

August was our second most expensive month to date of 2021, and it felt like it. I felt like we were constantly paying for something, and even though it was mostly planned it still hurt.

Our renovations continue to be our biggest expense and to date we have spent over 16k this year on completely renovating the ground floor of our house. August renovation expenses came to just over 4k, and we have at least another 4k to go (maybe more). It’s important to note that the money for the renovations doesn’t come from our income earned during the month, and instead is coming from our savings.

August also happens to be our Wedding Anniversary month and each year we go to the same hotel, and enjoy a kid free night away. I see this expensive night away as an important investment in our marriage. This year we almost didn’t go because we just didn’t have the money for it thanks to some unexpected expenses. Thankfully I didn’t cancel it and instead decided to do a stocktake of the house. We managed to find a tonne of stuff we no longer needed so we listed it over a weekend and made over $500.

We also had a few unexpected and unbudgeted expenses including vet bills, two kids scout camps, and my annual skin check. We had to dip into our emergency fund for these, and will need to rebuild this in the coming months.

August has been fun, but I’m definitely hoping September is a little less expensive.

To view all previous expense review tagged posts click here.

Top 5 Expenses – August 2021

These charts are from my Income and Expense Tracker click on the image for the link.
  1. Renovations = $4,077.39

Notes: This month a major payment for our bathroom tiling contractor was due (3k). We have been really happy with the quality of the workmanship, but less than impressed with the time it has taken to do the work. I would love to say that we are close to finishing, but alas that’s not the case. Due to the higher cost of the renovations than budgeted for we are having to do a lot more of the work ourselves to remain within our fixed budget. As a result of having to do more of it ourselves it’s slowing down the renovation significantly, but ultimately without the funds to outsource that’s the way it is. We are now hoping to be finished our renovations by the end of October (and might have it listed on Airbnb in November).

  1. Mortgage = $1,560.00

Notes: A normal month for us with our mortgage. Our refinance didn’t happen in August, and will go through in September. We are refinancing to a lower interest rate (1.99% from 2.67%), and restructuring our loan to enable us to start debt recycling.

  1. Food and Alcohol = $1058.42

Notes: In August we spent money at our usual shopping locations (see table below). We also renewed our Costco membership ($60) in readiness to get a few bulk food bargains for Christmas. We shop pretty exclusively at Aldi and shop at other places depending on the specials available. We shop at BWS to make use of cashback rewards (If you want to sign up use this affiliate link – You’ll get a $10 bonus once you make your first transaction.).

ShopAmount
Aldi$779.77
Woolworths$102.07
Costco$66.47
BWS$39.00
Bakers Delight (Bakery)$34.40
Local Fruit and Veg Shop$19.49
Coles$17.22
August Total$1058.42
Breakdown of Food and Alcohol spending
  1. School, Extra Curricular and Pocket Money = $966.90

Notes: It was a super expensive month for extra curricular activities. My eldest son is off to a camp in September which set us back $650. My youngest had a camp in August as well which set us back $150. We also paid the last instalment payment for our eldest son’s school laptop. The rest of the year should be quiet for school expenses (fingers crossed).

  1. Health and Medical Items = $906.78

Notes: Our Health and Medical expenses were much higher than usual due to two specialist appointments (one for my husband’s chronic condition and one for my yearly skin check). This category is also made up of our Private Health Insurance (Silver Family Cover for Hospital and Extras), which costs $156.85 per fortnight. Health and medical costs are a non negotiable in this medically challenged family.

Year to Date Comparison

These charts are from my Income and Expense Tracker click on the image for the link.

We spent $11,612.73 in August and $10,008.95 in July which is an increase of $1603.78 on last month. We spent $374.60 per day in August which is up from last month’s $322.87 per day.

Other Expenses (% of total expenses) – August 2021

These charts are from my Income and Expense Tracker click on the image for the link.

Restaurants, Eating Out and Activities

Eating out accounted for 2.15% of our total expenses in August which is in line with our spending in July.

In August we:

  • Went to a Carnival. We spent a tonne on going on all the rides, buying showbags, and eating show food (hot donuts and dagwood dogs). It was awesome.
  • I went out with my old work team and had dinner and drinks.
  • We enjoyed fast food twice (kids request).
  • I had a networking lunch with an ex colleague.
  • I had three diet cokes to get me through crappy days at work.

The total for the month of August on this category was $250.18 compared with $214.20 in July.

New Expenses (August)

No new expenses.

Changes we’ve made this month (August)

One of our car insurances was due for renewal in August so I took the opportunity to review it as it was increasing. I looked around and ended up switching which enabled us to keep the same rate as we paid last year. Always take the time to review your insurances yearly to make sure you are getting the best rate.

My wage reconsideration went through and I ended up being back paid just over $1000 (after tax). I’m now being paid an extra $150 a fortnight which is being automatically invested.

Changes to expect next month (September)

Next month we expect the following changes.

  • We are getting a refund on the flights we had to cancel in July. We are looking forward to getting this money back in our hands (no ETA was given from the airline carrier). It will be put to work on our renovations.

Year to Date Expense Overview ($)

These charts are from my Income and Expense Tracker click on the image for the link.

Total Spend 2021 (To Date) = $69,755.71 or an average of $8719.46 a month for 2 Adults and 2 Children (Aged 13 and 10).

Investment Rate 2021 (To Date) = 45.8% (includes wages and side hustles)

Our goal investment rate at the start of the year was 60%, however we created this goal before I took a 30k (after tax) pay cut in March. Given the massive pay cut and the renovations we are doing this year I’m happy with where we are at. More importantly we are still tracking to our current goal of hitting financial independence by January 2029.

Notes: I track my Income and Expenses via my tracker available on my Etsy Store Link Here .

Income and Expense Tracker with Automated Dashboard Single | Etsy

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Expense Review – July 2021

July was a busy month for us. We started the month off with a 6 day staycation where we threw caution to the wind and stimulated the local economy. It was such a nice break, and as we get closer to our FI goal I would like to make it a more regular thing. No point waiting until hitting FI to enjoy a little luxury. Life is happening now, and this trip was a reminder to spend a little money every so often. After our lovely mini break our state had a 7 day Covid-19 lockdown, and we kept ourselves busy by continuing our renovations. Overall July has been an expensive month, and that’s reflected in our updates below.

To view all previous expense review tagged posts click here.

Top 5 Expenses – July 2021

These charts are from my Income and Expense Tracker click on the image for the link.
  1. Renovations = $2,344.67

Notes: This month we spent up big at IKEA, Bunnings and National Tiles. Due to the lockdown our bathroom contractors were not able to come and do the tiling work that we had expected (and to date have only completed the rendering/waterproofing). So hopefully in August the bulk of the bathroom will be finished (provided we don’t have another lockdown). Whilst locked down we tried our hand at buying and installing an IKEA kitchen ourselves (in our kitchenette space). It went surprisingly well, which is good because we were quoted an obscene amount of money for the laundry so we will now be doing that ourselves. We hope to be finished this space by the end of September (and might have it listed on Airbnb in October).

  1. Mortgage = $1,808.60

Notes: Our mortgage went up significantly this month as we discovered our bank had not increased our mortgage in line with the correct minimum repayment. It’s not the first time I’ve been less than impressed with our bank, and we are in the process of refinancing to a better provider (fingers crossed).

  1. Holiday = $1,338.13

Notes: We had the most lovely staycation in our state lasting 6 days. We would’ve taken more time off, but with me having only been in the job for 3 months it wasn’t possible. I’m a pretty frugal person, but when we are on holidays we like to enjoy the finer things in life. We ate at fancy restaurants, spent money on nice hotels, and filled in time with expensive activities such as Escape Rooms and the Zoo. Lots of great memories were made with this money, and I can’t wait to do it again.

  1. Utilities = $1089.51

Notes: Our utilities were slightly higher than usual thanks to a larger than expected electricity bill in the last quarter. It’s been super cold where we live, and working from home has helped our bills increase even more this winter. Since receiving this bill we have made a few tweaks and will be using our wood heater more. If you want to save money on your electricity feel free to read up on our tips here in our article – 5 simple ways to save money on your electricity bills.

  1. Food and Alcohol = $913.28

Notes: In July we spent money at Aldi, Bakers Delight, Foodland and BWS. We used loyalty rewards at Bakers Delight (6th loaf free), Foodland (1 point per $2 spent) and BWS (1 point per $ spent). Plus we use additional cashback rewards at BWS through Shopback Cashback Rewards (If you want to sign up use this affiliate link – You’ll get a $10 bonus once you make your first transaction.).

Year to Date Comparison

These charts are from my Income and Expense Tracker click on the image for the link.

We spent $10,008.95 in July which is a slight increase of $495.01 on last month. We spent $322.87 per day in July which up from last month’s $317.13 per day.

Other Expenses (% of total expenses) – July 2021

These charts are from my Income and Expense Tracker click on the image for the link.

Restaurants, Eating Out and Activities

Eating out accounted for 2.14% of our total expenses in July.

  • Hubby and I had a drinks date at an old university haunt (which was nice).
  • We enjoyed our last pre lockdown meal (drive thru McDonalds). This was a request from the kids.
  • Family Dinner at our local fancy burger joint.
  • An after work drink with my co workers.

The total for the month of July on this category was $214.20 compared with $167.15 in June.

New Expenses (July)

No new expense categories were added.

Changes we’ve made this month (July)

No significant changes to our regular expenses.

Changes to expect next month (August)

Next month we expect the following changes.

  • I feel like a broken record but my wage reconsideration request still hasn’t been paid. I’m hoping it will be paid this month as it will be 4 months worth (and hopefully around $1500). Once this is paid this will be put into our renovations.
  • We are getting a refund on the flights we had to cancel. We are looking forward to getting this money back in our hands (no ETA was given from the airline carrier). It will be put to work on our renovations.

Year to Date Expense Overview ($)

These charts are from my Income and Expense Tracker click on the image for the link.

Total Spend 2021 (To Date) = $58,142.98 or an average of $8306.14 a month for 2 Adults and 2 Children (Aged 13 and 10)

Investment Rate 2021 (To Date) = 41%

Our goal investment rate at the start of the year was 60%, however we created this goal before I took a 30k (after tax) pay cut in March. Given the massive pay cut and the renovations we are doing this year I’m happy with where we are at. More importantly we are still tracking to our current goal of hitting financial independence by January 2029.

Notes: I track my Income and Expenses via my tracker available on my Etsy Store Link Here .

Income and Expense Tracker with Automated Dashboard Single | Etsy

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Expense Review – June 2021 (with 6 month recap)

Last month I was crossing my fingers and toes that the borders would stay open, and here I am cancelling our booked holiday. Oh how things change, and although we are disappointed we are thankful we haven’t lost a cent as we booked fully flexible flights. The end of June marks the end of the first half of the year so I’m going to do a 6 month recap of our expenses at the end of this post to determine our average spend per month.

To view all previous expense review tagged posts click here.

Top 5 Expenses – June 2021

These charts are from my Income and Expense Tracker click on the image for the link.
  1. Renovations = $3,396.81

Notes: This month we demolished our laundry, bathroom and toilet downstairs as part of our plan in turning our downstairs into a self contained Airbnb. The demolition costs were extremely low as we did it ourselves, and borrowed equipment from our neighbours. The major renovation costs in June were new furnishings, electrician (1st fix), and bathroom fittings. In July we expect to spend even more as we will be paying our contractors to finish the work (estimated at about 9k including supply and install of items). We expect costs in this category to reduce from August onwards.

  1. Health and Medical Items = $1,206.26

Notes: Our medical and health category normally averages around $500 – $700 a month so this month was a bit of an expensive month. My husband had two scans as part of his cancer surveillance ($400 after Medicare benefits), and I broke my prescription glasses ($150). My glasses costs are after Private Health Insurance rebates, and included two sets of frames (regular glasses and sunglasses).

  1. Food and Alcohol = $1079.95

Notes: I feel like this amount is the new normal for our family. My eldest son is 13 going on 14, and is eating us out of house and home. My youngest is 10, and he has finally found his appetite after years of fussy eating. It’s funny how quickly things change. We keep our costs as low as possible and as a result shop predominately at Aldi. That said our food costs are more expensive as we have to cater for my husband who is on a Gluten Free and Lactose Free diet. In June we spent $45.50 on my husbands special bread alone, and this is a cost we can’t reduce. We are so thankful for having an Aldi around the corner from us as this amount would be at least 50% more if we were shopping at Coles or Woolworths (no amount of rewards program points could make it financial viable to switch back).

  1. Mortgage = $994.40

Notes: June was a normal month for our mortgage, and this amount was just our regular minimum repayments. We have opted not to pay extra to our mortgage at this stage, and focus on investing and renovations (personal preference). Mortgage is variable, and payments depend on the number of weeks in each month. June had 4 payment weeks in us.

  1. Utilities = $719.54

Notes: We did slightly better with our utilities in June than May thanks to a lower than expected water bill. This category includes our Electricity, Gas, Water, Rates, Internet and Phones. We review these expenses yearly (or more often if we see a better deal). If you want to save money on your electricity feel free to read up on our tips here in our article – 5 simple ways to save money on your electricity bills.

Year to Date Comparison

These charts are from my Income and Expense Tracker click on the image for the link.

We spent $9,513.94 in June which is an decrease of $2,690.21 on last month. We spent $317.13 per day in June which down from last month’s high of $393 per day, but well above where we would like to be.

Other Expenses (% of total expenses) – June 2021

These charts are from my Income and Expense Tracker click on the image for the link.

Restaurants, Eating Out and Activities

Eating out accounted for 1.76% of our total expenses in June, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t have fun.

  • Hubby and I had a lunch date at my favourite pub.
  • I enjoyed a fancy lunch for a co-workers birthday at the Art Gallery.
  • Family dinner at Fasta Pasta after the power in the house went out.
  • Treated our kids (and me) to ice cream after school.
  • Purchased coffee for our fantastic tradies when the power was turned off.
  • Multiple networking coffees at work.

The total for the month of June on this category was $167.15 compared with $243.26 in May.

New Expenses (June)

No new expense categories were added.

Changes we’ve made this month (June)

No significant changes to our regular expenses.

Changes to expect next month (July)

Next month we expect the following changes.

  • My wage reconsideration request wasn’t approved in June, however on the 3rd July I’ve heard back from HR who have said it will be paid shortly. It will result in approximately $1000 in back pay (maybe slightly more).
  • With our holiday cancelled we are still planning on taking the time off work, and will have a staycation. We expect the costs of this to be under 1k including hotel costs, and activity costs. Far less than our estimated 5k spend on our now cancelled interstate holiday.

6 Month Expense Overview ($)

These charts are from my Income and Expense Tracker click on the image for the link.

Total Spend 2021 (To Date) = $48,134 or an average of $8022 a month for 2 Adults and 2 Children (Aged 13 and 10)

Investment Rate 2021 (To Date) = 41%

Our goal investment rate at the start of the year was 60%, however we created this goal before I took a 30k (after tax) pay cut in March. Given the massive pay cut and the renovations we are doing this year I’m happy with where we are at. More importantly we are still tracking to our current goal of hitting financial independence by January 2029.

Notes: I track my Income and Expenses via my tracker available on my Etsy Store Link Here .

Income and Expense Tracker with Automated Dashboard Single | Etsy

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Make your own Multi-Purpose Cleaning Spray for under $1

Today I’m sharing my Multi-Purpose Cleaning Spray solution recipe. It’s so easy to make, and I love it because it’s likely you already have these items in your cupboard.

This spray saves us a tonne of money, and I estimate that it costs just cents in the dollar for every 250ml I use. Additional benefits include the fact that it’s low tox, and you can modify the essential oil to match your preferences. I’m a huge fan of using Tea Tree Oil due to its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties (I also quite like the scent).

Multi-Purpose Cleaning Spray Solution

What do you need?

  • 250mls of warm water
  • 1/4 cup of household vinegar
  • 10 drops of your favourite essential oil
  • a clean empty spray bottle
  • Measuring jug

Method

  1. Use a measuring jug and mix the warm water and vinegar together.
  2. Then add your essential oil.
  3. Mix gently.
  4. Then allow to cool down before filling up your spray bottle.
  5. Happy Cleaning.

Notes:

  • Always do a spot test with any new cleaner to ensure it doesn’t damage your surfaces.
  • As this cleaning spray contains vinegar it shouldn’t be used on stone or marble benchtops (as it can eat away at it, and remove the shine off the surface).

If you use this recipe I would love to hear about it so feel free to post and share on Instagram (and tag me @FrankOnFIRE_ and I will reshare the love).

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Expense Review – May 2021

My My how time flies…….. May has been an uneventful month for us. We finally booked the flights for our family holiday this year (fingers crossed the borders stay open). We also plodded along with our renovations, which continue to take a large amount of our money (and our time). To view all previous expense review tagged posts click here.

Top 5 Expenses

These charts are from my Income and Expense Tracker click on the image for the link.

There have been some changes to the Top 5 Categories from this month to last month.

Our Top 5 Expenses were are no real surprise for us, and are made up of the following items.

  1. Renovations (Increased $2,862.62 from last month) = $4,816.25

Notes: This month we completed our the tiling of our downstairs area, and we think it looks amazing. In addition to the tiling costs, we had to redo all the skirting boards, doors, touch up the paint and refurnish all of the downstairs. We are turning our downstairs into a self contained AirBnB so hopefully we can start recoup some of this back in income (which we will document in our monthly side hustle income posts link here). We are aiming to have the renovations finished by the end of Spring 2021, but we are struggling to find bathroom contractors so this date may change. So unless we manage to lock down a contractor soon I expect June to be a lot cheaper than May.

  1. Holidays (Increased $1,412.34 from last month) = $1987.75

Notes: We finally booked our fully flexible refundable flights to the Gold Coast. It’s funny pre Covid I would never have purchased fully flexible flights due to the cost, but these days its just part of the process. Until we fly in July I’ll be crossing my fingers and toes that we remain Covid-19 free, and the borders remain open. This category should reduce in June and then go up again in July once we have to start paying for accommodation / park tickets / car hire and miscellaneous costs.

  1. Food and Alcohol (Increased by $457.39 this month compared to last month) = $1006.84

Notes: I’ll be honest I was a little surprised by this as I expected this to be a lot less. In May we gave up alcohol for the month, and so I was hoping to see a little bit in the way of savings from this (sadly not). On the plus side our town got a new Aldi which means that we will save about 45 minutes (and petrol) each week as we don’t need to commute to the next town over anymore.

I analysed the increased costs a little on this category and it seems it was the mid week shops for things we forgot that seemed to do most of the damage. To try and get our spending back on track in June we are going to try and better estimate our food needs to avoid those expensive mid week shops.

  1. Mortgage (Decreased $249.00 this month) = $994.40

Notes: May was a normal month for our mortgage, and this amount was just our regular minimum repayments. We have opted not to pay extra to our mortgage at this stage, and focus on investing and renovations (personal preference). Mortgage is variable, and payments depend on the number of weeks in each month. May was a four week payment month for us.

  1. Utilities (Decreased $127.72 this month) = $772.24

Notes: May was a good month for utilities with no real surprises to share. This category includes our Electricity, Gas, Water, Rates, Internet and Phones. We review these expenses yearly (or more often if we see a better deal). If you want to save money on your electricity feel free to read up on our tips here in our article – 5 simple ways to save money on your electricity bills.

Year to Date Comparison

These charts are from my Income and Expense Tracker click on the image for the link.

With the renovation and holiday expenses our expenses completely blew out in May. We spent $12,204.15 in May which is an increase of $3,698.16 on last month (and about 5k more than our normal expected spend). This month we spent $393.68 per day which is over $100 more per day than April and $200 per day more than March (ouch…..).

Other Expense Commentary

These charts are from my Income and Expense Tracker click on the image for the link.

Restaurants, Eating Out and Activities

May was a another great month for staying in, and as a result this category was in line with our goal for this category. That said we still enjoyed ourselves:

  • I went out for drinks with co-workers
  • Had dinner and dessert with one of my closest friends
  • We did a Tree Climbing activity as a family (which was the highlight of the month)

The total for the month on this category was $243.26 compared with $193.65 last month.

New Expenses (This Year)

No new expense categories were added this month.

Changes we’ve made this month (May)

Nil significant changes made in May to our spending except for the increases in holiday and renovation expenses that seems a little never ending at the moment.

Changes to expect next month (June)

Next month we expect the following changes.

I’m hopeful my wage reconsideration request will be approved in June, which will result in approximately $1000 in back pay. We also have my youngest son’s birthday in late June so there will be an increase in expenses in the present category. We are not having a party and instead we are doing something small as a family. I’m hoping to keep expenses under $200 (we’ll see).

Notes: I track my Income and Expenses via my tracker available on my Etsy Store Link Here .

Income and Expense Tracker with Automated Dashboard Single | Etsy

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Expense Review – April 2021

Goodbye April and Hello May. April has been a crazy month with renovations, Easter and our annual camping trip. There are a few changes to our ‘Top 5 Expenses’, but no real surprises. To view all previous expense review tagged posts click here.

Top 5 Expenses

These charts are from my Income and Expense Tracker click on the image for the link.

There have been some changes to the Top 5 Categories from this month to last month.

Our Top 5 Expenses were are no real surprise for us, and are made up of the following items.

  1. Renovations (Increased $1953.63 from last month) = $1953.63

Notes: As mentioned last month we have recommenced major renovations to our home. We took a short break from renovations in 2020 to build our investment account to 100k (if you would like to read more about that use the link here). Now that we have hit our 100k investment goal we have stepped off the gas a little, and we are spending any spare cash over our weekly regular investment amount on renovations. This month we spent money on new tiles and dumping costs associated with removing the old carpet and floor boards. We purchased our tiles online from National Tiles, and have been really happy with the pricing, free delivery, and the refund policy.

  1. School Expenses, Extra Curricular and Pocket Money (Increased $537 this month) = $774.00

Notes: Last month this item was our number three top expense, and thanks to a very expensive camp we had to pay for in April it’s moved to second place. Our boys both participate in Scouts and its been really rewarding for the boys, but it hasn’t been a very budget conscious decision. That said I have zero regrets about my boys participating, and thankfully we have the ability to support them in what they love doing. I’m hopeful next month will be a little less expensive. Both boys go to public school and we pay our fees fortnightly until they are paid off completely (there is no benefit to us paying in a lump sum). We pay our eldest son pocket money ($1 for how many years old he is). Our youngest doesn’t get pocket money until he is at High School.

  1. Mortgage (Increased $248.60 this month) = $1243.00

Notes: Thanks to an expensive month for renovations and kids expenses our mortgage dropped from its number one spot to number three this month. Mortgage is variable, and payments depend on the number of weeks in each month. April was a five week payment month for us hence the additional cost.

  1. Utilities (Increased $139.35 this month) = $899.96

Notes: Another expensive month for utilities thanks to our water bill being slightly more than budgeted for thanks to our summer usage (we own a swimming pool, and have a large garden with automated watering). Despite the increase I was still happy with this bill as it was less than this time last year (woohoo). This category includes our Electricity, Gas, Water, Rates, Internet and Phones. We review these expenses yearly (or more often if we see a better deal). If you want to save money on your electricity feel free to read up on our tips here in our article – 5 simple ways to save money on your electricity bills.

  1. Health and Medical Items (Increased by $78.02 this month compared to last month) = $656.62

Notes: Increased this month as April was a three fortnight month for our health insurance. Our health insurance also went up in price at the start of April which did sting a little. That said we make use of our insurance and it pays out over 10k a year for us thanks to my husbands condition, dental items, and my optometry. This amount includes all medicine, pharmacy items, private health insurance, doctors/specialists visits, and any pathology/radiology.

Year to Date Comparison

These charts are from my Income and Expense Tracker click on the image for the link.

With the additional renovation and school expenses we are trending upwards this month. We spent $8505.99 in April which is an increase of $2666.61. This month we spent $283.53 per day which is almost $100 more per day than March (ouch…..).

Other Expense Commentary

These charts are from my Income and Expense Tracker click on the image for the link.

Food and Alcohol

April was an awesome month for our food bill thanks to doing a pantry challenge, and a freezer of free meats thanks to my mother in law. We spent $549.45 which averages out to $18.32 per day. It was so low that it dropped out of our top 5 expenses this month, however I’m sure it will return in May.

Restaurants, Eating Out and Activities

April was a great month for staying in, and as a result this category was less than usual. The total for the month was $193.65 compared with $387.22 last month.

Holiday’s

In April we went on our annual camping trip with our good friends. It was so nice to get away and go interstate for the first time in 18 months. In total we spent $575.41 and this included petrol, food we purchased whilst away, a hat my son forgot, and a trip to an expensive winery (We previously paid for the campsite in February at a cost of $222. So the holiday was very budget friendly).

New Expenses (This Year)

We had 1 new expense categories added in April:

  • Renovations = Our Biggest Expense in April.

Changes we’ve made this month

My work location has changed and I’m now taking public transport every day. This means that I’m saving money on petrol costs, and my husband has switched to taking my car to work (again to save more petrol). I’m hopeful we may see some changes to this next month.

Changes to expect next month

Next month we expect the following changes.

Renovations: We expect our renovation expenses to increase in April, and this will continue as we finish off the renovations downstairs. The benefit of renovating is that hopefully in Spring we will be able to list our downstairs area on AirBnB (and use this to offset some of the renovating costs for upstairs which still need to be done).

Notes: I track my Income and Expenses via my tracker available on my Etsy Store Link Here . My Income and Expense Tracker has recently been modified so if you have previously purchased it and would like the new version get in touch and I will send it to you free of charge with proof of purchase.

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Expense Review – March 2021

How is it April already!!!! I only just started getting used to writing March as the date at work. With the coming of April it’s time for me to post my March Expenses, and this is the first of what will be many expense reviews (to view all expense review tagged posts click here).

Top 5 Expenses

These charts are from my Income and Expense Tracker click on the image for the link.

There has been no change to the Top 5 Categories from this month to last month.

Our Top 5 Expenses were are no real surprise for us, and are made up of the following items.

  1. Mortgage (Same as last month) = $994.40

Notes: Mortgage is variable, and payments depend on the number of weeks in each month. March was a four week payment month for us.

  1. Food and Alcohol (Decreased by $40 this month compared to last month) = $844.24

Notes: This equates to $27.41 per day in March. We aim for $175 a week or $25 a day so we are a little over.

  1. School Expenses and Pocket Money (Increased $60 this month) = $774.00

Notes: We don’t pay our school fees up front in one payment. This is our choice but there is no benefit for us so instead we pay an amount each fortnight until the the end of June 2021. From July onwards this category should drop off completely. We pay our eldest son pocket money ($1 for how many years old he is). Our youngest doesn’t get pocket money until he is at High School.

  1. Utilities (Increased $60 this month) = $760.61

Notes: This includes our Electricity, Gas, Water, Rates, Internet and Phones. We review these expenses yearly (or more often if we see a better deal). If you want to save money on your electricity feel free to read up on our tips here in our article – 5 simple ways to save money on your electricity bills.

  1. Health and Medical Items (Decreased $150 this month) = $578.60

Notes: This includes all medicine, pharmacy items, private health insurance, doctors/specialists visits, and any pathology/radiology.

Year to Date Comparison

These charts are from my Income and Expense Tracker click on the image for the link.

I’m loving the trend on our expenses at the moment, however I know it’s only short-lived as Easter is just around the corner. This month we spent $5780.38 or $186.48 per day. I’m really happy with our expenses currently and would love to be able to average this kind of figure over 2021.

Other Expense Commentary

These charts are from my Income and Expense Tracker click on the image for the link.

Restaurants, Eating Out and Activities

March was quite a good month in comparison to February, and I’m really surprised as we had a couple of really lovely and expensive dinners (and after works drinks at least twice). The total for the month was $387.22 or $12.49 per day.

Parking and Bus Fare

March was the most expensive month for us with Parking and Bus Fare. That figure will continue to increase as I move jobs in April, however this should be offset by a reduction in petrol costs (fingers crossed).

New Expenses

We had 3 new expense categories added in March including:

  • Discretionary Spending Category = $134.72 (This included bike repairs, and a new sewing machine for me)
  • Pet Supplies = $25.98 (This included a fish net and fish plants for our now deceased pet fish…. sorry fish not sure what happened)
  • Hair and Beauty Expenses = $54.00 (We are not big hair and beauty people so this cost was for two haircuts for the boys)

Changes we’ve made this month

We’ve only changed one thing this month and that is I’ve cancelled my specialised Office product subscription which was costing me just over $9 a month. I’ve managed to get it cheaper through my current employer which is a great work perk.

Changes to expect next month

Next month there will be a few changes when I change jobs and we start renovating again.

Parking and Bus Fare: As mentioned I’ll be buying a bus pass every month for the new job, but I’m hoping to offset this with a reduction in petrol costs.

Afterpay: This category will go up in April with two new camping purchases to make. I know not everyone will agree with using Afterpay or other buy now pay later options, but each to their own (Personal Finance is Personal).

Holiday: We are going camping for Easter so our holiday spending will inevitably increase in April (we are so excited to be going on holiday).

Renovations: We are buying floor tiles in April at a cost of $1500-2000 for the downstairs area, and are hoping to have them laid as well in April (if we can line a contractor up). We are yet to get a quote on the labour costs to getting a contractor to lay the flooring for us. We will be doing all the prep and removal work ourselves to save money. To pay for this we will be dipping into our savings.

Other: Lastly our income will increase in April as my husbands additional teaching contracts start to get paid, and my income will increase by $200 a week once I move to the new job. That said we will be ignoring any increase to our income, and try and limit any lifestyle creep by staying within our budgeted areas.

Notes: I track my Income and Expenses via my tracker available on my Etsy Store Link Here . My Income and Expense Tracker has recently been modified so if you have previously purchased it and would like the new version get in touch and I will send it to you free of charge with proof of purchase.

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How frugal are you? We audited ourselves against 70 frugal tips (Free Printable)

Our family is pretty frugal, and during the last year I believe we’ve cut our expenses significantly in response to the global uncertainty. That said I always believe there is room for improvement so I audited our household against 70 tips to cut expenses, save money and live a thrifty life.

Canstar being the legends they are recently produced the following article which I started reading ‘Frugal Living: 70 tips to cut expenses, save money and live a thrifty life’. Instead of just simply reading the article which you need to read I decided to do an audit to see if there were any areas that my family could improve upon.

If you want to do this audit on your own individual circumstances I’ve created a free printable below for you to try it for yourself

A screenshot of the free printable ‘How Frugal Are You?’

These are our results from doing the audit:

These are our results from doing the audit:

Frugal TipImplementedNeeds improvement
Spending Diary or Regular Expense Tracking
Write down your goals
Make Savings Fun
(Visual Tracking or Savings Challenges)
Self-awareness of emotional spending and avoidance of triggers
This is a constant battle
Join an online community (eg Facebook or Instagram community like She’s on the Money)
Start a coin jar
Shop at a physical supermarket
One shop, once a week
Use a shopping list app
Meal prep like a pro
Make use of leftovers
Use your own coffee machine
Swap meat for veg regularly
Buy frozen veggies
Never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach
Buy generic brand versions where possible
Pay bills on time to avoid late fees
Monitor your bank balance
Audit your bank accounts to see if you are paying fees
Check how much interest you are paying on your credit cardN/A
Phone your bank and ask them for a discount on your home loan interest rate
Shop around for your car insurance regularly
Review your health insurance regularly
Review your personal insurance regularly
Review your superannuation fund
Track down lost money in bank accounts
Review your telecommunications contracts
In the last 6 months
Seek cheaper ways to connect internationallyN/A
Avoid streaming on your phone using mobile data
Review your electricity and gas use regularly
In the last 6 months
Pay yourself first (your savings / investments etc)
Use ‘Rounding Up’ programs
I do mine manually
Get your bills online
Get discounts on petrol
I could be better
Get bonus interest on your savings account
Organise your tax receipts
Check your family is registered for the Medicare Safety Net
Keep things in working order
Fix it yourself
Buy clothes that don’t need dry cleaning
I cannot remember the last time I needed dry cleaning
Make your own greeting cards
Start doing Secret Santa for Christmas
Check your calendar to save money on gifts (Plan ahead)
Delay gratification: Follow the 10 second rule
Delete stored debit / credit card numbers
Calculate the value of your impulse buys in hours of work
Use your local library (including online libraries such as the Libby app)
Make your own cleaning products
Look for coupons or cashback opportunities
Consider joining a customer rewards program
Shop out of season
Reuse, reuse, reuse
Rationalise your subscription services
Price match where possible
We need to do this more
Shared expenses: use splitting and repayment toolsN/A
Use air conditioning more efficiently
Get your head out of the fridge
The kids need improvement
Save on electricity and air dry clothes
We are mostly good at this
Freeze uneaten food
Save on water costs by using water savings techniques (timed showers, water saving shower heads etc)
Participate in free online surveys for cash
Take your reusable bags to the supermarket
Collect and cash in (Bottle Deposit Schemes)
Check your payslip
Grow your own veggies / produce
Propagate your own plants
Learn for free
I need to do some more research on this
Ditch expensive printers
We’ve compared ours and its one of the cheapest out there
Know your refund rights
Get help from a financial counsellor if you need itN/A
Table – 70 tips to reduce your expenses

The Verdict:

So we have successfully implemented 60 out of 70 of the Frugal Tips recommended by Canstar. In the next few weeks I’m going to work on some of our improvement areas and:

  • Start a coin jar
  • Meal prep
  • Check to see if we have any missing money
  • Consistently use petrol apps and discounts
  • Trial Secret Santa this year
  • Be a little more organised with gift giving
  • Calculate the ‘real’ cost of splurge items in relation to work hours
  • Take advantage of price matching more
  • Put more effort into drying clothes naturally
  • Find out about free study options

Overall this audit has been a really great way to check in and find a few areas to improve upon (and it didn’t take long at all). I highly recommend doing the same and the link to free printable is below:

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Where to find TAFE or student provided services that save you money

A couple of days ago I posted an Instagram reel on utilising TAFE or student provided services as part of my frugal tips. I had a lot of comments from those who also knew about these services (and loved them), and I had a few comments from those who didn’t know about these services. So today I’m writing this article to list some of the student provided services that can save you money, and where to find them.

For this article I’ve completed a quite a bit of research on where you can access these services and have listed them below by category and state.

Hair and Beauty (Massage section further down below)

If like me you don’t want to sacrifice your hair and beauty on the way to building wealth then consider getting a student to cut your hair or do your treatment. TAFE and vocational education providers are always looking for customers for the students to train on. All students are typically supervised so don’t worry you will still end up with a good quality cut / treatment at an amazing price.

StateInformation / Links
SATAFE SA – Location – Multiple see link – Hair and Beauty (Link Here) – They do hair, nail, tanning, waxing, massage and facial services. They offer 25% off of their prices to pensioners and students.
Colour Cosmetica Academy – Adelaide – Link Here
NTCharles Darwin University – Palmerston and Alice Springs – Hair and Beauty (Link Here) – They do hair, nail, tanning, waxing, massage and facial services. They offer an extra 25% off of prices to pensioners.
WATAFE WA – South Metro – Link Here
NSWThe Hair and Beauty Academy – Penrith – Link here
Contour College – Tuggerah – Link Here
QLDKatrinas School of Beauty – Morayfield – Link here
Demi International – Multiple Locations – Link here
ACTAustralasian Beauty Therapy Academy (Beauty – no hair treatments) – Canberra – Link Here
VICVictoria University – Melbourne – Link Here
TASTasTAFE – Hobart, Alanvale, Devonport – Link Here
Table – Student Hair and Beauty Locations

Restaurants / Cafes

Many years ago I completed a short course at my local TAFE and discovered that they have student restaurants that offer high quality restaurant or café meals at a fraction of the price. After doing a bit of research it turns out there are numerous TAFE and Vocational institutes that do this across Australia.

StateInformation / Links
VICRichards Restaurant – Broadmeadows – Link Here
Wangaratta Campus Restaurant – Link Here
Holmesglen Cilantro Restaurant – Link Here
VenU Restaurant – Footscray – Link Here
The Apprentice – Prahran – Link Here
St Georges Restaurant – Preston – Link Here
Prospects Training Restaurant – Ballarat – Link Here
WABentley Pines Training Restaurant | South Metropolitan Tafe – Link Here
SAGraduates Restaurant – Regency Park – Link Here
Tiros Restaurant – Regency Park – Link Here
NSWRubric Restaurant – Alexandria – Link Here
ACTCIT Restaurant – Reid – Link Here
QLDTAFE QLD offers a number of different restaurants across their campuses at Toowoomba, Southport, Warwick, South Bank, Ipswich, Cairns, Loganlea, Townsville, Whitsundays, Mooloolaba and Bundaberg. Link here
NTKarawa Training Restaurant – Palmerston – Link here
Desert Lantern Restaurant – Alice Springs – Link here
Table – Student Restaurant Locations

Massage

Who doesn’t love a massage. The prices in the below range start from as low as $25 an hour depending on your location and treatment. Most of the links below contain additional information on supervision, what you need to bring and hygiene regulations to ease your mind.

StateInformation / Links
VICEvolve College – Docklands – Link here
ALG Student Massage Clinic – Melbourne – Link here
QLDALG Student Massage Clinic – Brisbane – Link Here
Q Academy Student Massage Clinic – Brisbane – Link Here
Institute Massage Clinic – Brisbane – Link Here
Academique Clinic – Southport – Link here
Student Massage School – Brisbane – Link here
NSWALG Student Massage Clinic – Sydney – Link Here
ACTPivotal Therapies – Canberra – Link Here
Australasian Beauty Therapy Academ – Canberra – Link Here
WASouth Metro TAFE – Murdoch Campus – Link here
ACMM Student Massage Clinic – Perth – Link here
SATAFE SA – Massage – Adelaide Campus (Link Here)
Colour Cosmetica Academy – Adelaide – Link Here
Table – Student Massage Locations

Veterinary Services

These services are not as well published online as other student clinics, however I was able to find some student vet services which offer discounts.

StateInformation / Links
VICAdelaide University Small Animal Clinic – Link Here
WATAFE WA – Bentley Campus – Link Here
Table – Student Veterinary Locations

Psychologists

StateInformation / Links
QLDWellness Centre – CQUniversity
Table – Student Psychology Locations

Physio / Exercise / Occupational Therapy

StateInformation / Links
QLDWellness Centre – CQUniversity
Brisbane Health Clinic – CQUniversity
Table – Student Physio / Exercise / OT Locations

Speech Pathology

StateInformation / Links
QLDWellness Centre – CQUniversity
Table – Student Speech PathologyLocations

Podiatrist

StateInformation / Links
NSWSydney Health Clinic – CQUniversity
QLDRockhampton Health Clinic – CQUniversity
Table – Student Podiatry Locations

Dentistry

During my research on student led clinics I found several dental clinics that offer services to the public. Some of these services do require you to be on a health card so make sure you check before you book.

StateInformation / Links
NSWCharles Sturt University – Multiple Locations – Link Here
WAThe University of WA – Nedlands – Link Here
VICUniversity of Melbourne – Melbourne – Link Here
Dental Health Services Victoria – Link Here
QLDRockhampton Health Clinic – CQUniversity
Table – Student Dentist Locations

Chiropractic

During my research on student led clinics I found a chiro clinic that offer services to the public. Feel free to contact me if you find others and I would be happy to add the links.

StateInformation / Links
VICChiropractic clinic – RMIT University
QLDMackay Health Clinic – CQUniversity
Brisbane Health Clinic – CQUniversity
NSWSydney Health Clinic – CQUniversity
Table – Student Chiro Locations

Dermal and Cosmetic Therapies

During my research on student led clinics I found a several dermal and cosmetic procedure clinics that offer services to the public. Feel free to contact me if you find others and I would be happy to add the links.

StateInformation / Links
VICDermal Clinic | Victoria University | Melbourne Australia (vu.edu.au)
Melbourne – Student clinic procedures Archives – Aspire (aspiretrainingclinics.com.au)
WAPerth – Student clinic procedures Archives – Aspire (aspiretrainingclinics.com.au)
NSWSydney – Student clinic procedures Archives – Aspire (aspiretrainingclinics.com.au)
QLDStudent Medical Aesthetic and Laser Clinic – Grayclay
Table – Student Dermal and Cosmetic Procedure Locations

Please note this isn’t a comprehensive list of all student related services in Australia. There are likely many more out there and I would be keen to add more services to this article if you find any more. Feel free to contact me or add to the comments below.

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