May 9, 2008

The last 5 days

I returned to work this week after maternity leave. Let me tell you what happened to us, financially, in the last 5 days.

New Spectacles
Going back to work meant long hours staring at the computer. Before I went on leave, I had already been planning to get my vision tested. Staring for too long made me exhausted by midday. My organization is affiliated with 2 eye clinics in town with very nice discounts for staff. Including 15% off, free consultation, and $110 off, I still paid a whopping $379! Furk. Nothing is cheap nowadays and since my previous pair is now 11 years old, I decided to get a new frame. There went our emergency fund, which I still have to add $113 to. Sigh.

J's clothes
He regularly receives discount coupons from Barker's. Last time he did we didn't go but this time went and got him a very nice purple-ish long-sleeve button down and stylish green sweater. I also decided to get my brother a very nice tie for $56 (after 20% off). Total: $224.91. Charged.

All packed from home! $0.

Balance Transfer
I decided to transfer the standard MC balance to my low-interest MC card. Now I have to make sure I zero that out as quickly as possible. The balance should not have incurred that much. It should not have incurred at all! The original plan was to pay it off in full every budget period (fortnightly) but there was a mistake on my part sometime in February that ended with something like $1700 in balance. It was a slow progression to that amount, plus the fact that I was only receiving benefit that was way less than my salary. Sigh. The balance transfer will not only allow me to start anew but that will also mean less interest charges. The standard MC is what we use to pay J's student loan. That's the only way we can pay from overseas cheaply. We don't have enough moolah to afford a big payment to the low-interest card for now so we'll just keep paying more than the minimum and snowball whatever we can afford every 2 weeks. I also brought up specifying a date that we really stop using the cards. We'll see.

We finally signed a contract with Barnardos for our baby's child care. We decided to have 3 days of the week before we start full time to have him with his caregiver for 4 hours each. We have to pay all that plus 2 weeks advance before he starts. It's a total of $405. We have not paid for it yet but pretty soon we will. I partially decided on using the baby fund for that because our emergency fund was used up for my specs.

Property market
I might have mentioned before that we have been closely monitoring the property market. Last weekend, we checked out this section for sale that's around the corner. It's about 300sqm (part of a 714sqm section) and the owner said that they didn't expect getting as much as $200,000 for it. They didn't think it was realistic either. I found out that their entire section is currently valued at $165,000. We have also talked to Kiwibank for pre-approval. It's looking positive but things are not solid yet. The section for sale isn't subdivided yet.

As usual, I'm feeling disappointed a bit that we are not getting out of debt as quickly as I hoped we would be. I would prefer to pay off all of our non-mortgage debts before we get mortgage.

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