Monday, 15 September 2008

IKEA Heaven

The new IKEA catalogue has landed! A new IKEA catalogue is as exciting to me as a new Apple product launch would be for other people. I just love their stuff and daydreaming about my perfect apartment set up.

I show restraint though and don't actually go into the store unless I have a very specific item to pick up, as it's completely set up for the impulse buyer. It's an incredibly clever marketing and sales strategy really, which I have to appreciate!

My current goal fund for new bedroom furniture will be spent almost entirely at IKEA, and I've now worked out I'll need just under $2,000 to realise my goal. It's a complete refit of my bedroom, with queen bed and latex mattress, bedsides, lamps, a chest of drawers, new pillows, doona (quilt/duvet/comforter) & linen.

Yes it's a lot of money, but the ensemble I'm sleeping on is well over 15 years old, so it's worth spending decent money on something you'll spend a third of your life in. A good night’s sleep helps you in so many ways, from protecting your health to being more focused at work and with your family and friends; it should be invested in wisely.

This weekend will be dedicated to drooling and daydreaming. I may even take the catalogue down to the Posh Garden Centre to enjoy with this month's my free coffee! The weather here is just glorious at the moment, when it's not pouring with rain of course.

Work and study have been so full on the last few weeks; it’s going to be nice to just think about lovely new things for a change.

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Monday, 1 September 2008

A Year Ago Today

A year ago today I started this blog. I was $56,772 in debt, and horrified, so decided to do something about it.

  • I had a personal loan that consisted of a car loan and a previous consolidation loan of my credits cards, which I had run up again & added new ones to – I was so smart – not.
  • I was making decent money but only paying the minimums & then reusing my cards over and over.
  • I was paying for things I didn't need or use and did nothing about it (gym membership, online DVD rentals etc)
  • I was buying my lunch every day, and buying up to 4 ‘bought’ coffees a day too
  • I ate a lot of take away meals & ate out in cafes & restaurants most weekends too
  • I was driving to work every day, and paying $17 a day for parking.
  • I was paying for my broadband service, even though there was a free staff plan available

I got a great new job in October, which I still love coming in to do each day, and pays me a lot more money!

In November I found out I had to move house. I had no emergency fund at all, no savings, so onto the credit cards it all went. Right before Christmas, and in the Sydney rental market, it was a nightmare.

December and January were consumed with the joys of finding a new place to live and actually moving house. I had a couple of nice financial surprises in the forms of some found money in my travel wallet & all my share dividends, as I’d never updated my mailing address. So I managed to still get my numbers down.

In February, all the moving bills came in and my total debts had actually increased to $61,836! Talk about two steps forward & three steps back. The credit crunch has also hit the world hard by this stage & all my interest rates had gone up, many more than 2%.

March saw my Baby Emergency Fund reach $1000 for the first time – Hurrah!

In April I shopped around for a cheaper Greenslip for my car, and knocked the front bumper off in the local KFC carpark – good times…

I bought a snazzy new vacuum cleaner in May, turned another year older and saw a run of 4 months of consistent debt reduction kick in – finally, some progress, small, but consistent.

June was an awesome month, my annual bonus arrived so I was able to make a serious dent on my debt and still put some money aside for my other goals. It also saw petrol prices in Sydney hit record highs.

July saw me get back under my original debt amount of $56,772 for the first time since February, it was a great feeling. I also scored the employee of the month award at work, which is worth $150 and I still haven’t spent it yet.

August was a pretty boring month to close out my first year, I am getting a lot more offers in the mail to increase my limits though and calls regarding financial advisors, so someone’s noticed I’m trying to pay down my debt.

What will the second year bring? Not sure yet, but I’ll continue to reduce my total debt every month, set goals for myself, and blog about it here!

So as numbers go:

  • September 2007: -$56,772
  • February 2008: -$61,836
  • September 2008: -$51,704

Total debt paid off so far: $10,132 – not too shabby, but I can do better!

I've got a new medium term goal, to double that amount in the next year, so my goal for September 2009 is a total debt of no more than $31440, which is $20,264 less than today. Plus still have my overseas trip in May/June in 2009!

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The Ugly Truth - Day 367

The Ugly Truth


  • Personal Loan: -$20,750
  • Credit Card 1: -$6,287
  • Credit Card 2: -$8,382
  • Credit Card 3: -$5,297
  • Credit Card 4: -$10,988
  • Credit Card 5: (paid in full)
  • Credit Card 6: (paid in full)
  • Credit Card 7: (paid in full)


  • Emergency Fund: +$2,012
  • Car Fund (Maintenance & Registration): +$1
  • Short Term Goal Fund: +$1,006 (Current goal is new bedroom furniture)
  • Home Deposit Fund ($60,000 Goal): +$1,000
  • UK Tour Fund ($10,000 Goal): +$500

Total: -$51,704
Debt reduced from last month: +$1,318
Debt reduced from Sep 2007: +$5,068

Not a bad month all up, a smidge over $1300 of my debt reduced. Had a few expenses here and there, I did find myself spending a lot more freely than I have over the last few months though, lunches and dinners out, bought a couple of trashy novels and things like that, which showed in my lack of Goal & Travel fund increases. I need to tighten back up on this.

The limit increase has come through on Credit Card 4, so I’ll arrange to have the balance of Credit Card 3 transferred over to it as soon as they can. I’d like to see if I can get Card 1 & 2 combined somehow too, to reduce the total number of cards I still have and the number of monthly bills I’m actually paying.

Goals for September:

  • Get Personal loan under $20,000
  • Get total credit card debt under $30,000

This means I’ll hit the major milestone of my debt being under $50,000, which will be a great feeling!

This also marks the end of my first year of my blog & debt reduction plan, which I’ll post about separately.

Roll on payday.

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