Monday, 22 December 2008

2009 Financial Goals

Now that 2008 is coming to a close, and the goals for 2008 are done for the most part, it’s time to look forward to 2009 and the goals I’m chasing after over the next 12 months.

  • Reduce my Jan 1 2009 Ugly Truth balance by a minimum of $12,000 ($1000 per month). I’m trying to be realistic with this one; $12,000 is a fair chunk to reduce my debt by in a year, while still going after other goals that are important to me.
  • First Home Saver Account funded to $5,000 by Dec 31 2009. I really didn't get far with this one in 2008, so really want to get into saving my deposit over the next few years, even while I’m paying off my debts.
  • Increase emergency fund to $5,000 by Dec 31 2009. I just think I’ll feel more comfortable having a larger amount put away in the current economic climate.
  • Increase voluntary super contributions to 6% pre-tax salary from May 2009 (40th birthday gift to myself). With the 9% Superannuation guarantee I’ll be socking away 15% of my gross income into retirement.
  • Pay for 2009 university fees upfront (approx $8,000, less $3,000 rebate from work), not via HECS. Yup, decided to go to Uni. It’s only 3 subjects, with a view to review at the end of 2009 as I’ll get a certificate/diploma/masters for each year I attend, so it’s not wasted if I have to stop.
  • Car replacement account funded to $5,000. My poor old car is not on its last legs, but could be in the next 12-18 months. I’d like to have at least some sort of deposit for the next one, as I don’t expect anything much in the way of a trade-in on a 1995 Lancer hatch with dents and scrapes all over it)

As you can see there is somewhat of a shift away from pure debt reduction for me in 2009. I am still aiming to reduce my debt by $1000 a month, but I have turned my focus to long term goals (being debt free is one, but not my only long term goal) and educational expenses.

With the current economic climate the way it is, I want to have more of a buffer in the unlikely event I’m retrenched. I've been through that once before (in 2001 when the IT bubble burst), it sucked and I know what I need to do to feel more secure financially now.

It’s also the big 4-0 for me in 2009, so it’s a case of if not now, when? I’m single, no kids, so a ‘sista’ has to start doing it for herself (my sincerest apologies for trying to talk ‘street’ but it seemed to suit the tone I was trying to get across).

I've also become mildly fascinated with simplicity and feel very ready to live a more simple and streamlined life in 2009, so keep an eye out for posts on my other as to now unused blog, ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Clutter’.

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Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Stupid Woman Rant

I’m sorry in advance for my tirade, but this story makes my blood boil, but I’m not on the side of the ‘full-time homemaker’. I’m not anti stay at home mums, or mums, or full time homemakers, I’m anti these two particular women for being so stupid and making all women look ridiculous by association.

“I couldn't believe it. It was like being back in the '50s. “

Honey, you don’t have a job, that’s why you didn't get the phone contract. You have no proof of income, as your husband is paying the bills (yes, even if you are the one who physically pays them), so what did you expect the poor rep in the store to do?

"Being a mum is a full-time job and it's a very hard job - the hardest job you can have - because if you get it wrong, the ramifications for everyone are enormous," Ms Fair said.

Being a full time Mum is hard, blah blah blah we all know that, but it doesn't demonstrate any financial capacity to pay off a 24mth phone contract if you have no income.

As for you Ms. Eva Cox of the Women's Electoral Lobby, the company should not be ashamed. Calling for a boycott of Vodafone is ridiculous.

To give you some perspective on why this has made me so mad, I don't work for Vodafone, in fact I work for a competitor.

We have to do Trade Practices Act - Consumer Protection compliance training every single year (even those in non customer facing roles) specifically to ensure we do not sell/develop/market dodgy products to customers or make them sign up for things they couldn’t reasonably be expected to understand (selling to persons who are mentally disabled, or deliberately misleading customers with Marketing offers, or not ensuring customers capacity to pay at point of sale).

It’s just as likely that we’d see this same woman on ACA or Today Tonight wailing we had sold her a phone and we’re the big meanies because we’re expecting her to actually pay her bills and she’s just a stay at home Mum.

You know you've seen those stories before.

As an independent woman this sort of thing infuriates me, the sense of righteous indignation for something that is completely unreasonable is what sends us back to the ‘50s, not Vodafone.

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Monday, 15 December 2008

How Did I Go with My 2008 Financial Goals?

It’s getting to that time of year, when I look back and see how I went with the goals I set myself this time last year.

4 of my 7 Credit Card balances paid off in full

Not quite done, but I do now only have 3 cards to pay off, not 7.

Half marks? +0.5

Personal Loan under $20,000

Done and by a fair amount, as of today the balance is $18,135 (interest for the month still to hit this before January 1st though).

A full mark is warranted here +1

Emergency Fund funded to $1,000

Done and doubled actually, I've got $2000 in my starter emergency fund. I've also set up travel, goals & car funds.

Another full mark +1

Retirement Savings at 3% personal contributions (on top of the 9% Superannuation guarantee)

Done, and just quietly could I have picked a worse year to do this? *lol*

Or maybe it was a good year as I’m getting extra units at bargain prices? I've contributed over $10K to my retirement account this year and the total balance went down $50K – Ouch!

+1 as I didn't stop contributing even though the share prices tanked. I learnt my personal risk profile is exactly as I thought it was which was surprising.

Total outstanding debt under $35,000

Move along, nothing to see here *whistles while looking away from you all*

No marks a big fat 0.

So all up I've given myself 3.5 out of 5 or 70%, which I’m pretty happy with.

Progress not perfection is the name of the game.

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Thursday, 11 December 2008

I Have No Words…

I just received an email from my best friend in the UK:

I can't wrap this up any other way, so here it is in an email.

Your combined Christmas and 40th birthday present is your flight to the UK.

Happy birthday and Christmas!

So you'll need to get me dates so I can book, or I can transfer the money to you.

It’s a very green gift because no trees died to make wrapping paper to wrap it. :-)

I’m just so stunned I just had to tell someone!

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Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Buying Gift Cards – With Gift Cards!

I realised the other day that I had a heap of small denomination (we’re talking $950 worth) Coles Myer gift cards that are due to expire at the end of December. I got them from work for various things and from Flybuys and hadn't got around to using them.

They’re a pain to use as they are all $10 or $15 denominations, so I've been using them to pay for groceries mainly, and I really didn't want them to expire, they’re effectively free money after all.

So I took them all into my local Coles and asked if I could use them all to buy a one new large value card, and they said yes!

I now have a $600 Coles Myer card and a $350 card that I can also use at Coles Express petrol stations too, both with a 2 year expiry date.

Just in time for Christmas shopping as they’re also valid in Myer, Target and Kmart, plus Vintage Cellars for the booze, hurrah! They should last me for at least a few months food and petrol wise, so that’s a bonus for saving more money from my trip and paying down more debt.

The thing that made me laugh was the guy at the counter didn’t bat an eyelid, all he asked was ‘did you win these at bingo?’

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Monday, 1 December 2008

The Ugly Truth – Day 458


  • Personal Loan: -$19,136
  • Credit Card 1: -$5,681
  • Credit Card 2: -$6,147
  • Credit Card 3: (transferred to Card 4)
  • Credit Card 4: -$15,719
  • Credit Card 5: (paid in full)
  • Credit Card 6: (paid in full)
  • Credit Card 7: (paid in full)
  • Credit Card 8: -$4,750


  • Emergency Fund: +$2,000
  • Car Fund (Maintenance & Registration): +0
  • Short Term Goal Fund: +$1,250 (Current goal is new bedroom furniture)
  • Home Deposit Fund ($60,000 Goal): +$1,000
  • UK Tour Fund ($10,000 Goal): +$1250

Total: -$51,433
Debt reduced from last month: +$321
Debt reduced from Sep 2007: +$5,339

Another tiny change downward this month, as I had to get the car serviced and it cost heaps, plus pay the NRMA membership.

I need to make more of a dent in those balances down though, it’s driving me mad.

I’ll be tracking my spending more tightly over the next few months to see where it’s all going.

I did manage to add another $250 to my travel fund and also my short term goal fund though so that’s cool.

My goal for this month is to finally crack through the $50K barrier, it’s been far too long coming.

Roll on payday.

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