Sunday, February 22, 2009


After posting that Luxential List the other week, I met up with some friends who gave me my belated birthday present. And what did they get me? 

Skincare products!

It was a nice thought though.

Vouchers, vouchers everywhere, but not a thing to buy!

What to do? What to do?

I have a $30 Country Road voucher to be used by 13th March. I received the voucher for having spent $750 or more in a year at CR.  Most of the spending was on work clothes for F that will hopefully last him a few years. I also got a dress, a skirt and a cardigan that I wear to work all the time (one advantage of still working in retail while I wait around to start working in accounting is that I can keep wearing casual clothes and don't need any suits yet). Oh, and I bought a dress for a wedding.  As boring as it sounds, buying the majority of both our wardrobes in the one store is good for the budget. CR clothes are generally classic-styled, and last quite a few years, so we won't need to replace them for a few years.

Anyway, I don't know what to spend the $30 on. There isn't really anything we need before 13th March, and I don't want it to lead to unnecessary spending. At the moment, the ideas I have are:
  • Two pairs of socks for F @ $14.95 each
  • A t-shirt for me for $24.95 or $29.95 depending on the style
  • Four rice bowls @ $7.95 each. This option will cost an extra $1.80.
I also have a $150 Zomp (shoe store) voucher. I have had this voucher since March 2008.  It has no expiry-date, as far as I know :}
I don't know what to spend this on. The only shoes I need will be for work (in accounting), but Zomp don't seem to have anything appropriate at the moment. They don't even have any shoes that I want but don't need. I was thinking of buying some sandals, but I knew the summer would be over so quickly that it wouldn't really be worth it.  

I have a "Get $20 off when you spend $30 or more" offer from Cotton On. They have summer shirts for F for $30 that I'm considered buying, but unlike the other vouchers, this one isn't totally free, so I have to weigh up how much he really needs another shirt. He doesn't feel the cold as much as me, so he might be able to wear it through more of the year than I'd imagine. Who knows.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Luxential List

I'm always trying to find ways to save more money. I'm always trying to think of things I could spend less on, or stop spending money on altogether. I am, however, finding this increasingly difficult to do, as I've cut out a lot of things already.  

These "things" I speak of, are called "luxentials", things that people consider to be essentials, but should really fall anywhere along the spectrum between "not necessary" and "luxury".

Here's my list of "luxentials". They're in no particular order, and they're not all necessarily things that I've ever spent money on. (It's interesting to note how many of them are beauty-product or related expenses) :

  1. Cigarettes - an obvious one. Why spend money to kill yourself?
  2. Alcohol - I'd like to be reckless and question the "you have to have alcohol to have a good time" concept.  How often do you go out to dinner or to a bar and have a glass or two of wine, and, although you may have enjoyed the drink, you can barely keep your eyes open? F and I have experimented with ordering no drink, and just having water on a number of occasions. Most of the time, no one notices, we save ourselves $14 each, and can stay awake until we're ready to leave.  There's also no need to waste a further $20 on a taxi.
  3. Make-up - I buy the cheapest possible foundation, mascara and blush from Priceline. The brand is called "Savvy by DB", it's not tested on animals, and doesn't appear to be any worse than any other make-up out there. I don't bother using any eyeshadow, powder, eyeliner or anything else.
  4. Skincare products - I buy Redwins sorbolene cream (I bought 1kg of it for a few dollars in March 2007 when I moved out of home, and I still haven't used it all up) and use it as a moisturiser, and I buy suncream, but that's it. My skin is fine.
  5. Perfume - Do you shower every day? If so, why do you need perfume. Other people can't smell it, so how would they find out you weren't wearing it?
  6. Manicure/Pedicure- Nail polish chips easily. If you don't put it on in the first place, you don't have this problem. I put nail polish on my toes in the summer, but that's it. 
  7. Hair colouring - I will put chemicals in my hair when I am middle-aged and going grey. No need to do this now when my hair colour is perfectly fine.
  8. Branded supermarket items - My policy at the supermarket is "innocent until proven guilty". I will try the cheapest of every product and only buy anything more expensive if the cheapest one turns out not to be any good.  This means I buy as much as I can from Aldi. 
  9. Birthday cards - Nice ones cost $6 or more. Horribly cheap looking ones cost $1, and you can't buy them because every knows you've only spent $1. For this reason, I've started making my own. I bought a pack of 50 blank cards and envelopes for $15, and 100 sheets of coloured paper for $5. Excluding the cost of glue, it should cost me around $0.35 - $0.40 for each card, and depending on my talent, they should look better than the $1 ones. I'm trying to find a way to make wrapping paper as well, but that's proving a bit more difficult.
  10. Shopping as an activity - Don't do it. If you do, use some willpower and don't buy anything, just look.
  11. DVD's - Oh, I liked that movie so much, I'd better own it. How often will you watch it? Won't you just be able to download them instantly and watch them whenever you like so time in the not too distant future? Or now? I'm not really up on technology.
  12. CD's - Why do people who have iPods also buy CD's? I don't get that.
  13. Magazines - Particularly fashion magazines. Why pay $8 (? I think, I haven't bought one in years) for 300+ pages of advertising telling you to buy most of the stuff on this list?
  14. Coffee - Caffeine may be the new nicotine. I buy coffee only on the days that I feel like I am really not going to be able to stay awake. Having it every day is just a waste. I am thinking I might save on coffee purchases by investing in one of those thermos cups from Starbucks or wherever you get them so I can make coffee at home and drink it on the tram on the way to work.
  15. Lunch - Another obvious one we've all heard before. Bring your lunch from home.
  16. A nice lunch - I have a Vegemite sandwich, an apple and a banana. It's not that nice, but it's very cheap and relatively healthy.
  17. Tanning - Solariums? Again, why pay to kill yourself. Spray tans? Why pay to look orange?
  18. Rival bank ATM fees - It's extremely easy to avoid rival bank ATM fees, which can be $2 or more. It's not that hard to walk a little bit further to go to your own bank ATM. Failing that, you can go into a 7-Eleven or wherever and buy something using EFTPOS and take money out at the same time for free. If there's nothing you need in the shop, you can always buy phone credit or something that you will use later.

My budget

This is how I organise my finances every month:


Fiance: $3000
Me: $2000 (it varies depending on the number of hours I work at the moment)


Mortgage: $2400
Bills: $1500
Living: $360
Savings: remainder

This is not an ideal system. As my employment situation is a little precarious at the moment, I am putting as much as possible into a savings account, rather than pay more off the mortgage (which cannot be redrawn), so that we can live off savings for a short period of time, if need be.

The good news is, my fiance (who I will refer to as 'F' for fiance from now on) and I both qualify for $900 payments as part of the government's stimulus package. I'm going to do the wrong thing though, and save them, or put them towards the mortgage.


Although I've been reading pf blogs for a few years now, I've been too lazy to start one of my own. Today, I have FINALLY gotten around to it.

So, basically, this is who I am:
  • I am female
  • I am 28 years old
  • I live in Melbourne, Australia (born and bred here)
  • I have a Bachelor of Arts, and after a few years working in administrative jobs, I realised I would need another qualification if I ever wanted to do anything more challenging, so I spent 2008 completing an accounting degree.
  • I have a graduate job lined up at an accounting firm
  • I am currently working in retail whilst I wait for the grad job to start
  • My fiance, with whom I combine all my finances, is a teacher
And this is who I/we am/are financially:

(In Australian Dollars. $1AUD = roughly US67c)

  • The unit we live in is worth roughly $500,000
  • We have $18,000 in superannuation
  • $5100 in cash
  • $4000 in shares
  • A car worth roughly $5000
  • Mortgage $320,000
  • Student loans (HECS debt) $49,000
  • Credit card $2600
  • $160,000