Goals Update – February

There’s three days left (of my ‘weeks’ system) but it is technically the end of the month today so…

Financial

$20k target by 22 Dec: I moved money onto the mortgage this month, so my $20k target took a hit. However, over the year, I should be able to reach this goal by the slight reduction in weekly payments on my mortgage!

End of Jan: $14,249

End of Feb: $12,130

source: mundabor.wordpress.com

source: mundabor.wordpress.com

Generosity target – 55% (or 89% if adjusted) achieved

of at least $100 per week (weeks Mon thu Sun – and based on when things were withdrawn from my accounts):
week 1 (28/1 onwards) – $120: $100 to MS Colour Run to get a friend to her target.  I wished I’d registered and done the run too…! + $20 church (2 hours)
week 2 – nothing 😦 other than $25 to church
week 3 – nothing beyond the $20 to church
week 4 – as above…
week 5 – $20 to church and $20 to a friend (4+ hours)

It seems like money has gotten away from me this month, I was feeling it on the third week.  When I analyse this week’s spending, it doesn’t really add up why.  Although I did buy myself an external HDD so I could return one I’ve borrowed, and consolidate files on discs and an old HDD.  That was $100, which I would have otherwise have had ‘surplus’ for charity.  I also bought three months credit in one go, rather than month by month, so that’s a higher ‘cost’ to take out this week than usual.

With my charitable donations, I’m behind $275. However last month I was ahead $220, so if I average it out, I’m doing ok.  Difference of $55.

Health

Cook at home twice a week – 90% achieved

week 1 (28/1 onwards) –

At BF’s – can’t recall what we had (Mon),
Birthday roast at parents (Wed)
ghnocci with oven dried little tomatoes (Thu),
Leftovers? (Fri),
Cousin’s 18th (Sat),
Pub nachos after polo (Sun)

week 2 –

I usually cook Mondays, but I can’ t recall.
Chicken Soup (Tue),
Ravioli with roast eggplant at friend’s house (Wed),
Garlic bread (Thu),
Fancy b’day dinner at Quay (Fri),
Party food (Mexican) (Sat)
Nachos at pub (Sun)

Dessert at Quay: Jersey cream, salted caramel, ethereal sheets

Dessert at Quay: Jersey cream, salted caramel, ethereal sheets

week 3 –
Roast vegies (Mon),
Tacos made by BF (Tue),
Bro’s B’day dinner at parents (Wed),
No dinner – feeling ill (Thu),
B’day dinner out (Fri),
Cheese souffle, beans and sweat potato (Sat),
Lamb roast and vegies at parents (Sun)

week 4 –
Chicken tagine with quinoa (Mon)
Spaghetti (and macaroni) puttanesca (Tue)
Cauliflower based pizza – YUMMO!(Wed)
Tacos at boyfriends (Thu)
Thai out with uni friends (Fri)
Pizza out with visiting school friend (Sat)
Roast chicken at parents (Sun)

Woot! Good week.

week 5 –
Rice salad and poached ginger and soy chicken (mon)
Calamari risotto (Tue)
Dinner at parents (Wed)

The book that started it allsource:sweetpoison.com.au

The book that started it all
source:sweetpoison.com.au

Sugar – 98% achieved since Lent started.

Well it was the birthday week in the first week, so there were a lot of cookies consumed! And some homemade cheesecake by me.  And some ‘tries’ of the bf’s icecream.

As of Lent (13/2/13), these are my infractions:

Thu 14th – shared lemonade with b/f  at movies.  I think I’ll ‘loophole’ drinks otherwise it’ll be a very dry month!  However My mocha will become a Cap.  Also had a few lemonade sips on Sun 16th after a really tough water polo game (no substitutions – I’m too old to play a whole 24 minute game!).  Also ate a dessert my friend made – Mango-misu.  No added sugar, but the soaked biscuits would have come with.  I also had an energy drink, laden with sugar – but I’ll claim ‘loophole’! x 3 (seems they are becoming prevalent, as I realise coffee is causing me pain)

Train for polo – 60% success

week 1 – no training due to public holiday Monday, trained Feb 4th (though then was off sick for the rest of the week!) and Feb 11th and Feb 18th.  This last week, I skipped, after 10 hours working on Sunday I didn’t want to be tired all week (with training making another late night). In the end, I still had a late night…  I could possibly go to the alternate training tonight, but I’m already finding things I’d rather be doing :s

Cultural

– 2 films a month – 100% achieved

Saw The Impossible technically in January but in the week that I’m counting as Feb for whatever reason.  This is an inexact science!  For Valentine’s day, I saw Silver Linings Playbook – very unsure why it’s been so successful!

– 2 books a month – 100% achieved

Started the month with Leon and Louise , by A. Capus.  Finished it soon after due to being bed bound with a cold.  Next moved to the gift from a neighbour I think called The Wind Up Bird Chronicles by Haruki Murakami.  I shall write reviews if anyone is interested.

Career

– Certification – 100% achieved

Well, there’s much uncertainty  but nonetheless, we had a meeting here, and a few days later I worked on another career ‘episode’ report.  I think I’ve done 5 now of the 16 (mind you, they’ll need ‘polishing’).  So I just need to keep chipping away at this, and hopefully I’ll get more done.  Reporting it here is certainly helping me.

To make this goal measurable I’m now going to set myself the task of two episodes a month.  With that in mind, I should be done around July! Yay – seems so easy now.

People like U

I found the coolest little comparative ‘site’ run by my favourite bank – Ubank. It’s called People Like U.

It’s so cool to compare yourself to others – that’s why there are blogs and reality TV shows of course…  But I just can’t imagine how much data crunching went on to analysis all the data from NAB and Ubank to bring together such a spiffy little viral website.  I mean, any bank could have done this, it’s not revealing any state secrets in the agreegated data. And there’s the option to ‘update’ the information – and this is gold to both the bank – but also to the bank’s clients.  The stores or companies listed bank somewhere, and it might just be with NAB (the traditional big 4 bank that owns Ubank).

Ubank's People Like U Source: www.peoplelikeu.com.au

Ubank’s People Like U
source: http://www.peoplelikeu.com.au

There are less than 10 people like me – based on my age, gender, income, own/rent & living siutation (alone vs couple vs family) and suburb.  It then tracks ‘me’ vs others on spends in categories.

It was interesting to compare myself to my boyfriend (who alerted me to this gem), and how it thinks we spend on different categories.  Obviously, it knows nothing about me (like how much I’ve travelled).  What I find puzzling is in the drilling down in categories:

Source: People Like U Shopping profile

Shopping profile
source:www.peoplelikeu.com.au

Are Australian’s really shopping THAT much at Nordstroms and Bloomingdales – they aren’t even in Australia!  And if they are in the top three, how much are we, as a nation, spending?  What is Ouffer anyhow?  But then you can drill into another level and this is what you get:

source: www.peoplelikeu.com.au

Fashion details
source: http://www.peoplelikeu.com.au

It’s interesting how they have ‘preferred’ and ’emerging’ brands. And are these ‘brands’ clients of NAB/Ubank? Or is this truly where we spend the most frequently? Of course, click on any of those square and you head right to google (surely it’d be more magical for the brands if they went straight to their brand’s homepage), still, there’d be people ‘winning’ (to channel that horrible man) from this little gimmick!

Then in another layer (pressing the top right little lightening bolt) you get your bills vs the rest of the population:

Even if you’re not Australian, I think it’d be fun to have a look at how this all works. Have fun!

**This post is not endorsed or sponsored. Yikes, I’ve been blogging for a few months, I’m not sure I’m a blip on anyone’s radar! This is just something I found fun, and lines up with my list making/goal setting/spend tracking habits, so it seemed to fit for a post! **

My list of banks

I have more bank accounts than is usual.  But, most are suit a practical purpose.  For those that are in semi retirement, I wonder whether I should declutter them, though they are costing me nothing and causing me no grief.

ANZ ANZ

My main financial institution in the ANZ bank.  It’s one of the ‘big 4’ in Australia.  It’s also my father’s former employer – which is how I came to have my very first account with them (that I still have to this day).

I also have my mortgage with ANZ.  I flirted with all banks when I started looking about two years ago.  I dated Heritage Building Society pretty seriously when I put in an offer for another loft apartment.  Sadly, HBS were scared of the long term commitment.  Despite pre approval, their valuation of the property (which also includes  a risk analysis of a number of factors), came back lower than what I’d offered.  The timing of my offer was around the same time I was heading to Israel and the US for a few weeks, so I didn’t have the luxury of time to move to another lender, and recommence the loan process.  It was  a shame that HBS didn’t come through, as I liked the idea of supporting a building society.

By the time I got serious again about buying, rates had changed, and a Big 4 came out looking VERY competitive.  I knew I wanted a fixed 2 year term, so it was simple to compare.  There are SO many choices in a mortgage, I intentionally narrowed the field early.  I’m well aware there are pros and cons of every loan type, and this suited me best then (and now).

I also have an E*Trade account which is ANZ’s trading account.  This was something I got into in 2009, and haven’t really actively pursued since.  I basically have an itty bitty portfolio – money I don’t miss, but know is silently sitting there, perhaps growing a little as I reinvest my dividends.

Ubank

Ubank

This is probably my preferred bank.  They make me happy! They have great online tools, their call centre is in Australia, you don’t need to spend time or energy setting up your first account with them – they use all sorts of modern identity checking methods, without making me get things signed by a justice of the peace.  They also offer tricky checks to move your money – which trip up others when their overseas, but I’m never without my Australian mobile phone,  so I’ve not had a problem to date.

I have several savings accounts with them.  I have my ‘cushion’ account – a nice way of saying it’s an emergency fund, as it will also hopefully grow to be my mortgage refinancing account at the end of this year.  I also dip into it for expenses I can’t cover with week to week pay, but aren’t regular, planned expenses.

I also have my ‘bills’ savings in another Ubank account.  There’s no cost to any of these accounts and I feel more comfortable with this ‘seperate’ from the slowly increasing ‘Cushion’ above.

Finally, I have a third Ubank account that’s currently in the black at the tune of $4.68!  It’s my former ‘holiday’ fund.  I don’t have a clear holiday plan in my head (a date or a location), so I’m not actively contributing to the account.

ING

ING Direct

More savings accounts! Before Ubank, ING Direct was the leader in the field.  At last check, they did also have better interest rates on their high interest savings accounts, but only for new customers (which I am not).  Sometimes, ‘new money’ qualifies, but not this time.  I don’t mind ING, but it’s all about interest in these accounts.  And I don’t think I’ve EVER had to call them, so that is a bonus in my book.

I have two accounts with them.  The first is for ‘Health Insurance’.  I think I thought I should utilise this bank, seeing I had active accounts.  Hardly logically, but still.  I put away money every week for my annual health insurance premium.  I prefer to pay annually than await the direct withdrawal weekly or monthly from the health fund.  At least this way, I’m in control!

The second account has 50c.  I could close this account.  Perhaps I will.  I have now

Bankwest

Bankwest

When I grew up (hahaha) and was moving to France for a year in 2006, I thought it would be worthwhile to have a credit card for emergencies.  I found the cheapest card (ie no annual fees) that offered a competitive interest rate (at least when I was applying).  I applied, with bated breath, as I was a student with a variable, casual job – so my ‘salary’ wasn’t easy to ascertain.  Interestingly, the bank did NOT reject me (as ANZ would have, based on their policies).  I’ve not had any emergencies, but do use the card to tide me between pays, or buy a great deal on an airfare.  I don’t think I’ve ever paid interest!

I also have two one savings accounts with Bankwest – one with 46c and 51c each.  A legacy from times where i would use ING and Bankwest to leverage their ‘introductory’ offers to ‘new deposits’.  Seems like I could declutter these two as well.

I love that when I rang, there was no ‘press this number for this’ and I got right onto a real person.

28degrees

28degrees (GE Capital)

My newest ‘bank’ was for a credit card that offers no foreign transaction fees.  I used this as my sole ‘money’ whilst in Dubai/Morocco/France last year.  I was happy with being able to withdraw as a cash advance at no cost with the positively loaded card.  My only disappointment was the delay on showing transactions on it’s website.  Given this lack of functionality, I won’t give up my other credit card, and this card will be left solely for travel (or, if the other card gets stolen with the cash card).

BNP

BNParibas

I still maintain an everyday transaction account with this French bank, from when I lived there in 2006.  The charge an annual fee – my only account to do this.  And I’m willing to pay it, knowing HOW hard it was to GET the account (France is chicken and egg with accommodation and bank accounts – you need one for the other).  I plan to move back to France one day, so this account lingers.  I love that it accesses real money but it’s also a ‘credit’ card at least for booking stuff online.  So modern – this sort of functionality didn’t happen in Australia in 2006!

In summary I have

– 1 mortgage

– 2 credit cards

– 2 ‘everyday’ banking accounts (with cards and direct access to money)

– 1 trading account

7 5 savings accounts

13  11 ACCOUNTS across 6 banks! No wonder I sometimes confuse my passwords. I think this list has made me realise I can cull at least two savings accounts (one each at Bankwest and ING), if not more!

And that’s just what I did – no sense talking about it.  I just did it.  It was so simple as well – just rang both banks.  I think it took more time to ID me than to close the accounts!