Goals Update – July

Every month, I like to check in with the ‘New years goals‘ I set.

Financial

$20k $26k target by 22 Decah, maybe this will need to be adjusted again with the move.  I’ll leave it for now, and see how things settke
June: $17,938.69
July: $18,035.56 (+$96.87 thanks to moving costs :()

12 in 2 Adventures: failed: not done any adventures, working on the two long term ones, and no adding to savings
June: $898.81
July: $749.93 (how’d that go down?)

Grocery spend

I thought I’d add a quick update, seeing my July challenge was no eating out, I figured my grocery spend would go up.  It hasn’t, it’s about the same.  Although, I probably ate at the bf’s more this month, so that might be why?

Volunteering hours
Tue 2nd: 4.25hrs at the co-op
Sun 7: 1hr at church
Sun 14: 2hrs at church

Health

Cook at home twice a weekdefinitely achieved with my ‘no eating out’ month, but records are patchy!

week 1 –
Leek tart(Mon)
Coop food provided (Tue)
Wedding meal (Sat)
no more records?

week 2 –
no record for the rest of this week, except:
Multi course birthday dinner (Sat)
Chinese roast beef with vegies (Sun)

week 3 –
Another forgetful week!
Dinner @ parents (Sat)
Pizzas (ready made from grocery store) (Sun)

week 4 –
Gnocchi with tomatoes (Mon)
Sweet potato chips (Tue)
Fried Rice (Wed)
Sushi (Thu) <- yes bought out
snacks/leftovers (Fri)
Macaroni & cheese (Sat)
Spaghetti bolognese (Sun)

Week 5
Quesadillas (Mon)
Leftovers from Mon (Tue)
Beef with rice noodles (Wed)

Sugar – so so, not commited like I have been, but not entirely a free for all
It started well, but ended poorly, with lots of cakes at work, including me trying a gluten free sponge recipe, making a GF chocolate cake, using a packet mix for brownies (just to use it up). I also made a vegan cheesecake with dates and a touch of sugar. Then I also ate dessert at the fancy friend’s b’day dinner, and we bought ice creams in the past week. Sigh!

Train for polo – Training to run a half marathon: just platueaing! Something I want to achievely work on once I’m settle in my new home
2nd – couldn’t run 3kms to Co-op, so mainly walked with some jogging stints
9th – home to co-op, 2.93kms with some running
12th – 1.23km walk to the bf’s work
13th – 2.83km jog with hills around the bfs, with running
15th – 4.8km run back from dancing, some walking
22nd – 4.4km est, home to pole dancing, more walking than running
23rd – 4.3km mostly walking to/from hair dresser
29th – 1.53km jog/walk to appt

Cultural

2 films a month: failed (though did see two DVDs)
I can hardly believe I’ve not seen a movie in a cinema in a month – that is SO unlike me. I did mention to the BF that perhaps we could see something last night. I did watch two DVDs recently, one based on the IRA (slow burner, not really recommended). The other one was called The Factory and was better than I expected – it stars John Cusack and Jennifer Carpenter (from Dexter), and follows serial abductions of prostitutes, until John Cusack’s daughter also get abducted. There’s an awesome twist too!

2 books a month: achieved
I read Bottlemania, which you can read the review of here. Other than that, I finished The Heart Broke In by James Meek, and here’s my review (gosh that seems like a long time ago I read that!). Lastly, I’ve started on a book about called Nice Girl by R.j. Chin about Keli Lane. Keli Lane has been convicted of murder of her second child, who disappeared after an informal adoption. This is one of three children she had in secret, the other two being formally adopted. Her fourth child lives with her. This story is compelling to me, because… Keli was my boss at the school she was employed at during the years much of this drama happened! She was an Olympic water polo hopeful, and recruited me as a casual coach at her school. She left suddenly during my time working at the school. Based on the half of the book I’ve read, most people who knew her, myself included, do not believe she killed her baby. I think it’s rotten you can be convicted of murder when there’s no proof of murder. I’m sure there’s crimes committed, but murder is certainly not one of them! Here’s some more background in wikipedia

Social

Call/connect with an out of town friend: achieved
YES! A friend I made in Paris, who at the time lived in Wollongong, has been in Sydney since Feb. So I finally had her around for a cuppa, before moving out of my place. I also spoke to a number of school friends with the bad news of a friend’s death. Lastly, I semi spammed my nearest and dearest (but not local) with the link to my new house, so they could ooo and ahhh… So all round, a great month on social connections.

Career

Certification: minimal progress

Seriously, other than three hours spent at talks for continuing professional development (I need 150 hours).  I booked into a pricey course to get another 16 hours.  I’ve also been meeting with both my mentors, I’ve really not moved forward with this one as much as I could have. I need to set some time to get onto this and get it DONE!

Looking for next roleachieved, will remove from goals list

I’m in the new role, and I’m swamped. Let’s say I was under utilised in the last role, and now I hardly can think straight! But I love being busy, just perhaps not at the same time as moving house!!

Goals Update – June

Financial

$20k $26k target by 22 DecOn target to reach it by 21/11!
May: $16,413.13
Jun: $17,938.69 (+$1525.56)

12 in 2 adventures fund

May: $574.32
June: $898.81

Generosity target
Slower month this month, but annualised, I think I’m still doing fine.  Maybe I’ll report on my hours volunteering?

Health

Cook at home twice a weekEasily met, especially with the BF’s cooking mixed in

week 1 –
Dad’s graduation dinner (Sat)
Ceasear salad at BF’s (Sun)
Red Rooster (Mon)
Spag Bol with zuchini (Tue)
Garlic cheese pizza (Wed)
Chicken Ceaser Salad (Thu)
Satay pork pies, Zucchini slice & Pumpkin Pie (Fri)
Malaysian at Mamak and N2 gelato (Sat) <- my go to for out of town visitors!
Curry and Rice at parents (Sun)

week 2 –
nothing… Ice cream at vivid festival (Mon)
Oven roasted cheery tomato gnocchi (Tue) <- can I just say, I didn’t think something so easy could be so tasty! I even skip on the basil and it’s awesome
Chicken with Bombay potatos (Wed)
Zuchini slice? (Thu)
Pepperoni pizza (Fri)
Mamak again, different location and different people (Sat)
Nachoes by BF at my place (Sun)

week 3 –
Ceaser salad at BF’s (Mon)
Gnochhi with slow roasted tomatos(Tue)
McDonalds (I had a freebie) (Wed)
Gnocchi (from ricotta) (Thu)
Salt and pepper squid at the pub (Fri)
Onion tart (Sat)
Pad Se Ew (sp?) at BF’s (Sun)

week 4 –
Onion tart (Mon)
Onion tart (Tue)
Food at Coop Fundraiser (Wed)
Dominos pizza (Thu)
Nothing (some cake?) (Fri)
Gnocchi with oven dried tomatoes at BF’s (Sat) yes again!
Stew at a friends (Sun)

Sugar: Back on a good thing, but only 1 week this month

After a shock on Monday week ago (seeing my whole reflection in the mirror!), I have decided to cut sugar at least til the end of July.  My loop holes are that if I bake it at home, it’s ok (like a great gluten free pear and walnut bread mmmm).  Natural sugars are ok (milk, fruit).  And I won’t be a Nazi – I did nibble a tiny bit of a snack Mars Bar and the BF ate the rest.  Or the super good organic chocolate at the coop that someone kept offering me – with coconut sugar I think.

Train for polo:

Taking the season off.  I am pleased I got a continuous 4km run in on Wednesday and it felt a-ok.  It was relatively flat, and I only walked about 30m at a time before I started running again, so law of averages says I ran!

Cultural

2 films a month: Happily yes!

Definitely! There was the silly This is the end (which we saw with free tickets… which is the only way I’d ever suggest anyone sees this – unless you are a man who likes toilet humour); we also went and saw The Great Gatsby and The Internship which I enjoyed more than I might have expected.  Technically, World War Z also came in during this month too!

2 books a month: Also a yes!

I read The World Without Us and Perfume, click the links if you missed my reviews

Social

Call/connect with an out of town friend : Achieved, gold star here

A friend from Victoria visited, so she made all the effort 😉 And is now a reader – yay!  And at the beginning of June I went to the Gold Coast and caught up with a school friend.  So two good activities with two out of town friends! Win!

Career

Certification: Bah, not so much progress :s

I’ve got my mentor to read three of the woeful 16, and updated two of them.  The third one, all about ‘evaluation’ – he said what I wrote doesn’t really prove that I have this skill.  He is, of course, right, but I just don’t know how to fix it!  Maybe start again :s

Looking for next role: Moving along nicely

Interestingly, one has found me.  I spoke to my boss a week or two ago, looking for some growth/learning areas he thought might be useful.  At the same time, i told him about my career goal.  A week later he called me into his office and suggested a lateral move, with the view that it will enhance my skills, and may give me some management ‘practice’.  So, I think it’s a no brainer that i take it!

So the month that was June.  All round, pretty good.  On track with savings (and a HUGE backpay/OT/on call pay supplement this week too!).  Killing it on my cultural goals, and ok on the career and social fronts.  Maybe I should add ‘running’ into the health part – and keep myself a little more accountable, as I had a huge hiatus after this post.

Goals Update – May

Financial

$20k  $26k target by 22 DecOn target (increase of $1,829.61 this month)

Apr 2013: $14,522.79

May 2013: $16,352.40

Generosity target of at least $100 per week:  ahead of annual target

I have decided to just list whether I’ve achieved this for the month, and whether I’m behind or ahead of my annual budgetted ‘generosity’.

Health

Cook at home twice a weekachieved as much as I can remember (week 1 was hazy!)

I’ve started making a soup about weekly, to use leftovers for lunches at work.  This has settled my angst about vegetable intact and means I can be happier eating less balanced dinners which might be the preference of those I dine with 😉  Bolded items were cooked at home

week 1 –

(Mon)
(Tue)
(Wed)
Cheesy Garlic pizza (Thu)
GF pasta in Brisbane (Fri)
Steak out in Brisbane (Sat)
Nachos at Brisbane airport(Sun)

week 2 –
Rice crackers and brownies? (Mon)
Pumpkin & Lentil soup (Tue)
Pizza (Wed)
Leftovers? (Thu)
Spaghetti Carbonara (Fri)
Nachoes and Sliders out (Sat)
Quiche, waldorf salad & spaghetti marinana at parent’s house (Sun)

week 3 –
Vegetable soup (Mon)
Steak and chips – met the BF’s MUM!! (Tue)
Udon Noodles with miso (Wed)
Prawn & scallop pie out (Thu)
Stuffed peppers (Fri)
Ceaser Salad at BF’s (Sat)
Eurovision party (Sun)

week 4 –
Pumpkin Soup (Mon)
Dominos Pizzas (Tue)
Tuna bake (Wed)
Satay chicken and rice at BF’s (Thu)
(Fri)
Italian birthday dinner out (Sat)
Nachos at BF’s (Sun)

Weel 5-
Sweet Potato and Suede soup (Mon)
Chicken with rice noodles (Tue)
Miso with Udon noodles (Wed)

Limit Sugar – totally off this bandwagon

Train for polo – not playing the winter season

Cultural

– 2 films a month: achieved

I saw two DVDs as well as going out to the movies.  I really wanted to see Warm Bodies and so the BF obliged and took me.  I loved it, I loved the subtle humour.  Really pleased I went and saw it.  Whilst it seems a little like a chick flick, I think it’s got enough going for it that others can tolerate it.

I also saw two movies at home, Unthinkable wasn’t something I heard about, when it came out, or since.  It was an American who plants three nuclear bombs in the US.  Probably a little bit of a sensitive issue for Americans, but I enjoyed the film.  It was pretty graphic – they use all the torture methods that are and are not approved.  It certainly makes you ask questions of torture, but also the motivations of the tortured – perhaps they’ve resigned to their fate, and therefore no end of torture will cause them to reveal the information you’re seeking?  The second film was The Hunger Games which I haven’t read, but was interested to see nonetheless.  I think I was actually surprised how into it I got, and I really did want to see ‘what happened in the end’.

Saw Iron Man 3 at the movies, and I’ve not seen the first two, but I still followed what was going on and enjoyed it immensely – obviously enhanced by the La Premiere session, which involved food and alcohol service to your couples chairs, separated from the general public.

– 2 books a month: achieved

First up was Winter Garden which was a great balance between modern day USA and fairytale time (which becomes wartime Russia).  Really well told story, with lots of characters going on a little personal discovery.

Gosh it seems like it’s been a long month, and somehow I managed to get The Paradox of Choice read, though it took forever.  I wrote a very brief review too.

Social

Call/connect with an out of town friend – achieved
In May, I took a weekend back in my former home town, Brisbane, and had a great dinner with a school friend. The other night, I met up with a friend who I met at an overseas conference, who does a similar role to me for a company in Brisbane. I always have the best time catching up with her – we’re so in sync as nerds!

I also spoke to a friend originally from Perth but now in Melbourne – both for her B’day and again she rang me a week later to sort out coming to visit! The coincidence in all this was that I knew it was her birthday and whilst i was listening to a national radio program they read a text message she sent in! She lived in a pretty small town in Western Australia and when they mentioned that, and her name, well it couldn’t have been a bigger coincidence – I pulled over then and there to ring her for her birthday and exclaim her nationwide ‘fame’!

Career

– Certification – 60% done well, 40% still to improve

Of the 16 career episode reports, I’ve written something for every one. There are five that are too short (one, woefully so).  But I’m starting to see that I’m chipping away at this, and it will get done!  I’ve set an ‘end of the year’ target to complete this.  I also need to send three to my non work mentor to review.  I did consider sending the ‘worse’ ones, but then I don’t want to make a bad impression – but it’s best to get help where I most need it!

– Looking for next role – I’m working on it!

Whilst I’ve not actively sort a new role, in the last month I’ve met with my non-work mentor.  We talked about a career plan and he gave me some helpful tips. Mainly, he talked and I took a lot of notes (oh, of course I talked too… don’t worry).  As a result of that chat, I’ve sought out an internal mentor.  Someone in senior management, but not part of my direct reporting structure, which I think it helpful.  He’s also been overseas with our company sending him to NYC, which would be a dream come true for me.  So after going out on a limb with a ‘will you be my mentor’ email, not a day later I have a willing mentor and a date to meet in early June!  Yay!

Goals Update – April

Financial

My backpay came through this week, which now means I’m on a higher salary.  It also means all my savings targets got a generous boost! 😀

$20k target by 22 DecOn target to achieve

Mar 13: $13,003.17 (adjusted from March goals post to include interest of $53.11)

Apr 13: $14,522.79

12 in 2 Adventures: Ahead of target

Start of month $229.76

End of month: $797.56 + $89 paid for knife skills course

Generosity target of at least $100 per week not quite there

(weeks Mon thu Sun – and based on when things were withdrawn from my accounts):
week 1 – $45 + $70 (dad) + 12hrs volunteering (babysitting, flowers, Sunday school)
week 2 – $20 + $80 to the cause spoken about here
week 3 – $20 + 2 hrs volunteering (babysitting/cleaning)
week 4 – $35 + $50 for a swim-a-thon of a colleague

I don’t want to share too much of my 12 in 2 goal to read the bible, but let’s just say I’ve started, and in a year, I should have the whole thing licked.  Why am I bringing it up here?  Well I read about giving, but silently, so only God knows.  Made me question publishing it on the blog.  But then I realised, the blog is helping me do it – in the sense that it reminds me to give to those less fortunate.  What are your thoughts?  Should I just retire this segment from my goals update?  It does feel a little… show-off-ish

Health

Cook at home twice a week: achieved

Bold means I made it myself!  March was a roaring success – and April on average wasn’t too bad.  I had one week where I didn’t hit my target, but given I’d been sick in the stomach and then super busy, I’m not 100% worried.  I’ve seen an increase in eating at home of late, so that’s a bonus.  Most of my meals out seem to be homecooked too – either at a friend’s or my parents.  I still buy lunch 2 days a week – Mondays and on the weekend at least once usually.

Chicken and Leek terrine, thanks to coles.com.au

Chicken and Leek terrine, thanks to coles.com.au

Udon noodles (Thu)
Leek & Chicken Terrain and focaccia (Fri)
Leek & Potato bake (Sat)
Vietnamese noodles with prawns (Sun)

*can you imagine me coming home with EIGHT leeks – it was comical*
week 1 –

Chicken & Leek terrain with leek and potato bake leftovers (Mon)
Rocket salad with beef (Tue)
Apple sauce (sick!) (Wed)
Chicken soup – leftovers (Thu)
Ginger and Lemongrass stir fry (Fri)
Snack food at water polo presentation night (Sat)
Nothing 😦 still sick from WED! (Sun)

week 2 – let’s not talk about some of the nutritional decisions I made this week, shall we?
?? (Mon)
Chocolate cake (Tue)
Pizzas (Wed)
Garlic pizza – inhaled pre concert (Thu)
Sushi – nearly made me sick (Fri)
Wedding (Sat)
Roast chicken at friend’s place (Sun)

week 3 –

Dosa with curried root veges – I used mustard when I couldn’t buy mustard seeds, it works (Mon)
Vegie pasta bake at a friend’s (Tue)
GF pizza(Wed)
Lasange at my parent’s (Thu)
Italian out (Fri)
Coconut buns and chicken dim sum (Sat)
Leftover GF pizza (Sun)

week 4 –

Chickpea Salad (Mon)
Pizza (Tue)
Nachos at BF’s (Wed)
Curry at parents (Thu)
Sushi (Fri)
Roast lamb and potatos at BF’s (Sat)
Chicken Ceaser Salad at BF’s(Sun)

Sugar – out the window!

Train for polo – off season

Cultural

– 2 films a month: achieved

Sunday night in week 1, my darling took me to Identity Thief I felt pretty rotten, which can be evidenced by the fact that the only Malteasers I consumed were those brought to my mouth! That’s unheard of! Funny funny film – even though BF is convinced I don’t like comedy.  I  also Die Hard – Die Another Day.  Gosh I’m good to my bf! Next up, Warm Bodies I think.

–  2 books a monthachieved

Grotesque sort of straddled the months, but definitely in this month was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn which I thoroughly enjoyed – you can read my review.  I tried to get into Blown with limited success (had it on the go for two weeks).  I think picked up The Winter Garden by Laura Hillenbrand, and I’m really enjoying it!

Social

Call/connect with an out of town friend – not achieved

Not going great with this – I did send some messages but really not enough.

Career

– Certificationon target

Seems I missed two of the sixteen competencies when I was writing out the framework, so whilst i said LAST month I only had three to go, I really had five! So now I’ve done two more, I have three to go.  Only four are at the proper length though, so more work is needed

– Looking for next role: making progress

After some scheduling difficulties, I’m had an information interview with a company this week.  I’m not sure I’ll make the change, given it’d mean longer hours and a lower salary, and the only real carrot for me is that I could move to France (or somewhere else, but France is where I’d like to go, and their ‘home’).  Nonetheless, I’ll make sure to look at their job ads monthly just in case.

I also now have a professional mentor, outside my company, thanks to the professional body that I’m doing my certification through.  We meet in early May at an event, so it shall be interesting to see what I learn and how I grow.

Goals Updates – March

To see the start of this series, click here, and then there’s Jan Update and Feb Update.  My weeks are based on Monday through to Sunday.  But where a week ends mid week, I do funny things as you’ll see below!

Financial

$20k target by 22 Dec – on target with planned contribution of $165 per week.

Last month: $12,130
This month: $12,950 *Despite borrowing from this for my ‘generosity’ target, I’m still on track for my $20k goal :D*

Generosity target of $100 p/w – 100%+ achieved

Last week of Feb: additional $20 (+ 9hrs volunteering)
week 1 – $25 to church +$100 petrol in someone’s car, $50 for beer (which I don’t drink) <- this last one might be a stretch!
week 2 – $70 to church (+1hr volunteering)
week 3 – $20 to church + $10 for sympathy flowers + $465 to a friend in need (this was calculated to get me to a complete $100 in this month and the last)
week 4 – $20 to church + $70 gift

Exceeding my planned per week goal, for the year. Having a set ‘amount’ per week makes me less resentful than I used to be. So whilst it might seem perverse to track my generosity, it IS helping me to feel and BE more generous, and that’s exactly what I wanted!

Health

Cook at home twice a week: I’ve started tracking the spend on my part for meals out – some I’m paid for, others I pay for both/all

Last week of Feb- ?? (Thu)
?? (Fri)
Steak and Mash at BF’s (Sat)
Mac/tuna/cheese with Roast Vegies (Sun)

Tuna bake mmmmsource: taste.com.au

Tuna bake mmmm
source: taste.com.au

week 1 –
leftovers (mac&cheese) (Mon),
Thai out$10 (Tue),
Sushi out – thank you dinner $0 & beef curry made(Wed),
Pizza out $50 (Thu)
Mexican out $20 (Fri),
Pub food $0 (Sat), KFC $18 (Sun)

week 2 –
leftovers (curry) (Mon),
Dinner at parents (Tue),
Beef, bacon and egg pies (Wed),
Omlette’s at BF’s (Thu)
Mexican pub food $15 (Fri)
Pizza at BF’s (Sat)
Indian out with parents $0 (Sun)

week 3 –

Tuna pasta bake (with GF substitutions for me!) (Mon)
Dinner out at a South American resturant $45 (Tue)
Cheesy garlic pizza (Wed)
Chorizo & Leek risotto (Thu)
Brazilian BBQ out (Fri)
Homemade pizzas (store bought bases!) (Sat)
Sausages at a friends (Sun)

**both weekend days, I had lunch out – French 3 course for a Hen’s on Sat ($36) and with a friend from out of town on Sun ($20)**

week 4 –
Udon noodles (Mon)
Chinese out – it’s my bf’s fave place/dish and we’ve not been there since Jan, so I figured it was a good dinner before his week away (Tue)
Birthday dinner for brother at my parents (Wed)
Udon noodles (Thu)
Leek & Chicken Terrain and focaccia (Fri)
Leek & Potato bake (Sat)
Vietnamese noodles with prawns (Sun)

Sugar – I haven’t been ideal for lent. I’ve broken lent for multi course (prepaid) dinners, twice. And nibbled some brownies I made for Easter. And a Caramello Koala passed my lips in a bought of cramps and general frustration with the world. At least each slip up, I was mindful of why I had recommitted to no sugar (Lent) and that’s at least part of the purpose.

Train for polo – 0% on water polo, but encouraging on the exercise front.  So let’s say… 40% achieved. Sigh – no, I decided a house guest got me off the hook, even though she ended up having the night out with another friend. So that’s a no for the first week.  And now the season is over, maybe I should adjust this goal for gym sessions? Given I want to run a half marathon, as part of my 12 in 2 goals, I should really start being accountable to y’all (and myself) with how I’m going!  I did play polo the Sunday of Week 1, then a gym session Mon, Tue and Thu – cardio and weights.  From then on, I’ve been training for my half marathon goals, with a run every second day – which I blogged about last Friday

Cultural

– 2 films a month – 100% achieved

Side effects – great movie, though not the pick me up I was hoping for, seeing it was a lot about depression. That being said, it was cleverly written.

One sure fire way to lighten my life is to see a movie, so on Sunday I wedged in a movie between church and seeing my parents. I saw Goddess which is an Australian musical. Let me say, I HATE musicals, but i LOVED this film. It’s very modern, and hilarious to boot. And Ronan Keating taking off his shirt once or twice wasn’t too shabby either. The story is based around the wife, and her frustration at being at home with 2.5 year old twins, so she starts a web cam to keep in contact with her husband (Ronan Keating) whose in Antarctica. Except he never signs on, but the rest of the world gets in on the action! It was a great feel good movie, and just what the doctor ordered!

– 2 books a month – 50% achieved

I started with The Blade Itself by Marcus Sakey, and I have a review should you be interested. Thanks to The Exacting Life, and her comments on the last few books I read, I picked up Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto from the library, and reviewed it here. Actually I picked it to read next as it’s slim, so I knew I could get it finished by month’s end. Review is here I’ve also started on another Japanese book – seems to be an (unintentional) theme – called Grotesque.  Reminding me far too much about cliques and exclusion and cruelty in high school!

Social

Somehow this missed Jan, Feb and mid Mar.  Opps!

Call/connect with an out of town friend – well a friend from Brisbane was in Sydney, so we had lunch.  But I think this is a cheating ‘win’ on this goal – that involved next to no initiative on my part 😦

Career

– Certification – 400% achieved! OK maybe 200% achieved as I haven’t made them all perfect. I added one further episode, so I have only three outstanding.  The last three are pretty tricky, so I might need to meet with my colleagues who are also doing the certification and get some inspiration.  Then I need to improve the 13 episodes I’ve already written, getting them to at least 500 words, and ensuring they are as good as they can be.

Looking for next role Also something I’ve left off on past months.  I’m happy to report that at a water polo BBQ fundraiser, I discovered one of the parents works for a company that supplies materials to my company.  So I spoke at length to him about opportunities at his company.  He’s already sent me the monthly job list, but the only suitable one needed 15 years experience.  So this parent has decided I should meet an engineer in his company and speak to him about what I might be interested in there.  The ‘talk’ shall happen on 5th April.  I’m not 100% sure this company will get me my ‘ultimate’ career, but I’m not accepting a job there just yet, so it’s well worth investigating a little further.

Happy Easter/Passover to everyone! Looking forward to other goals updates out there – can’t believe we’re a quarter of the way through the year!

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!