19 Mar 2018

A morning at the Highland Games

The last few days we've had temperatures in the mid 30's -so hot days and hot nights that are usually long gone at this time of year. Yesterday my daughter, my niece and I went to the Highland games. Fortunately we were able to find shady places for most of the morning.  They had erected a castle front in the middle of the oval which added a lovely touch. The bands all entered through the castle gate when it was their turn to play.

I love listening to bands play but I have to say I love the Scottish bands the most. I used to do Scottish dancing when I was a kid and we would dance at fairs like this and in the Eisteddfod.

I remember when I was about 6 or 7,  I had been practising for my Eisteddfod performance to a tape of the bagpipe music. On the day I went out on the stage and instead of hearing a tape of the music, standing behind me was a bagpiper. Well I did my first bow and just froze at the sound of the bagpipes!! I stood there till the music ended, then did my last bow and walked off. The sound of loud bagpipes is fantastic and I love it - but that first time, with him right behind me was too much lol!

We stayed a few hours and had a nice walk around, watched a bit of the dancing and bought some gluten free chutney from the lady I had bought jam off a few weeks ago at the Farmers Markets. There were some nice craft stalls with sewing and patchwork and other homemade goodies, as well as lots of Scottish goods.

 But after a while the wind got really strong and the heat was getting worse, so we went into town and had cake & coffee before doing  the grocery shopping.  All in all it was a lovely day costing only $2 entry and $14 for the chutney.

Work has been very busy the last few weeks and I've been a bit unwell so my goals for shopping, exercising and eating well have slipped a bit- will update on that soon.

Good news is that I had the meeting about the extra work and its going ahead so extra mortgage-smashing money is coming!

13 Mar 2018

Mortgage interest under $500.

The interest for the mortgage just got withdrawn for the month - $498.62.  I'm finally under $500 a month! I've put the monthly interest in the sidebar so I can track it.

I just paid $500 into the account to cover the interest. For a few months now I've been paying the monthly mortgage interest like a bill, to keep that balance moving downwards asap. Currently its $160,881.

I've also added another page with the amortisation schedule for the original mortgage - $200,000 over 30 years. We are almost at the balance for the end of Year 10.

To reach my 2018 goal of < $100,000 is not going to be easy, but I just keep focusing on that number and believing we can do it. I know I'll have a nice big tax return to use and I have a meeting this week about extra work. All that income will go off the mortgage.

DH has had some hassles at his workplace over the last few weeks.Not sure how its going to turn out - wether it will settle down or wether they will offer him a payout. Hopefully it settles down and we can just keep on plodding along towards retirement!

* I added some photos to the post about our retirement unit:

10 Mar 2018

Visit to our retirement unit!

We got the keys to our rental unit yesterday and went down to have a look after work. It was great to see inside again - its been a few years- and nice just to spend some time there thinking about where we will  put things when we move in. I took a heap of photos so I can refer back to them.

This morning we were down there again taking measurements and deciding what repairs we want to do. If we do things now its a tax deduction. If we leave them till we move in they aren't. We are going to change the lights over to LEDs as that will be more economical. We also need to regrout the shower and we will also make a wooden top for the window seat which is showing a bit of wear and tear. The garage floor could do with a repaint so we'll get a quote on that as well and some more pavers for the garden.

After making our list of jobs we went off to Bunnings and bought our supplies.I'm looking forward to going back down tomorrow for a while to do some more planning while DH does the grouting.

Our unit has just four rooms and a small garden. Its a timely reminder of just how much downsizing we need to do over the next few years! I have several bags of 'stuff' to go to Vinnies so I might try and drop those off tomorrow.  In the meantime I've been on pintrest pinning ideas for the little garden and for storage in small places.  Can't wait till we're retired and living there for good!

Heres a few pics of where we'll be headed in a few years time.

The kitchen and lounge/dining room

The second bedroom upstairs, which will be my sewing room.

The ceilings in the front of the unit are all lovely and patterned.

We have a small yard for an outdoor setting and a smaller side yard off the kitchen as well.

Looking back from the kitchen to the lounge/dining area. The door opens to the garage / laundry which will be DH's workshop area when we move. We'll park the cars in the street.

There is also small bathroom and lovely large main bedroom with leadlight windows behind those curtains. The window seat looks out over the garden and that timber on the floor goes on the seat.

So I need to cull our 'stuff' from 30+ years here in our big four bedroom home to fit into our little four room home over the next few years.

8 Mar 2018

End of week update!

I've been unwell the last few days, painful feet from arthritis and not sleeping very well.  Had to travel for work and did a few teaching sessions where I was on my feet for several hours. Last night I woke up in the middle of the night with really bad arthritis pain in my feet and ankles. So I was off work today and will probably just go in for the morning tomorrow.

Is frustrating as when I get a flare up I can't take any medications for it, I just have to rest. I haven't walked all week and I haven't eaten the best as I've been so tired after work. This is the cycle I don't want to be in again. I need to get myself back on track over the weekend with eating better and sleeping better.

On a positive note our tenants have cleaned the house properly. We'll go and have a look on the weekend and see if we need to do any small repairs before renting it again. I'm excited to see it!  I'm going to take photos and measurements of all the rooms so I can plan what furniture will fit.

I received a bank statement today which is a bit confusing. If it is correct it means that I have a large sum of money owning to me from my time off work. But it seems like an error that big is unlikely. I can't contact the bank directly - have to go through the pay office so I'll be on the phone to them first thing tomorrow morning. I really hope I am owed this money - it would really make a big dent in the mortgage - so fingers crossed!

6 Mar 2018

Mortgage & tenant update.

We got a letter from the bank about our mortgage payment yesterday. They have reduced our monthly payment by $33. It says that each year they review loans to see if payments need to increase, decrease or stay the same. In 30 years of having various mortgages I've never had a letter like that before!

DH spent 20 years working in banking. He said they are worried we are increasing payments and will pay it out early so this is a recalculation to encourage us to pay less. Of course we won't reduce our payments, in fact I'll keep trying to increase them and this reduction just means more goes off the principal each month.

In an interesting twist, our tenant has up and vacated over the weekend after initially protesting that they would be unable to move out when the lease was up at the end of the month. Its all very odd! They have paid up to date but said they didn't have time to clean thoroughly. The agent is inspecting today and fingers crossed theres no damage. If its not properly cleaned it will come out of the bond.

When we lease it are planning to increase the rent by $20/week so that is an additional $1000 income each year from this IP. Can't wait to get the keys and have a look inside again!

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