We are back after our short Christmas hiatus. We hope everyone enjoyed the break and wish everyone a very Happy 2017!
For us, December was a spendy month!
One of the biggest expenses for us was a few utility bills. Specifically we got our electricity, gas and water bill! Now, we are two people, so we don’t use a lot in the way of utilities, but our bills were huge! Do you know why?
Our electricity usage totalled $94.44 and we were charged a whopping $117.62 for supply! For gas, which we use to cook and heat our hot water, usage was $75.98 and the supply charge was $91.80! Water had a similar large supply fee, but that was predominantly a sewerage charge, which we’re okay with. We were shocked however to see how much of an impact supply charges had on our bills! We can reduce our usage enormously, but will continue to be hit with a big supply charge.
This will bug me forever.
Groceries and car costs were higher, mainly due to Christmas food and alcohol purchases, extra petrol due to the regular driving to our parent’s houses and our car registration. I also finally got around to doing my taxes which resulted in a large payment to my accountant. On top of that, I will, for the first time in my life, receive a bill from the Tax Office! First world problems of our Vanguard Index Fund doing too well!
Unusually for us, eating out was pretty high. We celebrated our anniversary and then treated my brother and sister-in-law out to dinner for New Years Eve. It was a wonderful evening. We also took advantage of some after Christmas sales and bought some blow up mattresses (and pump) for future camping trips! Our long weekend away in Tasmania was wonderful.
Finally, for no other reason than it’s just easier to track, we do the majority of our charitable donating in December. We usually choose a charity to donate to together and then each pick one other. This year, we donated to the Smith Family Sponsor a Child Appeal as a couple. Poopsie selected Legacy as his charity of choice and I picked Ovarian Cancer Australia as mine. We believe charitable giving is so important, especially due to our privileged financial and social situations. We never think we have donated enough and will continue to make efforts to increase our donations throughout our lives. Maybe one day, we’ll be able to be as generous as the amazing Mr Money Mustache!
Here’s the rest of our spending:
|Blog||147.7||Renewed the blog hosting with SiteGround. I've been very happy with the service and would highly recommend them.|
|Utilities||649.12||See above for an explanation of how ridiculous service charges are!|
|Groceries||573.14||A high month. Considering it was Christmas and we supplied food to both our family dinners, had our own Christmas Eve dinner and purchased quite a bit of alcohol- this actually isn't too bad.|
|Car Costs||732.89||Our registration was due and we also spent more in fuel due to the Christmas celebrations at both of our parent's houses.|
|Kids (child support, school fees, etc.)||1900.38||An extra pay cheque this month means an extra child support payment. We also purchased a birthday present for one of the kids.|
|Mobile||33.38||My final SpinTel bill.|
|Household||81.24||New pillows for our guest room, a lightbulb and some Christmas supplies for next year.|
|Miscellaneous||330.39||I paid my accountant to do my taxes, Poopsie bought a wallet and I bought some paintbrushes.|
|Mortgage Interest||897.95||Under $900!!|
|Eating Out||414.45||We ate out for our Anniversary dinner and took my brother and sister-in-law out for dinner on New Years Eve. We also got Subway one night for who knows what reason!|
|Entertainment||71||Gold Class tickets to see the new Star Wars and entrance into a swimming pool that we went to with my nephews.|
|Travel||601.79||Our Tasmania trip, camping gear and topping up our train cards.|
|Gifts/Donations||1122.41||Mostly donations, plus one or two last minute Christmas gifts. I also purchased some gifts for Christmas next year, taking advantage of the sales.|
How did you go with your December spending? Did Christmas put a strain on it?
“This will bug me. forever.”
Can I ask about the tax bill you had to pay? Is that from just leaving your money there, growing, or is it because you took some money out of the account and realised capital gains? Tax isn’t something I’ve looked into yet with regards to investing (I just want to get started), so I’ve no idea how it works.
Are you going to do a post on your Tassie weekend? I love Tassie so much. We’d like to retire down there. Why when we retire and not now? Family (first), but also while we are tied to real jobs and not self-employed entrepreneurs who can work from anywhere, there are minimal job opportunities.
Smith Family – I contribute regularly to this as well. I’ve seen first-hand the effects of poverty in children when I was teaching, and the simple things really can make a whole world of difference to a kid.
The tax bill was mainly due to earnings, via dividends. I reinvest all of my dividends, but am still required to pay tax on them. I didn’t withdraw any from last financial year, but I did withdraw a large chunk for our mortgage deposit in July. This will no doubt have a big impact on my tax bill for this financial year. Poopsie spoke with his accountant who tried to explain how we could try and guess our CGT, but it was way too complicated. We know it’s coming, but we’re unsure what it will be. Ultimately, we are still comfortable that the tax we pay is a fair trade off for the amount we earn with our investments, earnings we certainly couldn’t get in a savings account (which we’d have to pay tax on anyway). Hopefully retirement taxes will be much lower as we will be earning so much less. We are both in fairly high tax brackets, and obviously don’t intend to be in retirement.
We don’t plan to do a post on the trip to Tassie, as it was for a wedding so we did very little tourist stuff due to time constraints. Also, since I had only been there 12 months before, and Poopsie had never been, much of what is featured in our Tasmania Part 1 post is what we looked at this time. Poopsie absolutely fell in love with Tassie and the first words out of his mouth were “let’s retire here.” I insisted he spend a little bit more time there before making the decision, especially in winter! But yes, we do love it and definitely intend to go back.
I had no idea the Smith Family ran a child sponsorship program. I had always wanted to sponsor a child but was wary about my money going to World Vision or similar. Now that I know I can sponsor an Australian child, I think this is something I will contribute to every year!
Hi! I’m really curious about investing in a Vanguard index fund. From what I’ve been reading lately about investing and finances, it seems like investing in a low-fee index fund is the way to go. (Ok, I’ll admit it: I just read Tony Robbins’ “Money: Master the Game” in which he constantly extolls their virtues.) So when I finally finished the 600-page tome, I was pretty pumped and starting looking into index funds in Australia. It seems that the only way to invest in one here is through Vanguard, but when I checked out the fee structure on their website, the fees for index funds actually look quite high. I don’t know if there’s something I’m missing, but I feel like someone’s popped my balloon… 🙂
Hi Jane, thanks for stopping by. In about two weeks, we will be publishing a post about investing with Vanguard, so definitely keep an eye out for that. We think the fee rates are very good, so I’ll be sure to include some information about it in the post. The other option is investing in ETFs (of which Vanguard has a number) directly on the share market. They do have lower fees but don’t suit us personally, which I will explain in the post. I don’t know a lot about these, but if you check out the Australian Investing Thread on the MMM Forums, they have a lot of information in there. You can find the thread at http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/australian-investing-thread
Great! Thank you so much. I really look forward to your upcoming post.
Thanks for sharing AWP. You know, looking at your expenses and the things you ‘shelled out’ for, you’re doing exactly what we’d want to be doing. Gold class, paying taxes (for making money – it’s a good thing!), travel, eating out for special occasions. I love it.
Admittedly we only went Gold Class because that’s what my brother’s wanted to do, but still, it was fun. We don’t see early retirement as depriving ourselves. We spend money on the things that are important to us, but don’t spend a cent on the things that don’t. It’s an awesome balance!