Adelaide and South Australia Family Holiday Travel Hack

Early in the year we took our one year old daughter from Western Australia to South Australia to meet my wife’s family without paying for airfares.

We wanted to take the trip before our daughter turned 2 and we had to pay for a extra seat on the plane. But we ended up not needing to even pay for airfares.

5 months earlier, I signed up to a credit card with 65,000 bonus points as long as you hit minimum $2,000 spend for 2 months.

To round up the spending required I bought Coles Group gift cards to make up the required spend. (Coles, Kmart, Office-work, Target, Liquor-land, Coles Express) So I could use on everyday expenses in the following months (groceries, fuel etc)

Not only did we get a chance for our daughter to meet her great grandma’s and extended family but we got to see a good amount of South Australia.

From free museums and parks in Adelaide, to the historic town of Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills.  As well as enjoying the beaches in Tumby Bay, Port Lincoln and Oyster Bay

We did decide to splurge in Port Lincoln to have a upmarket ocean view room, looking over the ocean. Which in our opinion was totally worth the extra expense. (see photos)

Accommodation – 10 days $862.7 (2 nights with family) 

Spending money – $1030.34

Transport – Hire car and taxi’s $906.46

Total – $2,799.50 $279.50/day/family

Have you used frequent flyer points for a holiday? 

What do you think of South Australia?

Does anyone have some tips for reduces the cost of a Hire Car?

Home Loan Interest Rate Creeping Up

For the last two years my home loan interest rate has been slowly creeping up. It started off around 3.89% and is now at 4.07% with one of the Big 4 banks. This has prompted me to look into other lenders to see what is on offer.

House Value: $450,000

Current Mortgage Balance: $284,000

4.07% Variable Principle and Interest 

$395 annual package fee

2 years into a 30 year loan. (planning on paying off loan over next 5/6 years with extra payments)

After contacting my current lender they have agreed to drop interest rate down from 4.07% to 3.92%

1 Email = Savings of $426 per year! not bad for 2 minutes of work.

I also search for best deal online.homeloaninterst

Best rate: 3.59% Variable P/I no offset but redraw. $0 annual fees

If I switch to this online lender, I would be saving $937 per year in interest + $395 annual fee = $1,332 per year!

There are a few fees in switching lenders to consider, discharge fee for my current loan $300, property title fee $179 and potential settlement fee $150.

I would also need to switch my everyday bank account over to avoid monthly fees to a fee-free online account. This would also involve contacting all direct debits to switch over.

If I switched over I wouldn’t have a offset account, this shouldn’t be a issue as I plan to pay the loan off early and never want to create a Investment Property out of it.

Should I do the paper work and make the switch?

What your current interest rate?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Margaret River Family Holiday September 2017

 

A throwback to last year and our first holiday away since the birth of our daughter 6 months earlier.

Our accommodation was a 2 bed cabin in a caravan park on the river. The cabin averaged out to $71/night which in Margaret River is 30% cheaper then the normal nightly rate. Saving is $200 over the week stay.

The cabin is part of holiday home program offered through Mr FMT’s employer. For $150/year membership, has paid for itself in the first holiday and we still have future holidays planned.

We went out for lunch most days enjoying breweries and wineries in the south west region.

Most nights we either cooked or brought back some takeaway to our cabin because nights are difficult enough with a new baby.

Most of our entertainment was free- bushwalking, beautiful beaches, cheese and chocolate tastings. We did pay to go down some caves which we hadn’t done before and was good fun.

Accommodation $500 for 7 days

Expenses $990 including food, transportation, entertainment.

Total $1,490 $212/family/day

Our Margaret River Trip wasn’t the cheapest week away but was a well earn rest after a sleepless 6 months as new parents.

What do you think of Margaret River? Has your workplace got any holiday home or similar programs?

3rd Quarter Update $-288,200

End of September means the end of the 3rd quarter of 2018, which is a good chance to look over our spending.

We had a big bump in income due to a tax return and a small first pay from Mrs FMT’s small business.

Total Income $26,564 July to Sept

After a great second quarter of saving, we ended up spending alot of money on planned house repairs which we had put off for the last 2 years. Mostly necessary repairs, which comes with owning a 1960’s house on the beach.

Total Spend on Home Repairs $14,364 July to Sept

As much as I wish this was money put onto the homeloan, the work is now mostly done with last part of the repairs coming into the 4th quarter spending.

Even with the home repairs we managed to pay down some extra money on the home loan.

Total Extra Payments on Home Loan $5,000 July to Sept

Current Home Loan balance at $-288,000

With the major home repairs costs out of the way for the immediate future, I hope to get back to paying down extra on the loan.

Target for end of 2018 is to pay down the home loan to under $280,000

What are your thoughts? How do you deal with Home Maintenance costs and trying to reach FI?

Food Shopping

One of the ways we have improved our savings rate is by changing to our food shopping habits. We used to spend at least $150/week but now are around $80/week.

We previously did one main shop per week but with no real plan would run to the shops 3 to 4 extra times, typically spending a $20 each time.

We now plan out our dinners for the week, add the ingredients to the list and have a small stockpile of regularly used items in the house to avoid one off runs to the shops.

We have a go-to google docs sheet with a list of meal ideas that we like to use and are constantly adding to.

When shopping, we use Coles iphone app which not only show the aisle of the produce but also allows you to tick off items on the list. Which helps keep you focused on the list items as well as not miss anything.

Having a plan for once-a-week food shopping may seem like an obvious thing to do but I know many people who waste not only money, but their time each day running back and forth in the car to grab extra items from the shops.

This simple 5 minutes a week planning has saved our family at least $280/month for the last year and a half.

18 month x $280 saved = $5,040!!

What your simple shopping tips? Aldi? Online Delivery?

Eating Out

Eating meals out at fast food, restaurants/pubs can quickly add up. Even grabbing the flat white takeaway on the way to work can take its toll on the budget.

To keep the peace in the marriage and still enjoy ourselves we try to limit our meals out and take away coffee to once per month or special occasions.

Having a toddler has probably helped the budget too, as we are a bit more housebound.

Looking at our last six month expenses excluding holidays (on holidays we relax this rule) we typically spend max of $100 month on Eating Out.

Eating out once a month and making quality food at home, then enjoying it at the beach or park has not only been better for our wallet but our health as well.

What are you thoughts?

How much does your family spend a month on Eating Out?

 

Paying a 30 year mortgage in 5 years!

Since discovering FI we have sold our money-hungry Investment Properties. So we can focus on paying off our own mortgage then we can invest into low cost index funds.

We started aggressively paying off our mortgage May 2018 – Planning on paying off our 30 Year mortgage in 5-6 Years.

By putting every spare dollar into the loan, we will need less income in retirement because we won’t have monthly mortgage payments.

Purchase Price: $470,000 September 2016

Minimum payment $1806/month

Aggressive Payments 5 Years: May 2018 $303,500

$5,575.73 Monthly

Aggressive Payments 6 Years: May 2018 $303,500

$4,734.50 Monthly

Average Payments as of August 2018

$5002.75

(This is a bit distorted due to our tax return)

We are currently on one income as Mrs FMT is staying at home with our daughter.

So far it looks like we are on track to reach our target of paying our 30 year mortgage in 5-6 years!

What you planning to do with your mortgage? Are you paying the minimum off your loan so you can invest?