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Thursday, April 3, 2008

A tricky subject

I don’t normally talk money to people, not even close friends but one of them asked me the other day how we managed to afford to do the things we do as she was finding it very hard to make ends meet and we never seemed to be short.

So I told her that over the past few years I’ve found there are two things I don’t mind about being a Senior – that is aged over 60.

Shhhhhhhhhh……………. Don’t tell anyone about that last statement I made :)

One is the Senior’s card our state government provides for anyone over the age of 60. This can be used to obtain a discount at lots of different places and can come in handy when you are making purchases large or small, as that 10% saved is better in my pocket than theirs.

Public transport in the metropolitan area is cheap for Seniors. We are able to purchase a ticket for just over $3 that allows us to use bus, train and tram for 24hrs. We often have a spare one in our pocket so that if we fancy a cheap day out we do have the where with all to have one without using the car and pay for petrol as well as parking.

The Victorian government has also issued seniors a transport card that gives us access to free public transport on Sundays. Having that card is great as it means we can then take advantage of any free exhibitions in the City on Sundays giving us a very cheap day out.

The other is that my bank also has concessions for seniors – I don’t pay bank fees, don’t have account fees, don’t have to have minimum balances in accounts, and can have unlimited transactions both in the bank, at the ATM and on the Internet.

Because of this I opened several savings accounts and use them like the old envelope system. We use one to deposit our income for the month and then from the comfort of my house using the Internet I transfer various amounts into the other accounts to be used when necessary. We are now on a set income from various sources so have a good idea of what our income will be each month and as we have always worked to some sort of a budget it was quite easy to work out what we needed to allocate each month for different ‘things’

What’s left in that account after the transfers are made is used for regular monthly commitments and food. Any surplus at the end of the month goes into another savings account for lovely things like theatre tickets :)

DH likes to buy a beer at the golf club now and again so withdraws a set amount to have in his pocket – like children and their pocket money I tell him - once its gone its gone! He laughs and often has some left to carry over the next month.

Utilities, (gas electricity water rates and house phone) share an account and these are paid bimonthly or quarterly. By moving the money out of the main one into this one I have never had to worry where the payment is coming from. I use another for those large annual payments like car rego and insurances which we used to pay by the month but when the insurance companies upped the extra charges they put on for direct debits I decided to pay in full one year from the reserve we had and then save during the year.

Because our visa cards from this bank are linked to a saving account we have a really low yearly fee, which I don’t mind paying as it can then be used as a debit card and allows us access to cash if we need it. It means we can get cash from the bank, ATM, supermarket and even from selected ATMs overseas.

As I’m not good if I have money in my pocket – I spend it - we have another banks visa card with points attached (transferred regularly to our Qantas FF account and used when necessary) which we use for purchases and bills during the month. I check regularly to see what’s been recorded and then can pay online direct from the relevant account as the month goes by and that way there’s only a small amount to pay when the statement comes in. Haven’t paid interest for many a year.

There’s one account called Grandchildren, we have quite a few so have to put a bit aside each month for birthdays and Christmas and then there’s another for Holidays, which gets a regular payment each month.

Yes for some it could be a problem but for me it keeps me in touch with our spending and cash out of my pocket where it would be frittered away wily nily.

Anyway my friend listened and said she remembered the envelopes her Mother used and she thought it was a bit of a palaver every payday and it was so awfully old fashioned.

I know I would rather use my system, in fact any system, than have to try to divi up everything from one pot!!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Cathy,
    Sounds liek a Great plan!
    I'm 56 Dh soon to be 60 ,we get all the Sr. discounts.:o)


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