August Goals Update

Welcome to the monthly goal update series. At the end of each month, I’ll write a wrap-up post on how I am tracking with my goals. I know the only person interested in this much detail about my life is my grandmother, however science says that you are more likely to achieve something if you have to share your progress publically, and who am I to question science?

August in a nutshell

With August over there are only 4 months until the end of the year – time flies! August was a great month for Side Hustling with my hours increasing and my income hitting 120% of lasts years total in only 8 months. This should mean a good end of year result.We had our winter soccer season finals (unfortunately we lost in the semis) and started up our Spring comp. On 30 August there was also a change to my pay packet – see goal 4 below to see how this impacted my savings rate.

The goal review To check out what my original goals were go here.

1. Get at least 8 hours of sleep per night 

I love, love, love my meditation to get to sleep. Check it out here. Routine is definitely key with this one. When I put it on, my brain just knows it is sleep time and I’m often out before the end of the 8 minutes. Occasionally I’ll play it a second time, though I have never gotten beyond that. If you are struggling to get a restful night sleep, I highly recommend you add something like this into your nightly routine.

2. Do more physical activity

As mentioned above, winter soccer has come to a close for this year.  Normally now is the time I would switch back to evening Netball for Spring/Summer, however, this year I chose to stick with soccer and the Spring competition is now underway. I’ve calculated that paying for sports is costing me about $700 per year in fees, not including if I need new gear – which thankfully this year I didn’t. This is quite a large expense to some people, especially since this only covers one session per week – therefore $13/week.

My workplace has just introduced a new incentive whereby you can sign up for a gym membership that gives you access to a number of chains in the area, not just 1 chain which is often how it works. You can use the equipment, go to classes etc all for $15 per week. When you look at unlimited access for $15/week vs my current cost of sports fees at $13/week it might seem like a no brainer that I should switch. I certainly considered it.  When I really sat down and thought about it though, I had to admit to myself that I don’t enjoy the gym and it is unlikely that I would go more than once per week anyway.

Team sports offer me more than just a workout. It is also a social occasion and it is actually enjoyable, meaning I try harder – for me, the gym is not. I know that things that are good for you shouldn’t always be fun (or tasty!) but if I can find ones that are I’m certainly going to choose them. Besides – if it was just about the money then I would exercise for free at the park, or by running around the block. Though we all know that is never going to happen.

It is good to understand that this is not a NEED and is an area of my budget that I could cut back on if the worst were to happen and I had to stick to a bare bones budget.

3. Find a way to ‘give’ each month 

This month I made a monetary donation to the Blind Society, as well as agreeing to give some of my time this month and possibly on an ongoing basis to assist a friend with the administration of a facebook group he runs for his business. I am now the administrator of quite a few facebook groups so I might need to consider if it is viable long term, however for now it can fit into my schedule easily and I’m always looking for ways to give back. Being able to help a friend achieve their dreams is just one of the things I really enjoy doing.

4. Increase my savings rate by 1% each month   

With a saving rate of 55% in July the goal for August was 56%.

I saved 60%!

My goal at the beginning of the year was to save 1% extra each month to eventually get to a 60% savings rate in December. I have stretched to reach that goal in August – 4 months early.

And that is where the celebration ends.

I have been taking advantage of the tax break I get while working for a not-for-profit organisation for the past few months which has made my take home pay higher. That has now come to an end – I have maxed out my claims for the 2017/18 FBT year. This means I cannot make another claim until April 2018 and therefore my pay has settled to a new base which is lower until then. It was going to be a challenge to still hit my savings goal on this new base rate, however, I was willing to give it a good crack.

As a double whammy, I have been given a big bill from the tax department for my student loan debt. For those who aren’t aware, you can borrow money from the government to attend university and then need to pay it back once your income hits a certain threshold. The amount required should be taken out by the payroll department each week the same way tax would, however due to the tax breaks mentioned above, they haven’t been calculating my contribution correctly – meaning now I have to cough up for it.

I do have the money available in savings and could just pay it back straight away and move on. The other option is to pay it back each fortnight for the next 9 months interest free. Both options have pros and cons. I have chosen to go with option 2. That way, while my savings rate is now going to be back down at 48% for the next 9 months, I can keep my current lump sum savings in my account earning interest and don’t have to withdraw them in a lump sum. If there was going to be a fee or interest attached to the amount owed I would, of course, pay it off straight away, however since the government seems to be more than happy to loan me the money for a bit longer with no charge it makes sense to take advantage.

Some sad news for my big ambitious goals which is why I made the push for 60% this month while I had the extra cashflow. It looks like 48% really is my comfortable savings level while I still have my student loans to pay off. It is good to know this will easily bump back up to 60% once they are gone – or I increase my income. With the current rate of payback required I should pay off my student loans in 5-6 years.

5. Learn as much as I can about blogging and update this blog at least once per week

I’ve been updating the blog on schedule and trying to be more active with posting on facebook as well this past month. We also had our first guest post feature. Camille had an unexpected medical emergency that made her stop and reconsider everything. Read more about her story and why it pays to be prepared here.

I also have a second guest post lined up for September – keep a look out. I am open to hearing from different bloggers about their story or any topic that would resonate with AAB readers. If you are interested in contributing a guest post contact me here.

That’s a wrap for August!

Did you set goals for 2017? How are you tracking? What have been your major hurdles and how did you get back on track?