Two Credit Card Bills: Wish I had taken my own medicine!

Don’t you ever wish you had taken your own medicine? I blogged all about how to keep a track of my expenses. Usually, that’s not a big deal but so I don’t use anything except my memory to recall the two or three transactions.

Hah! I should have done. This time I had 18 transactions to keep records for, and I FAILED. Miserably! So if you don’t want to make the same STUPID mistake as I did, read about how to avoid it. It’s pretty easy. It was a busy month for this bank as I racked upover NT$52K worth of spending. So let’s get started.

Life Expenses – NT$15,907

On July 19th I went to FNAC in Tienmou, and they always have a great selection of stuff, so I was tempted to spend NT$734 on SOMETHING. The problem is I can’t remember what it was for. Batteries, Memory Cards, who knows… at the moment, I didn’t find my receipt for that. On the very next day, we spent another NT$1588 on stuff at Mitzukoshi, but again I just don’t remember what that was. So let that be a lesson to ME!

In Taipei we bought a few more items at IKEA (energy saving lights, picture frames, etc.) and had Ed serviced and oil changed: NT$2578 and NT$3485. [IKEA had an odd assortment of lights: I was looking for energy saving spots, but I had to settle for 20W+35W instead of real energy saving bulbs. Still that was better than the original 450 watts we were burning. Got the wattage reduced to about 300W which will save about 1/3 of our spot light bill, and cut heat, too. The original 50W spots were quite HOT.] Additional expenses at Carrefour included another NT$2466. On July 21st, we also were charged NT$2000 for our life insurance policy (it’s a supplemental policy with investment based returns). To my surprise, Emusic also charged me a subscription on my credit card NT$3056.

Business Expenses – NT$6,390

Computer repairs (school system and home system both had ‘issues’ – the school system fried its videocard and had to have its motherboard replaced to remain a functioning system) and I bought a few peripherals for the school: an MP3 system, a new keyboard, and had XP reinstalled on the other system. Total repairs cost NT$6390 for one system, one motherboard, one reinstall plus… We also purchased some spotlights for school (see above) included cost NT$1072 plus NT$295 for a small picture holder for school.

2008 Summer Tour – $29,654

On July 21st we headed to Ilan as the beginning of 2008’s Grand Taiwan Tour. We stayed at a rather mediocre hotel in Jiao-Xi. It was one that we had originally liked a lot but this time we were very unlucky with our room as it was situated on main road, and every four or five minutes large trucks would roar up and down the road even at 2am. We eventually asked to be found a new room, but we were both exhausted by that, esp. after the long drive. Total charge for an uncomfortable night NT$2940. Cheap, yes. Cheap by average, but it cost us a lot in mood, energy and sleep!

Then it was onto Beautiful Hualien where we swiped with frenzy: NT$2100 on new T-shirts and shorts; then NT$2180 for a new pair of Crocs; two nights at the palatial hotel the Parkview Hotel which had good food, great scenery, a lot of wonderful things to do, and nice pieces of art – it was by far the classiest hotel on our trip – cost NT$14,396 (and the costliest); on the third night in Hualien we stayed at Taroko Gorge Hotel which we booked through a local travel agent in Hualien. That was a good experience as we drove through Taroko gorge and into the mountains on two quiet weekdays. The views were incredible, just incredible. The food in the hotel was fine, and portions were generous. Total cost NT$4500.

Then it was over the mountains to TaiChung to catch up with some friends, where we stayed at perhaps the cheapest of our choices: ChongKe Hotel in central Taichung. While it wasn’t the classy type, the facilities were good, it was central, and we both liked it for its convenience. NT$1800 (a special friend’s rate!). We also bought lunch for some friends returning to the States at a lovely vegetarian restaurant we ate at before: lunch was filling, fairly healthy and for four – cost NT$1738.

2008 Summer Trip (part 2) – NT$9677

Then we went to Kaohsiung and were thrilled to take the new high speed train. It was F-A-S-T. Tickets there were prebooked and cost NT$2380. Tickets back were bought at the station and cost NT$2680. But we returned on a Friday which is considered a peak train service. Oddly, booked seats were no cheaper than standby. I’m quite confused by their ticketing prices. Early bookings should be cheap to fill up the trains, standy bookings should be also quite cheap but regular prices should be more expensive. I think the service is having an identity crisis: is it a subway style ticket system (with subway gates), an airplane system, or a traditional train system? It’s quite clear they want to be seen as the last option, but then why have electronic gates, why check tickets ON THE TRAIN… Weird.

We also stayed at the highest hotel in the island in Kaohsiung: the Splendor. Which is a fantastic hotel, and service wise much better than the ParkView, but considerably less expensive: NT$4617 including minibar and one or two other sundries.

And the DAMAGE!

So this month we managed to spend over NT$61,242 (including cashback of NT$386). That’s quite impressive for us. Still, the business will covert some expenses (one repair) and sundries, some of this was regular ‘life expenses’ and the rest was our summer trip. We didn’t set out with a budget in mind for our trip, but I figured we’d spend about NT$50K or so, including gasoline, eating out, hotels, and sundries. I think we came pretty close. Fortunately, last month’s bills were paid off in full, and no interest or late charges were incurred.