Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Yes ~ it has been a while...

I wish I had a magic wand.

One that let me take things back to a point in time and just tweak it a little by being able to remember the ramification of the oversight or hindsight but continue forward from this reversed point. Bit like the opportunity provided to Marty McFly in Back To a The Future with the Almanac - only for your life.

Not big things like illness or medical needs including those caused by accident or idiocy - hopefully something was learned. Having had my own injuries and surgeries to deal with over the past - wow!! - almost two decades has taught me so much about myself, people, values, hopes & dreams that in some perverse way I'm grateful for the outcome of that car accident in 1997.

And dealing with cancer and the ongoing impacts on hubby and us all a family, plus the flow on to extended family, friends and acquaintances goes well beyond the course of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Three years in to his "waltz with Jack Dancer" (dancer = cancer) and hubby now starts the process of an oral clearance, removing everything in the mouth excluding the tongue which had somehow remained cancer-free throughout.

Over the next 6-9 months, as his mouth heals, we expect he will beat the odds yet again by avoiding necrosis of the jaw or any facial bone removal, and begin the rebuilding of hubby's smile with the fitting of dentures.

So if we'd changed this part of  that side of our lives, so much living and learning experiences would have been lost.

I'm talking about small, insignificant things like thinking you should have connected the dots knowing it was a horse owned by a group of Bundaberg locals, a horse trained by Ballarat' Weir family, ridden by Ballarat female jockey, running with 100-1 odds holds 'spooky' connections personally and put at least $10 each way to win or place in the Melbourne Cup. Maybe $25 for an even $50 to lose in the annual betting frenzy. Few lazy thousand would make a significant dent the ol' SpasticPlastic' - credit card for the uninitiated.

Or continued with the solar system installation on our Ballarat house. That was paying .78c back then and was locked in for 10yrs while repaying the panels. Or made the effort to get to the hardware store holding our Batts while we waited for guys to come do our ceiling under that government scheme, instead of it ceasing the day they turned up to collect. Or looking at a business opportunity instead of procrastinating on it for two years, jump in.  Or actually buying a couple of bars of gold ~ would have been perfect in 12 months when we need to be purchasing a home in Queensland. See we are 4 years into a 5 year housesit - I'm sure the story is a few entries back - and while we're still laughing, smiling, talking and kicking, we have lost 3-4years of earning abilities and the plethora of out of pocket expenses incurred during spinal surgeries and cancer-butt kicking.

Gotta love hindsight! That or go mad on the coulda, shoulda, woulda brain fart overload. Sometimes I look back and say 'yes, I do have what I need ~ just did it in an arse about way to most!'

As always, Mands' Mission is active and keeping our heads above water but it's been a journey we didn't really want to share publicly like some choose to do. Yes ~ health and physical limitations do restrict employment options a little but hubby is job hunting. I am building my #YIAH business and aiming to achieve Leadership in Qualification this month, becoming a Bronze Leader by February 2016.

Guess it's time to remotivate and make make myself accountable again. Mands on a Mission achieved so much but awaiting, undergoing, recuperating and the rehabilitation post spinal surgery did give me time to document our achievements. Being in a much warmer part of this glorious country has made it easier to move, to exercise and now it's time to bring us all back together with beaut budget plans, scrummy meal plans and ways to generate any extra funds to remove all our debt once and for all get our piece of paradise!

Welcome back to the #Mission. I'm Mands ~ and I'll be your host guiding you through the ups n downs of an #Aussie family, living on government benefits & part time/casual employment undertaken around medical appointments and treatments. If nothing else ~ life never boring!! And not all pant wetting is from hysterical laughter any more *sighs*

Until next time...

I'll have accurate info in future blogs ~ mortgage not included as debt
Current debt:  around $10k
Current offset: around $6k
Pension/Benefits per month: $2500
Other income per month: $800
Outgoings per month: $2350
Medications & therapies: $350

Please visit, like and share my YIAH FaceBook business page ~

Even better ~ please head to my independent YIAH website ~ if you've bought YIAH before from another consultant, please set yourself up as a new customer and get a new member number to ensure I receive payment and recognition at company events. Even if YIAH is not for you, pretty please make sure all your fabulous foodie friends get an in it action to see my page.

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Ability to Start Over…

Anyone who is still loitering past will notice some changes in the coming weeks.  A lot ~ and I mean a LOT ~ has happened since I last posted on The Mission back in January 2012. But, despite it all, we are leaping back in to make more of our dream become reality. *cheers*

So ~ we have made it to Queensland. We are in Bundaberg, looking after a house while its owners travel Australia. We arrived in July 2011 ~ its now June 2012. The weather has helped me regain strength, energy and weight in abundance. I’ve gained over 15kg and now weigh 56kg. *big grin* I’m no longer using a walking stick or on daily painkillers, other than the odd run on Panadol Osteo to break a building ache and a stronger pill for the occasional break-thru pain relief when I’ve soldiered on for way too long.
The past 18 months has been devoted to the discovery, treatment and recovery for Hubby ~ discovering a lump on his neck at the end of February last year which was/is cancer. That was a journey – lots of travel between Bundaberg and Brisbane for appointments, treatments and follow-ups. He is on the improve – doing the weight travel from 85kg to 45kg and now 57kg – mentally I have the man I know and love alongside. I was there to support him when he saw only darkness and despair – as he was for me.

Yes, we are still awaiting the all-clear from both Radiation Oncology and ENT Oncology, but the next stage is following up with something in the pancreas at the duodenum – so that is our new medical focus for him. As he gets stronger, he bemoans the fact he has no earning capacity – but his creative streak has returned, his passion for photography and a desire to create with wood is strong. I hope to see him do what inspires him for the time being – if it becomes something that can generate income, great.  Having him here is the important thing.
The surgeon is looking at additional surgery on my spine due to some weakening at the base, on top of where the fusion/laminectomy was performed. We need to assess whether the back cage is an option and the priority because to me it feels like my neck is the priority. It will be a slow process – through the public system in Brisbane. I do wish we could pay a particular local surgeon who now only operates privately – he was on the public list, alas no longer. 

SmallBoy is not so small. At 13, he now towers over me and has caught up with his father. He’s lanky and becoming a master of teenage attitude and sullenness. But he is still generous and helpful – both here and away from home – and he is involved in local hockey as well as things around school. By his request, we took he out of the local state high school and enrolled in a private school. 

Best thing for him both socially and academically. I will tell you the story behind the decision and the change. Sharing his Dad's cancer journey has been both a good and difficult thing for a youngster to deal with but we talk about what is happening, what he is thinking how he is feeling - he does tend to bottle his thoughts and emotions but once we get talking (usually following a sulk resulting as a consequence of getting caught out over something) we do sort things out and effect some change.

Obviously a lot has happened. A lot has changed. And there is a lot of ‘stuff’ still to come medically for both Hubby and I – all bound to effect the budget and income potential to secure our dreams. Regardless, we will preserver

I’m trying to find a way to archive what has been and start this new chapter afresh – without losing what we have recorded and achieved in our past. We have learnt much over the past years – more than envisaged and the flow on while we have dealt with Hubby’s disease and treatments has been phenomenal. I will explain in future posts.
Right up front – the debt has increased. Considering we’ve lost 18 months of our earning plan/potential and are looking at another year of the same, its not increased astronomically. Well, in some ways it has – but the mortgage is going well! That’s a start. Plus we have hopes to consolidate the Mortgage and Line of Credit. If possible, we’d like to add the credit card and personal loan debt. THAT would have us in such a good position and financially simplified. But we are not the ‘ideal’ applicant so we’ve got a bit of ‘make-up’ to fix up so we appeal to the financial providers that be.
In the meantime, please excuse any weird stuff that happens over these few weeks and I really hope to see when we reset, re-establish and revisit The Mission.  Fresher, more informative than ever. That’s the plan. Let’s see how we go - hoping it will be interesting and allow us to achieve on so many levels *grins*

Templates might change many times a day - information may disappear and reappear. Descriptions and pages will be amended to reflect what is current and we will share some experiences of the past two years. OK - stay with us - share the love - here's hoping we get to chat soon 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Thus it must go

Something we can cope with... 

Every week, money comes in and money goes out. For the most part it works out about even in our favour ~ every so often there is something unaccounted and the money juggling skills are required. Must admit ~ we are very good at skimming the 'fat' and prioritising to ensure things balance through.

As mentioned yesterday, we receive income fortnightly which works out to being $676 per week. That regular amount can be used immediately or put aside and accounted for against the budgeted set debits. Bills, expenses and repayments aren't usually as clear cut ~ being required weekly, fortnightly, monthly, quarterly and occasionally annually. 

We have a 'round-off' budget which incorporates all the expenditures anticipated over a month period, plus a little on the left over for a lee-way expense of $20-$30 per week. Of course if we spend less on (say) the weekly groceries, there's another $50 which can be spent or added to one of the 'evil three' debts we have. 

There are plenty of activities which need little or no spending to come about. Some times a few dollars of petrol gets us all out of the house and on to the beach to swim, fly kites or other such fun. Maybe even taking the football or kites over to the park is a lower cost option ~ bring along some chops, sausages, bread and sauce to turn it into lunch or dinner out. And don't forget water or cordial because its always the drinks which end up costing when thirsty and hot!

The current budget looks a little like this each week:

Mortgage - $100 *$70 to LOC; $30 to Mort*
Electricity, water - $40
Food - $75
Phones/Internet - $65
Personal Loan - $100
Petrol - $50
School - $20 *$10 fees, $10 excursions, books, expenses*
VISA - $140
Insurances - $60

The mortgage/line of credit is also receives $300 a week through the real estate ~ less all their expenses ~ while tenants are in. This is paying just under the amount required so we have built a buffer paying in $5 three times a week directly against the mortgage and now plan to make that $10 three times per week. 

Phones and internet needs to be addressed in a big way ~ however we are required to keep the QLD home owners' phone line paid plus SmallBoy now has his first mobile in my old phone which has only had its first month of use. Seeing the amount as being slightly under that for food is a little nauseating, knowing it could be half that if we had a single mobile and 's/he' with the greatest needs has it the most.

Sunday's Feast ~:~ Chicken & Vegetable pie

Left over Christmas roast chicken, frozen
Left over cous cous from last night
Zucchini, carrot, broc, cauli, garlic ~ from ours & others gardens
Potato, onion - 50c
Frozen peas, corn - 50c
2 sheets frozen pastry - 50c
Butter, flour, seasonings - 50c

All the makings of "Pie" ~ took a few minutes to prepare

The filling made and cooling as the pastry waits

How to make left over chicken, cous cous & vegetables amazing

An amazingly large portion of pie for less than $1

Other cheap-eats dinner, totally full and extremely satisfied, for the grand total of perhaps $2 all up ~ under $1 per person tonight! 

We have succeeded with the 'No Spend Challenge' but not having spent when making do will suffice. All the ingredients for tomorrow's pasta meal are here so no need to buy any extra 'things'. I might want to ~ but its unnecessary.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

2012 ~ the Demise of the Slack Tart Movement...

One step forward at a time... 

Let's welcome back the No Spend Challenge! 

And that whole concept of budgeting, planning, debt reduction, living over surviving and getting the balance realigned to our new environment and circumstances.  Oh Boy ~ do I feel like I have been the total slacker these last few months. 

Please know its been a big move from Ballarat Victoria to Bundaberg Queensland ~ not just in kilometres, but also the relocation and settling into schools, doctors, therapy and new friendships. The restocking of food stuffs, getting of uniforms, discovering of warmth and building of garden while learning about all the new plant 'preferences' and foods which grow in abundance! 

SmallBoy loving the lifestyle change 
Good to advise we have done it well! We've not added to the debt which is a relief. We've been able to trade foods for babysitting for wine ~ some times its about the bonus you receive because you wouldn't be out buying a box of beer too often so the odd 'thank you' slab has been a treat for Hubby. 

SmallBoy has surpassed all expectations, settled into the interrupted school year and made friends who will be joining him at the same high school in the next few weeks. 

Several classmates live very VERY close by so daily after-school and weekend visits here, loitering around here in conversation before heading to the various 'theres' has helped with socialising and friendships. He's got a mix of both guys & girls in his friendship groups ~ we've even had sleep-overs with both attending. OK ~ we admit ~ we did separate the sexes and the beds...

Such a relief and pure joy to see his confidence and personality developing. SmallBoy really has adapted well and relished the opportunity to make changes and develop his strengths. 

Plus he was super with the littler kids we spent time with throughout the travelling and again over New Year ~ even if he is 'so adult and mature for my age' at 12, its still a relief to be a child and play chasey, wave sparklers, play on the slip n slide without aggro, decorate cupcakes with the odd icing flower...

There has been a lot of making-do ~ I've seriously not bought any new clothes for me or Hubby since we've arrived, with SmallBoy really only needing school related uniform purchases. We've all had a pair of new sandals ~ an appropriate purchase that really was needed. They appeared under the tree for 'wrapping' the expenditure. 

Let's Start With Incoming and Outgoing...

Really simply and loosely ~ the current income comes to $676 per week / $1342 per fortnight. That covers all the pension, family payments and income we receive on a regular basis ~ Hubby has been actively looking for work, even if only a few days produce-picking to start would be fine. He has a few applications in and we wait with eager anticipation of a positive response. There's not a lot of work available - and plenty looking.

The outgoings are almost as simple and err'd on the side of the extra dollar - rounded up, not down to the nearest $5.  The current weekly outgoings are $650 per week / $1300 per fortnight ~ including a $15 weekly save to build up the emergency fund again. 

The menu for the week has been planned around what we have in the freezer, the pantry and can get from the garden. We've got carrots, asian greens, lettuce and some tomatoes which will add veg factor to a few meat, rice/cous cous meals. Instead of using this week's shopping budget of $75, I hope to do a $25 week and really only that much if I happen to feel there is a need to shop at the Co-op on Thursday or market for fruit and veg.

By going through and seeing what we've got and how we can get around without needing to buy any additional produce, our week and a bit of dinner menu, catering for three hearty eaters, is looking like this:

Sat: Pork Schnitzel and Spiced vegetable cous cous (meat $4, cous cous $1.50)
Sun: Chicken and vegetable pie (meat $1.50, veg $2, pastry $1)
Mon: Pasta ~ gnocchi and a tomato/zucchini/onion type sauce (pasta $2.50, sauce $2)
Tue: Butter Chicken and beans on brown rice (around $5 complete)
Wed: Pork Char Sui stir fry with noodles (meat $4, noodles $1.50, veg garden)
Thu: Vegetable pasties (bits from the fridge & freezer in pastry)
Fri: Tuna patties and chips ($3.50 patties, $2 potatoes)
Sat: BBQ & salad (9 fancy snags $3, salad garden, poss cucumber purchase)
Sun: Roast Beef & veg (meat $6)
Mon: Pie & veg with left over roast

Saturday's Fare ~:~ Crumbed pork schnitzel

Pork - $4.20, marked down from $11.90
Crumbs - grain bread, free; seasonings, garlic powder, parmeasan cheese (sprinkle)
1 egg for crumbing, free (thanks L&M's chooks)
Cous cous - Ainsley's packet, on special $1.50, exp 3/12

The basic ingredients ~ look at that meat score!!

All the bits to make the bread crumbs tasty 

A picture simply cannot convey the aroma and flavours

And thus we have the first of many meals under $2 per head. Left with a full belly and not much to do other than thank the chef...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Getting on track

Sure aint bloody easy... 

I think the holiday is over and its time to knuckle down, design and stick to routine, save and grow.

we've been here in Bundaberg for a full school term *loving it*  We have sort of worked out where to buy, the veg is growing and we can now eat from the garden *so quick* Got an egg source, some friends, acquaintances increasing & building but now its the reigning in, getting a routine in that works, stuff... *sighs* Getting there and its momentum along with motivation that need a poke here.

Plus we are still keen to meet people, find & explore places, are leisurely in our patterns - however it is time for hubby to look for work, part time at least.

You know those nights where you make plans, have places you want to visit, go to sleep and then morning comes... 

Today was so full of red wine inspired plans and promises. Sunday dawned a little later than planned and not as co-ordinated as hoped. Things got done - more seeds were planted, this time it was chillis, capsicum, basil in the big planters. There was weeding and watering ~ but a fair bit of doddling. 

A camp-fire oven cooked dinner of Moroccan coated chicken, salad followed by dessert of pancakes kept the cost around the $2 per head mark again. The lettuce came from our garden and was so sweet and full of flavour, I feel for those who have only ever enjoyed 'supermarket' lettuce. The difference is so noticeable.

We are just a little out of practice on the side of routine ~ because there is nothing outside of school start and finish we need to align to fit in schedules. Yes, I have therapy and some appointments - but a lot of the exercises are done at home; still waiting for the medical records to come from Ballarat to Bundaberg - and that is holding up the continuity of the current care plan. 

By the end of the week, I really hope all the clothes, plastics, personal items and shoes can have permanent homes and regularly return to their location. I desire all empty suitcases, bags, unrequired linen and household items to be boxed then stored appropriately in the garage. I plan to have all clutter gone and will whip the fingers of offending non-compliers until the actions are habitual.

Tomorrow is linen washing ~ so that is the first thing to do once out of bed. Thus the day will have begun. Still ~ this one is about to end. Hope you had a great weekend and here's to a new week *grins*

Walking along the pathway in the street of no return
You wonder if you'll get there, of the secrets you will learn
In the distance 
You see a lady with ladder
For a most disconcerting manner
That you wish you could have stopped your steps and turned

Don't worry about that
Its gonna be all right
Bring yourself along
For a real good night
Getting back on track
And taking simple steps
Knowing all at once the simple steps are the ones that will get you through

In the screaming silence, hear the words as they distort
It's like listening for thunder while an F-1 tasks its torque
For a moment
You can see a pretty picture
Then as the canvas starts to blister
There's a eerie sound without a noise just as the fire begins to roar

Love the smell of rain...

So it rains more frequently in Queensland...

I get that. At around 2pm, maybe 230pm, you can almost guarantee it is absolutely pouring with rain, school pick up time is impending and no matter where you live, if it is going to rain today it will always be around school pick up time. Sarcastistically more so often than if you have washing on the line, get it off before 230pm and it will be dry - before it rains. The kids and collectors will still get wet.

Nah - that's not a real statistic but it is probably true. Today was a picture of that scenario, and SmallBoy's raincoat was staring me in the face as it hung on the bedroom door ~ and not in the schoolbag where it is supposed to be stored. Be assured, in true saving style, I wasn't rushing off to pick him up from school in the car and save him the saturation of a 15minute walk home. Be damned if good petrol be used because an item was not returned to its appropriate 'home' and would mean a good soaking for its wearer. Let him get drenched and perhaps remember where things are supposed to go. Or not ~ as it was, the rain stopped for the entire walk home and started about 5minutes after SmallBoy walked in the door. No lesson learned - today...

Still, one lesson which has been 'learned' is that by doing all known 'tasks' such as change out of uniform, do homework, handwriting, put dishes away, feed the cats and then ask if you can <please> play on the computer one is more likely to get a positive response. Still, Friday has always been a bit of a screen night as there were usually school mates over from school for a night of movies, popcorn in front of the fire back in Ballarat around now. 

No spending here today. 

But some money transferring was undertaken ~ $700 from Emergency Savings Fund (ESF) and put on to the credit card to lower the debt. Every week $15 goes into the savings, $15 onto the mortgage as 'extra' payments, $50 into the LOC (plus a little more while tenant deposits & mortgage repayment dates align). All regular bill payments are up to date, food sort of on budget.

Got friends coming up the first week of holidays for a few days here then we all escape to the Gold Coast for a few days, then return home - collecting DMIL & DS20 but 21 the following day.  GC accomm is paid - just looking at best theme park ticket bundle. *sighs* Might also get QLD plates ($800ish, from ESF, but will deposit VIC rego refund back in) and transfer RACV to RACQ. Then get to do all the insurance details again *yippee?*

Spent $110 on groceries & sundries Thursday ~ this included coathangers (desperately needed), bulk staples, kitty litter, some garden 'stuff'. Still got $40 for the markets on Sunday so pleased with that. The weekend will see us washing the car, getting in the garden and going to the festival on Sunday (Blooms or something Spring-time related). Oh - and putting away clothes...

Obviously we have $40 for the markets at sparrow's fart tomorrow. It's really time to hit the hay and get ready to get some fresh produce then go to another "Blooming" Bundaberg festival. Actually this one has a parade at 230pm so we are going down with friends. Should be fun. 

*yawns* Just enjoyed a lovely dinner up at the Sims family ~ truly. Last time Hubby was doing the 'house maintenance check' in Ballarat so only SmallBoy and I went - this time her hubby was away. This evening we had a great time - a simple meal of roast chicken and chips which the kids enjoyed watching 'Despicable Me' while we talked, had wine, organised coming over to our place for a BBQ. 

All the lemons we got from Rosscoe are juiced and I have a hankering for lemon meringue pie so much so I might have to make one. Chicken cooked in the camp oven, with salad from the garden and the markets, and lemon meringue for dessert. Mmmmm ~ no wonder I've gone over 62kg for the first time in 11 years. All this decadent food and dessert I've been making and partaking is adding the kilos to my meager frame - must up the ante on physical activity and bulk up the vegetables over the meat. And cut back to one dessert portion ~ this regime must also include dear Hubby who looks about 6months along at the moment... 

On that note, I'd best scoot. It's market day - early start with an afternoon jaunt. Might make pie for another night and enjoy it with a light meal. *yawns* OK ~ night y'all. Been great... 

Been linking up to some of the blog connect groups ~ this includes:

Poshonabudget - Friday-friend-connect ~ I know it is now Saturday (if not Sunday) - just doddling the last few days...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Say What you Really mean...

You say "battler" like its a bad thing *grins*

Bit of a thinking process going on about those who are "strugglers" and those who are "Battlers" ~ whether there is a difference in the two? Do strugglers really just like to brag under the guise of complaining about how they couldn't really afford the new $149 shoes, marked down from $200 at least, but managed to buy them any way and now its going to be a struggle to find an outfit that matches that shade of mauve.

Is there a class which is really in a position to do well, just has this silly habit of over extending and believing if they think they deserve it then they really should have it ignoring the fact they cannot in fact afford it? There are some who can afford to spend in whimsy, knowing the bills will still be paid and debt reduced. I hope some are reading and willing to contribute to the Spare Change Jar on the left as confirmation there are actually some who can afford to spend on whimsy for real and not just in our imaginations, dreams and wishes...

Seriously, I think there is a type who bemoan their lot when wanting to share an ill-afforded extravagance ~ in some ways I consider myself a battler, but the difference is probably in the region of getting $50k a year less than the "average struggler". Plus I see ourselves as being clever, frugal and powering through with what we have, rather than what we have not but must get regardless of the possible future detriment. The whinging battler is one often wanting to change but sees only the half empty glass, not feeling that happy tiddly feeling the first half put in your head...   I'd just tell her that we don't do takeaway, don't buy new, love fossicking opshops, use no-name and bake my own biscuits and pies. Why hold back - being in control and having control is something to be proud of.

It's like it is someone else's fault they are put in the position of feeling guilty for making a purchase (most likely via credit) which wasn't really needed but desired enough to actually hand over the plastic and cast aside that little voice asking 'but how long can you push that purchase payment out' for that extra dose of guilt on the side ~ and see others on half as much seemingly do twice as well as themselves with some jealousy. Guilt and jealousy ~ the "average struggler". 

Just as some love to say they enjoyed dinner out at that new trendy eatery, spending around $50 a head plus the drinks, I love being able to say I fed all three of us the type of meal you'd expect at a new trendy eatery for under $10 including a nice clean skin sparkling wine. 

Today was even more exciting and rewarding as we ate our own produce in tonight's evening meal. Using $4 of marked down steak, half the red onion from yesterday's salad, left over bean shoots, boiled brown rice and from our garden: bok/pak choy, snow peas, parsley, basil and ginger, I made the yummiest stir fry meal for less than $2 per person ~ easily as good as main from that trendy place others go....

Whose Fault Was It Anyway? 

If you think it was mine (and those goes for anything you think I may have been the one in the wrong from my early teens right through to tomorrow mornings' offerings) ~ fine ~ blame me. Don't care if I am not taking the problem on as my own ~ I do that well enough for myself alone. So knock yourself out ~ not my problem. Bridge, built - over it...

If you are a teacher however, or one who 'looks after' other people's children, or one who understands the concept of 'you kinda need to be responsible for your kids yourself too you know' ~ enjoy the following article:  What Teachers Really Want to Tell Parents.

Until the next time ~ do feel free to toss any spare change into the Spare Change Jar or Treasure Chest ~ it all goes on our debt and hopefully is indicative of the fact you find the blog informative, entertaining, education or you can tell we need all the help we can get *grins*

Minimising the Shop/Shock

Today we did spend...

With around $40 of the last week's grocery budget remaining, we shopped with this and the coming week's $50 - including an extra $50 for some extra pantry staples. We've been advised by some friendly Bundaberg locals to get a few 'extras' during the coming weeks into the wet season to ensure if any transportation or access to the area arise, we will still have sufficient to make do for a week or more.

The shop came in over budget by $10 ~ leaving $30 for the veggies at Sunday's market. Almost $40 of the items bought where staples including 2kg each of brown rice, brown sugar, wholemeal SR and plain flour, pasta. Also we needed to have kitty litter ~ and hubby splurged on a litre of coffee icecream. I am going to crush a peanut butter biscuit into the icecream on the whim it will taste delicious.

One must always try to include the occasional splurge to keep the spirit positively happy.

Saving while in Debt 

Through all the little savings we have been making ~ $15 each week into an emergency savings fund (ESF) for those unexpected wallet depleting incidents like car troubles; $5 three times a week on to the mortgage; $160pf of family tax payment to ESF ~ we finally have the buffer of emergency money available. It's taken almost 10 weeks, there is $1500 sitting in our online account and half of it is going to be paid on to our debt. It's not cash in a flash, thus no temptation to splash, but only takes 24hrs to transfer for access should it be needed.

There are two schools of thought about having an emergency fund or savings account ~ especially if you owe money, why should you be able to save for self use before repaying a debt. Another is that by having 2-3 months income in a savings account, accessible only for an 'emergency' expense, you have on hand funds you might otherwise have had to borrow and add to your debt list should, say your car break down or an airfare is required.

Our goal is to have $4000 as our ESF account ~ however at the moment every time it gets to $1500, $500 will be transferred on to the VISA and $250 onto the Mortgage or Line of Credit. As the credit card reduces, so will its maximum limit. Currently sitting $1000 under its limit, with the extra $500, we can reduce the VISA limit to $7k leaving a little buffer for some bill payments (mobile, electricity). 

Putting more into the Line of Credit immediately is the priority. With the rental tenancy in its early months, the fortnightly mortgage repayments don't quite match with the monthly rental deposit - especially with the odd deduction for maintenance to inspect the gas heater *prays - please let it still be ok and not need repairs or repayments* or removal of leaves from the gutters. Once that is a month and a half in advance in 'credit', more can divert to the Mortgage itself than the three payments of $5 added each week.

Enjoying the desserts... 

Even if they are a few scoops of coffee icecream with broken up peanut butter biscuits. You know ~ not that it would ever happen - but the biscuits would be better a little more 'stale' for use with icecream. Regardless, it was delicious with the biscuits being a little more crumbly, still melt in your mouthish than imagined. Just one of those funny little thoughts you have at times... Don't you?

Here is the recipe address from Stay At Home Mum ~ Peanut Butter Biscuit recipe ~ and I've put the ingredients as we used below: 

160 grams plain wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon bicarb
1/2 teaspoon salt

115 grams butter
150 grams brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

250 grams smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup crushed walnuts (macadamia, choc chips) 

 Will be looking at Tupperware again ~ and not just the boxes I need to unpack and find homes for within the kitchen. I am hoping to be a demonstrator again ~ one or two parties per week, be able to re-furbish my collection and build it back to its former glory. More on that later ~ but if you are wanting any, do get in touch *grins* 
Think about it and know it will ultimately remove debt, allow storage of dry staple pantry items over the wet season and get us ready for a place of our own upon the return of our home's owners in 2015.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Did someone speed up time?

The things my Husband finds ~ love his photographs... 

I swear it was Sunday ~ and now its Wednesday morning!

Hope all the Dads, stand ins and children all over have enjoyed the togetherness of Sunday ~ now come on, the 'special' day is over, back to the normal. Yes, it would be nice to have days like that all the time, but it takes some coordinating, planning, doing things in anticipation... *bit of a hint dear* 

So who spent a small fortune? Ours came in under $50 ~ including the petrol for our afternoon, our self catered lunch and a yummy roast dinner! Enjoying the left overs from the $11 roast as a pork and vegetable pie for Monday nights meal keeps us about $2-$3 per head per meal ~ we could have stretched both meals to feed four people - it was more fun feeling like happy stuffed little piggies *burps* 'scuse me...

The Week Ahead... 

The garden is about to yield forth its first edible offerings ~ about half the first of the Asian greens are ready and calling for a stir fry or warm salad use. Hmmm ~ that's an idea for the weekend. As for tonight, I took the $5 schnitzels out of the freezer, marked down meat but only two large schnitzels in the packet. So fried them up on the stove, sliced into strips and added to a bowl of salad of lettuce, bean sprouts, baby spinach, radish, cucumber, snow peas, onion, parmasean cheese, walnuts, green apples and a ceasar style dressing... 

Doesn't that sound fancy?! I reckon it looks decently fancy too, happy to serve that up to the Queen should she drop in. Cost under $7 for the whole meal and if HRH had dropped in, it would have stretched for one more as well ~ but she didn't so we ate it all *grins* SmallBoy was a little grumbly over the sprouts but demolished his plateful. Then he had the last of the vanilla cream over a chopped frozen banana ~ the cream freezes on the banana and is a delicious, quick dessert to use up left over cream! 

I am trying desperately to push out this week's grocery shop to build a little 'cash' surplus for some staples we will need in anticipation of the wet season. By not using the remaining $42 of this weeks shopping budget for groceries, I can get bulk wholemeal flours, brown rice, epsom salts, vinegar, coat-hangers and mulch instead.

Just jumped in the shower between making up some peanut butter biscuit dough to make biscuits ~ mainly because they are yummy and it will help lower the craving for long-absent chocolate, but also to compensate for 'boring' sandwiches for lunch SmallBoy has to endure for two, maybe three days in a row *gasps in mock shock*

I've used a variation of the peanut butter biscuit dough from the delightful website Stay At Home Mum, really only changing the peanut butter to smooth. This recipe makes about 30 biscuits - I used the last quarter of the dough to add a few of the Ballarat walnuts for variation. It could probably take nicely with some choc chips - if I had any...

Rather than do a standard grocery shop ~ we can have the pasties made and frozen last week for dinner tomorrow, then the shop can be base more toward those bulk purchases along with some cloves, mince, milk, rolls. With more flour I can make more scrolls, do some biscuits, cakes and get ready for using the bread maker when I get yeast next shop. 

Quick Reflection...

The move to Queensland was not about saving/making money ~ a big part has always been quality of life, a balance of work and play, a climate to aid recovery and movement. More than anything, I am grateful for the way things happened ~ there is a saying: "Things fall apart so other things can fall together" ~ that's what this has all been like.

While it might not be a big deal to many to get a meal on the table (physically or financially); to be able to there in the morning for breakfast, walking, talking, eating, laughing ~ and then again in the afternoon and evening. Some times I feel blessed with the chance to 'do life' with less stress and more enjoyment, even appreciating that it all needs to be done a little slower or with some rest along the day.

I really do enjoy making biscuits ~ they really don't take a lot to put together. Trying different meals to incorporate more salads and vegetables, getting up at sparrows' fart to go to the market, reading or (now) riding over screen related activities for all of us. OK ~ I'm not at riding yet, the boys are and I am jealous. I'm not able to vacuum but I can mop. It's all just a heck of a lot better than expected and imagined.

Must mosey ~ another full and exciting day. I do hope we get coat hangers in the next day or so. I'd really like to hang the last of the clothes and get everything out of the campervan completely. Out come the nick-knacks, pictures and books. Might need another bookshelf...

Let me know if you try the biscuits or what more details about the meals we prepare and eat, budgeting $2-$3 per person per main meal per night. Most nights usually cost $6 for a meal for three hearty appetites, occasionally with leftovers for lunch.