Friday, October 29, 2010

Rich week ~ for a moment

Just the cutest little billie-goat you ever did see! 

For just a brief moment ~ the bank account looked so healthy...

Then all the bills were withdrawn and we looked more 'normal' again *grins*  Being pro-active this week on the fees, charges and added costs from our financial 'institutions' and have saved ourselves quite a bit in the long run.

Our savings account has a $5 monthly charge ~ we asked if this could be waived as we only use online banking.  Not only was the fee removed - it was back-dated to the start of the financial year.  $15 was put back into the savings account. Brilliant!

Our VISA interest rate was up over 20% ~ we asked if this could be brought back under 10% and had the rate changed to 9.2% plus no annual fee for the life of the card ($90).  Awesome!

Our Line Of Credit has an interest rate of 7.9% ~ we asked if this could be held for a few months while we get ahead and were granted 3months no interest (providing we can put $500 in each of those months or it will revert back). It's a start!!

Then there's the freebies:
In two months it will be Christmas and it is not going to be the console, DVD, games orientated Christmas of 'norm'. SmallBoy will receive a new kit for school and, being his last year in primary, we will get his Year6 Bomber Jacket for a present, as well as his school NetBook.
Got a really awesome dog lead from Paws Club to give to one of the Mum's for their dog;
Got some Dr LeWinn men's facial care products for the brother(s-in-law);
Got two teen packs of Dr LeWinn's skin care/acne care products for MudGuts and the half-bro;

We will be making up pamper packs for most for Christmas ~ and we'll be making those in the last few weeks, tailored to each brother, sister, niece or nephew as appropriate.

Plus a few bonuses:
For those who have used Chrisco, HamperCo, Castle Hampers or any of those type of set ups to pay for Christmas in advance, while they can be 'convenient', have you ever thought just how (un)economical this option can really be??
In 2006, 2007 and 2008 each weekly/fortnightly shop we would by a $10 store voucher (or more if we were under the shopping budget) and kept them together for the  mid December shop.  With around $500 to spend, we'd have all the food, booze, decorations and more to carry through to Australia Day - almost two months without shopping for anything other than basics. It meant we could take drinks to every party, snacks to munch while on summer holiday AND save our shopping money for December and January ~ well, we'd put it in the mortgage!
Sadly this year we've not done this as effectively and those vouchers saved have been used to buy groceries over these lean months.  You do what you have to do!!

Hoping those last few eBay items are paid for soon ~ really need to get more items up ~ been a little tired and sore so it's a-plodding along...

Plus if anyone has a spare lawnmower or car ~ happy to take them off your hands *grins*
Two chances right??  Buckley's and none...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Fourth Wednesday of our Mission

Poor little Maggie fell from its nest ~ mum and dad came back and they walked home 
This has been quite an interesting week...

There's been the yummiest snacks and dinners made out of the crummiest cereal crumbs and limp leftover veggies ~ seriously delicious.  If you have a look back, the muesli slices/bites, pikelets and pies have been a hit! We've eaten more veggies that usual and SmallBoy has enjoyed these new home-made treats.

The best pro-active effort was negotiating an interest rate reduction on our credit card.  And it was *easy*.
One phone call and the interest rate on our VISA was slashed from 20.9% to 9.2%.
Now we challenge every single reader to find out what their interest rate is, call their provider and get 5% or more taken off the amount ~ let us know how you go.  If you've got a $5k credit card and bring your rate down from the "average" 21% to 15% ~ that's a saving of over $1000 in interest repayments each year.  That is ENORMOUS!!

We received some great donations into the Treasure Chest and hopefully we can update our ThankYou page especially thanks to a big clutter of Support (10c) to the amount of $20! WOW ~ thrilled and straight toward bills!!

Then we received a rebate from medical bills ($30) and the coins from the car, house came to $16.20. So all have been banked and will be moved onto the Line Of Credit once cleared.  Oooo ~ It's a real thrill.  AND of course you know we spoke to the drastic plastic credit card company with HUGE success!!  Did we mention we've also got no annual fee ($90) ever again??

There's more but it has been a day of walking around while the car was being serviced ~ and that was a bitter outcome with the mechanic saving us $170 (sort of) saying no point servicing this car, it needs a new engine... Damn. Double Damn.  We shall deal with that next week.  

Husband has picked up a day's work tomorrow which will probably need to go towards a new engine otherwise we are back to wondering how do we get SmallBoy to school and home again.  Oh it never stops...

Below is the week in rewind ~ remember, please get your friends, family, work mates on board and following and perhaps popping a few coins into the Treasure Chest as we make our debt a thing of the past!!

Wishing you all a great week!
~Mands, Husband, SmallBoy and Mudguts
and the chooks, the cats and Skippy the rooster *bok bok*

Wednesday 20 October 2010
The start of the third week and we have made a weeny dent into the debt. Not looking forward to our contributions next Wednesday. *gulp*
Used all the left over crumblings from various packets of cereal and muesli and made the most delicious muesli bites and slices. The recipe and makings will be up to share tomorrow.
We have a few more items up on eBay - there is Tupperware & Avon. Ideally we will have 2-3 items up each day. That's going to be fun.

A day without spending - *our Mission*
The small gift from others - *the Plug*

Thursday 21 October 2010
Gosh it is a lovely day. We cleared out clutter and rearranged the spare room and SmallBoy's room.  SmallBoy has a big box of toys to sort through.  The recipe for the muesli bites has been posted. We are extremely grateful to have received a wonderful 'hand-full' of 10c coins in the Treasure Chest ~ and we are thinking our gifter would have had fun imaging the clatter as we have.  It would have sounded awesome in real like to hear 200 10c silver coins dropping into a wooden chest. *cheers*
There are two people playing the auction on eBay for the new Tupperware Illusions jug - this is rather exciting because we've never seen that before. The water filter is being collected tomorrow too.

Another day without spending - *our Mission*
A clutter of 10c coins falling into the Treasure Chest - *the Plug*

Friday 22 October 2010
Nothing spent today. Happy about that. Got paid our family payment of $203 this week. Woo Hoo - its gone on the mortgage. Nothing else paid, no money to pay any thing else. But there's food in the fridge, pantry and the chooks lay their googies.
Might sell the eggs and get an extra $10 per week for them. That will put petrol in the car.

No spending - *our Mission*
Needing a little to stay afloat - *the Plug*

Saturday 23 October 2010
Nothing spent today. It is such a relief SmallBoy does not see how 'tight' the purse is. He had a mate over for dinner last night (spag bog from the freezer), played happily outside or on board games. We've got his birthday in a few months - but not sure what we might be looking at gift wise and he has been hoping to have a few mates over to go to LazerForce. This might be off the cards now.

Not spending anything - *the Mission*
Wishing for a little help - *the Plug*

Sunday 24 October 2010
Milk and water ~ $8.50.  OK - the milk is understandable but, in case you've not read previously, we buy our drinking water because the water in our regional town is quite disgusting. Ran SmallBoy a bath tonight and phew-wee - stinks like chlorine when you run the water. Hence buying water because from the tap, we can't drink it.  Even the ice-blocks are tainted by the taste of something grungy.  Need to get meds, actually put it off because we didn't have the finances to pay for the meds but money transferred in on Saturday so it will be a wait to been seen appointment on Monday. Yeah-haw (not)

Only the basics are needed as the debt drops - *the Mission*
It would be nice to have a few extra dollars freed up - *the Plug*

Monday 25 October 2010
Medication ~ $8.90.  It's one of many prescriptions that come up each fortnight. At least they usually stagger so as not to be a huge burden. Nothing sold on eBay but we've not got any extra items up so it seems fair. *grins* Only three eggs from the gerls so they are laying somewhere in the grass which is almost knee high ~ but hiring the mower is out of the question at the moment. Hopefully we can borrow one . . . any offers?? *chuckles* Heading to Freecycle to see what is available.

Keeping the main bills paid - *the Mission*
Hoping readers will put spare change into the Treasure Chest  - *the Plug*

Tuesday 26 October 2010
Nothing spent ~ but we did book the car in for a service. Plus we had the unexpected 'bonus' of a cheque for $35.18 from our old power company. Considering we've not been their customer for over two years - we have no idea what it is for but its $35 to go onto the credit card. We have an appointment with the accountant tomorrow to get our tax fixed and up to date ~ nothing like the last minute to get things done! Using left over veggies, making buttermilk (milk & lemon juice) and self raising wholemeal flour (plain with baking powder), we made vegetable pikelets and they were as delicious as they were filling. Last day on the eBay Tupperware ~ and its looking good.

Staying ahead of the collectors - *the Mission*
Tell your friends about our Mission - *the Plug*

Making it ourselves

This is Skippy ~ picked up and chastised for attacking Mands in the garden 
We didn't spend today
But we did pop past the Salvos for some vegetables and bread ~ because sometimes you need to do things like that.  And I think they are a wonderfully supportive group of people who really don't judge. While waiting, found out there was a low-income supermarket being run by St VdePaul which we will investigate next week when it is 'rich' week.

We also entered a competition to win $5000 so fingers crossed that we have success there *chuckles* 
Oh don't we all want to win some $$?!  Yes that's what we call an unrealistic income source.  

Making meals from the items in the kitchen has been fun and we think we should be able to go through to the end of the first week of November with only milk to buy and using the tinned and frozen vegetables and fruit we have. 

Tomorrow is budget day and we are looking forward to updating the amount we've managed to bring off the debt balance.  Interest is a killer but we've not been adding the interest as it accrues on the debt ~ and we're not really sure if adding on each time is going to provide you dear reader the extra incentive to help us out of our debt problem.  

We have set up a bank account to enable those who wish to provide us with support without needing to set up a PayPal account. It will be up on the Financial Report and QandA pages.  Oh - and the Tupperware currently on eBay is about to finish so that should be an extra $20 to add to the totals for next week... but we'll count that when it is all finished.

One sad little zucchini was the basis for a yummy vegetarian pikelet dinner which has filled us up and had the added benefit of being very healthy.  Tomorrow will be a chicken and vegetable pie using some of the frozen veggies we got from the Salvos food package ~ gee that was handy.  If we can get some sour cream, we got a 5kg bag of frozen McCain straight cut chips and adding a salsa, an avocado (which we have in the fridge) and sour cream makes a great quick, easy dinner or weekend lunch.

Here's the recipe we used for the Vegetable Pikelets ~ thanks to the 365 Tupperware Recipes in 365 Days on FaceBook.

1-2 small zucchini
2 cup frozen mixed veg (corn kernels, peas, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower)
1 cup wholemeal self-raising flour
1/2 cup self-raising flour
1 1/4 cups buttermilk  (use regular milk & add lemon juice or vinegar if you dont have buttermilk)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup grated tasty cheese
olive oil cooking spray

Grate zucchini & carrot
Using your hands, squeeze moisture from zucchini
Heat oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat
Cook up the vegetables, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes or until softened and set aside
Sift flours into a large bowl
Add buttermilk and egg
Whisk to combine
Add vegetable mixture and cheese
Stir to combine.
Spray pan with oil
Heat over medium heat
Using 1 heaped tablespoon per pikelet, cook 4 pikelets for 3 to 4 minutes or until bubbles appear on the surface
Turn & cook for 2 minutes or until cooked through
Transfer to a plate
Cover to keep warm.

Makes about 16-20 pikelets

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Simply the rest

No spending again today.
Friday's were notoriously our take-away night - along with McD Thursdays for after swimming - and the odd pop in to Bakers Delight for scones, whoever made a decent coffee could get a visit, or two, each day *blushes* We've really been good and only eating what we've made at home.  It's Spaghetti Bog for tea, from the big batch made up at the start of the month.

Since we started our Mission a month ago - actually less than a month ago - we have had one bought coffee, and it was agreed to be the last.  SmallBoy has been quite agreeable to the no canteen/no lunch order ruling because he is enjoying the home made delights. Plus if we make up some little pies, the canteen will heat them and send them into the classroom with the other orders. Bonus.

So a day of mundane ~ and it's now raining so tomorrow will be all about decluttering, rearranging and might even conquer that stock-take we've been meaning to get stuck into.

We know we are nowhere near destitute, homeless or wondering how we are going to pay for our next meal, bills, heating. Well, actually we have no idea how we are going to pay for firewood AND get the car serviced. Hopefully this warm weather will return and we won't need any more firewood this year and we can get the car serviced.

Mostly likely need milk before the weekend is over, perhaps petrol and there is a doctors appointment in the morning which will require prescriptions. - all going well, that will be our only expense because we've really not got the money for anything else. The credit card is frozen in the freezer so we cant use it, only pay it down. Maybe it is that 'security' to know it is there because it would be better to just cut it up.

Alright - that's about it.
Nothing spent
Nothing sold
Nothing but friendships and conversations ~ at least we are rich with those *grins*

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Avoiding the clutter...

It is the most glorious day.
So we are in the garden, weeding and getting the beds ready for the seeds to become seedlings and grow up big and strong to end up in our bellies *grins* Our Mission to become debt free will also allow us to become a little more self sufficient and self sustaining.

More items are up on eBay including Tupperware, AVON and clothes for children. We are adding more each day - mandsmission is the account name. The money from every item sold goes into our line of credit or our visa at the moment. All outstanding bills receive a payment every month - sometimes it might only be $1 but every account gets something.

Last night, we used up the crumbly left overs at the bottom of six boxes of cereal and muesli. We left the cornflakes because we'll use them to crumb a veal or chicken schnitzel - or home made KFC *mmmm*

These muesli slices and muesli bites are absolutely delicious. We find that SmallBoy and MudGuts prefer the slice, leaving more of the bites for the grown ups *cheers*  SmallBoy had to remind Husband this morning to put a few in his lunchbox (please)

Leftovers Muesli Bars and Bites

5-9 crushed weet bix
3 cup left over muesli, cereals, bran, oats
(All up, you want 5-7 cups of cereals)
1/2 cup dried fruit/nuts/chopped choc bits (optionals)
1 tin condensed milk

Mix all the cereals and fruits in a large bowl.
Add the condensed milk and stir until mixed through.
You can add additional weet-bix or cereals if the mixture is not firm.
Press into greased tin (or ungreased silicone form) and bake for 20-40min at 180 degrees.

For crunchier muesli bars, pull the tray out ½ way through and press the mixture firmly down again
If using silicone, let the slice mix cool slightly before turning out to cut.  If using a tin tray, slice into muesli bar size pieces while hot and allow to cool in the tin.

For the muesli bites, using the Tupperware Petiteform, or nipples, makes perfect bite-size pieces.  No need for extra greasing of the tray - these will pop out easily so cool in the silicone form.

This made 24 large squares and 30 bites. Because all the cereals are those bits at the bottom usually thrown away, it's really only the cost of the condensed milk so all that for $1.09. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Third Wednesday of our Mission

Week Three of our 
Mission and we made several repayments into our debt by having some monies owed to us paid back – Hi, my name is Mands and I am hoping you can help get me and my family out of a bind with debt. Yes, we are asking total strangers for the gift of few dollars, even a few cents to help pay off our debt, stop the interest accruing, building and getting further out of control.

This debt did not come about due to lavish spending, over-indulging or financial mismanagement. Most was incurred due to medical expenses, assisted living charges, travel costs while I waited for and now rehabilitating from spinal surgery at the same time the single incoming wage under went restructure, reductions due to the financial crisis' impact on Husband's employer.

We are not asking for you to pay it for us ~ rather help contribute to pay it down with us.



Looking back over this week, there were some hefty outgoings but the main one, the antenna, had been saved for over the past six months. Receiving money for the Powderfinger tickets was a relief and that went straight onto the VISA card. Oh we want that one down. The Line of Credit is causing concern as funds going in are not going to remain on par with those coming out for the mortgage. If we were to move our income to come via the Line Of Credit, the mortgage would take it first.

Going back through the Simple Savings Vault for some savings tips on power, snack ideas and ways we can cut back outgoings. Sorry - not up to making our own pet food yet, chooks are getting all the current scraps. Have been ok with grabbing a lemon or three of neighbouring trees - ideally the ones on the ground. Plus as soon as the apples are on the trees, we'll head up out the back roads of Durham Lead and pick those from the roadside apple trees. They are so sweet - cant wait!

One big hint is to get on top of what is in our pantry - you can see there is a bit there. Stocktake, stocktake, stocktake. We are listing absolutely everything we have at the moment so we know what we have to use without the need to go to the supermarket or grocer. We've meats in the freezer, marinades in the cupboard and lots of fruit and veg canned, we cannot wait to share our list of hidden pantry delights and frosted freezer surprises

Meals this past week have included pie, fish patties, salads, snags and curries - meat padded out with veggies - and snacks made include muesli bites, cheese twists, savoury muffins and fruit smoothies.

The de-clutter is moving along, slower than hoped but we so much clutter and hoarded treasures that are needing perusal and review. We know there is going to be a need for a dumpster at some point - but not until we can pay for it upfront. 

Medication and therapy are the big cash killers this week - need a new HydroPool card and that's $50 we don't have so being a little 'naughty' and skipping Exercise Therapy to use the card for the pool. It's possible to exercise at home but we can't say the same for Hydro.

Well, that was the week that was. More items are up on eBay - mandsmission - please see if there is anything of interest. Your help, support and messages are truly appreciated and we are most grateful.

Many .10c in the Treasure Chest can help pay our debt down ~ *our Mission*
We'll always say thanks for your generous gift  ~ *the Plug*

Wednesday 13 October 2010
The beginning of a new week. And we undercut the budget by $80, MudGuts paid back $20 and we found coins on the spare room and kitchen floors. Bonus. Etra excited about the bids on each of the items currently on eBay.  Must pull our fingers out to get more photographed and posted. Time a ticking.
Nothing spent today - car drove well, MudGuts was picked up, a new enclosure for the ready for roast roosters was built and the garage was made a little more spacious. Husband is noticing items that are saleable - this is good.

A day without spending - *our Mission*
The small gift from others - *the Plug*

Thursday 14 October 2010
Well - it was a day with spending. All was budgeted spending - the shop came in at $81.80 and does have a few 'nice' items because we will have visitors. Items that don't usually get into the trolley like feta, Gruyere twists, rice crackers and fresh pineapple. It was a little annoying to find there was no top on the pineapple because we want to plant one to see if it will grow. It's not impossible if we can give it the right conditions. Oh and a packet of party sausage rolls because SmallBoy bargained us into it.

We will make additional parmeasan(?sp) twists using some pastry sheets - even cheaper if the pastry was made up from scratch - but there is something so terribly delicious about those particular pastry twists from Aldi that its a real treat to get occasionally - especially for special visitors. *grins* Besides, I will be making potato salad, a Caesar salad, sweet biscuits and muffins.

We might even have pancakes for brunch on Sunday - there's a thought. For eight people, one being vegetarian, I'd envisage flour, milk, butter, golden syrup & sugar would come to about $3. Eggs are from the cooks, lemons from the trees so no spending on those. Pancakes are inexpensive, crepes are even cheaper!

Clearly avoiding referring to the additional spend, but we have been saving for a few months to have the antenna tuned knowing a new one and the cables might be required. Still, $255 for a new antenna, tuned, new cable and a really jovial -early- technician when we had budgeted $300 was great. So if you need a referral to a great bloke, Shane from Jims is your man and, if you mention we sent you, he'll send us two movie tickets.

We think tomorrow we receive $980 something - rich week! This is the week money moves over to the mortgage, the line of credit, the VISA and utilities. With the last week shop being a little lower, and the money repaid by MudGuts, we're not going to put in any more than the minimum on the credit card and try to fix the two week arrears on the mortgage so the fortnights match a little better. 

We will update the Financial Page on the Mands On A Mission blog tomorrow to show how our week's transact - this will help others struggling we hope.

Many .99c on eBay can help pay our debt down ~ *our Mission*
We'll always say thanks for $1 thrown in the Treasure Chest  ~ *the Plug*

Friday 15 October 2010
Money comes in - money goes out.
Today is 'rich' week of the fortnight with $1079 hitting the account. The fridge rental of $44pf comes straight out. As does $200 for this months electricity and gas. The water falls due end of the month so $50 went in to there and will be again next fortnight. The VISA received $200 and we paid $300 over to the mortgage so its $165,461. The mortgage balance isn't included in the 'debt total', its not in arrears, its actually well ahead.
That leaves us with $584.

But wait - some of that is already assigned. *darn* Next week, $100 is assigned to food shopping, $300 for fire wood and $50 for fuel. There will be $30 for meds and we should have $100 over at the end of next week. From that $60 is ear-marked to make up the difference for the mortgage and $40 or so for next week's shopping. We get $203 next Friday and that's all on the mortgage. Even though it is tight - I still think we can come in under buy it will be under $10.

Making parmi-twists tonight, might even post a pic - probably on Mands Meanderings.
Here's to a fun-filled, low cost weekend. Forecast is SNOW (yes, mid October in Australia) so we shall rug up for Powderfinger. Drinks at home, picnic there, lovely...? We shall see. Nothing expected to be spent - maybe parking.

Every little bit under pays down the debt ~ *our Mission*
Every little bit gifted is a blessing ~ *the Plug*

Saturday 16 October 2010
At Powderfinger concert ~ feeding friends and family. Bought a few drinks - should have cost $27, handed 2 $10 bills over and went to get the change from my change purse when the bartender was back with $3 change . . . maybe there were 3 $10 bills handed over ~ oh well, believe that to be a reward for waiting in a queue for most of JET to find one drink is $10 where if you bought it at the bottle-o it would have been a 4pk for $12... Bit rich!  Spent $10 on hot chocolate and coffee for SmallBoy and Husband.  Spent $27 at Powderfinger. No souvenirs ~ $20 for a programme was just unwarrantable after the outrageous $10 for a can of premix vodka. Received $100 for spare ticket. Received payment for friend's hubby's ticket and room - $250.  Straight to the VISA on Monday, as it 'paid' for the tickets.
What a great night - our ears are ringing a little. The show was recorded both with video and for CD release of a live concert. SmallBoy really enjoyed JET, and thought Powderfinger was just great with the songlist! Lots of oldies - which he probably knows better thanks to us! So long since the last concert ~ might not have got to the MotoGP at Phillip Island but we did get to wear our boots and leathers because the venue was a mud bath!! Outdoor concerts in the gardens after rain, sleet and snow ~ it was a blast!

A great time does not mean spending $100s on food and drink ~ *our Mission*
You can send your support via the Treasure Chest ~ *the Plug*

Sunday 17 October 2010
Spent nothing ~ actually did very little. Enjoyed everyone together for breakfast before heading back to Melbourne. Did load of washing - just the school stuff. Husband tired and in front of the newly tuned digital television to watch the MotoGP from Phillip Island.  SmallBoy pottered, read his new Terry Brooks novel. Did much the same myself, only mine's by Kathleen McGowan, couldn't walk another step.
Dinner was spaghetti bolognese ~ from a big pot made up a few weeks ago. Having meal size portions of the sauce frozen, its days like this when all we need to do is cook the pasta and reheat the sauce for a home cooked meal that only costs a few dollars. Plus with all the leftovers there is pie, a pasta sauce and sandwiches for lunches and dinners this week.

Powderfinger - for your listening and viewing pleasure

Monday 18 October 2010
Spent $15.40 - Whiskers cat food on special at Safeway. This saves almost $10 on the usual price for a months cat food. As we try to only buy on the 'usual' specials of 99c or 5 for $5 - this saved us $5 this month. Will record and consider more if there is some loose change at the end of the week.  Did nothing but recover, sleep and rest after the weekend. Husband cooked dinner. Egg and chips. Simple, filling, easy.  Sleep days and tidying up are great days to keep the wallet closed.

Tuesday 19 October 2010
Spent $20 on chicken grain. Spent $28.42 on a months cat food, dry cat food and bread.
Sold the water filter on eBay for $10 and a local pick up
Made Pie of Left Over Chicken Salad (POLOCS)
Recipe on the main page

And that was the week that was. Such a thrill to receive input from readers. Glad we are inspiring some, entertaining others. Love to see the 'likes' on our Mands On A Mission FaceBook page - don't be shy. Pop on by *grins*

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

This Life ~ and left-overs pie...

The second weekend of our Mission and we made sure a night out at Powderfinger did not blow the budget by lowering our costs – Hi, my name is Mands and I am hoping you can help get me and my family out of a bind with debt. Yes, we are asking total strangers for the gift of few dollars, even a few cents to help pay off our debt, stop the interest accruing, building and getting further out of control.

This debt did not come about due to lavish spending, over-indulging or financial mismanagement. Most was incurred due to medical expenses, assisted living charges, travel costs while I waited for and now rehabilitating from spinal surgery at the same time the single incoming wage under went restructure, reductions due to the financial crisis' impact on Husband's employer.

We are not asking for you to pay it for us ~ rather help contribute to pay it down with us.



What a brilliant night! 
At the start of the year, when Husband was working still, we bought 8 Powderfinger tickets for the (then) final show on the Sunset Tour. Those who were coming with Husband, SmallBoy and I didn't pay for their tickets, paid by us via the drastic plastic - gotta love a best friend 'break-up'. My sister, a close old friend and her hubby came up and we sold the last two tickets to a couple up from Geelong - this cash will be paid on to the card using money in the savings account and we shall keep the cash for firewood and the groceries this week.

Yes we had a wee spend on drinks at the concert, however at $10 a pop - there was only one round! Is that the norm for concerts now? Been a while since our last gig, and that was at the MotoGP where one can be 'trapped' for days track-side. More about that in the Daily Report and in the FaceBook Notes. Loving the 'likes' - keep them coming! You need to know that helps us pick up our pace! 

Sold another item on eBay ~ mandsmission ~ this time the water filter cooler contraption. Another $10 into bringing down the debt. More to upload onto eBay tonight. Clothes, Tupperware and Avon items. Easy - get ready to help our Mission to remove debt.

Drum Roll please...
Our first coffee memory! We don't know if it's okay to publicly say who but we are most grateful and chuffed you guys see as an inspiration. Thank you; thank you; thank you! This will be recorded as a 'first' day for sure! 

We've had a day with some tidying, some photographing and SmallBoy has had a great afternoon learning and playing netball as part of the free out of school hours activities programme. As swimming lessons are just unable to be included in the budget ($110) for this term, we'll rely on the school's intensive swimming programme and one of the VicSwim two week programmes at the start of summer.

The next week to 10days definitely requiring NO SPENDING at all ~ we've had to get grain for the chookies and it is easier to buy in bulk but not having a spare $80, we have picked up a $30 bag for the month.  We have decided to place an ad on Ballarat Buy Swap and Sell for some eggs but people will need to bring their own egg carton! Cash is at hand for the wood, petrol tank is full. Let's hope to hear no news on any money out until next week ~ please *pleads*

So let's make Pie of Left Over Chicken (POLOC).

Left over roast chicken (a hearty one person serve)
Left over salad
Water (keep) to steam hard salad pieces (carrot, cauli, peas eg)
1/2 cup milk (or extra stock)
Knob of butter
1/3-1/2 cup flour
Mustard, salt, pepper, herbs etc
Pastry - 2-3 sheets

SmallBoy is an excellent help when it comes to cooking. He chopped up chicken - probably a breast and part of the thigh.  Reasonably small because when in the pot it does break up to spread through the filling. From the salad we grabbed snow peas, salad onion (no point using a brown one, when this is semi cut and ready), feta, basil, carrot, capsicum, cauliflower.

We fried up the onion, added the chicken and basil and snowpeas. The Cauli, carrot, plus a few frozen peas and corn were steamed for a few minutes (had to use a Rock n Serve), drained keeping the veggie water aside, and added to the mix.

A nice blob of butter is next, mixed through to coat the ingredients. A sprinkling of plain flour all over and we mix this through the buttered ingredients.  Using the vegetable water, we began the sauce. Because we were adding cheese and mustard, milk was added to make a creamier sauce. Otherwise, more water and maybe chicken stock or gravy mix might be added. 

While recovering, pastry sheets have been a life saver. Who ever brought this on to the market - thank you. We use about 2-3 sheets per pie, keeping the half over for the next. All the little cut offs fill up the gaps and, face it, the pastry is the best bit so layered can be better!! MMmm

The easy bit is putting the mixture in, putting on the final sheet, using any left over milk or water to wash the top and into the oven at 190c - 220c for about 40mins. You're really only cooking the pastry because the filling is ready so you can go higher for less time if you want. We like to use the time to get the table set, pjs on for SmallBoy, lock the chooks - that sort of pottering.

When MudGuts is not in for a feed, the left over piece is either Husband and my lunch, or put in the freezer and three random slices come out as a surprise re-run. There has been cause to swap when the spicy Indian was given to SmallBoy so it best to make sure every one sits and eats together when playing 'random' dinner! *grins* A night off cooking and home-made just the same!

Lucky for Skippy, our rooster, he is too old for even the pot now. After his behaviour toward Husband 'rescuing' SmallBoy from the chookshed, Skippy has proved yet again why we do not need a watch dog.

Can't wait until we do the weekly update tomorrow and see how we have done! Adding up the eBay sales, moneys found, our special Coffee Memory and savings made. Fingers crossed we have extra to go on the debt.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday is for foodies...

We need to eat 
And it is always better if we can eat well. It's expensive living in a world of packaged pre-shredded pizza blend cheese, it's so fast and furious in this world sometimes we all take short cuts ~ short cuts can end up being expensive too. I know it's 'only' $2.99, $3 with rounding up, for those scrumptious Aldi biscuit pastry twists with Gruyere cheese *drools* but to buy two packets to share with visitors this weekend is moving to $5, which is milk and fruit.

So rather than going over what I hope would be an under $30 weekend smorgasbord, making our own twists to add to the Gruyere twists *drools* is a better option. We'll probably get double the amount and its a cheats version, using pastry sheets because I am also making little brownie muffins. Why should our Mission be overly difficult and deprive us of all niceties? There are some simple pleasures, or pricey ones you can do yourself for a heck of a lot less. The cheesy twists are easy. All you need is to:

Heat the oven to 200c, line two oven trays with a baking sheet or paper.

2 Sheets ready-rolled puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, beaten lightly
1 cup grated cheese (tasty, pizza, parmesan, cheddar)
1/2 cup powdered parmesan cheese
Sea salt (ground)
Garlic salt
other seasonings (eg Sumac, Italian Herbs, Moroccan spices, poppy seeds)

  • Brush one pastry sheet using egg; grind over sea salt, sprinkle garlic salt, herbs of choice, grated cheese
  • Place the second sheet on top pastry sheet; pressing firmly
  • Brush the top with egg yolk. Sprinkle with powdered parmesan cheese
  • Cut pastry stack in half width way; then length ways about 1-2cm wide to get 30-40 pieces
  • Separate and twist each strip, pinching ends to seal and place on the lined trays
  • Bake, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until browned lightly
  • Cool and store (or eat - or hide to be eaten later)

These should be appreciated by all - they are very yummy, be assured. I ate one *grins*
Along with salads, turkish bread, dips, cheeses - those last two were in marked down - and something chocolate for dessert, we should be well covered. Oh I am getting excited.  Dinner for 8 out for under $20. *thinks* Well, um, not if you count the concert tickets - then its under $100 per head for dinner and a show! Actually, that falls under an expensive night - but it has been saved, paid and woo hoo we are going!!

All food and drinks have been planned for the weekend. What do you think about this for a weekend's menu?  We get together late afternoon - with dips, twists, biscuits and drinks.  Dinner will be some type of debacle in the gardens at Powderfinger but we are taking BBQ chicken (or home made KFC pieces, not sure yet); a salad of cos lettuce, 'real' baby roma tomatoes, capsicum, carrot, salad onion and cucumber; another salad of butter lettuce, basil leaves, coriander, feta, semi-dried roma tomatoes, chives; rolls and Turkish bread; a creamy dressing and a vinegar/oil dressing. Back home for some cheeses, fruit, Ferrero Rochers using the recipe we found on 365 Tupperware Recipes. We'll use my silicone 'nipples' and almonds for these. Oh, and champagne, Baileys - alas no vodka slammers like the days of old... *naughty*

Because our girlfriend and her hubby are staying at Wyndham Ballarat, its their 10th anniversary so we found somewhere nice, those here that rise before 10am can check out the pantry or manage on coffee, tea or milo. Otherwise, we are having a pancake brunch with toppings such as lemon and sugar, maple syrup, vanilla sugar, jams or strawberries and cream.  Mmmm - and costs bugger all. My sister needs to shoot off, as you do when child-free for a weekend, and head back the other side of the state while we hope the Slatey Chick and her hubby can loiter through a lunch of left over dinner in sandwiches. If there are no left overs, we have enough for a pull-together lunch of salad, meats, breads.  All up this will cost $24.50 from the grocery shopping yesterday - that's including flour for the pancakes you know.

The de-cluttering has dropped back, right at a point I would really like several items removed, however Husband did level 2 First Aid course these past two days, one spot left until February next year with a week's notice so he took it without thinking about the shortness of time. Excitement of the opportunity of availability? In reality the 'rush' probably was not required, however now it is done and he has his level 2 renewed and current. These courses are available through a carers programme and help save lives as well as dollars!

Lastly, our first eBay item has been sold, paid for and sent off in the mail!  It was a mighty fine feeling too. I'm putting a few kids clothes up this weekend and hope to start putting up Tupperware, Salt&Pepper, Disney items before next weekend. Nothing in the Treasure Chest just yet ~ hopefully once others see what we are managing on our Mission, a coffee memory or support will be warranted. *grins* That was the Plug.

No knocks on the door this week from anyone burly or scary, or just plain mean and looking for payments. We certainly are not expecting any at this moment, but sometimes that's just enough to put on the mockers and make it happen. We really don't think anything is at the point at this moment tho'. *phew*

The Daily Update
Today is payment day.  Payment comes in, payments go out.  We've listed everything now paid and those which will be over the week using this weeks payment. We come out with about 86c, give or take *grins* There is a little fine tuning, but we hope you see how we are going in our Mission to get the debt down.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Moving on with our Mission

Sorting through the everythings...  
Second week of our Mission and we made two small payments into our debt by lowering our costs – Hi, my name is Mands and I am hoping you can help get me and my family out of a bind with debt. Yes, we are asking total strangers for the gift of few dollars, even a few cents to help pay off our debt, stop the interest accruing, building and getting further out of control.

This debt did not come about due to lavish spending, over-indulging or financial mismanagement. Most was incurred due to medical expenses, assisted living charges, travel costs while I waited for and now rehabilitating from spinal surgery at the same time the single incoming wage under went restructure, reductions due to the financial crisis' impact on Husband's employer.

We are not asking for you to pay it for us ~ rather help contribute to pay it down with us.



It was exciting to see that people are actually looking over the pages. On Monday, 59 views were registered, yesterday it was 110 and it's not us because we set up the pages not to include our views. Thanks for the looks in - it was quite a morale boost to see you *waves* hellooo

A little about us is back on the first post, Welcome to the Front Page but in a nutshell I've not worked since a death, a redundancy, a breakdown and the discovery of 6 spinal fractures in 2007. Had an operation, had a fusion and, in August 2010, Husband ceased paid employment to be my full time carer, reducing our income by $550 a week. We have productive home time, reliable help and physical changes for the better - physically, mentally and aesthetically. It's a simple(!!) life on $628 a week from government payments. But we can't get ahead on the debt we were paying down at great speed any longer and hope not to lose the lot. Darn it!! Life goes on...

The weekly incomings from MrCentrelink seemed to have settled into a regular pattern of $350 odd one week, $800 or so the following and of course it is out of synch with the mortgage repayments! Had a chat with the bank on the phone to explain what has happened with the income and was told they were pleased with our extra payments so far, had wondered what was happening and 'are always here to help because bank people aren't always scary'. Too true. Still, haven't worked up the guts to call about the interest rate on the credit card. It's on the things to do. Plus we might look at going interest only on the loan if only to give ourselves a window to breathe. We will see how we go after a few months on our Mission.

We have, however, finally gone into our bank and shown our pension cards and had the $5 monthly account fee removed for the next 12 months. Because there is a record of a request to do this 11 months ago but no 'personal banker' to complete the forms back then, we might get these fees refunded. It will go on the line of credit if we do! All we did was ask for it to be considered because it was noted. This will be the first positive thing this nameless bank has done for us. Unlike NAB and ING who we often have reason to complement.

This week has been about sorting clutter from rubbish, sorting through cupboards and boxes and setting Mands On A Mission up as a family project. It's gone really well! While we had budgeted $100 each week for food, pets, cleaners and such, this first week we set ourselves a $21 challenge and came in at $21.60. We'll count that as a success - seriously, even if we'd spent $50 for the week, it would still be a success as it is under the budget. By January we hope to have the grocery budget closer to $150pf - with the veggie beds producing around then, this should be quite easy. Finding just under $20 in change while cleaning was a bonus, but applying it as an hourly rate for work done become quite depressing when it moves to less than $1 an hour. Thankfully it is not our rate of pay - we saw these coins as a bonus! On to the debt!!

The thing we were most impressed with (of ourselves, that is) was making three lamb shanks form the base of four meals. From the first meal, lamb shanks casserole on mash potato, we used the left over mash to make fish patties for the next day's dinner. This used three fish fillets which had been hiding in the freezer for almost two years and really needed to be used. We didn't get food poisoning, had the leftovers as lunch for Husband and I and the fourth meal is being made tonight - vegetable pie with the casserole sauces for the filling, adding broccoli and cauli to the Moroccan flavours of the sauce. Four meals. Rubber meals. And nothing extra was needed, however we chose to get some salad extras over chips from the freezer to have with the fish patties.

We might work out a tally on how much per meal is spent per person as time goes on. At the moment we guesstimate at about $3-$7 per person per day, but this last week was close to being under $1 per person per day. And that was because we got salad stuff rather than using what was in the cupboards already. While we didn't spend the food budget, having it available meant we could fix the car - all up that was around $62, plus petrol which we have in the available budget but we still came up ahead. Also, stretching the food resulted in stretching the smokos to fit the shopping needs. Yes - this vice shall be going in the new year, as we vow to every year. This year should be different as we are weaning down to it now, with our Mission as incentive.

The eBay account as one item finishing tonight - and it has a bid on it!  Bonus!! The second item has quite a few watching it and one bid in!  Too exciting and now we really must get the other items up. There's something that will be happening tonight for definite. That's about $10 if we have calculated the postage correctly. Living and learning - eBay is scary when it is new!  

One thing we will report each month is the current outstanding amount in each area and where the monies we save or are given by readers or come through eBay are applied. This can show how real people, those of the low income or benefits only ilk, can manage, stay afloat and be smarter with what is available. If Australia paid for blood donations, we might consider such things but it doesn't and I'd rather not have to cry for a few bob. We will however consider dumpster diving because it provides free social interaction along with the gathering of foods of a more gourmet linage. It's mostly in wrappers so we figure if we can survive eating fish frozen for over 2years, fresh stuffs from a supermarket bin will be just fine. Environmentally and economically friendly. More of that in Mands Meanderings

We've set up a few ways people can follow our Mission and know when we've made savings, paid down an account, had support and gifts from others and where you can cheer us on. 

Payments from eBay items in mandsmission can be through PayPal, on collection or by arrangement

Gifts from 10c through to $3.50 can be given into the Treasure Chest at the top right of the pages or on Mands Meanderings. We can't work out how to make an 'any amount' button but figure its rude to expect more than a cuppa from a stranger. Even $1 from anyone who got a laugh or hint to try themselves would make this a huge success.

FaceBook is a funny place but a great spot to make the ol' note available. We've set up Mands On A Mission's fan page - don't actually know what we are doing with it, but we shall make it an adventure in communication. 

Hope you find our Mission entertaining, helpful and rewarding in some way. Please feel free to let others know what we hope to achieve, receive. Until next week.

Our Mission is to clear this debt - your help will make this so much more possible to achieve. *the plug*

The week that was...

Wednesday 6 October to Tuesday 12 October
Here's the week in rewind - this way the Daily Report will always be this week's reporting. One day we'll read this back and remember our early commitments, concerns and troubles.

Wednesday 6 October 2010
The start. Bit scared and nervous putting this out there. Getting all the network blog, paypal, ebay stuff sorted. Hope to have that up before we 'rss' this and do the network blog or tell our mates. We don't plan to be half-assed about de-clutter, selling and changing our environment. Here's to our first post, first $10 contribution and first gift into the Mission.

Thursday 7 October 2010
Spent nothing today ~ this was good. We dried clothes on the line, the laundry drier is unplugged and not to be used.
We placed our first item on eBay and will put a few more up each day. We think it is costing .30c per ad - and welcome any input if we are going about this incorrectly. It's mandsmission on eBay ~ so a work in progress.
No veggies from the garden - none are at seedling size yet anyway. Just thought it worth mentioning.

Friday 8 October 2010
Fridays always seem to be the day funds come in, money transfers out ~ and several payments fall due. This week is 'poor' week - only the family payment of $234 is in this week. No groceries required. Cat's are fine. This needs to go into the mortgage. Yesterday...
Relief! Part of an outstanding debt to us has been repaid to the account overnight - the mortgage is covered and a double repayment can go onto VISA. We did need firewood-1mt, petrol, oil and meter money. $2300 came in - $1900 out - the rest is for a firewood delivery of 3-5mt.
It's doesn't look like anyone has found our eBay items for clearance. The Tupperware might attract attention. Should we pay the extra 49c for one of those listing little piccies or is ours just not working correctly? Might see how that plays out.
Had whole baked potatoes with cheese, mince and tomato sauce, sour cream, sweet chilli sauce and avocado. It was delicious and everything was here. The avocado had been in the fridge for 2weeks or more - it was just right. Surprisingly filling.

** First catastrophe - the car has seized. Looks like the oil pump has failed. Darn it - just fixed a burst water hose, avoiding breakdown last week. Oil light came on and we found a coil had come loose. The oil light didn't switch off by the school pickup - we wrongly assumed light not yet picking up replaced oil... died one block from home. Will think about next week coordinations tomorrow...

Saturday 9 October 2010
Crap sleep - car still up the road. Didn't start after 'a bit of a rest', hasn't started now. It's supposed to be a sunny day. No spending planned - the new month budget does need to be written up to make sure we don't slid further downward. Made up our own templates. Tidying up in the kitchen and found $12 in coins. $12.35 to be exact. That can be free'd up from the grocery budget - will need milk by Monday. Or get extra Whiskers cat-food while on special. Hmm - choices.
Car isn't going anywhere - let's hope it stays 'safe'. Hoons like that side street and the car currently faces in the correct direction. Don't want this changed. No extra insurance - it just cant be budgeted. I did however budget savings of over $200 a month on our Disability/Carer payments if the debt did not exist.
We are going to pay it down - *the Mission*
Assistance is greatly appreciated - *the Plug*

Sunday 10 October 2010 ~ 10/10/10
Slept well! Woke up with the cat sleeping on my shoulder, holding my hand in her paws. Cute - but could have slept an hour longer had her whiskers got up my nose. And hello good morning! Gorgeous actually. No modes of transport, not going anywhere, no spending. Car, The Magna, is still up the road. MudGuts assures us he is one his way to help push it home. Lamb shanks for dinner - $3, for 3 shanks - bargain from the freezer!!
There was a little spending today - all can be accounted for in the budget. Husband and SmallBoy dusted the bicycles, went for a ride and got petrol for the other car which has a hole in the tank, The Mazda, as well as milk and juice. Returned with $10petrol from the servo; 5L juice- $5; Milk- $3.20, Lambs Fry- $3.70 : at SmallBoy's request; Mushrooms- $3.14 from the supermarket ($15.05). The girl at the counter took the 4c off and made it an even $15! Handier still because Husband only had $15 on him, having spent $10 at the servo. Saved 5c
We also have found $6.75 in coins in the spare room and around the kitchen area during the de-clutter, sorting and finding locations for that which can stay. So far so good. Works out at about $0.84ph for time spent on those areas over this weekend. Yippee!?

Monday 11 October 2010
No car, no MudGuts, lovely school friends helped with the school run duties. Oh my - tall lanky teen here. Car home. Money spent on the car for a temporary tank sealant, petrol, other car bits totalling $62. Husband went to supermarket, flicked through a motorbike mag, a pc mag - didn't buy them, didn't spend $12.90 *phew* Well done. He did buy some extra salad, veg, fruit items and was very restrained. Note to selves : chives in the garden can be used instead of spring onion to thin.
Gave MudGuts a dozen eggs for help, got 2 empty cartons in return (yeah!) and a promise to return tomorrow to help rearrange in the fast filling garage. We'll see if it happens. Feeling quite chuffed to see we've had over 50views - even if only half had given us 10c that's almost a coffee memory!!
Today's moment of our Mission frugality - another 'stretchie' meal - Using the left over mash from last night, 3 frozen fish fillets (bb. 09/09 - we'll be right *gulps*), frozen bread crusts, chives, basil, lime juice and sweet chilli sauce, we had some very yummy fish patties for dinner. All mushed in the blender, combined in a bowl, fried in a pan - easy. If I were to add cauli to the sauce from the shanks and put it in a pie, there's three meals from one. But thats for later - tomorrow is lambs fry - by request.

We making things go just a little further - *the Mission*
Assistance is greatly appreciated - *the Plug*

Tuesday 12 October 2010
So guess who didn't turn up. Didn't plan on MudGuts input, but only the garage sorting and storing was done before the rain came bucketing down. I've got a theory about that on Meanderings today. We didn't spend anything today, but we didn't cut any corners or make any savings either. We did however start to run back through the figures of the last week in anticipation of comparing against the balances tomorrow. Most in-roads are against the VISA. No extra payments towards collections but we've got to the end of the month for that and money moves on Friday
Got 5 eggs from the ladies, 3 egg cartons from the neighbours (collectively) and forgot the patties were in the fridge for lunch so we'll eat them tomorrow. Lambs Fry tonight, which we decline to share because too many say 'gross' or get turned away. Ours is yummy and all gone. Tomorrow its a pie, and the fourth meal from the shanks dinner. Must get that out to defrost in the fridge.
We are enjoying seeing the audience on FaceBook and hope people visit here too and see what our Mission is all about and how others can help us out of our bind.
A day without spending - *our Mission*
The small gift from others - *the Plug*

Friday, October 8, 2010

~ Welcome to the Front Page ~

Hi there – my name is Mands and I am hoping you can help get me and my family out of a bind with debt.  Yes, we are asking total strangers for the gift of few dollars, even a few cents to help pay off our debt, stop the interest accruing, building and getting further out of control.

This debt did not come about due to lavish spending, over-indulging or financial mismanagement. Most was incurred due to medical expenses, assisted living charges, travel costs while I waited for and now rehabilitating from spinal surgery at the same time the single incoming wage under went restructure, reductions due to the financial crisis' impact on Husband's employer.

We are not asking for you to pay it for us ~ rather help contribute to pay it down with us.


Back in 1997, after my first and only attempt at aerobic fitness, I was in this almighty car accident – another driver decided to cut across a six lane highway and collected me along the way (and a few poles, signage, a fence and a letterbox).  Watching the world through the windows of a spinning car is quite surreal ~ more so when the darn thing catches on fire while rain buckets down.  Luckily, I didn’t seem to be too badly injured.

A knight in a long brown dri-as-a-bone coat stopped, donned his akubra hat to keep his head dry before taking his trusty fire extinguisher from the back of his Jeep, kicking up the bonnet of my still running vehicle and slather it with white foam.   Sure did the trick on the fire, although the motor kept running without keys in the ignition.  She was a fighter to the end.

My BushMan knight hero hung his extinguisher back on his Jeep, tipped his hat to the small gathering of sopping, shaken survivors, jumped in his vehicle and drove off into the torrential storm, leaving me with a smouldering car and an excellent tale to tell.  There's more about this in Meanderings here.

The next day at work, my poor body went into shock and spasm thus starting the long journey to find for a decade I'd got about with spinal fractures.  I'd soldiered on to the point of no more with pain and leg numbness ~ 2007 started with a series of events heading a down hill slope.  More on that, starting with reference to 'that' MRI is here in Meanderings.

Unable to sit, barely able to walk and not remembering what it was like to stand up straight – that was the end of work for me.  An operation in September 2008 had the surgeon declare it was a ‘real dog’s breakfast’ in there but pins, screws, plates and all things gory were inserted for the slow road to recovery to begin.   The surgeon wasn’t wrong when he said to expect nothing for the first year, some improvement in the second year but plan on taking the next 5 years off.  You can read a little about the op here, I'll see if I've got some 'back' shots for those who just must have evidence this is real

Three months ago, my husband ceased paid employment to be my full time carer, reducing our income by $550 a week.  It ends 25years in a single industry with business relationships as strong at the end as the start. The gaining the time previously spent away from home working, we have productive home time, reliable help and physical changes for the better - physically, mentally and aesthetically.  No longer feeling we were doing it alone, now we enjoy a simple(!!) life on $628 a week from government payments.  Why no compensation you ask?  Because the other driver’s husband was a solicitor and the knight in dri-as-a-bone drove off into the night. The court awarded 50/50 no fault; TAC covered 13wks income in 1997, blah blah, legal stuff and that was that - all over red rover.  Darn it!!  Life goes on...

Today, October 6 2010, I sat down 
Actually I lay down - with the budget ~ and worked out what we have, what we owe and boy, we are on such a tight deal. Our mortgage is $276pw and we've not missed a payment.  This is not going to help clear our current debt if we still plan to eat, stay warm, put petrol in the car to get SmallBoy to school (not that he would be complaining). The repayment rates increase with the interest rate rises, the interest accrues ~ oh why can't we put all the interest/revenue raising/life expense increases on hold for a year or so and let us catch up, get things back to zero!?!?!

So, thinking outside the square and hoping to make this as entertaining as it is rewarding.  Be warned from the on-set : I tend to waffle, change thought mid-way, discuss our options 'aloud' to see how it looks. I will try to keep that process on ~Mands Meanderings. It's my personal blog, started while waiting for surgery. Please forgive me in advance for over-flow...

On a Mission to Find Change      

Aside from the mortgage, which is not part of the mounting debt we want to clear, we owe the following:

The VISA credit card (drastic plastic) ~ $5,836.33  (was $18k in 2005)
Outstanding Bills ~ $3,930.63 so far – sadly there may be more
Personal Loan (Wyndham) ~ $4,057.94 (was $11k in 2008)
Line of Credit (attached to the mortgage ~ $21,764.21 (was $16k with $7k available end 2008)

Frighteningly Scary GRAND TOTAL : $ 35,369.49

Hold on a tick ~ just need to scoop my stomach up off the floor and put my poor heart back in place.

I guess that's $1 from 35,370 people with $1 to gift to us ~ if you can't make the dollar, perhaps the 49cents then??

We've included where accounts were at the maximums and looking at the reductions already made - we think we have done a terrific job bringing that down on the reduced single income (plus ridiculous transport costs due to distance) Husband earned.  The personal loan is less than 2years old and we'd almost got that cleared. With some outstanding monies paid and Husband's tax sorted, this could be gone – completely – finalised. Or perhaps it is best in the LOC to keep interest down while keeping the mortgage paid with our benefits. While we are no longer using the drastic plastic VISA credit card ~ we reduce the limit each time we get $2000 down and plan to have it with a $3000 limit within 18mths with your help... 

Some of our debt has already had no interest applied, or been reduced down and bill repayment amounts are arranged or in the process of being so.  Our home line was averaging $45 per month, most in line rental fees – we had this lowered to $20 and use the mobile phone on contract for out-going calls, or email, or text. I'm about to find out if the home line be reduced if we make it an incoming only line. My mobile is incoming and will go onto recharge and not account now the contract is up. Husband is locked in for another 12 months.  Internet is under $50 and with more family and friends doing the Skype thing, we'll look at getting into that perhaps.

Had we not had income low enough to meet the threshold to receive government payments for the next 6-12 months, this shout-out probably would never have come to fruition.  I don't think we would have thought to ask for help through the kindness of strangers, especially when others might see as a crass grab for cash ~ but be assured the intention is not to have kind people pay all our debt for us.  Not at all ~ you can help by throwing your spare change our way; purchasing from the eBay shop or 'treating us' to a cafe latte  ~ and feel good knowing you have helped the Mission maintain momentum!!

We are hoping to achieve a few things while on our Mission:
  • Clear the clutter we have gathered over the past 10 years 
  • Provide new homes for items by selling on eBay 
  • Stop wasteful spending on chemical cleaners, fancy footwear and pre-package pantry delights - - this might have to include chocolate *sobs*
  • Simplify life so it is not such a stressful, unstable roller-coaster ride
  • Show and explain what we do to reduce debt, make-do, become less wasteful, lower financial stresses, find happiness *blissful sigh* We can make something wonderful happen! 
  • Encourage others to organise themselves so they never become 'that poor family you heard about who...' personally! 
  • Become frugal with money and aim for our goal of semi self-sufficiency and environmentally friendly living
And primarily; reduce the debt to zero and maintain a lifestyle fitting within our means.

Thus ~ the journey begins.