Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It's Official ~ the Silly Season starts tomorrow...

A delicious use of last year's Christmas Cake ~ as this year's Ice Cream Cake 
Well a big ho-Ho-HO to you! The end of November has fallen and finally about to be December here. Summer starts, SmallBoy is a year older, some Siblings will be aging also plus, of course, it is Christmas which makes the whole month 'silly'.  Meal wise, we hope to have Christmas lunch here as own little family, perhaps including Mudgut's friend, Husbands mum and/or my Dad. Planning for 6-8 regardless. The lawn and roof decorations are appearing on houses and those little coloured lights are putting some of that festive spirit out there!

Hands up who gets a Christmas Cake, a pudding and/or the mince pies each year? *imagines quite a few* Who cuts up and eats that cake, if only one slice? Actually, does any one have more than one slice of the cake? Who likes eating Christmas Cake each year? *imagines quite a few less* Has anyone got a Christmas Cake or Pudding in the pantry from last year(s) family lunch? Last year I made the most delicious Ice Cream Christmas Cake, using a combination of a rich and light Lions Christmas Cakes. Dessert needed to feed 8 adults and 9 children and this one was under $1 per head AND we had leftovers. I've been asked to make it again ~ lucky we were given a rich Lions Christmas Cake last year.
Dessert for 17 ~ what a selection
I loosely based it on a recipe in an old Simple Savings newsletter when the Destitute Gourmet Sophie Gray used to contribute. As we make ours 'two-tone', it's different and a lot more impressive in our opinion. We make an adult version and a children's version. Or one with alcohol and one without. You do need a little more freezing time however it looks so impressive as you can see. If doing a single flavour, use a good quality vanilla ice cream. Add dried fruits, nuts, choc bits, honeycomb, whatever...

You will need

250-400g Christmas cake - rich, dark or light; bought or homemade (check your pantry)
Spirits (eg. cointreau, frangelico, butterscotch schnapps, tia maria, brandy) or quality fruit juice (fresh OJ/Pine or breakfast blend types)
1 x 1L tub bought chocolate ice cream - love 1L Aldi 'double choc' or a mud choc type
1 x 2L tub of quality French vanilla ice cream (or 2 x 1L Aldi 'vanilla bean')
Frozen berries, shaved chocolate, fresh seasonal fruits to decorate
Use a clean, unlined Silicone Loaf form or line a metal/pyrex loaf tin with lots of plastic cling wrap to completely line the tin and have plenty of over hang to cover the top during freezing.
Have 2-3 large mixing bowls available, a silicone spatula or silicone spoon works best! 

Crumble the cake and drizzle over the spirits or juice, leaving to soak for at least two hours, preferably over night. The dark/rich cake is crumbled into a bowl with 2tbs - 1/4 cup of brandy or frangelico added, mixed through with a spatula and kept covered. This will be going in with the chocolate ice cream
In a separate bowl, crumble more dark/rich cake or alternate with a light cake soaked in cointreau for the vanilla ice cream. 
The kid's cake can be crumbled up and placed in a third large bowl before pouring over up to a third of a cup of fresh or bottled juice. Only vanilla ice cream with be mixed with this fruit cake mix.

Remove the vanilla ice cream from freezer and allow softening a little but not go runny or liquefying. Do one cake at a time, putting the required ice cream onto the cake mixture.  Put half the ice cream into the adults bowl, the rest back in the fridge or freezer. 
We put the vanilla ice cream with a light fruit cake soaked in cointreau; and the other half will be for the kids cake mix bowl. 
Combine the crumbled cake into the ice cream. Pour/ladle the mixture into the prepared tin and tap on the bench to let out air bubbles and fill in the corners. Fill to about 2/3 full, as there is still the chocolate base to add.  Fold excess cling film over the top and return to the freezer to re freeze. 
Tip:  do the kids one first to give the adults cake more soaking time while you practice *winks*

Wait at least two hours for the vanilla cake mix to refreeze, ideally wait overnight.
Take out the chocolate ice cream to soften but not liquefy. Add half to adult cake mix and combine as per the vanilla ice cream. Take the vanilla alcohol cake mixture from the freezer and fill the rest of the tin with the chocolate ice cream mixture. Return completed cake to the freezer covered with cling wrap for at least 24hrs.  
Take out the kids/non-alcoholic refrozen vanilla cake mixture tin and spoon remaining chocolate ice cream from the tub into the silicone loaf form or lined tin.  It's pretty much the same as the adult mixture with nothing to mix

Before serving have any fresh fruits or chocolate shavings cut and prepared. About 30 mins before serving, take out of freezer but leave in the tin.  If it is really hot, put this in the fridge. Leave frozen berries until the ice cream cake is on the serving plate.  

To serve, fold out the cling wrap on the top surface, turn the ice cream out of the tin onto a large serving platter, remove cling film and pile fruits/garnish on the top. Oooh and Ahhh as appropriate before cutting into thick slices. Or serve in slices with the fruits, chocolate shavings, a berry coulis and/or crème anglaise.


More items have been added to our eBay account ~ yes mostly (all) Tupperware and some will be great as Christmas presents. If Tupperware doesn't float your boat ~ you will know at least two people who squeal when they see a new catalogue. Oh please please send them this link :  http://myworld.ebay.com.au/mandsmission   Please let them know we have items for sale and some are no longer available to purchase. It's all new, stored in a box in the original packaging having been bought, bought or won when I was a 'Tupperware Lady'. 

Anything sold Tupperware funds go straight to the credit card ~ no doubt that piece has contributed to the debt in some way. *sighs* Love Tupperware ~ but over the debt, over the clutter, over to you *grins* Posting more items for sale shortly...

Sausages, veggies and chips for dinner - for dessert we might have to have Christmas pudding and custard because writing out the recipe and remembering making the last one has set of a craving!  Boys are out in the vegetable garden planting in the tomato seedlings and possibly the beans or beetroot. Husband built a simple wire gate to keep the girls out and, once more seedlings go in it will be draped with netting to keep all birds (and cats) out but still let the bees in. We've meters of this black netting in the garage which will for a treat.

A productive day today ~ had breakfast together at the table, a great way to start the day. SmallBoy is having a wider variety in his lunch box and it will be interested to see what got eaten. Several loads of laundry has been washed, dried, folded AND put away, plus eBay pictures were taken. The kitchen is ready for dinner preparation to begin - which it is now time for.  Will leave you hear and catch up tomorrow.

Financial Report  ~ the Mission's first audit  ~ it is very exciting you know.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Emergency Funds ~ Break glass to use... when?

Colour in our garden ~ gorgeous! 

Gotta love modern technology ~ car, communications and now cash! We have picked the Trifecta!!
But, as happened with the car repairs and the Hellstra Debacle, NAB seems to be making good progress fixing its funds access 'glitch'. The last recipients to be balanced are those awaiting Centrelink payments ~ those deemed least able to cope with this loss of cash flow. We've not been inconvenienced by the inaccessibility of 40% of our income ~ sure it is nowhere near the ideal, especially having had an opportunity to do shopping for SmallBoy's birthday and start putting tickets beside 'The List' for Christmas. We can catch that up during school hours this week. No worries! *grins*

Big picture, and bank/credit union/financial institution types aside, this is probably the first time in these days of electronic banking we've encountered such a situation with any type of 'glitch' on the depositing side to the humble Joe. Many will have had a time when payroll 'missed the cut-off time' for transfers and might be late by a day ~ it's usually fixed by lunchtime, no big deal. This incident is a little different and could potentially be more widespread 'next time'.

Making it even more surprising for us personally is as our main income is via the affected route, part of the group 'last on the list' to be rectified, and at a lower amount than we'd had six months earlier, this is the first time we've ever been ready for such a situation. All we really need to do is reschedule part of the birthday shop once the funds are available. If that's not happening by Tuesday, we'll take from our 'emergency stash' of $320 and replace it with the transferring funds when available! Who would have thought we would get to having access to emergency funds!?!
You don't always see where the storm hit hardest

Our Personal Costs Risk Analysis 

When we bought our home five years ago, we made sure it was manageable on one income instead of the two good wages we had. Just in case. Because Husband could have an accident at his labour intensive job, or during the five hours of daily commuting. Because maybe we could both go part time in the future. Because we could pay in more than the minimum amount, we did. Take-away Fridays were and Cheaper Tuesday Movie nights happened. When I stopped working, we could still maintain our lifestyle by reducing the amount of 'extra' being paid into the mortgage, going to the cinema less. In the height of the GFC, we could still manage a nice balance of need to want when Husband's work and paid hours were reduced by 25%. The entitlement of a pension card was a medical expense godsend.

At the start of this year, we changed weekly Friday take-away to a monthly treat and forewent the cinema to special occasions or blockbusters only. Many of the speculative 'what ifs' in life had actually become for us ~ with the knowledge some paralysis, pain pathways and mobility were showing up indicating problems post-op ~ plus we had little or no balance anywhere in our living, working, family, friend situation barely maintaining the 'when' of 'if'. This was how we started to build an emergency stash and, while piddly in the goal of having three months of expenses available, perfect to help over this fortnight and avoid any stress over missed repayments.

In one Simple Savings forum thread discussion is about wanting to be able to get money out of the NAB, with one member said they were up the proverbial creek, another relieved not with NAB, others  giving credit to credit unions, some affirming the over-reliance on technology and a bit of chatter about having but not wanting or knowing if it was the right thing to choose to use their 'emergency funds' or stash of cash. We have never had sufficient in the 'emergency fund' to actually provide funds if required, same as never really had a time when we would be needing to use it, and actually having to utilise some of the funds. Into my brain the question popped, "if you have the funds available in an emergency account, what is the rule for accessing your 'emergency money' and how?"

What is your answer to that?

On Friday, along with about a million others, we were expecting the regular fortnightly deposit of $495 from Centrelink into the NAB account. Half is needed this week to cover a regular automatic/set debits ~ $200 for our power, $45 insurance premiums, $60 loan levies, $15 to collections, $10 mortgage extra, $10 to emergency fund, $5 to savings plus $50 for petrol ~ there was and still is an in-credit balance of $209 in the account. Of course, this did not happen and as at Sunday evening, still has not occurred.  If the funds are still not accessible early afternoon Monday, we will withdraw $200 from our Emergency Funds via WestPac, walk into NAB and deposit $150 into the account at the counter, use the remaining $50 for petrol. When the delayed funds are cleared, we will transfer $200 back to the Emergency Fund electronically.

No financial stress, no accounting mess - but others are asking requesting advice to determine when is the right time to use your emergency fund or how much is the right amount to have on stand-by. SO financial institution aside, income level irrelevant in some ways ~ have you an emergency fund and what are the rules of access? How does it get activated??

Hmmm ~ it's a bit like home-work.  Think about it and let us know what you do or would like to be doing. If we've helped you in any way, please consider adding to the Spare Change Jar *grins*  Still got that $37k of debt out there.

Wednesday's Weekly Report will be interesting as we hope to know what the outcome of our Hardship application is and have the next three months budgeted around this being approved. To help us stay on track, mortgage information is going to be in the report and the debt is going to be shown as a total amount to balance down over the next 12months ~ with reader help and contributions of spare change *hints*
Sometimes you get a bonus just because...
A week ahead 

Sunday is menu planning ~ thus covering a wee stocktake to know what to use already at hand, ideally nothing extra is required. Having a lambs fry for dinner ~ 98c for over 500g ~ used to be about that and this was down by 66%. Maybe on mash, maybe on grainy bread toast. Mmmm ~ leaning toward toast. The week's breakfasts will be a choice of cereals and muesli, plus fruit n veg smoothies. Lunches will be salads, sandwiches and/or savoury smoothies as we build up on the raw food components.

Monday : ~ Omelettes
Tuesday : ~ 'Gourmet' basil herbed sausages, chips and salad
Wednesday : ~ Turkey drumstick, barley, brown rice slow cooker thing
Thursday : ~ Pasta with a tomato, fetta, herbs kinda sauce
Friday : ~ Pie from turkey drumstick slow cooker meal
Saturday : ~ sausage rolls for lunch; a roast beef and veg for dinner
Sunday : ~ Freezer Pie Surprise or chow mein if we come across cheap (free) cabbage

What an exciting menu for this week ~ nice variety and aside from not having a cabbage for chow mein, nothing needs to be purchased for this menu plan. There is still $37 left in this fortnights budget for groceries and we might use that to ready for SmallBoy's birthday party. We've got the lamb roast in the freezer, on standby if we can't find a suitable and reasonably priced roast pork with crackling, or pork spare ribs for next week's birthday dinner. And home made pizza (including the base) next weekend. We might make this week a Simple Savings $21 Challenge ~ with $30 to use on birthday supplies.

Should the $495 not be in the account until the end of the week, the automatic outgoings are covered and the $150 food budget not required *laughs* novel concept to 'not need' to go shopping aside from milk, perhaps veg later in the week.

How many more sleeps?

So it is 26 or so sleeps to Christmas ~ probably all days are shopping days from this time onward as there does not seem to be any days where you can't shop for food, gifts or clothing at the moment. We've got a heap of 'goodies' from the garage we are using as gifts plus loads to go onto eBay. Having finally caught up with the backlog of items to send, emails received, contributions to the Mission's debt reduction through lowering our outgoings, changing our payments, wonderful readers and followers (thanks NS :D - will shoot you a personal message xx) the focus is on the Financial Report due. Knowing the bills outstanding are lower in amount owing, in-roads are being made.

Found a plethora of Tupperware to auction on eBay ~ a rose coloured Illusions set with servers, wondering if it should go up for sale, away as a gift or kept for prosperity as its all still in the bags ~ and the de-clutter bug inside me says it should all just go.  Here's a little sample to leave you with *grins*

Perhaps a gift option lies within that ramble of plastic fantastic ~ will get it going asap! See the toys still in the bags ~ its the train kids pull along and it wobbles. There is a complete Bake2Basics set of old with the silicone 'nipples', a silicone roaster, a high round cake taker and the icing ball as some of the set. Any moneys from this lot of eBay items will be going straight onto the credit card as, inevitably somewhere back in time, it was once charge to the VISA thus now forming in part through history the debt our Mission is to remove forever!

Great way to end ~ please feel free to 'shout us' a Cafe Memories Moment from our Treasure Chest ~ it's been a while since we've done 'the coffee thing' so a boost reminding us how different $5 can better be used to pay down debt while we don't have the ability to add the extra ourselves would be greatly appreciated. *chuckles* In that waffle it says, please give us a few dollars ~ it reinforces to us how effective it is against debt instead of a take-away latte from the Cafe!

Happy days & smiley nights
Who has time to fuss or fight
Think about it - we're all the same
So you drink beer, and I champagne
Its time to put the effort in
To share whole truth so we all win
I never owned her, yet you owned me
Released at last, debts clear and free

So the bank ate your pay ~ a glass half full of cents and sensibility

Storms ~ so many fronts ~ and we are ahead on all bar Mother Nature

Over the past few days, one of the 'big four' banks has been advising issues with delays to pay distributions likely and people's payments were transferred but not actually in accounts for access. The big impacting factor was this had captured many Centrelink pensions and allowances ~ leaving a considerable amount of those living the 'pay to pay' cycle in a pickle.

Sure - Allowances and refunds of fees will be made, banks were opened with arrangements to provide cash against payment slips and things were a little manual ~ however the 'fall out' also caused problems to international banks such as HSBC, VISA transfers and now it is rippling through to the other three 'big banks' on different levels, including the depletion of cash from ATMs. As some accounts waive ATM fees if the transaction is over $200, but when all the poor machine has left available is $20 that is all you get - plus a $2 account fee. We will be claiming it back from NAB even though its services were not directly involved.

We, like so many others, have funds caught up in the National Australia Bank 'glitch' or payment debacle ~ almost 40% of our fortnightly income actually, and in the week most payments go out as we receive about 75% of our income this fortnight. The debits scheduled for bills, transfers and other such payments are going out as normal, 'glitch' or not

In the newspapers, on Simple Savings and across the television is discussion about the inconvenience and the disruption to so many people reliant on social security payments who are being impacted, so many more living on a pay day-to-pay day cash flow. Are you coping during this Australian 'Pay Day Financial Crisis'? Or are you one who relies on the specified amount being in your account on the specified day. 

Did you know nationally, employee weekly cash wages average at $958 - $1180 non-managerial fulltime? And low incomes scales fall between $410-$690 weekly per adult person? Well now you do ~ and you can find out more at the RBA Statistics page. When receiving $310 per adult per week, a delay in available funds can result in $60-$100 in late fees on transactions which are still being processed whether funds are there or not. One third of the budget gone. Hence the Financial Redress class action! If every bank went down tomorrow, you could get cash from the counter at branch level, could you be sure all transactions are covered and the deduction of a 'fee' isn't going to ruin the budget?


Having previously lived from pay to pay - literally and completely - not receiving any of your pay as scheduled has you 'screwed' for the weekend at least. We know that. How often are you getting 'caught short' for a day or two, vowing to have at least a few days cashed stashed somewhere safe, like in the bank in one of those high interest online accounts ~ next pay tho' because you'll be behind from this one, as it never rains it always pours.  
It is wonderful to know it doesn't really matter if the bank takes until Tuesday or Wednesday to get everything back on track and up to date. Not that we have the 'as suggested by Suze Orman on Oprah' three month income in some secret (high interest online) account to fall back on, we do have sufficient for a week or two of transfers, debits and a little cash if that long. We can still access funds already in there; scheduled debits will no doubt go ahead as normal; MudGuts will be seeking his transfer of 'pay' on Monday; every thing needing to happen can. 

If you went to the automatic teller machine to withdraw the weeks' cash from your bank account without checking the balance first, could you? Most likely you could and would be able to do that.

What if today is pay-day and, due to a 'glitch' in accounts, all pay transfers are delayed over the weekend, guaranteed in on Monday morning - is there balance enough and could you still take out all of this weeks' cash as well as cover your automatic transfers?

If You Could...

So then, would you take out less of the week's cash budget, say enough for the weekend until you know your pay is actually there? Tipping many would - just to be safe. You know there will be accessible cash but you don't want to risk missing any electronic bills & transfers if its any longer than the 'guaranteed' Monday. If you do have a secret stash, when to use it or under-what criteria, guidelines and circumstances have you decided upon? Some people have (say) $500 on hand, but will 'hang on until Monday or Tuesday' to see what happens.  There are scheduled payments going out during this time, without access to funds. Why fix up fees incurred when you can omit them completely and replace funds use upon the fixing of the 'glitch'?

What if the problem meant today's pay, electronically 'in transfer' but not in your account, isn't going to be until the same time as your next pay-day - next week, fortnight, month... Any current balance is available, even if only by a teller to get cash - because, of course, the bank is going to waive the counter service fee for anyone affected by this 'glitch' upon verifying you meet the criteria - could you still get this week's cash from the bank and leave enough for all the bills during the week, or weeks, until your pay does land into your account, available and accessible? Or would you be getting a bit stressed and anxious?
Could You? 

Knowing the 'stuck' and next payment will eventually deposit together, we would still have sufficient account balance to cover electronic bill payments, direct debits and payment plan. It might mean withdrawing from the teller/counter as a manual transaction for the cash, but we could. Do you have enough available and accessible through to your next pay day at least?

We could ~ for at least a fortnight, maybe three weeks. Currently we are budgeting to extend this to four weeks over the next three months; six weeks if our Hardship application is approved. 

Here's How You Can... 

Last nights' craving for takeaway food for dinner is one way we have been able to find 'spare' money ~ nothing spent on 'a quick shop' or take-away, despite the desire to do either, maybe both *laughs* 
The 'plan' was make Tuna Mornay and rice. The desire was to ring up for take-away from the local Fish 'n' Chip shop. The reality was we were stuffed tired and broke. We had bacon, eggs, mushrooms and casserole gravy on toasted grain bread. SmallBoy had bacon, eggs and sausage rolls and all under $2 a head using items here. No need to factor $30-$40 on take away ~ be it fish & chips, McChucks, pizza or Indian ~ it's not bought when there is something on par here at home. Now we've found a spare $40 in the budget. Can you see how we did it??

OH ~ And it was delicious, easy and a real home-made 'junk food' dinner!

This has been followed by almost the opposite opportunity tonight. SmallBoy has gone on a sleep-over, we were going to prepare a roast or three 'from scratch' but the rain just has not eased up at all. The desire to slaughter and pluck the roosters was thoroughly washed away by the need to keep the water away from the door ~ plus we had to vote

Sometimes (often) in SmallBoy's absence, Husband and I attempt quality memory creations and dine at a 'new' or never tried restaurant. We try to lower the bill with BYO but sometimes its the 'splurge' on a cocktail and entrees that take the night out bill over $100 so easily. Knowing our Coles had marked down (needed) dry cat food, oil and dishwasher tabs, we perused the meat section to 'find something nice' for an at-home dinner for two

Then for something REALLY Special 

Grabbed a pack of two King Island steaks; over 280g a steak, marinaded at home in a mix of hoi-sin, oyster and teriaki sauces from our fridge; marked down by $9 to $12 (plus a huge $1 lambsfry for dinner tomorrow) knowing there we have a fridge full of salad items. Picked up a tub of Violet Crumble icecream, some marked down Lindt 70% with almonds. Bottle of red from the limited home wine rack ~ crackling fire on this rainy ol' night. *sighs*  It was just the right balance of minimal effort and restaurant/dinner out delight to frugality ratio ~ know what I mean? 

And it means we didn't need $100, didn't miss the opportunity to have a top meal with good conversation and comfortable surroundings ~ no worries here about not being able to get out our usual cash budget ~ yet. *grins*
We did spend, that mentioned above formed about $20 of a $45 shop - plus chook grain bought earlier in the day.  If the weather is dry we'll try again to put an 'Eggs 4 Sale' sign out. Today's effort was rained out! If we sell all the full cartons, for $4-$5 a box, that will cover 2 bags of grain. We're getting extra eggs while 'baby-sitting' friend's chooks as well as our own - almost a dozen a day - not even the neighbours are getting through them quick enough at the moment!! 

Pondering and Pontificating

Did I share this with you:
Care not for another mans' dirt. Laugh and be charged with the knowledge exposed when the mud slinger must bury lies & half truths of their own dug up. 
I made that up ~ along with these ones:
What other people say about me is not really my business or concern. What is said, asked or sought directly to me ~ that's when I get to comment or provide detail. I am grateful to know what is (or is not) my problem... :D
"Truly great friends, those ones you don't talk to for 2, 5, 8years and pick up at and in the conversations of now ~ I am grateful to have friends such as these, true diamonds in the stone-works of friendship..." 

If you like those, please credit Mands On A Mission ~ gratuity via the Spare Change Jar welcome up the top there on the left, appreciated and desperately needed! 

Waffled enough on a topic probably not sufficiently qualified to discuss or pass comment, only remind this is what we do and how ~ and hopefully it has provided food for thought on ways to apply this to your own life. Rather helpful and very important teachings there indeed!

So ends today lesson...

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Little Savings Every Day :

Only part of the results shopping for 33% less than full price 

Well, hello ~ still here...
The Daily Report has been entered and posted ~ the first time in nearly 10 days. 
The Weekly Update has a note, will be updated and the past 8 weeks reviewed.
Ahhh ~ accountability ~ how I have missed thee :D

Today there was a shop at the supermarket, which gave 8c off on petrol, and fuel was desperately required. As the last shop was on Saturday 13 November returning from the supermarket by taxi, following a 'horrible' medical visit, picked up and driven to by our 'mechanic' as our car no longer had a working engine - *breathes in ... out* - its a long time between fresh fruit n veg

The grocery budget allows $100pw, usually $150 one week, $50 for top-ups the next. We'd ball-parked $75 for 'needs only' to $100 if any ok mark-downs. We've not shopped in over a week, but we have been finding wonderful variety in little treasures within the now-open pantry.  The total cost of the groceries was $152.13, after mark-downs, 2for$ offers, reduced to half-price discounts were taken off, the spend was $110.62.  
How we shop for 33% less than the full price!  My slogan!! 

Some of the marked down treasures
Over $60 in marked down meat - roast lamb, posh sausages, blade/chuck steaks, sausage rolls. An extra block of butter, muesli, mangos (3for2), a magazine ~ which gave you another one free *joy and bliss* AND under $3!! It's a $150 'rich week' shop that would usually leave $50 for next week's shop. Now we have extra meat in the freezer, juice in the pantry, salad for more than a week AND $90 to spend in 'poor' week. Plus the docket saved $4 on petrol - laughin'...

Faxing for Free ~ A Handy Place to Know
Took the fax to the Salvos Community Centre ~ we had to fax our lender the additional pay details, doctors' notes and other rah rah the 'capitalisation hardship application' documentation required. Faxes cost money to send and it's more than you would expect. To send a 5-6pg fax costs $8 upward - that's not even a job application, resume and references!

Before we fell into the black abyss of telephonic connectivity stuff-up, calls had been made and paperwork emailed (downloaded and printed where appropriate) to get things under-way to request some changes to our repayments, limits and rates. Of course, the day after receiving the last 'important' docs, we lost all communications required to complete easily and for free, down our phone line, which we pay $17.40 every month for nothing. It's a good rate for 'just in case' ~ only now we are thinking "just in case  what?"

We had all the forms, check lists, numbers and ways to get the completed information back to the appropriate department ~ so we got it all filled in, organised the appropriate appointments for particular documents, reports, statements to be collected so when we got the car back from the mechanics on 18/11, we went to the Library to send the 8-pg fax to our lenders - it came at the cost of $9.90. Now to print the fax sheet and covering letter of explanation of hardship from the library printer had already cost $2.20, which was a bit OTT to say the least ~ the fax cost left me dumbfounded. A post office I can understand, but the Library? To a 'low/no toll' fax number?? This doesn't sit real good ~ 'specially not for the purse...

We Love Hindsight ~ We now know there are several agencies that will send hardship papers, job applications, medical support documents with little or no charges - if you ask, are polite, patient and grateful for the service provided. One way to find out if your Salvation Army Community Centre can help you, or know of another place doing the same which might be closer to you, is to call ahead and ask both questions: 
"Can you help me send my resume and references for a job / financial hardship papers to my lender by fax or is there any place other than paying the library or the post office $10+ better put on bills?"
It's not for piffle, copying extra soduku puzzles or outlines of Australia for the kids' project - it's not for exploitation or mis-use because this will end the service those using appropriately.  *daydreams* remember when you could get a photocopy or print out for 5c a page (to cover the cost of the sheet of paper) at the library ~ it's $1 dollar now.  Sure, inflation ~ but that's highway robbery...

Check out the Salvos, St.VdPaul, Red Cross, United Way. There is more to charity than food parcels or vouchers. You can even get a free loaf of fresh bread just for walking through the door if you go in at the right time ~ sometimes special grainy types, raisin toast or crumpets! Don't look down at the carpet - check out what signs are on the window or boards. You'll see the bread, sometimes there is a sign up offering eggs - Bonus!! *grins*  Less for the shopping budget and not the 'basic plain white' variety! Seriously, have you seen the price of eggs and a loaf of bread these days??? 

Every little corner cut, every 5c or $5 shaved from the known expenses budget really does add up in the long run. We are showing MudGuts how to do similar with his budget to give him more access to his money and be more responsible for its distribution. He says he will only have $100 for 'everyones' Christmas presents but we can show him $250 plus $80 at his Auntie's 30th birthday party the weekend before Christmas. *shakes head*  These young peoples...

It's wonderful to see some more red meat in the freezer ~ and a lovely big lamb roast, perfect for SmallBoy's birthday dinner. Plus a fridge full of fresh fruit, veg and dairy. Gee it feels good to know the control is there and the relief is coming. Can't wait to have all the figures done!

Until next we natter...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Catching up on 'things'

With no technology ~ sometimes there is only the time to stop... 

Gee there is quite a bit to catch you all up on...

No car for 8 days, coinciding in part with no comms for 10 days makes for a very frugal period of time ~ creative making do and knowing only so much can be carried on a push bike! Fifteen days of prehistoric survival. No phone or internet, only mobile which changes to a 'plan' with free internet . . . on 24/11 . . . so there you have it. Cut off from the world ~ at the least the lawnmower was repaired at some point in there. We were fine with the mower ~ the repairer called us to advise how going, when going, collected and going.

Let's get the whole recap started with the car ~ the initial quote was $625, although this changed the day before Husband took it in as the wrong engine details had been provided. Now the quote was $700 ~ no sweat, better than $1000! That was Tuesday night, 9 November, organised SmallBoy to be taken to and from school, with the possibility of needing the next day (better safe than sorry). Husband was running a little behind schedule to get to the mechanic by 5pm using the deadly treddlie and called to say he'd be there no later than half past.  No point mate ~ she's not ready...

Ten minutes to collection time arranged and cool as 'it ain't gonna happen'.  Foine ~ not really ~ but what can we do?? Even though Friday here was a public holiday for Show Day, the mechanics would be and we'd have a car for the weekend. *phew* It's my birthday that weekend ~ and Show weekend ~ we could watch the Saturday fireworks from outside, enjoy a picnic at the side of the road even and avoid the expense and crowds. Not renown for reliable, safe, timetabled buses on the weekend ~ the only other (non) option is taxi and that isn't going to happen either!

Saturday came ~ so did the mechanic - to pick me up and drive me to a doctor appointment which had only been put back three times and I really did need the medication by Saturday. Friday even when said 'car for the weekend' was still on the 'wonder if it will be our car, a loan car or no car' level, we could have gone in after hours for prescriptions only and tried for Monday when, surely our car would be ready. Cap it off ~ didn't get to the Show, so that was a savings win; plus the weather was disgustingly bad and fireworks got cancelled so missed out on nothing there. 

It was a beautiful day on Wednesday 17 November when finally the car, set to be ready any time from the previous Wednesday, was actually there for retrieval, driving, to have the new registration paid for awaiting adhesion to the windscreen since Thursday 11 November, to avoid driving unregistered as of Sunday 14 November ~ a very auspicious day in the big scheme of things ~ my birthday. We did get a discount on the final bill, to cover my taxi home from the supermarket across from the doctor on Saturday - we were now expecting visitors up on Sunday as we were car-less (still) and unable to travel! 

All up, we were charged $600 ~ the original quote, less taxi fare ~ and having fared us well for the local, about town run *thinks*  ~ let's just say the longer journey of Melbourne and back was substantially more eventful that the usual trip, resulting in a lot more country-side seen, a lot less people visited and yet another family semi-inconvenienced with the need to bring the SmallBoy home to us... again!!  Saving $100 on the bill was good - but might be needing that to check all is actually running properly after the weekend drive.

Budget Re-done; Out-goings Reduced ~  

When we started our Mission, our financial status as at the end September / start October is listed on the Financial Report page.  We shall leave that as is, to show a starting point and this entry will show our financial status as at the end November / start December ~ the journey over the past two months. 

Our income has increased slightly - Husband and I each receive an additional 50c to our main payments, there is also a nominal increase in one of those family payments. We now receive $1340pf. *party*

The VISA interest rate has been reduced from 20.9% to 9.2%, the minimum repayment is down from $336pm to $100pm however we've kept paying $150fn (min), plus extra when under budget as mentioned in the Weekly Updates and your gifts.  All this has reduced the amount owing from $5836.33 to $4962.64 with $500 to be put on this week from the ATO :P

The Mortgage repayments have been kept up to date and (relatively) on time. While not forming part of the 'debt' we are striving to eliminate, it does form part of our regular outgoings and stress levels, we've reduced that from $165,900 end of Sept to being $164,300 end of Nov with $245 in redraw! All those little $5 deposited each Monday and Friday automatically is such a good practice

The Mortgage is the good side of our home loan package ~ time to hear the adventures relating to the evil twin, The Line of Credit... 

When we started, the Line of Credit was $21,764 - pushing the final few cents of its $22k limit (excluding the NIVA which we refer to later) ~ today the Line of Credit sits at $23,309 in debit. Just prior to Hellstra unleashing its evil communication-severing service 'magic' ~ we had been talking to our lovely lender about ways we could ease our financial stress and burdens without losing the house, or fear of losing the house, paying but not necessarily all the 'due' totals. On 12 December, documentation was emailed to us, thankfully downloaded and saved that day because that was the end of phones and the sudden limiting of Internet access.

Earlier in the month, we posted the outcome of a reader 'dare' ~ finally getting in touch and doing something about the never-reducing Line of Credit. We might not have been able to send anything using the convenient electronic/Internet connected methods accustomed to when our Internet provider InterNode has the ability to use the wholesaler (Hellstra) on a line connected to our place ~ no, not going there...

We did the math and checked it thrice ~ and have asked the NIVA part of our $25k LOC be reduced to $1k from $3k as we are not using it and is better there as a buffer of just in case we need cash, it is there. This 'pushes' $2k back into the LOC without trying to 'balance' a $3k-NIVA, and back under $22k (just). We are in the process of arranging to effectively 'freeze' the mortgage side of the account for three months, meaning $520pf is free'd up for 3 months ($3200ish) which can be paid against the LOC and bring it down to $19-$20k, during this same time. 

There have been reductions made to our usual outgoings, shopping visits are able to stretch further especially now we can actually see items in the pantry ~ gee it is brighter in there with the wall gone! Must get those curtains up! Using 'new found' specials in the cupboard as made the menu planning easier and requires less from the supermarkets.  We are getting under the $150pf mark most fortnights now, $100 spent 'rich' week and as much under $50 the 'poor' week as possible.  The summary is now:

The Normal Outgoings 

$ 200.00 pf  ($522.13 pf) ~ Mortgage (min) ** if auth'd by 4 Dec, next due
$ 150.00 pf  ($200.00 pf ) ~ Food, groceries and sundries
$   90.00 pf  ($117.92 pf) ~ Internet, land line, mobiles 
$ 100.00 pf ~ Gas + Electricity payment plan 
$   57.07 pf ~ Insurance – House, contents, life
$   75.00 pf ~ Council rates, water rates, registration
$   20.00 pf  ($90.00 pf) ~ Doc (now public, was private); Meds
$ 5.00 pf ~ Microsoft Gold fees – connects XBox, Wii for me, Skype
$   20.00 pf  ($50.00 pf) ~ Savings
$ 100.00 pf ~ Fuel – petrol
$ 847.07 pf   ($1317.12 pf) Total per fortnight outgoings

We've stayed up to date, some with changes, on:
The Struggled Goings
$   33.00 pf ($44.00 pf) ~ Refrigerator rental - yoemans
$ 197.90 pf ~ Personal loan – wyndham
$   75.00 pf ($91.40 pf) ~ VISA (min)
$ 100.00 pf ($150.00 pf) ~ $5 - $10 to bills, water, home care, mortgage, bills collect 
$ 375.90 pf  ($482.40 pf)

Incoming pf:  $ 1342.90  ($1256.94)
Outgoing pf:  $ 1262.97  ($1800.42)

Outstanding Accounts
$ 836.00 ($870.00) - HomeCare Services
$   36.00 ($106.00) - School fees
$ 370.00 ($390.00) - Dental account
$ 249.90 - Magazine subs
$ 590.00 ($800.00) - Electricity and Gas - payment plan costs set
$   43.33 ($192.28) - Water arrears 
$1301.40 ($1421.40) - Collections

(reduced total by $570)

We have reduced our out-goings to free up almost $80 cash a fortnight, removing the struggle to try and find an additional $600 on top of our incomings each fortnight and continue to pay down the balance on overdue/outstanding bills. eBay has helped, as has reader gifts. But most of the action has been from Husband and myself, and a heap of understanding, tolerance and contribution by SmallBoy. Every canteen order not ordered is $5 we don't need to 'find as automatic' twice a week. The mortgage amount budgeted above most likely is to the LOC, it still going to be made within our budget and not beyond. In-roads have been made on bills outstanding - everything has a lower outstanding amount. We see that as a positively positive negative...

 ~ Action Stations ~  

As soon as the car was back, it was off to the library with ready, printed, finally signed and dated printed and hand written forms, letters, statements and guff to get the application in progress. Sure, cost $9.90 to send an eight page fax from a library, but its an investment in obtaining relief and reduction.  Chalk it up to experience because with the phone back on for the weekend (!?), yesterday I called our Salvos Centre and found this next set of requested papers can be sent for free from the Salvation Army Community Support office. Taking that as having saved $10 to get the medical reports and other guff required in addition to the first fax... *arrgghh*

Learn from our experience people ~ if you ask the right worded questions to the right person at the right service you will get an answer you can obtain help without it being for food or bills. Saving $10 to send a fax is huge - half a $21 Challenge week!  

The outcome of the Hellstra debacle did mean the line our Internode account was 'connected to' ceased to exist to our land-line ~ oh, and seriously, when you get the recording 'the number you are calling has been disconnected' think phone company cock-up not late bill payment, please :D ~ to get the Internet and VOIP we had to reconnect. We did need to come up with $120 immediately for that ~ we do have a credit on our land-line account for that same amount, it will pay the line rental for 5-6 months so that frees up $17 for a few months!

 ~  A Little Income-Tax Boost  ~  

And we've been rather wise ~ well, we think so ;D
With a little under $3500 in refunds being received (off course while with no car to go sign and collect, then no Internet to use/move the funds once paid into our account) ~ we decided on Friday we will put $500 onto the VISA, $500 onto the Mortgage, $1000 into the high interest savings for the LOC once the NIVA limit is reset, the final $1000 was used to secure solar panels with the maximum rebate and RECs higher than our outgoing electricity charges before changes to the limits end of the month. We've got a year to have the roof ready for panels that will be needed, but it secures all the rebates to $10k. The remainder of the refund is towards SmallBoy's birthday, my sisters' birthdays and Christmas...

Currently searching for any methods to get the roof fixed and stabilised for a 3kw system - even though we have not purchased that big, it can be expanded upon over the years and best have it roof ready now don't you think. As we expect to get the family tax payment reconciled and balanced with Centrelink, this might throw a few hundred of outstanding entitlements to top up the Christmas cheer, New Year merriments and some over for the LOC which should have been sorted by the time that is calculated. Fingers Crossed!

More to get ready for the Weekly Update tomorrow ~ so we shall leave the re-cap there for now. We are really pleased with our efforts, changes and boy is there heaps to get onto eBay this weekend.  Yes Tupperware fans ~ there will be some awesome items including a full original Back2Basics set, still in the box. Maybe two...

The Menu Plan and week schedule will be out on 'Mands on a Mission' on FaceBook later tonight ~ a small shop is expected this week (it is big shop week, but we might make it under budget as we use the pantry supplies). Feel free to 'like' or 'follow' or whatever there is to click and stay up to date!

Shall catch up tomorrow night 

Non-Comms ~ the frustrating monopoly called Hell(stra)...

Within something so small hides the ability of hugeness ~ the joy of Bonsai 

So where were we...?

Honestly, when last we spoke the car was playing up, getting a new(old) engine and to be back on the road before the weekend of my birthday.  That didn't happen...

Then the telecommunication monopoly referred with disgust in this house as Hellstra to which we pay line rental to on a monthly basis ~ purely for the surety of phone contact should/if InterNode, our Internet and voip provider, have signal difficulties ~ decided its credit management team 'special circumstances' advice and action was up the garden path, then provided eight other consultants to stuff it up even further and more complexly over a period of eight or so days, probably taking about 8 hours of calling and hold time - not one single (promised) return contact was made - all it online, operational, communicational and Internode took under 12hrs to reinstate Internet and voip once its 'wholesaler' (aforementioned Hellstra) accepted the order blah blah techo babble request.

Sure we had to pay for a reconnection with our Internet provider, sure Hellstra issued a credit against its bill for said amount to our Hellstra account, but it is still not the end of the issue.  Still chortle with a handful of disbelief at the discussion with one particular customer team member called Peter who is hopefully receiving some additional training, assistance and supervision with service protocols, anger management and ear-wax removal to enable him the abilities and right to be able to take calls from customers in the future. 

Saving the BS behind the car - motor - communication saga . . .  Um, is that a theme
Is it no longer considered good business practice to call the customer, you know that person who pays to use a particular service and has the ability to source most elsewhere? Might not be the best of news, but telling me at 8.35am you're on the way to take our child to school as our car is, yet again, not available or going and having had no responses for 24-48 hours, one makes alternative arrangements...

Let's save that comedy of errors - its a good one too.  And Hellstra can be left here too ~ in some ways contributing to the reduction of one of our regular, ongoing budgeted expenses. At minimum, it brings the phone down with a credit which will cover line rental costs for about 5-6 months. If we are lucky, the reinstatement of Internet might be flagged to just do the techie bitties and not a reconnect, or if a reconnect it can be the lower charge. At least, in the long run its covered - somewhere...

We are in discussions with the bank for a wee repayment break, reduction, hardship application to enable us to stay on track with payments, but get these into the Line Of Credit so if Husband does have a longer period without finding employment after 3-6 months of being the brute strength and partial motivator, house husband, carer, hunter, gardener, gatherer - we have built ourselves a buffer in case part time work offers are on the lower earning end.

eBay has had its hits and misses ~ largely impacted by being off-line (scored another mark Hellstra), but aided in some ways as we were able to de-clutter and scavange about in a more hands on fashion.  Writing this, I have realised now why I am so darn achy and sore of late.  Bit over doing it methinks in hindsight!  Oh well.  Be aware by the start of the weekend there will be a few items going up every day to get the flow going. We've got a little system going - and we've got to work in with Avon items - which earned us $14 this campaign period!  Not bad!!

Biggest 'save' was the tax return which brought $3k into the picture. We'd had this 'assigned' to VISA, Line of Credit and Mortgage - the left over, if any, for birthdays (7th, 12th, 13th is family) and Christmas, including petrol to get to the 'party'. So everything got a bump and the new amounts will be up on the Weekly Update for this week. There's a fair bit to catch up on since the last report. 

It's so good to be back on-line.
Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

ARRRRGGGHHHH ~ no computer

Quick note from the Library (doing the banking etc)

No phones due to an error at the exchange, then the fault on a order, then the omission of a reconnect...

Whatever - back when I can.

Send lots of money while we are offline (please)

Friday, November 12, 2010

End of the week on a Thursday

Regional Shows ~ who needs a horse race when you can race pigs! 

Because it is regional semi-public holiday Friday!  Show Day ~ school's out!!

Weather has been absolutely gorgeous and subsequently we've not done the number crunching as promised.  We've been in the garden, in the nursery, in the chook shed and in the kitchen getting things done while the sun shines and the warmth envelopes us. *sighs* Gosh it seems SO long since we've had warm, sun-shiny days! Boy my body hates me for the bending and stretching needed to hang washing - at least I can sit, kneel or be on all-fours for the weeding.  Just need to watch that Skippy the rooster doesn't decide to attack while I'm on the ground. No doubt he will get me one day!

No milk for anyone other than SmallBoy this morning.  I used up the not so pretty fruit and veg and made a green smoothie and, seriously, this is so good to be doing. They taste so yummy, so fresh and summery and because its all mooshed up, you don't see the skungy bits on the fruits or vegs - especially those bruises under the skin.  Don't see it - don't care about it!  Used up sad looking celery, browned bananas and crushed cantaloupe ~ tasted awesome! Smoothies are so much more filling than juices.

Some raw food / green smoothie websites encourage you to buy their whiz-bang, super strong blenders but our pseudo Magic Bullet works a treat.  Today's smoothie had celery, kiwi fruit, pear - well you can see the picture - and starting with the softest items, it all gets blended. I still take off the kiwi skin and a really handy tip is to peel your bananas BEFORE freezing them (coz they are a bugger to peel frozen). Husband had one of the marked down yoghurts ~ only out of date by two days and still 'peachy'. Fruit salad to precise! One day I will make our own, just need to get used to the idea you can make it yourself not get nice and chilled and smooth from the supermarket *grins*

Baked beans on toast for lunch - BBQ sauce flavoured which were hiding in the back of the pantry forever, lost in the darkness - and then we had another "Freezer Surprise Pie", this time using some left over roast chicken from who-knows-when and the sauce from a curried apricot chicken we had last month.  Love using left overs.  EVERYTHING goes better in a pie!

You can see I write notes on the left overs now so it is not so much of an adventure when making a meal ~ but if you got kids and you call it a 'surprise pie' even the much hated beans will be eaten with pleasure. Gotta love that!! 

We did get a few groceries today ~ having no car is great for the budget!  Husband and SmallBoy rode to the shop this afternoon and got everything we will need for the next week and it came to $20.01.  With rounding, we save 1c - woo hoo!  And we got chocolate so we can join in the Junior MasterChef cook-along show tomorrow night. We needed milk, cream, oranges, butter and a few other things anyway ~ the chocolate was $4, so we'll forgive ourselves for that 'splurge'.  And on Saturday we are going to sit outside the show grounds for the fireworks. Who said life was boring..?

Stuffed, tired and exhausted so heading to bed very soon.  Blast - just saw the time. So hoping for a sleep in tomorrow - it is a school/public holiday after all - then a mechanic who calls at about 10am to say the car is ready, sunshine to get the last of the washing out, dry & in again and then head off to the show for Family Day when the ticket prices are less. SmallBoy hasn't been to the show since the year he was born - oddly enough (!!) he doesn't remember and it will be a bit of a reward in return for the past few months of no pocket money. We're going to take a picnic, bake a cake and call it a day out for my birthday! When you get 'old', going to the Show makes you feel like a kid again ~ that's the theory and we're sticking to it *grins*

Until tomorrow ~ may our Mission inspire you!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Another week down ~

OK ~ big long full on day of appointments, bank forms, negotiating 'stuff' and using public transport and that takes a lot longer than you'd think when you're in a rural town. Had the awesome help of a girl friend getting me to appointments with doctors; the carpooling from school friends getting SmallBoy to and from school and then the news that the engine is not yet in the car and won't be until tomorrow.

Thankfully an appointment scheduled for tomorrow and Friday has been postponed because we have a regional Public Holiday on Friday which was not factored. Phew! Husband and I have each entered a competition to win a Harley ~ Husband says if we win, that bike MUST be ridden for the summer and then it can be sold. I'd like to think if we won we would sell it ASAP and perhaps get the Guzzi back on the road or maybe get a 'new' second hand bike ~ but we'll have to win it first to see what happens. We will keep you posted *grins*

Got all our MrCentrelink assessments back and reconciled for the past two years ~ and we have over estimated our earning and should expect to get a nice little sum in the bank by the end of the week - $1100! Woo Hoo ~ half to the VISA and half to the LOC. 

The computers are doing our heads in - Husband's has totally died (well, without being able to get it to a repairer, we assume this is the case) and mine carked it but pressing the buttons on the keyboard in random frustration does work - and here we are!! Never doubt the power of F3!! But don't try F4 - you just get a black screen. At least it was not the 'blue screen of death'. Still can't print, and this is delaying the bank forms ~ maybe tomorrow.

The Financial Report has not been updated to the page yet - there is a lot to calculate there and without the 'puters these last 24-48 hours, we don't actually know what we have other than the $700 we will be handing the mechanic when we get the car.  Had to go to the bank and get cash - novel really when most financial stuff has been actioned online. Boy we rely on this machine. We'll get that all up tomorrow - sorry for the delay.

Ebay items have sold, not sold and still need to post a few things out ~ but the weather is beautiful, the weeding and de-clutter is going well and feeling a lot more positive that we've felt over the last month.  Loving the support - sorry this entry is bit scatty - probably because it is a little late and bed is calling.

Here is the week in rewind:

Wednesday 3 November 2010
Well yesterday was a very active day and fair knocked me for six. Husband has done a brilliant job with the Stanley knife and cut the wall away from the pantry.  It's opened up access, made the 'hole' area bigger and brighter.  Now to get all the items back in!  And that much promised stock take...
AVON came calling today ~ but not to make us spend money.  No, I am back to being an AVON Lady.  Considering this was probably (likely, definitely) an impacting factor to the debt previously, we have agreed that we (ok, I) cannot buy any items unless the campaign sales have hit 25% and no more than 25% of those earnings can be used.
So ~ ding dong ~ anyone need, want or desire anything AVON?  I know this great Avon Lady... *grins*

Looking at ways to reduce the debt ~ *the Mission*
Offering ways to get additional contributions ~ *the Plug*

Thursday 4 November 2010
We spent today ~ without using any money.  When Husband finished working, one of the parting gifts was a Bunnings voucher. We've had problems with the gate - at the moment it is almost too hard for me to open, because I can't give it good hard kick or shove like everyone else - the hinge links keep spreading and has thrown it out of alignment.  With the voucher we were able to get replacement hinges to fix our gate. And we also bought a few items to make a cover for the pantry while we hunt for doors.  Plus a few curtain rings so the windows will have coverings.
Chooks gave us another 1/2 dozen eggs ~ thinking we might need to sell a few for a little extra cash for bills. We've got 8 dozen this past week and a bit ~ that could be an extra $30. Might be a plan...

Eggs are good for everyone, including the debt ~ *the Mission*
Who wants a dozen for $5 ~ *the Plug*

Friday 5 November 2010
MIL shouted fish n chips for dinner (she's up for the weekend) ~ gee it was delicious!  And with only paper as rubbish, cleaning up was a breeze.  Must say - I've got the best mother in law - she has also brought up little cup cakes and we are going to a bonsai expo in the gardens over the weekend so it is even going to be a 'going out' weekend. Oh ~ and we had champagne with the F&C - from France so I can say it was champagne not sparkling wine!! Good night in, watching Indiana Jones ~ love Indi!!
Many thanks to Sue for feedback on the eggs ~ we've decided to post a note in our local paper (free on Tuesdays) and hope to have a few regulars getting eggs.  If we've got that extra $30 each week going on the LOC it will definitely add up over time!  Thanks for the encouragement Sue *grins*

Eggs will help us get 'ova' our debt ~ *the Mission*
A little change in the Treasure Chest would be appreciated ~ *the Plug*

Saturday 6 November 2010
One month of blogging our Mission ~ not bad going either.  Today we did spend, but only a little and it was to use a slasher from Bylsma Hire and get the lawn down.  Actually, it was only a half day hire, and then we used scissors, pitchforks and brute strength for the rest. This little poppet is POOPED! Now I know why my doctor says 'slow and steady girl, this is your own race and not a marathon'.  Umm ~ ooops! *grins*
Chickens were not impressed being locked in for most of the day, but SmallBoy fed them treats in the form of larvae, pupae and worms.  Once 'released' they went bonkers in the turned over veggie bed. Another 7 eggs today from the gerls and we've put a note out for locals wanted eggs to get in touch. One dozen has been bought and hopefully we'll hear from another couple of interested people. Excellent!
MIL is definitely a legend ~ she's feeding us spareribs tonight. Lip smackin'ly delish!!

No unnecessary spending leaves more for the bills ~ *our Mission*
Please put your spare PayPal change in our Jar on the main page ~ *the Plug*

Sunday 7 November 2010
Ow... found muscles that have not been used for quite some time. Garden and lawn are looking better than usual. Plus more was done today. We did spend today ~ $4 ~ the admission price to the Bonsai Exhibition at the Ballarat Botanical Gardens. Gee it is a beautiful garden to visit and the bonsai were amazing. We were there for hours - watching demonstrations, looking over the plants - SmallBoy was totally taken in with the way a plant could be trained, trimmed and so so tiny! We think he has been inspired and will go to a few of the monthly meetings before we delve into buying anything.
A nice easy dinner of tuna mornay on rice ~ and it's one of those under $5 dinners for four so we will post the recipe for others trying to save a few dollars. Bit of a egg hunt will need to be undertaken - the gate to the chook run blew shut and the girls couldn't get in to lay in their boxes. Found three in one of the usual haunts, but there will probably be 3 or 4 more out in the garden somewhere.

Enjoying the simple, low cost things in life ~ *our Mission*
Hoping you can help cover the interest ~ *the Plug*

Monday 8 November 2010
Another 7 eggs today ~ hopefully we'll sell what has again become 6 dozen eggs. If you know anyone in the Ballarat area, let them know.  These eggs are HUGE readers ~ and delicious. Tell your friends - tell your family - tell your enemies - we need to sell them and pay our interest for this month!
Still waiting for communications from the 'old' job ~ thats $2k outstanding and oh how odd, no communications - again. Nothing is ever simple when it comes to saving, especially when you work and don't get paid because your pay is better invested in the business - yes, bit unhappy Jan.
Nothing spent today aside from energy. The really high grass has been cut, snipped and pulled out. SmallBoy carted wheelbarrow loads to the cows, sheep and two goats hovering at the back fence. None to the horse next door - too green and he'd bloat.
It was sausage surprise tonight - had three packs of 2 oddment snags in the freezer, so cooked them all up and had with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli and carrots. Husband meant to use honey and garlic over the veggies, but put ginger in the honey by accident. Damn fine accident honey!!  Knowing the snags would have been from packs of 8 marked down to $3 or less, one carrot, one small broc head and 3 potatoes were used - I'm guessing we spent $1.50 per head on each meal.

Any ideas how we can get you to help us donate? ~ *the Mission*
Hoping you can spare 10c - and tell your mates ~ *the Plug*

Tuesday 9 November 2010
Eggs eggs eggs ~ we had omelettes for dinner and they were delicious.  Totally forgot how yummy and easy an omelette is to make. The car has gone in to get a new motor.  Having computer 'issues' but I've managed to get this up.
Big exciting happenings which resulted in freeing up over $600 of monthly outgoings (which aren't really savings because we were struggling to get these paid) and you can read how we did this on the main page :  http://mandsonamission.blogspot.com/2010/11/two-challenge-takers-two-outcomes.html

Looking for more avenues to reduce the outgoings ~ *the Mission*
If you make a saving, can we have your change please? ~ *the Plug*