Monday, February 7, 2011

Bill and 'his' budget

Sunday ~ the day of rest...

Hardly! Not when Monday brings a multitude of payments. How is it that so many bills fall due on the same dates? I've noticed the 7th and 15th are very popular days in the way of accounting or computer billing cycles!

Tonight and tomorrow the internet payment ($49), the gas and electricity instalment ($50), Husband's mobile payment ($59), the personal loan ($336) and the house insurance ($62) automatically whiz off to their respective 'owners' to maintain connectivity. Ooo-rah!  As noted yesterday ~ all funds are eagerly awaiting their journey. To have it all available is an achievement on our part as it totals my fortnightly income entirely. Thank goodness for 'Bill's Budget in a Box'.

When Our Mission commenced, I decided keeping our budget under control was a huge struggle so I pretended the whole lot belonged to a bloke called "Bill" and any spare money was our 'pay' and put on the debt. Huge success when you see we usually come in under budget living on $600 a week.  "Bill" has a mortgage, phones and internet expenses, a personal loan and a credit card ~ just like we do!! Funny that *grins* "Bill" budgets about $100-$150 a week on food, groceries and other bits for himself, his wife, the kids and a menagerie of animals ~ just like us!!

If you haven't twigged - "Bill" is really us. 
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to help another person get their budget, their schedule and their life together but how difficult it is to do for yourself sometimes? This is why we invented 'Bill' and how we have paid down so much over the past six months. Staying on top of our obligations has been a huge success ~ bringing down the debt has been mammoth. All of "Bill's" accounts go into a box ~ the information is listed on forms I made up to show a period of four weeks with the cash flowing in and expenses due to go out. It shows weeks which might have less outgoing but a need to not spend much because the next week less comes in while more is going out on payments. Quite simple really.

Shopping Under $100 a week for Four

My menu for this next fortnight for dinners has been written to use only items on hand so we can spend less than $50 over this fortnight on items - I hope to do two $21 Challenge weeks picking up only milk and some vegetables late in the week or next week if possible.  Wish me luck - anything we spend will be listed. How low can we go?!!

We used to have a weekly shopping budget of $300 a week ~ this including all food, toiletries, animal needs, personal needs and cleaning products. If it could be bought at the stoopermarket - it was in this budget. Now we spend about $100 and make it a game to come under the total. 

One essential action to achieve this is to check what is in your fridge, freezer and pantry before shopping day, make a menu plan around what you have in the house already and only buy items to replenish those which are low or finished and those to complete the menu for the week/fortnight.

I also set limits ~ no meat purchased can be over $10pkg. No vegetables can be over $6pkg and fruit is around the same. Wherever possible, buy the marked down items and make sure you need it. Using tonights Honey Soy Marinaded Lamb Roast as an example ~ this was priced at $15.95pk at a cost of $22. However it was marked down to $14, making it under $10pk and was put in the freezer for 'Ron - later 'on. We will have it for dinner with roast potatoes and carrots and steamed broccoli and cauliflower about to cark it, then leftovers will be had in a pie for dinner tomorrow. More will be kept aside to be used for lunches ~ put into sandwiches, toasties or roll-ups during the week. Two dinners for 4, a few days lunches for 4 ~ it should work out to about $1 per head per meal. Sweet!!

In short: 
  1.  Review your pantry, freezer, fridge (stock take)
  2.  List items low or empty on shopping list (shopping list)
  3.  Plan meals around what you have on hand (menu plan)
  4.  Substitute ingredients where possible (menu plan)
  5.  Add any additional items required to shopping list (shopping list)
  6.  Set limits on how much you are prepared to pay (costings)
  7.  Use left overs for lunch or another dinner (creative)

The week ahead

And its the start of the first full week of school ~ SmallBoy is so happy to be back at school. It think it was just starting to get boring being at home. Personally, given we were not able to do the usual movies, adventure park or holiday away, this holiday break would have to have been the most active, entertaining and adventurous holiday period in years!  Seriously ~ SmallBoy and Husband went riding on their bikes together, lots of friends came for sleep overs, we had some great movie nights and visited more friends than we ever had. We've made yummy desserts, muesli creations, pies and had popcorn many times. *grins* Popcorn with butter and icing sugar is really yummy and a great change from the salty variety. SmallBoy has decided the reason bought popcorn and chips are so salty is to make you buy the expensive drinks ~ I think he is very smart and quite correct!

Husband has his second last dental appointment and he is looking forward to the last one. I've got several appointments and will be volunteering at the kids refuge and hoping to get to be one of the volunteers at the food co-op about to be started up nearby. Its all home grown or home made produce and I would love to be involved. Might learn some great tips about what grows well in the region. We've really got to pull our proverbial fingers out and get this garden happening.

SCORPIO (07 February NZ/Australia) 
That the Moon should divide his time between a very playful part of your chart and a very work focused part of your chart today is symbolic of where you're at just now, bringing home both the need and the ability you have to create a balance between work and play. Just before leaving your romantic and creative sector the Moon aligns with Uranus, but just after moving into your work sector he aligns with Jupiter, with your intuition picking up on the importance of both.

Looking forward to some romance ~ 

One Day at a Time

Watching the sun rise in the morning
Clearing your head as the new day's dawning
Notice the colours
Aren't they divine

Setting things going for the new day ahead
Wishing you really could climb back in bed
Hearing the birds
Singing their rhyme

To finish this journey I must start off alone
Removing the poison stopping my groans
Hoping you're near
Watching the time

Once it's removed my head will be clear
I hope to be free of the dependence I fear
Out from the dark
And starting to shine

Just a personal note: 
Finally, after 4 years, spinal and related surgeries, this week marks the withdrawal from narcotic pain medication via a fortnight 'wean' then nothing. Today's poem is how I am feeling ~ onward and upward!!

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