Sunday, January 8, 2012

Thus it must go

Something we can cope with... 

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

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

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

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

The current budget looks a little like this each week:

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

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

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

Sunday's Feast ~:~ Chicken & Vegetable pie

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

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

The filling made and cooling as the pastry waits

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

An amazingly large portion of pie for less than $1

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

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

Saturday, January 7, 2012

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

One step forward at a time... 

Let's welcome back the No Spend Challenge! 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let's Start With Incoming and Outgoing...

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday's Fare ~:~ Crumbed pork schnitzel

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

The basic ingredients ~ look at that meat score!!

All the bits to make the bread crumbs tasty 

A picture simply cannot convey the aroma and flavours

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