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Archive for February, 2009

March Goals

February 28th, 2009 at 09:06 pm

I'm not going to try and set huge goals for March because we will be moving, but I DO want to set a few achievable ones.

[] 3 x 30 minute exercise sessions per week.
[] Start to wear a pedometer to keep track of steps per day.
[] Finish gardening our rental house yard.
[] Change our mailing details for everything that gets sent to our rental house address.
[] Paint the lounge room walls and the wall in each of the spare rooms with panelling in our new house.
[] Sand the floor in the new house.
[] Keep track of all spending.
[] Begin to set up our EF and other savings goals FOR REAL! Big Grin

February Spending Totals

February 28th, 2009 at 04:27 pm

I thought I may as well post my totals for February. March is going to be an interesting month I think. It will be the first time DF and I track our spending together. I am going to use Gamecocks method and have a piece of paper on the fridge to record our daily spending. It will be easier for DF as it will be right in his face every night - otherwise he won't remember.

OK! Feb Totals, here we go!

Income:
Job 1: $880
Job 2: $1564.60
Other: $180.00
Total: $2404.60

Expenses:
Rent: $720.00
Groceries: $249.10
Petrol: $105.23
Phone & Internet: $39.13
Insurance: $21.55
Mobile Phone: $62.22
Loan Payments: $148.00
Skin Care: $39.90
Misc: $7.25
Health/Beauty/Grooming: $30.13
Gifts: $109.48
Bank Fees: $55.60
Work: $46.46
Alcohol: $9.99
Takeaway Beverages: $67.10
Takeaway Food: $58.36
Clothes & Shoes: $61.93
Entertainment: $50.00
Staff Lotto: $8

Total Expenses: $1977.40

HOUSE expenses: $3005.40 (Deposit & Cheque Fee)

Surplus: $427.16

YAY! I think that was a great month. Also, this month I tried to limit myself to my 'allowance' which technically doesnt start until tomorrow, just to see how hard it would be. I am pleased to say that I was able to buy a few pieces of clothing and virtually no change to my 'coffees with friends' either. So I think all round if I make consistently good choices it's not going to be too hard for me.

cleaned the pantry

February 27th, 2009 at 01:34 pm

I decided to clean the pantry, and I even took before and after pics, lol. Big Grin
before:




after:





before:





after:






Well, it just makes me realise how much I don't have in the pantry! It looks quite bare once it's all tidy, doesn't it?

list to do today

February 26th, 2009 at 01:28 pm

Well today I am covering a womans shift who works out the front of the shop, so instead of working 6.30am-1.30pm I am working 10.15am-5.45pm. I will get home just in time to get dinner on, have a shower and watch neighbours Big Grin

It's 7.30am so I have some plans to do stuff before getting ready to leave in two hours.

- mop our bathroom
- clean guest bathroom & toilet
- do the dishes
- wash & hang out a load of washing
- clean some windows (kitchen, dining room, spare bedroom etc)
- tidy loungeroom
- tidy kitchen

I think that is a small amount to do in two hours.

I am feeling a bit lazy about dinner tonight. I am trying to convince myself NOT to get takeaway. Problem is I found a coupon (YES! a coupon! it's a big deal for me because we DON'T get coupons here) for 10% off our local thai food restaurant...
To add to that, we don't have a great deal of food in the fridge...

BUT NO! Roast veges and salad it is, for dinner tonight. I will save the Thai coupon for when all our kitchen stuff is packed away and we have been moving stuff all day and not feeling like cooking. Big Grin


massages today!

February 25th, 2009 at 07:57 pm

My friend and I are splurging today and getting back/neck/shoulders massages. It is 45 minutes for around $40-$50.
I can't wait!
We were meant to do something like this every month, but it has become now something every three months. Which is still good of course! We have also been to a day spa which was lovely (I had been there before, it was my idea to go there). Next we are apparently getting one of those wrap-things. Where they wrap you up like a mummy and you are meant to lose inches, apparently. I am not really that concerned about losing inches but I would like to try it anyway!

Anyway, must go and get ready now. YAY!

$1.87!!!

February 25th, 2009 at 12:52 am

is what I paid for 100 organic ceylon tea bags today.
I had to double check. I have no idea of the price of them before, but I know it was nowehere NEAR that little. There is another brand next to it that has a box of 25 for $3.99. So I know I had atleast some sort of saving.

Anyway. I didn't INTEND to buy teabags today but it was too good of a special to pass up.

I am still noticing a lot more 'buy X amount for X' specials. Normally supermarkets here DONT do that at all. It is odd. But all the better for me, I quite like buying in bulk.

I found a great price on cheese at Aldi, $7.29 for 1kg. But it's a bit of a bummer because I hardly ever go there. Once we move I will be even FURTHER away from Aldi than I am now, and it's about a 30 minute drive now. And to be honest I didn't find anything much else there that I couldn't find the same price in other supermarkets. Eh. Oh well...

dammit!

February 24th, 2009 at 05:53 pm

I just got charged an annual fee on my rewards CC - the one I will be cancelling once everything settles with the mortgage (ie. in a week...!).

I completely blanked on the date (yes, even though it's on the front of the card).

I just paid $48 to learn the hard way, remember when your fees hit.

BLAH!

Oh well. Now I will have to try EXTRA hard to makeup for it this year. I now have to find out a way to save (or earn and redeem rewards for) the $395 package fee for the mortgage AND the $48 card fee from my old CC card.

february goals over view

February 24th, 2009 at 02:23 pm

I did 17 out of 27 of my goals for February. Eh. Not flash but atleast I did more than half...

[x] pack items that won't be used in the next two months
[x] survive having my brothers family visiting me (oh yes, i'm serious!)
[x] stick to my 'allowance' each week of February (as a practice to the real thing starting in March) (well... almost...)
[x] sort out accounts with new bank (savings, offset, everyday, EF etc)
[x] decide on a starting amount for EF and a plan of action to build it up
[] get my car serviced
[x] cook three new dishes
[] ride exercise bike 3 times per week
[] swim atleast once per week
[x] read a book
[x] begin to organise new budget
[x] make an appointment with doctor to go over blood test results
[] clean my car!
[] lose 1 kg.
[] try to incorporate a healthier eating plan into our day (see below)


[] walk or cycle three times per week, for 20 minutes or more (only managed once a week)

[x] drink 1.5 litres of water a day

[x] do not buy any more flavoured milk when at work. a big ask! (YAY! saved myself $37.20)

[x] begin to replace coffee and coca cola with teas. (have hardly drank any cola except at work, have started to drink teas and my coffee consumption is generally 2 a day)

[x] do not purchase cakes or snacks when having coffee with friends, for the whole month of feb. (another YAY moment! i have eaten MEALS with friends, but that was at proper meal times, I haven't been ordering anything in the in-between times)

[x] cut down significantly on processed/sugary/fatty foods. (my target was cut down 95% but I would say it was about 65% - not the greatest but i did cut down)

[x] begin to MAKE desserts. (i have made more than i normally do, but am still working on getting DF to cut down eating icecreams)

[] consistently serve up smaller portions at dinner time. (i'm not ticking this because it hasn't been consistent - i have been serving smaller portions but probably only about half the time. other times i forget).

[] chew my food. (HA! of course i chew my food, but i don't take the TIME to do it like a lot of people... sigh...)

[x] SNACK! (have begun to do this but i need to work on it a bit more)

[x] eat fruit - tinned or fresh (most days i have)

[] Weightloss of 1kg (i haven't checked lately but i think it has only been about 500g so i'm not going to bother putting it in here)

some updates

February 23rd, 2009 at 07:56 pm

Random updates:
- my sister 'ran away' from home (meaning, she walked to our place and stayed over) last night. all is fine now apparently. i think it has more to do with her being a teenager than my parents this time lol.
- Went to the bank and we are now set up with internet banking and Life Insurance (accident, trauma, illness AND death cover!) Currently at $61.35 a month, but we are going to make an appointment later on to see if we can get it reduced a bit. It's standard cover, and because neither of us work in a high risk job we might be able to get it tailored to our occupations and save a bit extra.
- Went and got the ultra sound on my leg but I won't know the results til I go to the doctors. Hopefully I will make an appointment this week or next.
- I have been going well on some of my Feb goals and not so well on others. Atleast SOME are going well..
- I have realised I MUST stop using the internet on my phone because it is costing me a lot of money! I got a $12 charge for last month. *sigh* sometimes you just HAVE to look something up on google though, you know?
- A friend of a friend is bugging me to join a bike class at her gym. Not only do I HATE gyms, I have my own exercise bike. When I made an excuse about money, she said 'classes are only $4'. I was like umm... yeah... well... (I am not eager to show the extent of my cheapness...)
- DF made dinner on Sunday night! He made himself a roast lamb and roast veges, steamed side veges and heated up a tofu/bean/tomato mix for me. He also did half of the dishes. ALSO he did the dishes for me last night too because I burnt my hand at work. Not badly, but badly enough for me to whinge about it!
- Speaking of dishes, we have come up with a plan: DF will do the dishes once a week, and cook once a week. Then it means I will only nag him once a week. Smile I don't mind cooking dinner, and I have no idea how to use a lawn mower/whippersnipper/edger so I'd say that's fairly even. We share the laundry evenly and I don't mind the rest of the housework.
- Grocery expenses have been high this month which is a bit of a bummer, though I'm not really sure why. I will have to work on reducing the costs of our meals.

Well, that's all my updates for now. To end on this post, I will leave you with a picture of a tattoo that I got over a year ago:



spendy day.

February 21st, 2009 at 09:33 pm

Well, today was a rather spendy day. I had breaky with some friends and then I went into town to buy some work shirts. I ended up buying the stuff I was talking about earlier for DF's sisters 'pregnancy pamper' pack. Nearly finished it, so when I do I will post a picture.
I did some gardening too, and yesterday DF and I packed a fair bit.

Just wanted to share two beautiful songs that I love:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvOOegxKIoI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtUI5MC9tVM&NR=1

Todays Expenses:
Breakfast: $10
Coffee: $4.10
Coffee: $3.75
Snack: $3.70
Shirt: $9.95
Work Shirts: $23.85 (for 3)
Bio Oil: $14.95
Slippers: $7
Moisturising Cream: $1.99
Foot Soakers: $7.90

I have just updated my Dinners Page to include the last couple of days. It is quite interesting actually, I have never really looked at our dinners this way before. I have already determined that we eat WAY too many carbs!!!





20 teabags? more like 10!

February 19th, 2009 at 10:47 pm

When I got home today I opened a brand new packet of Chai Tea to sip on while I checked my emails. The box was kind of light, and I counted the teabags. 10! I did a double count, and then had to keep checking the box, as it clearly says 20 tea bags, 50grams.
Obviously it's a human or machine error, I'm not too upset about it. I sent off an email to Lipton and asked how they were going to rectify it.
I know it's only some tea bags, but they cost about $3.99 for a box, so I don't want to let it go that easily.

It made me think though, I don't normally count things in bags. I should do it more often just to see how many times things are screwed up.

In the past, I complained about a rock I found in some chocolate. Cadbury sent me a massive box fill of chocolates, all types. It was great! Of course I'm not the type that expected it, and I would never 'fake' something like that. But it was great all the same.

I had two bras that the hook things snapped, made by Bonds. I wrote a letter of complaint and mailed the bras back, and I got two new ones sent back to me.

It's one thing I do appreciate when being a customer, if a company DOES make good, I will of course continue to use them. It shows that they care.

So fingers crossed I atleast get my ten teabags sent to me! I would 100% be happy if they just sent me that. Smile

plans for the weekend

February 19th, 2009 at 12:06 pm

Well this weekend I have no excuses, I HAVE to pack some stuff and do some proper housework.

We just got a letter saying our lease expires on 16th April, so can we kindly please get out.
We also have an entry notice for the owners to look at the place next sunday (day before we get the keys to our new place) I rang the real estate and they have talked to the owners about us moving out earlier (seeing as we bought the house and get the keys in... 10 days!!!) and that is all fine.
Now we are just trying to decide how much time we need to move. I initially said a month (remember, we have to sand the floors and paint first... otherwise it will NEVER get done). DF said around the same. I went to work yesterday and mentioned it and my boss was like "WHAT!? A MONTH? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? You could do it in a few days!!!" and I was like "yes but we have to do the floors, and clean the old place, and do stuff..."
Anyway, I realised we were making excuses, so we are going to try and do it in 2 1/2 - 3 weeks (hopefully 2 weeks will be enough but I think with both of us working we will need a bit extra) I REALLY want all the bond back so we have to do a proper job cleaning and gardening.

So my plans for this weekend:

[]clean the guest bathroom (still haven't done it...)
[]pack all of my unused jewellery, paperwork etc hanging around my room.
[] pack most of our kitchen stuff except for the basics (should make for some interesting meals)
[] 'aquire' some milk crates from my work to stack DF's plants in (did this last time)
[] pack all the bank paperwork into a box but leave unopened
[] change the sheets on our bed
[] pack linen closet except for a couple of towels
[] begin the massive huge-ass task of weeding the garden (eugh!)
[] give everything a quick tidy over
[] vaccuum the floors
[] tidy the pantry

no surprises there... (a rant)

February 19th, 2009 at 02:29 am

well, some of you may know the story of our ex-flatmate, who is DF's sister (let's call her A)
She used to be with DF's best friend, L, but broke up with him after two years because she no longer loved him. She moved to live with us, and started a fashion course - which she quite after six months (it was a year long course). A year after the breakup, and six months of living with us, she decided she liked another of DF's friends, D.
L obviously wasn't happy and it caused quite a rift in the circle of friends. L proceeded to send abusive text messages to both D and A, and this put my DF in a hot spot. He defended his sister obviously, which lead to DF not really wanting L as his closest friend anymore.
A and D made plans to live on D's block of land in a shed that they are currently building, when our lease ran out (january).
After about three or four months (?) of being together, A & D announced they were having a baby. This was while A was still living with us. She would visit D every weekend. The baby would have been due in March this year - two months after the shed was supposed to have been built.
They had a miscarriage after six weeks.
A was upset when the doctor told her to wait for three months before trying again.
On christmas day they announced they were 12 weeks along again (so I think I worked out that they only waited two months at the most). The shed still isn't built, so they rented a place in the town where D lives, about a month and a half ago.
DF's mum called him the other day to talk. She mentioned to DF that A didn't seem happy when she talked to her last, on the phone. She said they (A & D) seemed to be having some kind of tiff in the background. Something about they yelled at each other 'not liking your attitude' and 'yeah well i don't like YOUR attitude'.
I have been careful to step around this issue, after all it is DF's sister. But DF and I had a bit of a chat about it and we are both on the same page, technically. I said to DF that I just think they went WAY to quick on EVERYTHING. I mean, I KNOW that lots of people still work out like this, six months together, a baby, moving in (AFTER getting pregnant...?). Anyway, all that is not my point really. It is SOME of the point, but mostly it is just to do with A. She just doesn't seem to think about anything other than what SHE wants to do.

But anyway, the whole point of this little rant was to say that it doesn't surprise me that they have begun having tiffs already, after living together for a month and a bit. They've spent some time living together, but it has been with his parents. A doesn't exactly clean a lot, and I think D, having lived with his parents for a while, might take a bit of getting used to doing things for himself. He is also working full time, while A doesn't work (you know, being pregnant and all...) A also doesn't think anything of laying in front of the tv all day - even if there's a sink full of dishes and the hosue is filthy, AND it's her turn to do all of those.

Yes, it's true, I did get the shits with her a bit when we lived with each other. I never let on though, as she's 25 and apparently an adult. I also knew it was only a temporary arrangement (a year) so there was no use stepping on peoples toes about stuff that they should already have learned how to do properly.

But anyway, I think this whole experience is going to be very interesting for them. DF has already said he almost 'can't wait' until D comes to him and says something about A (who is DF's sister). DF said he will be like 'yeah well, that's A... that's my sister for you'. DF also said it wouldn't surprise him (and me) if A called the wedding off at some stage during the next year or two and said 'that's it!'. It really would not be that much of a surprise. It might sound harsh. But it's the way she is. You can't tell her no, you can't even tell her 'i told you so' because she will get angry at you. you can't reason with her because she will say she knows everything about what she is doing. she doesn't learn from her mistakes either. she doesn't learn about jumping in too fast. you just have to sit back and go 'oh, here we go...'

bought a winter coat!

February 17th, 2009 at 05:35 pm

Well, I found out I am not cleaning until after lunch, so I went into the shops early (I was actually there before they opened - I got there at 8.20 thinking they opened at 8.30 when really everything opens at 9! Bah!)

I found a good, black, button up, wool, above-knee coat in Target for $89.95. It fits around the shoulders and I did all the stuff like bending down, sitting down, etc. I even took a jumper in to try on underneath. It's better made than the other one I was looking at buying, and it fits much better around the shoulders.





I also bought a skirt, it's so cute. It has pleats on both sides of the leg at the front and sort of a fishtail pleat-style at the back centre: (not a very good photo but oh well)



All up I spent $52 after my $70 of vouchers were deducted. I also bought a coffee while I was waiting for $3.75, so that was my total spending for the day.





I was thinking of going to the supermarket tonight for dinner supplies and then do a proper shop tomorrow, but I think I might be able to stretch it til tomorrow and use some more stuff up in the pantry. I am thinking of making: roast potato, salad and a mexican bean mix. DF had a lamb chop yesterday so I think a meatless dinner will be fine for him tonight Smile

cleaning

February 17th, 2009 at 01:08 pm

Today I am doing a cleaning job instead of my normal office work. I got all of my office-work done yesterday so I am hoping to go coat shopping after we finish cleaning. Smile

I FINALLY cleaned our bathroom. Usually I am pretty good with those things - I don't put them off like a lot of people, but this time I just really couldn't be bothered. Well, it's done now!

17/02/09: Rice with baked salmon (lamb chop for DF) & pumpkin, cucumber slices.

Yesterday I filled up with petrol: $21.91.

That's all my news for now.

Oh! 12 days to go! Big Grin

quick! advice on buying an over-coat...

February 16th, 2009 at 07:32 pm

I've been wanting (key word here) to buy a proper over-coat for a few years now. Every time I go to buy one, there's never any around as I don't think about it until the middle of winter when it's freezing; and most smart people have already gone and bought theirs.

Anyway. So I have had a little bit of a look, and I've found one that I like, and it's $89.95. (I was expecting to pay at tops, $100)

So I am thinking I should probably hold back on buying it, atleast until I look around a bit more. I have two gift cards totalling $70, but it's for a different store to the one with the coat. I haven't looked at the store where I have the gift cards yet. So I suppose I should just do that...

*sigh* I just don't want to miss out on buying a coat this year. Winter is about... two months away? Three? anyway, that's not the point. The point is that I have been meaning to buy a coat like this (long sleeved, collared, button up, about knee length, ) for a while now. And I guess I have gotten a little excited because winter stock is just coming out.

Also, I wanted to ask:
What is some advice on buying a coat? I've never owned a really good, proper one before - I usually just try to skimp by on cardigans and jumpers (makes for some uncomfortable nights out, I assure you!)
What should I be looking for?
How tightly should it fit?
What should I wear when 'shopping' for a coat?
How long are the sleeves meant to be? (as in, where should they fall when your arms are straight down?)
What colours do you recommend? I'm only buying one. I normally wear black clothes, so I was thinking either grey or or a dark ash-grey, or black.

electricity down!

February 16th, 2009 at 02:25 pm

Yesterday we went to the solicitors and signed some paperwork, and then went to the bank to sign some more paperwork.

Tonight we will start transferring money into our new banks' E-Saver account. We have about $13 000 to transfer - and we can only transfer $2000 each day. Damn limits!

13 days to go until we get the keys!!!

Some other good news: We got the electricity bill for the past 3 months and it is around $65 less than our last bill!!!

I think this might have something to do with DF's sister no longer living with us. DF and I are gone from the hours of 6am-2pm (DF's usually gone from 6am-5pm). So we only use power from around 4.30am-6am, then 2pm-9pm (and even then - i am usually out with friends from 2pm-5pm). When DF's sister was here she would have lights on, the tv on, washing machine going, computer on etc.

So that's good news. Our internet bill is the same, around $78 a month. We only have around 11 months left on this contract. They have been good, but I want to see if I can find something cheaper next time. I mainly got it because it allows for 5gb each month which we thought we needed. I don't think we use anything near that now DF's sister is gone (she used to download games).

Anyway, I have 11 months to look into that!

Yesterday unfortunately we had takeaway. In our defence, we've had takeaway around two or three times this year (dining out... well that's different...) and also I didn't expect the bank meeting to take so long (an hour and a half!!! we left there at 6.30pm!) I had hungry jack's, because that's the only fast food place that does veggie burgers, and DF ordered a pizza. It's laughable, but I resisted the urge to upsize for 55c to a large meal and got a small instead, and I convinced DF to get one pizza instead of two (he likes to take it for lunch the next day... and the next day...). So that was the extent of our frugality. My meal cost $9.30, but that included a large fries for DF as well. :S

Yesterdays expenses:
Drinks at work: $1
Staff Lotto: $2
Takeaway Coffee: $3.80
Dinner: $9.30
Internet & Phone Bill: $78.26 (shared by 2)




valentines gift :) grocery shopping & meals

February 14th, 2009 at 10:49 pm

For Valentines Day DF bought me a rose plant, a teddy bear and a box of chocolate Smile and I wasn't even expecting it because we never do anything for Valentine's Day. Actually usually I buy him a little chocolate, but I didn't this time!

I have been thinking about moving into the new house, and how this will affect our dinners/grocery shopping habits. It is quite a bit away from shops (ok, so it will be about 10 minutes drive instead of 3 minutes drive...for me that's a difference!) Also, apart from being further away, my main aim is to shop less so I decrease the 'extra' purchases you get when just ducking into the shops for one item. It's all about saving money!

So I had a suggestion on a thread in the forums I started (i would credit but I can't remember who it was - i *think* it was disneysteve?) where I should make a list of all the meals we eat regularly that are cheap and easy, and have ingredients on hand for those. So what I have decided to do is keep a list for a while, of the dinners we eat. It will give me a good idea of what we eat.

I will probably start a 'page' on the sidebar, or have separate blog entries... Hmm! I don't know how I'm going to record them... But for now I will just list them in daily blog entries until I figure out what I'm doing Smile I am a little excited I have decided to do this. It will make me look at our routine as well, and how often we 'experiment' with our meals. Also I might be able to work out how to cut costs with some things.

Ok well, to start with!

15/02/09: Fresh tomato, crumbled feta, spinach, sauteed onion & capsicum and roast pumpkin tossed through pasta.



updates: a splurge, my leg hurts

February 13th, 2009 at 01:28 pm

There hasn't been a lot happening the past few days so I just thought I would post an update.

I have done three surveys this week with three different survey companies. So that brings me closer to more money! I always get a little bit excited when I qualify for one. (even though then it's tedious and boring...)

It has been raining pretty much non-stop for the past couple of days which has been nice. I like the rain, so I don't mind it one bit. Only I would much prefer it to have gone where it was needed most! About five days earlier, two states down!!! (where the bushfires are - or were).

I heard on the news they caught one of the arsonists. Bastards.

I bought TWO magazines last night. WHAT was I thinking??? I bought a trashy one (cosmo) and a recipe one. To be fair, I have only spent around $20 of my allowance this week, and about $10 of it last week. I think I am entitled to buy them - it's meant to be my guilt free money right? I haven't read them, but today is going to be a perfect day to, because it's grey and rainy still. Big Grin

My leg has been absolutely KILLING me lately. So painful. I made an appointment for the doctors tomorrow (sunday) at 9am. Every time I go about it they either dismiss it or send me to another person to get me off their hands.
It's a throbbing, deep, achey, numb pain in one leg near my calf. I've had it since I was about 12, it comes and goes, but for the past year it has been increasing in pain and occurence. The only thing that seems to help is pressure (a really tight bandage) or tiger balm.

anyway. I should stop complaining. we'll see how it goes tomorrow.

Next week I have to sign some documents at the bank with DF, and then take some forms into the solicitors and sign them too. Other than that I think we just have to get around to packing and organising the move.

DF is working today. I'm going to laze around Big Grin.

I wanted to share some of my favourite songs: (you don't have to listen to them if you don't want to )

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kl8mpAvTm_Y

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VutMLnjXTY4&feature=PlayList&...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-oYMsoCc1g&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgDPkqiXrjc

oh and I just wanted to end with a nice sunset shot i took a few months back Smile


pumpkin & ricotta lasagna

February 12th, 2009 at 02:00 am

In a previous entry, Jaime asked me to post the recipe for pumpkin and ricotta lasagna, so I thought I would post it now Smile

It's fairly simple. I usually have a bit of a cook up and make DF's meat lasagna at the same time, so then I can freeze a couple of portions.

Ingredients:
1/2 kent pumpkin, peeled, cut in 1cm thin slices.
fresh or boxed lasagna
2 cans tinned tomatoes or 1L tomato passata (strained tomato)
400g fresh ricotta
1 large zucchini, cut in 1cm thick strips
1 capsicum, cut in quarters
olive oil
chopped onion
2 cloves garlic
fresh basil
300g grated cheese

Bake the pumpkin, zucchini and capscium in a tray covered with foil for around 20minutes at 220C. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saucepan and add the garlic and onion. Once browned add the tomato and basil. Simmer.

Layer in a baking dish strips of lasagna, pumpkin, capsicum & zucchini with crumbled ricotta, topped with tomato and a sprinkle of cheese, until all the mixtures have been used up. Sprinkle the top with more basil and cheese and bake at 180C for around 30-40 minutes. Sometimes it helps to cover with foil for the first 25 minutes, otherwise it might brown too quickly on the top.

Smile

well, today was a bit of a washout

February 11th, 2009 at 11:37 pm

WELL! After all my motivation this morning I hardly got anything done. I got home from work 2 hours later than normal because I went along with the new apprentice, my other work colleaugue and my boss to help the new apprentice spend her $800 tool voucher. She had spent around $450 of it (on pallet knives, piping bags, bread knives, chef pants etc), needed to save $200 for shoes and other work clothes, so our boss said 'just get some stuff for when you move out of home, and hurry up!' lol. So she bought some things like a vegetable slicer, chopping boards, knives, can openers, etc.
Anyway after that we left our boss there to buy some more stuff and we went and got something to eat, so I spent $9.20 on a subway sandwhich and a drink. I also spent $2 on staff lotto and 50c on a can of drink.

TOMORROW, my list to do is:

30 minutes on the exercise bike
X done x -->wash & put away the dishes
x done x --> tidy the kitchen
tidy the pantry
x done x --> bring in the washing and
fold/put away
clean our bathroom
clean the guest bathroom
tidy the guest room
pack a box of kitchen stuff
pack a box of unneeded linen
download a claim form for a refund of washing detergent (special offer)
prepare pumpkin & ricotta lasagna for dinner, with green beans & brocolli
relax!

so i have decided not to cook the lasagna tonight because i am feeling a bit lazy. plus we have leftover pad thai, so i am going to heat that up and have some veges as sides, and a lamb chop for DF.

list to do today

February 11th, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Well, today I have nothing planned for the afternoon when I finish work - it is unusual because lately I have either had to do something with friends/family or something for the house. So today is a free day!

My plans when I get home are:

30 minutes on the exercise bike
wash & put away the dishes
tidy the kitchen
tidy the pantry
bring in the washing and fold/put away
clean our bathroom
clean the guest bathroom
tidy the guest room
pack a box of kitchen stuff
pack a box of unneeded linen
download a claim form for a refund of washing detergent (special offer)
prepare pumpkin & ricotta lasagna for dinner, with green beans & brocolli
relax!

hopefully I get everything done.
today I also have to pay the internet & phone bill. I will also probably buy a can of coke at work, so it won't be a NSD...

my nephew

February 11th, 2009 at 02:50 am

Well, like I promised I thought I would share a photo of my nephew:



Isn't he gorgeous?

Today I went grocery shopping with a friend (we always go grocery shopping together). She was taking her little sister to get her tongue pierced (and can I just say: eugh!) Well anyway, so it was a different supermarket than we normally go to, and it was bigger, and we took SO long to do our grocery shopping. In the end it was just funny. An hour and a half?
Though I did find some good stuff: a pedometer marked down from $5 to $3.49, 10 tins of tuna for $8 (save $7.90), and a 12 pack of instant miso soup for $2.99.

I have noticed SO many more offers in supermarkets for 'buy X of these for X'. No more reduced to a certain amount, you have to buy in bulk. Not that I'm complaining, but I think it's interesting.
A sign of the times I guess.

Tonight I cooked Pad Thai. I did a 'ceejay' Big Grin and took a photo because it looked nice in the bowl lol:



I think I am getting a little obsessed with posting photos at the moment. I am sure it will pass. Though photos always make things interesting.

I bought some Ferrero Rocher chocolates for our loan manager and my boss's wife. (They were marked down to $2.50 a pack, 79c saving - woo!)

Today I bought an icecream AND an iced coffee - bit of a blah spendy day and not a great day on the healthy eating plan either Frown

Well, here's to tomorrow!


25 Frugal Things About Me

February 10th, 2009 at 05:42 pm

(I copied this idea from Multiple Mom's Money Musings)

1. I usually only pay around $10 or less for the shoes that I wear daily (ballet flats)
2. I love handbags, and I usually find really great styles that are new in op-shops for around $3-$5.
3. I don't eat meat. I don't like it, and it's also a money saver as well, which is a plus.
4. I buy kid sized drinks and meals a lot of the time.
5. I screenprint my own t-shirts - blank shirts cost a fraction of the price of printed ones.
6. DF and I hardly ever pay full price for a movie. In the past year we probably have only once. We go on cheap Tuesdays or use our movie membership club card for the 'movie of the week'.
7. I have never bought mascara. I have gotten about 8 tubes of it for free when buying magazines.
8. I hardly ever buy magazines (anymore), except when they offer something for free. It's like a treat to get a magazine, and then I get something for free which is even better.
9. I plan to do more than one thing when I drive somewhere, so I am not wasting as much petrol. When I have coffee with friends, I will go grocery shopping afterward.
10. I plan our meals and shop with a list.
11. DF takes leftovers for his lunch to work the next day.
12. I try to make bigger batches of food so that I can freeze some meals like sauces or curries so I can pull it out when we feel lazy.
13. I have been trying to build up my wardobe with basics, so that I never feel like I have 'nothing to wear'.
14. I pay for most things with my rewards credit card to earn points which i then turn into gift cards.
15. I never carry a balance on my credit cards - I always transfer the amount I spend on my CC into a savings account which I then pay off the CC with at the end of the month.
16. I am a member of some survey sites, and try to do all the ones that are sent to me. Every couple of months I get a gift card or a cheque for $20 or more. It's only small but it's a help all the same.
17. I have coffee with friends a lot, which is one of my biggest 'fun' expenses. I make sure I eat something before I go though, so I only order a drink and nothing extra.
18. I have one 600mL water bottle at work which I refill from the tap and keep in the coolroom. All the other workers buy a bottle every day. Water is $2 a bottle.
19. I utilise loyalty programs to save myself money. I use flybuys, credit card rewards, jewellery store cards, movie cards and especially coffee and juice cards.
20. I dye my own hair, and I only get it cut once every three-six months, when it needs it.
21. One of the best beauty finds I have made is Vitamin E moisturising cream. It is lovely on my skin and a tube costs me $4. I found it by accident (it was recommended to use on my tattoos) and it is the best moisturiser I have found to use on my face.
22. I use vinegar, bicarb soda, bleach and lemon juice to do pretty much all of my cleaning. It saves a bucket load compared to the expensive cleaners most other people use.
23. I use the method of working out how much things cost me in 'hours of my life'. It results in me putting back a lot of my to-be purchases.
24. I think some of my friends find it annoying that I constantly ask them 'how much did that cost you?' or 'but look at the PRICE!' or 'that's a ripoff!'.
25. I find it FUN to write out budgets, projected spending, savings plans and lists.

some updates

February 9th, 2009 at 02:33 pm

My brother and his family have been and gone. They stayed til Monday instead of Wednesday as they had booked a hotel in Brisbane (didn't bother telling ME though?!) Anyway not that I mind. So we can resume our regular lives a bit sooner. It was lovely seeing my nephew. He is 16 months. I'll post a picture once I upload them.

My camera is being a bit funny. It's a digital, I've only had it for about two or three years. It keeps telling me to charge the battery pack, then I charge it, and use it for a bit, and then it says to charge the battery pack again. But then if you press the 'on' button a few times, it will resume working...? I might take it in to get looked at. Maybe I just need a new battery. It's just that, I used to be able to use it for a few events without having to charge it, say taking 100 photos at about 3 events before uploading and charging it. Now I will take about 50 photos and it will tell me to charge it. (but then i press the on button and it works..?)
I haven't dropped it, and I keep it in a case...? Any ideas as to what the hell is going on?


My brother ate HALF of our new block of cheese. HALF a block! (It was a 1kg block). In THREE DAYS. *sigh*
According to my brother (who always has to one-up with everything) they eat a block a week. We eat a block every 2-3 weeks - I buy the bigger block because it's cheaper.
They also spend $200+ a week on food, compared to our measly $100-120 per week.
'oh... I suppose technically we could do it for $100 a week, yes... yes...if we shopped cheaper...' he says (with an emphasis on the 'cheaper'), sifting through our pantry.
Thank god I get bread for free, because they managed to work their way through 2 and a half loaves of it in the three days they were here, PLUS they bought a loaf, PLUS I gave them a loaf when they left. Crikey. DF and I eat about half a loaf a week!

It was a NSD yesterday for me. I wanted to list my expenses for last week because I am so proud of them!

Rent: $180
Groceries: $85.03 (very high! this is just my share)
Loan Payment: $37
Petrol: $36.78
Savings: $20
Gifts: $40
Takeaway Beverages: $8.80
Staff Lotto: $2
House Deposit: $3000
Cheque Fee: $5.40

---------------------------
I am hoping our groceries this week will be lower. We have quite a bit left in our fridge and pantry. Other expenses this week will be:

-petrol
-phone & internet
-gift basket for DF's sister

I have a voucher for $25 for a jewellery store. When they have sales they send printable vouchers to their club members. Usually you can get something under $25 there, like a necklace charm or something. I am going into town today so it is not going to cost me any extra money, I may as well go and get a free piece of jewellery, right?

This afternoon I am going to try and go for a swim in the river with a friend. We have not been for nearly a month! There was a reported shark sighting a week ago, but the water is not as murky now as it was then with the storms.

Well that is all for now. Just wanted to end with a picture of a storm we had a few months ago.
This is the beach:


This is in our street:


horrible bushfires

February 9th, 2009 at 12:29 am

Not really a financial post, but I just wanted to share what's happening in our country at the moment.
Apparently, according to the latest news stories, it's worse than Ash Wednesday.


Lots of terrible bushfires in the southern states (where my dad lives, my brother and a lot of other family). I think the death toll is around 100 at least count. Completely ridiculous. and INTENTIONALLY lit!

I was able to call my dad (he lives in a town that was safe) and ask how everything was. My dads wifes brother (so... my uncle) is the fire chief for the region of Bendigo and he had worked 48 hours straight, putting out fires, rescuing people etc. Horrible, horrible, horrible.

I heard on the radio that the Salvation Army has recieved $6million in donations so far. I guess it is one good thing to hear in all this mess. And I saw on the news the other night that the Prime Minister was there, at the site of some of the bushfires, just showing his presence and talking to people, showing he cared. It was a bit of a heartbreaking moment when a grown man broke down into tears and hugged the Prime Minister! (he hugged back).

If you want to read some of the news stories you can use these links:

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2009/feb2009/fire-f09.shtml

http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,25025672-661,00.html




any ideas???

February 7th, 2009 at 10:48 pm

Well today was DF's sisters engagement party. It was lovely, they picked a really nice place to have it. Unfortunately I consumed a tad of alcohol and forgot to take pictures! Hopefully someone else did. The park was COMPLETELY covered by giant fig trees, so it was not hot. It would have been about 10 degrees cooler under the trees than outside. I think today it is about 37 degrees celcius.

Our gift to DF's sister and her fiance was an $80 gift card. I am thinking of making a 'pregnancy pamper' pack for her.

Anyone who has had children, what was something you would have appreciated when you were pregnant? Things that are affordable but nice, I am thinking. Like some nice teas, maybe a foot soak etc. I want to get about 7 or 8 items and pop them in a nice basket for her.

Any ideas would be appreciated!!!

Oh, and an update on 'the brother': they are only staying until tomorrow afternoon now (monday afternoon). Whew! I mean, I do love my brother. But there is only so much I can take.

Today we spent $6 on soft drink and $14 on a lined picnic blanket.

Another couple announced they got engaged today as well. I feel like we might have to wait a while to announce our engagement now. It's ok though. I think with all the house stuff, maybe it might be a good idea to keep it quiet for a few more months. Then we'll have more time to plan and save.

oh brother!

February 6th, 2009 at 04:01 pm

I went grocery shopping this morning in preparation for DF's sisters engagement party tomorrow (I am making my famous pesto pasta salad) and my brothers family arriving today.

I hate to admit this, but I shopped cheaply, as in, I was being 'cheap'. Frugal, yes, but cheap too. I kind of feel bad about it, but oh well.
It's probably not such a big deal to a lot of you. For example:
Instead of buying roma tomatoes I bought the normal hydro ones.
Instead of buying butter lettuce & cos lettuce, I bought ice berg.
Instead of buying chicken breasts, I bought chicken drumsticks.
Instead of buying normal fruit I would have bought if it was just DF and I, I bought bananas and apples.
Instead of buying 4-packs of decadent icecream desserts, I bought a tub of vanilla icecream.
Also, I have 'placed' our cheese and expensive snacks away from view.

ok, ok, so it's not THAT bad. It's just that, well, my brother eats a LOT. And sometimes he is wasteful by eating food when he doesnt need to, or serving up way too much for himself and then wasting it.

I just want to minimise the cost to us, seeing as very soon we are probably going to be very broke (and will probably be eating iceberg lettuce all the time!).
Oh, and I have nothing personal against iceberg lettuce, except that I don't really like it.

Tonight I have planned to make Tandoori Chicken Drumsticks, Baked potato and salad. I will have grilled tofu.

For lunch, when they arrive (in about two hours) I was going to make a platter of salad stuff to have open sandwhiches.

DF is already worried that my brother will drink all his beer (DF has lived with my brother before - he has legitimate worries!).

I have to somehow work into conversation 'please pay for yourselves and don't eat all our food because we are broke and just bought a house'. (though they are paying off a mortgage and have a baby...but their mortgage is about one quarter of ours).

OH! and don't break anything that we own! (another lovely trait of my brothers).

Anyway. ARGH!
I must repeat to myself "it's only til wednesday, it's only til wednesday, it's only til wednesday"...

Another thing I would like to add:
It WOULD HAVE been only until Monday, however my parents have decided to act like freaking children and have told me that my brother and his family aren't welcome in their house. Why? because my brother didnt bring his son and wife to visit my parents when my parents were visiting my granparents in the same state that my brother lives. My brother visited, but oh, apparently that wasn't good enough. The best part? My parents haven't TALKED to my brother about this, so my brother has no idea they are mad at him. And because I've had several arguments with my parents about this issue, which have all resulted in me calling them pathetic and them telling me its got nothing to do with me, I can't repeat any of this to my brother, so I have to nicely work into a conversation that 'it would be a good idea for them to stay at our house' but I can't actually tell them why.

I mean for gods sake, can you GET any more immature?

Anyway. Sorry for my long-winded rant. Family, huh?

official approval!

February 5th, 2009 at 11:04 pm

* before i write anything about our house purchase i wanted to say congratulations again to gamecock43 & BB on their finance approval. i do wish things had gone as smoothly for them as it did for us, but it is all (finally) done now and i can't wait to read move-in posts!

-------------------

I got a call at work today at 10am, my loan manager called to let me know our loan had been officially approved. I dropped off the $5k deposit at the real estate today, and I was able to meet the contract manager (I have been tlaking to her on the phone for about three weeks but hadn't met her yet). She was a very lovely lady. The real estate agent that we have been dealing with also appeared from his office to shake my hand and say congratulations.
I know everyone is supposed to be wary of real estate agents, and generally people treat them as though they are the devil, but honestly this bunch have made everything go so smoothly. The solicitors had no problems with any of the paperwork either, which is a good sign.

We pick up the keys on March 2nd. Unfortunately for YOU GUYS, I can't say I won't be counting down the days in every single entry I make until then. So I apologise in advance.

House Buying Costs So Far:
$500 (legal fees deposit)
$1000 (good intention deposit)
$5000 (finance deposit)
$5.40 (cheque fee)
Total So Far: $6505.40

Oh don't worry, there's plenty more to come where that came from!

----------------------------

I have a related but un-related question:

I think it's important to show sometimes that you appreciate the help that people give you, especially if you know that they have gone above and beyond what they normally do. Because of this, I am thinking of buying a box of chocolates for:
- my boss and his wife (because my boss's wife initially got us started on saving for the mortgage insurance and showed us where we had to be financially before even THINKING about looking for a house - and my boss, well, he married her :P )
- our loan manager (she has returned EVERY SINGLE ONE of my calls (there's been... a few...) and has always been friendly and helpful. she's organised our loan structure so we can save the most we can on interest, and she organised the first yearly fee to be waived when she didn't have to do anything)
- the staff at a particular branch of the bank that i am with now, but will be leaving - i will probably take the chocolates in when i close the account (this paricular branch has three ladies that have remembered me since i got my personal loan, one of them made sure she called me after i enquired about a home loan, and they went out of their way to help DF and I when our accounts were frozen - they fixed it all within a day after them being frozen for two weeks)
- the real estate who sold us our house (for reasons i have listed above!)

anyway, my question is, am I being a little bit weird? do people still do this?
i just think its nice... to be nice... sometimes.

(my friend baked her mechanic a cake when he did a service on her car for free because he felt sorry for her, she had gone through three cars in two months. he was like 'ummm... thanks???')


--------------------------------

Expense for today:
$1 on two cans of coke (one i gave to a work colleague)

that's it! i did well! i talked myself out of buying a celebratory cup of coffee on the way home from the real estate. i made one when i got home instead Big Grin

DF I think wants to go out for dinner because his mum is visiting his grandparents, and they always go to the local service club.

you can get cheap meals there, but most of them are around $15-$25, plus then there's drinks ... I am going to attempt to talk DF out of going. I don't really feel like it, plus my brother and his family are arriving tomorrow and we have to get the house ready still, and I have chicken thawed for his green curry...

To end on a good note: it's Friday, and out of my $60.30 mock allowance this week I have spent:
Hot chocolate: $3.50
Coffee: $3.80
Coke: $1.50 (3 cans over the week)
Staff Lotto: $2.00

Total: $10.80
Left Over: $49.50
Only Saturday and Sunday to go! :S I have mixed feelings - it could go well, or badly... we will see!






update on health checkup

February 5th, 2009 at 12:08 pm

well i got the results for my blood test. my white count is NEARLY at normal level, so she said not to concern myself with it for now. however my calcium level is still low, and she suggested i take calcium tablets and get another blood test in about a month and a half. she's also checking my vitamin D levels and my parathyroid something or other. ??? she said it could be the cause of the low calcium.

sorry but i must run to work now! more updates later!

OH! and it's DDay on the mortgage finance! I am handing in the $5000 cheque today, and hopefully will find out about finance approval too. EEk!


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