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Archive for March, 2010

updates of a random nature

March 30th, 2010 at 08:20 pm

Thanks to my massive ($131) Aldi shop three weeks ago, I have not had to buy many groceries these past few weeks. For once our grocery expenditure was UNDER budget for the entire month (by $4 each week - but still...atleast it was under!)

I am going to try and be more motivated to save those small amounts here and there. The mild annoyance of researching phone plans etc and grocery shopping at three different places will hopefully be offset by the savings. Hopefully. Big Grin

Today is grocery-shopping day and I only have to get a couple of items. I have to keep in mind that we are going away for the easter weekend to a friends holiday house. DF's sister is doing the shopping, and we are transferring the money into her account once she works out the cost. Last time it was around $25, which isn't too bad. I expect it to be around the same again.

Finally got a replacement tray for our coffee machine. It started to rust out last year, and I called Sunbeam as it was still under warranty - in AUGUST 2009. They told me they had 'developed' a new tray that had a plastic lining and was stainless steel, apparently even though the rest of the machine is stainless steel, the old tray was not. It was a 'design flaw'. Pfft. I call it 'cutting costs'. :P

Anyway, so it arrived yesterday. Only took 7 months.

Ummmm... Sold a couple of books on ebay. I think the sale price covered the fees and postage, and I might have made about 40c. But oh well. Waiting for my friend to finish In Treatment and return it to me, so I can re sell it. With the earnings from that I was hoping to buy X Files season 4 Big Grin

Our boys (and by boys... I mean our dogs) will most likely be getting de-sexed in April, if all goes well. And in May I think we might have enough of a surplus to consider buying a new TV. LCD and Plasma prices have reaaaallly dropped lately. Vieras are $595. When they were first released I think they were about $1200. Exciting stuff!

Normally I'd roll my eyes at someone getting excited about buying a flat screen tv, only because it's (usually) associated with bad money choices. HOWEVER. Our current television is around 12 years old, and the cables from the set-top box, xbox and dvd player are held in place with paddle-pop sticks and pieces of folded up cardboard. Yep! Big Grin Kind of in need of a new tv... about two years ago. After that we will be looking at a new dvd player. Unless the tv comes with a built in one, which would save a whole lot of hassle and drama.

am i the only one?

March 27th, 2010 at 05:26 pm

that likes these changes? Most of the latest blog entries are commenting on the changes so I thought I'd put in my two cents Big Grin

I like it! Keep up the good work guys. Any issues that I might have, have probably already been addressed by others, so I have no complaints. Personally I think it looks cleaner and fresher, and eventually everyone will forget how it looked before.

Smile

updates: family, friends, dogs, garden.

March 23rd, 2010 at 09:39 pm

I haven't really had much to update lately.

We've had some family drama to deal with. Long story short, my mum and step-dad split up. I don't really feel like explaining the details, but it's probably for the best.

The only people I have told the entire story to are DF and my best friend, and I only told my best friend because she kept hassling me about it. (I'm not really the talky type and to add to it, the whole story annoyed me so much that I get frustrated just thinking about it. Basically, I hope in some way or another this will be a wake-up call to my mother - but I seriously doubt it. *sigh*)

Ummm. What else?

I have been catching up with old friends from high school. It's a bit weird.

My best friend moved out of her parents house and is living by herself. It's kind of good for the budget because often I just go to her house now instead of meeting at a cafe. I don't know how long she is going to last though; she's incredibly lonely. Poor thing. I told her she can move in with us, but she doesn't want to.

DF's second-cousin who was going to move in with us, found another place to move into. DF and I breathed a silent sigh of relief. DF offered a room to him and he accepted, when he started working for DF as an apprentice. But then a few weeks later DF told me he hoped the guy would find another place because 'he's a bit annoying'. Big Grin And I understand. Apart from not wanting to live with anyone else in the first place, I can understand that working with someone, and then having to come home and be with that same person while you're trying to relax, would only work if you got along splendidly. And I don't think they do. The cousin is 19 and 'knows it all'. Even though he is an apprentice, he seems to think he shouldn't have to do apprentice work, like cleaning and fetching tools for DF, as well as trying out 'the cool stuff'. So DF's getting a bit frustrated. Frown

Financially we are having a good month. We will have a surplus *fingers crossed* which I can add into the EF.

We're going to get the doggies de-sexed soon. They are peeing on EVERYTHING. Does anyone have any tips on this? They do not come inside, it is only outside that they pee - but they go on the corners of our outdoor chairs, our pot plants, their own KENNELS etc etc. It's disgusting and it smells, even though we wash everything with boiling water and disinfectant it nearly every day. *sigh* The vet said that while it won't be instant, desexing them will gradually reduce their need to 'mark' everything.

My weight has plateued. It has not gone up or down - atleast it has not gone up though. I seem to have a month where I slip up and start eating bad stuff, and then two or three months where I am mostly healthy, and then the cycle continues. Anyone else like this?

DF's work is picking up, which is nice. I have two days off coming up, because of Easter. I hope we don't have anything planned, I would like to just relax at home.

Our lettuces are nearly big enough to eat! I am so proud! Big Grin
I am thinking of 'investing' in more gardening supplies. I have been super attentive to the tomatoes, basil, lettuce and parsley, and they are all lush and green. Yay. I want to plant some more tomatoes and maybe buy some seedlings from the market; but for now everything will be in pots. Is that an ok way to have a vege garden? Our soil is not that great and there is, at the moment, not really any proper place to make a patch, even if we were to build it up and buy good soil for it.

Uh, well. I think that's all my ramblings for now. Smile How are y'all?

shooooesssss....

March 22nd, 2010 at 09:12 pm

The change of seasons usually leads to me thinking about what is missing in my wardrobe, or in need of replacement. Usually it has been a huge long list of things, but I am excited to say that as the weather cools, I am only really looking at purchasing some stockings, an LBD and a pair of boots (!!!)

I have to attend an awards night in a few weeks, and the 'theme' is black and red. I decided that this would be the perfect excuse to find that nifty piece of clothing titled the Little Black Dress. After searching for hours, I dragged DF to a store that has always been good to me in the past (and actually I wanted to go there first, but they weren't open yet). I found a black strapless dress for $24.95, marked down from some ridiculous price that I can't even remember.

While I was there I tried on some shoes and after a few pairs realised that I think I like ankle boots. (?!) I always thought they'd make my legs look terrible, but according to DF I look 'hot'. Big Grin

I didn't buy the ones in the store, mainly because I wanted a black pair, and in the two styles I liked, they only had grey for one, and brown for the other.

Can you wear brown shoes with a black dress?

Anyway, so I am thinking of getting something like this:

(but the pair I am eventually going to buy will be all black & leather, not vinyl or plastic).



found $10

March 17th, 2010 at 10:43 pm

I was walking in the parking lot on the way to work this morning and saw a $10 note on the ground. No one was around (it was 6am after all) so that baby was all mine! It's going into my tattoo fund. Other monies that I have added into the fund:

$22.10 staff lotto winnings
~ $10.00 loose change found around the house
$15.45 poker winnings from a few years ago (all in 5c pieces)
~$30.00 added over the course of a few weeks.

Yay. So basically that's the artists tip lol. Big Grin

I have the money in a big jar. When it's full, I will post a picture of it and will get your guesses for how much you think is in there. It will be like a competition. Except there will be no prize Frown other than knowing you won. Teehee Big Grin

thinking about changing superannuation funds...

March 16th, 2010 at 06:34 pm

Before I post this, I just want to explain that I DON'T see superannuation as my one and only retirement funding option. I actually HATE the idea of superannuation, of having limited control over 'my' money. While it's all good and well that the government made some sort of step into forcing people to save for their later years, I personally don't like it and the highly publicised encouragement of putting money into an account that a lot of people haven't researched other than whether or not you get a free department store Gift Card when you roll over your funds.

That's my opinion, and before you try, no one here is ever going to change my mind on it, and no one is ever going to convince me to put extra money into it to 'save' for retirement. We both have other options that we are working towards and neither of us are especially excited about the conventional methods of retirement funding. When I find a fund that I am completely happy with, I *may* contribute additional earnings into it, but as of yet, I don't. So please don't blather on about it more than you have to. Smile

Ok, so now that's all said, this is what my real post is all about:

Our bank also runs a superannuation fund. We were told about it when we bought the house, and I put it to the back of my mind. I recently came across something that is making me consider rolling our funds over.

Currently we are with the biggest, most well known superannuation in Australia. I have no issues with them, they're not particularly spectacular either. They seem to get a lot of aussie sporting heroes to do their advertising campaigns, and that's about it. *shrug*

We have our life insurance with our bank because with the loan package we took out, we get a 15% discount on insurance products, and a multi policy discount too. (and yes, because of the cover options they offer as well...) Currently we pay around $54 a month for $200k worth of death and permanent disability cover, for myself and DF.

So I found out the other day that we can roll our superannuation funds over to our banks' fund, and have our insurance taken out of our superannuation fund. Wooaah, you're all thinking now. Bad news.

Not entirely.

You see, our superannuation fund is pre-taxed money. You only pay tax if you withdraw it before you turn... whatever the current retiring age is. 55? 60? something like that.

On top of this, if I were in fact to make extra contributions (yes, you heard me say it) to the TOTAL of the amount of our life insurance each month, the government would pay double that, because of the superannuation scheme they have going.

So technically if I were to pay the amount of life insurance into the account, it wouldn't make a bit of difference to our financial situation, only that I'm getting something that I wouldn't ordinarily be getting.

Hmmmmm. Something worth thinking about?

I'm not sure. Another plus, although only out of convenience, is that every time I log onto my bank account, we will be able to see how much super we have, instead of waiting for the yearly statement. Not that I particularly care, but it would be interesting to know nonetheless.

DF had a good point though. Is it kind of like we're putting all our eggs in one basket? We have basically all of our banking with one bank. We also gain from all the discounts too, but still...

Another plus is that our banks fund does not pay commissions, and the fees are much lower.

Hmmmm.... thinking thinking thinking

omigod! FREE! my favourite type of stuff...

March 15th, 2010 at 07:45 pm

An aquaintance of my best friend just moved overseas for four years. She gave my friend four boxes of personal stuff to look after for her, and then gave her all of her belongings and told her she could keep it or give it away. The girl who went overseas left with just a backpack, so you could imagine how much was left over.

Here's the clincher: my best friend, as some of you might know, has OCD. And it just so happens that it is of the 'germ' variety, and the idea of using someone else's belongings stresses her out immenseley.

So in swoops me with my giant superhero cape, to scavenge, *ahem*, SAVE the day. Big Grin

DF emptied his work van and we packed it full of:

an 8 foot high solid timber book-case
a nearly new single mattress
a single bed-head
a brand new woolen mattress protector
three single sheets and a pillow slip
over 50 super-good quality clothes hangers
an over door towel or hat hook hanger
an electric frypan
assorted brand name water tumblers and coffee mugs
assorted Culinare kitchen utensils (tongs, vegetable peeler, flipper, colander)
knives, forks, spoons, bread knife
a stainless steel mixing bowl
assorted storage containers and jars
about $100 worth of food
an extension lead
two extension lead powerboards
5 bathmats
2 teatowels

Two things, the book case and the frypan, are things that we actually NEEDED but had put off buying yet. Bathmats, funnily enough, are something I had been thinking that we needed but didn't want to buy, bcause, well, an old towel works just as good and doesn't cost.

DF strongly believes in 'asking the universe' for things, and I guess this proves that it actually works. (Jed is another example of that Big Grin)

gardening, friends.

March 11th, 2010 at 10:04 pm

Nearly a NSD today, I bought milk from the corner shop (1L - $2.25) because I ran out this morning.

I did not even start this months Put It In Park challenge. Sorry!

But I have begun to keep a log book for tax again. I realised I was running out of time (I have to keep three months worth of driving records in order to claim my vehicle for work use, as I use it to run errands for work sometimes - and the three months has to be before June 31st).

Ebay has free listings for auctions starting under 99c until late March, if anyone is interested. I think I might spend a little time trying to find some things to list this weekend. even if I only get 99c for a few items, I will atleast have gotten rid of some things, allowed someone else to enjoy the benefits of it without it going to landfill, and reduced clutter in my house. Not to mention, making 99c. lol Big Grin

I was meant to have coffee with a friend today, but I couldn't get hold of her.

Then I was going to have coffee with another friend, but she's been frantically moving furniture that a friend has given her, from her friends house to her parents garage. So we are meeting up tomorrow. And then on Sunday I am catching up with a friend I have not properly seen for about 7 years.

Have been thinking lately, how fast does time fly?! This friend, F, left school in year 11. I continued on and graduated, and other than the occasional text or phone call, and a random meeting at a pub (she was working) I have not seen her since 2003. I feel bad because she was my BEST friend from the age of 13-15. Frown But hey, atleast we're meeting now, right?

I think I may have enough tomatoes on my tomato plants to make a WHOLE SALAD!!! Big Grin

My lettuces seem to be growing much better this time. Yay. Also noticed some basil has cropped up, after all this rain we've had. Oh, and for those who commented on how it's impossible to kill mint: I did kill it. I have watered it and fed it fertiliser in the hopes of making the scrawny scraps turn green and grow again, alas it has not. I killed it. I really did. I killed MINT. *sigh*

I will be attempting to make a rough MONTHLY plan of meals this weekend, so that I can do a proper shop at Aldi on Tuesday. How organised am I?! Big Grin
I want to make the drive there worth it, otherwise whatever I save on groceries will go straight into my petrol tank anyway. And I know where I'd rather my money going, if I had a choice!

(although, by doing some super rough calculations, I worked out that the drive from my workplace to Aldi and back again will cost me at the MOST $3-$3.50 in fuel, which isn't too bad really).

updates, parties, weekend fun, groceries

March 9th, 2010 at 05:17 pm

Things have been a bit hectic here over the past week.
On Friday afternoon I half-made the birthday cake for our close friends daughters 1st Birthday. (Will post a picture when I upload it - I got everything at cost price so a cake that fed 50 people only cost DF and I $30 plus my labour, and was our gift to our friends daughter.)

I got some more work done on my lower leg on Friday night. Originally we were meant to get takeaway because I would not be able to (okay... didn't want to...Big Grin) stand around cooking. Technically I could have, but it would have been painful. But DF said he would cook for me. In the end it worked out because we did not get home until past 11pm, and nothing would have been open anyway. We watched movies and eventually went to bed at around 2am.

Saturday morning I wasn't up to going to the market (I was tired, and my leg hurt), and decided to stretch our groceries out for a few days and eat from the pantry, and we both had a bit of a lazy morning before going into my work to finish the birthday girls cake. I made everyone leave the kitchen so I could draw and write on the cake without them watching me. Stage fright, anyone?! Big Grin

The party was a blast. There were about 30 kids under the age of 3. My jaw hurt from smiling all day and my hearing felt fuzzy because of the screams and squeals. The birthday girl passed out in the middle of the yard halfway through the party - we believe from a sugar overload. Many naughty aunties were seen feeding her cupcakes and lollies at various times...Big Grin Later on it rained and she ran around getting muddy and stomping in the puddles. It was very cute.

I hung close to another childless friend, and together we dealt with the usual barrage of 'where's YOUR child?' and 'oh don't worry, you'll have one of yours soon enough'. Ahhh! Why do people think that is appropriate???

The cake was a hit and a few people asked for my number, which is kind of cool!

Anyway. DF's niece, sister, BIL and mother all stayed on Saturday night. We decided to get takeaway that night. I found a vegetarian dish at the local chinese place that I am actually fond of! It was a miracle! (Vegetarian Fried Rice)AND it is only $6.
We watched Imagine That, and Couples Retreat. Both were funny & entertaining.

In the morning we went out for breakfast and wandered the shops. DF and I did well to resist buying anything other than some snacks and a book (Hell's Angels by Hunter S Thompson - $9.95).

When I got home I realised my dad sent me a link a little while for 30% off Borders Online bookstore. DAMN! Oh well...

DF's family stayed on Sunday night too. After having to repeatedly explain that, NO, we do not have an oven OR a stove, a group effort resulted in a greek salad, steamed vegetables and grilled sausages & a vege patty for dinner. We watched Bangkok Dangerous, and while I LOVE Nicolas Cage, I wasn't overly fond of the movie.

I decided to take a trip to Aldi yesterday. I have only been there once and didn't know what to expect, so this time it was different.

Really, this time I just went there to see what they had, and to check out the prices. I bought a few things, but mainly wanted to just mentally tally prices and product etc. I call it 'investigating'. Big Grin

I have figured out that a once a month trip might be a good idea. It is a 45 minute drive from our house, or around 25 minutes from my work on Tuesdays & Wednesdays. So if I planned to go there after work, it might eventually lead to saving a bit of money. I will trial it over the next few months and see how it goes.

slow cooker is dead (i think) & Menu Plan...

March 3rd, 2010 at 11:41 pm

Our slow cooker seems to be un-usable at the moment. I don't know what happened, but the glaze cracked inside and outside, and the last time I used it, there were dots of black stuff on the outside of the ceramic pot...? Weird! Not game enough to use it again. *sigh* Looks like I will have to ring up the manufacturer and buy a replacement ceramic pot thing. I wonder how much that will be? I assume I did something incorrectly - I think once or twice I put the bowl in the sink and then later read that you shouldn't submerge it in water Anyway...Great. Awesome. (NO, I did not submerge the actual electronic part - I'm not that dumb).

Anyway. So I am getting our old one off my parents again to use, even though it is waaaay too big. I am just going to use it to make a big batch of minestroni soup, and a batch of mexican chili beans, and freeze them in portions.

Anyway, so this is our menu for the next week and a half. The 'week' actually started on Tuesday (two days ago)... Big Grin I just got lazy, was supposed to post this a few days ago... SOrry!

Tuesday: Warm Rice Salad (Rice, Tuna, Cucumber, Capsicum & Parsley)

Wednesday: Grilled Vegetables mixed with cous cous, dried chopped apricots & drizzled with tahini-yoghurt.

Thursday: Home-made Burgers with avocado, lettuce, tomato, cheese, pineapple, beetroot & beef/vege patty.

Friday: Takeaway (Thai food = Yum!)

Saturday: Toasted Sandwhiches

Sunday: Sundried Tomato, Feta, Parsley & Garlic Stirred through fresh pasta

Monday: Nachos

Tuesday: Steamed Veges & Rice (lamb chop for DF)

Wednesday: Miso Soup, Somen Noodles, Tofu & Vegetables.

Thursday: Basil Pesto & Pasta with grilled vegetables & chicken for DF.

Friday: Home-made Sushi (tuna, avocado, tofu)



i hope she realises just how big of a gift it was...

March 1st, 2010 at 06:27 pm

I helped DF lay a floor for his little cousin K on the weekend, and we earnt some extra moolah. I am not sure exactly how much yet as DF hasn't worked out the cost. Because it is his cousin he is doing it cheaply, but I would say it would be around a days normal wages atleast.

It is very exciting for K (his cousin). She is only 19 and has just bought a unit for herself. Well, technically the deposit came from her parents who have been putting money aside since she was born. It was to be used for whatever she wished (responsibly) when she turned 21, but they decided to give it to her early. I think that it was originally going to be for university, but I remember she did start uni last year and quit after 2 weeks, because she hated it. Just isn't for some people, I can understand that. But she has a good job on a contract at the moment, and hopefully things go well for her when that ends. She has done several career enhancing courses during her contract too.

Her dad, I think, was slightly against the idea for several reasons. Of course he was happy for her, and he did GIVE her the money after all. But I can tell he's hesitant. First of all, the money was meant to be for her a little later. Secondly, she has never lived out of home before, and never rented. He said he KNOWS she will get a shock about the cost of things, and all the unexpected things that crop up requiring her hard earned money. DF and I nodded profusely at that one! And lastly, she IS only 19, she still likes to party, and he is worried she might not be as mature as she thinks she is. All very legitimate reasons to be hesitant.

But there are two sides to a marriage and while his wife was aware of the risks too, she was a bit more optimistic. And it's true, why would you pay rent if you didn't have to? It's dead money. As dead as dead can be. And who here would have leapt at a chance like this, if you had been given it? I definately would have. I tried my best anyway - I knew if I had been given $60k from MY parents I would have used it exactly the same way - but instead DF and I saved $20k of our own money, was given $14k from the government, paid mortgage insurance, and we bought a house anyway, when I was 21 and DF was 28.

I guess the question is whether or not the gift will be utilised appropriately. *sigh*
Do you ever get that feeling, when you look at someone who may have no financial worries - or atleast a very appealing wage, and think "I could use that money so much more wisely" ??? Why does it always seem that (some) people with money are so stupid, and others who don't have it, could really make so much more out of it, if they were just given the chance?

Well, I hope it doesn't end up like that for K. I hope she realises just how much her parents are giving her. They're not just giving her $60k. They're giving her one almighty hand up in life. They're giving her a base, security, and a headstart. Something that so many people take SO much longer to achieve, she has been able to do with hardly any effort of her own. Sure, her parents have put in a lot of effort, a LOT, and I just hope she appreciates that.


So....Thoughts?