<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Home > Archive: August, 2010

Archive for August, 2010

McAfee Virus Software

August 31st, 2010 at 04:53 pm

Was just checking our credit card bill for the month and came across a $129.95 charge that neither of us authorised. It was for a virus protection subscription renewal for DF's computer. I called them to ask why we had been charged and it turns out DF had not unchecked the automatic renewal box when registering last time. Because only last year we discovered that one license actually protects 3 computers, we decided to let DF's expire and then use mine (which has another 126 days left), then of course only renew mine after that - at a discounted on-line rate of $89.95 (which I see you don't get if you tick the automatic renewal box!!! Sneaky!).

The customer service guy was very helpful and breezy, and refunded the amount for me. Whew! Thought I was going to have to fight for it - technically it was our fault for not reading the fine print, but no, everything was fine. I guess maybe because he could see that my subscription was still valid, so we would be returning customers no matter what. Better to have one subscription for life, than double charging and refusing to budge - then losing that customer after the next years expiry! Smart company... Smile I'm not complaining.


August 30th, 2010 at 06:58 pm

It's my birthday this week. We're not doing anything exciting and probably won't even end up going out to dinner (can't be bothered organising it, to be honest). But, I have asked DF if I could have some Fitflops. Big Grin I have wanted a pair for a while. I like the concept - and while they're undeniably ugly, I think I could pull them off. It is getting to Summer, after all.

Of course, what attracted me to them in the first place is the idea that they tone your calves and thighs. Who wouldn't like that idea?

But, the seller for me is actually the OTHER aspects. That they mimic barefoot walking and improve posture etc etc. Kind of sound like a good idea, and I think after a year and a half of wanting them, now is as good a time as any to get them right? It is, after all, my birthday Wink

we are trialling roo meat

August 29th, 2010 at 11:04 pm

I am about to embark on our first week of trialling fresh kangaroo meat for our dogs. I have found a supplier (a pet store near my work) who gets their deliveries on Fridays. You can buy it frozen in 1kg lots, or fresh if you order it before Wednesdays (to be picked up on Friday).
I will be buying the fresh product, because they generally eat a little over a kilogram in a WEEK, so I will have to separate it into daily portions (which is what I do with their regular meat).

Why roo meat, you ask?

Two reasons:

Firstly, it's cheaper than what I can get at the supermarket. I can normally get some type of chuck, Y bone or rump steak for between $8-$10 a kilogram in bulk packs. Let me quickly say that our dogs do not eat a LOT of meat, but I believe a little fresh meat is beneficial. They only get a small handful for dinner each, it is all they need. I can't imagine how much pet food would add up if you owned a large breed dog. That takes commitment!

Fresh or frozen roo meat, from this particular pet store, is $5.95 a kilogram. So the savings WILL add up quickly.

The second reason is that roo meat is actually very healthy - for animals and humans. It is very lean - has NO fat, and loads of iron. TBH, I have never eaten it, though I hear it has a distinctive taste... maybe one day when I'm pregnant, low on iron and if craving meat I might give it a shot... Big Grin
Anyway. So those two reasons are good enough for me. I am excited about the savings and am pretty sure the dogs will like it also.

Menu for the week

August 28th, 2010 at 05:12 pm

I don't post these often enough, but will try to get back into the habit. Like we usually do, I did all of our fresh fruit and vegetable shopping yesterday morning at the market. Spent a little more than normal because I bought some nice organic freshly ground coffee, 250g for $10.50. More expensive than what we normally pay for our regular brand, but it's nice to have a change now and then. Also bought two turkish savoury pastries for DF and I for breakfast, $6.50. It's become a bit of a habit, not sure it's one I want to break though! It's kind of our Saturday treat. DF takes the dogs for a walk and I do the market shopping, then we have coffee and the pastries for breakfast. YUM. Too bad it's now Sunday and we can't have another!

Anyway. Back to it. Our menu plan for the week:

- Spaghetti Bolognaise for DF/ Toasted avocado cheese and tomato sandwich for me
- Dum Aloo (Indian Potato & Spinach Curry).
- Pumpkin & Fetta tarts & Salad
- Miso Soup with vegetables & crispy tofu
- Ginger Vegetable Stirfry with brown rice.
- Homemade Pizzas

It's my birthday next week. I haven't planned anything with friends and I'm not sure I want to really. I'm turning 23 so it's not really a big deal. I'd rather go out to dinner with DF and see a movie or something, than have to plan something, organise food and a meeting place etc.

weekend happenings

August 27th, 2010 at 06:28 pm

The weekend is here yet again. My friend is having a thing (we call it a thing, because it's not a bbq and it's not a party lol) this afternoon with workmates, to celebrate her finishing her apprenticeship. She is supplying food, and DF and I are buying her a bottle of Midori as a present. (It's what she drinks - like a fish). Expense ~$30.
After the 'do' I am staying on at her place and we are having a movie night. We have completely opposite taste in movies so we each pick one and force the other to watch it. It's fantastic. Last time I made her watch Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. And the time before was Deathproof. (Her picks were I Am Sam, and My Sisters Keeper).
This time I think she's making me watch Notorious Big and I was thinking of either 8mm, the Machinist or Shutter Island. Hmm...
We're having pizza, so dinner expense will be around $10. DF is going out with friends. No idea how much he will spend, though I *know* it will be more than $30! LOL. I am thinking hopefully under $100.

Some time this week I have to send my dads Fathers Day present so that he gets it in time. I am known for always being late with presents in the mail Frown It's something I have to work on. We bought him the book The Art & Life of Angelique Houtkamp. ~$35.

Revisiting our Spending Plan

August 24th, 2010 at 07:46 pm

I call it a spending plan because we're not really ones for 'keeping to a budget' like some. I admire those who do it (including the whole thing of not buying XXXX for two days because it will put this weeks budget out, etc etc) but it really doesn't suit us. But, we do have a 'spending plan' which I try my best to keep track of. Up until recently I tracked every cent, but the past two months I have laxed. I was thinking our spending plan is probably outdated a bit, and I think a re-doing of the plan and our weekly expenses was in order. Having an up-to-date plan might spur on my interest in keeping track again. Well, fingers crossed anyway.

So, this is what I have come up with:

Mortgage Payments: $480
Extra Mortgage Payments: $20
Savings: $180
Bills: $200
Groceries: $150
Misc: $100
Fun: $80
Petrol: $70
Personal Loan: $37
Total: $1317.00

This accounts for an average income per week on the lower side with a bit of a surplus after the above expenses. More often than not, our weekly income is higher, but I'm keeping it lower so we don't get our heads stuck in the clouds.

Now, for some explanations. Looking at the expenses, I'm sure you're probably wondering 'where's this expense?' 'Where's that?' etc. I have put everything into very general categories this time. For example:

Bills include the following: Mobile Phone, Internet, House & Contents Insurance, Car Insurance, Life Insurance, Car Registration, Car Repairs, RACQ Membership, Gas, Property Rates, Water, Electricity and Pet Expenses.

Misc covers a variety of expenses that don't occur regularly, such as health & grooming, gifts, bank fees, charity donations, clothing, stationery, electronics and house purchases etc.

I have upped our grocery limit to $150, from $120. Generally it is ~$130, so any surplus we have will flow through to other areas. I just don't want to feel bad or stressed out by constantly going over the 'grocery limit' each week. While to some people's standards our grocery expenditure is outrageous, I don't really care. We cook from scratch, use wholegrain products, buy organic and locally grown produce, and use cleaning & body products that don't hurt the planet or our health and wellbeing. And we're alright with that. It's taken me a while to realise that this is something I truly don't mind spending money on. If I can find the items I normally use, cheaper, then ok. If not, oh well. Life goes on.

Personal Loan: is actually going to be paid off shortly, I just keep forgetting to transfer the remaining money. So this $37 a week expense won't be up there for much longer. We will probably add this amount to our EF savings, and have in mind that we will probably look at buying a new (to us) car in the near future.

Savings: Our total amount per week in savings is actually divided into four categories:
- EF (Goal 1: $5000, Goal 2: $7500, Goal 3: $10000)
- Baby (Goal: $30 000)
- House Renovations
- Short-term
The total amount saved per week goes into ONE account, which I keep track of on a spreadsheet. (It is actually our mortgage account, to reduce interest. No, we don't get charged for withdrawals or deposits).

Most of the savings are self explanatory, except Short-term. Basically Short-term covers all sorts of higher priced entertainment and consumer-ey expenses like seeing a band, gallery exhibitions, ink, higher-priced book purchases, art purchases, electronics, screenprinting supplies, furniture etc.

Fun has been reduced by $60 (Used to be $60 for me, $80 for DF.) Now that we are earning roughly the same amount, I figured now was the best time to reduce it to LESS than 10% of our take home and equal it out. DF's weekly spending has reduced anyway, since he is home-brewing. Basically our fun money covers any frivolous purchases we don't feel like explaining Big Grin or the odd take-out or movie night.

Petrol is generally less than $70 a week, but better to plan for more than less right?

Mortgage Payments & Extra Payments: Technically, our normal mortgage payment pays off extra AS WELL. But I figured it is better to schedule an extra $20 to go in as well. Can't hurt.

The one thing I have not put in there is university costs, because I have no idea what they are. But, our EF should take care of this if our 'Misc' doesn't as I don't think it will really be all that much to get started.

So, that's it. Feeling very motivated with our new spending plan and can't wait to talk it over with DF and get it into action. What does everyone think?


August 24th, 2010 at 05:35 pm

I have been patiently waiting for the new iPhone 4 to come out - not for me to buy, but so that the 16gb iPhone 3 can drop down to the $49/m plan that I am on. I am now due for a free phone upgrade at no extra cost - our network sent me a letter AND an email alerting me to this fact. They had a heap of other phones available for free, but no iPhone. And when I looked online, it appears that they don't even have ANY other iPhones available except the new iPhone 4's. (This is with my network - I'm not up for changing networks at the moment.)

What gives?

I thought they'd be throwing the old ones at people, trying to get rid of them while simultaneously marketing the hell out of the 4's. (Actually, they are, and just about everyone I know is getting them, waiting for them, or about to get them.)

I don't get it. Maybe I just have to wait longer while they sort it out or something. *sigh* Of course I want a new phone, but I also want to give my old one to my little sister. Her 'teenage ways' are scaring my mother and it would be nice to be able to contact her and know where she is at times!

hung parliament

August 22nd, 2010 at 11:54 pm

There's been lots of talk about the state of our parliament at the moment. The election results have not been finalised and it is soooo close that they have to wait for all the postal votes to come through. For such a boring campaign trail on both parties counts, the final results are proving to be the most interesting that I've seen in my (rather short, I might add) political life & awareness.

It seems the Greens and the independent parties might actually hold the power this time, which I am sure no one was really expecting, if it turns out to be a hung parliament. It's all extremely interesting.

In other news, we had quite a full weekend. My little sister stayed over on Friday night. We helped her screenprint a shirt she wanted to do; a Misfits band tee. Cost at the local record store: $30. Cost of making it at home: $5.85 for a no-name blank shirt. And several hours of my sisters time Big Grin

We had DF's BIL and our niece stay over on Saturday night, and then more friends over on Sunday.

Also got some books from a friend (the one that works at the bookstore). Haven't yet paid him for them though, as we're not sure how much they cost. I am thinking it's around $170. Could be cheaper but not sure.

And yes, it's Monday afternoon now. Already another week has started! Seems to fly by so quickly. Only 10 days until the first offer round...

weekend! voting day!

August 20th, 2010 at 03:52 pm

It's the weekend again. This year seems to be slipping by SO fast. I slept in and it was lovely - I normally wouldn't on a Saturday with loads of things to do, but I seem to be having a patch of bad sleeping nights. Slept for 10 hours last night, but before then hadn't slept in three days. Ahhh. Nice. (Funnily though, with the election campaigns drawing to a close, have heard so much about Tony Abbott 'not sleeping for 36 hours' in the final election day.' Ohhhh. Poor thing!) LOL.

Voting day today. Just found out we can vote at the bottom of our street! Which is great, we can walk and not have to try and find a park. Will do it later today, once the crowds have gone.

Plans for this weekend:
- a screen print.
- laundry
- finally send our tax
- tidying.
- markets

I have to make our place slightly baby proof in the next hour or so. We are having our neice and DF's BIL over for the night. DF's sister is having a girls night with friends. For dinner we're having roast veges, sausages (for the meat eaters) and salad.

Just paid our rates yesterday. $739.42 - cheaper this time because our water bill was separate for the first time. (Water bill was $494).
It's about a hundred dollars more, and everyone is saying not to pay the water bill because apparently Unity Water (the people who have taken over the water distribution for our area) do not read the meters, they just guess. Most of the time. Or so I'm told. But ours is fairly close - they say we use 366 litres a day. Previously it was around 247. A jump, yes, but not as much as some peoples. I put it down to DF's home brewing, and the fact that it is winter and we have longer showers. But, I don't know. Bill is due on 13th September, so we will see how that goes...

So yes, back to voting day. Going to be a very interesting out come I think. Either we have our first (elected by the people) female Prime Minister, or a man who is extremely religious and conservative. Might do well in other countries, but everyone I talk to seems to think that he is not suited. But, I don't know. I think our society is made up of pretty equal parts, so will be interesting to see how this turns out. Eh. I don't really discuss my political views with people other than family... I find that everyone thinks they are right, and a lot of the time if they DONT agree with your choice, they try to change the way you think. Or put you down because you don't take their side. Eh. So yes, I will have adiscussion about politics, but won't disclose my voting preferences. I learnt the first time!

tracking expenditure slipping... & summer

August 16th, 2010 at 04:55 pm

It's halfway through August and I haven't tracked a single cent of our spending. What's going on?
I know we're not spending any more than usual, and we hold back, as always, on purchasing frivolous things or dining out more than necessary. But it's the not knowing that is freaking me out.

I could probably recall all of my expenditure - but DF is a different story. He remembers probably up to two days. And I used to ask every afternoon, so he would get into the habit of remembering to tell me as well. And now, I don't ask, so he doesn't even remember to remember!

I MUST get back on track with this. I can see how we could live without it, but it is my freakishly controlled organisational nature that won't allow it. I know just by looking at our accounts that we are doing fine, plodding along, but it's not good enough. I need to know details! Big Grin

Summer is coming. Or Spring, I should say. Though we don't really have Spring. Or Autumn, for that matter. Basically we get about three months of cold mornings and fair temperatures through the day, that we like to call 'Winter'. Then the rest of the year ranges wildly from tropical thunderstorms to out of control humidity & heat, back to the thunderstorms. And that's just in one day. It's lovely. If you're a mango tree. Or just a plain weirdo like my best friend, who spends about 90% of her time at the beach, slathered in coconut oil and pretending the ads on television about skin cancer don't exist. (Sometimes you might see me sitting next to her... with a long sleeved swimming vest, polarised sunglasses, sunscreen and an umbrella.)

I am getting prepared (mentally, that is) for the heat. The humidity. The afternoons where, even though I never drink normally, an icy cold beer is the only thing appetising on the menu. I am looking forward to more weightloss. Winter plateaus for me. I haven't put anything, hooray for that. But after my inital 6 kilogram weightloss as the end of 2009/start of 2010, it just stopped. Can't say I really tried that hard. Too cold to get out of bed earlier than neccessary. Yoga is hard because our house is cold and it's difficult to do the balances and stretches in anything other than shorts. Tea and bikkies are more comforting than a bowl of fruit for dessert. And hot chocolate...

I guess Summer is good for the longer days. Apparently people say they get more done. I'd love to meet them, and see how true that is. When I get home from work all I want to do is sleep. The heat wears me down. Eugh.

I am trying to look at the positives of Summer. Well, my personal positives. Because according to some, I'm a hermit and better suited to somewhere like the North Pole. Or London. (Truth be told, I'd love to live in England. It sounds like my ideal climate.)

Positives of Summer:
- Eating more salads for dinner.
- Weightloss.
- Home-made icy poles.
- Mangoes & other summery fruits...
- Fruit Salad.
- Swimming at the river.
- It's too hot to eat anything from work.
- I can finally reap the benefits of DF's home brewing.
- Our birthdays are coming up.
- Christmas.
- Staff bonus/presents.
- Summer thunderstorms, lightning, cool changes.
- Earlier mornings.
- New clothes are out in stores. I might actually find a skirt that I LIKE.

What do you look forward to in the changing of seasons?

plans for today

August 14th, 2010 at 05:04 pm

Today is Sunday, the last day of the weekend Frown
I have a big week coming up. It is not really 'big' but there are things I have to organise in order for it to run smoothly. Today I was going to have coffee with a friend, but might not end up doing that. It depends on if I get everything else done.

Plans for today (if I write it down, they'll get done!):

- Clean stove, wash dishes.
- 3 x loads of laundry, fold & put away.
- Vaccuum & Mop.
- Bake Anzac biscuits.
- General tidying.


In other news, it is only two and a half weeks until the first offer round is sent out. I really have no idea what my next step is if I *don't* get in. I am trying to prepare myself for that possibility.

Last night I made a delicious (but not very healthy) creamy spinach pasta dish with oven roasted tomatoes. I guess the only unhealthy part was the cream... but still not something we are used to eating. Very nice - but only a once-in-a-while dish, I think Smile.

My rationale with food is if we eat healthily for breakfast, lunch & dinner, then the couple of biscuits with a cup of tea after dinner doesn't hurt anyone. We also generally have a 'rich' dessert on the weekends, but not during the week. If we could, we'd have chocolate puddings and fruit crumbles every night for dessert, I think!

Currently Listening To: Odessa - Caribou


August 13th, 2010 at 10:43 pm

This morning I went to the famers market and DF took the dogs for a walk. I got home just as he was running up the hill with them. I realised how funny both of us must look when walking the dogs - as they walk ahead of us on their leads, practically touching each other (Banjo has a habit of leaning into Jed while walking) and trotting along, mouths open and tongues hanging out. Almost looks like they're grinning - they LOVE their walks.

Spent ~$35 at the market. $29 on fruit and vegetables for the week and $6 on some freshly made turkish pastries for breakfast. Oh so good.

Then DF and I went into town and did a morning of op-shop touring. I bought 2 novels for $6, an Abercrombie & Fitch skirt for $1, a Motley Crue tee for $6.50 and a Groove Armada tee for $3.50.
DF bought two hats for 50c each, a pair of shorts for $4.50, some woodworking magazines (11 of them) for $2.

Amazing how the prices differ from store to store. I always find great things at one particular op shop but just refuse to buy some of the stuff because it's so overpriced. $8.50 for a plastic plate with a retro sailing ship picture on it! I would have bought it for maybe $4...

My tooth (or lack of, I should say) is healing. Still kind of hard to eat though, but I am getting there.

We stopped at Bunnings (a huge, chain, discount hardware store) and bought some fancy brackets for the spice shelves and some new bins. Never thought I'd get excited about buying bins, but I am. They're sleek stainless steel ones with a foot-pedal - we got one for the kitchen and one smaller one for the bathroom.

I have some things planned to do before the day ends - it is nearly 4pm now. Washing, tidying, watering plants etc. Well, I guess I better stop procrastinating!

Currently Listening To: The Clash

all done

August 9th, 2010 at 08:19 pm

This morning I got the biopsy done (for those that were wondering: it did not hurt at all). I spent $8.10 on a coffee and savoury muffin, because even though I had planned to eat breakfast at home, I spent ten minutes looking for my referral papers because I could not find them - so didn't get time for a coffee and bowl of fruit.

Just got back to work after having my tooth extracted. I have a little bit of decay that needs to be cleaned up on the tooth next to the one she removed. Quoted price was ~$280. Todays visit was $226.90. The numbness hasn't worn off yet - not totally looking forward to when it does Frown

I don't think I will eat anything tonight for dinner. I know you can eat after an extraction, but I can't be bothered. I'm still full from lunch so I think I will be fine. Maybe will have some yoghurt and banana.

On the plus side, I think I am feeling up to the Aldi shop this afternoon. It's very rainy/windy weather out there though. Not really good for driving. But I'll give it a go.

Now all I have to do is a follow up appointment with my doctor - and I won't have to go back for atleast a year!

Next on the list is DF's health and dentistry check ups. Eeeek. I remember the last time DF went to the dentist, the guy mentioned that he might want to consider a GE Loan & payment plan for the dentistry work he requires. Frown But, I think even just a little is better than nothing, so we will set a budget for dentistry each year and try to get one or two things done, just to slowly chip away at it. That is better than getting into debt over it, right? (Apparently DF's dental work could cost over $10k all up)

Just got word from my dad that there is another stack of cd's and dvd's in the mail for us. Big Grin LOVE my dads job perks.

books, more books & shopping

August 8th, 2010 at 11:50 pm

Work was busy today. Always busy on a Monday, but a bit busier than usual. Not really complaining though; when there's a lot for me to do, it goes fast. Not to mention I LOVE my Mondays - I work ALONE and that suits me perfectly. I don't mind working with people, either, but they tend to get in my way. I like to have the entire bakery to myself (I mean, apart from the counter staff girls) I can have custard tarts setting over here, choux pastry mixing over there, apple turnovers in the top oven, cupcakes in the middle oven, my radio station playing and only my own dishes to wash. Big Grin Kind of makes up for the fact that I have to get up at 4am.

I just found out that some of my tattoos are getting published in a book that is being released in October this year. Uber-exciting! Big GrinBig GrinBig Grin
... Except now I'll have to buy the book *sigh* aaah well...

Speaking of books, a friend of ours (who works in a bookshop) finally got the books we ordered in stock, the first and second volumes of Angelique Houtkamp's work. I am giving one to my dad but haven't decided which one yet. We got them slightly cheaper than retail prices too, so all up I am guessing they cost around $60 for both.

Tomorrow is my Aldi shopping day, but I just realised I am getting my tooth extracted at midday, in my lunchbreak. I am not sure if I will feel up for a monthly shopping trip, I am going to try. Hopefully by the time I finish work at ~3.30pm, the anaesthetic will have worn off and I will be able to talk & control my facial movements and not be a slobbering mess Big Grin Otherwise, I will try and go on Wednesday. I don't think I can leave it for another week (I have already postponed the trip a week) because DF is starting to complain that we have run out of peanut butter, or vegemite, or mineral water etc etc. If I go and buy them at the normal supermarket, it would cancel out the whole point of shopping at Aldi in the first place. So, we'll see.

productive weekend

August 8th, 2010 at 12:02 am

What we were able to achieve this weekend:

- Got up relatively early (for a Sunday) at 6.30am, had a coffee and went to the local markets for our fruit and vegetables. Spent ~$30 for the week (all no spray, locally grown organic produce). It is nicer to go earlier, as there aren't as many people.
- Had breakfast at an organic, artsy cafe we love. Spent $32. Was unplanned, but nice anyway.
- Stopped at the hardware store to buy spraypaint, a curtain rod & hooks. Spent $43.
- Did most of our weeks worth of washing, tidied the house and vaccuumed and mopped the floor.
- Hung our new curtains. I love them. This is a picture to show the pattern:

The photo does not really show the shades that well, it is actually a charcoal grey and black velvet-feel pattern.

- DF spray-painted my spice shelves. Hopefully by the end of the week they will be installed in the kitchen and I can get rid of the yucky green vegetable stackers that currently store all the jars of spices and herbs we own.
- I candied ginger for the first time. It went well, and I am pleased with the results!
- Made banana, honey & cinnamon muffins.
- Also made lemon and almond biscotti, which are currently cooling. Yum!
- DF is fiddling with his car. Always a good sign - the more he fiddles, the closer he gets to actually being able to drive one of them Smile