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Archive for October, 2011


October 25th, 2011 at 08:50 pm

Ahh, it has been a little while. Update time.

I have had my head in the sand re: our finances lately. I do not have the motivation to track our daily expenditure again. I have not done this in over a year now. Funny thing it though, we are SO much better now, than we were then. Hardly any needless spending during the week ('Oh, I'm thirsty, I'll buy a drink...') and we do not buy a lot of things these days, generally.
Perhaps I should? It might be good to see. Maybe even give myself a little surprise...?

AGAIN still no luck on the job front, however I received an email stating I am on the shortlist for a job at a local supermarket. Not exactly a career opportunity, but with studying, it is actually something I want: a no-think type of job. My main aim is to secure as many hours as I had at the bakery (30 p/w) and then RESIGN from the bakery.

It is sad, but I have been daydreaming about it. Yes! Actually imagining it in my mind, (embarrasingly, I do this a couple times a day) the day that I resign...

I am pretty sure, that is an absolute sign that I should be leaving. Big Grin

Just had my older sister stay a night and two days with me. I have not seen her for over two years as she has been living in the UK. She is quite depressed as she has left 'the love of her life' over there and can't find a single way to get back there. (He will not get married - nor will he visit her in Australia). I didn't want to say anything, as the memory and pain is still fresh, having only been back for two weeks, but he sounds like he is not worth it... He wants to work and live in the same place he has grown up in. His plans next year are to climb some big trees in california with his friends (redferns? or something?) and he wants to keep doing what he is doing (he is a tree surgeon). I feel bad for my sister, she is so upset at having to leave him, but at the same time I hope she will realise that if he is not willing to even change a tiny bit of his life for her, then maybe he does not love her as much as she loves him. Or, is just being selfish.
But, that's just me. I would put love over pretty much anything. Life does not always work out how you expect it to.

So, that's kind of sad Frown

My younger sister has taken it upon herself to move out of home (she is 16 but thinks she knows everything there is to know). I visited her yesterday, with my other sister and younger brother. The place she is living is TERRIBLE. She does not even have any sheets on her bed! (My mum said she tried to give her some and she said she had some - obviously too proud at the moment) She shares a room with a guy she goes to school with (they are just friends) and they pay $190 a week for a little room, use of a washing machine, bathroom and kitchenette. It is just horrible. There isn't even a light in the kitchenette.

I am not overly thrilled at having her living with us again (she is a messy hormonal teenager, what can I say? added onto the fact that we hope to have a baby next year...) BUT, I can't stand to have her live in such a place. I sent her a text message and said that if she wants to leave there for ANY reason, she ALWAYS has a place here, and if she decided she wanted to be here long term she could always rent, for less than what she's paying there. UGH.

I give it another month. She has been there two weeks. I think she needs some time, and then she will realise it is not something she wants to do. Once the novelty of having no one telling you what to do wears off, she will realise it's really not all that great.

My friend has asked me to help her make wedding cake toppers (the edible kind made out of modelling icing). It seems like a good opportunity. I feel bad though because this friend always leaps into everything head first, and I cannot afford to shell out money for something I'm not really sure about. She has not asked me for any money though, and has bought everything herself. She wants me to decide if I want an hourly rate or a piece rate, and how much I want. Sigh. Is this really something I should be deciding? She seems to think it's 'our' business and she keeps talking about 'splitting everything down the middle'. It is so confusing. I don't actually know what I'm doing! And she has a tendancy to do things the hard way (ie handcutting something out instead of using an icing cutter). Anyway. We'll see how it goes. I just don't know if this is something serious, or if she's just asking me to do it for her so she can give me some money and not feel guilty about what happened at our work. (She was the friend who was employed full-time when I lost half of my hours at work).
We will see. She apparently has a lot of orders. But she is terrible at the business side of things, and doesn't want to learn anything either. She is the type to say 'I don't know anything about business' and then when you try to tell her she will just not listen. You can see that in her head she is telling herself she doesn't know, so she should not even try. It is extremely frustrating.

In other news, my dogs killed a goanna the other day. It was the day my sister came over to stay. I did not have time to remove it from their kennel before I had to get her from the rtain station (they like to find dead things and put them in their kennel - weird, weird dogs) so when we got home she goes 'WHAT is THAT!?' with a horrified expression on her face.
Naughty, naughty, naughty boys.
A possum and also a bird have, at different times, crawled into our yard after being attacked by a neighbours cat and passed away. With the possum, they sat next to it until I came home and then whined until I went downstairs to investigate. With the bird, well, Jed decided it was his new best friend and took it into his kennel, and rested his head next to it on his blanket. Would have been cute if it wasn't a dead thing...
Not sure about the goanna though. Perhaps it attacked them, or perhaps they were being territorial. They are Jack Russells; it is their instinct. Either way, I feel really sad for the goanna, they really are beautiful to look at. (If you don't know what it is you should google it, they're amazing creatures).

Healthwise, I have to get an iron test today or tomorrow. Fingers crossed my levels are up!
I have not lost any weight that I wanted to, and in fact have put more weight on. I feel fat and bloated, and my clothes are tight. DH makes it harder because he is going through a junk food & chocolate phase. Keeps bringing home copious amounts of chocolate that he finds on sale. ARGH. It is infuriating. (I am the type that will not eat it if it is not there... but if it IS there, well, that's another story altogether...)

Well, I should get going. I have an accountants appointment then time to study for my data analysis exam next week! EEEEK.

33 ways...

October 18th, 2011 at 06:23 pm

I just saw CreditCardFree's post about the article '33 ways to reduce debt'.
Technically, I don't call myself frugal. Not at all. I'd say we're conservative, at best. It leads me to thinking, what exactly is frugal? While one person can say someone who does the following 33 things are frugal, another (like me) may say that it's not, or that it's just common sense, or whatever. I guess it's the same as what we view as a want and a need: it's subjective really.

Anyway, I decided to analyse our financial habits according to this article. What about you? Where do you stand?

1.Re-shop auto, home and life insurance to see if you can bring down your payments.
My auto insurance was the cheapest I could find this year. When it expires, I'll search around again. Our life insurance and home & contents insurance is one of the cheaper ones combined with a 15% multiple-policy discount which makes it the cheapest I can find, also.(It should be noted that you always need to consider your location and risk in association with insurance - no point having it if it's never going to help you, you may as well have no insurance at all).

2.Downgrade your cable package, or get rid of it entirely.
Never had cable in my LIFE, and until recently the Australian free-to-air television stations consisted of exactly 5 channels. Now we have about 14. I hear people in other countries have more free-to-air channels than us... why on EARTH would you pay? Sheesh.

3.Disconnect your home phone if you have adequate cell service at your home. Or downgrade to a cheaper package.
We do not have a home phone, and our internet is the cheapest you can find, unless you're willing to use dial-up, which we're not, as I use it for uni...

4.Buy and sell clothes at your local consignment or shop at Goodwill.
I sell old clothes on eBay, and I shop at opshops. We don't have consignment stores here (that I know of)

5.Have a massive garage sale. (If you’d rather be out of debt than have an item, choose to sell it to help you get you there.)
We just had one, and netted a nice chunk of money for savings.

6.Advertise higher quality items on Craigslist, Facebook, or your local newspaper to get better prices.
I'm currently selling a piece of furniture in the paper right now.

7.Focus on buying mostly sale items at grocery store or generic brands to reduce your cost.
I shop at aldi. Can you get any more generic?

8.Use a grocery store awards program to earn money off gas.
I do this, and I also fill up on Tuesdays or Wednesdays (cheapest petrol price day)

9.Cancel unnecessary expenses like magazine subscriptions, newspapers, manicures, pedicures etc. Anything that could be considered a “want” instead of a “need” should go until you are out of debt or greatly decrease your debt.
Subscriptions? Manicures? What are they? LOL. The only subscription I have ever had has been a gift from my dad.

10.Go to the matinee movies instead of paying full price (and skip the concessions).
Or better yet - try not going to the movies for over 12 months. Big Grin (and when you finally decide to go, use a cinema loyalty card that offers half priced movies).

11.Or better yet, use the Red Box for at-home movie entertainment.
We borrow movies from friends and the library? Does this count?

12.Get temporary work or seasonal part time work to boost your income.
I have two jobs, and DH is part of a family business. I'm currently looking for a third job.

13.Read books from the library or take a few trips to Barnes & Noble to complete a book.
Well, I don't know how welcoming the bookstore would be about that, but I do use the library regularly.

14.Buy your most expensive groceries in bulk at Coscto: meats, breads, cheese, produce, paper products. Establish a monthly grocery budget for the additional needs at regular grocery stores.
We don't have a Costco, but when I spy something cheap at bulk price that we use, I buy it.

15.When eating out, skip the soft drinks and stick with water. Skip the extras too (dessert, etc.).
We eat out very rarely, and usually only have the meal, nothing else. You can also try to stick to the specials board too...

16.When eating out, share a large entrée or have small appetizers instead of the costly meal.
Often these end up being of a similar cost in my experience.

17.Plan your errands more efficiently to conserve gas.

18.Find friends that you can trade services with…haircutting, handyman, photography, babysitting, pet-sitting.

19.Give home-made gifts, baked goods, or service IOU’s rather than expensive presents.
We don't give expensive presents, in fact most times we don't give presents unless someone needs something. For children, we screenprint shirts.

20.Boxed cereals are expensive; switch to oatmeal, eggs or fruit for more nutritional and financial bang.
We don't eat cereal, full stop. I work at a bakery so bread is free, this is what we eat for breakfast.

21.Call the utility companies and get on a budget plan to give you more consistency with expenses each month.
We have signed up for two year plans in exchange for two months free service.

22.Set a spending limit with family at Christmas and/or draw names.
Or in our case, just don't buy presents for anyone.

23.Use exercise videos, walking or hiking instead of paying for the gym.
I have never paid for a gym membership in my life.

24.If your haircut is too expensive, find a less expensive stylist or see if your hairdresser will cut you a break on price temporarily – ours did.
My hairdresser is reasonably priced, so is DH's, and they both offer a loyalty card scheme for free hair cuts after the 6th or 7th cut.

25.Say “no” to hosting and/or attending in-home parties where you feel pressure to purchase.
Luckily we don't have friends that pressure us to purchase anything to attend their parties.

26.Does your family live nearby? Once a week dinners with mom or dad saved us a meal out of our shopping budget. Additionally, it usually led to leftovers and our parents looked forward to our visit each week.
Yeah this is one thing we do occasionally but avoid. Our family is a little... different.

27.Make your coffee at home instead of buying it each day.
We no longer drink coffee every day.

28.Pack your lunch – not once a week, but regularly.
We never buy our lunches unless we have special guests on the weekend. Even then, we will usually suggest bringing some salads and having chot hips at the park.

29.Make extra dinner servings on purpose to have leftovers for lunch.
Yep, this is what DH takes nearly every day.

30.Our dentist advised us we could skip the fluoride treatments if we were using a daily dental rinse – which we did… and bought on sale.
Flouride treatments? Never had one. My teeth are fine.

31.Program your thermostat for savings on heating/cooling when you’re not at home.
We don't have aircon or heaters. We do, however, have long pants & jumpers, pedestal & ceiling fans...

32.Tempted by certain retail stores? While digging out of debt, avoid window shopping these places where you’ve failed to control your impulses before.
We actually like window shopping. We are not impulsive buyers and so this is kind of like cheap, free entertainment for us.

We give to a certain charity every year, and make regular deposits to op-shops.

textbooks, and once-a-something cooking...

October 17th, 2011 at 03:10 pm

I was looking over my next semesters course and realised I don't have the right version of MYOB for it on my computer. SIGH. And here I was thinking I'd saved some money!
Freaking out about how I'd have to shell out a chunk more money for a new textbook for just the cd that comes with it (i bought the textbooks second-hand from a fellow uni student), I quickly googled 'student version of MYOB' and lo and behold, they do offer one. I was initially excited because it was $15, which means I'm still saving money, BUT they charge $15 freight. FOR A CD. WHAT?!
Ugh. Anyway, so after all that, I paid 60c less than buying them new. Bah. I suppose on the bright side, I'm helping the environment a little bit, instead of contributing to more waste...?
I have no problem keeping them in the condition they are in now (which is fairly good) and then I can resell them for what I paid in Feb next year.

I have sold a few things on eBay lately. Not everything I had hoped to sell, but I have made around $100 so that's nice.

I've been thinking off and on about doing once-a-week or once-a-fortnight cooking. SIL just started doing it. (Ok, well she has done it once...)
Usually I will make a double batch of a sauce, or mexican beans, and put some in the freezer. But I like the idea of buying all the vegetables fresh, making a whole heap of dishes, freezing them, and then just having to make a salad or a side of vegetables each night. DH will most likely do it every night then Big Grin

I just don't know what to do at this stage. I have done it before, and from memory, I made:
- spinach & feta filo pie
- vegetable lasagne
- meat lasagne
- spaghetti bolognaise

Which doesn't really seem like a lot. This time around I would probably make a curry of some sort, mexican beans (I use these for nachos, burritos & just heated up with a bowl of rice).

What else can you make that freezes well? I've never been that great at making stews. I have a slow cooker, but they never turn out well. If you have a recipe you'd like to share...?

I was thinking minestrone soup. We make that a lot, and usually I just leave the pot in the fridge and we have it for dinner for maybe three nights. It wears out it's welcome on the third night. Might actually be a good idea to freeze it haha.

Any other soups? Bakes? Ideas? Vegetarian dishes would be great, but DH does eat meat and if we fall pregnant I may reconsider eating meat for the duration, so meat dishes are appreciated too...

have you ever been judged by someone with no right to judge you?

October 11th, 2011 at 07:00 pm

I guess lately I've been in a bit of a dark mood. With my hours cut and 50+ applications for jobs out there and no result, Christmas looming (for DH, it means no work for atleast 2 weeks if not several months, trade usually slows down after December) and our TTC plans hanging precariously on a thin thread, there's not a lot to be positive about. Every time I step into work I have to fake smile, and of course when you don't like your job, work is about ten times harder.
I don't like to burden my friends and family with my worries and problems, so I keep them somewhat internal. Usually, I could unload on my best friend - she does the same with me, so it's mutual. But I can't this time, because my reduced hours are due to her getting full-time at work. I want to be happy for her, and I am, but I don't want to make her feel bad so I can't talk much to her about what I'm going through right now. I don't like subjecting people to my black moods, so my excuse is often 'uni assignments...'. Plus, I have to cut my 'coffee with friends' expenses to $0 now. Add onto that, I want to limit fuel consumption, so I don't drive anywhere other than to work!
I feel like a hermit! But it's my own fault. Eventually things will be ok again, but at the moment, I just feel like hibernating. Is that so bad?

Anyway, onto the point of my post. My initial rambling did have a point though: I've been in a bit of a bad mood lately. And so I get annoyed quickly. I have to vent somewhere.

When I lived with my SIL and DH 3 years ago, she was the messiest person I have ever lived with. We had a roster system where we all took turns doing a chore, for example, I do the dishes, then it's DH's turn, then it's SIL's turn, and for vaccuuming, we figured it would be easier if one of us did it one week, then the next week, the next person, etc.

She would leave the dishes for three days before doing them. The bin would be overflowing before she emptied it. She vaccumed ONCE in the year and a half we lived together, because she would conveniently 'forget' until it was the next week, and so the next persons turn.
She was at tafe studying fashion, so the dining room table and the coffee table was always covered in pieces of fabric and magazines, the floor littered with offcuts, thread, pieces of magazine. When she moved out, she didn't even clean the windows or vaccuum her room, or the spare room where she kept all her stuff. She left it covered in rubbish. When she made herself something to eat, she'd leave crumbs all over the bench, chopping board and knife etc. Wouldn't wipe it, wouldn't even put it near the sink.
And she had the nerve to complain about how her courseload was overwhelming, but every time I saw her, she'd be literally lying on the couch, watching television. Apparently she would 'flick through magazines for cuttings, while watching tv for background noise'. LOL. I'm sure that's what she thought she was doing...

Anyway. So, since having two kids in the space of two years, suddenly she's realised you have to keep on top of cleaning otherwise you're living in a cesspit (also probably because no one else does it for her...). They live out in the sticks, clean air, nice property, etc etc. Nothing like suburbia. When they visited and stayed for a night, a few weeks ago, she had a stuffy nose. She went on and on about it. 'Maybe it's the cobwebs, you know, keeping the dust'. Implying our house wasn't clean.
For some reason, this really irked me. This is a woman who, three years ago, didn't lift a finger unless she absolutely HAD to. Suddenly she's the domestic goddess?? Excuse me?

DH bought a cobweb-duster thing for $2.99 at the discount store, and I swiped it around the corners of the roof. You know what? Hardly any cobwebs at all.

I feel judged! By someone who really has no right at all to judge me! Argh. Have you ever felt like this?

Anyway, of course they leave with their two kids, our house a mess. Crumbs everywhere. Doesn't offer to sweep or anything. Thanks a lot.

Anyway. They are staying again this weekend, for one night. It is my MISSION to have the house SPARKLING. Even though I have two assignments approaching deadline, and exams in three weeks... my house is going to be spotless if it kills me.

Sigh. Why do I do it to myself?!

recipes to use up yoghurt? ... & stuff....

October 4th, 2011 at 12:44 am

I have some natural strawberry yoghurt that has hit its useby date. I don't feel like eating it, and neither does DH. I don't want to waste it - it's nearly a full 1kg tub!!! Does anyone have any recipes that uses yoghurt? I am sure there's a yoghurt muffin recipe or something...??? It will have to be a baked goods recipe... thanks in advance!

I finally feel like I'm on top of this university/study thing. I've been getting my mid-semester marks back this week, and I am so pleased:

3 x High Distinctions (A+)
2 x Distinctions (A's)
and 1 x Credit (B)

Now all I have to get through are two more major assignments and one smaller assessment, and of course, the final exams. It looks as though for one of my subjects, I will have passed without even doing the final exam Big Grin This makes me SOOOOO happy.

I have a month to go until this semester is over, and four days after my final exams, Semester 3 starts :/
Oh well. I am happy to keep on keeping on. I am actually looking forward to the two subjects I am doing next, Financial Accounting, and Marketing.

I picked up my second hand text book from a girl doing the same course as me, for my next subject, and have organised a second hand textbook for my other subject as well.
In total, buying second hand this time, I have saved $105! Yippee.

Next week marks the start of my 'reduced' hours at work. Bastards.

Anyway, in an effort to atleast make up SOME of the money lost, I have started doing internet surveys again, and am auctioning some items on eBay. I have about $100 to claim very soon on three survey websites, and am hoping to net a few bucks on eBay (at least). Also I have around $100 in our paypal account from past sales to withdraw. So, that's a start, atleast.

Did you know eBay now allows you to list 30 items for free a month? I think this is fantastic. I will definately be using this to my advantage, getting rid of the clutter etc. And if it doesn't sell, relist it! It's free! Big Grin

Already selling some unused, unopened makeup (bought the wrong shade a couple times). I have some watchers already which is great.

Healthwise, I've decided to wean myself off sugar. Working as a cake decorator, you must be able to imagine this is a feat in itself. It is not that I eat cake all day (you do begin to loathe the sight of it, actually) - but, you do get into the habit of tasting a little bit of everything. In some cases, it is, believe it or not, quite neccesary. But other times, it is just a habit you fall into. So, unless it's absoltely neccesary, I'm cutting it out. I no longer have it in coffee, and will allow myself a dessert once a week. Shortly coffee will go too *cries*. Greek no fat yoghurt and honey is my new best friend Smile