After a late Friday night (full of laughing and talking with our tattooist... well, we were laughing and talking and DH just grimaced for most of it it was in a painful spot on his arm...) I'm up late after a nice sleep in (til nearly 9am!!)and about to start a weekend chock full of study!
Thought I would update, first though...
The guy who bought the tyres has just picked them up and given us the $60 he owes us. The lady who bought the cabinet dropped by on Thursday to pay $50 off and buy 10 cupcakes she asked me to make for her. She asked if she could pay for the rest of the cabinet next week, as she is a bit short of money this week due to unexpected kids expenses (totally understand - my mum deals with this all the time), I told her it was fine. She is a lovely lady, single with two kids and I think she is doing it tough (obviously not too tough as she can buy cupcakes!). I have her address and phone number, and she has already given us $60 toward it. We could sell it again for no hassles if she changed her mind.
Also, she asked if I made birthday cakes I doubt my abilities with cake decorating, even though that is what I am employed to do. (BTW, 'cake-decorating' as a term, when I use it anyway, actually means: making the cake, and then decorating it... in case people are confused!) I don't like making things for people I know, or people who seek me out as an individual. I am afraid they won't like what I do. I need to get over this, as I realise I can make some pretty good-looking and great-tasting cakes most of the time. (sometimes... most times... better than my boss shh, don't tell him I said that...)
I just don't have any of the supplies or equipment to make them at my house. DH is always encouraging me to 'invest' in these things and I think it's an unneeded expense. Maybe not. I don't know? I could probably make some good side-money, and even if I just bought the decorating equipment and left the actual cake-baking to be done at work, in my own time and paid for the scratch ingredients from my boss. Things to think about, I guess.
Heard back from one of the jobs, unsuccessful. (what a surprise... not). I suppose I will not hear from the other ones. I do not always get an email saying I was unsuccesful, they usually just leave you hanging. Nice.
I have begun taking some pre-conception vitamins (holy dooly, are they expensive! I don't take vitamins as our diet is varied and healthy, but I figured I probably should for this as it's recommended... even at a discount chemist a months supply is $20) DH had a doctors appointment on Thursday and has to get some blood tests done next week. I also have to find a doctor, and get a check up. And go to the dentist. Sigh. Next week...
My best friend quit. It was the day after she had that guilt-trip from my boss's wife, and after I had that horrible phone conversation with her too. I did not work that day (worked at my other job), but the next day (thursday) I went in and my boss was SUPER nice to me. Almost too nice. I guess he is afraid that I will up and leave too, because of his wife. You know... even though he is a really nice guy (apart from the lying and obsession with his social status) I wish I was offered a job right now, just so I could ring up his wife and say 'I quit, and it's because of you and your unprofessionalism'.
I know, it's a bit low and immature. But look at what I have had to put up with! Would you really blame me??
My boss would survive. He's worked very long days before. Perhaps his wife will have to help out at the shop a bit more than her token once-a-month visit?
DH has some work this week which is great. Even though he's had a few weeks off, our bank account is still looking healthy.
We have been doing the weekly grocery shop on Saturdays or Sundays, together. It is easier for me this way and saves time with DH coming. (Even though he usually wanders around looking at other stuff). This week looks like it will be a really small shop: we have so much stuff in our pantry it's ridiculous, even though I have not bought a lot of stuff over the past couple of weeks either.
We're doing the shop tomorrow (Sunday) and I am going to make our meal plan off what we have in the pantry, and just nip into town for the essentials, and fresh fruit and veges.
I'm thinking our meal plan will go something like this:
sweet & sour tofu with egg noodles
pumpkin & cashew stirfry with basmati rice
baked fish, salad & sweet potato
mexican beans & rice
steamed vegetables, tofu & rice
We ate our first bananas since January, last week!!! It was very exciting for us. Since the floods in January bananas have been about $15-$20 a kilogram. Doesn't matter if they are organic or not, price is the same. Well, shopping at our local organic grocer we spied them at $9.99 a kilogram so we bought four little golden, beautiful, sweet cavendish. They were lovely! The oranges have been delicious lately too...
DH is having sellers remorse on some of the items we sold at the garage sale oh well. He sold a PS1 for $7 with a whole heap of games, a chip, two guns etc. His uncle rang him the next day to see if he still had it, and said he would have given him $40! Even still, last night our tattooist said he would have given us $60! What are the chances?! (But, it went to a young high school girl who is no doubt going to have a lot of fun with it... I personally think it went to a good home). In the end, we made $450 and I think the reason we made that much was because our prices indicated we wanted to sell the stuff, not have people umm and aah over the price, but instead go 'hey! I'm going to buy that! Right now!'.
The coffee table (the one I didn't want him to sell! lol!) he sold for $40. Then two people came back that had been in the morning to ask about it, and asked how much he sold it for. LOL. But like the PS1, it has a nice selling-story to it too: the guy bought it because he wants to teach his grand-daughter to play chess. I mean, could you ask for it to go to a better home?!
And lastly, my poor baby Banjo!!! Earlier this week, he kept licking his face and seemed to not be closing his mouth. (He is a dog that pants half the time... so I wasn't especially worried at first, but then it got to a stage where I was a little worried). We tried looking at his gums and teeth, nothing. His breath was a lot smellier than normal. I took him to the vet on Thursday. The vet looked at his gums and teeth (as DH and I did), couldn't find anything, suggested maybe he had a sore throat and got a flashlight to inspect the inside of his mouth. Opens Banjo's mouth and what do we find, but a piece of a stick jammed in the roof of his mouth, horizontally between the molars on the left and right side! (hard to describe...) The vet said 'ahh, this is your problem!' quickly reached in and pulled it out. Our poor Banjo must have had it in for a few days, two great big holes on the inner side right next to his teeth and huge cut across the roof of his mouth (and blood!). The vet gave us some painkillers and antibiotics to clear up the infection. He asked if Banjo had trouble eating or drinking. Nope! I had even given him a bone the day before. Our vet laughed and said 'This ones a tought nut!'
On the trip home he sat in the front seat and when I looked over, he was curled up in a little ball with his paws on his snout. Fresh pain after getting it pulled out... ouch. He was a brave little fellow. I feel so bad that I didn't know, but the vet said unless you knew what to look for you wouldn't have known - he said he didn't expect to find that at all, he just thought Banjo had a sore throat, and that you wouldn't have been able to see without a light, as the roof of Banjo's mouth is speckled anyway, the stick was pretty much camoflaged. Poor Banjo!!! Total cost $70.25 for short vet visit, A/B & pain meds. (worth every penny I should add!!!!)
Here are some pictures of the last time we took them out, to my little sisters birthday picnic in the park:
Viewing the 'our doggies' Category
After a late Friday night (full of laughing and talking with our tattooist... well, we were laughing and talking and DH just grimaced for most of it it was in a painful spot on his arm...) I'm up late after a nice sleep in (til nearly 9am!!)and about to start a weekend chock full of study!
It's been over a month since I last posted, sorry everyone. I have missed SA, and I find I think about a lot of you sometimes. Even though I've never met any of you, you all feel like my extended family. I've tried explaining this to DH once before, and he doesn't really understand. (I suppose, we do use the 'imagine-everyone-you-don't-know-on-the-internet-is-a-huge-fat-guy-sitting-in-his-underwear' example with my little sister when she decides to not use her brain and adds strangers on facebook, myspace, etc).
I see there are lots of newbies here too, welcome! (I was, once upon a time, a 'regular', however it seems I don't get time to scratch let alone write a blog post, and when I do, I find I don't have much content, so I delete it! I'm determined to post this one though.
So, for about a year now I've completely stopped recording our expenditure/earnings etc. The organisational freak in me sometimes has a spin-out and panics a little bit. I did think, about six months ago, that I felt like I had no idea where we were with our savings and expenditure. I feel like I'm walking on a tightrope very high with no safety harness. However, the bank account begs to differ. It seems that once we relaxed a bit with our financial situation, it did the world of good. Perhaps recording everything isn't for us; maybe doing that meant we had more binges and blowouts because we both always felt like we were pinching pennies. Whatever the reason, our bank balance is almost at where it was when we first bought our house and had a bonza of additional funds from settlement. Basically, the EF I've always stressed about having, is actually there for once.
We just submitted our tax returns for the 10-11 financial year too, and are getting a nice $2300 back. Where is it going? Savings, of course.
I passed my last subject, LAW1101. I'm now about to start my third week of STA2300 (data analysis) and CIS1000 (business information system concepts). I'm actually liking them a lot! Having been met with looks of horror and pity when telling people one of my next subjects was data analysis, I think I'm now shocking people even more by telling them I'm enjoying it. But... someone has to right? And if I didn't like it a tiny bit, then why the heck would I be studying accounting anyway?
I've been applying for a couple of jobs a week. So far, no luck, but I'm waiting on three recent applications I submitted. Fingers crossed!
On the current job front, well, things are still the same level of frustrating. Atleast ALL the staff are frustrated, and at the same person (our boss, and his wife). In some way, that makes it bearable. We are able to joke an whine to each other about it, and pretty much everyone is in some stage of looking for a new job.
Our boss seems to be doing a whole lot more lying lately, and is intent on talking himself (and his wife) up on the social status ladder. He goes through stages of doing annoying things. Lately it's this.
I am not the type of person that cares about what someone earns, how big their boat is, what car they drive, how prestigious their house location is, etc. But, I have to listen to my boss talk about his friends in this way. It actually makes me a little sad, as I've realised lately that I don't know his friends names, what they're like, what they do in their spare time (other than sail their yacht around), how well they get along with their spouse, if they're funny, or a little weird, or their quirks etc. When I talk about my friends, that is what I talk about. I talk about THEM. I've also caught him lying outright (to a customer he didn't even know, who happened to have a bank uniform on) about how his wife is a bank manager. First of all, she hasn't worked at a bank in about two years. Secondly, she approved loans, she was never a manager.
Little things like this, EVERY DAY, begin to drive a person insane.
That, and the wife still hasn't apologised for yelling at me after I told her my sister couldn't work because she was in hospital. So, I'm not really a happy chappy at work right now.
In other income-related news, DH's dad is partly handing his business over to us in a few months while he moves interstate to help his parents (DH's grandparents) fix up their house. Before that happens, I am working with our accountant to turn it into a company. I think eventually DH's dad will retire and hand the business over to us. Things are actually going alright in that section of our lives, for once. Normally it is all sorts of hell with the family's business, but not right now.
My little sister was diagnosed with PCOS last week. I am not really sure how they picked it up because she does not exhibit any appearance related signs (hirsutism, obesity, acne etc) but atleast she knows at a young age and can learn to cope with it now.
Tomorrow will be DH's third week of not drinking alcohol. He has struggled with it, but it is for a good cause. We decided long ago that when we wanted to conceive we would stop all drinking and unhealthy habits, for atleast two months before initially trying. So that is another bit of exciting news: we hope that by the end of the year we'll be pregnant. I'm hopeful, anyway. We're both relatively young and so we hope it shouldn't be too difficult, but have known people who have struggled, so at the same time we're not overly confident that it will be something that happens straight away. We'll see.
My sister having PCOS has made me worry a little bit. I'm not sure if it's something that is genetic? Should I be checked for something like that?
What else? Our dogs are well. I actually took them for their yearly check up and was told they are too fat! So, I have begun to feed them slightly less dry food and take them for walks more often. I did slack a bit with the walks during my exam preparation in June. They seem to have lost a little already (it's been a bit over a month).
I think that is all of my news. I have not had much time to scroll through everyone's regular blogs - so feel free to leave me a little update of what's been happening in your life lately in the comments section!
Our tax refund hit our account today. Woo! ~$3k.
Though it is rather stressful at the moment. I am trying to not let it weigh me down too much, but DF's dads business is not doing so well. Just when DF's dad had turned a corner financially speaking, and it looked like he might be able to manage his money appropriately - the industry up and dies on us! I am keeping my fingers crossed that he gets a slew of jobs to keep them super busy up until the new year - which is generally what happens, but not so sure it will happen this year with the economy and all. They say it's picking up, but I don't know who 'they' are or where they work either.
What worries me most is DF's ability to find another job. Well, let me rephrase. I don't doubt his ability to find a job (he is skilled in several industries), rather his motivation. Sometimes it seems like he has blind faith and loyalty to the business, and won't consider looking for outside work. Even when there is no work, he will do something to do with the family business (which equals no pay, obviously) instead of, I don't know... day labour? listing some junk on ebay?
So, that is what is stressing me right now. Even though the tax refund calmed my fears a little bit, not I am not so sure if we should go ahead with our plans to buy a new TV. We are already discussing downsizing from the original idea of a 40" to a 32". I know a flat screen TV is not a neccesity - which is why we have not bought one yet - but it is something we have wanted to buy ourselves for a reallllly long time (like, five-years-long-time). And seeing as every tube-tv we have has broken in some way or another, bar the one we are currently using - which is about to, I might add, it is not as if we are going out and just buying one because everyone else has one.
Anyway. To further stress me out, DF has a couple of days off work right now, and is utilising his apprentice (who must work every day - or get paid for doing nothing) to paint the exterior of our house. I just wonder how much the paint is going to cost. Though, I do forget sometimes that we have money put aside for renovations. And I guess we are saving a lot of money by not paying someone to do it. And atleast DF is actually doing something productive. I guess I should just calm down and breathe.
Thanks for letting me get that out. You know when things seem so much bigger in your head? Yeah, that.
In other news, I registered Banjo finally today, and re-registered Jed for the year. $20 it cost to register them! Instead of $224 it would have cost if we hadn't de-sexed and microchipped them. The surgery will pay for itself in two more years.
On another note, they also seem, dare I say, a little happier? Since the surgery there has been NO, I repeat NO pee on our deck. It's incredible. And Jed seems to be finally mellowing a little bit, which is nice. Though we have another couple of years with Banjo acting like a crazed little thing before they both settle down. Banjo is much nicer and easier to hold than Jed (don't know how long that will last - Banjo is definately smaller than Jed which is one thing, but he is still growing), though now Jed will have moments where he will sit on your lap and not try to cover your face in slobber and claw you. For about two minutes. This morning I read two pages of a book before I had to put him down. It was lovely!
I know this completely contradicts my previous whine about money (or lack of), but in my defense I have been looking out for this sale for aaaaages. It just so happened to appear during the week where I have a big stress. *sigh*.
Anyway: every year Clinique have a special 'Gift Time' sale where if you spend over $60 you get a free makeup bag full of products. I always try to buy my foundation during this time. I pretty much buy foundation and an eyeliner pencil- any other makeup products I use come directly from this 'freebie' I get. I'm kinda cheap when it comes to makeup - except for the fact that I don't actually use 'cheap' brands, I buy the absolute basic items and everything else I do without unless I get it for free somehow. So anyway, I bought it today. The foundation is $49 and the eyeliner is $36. Eyeliner lasts me about 3 years - foundation about 1. They did not have my shade in stock, so they gave me a sample pot and will call me when it comes in. I also signed up for their rewards program. For every 200 points you get $10 to spend. I already have 85 points. It's at a chemist, so I am sure I will buy other items from them anyway.
I made a delicious pumpkin, feta & caramelised onion tart for dinner last night. We had it with a garden salad and steamed vegetables, and because DF is working at home today, I was able to take the leftovers for lunch. So good!
My little sister is due to go home tomorrow as our mother is back from her trip. I have noticed over the week how much my poor little sister cares about what people think/what she looks like/what clothes she wears/letting down her friends/going to parties etc. Also realised how much I DO NOT CARE. Is that a good or a bad thing? I am polite and nice, which helps I guess. Not sure if DF and I were at all a grounding influence on her, but I hope to maybe some extent we were. She does not get a lot of support from our mother, but maybe staying with us she has realised there is a bigger picture in life than the things she is currently worrying about. In *so many* ways my little sister and I are similar, but unfortunately my little sister is rather impressionable, which I never was. I wasn't really an outcast at school but I was always on the sideline because I didn't really understand why everyone worried about stupid little things when there was so much more to consider in life.
I have completed a few things on my Weekend To-Do List, but have a lot more to do. Always the way!
I got one of the biggest jobs out of the way though. I enrolled! I have picked the first two classes I will be studying as well, starting 15th November through til February, and have finalised all of my funding and HECS-HELP loan. So I think all I have to do now is wait for my course materials to arrive in the mail. Exciting!
It took me ages to figure out how everything works with the courses and prerequisite courses, but I think it will all work out. And it's possible I may finish WAY earlier than in 6 years time if I can handle the workload - but also found out that I have 9 years to complete the course if something arises.
So, feeling a lot better about having all that sorted out.
I also completed and sent off both of our tax returns. YAY! $2900 coming our way in the next two weeks. New TV and the rest is going to savings.
And now this is everything else I want to accomplish this weekend:
- 2 x loads laundry, fold & put away. X
- Wash Dogs bedding. X
- Give Dogs their monthly flea products. X
- Wash Dogs.
- Sweep our deck & tidy, remove clutter.
- Tidy my desk.
- File all loose paperwork.
- Vaccuum & mop entire house. X
- Water outdoor plants. X
- Tidy lounge & dining areas. X
- Clean Walls & Windows. X
- Fruit & Vegetable Shopping @ Markets tomorrow.
- Meet a friend for coffee.
My plan is to get as MUCH AS POSSIBLE done today so I don't have to do anything tomorrow except market shopping & coffee with a friend.
So, I just bought home 4kg of fresh kangaroo meat for our dogs. I diced it up (took about an hour - eugh) and packed it into daily portions and put it in the freezer.
Then as I was throwing the packaging in the bin, I noticed on the pack it said it contained Preservative 221. Having heard something from a co-worker about something like that, I Googled it.
And have now freaked myself out, and am about to throw it all in the bin.
I looked at a few sites and articles just to make sure this wasn't a one off thing, but basically this explains it all:
Sulphur Dioxide is coded as 220-228, and seems to strip the food/body of Thiamine.
I talked to DF and read him the above article. DF said $23.80 isn't a big deal and to throw it out if I am at all worried, which I am.
But I hate waste too.
But our dogs health is more important than wasting $23. I guess I am disappointed that I was, first off, excited that I would be saving money (they never mentioned it had the preservative to me, but apparently they don't have to) and secondly, that it was going to be good for them. HA!
I'm not going to ask for a refund, because I should have read the packaging first. And I've already chopped it all up. A refund is out of the question.
The choice I need to make is feed it to them this one time, and hope it doesn't hurt, or throw it all out and find another supplier who doesn't use this, or find another source of human-consumption-grade meat that is approx the same price.
Really I think I am just going to throw it out. I mean ...If someone gave you a steak and said 'You can eat this, but it could do X, X and X to you', would you eat it? I think not. What gives me the right to do that to my pets???
What do you think?
Am I over-reacting?
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?
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...
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.
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
Personal Loan: $37
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
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 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?