29 Dec 2018

Decluttering Progress - Out with the old!.

During these holidays my main goal is to get a lot of decluttering done. We just have too much stuff that we've accumulated over the last 35 years that we no longer need.

I come from a family who kept everything, 'waste not, want not' was almost a family motto. My grandad was a second hand dealer and my mum was a hoarder in the years that she became ill with Alzheimers. She grew up during WWII and  keeping 'stuff' just in case was part of life for many of her generation. When she died I inherited all her 'stuff' along with lots of family history memorabilia. I did sort through and dispose of a lot at the time, but quite a bit of it was still here - up until yesterday.

Over the last week I've been through all of our clothes, wardrobes and drawers and our bedroom is now completely decluttered. The last two days I've spent in the spare room decluttering my sons things and more of mums stuff that I had stored there. 

The room was filled to the doorway when I started with the floor and bed piled high with boxes and bags and wardrobe full with stuff stacked on top. After two full days working on the room it's now useable as a guest room. 

DD and I had an enjoyable time looking through lots of their childhood things, notes, artwork, school awards - a lot of good memories of school days - we laughed a lot and then tossed 99.9% of it out. We texted DS pictures of some of my mums things to see what he would like to keep and he chose a few items, as did DD.   

There are no grandkids to pass things on to and at this point it looks unlikely there ever will be with both my kids in their 30's and no partners on the scene. I would love to have grandchildren but have accepted that it just may not happen for me. So DD, DS and I were able to make decisions together about some of the family memorabilia - which really helped with feeling a bit guilty I wasn't keeping everything.  This was much better than me storing things for years that no one wants and would just be tossed out once I died. 

So yesterday, (in this awful heatwave we're having) DH filled his van up and made a trip to the dump and this morning I'm about to fill it up again and make a trip to the op shop - all with stuff decluttered from the spare room. Now I can leave the door open and see a nice clean room with a freshly made bed which the cat has claimed - she's always been curious about what was behind that closed door!

I still have a LOT more decluttering to do, I've started on the linen cupboard and the sewing room is coming up next. It will be so much easier to keep the house clean with less in it.

While I've been decluttering I've been watching some you tubes videos and I came across this interesting one which is where some researchers documented the contents of middle class US homes. It reminded me of an essay I did back in uni for sociology on the meaning of items we keep and how women are the keepers of family history.


27 Dec 2018

Redraw is paid off!!

One of my goals this year was to get the redraw paid off completely. Throughout the year the balance has gone up as high as #20,000 as we've dipped into it for various expenses.

I've been so close to getting it down to $0 I really wanted it done before the end of the year. So this morning I spent some time working out how I could raid a few other accounts and not buy any groceries for a bit to find the money I needed to pay it off.

I've just transferred the money and my redraw is now officially paid off completely - balance $0.  Yay!! It feels so good to have it gone and to reach that goal.

In the New Year I'll contact the bank about cancelling the redraw for good. In the meantime I'm working out the budget and our goals for 2019 and doing heaps of decluttering - but thats another post...


25 Dec 2018

Merry Christmas!




Well its Christmas morning here. We'll have a traditional Christmas dinner with the family later today.

I feel like we got our 'Christmas Mojo" back this year- it sort of went missing for quite a few years when mum had dementia and after she passed away, we didn't even decorate the last few years. But this year was great, new tree, new decorations and some new traditions started.

Merry Christmas!

22 Dec 2018

Holiday Time!


I'm finally on holidays for Christmas and really looking forward to the break! The last few days I've been catching up on sleep with afternoon naps and I certainly feel better for it, nice not to be thinking about work.

I've been throwing every spare cent off the redraw as well as our holiday pay and its now down to $2964. I have one last payday before the end of the year and I am also waiting on a big payment from my second job which will see the redraw finally down to $0. DH just got his last full pay before it goes down to a part time amount.

Our tenants gave notice and are moving out this week. We have new tenants moving in straight away so there will be no vacancy at all.

I've been working on a new budget for 2019 and planning the work around the house that needs doing -I can't wait to see the mortgage numbers come down next year! 

So I'm planning on getting some more decluttering done this week and spending some time with family over Christmas.


13 Dec 2018

Rethinking our plans

The last few weeks I've found myself questioning which direction to go in. I had a conversation about possible redundancy (in 18/24 months)with a manager and was told I could be up for consideration - no guarantees though. This is the very opposite of what has been indicated up till now. While I'd welcome it, I guess it just has made me think about a lot of things. It would bring forward my date for finishing work plans by about 2 years.

I had considered starting up a side hustle online - however the truth is that I really don't want to spend my time running a business. And I think I'd rather be putting funds into retirement savings or debt reduction than into a new business venture. So, after much thought and a few sleepless nights I'm axing that idea and just sticking to my original plan of $500,000 in super minimum and a paid off mortgage.

I guess its sticking with the tortoise vs the hare approach. Saving and debt reduction is not overly exciting in the short term. Each week I just transfer money between accounts, each month I add up our progress, and in between I suit up and show up for work.

Its slow and dull but it really is does work.

I remember when we were drowning in debt & family illness and I felt like we would lose everything. Stress was through the roof!  Enter Dave Ramsay, we started following the baby steps and slowly we made progress to the point where our financial lives have completely turned around over the last 8 years.

We've had another big bill last week with the car needing some repairs. I also paid the deposit on our holiday for next year and paid for some professional development.

I'm not sure if we'll meet our goal of $0 redraw by the end of the month -its now at $4,464. But we'll get close to it.

I'm looking forward to 2019 and just staying the course with our original plan for retirement in five years. How we get there might look a little different, but its still the goal!


3 Dec 2018

November Progress Report

Its been a busy month for me at work so haven't had a lot of energy left for blogging or much else. Heres the update for the month.

Mortgage
Our annual mortgage fee of $395 was paid this month and our tax refund and all extra payments were directed towards the redraw.
  • $135,345 down from $139,962
  • $5,643 down from $15,551
  • total mortgage reduction $10,158
Retirement Savings
  • mine $109,233
  • DH $275,027
  • total $384,260
  • total increase $2,034
Groceries
  • $50 CC points
  • $46.12 savings
  • $96.12 total savings 
Health
well, not much walking this month and my weight has jumped up, otherwise all is good- just out of balance as work has been hectic

Work
Busy!  much less work at my second job this month - can't wait for the Christmas break.

Home
My lemon tree is filled with little baby lemons! I haven't done much work outside this month, did get some shrubs trimmed and start my compost bins though so its a small start.

We have out Christmas tree up and a beautiful Christmas wreath. After some years of not celebrating much at all I was determined to get back in the Christmas spirit this year and its been fun to decorate again.

Overall we've done well financially this month. I'm feeling pretty 'blah' about the thought of another four years work and wonder if I should change strategies or do things differently some days. I am thinking of starting a side hustle next year, perhaps ebay or Amazon - not sure. Just need to keep plodding along I guess and not overthink it all.



20 Nov 2018

Finally got the tax back!

This morning when I logged into the bank I was pleasantly surprised to see our tax return money sitting in the account. I decided to fill all my YNAB categories first and then I transferred the rest off the redraw. 

The new redraw balance is  $7,693.

 We're on track to pay it off completely before the end of the year so long as we stick to a tight budget. Then it's full steam ahead on paying off the rest of the mortgage asap.  I am really looking forward to 2019!

15 Nov 2018

Organising the Finances

October / November is our most expensive month. Our annual car registration, car insurance, home & contents insurance, ambulance cover, professional registration, professional indemnity insurance, accountants fees have all been paid plus some repairs on the car - all up around $4000.

So theres been nothing extra paid off debt this payday.

I've gone back to using YNAB so I've been busy setting that up and planning our budget for next year. I am planning on building a one month buffer in the offset account and then anything over that will go to debt reduction.

I've also opened up an online account at another bank for our 'emergency fund' in preparation for closing the redraw when its paid out.

So I am waiting for the tax refund to go into my account, hopefully in the next week so I can get back to mortgage reduction.

Other than that I'm just busy with work and really looking forward to having a break over Christmas.

4 Nov 2018

Thanks & a garden update


I had a very nice surprise this week when I received this beautiful bouquet of flowers along with a lovely thank you card. It is so lovely when people take the time to say thanks - I was truly surprised and appreciative. So I've been enjoying these lovely flowers all week.



Now we've had some really hot weather here this week along with a few very windy thunderstorms. So I've been making sure my new pot plants were watered & protected with some good results.

We love perino tomatos and they are very expensive - a luxury really at $2.50 - $4.00 a small punnet. Well my garden plan is to replace as much bought food as I can with home grown food so I cut some tomatos in half and planted then in the punnets they came in - we'll see how they go.




My compost bins arrived!  Here we are putting them together. They are on a stand so that they can be tumbled. They cost $179 at Bunnings.  I wanted something easy to use, where I wouldn't have to do a lot of digging and protected from animals. Now I just need to start filling them with scraps.





My lemon tree is covered in flowers just two weeks after repotting & feeding it!  I love the fragrance of the flowers as I go in and out the door during the day.




...  my Thai Basil burst into flower overnight...




The pot of mint has just gone gangbusters! This is it after I have cut it back and been picking leaves off it to make mint tea almost every day this week. I just tear 4-5 leaves up in the bottom of a cup, add hot water and let it sit for a while -tastes just beautiful!  ....  now I want to grow even more herbs that I can make herbal tea from...





Each morning we've either walked or I've pruned bushes in the (overgrown) garden. Its so nice to be walking again and it does help me keep more upbeat during the day. I'll end with a pic of  yesterdays sunrise...




"The love of gardening is a seed that once sown, never dies" - Gertrude Jekyll

1 Nov 2018

September/October Progress Report

Time for an update on the finances for the last two months. We spent a month away on holidays (was wonderful!) and DH is now working part time. Heres the numbers:

Mortgage
  • $135,595 down from $142,369
  • $15,551  redraw down from $17,789
  • total mortgage reduction $6,774
Retirement Savings
The market is down lately so our balance is lower, however its a good time to be adding funds so I have been putting $100/week into super after tax.
  • mine $108,226  
  • $274,000 
  • total $382,226
  • total decrease  $10,885
Groceries
  • $80 CC points
  • $61.01 savings
  • $141.01 savings
Health
Unfortunately I am back at the weight I was at the start of the year. I've slipped back into bad habits and its showing on the scales. So I have to get back on track fast. I've started walking again most mornings which has been lovely. I am very tired from work even though I've only been back a few weeks so not a whole lot of energy for other things that need doing.
to do:  mammogram & wisdom tooth X-Ray

Work
Well...  I came back to find several more of our team have left. We now have four people doing the job that 12 used to do.The workload is ridiculous however my manager has been great. There is extra pressure to take on a ridiculous workload - there is already tension as I have refused to do more than I am currently doing. My extra job has now been reduced to about half the hours, while I'll miss the work and the income, it will be nice to work less.

Home
I've started work on cleaning up the gardens - its going to take quite a while as I do about a half hour most days and our yard is big, the garden a real mess. My compost bins arrived and I've planted some herbs in pots. Inside its just more gradual decluttering and tidying when I have the time.


23 Oct 2018

Starting the garden

My plan for the garden is just to do a bit each weekend and I'm starting with potted herbs. Buying fresh herbs at $3-$4 a bunch really adds up so this week we potted up some herbs.

Coriander


Mint.




Thai Basil.




I also bought a lime tree.




... and repotted my lemon tree, which was looking a bit sad.



Yesterday was my first day back at work and I ended up working almost 1.5 hours late dealing with a bit of a crisis. DH had more meetings at his job and his hours are now increased slightly - but still part time. We both came home feeling a bit flat and worn out. I really hope we can stick to our retirement timeline - we'll give it our best shot!

20 Oct 2018

Making soup.

I've been busy cooking soup the last few days and my freezer is starting to fill up again. I now have 46 individual serves of soup in the freezer.  I really love soup and often eat it for breakfast or lunch. Its also one of the most healthy and cheap meals you can have. My favourite way of cooking soup is in the crockpot and adding any veggies that need using up.  So, what soups did I make?

Roasted Tomato - This was from Chrissy Teagans recipe book and each serve ended up costing me about 60 cents.

Red Lentil & Vegetable Soup - I make this a lot, just a good stock, a couple of cups of red lentils, carrots, potato, capsicum, a couple of tins of beans, celery and herbs. Makes a lovely thick soup.

Pumpkin & Veggie Soup - I used all the pkts of frozen veggies in the freezer (broccoli, cauliflower, stir fry mixed veggies, carrots) added some onion, celery, half a small kent pumpkin and chicken stock. Blended it up and it tastes so good!

Chicken Bone Broth - I always have this on hand in case I get sick. With my gut problems this is what I eat if I get a flare up and can't tolerate foods. Bone broth is really healing for an inflamed gut. I use chicken legs, celery leaves/stalks, carrots, oregano, salt pepper & onion. ( I also make a beef one sometimes). I cook it in the crockpot for about 12 hours, then strain. I do brown the bones with a little olive oil and the onion before cooking and add the pan juices to the pot.

(I forgot to take photos of all my soup cooking unfortunately!)

We usually buy a bunch of celery every 1 -2 weeks and I chop the top of the celery off with all the leaves, put it in a ziplock bag and freeze it. I always add these bags to my broth and sometimes to my soups-really adds a nice salty flavour - ( I rarely use salt in cooking due to kidney problems)

So, all in all a good few days cooking and it means I've got good food ready to eat when I am too tired to cook after work.  I still haven't got the muffins done yet so might do that tomorrow.

17 Oct 2018

Refreshed and refocused!

We've been home for a few days now. After being so busy for the last month its been nice to take it easy at home and just get unpacked, catch up on sleep and re-acclimatise to different weather. 

The holiday was great!  It was so nice to just have time to sit around and talk to each other about our plans and how we're going to go about setting ourselves up for retirement.

I also re-read Down to Earth & The Simple Home by  Rhonda Hetzel and it was a lovely reminder of what I'm aiming for - simple living and time to enjoy my home and family. I really am ready to just stop working. I feel like time away from work has let me get things back in perspective.

So we have decided our next step is to get our vegetable gardens done so we can get back to growing our own vegetables. We will have raised, square foot gardening beds - probably about six across the back of the yard. I'm also going to start a potted herb garden out the front where there is full sun.

Now that DH is working less he'll have time to do the work around the yard. The garden beds need to be cleaned out and replanted, paving, fences & paths need completing. Theres plenty of work to keep him busy.

We're also going to look into solar power - electricity prices here are just so high - and increasing the insulation in the house.  Overall we're trying to make the house retirement ready and reduce our running costs.

We passed another milestone with our mortgage by reaching the end of Year 14 balance. Our current mortgage balance is now $136,990. 

So today I am cooking. I have made chicken bone broth, vegetable soup and am about to make biscuits and muffins. I've got the freezer almost defrosted and  I am trying to work out a better system for storing food in a chest freezer so that food can be rotated and not lost in the bottom - if anyone has any ideas I'd love to hear them.

8 Oct 2018

Enjoying our holiday!

We've had a wonderful few weeks holidays, seeing Alaska and Japan in the cruise and now we have a few days in Tokyo. I have good internet access today so thought I'd share a few pics from our travels before we leave for the bullet train. 

Alaska is just beautiful!  Such amazing views everywhere we looked.







We saw icebergs and glaciers for the first time!







We enjoyed getting outdoors and doing some bushwalking.











The holiday has been such a good break - lots of time to unwind and refocus on where we are headed. Financially - we've stuck to our budget and won't be coming home to any holiday bills.  I'm looking forward to summer and getting some work done around the gardens over the coming months.

We'll be home in the next week so I'll post a bit more then and I have a few days till I go back to work so lots of time to catch up on blog reading.  Now we're off to try and navigate Tokyo Station!

10 Sept 2018

Holidays!

Yay!  I'm on holidays!

Six lovely long weeks ahead to see relax, unwind, read good books and enjoy our travels. We have a few days at home before we leave so I'm busy washing and packing at the moment.

We've still been eating down the stockpile and its getting pretty low. I had hoped to defrost the freezer before I go but I don't think it will be all used up by then.

Spring blossoms are out everywhere and we've had a family of magpies move in on the roof so its lovely to hear them singing in the early mornings. I'm looking forward to being able to start walking in the morning when we get back.

Its doubtful I'll post much while we are away, it will depend on internet access. So if I can do a few posts I will, other wise I'll be back blogging regularly in about a month.

...can't wait to get on board that plane!

2 Sept 2018

Spring Cleaning!

 Yesterday was the first day of spring and we kicked it off with a big cleaning session. We've all been in a bit of a funk here with various work stresses and we need to get out of it. So we spent all morning cleaning, sorting and tossing stuff out.

 We have fully decluttered the lounge/family/dining room and re-arranged all the furniture. I've filled a bag to go to the op shop. It feels so good to walk out into this room this morning and its clean and decluttered - finally!

We have only one more week to work until we are on leave, and only 11 days till we leave for our trip.  I'm starting to get excited! Before I go I have quite a bit of work to do so I've actually bought work home to do over the weekend. Other than that my plan for today is get some cooking done and a bit more decluttering.

When we get back from holidays DH will be part time. We've planned out the work we're going to do around the house and garden. We'll also be able to start our morning walks again.

Well the birds are chirping outside my window and the sun is just coming up so time for me to get moving!

31 Aug 2018

August Progress Report

August seems to have gone in the blink of an eye!  We had reduced money to throw at the mortgage this month as the loans on our IPs are changing and I've started sending extra to them.

Mortgage
  • $142,369 down from $143,985
  • $17,789 redraw down from $18,825
  •  total mortgage reduction $1,616
Retirement Savings
  • mine $110,204
  • DH   $282,907
  • total  $393,111
  • total increase $8,060
Groceries
  • $50 CC points
  • $53.22 savings
  • $103.22 savings
Health
No exercise, too many carbs and coffees and too much stress this month have all taken a toll. I have put on weight and feel just exhausted. This is how I felt before I had my year off and really don't like it. Thank heavens I am about to go on leave as I know my weight goes down when I'm away from the stress - so expect a big drop next month.

Work
My extra job - wonderful! My regular job - Awful - too much of everything except time to do it all.  'nuff said!

Home
not much done at home this month. I did shred another lot of old client files that came due for destruction and we've been eating down the stockpile but thats all. Fortunately it will soon be spring and once we get back from our trip DH will have more time to work around the yard and house.

30 Aug 2018

.Working for the man...


Its been a busy & stressful week or so since my last post. My workplace is just very chaotic at present, and everyone is stressed to the max with all the changes and rumours of changes and cuts to budgets and services. I simply cannot keep up with the amount of work coming my way and so there has been some conflict and last week. I just walked out a few hours early one day as I simply could not take it anymore. I knew if I stayed I'd say something I'd regret.  So I, and many of my colleagues are just in survival mode right now.

Yesterday I met with my manager and who assured me of their full support and confidence in my decisions and priorities. That does help a lot! After a week of hearing the rumour our jobs might go before Christmas my manager refuted this and is pretty confident my job will remain, but may change slightly.I try not and get caught up in the rumour mill but sometimes it hard. Another colleague was let go last week.

So I've been living on coffee and carbs - not looking forward to my weigh-in tomorrow! Not much happening her but working and sleeping.


21 Aug 2018

More meals from the stockpile

We're doing well with out stockpile eat down. Heres what we've been eating the last few days.

DD made Vegetable Tortilla Stew from  Chrissy Teigens 'Cravings' book (p 54). OMG this is fantastic! and is now going to be a regular meal for me - I loved it! The recipe includes:

olive oil
chopped onion
green capsicum
garlic
ground cumin
chicken stock
black pepper
2 cans tomatos
3 cans beans

So we used up five cans in one go. I ate this on toast, with corn chips and also put some in the freezer.


I've been having fruit smoothies to use up some of the fruit, almond milk and protein powder.


Then yesterday DH made a lovely stew with minced beef, onions, carrots and potato - delicious! 



In the next few days my plan is to make a big pot of soup and also cook with the almond flour. The shelves are gradually emptying!

15 Aug 2018

Using up the stockpile challenge

So we're a few days in to our challenge and making good progress! heres what we've eaten so far:

Baked dinner on Sunday with leftover roast beef for sandwiches

box of pumpkin soup
ham & cheese sandwiches
I juiced the fresh pineapple and oranges

then I  made a pasta bake

pkt grated carrot
4 zucchini chopped
2 boxes of tomato & garlic minced
1 tin red kidney beans
1 onion
1/2 pkt pasta
1 pkt haloumi cheese
grated cheese

I did the veggies in a little olive oil, soaked the pasta in water for 10 mins then put it all in a baking tray and sliced the haloumi cheese on top and baked it. While it doesn't look that great in the picture, it tasted fantastic and I will definitely be making this again.

DD has been using up the frozen pastry to make chicken and veggie tarts and they've also had home made pizza with veggie toppings.

 Yesterday I stewed up the apples which had gone a bit soft.


So we've had stewed apples and cream for desserts and I am going to make whats left into apple crumble tonight using some mixed nuts and brown sugar.


So far, so good....

12 Aug 2018

Using up the stockpile!

 We've been eating down our stockpile for a few months now and spending much less on groceries as a result. My stockpile has saved us a lot over the years. I buy items when they are on special, often half price and its a part of our working pantry. I built a big pantry storeroom when we built this house years ago. I had visions of shelves stacked with preserves and a nice big food storage. We used to have our own fruit trees and a vegetable garden but that has gone by the wayside in last 5-10 years.

I've kept my pantry full and costs down through smart grocery shopping  over the years, knowing when items come on special and stocking up enough to last till next time. I refuse to pay full price when I can get things way cheaper just with a little planning ahead.  I use a different coloured sticker for each calendar year and every item that went in the pantry got a sticker. That made it easy to rotate foods. But I realised earlier this year that its time to cut way back so we've already eaten through a fair bit of what we had.

I took these photos this morning of what is left of our stockpile. I've made a list so I can focus on meal planning around using up whats left before we go on holidays. And I'm going blog my meals so I can keep myself focused.








 There is also some food still left in the freezer and what is in the fridge.  This is going my big challenge for the next five weeks - to see how I can use up these foods. I'm not someone who likes to cook much or menu plan and I need to just suck it up and do it anyway as it will help us save money.

The plan is to get the freezer and pantry as empty as possible before we go on holidays then when we get back I can clean out and declutter the rest of the pantry/storeroom and then plan what we need to stock up on and how much is reasonable for us to keep now.

So I'm going to create a new page for this challenge and get myself out of this funk I've been in for the last week. I kicked it off with having a box of pumpkin soup from the pantry for breakfast this morning. Its snowing out of town here and really cold after a beautiful sunny 18C day yesterday - a good day to menu plan!


7 Aug 2018

Just Keep Swimming...

We've started going through our expenses to see where we can cut back. Today I put our Audible membership on hold for 3 months, then I'll cancel it. I am not renewing my professional membership and got a cheaper quote for my insurance.  We will also cancel Austar which has been our entertainment budget as we don't go out - but we can live without it.

Audible $28/month
Austar $90/month
Professional Membership $57/month
Professional Insurance -$12/month

Total savings: $187/month

I was a part of a class action against the banks. For those outside Australia we are currently having a Royal Commission into banking here some practices have been a bit dodgy. Well I told I get a refund of $61 today so thats a bit extra off the mortgage.

I'm really struggling at work at the moment, just super stressful and I'm just so tired all the time.  But I need to shut up and show up and keep paying down this mortgage...

via GIPHY

1 Aug 2018

July Progress Report

July was very cold here, broke weather records with our coldest day in 27 years! Heres how we're tracking:

Mortgage
  • $143,985  down from $146,991 
  • redraw $18,825 up from $16,955 
  • $1,136 total mortgage reduction
I decided to just pay out the credit card completely and paid it from the redraw. We used to use it for our general expenses and then pay it off each month so we've never paid interest on it. So our redraw balance has gone up but now the plan is to get it down to $0 asap.

Retirement Savings
  • mine - $106,660
  • DH -   $278,391
  • total -  $385,051
  • total increase - $12,662
This month we reached our 2018 goal of $380,000 in retirement savings. The stock market is doing well so our retirement funds are doing well. 

Groceries
  • $30 cc points
  • $22.34 savings
  • $50 gift card
  • $92.34 total savings
Health

oh dear...  I only walked twice this month, I ate too much carby/sugary junk and got back in the daily cappacino habit ( made at home)  and my weight went up again - 1.1kgs/ 2.4lbs. I had my eyes tested and they had improved so no need for glasses expenses. I also had another trip to the dentist for a filling.

Work

DH had his work hours reduced this month.  His income will stay the same until the end of the year and then it will drop by just over $500/week. While we are fortunate he didn't get laid off as others did, this will have a big impact on our plans. 

I had a chance to get organised and caught up at my day job. I billed $1420 for my extra job this month.

Home

I got back to decluttering and did the bookcase and some of the lounge room. I ended my book listings on fishpond and donated the remaining books to the op shop. I sorted all my towels and am making bathmats out of the ones that are getting thin.

30 Jul 2018

Getting rid of more 'stuff'.

I've had a busy weekend here, sorting and decluttering. In our lounge room one wall is a floor to ceiling bookcase and its a spot where we tend to just put bits and pieces, empty pockets and anything we can't think of a place for. It ends up just getting stacked with other 'stuff' and has looked pretty rubbishy for a long time now.


Well this weekend I completely cleaned it out! ... and what a difference it makes!
I filled four small bags of rubbish, one box of books to be donated. I tossed out years of professional journals that I never read.

The books that were left to be sold on fishpond I decided to donate. I started selling books there several years ago when I first decided to declutter. In total I have sold 110 books and made $1,135.33 from those sales. That money was paid straight in to the mortgage. There was about 25 books left to sell and I just thought its time to donate them and be done with it.

I've always been a book lover and when I was younger could never imagine getting rid of books but downsizing takes priority now and I still have plenty left. I tend to buy audiobooks and kindle books now as it saves space and they are less expensive.

Now the shelves are all clean and tidy with two shelves completely empty. I cleaned up the area in front of the bookcase as it was also just junked up with boxes and bits and pieces. It feels good to walk out and see the area nice and clean!


28 Jul 2018

Good news!

Well the good news is that DH still has a job!  His job will be part-time and he will be paid out for the days lost. So his actual income will stay the same for a few months while that payout happens. It really the best option we could hope for in the current workplace environment. Someone else was laid off yesterday so we're just glad he's still got a job.

So in looking at our finances my first goal now is to pay down the redraw to $0 and then cancel it. Then we'll get back to our mortgage payoff goal.

This weekend I'm finishing up our tax paperwork so I can submit it next week. Our tax return will go a long way to reducing the redraw.

Its a relief to know whats happening and now we can get on with redoing the budget.

In other good news I checked our superannuation fund and we have reached our goal for for 2018 - $380,000 in retirement funds!   and theres still five months of the year left.  Thats two goals for the year achieved and three more to go (mortgage $100,000, redraw $0 & weight 70kgs).

Time to go - I'm heading outside to try and watch the lunar eclipse.

27 Jul 2018

Another mortgage milestone ... & job changes

I've just transferred extra money off the mortgage for this month and that has taken us to a new milestone - the end of Year 13 on the mortgage amoratisation table. 

Our new mortgage balance is now $144,285.

and in other news...

DH has been called to a meeting today to discuss his job. There are two possible outcomes - 1 is that he is made part-time, we had been advised they were considering this earlier in the year and 2 is that he gets laid off - two people have lost their jobs last week.

Without going in to all the details I'll just say that there has been a deliberate downgrading of his position in order to say it is no needed. His job has effectively been changed from management to clerical and its been a very frustrating few years watching this happen. Prior to this 'management' he really enjoyed his work and colleagues. They've gradually got rid of almost all the senior staff that used to work there with the same process so its not a very happy or rewarding workplace anymore. It's the same as what is happening in my workplace - slash and burn and get rid of all the more experienced staff.

Anyway,  it certainly puts a bloody great spanner in my five year retirement plan whichever way it goes. But at least by the end of the day we'll know exactly what our new financial situation will be so we can make some changes. It might just be that DH becomes 'semi-retired' overnight -then I can put him to work around the house!




25 Jul 2018

Free groceries & job interview

Well my job interview went well yesterday. The work doesn't start till later in the year and it would be a few hours a week online with an option to increase hours later if I wanted to. But on considering it overnight I've decided not to go ahead with it. 

Its the same sort of work I talked to another company about earlier in the year but at a lot less pay. That company was OK with me contacting them again when I decide I want to do some work which I plan on doing when my current extra job ends. Since the first business pays a much higher rate, I'll go with them when I'm ready.

What has been good is that the interview has really boosted my confidence that will be able to earn some extra income after I retire if I want. So it was worth it for that alone. Plus its reassuring to have years of experience recognised instead of age being a problem.

Yesterday I received a $50 Coles voucher in the mail. Often I do surveys for students gathering data and at the end some of them offer a gift card prize draw. I always enter as I know most people won't. Well now I'll be getting $50 worth of free groceries! 

21 Jul 2018

Job interview coming up

Yesterday we had some light snow in town in the afternoon, not enough to settle on the ground though. Some of the roads were closed due to snow around the area. It was so cold!

After work I had my eye check up and was pleased to find out my eyesight has actually improved a bit over the last two years! The checkup cost me nothing and I didn't need to get new glasses so $0 spent at the optometrist.

When I got home I found an email from a company where I applied for some part time work a few months ago. It's work I can do from home, similar work to my day job but I'd do it online and in a specific area that I really enjoy running classes in at my day job.

Apparently they had wanted to interview me when I first applied but my email bounced back and ended up in the spam folder. Yesterday they saw it and contacted me to see if I'm still interested. Of course I said Yes!  So I have an interview with them next week.

My plan with doing any part-time work is that it helps me build more skills and make contacts for part time work after I retire if I want to do that. Any money I earn I pay off the mortgage so it helps us financially but I also get a lot of enjoyment out of these types of jobs which is important for me to stick at my day job. So I'm excited about them contacting me and looking forward to finding out the details.


19 Jul 2018

Gas Bill

This morning I got the gas bill. We have gas cooking and gas hot water.  Our bill came in at $193.11 (for 3 months), so thats $2.12 per day.  Our average daily use is 42.61 MJ, down from last year at 44.52 MJ. We've reduced our gas use by 4.29% for the same time last year which is really good.  So our bill is $50.62 in credit.

The last bill I had 3 months ago was in credit almost $250 so I put the regular payments on hold. Now that its down to $50 I'll restart regular payments so it stays in credit.

Yesterday on the way home from work I was so tempted to stop and buy some chips and chocolate! But instead of that I rugged up and went for a 45 minute walk. I felt good for doing it and I do need to get moving again so it was good to make a start.

18 Jul 2018

Mid Week Musings...

Its been lovely and quiet at work, I've really enjoyed the chance to clean out cupboards and get (almost) fully caught up with my paperwork. One person has left our team so their work will fall on the rest of us but since they were a very unpleasant, difficult person its almost worth it to not have to put up with them!

We have slate floors in most of our house instead of carpet. In this very cold winter we are having its cold walking on the floors when you get up in the morning or be in bathroom in the mornings. So I've decided that this weekend I'm going make a few rugs for the floor. I have quite a few old towels that are getting a bit bare and holey and a huge fabric stash. I'm looking forward to having a weekend DIY project for the house!

Speaking of the house, its in real need of a lot of work. The gardens are overgrown and a lot of the shrubs need pulling out and trees need to be removed. Most of it is still the original gardens planted 30 years ago. And once the garden was stunning. But as we both got various injuries and money ran out when we both lost our jobs, spending time and money in the garden just didn't happen. The yard looks terrible and is filled with half finished projects. So I'm trying to make a realistic plan for what we can accomplish to improve it over spring/summer, starting with just pulling out all the old, dead shrubs which will take me a while.

I always find the second half of the year easier to get through than the first. Work settles down a bit from the chaos of first term, and I take my holidays which are about 9 weeks away. This year I am taking 6 weeks off so when I get back its just the run down to Christmas. I'm feeling quite positive about how we're progressing towards our goals for 2018 at the moment!

15 Jul 2018

Coldest morning in 27 years!

Well this morning records for coldest temperatures have been broken all over the place!  Here it was the coldest morning in 27 years at -8 deg C so we've been rugged up all morning till the sun finally broke through just after lunch.

Its the weather for a hearty beef stew and so I have one simmering away in the crockpot - it smells great and I'm looking forward to dinner tonight.

Yesterday afternoon I did something I haven't done a few years. I spent an hour soaking in a nice hot bath, listening to an audiobook. It really did me good - I felt so relaxed afterwards.

I have missed having the energy and time for myself that I had when I wasn't working. I'm trying to take time to do more nice things for myself that aren't expensive. As an introvert I'm very happy just spending time at home reading, sewing, watching TV, gardening, crocheting and crafting. I don't feel the need to go out and do things on weekend or after work.  I'm quite happy at home and can entertain myself easily. I'm sure my life looks quite boring to others but it suits me very well.  I find I have nothing to contribute to the Friday and Monday conversations about what people are doing on the weekend.

Are you happy being a 'homebody' or are you an extrovert who likes to go out and do things?

14 Jul 2018

Back to the Dentist!

Dentist.1 I just got back from the dentist where I had another filling done. The cost was $210.  I still need to have the X-Rays of my wisdom tooth done to check whats happening there. If there are no problems with this filling ( it was quite deep) or my wisdom tooth then I am good for another 12 months.


I am very fortunate to have a lovely dentist who is very good with people get anxious about dentists visits. When I was growing up I had a few bad experiences with dentists. As a result I avoided going as the anxiety would get so bad I'd be sick. In my mid 20's I ended up needing fillings removed and replaced and a few teeth pulled due to my avoidance. Not long after that I found my current dentist and I've been with her ever since. Now I do still get a little bit anxious but its not too bad and get my checkups regularly.

So I have my fingers crossed that I don't need any more work done.

After my broken tooth and amalgam leakage, I did a lot of reading about dental products and I changed from regular tooth paste to the OraWellness products. I can't believe how much cleaner my teeth feel. One night I used the regular toothpaste and the taste in my mouth when I woke up was awful! I will never go back to regular toothpaste again.  In a few short weeks the OraWellness products have reduced the infection and inflammation around the wisdom tooth and got rid of any plaque that was on my teeth. I'm really impressed with how quickly they have worked.

Well, as I'm writing this the anaesthetic is starting to wearing off and it all feels reasonable so far. Its absolutely freezing here - 3 deg C - so I'm going to stay inside and keep warm while I work on sorting these papers and setting up financial files. DH is just heading out the door for a bike ride - its got to be rain or snow to stop him! 

13 Jul 2018

Killed the credit card

The credit card is now fully paid off. I ended up just paying it out from the redraw to get rid of it. Although it puts the redraw balance up a bit, I'm just glad to have it paid off. Now I just need to not use it except for travel or emergencies.

The mortgage interest was $487 this month - its finally under $500. This morning I've made an extra payment of $1500 which takes the mortgage balance down to $145,367.

I have my tax almost ready to go to the accountant but yesterday in the mail I got a GST form sent about my SMSF. This makes no sense at all as my super fund is being wound up and there is no GST on savings - its very confusing, so I have to try and chase that up today and work out what is going on.

 In the meantime its really cold here at the moment. minus 3 degrees C overnight most of this week and its only going to get colder. When I retire I think I'll join the grey nomads on the annual pilgramage to chase the sunshine!

11 Jul 2018

Killing the credit card

A few quiet days at work  and few good nights sleep and I feel quite energised this morning!  I've been up cleaning and sorting out paperwork this morning. Today I need to ring up and try and sort out these missing rates payments.

Its time to really tackle the credit card which we were using for points and to leave money sitting longer in our offset account to reduce interest. I've reached the point where I just want to stop using it for day to day purchases. The reality is that I spend more easily, and lately as I've been tired out, I've used to too much buying snack foods and coffee etc.

 So this morning I have removed it as an automatic payment for anything (paypal, a few subscriptions & online shopping sites). I pay off the last months balance each month, so that means the credit card should be at $0 by mid August. Then it will only be for emergencies or travel.


To Do List for July:

  • get completely caught up with paperwork at work
  • finish eating out freezer and defrost
  • complete decluttering in lounge room
  • sort paperwork on kitchen table and clear table
  • set up new files for finances 

9 Jul 2018

this and that

Another Monday rolls around again and this week I will have a much quieter week at work as its holiday time for the students. For me it will give me a chance to get a lot of paperwork done so it should be a good week.

On the money front -

I have automatic payments set up to pay my rates and its always worked well until now. They have changed the BPay number and so I need to find out where my payments have been going for the last few months! Its $383 that is not showing up as being paid.

I've stopped using the credit card for grocery shopping and am starting to transfer some of my regular payments from the credit card over to my everyday account. By the end of they year I want to be not using it all and have a balance of $0.

Right now I'm preparing our paperwork for the accountant. I'm just waiting on my group certificate which I should get this week. I expect a big tax cheque this year which will all go towards debt reduction.

... plodding along!

3 Jul 2018

Getting things done...

Work will be a bit quieter for the next few weeks so this is when I try and get caught up on paperwork and just take a bit of a breather.

Last week I decided to do a bit of re-organisation in an attempt to not get so behind with it all. I am going back to using GTD (getting things done).

I used to use it pretty thoroughly a few years ago and I still do parts of it, but its time to get more organised and get back into the full swing of it.

GTD has five basic steps:

Capture:  Collect what has your attention. So anything that is on your mind is written down, papers & notes that need something done with them are all collected and put in an inbox, or in one place, ready for processing.

Clarify: The next step is to make a decision about every item in your inbox, handling each item once. There are eight different 'buckets' you can put the items into:

  • trash
  • someday/maybe
  • tickler file
  • reference
  • waiting for
  • next actions list
  • calendar
  • projects list
There are some excellent diagrams of the GTD processing showing this. If it takes less than two minutes to do something then you just do it straight away, if its longer than that then you put it in the appropriate place. I've set up a tickler file at work which is already been helpful. GTD also suggests you organise next actions by context (home, computer, email, errands,etc).



Organise:  Put is where it belongs!  What I like about GTD is that its very flexible. Everyone organises differently and a quick search will show you many different paper based and online based systems. Mine is a notebook that I use for capture and next actions. Anything that enters my head that I need to do I just write it down straight away so I've 'captured' it and can forget about it. I also bought an A4 page to a day diary which is where I've created some checklists for habits I'm working on and the days top 3 next actions for various projects. For my work calendar I use outlook.

Reflect:  Each week do a review and do a mind sweep to capture anything else that needs your attention. So lists are reviewed and updated. 

It seems the system has changed a little since I last read the book but the basics remain the same. I am just using it as I did in the past. It can appear quite complex at first and I think its easy to get distracted by the organising instead of actually just getting things done - some peoples systems are quite complex! But for me it feels good to get back to it and though I still have a lot of 'stuff' to process at home and at work I am already being more productive. GTD doesn't separate home and work life which I like.







1 Jul 2018

June Progress Report

This month has gone by really quickly!

Mortgage
  • $146,991 down from $152,990
  • redraw $16,955  up from $15,099
  • $4,143  total mortgage reduction: 
This month we finished paying for our holiday and used the redraw for this. We were able to make some extra payments off the mortgage and it feels good to have that balance under $150,000

Retirement Savings
  • mine- $103,103
  • DH - $269,286
  • total - $372,389
  • total increase - $8,651
Our retirement savings are going up faster than I expected which is great! We both salary sacrifice the maximum of $25,000 a year which also includes employer contributions. 

Groceries 
  • $50 cc points
  • $40.46 savings
  • $90.46 total savings 
We did well eating out of our freezer and pantry this month. The frezeer is almost half empty now. Our grocery spend was OK but we spent too much on snacks and take away this month which is what happens when I get too tired from work. 

Health

My weight has gone up by 3.1kgs this month. Its a direct result of being exhausted from work and reaching for a coffee and carby snacks. I also have not exercised this month. Its annoying to see the weight gain but very clear why. I have to get back on track with diet, exercise and managing stress. 

Work

Well my regular job has been just really stressful this last month. I am quite behind but the only consolation is that everybody else is as well. My extra job has been a real pleasure. I did not do as many hours this month so only billed $780.

Home

I didn't get too much done on the decluttering front last month. 

25 Jun 2018

A Frosty Monday Morning

We've woken up to big frosts and fogs the last few mornings. Really cold in the morning but beautiful sunny winters days by lunchtime with clear blue skies. Nice and warm in the sun, but freezing in the shade. 



I feel so much better this morning. On Friday I left work early and got a haircut which was a nice way to start unwinding for the weekend. I slept heaps and managed to clean the bedroom and bathroom. I made my homemade yoghurt and big batch of cauliflower rice.


I've missed not doing any sewing in the last six months so I spent some time sorting through fabrics and patterns. Its so relaxing! So I'm making a commitment to make sewing a priority from here on.

I also decided to renew my Ancestry membership for six months. I did a lot of family tree work a few years ago and I'm ready to get back into it. I did not know my history on my fathers side at all when I first started and I now have a few generations back, but still lots of gaps. I ended up staying up late last night going through hints and documents which was far better than worrying about work. So I decided it was money well spent to get back to the family tree.

Overall I feel a lot better than I did last week. Just need to keep work & life in better balance now.

22 Jun 2018

Reboot!

Ok, I ended up staying home yesterday, just couldn't cope with the thought of going to work. I ended up having to talk to a workclient in a bit of a crisis then I slept for the afternoon and I do feel a bit better this morning.

I need to take some steps to get in a better headspace so I'm setting myself some tasks to do this weekend:


  • make a batch of yoghurt
  • make chicken broth - 
  • start sewing The Splendid Sampler II - sorted out my fabrics
  • clean the bathroom
  • clear the kitchen table
  • sort through the outstanding paperwork  - started
  • clean the bedroom
Time for a reboot...

21 Jun 2018

Hitting the wall...

June will go down as the month I hit the wall again. Six months back at work and I am absolutely exhausted. I have really struggled over the last two weeks. I work, I come home and fall asleep on the lounge. On the weekend I sleep and try and recover in time to go back on Monday morning.

The workload is huge and its high stress, traumatic work. I was almost in tears yesterday and am so grateful for good work colleagues - who are just as stressed but we all try and help whoevers finding it tough each day - yesterday it just happened to be me.

After work I went to my second job which I love and 2 hours later I felt renewed energised and restored. The extra work is just so good for my mental health as well as giving me some extra money.

But I have slipped back into eating poorly and not exercising. I need to try and get myself back on track this weekend somehow.

I did have some good news yesterday that one of the bullies at work is going to be taking a years leave - that will certainly make my working life a little better!

In the meantime I am trying to focus on my goals and just take it one day at a time, but it has been a reality check to see how toxic the workplace really is.

The good news is I got paid for my extra work and paid $1500 extra off the mortgage - another step closer!

18 Jun 2018

Grocery Shopping

Well my DD had offered to take on the grocery shopping each week and I'm so relieved not to have to do it anymore!  The last few weeks I've just been so exhausted. I've spent every weekend catching up on sleep and too fatigued to do much at all. With DD doing the grocery shopping it will really help me manage the work demands, especially given that I also do the extra job two evenings a week.

So we needed to spend $50 again this week at Coles. Our shop this week was: Coles - $62.93  saved $8.82

We've eaten more out the freezer over the last week, crumbed chicken, frozen meals and also some tinned soups from the pantry. I thawed out some stewing steak overnight to make a crockpot meal today. Its really cold here, lots of snow about just outside of town, so a hot meal after work will be lovely to come home to.

15 Jun 2018

a few roos loose in the top paddock....

I ended up leaving work early yesterday as I started getting signs of a migraine coming on after a really heavy meeting in the morning. As I was leaving I saw the family of kangaroos that lives in the paddock next door out enjoying the afternoon sunshine so I stopped and took a few pics as I drove past.

 They checked me out and then went back to eating.




It looks like theres quite a few young ones there as there were more to the right of the picture.

Growing up we had a pet kangaroo at my grandmas place. Grandma raised her after the mother was shot and they found the joey in the pouch. So I have a lot of happy memories of playing with  our pet kangaroo who was just a part of our childhood games along with the dogs and cats.

After this I went home and rested up, just put work out of mind and despite a bad headache and feeling very nauseas, it did not progress to a migraine.
So I'm just about to head off to work this morning - thank God its Friday!

14 Jun 2018

Hit Another Mortgage Milestone & work stress

Our payments have gone through for the week and I've been able to transfer a nice big payment on to the mortgage. 

The new balance is $149,799 which takes us under the end of Year 12 balance on the amoratisation table.

I'm hoping to hit Year 13 balance fast with extra income from last month.

I needed a boost today and seeing that balance going down really helps. Work has been incredibly stressful this week - honestly if I could have quit on the spot yesterday I would have. I am just swamped at the moment and no let up in sight at all. When I got to work yesterday I actually rang and cancelled most of my clients so I could try and catch up. By the end of the day I was even further behind as new clients just keep coming. I'm just done with it. I spent last night thinking about leaving and going back to working for myself, but the reality is that financially I am better where I am if I can just stick it out.

At least I have our holiday to look forward to. The second half of the year should be a bit better I am hoping.

1660 days to go!

12 Jun 2018

Groceries

We've just had a long weekend here. Yesterday was a public holiday for the Queens Birthday - it was so nice to have that extra day off work!  I've been sick with a cold so DD did the shopping for me. We needed to spend $50 at Coles for points. We had plenty of veggies left so this week so our total spend this week was:

Coles
Total spent: $65.81
total saved; $7.64

Its been quite cold here so we're using up our tinned soups and also making casseroles and stews out of meat in the freezer. I feel like I am finally making a dent in our stockpile and in the freezer - but I still have quite a way to go. My plan is to get it down over the winter so I clean out the pantry/storeroom in spring.

It concerns me a bit that I'm starting to get sick often - a sure sign I'm getting run down. I slept for a few hours every afternoon the last few days. Work is catching up with me again I think but I should get a bit of a break in a few weeks when its end of term.

5 Jun 2018

Life after work...

Yesterday  I caught up with a colleague who retired 18 months ago. John and I both started working for the same place about 12 years ago but in different towns. We were the only two left in our section after the last restructure saw our team halved in numbers and the rest bullied out by management. We have both been through two restructures and remember the good old days when times were different and education was about people, not profit.

It was great to catch up and hear about his much more relaxed life now. He keeps busy by volunteering a a few organisations, keeping active in his sporting interests and getting away travelling every 3-4 months. He looked so well and happy - not missing work at all.

We also talked finances which was helpful. The last time we both expected to be made redundant is when I bought our downsizing house and he and his wife did the same thing. They have moved now, got rid of 'stuff' and now live in walking distance of the centre of town which they are enjoying.

I asked if he had any advice for me as I prepare to retire in five years as I value his opinion. John said to get a financial planner involved 12-18 months before retirement date as they will help structure assets to get maximum benefits. Some assets such as superannuation and savings will need to go in the younger partners name so the older person can qualify for a part pension - more for the benefits than for the income. So a few things for me to think about there.

We also talked about some work and professional issues. On really keeping out of the drama and focusing on keeping well. We're all replaceable and the workplace doesn't miss us or care when we are gone so don't burn myself out in the next few years trying to do an un-doable job.

I left feeling really optimistic about our retirement plans and happy to have caught up with an old friend. It helps keep things in perspective when work is so busy.

There is life after work... and it will be good!

4 Jun 2018

Grocery Shopping

I started the grocery shop at IGA-B and bought veggies there:

5 red capsicums $5.99
baby corn  $2.99
4 punnets strawberries $12
1 bunch spinach $1.99
3.2 kgs jap pumpkin $2.43
3 green capsicums $2.03
6 bananas $2.27
3 navel oranges $1.65
1 lge white radish $1.99
400g eggplant .79c

 IGA -B spend: $38.69  Savings $2.41

Coles  spend $114.30 Savings $18.35

Total Grocery spend: $152.99

3 Jun 2018

Extra mortgage payment & decluttering

Our holiday is all now all paid for. I made the last payment yesterday. The only costs now will be anything we spend when we are there and we don't usually spend much at all. So now I can get back to paying every spare cent off the mortgage.

I made an extra mortgage payment of $800 yesterday with a new mortgage balance of $152,264. Feels good to be back on track with extra payments.

Made a big batch of cauliflower rice which tasted fantastic! Just cauliflower chopped finely with onion, bacon, leftover lamb, carrots, peas and egg cooked in a little olive oil. DD took this lovely photo of it for me - she's much better at food photos than me.


Today I'm still working on decluttering in the lounge room. I've sorted a couple of boxes already this morning. I still have several cupboards to go that are filled with old games, CD's and old newspapers/ family papers. My plan is to fill some more bags for Vinnies over the coming week from the lounge and bedroom and do a trip to the op shop next weekend.


1 Jun 2018

May Progress Report


Mortgage
  • $152,990 down from $154,464 
  • redraw $15,099 up from 9,058
  • $4,563 total mortgage decrease 
Our redraw increased & we didn't pay a lot extra on the mortgage this month as we started paying for our holiday. I still have more to pay next month so not expecting big mortgage reductions again until July.

Retirement Savings 
  • mine - $98,917
  • DH - $264,821
  • total - $363,738
  • total increase- $8,676
Groceries
  • $54.80 savings
  • $80 CC points savings
  • 0 survey points savings
  • $134.80 total groceries savings
The grocery spending is down again this month which is great.

Health

This month we had unexpected expenses for dental and new glasses. I'm happy to say I lost .9 kgs (2lb) even though my walking and exercise fell by the wayside. Now that its cold I've been eating a lot of veggie soups and most days having two meals a day instead of three. I had time off work sick twice this month and felt generally unwell which is probably explained by the leaking amalgam filling. No headaches since it was removed!

Work

I'm doing better at staying out of the workplace politics which is helping me not get as stressed. I'm really enjoying my extra work and billed $1820 this month.

Home

My biggest achievement at home was finishing the paper shredding. I did a little more decluttering in the bedroom. Nothing done in the garden. I'm finding with the extra work and being unwell this last month I didn't have heaps of energy for much. Next month will be better!

Goals for June

  • Finish decluttering the bedroom & ensuite
  • Declutter lounge room 
  • Exercise 5 days a week 
  • Pay for the holiday

30 May 2018

Dental problems - $465 budget blowout.

On Sunday night one of my back teeth broke. The whole corner came off leaving a big hole - not painful but needing attention. Now I'm not great at going to the dentist (used to get really anxious before I found my current dentist) but I decided to just get it over and done with and had an appointment yesterday. $465 later my tooth is fixed and a few problems have been uncovered.

I've been sick on and off over the last 6-8 weeks, getting swollen glands one one side of my neck, headaches, sore throat, nausea. I kept putting it down to having a viral illness. Last week I had to leave work when I got really ill with nausea and migraine. It turns out that the tooth, which has an amalgam filling has been leaking for at least a month or more. Occasionally I had noticed a metallic taste in my mouth a few times, but it went away and I had no tooth symptoms. I've been reading up on symptoms of mercury from amalgam fillings and my symptoms certainly fit the bill. I'm really hoping that I start to feel better now that the tooth is fixed.

However there are still a few problems. I have a low grade infection around my wisdom tooth which at age 55 still trie to come through now and again. I have to get x-rays of that and she also found a small cavity on x-ray that needs filling.

I was a bit surprised at all this. Its not even a year since I had my last dental checkup. So I've been reading up overnight on a whole lot of ways to improve my teeth and get rid of this mild infection before it becomes a big problem.

I'm going to start with taking some Vitamin C and oil pulling with coconut oil. I've ordered some charcoal toothpaste and am looking into some herbal oils that are supposed to help gum disease. 

I have more amalgam fillings and she checked them all for any cracks in the tooth - fortunately at this stage there are none. I do wonder if they contribute to some of my health issues but I don't plan on removing them unless I have to. But I do plan on upping my mouth care as it really can affect health in general, and health is the most important thing, especially as we get older.

So the budget took a big hit but I'm so glad I didn't put off going and now I can prevent things getting worse.

Just wondering if anyone has had similar problems and what you'd done about it or have you had amalgam fillings removed?


28 May 2018

Finally finished the paper shredding! - a trip down memory lane....

Well, I finally just put the last piece of paper through the shredder!  I've been shredding paper on and off for months now and I was determined to get it finished before the end of this month.The experience turned into a trip down memory lane and I found it emotional at times to remember some of the harder times and to see how far we've come. Over the last few days its actually helped me refocus and rethink a few things.

In the years when we paid off all our debt (>$72,000 CC debt) I was constantly transferring amounts on the interest free credit cards to help lower the amount of payments we had to make. I kept all those credit card statements, demand letters, letters stating cards were closed and it was quite a large file of documents. Seeing them again was a reminder of how hard those years were. Trying to work while being sick and trying to care for ageing parents and young children when we both lost our jobs. I used to listen to Dave Ramsay every morning - how I loved hearing those debt free screams! I often felt overwhelmed and wondered if we could keep our home. I'm so grateful that we made it through that time and I never want to feel that way again.

I also shredded all the papers to do with caring for my mum, her dementia, her identity theft that saw her have all her lifes' savings stolen, with nothing that we could do to recover it, declaring bankruptcy, lots of family & legal matters. All at the same time we were trying to pay debt and recover from illness. It felt good to just get rid of all that.

My papers and client files from the years when I ran my own business. I had mixed feeling about this. I had loved working for myself and the work that I did. I only closed my business due to illness.That was the beginning of our debt problems. It was a reminder though that owning my own business comes with risks that I don't need to take on right now - as frustrated as I can be with my current job. As there is no sick pay, holiday pay, long service leave or training leave. While I could go back and work for myself if I need to in the future, now is not the time. It was nice to remember many old clients as I shredded their paperwork. There are some that I still need to keep for a few years yet as they were children when I saw them, but not many. This paperwork filled a four drawer filing cabinet so a lot of memories there!

And the last pile of papers with strong memories attached I only got copies of about a year ago. My parents divorced when I was young. It was a bitter, nasty divorce followed by an equally nasty custody case. Both parents remarried. Three of my four parents/stepparents are alcoholics and the other parent had a problem with prescription pills. I had a breakdown in my late 20's and was diagnosed with PTSD as a result of the abuse ( mainly emotional) of growing up with domestic violence. Last year, at age 54 I decided to apply for the court papers of both the divorce and the custody case. I'm glad I did. I learned things I did not know. That my father had tried to keep in contact with me, that my mother had deliberately tried to make contact very difficult. I learned a lot of details that confirmed things I thought. I don't blame either - I've had too many years of therapy for that lol!  It is what it is. Reading the documents helped.  I re read some of the them as I shredded them. Both my parents are dead now. I am estranged from my siblings and I like it that way. Shredding these papers felt liberating!  Its over. It really is. I get to choose how I want to spend my old age and I am not going to spend it looking backwards - theres too much living to do!

So shredding a lifetime of paperwork was not only good because its freed up a heap of space, its good because it feels like letting go of it all.  I can't wait till I have gotten rid of more 'stuff' and am living with just what we need and want right now. My mum was a hoarder. My grandfather was a secondhand dealer. So keeping 'stuff' in case you need it one day was bred into us. It feels great to walk away from that - the physical and the emotional.

All I want is to have 'just baggage enough'.


27 May 2018

Grocery spending

 This week I made a batch of soup in the crockpot. I make up recipes as I go so every one is different depending on what I have in the fridge. This one has sweet potato, red lentils, carrots, onion, spinach, vegetable stock, ginger, chili and cumin. Once it cooled I froze it in meal sized portions.

I use purple containers and zip lock bags for food that is OK for me to eat and DH & DD use plain containers. That makes it much easier in the freezer to identify 'safe' foods without having to label everything.

This morning I stopped first at IGA-B shop for my veggies. I bought:

IGA -B

1.8kg potatos - $7.29
1.25 kgs butternut pumpkin - .74c
3 lemons .93c
1 punnet raspberries  $5.90
2 punnets strawberris  $11.98
500g zucchinni  $1.86
750g sweet potato  $1.49
1kg carrots .99

Total spend $33.18

then to Coles where I needed to spend $50 minimum to get maximum points.
I spent $85.72 and saved $$16.40.

Total grocery spend:  $118.90. Total value of $135.30.

The berries are expensive, but after all the Hepatitis scares with frozen berries I'd rather not risk it so I buy fresh ones. I bought a nice leg of lamb that I'll cook tonight and have for meals during the week.

I want to try and reduce my food waste as well my food expenses so I'm going to blog my meals for the next few weeks and see if that helps me keep on track better.