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:


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.

22 May 2018

Increased my retirement savings

Our superannuation accounts are our retirement accounts and that is where we are now putting all our savings.We can both contribute a maximum of $25,000 a year taxed at 15%. This includes our employer contribution of 9.5% of our wages.

I redid my calculations over the weekend and I have upped my contribution by another $100 a week. That will take me right up to the limit that I can salary sacrifice. So a bit less in the paypacket each week but worth it for the savings and the tax benefit.

21 May 2018

Grocery Shopping

I'm in the process of changing where I shop for my groceries from Coles to IGA. Its much cheaper and the quality of the fresh food is really good. This weekend we shopped at both shops.


CC Points used - $40
Savings - $3.02
Total Spend - $65.95
Total Value of shop - $108.97

Savings - .28
Spend - $23.83

Total Grocery Spend - $108.97

For my $23.83 at IGA I got:

3 lemons  -  $1.35
small eggplant - .41
1.2 kgs zucchini - $2.88
1kg sweet potato - $1.66
1 bunch bok choy - $1.50
1 cauliflower  - $4.99
1 parsnip -  .54
Radish - $1.99
Sugar snap peas - $4.49

The diet I follow is the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and its quite restrictive. At times it gets a bit frustrating, but I get sick quite quickly if I go off it. I need to get back in the habit of cooking ahead each weekend so I have foods ready to eat when I'm too tired to cook after work. So this weekend I made up a nice big batch of zucchini and tomatos and I baked  almond and sultana biscuits. I still need to make soup and yoghurt for the week ahead.

19 May 2018

Budgets, shopping & weekend plans

Well my worry about the budget blowout with DH's glasses turns out to be unfounded. His workplace is paying for one pair of glasses as they were destroyed at work accidentally - I don't remember him telling me that but at least now the cost is more than halved so that is a relief.

My first payment came through from my extra work overnight!  That will certainly be a big help this month. I really hope the work continues till the end of the year.

This morning I'm off to Aldi to check out their sale on winter ski gear. I'm hoping I can get some warm winter clothes for our holiday at low cost and they have a sale on this morning on waterproof boots, jackets and fleece lined leggings and tops.  I need boots and a waterproof jacket and I do not want to pay a huge amount.

After that I'm off to Spotlight. I have a $30 voucher that was a gift and two vouchers for $40 off $100 spend. I need some flannelette sheets (own none!) and DH needs a new pillow so will get them at the sale. These vouchers usually come out about twice a year so thats when I stock up if I need linen or sewing things.

I'm looking forward to the Royal Wedding coverage over the weekend. Its lovely to have some good news on the TV for a change and who doesn't love a wedding!  As well as that I have a list of jobs I need to get done this weekend:

  • continue paper shredding - the end is in sight!
  • make yoghurt
  • make muffins
  • make soup
  • clean the bathroom
  • set up budget in BudgetPulse
These pics are from my walk around work yesterday.

18 May 2018

Budget blowout this month.

This is turning out to be a very expensive month! As well as some unexpected medical expenses, DH had to get new glasses. Its been quite a few years since he got tested so the script for his glasses changed and he also wanted new frames. Specsavers had a deal of two pair of glasses for $299 but then when his script was added in it cost just under $700!!  seriously... I was not happy about the price!  but whats done is done now - and the budget for the month is certainly in the red.

Fortunately we can eat out of the freezer and the stockpile for a few weeks which will be good. I've decided just to pay for the holiday out of the redraw and then pay that back. Once I get the holiday paid for then we can get back on track.

17 May 2018

Beautiful Autumn

I love Autumn, its my favourite season.  The temperature has dropped in the last week and there was snow outside of town just a few days ago. I've looked out the winter woolies and we're now into boots, scarves, gloves and coats. The town is filled with trees changing colour and it looks so beautiful. I snapped these pics just outside my office. As well as lots of trees there is a beautiful carpet of leaves and the bushes are filled with orange berries.

I live in a regional city but its still has lots of bush around the area where I work and they've kept the bush on the grounds so its a nice place to walk around. Yesterday we had three kangaroos hopping through the carpark in the morning. There is a family of them that live in the paddock next to my workplace so we often see them about. In summer there are brown snakes around so signs go up reminding people to be keep an eye out for them - mostly you just walk loudly and watch the side of the path for any movement.

I feel like I've been in a bit of a downer the last two weeks but its lifting now. Getting out of the office each day for a bit of walk around certainly helps, it reminds me how lucky I am not to work in a concrete jungle in the city.

Its been too cold to walk in the mornings so I need to get started on using the treadmill I think so I don't turn into a couch potato over winter.

What I want to get done before the end of May:

  • finish the paper shredding!
  • clear the kitchen table off
  • finish an online course I'm doing for work
  • prepare documents for tax time 
  • pay for holiday

9 May 2018

mustn't grumble....but I am..

I've been in a bit of a down mood this week. Its been interesting to see just how quickly the stress and tiredness have come back after my time off work. At just five months back I have to say I'm definitely feeling too tired to do much else than work. So, it hasn't taken long. I'm off work at the moment as I've been sick the last few days and I am no longer willing to 'soldier on' as I used to and just keep going to work.

I just want to be in a position to enjoy my days, cook, shop, clean, read and generally live a happy, frugal retired life. I can spend much less when I have more time. But at the moment I need to keep going.

However I may not have to wait as long as I originally planned.

Last night the government announced the budget and the area I work in has had its budget slashed by approximately $300 million. Its also been rumoured that over 2000 jobs will go. The 'talk' up till now has been that my job is safe and not up for being cut but on Friday last week I heard that that is no longer the case. How to get rid of us is now on the discussion table.

To be honest I am quite relieved, and I just hope when the time comes that I get a redundancy as many of my fine colleagues have in the last few years. I no longer have any 'fight' left in me. This government is determined to privatise public services and destroy education opportunities and support for the disadvantaged in our community. It is absolutely horrendous to see the destruction of services that has happened over the life of this mongrel government. And as I work in health, education and social support it has become increasingly difficult to actually help those that I am meant to serve.  I expect that this will not actually happen for at least 12-18 months - delayed till after our state election as it won't look good to sack several thousand more workers in the run up to elections.

So, if and when that happens I will  just work for myself part time. I could leave now and be fully employed in a matter of weeks but I don't want to walk away from could be a good payout. I'll keep working my side gig - had an offer or more work again last night - while poking along at the day job and trying not to get worn out. I am so looking forward to the day when I can do less and blog about a more frugal, simple lifestyle.

6 May 2018

Grocery shopping

This morning my DD kindly did the grocery shopping for me as I have been unwell today.

The groceries today cost $140.25 at Coles
Savings were $21.50
CC points were $10
So $171.75 worth of groceries for $140.25.

I'm really noticing that I'm starting to just feel tired again and I just don't have as much energy on the weekends. But when I look at that number in the sidebar, which has now gone under 1700, I remind myself this is not for too much longer. Its almost June and that means I'm nearly half way through the first year of my five year plan.

I had some great feedback from my second job this week, which I love and a small increase in my hours. To be honest, its the enjoyment of the second job thats helping me hang in there with my main job.

Yesterday I spent the day organising most of our travel plans and booking our tours and transfers. Its about 4 months till we go and I'm really looking forward to it!  I have taken six weeks off as I know I will really need the break then. I've decided to dip into the redraw and get the trip paid for asap. Then I'll just pay back the redraw. I like to have our holiday all paid for before we leave.

1 May 2018

April Progress Report


  • $154,682  down from $158,464
  • redraw $9.058 down from $9,157
  • $3791 total mortgage reduction
Retirement Savings
  • mine - $96,420
  • DH  -  $258,642
  • Total - $355,062
  • $9863 total increase
  • savings $195.57
  • CC points savings $80
  • survey points savings $20
  • Total grocery savings $295.57
I have spent less this month on groceries and will changing my shopping to IGA-B soon instead of Coles to save more.


I've been eating really healthy and am thrilled that my weight is down by 5.9kgs/13lbs!! I've finally broken through a plateau and reached my lowest weight in five years. I fit back into some old clothes too which is nice.

I had a week or so of being quite crook but seem to be on the mend now. I've added weights training 3 days a week but haven't walked as much as its getting cold. I had some health expenses of medications that are off PBS which was several hundred dollar and a few appointments/tests.


I am loving my extra work! I have just done the billing and I've earned $1870 extra this month. My regular job is busy but I'm doing much better at not getting drawn into the stress there and my second job is where I'm getting my job satisfaction at the moment.


I decluttered and got rid of eleven garbage bags of clothing & household 'stuff'. I've started work on shredding the paperwork again. No work in the yard this month.