17 Feb 2020

Budgeting

I really need to get back to basics with our budget. We've overspent small amounts but they quickly add up to large amounts. Our grocery spending has crept up again. Theres plenty of food in pantry and freezer so for the rest of the month we need to be using up food we already have.

I'm going to go back to tracking every cent and I'm going to spend some time reviewing our expenses and see where we can cut back.

Yesterday DD made a big batch of chilli. We've been trying to cut back on our meat consumption so we added 2 tins of beans to 1kg of beef mince. This made 3 meals for dinner last night and 10 for the freezer. She also made a batch of choc chop cookies and froze them.

One change I have made this month is to just eat breakfast and dinner, that gives me 17 - 18 hours of fasting. I've done five morning walks ( 1 hours) and six afternoon walks at work (15 mins) so far this month. My weight is down to 97.3 kgs so I'm really pleased with that, I'm down 2.6kgs (6lbs) so far.

Tonight I'll do a bit of a stocktake of whats in the freezer so I can plan ahead. I don't really like menu planning but its a habit that would help I think.

Are you a menu planner? Do you find you stick to the plan?



13 Feb 2020

Animal Rescue cuteness

As you know Australia has had a catastrophic bushfire season resulting in unprecedented loss of wildlife. Wildlife rescuers put out a call for various handcrafted items to help them care for the animals and the whole world swung into action, with thousands of items being sent to Australia from all over the world.

I will admit that there were some days I cried at the devastating scenes on the news - many Australians felt abandoned by our government, while everyday Australians worked tirelessly, in all sorts of volunteer roles, to fight fires, save people and save animals. After the call for craft help went out there were days I cried at the kindness of strangers all over the planet who sent so much help that its now no longer needed. Believe me, Australians are truly grateful.

My small part was to sew for my local animal rescue, batwraps, joey pouches and hanging bags. The batwraps have a little pillow at one end so the baby can cling to it like it would its mother, then they are wrapped up like a burritto.




 I've put a few short videos below where you will see some craft items being used and see some of our very cute Australian animals.



















8 Feb 2020

OMG - Blue Ridge Beauty

I'm determined to spend more time doing the things I enjoy this year, and sewing would have to be at the top very of the my list of how I like to spend my time. My sewing room is full to the brim and theres quite a few WIPs (works in progress) and UFO's (unfinished objects) waiting for my attention.

I'm joining up with Elm St Quilts One Month Challenge with a goal of finishing piecing the top of Blue Ridge Beauty, a Bonnie Hunter quilt from her book Adventures with Leaders & Enders.

I started this early last year but its been packed away for months now. So I unpacked it and heres what I've done so far.

I've got 190 x 4 patches pieced and trimmed, not even half the number I need!




I've got 270 untrimmed half square triangles, so a bit over half done.




I've been working on some batwraps and joey bags this morning. Hoping to get them done by Monday and then I can get to work on this quilt top.


7 Feb 2020

Different Strokes for Different Folks!

I'm so glad its Friday and the working week will soon be done.

Its been an interesting week. Two more colleagues have left and they couldn't be more different!

One I've worked with on an off in different organisations for the last 20 years. He's a real bully and for the last few years made myself and my colleagues life at work very unpleasant.

 He rang a colleague yesterday and really was awful to her as a parting phone call. I'm so glad that he is gone for good! Financially he always has an expensive car, lives pretty lavishly and has owed money all over the place. He constantly brags about money and his possessions. He's left for another job & is moving away thank goodness.

Then on the other hand theres my other colleague Jack, who also left. We've worked together, not closely, for about 15 years. Our first meeting we had an argument actually but over the years we formed a good working relationship.

Jack would often call in to my office for a chat and in recent years our chats turned to retirement. It was lovely to see him feeling so good about his retirement! In the last year or so he's joined a few groups, taken up some new hobbies and started volunteering. He's going be OK financially, a paid off house, frugal habits and has saved and planned for retirement, so will not need the pension. He was happy to share some advice for me as he knows my plan to retire in three years.

Whats interesting is that Jacks income has always been much lower than the bullies, much lower. But one has saved and planned, the other is a spendthrift. One lives life within his means, the other - above it. They are both a similar age, one retiring, one says he will be working for years.

I expect I'll see more colleagues & friends leaving this year, partly due to their age and partly due to work changes. More often there are conversations about finances and retirement plans at work and its always interesting to see everyones different approaches and plans.

While I've been writing its started raining here - lovely steady rain - just what we need at the moment!

"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery". 

Charles Dickens

2 Feb 2020

January Progress Report

Well January flew past, we're all back at work and life is getting busy again after the Christmas break.

Our air conditioner was replaced last week, just in time for the heatwave and oh what a difference it has made!

I am quite worried about our next electricity bill though as our old one was not working properly for several months while we saved the money to replace it.

We also paid the deposit for our holidays last week so no extra money on the mortgage at all this month, and possibly in February too.

Mortgage:
  • current balance: $101,221
  • down from $101,991
  • total reduction:$700
Retirement Savings:

Another exceptional month for our retirement savings!
  • me :$163,228
  • DH: $351,399
  • total: $514,627
  • total increase: $15,701
Home:
I've been working my flylady routines and after our big declutter last year, I'm now working on another, deeper round of decluttering this year. I filled three small bags with clothes and shoes I no longer wear which I'll donate and one small bag to the rubbish.

No work done in the yard due to the heat, but we have started more detailed planning and costing for the yard work. One the temperature drops a bit we'll get back to working outside.

Health
Unfortunately my weight has gone up - today I am 100.1 kgs (220lbs) - the highest I've been in 10 years. Its partly lack of exercise, and partly stress. I had an interesting conversation at work with several other women who also have gained weight in recent months - the 'stress belly'! So I'll be really focusing on that as I want to be in better shape before July when I go for my annual check up.

Life!
I'm plodding along with my crochet blankets and have been  sewing more for wildlife rescue projects this month. I haven't read any books or attended any local events however I've got a few events earmarked for later in the year. I had a phone call this week for an urgent request to do a few hours consulting which I said yes to - I really do enjoy it so it never feels like work and I'll have a couple of hundred dollars extra for next months budget.