Sunday, 22 January 2017

Day 22 And The Coathangers Of Annoyance

So I've been working hard on the only terrible room in the house- the garage. And for some reason I have many many coathangers, more than I could remember ever having. I found a big bag and collected them all up neatly, freeing up floor space as I did. I swapped over the nice wooden ones for the plastic ones in my closet and have them ready to take with a box of donatables in the week.

One trip with the recyclable boxes to the tip, some Konmarie-ing with the leftover clothes and my garage will be perfect. It will then only have the freezer, KF's bicycle and the wheelie bins in it. KF wanted to keep the Christmas Tree, so that was plastic sheeted and placed in the tiny, nice dry shed out back until next Christmas.

I spent a lot of time the other day on sprucing up the palm trees. The long leaves brown from the bottom underside and it's easy to just carefully rip them off. The old lady who lived in our villa before us was obviously too frail to care for them so it has taken some time to bring them back to life in the months we have been here. But the air is circulating round and through the leaves now and they are looking fab!

In terms of money I spent $4.55 today on a Saturday night snack from the supermarket. We had sweet potatoes and hummus for lunch and for tea a Buddha bowl of vegetables and fruit based loveliness. We are allowed to have one takeaway meal a week,  it's not takeaway as such. It's a takeaway recipe that we then put together at home with the ingredients we've purchased. KF chose nachos this week, so we fiddled with the right ingredients so we could both enjoy.

I don't list the money that has to be spent on bills on this site, since they are non-negotiable. So things like electric, water and such don't get a mention. What I will do is keep my statements to see how different the bills are each quarter though and write a reflection on them. Other automatic payments that I don't mention are rates, insurance, car registration, donation to guide dogs ($25) monthly, FMTV , internet and schooling costs for KF.

None of these can be changed and have to be paid for. I can and do consider every light and every bit of electric useage, so that can be malleable to a point, water is used with forethought and baths do not happen, internet is tax deductible for my job, as is FMTV, so that's a bit of a boon. But I am aware and keep tabs on everything, but especially th spending outside of these unchangeable things.

How do you cut costs on these supposedly uncuttable things? Can it be done? Does it vary from country to country? Would love to hear from you.

Have a brilliant day.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Day 21 And The Recipe Books

Today I spent $35.73 on a top up should see us through well enough for a little while so that's fair enough. Got some lovely mangoes too!

So what's all this about cook books then? I only own four, but have decided they have to go. I like to have all my recipes in one place (namely my iPad) so have gone through them and photographed the recipes that are of any frugal/vegetarian use to me. The cook books themselves went to my mum, who is an excellent cook and I regained a little more space for the chi to flow. Lol.

I have also sold two things on EBay today. Nothing all year, then two in one day. I guess it goes like that doesn't it? Still it's inspiring enough to make me shake my tail feathers to list some more. I guess the more I list the more chance I have of making a sale due to sheer quantity.

Ooh the excitement of seeing that little email from eBay telling me something has starts as a warm glow.

Anyway, I'm rambling today. Just checking in to keep honest.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Day 20 And No Shampoo Experiment

Whilst I am still on holidays I am going to resist shampooing my hair each day.
I am not going to use anything other than the water from the shower. I am keen to see what it will do. If it turns out that it looks fine then I will say sayonara to shampoo for good. I haven't used conditioner in ages and my hair is soft and healthy without it. Before conditioner became a thing in the seventies I am quite sure everyone had nice hair, so I guess I just see it as one of those things that came into popularity and then passed on into everyday life as gospel.

I know my sibling would disagree with me, with her mad curly I can only speak for myself with my dead straight, but highly cropped hair.

In an ideal world I would just clipper my own hair all over on about a number 1.5. But at this stage my face is a little too puddingy for that particular look. I get mistaken for a teenage boy all the time, so maybe best not to add fuel to that for a while. Maybe later.

Today I had no temptation or need to spend so day 20 passed by peacefully. I did find a plum tree on my walk which I rifled for fruit (it was at a local abandoned house) and I renegotiated an insurance policy to cut off $21 a month from the cost, so all in all pretty pleasing.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Day 19 And Decluttering The Decluttered

Winner Winner, Tofu And Brown Rice Dinner

Today was the day I decided to use our $40 restaurant voucher. My best friend and his partner asked KF and me out for lunch and I replied that would be great, so long as we could eat at a certain place. No issue there, it is one of his favourite the voucher gets used.

Have been super-overdosing on Decluttering videos on YouTube. I'm kind of obsessed I think, which is a bit odd as I live in a very minimalist, super organised and tidy place. I guess I am always looking for ways to improve. If I had my time again I think I would have loved to be a professional organiser. People often ask me for tips and ideas and I love talking about it.

I mentioned a while back that my garage is still not in the place I wish it to be. I want to really ramp it up as I had an idea we could turn it into a table tennis room, we both love table tennis and it's plenty big enough. If not that then just have it emptier. I will be going to the tip on Friday to finally after two months take the recycling moving boxes and some garden rubbish from my palm trees.

After that it's a big think about what to do with the Christmas tree and to finally sort the last two piles of clothes. The clothes have been a bugbear mostly because they still all spark joy in me, but have been a size or two, too small. Now the weight is coming off I know I am literally weeks away from being able to get into them, so I have kept them so far. But to be honest I still have too many. So I am going to get my Marie Kondo head on and really question exactly how much joy they spark.

The Christmas tree I didn't bother taking down, I just picked the whole thing up and carried it into the garage as it was. If KF has no attachment to it, then it will go I think. Whilst it's very pretty, I am not sure it sparks enough joy in me to keep.

Anyway, I am going to rearrange some t-shirts and I'll see you tomorrow.

Spending amounted to.......$5.98 for milk and cream. Dinner out cost nothing as I used the vouchers and I have to add that I spent $20 of an eBay refund on two pairs of shorts as my others have become too big and don't stay up. I donated the too big pairs however and didn't spend money from the food kitty. There...confessed and still nothing spent from my food kitty.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Day 18 More Pancakes And Panic

I've been having a little panic. Over a week to pay day and not much left in the kitty. I've gone over my receipts to look at what I've bought but am not sure how to lower the costs of what I've bought to cost less. When onions, simple old onions weight in at between $4 and $8 a kilo and carrots are up to $4 a kilo it gives my brain a big messing with when trying to keep the spending to a tiny minimum.

I do have savings and I save every fortnight. One account for my kid's university fund and one for savings sake. But I am loathe to dip into my savings and I won't dip into my kid's education fund either. I am a single parent and I have paid for everything for my kid for the last 14 years and I don't mind that. KF is my kid and that is my responsibility. But when the  kitty is low, I do sometimes feel frustration.

Anyway, first world problems, no one is starving....we've still got some supplies to keep us going. But it does give me pause for more thought than usual.

Anyway, I am sure it goes without saying that I did not spend anything today.


1.5 cup of oats (yes these are cheap thankfully)
1 banana
1 cup of milk or 1/2 water 1/2 milk or cheaper yet, 1 cup of water.

Blend up, cook in non-stick pan. Bellissimo.

Made about 8/9 five inch across pancakes, fed us both with a little honey.
Breakfast sorted.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Day 17 And Today I Felt A Twinge

17 days in and I got a twinge.

Of course I left the twinge right where it was and wondered how to get around it. You see I do affirmations each night and am an especial fan of Louise Hay. I got it into my head that I "needed" some of her affirmation card decks...I found them, free shipping and all for under $15.

I could get them and not tell anybody.

Yeah right. I knew there had to be a way to scratch the itch without it costing anything, after all I certainly don't NEED them.

Then I remembered, on Facebook Hay House post daily images, like the one above with the exact affirmations I wanted. So that's it, print one out as and when I need it.  Cut it out and magnet it to my whiteboard in the kitchen.

Sorted. No money has left the building for anything unnecessary.

Had to get some fresh foods today and spent $50 and also $2 on a non-stick bread tin. This was necessary as we have decided to make our own, hopefully healthier and cheaper gluten-free bread. I was overcharged (double) on some marked down tomatoes 🍅 and had to go back to the store once I checked the receipt. I got them for $3 instead of $6 once I marched back in and pointed out they hadn't applied the reduction.

I also wrote to head office of Woolworths as I have had enough. They market themselves as the 'fresh food people' (ha, bloody ha) yet in the last week I have had cucumber brown inside, potatoes black inside, onions mouldy inside and basil wet, soggy and swampy inside, IN THE LAST WEEK!!!!

I'd better get a response because I am sick of it. The word ombudsman is sitting in a little compartment in my brain right now.

KF also had a hair cut for $26...I am going to make mine last another three weeks at least...

Anyway, here is our tea....salad, home-made dressing and home-made kidney bean and carrot burgers. OMG! Bloody lovely.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Day 16 And My Friend Helped Me Create 6 Inches

Actually he helped me create more,  but here's a little example of the stuff that was rehomed.

I decided yesterday that since I don't have a DVD player anymore or a CD player come to that, that it was time to do a super cull. Needless to say my getting rid of 31 items this month has well and truly been surpassed. I'm onto about 500 things now.

I pulled out the DVDs I still own which lived in these folders as well as some cds and DVDs in their actual cases and went through them all. If I hadn't watched them within the last year they went to either the craft pile for work (to be remade into art pieces by my clients) if scratched, the bin, or if to someone else's taste, then bagged up and put in the car as giveaways.

Then it came to my favourite box sets that I don't watch anymore. The box sets in question I ummed about for a while, until I realised most of the episodes are on YouTube. So I texted my best mate and asked if he'd like them. He was overjoyed to say yes. I was overjoyed to give them to him, especially as he's cooking my lunch tomorrow. And another six inches of cupboard space is freed up and I feel good for making my mate happy.

On the spending front I had to buy petrol for the first time in two weeks, this cost me $30.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Day 15 And We Can Eat Pancakes

We don't do gluten in our house, which is yet another reason why our bread costs 5x more, because when we do eat bread it's gluten free. The cheapest loaf I can find (and might I add that it's a tiny, cute loaf...) is $4.99. So as a result of wheatless eating it's always fab when I can discover a way to have old favourites and not have the worry of wheat belly/mind/fog/joint ache as well.

Today's breakfast was's the recipe.

Each measure makes a few skinny largish pancakes...take one egg and whisk it smooth into which you add one broken up banana and whisk (or NutriBullet) until it resembles pancake mixture. Then pour into your pan into which you've melted some coconut oil and cook. I don't have a non-stick pan so I microwaved them and whilst anaemic looking, they tasted fab.

Serve with....whatever you like.

Bananas are currently $3.50 a kilo
The cheapest FR eggs are $4.69 for 12.

Usually I get my FR eggs free in return for giving all my food scraps to a work colleague for her chickens. But as I'm on holiday right now I am having to buy the eggs. I know we eat mostly vegan, but eggs do feature in our diet. So I can't call our diet totally vegan, because it isn't. I do know the eggs come from pampered foul though.

On the spending front I can say, with great pleasure that we spent NOTHING.

Below is our day's eating
Raw chia pudding and mango. Buddha plates (bowls weren't big enough) and some home-made potato chips using real potatoes and nutritional yeast. Yum flipping yum.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Day 14 And It's Got To Be Cheap

I'm guessing by now you know that I carry on a lot about the price of food. I will try to curb it I promise. And in place of the whinging, be proactive by sharing my frugal recipes. Now I have also said before that I am not a natural cook either. I sort of like the idea of it, but when push comes to cook, I sometimes need to drum up some fortitude.

Today I had to spend $47.63 but I must include that $18 of that money was for my barley powder that we drink for hydration on a morning and $5 was for my herbal deodorant, which, being herbal costs 5x more than anything else on the market. I guess I sound like I'm a bit of a Prima Donna, but I don't try to be, it's just that health is a real priority for me and I would rather not cut corners there, but cut corners and be cheap elsewhere.

Anyway, news to hand, I made some beautiful onion, canellini and rosemary soup yesterday. My kid was very complimentary about it too, ace thought I. Something healthy and nourishing to feed the teenage stomach beast. There was enough for lunch as leftovers too. I am unnaturally keen on leftovers, especially when I am at work.

Other than pre-cooking the onions and garlic in the oil first, I then chucked everything else in and cooked and stirred for about 20 minutes. Then I blended with the stick blender, after taking out the stem of the rosemary and the bay leaves. Bay leaves and rosemary came from the yard that was a bit of a boon.

Here's the recipe..
2 tins of home brand white beans
Slug of olive oil
4 cups sliced yellow or white onions (about 3 onions)
2 squished garlic cloves ( I used three)
1 stem of rosemary (I used two)
Add water until desired consistency and stock of choice
1 bay leaf
Squidge of sea salt
Squids of pepper

Anyway it was fab and tasty and I could feel it doing me good. 

Have a great day.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Day 13 And My Thoughts On Decluttering

A reader asked me the other day how to get others onboard in her home in relation to decluttering and minimising. I'm not sure how old the reader was but I think perhaps a heck of a lot younger than me as she referred to keeping her own room tidy and sorted.

Look, I don't have any earth shattering magic wand suggestions other than this. In my experience when one models the change they wish to see/have, others often, inadvertently come on board. Take KF, when younger I would nag and moan and carry on about tidying, clearing etc etc...and it fell on deaf, rather annoyed young ears. It made me grumpy and no one was happy. So I stopped.

I just did my thing and got on with it. Lo and behold KF began to come on board, often decluttering and donating more often than I could believe. The room of KF now, is a well curated, neat, everything that is needed sort of space. Dirty clothes in wash basket, windows open, bed made, possessions arranged and not a sign of OCD in sight.

Similarly, my office at work is totally minimised too. If I haven't used anything within one year, out it goes. Work colleagues have often remarked about how little I have and have then followed suit, with no prompting from me. Occasionally stuff builds up, I purge, I'm not perfect.

I know it's an overused saying, but I truly believe we should model the change we want to see in the world and others may follow...they might not. But it's not up to anyone to try and change anyone else, god knows I've tried and it doesn't work.

We can only change ourselves. The rest may or may not follow.

Today I spent $106.93... on four bags of shopping, nothing that wasn't needed, but everything at an obscene price. I had to go round to my mum's house to commiserate on the price of vegetables. She was suitably horrified after her own trip the the store earlier. Onions have gone up from $1:75 a kilo (daylight robbery)to $4.00 (murder).

Hello rice and beans.