An often requested blog for me to write is about our budget/who handles our finances/how we save etc.
Firstly Trent handles our finances & basically anything to do with money, insurances, accounts etc. I know my strengths and my weaknesses and I am not gifted mathematically or in the way of understanding any of that sort of stuff. No matter how hard I try. I feel more comfortable with him being in control of all of it, I can still access and see it all – but honestly it makes little sense to me. I try really hard to understand it but I just struggle with it. He pays all of our bills and organises our budget.
As for our budget, we know what bills we need to pay and have that money set aside and then our grocery money (which can be anywhere from $150-$250 a week… We eat a lot of fresh fruit, enjoy good quality meat, Tommy is still in nappies and that includes pet food/litter) and we also deposit an amount into savings. I won’t share our exact amounts, but we strive to save when and where we can. Any cash that we have at the end of the week or we make by selling items on buy, swap & sells is put into my little savings jar that I deposit into the bank and that goes towards extra things we maybe saving for like holidays, items for the new house, gifts etc. I did a whole post on selling items to make a bit of extra money, you can CLICK HERE to read that. (Oddly enough, that post of all posts went “viral”…)
A few great ways we save money are…
- I make most of my own cleaners. And use white vinegar & bicarb to clean most things. Occasionally I will splurge and buy some cleaning products (I love Method) but for most things, I make my own. (I do like to buy furniture polish & glass cleaner)
- I also make my own laundry powder, that recipe can be found HERE.
- I buy generic brands where it suits us. Now I still buy brand name items for most things, but for a few things I tend to look for cheaper alternatives. It often is a bit of trial & error to find a cheaper brand of something that suits your taste. I buy store brand sugar, flours, pasta, butter for cooking, bleach for cleaning etc… The dishwasher tablets from Aldi are also very cheap & work great. (Our town is getting an Aldi soon, so I think I may try shopping there as well)
- I bake our treats. I do sometimes buy us something for the week from the store, but 90% of the time I prefer to bake some biscuits or a cake for morning/afternoon teas for the week. I choose what to bake depending on what I have, what I need to use up or just what we feel like and I feel better giving LuLu a sweet treat when I know exactly what is in it.
- Trent does all of our “jobs” around the house. We don’t need to outsource anything to tradies or the such because he is skilled and knowledgable to do it. I find this so helpful and I feel it saves us a lot of money. He does everything from fix his own work ute, he will be building the fences for the new house, constructing the kids play area and if anything is ever broken or needs to be done he knows how to do it… We are yet to ever need to “call someone”.
- We don’t eat a lot of take away or drink a lot of alcohol. We do eat out (or have take away) but it is not in excess and both of us do not drink a lot of alcohol.
- We very rarely buy soft drink. Huge saving in the groceries is cutting that out.
- Writing a shopping list of exactly what you need and only buying those items is a great way to stay on track with the groceries.
- Adding up your groceries on your phone calculator as you buy each item is another good way to be aware of what you are spending, that way you know if you are going over budget.
- Shop around for the best deal and go with what works for you. Do not be afraid of calling around other stores if you are making a big purchase and getting the lowest price possible.
- Reassess your phone/internet/electricity/health insurance plans if possible. Call up ask for a better deal, rework them to suit your current situation better or call other companies to compare. (We need to do this for our health insurance, because holy that’s an expensive one!)
- Sell unwanted/unused items on buy, swap & sell sites.
- Be sensible, that’s a huge one. Do not spend what you don’t have. Live within your means.
And on that note, I have a new HAUL video on YouTube CLICK HERE to watch it. It’s a small haul from a little shopping day the other day. I made a conscious decision to not go over board at the shops. It is easy to do when we go to the big shopping centre in Toowoomba, Dalby only has a small variety of stores and when you are in a big centre you see so many things you want, but staying focused on what you need is important. I did buy a few fun items for the kids to put away as gifts but it was all well within the spending budget for that day. (Trent did tell me to go buy something for myself, but I decided I wanted to save it to go towards something when we finally are in the house.)
I would love to hear your tips for saving money. Please leave them as a comment below or comment on my social media…
Have a great day.
It is a few days out from Christmas and in today’s blog post I want to offer support & encouragement to anyone that maybe dealing with family issues or estrangement during this festive season.
It is fairly hard to be an adult child and feel like your family has abandoned you or to feel like you have no other choice but to walk away from family who continually hurt you. It sucks, gosh it is hard, heck it is hard enough writing this post, but I feel it may help someone… So if you are dealing with this right now, I am sorry. I get it.
I filmed a video the other day talking about this, I admit it’s a bit rambly and a bit long – so if you want to watch, I highly recommend you go get a cup a tea/snack/cold drink and then click HERE.
But if you would just like a few tips on how to deal with family estrangement or toxic people, especially at Christmas read on…
- Refocus your vision. Instead of focusing on who isn’t in your life, focus on who is. Focusing on those who aren’t in your life, is heartbreaking & can bring up a lot of angry feelings. So instead focus on those who actively participate in your life and bring value to it.
- We can’t control the actions of others. Remember this, it doesn’t matter who they are – parents, siblings, children, partners – we ultimately cannot control anyone but ourselves.
- Set boundaries. If you are forced to be around people who are toxic during Christmas, set boundaries. Protect yourself, don’t put yourself in a position to be alone with them, have an exit plan if you start getting upset or hurt and remain respectful.
- Don’t lower yourself. It is easy to say this and not so easy to do this, but when someone is hurting you, don’t go out of your way to hurt them back. Their behaviour is their choice, you look after yourself – your mental & emotional health and make sure you are behaving to a standard you are proud of. Admittedly everyone occasionally says something they wish they hadn’t or let’s anger take over their mind, in this case – try and pull yourself up and walk away or hang up the phone.
- Let go of negative feelings. Let go of anger, stress, resentment & bitterness.
- Understand everything happens for a reason. This sounds dreadful in this context. Like it’s hard to understand God’s plan for removing people you love from your life, or forcing you to remove people you do love but you can no longer tolerate hurtful behaviour from. But I truly believe everything is part of a greater plan, we just can’t see it yet. Perhaps the person will never be apart of your life again or maybe you just need a time out from them, who know’s time apart could strengthen your relationship… Everyone’s circumstance is different. But everything happens for a reason.
- Don’t be hard on yourself & be prepared. If you have made a decision to distance yourself from family members, be gentle with yourself. Not every person will understand, agree with or respect your choice – be prepared for that. You may lose even more people you love, because of the fall out from this decision. Many people will try & guilt trip you – especially around events like Christmas, if you went through gradual steps and the separation is a mature & thought out decision, don’t feel you owe it to anyone to explain why. You can of course, but be strong in your choice and know that your decision was for the best for yourself/& your family at this current time. Often outside people don’t see a side of a person that you may, so they may not understand what you have been through. Toxic people are great at playing the victim & you maybe painted as a villian.
- Reconciliation. If you want it to happen, reach out. But prepared to have that talk about issues and also your part in the estrangement. If you don’t want to reconcile but the others do, be respectful if you respond or just say nothing. You don’t have to have a relationship with someone or accept being treated poorly just because they are family. Christmas seems like an ideal time for reconciliation, because everyone wants family at Christmas – but I highly suggest thoroughly thinking it through seriously, would you and the other person would be in the right mental/emotional state in such a busy month to properly reconcile. Remember it takes 2 people to mend a relationship & both have to be willing and also have empathy. Some toxic people lack the skills to be empathetic – so reconciling can be hard – even impossible and it may actually require professional help. Christmas may not be the ideal time to do this.
- Seek help & talk. Chatting to a trusted friend or your partner/spouse maybe all you need, but maybe speaking to a professional or seeking out a support group is what you need. Don’t let your feelings build up so you explode – talking is very helpful.
- Lose all expectations & don’t compare. If you don’t expect anything you can’t get hurt. I am still learning this and it is hard. I don’t mean material items, but basic support & love. The very basic things we expect from family. And try not to compare your relationships to others, this is also tough. Remember comparison is the thief of joy and if you have no expectations – you can’t be disappointed.
Friends, I hope these tips may help you during the holiday season. If you are feeling abandoned, alone or forced into a decision you wish you didn’t have to make – I am sorry. I understand – I truly do. It is very heartbreaking & hard.
To hear me ramble & be a little raw about this topic please click HERE. But be warned the video is a bit all over the place.
Or for more support please check out this organisation. Stand Alone
This post/video is designed to help people and that is the motive behind posting it.
It’s the 27th of November… Despite that being both of my brother’s birthday, it is also 3 days until DECEMBER!!
Meaning, if you have an Elf on the Shelf – his arrival is coming up rather quickly…
For today’s post I have 5 tips to make your elf’s visit pleasant rather than stressful…
- Make a plan, but don’t be too strict. I set out a monthly plan so I have inspiration and a general idea of what will happen – but I know I can easily swap days around, I also leave a few days blank so I can see how our month is going and add in plans we come up with later on. I even coordinated a few days with my best friend, so our kids can have Christmas themed play dates on certain days that the elf will announce. Having a plan is my top tip or even just 25-30 rough ideas of how to stage it, or just make a Pinterest board of elf ideas you love & wish to recreate. Basically, just have some ideas going into December with what you want to do. (Also have a plan for nights that you can’t be stuffed doing much with it, or a plan in case you forget to move it!)
- Don’t go overboard, do not set unrealistic expectations or plan too big… December is a busy and big month for everyone – add in planing and setting up an extra visitor every night can be a lot of work. Keep it simple.
- Use what you have, don’t feel the need to buy all new props for the elf. Raid your kids toys. Our Generation, Lego, Barbie, basically any toys are great for elf accessories and props – even your Christmas decor!
- Have fun, with it. Don’t view it as a chore – encourage your husband to even think up a few stunts for the elf so you can set it up together. Don’t over think it, like I said in point 2, just keep it simple and just have fun. Remember why you are doing it, it’s meant to bring happiness not stress…
- Your family, your rules… Everyone does the elf on the shelf differently, some people let the kids touch the elf, some don’t… Sometimes the elf comes earlier than December 1st & others only visit for 12 days before Christmas. Some elves just do funny antics, some bring little gifts or treats and some announce daily activities or do a combination of all! Every elf is unique – do what works for you and your family. There is no set rules, the elf & it’s antics can be as simple or as extravagant as you want… Don’t compare your elf to others. Comparison is the thief of joy, even with elves!
Do you do Elf on the Shelf? What is your top tip for staying sane while staging your festive little friend?
Let me know below or on my social media…
Keep an eye on my social media, I will share a photo of our elf Kringle’s new house this week!
We are at the start of a week long heat wave… We have had and are expecting temperatures in the low to mid 30s! (90ish degrees Fahrenheit temperatures) And for some places high 30s/low 40s!! And it’s only the first month of spring!! It’s HOT!
So today my brain is not working that great, I love spring, but summer heat – eh, not so much. I can handle temps up until about 30degrees, after that it just feels like death!
So I thought I would share some tips to stay cool in this heat…
10 tips for beating the heat with kids…
How are you staying cool this week?
Let me know in the comments below or on social media…
Stay cool friends, I am dreading to know what Summer will be like if this is only spring!