Saturday, 2 September 2017

Louise L Hay- Farewell

I have always been a big fan of Louise Hay and was surprised to hear of her death a couple of days ago. It's almost two years to the day since the amazing Wayne Dyer died too. I have read a lot of both their work and revisit it often, in fact I only own three real books, two of which are Wayne Dyer books.

What a contribution they both made to the world.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Full Of Debt At Rock Bottom

I Can See In The Dark Now!
I wrote this a week or so ago, to explain a little about where I am coming from ~ hope you enjoy it.

What do you do when you are 38 years old and $45k AUD in consumer debt? Why panic of course, and panic is exactly what I did. I whinged, I moaned and I questioned. I blamed, I sooked and I cried. When I crept out from the excess of emotions, peeled myself off the floor and thought about it, I realised I felt better. But the debt remained.

I had been working as a teacher for the past 16 years, with very little of any substance to show for it. Oh I had a wardrobe full of clothes, a crappyish car and erm…well, not much else. What on earth had I spent almost a half of my life working for? With an ex who had disappeared the moment I became guarantor for a loan of $20k, gone with the goods and no-return address I was well and truly in a pickle. Not even a P.I could help me with that.

Ok, so the 45K debt wasn’t all created by me. But the other 25K was all mine. I had a marvellous selection of nail polishes (I bit my nails, but so what?) I had a lovely collection of swimming apparel, but hated the water. I spent on Ebay, takeout coffee, work lunches, all kinds of who-knows-what-it-was trinkets and had a little under $1k in savings.


So I began a blog. At this stage in 2008 a lot of frugal blogs were in their infancy and I was swept up in the wave. The way I saw it was if I could write each day, it would keep me honest. I could keep track of my bills, finances, spending, reflections and repayments. And so I began.

I tracked everything I spent, confessed the good, the bad and the downright stupid. I accepted criticism. I also began to take notice. Writing everything down and adding my thoughts and reflections to these real observations helped me to see what I was doing to myself. I began to question every single purchase and with that, use the money I was beginning not to waste to pay down those sad, pathetic debts. I began with the smallest debt, this gave me hope and made me feel like I was getting somewhere.

Gradually my obscene debt began to disappear. By writing everything down publically I began to really dislike documenting anything that wasn’t a necessity. I never bought another magazine, after being a magazine junkie. No make-up, no clothing, nothing. I cancelled subscriptions, stopped eating out, started home cooking, got rid of anything I could sell and gave away that which I couldn’t. I wanted everything down to the bare bones, everything.

And in about 2 years, the debt was gone and I had finally begun to save. And save I did. Not only did my debt disappear but I was able to amass, over the next few years, a savings account of $80K. 

My partner at the time didn’t like my blog, he said it took up too much time and so stupidly I stopped writing it, keeping tally, feeling free of consumerism and my standards started to slip.

had thought I was safe. But without the blog, my good behaviour went south.

After yet another failed relationship, I found myself in need of a place to live. My savings helped me secure a lovely, small condo for my child and myself. A nice fat downpayment…and then the misguided belief that I should start to buy all sorts of things for my new home.

So for a time, I lost my direction and whilst I always paid for everything in cash, I wasted money. I did not need a set of weighing scales, or an air fryer, or ten sets of queen sized sheets and covers for my bed. I certainly didn’t need an outdoor umbrella, huge table and chairs and on and on it went.

After all this time, I was still not cured. And so I have begun to blog again. My blog errs on the saving/frugal/simple minimalism angle but I can see already it’s bringing me back down to earth. It‘s centring me, challenging me and making me consider everything I do and the consequences both good and bad. I save every single pay from between 20-50% of my pay and I love it. If I muck up, I don’t berate myself, but challenge myself to do better next time. It’s a game and I love it.

And this time, there’s no stopping me.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Blogs That Rock My Socks (4)

It's my weekly blog recommendation post dear readers. Today I've chosen SIMPLICITY VOICES because it is a positive feast of interesting, relevant and varied articles about simple living and minimalist lifestyle. It's a curated site of some wonderful reading and I highly recommend it.

Let me know if you agree.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Well Done Woolworths (Not)

For the second time in three days, you've sold me shit! I'm creating a dossier and then I'll have a think what to do with it!

Giving My Son The Shirt Off My Back

My son came up to me the other day and I could see he was eyeing off my shirt. This was a plaid shirt I'd had for some time, though hadn't actually worn much. I have a lot of shirts, my child, not so much. When I wore this shirt a client of mine told me that their granny had a tablecloth she used at Christmas in the same material. My kid then said something he's never said before and that was
"mum, when you're done with that shirt, could I have it?" Well, I might have loved that shirt, but my kid's unassuming query made me decide it should belong in an alternate closet to mine. He has since worn it three times in the last week, this makes me very happy.

I do not need several thousand shirts, so giving one away was a good move.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

I Will Absolutely NOT Buy

Thank You For The Flowers T!

There are many things I won’t spend my money on, but I am going to focus on the things that I used to buy, but refuse to any more. After all, before and afters probably make for a more poignant reflection.
  • I absolutely will not pay for parking. I live in a very small city, well an even smaller suburb of a small city. These days I can be bothered to walk a little more by parking further away from my destination, thus being able to bag the free parking. Either that or I only park in the city between 3:30-5:30 pm when it is free.
  • I will not buy magazines. I used to buy at least ten a month. It took me aeons to realise that all they were, were big, colourful, glossy adverts. Rarely did they dip into topics with any depth, not adding to my life at all. Occasionally I may read a free one or be given a few by a friend of mine, but ultimately I find them uninspired.
  • I do not buy ‘specialised’ cleaning products. I used to buy a variety of cleaning stuff, believing the hype and pump action advertising. These days I use washing up liquid, white vinegar, hot water and bicarb. My house has never been sparklier.
  • I refuse to have a gym membership. God knows I have had them in the past, but ultimately and predictably they have gone the way of the dodo in a very short time. On reflection, my exercise of choice is and always has been walking, so I walk. In winter I am lazy and don’t use my walking machine as much as I should. In spring, summer and autumn I pound the pavement of my beloved, flat and safe suburb to the tune of 6-10 kilometres about five times a week. I tone up in no time and feel sanctimonious and fit all in one fell swoop.
  • I do not have a mobile phone plan. $30 pre-paid for me and the teenager and it lasts us for a very long time. I like to know what I have spent and how much. I used to pay much more.
  • I don’t spend my money on excess power. I do a couple of loads of clothes washing a week, but my washing liquid is bought in bulk to make it cheaper and I use half the amount suggested on the plastic bottle. I don’t overuse the heater or the air con in summer and prefer to pull blinds down to save heat and cool when necessary. I used to be so much more wasteful.
  • I don’t buy make-up or perfume. I think we fill our bodies with enough chemicals without adding any more. I don’t mind anyone else wearing make-up, each to their own. But I spent years and years making time for tizzing myself up and I don’t do any more. I have a bit of old stuff, lurking. If my choir has a performance I might wear a bit, but not usually. I have some crappy old perfumes from yesteryear that just seem to take forever to use up, probably because I hate fake smells!
  • I don’t go to a hairdresser, my beloved does it for me. I have spent gazillions over the years but now, short, simple and cropped does it. I used to spend $180 every six weeks on my hair…even the notion!
  • I don’t pay to have my car cleaned. Erm my lovely man does that for me too! I did do it myself on the 28th of December last year though…so does that count? But I have paid for my car cleaning in the past..gawdzooks!
There’s many other things I won’t pay for, but here is my top non-spend list. What do you refuse to pay for?

Monday, 28 August 2017

Woolworths Australia Are NOT The Fresh Food People


'Scuse me whilst I die laughing. Woolworths, the fresh food people ! Ha! Ha! Ha! And as well as not being the fresh food people, they are also the people who DO NOT answer their emails, or on the occasion that they do, they fob you off with a cut and paste job, that is so obvious as they muck it up and add certain half paragraphs repeatedly, as well as calling you some random name (probably the person they've cut and pasted prior). They also send you a customer satisfaction survey BEFORE sending you the cut and paste response.

Behold, above you, the amount I had to cut off, from a teeny, tiny punnet of strawberries, purchased the same day as the cutting.

I am willing to overlook the odd bit of yuck here and there, but this is repeated. And it's not only repeated for me, it seems to be a universal issue. I don't know anyone who actually obtains anything that is completely edible from Woolworths. My man for example. A bag of four potatoes, only (almost) one that wasn't brown on the inside.

They don't respond online, they don't respond when you post a photo on their Facebook page and the general response is, 'oh just bring them back in for a full refund'. That's all fine and dandy, but who has the time to be going back in every single time you buy something? Or you try to buy something but it's all too horrible. How about providing the service you claim to provide in the first place? AND Woolworths don't tell me it's a random thing or just bad luck that sometimes the food is bad, because it is every single time. I am searching, searching, searching for something that doesn't scream BAD! 

COLES don't sell brown mushy plop and they're your main competitor- sadly too far from my place or I'd never walk through your doors again.

I'm not a farmer, I have a tiny back courtyard that I can and do grow a few minimal things in. That's great. But my biggest beef is DON'T PRETEND to sell a good quality, fresh food item when so clearly you are full of it (and I don't mean healthy food).

Readers...tell me, is this a universal thing...or do I just buy from the crappest store, with the crappest online customer service ever....?

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Better Than Takeout (Pizza)

It's probably nothing new to most frugal people in the recipe arena, but here at Frugal Fingers central, we love our home made pizza. This is a mini version of our rather larger earlier versions.

It's as simple as it gets and can use up leftover type bits and bobs, although today's version had newly purchased toppings.

Recipe as follows: one cup of Greek yoghourt to one cup of SR flour (or doubled in our case), red sauce/passata/pasta sauce, or whatever pizza-based sauce you have, we added grated cheese, salami and some cheap ham I got from the reduced stash at the supermarket. I mixed the flour and yoghourt together to make a ball, rolled it out and used a little extra flour so no stickage occurred and then threw the toppings on top and cooked until golden. I sometimes use sweet potato, spinach, whatever I have lurking in the fridge and sometimes water down a little bit of mayo for fancypantsage and that's it. It can almost be fairly healthy. We double the recipe so we have plenty for lunch the day after.

What's your home made takeout style go to?