Friday, 27 April 2018

Life For Sale

If I was a business, would anyone want to buy me?

It was the thought I woke up with the other morning and it wasn't going to let me go easily. So here's how the (internal) conversation went:

ME: What are your financials like? Can you show consistent profit for the past 3-5 years?

ALSO ME: Ahh....well.....that's not fair. You know that loan is taking all the extra wage. You know that overseas trip was paid by credit card. You know how expensive it is to live today. You know how little I get paid; if I was paid as much as that other guy.......

ME: OK so can you show a clear plan to eliminate your debt?

ALSO ME: Of course! Everything I owe will be covered by my superannuation payout.

ME: Your financials raise a red flag but maybe your facility review will help. Are there any maintenance issues I should know about? If so, what plan do you have to improve your facility?

ALSO ME: You crack me up; are you serious? "Know about,"...(shakes head)...You know all about my back/knees/eyes/ and all the other blessings of being over 40. My plan? I like to put other people first so I can't justify spending money (that I don't have) on myself when I need to support other members of my family. I tried resting my aching body like I heard a doctor say once. I tried resting it a lot and all it did was swell up. I gained 10kg doing what the doctor said!

ME: Gotta say things aren't looking promising; debt and a run down facility. But there is still a chance. Perhaps you are doing something unique with your life. Maybe you have just been so focused on the prize that you have taken your eyes off of the process? What makes your business stand out from the other businesses? Why should I buy your business? What is your point of difference?

ALSO ME: Whoa, hold on soldier, too many questions. OK, I've thought about it. You should choose my business because I am extremely good at time management. Most other businesses wouldn't attempt to be involved in as many things as me. I'm in so many groups and clubs I need a special diary to keep track. Nothing gets missed out. I even manage to be home in time to wake my partner to say good night. It is a real skill I have. Plus, I think you missed the point with my debt-profit-whatever-that-stuff-was. You need to turn the negative into a positive (hey, I can outsmart myself!), I have a real skill at ensuring all my equipment is up to date. What you call debt is actually the cost of doing business. Stop laughing! It's just a business expense. The doctor said rest so I thought I'd take the opportunity to continue my edukashun. No point straining my poor old eyes so I bought the big TV. Netflix has some amazing documentaries. Did you know that Iceland isn't actually ice? Go figure; I'm smarter because of that TV.

ME: I'm starting to wish I was a split personality. So actually you are exactly like every other business?

ALSO ME: I'm just meeting the demand of the masses. If people want to buy burgers, give them burgers. I'm just doing what every other business does. Give the people more of what they want is what I say.

ME: I think it's time to wake up now!

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Overcoming The Tyranny Of The Urgent

Those close to me know that I am never far away from a good book. I love the escapism that comes from a well constructed story, embellished with my own limitless imagination. My favourite genre is Adventure Fantasy and I love J.R. Tolkien's Lord of The Rings Trilogy. In this genre most books come in series of three (although I am reading one at present that has fourteen volumes). I guess I like the way the author is able to describe every detail. I often feel shorter stories are rushed and thin. They leave themselves open to criticism from close scrutiny. I remember someone once commented about me that I would never tell a short version of a story if a longer version existed!

So imagine my surprise when I read a tiny book  called, The Tyranny Of The Urgent by Charles E. Hummel. Less than a handful of pages, it was part of the reading list for a Theological course I undertook as part of my college education, and it changed my life.

The basic premise is that:

  1. The things we think important are rarely urgent, and,
  2. The things we think urgent are rarely important.
Now to be honest, that's about all I remember of the book, but those few words have impacted my life far more than the thousands written by Tolkien and his contemporaries.

I often ask myself if the thing demanding my attention is important or just urgent. Sadly, many times it's after the event. It was important that I attended my daughter's choir concert but then a workmate got sick and it became a matter of urgency that I fill in for him. I hate to think how many times I have raised the urgent above the important. It works across so many areas of my life. Paying off the charge card was important but then the toaster broke and the need for toast in the morning became so urgent that once again my important....... wasn't!

I guess the most frustrating thing is that I am the one who determines what is or isn't important to me and so, psychologically, I take a hit every time I promote someone else's important over my own.

Here's a couple of tips that might help you beat the tyranny of the urgent:
  1. Always choose to make memories over making money. I remember sitting with my brothers on the bonnet of the car watching the drive-in movie....through the fence, trying to lip read. The point is, I remember the moment, not the financial hardship that kept us outside. If you choose making money over making memories, all your people will remember, is that you weren't there.
  2. Applying urgency to your important will help keep you on track for your goals. Paying off the credit card is important but when you attach a date you give it some urgency and raise it's importance. 
I'm resisting the urge to explain this concept in micro-detail and just hoping that the few words I've used will help you just as they helped me. Good luck.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

My Side Hustle Has Been Staring Me In The Face For Years

Sometimes I think I am a simpleton, a village idiot.

Seriously, a half-wit!

I have been thinking for a long time of a way to further utilise the skills I already have, in order to find a way that could, possibly, assist Danny and me with reaching our goals more quickly.

We save our little butts off, but having simplified our lives in a fairly significant way, I am finding a need to look for something creative to bring into the time I now have. Blogging is great, I love it. Danny is writing a book and is a very creative person in the workshop, but I find I am feeling the urge to produce something else.

A friend of mine casually mentioned she had uploaded a resource on line and, though simple, it netted her about $10 a month. She has been teaching for only a few years.

Then it struck me! I've been teaching for 25 years, this year! That's a lot of children, lessons and brain power. So why on earth have I not been using that power, that creativity and planning time, to use my lessons to assist others as well as assisting ourselves, by creating and selling on TeachersPayTeachers and TeachersNotebook?

Of course there are a few things I need and want to learn first, but hey, I love the computer so that's no hardship. I am going to set myself a few little goals and begin by learning how to make clip art. Worst case, I have taught myself something new. Best case, I create something better than I've ever created before.

Do you have a side hustle? How did you decide what to do?

PS~ My links are NOT affiliates!

Monday, 23 April 2018

Doppelganger Cats!

Now this story doesn't have much (anything) to do with frugality, but it is a funny little story I wanted to share.

The fourth member of our household is a furry, black six year old, Mr FancyPants...Actually that's not his name and he doesn't like being called this, feels it's beneath him, but I'm his mum so I get to call him it. He is also known as Mr FP, Mr Pussy, FatBoy, J-Man, Mr Gorgeous, Dr Concert Paws, Baby, Mr Handsome, Joey, Joe, Babycakes and finally his real name, Joseph.

He came from the RSPCA, having been surrendered-not for any reason on his part, twice.

We have had him about 18 months.

Anyway, back to the story. I was home alone the other night, Danny was working and I was sat on the couch watching Orphan Black. The blinds were up at the big double sliding doors, letting in a lot of darkness. Mr FP was sat staring at the window, sat very neatly. He was beginning to make a very strange yowl and meow. This unnerved me.

I walked over to him, thinking that perhaps a possum had come into the back yard and he was reacting. I flicked on the outside light and all I could see was his reflection in the windows. Or at least I thought it was his reflection.

When I looked again, there was an identical cat to Mr FP, staring right back at him, sat in exactly the same position. They were neatly glaring at one another through the window. Our cat longing to get out (he's an indoor cat) and the cat from next door, who is left to his own devices and spends most of his time walking the fences, longing to get in.

It actually scared the crap out of me when the cat outside began to move and Mr FP stayed stock still. I am glad that I realised there was actually two cats and not one..otherwise I think I would have felt I had entered the twilight zone.

What I really enjoyed thereafter was the girth of Mr FP's tail, all fluffy and fat and fun to run my hands down.

Oh I love cats!

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Herbal Tea For Free

Following on from yesterday's post, I thought I would let you know how my 'no-cost' herbal tea is going. I hope the picture above isn't too fancy, but if you look carefully you can see the jar on our window ledge, with tiny mint leaves floating inside. It was very refreshing with very hot water poured on it. It felt very clearing, kind of like the sort of thing you feel when you smell Vicks' Vapor Rub, only not as hardcore.

You will also notice, I used the jar with it's landfill wristband to drink the tea from. This is such a pleasing thing for me. An old jar, a useless piece of rubber and mint from the garden, all topped off with hot water. Who knew this could be so satisfying?

It sure beats a night out on the town, getting drunk and wondering the next day where that $100 in your wallet disappeared to.

Saturday, 21 April 2018

No More Herbal Tea!

A Fig I Ate
Well, the title is not strictly true. In our house we often drink herbal tea, and I have been known to see the colourful fruity boxes on the shelf when shopping and buy multiple tastes at once. Well, when they're on sale at least. But finally, as I type this, I am drinking the last of the bought herbal tea bags. It's a cinnamon/orange concoction and it smells divine. But I think I am going to try and go without the purchase of any herbal teabags from now on, save a few dollars in the shopping.

What I am going to do is to use what we have in our garden. We have lots of mint, several different types. We have a lemon verbena and a couple of big rosemary bushes, not to mention about eight lavender bushes. Now surely I can come up with a suitable free alternative, no packaging either, good for compost.

Do any readers make their own herbal teas? Is there anything I should know about? Is there some recommendations to think of? Please let me know in the comments.

And to finish off today, here's the cabin Danny and I are thinking about going to look at. Check out the Tod's Corner Triangle....we both got a bit of a frisson of excitement when we saw this offering!

Have a grateful, happy day!

Friday, 20 April 2018

It Really Was About The Cup!

Some Beautiful Trees On My Walk Yesterday
I haven't drunk takeaway coffee for a long time, maybe the odd cup here and there over the past couple of years. Not so much as none, but a lot less than most. I don't drink it on the occasions when we go out for a lunch, and stick to free water.

But it did occur to me the other  day when Danny said that if we were going to have a takeaway coffee, even though it meant spending, if we took a reusable cup that would be a sensible compromise.

And it made me realise that when I did used to drink takeout coffee in a throwaway cup, it was never ever about the coffee. Because I said to Danny, that I didn't want to take a reusable cup, I would rather go without a hot drink from the cafe, than hand over my own cup. I would rather make one at home and take it with us on our journeys about the place. Which made me then consider that it was all about the feeling of being one of those types of women who drink a barista made coffee and swan about the place like Lady Muck. The coffee was secondary, to the image I used to want to portray of myself.

It made me think of Miranda Miranda (funniest show ever!!)

"Today I’ve begun the new me. I’m going to be the kind of woman who, you know, just leaps from out of bed and just does that… and their hair looks perfect.

They then grab a muffin from their Cath Kidston polka dot biscuit tin and head to work wearing trainers at the bottom of a skirt suit to show off they’ve power-walked it. 

They have plants that don’t die on them. Their fruit bowl isn’t full of three-week-old rotting pears because they actually eat fruit. They have day bags, an evening bag and a clutch. For lunch, they just grab a wheat-germ smoothie in between work because that’s enough to keep them going, even though at lunch time they jogged, and enjoyed it, because they don’t have flesh that moves independently to their main frame. 

And, finally, they have easy access to pens to finish a crossword at a bar where the man they decided to take as a lover the night before says to them, “Hey, last night was great!”

You know, I’ll be that kind of woman."

.....And I have never been that kind of woman...though for so many years, I liked to pretend I was....

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Even The Love Notes Are Recycled

Recycling is important in our house and we are always trying to think of more and more ways to do our very best. So, it may come as no surprise to you, that we even recycle our love notes. I wrote the original two that have the changes, and Danny added the changes as a way to leave a love note in return. The one with no changes, well I just like that one.

After we have love-noted each other, I photograph the images to keep and recycle the paper in the appropriate receptacle.

I did recently see these little cards you could buy to give to your loved one, in the form of a pre-printed cutesy card- but that seems like a waste to me in more ways than one.

Do you recycle anything unusual in a creative way ?

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

When You Need Something Quick And Frugal

Click On The Picture For A Closer Look
Last week, I was pawing around at work, looking for something a bit on the sweet side. I wasn't prepared to buy chocolate from the office, so I went to my friend. He could only offer me a scone from the canteen. I was happy to receive it from him and promptly scoffed it.

It did the trick, though had more in common with a rock cake and desert sand than a scone.

I promised him that when Danny, H and I went to visit him, that I would bring him some of our home made scones as a 'thank you'. So this morning H decided he would make them and as a result we ended up with ten, beautiful, toothsome offerings, that were beyond easy to make. I will add that we added an egg wash and a little niblet of sugar on top before cooking.

They cost literally nothing to make, but were a perfectly presentable food to offer to friends. As well as this they are filling and useful for school lunches.

Let me know if you try them, or if you have your own scone/cake/easy bake/gift recipe.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Crap That Ends Up In Landfills

I don't like rubbishy little bits of crap. And I suspect if you're reading this blog, that neither do you. I think giving plastic toys away with food-like substances at particular junk food establishments is criminal..on so many levels.

So recently, I happened upon this item here. It had been left, abandoned on the table at work. Nobody ever really wanted it and nobody could tell me where it had come from. Hey, I like to ask the hard questions. It was going to be chucked in the bin, but I simply had to photograph it, so I could whinge and whine about it on this blog. But Danny stepped in with an idea, and ever since, this useless, rubbishy piece of rubber has had a real reason to live, in our house.

As you may know we don't drink out of glasses, we drink out of jars. However, this gets a bit of a (1st world) challenge when we're having hot coffee. We usually put up with warmed fingers, until this wrist band decided it would be happy to become a reusable cup holder. And, now, our little fingers stay cool.

Now, I am sure this is no great revelation to anyone. I know our readers are resourceful, creative types, who leave wonderful comments. But I have posted this thought for the day as a reminder that there are tiny, smidgy little things we can do, if we add a bit of thought to it. One little reused wristband isn't going to change the world, and doing away with the making of such superfluous claptrap in the first place would be better. But if it's here, whatever it is, it's certainly better to find a reason/way to give it another life, than to send it to the finite whole in the ground.

So I ask you, dear readers, please share how you reuse the stuff and nonsense that comes your way. Do you have a good idea for items that others would like? Beyond recycling and composting, I'll wager you all have some wonderful ideas. To see an example click here on Greg's Frugal Flipper, he's a star repurposer and a damn fine blogger.

Monday, 16 April 2018

2 Ingredient Beer Bread

Now I have seen this recipe with a few more ingredients, not many, but a few. However, in the interests of keeping everything simple, I decided that as long as it tasted nice, I wasn't going to add anything extra. It tastes great like this and is a quick filler/addition to rustle up when you need to pad something long as you have the grog to make it.

So here it is:

2 ingredient beer bread

A bottle or a can of the cheapest beer you can find. The two times I have made this I used a 375ml can and a 333ml bottle, so exact precision doesn't seem to matter.

2 cups of SR flour

*Put the flour in a bowl, tip the beer on top and mix with a spatula.
*No kneading required.
*Scraps the lot into a greased (I used butter) loaf tin and cook.
*It should look messy, not smooth like kneaded bread.
*I cooked on 160 degrees C until a skewer came out clean.
*It has a crusty top and a bready, slightly cakey consistency.
*Perfect for mopping juices of any kind or toasting.
* It's not the cheapest bread you could make, but it is quite cheap.
*It is also very filling and does not generate any plastic bag waste

Let me know how you go, or if you have any other uber simple recipes to share with others.