I have to admit, I've been feeling pretty smug over the last few days. You see, I've been hearing a lot about 'The Secret' in the Discussion Forum and it sounded pretty interesting, so I was very keen to watch it when it aired here on Friday night. Who wouldn't want to know the secret to achieving happiness in all areas of your life? So I started watching and was indeed impressed by the positive vibes and encouragement beaming from the celebrity panel. Even the Sad Sally in me was struggling to get out and buy the book and the DVD. But the more I watched, the more something became apparent to me - I didn't need it - and for a change it had nothing to do with the price. I didn't need it because I was already happy. As far as I was concerned, I had already found the secret to a perfect life a couple of years ago and that was when I joined Simple Savings. If that sounds over the top or corny, I assure you it's not at all. For starters:
Simple Savings is my secret to WEALTH. Joining the site got me out of debt, managing my money and saving it. I attract more money every single day by learning to keep it in my pocket.
Simple Savings is my secret to RELATIONSHIPS. Working towards saving money together has resulted in a happier, more honest marriage, without any of the previous worries or guilt from overspending. We have firmly established goals - the same goals - and work together as a team. It has also resulted in me being a better mother. My children are now showered with all the love and time they need, instead of being showered with toys and possessions that mean nothing. We all enjoy many more happy times together without the need to spend any money and I believe my children will grow up much better people being raised as Simple Savers.
Simple Savings is my secret to SELF-WORTH. In the not-quite three years since I joined the site, I have made countless changes for the better and I walk with my head much higher now because I know I am making the best choices every day for my family. The 'Time is Money' equation has helped me to see what I am worth, as well as everything else around me. Simple Savings has also taught me how to look and feel good on a budget and make healthy choices and, while I'll never be a size eight again, I finally feel comfortable in my own skin.
Simple Savings is my secret to HAPPINESS. Every single day I look outside at our thriving garden and all the things we have achieved on our own land, I appreciate it more. The reason we still have our wonderful, productive corner of paradise is due to Simple Savings. It is the sole reason I was able to wake up to my spending habits in time and stop us from going under and losing our home. I can't think of a better place for us to be.
I could go on but you get the idea! I'm not saying The Secret isn't fantastic too but I have to admit, I was hoping for something more. Like the poor solo mother on the show who was $40,000 in debt. Apparently they had already been helping her and I couldn't wait to see the results but they were nothing like I expected. There were the panel of experts smiling at her indulgently and saying 'Don't see yourself as being in debt - see yourself getting OUT of debt. You can do it!' That was it? Sorry but it didn't cut it with this saver. "JOIN SIMPLE SAVINGS AND START NOW!" I wanted to yell at the TV. 'Take the woman around her house and show her how she can save money on every single thing in her life! Do something!' But no - that was it. Maybe I should email Oprah and ask her to bring the poor lady back for a one hour special with Fiona and compare the results! Another thing which has had a significant effect on my life lately is this hint Organise your life and reap the savings. Now if you're already an organised person, this revelation is nothing new but for a household as chaotic as ours, it has worked really well. This hint sounded a lot like me so I decided to try really hard to get organised and stay that way. The first job I had to tackle was cleaning out my car. The state of it had been bugging me for ages. Every time I needed to fit an extra child in the car I had to make room by throwing everything from the back seat into the boot but after a while the boot was full and there was literally no room left in the car to fit ourselves in! It took me three hours to clean my car inside and out and by the time I had finished there were three baskets on the ground - one full of my stuff, one full of Liam's and another full of Ali's. There were also three rubbish bags of everyone's rubbish to match. What a state to get into - you can imagine what a horrible job it was. I even found a backpack containing Ali's lunchbox from when he attended his zookeeper course over two months ago, the contents of which were quite a sight to behold. I presented the kids with their baskets and bags and told them to put everything away in its right place and that I never wanted to drive such a filthy car again. From now on I was the proud owner of a CLEANMOBILE and straight away I felt so much better. For some reason, sorting out my car led to becoming more organised in all sorts of other things. I have learned that to stay organised I have to S-L-O-W D-O-W-N instead of my usual mad dash and this actually results in getting more done. I also started taking a leaf out of Noel's book and making a priority list each day. With his job he never knows what is going to crop up from one day to the next so he has to prioritise as he goes. He has often told me to do this due to the squillions of thoughts always going round in my head but I have only just started to take any notice. Instead of trying to fit in 20 or more jobs in a day and not getting time to do half of them, then feeling guilty about all the things I haven't achieved, I now keep a short list of just four or five tasks. Before I write them down I ask myself 'What is it I actually need to do TODAY, that can't wait?' and by doing this I have found life doesn't have to be a permanent cycle of chaos. I get everything done that I need to achieve and don't need to waste precious brain space worrying about everything else until another day!
Talking of worrying, several people have asked me how Liam is doing since he began suffering from anxiety attacks at the beginning of the year. The good news is, he's doing great! Apparently he is genetically pre-disposed to anxiety, which I felt was rather a misconception until the two of us went out together last week. I was feeling a bit guilty as I had just bought a bottle of V, which is usually $3.50 or more but I couldn't resist buying my favourite guarana drink while it was on special at $2.90. As we passed through the Warehouse check-out, I told Liam I needed to visit the bathroom and he said he needed to go too so we agreed to meet on the bench outside the two conveniences. Being a nice new Warehouse, it had super nice clean toilets and I thought to myself what a nice public convenience it was, although I didn't much like being surrounded by mirrors, particularly when I sat down! Anyway, there I was, trying not to catch sight of my own reflection whilst on the loo when I heard the door bang shut in the cubicle next to me. I looked down and through the large gap underneath the separating wall, I spotted a huge pair of man's boots. Immediately I went into panic mode. 'There's a man lurking in the women's toilets! What does he want? I'm all alone in here, oh noooo!' I decided the best bet was to get the heck out of there as fast as I could before he had a chance to carry out any undoubtedly evil plans, so I burst out of the door and legged it to where Liam was waiting calmly on the bench. My heart was thumping nineteen-to-the-dozen and I tried to hide my distress from Liam to avoid causing him any extra worry but I was in such a state I didn't know what to do next. I couldn't bear the thought of any other poor unsuspecting woman meeting a terrible fate in the Warehouse loos and told Liam I was going to have to go and tell the security guard that there was a man in the ladies' toilets. Being only ten he didn't quite get the seriousness of the situation and just laughed like mad at the thought of some silly bloke walking into the wrong toilet, so I had no choice but to tell him about my terrible fright. Immediately he stopped where he stood and rolled his eyes. 'Mum - did it ever occur to you that it could have been a WOMAN wearing MAN'S boots? I saw that person walk into the ladies' when I was sitting on the bench - it was a woman wearing work boots and fluorescent overalls! Honestly Mum, you dork', he tutted, 'Fancy you worrying about something like that!' Once he had suitably convinced me that there was really no need to go back into the Warehouse and save womankind from the nasty toilet monster I couldn't stop laughing myself. 'Phew!' I breathed a sigh of relief as we reached the car. 'I need a drink - now where's that 'V'?' and immediately remembered where it was - still sitting on the floor unopened in the toilet cubicle with 'SOLD' plastered across it. My expensive, guilty treat. 'Oh no! There's no time to go back for it now!' I groaned. 'Serves you right, Mum, you shouldn't have bought it in the first place!' ribbed Liam, who had great fun for the rest of the day regaling the tale of how his Mum got spooked by a 'man' in the toilet. I can see now where he gets it from!
PS: I couldn't resist mentioning this cute hint for Magic Easter Bunny food! I would love to give that a go - if only I hadn't got sprung