Well, this is a first. I think this would have to be the first year ever that I am truly worried about Christmas. We're hosting it at our place and our finances at the moment are looking decidedly un-festive . I saw a Forum thread recently which was titled 'Haemorraghing Money' and that's exactly how it feels. In the last week alone we have had over $300 to fork out in vet bills and you can imagine how overjoyed we were to receive another rates bill for $800 a couple of days ago. I would say we were 'broke' but I'm trying my best to no longer use that word since coming across this lovely hint which is helping me to keep positive:
"Find wealth in words
I have a much more hopeful outlook towards my finances since I have made some changes to the way I think, and speak, about them. We all have days where we feel broke, or where we get frustrated that we can't afford what we want. Having these negative feelings is unhealthy for us and our relationships, and in my experience tends to lead to blow outs of the budget when we get sick of waiting for stuff. So, I have changed my terminology, and you would be amazed at how much more positive it makes me feel. Try making these sort of changes to your language:
'Broke' - try using - 'Financially aware or challenged'
'Can't afford it' - try using - 'Not in my budget today'
'Can't go shopping' - try using - '$21 challenge opportunity!'
'Lots of bills' - try using - 'Supporting the economy'
You get the general idea, come up with as many of your own as you can! I have also found that I am more comfortable declining some social invitations, or at least suggesting alternatives, by saying to my friends 'I am quite financially aware this week, so can we try something else?', as opposed to saying 'I'm broke' (which let's be honest no-one wants to admit to their friends). I know at first it might sound silly, but it really does wonders for your emotional response to your financial situation."
Thank you for sharing your wise words Lozzyloo! So there you have it - financially challenged we are. The ironic thing though, which both Noel and I agree on is that although the bank balance says otherwise, we have never felt richer than we do right now. We live in the most stunning place anyone could possibly hope to live in, our children have never been happier and we have a home we all adore. And on the positive side, everyone is trying hard to do their bit. Liam has got a job in a beachfront cafe for the summer and Ali has made sure everyone will be well fed at Christmas by entering a fishing competition at the weekend and winning two 4kg hams. In fact, we ended up with three as Noel won one too! Well worth the $10 entry fee! Yes, one thing is for sure, thanks to the males in our household we will never starve. Noel and the boys went on a three-day hunting trip in the school holidays and came home with enough venison and wild pork to almost completely fill the freezer again. All three were proud upon their return and rightly so, but none more so than Liam. Unlike his bush baby brother, Liam is a novice hunter and a usually reluctant one. However when Noel sat down and costed out the amount of money their hunting trip had saved, Liam was gobsmacked. The figures are as follows:
Cost to process two deer and one pig: $350. For this outlay we got:
2kg pork hocks
20.2kg roast pork
13kg venison steak
The total cost to buy all this from the supermarket? Based on current prices, $1336.40. 'Wow! So I helped us to save almost $1000!' said a proud and delighted Liam. I won't bore you all with the nitty gritty figures and costs per kilo but if anyone would like to see the full version feel free to email me!
So what with all this, our three Christmas hams and an ocean full of fish on our doorstep, at least we won't be short of food this Christmas. Not when it comes to vegies either. Our original vegetable garden is thriving and Noel has finally got around to building the second raised vegie bed. I so wish I had taken a photo on the day it was built and planted because you wouldn't believe it to look at it now!
I can't remember the exact date unfortunately but it was definitely no more than six weeks ago, possibly less. In this one we have runner beans, broccoli, sweetcorn, chillies, tomatoes, zucchini and goodness knows what else, as well as a rather delightful bunch of lettuces called 'Drunken Lady' which have proved themselves a very merry addition to our garden. They last for AGES and you simply go and grab a few leaves every time you want some for salads, sandwiches or whatever. Highly recommended!
Noel has also been busy harvesting and freezing broccoli, cauliflower and celery like it's going out of fashion from the other garden so food definitely isn't a problem. My problem is presents - in particular presents for the boys. I mean, what if we can't afford any?! I flatly refuse to use a credit card as I can't see any way of paying it off and I can't shop online with my Visa Debit card like I usually do because it only works if you have money in the bank! Noel bless him is remaining upbeat however. 'We'll breeze through Christmas, you'll see!' And indeed we are finding ways and means. We have thousands of accrued reward points on our PGG Wrightson account from when we were still farming and it's amazing how quickly FlyBuys points mount up. We never even had Flybuys cards before we moved here but they are going to prove an absolute lifesaver when it comes to getting presents this year! We also have heaps of stuff we can sell on TradeMe as it's the perfect time of year with people looking for Christmas bargains. As long as we act quickly!
At least once Christmas Day is over with our summer holiday spend should be next to zero. My beach-mad, surf-crazy family are happy to spend every day possible hanging out at the beach - and it's much easier to go surfing since Noel came up with this SS roof rack!
It all started when my friend Tara and I saw a Vault hint about using pool noodles to keep your winter boots in shape. We thought it was a great idea, then her surfing hubby Greg took it one step further by covering his roof rack with pool noodles to protect his surf board. I told Noel about this and he thought it was an excellent idea. Only problem was, we have no roof rack! So he decided to make one, using the same principles. He bought two pool noodles, and secured them to the roof using elastic 'bungy's' - you know, those stretchy elastic things with hooks on the end? The result? One super quick and easy 'roof rack' for the grand total of $18 - and it works a treat! Of course I wouldn't advise you go and do this and then go driving for miles, but when you only live 500m from the beach like we do, it's a brilliant SS solution!