I am SO proud of myself! Have just learned this morning that my emergency belt tightening worked! Instead of being too broke to pay the mortgage as I had feared, our home loan payment went out of our account on Monday and I still had $200 left in the bank when my wages went in yesterday. Woohoo! Noel didn't see what all the fuss was about or why I was in such a panic but for me it was a question of pride. I'm supposed to be saving money. I spent years living in overdraft and have an absolute fear of it now. Most of all, I did not want to go grovelling to the bank for money. It was up to me to manage - and I did! Credit where credit is due though, it's you lot who helped me. I had so much fun trying out everyone's tips it didn't even feel like I was saving out of necessity!
In the end, staying out of overdraft was easy, thanks to the following:
1. I told Noel he wasn't allowed to use his debit card for ANYTHING or he would get declined.
2. The vege garden kept us going and meant I didn't have to buy anything other than a bag of potatoes.
3. Claire Mitchell's May Grocery Challenge thread. Talk about inspiring, I couldn't believe how little the members in this thread were living on! It made me see I could do a LOT better and better still, showed me how I could do it!
4. The wonderful recipes from members which reminded me I could make something out of nothing, such as Corned Beef Fritters. One of the things I love most about Simple Savings is that you can pretty much guarantee that if you have a question or a problem, someone else has had it before and can give you the answer. Everytime I didn't know what to do with left over corned beef, mashed potato, feijoas - just about anything, I just searched the Vault and the Forum and would find the perfect solution to create an entire meal out of a few scraps.
4. Sophie Gray's new book 'Enjoy'. You tell me, where else in this day and age can you find a recipe book that will show you how to stretch one measly leftover cold sausage into a filling family meal? Sophie's 'Lonely Sausage Risotto' - don't you just love the name?
5. Plus the old chestnuts that we all know but fall off the wagon doing sometimes - deciding what to cook for dinner in the morning, actually LOOKING in the pantry at what is there to make a meal out of and only taking the car out where it is absolutely unavoidable.
That's it! Unbelievably simple but that's literally all it took to stay out of overdraft until payday. One of the best things I have found recently about having to make ends meet is that the boys are starting to see why we need to do it too. Gone are the questions and demands. A treat is exactly what it should be - a treat, not an everyday occurence and instead of turning their noses up at dinner time, they have become far more willing to try different foods and recipes because they know that's it - if they don't eat it, Mum's not going to fluff around making something else. They have discovered they like to eat all kinds of new things! Do you know, I absolutely dread to think where I would be now without this site? The more I learn and the more I use from it, the richer we are - and I don't just mean in monetary terms. I know now how little we can live on - yet we're still rich. Watching the delight on Ali's face as he handpicks and samples his own raspberries or hunts for passionfruit in the garden makes me feel very rich. Our kids are extremely spoiled compared to other kids we know. I wonder how many of them have ever tasted a raspberry that wasn't from the supermarket. I wonder if some of them have even tasted a raspberry at all? Liam has recently discovered for himself just how rich he is. He has made a new friend, whose family fled from their home in another country. As soon as he realised how little his new friend had come to NZ with, Liam ran upstairs and began sorting out his wardrobe for things he had outgrown or could do without, before going through his toybox for things his friend and his siblings might like to play with. Liam learned a huge lesson about how lucky he is that day - and a pretty important lesson in how to separate 'wants' from 'needs' too!
I've had to do a bit of separating wants from needs myself lately too. A new shop has just opened in town and it is just beautiful. I confess to looking forward to going to town just so I can go in there! The co-owners, a florist and a beautician are SMART. I am sure their vision and knowledge of their target market are going to make them very rich one day. Think about it - a one-stop pamper shop. As the customer leaves the beauty salon feeling wonderful, they are surrounded by display after display of gorgeous cut flowers, all just crying out 'pick me! pick me!' Aw shucks, thinks the customer. What the heck - I've just had a lovely beauty treatment, why not spoil myself and get some? I deserve it!' Mission accomplished, both shop owners are happy. I think they're absolute geniuses! No competition around for miles and half the town already goes there for manicures, facials and treatments. Not me however. I don't have beauty treatments because I'm far too stingy to splash out on salon treatments when there are so many brilliant pampering tips in the Vault. It would take me a year or more to try them all out! However, fresh flowers are divine. I never pick my own from the garden because I like seeing them on the plants better and besides, I don't really have any - I'm surrounded by trees! What else can I use to save me from temptation? I had better come up with a solution before my trip to town this afternoon. I know! I've still got some Memory Trigger stickers. I'm going to do a Sad Sally trick and stick one on my vase! Problem solved!