There are two things I am eternally grateful for at the moment. One to the person who invented wine, the other is for my dark green couch. Life has been so full and busy lately that I look forward to that moment at the end of the day that I can finally sit down and enjoy a nice glass of red. Unfortunately by the time I actually get to sit down I'm so pooped that within minutes I've fallen asleep in front of the telly and end up tipping the whole lot in my lap. It happened again last night – no sooner had Noel and I sat down to catch up on the events of the day than I had dumped almost an entire glass all over the couch whilst I had unwittingly nodded off again. What a waste! Noel has never liked our couch – he says it's too short for him to stretch out on and it's not squishy and comfy enough. I on the other hand think it's the best couch ever because it's super practical and dark in colour and I dread to think what it would have cost me in stain removal or couch covers had I chucked an equal amount of vino on any other model. As it is, nobody would suspect a thing!
While we're on the subject of booze, I must just share this little tale with you. There I was last Sunday at Mr Patel's, minding my own business when a younger man I had never met before asked me out on a date! Of course I declined gracefully, saying I didn't think my husband and kids would like that but nevertheless it did great things for one's self-esteem and I couldn't wait to get home to boast to Noel and the boys about it. Liam's reaction was the funniest of all – 'Mother, that's disgusting! Didn't he see you wedding ring?' 'Obviously not,' I shrugged. 'Well if that's the case – was he drunk?!' came the flabbergasted reply. Honestly, talk about bursting my bubble. Anyone daft enough to ask his own mother out has to be either a fool or drunk, even at nine o'clock in the morning...
Have got all sorts of snippets to write about. I'm struggling with the Christmas thing already. Not gifts for other people, but for me! One of my favourite Vault hints for resisting impulse buys is to make a Wishlist so that's what I've started doing recently after browsing all the sales. There are several books I would really like – She'll Be Right by Rachel Goodchild (country women battling the odds) and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, along with the River Cottage DVD series by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. The thing is, I can't bear anyone to buy them for me and I'm too stingy to buy them myself when you can just hire the DVD's or get them from the library. Noel would like an avocado tree – at around $40 each we're too miserly to just go and get one. How our list of wants and needs has changed! He's made some great savings in the garden lately. We ripped out a huge area of ivy and noxious plants several weeks ago and decided the cheapest way to make it look nice was to put it into grass as it carries on directly from the lawn. Unfortunately we were left with three or four large stumps sticking up and we thought we were going to have to hire a digger or stump chipper to come and dig them out. Not such a cheap option – luckily Noel wasn't about to give up! He spent almost the entire weekend out there toiling away and managed to get rid of the lot. Now all we have to do is wait for the grass to grow!
I think I've passed my lucky streak on to him now actually. Last week he was driving around for work when he came upon a rather mature damsel in distress. She was out in the middle of nowhere with a flat tyre and had been waiting more than half an hour but everyone just drove past her, even though they could see she had the spare tyre leaning up against the car. Noel drove by, then thought he had better go back and see if she was alright. He changed the tyre for her and she was so grateful she insisted on giving him $30! Noel protested that he didn't want any money at all but she wouldn't hear of him not taking it. He couldn't believe the woman had been waiting there so long without anyone stopping to help!
I've started doing a few little things differently lately – nothing big but I'm surprised at how big a difference they actually make. I've decided I'm not buying or sending a single Christmas card this year, since I realised how bad it is for the environment. Some may say I'm lacking Christmas spirit but I reckon my choice not to buy them is far more important than sending a piece of card thousands of miles to sit on someone's mantelpiece for a few days and then just get thrown away after Christmas. I don't throw the cards I receive away, I keep them and turn them into tags for the next year but not enough people in the world do that so that's my choice and I'm sticking to it. Instead I'll be spending $10 for a whole year's worth of unlimited e-cards from Jacquie Lawson which I think are even more special than the traditional snail mail ones anyway!
Another thing I spent some time doing at the weekend was going through all my Simple Savings emails and putting all the Hints of the Week into a special folder. By crikey there are some good ones! You don't realise how many cracking good hints there are until you see them all like that. It's a great memory jogger too, I kept coming across ones I had wanted to try at the time and then completely forgotten about. Who remembers the hint 'Only buy undies for a year?' I reckon our family could easily do that one, with the exception of Liam's gold plated school uniform. My favourite tip at the moment though is something SO simple yet brilliant – certainly for our household anyway. Unfortunately I have to apologise again for not being able to link to it but I can't remember for the life of me what it's called! I know I got it from the Vault though. I read a tip recently about being able to use less rubbish bags if you squash your rubbish down as much as you can. I didn't think too much about it at the time but for some reason it stuck in my head and I decided I would give it a go. Well – I couldn't believe how much space I was able to gain by doing that! Now I'm sure many sensible people have always been very good at doing this, but I never have – I just fill up the bag and when it's all falling out the top, out it comes and a new one goes in. Not any more though! I've been squashing merrily away and found that by doing that I can get at least an extra THREE DAYS out of every bag. OK, so now I get to save a good few cents on rubbish bags every so often, not to mention dumping costs at the local refuse station but what I love best of all is the thought of how much this will reduce our contribution to landfill. I can potentially save more than 20 sacks of rubbish from going into our local landfill – that's huge! I'm over the moon thanks to that little tip! One small step for Penny – one giant leap for the planet!