It's weigh-in day and I'm another kilo down, yah! 70.6kg and (hopefully) shrinking. I am also on my sixth alcohol free day and am amazed to find that it's all rather easy! Like I said, I think I'm finally in the right headspace. Although I can see myself being a prize pain in the bum towards everyone else during No Spend Month. Already I am feeling very 'holier than thou' about my new vice-free, saintly persona and I hate to say it but I've been guilty at looking at Noel with what can only be described as disdain every time he cracks open a beer, sips a gin and tonic or lights a cigarette. 'Look at all that money you're wasting!' I think to myself. 'It's not good for you, you know - it will all catch up with you in the end!' Dreadful I know, I mean who am I to criticise? It's not as though I've never done the same. It's just now I have finally stopped, I can see how much money I spent. Since I gave up the wine, I've only had to set foot in Mr Patel's once (for bayleaves, how exciting). Consequently because I don't go in there for wine, I don't buy anything else either. Today is Thursday and I've spent a grand total of $27 of my housekeeping money this week - $20 of that was for a haircut! It's great practice for No Spend Month I must say. Noel thinks I can't really be serious about our family doing No Spend Month. Campbell Live (national current affairs show) are looking for a Kiwi family to track throughout No Spend Month - I wish they would choose us, then he would HAVE to give up all those expensive luxuries. With a bit of luck he would feel so much healthier and be so amazed at how much we had saved, maybe he would decide never to go back to it! Yeah, and pigs might fly Penny.
I can't believe how hard it's been to try and find a willing family of guinea pigs to go on Campbell Live when I'm chomping at the bit to take part! It's like they're all terrified of being exposed as being rubbish with money but that's not the point at all. We simply want to show how much can be saved by not throwing away money on all the little things so many of us do without thinking. We want people to sit at home and identify with it and say 'Wow - I do that too! Is that how much I'm also wasting?' So far in almost everyone we've asked, we've found the same - one partner would love to take part, the other - the spender of the two - says no and I reckon I know why. Like I used to be, they are scared of their partners finding out how much they REALLY spend on non-essentials. Either that, or they truly believe they can't go without them for a month - or both!
At least the boys are getting into the 'No Spend' frame of mind - well, Liam is anyway. He's still selling up a storm on Trade Me and has made an impressive $184 so far, just by selling his WWE wrestling figures. He hasn't spent a cent of it so far. Ali on the other hand has made a grand total of $15 so far and spent $8.50 of it yesterday on an Australian cricket heroes magazine (just as in rugby he supports the Aussies over the Black Caps, tut!) I'm quite excited about a new kind of bank account Credit Union is offering to 11-18 year olds called Bfree, which unlike other youth accounts I've investigated, offers ATM and Eftpos. While Liam already has a savings account, he is getting to the age where he would like a little more financial independence with his pocket money and extra bits that he earns. I trust him not to waste his money and I think it would be good for him to keep track of his own money and see using an Eftpos card does indeed cause your bank balance to go down, rather than provide access to an unlimited supply. The Bfree account sounds like just what he needs and offers free transactions too, so am going to find out more. Much cooler than having to come to Mum for a handout on pocket money day!
Am so enjoying my new meal planning regime as described in the last blog! Although saying that, I don't actually know what's for dinner tonight yet, I just know that it's Furs Day. It's lovely to get up in the morning and know that the main choice is already made for you. Yesterday was Hens Day but we ended up having the stew from the night before as it didn't cook in time on Tuesday (which we renamed Stews Day, seeing as I'm off the booze!) It's making me a lot more adventurous with my cook books - the stew we had was 'Melt in your mouth shin stew' from Jamie Oliver's 'Cook' but to be honest I preferred Sophie Gray's version from 'Everyday Smart Food for the Family' called 'Wine braised beef with herby dumplings', which Liam calls 'that stew I love'. Still, was good to try something new. I am a big Gordon Ramsay fan and was sorely tempted to buy his 'The F Word' book, especially with a $10 discount voucher from Fishpond burning a hole in my pocket. Fortunately I was given a wake up call just in time by a foodie friend who has the book. He and his wife entertained another couple last week using recipes from the book and it cost them $80 to feed the four of them, but wait for it - that was for the dessert and a bottle of wine alone! So I guess I'll hang on to my voucher for now - I just wish he hadn't told me about some of those desserts, it makes me want to rush out and buy fresh berries and mascarpone right now. However, I should have known that there's a cheaper way to do just about everything and while I was checking the spelling of 'mascarpone' I found these handy tips for cheaper substitutes! You can either 1) Use the freshest, best quality cream cheese you can find, 2) Mix equal amounts of cream cheese and sour cream together, or 3) Mix half a pound of ricotta cheese with a cup of thickened cream in a food processor until it forms a homogenous cream, whatever that's supposed to mean. That was a very productive spellcheck, I might have to try that dessert out after all!
Haven't seen the painter for a few days, what with the gale force winds and rain but I'll let him off for that as the rain was desperately needed. The last month has been a bit of a challenge and I've had a bit of a peek into how it must feel to be in Australia and constantly have to conserve every drop of water. I don't know how you do it and hugely admire everyone who has to live this way every day. We have tank water for the house and that was getting low with no rain for so long but that wasn't such a huge issue - if things got too horrendous we could just pay $100 for a tanker from the local fire station to come and fill it up for us - of course I didn't want to give in and do that anyway unless absolutely necessary. The main problem though was the garden and livestock. While our drinking and washing water comes from the tank, all our outside water, the hoses and so on, comes from the neighbouring farm - and they had no water. It was almost three weeks before it got fixed and the situation with the animals was getting pretty urgent but Noel managed to keep them going with enough somehow. It was the garden which worried me most - the vege garden which Noel had spent so many hours in; if we weren't careful, all the food we had been looking forward to harvesting was going to be lost. Fortunately thanks to the multitudes of Simple Savings tips I knew how I could at least keep them watered, even if the rest of the family thought I was bonkers. Far from being bonkers, I thought it made sense to me - why waste a drop? Unfortunately I did such a good job I'm going to have to spend a good hour or two slicing and freezing runner beans for the freezer, talk about an avalanche! Seriously though, after just a month like that I really take my hat off to all the Australian members for whom it is second nature. The way the world is going, we'll all have to do it one day out of necessity, so I reckon the rest of us should join you now. Another bonus of having wet n' wild weather this week is of course that the longer the painter takes to finish the job, the longer I'll have to pay him!