Oops, I'm in the doghouse again. I fed Noel's dinner to the chooks last night! Not ALL of it admittedly and I didn't mean to - I was just being Ms Efficient. Well, all I can say is it serves him right for taking a work call in the middle of family dinner time! He went out to his office and was gone for ages, by which time the rest of us had finished and I cleaned up, completely forgetting that he hadn't finished his in the first place! Didn't go down well I can tell you but fortunately he did have to see the funny side, although he's been ribbing me ever since about being a rubbish Simple Saver and throwing perfectly good food away!
I mentioned in my last blog that we have eggs coming out of our ears but I neglected to mention the sheep! I forgot to tell you that our three ewes, Mimi, Poppet and Edwina are all the proud mothers of twins. They were all born on the night of a dreadful storm bless 'em - we went to bed leaving three sheep in the paddock and woke up to nine! I'm amazed they survived that first week with constant storms and flooding but they're all thriving now. Spring has sprung, the blossoms are out on the trees and the place is really looking quite respectable at the moment, especially as Noel has finished building the new deck. He did a wonderful job and it's made such a huge difference. It just goes to show how much money you save by doing things yourself - I was gobsmacked when a visitor was admiring the deck yesterday and said he had just received a quote for $36,000 to build a deck about the same area as ours. $15,000 of that was labour alone. I was amazed - ours cost less than $2,000 all up! By the time my friend went away, he'd decided to ditch the builders and do it himself!
I keep feeling lately that we're just plodding along at the moment and I need to be doing more savings-wise - but what? It's not like I've been doing a bad job or anything but I guess you get to a point where everything becomes so automatic. Everything from the things you do to the things you buy is just naturally the smartest, cheapest way. Not that I'm complaining! I'm just thinking maybe I've got too complacent lately and should be striving for more. $21 Challenge Month was fantastic and I threw myself into Decluttering Month too but September is Grow Your Own Food Month and that's always been Noel's domain. Of course it could be mine too, but he just does it so much better and HATES anyone messing with his vege garden. I need a project! I think this weekend I'll have a good look at the Hottest 100 and see what inspires me. Watch this space!
This month's edition of Consumer magazine was very timely, with some handy information on growing herbs. I never used to use herbs much, and still don't anywhere near enough but Sophie Gray's recipes have taught me what a huge difference they can make to your food. Fiona's home made soup when we visited her in Australia was also a real clincher. So yummy, and as she said, almost free! I know I've said it countless times but I don't know where I would be without Simple Savings. I'd still be eating out of jars and packets for starters but seriously, if it wasn't for Simple Savings I would never have heard of Sophie Gray. I would never have heard of Annette Sym either. I've had Annette's books for ages but only really dabbled with them occasionally until recently. However I've been using them regularly for my Biggest Loser Challenge for the past five or six weeks and have found them to be brilliant. So much healthier but without losing any of the taste and plenty of blokey options to keep the whole family happy. I had the whole set until I took them to my Biggest Loser meeting on Wednesday and my fellow 'losers' ended up walking away with them all to try! On the positive side, the local gym was so impressed they are going to start stocking them for their members to buy!
There are just so many things our family would never have done or achieved without this website. Books I would never have read, things I would never have seen. There must be thousands of different ways Simple Savings has affected our lives, I couldn't even begin to count. Once you have the knowledge, you really feel as though nothing is impossible. You can achieve anything you want - you just have to find the smartest way to achieve it. I'm waiting for the day when I can write to Fiona like other members do and say 'thanks to your site, I'm debt free!' It's still a way away yet but you know, without Simple Savings I would never even have thought of paying my mortgage off faster - now it's a real goal. It took us more than 10 years to dig the big hole of debt we found ourselves in but so far it's only taken three years of membership to fill a lot of it in. The mortgage doesn't bother me. It's small compared to many people's and it's not like it was a bad purchase - everyone needs a place to live. Unless it's a mortgage bigger than you can handle of course. I consider us very fortunate that at least that was one trap we didn't fall into!
School holidays are just around the corner and they're going to be two weeks of hectic fun on a shoestring. The boys are booked into a cricket coaching workshop for the first week - they've been before and absolutely loved it. We take our own food with us and the only other cost is the petrol. The second week we're all heading to the local gym for a whole week of trying out all kinds of new sports for just $5 and joy of joys, the pool will be opening soon! I wouldn't be without our family gym membership. I know for many people it's not viable and I've made expensive mistakes in the past by paying a fortune to join a gym and then only going three times. Let's face it, for a gym membership to be worth it, you have to actually USE it. I don't have to pay the whole whack in full, I pay it every three months. I use my gym membership every day and save a bundle, especially in summer. When other families are paying up to $12 a day for two adults and two children to swim, our membership works out to a cost of around 30c per day to swim as long as we like. Pretty cheap entertainment in the long run I reckon. Fiona was right, buying in bulk can save you a lot of money!