Think positive, Penny!

Posted November 25th, 2008 by Penny Wise

What on earth is wrong with me?! Christmas is less than a month away and for the first time ever, I don't want to know. I can't even bring myself to think about it. The kids are already excited and nagging me to put up the Christmas tree but all I can think about is the fact that I really don't want to go out and spend money on a load of meaningless stuff. I mean, that's all it is, isn't it? The toy Nerf gun Ali wants for Christmas will no doubt break on the first day just like the last one and the dogs will chew up all the foam bullets again. All the things Liam wants are going to use more power and are not exactly environmentally friendly. I hardly know my two nieces and haven't seen my brother-in-law for two years so have no idea what any of them want or like. No doubt I will end up giving them something they already have at least 20 of, or never knew they wanted before. Grumble, grumble, grumble. Think positive, Penny!

It's the financial side of it that's getting me down, you see. I just think there are far more important things we need to be doing with our money right now and we need to make it last, not fritter it away. I mean, helloooo people, there's a recession on! Nobody seem's to have told the stores that though, who are still bombarding us all with glossy catalogues to try and get us to buy more stuff. I was actually thinking of going so far as to write the kids a letter from Santa, explaining that due to the recession everyone's stockings are going to have to contain a little less this year, in order for there to be enough to go round. Is that mean, do you think?! I doubt if I could actually bring myself to do it, but it's sorely tempting. Obviously we've been talking quite a bit about the recession and it's a hard one to explain to the kids. Liam just can't understand where all the money in the world has gone. 'I mean, why don't the money factories just make some more?' he grumbles. We explained to them that it's due to everyone borrowing too much money that they don't have. In that case, as far as Ali is concerned there must be around a dozen REALLY rich people who are sitting on top of their money mountains scattered around the world and they should all now be forced to share it with everyone else. Nice logic - if only it was that simple!

Don't get me wrong, I'm not getting all depressed about the recession. As far as our family is concerned, bring it on! Like many other Simple Savers we know what we have to do to get through it; it just irks me that I'm feeling pressured to spend money at this time of year when I really don't want to. Noel actually thinks the recession will be good for us in many ways. For example, it only cost him $64 to fill up his ute this week, compared with $90 a month ago. Interest rates have dropped and will keep going down. Already the floating rate is below our fixed rate, which is currently up for renewal and will no doubt continue to go down. While 3% may not sound much, on a $100,000 mortgage that means an extra $3000 in your bank account. Not to be sniffed at!

Mind you, I'm not sure how good I would be at this self-sufficiency lark without my capable hubby. As well as keeping us well fed with seafood, he's been ribbing me mercilessly about my black thumbs. I seem to have an uncanny knack of killing off everything I plant; usually due to two things - one, I forget to water them and two, sometimes I even forget to plant them! Fortunately everything Noel plants grows like mad. Tuesday night is our family squash night and we always used to get fish and chips on the way home but it didn't take long for that idea to go out the window. Not just because of our recession challenge but mainly because we love our simple dinners from Dad's garden so much better! Instead of spending $30 on soggy fish and chips, we now enjoy a cooked chicken with a fresh salad and whatever's in the garden. There's no comparison really, although as Ali pointed out, if we lived in Mooloolaba the fish and chips would be much harder to resist!

We got a beef animal 'done' this week for the freezer as Noel was keeping us fed with fish and venison but we didn't have much else. It will be interesting to see in Noel's line of work whether more people in general will begin buying their meat this way at the saleyards, rather than just farmers. I honestly don't think most people over here even realise you can do that. Ali came home from school chuckling the other day. He said his teacher was horrified when he told her the vaccuum-packed meat she buys from the supermarket is around six weeks old. 'Can you believe she didn't know that, Mum! Guess she's not a Simple Saver!'

Before I go I must proudly announce that we have saved ourselves thousands of dollars today with one simple decision. After years of deliberating we have decided not to build a garage after all - well, at least until the kids leave home. It would ruin our family sports field and cricket pitch and we can't do that, it's too much fun! Instead of spending six or seven thousand on a big garage, we will make do with a small kitset shed for a fraction of the price. You have to get your priorities right in this household!

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