Have just checked the bank balance and it's not going to be an easy month, to be sure. With $770 due to come out in rates and $2000 in tax before the end of the month there's not going to be much left in the kitty to pay even the usual bills. On top of that, what with moving house last year I didn't receive a notice in the mail like usual to say that my car registration was due to expire. Hence it did - back in June. I use my car so little that I had no idea until I parked in town for 20 minutes at the weekend and returned to find some horrible council man had attached a $200 fine to my windscreen. I know there's never a good time but WHY do these things always happen when you're really trying hard to save?!
I was really surprised to receive so many messages of support and encouragement from SS members after my last blog. It was very humbling and hugely appreciated. I mean, I'm only human and I thought it far better to be honest than pretend to be perfect - but I know there are people who expect me to be and understandably so. Take Alex for example - 'You're Penny Wise for goodness sake! I mean, you should have like $40,000 just sitting in the bank or something!' he berated me the other day when I admitted to getting declined. True, very true and for a long time I did indeed enjoy the luxury of a nice, healthy looking bank balance. But then we bought a house - a more expensive one than the one we had, AND accepted a $100,000 drop on our own asking price. That sort of thing kind of eats up your savings. And when you don't have any savings left and then go swanning around for a month or two like Lord and Lady Muck you soon find yourself up the proverbial creek without a paddle.
I'll admit, I'm kind of worried. I don't know if we'll be able to hold things together this month without going into overdraft - and if we do, by how much? I'm almost too scared to fill in my Bill Payment System to see! But sticking my head in the sand is not going to make it go away. We have to know what we're dealing with. And we have a good relationship with our bank. We have an exemplary record and I know they would help us if we asked. But I would really rather not have to so let's hope it doesn't come to that. On the positive side I am REALLY enjoying pulling out all the saving stops! To be honest I thought I was already pretty conscientious at most of the everyday stuff but it's so easy to save much more when you really make a conscious effort. Every cent I don't spend, every light I switch off, every squashy apple I turn into apple muffins feels like a wee triumph. The savings are everywhere! OK so the bank balance may not be looking the healthiest but at least I know I am doing my utmost to prevent it from dwindling any further, which makes the situation a little less bearable. It gives me great comfort to know that all these little extra things we're doing are really helping us to keep more money in the bank. Imagine what sort of state we would be in if we didn't know all these extra tricks!
One saving area I have been sadly neglecting is making my own cleaning products. Which is dreadful really because I've been doing it since 2004 so why stop now? No excuses really - if anything just out of laziness. I remember when I stopped though, it was when we moved. Things were so hectic that when we arrived at our new place and I was cleaning up a storm I told myself it was easier just to go and grab a few cleaning products from the supermarket than take the time to make them. Excellent logic, Penny! Making them in your own home where all the ingredients already are takes approximately two minutes, yet you thought it was easier to get in your car, drive to the supermarket, spend a small fortune on chemical cleaners which smell so artificial and overpowering you have to vacate the room, queue up at the checkout and drive home again. Better still, you kept doing it for the next NINE MONTHS?! Sometimes I do have to wonder what planet I'm on (Noel stop nodding your head please, I know you are as you're reading this!)
So no more stinky bought cleaners for me. Best of all, I didn't even have to go out and buy anything whatsoever to start making my own cleaners again; everything I needed was already at home. It's back to my home made 'spray n wipe' for the kitchen using a squirt of washing up liquid, a couple of teaspoons of baking soda and a few drops of whatever essential oil I feel like in a spray bottle filled up with water. For the bathroom, toilets and laundry I love the 'home mixed household cleaner' which to this day is one of the most popular all time SS tips with it's lovely fresh smell and unbeatable cleaning power. Floors get washed with hot soapy water and a dash of methylated spirits in the bucket. Forgive me for sounding a bit weird but they feel like old friends after all this time! At least tea tree smells like tea tree and eucalyptus smells like eucalyptus and lemon smells like lemon. In comparison, after moving to the beach I can categorically say that the bright blue 'Ocean Breeze' stuff you get in a bottle (and to my shame I was using) smells absolutely NOTHING like a real ocean breeze!