Recent Hints

NLP means great nails for me!

If nail biting or picking is an issue for you or someone you know, you may like to consider Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). I had just one session and it made a fantastic difference for me. I was sceptical throughout the session, until the end of the session when the problem had completely gone away. I was really surprised and completely pleased! Would definitely recommend.

By: Wonder Wife!

Sock it to draughts with cheap 'door snakes'

With every winter, it's important to make our heating systems as efficient as possible. Draughts under doors (both to outside and to rooms not currently being used) let heat escape, driving heating costs up. Door snakes are often advertised at around $10 each. This means for a whole house you may be looking close to $100. Instead, you can use a pair of men's long, knee-high socks! These can be filled with rice (or sand if you have easy access to it). Either tie a knot or see the top to seal. You can purchase ind the socks at cheap shops or ok shops, use the cheapest rice you can buy and you can make a house-full for less than the price of one commercially produced door snake.

By: QLD Girl 4 responses in the members' forum

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Hottest Hints

Positive thinking lifts pressure

My husband and I are soon to become parents and our income has been cut in half. Now that we're on a tighter budget, I have realised how much we were caving in to outside financial influence from friends and family. From innocent dinner invitations to suggestions on 'must-have' products for the new baby, the dollars were being seduced right out of our pockets. At the same time, it quickly became uncomfortable saying 'We'd love to, but it's not in our budget' in almost every conversation. It made me feel constantly deprived and I would actually end up spending money to make myself feel better. My husband stopped wanting to talk about our finances at all because he felt stressed out.

After thinking long and hard about our spending habits, I decided there were three main ways that outside influences were sabotaging our budget: social invitations, gift giving, and pressure to buy. Once I specifically identified these influences, it became so much easier to combat them.

Instead of declining every dinner invitation, and feeling bad about constantly telling our friends we didn't have the money, we organised a monthly dinner party for the entire group. We rotate hosting duties, and guests just bring a bottle of wine. Instead of eating out once a week with one or two friends, we now have a festive gathering once a month with everyone all at once - but only pay for a home-cooked dinner a couple times a year! It puts us back in control of how much we spend. I've also realised that people essentially just want to spend time with you, so you can feel free to counter suggest a cheaper and more creative option than going out to dinner. Instead of 'it's not in our budget', I now say 'Would you be up for a picnic on the beach instead? The weather is supposed to be beautiful'. If the plans are set in stone, I say 'We already have a commitment for dinner, but can we meet up with you all for a drink afterwards?'

I also noticed that giving gifts was really adding up. It was so simple to start making my own gifts instead. My favourite is to make chocolate covered strawberries and wrap them up in a beautiful gift box.

To stop caving in to pressure to buy, I've had to change the way I go shopping. It used to be a leisure activity to go with friends on the weekends, but I know I am too easy to influence. It's just inevitable that they will say 'You look great in that, you should buy it', or 'I had this with my first baby, you definitely need it'. Now I shop alone, with a list! I've also stopped taking the bait in conversations. If someone is recommending a $700 mountain buggy stroller, I ask if they know of a more economical brand of similar quality.

The most important way I've stopped outside influence from wrecking our budget is to talk openly about things with friends and family. Through this I've learned that most people are in the same situation. A friend confided that she was deeply in credit card debt and didn't know what she was going to do. Now instead of meeting her for a weekly manicure and lunch date that costs at least $60, we have opened up and become a real support system to each other for reaching our financial goals. It's often perceived as taboo to talk about money with people, but I think our friends have been just as relieved as we are!

By: J.C. 9 responses in the members' forum

'Bench-top notes' keep families on the same page

Here is a hint that has saved our family time, money and arguments, not to mention countless wasted scraps of paper. This year we purchased a large diary for family use, labelled it 'Bench-top Notes' and sat it on our bench. In this diary we write notes to each other that in the past, would have been on scrap pieces of paper that would often be missed or mislaid. Anything from appointment reminders, details of missed phone calls, housework or instructions for our teenage boys, or just simple but personal notes to each other such as 'Hi sweetie, have a great day, I love you, see you at 5.30!' and so on! It has tidied up our bench-top, kept us all organised and an added bonus is that we can look back on our entries for confirmation of bills being paid, appointments kept or cancelled with the reason why and smile at the little love notes to and from each other. This diary cost about $12 but it now contains the priceless and lifetime memories of our 'Bench-top Notes'.

By: Sonia White 11 responses in the members' forum

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