Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Inspiration on a Monday: Budgeting

Rippon Vineyard, Lake Wanaka, NZ

This year the budget is becoming mighty important because I am no longer working.  This year I am going to be a SAHM.  I decided last year that I want to spend more time with our little one as he is growing so fast and changing so much.

When it comes to budgeting I love writing down figures and working out how to fit it all together in my special book.  I love making the plan of what is going where and it working of it all out given me enough of that “I can do this” to get me going well.

My husband and I are trying to work on a cash system - to avoid using credit cards essentially - because the budget we have works - but not if we have to make credit card payments - at all.  I have debits set up for the mortgage and food, and have all our bills coming out of an account (actually I do all of these manually rather than with debits as I think it helps to stay au fait with what you are actually spending).  The rest of our pay I draw out as cash and divvy it up into envelopes.  The envelopes cover all the non-essentials.  In the past it has been my pay that covered these things - so the goal is to find enough work to continue to cover them.

We also have some financial goals this year - which I really think help us to feel that we are not striving and struggling for nothing (not that we really struggle - we are going ok with what we have).  Our goals financially are:

  • Save enough money to have another baby (if we are lucky enough) with my lovely OB.
  • My husband to travel overseas for a conference and have enough money to enjoy himself  and not to have to put any of it on credit
  • To have no debt (apart from our home loan) throughout the year.

Great Grandma with her Great Grandson

The things that we struggle mostly with are:
  •  Spending money on take away/eating out

My husband and I (and our friends and family) all love food.  Whenever we get together there is food - we talk about food, swap cookbooks, watch cooking shows together, make each other food).  Before we had children and both of us were working - going out to eat every night of the week was not a problem - not was meeting friends for dinner - or spending a holiday in the vineyards - buying $40 bottles of wine.  But for know - that time is over.  To change our mindset with this one we are creating gourmet menus to try at home - looking online for recipes instead of buying cookbooks and inviting friends to our house for coffee etc (which works in better with our boys sleep anyway).

Enjoying cheese and wine at the Rippon Vineyard - see above for the view!

  • Being the one that pays for everyone else

Now here, I’m not taking about treating everybody to dinner or anything like that but my husband seems always to be the one who gets asked to organise the tickets, the bucks weekend, book this or that and so is the one who initially pays for everyone to attend the event etc.  Well, that also means that he is the one using his credit card and is getting charged the interest while everyone else gets their money to him.  On a few occasions it has even happened that people have pulled out and he has still had to cover their costs - so be warned - this is a tough love one.

The days of eating out at special restaurants are over for awhile - this is a Fleur's Moeraki, NZ

  • Going to the shops for something to do

This is something that we have been working on for awhile.  It’s that thing of being bored and not feeling like doing anything but spending money.  To combat this I have a list of things we need in my purse - or things I’m on the lookout for along with a rough idea of how much they cost at certain shops.  Keeping my eyes on the prize helps me to just look of we do go to the shops - or snap up a bargain with a voucher I have (I seem to get a lot of store vouchers as gifts).  I also find that if I’m feeling well-dressed and the home is clean before I leave I am less likely to buy anything.  I guess because in cleaning up I see how much stuff we have and how lovely some of it is.

Taking a ride in a light aircraft - not happening so much these days!

  • Buying water and snacks out
 I remember that when I was pregnant I always had something that I could nibble on in my purse because I would feel  a but yuck if I didn’t keep snacking throughout the day.  And then when you have a baby you are taking food and a bottle or similar around with you to pacify the baby - then when you have a toddler the only way to get anything done at the shops is to constantly feed them - my child is a bottomless pit.  It is just so much easier to know that I have drinks and food for us both.  Sometimes I try and leave the house just after we have had a big meal and this helps too.  In the mornings I have gotten into the habit of making coffee at home and taking it in an insulated cup.  Not only do I prefer my coffee but there is no waiting and it’s hot for ages.

Having portable food is a must when you travel with a baby - just landed at Hamilton Island Airport.

I realise that I could ramble on forever about budgeting as I read a lot and try a lot of things but I might save them for another day along with an update on how we are going with our financial goals.

Here are some links to people that I find help me to stay on the right track

A Bowl Full of Lemons here

A Time for Everything here 

Wellness Mama here

Blissful and Domestic here

Mrs Happy Homemaker here

The Art of Simple here

My Pinterest Boards for DIY and style ideas here

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Menu Plan

Here is my new menu for this week and next week.

I a new format but with no pictures yet - still working on everything looking a bit more professional!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Inspiration on a Monday: Organisation

As I attempt to fulfill all of my goals and resolutions for the year there are a few particular bloggers and Instagrammers and other people that are helping me to stay focused and on track.  I thought that I would share some of them with you and hopefully you may find someone new to inspire you too.  I will share one each week.  This week I’m focusing on organisation (as most people are - or their diet - it’s probably pretty equal).


I find that I am tending towards minimalism more and more - not to say that my style is minimalist but my tendency to keep things “just in case” is starting to fade away.  I now am pretty ruthless when it comes to decluttering and will even throw out (donate) things that have emotional attachments.  It is so much less stressful when you have less stuff.  For example, I don’t have to pull out 20 mixing bowls, have four chopping boards fall over, move the gigantic olive oil I buy and then slide the plastic jugs over to get to the steamer basket anymore - much less frustrating.

The people keeping me on the straight and narrow at the moment are Coco from lightbyCoco,  Carrie from CarrieLeighAnna and FlyLady

Coco lives in San Francisco in a studio and doesn’t even have a bed (it took me awhile to figure that
one out)!  Her husband is also a minimalist and they have systems in place that allow them to spend time at home efficiently and happily without a whole lot of stuff.  Her videos also are great because she does tours of her whole home (which is tiny but you don’t realise it until the moment you see it) and it really does demonstrate how little you need to live comfortably.

Find Coco on Instagram
Coco's blog here
Coco on YouTube

Carrie is a SAHM who recently moved to Kentucky from somewhere (can’t remember) and she is also into being a minimalist but also into living naturally.  Since reading and listening to her I have begun to not use shampoo and will not spend anymore money on toiletries and half the things I buy probably.  There is also an extremely personal side to this blog which I like because even though Carrie looks pulled together and organised - she shares her issues with infertility and food - it helps to keep everything in perspective.

Find Carrie on Instagram
Carrie's Blog here
Carrie on YouTube

The other help I find is via an email subscription.  I have signed up to FlyLady in the past and found it very helpful to get me into a good morning routine that helps my day flow smoothly.  FlyLady is a website that has a lot of great (free) resources as well as encouragement's and ideas to help you get organised and stay that way so that again - life is less stressful.  But the best bit is that while you follow this basic pattern every day - there is also a focus area of your home each week.  The focus area is decluttered every day for 15 minutes until you are happy with the amount of stuff.  Then you can detail clean in that area for 15 minutes each day.  Who can’t find 15 minutes?  It’s amazing what you can get done in that time.

FlyLady lives here

There are about a zillion other great people to follow on Instagram and I'm sure there are more on Twitter (which I don't really do).  If you have someone you follow and find helpful please link it in the comments section.

Next Monday I will be focusing on health for my Inspiration on a Monday post.
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