Friday, 29 May 2015

5 Things I've Learnt.....

So I started off the month with the aim of blogging every day in May following prompts set by Cate over at Life Behind The Purple Door

Today's prompt is '5 Things I've Learnt From Blogging Every Day'

I don't actually have five things.....I have just one...

1.  I am totally crap at blogging every day!!!!

Including this post I only manged to blog 13 days in May.  But I'm fine with that, kinda even impressed that I did that many!

I really enjoyed the prompts from Cate, they got my mind thinking and that is always a good thing!  I enjoyed reading all of the posts from the group that linked together and 
have come across some lovely new blogs.

At the end of the day there's no harm giving something a go and that is what I did!

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Our Finances Suck Part 3 - But I Need Money Now!!

So far in this series we have covered how to prepare a budget and how to implement the budget.  These are great steps and I believe essential in getting on track...but sometimes circumstances dictate that you simply need NOW!!!!

Perhaps you have some unexpected bills rolling in and you know that you cannot stretch your current income any further then you may need to consider a way to make some money.....and fast!!.

One of the fastest ways to make some cash is to sell something that you already have.

A garage sale is great for this and can be pulled together pretty quickly.  We held our first ever garage sale in March this year and here's a few things that we learnt along the way....

I spent a few weeks searching the house for items to sell and then I stockpiled them in one corner of the garage.

I bought a roll of labels and some cardboard tags on a string and set about pricing a bit every few days.  I believe that the day runs more smoothly if everything is priced.  With things that were of little monetary value I put pretty low prices on them just to get rid of them but for items with a bigger value I'd suggest that you add a few dollars onto your price to allow for negotiations!

The few days just before the garage sale I went through the now huge pile of goods and packed like things I had a plastic tub for home wares, a plastic tub for kitchen ware, a plastic tub for toys etc.. etc..  Since I had 3 trestle tables I labelled the plastic tubs table 1, table 2 and table 3.

Things like books I left in tubs with the spines facing up for easy seeing.  I had a tub of the girls shoes and tied the pairs together with string to make it easier for people looking through the tub.  And I had a few tubs for the girls clothing sorted into sizes....for example size 000 - 2 in one tub, size 3- 6 in another tub, size 7-12 in another tub etc... etc...  The clothes I priced at 50 cents per item but any that I thought were worth a lot more than that I had priced individually on a hanging stand.

The night before the garage sale I wrote up some big, clear sings and hubby and I went around the streets putting them up (make sure you do take them down though as some councils are quite particular about the signs being left up!!)  I did not advertise in any of our local papers because we have a lot of passing traffic so didn't feel the need. I did list our garage sale on a few local Facebook garage sale pages though.

And then the morning of the garage sale came around.  We woke up super early to set matter what time you advertise that your garage sale will start there will always be people arriving earlier than that!

It 's great to have a bit of help on the day...luckily we have live in help with our 5 girls!!  We woke the older ones super early, much to their dislike, and set them to work!  This is where having the tubs labelled with the table numbers really came in handy.  We allocated a child per trestle table, gave them their table cloth and tubs and they were able to set them up without a million questions!

Handy tip....make sure you have an area for the men!  All of those men that were dragged along by their wives were instantly drawn to tools and the like! And their wives could spend more time browsing with hubby out of the way!!

We put our trestle tables up under our carport and then put bigger eye catching items down the driveway.  Often people will only stop if something catches their eye so this helps a lot.  

With the girls handling the selling and hubby hiding inside I spent some time photographing our items for sale while they were all laid out and posting them on local Facebook garage sale pages....this worked well and a few items that did not appear to be selling at the garage sale sold online and were picked up within the next day or two so I would definitely recommend doing this.

At the end of the day we had made just under $380 which was better than I had expected! So if you have some stuff laying around at home with not too much effort you could hold your own garage sale and get some quick cash.

Other ways to make some quick money would be to use local the local Facebook garage sale pages that I have mentioned above.  We have at least three in our area and for little effort you can list an item on all three within a few minutes.  Because the buyers are generally local you can have your items picked up pretty quickly and the cash can be in your hands!

Local trash and treasure markets or car boot sales are another great way to sell your items quickly but you might have to pay a fee for a stall/space....if the fee is not too big it might still be worth your while.....or you could consider sharing a stall with a friend or family member to reduce the cost.  Don't forget that most people are after a bargain so make sure you price your items to sell.

Ebay is another option and these days you are able to list a number of items per month for free.....for a basic listing.  Sometimes items can take a little while to sell and there is the added hassle of having to post items if pick up is not an option.... but it is worth a try if you need the money.

So there's a few ways that you might be able to make some money from what you already have at home for times when you need some money quickly.

If you think you might have a garage sale some time soon I have included a link here for a handy garage sale checklist to help you makes sure your garage sale runs smoothly and why not pop over and check out my pinterest garage sale board for some more great ideas.

Linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT 

Do you have any other ways to find some quick money (legal of course!!) 
for when unexpected expenses come along?

Thursday, 21 May 2015

While Hubby's Away....

This week hubby was away for might have only been for three nights.....but it felt longer, much longer.

A few hours after hubby left on Monday I went to wash Miss 10 and Miss 6's clothes for mufti day the following day and the old front loader that we have been using {since our old top loader died a few weeks ago} filled with water but did nothing spinning, no draining .....nothing!!

We had been looking at washing machines recently with the knowledge that ours would not last much longer but they are so expensive.  New was out of the question and even second hand was still pricey.

BUT!!  On Monday I managed to find a brand new unwanted washing machine for sale on a local Facebook garage sale page for $150.  It was smaller than we wanted, it was not a popular brand, it was a top loader and I would prefer a front loader given the teeny tiny nature of our laundry.....but beggars can't be choosers so after quick phone call to hubby I contacted the guy and bought the washing machine....yay me!  

Then it needed to be picked up that afternoon.  So I spent some 30 minutes clearing out soccer balls and fold up chairs from the back of my car and trying to remember how to fold up the back seats!  Then I was off for a quick trip to the bank, picked up the girls from school and went to pick up the washing machine!  With the guys help we loaded it into the car.....back at home Miss 17 and I comically got if from the car onto a trolley and up the front stairs.....we got it far enough into the house to be able to close the front door and called it job done!  Now I just had to wait for hubby to return home to install it!!!!

It wasn't until about 11pm Monday night that I realized that Miss 10's shoes for mufti day no longer fit and Miss 6 had one boot missing which could not be found no matter how much mess I made looking!

Cue 7am Tuesday morning and I was off to Kmart...thankful for it's opening 24/7!!  In and out within 10 minutes I grabbed a pair of shoes each for Miss 10 and Miss 6...even managed to get the right sizes...though I probably would have just made them wear them anyways!!

Hubby is collecting pallets for a few projects we have in mind around the house and when I went to pick up Miss 17 and Miss 15 from the library on Tuesday night I spotted some free pallets near a local mower shop.  I picked up the girls and returned to grab the pallets.....but since I was in my slippers and it had been raining I supervised from the car while Miss 17 and Miss 15 provided great amusement getting the pallets into the back of the car.....thankfully the seats were still up from the previous days washing machine pick up...coz I'm pretty lazy like that!!!

I knew hubby would be pleased with our haul!

By Wednesday the later than usual nights combined with the responsibility of putting the bins out was starting to take its toll.....and in my state of sleep deprived tiredness I decided that since the new washing machine would have to make its way to the laundry when hubby got home I would give the laundry a good clean out....out went the top loader and the front loader, the dryer moved out temporarily and about seven years worth of grime and dust was left behind. But instead of settling for just cleaning out the laundry I decided a mini makeover was in order.....I sugar soaped the walls, gave two of them a splash of paint and even sat up late at night sewing curtains.....where did that come from??

And then Thursday  rolled around...woohoo hubby would be coming home today!!

First up the older three wanted to get the early bus to school which means I have to drive them to the bus stop.....we turned the corner and there was the bus leaving their stop.....then we did that thing where you follow the bus to the next bus stop, pull over and watch the girls run like crazy to the bus!!

After getting the younger two to school I rushed home to clean up the paint splatters from the laundry floor, wash out the paint brushes and mop the was like some crazy reality tv show.....all ready for the great reveal !!!

Hubby came home bearing gifts...gorgeous flowers and a hot chocolate.....oh I love that man!!

We sat and chatted about the past few days.....even though we had spoken on the phone multiple times each day.  Hubby talked about how disorganized the job was that he is doing and about how boring it was at the hotel room each night.....sitting for hours alone, eating his dinner, watching tv....and the mornings, oh poor hubby, the mornings consisted of going to the hotels' dining room for cereal and a hot breakfast before driving the 5 minutes to work.  Poor, poor hubby!!!! I exercised some self restraint!!  and the let's just say that I filled him in on all that he had missed around here......every  little thing extreme detail!!!

It was then time for the big reveal.....hubby was super impressed, and even noticed that the new laundry curtains and the paint colours matched...bonus points for him!!

He saw our pallets and as expected he was impressed!

The bad thing is that this job is not over and hubby will have to go away a few more times in the coming weeks.....and I think I've kinda set the bar too high!!  Imagine next time he gets back from being away.....he will be expecting the bathroom to be renovated or the backyard to be pristine.

Oh no...what have I done!!!!!

Oh wells at least I will sleep better tonight knowing that I'm not the only one responsible for checking the front door is locked, making sure the oven is off and looking in on the girls!

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Our Finances Suck Part 2 - Envelope System

Years ago in an attempt to lose weight and gain fitness I bought a treadmill.....great idea! Hubby set it up for me  in the corner of the lounge room...but you know what......I lost no weight and gained no fitness....seems you actually have to use the thing to get results...haha who knew!

So that's where we are at with our budgets people!  We have to use it and stick to it!!

Last week I updated my old Excel spreadsheet budget, eventually got my income and expenses to balance after a lot of adjusting and re-adjusting and now it is time to work out how to use the budget and how to make it work for me.

I went through my budget and highlighted the payments as per the following....

DIRECT DEBIT.....these included our mortgage, life insurance, health insurance, home and contents insurance.  

BPAY.....these included electricity, water and land rates {works best for me to make payments to these each fortnight rather than freak out when I receive a huge bill!!} as well as our credit card and school fees.  

CASH......these were groceries, clothes/shoes, doctor/chemist, birthdays, petrol, sewing lessons, art classes, maths tutor

So each fortnight when our pay goes into the bank I am going to sit down and make all of the bpay payments for the amount indicated on our budget. Next I am going to go to the bank and withdraw the total amount of the cash payments {it is a good idea to ask the teller for a good mix of small notes for this...I'll explain why in a minute} and lastly I should be left with the correct amount in our account to cover all of the direct debit payments....I did say 'should'!!

To manage that cash that I have withdrawn I am implementing the "Envelope System'...basically I will have an envelope for each cash one for groceries, one for doctor/chemist, one for birthdays etc..  and I will put the allocated dollar amount into each envelope for the fortnight {hence the reason it is advisable to get a good mix of notes from the teller when you withdraw your money}.  

The theory then is that once you spend the money from that envelope then there is no more, conversely if you have money left in an envelope at the end of the fortnight you can choose to put that away as savings or leave it in the particular envelope for later use.

The envelope system can get a bit messy if you only have your grocery envelope with you but you make a purchase at the chemist....then you have to repay your grocery envelope from your chemist envelope when you get home...or if you are tempted to steal from your clothes envelope because you have already exhausted your takeaway budget......hmm have I lost you yet!!

But for me I could see that it could work... .I'll know that I have the money for the maths tutor and the girls after school activities sorted each fortnight, I will have money set aside for clothes and birthdays which can accrue when not spent and I will have to live within the envelope budget for groceries ....which is way hard to do when you live so close to a shopping centre that you sometimes feel like you spend more time there than at home!!

I realize that the envelope system may not be for everyone and of course there are other ways that you can manage your money once you have your budget in could use bank accounts instead of the envelopes or a debit card rather than carry cash or use a credit card as long as you repay in full before interest is charged etc..

Whatever system you choose to use is fine as long as we are sticking to our budget each fortnight!

Linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT

Do you have any great tips on how you manage the money day to day...whether it be via bank accounts, debit card, envelopes?  

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Wordless Wednesday...

Blogging every day in May...and by every day I mean kinda most days!!

Day 13's prompt is.....Wordless Wednesday.....share a photo from yesterday.

Well yesterday saw me spend just under 3 hours in a meeting with my accountant so that would not make for an interesting photo!

Instead I am share pics from today  ...... a little bit of autumn.

Liking up with Cate from Life Behind The Purple Door

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Our Finances Suck Part 1 - Budget

A few weeks ago I mentioned how our finances suck....big time.....and how I hope to focus on our situation and try to turn things around this year {well what's left of this year!!}

So I figured it was best to go back to basics and start with looking at our {pretty dismal} BUDGET.

From my research it seems that there are a lot of programs out there to help you set up and maintain a budget, such as Quicken and  Mint.  There are also a lot of Apps available such as GoodBudget, Mvelopes and HomeBudget.

Quite a few of these programs and apps sound like they could be very useful tools and I would seriously suggest taking a look at them to see if you can find one that would work for you.  I have to admit that I saw the word 'sync' and freaked out a and I have a bit of a love hate relationship at times...especially where syncing is involved!

I have decided to revisit my Excel spreadsheet budget for now, because even though a bit out of date it will be quicker for me to update that than to start again at the moment.  I might look into the various programs and apps at a later date and with a clearer head!

With Excel you will find that there is even a template for a personal budget if you want a guide with where to start...though it did scare me a little bit {okay a lot actually!!}.

We probably all know that we really should spend a few weeks tracking our household spending to make sure that we know where our money goes....I tend to skip this step but decided to give it a go this time....all you have to do is keep every receipt or note every expense in a little diary....get hubby to do the same.  After a few weeks of keeping track you can then get a good overview of where your money goes on a day to day that magazine, or cappuccino, or that snack bar....believe me it really does all add up!

After tracking your spending the real  fun begins!  It's time to  gather together your bank statements and utilities bills for say the last 6 months, together with documentation of your income sources. And now you need to sit down and put all of the information will will copious amounts of chocolate!!

I converted all of our expenses to fortnightly as we are paid fortnightly. My spreadsheet is extremely basic {because that is all that my brain can handle!!} has our expenses listed in one could group them into categories eg. household, school, car etc.. or list them alphabetically...whatever works best for you really.  Once calculated enter the fortnightly expense into the spreadsheet.  When you have finished use the formulas to add up all of your expenses.

I then have a column for our income.  Enter all of your income sources and the corresponding fortnightly amounts.  At the end use the formula to calculate the total.

Now cross your fingers and look at the two totals to see how your financial position looks.

If the income total is higher than the expenses total then 'yay' .... things are looking good...perhaps you can allocate the difference into a savings or emergency fund.

If the expenses total is higher than the income total.....then welcome to the club....though I'm not sure it's a club that you want to belong to!!!  What I had to do here was to go back through all of the expenses and make some adjustments.....some expenses will be relatively fixed such as mortgage, insurances, school fees etc.. but there will be some that you can make adjustments to in order to get your two totals to might have to reduce the amount you have allocated to grocery shopping or birthday spending until at the very least the income and expenses total are the same!

Maybe you've had to do quite a bit of tweaking {like me!} to get your totals to balance but at least now you have a good idea of what money comes in and goes out each fortnight and the next step will be to develop a plan or system to implement and keep to this budget.

So there's a nice bit of homework for you if you haven't visited your budget for a while!

Linking up with Jess from Essentially Jess for #IBOT

I'd love to know what works for you?  How do you do your budget? 
Is there a program or an app that you use or would recommend?

Sunday, 10 May 2015

10 on 10 Photography Circle - May

April saw somebody here having a birthday....eeek it was me!!

Usually I prefer a no fuss birthday at home but my mother in law had sent me a little bit of spending money which I decided to put towards a lovely meal out....something that NEVER happens around here with 5 children because of the cost....and well because taking children out can sometimes be less than pleasant !!

Hugely excited we headed off to what has to be one of my favourite restaurants of all time....because a)  it used to be a church from about the 1860's....just take a look at it, it's gorgeous!!

and b)  because it is so quirky....everything that you see here on the walls or hanging from the ceiling is for sale...YES!! FOR SALE!!  You can sit down and eat and look at all the things that you want to buy at the same!!

Okay I'll admit that I want to buy almost everything .....but this is one piece that I would have loved to have taken this one home with me...  I love it!  p.s. the photo does not do it justice because I get a tad shy taking photos in crowded public places so I just zoomed in from where I was sitting!!

The meal was totally amazing....and I am not just saying that because I didn't have to make it myself, though that was a plus!

And this had me wishing that I had ordered from the kids menu....I can't resist ice cream with chocolate topping!

But miss 6 didn't need any help polishing that off...

Seeing it was my birthday I will grace you with one photo of me...clearly not taken by me....but hey!

Well and truly full we headed home to don pj's and slippers and to watch the all new series of Midsomer Murders.....boy I'm getting old!!

Once again all of my photos were taken on my iphone and using the Sony Smart Lens....I love this lens so much, especially when I want to take sneaky photos in a restaurant!!

Please check out the other blogs in this photography circle....
there's a lot to love in our wonderful group....  

I am linking to Shannon  over at  Forty Up  
Be sure to check out her great photos for this month by clicking HERE

and wishing all the mums out there a very happy Mother's Day xx

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Top 5 Favourite Movies...

Sticking with blogging (almost) every day in May!!

Today's prompt is....

Day 7....Your top 5 movies of all time....those movies that you have to watch over and over every time that they are on tv...

Have I mentioned before that I am hopeless at the favourites thing....oh well here goes....

1.  Grease 

2.  Top Gun

3.  The Great Escape

4.  The Sound Of Music

5.  Misery

6.  School of Rock

Okay so I know there's 6 but I just couldn't leave one out !!!!

Linking up with Cate over at Life Behind the Purple Door

Tell me what movies would be on your list....?

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

The Foods We Eat...

Today's prompt for blog every day in May is....

Day 6.....Foods We Eat..... Do you menu plan, or fly by the seat of your pants each day? Do you eat the same foods over and over, or try new foods regularly?

Haha not a good prompt for me today!!  Dinner for us tonight comprised of McDonalds because hubby is away for work, I have a headache and spent way too many hours at school helping with the Mother's Day wrapping, the fridge is a bit on the empty side! 

I menu plan for a day or two each week then lose the plot!!  I really do need to get  on top of it because I waste too much time at the grocery store and spend too much money each visit.

I'm not very good at trying new things....I have an amazing ability to know that I don''t like certain foods just by the mere mention of them and sometimes by the sight of them!!  I think I'm worse than some two year olds !!  But I know that we need to try new things and that it starts with me {hence why it hasn't started!!}

I'd love to be more package free and additive free....something to strive towards I suppose!

Linking up with Cate over at Life Behind The Purple Door

Monday, 4 May 2015

Say Hello to Monday.....

So today's prompt for the blog every day in May challenge is....

Day 4....Say Hello to Mondays...

The idea behind it is to change the focus of your week, to put yourself in a more positive mindset, to embrace the week ahead. A great time to plan the week ahead, make your list of things to do or a list of things you are grateful for....

Okay so I'll be the first to admit that when Monday comes around I'm a bit more like ......  

There's not a spring in my step or joyful cheer in my voice!  The weekend has come and gone way too quickly and I am going to take that out on Monday!!

I wasn't sure today was going to be any different.....I had three teenage girls to get up and ready for school photo day and Miss 10 and Miss 6 to get up and off to school.

During the week I have a whole heap of stuff that is going on in my head with overdue bills, not enough money to pay said overdue bills, worrying about whether there is enough money in the bank to cover direct debits, wondering how I can stretch the money we have to last the week etc. etc.. etc...... I goes around and around in my head all day all week....but on Friday night I seem to be able to turn it off and take a break for the weekend.  But when I wake up on Monday morning it all starts again!!

So today I decided to try to embrace Monday!!

Instead of laying in bed repeatedly pressing the snooze button which in actual fact just makes me get up later and grumpier I {almost} leapt out of bed.

The motivation of photo day saw the older three get out of bed more easily than usual and even Miss 10 and Miss 6 were getting ready ahead of time.

That's when I made a big call.....we were going to walk to primary school!!!!

It is only about 1km and takes roughly 15-20 minutes with Miss 10 and Miss 6 but somehow each morning we end up jumping in the car with three minutes until the bell rings, blood pressure rising as we rush, rush, rush!

But today we set out {although I was going to claim that it was too cloudy at the last minute!} and walked to school.  

It was a huge change from the mad rush.  It was calm, we took our time. There was no {ahem} yelling, screaming, bickering.  There was just time to take deep breaths of the fresh morning air.

Miss 6 even had time to collect some treasures along the way that she entrusted me to take home and mind.

So I hope this week to walk to school more often, continue blogging every day in May, book that doctors appointment for Miss 14 and the specialists appointment for Miss 6.

I think the secret to my to do lists for the week is to not write everything that I have to do but to focus on say 4-5 essential things, anything else that gets done after that is a bonus!!

You know, maybe I owe Mondays an apology....coz they kinda aren't all that bad if you come at them the right way.

Linking up with Cate over at Life Behind The Purple Door for blog every day in May.

How do you like you love them or loathe them?

Sunday, 3 May 2015

My Favourite Quote...

On a blog every day in May challenge and today's prompt is....

Day 3......Your Favourite Quote

Ugh I am one of those people who doesn't have a clue what their 'favourites' are!  Heck I don't even know my favourite colour or favourite meal let alone my favourite quote!

But for the purpose of today's post I am going to choose Oscar Wilde's quote.....

And the reason for my choice is that I'm not always sure who 'yourself' really is.  I'm a mum, a wife, a daughter etc... etc... but sometimes I'm not sure who 'I' really am.  And I don't think I've ever really known.

I can also get a bit caught up in who other people are sometimes and want to be a bit like them.

So I'm choosing this as my favourite quote as a bit of a reminder to me to find myself, be happy with myself and to just be myself!

Tell me, what's your favourite quote?

Linking up with Cate over at Life Behind the Purple Door for the blog 

everyday in May challenge

Saturday, 2 May 2015

What I'm Reading Right Now

Day 2 of my attempt to blog every day in May.  Here's today's prompt...

Day 2...... 'Reading Right Now'

Well other than probably a few too many blog posts here and there I haven't been reading much lately.

But for Christmas we gave my mother in law a book voucher and with it she purchased Jodi Picoult's 'Leaving Time'.  Well she had finished reading it when they came to visit for Easter so she brought it along so that I can now read it.

After about a 20 minute run down of the details of the book fro her I realized that I have no interest in reading it at all !!  For one it is some 405 pages long, for two it is heavy on facts about elephants and for three my mother in law had to read it twice because there was so much going on.

It could well be a very good book but Christmas holidays seem to be my only time of the year to get through a whole entire book and the rest of the year gets too busy for reading.

Ugh I know that the next time she telephones or visits she will quiz me on where I am up to with the book.

Have you read it?  Anybody want to read it for me and give me a brief book review!!!

Linking up with Cate over at Life Behind the Purple Door

Friday, 1 May 2015

My Family Right Now

This month I am attempting a challenge to blog every day in May.  I read the idea over at Cate's blog Life Behind The Purple Door and thought...why not??!!  So here goes!!

Day 1...... 'Your Family, Right Now'

So here's a photo of my girls at a family function last year.

Miss 17 is currently doing year 12 and has just completed work placement at the Easter Show where she was involved in the running of The Daily Telegraph stage which she really enjoyed.  At the moment she is focused on her Design and Tech major work.  This year she is playing all age ladies soccer.

Miss 15 is in Year 10 and her favourite subjects are Art and Japanese.  She spends way too many hours drawing but when the results are amazing it is a bit hard to be angry at her!  She is putting in an application form for a Japanese exchange program through our local council.  This year she is in the Under 16's soccer team.

Miss 14 is in Year 9 and likes school more for the social life than anything else!. She has way too many groups of friends!  She is into all things fashion and spends way too much time on YouTube! She is in the same Under 16's soccer team as Miss 15.

Miss 10 is in Year 5...I really don't know how that happened!!  She is in the Girl Guides and really loves it.  In a few weeks they are having a camp out, well in the local guides hall!.  She is playing netball again this year, her third year with the same team.

Miss 6 in in Year 1 and a bit reluctant to go into the classroom once we arrive at school!  She's fine once she has been coerced into the classroom though!  She has endless energy this child!!  She is playing netball for the first time ever...she looks so tiny!!

So there's a glimpse into my family right now!