Some people spend their holidays drinking cocktails. I am envious. I would love to sit by a pool in the sun drinking Pina Coladas. It reminds me of our time in Fiji, a jug of Pina Colada, sun loungers, a two-year-old playing at our feet.
But this holidays it was not to be. This week I’ve spent my precious annual leave sanding, cleaning, stripping wallpaper, pulling staples out of the floor, and learning to wallpaper. This girls have been bored out of their minds, and have been fighting like crazy. The novelty of stripping wallpaper wore off after the first weekend.
But we are building a future for our children and ourselves. There are a lot of sacrifices we have to make, but it will all be worthwhile in a few months when the house is complete.
And at least I can say I have learned something new!
Because life will only change when you become more committed to your dreams than your comfort zone [Billy Cox].
This was my first ever attempt at wallpapering (“after” photos to come):
Life had been going pretty smoothly over the last few months. I’d dropped a couple of volunteer positions, learned to say no to work commitments, and even turned up for the odd school outing! I was exercising, going to relaxation yoga, and enjoying spending quality time with my family without stressing about work.
But you know what happens when a busy workaholic finally slows down? They find something else to do.
And I did.
Over the last few weeks, we have been in the process of buying another house. It is old and run down and needs a complete renovation. We have been busy measuring it up, picking carpets, shopping for kitchens, appliances and curtains. Booking in carpet and floor sanders and builders and painters. Not to mention the usual stress of dealing with the lawyers and the bank. And today we got the keys.
As you know we have been thinking a lot about what we want out of life. We have been looking at whether our busy chaotic lifestyle is for us. Which it may not be.
However, if we want to make changes in our lives, we need to do something about it.
We can’t just keep going to work every day, making money, spending money, and in five years time realising we are in the exact same position as we are today – just with a few more grey hairs and the girls looking at moving out of home.
I was so proud of the girls today. We managed to have a great day, without devices – wet and windy wild weather and all.
After a treat for breakfast (bacon and egg baps, with coffee from the cafe around the corner for Hubby and I), I took the girls roller skating. Although Miss M has been skating before, she is still very much a learner, and this was Miss T’s first time on a skating rink. After a few false starts, they had a ball. They raced each other and the clock. There were “musical spots”, “show off your tricks” (i.e. manage not to fall over), and skating “limbo” (not surprisingly, the tiny tots on wheels won this one!). A hurt tailbone and a sore wrist later, they can’t wait to come back! All for a $2 entry fee! A bit of frugal family fun for my new better budgeting segment I think.
The girls – in a good mood – even helped me with grocery shopping on the way home. Well, not sure if “helped” is the right word, but they certainly took it upon themselves to fill up my trolley for me…
After lunch we did the traditional childhood thing and had the neighbourhood children over for an afternoon of hut building, playing board games, making a banana cake for afternoon tea and pizza for dinner. Followed of course by ice cream sundaes.
Somehow we have been convinced that the neighbour should stay for a sleepover. They dragged the spare TV into the hut, snuggled up in the piles of cushions and blankets under fairy lights and sheets and watched a movie. And that is where they are now. In the hut, on the floor, snuggled up in blankets and cushions. Not quite asleep.
So I might not win Mother of the Year, and I may not be the world’s biggest blogger, but one thing I do know how to do is set a family budget.
For starters, a family budget is a living breathing thing. It needs to be set, worked with, reviewed, updated, reviewed again … and so forth. Yes, strict accounting principles would say you don’t change a budget – if you can’t meet it, you failed and you need to examine why. And whilst there is a very strong logic behind that rule, this is a family budget, and family needs change.
I have outlined a number of steps below to help you along your budgeting journey.
Welcome to Better Budgeting, part of a new section in our blog – a Working Mother’s Guide to healthy living on a shoestring.
With my background as an Accountant, it makes sense for me to share some of the tips and tricks I have learned in the industry, and my experience applying them to the family budget. This page will be covering ideas for feeding the troops and frugal family fun. We will also look at the ‘Golden Rules’, saving for a big occasion, entertaining the family and staying fit. We will look at ways to track your hard earned dollar, and of course – how to keep more of it!
Frugal Family Food
This page will cover frugal family food ideas. But with a twist. One of my passions is good quality food on a budget.
To me, the affordability of food is not measured in its cost, but in terms of its value for money in a nutritional sense. That bulk bag of yesterday’s baked muffins for $2 may seem cheap when you have lunch boxes to full, but the reality is they are unlikely to have significant nutritional value. Yesterday’s muffins will fill the tummies for a short period of time, and then the kiddies (and husband!) will be asking for more. In the meantime, they have consumed excess sugar and refined carbohydrates that they probably didn’t need.