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.
Vancouver is a city of beauty and culture. A city of depth. With two days to spend, it’s a matter of fitting in everything you can – and having comfortable shoes.
We travel as a family to learn and to connect with each other, and the city had plenty of opportunities for this, our favourite being Science World with a load of interactive exhibits for the girls to try on their own or for us to do together as a family.
My own personal favs had to be the beauty and calmness of the waterfront, and eating local delicacies – everywhere!