Saturday, July 21, 2012

Gina's Cafe

Has anyone else noticed how much the cost of normal life is creeping up? Last year I dropped from working 3 days a week to 2 days and it really has improved the harmony within our home. I bring in less money but there is more time to run the house, make sure that every kid goes out the door with a clean uniform on and all notes and homework signed and tucked into school bags. Dinners are more planned, I don't have quite so many of those days where I look into the fridge 15 minutes before tea-time and have no idea what to serve up. 

Recently I have found the bills are creeping up and the money coming in isn't quite matching. We are in a lucky situation. There is always the choice that I could increase my working hours. Nursing is a profession where there are always shifts to be had if you put up your hand. I know I could work that regular third day again but I also know what knock on effect that would have. I've decided to try to be even more creative with making our existing money go further. 

I've started planning the weeks shopping on a Sunday night. I go to Aldi on a Monday morning which is a minimalistic experience. I am still adjusting to the cashier scanning my items at lightning speed and throwing them straight in the trolley again, no bags and no time to pack your own re-usable ones until you are standing in the car park. I'm not complaining as it is saving us about $80 a week. 

As crazy as it might sound I have also started Christmas shopping for the 35 overseas gifts that we give each year. If I can get them bought, wrapped and posted within the next 4 weeks then they can be shipped Seamail instead of Airmail in December which is twice the price. It also means that come December we will only have to find the money for presents for our Australian family and friends and for the extra food and treats that the fun of Christmas brings. 

Today Gareth played his Saturday morning rugby match. On our way home we were passing a shopping centre. We quickly checked if there was anything we needed to stop for. There was nothing overly urgent so we drove on home. I know if we had stopped at the shops there was a fair chance we would be tempted to stop in a cafe and order some drinks. It can be fun to sit in a cafe and have nice drinks served to you and have time to sit and relax. Fun until you get the $20 something dollar bill at the end! 

I told the kids I would make Hot Chocolates when we got home. I found some cute white cups at the back of the cupboard that had been a Mothers day gift from a previous year. There were marsh mallows in a jar in the pantry and I got out a dusty heart stencil that had been long forgotten in a drawer. We had a packet of nice bikkies that our neighbour had dropped in to the kids this week (No idea what for, he had rung the doorbell, handed them to Gareth and then walked away?!) With a little imagination we had all that we could have had out and about within our own kitchen, and for a fraction of the cost. 

For as long as we can manage it financially I am determined to make sure that we live within our means and enjoy all the wonderful things we already have within our home. It's great to know that I can do an extra shift here or there to save towards something like a holiday but for now I want to try to see if we can manage on my current hours.

Do you have any similar stories, tips or ideas to share?

6 comments - click here to leave your comment:

  1. Gina, I always thought that you are a great woman, and this post is a confirmation.
    I understand your determination to give quality time to your family, it changed my family when I did the same.
    To economize even in times of abbundance is wise, and a good teaching for the children and it becomes second nature. I believe that if you know how to economize it is a good asset for every person (appreciated also on the job).
    I saved on my wardrobe this year as well, as you know, and I can afford another trip...

  2. You are just a top banana mrs b. xxxx

  3. My friend and I were both on maternity leave last year, and so on a lower income for a few months. We both started to do car boot sales from september to just before christmas. it really became a fun thing to do as well as getting some extra cash.

  4. First of all - 35 overseas gifts??? Wow! I have been doing mostly Internet gift buying for Christmas and Birthday gifts overseas as sometimes the postage would cost more than the gift! I know that it's not quite so personal, but if you send a handwritten card in the mail that can compensate. My other saver is nothing extraordinary, but on the days I work I will take in leftovers or make a packed lunch. We used to get lazy on a Thursday evening after work and it would be tempting to eat out so now I make sure that there's something in the slow cooker. I did try taking in a flask of coffee to work.....but that didn't last, so now my treat is a bought coffee.

  5. Every time I leave Woolies I am in a bad mood because of how much money I have just spent! So I too am getting used to Aldi...and am actually really beginning to love it!

    I am also a nurse...I work three days a week...and occasionally I can swap one of my regular weekday shifts for a weekend shift.
    When I do this it is absolute gold.
    It means I get more money from the weekend penalty rates.
    And because Baby C is at childcare on the days that I usually work, if I get one of those days off, he still goes to school and I get a day entirely to myself!

  6. I'm on maternity leave for the second time (until Feb. next year) ... and it's working much better for everyone ... am really trying to live simply, so that we know how little we can get by on next year ... went to the local church's grandma-run op-shop today and found a bag of golden delicious apples (from a local, no pesticides) for $2. I was such a proud home-maker you'd have thought I'd been born in the 1950s. Good luck with your endeavours (and thanks for visiting my blog for Post of The Month :)