Thankyou for holding the fort while I stole away for a mini break.
We've been going non stop since the start of school between my daughters school dance commitments and Dance Captaincy, her role in the community theatre production and her role in the school musical. We literally haven't had a day off, so we gave her a sickie on Friday and escaped to the beach. It rained a bit, but how lovely to have two entire days of not having to be somewhere. We were back yesterday for a full run of the community theatre musical (no escaping that) but even then it was only for three hours and not the whole day so she had plenty of time to veg out. She's such a wonderful hard working kid, honestly, and adores every moment of it, but sometimes Mums and Dads have to say 'enough' ;-)
It's my disabled sons birthday today. He's 24 and has been living independently for nearly five years. If you'd told me when he was 17 that we'd be where we are now, I would not have believed you. The year after he finished school was the hardest as we tried to put things in place for his future. But we never gave up and here we are. He's happy, confident, has a life beyond what we expected, and close to what we imagined, and we're so proud of him. We're yet to meet anyone else with his level of physical limitation, living as he does. He's done so well :)
Further on family, my middle son and his long time girlfriend will be relocating back to home after a three year stint in Sydney. They've purchased a lovely townhouse here so I guess that's pretty permanent! They'll be here by May they say, so it will be lovely to have the whole family together again :D
I sometimes look back on the last 30 years and can't quite believe how many different 'lives' we've all had, how we've recovered from setbacks of many kinds, and found our way to a comfortable life despite the odds. I guess it's one of the great pleasures of getting to our age, and seeing our successes, both great and small.
Of course we have our challenges, even now (as a certain troubled family member will attest), but in the scheme of a lifetime, you'd hope that we weather them as we have so many others.
I was quite proud of myself last week. I had a great tally, and despite my method of totalling where I've saved my family money, being questioned sometimes, I still believe that for ME, it's a great motivating force, and it could be for you too.
So here's last weeks insourcing tasks:
Washed the outside of the car at the self serve bay at the car wash $5 - saving $30.
Cleaned the inside of the car using baby wipes and the vacuum cleaner - saving $20.
Made my daughters lunches every day. Now I always list this and you must wonder why sometimes. But the reason is that she eats like a horse and is gluten intolerant, so if I didn't make her lunches, I truly would have to give her money for the more expensive canteen options like sushi, gluten free brownies, fried rice and so on. Just those three would total $15, and that wouldn't fill her up in a pink fit. So I'm not kidding when I say that my making her lunches (2 serves each of a protein, a gluten free carb, a fruit or veg, and a treat, plus 2 drinks including a sports drink), saves me a bare minimum of $20 a day. Cost to the grocery haul of the ingredients for her lunches is about $20. I save between $80 and $100 a week by insourcing this item alone. Believe me there are mornings when I'd rather not do it as it takes me 20-30 minutes to pack her lunch. But when I see her bubbly and energetic, despite the demands on her time just now, I know it's the right thing to do. I firmly believe that if she were chock-a-block full of takeaway, she would suffer, as would we, and so would the budget!
Washed and groomed the dog saving $30.
Made bento box dinners to use up odds and ends like a single piece of salmon, four crumbed whiting fillets and 8 chicken nuggets. We were sorely tempted to buy bento box dinners from our favourite Japanese takeaway, so this definitely saved $45.
Took our own food away with us and even stuck to our Michelle Bridges plan. Saving on 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 2 dinners out at cafes and restaurants at the beach, probably around $500. And yes, on previous occasions when we weren't so focused and wanted to 'treat' ourselves, we would have spent that at least. This seems to be the obstacle that some people have with my tally, is that they assume that we would not have spent that money anyway. Well, considering our ample savings in other areas of our DIY life, we have felt quite comfortable in the past, doing exactly that from time to time. So this is again, a true saving, as given we were all pretty exhausted, eating out for every meal was pretty tempting.
Gave my daughter a similarly healthy lunch to take to rehearsals yesterday, saving another $20 minimum.
My husband and I were again tempted to go out to lunch while she was at rehearsal, but contented ourselves instead, with buying some scallops on the shell, and some Moreton Bay Bugs at a seafood outlet at a cost of $35, and I cooked them at home, serving them with Pak Choy in an Asian inspired sauce, and saving us around $100 on a restaurant meal. Again...would we have spent that anyway....yes, we probably would. But my savings mentality and the thought that I could have that $100 to spend in Venice, wouldn't allow it...lol!
I can do this because we've made a choice that I do not work outside of the home except as our business bookkeeper, and I treat my role, as you know, like a real job. I actually gain immense satisfaction from challenging myself every week, to find new ways of saving money, without leaving us feeling deprived. If anything, the real challenge is to find as many ways as I can of enhancing our quality of life for as little as possible. There's a subtle difference between just saving money to pay the bills, and actively seeking ways to save, while finding the little luxuries in life that we all like to enjoy.
I am very content doing this, and I hope that this shows in my posts.
Remember too, that my friend Annabel over at The Bluebirds are Nesting, always says that a dollar saved is a dollar. A dollar earned is really only -75c after tax. So that's puts a whole different complexion on home savings too.
Thankyou all for continuing support and let's all have a wonderful life enhancing, budget controlling week.
Be clever, creative and inspired and you might even surprise yourself with what you can achieve.