Tuesday, February 22, 2011

No Spend Days

I have just read an entry over at Notes from a Frugal Journey which I found very interesting.  You can read it here; No Spending Days

I realised after reading this that we actively do this.  We plan our spending each week in our budget.  So I can go three or four days without spending anything.  It's a really great idea to try out for yourself.  I'm sure that you have all done the thing where you go into a shop for a loaf of bread or some milk and come out with a couple of other things too.  This cuts into your budget, maybe only a couple of dollars at a time, but if you think about how much that can add up to in a year it makes quite a difference.  So I guess it goes back to my earlier post about my rather obsessive planning for shopping day - doing so means I don't need to keep popping into the shops and spending more than I need to.  It's only a small thing, but if you put away that couple of dollars that you DON'T spend then you should find you have a significant amount after a couple of months and you can really treat yourself.

Hurrah for No Spend Days!

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Library

I am in love with The Library.  My local library, your local library, it doesn't matter, I love it.  I love that you can go in there and pick out twenty books and take them home for free.  I love that you can borrow dvds or cds or kids toys or magazines for free.  I love that my local library runs school holiday programmes for free that make my kids happy.  I love that my kids love books as much as we do because we visit the library at least once a month (though more often it's once a fortnight).  I love that my library now has the ability to source a book for me from almost any library in our state, so I'm not just limited to what is on the shelves.  I love that I have probably saved thousands of dollars by no longer actually buying books, just by using my the library instead.

I love libraries!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bit of a Budget Blowout..

Firstly, sorry about the break from blogging.  Real Life has been a little busy (and stressful) of late.  Anyway, things look calmer now so hopefully I'll have some more frequent posts.

Last weekend The King had his 40th birthday.  This 40th birthday was celebrated well.  Not just on one night, or two nights.  No sirree, this was celebrated on at least three nights and some of the daytime too.  Friends came from many corners of the country to join in.  Some were booked to come, but due to Cyclone Yasi were not able to be here.  They were, however, here in spirit and a glass or two was raised to them.  Luckily the cyclone didn't do much damage and we are very grateful for that.

Friends coming from interstate meant that some were staying with us overnight and some were going to be here for mealtimes.  Therefore my normal planning (see previous post) had to go into overdrive!  I had lists upon lists.  Lists for food for the party (fingerfood was provided - mostly homemade, it's cheaper and nicer).  Lists for dinners, lists for lunches, lists for nibbles, lists for the shopping to provide the ingredients for the food on the other lists.  Also lists for general housework, because otherwise I am useless.  I like a list.  I like to cross things off a list so I feel like I'm achieving.  It's a good thing.  Maybe a slightly mad, obsessive thing, but a good thing for me.

Obviously feeding anywhere from an extra two to an extra ten adults was going to make a difference to our weekly budget.  Luckily we had planned ahead.  Things I could get in advance (non perishables or things that could be prepared ahead and frozen) went into the trolley in my weekly shops in the five or so weeks leading up to the event.  Two advantages here.  One - I had things done in advance and didn't run around like a mad woman during the weekend.  Two - when we got to the weekend the budget wasn't blown completely out of proportion, just a bit of disfiguration.  When it came to shopping last Thursday for the weekend ahead I had it planned out like a military operation (well almost).  I had four different shops to visit to make sure I could get what I needed at the best price - lists were written for each shop so I knew what to get there.  It's all about the organisation!  I managed to get everything we needed and we still had money in the bank.  That's a plus.  Also, because I am a big believer in "it's better to have too much than not enough" I have ended up with some food that I didn't use which means that the next shop will actually be smaller than usual as I have at least three meal options already in the freezer.  Bonus!  We also had planned on how many drinks we would need and made a special trip to a large chain to buy them cheaper.  We didn't come near drinking everything so there is lots leftover.  That will last us some time too.

Even if you are on a strict budget, you can occaisionally throw a bash or have a big weekend as long as you plan it well.  It won't be spontaneous, but it will be satisifying.  Give yourself at least six weeks (in reality I would have had much longer for this particular weekend).  Meal plan, drink plan, make lists and buy what you can in advance, a couple of things at a time so it doesn't feel like much difference to your budget.  Being organised in this instance will not only save you money, but also mean that you have more time to spend with friends and have fun!