Spring Cleaning – Why?!

I meant to make a spring cleaning post earlier, but somehow it got lost in all the Christmas preparations.

This spring I did my best to make my way through the house, but there are still a few areas in need to assistance, but I’ve decided I might have to leave them until I’m off for Christmas.

Why do we spring clean?  In our house, we use it to declutter, clean up and hopefully start the next year without the excess baggage.  Having said this, although spring is almost over I still have time to get through our garage, books and hopefully cull the kitchen pantry again (it’s the hardest part of our house to stay on top of).

Psychologists say we struggle with clutter, it makes us anxious, distracted and uneasy in our own environments, and I can concur.  Whenever I have been studying I couldn’t spirng clenaingfocus if the room was untidy, I kept looking around the house thinking if I clear that up, or I would clean up little bits instead of actually getting the work done, I even have trouble being in the house when it’s a mess – I find I have two options; clean it or get out until I can.  There’s a reason there’s such a minimalist movement going on these days, we feel comfortable in spaces where we have a trending concept called hygge – a Danish word used to describe a mood of comfiness, cosiness and wellbeing.  We buy homewares to make the house feel cosy and homely, and some of us are even going for a more minimalist look with basic furniture and decorative items to avoid clutter.

hyggeIn our house, we have managed to acquire the feeling of cosiness for the most part, but we still have more clutter than I would like.  I would love to rehome some items in our living room, some speakers we no longer want, and we have a pile of DVD’s we never watch that we have some kind of attachment to.  I also have a box of CD’s in one of our wardrobes that I haven’t used for several years now, as we have Spotify we no longer have the need to get them out, but I guess there is always that worry that one day we might not have those sorts of services anymore, then what will we do about the music we spent our money on?  I have similar issues in my wardrobe too.  I recently went through all of my clothes, threw aside things I no longer want for donation, and made a pile of things to go in the bin, and packed the rest away in some sort of order.  However, I found there were a few things I kept that I no longer wear, that I only wore once or twice that I spent a lot of money on that I would probably not wear again.  Why do we do this?  It’s only taking up space, like the CD’s, but why do we feel so attached to these possessions?

I have an aspiration to have each room without clutter, without things we don’t need or use, to look comfy and cosy, and without distractions.  It’s such a hard thing to do when we have so many decorative items requiring a space to be displayed on, but is there any point in storing dust collectors?  So far I have culled the two spare room wardrobes, I have culled my wardrobe (which could be culled further but I need someone to help me make a few decisions – sometimes a third party is necessary), I have culled our kitchen, sorted the linen cupboard, tidied the bathrooms and we bought new furniture to lighten the house a little, and make it look less dated.

spring cleaning sweep

On the to-do list:

  • Organise the files – this may be one of the easiest jobs I can do, and I will post on this later, there are so many things we have to keep, I feel as though our “expand-a-file” is not big enough as I have over a box full of things (which does include our resume/portfolios for work)
  • Cull clutter in the lounge room
  • Sort/cull/prioritise books
  • Sort the garage – we are holding onto a couch for family members in there, we have items from our wedding in there that I have been holding now for two years, it’s time to get rid of everything we no longer need in there
  • Prepare a space for the Christmas decorations to be stored – including suitable tubs to keep them in
  • Clean up the yard – this doesn’t entail much as we have such a small yard, but our patio could do with a clean, and the weeds need cutting on the strip of grass out the back

There’s nothing like going on holidays from work and starting the new year with a tidy surrounding, in time to start all our new years’ resolutions.  That’s right it’s almost time to start rehashing those again.

Although I would never have considered that we have a “spring cleaning routine” I guess just decluttering is it for us.  I think with all the hype around spring cleaning it’s a prompt or reminder to get it underway, and it gives us a good time period in which to do so.  If you can’t sort through the trouble areas in your house in 3 months, when can you?

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|Preparing for Christmas|

In accordance with one of my resolutions this year we have started working towards our Christmas shopping.  I am chipping away at our gifts this week since we’re buying most things online I decided it would be best to do that sooner rather than later.  I realise this isn’t possible for everyone, our plan had been to save a little each fortnight toward it and reduce stress when December came, but I’ve decided to sacrifice our disposable income this fortnight and just rip off the band-aid…  Something I’m aware not everyone can do, but if you set up a direct debit of $100 per month you would be surprised by the time you get to the silly season with $1200 to go towards presents, and food for the big day or days depending on your celebration style.  The gifts we’re buying for each other will have to wait until next fortnight but we pretty much already know what they be and still have the time for ordering online if need be.

Ideas for Presents

  • Catch of the day – they have great ideas for cheap stocking fillers, they have gimmicky presents, and they have cheap/discounted items to look at too.  So far I bought my husband a stocking filler, his birthday present (which is close to Christmas) and bought our nieces a trampoline that they have already received approximately 3-4 days after I ordered it.
  • Gift vouchers – while I always thought this idea was a tacky option because it shows little thought, it is good for experiences for people who have everything, they can xmas gift ideasbook the experience when it’s convenient for them and gives them something to do that they might not normally have the money to do but would love to do.  I am thinking for this year I might get my brother a voucher for dinner and a movie and a handmade voucher for child care for the night of their choice while I’m off work over the Christmas break
  • Ozsales – similar to catch of the day have some great sales and gift ideas
  • This is why I’m broke – is a website that has a lot of gimmicky items, great for finding secret Santa ideas, or for that quirky uncle or cousin
  • I find the traditional clothes and toys are easy to find at the department stores if that’s what you’re looking for, and if you have the time I would get in now and get it done, I am doing my best this year to avoid that Christmas madness of December and so far I’m on track
  • Don’t be afraid to buy joint presents for individual families’ kids.  As long as it’s appropriate I don’t see a problem with this.  We went halves with parents and bought a trampoline, and I’m thinking about the same for water play for my nephew and his step-siblings.  I think it’s something they will all enjoy this summer, it’s cost effective for me, and they will enjoy it. Of course, this will depend on the kids and how they get along I guess, but they will have so many other presents it might be a nice contrast.

 

Ideas to Prepare for the Big Day

  • Plan meals beforehand – my family has already made plans for the food part.  We are spending Christmas Eve with hubbies family and I have strict instructions for gingerbread, I think even a gingerbread house, but I think I will throw in some rumballs and find some other nice little finger food goodies recipes, I might even offer to make a dessert and take the Thermie with me.  With my family I have been asked to bring salads, so since I will be coming home Christmas Eve night (2.5hr drive), I will make sure I have the ingredients in the fridge before we go to hubbies family and get up early Christmas morning to prep it all and take it over.
  • Decorations – these are a big expense.  We have spent close to $900 this year.  Insane!!! I have 4 cats so that’s the biggest problem, we bought a tree and decorations then the cats killed it so when hubby was disappointed and angry at xmas prepthem, I decided to try a different plan and bought a “stick” tree with branches that sit a bit higher, they have already killed one of my decorations but we’ll see if the novelty wears off, all they can do to this one is knock it over.  We bought a few lawn ornaments this year, some extra lights and a projector.  But, my advice is chip away at it, it’s so easy to go overboard, and I love Christmas.  We are trying to decorate our house inside and outside (including a patio out the back, balcony out the front and the small grass strip we have next to our driveway.  We have made a plan that we will buy a few more things each year, and next year we won’t need new decorations for the tree because we now have a white and green option, but we usually go to Myer and get 1 or 2 tree ornaments, so that years in the future we will have a collection of quality options.  The same goes for our yard, we bought some lights last year, the projector and one set of lights this year, and 2 lit up solar reindeer.
    • Make sure you take advantage of the sales after Christmas (if you still have any money left after being through the experience of gift buying, meal prepping and decorating), I think this is the best way to get them but last year this wasn’t an option for us on one income.
  • If Christmas isn’t your thing and makes you stressed out and anxious about the rushing and expense, maybe downsize your plan.  We have downsized the gift buying as we prefer the atmosphere of Christmas rather than the materialistic side of it.  Maybe make a plan just to buy for the kids in your family, and the rest of you are happy just to get together and have a chilled relaxing day, after all, is that not what the holidays are all about.

 

In an effort to fight materialism and consumerism (as much as I feel like we sold out on xmas is comingthe decoration part) we are trying to downsize Christmas.  We are trying to make it more about spending some quality time with family and friends, and less about the present aspect.  Buying mainly for the kids and my husband and I for each other, we are trying to capture what Christmas really is, excitement for the kids and a chance to get together with loved ones.

“We don’t need boxes wrapped in strings, designer love and empty things”
Goo Goo Dolls – Better Days

We’re trying to remove the anxiety, stress and anarchy that comes with Christmas, between the shopping, the cooking and meeting the expectations of others we want to go back to a simpler time.  Christmas is getting bigger and bigger, dearer and dearer, and everyone complains about the sales starting earlier and earlier every year.  OF course, making Christmas simplistic isn’t only for those going to someone else’s house, you can ask everyone to bring something to chip in, work smarter at Christmas not harder.  Shop online if you can, decorate a little earlier, wrap presents as they arrive and organise everyone to have a job early.  And then ENJOY!

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Too Early for Christmas? Or Just In Time

I promise to do this every year, but this year I decided to get organised for Christmas early.  I know we all cringe about how early the decorations, gifts and food come out, but if they didn’t do this how would we prepare early?  How many of us say we will save throughout the year to make the financial side of it easier, but I have never managed to achieve this.  I decided this year, starting at the end of October I was going to start picking up a few decorative items for our house, and I have started purchasing items online.

keep calm xmasThis year, as with most years our Christmas celebrations aren’t going to be at our house.  We don’t even know what we’re going to be doing yet on Christmas Day as we’re still waiting on my husbands’ roster to come out, and I have requested the day off so hope that works out ok.  But, as we work through Christmas usually it’s nice to feel the festive season at home, I like to use lots of fairy lights, and little Christmassy nick knacks.  I LOVE Christmas and seem to have converted hubby, so this year he has requested a white Christmas theme, we both love the idea of a white tree as we never had one as kids so we have plans to do a white, winter Christmas theme.

So I wanted to make this post to point out that while I do not encourage the idea of Christmas consumerism all year round, I think we should stop complaining every year about how early it is, and use it as an opportunity to stop waiting until the last minute, and chip away at the purchases.  I know a lot of people go over the top with gifts, food and decorations, we enter the silly season the closer we get to the day, as we all know deadlines are the greatest motivators, and we end up with mad traffic and crowds at the shops that we all hate to participate in but that we feel is a necessary evil.  This year, or maybe even next year lets make a change that will hopefully improve our holidays.

  1. Have a discussion with your family about what your Christmas will be this year (ie xmas is comingours is a white Christmas, we buy for the kids in hubbies family, and for couples and kids in mine since I have a small family)
  2. Make a list of the people you need to buy for, add stocking fillers, and think about food – can you delegate food if you’re hosting, or can you take a plate to share if you’re going to someone’s house
  3. Start researching online shopping now!  I have realised there are a lot of “cheap” (under $15 and under $50) items on catch of the day that would make great stocking fillers or things for people who you don’t really know what to buy for.  You could do the same with groupon, ebay…  Whatever you can think of.  Buy a few things each fortnight, decorations and even start planning menus and trialling things if you need to, you can take things to work to get feedback.

There are a heap of apps and checklists out there, but if you make a gift list, a to-do list and decoration list you can start chipping away at things now.  Online shopping will get busier as time goes on, so try and make those purchases sooner rather than later.  Most importantly try not to make Christmas bigger and better each year.  Keep it simple and it will feel better anyway.  Take advantage of the Christmas displays as they are released, it will really help.  I feel like a whole new theme this year will be expensive, but shop around, there are lots of bargains to be had, you can get lights online, from discount shops, lots of decorations from kmart, it’s such a disposable world these days, but we keep our decorations in “themed” boxes and rotate them each year.  The biggest challenge for us is going to be how to keep the cats out of the tree.

We can all leave the consumerism behind, repurpose, reuse, and simplify.  Make this Christmas one you can enjoy, take a moment to slow down and enjoy the process, instead of entering the rat race in December.  Besides, I like to decorate our house on the first of December and enjoy the atmosphere.

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How Can We “Do It All?”

In a world where it’s all about how busy we are, and how time poor we are, how are we meant to “do it all”? After talking with friends and family recently about how hard it is to “do it all”, and after them jokingly suggesting I should come to their house and help them, I thought I would post some of the strategies I implement at home.

I feel like there’s an invisible line drawn between women and mums, the elephant in the room, as mums coordinating little humans have more planning and organising to do, especially if they work as well, there are still some little things we can all do to make day to day life a little easier.  I don’t want mums to think they are destined to fight the uphill battle alone every day, there are a lot of women and men who have trouble coordinating a work/family/home balance.

My husband and I work shift work, he’s on a rotating roster and I work all afternoons and one morning every second Saturday, therefore I eat dinner at work 9 out of 14 days.  do it allWe have developed our plan of attack over the last year since we’re both full time now.  Previously when I was on my own I didn’t really do anything on my days off other than prep for the week ahead and clean the house.  This meant I could cook for the week, put it all in the fridge and run the dishwasher, I had leftovers every work day.  Apparently this doesn’t work for my other half.  He gets sick of eating the same thing all the time so I had to get creative, and even got him involved.  Now we have a discussion about what we’d like to have for the following week, I do the shopping, prep some staples, cook 2 dinners in one night where I can, he loads and unloads the dishwasher because he doesn’t really like to cook, and we share the household duties like laundry and vacuuming.  It works for us.  But, I wanted to share with you some little things that can give you a little more time in your day, or make you feel less rushed.

  1. Meal planning and prepping – yes plan your meals ahead, do your shopping for the week or fortnight depending on how you like to do it but cook two dinners at once.  This frees up your other days.  If you have to run around after school and struggle to get dinner on the table, cook extra the night before so you can have leftovers when you get home.  If the kids or even the husband are fussy let them be involved in the planning process, ask them what they will eat maybe just a few nights of the week, then if the suggestions are unhealthy or outlandish you can afford to leave the routine for a night or two.  Put one dinner in the oven while you cook another.  Another idea that works for us when trying to decide what to have for dinner is to keep a list of things we cook regularly for a quick reference.  Because I try to stay organised we almost never have fast food or take away.
  2. Cleaning and general household chores should be multitasked – When you cook dinner that has to sit in the oven/thermomix/pressure cooker/slow cooker (insert other options here) for 20mins or more, go and put the washing on, hang out a washed load, run a bath, have a shower, set kids up for homework, make lunches for the next day.  Make the most of the small times you get, as I think they are wasted opportunities we often don’t consider the potential for.  Even put laundry on the moment you wake up, and by the time school drop-offs are done they should be ready to be hung out to dry.
  3. Shopping should not be done on the way home from school afternoon pickups – at this time the kids are grumpy, hungry, you’re hungry and you will buy more than you need and fight with the kids who will want to raid all the wrong isles.  Instead see if you can do the shop after school drop off, prior to school pick up, or order online and click and collect or better still have it delivered.  This can work in well with meal planning and have it delivered in advance of when you need those ingredients.
  4. Downtime – we all need some of this and a lot of people say they don’t get any, and any opportunity they would have is then taken up by cleaning up the house after the kids have gone to bed.  Make sure you multitask wherever possible, do a quick tidy up while kids are eating if they eat alone (load the dishwasher for example), make lunches while waiting for the jug to boil.  If you have no other opportunity do a quick 10min surface tidy when the kids go to bed, then sit down with a cup of tea and a book in bed, or wind down with some tv, or just debrief with your other half if that’s what you need.
  5. Roster jobs – if there’s two parents, or even kids that can help out, then work together.  Maybe one parent does school pickup and the other can do the grocery shop, or maybe one organises kids while the other cooks dinner.  If one parent doesn’t get to sit in front of the tv and the other does how is that fair?

Just a few simple ideas that can make a real difference.  I find I’m happier if I even only cook every second day, and there are so many quick and easy meal ideas out there these days.  Unless it’s a day off I even avoid doing too many tasks in one day, for instance I’ll do laundry one day, and vacuum the next, it just depends on what works and what your time commitments are like.  But, I like to keep myself at least 30mins to sit quietly before I have to leave for work.

This weeks meal plan included:

  • Coconut curried sausages and rice
  • Tuna pasta bake
  • Chilli con carne

I prepped homemade bread, subway style footlong rolls (herbs and cheese), yoghurt with fruit compote and carrot cake balls.

No miracle cures to a perfectly organised existence.  Only little ideas to make it a little easier.

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Why Are We Finding It So Hard to Switch Off? Don’t Let Your Phone Ruin Your Day!

I was talking to a patient yesterday about the changes in some workplaces, and the generation changes.  He said that a place he used to work at no longer takes employees over the age of 55, seemingly because of the health conditions and the idea of retention.  However, this had us talking about the fact that employing younger generations brings with it a different work ethic, young adults always have their heads in their phones, they don’t want to work full time, they call in sick and go out with their friends, they have call in sick because they “just can’t face coming in today” (someone recently said this to me), and they don’t have the initiative to think about what they can do to help the next shift.  What happened to work ethics?  And, why are we all buried in our screens, why are we emotionally attached to social media and technology, and have no idea about social niceties, politeness and respect?

As a nurse I work with other nurses of all ages, and I nurse patients of all ages.  We get into some interesting discussions, and being “logged in” has become a very common one, one that we all agree on but that never seems to change.  When you talk to someone who fits into the category of addiction to being available 24/7 they realise and agree this is a social issue, but they are horrified at being uncontactable in case they miss something.  My husband is one of them.  I suggest that instead of texting other people while we go out for dinner lets turn our phones off, leave them at home or put them on silent.  The last thing I want to do is pay for an expensive meal while I watch him text other people, I could do that at home.  So I am trying to instil a no technology on date night, quality outings and with a holiday coming up I was going to suggest a daily social media window as he will want to catch up with people post photos etc.  Whereas I would rather wait until the end of the holiday and post a couple of my favourite photos on our way home, otherwise if you tell everyone on social media what you’ve been up to in real time, are we missing it ourselves, and what do we talk about when we “catch up” with people if there’s nothing to catch up because they were theoretically with us along the way.  We’re living as if we are on reality tv, big brother really seems to be watching us, only we choose the audience. But what is this really doing to us?

We already have so many pressures.  We have work, home and rest pressures leaving us unbalanced because how much rest do we really get?  We have financial stresses.  socialmediabluesKeeping up with the Jones’ stressors.  And now, we have social media stressors.  We have to display an image of our lifestyle in the posts we make, the opinions we have and the photos we share.  We feel pressure to respond to phone calls, texts and now people can see where we are when we were active and get annoyed when we don’t reply straight away.  We have been managing like this for so long, not only do we get annoyed when we can’t reach someone and get a response straight away, we also don’t know how to shut off because we think it’s so important people are able to contact us or that we know we have a message we don’t know how to stop looking at our phones or just put them down and walk away.

My plan to combat this is turn off notifications.  Once upon a time people walked around and lead a normal life having only a landline from which to be contacted, and I agree that there are times when we really do what to be contacted and know the information in real time, but we also need some downtime.  I need to be contacted if my work start time changes, or if I’m having some work done on the house, I need to be able to contact my husband during the day to ask him to pick up some milk but don’t buy dinner because I already cooked it for him, so say good luck with your interview, but I don’t need to get instant updates on Facebook directing me to a cat video, I can look at that later when I’m waiting for a coffee.  So my new tactic is to turn off social media notifications, so the only way to instantly contact me and get a response is by text messages, phone calls or facebook messenger so that I can asses the importance.  I do have a smartwatch and it’s the same obviously due to the way they notify you.  If my watch alerts me to a call or text at work I can determine if I need to leave the ward and return it, however if I was busy I would ignore it altogether, it would be best if I could even have it ignore all incoming communication while I’m working but I’m not sure that’s an option yet.

The problem isn’t that we are so attached to these things, although that is a problem.  The social mediareal issue is what it’s done to people in society.  We have a generation or a few generations who don’t have manners, are no longer polite, ethical or respectful.  I see images all the time of teens sitting on public transport while the elderly stand, I see people walking around texting and bumping into people, I see people on the phone while they order their coffee but if the cashier did that to them what would the perception be?  We have phones on us while we work, we reply to quick messages, make a quick call in the corridor, but we can’t make a conversation or be pleasant to customers in a face to face situation.

We’re all so connected all the time, yet we have so many anxiety issues, insomnia and depression.  We should all allocate some time regularly to be disconnected each week, for a few hours or a day and see how it feels.  I look forward to knowing I can’t be asked to do anything, I can’t be asked to come to work early, do extra hours, catch up with people and feel obligated to fit it all in when I’ve already planned a day to do the things I’ve been looking forward to.  Don’t let your phone ruin your day!

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Are We Experiencing Life Through a Lens – With No Evidence of our Existence?

After going away for a weekend to the Blue Mountains I realised how much of our lives are spent looking through the eye of a lens.  While I realise going to a tourist area there will be people taking a lot of photos, I wondered if we spend so much time videoing and taking photos, are we missing the experience?

Since the world of technology evolved, of having a camera on us at all times, walking digital lensaround with earphones in, and having our faces hidden behind screens all the time…  Are we missing the experience?  Everywhere we went there were people taking photos and videoing the whole experience, which is fine, we all like to document our adventures, have photos to display either in photo albums, on our walls at home or the digital wall we have on our facebook walls.  We took a few photos too, but it alarmed me that some of these people were virtually seeing their whole experience through a camera.  This made me wonder what are they missing?  Photos are meant to document an experience, but what will our memories be like in the future if we weren’t aware of experience?  If we aren’t present will we remember the smells, the colours and the sounds?  Is technology killing it for us?

I have so many memories of experiences I had that weren’t documented.  If you talk to the elderly, especially the ones with dementia the memories they have are vivid of the social mediathings they have experienced.  They remember the details of events that were special to them, without photos and without videos to look back on.  This prompts me to ask when was the last time you watched a video you took of a holiday you went on?  What do you do with those videos and photos once you posted them on social media?  They say we are the most photographed generation, yet there will be no evidence of our existence.  We take hundreds of photos, but we don’t do anything with them, we don’t print them, we don’t make albums, scrapbook or frame photos to hang on the wall.  What we do with them instead is post them on facebook on a “virtual wall”.  I have posted before about the image we try to create to present to the people we know, and this is the only place we seem to document our experiences these days.  On a virtual wall, instead of for ourselves at home on our own walls or shelves to show our children, to look back through with our grandchildren, to show them what their grandparents and parents did when they were growing up.  What is one of the first things you would grab if you had to evacuate your house?  I have always thought that one of the first things I would grab is my family photos and important documents, and of course my cats.

With this knowledge, my husband and I decided that we would document our lives and memory boardour experiences.  We bought ourselves a digital camera because we figure this is the first mistake we all make, taking photos on our phones and not printing them (although I have been known to use the Snapfish app to print photos off my phone).  I bought us a photo album, we had a plan to make an album for each year, which might seem ambitious, but it also gave us a reason to engage in activities that are worth documenting…  We get so caught up in life, work and day-to-day activities it’s easy to realise a year has passed and we haven’t done anything or have anything to show for it.  What is the point if we don’t enjoy ourselves every now and then?  There’s only so many pictures of pets and food we can take before we start to feel the photos all look the same.  Granted we don’t have kids, but isn’t this the kind of life you would want for them when you have them?  I would like to think we could plan a holiday each year, even if it has to be low budget or a weekend away if holiday leave is hard to get.  We all need something to look forward to, something that provides balance to our lives and gives us a contrast and a reminder of why we work so hard all year.  And hopefully, we will have something to show for it without sacrificing our presence.

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Our First Barefoot Date Night

So tonight we had our first barefoot date night.  We chose somewhere nice to go, although the book seems to imply a fancy place, I wanted to go somewhere closer to home, that’s still nice (turns out the food could have been better – we’ll know for next time).  We applied to open up our accounts, made a financial plan – I think this is motivating and gives us something to look forward to, and we talked about how much freedom we will have when we no longer have 3 interest-free accounts and a credit card barefoot datenighthanging over our heads.  We will already be $400 per fortnight in front from what we will be saving in repayments when we chip away at this.

I not long had a conversation with some girls at work who asked me how we managed when I had accidentally been paying too much tax for 12 months.  I had accidentally ticked a box on my tax form to say I was not claiming the tax-free threshold, plus I was still paying my HECS debt which was already all paid off, leaving me paying $600 extra in tax every fortnight.  Needless to say, I got an amazing tax return and we used that as half of our deposit for our house.  That’s one way of coming up with a deposit by accident.  It wasn’t until someone at work saw my payslip and wondered why I paid so much in tax.  We were planning a wedding during the time, and living mostly on 1 wage (minus that extra tax), my then fiance was studying and worked casually here and there, but we hadn’t committed to a great deal and I tried my best to keep things as simple as I could.  It makes me wonder how we go from surviving in those circumstances to thinking that having 2 full-time incomes was going to put us well ahead.  Instead, we ended up with more debt than I would have ordinarily thought was ever a good plan.  I can see how easy it is for people, you think about how small the payments are, and with things like easy pay now available it’s easier than ever to spend so much money we don’t even have yet.

I am motivated and hopeful that this new strategy is going to finally move us forward.  I’m 33, and when I was 30 I had a big meltdown.  I had celebrated with family, and then broke down into tears for 2hrs afterwards when I felt disappointed with where my life had gone in all that time.  A divorce, a degree and debt.  We have since been married, got out of some of that debt but replaced it with even more.  Now we have a mortgage, a car loan and a personal loan, in addition to these interest-free accounts and a credit card.  Now at 33 I am looking at where I will be by the time I’m 35.  Hopefully with only one debt left in addition to our mortgage, and that seems almost like paradise.

It’s sad to think that such a huge amount of stress and anxiety comes from us mismanaging our finances.  How do we learn to manage our money?  Do we learn from trial and error?  Do we learn from observing our parents?  I would like to think I am better than I was when I was 19.  Someone suggested saving to me then and I felt like that was such a hard concept to consider because I wanted to go shopping all the time, but where does that leave us?  With a lot of clutter but nothing to really show for our efforts.  My Dad was frugal with money, we only used to the heater if it was really cold and we already had used a blanket, after living with him and then my grandparents we knew what it was like to have to live on a budget, like so many other children do.  So why are there so many “Gen Y’s” who are in financial turmoil or wish they had been more responsible with money?  I know a few people who had strict up-bringsings, who instead of learning from that decided to rebel against it.  Thinking they would not lead the life their parents did, and instead getting work and buying whatever they want and having nothing to show for it but a good lifestyle, or so they thought.  But, would those years not be the years in which we should be setting ourselves up?  Getting whatever education we need at a younger age to get into the workforce sooner?  Maybe that’s my regrets coming out in me, there are really no right or wrong ways to get ahead these days, but I do wish I was more mature with money when I was younger.  Instead I survived minimally while at TAFE, then I worked through uni and finished my degree when I was 25, and now feel as though I could have had a few more years of working up my sleeve.  But you live and you learn.

And it’s never too late!

Since we decided to get dedicated, even before I read this book.  My husband had quit his job to study a new degree, so we went into more debt, but we moved closer to work, we managed to pay for our wedding, then the very next year we bought a house, and this year we are making small renovations and paying off some of our debts.

I guess what I wanted to share with anyone who might be reading this is that it’s never too late to get on top of things.  I understand if you don’t have two incomes or you don’t have much left over, I guess things just take a little longer – but you can get there in the end.  Mostly I wanted to encourage anyone who feels things aren’t on track or feel like you could use some help saving for a house or something that seems unachievable to give this system a look, I am planning to share our progress…  But, it even feels liberating to see on paper how much we could have saed by this time next year, or how much progress we will have made at dominoing our debts.

See how we go.

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