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Archive for January, 2007

Knit and Natter

January 31st, 2007 at 12:14 pm

This morning I went to the knit group which I was not able to do while working. For me it is a bit like walking into the lion's den, as it meets in our LYS (local yarn store). I am surrounded by lovely wool but so far have resisted the temptation to buy until I have used up my stash. They were all very pleased to see me. In my next job I think I will tell the employer I need to go to knitting therapy that morning because of my disability!

Last month the store had a window display of some of the work we had produced, and I had a grey lace shawl. The store owner told me a lot of people had admired it and asked for the pattern. It came out of a book I bought for $2 in a thrift store, so she suggested I photocopy it and sell it for 50 cents a sheet. I had to tell her that breaks the copyright law, but gave her the name of the book. I have seen it available second hand on the Net.

I finished off a pair of black fingerless gloves, and think I will use a few colored scraps to Swiss darn a motif on them.

Boy oh boy

January 30th, 2007 at 09:24 pm

As the motivational speakers keep telling us, it's all about spotting an opportunity in the market.

http://www.bebabean.com/products/pptp.aspx

I got wet a few times when ds made like a fountain, before I got the knack of strategically placing a cloth. If I'd been an entrepreneur I could have thought of this. Maybe there is a chance for me to knit custom orders? You skinflints who make your own from scraps are ruining creative business ideas.

Have to admit they are hilarious tho. I'd be tempted to order if I had a new grandson.

Oh- I just spotted a new opportunity. Once these catch on, I'll create a line of cards for new dads to send to grandma: "Mom, I'm sorry I peed on you."

Losing weight

January 30th, 2007 at 06:27 pm

I have taken up on the Weight Loss Challenge and intend to lose 10 lbs. Actually, I want to lose a dress size, so I have a greater range of clothes to choose from at the thrift stores. I don't mind being 5' 10", but I don't want to be a "big, sturdy lass". Neither do I want to look like a beanpole model, as I don't think it's healthy. Somewhere in between with a few nice curves is where I'd like to fit.

While thumbing through a recipe book, I came across this quote by Liz Hurley. When asked how she kept her figure, she replied, "You just have to want to be slim more than you want that piece of cheesecake or chocolate." Basically it's about keeping your goals in mind, and weighing the consequences of each decision. This is equally true for dieting and saving money.

I'm not in favour in very low calorie diets as they're like too tight budgets. They trigger relapses. You can no more cut out all treat foods than you can deny yourself every desire in order to save money. Extreme crash diets are unhealthy, like neglecting house repairs in order to save money. The best way is to simply cut out the waste in both eating habits and money. And be prepared for it to take time. You didn't get overweight or into debt overnight, so it will take a while to come right.

So my plan is to cut down on fats and sugars, by eliminating cakes, cookies and candy, and fried foods. This doesn't mean I can't have a spoonful of sugar on my oatmeal, or saute mushrooms in a little butter, but the emphasis is to be on grains, beans, fruit and veg, and low fat dairy. As it happens, these are the healthiest foods, and relatively cheap.

Toastmasters

January 30th, 2007 at 04:41 pm

This is Talk Up Toastmasters. Last night I went to my Club after the holiday break and had a great time. We had 2 prepared speeches: one guy told us about the life of George Westinghouse, and the other talked about fishing. I wasn't keen on the latter as I'm vegetarian, but he was enthusiastic, and very funny too. One thing that really cracked us up was his telling us how he bought a boat, but with the little amount he's been able to do, he reckons each fish cost him $1000! Then we had Table Topics, and I was called on to say what I'd done in the holidays - in Africa! So I made up a yarn about climbing Mt Kilimanjaro and collecting snow so the Africans would be able to have freezers.

Toastmasters is not only educational and informative, it is also heaps of fun, and develops great communication and leadership skills. You gain great confidence by being able to stand up in front of an audience and speak your piece. If anyone needs to do presentations for work or study,you get plenty of friendly, useful feedback. If you have a fear of public speaking and would like to overcome it, there is no better place (and cheaper)to learn than Toastmasters. Check out the website


www.toastmasters.org


to learn more.

Reminds me subs are due in March. $nz80 (around $50 US) for 6 months. Our President tells me his firm once sent him on a communication seminar, $900 for the weekend, and at the end, the presenter advised them all to join Toastmasters! He reckons he has learned far more for much less money.

Working for benefit

January 30th, 2007 at 12:56 am

My third post of the day, but I had to comment on this. John Key, the new leader of the National (conservative) Party, has just made a speech in which he declares his party will make people on welfare work for their dole. He says he doesn't intend to dismantle the welfare system, but it is being interpreted as a "get tough on the bludgers" speech.

My reaction? If they're creating schemes to help unemployed, disabled, single moms etc back into work, great, I'm all for it. But if there's work out there, shouldn't people be paid at least the minimum wage for it? Most beneficiaries I know want real work for real wages, not time filling schemes for a pittance. Yes, it should be more worthwhile to work than be on welfare, but why is the answer always cut the benefit? Does anyone ever ask why people who work 40 hours a week are still unable to properly feed and house their families? Could it be that wages are too low? We have had the Employers Federation recently declaring that an increase in the minimum wage will put more people out of work, but it seems they're also not prepared to pay more taxes to help the unemployed. The National Party wants to cut the higher tax brackets; if they're really interested in helping the working poor, why don't they cut the lower ones? Mr Key makes a big play of the fact he was brought up by a single mom in a State House, and now is wealthy. I'm afraid he strikes me as one of those selfmade men who despise other poor people and is ungrateful for the help he recieved along the way. He seems to think his childhood would have been a bowl of cherries if his mom had been forced to work. As the child of a workaholic single father, I can assure him it wouldn't. Is his party going to help all these newly working parents by providing affordable, quality childcare?

It seems to me he is just having a go at the same old easy target, and proposing simplistic solutions to very complex problems. He also went on about that other old whipping horse of politicians: crime. No parole for violent criminals. Well, all I can comment is: at least they won't be on welfare will they? They'll be enjoying 3 square meals a day and it'll cost the country umpteen times as much to keep them locked up.

Planning to save

January 29th, 2007 at 03:10 pm

I usually shop at the New World nearest my place because I can get reduced to clear fruit and veges cheaper, but when I'm in town I pick up the specials at Countdown, especially canned goods. i spent some time this mornign checking their prices. They have some good deals, but I did notice 2 small packets of milk powder were cheaper than one big one, and their so called special deal on popping corn was more per unit than from the bulk bins. OTOH, their bulk bin of red lentils was more per unit than I pay for a bag at my home supermarket. So it pays to take a calculator. I am working up a price book, but they keep changing the deals round.

When I was going home past the new Domino's Pizza, I found $1.10nz! Maybe I could try living on the money I find in the street! THAt would make my blog famous! I am convinced there is a Power in the Universe that wishes us well, if only we would become aware of it. But the secret is to be willing to share with each other, instead of clutching tight and saying mine, mine, and being envious that others have what we haven't.

For lunch I am having a pb and banana sandwich, and a dish I just cobbled together from half a dozen cookbooks. Toss chopped green pepper, red cabbage, and grated carrot in a little heated oil. Add a dash of vinegar, a spoonful of brown sugar and a generous shake of chili flakes. Clap lid on and leave to simmer until barely tender.

From one month to another

January 29th, 2007 at 11:52 am

It's not quite the end of the month but I don't think there'l be any more financial transactions.. I downloaded pearbudget at the beginning of the year and these are the results of January spending:

Variable $228.28 (budgeted $240)
Regular $373.78 (budgeted $381)
Irregular $235.00 (budgeted $125.)

Total expenses $842.06. I had $819.06 saved from last month, so only had to dip into savings a little -that pesky wasps' nest! I have recieved the money for my last job, $837.21, to live on for this month. Work and Income will not renew my disability allowance, so I will be getting unemployment of $168.62 per week after that. Hope to get another job before then.

So I decided to only take out $30 a week cash and use that for groceries and toiletries. Everything else can wait. I don't think I will get as bad as that guy who decided to live of $30 a month, but it will be a challenge to see how frugal I can be while still eating healthy. This morning I checked my pantry and saw I had some coconut cream and some cardomom, so made a stovetop rice pudding for breakfast.

Staying Home

January 27th, 2007 at 09:57 pm

It has been a strange summer weatherwise. You never know in the morning how the day will turn out. One day it is stinking hot, the next chilly and damp enough to think about turning the heaters on. We have even had icebergs off the coast for the first time in over 60 years. Today was a drizzly day, so I didn't go out: sat at home and started knitting a shawl with a cone of wool I bought a while ago at the thrift store for a $1. So another no spend day. I can't think of anything I need offhand, so will try not to spend any more money this month. Better stay out of the thrift stores!

To warm myself up I made orange soup: Gently cook 1/2 cup rice and some cumin seeds in oil until the rice turns white. Add 1 pint water, 1/2 cup orange lentils, a handful of chopped dried apricots, and celery salt to taste..Cook for 20 mins. Cool slightly and puree in blender.

No spend Day

January 27th, 2007 at 01:48 am

A warm breezy day so I hung the laundry on the line to dry. I called on a friend and we went for a drive to the harbour. We sat and watched the windsurfers and ate the peanut butter and banana sammies we'd brought. It was so peaceful and I was thinking of all the millions in the world who would love to change places with me. Of course there are all the people in starving wartorn countries, to whom it would seem a millionaires life: but also there are high earners driven by a desire to make millions so then they can afford to retire and live a laidback life in a lovely place like this Smile. When I first came back from India I got very annoyed with people who are always complaining about how hard up they are. Don't they realise that in the game of life, they already won the lottery? But I guess when they don't know how to be grateful for what they already have, they'll always be wanting more and never have enough.

Job Hunting

January 25th, 2007 at 11:44 pm

When I went grocery shopping this morning the supermarket had a sign saying they were looking for produce assistants. I like my veggies so filled in an application form. When I got home I spent some time job searching on the net, and found our local museum is looking for a data entry person for 6 months. Pay is not very high but sounds like an interesting job, and it is close enough for me to walk to work. If I get it I would be able to save $100 a week.

Thrift store Bargains

January 24th, 2007 at 10:58 pm

I did well today:
2 pairs knitting needles, one 2mm, the other 2.25mm. Now I can knit up the lace weight in my stash.
Knitting pattern book. Now I can knit up etc etc.
Book of crossstitch sampler patterns.

all these cost 50 cents each. Hours and hours of entertainment, plus pretty clothing and decorations for my home, for only $2nz. Beats going to the movies any day.

Lucky day

January 19th, 2007 at 12:37 pm

Today I was on my way to work. First I noticed the Sally Army was having a bag sale, so stopped to take a look. I didn't buy any clothes, but I got a book on traditional quilt making for a $1.

Carrying on, I saw the local radio station was having a promo and giving away freebies. I got a couple of sachets hair dye, which I gave to a blonde friend: some Nicorette gum, to give to a friend who's trying to give up smoking; and some Hilary Duff scent. Smells quite nice.

Then today was my last day at this job, so thought I would buy myself a little celebration lunch in town. I asked for a pizza slice, and the counter asstant said as they were rather old, she would give me two for the price of one. So I had 2 slices of pizza and a cup of tea for $3nz.

My friends often comment that I am a lucky person. Seems that way.

Settling up

January 15th, 2007 at 11:27 pm

I talked to dad's lawyer today, and he is in favor of the house being sold. We have had an offer of $215,000nz, so settlement will take place in April. There is some furniture in the house I would like if no one else does, but I'm not too upset if I don't get it.

Bro has turned out to be an absolute ratbag. Knowing that dad was probably already suffering from dementia, he got him to sign some pieces of paper, including a will which left everything to him and cut us girls out completely. But the lawyer tells me it won't stand up in court. The kindest thing I can say about bro is that he has had mental health problems in the past and maybe isnt' entirely responsible for his actions. Anyway, dad may well live another 10 years and his money all get used for his care.

Cushions

January 12th, 2007 at 12:32 pm

Not, in this case, the financial kind. The cushions on my sofa are getting really worn and shabby, so I decided it was time to make some new ones. I've been keeping an eye out round the thrift stores and snapping up odds and ends of material. They won't match, but it seems every time I look at a Homes and Gardens time mag at the library, the posh homes have a variety of cushions. The old inners are still in good condition, so all I needed was thread and velcro fasteners. I went to Spotlight today. OOOH so many lovely things - wouldn't a duvet cover be nice! Just look at those floor rugs! And - gasp! - the most beautiful dark red Cleckheaton 8 ply, just begging to be made into a sweater, all for me. I could get it for only $50...

I put my head down, got exactly what I intended to come in for, paid for it (ignoring the blandishments of the sales assistant to get their store card) and exited. So I will make my cushion covers this weekend with my financial cushion intact. HA. Will power!

Money Plant

January 10th, 2007 at 09:42 pm

Last month a friend gave me a cutting from her jade plant, which some people call a money plant. It has been sitting in an eggcup of water on my kitchen window sill, and has now grown a nice little root. So this morning I potted it in an old container by my front door. My friend tells me this is a good place to put it so it will bring prosperity to my house, according to Feng Shui principles. Here's hoping it works Smile

More Blessed to give

January 9th, 2007 at 12:03 am

I had $30 from my change jar as my start to the $20 Challenge. I was taking it to deposit it and I saw the Women's refuge was having a street appeal. So what did I do? I promptly gave them all my money, and I don't regret it. I am grateful for all the blessings I have, but for some poor women life is hardly worth living. I hope it will be used to improve things for some poor soul.

Those frisky leprechauns...

January 6th, 2007 at 11:35 am

Now I know i promised this would be a no spend year, but today a relative from Ireland came to visit, and who can resist someone who's kissed the Blarney Stone. So we went out to a beachfront cafe and a leprechaun took $12.95 from my wallet for some mushrooms that were nearly as good as those in the Old Country. (Well, mebbe there was a drop of the good stuff too. I'm not saying) Then we decided to browse the 2nd hand shops, and while I was admiring some jewellry, another leprechaun pushed a ring onto my finger. It was obviously an enchanted ring, because it wouldn't come off. Then the store owner pulled a gun on me and demanded $10. Anyway that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I'd better start saving for St Pat's day. Who knows what the little people will want to do with my money then.

The value of savings

January 5th, 2007 at 11:12 am

I haven't mentioned I started the new job this week. They suggested I come in from 2-6, but I found I could complete the work in only 3 hours. Since noone is around to supervise me, I could be dishonest and pad the timesheet. Of course I don't do that, but it means I am earning less money.

I also found out that I am not getting paid weekly on this contract, but in a lump sum at the end. So it is a good job I was able to put aside so much money last month. I can't imagine how I would cope if I lived paycheck to paycheck.

Maintenance

January 4th, 2007 at 10:03 pm

Sigh. If only that were the end of expenses once the mortgage is paid off. But Nooo. there's money that has to be spent to keep the place in good order. Today I hired a dumpster - we call it a skip - and a work party of friends came round, and we filled it to the brim with garden waste. It looks so much better now. Unfortunately, while clearing the section we came across a wasp's nest, so there was the added expense of calling someone to dispose of it.

I'm afraid my garden has been getting the better of me while my health has been poor. I can't keep relying on friends and neighbours to take care of it for me, so I will eventually have to look at selling this place and moving into an apartment. But before that I will have to spend more money to get it into reasonable selling condition. I wonder if I can get on one of those do-it-up TV shows?

Found Food

January 3rd, 2007 at 12:30 am

As it's a wet summer here and the garden is growing like crazy, I spent some time in it this morning with the help of my wonderful neighbour. I discovered a potato plant growing by my back door, and when I pulled it up there were several little white murphies. So we boiled them for lunch. P (my neighbour) calls them "volunteers". I am planning once all the weeds are cleared away to plant swiss chard, which grows very easily here. We call it silverbeet.