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Archive for March, 2009

Necessary

April 1st, 2009 at 12:49 am

Sorry to gripe a bit yesterday. Dealing with officaildom is getting me down a bit. I know I'm really fortunate to live in a country with a system so I don't wind up begging on the street.

Did my end of month sums. I used www.simplesavings.co.nz to enter my daily spending. I had an income of nz$742 and outgoings of $960. That was caused by spending nz$400 on a computer, otherwise within budget.

I tried to make a distinction between needs and wants. Needs was essential bills and groceries, apart from that I chose to spend another $88. But what is a need. In many parts of the world a phone and ISP is a luxury, I don't have to make charitable donations, I could walk instead of catching the bus, refuse to eat out for my friend's birthday etc. But I would become an unlovable skinflint in the process, and very miserable to boot. So long as I keep regularly putting money aside, I can have a few treats now and then. I should have 2 more NSDs before Friday, then I'll have a burger with my friends and still have another nz$10 for my EF.

Why?

March 31st, 2009 at 03:28 am

So I'm looking sadly at my bank statement and asking myself whether I have any realistic hope of ever being financially independent. Perhaps not, but to me it still makes sense to save as much money from my benefit as I can. I never know when I might need a lump sum for house maintenance or travel to see family, so some needs to be put aside.

Then I think everybody should put something aside for retirement. I don't trust the govt when it comes to promises. Already they have altered the Kiwisaver scheme, and though they say they won't cut superannuation entitlements, I expect they will push the age limit out to 70. I can't see myself working that long.

Yes it is nice, to have time to do things like crafts when I'm on disbility, but basically being dependent on the govt sux. It's trying enough to have to go to the doctor all the time without having to carry forms to be filled in asking you all your personal details. Nothing is private and some anonymous bureaucrat makes decisions about how much money you are entitled to. Even if I was told I have to live on $nz184.17 a week for the rest of my life - the amount I currently get - I would do it happily knowing the money I had was mine and couldn't be taken away for some infringement. Building up my savings is a cushion of freedom for me. It cheers me to think my savings already add up to 2 years income.

Wasted money

March 30th, 2009 at 07:05 am

I din't take any snacks with me and when I got hungry I spent nz1.80 on a piece of ginger crunch. I'm supposed to be watching my weight as well. At least I could have bought an apple.

I know it's not much, but I find it too easy to rationalize little spendy habits by telling myself just this once. It all adds up, and every unnecessary dollar I spend takes me a dollar further away from being financially independent.

Planning for Christmas

March 29th, 2009 at 07:10 am

No, it's not too early. Today I bought some vouchers from New World supermarket. You get 5% discount in December.

Stuffed!

March 29th, 2009 at 12:56 am

Went out for a friend's birthday last night, to an all you can eat place. For nz$17 I had three loaded platefuls and just enough room for one bowl of dessert. I'm still feeling bloated today so didn't have any breakfast, nor did I have a muffin at church. I ate enough for 3 or 4 normal days eating. Oink oink. Good job I only go there a couple times a year.

Found .50 cents on the way to church, so put it in the plate.

Cash savings

March 27th, 2009 at 05:58 am

I started the week with nz40.30 in my wallet. At the end of this week I still have $16. I didn't carry my ATM card with me - if I think I've got lots in checking, I'm too tempted to use it. But cash is great; you can see it disappearing.

So another $10 for the EF, and the rest in Christmas savings.

No spend day

March 26th, 2009 at 04:37 am

Fourth one this month - an average of one a week. Will see if I can make it 8 nsd next month. The less often I'm in the shops, the less I'm tempted to spend.

Paying myself first

March 25th, 2009 at 06:10 am

I have set up a monthly payment of nz$100 to be transferred to Bonus Bonds. It came out today. Otherwise nothing to report.

Job hunting

March 24th, 2009 at 03:03 am

i put in 2 p/t job applications today. One as a radio station receptionist, the other conducting phone surveys. I have a feeling in my bones I'll get the latter. Yes, I'm going to be one of those annoying people who ring you up at dinnertime and ask you about your opinion of different brands of dog food. But if I don't get a job soon I'll be the one eating dog food.

Lucky

March 23rd, 2009 at 07:04 am

Guess where I had breakfast this morning? At the casino! I won a $10 meal voucher on the radio, so had myself a very nice plate of bacon and eggs. I have never been in a casino before. It was all very ornate gold decoration, but not many people playing at that time of the morning. There were quite a number of senior citizens. I wonder if they play the pokies, or were just there for a cheap meal. I didn't try any of the machines, I'm sure it's far too easy to get addicted.

You are supposed to get dressed up to enter, so I had my smartest top on, but I observed a lot of people who looked quite casual. The idea is to deter people who can't afford to lose, but I don't think it works. Last year there was a case of a professional woman who gambled away millions of dollars embezzled from her employer, and no doubt she was very smartly dressed.

As I was leaving a priest came in. My imagination ran riot - it must be very good to go to a casino if you are a writer.

Day of rest?

March 22nd, 2009 at 04:23 am

I was on morning tea after church this morning. I meant to bake last night, but wound up going out to a free concert. So I was late getting up and decided to make some pikelets (Scotch pancakes) but found I'd run out of milk. So I had to buy 2 packets of cookies and some milk, nz5.99, tho I generally try to avoid shopping on Sunday.

In the afternoon I visited my neighbor to congratulate her on a great performance - she was in the choir at the concert last nite. I wound up helping her bottle pears, then unravelling and reknitting a hat she was making. She was very pleased and gave me a pot of apricot jam.

I still have some veges left, so made pumpkin cakes and cooked some black beans with the remaining celery.

Dedicated

March 20th, 2009 at 10:25 pm

This morning I walked 13 minutes in the rain to my own bank ATM so I wouldn't have to pay another bank withdrawal fee. After that I spent 25 minutes in the supermarket scrutinising all the bargains before buying
6 day old pumpkin seed buns nz1.00
sandwich tuna 1.30
quarter cabbage 1.00
can pineapple 1.10
peanut butter 2.00
I also went to the Asian food store where the legumes are cheaper and bought some black beans for 2.00
I also found .20 cents as a reward for being up bright and early. I was thinking what i could buy with it. I can get a knitting pattern from the Sally Army or maybe some popping corn from the bulk bin. I guess I will put it in the Christmas jar.

End of the week

March 20th, 2009 at 06:12 am

All I spent today was nz1.20 on chips as a treat for myself for being good this week. I still have $11.30 in my wallet, so will put $10 in the EF and the rest for Christmas.

Full of beans

March 19th, 2009 at 07:49 pm

So I'm continuing to be creative with the pantry. This morning I did curried beans.

1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely grated
1 apple, peeled and chopped
Fry all until softened. Add 1 tablespoon flour and preferred amount of curry powder. Add milk to make a thickish sauce. Stir in one can of baked beans and heat thru.

This amount was more than ample for one person, but if You were feeding a family, you could make biscuits to go with it.

Don't walk pasta bargain

March 19th, 2009 at 04:14 am

Was going to make today a NSD, but got a flyer saying pasta was on sale at my local supermarket, so bought 2 packets macaroni. That should keep me going for some time, and I still have .30 left over from my challenge.

this morning I made potato and lentil patties, with the can of tomatoes and tonite I made some gingerbread. I had one or two slices - okay, five. It was good.

And I found .70 cents.

Especially for Kiwis

March 18th, 2009 at 06:15 am

I came across this useful website

http://www.simplesavings.co.nz/

for people saving money Down Under while I was looking for the info about the $21 a week grocery challenge. It seems they only do it for a week and mainly live out of what's in the kitchen, so not terribly helpful for living on a minimal amount long term. But some of the recipes look good so will try them out. I signed up for the free newsletter, and if it is any good I may look at paying the nz$47 membership.

Today I had pasta with the frozen mixed veg for my first meal, and pancakes with bananas tonite. I didn't get the oil hot enough before pouring the batter in, so they stuck to the pan and were a bit messy, but they tasted good.

Found Money

March 18th, 2009 at 12:53 am

I went to knitting group this morning. Normally we each put in .50 cents for a cup of tea and a cookie. But I found 50 cents on the way, so it didn't cost me anything. I now have a total of $2.10 gone in my jar this week.

Our group is haveing a project to knit baby things for Pregnancy Help. One lady had brought in a whole lot of fine wool, so I took some to knit some little singlets. Babies need wool in our cold, damp winters.

First day of my new challenge

March 17th, 2009 at 04:27 am

Like lessisenough I often only eat 2 meals a day -so did most of our ancestors until 200 years ago. The word luncheon was only invented in the 19th century, and it was for rich people. Because it is difficult for me to get up in the morning, I cook my main meal then. It gives me energy to face the day, and I go out feeling I've done something good for myself. And if I'm too tired to cook in the evening, I can just have a bowl of cereal.

So this morning I started with vegetable soup, made with barley, split peas, carrot, celery and potato. I made it really thick and had 2 good bowlfuls. I didn't have lunch but ate a handful of wild blackberries, and had a coffoe and a slice of chocolate cake at a friend's. This is not about turning down free food with some high minded remark about poor people ( heck, on my income I am a poor person) because I haven't paid for it out of my alloted nz3.00 per day. I intend to continue my normal way, just cut the usual grocery spending to nz21.00 a week.

I bought some salad bananas for 1.30 and apples for 1.10 because I had no fruit. This evening I made some banana porridge with cinnamon. I also had several cups of tea with milk, but I'm running out of teabags.

My $21nz a week challenge

March 16th, 2009 at 07:00 am

So I was checking out the blog of this lady who bought food for $1US a day.

http://lessisenough.wordpress.com/

It absolutely would not be doable for me to do $1nz a day unless I ate only rice and potatoes, but I recall hearing on The Money Man that it is possible to get your groceries down to $nz21 a week, so I'm going to give it a go.

The usual start-wit-no-food-and-buy-a-dollar's-worth-a-day strikes me as a bit artificial. Most folks would have a few necessities like oil, salt and flour in their pantry. I don't go for the argument that you need a car and storage space to buy in bulk either. In India you see women walking 5 miles home from market with 25 lbs of rice or beans on their heads. Anyway, this is not just a 30 day trial, but will go as long as I can make it work. So I'll start with what I have at home, which is
potatoes
pasta
rice
frozen mixed veg
flour
oil
cornmeal
pea flour
herbs and spices
carrots
celery
zucchini
pumpkin
eggs
baked beans
oats
milk
lentils
old fashioned soup mix
can tomatoes

That should keep me going till the weekend. I spent $16.30 already, so put $4.70 aside in case I need more milk. Hmm, I can see already I'm probably going to have to give up drinking tea and coffee. I shall be amazed if I can do this as the experts at the University announced earlier this year it costs nz120 a week to feed an adult.

I actualy didn't need to cook dinner tonite as we had a lunch at Artsenta and I am full of sausage rolls and tomato sandwiches.

Not in charge of the Universe

March 15th, 2009 at 01:46 am

Our minister recently resigned and we are looking for a new one. In the meantime we are having a variety of services. This morning we had a DVD called Indescribable, with pictures from the Hubble space telescope. Awesome, and certainly puts my troubles in perspective. It's good to be reminded I don't have to worry about running the Universe, God is doing a fine job, so I can certainly put my trust in Him for my future.

I makes my little plans and dreams my little dreams, but who can tell what the morrow will bring? Even if I never get to be fully Financially Independent, it's still good to remember I have never been without food and clothes to wear. I'm not going to give up planning and dreaming, but I'm not going to obsess with worry over the future either. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereoff.

dinner

March 14th, 2009 at 03:06 am

Bought groceries for nz$16.30. Zucchini is cheap at the moment, $3.49 a kilo, so am having zucchini fritters for dinner tonite.

Debt going down

March 13th, 2009 at 08:32 pm

Having been debtfree for almost 7 years, I took out a loan back in October for a heatpump. It was under a Govt scheme for more energy efficient houses and is interest free. I borrowed $nz3,800, and am now down to $3,270.34. Costs me $24.03 a week.

I added up the money in my various accounts
checking 316
home repairs 436
billpaying 2,380

total $3,182 so I have almost enough to pay it off in a lump sum if necessary. In the meantime I'm enjoying my cosy house.

Lucky Friday 13th

March 13th, 2009 at 07:00 am

Not that I'm superstitious - actually I can't ever remember anything bad happening to me on a Black Friday. I got 8 sesame seed buns from the day old bread bin for $1nz. Then in town the Presbyterian opp shop was having an end of season sale - 5 items for a $1. So I got a plain black skirt (because you can never have enough for work), a navy dress and a red dress, a pink blouse and a turquoise top. When I added up the price tags they would normally have cost me $22nz. Because today is Friday I had fish and chips for dinner $2.80nz. Hope all for whom the day is just starting are smiled on by fate as well.

The Wall

March 12th, 2009 at 07:57 pm

Wow, it's good to be back among such a friendly supportive crowd. I'm feeling heaps better (have also switched off talk radio with people endlessly moaning about the economy)

I wrote this poem to express my thanks to all the good people who have helped me during the dark days

For by You I can run against a troop, by my God I can leap over a wall - Psalm 18.29

Not so much an army
of sword wielding warriors
as a gang with sticks
whacking down nettles
lopping heads off thistles
and tearing down the ivy
with their bare hands
Then a gentle blanket
was laid down
to guard me from the damp earth
Someone stood atop the wall
and let down a rope
Willing helpers secured it round me
Then pushed and shoved from below
while invisible horde
heaved and hauled from the other side
As I came alive
I started to dig into the gaps
with fingers and toes
then press myself up
with the aid of hands and knees
like crawling up sideways
as enthusiastic supporters cheered me on
And so I gained freedom over the wall.


And I found 50 cents outside the supermarket! It's going into rebuilding my emergency fund, which currently stands at $nz2380. I want to get it up to $5000.

Down but not out

March 11th, 2009 at 08:42 pm

Wow, 6 months since I last blogged. It has been a rough 6 months. I have been sick and in pain and had to spend a wad of my savings on house renovations. I'm beginning to think I shall never achieve my dream of being financially independent. I've even been on anti- depressants. Gimme a virtual hug, someone.

Never mind, I'm not going to stay stuck in misery. I'm still a lot better off than many folks in these tough times. I figger the bright side is there'll be fewer employers wanting full time, but more demand for p/t and casual staff. I should be able to pick something up. In the meantime, i am honing my skills of telling the difference between wants and needs. Plus I'm still able to put $10 a week into my Kiwisaver.