Home > Archive: February, 2007

Archive for February, 2007

Hello again

February 28th, 2007 at 08:04 pm

I have been unwell for what seems like weeks; I'm surprised it's only 10 days. At least I have dropped some weight and am now down to 164 lb. Tho I don't recommend sickness as a way of slimming, I think I will set a new goal of 160. Then I will have lost 10% of weight.

Using my noodle

February 19th, 2007 at 11:59 pm

Today New World had 2-minute noodles on sale at nz.20 per packet, normally nz.35. There is not much nutrition in them, so I tend to avoid them, but they are handy to have in the cupboard when you need a quick meal. I sprout my own mung beans and add an egg for a cheapie stir fry. So I bought 10 packs.

Broccoli was on special and I got some reduced price carrots, so will make a noodle-vege-cheese casserole tonite. I don't buy canned soup, but will use the flavor sachet with the noodles to make a sauce.

I love being poor in New Zealand!

February 16th, 2007 at 07:22 am

Tonight some friends had a potluck. All of us are on disability or work parttime. We had:
shaved ham
chocolate cake

sounds like a feast to me! We were talking about the old days (most of us 40-55) and recalling how our parents used to grow veggies, hunt and fish, bake goods, and make our own clothes. I have to say, I think a lot of the poverty we hear about in this country is because people have lost those skills.

I once met a Russian who had jumped ship in a NZ port. He only had a knife, but he made his way inland, and spent several months living off the land, before he got legal status and wound up being quite a successful landlord. He always said this was a wonderful land of opportunity and he didn't see what people had to complain about. Even without money, life here is so much better than in other parts of the world.


February 15th, 2007 at 08:37 am

Sometimes there are emergencies which turn out to be not so urgent as it first seems. I had just got in and put my feet up,when I got a phone call from my mentally ill friend. She has not been cooperating on taking her medication, so the doctors have ordered a nurse to come round every 2 weeks and give her an injection. H asked if I could take a taxi to her place on the other side of town and be there when the nurse came.

I only had $5 on me and I knew H couldn't afford to pay for a taxi. Also, I thought it would do no harm to set some boundaries with her, as she can be very demanding, so I asked when the nurse was due. It turned out there was plenty of time for me to have my lunch and then catch a bus.

H was complaining about having people come in and invade her privacy, so I was blunt with her. I told her it was the cost of retaining her independence, and if she didn't cooperate, she might wind up living in supported housing with other psychiatric patients. She was a bit shocked, but seemed to take it in. She cooperated with the nurse. We spent the afternoon going thru her wardrobe, looking at how she could mix and match outfits in new ways. She decided maybe she didn't need to buy new clothes after all, and even gave me a nice purple top which didn't fit her.


February 14th, 2007 at 07:50 pm

Not what you think! Went to do my grocery shopping today. I was looking for some curry powder. I found the branded packet was selling at nz$1.95 for 30 grams. The supermarket own brand was nz$0.85 for 40 grams. Quite a difference, and it shows why I seldom bother with coupons. The unbranded product is usually cheaper even without the discount.

On the topic of Indian cooking, I have taken to making chippatis instead of bread, as it is quicker and uses less power. I tend to make them with milk or peanut butter for added nutrition. If I have any leftovers such as dahl or yoghurt, I toss that in the dough as well.

This morning I made some carrot marmelade to go with my chippatis. Peel and chop one orange (the peel is traditionally finely chopped and added, but don't do this if you're concerned about insecticides) coarsely grate 2 carrots. Add a little water and half a cup sugar, and I like to add some ground ginger. Cook for 2 minutes at a time in the microwave, stirring between bursts and adding more water if it gets too stiff. The consistency should be that of jam. Keeps in the fridge.

Ta da!

February 12th, 2007 at 07:45 pm

Jumped on the scale this morning and behold! I have lost another pound. Now down to 169. There is something very satisfying about getting below a number ending with a 0.

I have been carefully tracking my food intake on

Text is and Link is and am about 1600 calories a day. Tracking your diet is like tracking your money - you soon become aware and start making better choices.

No spend days

February 12th, 2007 at 08:26 am

Ran out of cash on Saturday except for the change jar. I was determined not to get some more from the bank, so have been entertaining myself by knitting, gardening, and looking for recipes to use what was in the pantry. You know what, I haven't missed going round the shops at all, and am feeling quite proud of myself. Makes me wonder how often I have bought something just becuase the money was in my pocket. I reckon I could go for quite a long time paying for just food, keeping a roof over my head, essential transport and medical expenses. I have no desire to rush out and see the latest movie, or even hire a DVD - I am quite content to wait until it shows on TV. I will admit I am fortunate to live in a college town, as I can get to attend free open lectures on various subjects, and concerts performed by music students. Mostly tho, I just enjoy sitting round chatting with friends at potlucks. Seems like so few people have time to do that anymore - all working flat out to pay for their toys and restaurant meals.

My designated day for withdrawing weekly cash is WEdnesday, so will see if I can last till then. Tonight I made cauliflower in peanut sauce.

Frugal gifts

February 11th, 2007 at 08:12 am

This year I am going to be saving money by making gifts instead of buying them. I'm trying to use what I have rather than getting more supplies. I saw one idea in a magazine which was amulet pouches. an amulet is a lucky charm that you carry on you. So I thought I would make little bags to put round people's necks, and inside put a foreign coin from my collection. Then I tell people it will make them lucky! Maybe I could even make them to sell at craft fairs.

The other thing I noticed was some of the Pacific Island women use strips of plastic supermarket bags to weave and crochet summer hats. So I'm thinking of using that idea and knitting shoulder bags.

Wool gathering

February 8th, 2007 at 07:16 pm

After THREE no spend days on the trot, today I visited my fave thrift store. Just to see what there was.... bad idea. I'm always sure to see something I want. Today I got a big bag of yarn for $5. Now I didn't strictly speaking need it, as I already have 22 potential projects sitting in my glory box. As it is mostly acrylic I will probably use it for charity knitting. And if it gets really cold, I will sleep in the glory box, with all my yarn snuggled round me.

Jumped on the scales...

February 4th, 2007 at 06:36 pm

...this morning and discovered I had lost a whole THREE pounds! Yay for me! They say the first few lbs loss is generally water, but I feel good about myself anyway.


February 4th, 2007 at 08:35 am

I grew up in the stone fruit growing district, and much of my high school vacations were spent picking apricots, cherries, peaches, plums, and nectarines. As a result I am spoilt for life. When you have tasted ripe, sweet, juicy fruit straight from the tree, warmed by the sun, you lose all interest in the underipe, chilly, bland things you get in supermarkets. And they are expensive. Cherries cost $13nz for a kilo. So usually I only eat them when I visit my hometown.

But today I had to provide something for a potluck. I noticed that some entrepreneurial types had brought down a lot of freshly picked cherries, and were selling them on a street stall. I tried one and they were delicious. So I bought a bag for $5nz. My friends were delighted.

Thieves' Alley

February 3rd, 2007 at 02:05 am

Today our town had its annual market day, known as Thieves' Alley. It is a fun occasion with street entertainers, ethnic food, handcraft, second hand and bake stalls. The crowds were too busy for me to get thru, so I looked round the edges. I was a bit disappointed as they seemed to be mostly cheap imported clothing and jewellry. I did see some native plant seedlings for $2 each, but decided I would plant my veggie garden first. There were also some used book stalls, but I kept telling myself they were only after my money, and it was better in my pocket than theirs. I watched a display of belly dancing. Then I found a total of 70 cents on the ground, so decided I would take it home.


February 2nd, 2007 at 08:13 am

It has been a long and difficult time today. My friend H who had a breakdown at the end of last year rang and asked me to meet her in town. She told me she is going bankrupt. The only money she has was a check from a non-profit and she wanted me to help me work out what to do with it. It turned out she could afford $20 on groceries for the week, so I went shopping with her. First I had to stop her diving into several clothes shops on the way; then she said she "needed" incense, but I was able to persuade her she should get food first.

H is not only irrational, but has an eating disorder. It was like shopping with a difficult toddler. I was trying to steer her to the fresh produce and the bulk bins of beans and grains, and she kept heading for the brightly packaged convenience foods. Every time she saw something she liked she wanted to put it in the basket, so I would demonstrate how much we had already spent on the calculator, and we had to decide what she should take out. When I tried to point out the store brands were cheaper, she replied, "I have expensive tastes." I remembered what a beautiful person she was and that she is now unwell, or I would have lost patience.

In the end we got
2 cans of gourmet coffee
a HUGE block of cheese
canned tomato soup
pumpkin seeds (for the same price as a whole pumpkin)
dried figs
frozen oven fries

I could not live on that, but she was very happy with it. When we got to the exit she announced she was tired and wanted to take a taxi home. I was tired too, so let her have her own way.

As she was pulling out her cell phone, she suddenly stopped, looked at me and said, "If I catch the bus instead I'll save money, won't I?" She caught the bus, and as she was leaving told me that she was going to put the $10 she'd saved aside in case she needed it later.

I can remember what it was like when I was trying to get started taking control of my finances. There seemed so much advice it was all overwhelming. I had to get started by taking baby steps, and I hope that is what H is now starting to do as well.


February 1st, 2007 at 08:37 pm

This is a free budget program I downloaded at the end of last year. Today I came up against an annoying feature. I personalised my categories on the setup page at the beginnign of the year, BUT it has not carried them through to this month's page. It reverted to the default categories. I don't know if this is a design fault or due to my ancient computer systme.

The other complaint I have against it is that you are allowed only 10 categories. Other than that it does a fairly good job of tracking - I like it better than Microsoft Money. So I will stcik with it for the rest of this year while I keep looking for a different program.


February 1st, 2007 at 07:11 pm

Someone mentioned on the weight loss thread the Basal Metabolic Rate. I worked mine out here

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You are supposed to eat 500 calories per day less in order to lose a pound a week. So I should be eating 1650 calories - probably less as my medication slows my metabolism.

So I need a way of tracking the calories I eat. I use this website

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which not only tells the calories I eat in foods, but gives reports on whether I met my daily nutritional requirements.

Counting calories is like keeping track of your money; you quickly see where the waste is and where you can cut back.