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Showing posts from November, 2016

Non-essentials

Today, I slept in as I went to sleep late last night after a relatively minor medical emergency that managed to effectively take up the entire night.  It's at times like that that I am glad that I am staying on track with money management and looking after myself overall.  I could do with losing a few kilograms but the flu really made exercise difficult and it will not be long before I get the weight off.

Today has been a bit of blur.  I did make sure my room was fairly clean and tidy when I went out for a couple of hours.  It was nice to come back to a fairly organised and clean environment.  Things are easy to get in a muddle when you are a snot ridden monster, or when there's a medical issue to deal with.

What else did I do?  I placed a few loads of washing on the line, and now they are all rinsed by the rain.  Hopefully it will fine up tomorrow.  I quite like the look of the world when it's been wet.  It's not nice walking home in the rain, or driving in.

I made an…

Poverty of responsibility

I'm a little weary with reading that poverty is the cause of people's ills.  Equally, that disability absolves people of any need to improve.  Certainly, students and those on Newstart (unemployment benefit) do not receive enough to survive without family and/ or charity assistance.

I often find the group which poverty is bandied about are families who receive more than a full time wage.  I do not mind helping those that need it but when people complain they are poor and receive more than workers and then spend their money on illicit drugs and use public housing, my sympathy is low.

The idea that someone who has a disability should not seek treatment and should be pitied rather than helped where possible grates.  The idea that some people can not get better when evidence suggests they can is annoying.  Low expectations are not a loving action.  This attitude of giving up where there is hope annoys me.  Clearly, disability can be limiting but often with a little help people c…

A potato sandwich and a cup of tea

Today, I planted some onions, weeded and cleaned pots for more plants.  All that, takes a surprising amount of effort so I had a gluten free potato sandwich with greens fresh from the garden, a little olive oil (instead of cheese - how I miss cheese!), smear of chutney, nasturtium flowers, salt and pepper and an egg for enough protein.  A cup of tea and a potato sandwich was last nights dinner.  It would have been a regular for war time eaters in the UK, and the egg I ate today would be a rare luxury.

It's simple food and a potato sandwich really is incredibly filling.  I microwaved the spuds but they can be cooked any old how.  They are remarkably robust, are spuds.  I personally love them as deep fried chips every now and then.  These spuds are new potatoes so are best quickly cooked and have a wonderful flavor due to their freshness, best eaten simply.

Then for dinner, for a bit of variety, fried potato with bacon, a little veg and egg for an omelette. Served with greens from…

Knocked my humor over

A big mug of chamomile and licorice tea in my travel mug and I can avoid the local cafe.  It's easier and cheaper generally to make my own.  Herbal tea made my myself is particularly handy as no cafes are open at this hour.

I started my day in a foul mood due to neighbor noise and took most of the day trying to find my sense of humor.  Cleaning , and talking, did not help so I went out of the house before I made everyone as grumpy as me.  I found it while bashing out my mood in the local swimming pool which also cooled me down.

It was boiling hot in my old, safe and neat car.  Such was the heat I nearly drove to the nearest dealership and bought another one with an air-conditioner that works.  My air-conditioner just blows air at me and sorely needs fixing but I am scared that if I fix that, I will have to fix other things and spend a fortune.  My car is very safe but has the comfort and aesthetics of a tank with a luxury suspension kit.

I'm hoping the chamomile will send me …

Property investors lose money

I know I am probably preaching to the converted, but these articles are worth getting hold of when you feel a dose of fear of missing out.  Most major banks have just put their interest rates up, I guess due to a higher US dollar, lower AUD.

1) Majority of property investors making a loss:
http://www.smartpropertyinvestment.com.au/news/15473-majority-of-investors-losing-money

2) Property investors lose 50 per cent in mining towns:
http://www.afr.com/real-estate/property-investors-lose-50pc-in-qld-mining-towns-20160302-gn8qv9

3) 70% of property investors lose money:
http://www.moneymorning.com.au/20100818/how-70-of-property-investors-lose-money.html

4) Is property a wealth creator?
http://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/why-investing-in-property-doesnt-add-up-20160411-go39c6.html

5) Australian Security and Investment Commission's guide to property investment, including pros and cons (Government body):
https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/investing/property

6) Loss while renting out pr…

Foraging

Our spring has gone unseasonably cold and overcast and as a result I have a mild case of the winter miseries.  To shake myself out of it, I went to the library and took out some books.  The library's layout has been changed so I tried to walk into the door that is now the exit.  Old habits are hard to shake.

I had to get some more vitamin c to at least help manage the chronic fatigue and get my body a little stronger after the flu hit it like a four by two (a solid piece of wood used in housing construction - Australian idiosyncratic saying).  Thankfully, the pharmacy assistant was in a good, and helpful mood, and that helped too.  It was nice to offered help and a quick conversation.

Then I was still feeling a little down, due in part to chronic fatigue rearing it's head too, so I went for a wander along the beach.  I was walking along when my brain said to me, "fruit tree".  After a few minutes of foraging, I now have some tiny plums which will soon ripen.  Free fr…

Christmas for less #2

After writing the previous post on Christmas for less, I am feeling a little more inspired to come up with other ideas for people strapped for cash.

Ways to celebrate Christmas for a dollar, or so:A Christmas play: if you have young children, encourage them to create a play and perform it Carol singing: you can go to a local council, or Church Carol service Decorate: decorate your house with paper, old magazines, craft supplies and lots of imagination.  A good activity for Children during school holidaysBorrow a Christmas themed movie from the libraryBorrow Christmas CDs Play Christmas musicSet up a fake fire and decorate it, or decorate your hearth if you have one at home (like this one: http://wonderfuldiy.com/wonderful-diy-cardboard-christmas-fireplace/    )Fairy lights: so cool!Volunteer and brighten up someone else's Christmas like these people: http://www.thechronicle.com.au/news/help-brighten-up-christmas/2480451/Read Little Women and other traditional stories which inspire…

Christmas for a dollar or so

A few days ago, the weather was over cast and cold for Spring time.  I had spent the day before having a bit of a house clean because things had got out of hand.

I needed cheering up and I had an idea to do a few angels to hang up for Christmas.  Somehow this ended up being hours of work making paper chains out of very cheerful paper I had stashed away and paper art angels using a template.
The living area now looks really cheerful and as the paper was on special, and the craft stuff was mainly gifts (though minimal cost), I spent around a dollar total on decorating the lounge.  I also may make some stars at a later date for another room.
Last year, I spoke to a mother who was financially struggling a little bit, and said that she was planning nothing for Christmas.  Had the reason been that she did not celebrate by buying presents I would understand.  Alternatively, that she did not celebrate Christmas because of religious reasons.
The reasons this lady did not celebrate Christmas w…

An imaginary kitchen

I was chatting to my mum about a mutual friend's house renovation, which led to talking about different strategies to save money on a kitchen.  Mum's attitude has generally been that the kitchen is the heart of the home and worth spending a reasonable sum of money on.  As with most things, it's all dependent on budget.  I would always expect to spend a reasonable amount on trades and get the best ones going!

I do accept that sometimes the best thing is to demolish a kitchen and start again.  Often people waste money on renovations that detract from the whole house.  There's nothing wrong with keeping expenses down by being intelligent with resources but sometimes people take it too far and expect a thirty thousand dollar return on a fifty dollar investment.  Equally, an old house which may have a limited price point regardless of renovation spend, is best renovated for minimal expense and maximum sweat.

This conversation led to me looking for articles that people have …

Emergency gardening

Today I, helped Her Right Royal Gumboots (my mum) do some weeding in the garden.  I was harrumphing quite a bit, as I wanted those weeds gone promptly.  No one wants malingering weeds.  HRRG did comment on my grunting but she did seem pleasantly surprised at the space I left for her to plant potatoes, or something else, in case of emergency.

Then, after I'd spent a little while entertaining myself looking at houses I can not afford, much to Her Gumboots' surprise, I did a hour, or so, of solid house work.  As I said, it was getting a little depressing and it was not going to do itself.  I'm not sure Her Gumboots was expecting that either (not that I never do house work, just the flu has stopped me from doing much lately).  I do love clean stairs.

Her Gumboots has been getting me to make her pots of tea because somehow, after decades of training and announcing the results as "dishwater" I seem to be making a consistently good cup of tea.  I have no idea what the …

Risk to babies of smoking while pregnant

I've been noticing a rise in media stories about severe meningococcal disease in Australia.  I was curious as to whether the rate of cases has risen, or the media is more aware of the disease.  I had read that it is traditionally quite a rare condition and while serious for some, in the past many survived the infection. 

According to reports I read, the rate of infection has risen from between 1 to 2 per cent in the late nineties to around 24 per cent recently, with public health authorities in the UK and Australia inundated with seriously ill young children in particular.  Side effects of a severe infection include the need to amputate limbs or death.

The traditional risks of MD includes being immune compromised due to HIV, not having a spleen and living in crowded conditions.  Being very young also may increase the risk of infection.

I was curious as to what was causing the sharp increase in cases in recent years.  According to the below link, maternal smoking (smoking by pregn…

Royal Gumboots

Her Right Royal Gumboots asks me to place the dinner in the oven at quarter to five.  Then she asks me to repeat what she said because she knows I am not entirely switched on with the flu.  I repeat her request word for word.

HRG: "Will you remember that?"

Me: "Yes"

HRG: "Write it down"

That, after I had discovered that some people think I am, in my thirties, too old to vote!

To watch

I am drinking sugar laden, home made, chai tea.  Mmmm....sugar and rebellion 2016 style.  There was soy "milk" in it, but I'd have cow juice if my body didn't react so weirdly to it.  I did not home make the soy milk, so points lost and rebellion gained.  As a result of not making soy milk, I also gained a life by not spending three hours making it and then having it go weird after a day.  It's much cheaper and easier to buy name brand from Coles or Woollies with the added benefit of no GMOs (I checked though I am not sure whether I should worry about them, or not).  To be honest, the bought product, all made in a factory is eminently better.

I am still trying to fight this flu, or at least the fatigue from a chest infection, so the life I have gained is looking more like time in bed than anything else.  Instead of moping too much I have been finding inspiration for when I have more energy.  I took advantage of uncapped internet and watched a bit of The 1940s Hou…

High protein diet may promote heart failure in women

http://www.msn.com/en-au/health/medical/the-big-problem-with-sarah-jessica-parker%E2%80%99s-diet/ar-AAklGIS?li=AA4RDf&ocid=spartanntp

Please promote prudence

The Australian newspaper is reporting today an 18 per cent delinquency mortgage rate for regional areas in Australia.  Shocking news that will no doubt be met by those who should be taking action to speed up a down turn, and subsequent recovery, with platitudes of "positivity".  While the unemployment rate remains steady at 5.6 percent, well over 80, 000 full time jobs have been lost in the last twelve months.  The only positive thing that can come from news like this is sensible policy that benefits the greater good, rather than the normal fractured approach involving encouraging further debt rather than saving and hard work.

UK: Buy to let concerns

The Bank of England due to concerns about property investors causing social and financial instability, will soon have new power to curb property investment ease at applying for loans.  NZ has already brought in 40% minimum deposits and threatened to bring in 100% LVR, which would mean no mortgages available for investors.  The 40% minimum requirement has reportedly already cooled their market.

I hope Australia brings in something similar soon.  Thirty year old suburban houses in my locality of Kingborough are selling in days at nauseating prices.  Weirdly, the prices and sales volumes appear to be dropping, and there are advertisements and seep with desperation, but one to three days on the markets is certainly not unheard of in metropolitan, low crime areas.  With just over one in ten purchases being first home buyers, compared to one in three in the USA with lower prices in suburban areas, I believe that leaving things as they are is both immoral and economic vandalism.

https://www…

Little treats

At the moment, I am aiming to save around 60 per cent of my income.  Due to medical and dental expenses and other necessities, I do not always achieve my goal.  I try and keep my expenses in check.

Sometimes, like today, I get a little disheartened at time and sacrifice involved in trying to save for a new to me car and a small abode.  With house prices going up, on what seems a daily basis, I get a little frustrated and question my determination to try and avoid a mortgage.  Fear of missing out hits me even when the statistics actually show a slight slowing in the real estate market.

While looking for support to stay the course and talking to Her Right Royal Gumboots (my mum) I made a fly away comment about how I really do not need many treats.  Ever since, I am reminded of the little things that keep me largely on track with my saving, or non-spending, plan.

Little treats for less:


I've written about it before.  My Keep Cup (plastic because I am clumsy - non toxic and recyclable,…

Not my milieu

This blog, though well written and entertaining, is not quite in my milieu as is written by a parent primarily for other parents.  If you are looking for home-schooling and general parenting inspiration this blog may be just what you need.  It's called Not Before 7 and this post is a good place to start:

http://www.notbefore7.com/2016/10/19/love-year-youre-with/

For the homepage: www.notbefore7.com

There, I hope that cheers someone up today.  I can relate to her love of tea, just finished a second cup of Earl Grey tea in a cheerful pink mug.

Debt-spiration

Need to pay down debt?  Saving and need some inspiration to stay on the straight and narrow?  Fed up with being disciplined?  Single and struggling while it seems everyone else is coupled up and cruising along ("seems" being the word to emphasize here)?

Then, I've a blog reading recommendation for you.  Double Debt Single Woman blog is about Denise who is working to pay off over $140k in student and credit card debt.  She wants to warn other people to take another non debt laden path and inspire others in her situation to do what they can to improve it.

https://doubledebtsinglewoman.com/

Lost $10K

Don't you just hate it when you have in your head that you have saved ten thousand dollars more than your bank balance tells you?  I just placed a few hundred dollars in my savings account and will plod on.  I will save that money in no time.  Here's hoping interest rates go up, I'm sick of savers being neglected in financial policies.

Persistent little blighter

I am hopefully over the worst of the flu.  The last two days have been spent in bed despite my motivation to do other things.  Such was my fatigue yesterday, I spent most of the day in bed and still managed around six hours deep sleep last night.

I will try and get out and about in what I hope will be a warmer day than is looking likely.  Out my window, it's overcast, and the birds even seem to be half asleep with their relatively quiet chirping.

If I do go for a walk it will be very short and to the point.  A short walk a few days ago seems to have tipped me into a fatigued state of extreme proportions, so clearly I need to be careful.

I love the early mornings when the world seems almost to be asleep but then I also like talking to people too when I have enough energy.  An impromptu campaign from some neighbors yestdaerday did nothing to help my fatigue.  I was however pleased to see that other people care enough to talk to people about issues that they feel may damage the comm…

Goldilocks property spruiker

The good news, as I see it, is that in twenty years, assuming I keep on saving, I can afford a unit in the over fifties village close to my parents.  That would place my parents in their eighties, and still, optimistically winning the war on weeds in their respective gardens.

In the meantime hope is almost extinguished by investor activity.  I am thoroughly exasperated with the multiple indignities of expensive land, expensive rent and insane prices on old houses.  I would give up but I hardly see the point.

I only need a little hope, a splash of opportunity, and time, and hopefully I will get there.  I do want a view of the water and a sun-drenched, semi private garden (quite happy with small).  I'll make quite a few compromises to get what I want.  All I want for Christmas is some highly motivated vendors in the right spot, for the right price.

Land in my lap

Had one cup of coffee on my way to a house overlooking the water. Passed an ambulance on the way there, and on the way back, proving that my day is going well, all things considered.  A second ambulance had lights flashing on the way back to Kingborough and onto my second coffee which cost me the princely sum of 80 cents.  If I confess all my financial sins, I also bought a small bag of fattening but satisfying potato crisps on special and a news paper.  At this rate, I will enjoy myself on the way to buying a shack (hopefully).

Unfortunately, the water view was about the only thing ticked on my list and not made up for by no privacy, a high price point and poor property condition.  Those real estate pictures really are very deceptive.  My parents renovations and house building will no doubt save me from making dumb decisions but it's a little frustrating being reasonably risk averse. 

The really annoying thing is that someone else will probably buy the property and never flag an…

Opportunities vs threats

Here's my thinking, according to the report yesterday on ABC TV on The Business program, Westpac has placed 2.6 percent of their mortgage book as repossessions.  They are no longer classing them as merely high risk and the language has moved to taking action on people unable to pay.  That really does not sound so bad until you start thinking about it.  At 2.6 percent it means 1 in around 38 houses (38.46 technically) is about to be owned by, and sold by, Westpac.

One house in 38 needing to be sold does not sound very bad at all until you remember that Westpac is one of four major banks.  If all major banks are looking at around that figure, then it fast becomes 1 in 8 or more houses (given that there are credit unions as well) that will be owned by the banks.

Not good.  Still, a bargain to be had if I add in the vacant deceased estates that expect a cool half a million for a house older than I am.  The news is scary and it seems like I am one of the few aware of the imminent thr…

Cancer myths by Cancer Research UK

This article on ten cancer myths by Cancer Research UK is worth reading:

http://scienceblog.cancerresearchuk.org/2014/03/24/dont-believe-the-hype-10-persistent-cancer-myths-debunked/

I hope if life has given you the cancer curve ball that you are surrounded by people that provide you with care and comfort.

Did not buy a crime den

I found a formerly well loved home for purchase.  To say it needed renovating would be a gross understatement.  In the end, discovering that the area is considered a crime hot spot, kept me away.
On my budget major glitches are just par for the course.  It's a bit frustrating because not so long ago the same amount of money bought a basic livable abode in a good area.  I live in hope.  The only thing going for this house other than the potential light and garden was it's investment potential for up and coming crime gangs!

Swearing as a second language

I feel like I am in too much pain to write.  While I have taken ibuprofen to take the edge off the hormonal hell this time of the month is proving to be, I still feel like throwing up with pain.  I am not a happy camper at the moment and in my experience other than look after myself, distract myself and sleep if I can, there's not much more I can do.

Apparently, it's quite common for women to have headaches with changes in hormones as the monthly cycle progresses.  As well as having a hormonal migraine this month, I seem to have walked into stabbing period pain as well.  I was hoping last month's blissful lack of pain would repeat itself.  I thought my body might have figured out the secret to pain free monthly time.  I can only hope that the pain I feel is somehow healing, or at least it does not return with any regularity.  It's been a while since things have been swearing-as-a-second-language bad and it's not to be recommended.

I can not give other women any sec…

Quit using the term victim blaming

While I understand the general philosophy behind the concept of not victim blaming, and while I understand the compassion behind the concept, it's fast losing any relevance.  The problem I have with the words is the gross simplification of any issue it clashes with and the incompetence in which it tends to be used.

If I cross the road and do not look for oncoming traffic, and am hit by a car, am I a victim?  Surely I should take responsibility for my safety and cross when safe to do so.  Equally, it is incumbent on drivers to drive safely.  Last week, within the space of thirty seconds, I watched three women in their twenties narrowly miss life threatening injuries due to luck.  All three women walked behind moving vehicles with no caution taken.  It was a miracle that any walked away from the supermarket.  If kindergarten children can understand how to manage basic road safety situations there is no excuse for adult women to act flagrantly irresponsibly.

If I eat normal food afte…

Trump my panic

I have spent the last hour, or two, trying to figure out how to write about the apparent market reaction to a potential Trump versus Clinton result at the fast looming US elections.  Given that most of my readers at the moment are from the US I was looking for something else to write about.  If you are anything like me, you hear the words "US election" and suddenly find something else to talk about.  It's not that I am not interested in politics, it is just that after a while my brain needs a little variety to be doing things with.

Here's what I have learnt though which may explain some media panic and the market reaction to a business person, Mr Trump, in The White House.

Firstly, I note that social media and media outlets in general, including powerful Australian publications, have taken to misquoting and misrepresenting Trump's views.  When challenged on these views using legal language and asking for the article to be retracted, I note they have been.

My nat…

A different kind of real estate story

The story of James Dack in WA today online is worth reading.  The former joint owner of McGrath Real Estate, and now venture capitalist, never forgot his difficult upbringing and is doing his best to live life without regrets.  A story full of difficulty, triumph and inspiration.

http://www.watoday.com.au/good-weekend/why-real-estate-success-story-james-dack-quit-20160909-grcuvq.html