Ways I ‘save’ money

Sometimes saving money is as simple as just not spending it, rather than spending less or finding a cheaper way.  There’s a number of things I notice others do, and think ‘wow, imagine how much money I’d spend if I did that/bought those?’  These things are

source: www.omnilab.com.au
source: www.omnilab.com.au
  • magazines: I never ever buy them. That’s not to say I wouldn’t LOVE to know what Kim Kardashian has done now, or the latest decorating trends.  I just can’t justify the $5-$10 for the drivel and paid advertising.  And then the ‘waste’ (even if it is all recycling).  Best I send the publishers a message by not buying them.  There’s always the library.
  • books: Whilst I have no philosophical opposition to the purchase of books, I can’t handle the clutter they create.  I’d rather borrow books from family,  friends or a library, and keep my collection concise.
  • hair colour: I’m ‘only’ 28, but I’ve never felt the need to colour my hair.  Not that I have the best natural shade, but it’s what God gave me, and it’s not too shabby!  However, until recently I also didn’t spend much money on… (Thanks to Simply Living Free for the link to My Journey to Ithaca who has so many well articulated reasons that I couldn’t agree with more)
source: www.homehaircuts.com
source: www.homehaircuts.com
  • hair cuts: up until a month ago, I would not cut my hair until I could no longer brush it – when the split ends had taken over! However, since I shaved my head (which was done for free by a friend – and raised close to $5k), I have decided to enlist a professional to help me grow it out with style.  I’m not sure the Bart Simpson look is what I want!
  • cleaning products: I planned to move into my own home and only use green products – which means I’ve never owned oven cleaner, window spray, toliet cleaner, floor cleaner, surface spray etc etc.  I do however have dishwashing liquid, vinegar, bicarb soda, soap and washing soda.  Oh and a plethora of microfibre cloths.
  • phone plan:  I’ve always bought my phones outright, and then selected my credit in the form of a prepaid or postpaid plan.  This gives me flexibility, and prepaid really helps manage costs – particularly when you add global roaming!  I’m yet to get a ‘scary’ bill, and I wear that with a badge of honour!
  • internet: I don’t have ‘internet’ at home. I use my phone for all my browsing.  Given I have internet at work, my parents and my boyfriends, I like the mental quietness of only having the internet on my small phone.  And given it’s a smart phone, there’s pretty much nothing it can’t do!
  • smoking: I have never smoked (except in a VERY realistic dream!).  I haven’t even experimented with any drugs, so this is one clear way I’ve avoided a black hole of costs!
  • gambling: I never buy a scratchie, lottery ticket or anything similar.  I even (try to) avoid being in the sweeps for ‘the race that stops a nation’ – the Melbourne Cup.

What things do you do without to save money?

Book Review: Leon and Louise

source: www.manningvalleybooks.com.au
source: www.manningvalleybooks.com.au

My mother, bless her heart, sent this book (Leon and Louise) to me from France where she was living last year.  She knows I love a good book about the war, and so this one suited.  Oh, and whilst the book is set in France, and my mother was in France, it is, in fact, in English!

The story centers around two young lovers – who coincidentally meet at the beginning of the war.  Leon is sent to a far off town to be the Morse code expert (which he is not… but picks up quickly with lots of practice on the job, and some magazines!), Louise cycles past him and is absolutely mesmerizing.  The book moves between ‘then’ and ‘now’, and times in between, and it’s clear that despite the early chemistry of Leon and Louise (and the book’s title), that they are not in fact together.  It was an enjoyable book, and like most books, makes me think about ‘what if’ I was one of the characters.  What if the love of my life disappeared without a trace?  Would I keep looking? Would I move on? (Would I continue to be sure they were in fact the love of my life?).  I’m not usually into romance, and I suppose this is what this book is simply about, but it does delve into the dynamics of family and war and separation  and I truly do find that fascinating and inspiring.

Nest us – The Blade Itself by Marcus Sakey – I’m well into it, but probably another week til a review is better (less taxing on the memory – it was a while since early Feb when I read Leon and Louise!)

“Sunday” Chit Chat

I love Carla’s blog My Half Dozen Daily, and am so sad I can’t work out how to comment.  Every Monday (in Australia) I see her Sunday chit chat post and think ‘oh no, I’m too late’.  But today, I’ve decided, nope, I’ll give it a whirl!  Here’s how it works, if you want to get involved:

For anyone new joining in this week, here are the (very loose) rules:

  1. Start your post with a favourite photo (your own, “borrowed”, etc…)
  2. Copy my ‘text’ after “your turn”, paste on your blog to start a new post.
  3. Come back and put in your info in the comment section below so everyone can see what you’ve been up to!
  4. You can also just play along in the comment section if you like!
Sushi share plate - thanks from my house guest last week.
Sushi share plate – thanks from my house guest last week.
  • Reading? The Blade Itself, by Marcus Sakey.  Thanks to some Facebook recommendations, I now a list of books to borrow from the library. I’m enjoying this book, enough to stop playing Freecell on my phone
  • Watching? Keeping in mind it’s work week time now, I’ll answer for my weekend: Gossip Girl Season 6 – which is totally confusing as I haven’t seen the end of Season 5 and people have come back from the dead?!  Also an episode of Law and Order: SVU
  • Listening to? Just the radio, so popular/indie music.  Would like to have listened to a Sunday night radio program but it’s about religion, so I’m not sure the BF would be on board to listening to it with me in the car – I should look into pod casts (and things to play said pod casts on…)
  • Cooking/baking? Sunday I made a zucchini slice for a light lunch after church.  Otherwise, I ate KFC for dinner.  Tonight it’s ‘leftovers’ as I’ll be at a meeting from 6.30pm which is my hungry, dinner eating time.
  • Happy you accomplished this week? Glad I got something baked for Church on Sunday.  And I got a lot of paperwork prepared for early April at work.  And I set myself a plan for posts…
  • Looking forward to next week?  Hmm, it is sad when I say ‘having no Saturday night plans’?  There’s still time to be booked ‘in’, but I like the idea that a lazy Saturday night might be in store.
  • Thankful for today? No Water polo training to ‘have’ to go to, as the last game of the season was last night.
  • *Bonus Question* Are you shy or outgoing? Definately outgoing – but I wouldn’t have it any other way, working with all men!

Ok, your turn!

  • Reading?
  • Watching?
  • Listening to?
  • Cooking/baking?
  • Happy you accomplished this week?
  • Looking forward to next week?
  • Thankful for today?
  • *Bonus Question* Are you shy or outgoing?

Jewellery organisation

Following on from yesterday’s post, which ended in the bathroom, I thought I would continue to show you some of the innovative storage and organisation solutions I have for my jewellrey.  Everything is stored in the bathroom, as it’s where I put on make up (and then jewellery) and where I take it off when I remove make up or shower.  The bathroom is also conveniently close to the front door, so if a last minute checks deems the need for some ‘bling’ it’s oh so close (rather than upstairs with my clothes/bedroom/wardrobe).

Earrings – Frame one

Some of my best ideas aren’t really mine! I see something out shopping, and I think, wow, I could MAKE that! I’d seen jewellery organizers made with ornate frames and the glass removed and replaced with mesh.  So one bored weekend, I raided my parents collection of surplus frames.  Given this was my first attempt, I didn’t really go for the prettiest, just one that I thought would fit all the earrings I owned.

Finding the ‘mesh’ was harder than it should have been.  See, I thought I could find something in an auto like shop – like a decorative mesh plate.  Sadly nothing seemed to suit what I was looking for.  I could also have used vent covers, as I’ve seen since on lovely blogs – but vents aren’t as common in our warm little country!  In the end, I settled for fairly rigid insect mesh! You can by this by the meter (or less) making it an affordable project.  I have enough left over that I could make another few for friends (add that to the ‘one day’ list).

Mesh earring and bracelet frame
Mesh earring and bracelet frame

I cut the mesh to size with scissors and then attempted to nail in the mesh.  It was a little a hard to hold and nail in the small recessed bit of the frame where the glass once sat flush against.  So then I tried a staple gun.  This also provided a bit of a fight, as getting the pressure for the staple meant pushing onto the mesh, and given the mesh isn’t 100% rigid, well, things didn’t always staple effectively.  Lastly, I tried some PVA glue around the edge.  IN the end, a combination of these three methods got the frame to ‘near enough is good enough’ (for me).

I quickly transferred all my earrings across.  I realised I could hang bracelets too – initially i used bent paper clips, but they weren’t standing up well! In the end, a sliced cork and a thumb tack (to hold the cork to the mess) worked a treat.  However, I soon realised that my stud earrings would be a bother to always put in, as I’d have to secure them with their backs through the mesh.  So the led me to a new solution…

Stud earrings

And then sometimes the solution to a problem comes from another problem.  My parents have a growing collections of wine corks.  So I did what any good pinterest fan would do, and I searched for projects.  There were some amazing ideas, but eventually, I stumbled onto the idea that an intact cork could happily be ‘pierced’ with my studs, without having to worry about removing and reattaching the backs.  There’s enough length on the posts so be inserted into a cork, with the backs still on.  And when I can’t be bothered with that, I just place the loose earrings in the velvet lined case, where the cork also lives.  Happy home for all the non dangley earrings.

Earring storage with rings (sorry for the sad photo)
Earring storage with rings (sorry for the sad photo)

Bangles

I wear a few bangles, but I did buy a collections of Indian bangles when I went to India a few years ago (yikes, are they noisy when you wear them all – and you shower glitter everywhere!)  Anyhow, seeing they are mostly ‘unworn’ than worn, I thought it would be nice to display them in a way that looks good (reminding me to wear them), but also keeps them neatly stacked together.  And seeing I’ve done a floristry course, I have a few vases more than your average, just sitting around.  So I decided to put one to good use!  (you can also use vases to store excess toilet rolls!).  And seeing those Indian bangles get the least wear, it’s not that inconvenient having them at the bottom!

Bangles stored in a vase - beautiful and simple
Bangles stored in a vase – beautiful and simple

Necklaces and rings – Frame two

With all my earrings safely stored, it left necklaces and rings to be equally ‘stored’ and ideally displayed in a way that would increase how often I thought to wear jewelry.  I’m an engineer, and by nature not girly, so I take some visual prompting! Spurred on my my earring frame, I thought I could do the same for necklaces, but I knew I’d need something firmer and more rigid than mesh.  And besides, how would I hold the necklaces onto the mesh?  So I asked the freecycle community for a long thin frame, something that would suit my longest necklace.  Of course, the Gods of freecycle delivered.  I decided I’d update the picture using some excess paint cards (cause of course they are in my favourite colours which happen to match the bathroom tiles).  Lastly, some small 3M hooks stuck onto the glass for each of my necklaces.  When I noticed I had some space at the bottom (and some rings that were not yet on display) I added some small hooks to include them.  I could also include my few bracelets, however, I have more space on the dangley earrings frame, so I settled with putting them there.

Re-purposed picture frame for necklaces and rings
Re-purposed picture frame for necklaces and rings

In terms of wear and tear, not everything stands up to being in a moist bathroom.  However, most of the my jewellry is from cheap stores, so I’m not too concerned about most of it.  The few real bits of jewelry are made of metals that can be cleaned and polished.

Simple storage solutions – spices, frying pan lid, ironing & toliet paper

Sometimes, you just want life to be easy, or at least easier.  There’s a number of things I’ve implemented to streamline my house.

Spice ‘rack’

Anexactinglife just updated her spices into nice new colour coded jars.  Whilst I love the idea, I know the maintenance of it might be what gets me down. Plus the ‘waste’ of the containers they were purchased in – even if they were recycled.  So, with that in mind (and a few years of frustrations living at my parents’ home), I came up with a solution that was simple, expandable and makes it easy to find what I’m looking for.

Spice cupboard, with room to expand
Spice cupboard, with room to expand
Close up of my spices
Close up of my spices

I can add more when I need to (I started with just 10 hooks when I moved in). Of course, I alphabetise them too!

Frying pan lid storage

Firstly, I like to nest pots and pans where I can, but I don’t like that lids have no where to to sit if you do this.  So, I’d seen this idea somewhere (most likely Ikea displays!) and thought I could ‘hack’ it to suit my bigger fryer pan lid.  (Ikea’s lids are ‘flatter’ meaning they need less clearance between the wall and the railing).  I did flirt with over sized door handles to do the same thing, but they didn’t offer enough clearance for the ‘height’ of my lid. (all I can say is thank goodness Ikea returns, as I tried a lot of their handles with no luck!)  Instead, my solution came whilst strolling around my favourite hardware store.  I took a towel rail bar, and the two ‘ends’.  I measured different mounting brackets to see what clearances each offered. I cut down the towel rail to suit the dimensions of the inside of the cupboard door.  Initially the pots were in another cupboard, but I realised that the pictured cupboard was closer to my cooking area.  It also happened to have a door that was wide enough to house my frying pan’s lid.

Towel rail as a pot lid holder
Towel rail as a pot lid holder

Ironing rail

My family stores all the ironing in an ‘ironing’ basket or on a hook on the back of the laundry door.  This didn’t work ideally.  The hook can only hold so many coathangers.  The basket ‘hides’ the amount of laundry to be done.  The basket sometimes contains excess hangers, but usually not, so finding hangers must occur before ironing starts.  All this seemed a little too bothersome in my opinion.  So when I moved into my place, and noticed the recessed area for my washing machine, I had a perfect solution in mind.

I used a tension bar to avoid damaging my tiles, which run from floor to ceiling.  The advantages of this rail started to present themselves once it was installed.  Not only are excess hangers stored there, along with ironing,  I also hang guest towels (or my water polo towel and swimmers) over the rail.  It also conveniently holds up one of my jewelry organisers (topic for another post) though you can’t see it in this photo. (topic for a future post).

Tension Bar in the laundry
Tension Bar in the laundry

Toilet Paper Storage

Whilst I’m in the bathroom/laundry, I’ll share with you how I store my toilet rolls.  Sadly I don’t have ‘built in’ cabinets in my bathroom, other than above the sink.  And that cupboard is pretty shallow, only a bottle or so deep.  So I needed a way to store toilet paper rolls (and ideally somewhere convenient, cause I live alone, there’s no one to help if I run out and they’re not handy!)  It took some lateral thinking, but I’m pretty happy with my solution!

Proximity of the toilet to the railing
Proximity of the toilet to the railing
Proximity of the railing to the toliet
Storage of the toilet rolls

What ways have you innovatively solved storage issues? Made something that was a bother that much easier (like finding the right spice sachet)?

Need more great ideas? How about my jewellery storage ideas?

Making less work

I read an interesting post that I’d missed when it was first published at Extra Organised.  It was all about how you can make decisions in your home to help you have less work (or cleaning!)

Firstly, I agree that vertical blinds limit dusting, but I just can’t stand them! So that’s one thing I won’t be implementing. However, I do know I’m lazy with closing (and opening) my roller blinds out to the street.  They are my only source of natural light into my loft apartment, so it’s easier to leave them open (especially when I often leave for work in the dark).  Given that pedestrians can see into my apartment makes my laziness a problem.  It’s also an area where ‘break and enters’ aren’t entirely uncommon.  So I decided to ‘make less work’ for myself by getting the windows frosted.  This was I don’t have to open and close blinds – no one can see me, and my assets, and I have natural light streaming in! Win Win! (save for the finances – I did outsource to the fantastic two person team at Bannerama (also incredibly local) this due to the double height windows).

No frosting
Sunny day without frosting
With frosting
With frosting on a more overcast day

My fridge was chosen from the short list (that fitted in the existing space), because it didn’t have in built gadgets – like built in ice trays. Or a cheese drawer. With a 248L fridge I didn’t want single purpose spaces eating into the ‘general use’ space.

Source:http://www.appliancesonline.com.au/248l-fisher-paykel-fridge-e249trs/
Source:http://www.appliancesonline.com.au/248l-fisher-paykel-fridge-e249trs/

Things live where it’s ‘easy’.  Whilst it might seem puzzling to strangers, my water polo bag lives in the entry buffet.  This makes sense to me – the swimmers and towel dry in the bathroom, only a step or two away.  I never usually ‘get changed’ at home, so it makes sense to grab the bag out of the cupboard on training or game days.  Likewise, I have a drawer in the buffet for socks – cause my shoes all live at the entrance, so there’s no point in putting socks anywhere further away!  This is also a great place to store things I need to take with me when I leave the home – letter, things to return etc.  It’s even where the handbag & shopping bags live (with the other handbags in the cupboard below).  Gotta love having a landing strip!

Entry buffet to the left, shoes to the right.  Socks in the second drawer and wate rpolo bag in the left cupboard.
Entry buffet to the left, shoes to the right. Socks in the second drawer and wate rpolo bag in the left cupboard.

Sadly, I do have some clothes that require dry cleaning, but I have been recently thinking of limiting my ‘dry cleaning’ purchases to outwear, which tends to need washing less often.  I also buy hand wash/delicate wash stuff as well.  But none of this really bothers me enough, and I love the fabrics that require this care.  I also have a great way to deal with ‘partly worn’ clothes, and things to be ironed.  I installed a tension rod above my washing machine, and conveniently around my storage cabinet – as I wrote about here.

Don’t get me wrong, these things all make life easier and more streamlined, but there’s still dusting and cleaning to be done, and ways to improve and make other processes more efficient.

Blog giveaway

The tiny parcel of give away goodness!
The tiny parcel of give away goodness!

I was lucky enough to **WIN** a blog giveaway lately, thanks to Fairy at organised castle.  Generally I don’t enter giveaways, unless I’m sure I need what’s on offer.  So Fairy was offering a surprise, I was a little dubious. I shouldn’t have been – her blog aligns nicely with mine, all about making do and being frugal and having less clutter.  And sure enough, her giveaway gift was right up there with utility and style.

organised castle's Peg Bag giveaway
organised castle’s Peg Bag giveaway

What was it you ask?  Why it was a peg bag! Fairy’s pretty handy with the sewing, and she might have ever reused fabric from her thrift store shopping – who knows.  It’s a lovely shade of lime.  (I’m not being tongue in cheek – my pantry/linen closet is also lime – by choice!)

Pantry and Linen closet
Pantry and Linen closet

I need to find a coat hanger than fits in it a little better – perhaps mold a wire hanger a little better?  Here it is with a ‘normal’ plastic hanger:

Peg bag with my usual coathangers
Peg bag with my usual coathangers

It seems just a little too big, as you can see from the fabric straining. Thanks Fairy – next I need to load it up with my pegs!

Book Review: The Wind Up Bird Chronicle

It’s not often that I don’t get to ‘chose’ my books, but this book was a gift from one of my neighbours, saying it was their favourite book .  All this, cause I left them some brownies! I was shocked that I received a book in return! (Thanks Poppy and Dean – so generous of you!)  In any case, I decided to work from the unread pile before returning to the library.

source: http://www.bookdepository.com/book/9780099540953?redirected=true&gclid=CKj-u5z317UCFYYipQodIQsAmg
source: http://www.bookdepository.com/book/9780099540953?redirected=true&gclid=CKj-u5z317UCFYYipQodIQsAmg

At around 600 pages, it was a long book, and often I wasn’t sure where it was headed, but was happy to continue along just a little longer.  It’s a translation from Japanese, and it’s set in the late 70s.  The clues were references to cassettes, and home telephones! The main character, Toru, has lost his job, and is a house husband.  He seems to settle into the routine of being at home as his wife, Kumiko,  unexpectedly leaves him.  Rather than this event being dramatic, it’s more a slow puzzling unraveling of his life.  Prior to her departure, their cat had gone missing.  Toru is asked by his wife to see someone about the cat – Malta Kano. Once Malto and her sister Creta, are introduced to the story deviates into the bizarre.  There’s supernatural elements in this tale, but I never really resolved why or how they come to be.

Essentially, Toru never stops looking for his wife, and along the way meets people who share their story and life, such as a retired army general who witnessed someone being skinned alive (there is a whole chapter about this episode!).  Toru meets a woman who, as the story unravels, finds that her father shares some of his quirky physical peculiarities.  There’s also a  young neighbour who has stopped attending high school, and is slowly discovering her womanhood. Lastly, Toru is pursued by his wife’s brother (whom neither of them liked, and were both estranged from) who indicates that Toru should sign divorce papers.  He flatly refuses to without speaking to his wife.

The book is eerie. It never really rises above the sorrow and sense of lose and longing Toru is experiencing for his wife, who he cannot track down, and refuses to believe wants a divorce.  The final chapters of the book draw everything to a close – both the real and the super natural, but I couldn’t help feeling a sense of disappointment.  That’s not to say I didn’t like the book – it certainly took me on a journey and was engrossing as it did so.

Goals Update – February

There’s three days left (of my ‘weeks’ system) but it is technically the end of the month today so…

Financial

$20k target by 22 Dec: I moved money onto the mortgage this month, so my $20k target took a hit. However, over the year, I should be able to reach this goal by the slight reduction in weekly payments on my mortgage!

End of Jan: $14,249

End of Feb: $12,130

source: mundabor.wordpress.com
source: mundabor.wordpress.com

Generosity target – 55% (or 89% if adjusted) achieved

of at least $100 per week (weeks Mon thu Sun – and based on when things were withdrawn from my accounts):
week 1 (28/1 onwards) – $120: $100 to MS Colour Run to get a friend to her target.  I wished I’d registered and done the run too…! + $20 church (2 hours)
week 2 – nothing 🙁 other than $25 to church
week 3 – nothing beyond the $20 to church
week 4 – as above…
week 5 – $20 to church and $20 to a friend (4+ hours)

It seems like money has gotten away from me this month, I was feeling it on the third week.  When I analyse this week’s spending, it doesn’t really add up why.  Although I did buy myself an external HDD so I could return one I’ve borrowed, and consolidate files on discs and an old HDD.  That was $100, which I would have otherwise have had ‘surplus’ for charity.  I also bought three months credit in one go, rather than month by month, so that’s a higher ‘cost’ to take out this week than usual.

With my charitable donations, I’m behind $275. However last month I was ahead $220, so if I average it out, I’m doing ok.  Difference of $55.

Health

Cook at home twice a week – 90% achieved

week 1 (28/1 onwards) –

At BF’s – can’t recall what we had (Mon),
Birthday roast at parents (Wed)
ghnocci with oven dried little tomatoes (Thu),
Leftovers? (Fri),
Cousin’s 18th (Sat),
Pub nachos after polo (Sun)

week 2 –

I usually cook Mondays, but I can’ t recall.
Chicken Soup (Tue),
Ravioli with roast eggplant at friend’s house (Wed),
Garlic bread (Thu),
Fancy b’day dinner at Quay (Fri),
Party food (Mexican) (Sat)
Nachos at pub (Sun)

Dessert at Quay: Jersey cream, salted caramel, ethereal sheets
Dessert at Quay: Jersey cream, salted caramel, ethereal sheets

week 3 –
Roast vegies (Mon),
Tacos made by BF (Tue),
Bro’s B’day dinner at parents (Wed),
No dinner – feeling ill (Thu),
B’day dinner out (Fri),
Cheese souffle, beans and sweat potato (Sat),
Lamb roast and vegies at parents (Sun)

week 4 –
Chicken tagine with quinoa (Mon)
Spaghetti (and macaroni) puttanesca (Tue)
Cauliflower based pizza – YUMMO!(Wed)
Tacos at boyfriends (Thu)
Thai out with uni friends (Fri)
Pizza out with visiting school friend (Sat)
Roast chicken at parents (Sun)

Woot! Good week.

week 5 –
Rice salad and poached ginger and soy chicken (mon)
Calamari risotto (Tue)
Dinner at parents (Wed)

The book that started it allsource:sweetpoison.com.au
The book that started it all
source:sweetpoison.com.au

Sugar – 98% achieved since Lent started.

Well it was the birthday week in the first week, so there were a lot of cookies consumed! And some homemade cheesecake by me.  And some ‘tries’ of the bf’s icecream.

As of Lent (13/2/13), these are my infractions:

Thu 14th – shared lemonade with b/f  at movies.  I think I’ll ‘loophole’ drinks otherwise it’ll be a very dry month!  However My mocha will become a Cap.  Also had a few lemonade sips on Sun 16th after a really tough water polo game (no substitutions – I’m too old to play a whole 24 minute game!).  Also ate a dessert my friend made – Mango-misu.  No added sugar, but the soaked biscuits would have come with.  I also had an energy drink, laden with sugar – but I’ll claim ‘loophole’! x 3 (seems they are becoming prevalent, as I realise coffee is causing me pain)

Train for polo – 60% success

week 1 – no training due to public holiday Monday, trained Feb 4th (though then was off sick for the rest of the week!) and Feb 11th and Feb 18th.  This last week, I skipped, after 10 hours working on Sunday I didn’t want to be tired all week (with training making another late night). In the end, I still had a late night…  I could possibly go to the alternate training tonight, but I’m already finding things I’d rather be doing :s

Cultural

– 2 films a month – 100% achieved

Saw The Impossible technically in January but in the week that I’m counting as Feb for whatever reason.  This is an inexact science!  For Valentine’s day, I saw Silver Linings Playbook – very unsure why it’s been so successful!

– 2 books a month – 100% achieved

source: www.manningvalleybooks.com.au
source: www.manningvalleybooks.com.au

Started the month with Leon and Louise , by A. Capus.  Finished it soon after due to being bed bound with a cold.  Next moved to the gift from a neighbour I think called The Wind Up Bird Chronicles by Haruki Murakami.  I shall write reviews if anyone is interested.

source: http://www.bookdepository.com/book/9780099540953?redirected=true&gclid=CKj-u5z317UCFYYipQodIQsAmg
source: http://www.bookdepository.com/book/9780099540953?redirected=true&gclid=CKj-u5z317UCFYYipQodIQsAmg

Career

– Certification – 100% achieved

Well, there’s much uncertainty  but nonetheless, we had a meeting here, and a few days later I worked on another career ‘episode’ report.  I think I’ve done 5 now of the 16 (mind you, they’ll need ‘polishing’).  So I just need to keep chipping away at this, and hopefully I’ll get more done.  Reporting it here is certainly helping me.

To make this goal measurable I’m now going to set myself the task of two episodes a month.  With that in mind, I should be done around July! Yay – seems so easy now.

People like U

I found the coolest little comparative ‘site’ run by my favourite bank – Ubank. It’s called People Like U.

It’s so cool to compare yourself to others – that’s why there are blogs and reality TV shows of course…  But I just can’t imagine how much data crunching went on to analysis all the data from NAB and Ubank to bring together such a spiffy little viral website.  I mean, any bank could have done this, it’s not revealing any state secrets in the agreegated data. And there’s the option to ‘update’ the information – and this is gold to both the bank – but also to the bank’s clients.  The stores or companies listed bank somewhere, and it might just be with NAB (the traditional big 4 bank that owns Ubank).

Ubank's People Like U Source: www.peoplelikeu.com.au
Ubank’s People Like U
source: www.peoplelikeu.com.au

There are less than 10 people like me – based on my age, gender, income, own/rent & living siutation (alone vs couple vs family) and suburb.  It then tracks ‘me’ vs others on spends in categories.

It was interesting to compare myself to my boyfriend (who alerted me to this gem), and how it thinks we spend on different categories.  Obviously, it knows nothing about me (like how much I’ve travelled).  What I find puzzling is in the drilling down in categories:

Source: People Like U Shopping profile
Shopping profile
source:www.peoplelikeu.com.au

Are Australian’s really shopping THAT much at Nordstroms and Bloomingdales – they aren’t even in Australia!  And if they are in the top three, how much are we, as a nation, spending?  What is Ouffer anyhow?  But then you can drill into another level and this is what you get:

source: www.peoplelikeu.com.au
Fashion details
source: www.peoplelikeu.com.au

It’s interesting how they have ‘preferred’ and ’emerging’ brands. And are these ‘brands’ clients of NAB/Ubank? Or is this truly where we spend the most frequently? Of course, click on any of those square and you head right to google (surely it’d be more magical for the brands if they went straight to their brand’s homepage), still, there’d be people ‘winning’ (to channel that horrible man) from this little gimmick!

Then in another layer (pressing the top right little lightening bolt) you get your bills vs the rest of the population:

source: www.peoplelikeu.com.au
Bill Shock
source: www.peoplelikeu.com.au

Even if you’re not Australian, I think it’d be fun to have a look at how this all works. Have fun!

**This post is not endorsed or sponsored. Yikes, I’ve been blogging for a few months, I’m not sure I’m a blip on anyone’s radar! This is just something I found fun, and lines up with my list making/goal setting/spend tracking habits, so it seemed to fit for a post! **