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! **

Zero waste – things I learnt today

So I think I’m doing ok on my waste situation, but today I stumbled on some great things I hadn’t considered, and will look at starting to do.

Plastic funnel

Admittedly, I don’t currently have any funnels – I think I’m a pretty good pourer!  (I also don’t have a potato masher or a pastry brush – might have to acquire the former!).  However, I was made aware by Sarah at Suburban Pioneers that you can make them out of old plastic bottles.  BRILLIANT!  I’ll get on that with some of my excess recycled plastic bottles.

Simple and smart!Source: simpleliving-sherrie.blogspot.com
Simple and smart!
Source: simpleliving-sherrie.blogspot.com

Rubber Bands

I do have a stock pile of rubber bands from eating produce (if you read Sarah’s post, it’s quite funny as she suggest if you’re not collecting them you’re either not eating healthy or well.. not eating healthily!).  But I never thought to make them out of rubber gloves.  I don’t use rubber gloves to wash up anymore, but recently I’ve seen the damage it’s done to my hands.  So at least when I next buy gloves, I’ll have a ‘reuse’ in mind.

Fly paper

I don’t buy this, but I’ve been starting to think I might/could/should.  There’s some pesky little flying things, I’m not sure where they come from, but they aren’t leaving.  So I shall entice them with honey and sugar laden paper (cause I’m certainly not making a dent in my supplies of either over lent).  Trash Backwards had a great how to here.

Trash Backwards

Cling Wrap

I already don’t have cling wrap (though parchment paper and alfoil still hang out at my place).  I do have two ‘Abeego’ wraps (sadly I lost the most versatile large one), which are a company that make beeswax impregnated food wraps.  Now I know I can  DIY reusable food wraps myself.  Admittedly if I’m mailing ordering beeswax, perhaps it’s easier just to order the wraps from Abeego from Canada.  They do send lovely little messages on the invoice!

So versatile source: www.abeego.ca
So versatile source: www.abeego.ca

Furniture Protectors

Oh my, I’ve been to Bunnings Hardware FAR too often, and sometimes for little felt ‘feet’ for my dining chairs.  They come with velcro on one side, and felt on the other.  Weirdly the packets offer ‘extra’ felt, but not velcro, and I got sick of the excess felts, so bought a string of velcros – but of course I only need one side.  No matter which way I’ve been playing it, I’ve had surplus.  So, I was delighted to realise – i could use old thongs (flip flops to those that think I was talking about intimates there!).  My most recent dead thongs have long since done to landfill back in Oct, and my new thongs are going strong.

Door Stops

Now, I only have two doors in my house – the one on the bathroom and the entry.  So doorstop needs are limited.  But I did buy one rubber one, and it’s still going strong. However this is WAY nicer, and given all shoes live near my entry, it would work so well!

Trash Backwards' great idea  source:http://blog.trashbackwards.com/2012/06/01/trash-hacker-worn-out-footwear-to-doorstop
Trash Backwards great idea at http://blog.trashbackwards.com/2012/06/01/trash-hacker-worn-out-footwear-to-doorstop

The best part of the Suburban Pioneers blog was Sarah saying if you’re so good that you don’t generate any of the things for reuse, your neighbours or friendly surely do! Awesome, and oh so true!

My list of banks

I have more bank accounts than is usual.  But, most are suit a practical purpose.  For those that are in semi retirement, I wonder whether I should declutter them, though they are costing me nothing and causing me no grief.

ANZ ANZ

My main financial institution in the ANZ bank.  It’s one of the ‘big 4’ in Australia.  It’s also my father’s former employer – which is how I came to have my very first account with them (that I still have to this day).

I also have my mortgage with ANZ.  I flirted with all banks when I started looking about two years ago.  I dated Heritage Building Society pretty seriously when I put in an offer for another loft apartment.  Sadly, HBS were scared of the long term commitment.  Despite pre approval, their valuation of the property (which also includes  a risk analysis of a number of factors), came back lower than what I’d offered.  The timing of my offer was around the same time I was heading to Israel and the US for a few weeks, so I didn’t have the luxury of time to move to another lender, and recommence the loan process.  It was  a shame that HBS didn’t come through, as I liked the idea of supporting a building society.

By the time I got serious again about buying, rates had changed, and a Big 4 came out looking VERY competitive.  I knew I wanted a fixed 2 year term, so it was simple to compare.  There are SO many choices in a mortgage, I intentionally narrowed the field early.  I’m well aware there are pros and cons of every loan type, and this suited me best then (and now).

I also have an E*Trade account which is ANZ’s trading account.  This was something I got into in 2009, and haven’t really actively pursued since.  I basically have an itty bitty portfolio – money I don’t miss, but know is silently sitting there, perhaps growing a little as I reinvest my dividends.

Ubank

Ubank

This is probably my preferred bank.  They make me happy! They have great online tools, their call centre is in Australia, you don’t need to spend time or energy setting up your first account with them – they use all sorts of modern identity checking methods, without making me get things signed by a justice of the peace.  They also offer tricky checks to move your money – which trip up others when their overseas, but I’m never without my Australian mobile phone,  so I’ve not had a problem to date.

I have several savings accounts with them.  I have my ‘cushion’ account – a nice way of saying it’s an emergency fund, as it will also hopefully grow to be my mortgage refinancing account at the end of this year.  I also dip into it for expenses I can’t cover with week to week pay, but aren’t regular, planned expenses.

I also have my ‘bills’ savings in another Ubank account.  There’s no cost to any of these accounts and I feel more comfortable with this ‘seperate’ from the slowly increasing ‘Cushion’ above.

Finally, I have a third Ubank account that’s currently in the black at the tune of $4.68!  It’s my former ‘holiday’ fund.  I don’t have a clear holiday plan in my head (a date or a location), so I’m not actively contributing to the account.

ING

ING Direct

More savings accounts! Before Ubank, ING Direct was the leader in the field.  At last check, they did also have better interest rates on their high interest savings accounts, but only for new customers (which I am not).  Sometimes, ‘new money’ qualifies, but not this time.  I don’t mind ING, but it’s all about interest in these accounts.  And I don’t think I’ve EVER had to call them, so that is a bonus in my book.

I have two accounts with them.  The first is for ‘Health Insurance’.  I think I thought I should utilise this bank, seeing I had active accounts.  Hardly logically, but still.  I put away money every week for my annual health insurance premium.  I prefer to pay annually than await the direct withdrawal weekly or monthly from the health fund.  At least this way, I’m in control!

The second account has 50c.  I could close this account.  Perhaps I will.  I have now

Bankwest

Bankwest

When I grew up (hahaha) and was moving to France for a year in 2006, I thought it would be worthwhile to have a credit card for emergencies.  I found the cheapest card (ie no annual fees) that offered a competitive interest rate (at least when I was applying).  I applied, with bated breath, as I was a student with a variable, casual job – so my ‘salary’ wasn’t easy to ascertain.  Interestingly, the bank did NOT reject me (as ANZ would have, based on their policies).  I’ve not had any emergencies, but do use the card to tide me between pays, or buy a great deal on an airfare.  I don’t think I’ve ever paid interest!

I also have two one savings accounts with Bankwest – one with 46c and 51c each.  A legacy from times where i would use ING and Bankwest to leverage their ‘introductory’ offers to ‘new deposits’.  Seems like I could declutter these two as well.

I love that when I rang, there was no ‘press this number for this’ and I got right onto a real person.

28degrees

28degrees (GE Capital)

My newest ‘bank’ was for a credit card that offers no foreign transaction fees.  I used this as my sole ‘money’ whilst in Dubai/Morocco/France last year.  I was happy with being able to withdraw as a cash advance at no cost with the positively loaded card.  My only disappointment was the delay on showing transactions on it’s website.  Given this lack of functionality, I won’t give up my other credit card, and this card will be left solely for travel (or, if the other card gets stolen with the cash card).

BNP

BNParibas

I still maintain an everyday transaction account with this French bank, from when I lived there in 2006.  The charge an annual fee – my only account to do this.  And I’m willing to pay it, knowing HOW hard it was to GET the account (France is chicken and egg with accommodation and bank accounts – you need one for the other).  I plan to move back to France one day, so this account lingers.  I love that it accesses real money but it’s also a ‘credit’ card at least for booking stuff online.  So modern – this sort of functionality didn’t happen in Australia in 2006!

In summary I have

– 1 mortgage

– 2 credit cards

– 2 ‘everyday’ banking accounts (with cards and direct access to money)

– 1 trading account

7 5 savings accounts

13  11 ACCOUNTS across 6 banks! No wonder I sometimes confuse my passwords. I think this list has made me realise I can cull at least two savings accounts (one each at Bankwest and ING), if not more!

And that’s just what I did – no sense talking about it.  I just did it.  It was so simple as well – just rang both banks.  I think it took more time to ID me than to close the accounts!

Categories of Clutter

Thanks to Cindy’s post at www.365lessthings.com (which I love, and happy to have ‘worked out’ how to get the emailed posts now that I can’t read the blog at work), I’m inspired for another LIST!

She mentions categories of clutter, and I’m going to go through each one, and see which I could work on more.  Then I’ll share my little list of identified things to thin out

– things from put off decisions: a little bit,  I do have a ‘use it or lose it’ list (also to come)

– craft supplies: don’t really have any.  I have brown paper for wrapping presents, and a few sheets of white and yellow tissue (the white is reused from a brand that wraps stuff I buy).  I have three types of ribbons (leftover from weddings I did) to make florist style bows on the brown paper.  I have coloured pencils (since I was 12 I think I’ve had those, how much I wanted that 72 set of Derwent Water Colours).  But I don’t have any scrapbooking decorative stuff or the like.

source: melstampz.blogspot.com
source: melstampz.blogspot.com

office supplies: worked hard to thin out the biros I don’t like (yes, I WANT people to ‘take’ my pen when I loan it sometimes….!)

toys and games: I move most puzzles on as I do them. I have two lingering – one a gift from my mother for Christmas (from France) and one I never did that I got from freecycle. Might need to rehome both of those!

books: again, anything that’s not a library book, I try to rehome once read. Mum gave me a book she’d read, Leon and Louise, not sure where that’s got to. And when I’m finished the one I’m reading, I’ll need to pass it on to someone, or donate it somewhere. And I really must decided on the few books on my bedhead – the one about Israel is tiresome reading, and I may never crack it!

papers left over from school: I have a container for ‘school’ and one for ‘uni’. The school one is not 100% closing, cause I have an old uniform and a jumper passed from all my siblings to my God daughter, and I want to keep it (as it’s still 100% usable!).  So I need to thin out that box.  The uni box is rather emptier since I moved my 3 travel journals downstairs, to somewhere more accessible when I want to show someone something.  My thesis paperwork is now all stored in the garage as I never want to access it regularly, but I feel it’s important to keep proof of such a major amount of work.

technical books: I always sold my textbooks from semester to semester to fund the next batch.  I also inherited some from a friend.  Pleased to say, I have NO reference books for my field.  Perhaps this isn’t ideal, but it is what it is!

– career related magazines: don’t have any, but I am fighting my professional organisation to STOP sending me them monthly, as they just end up in the recycling (or making me feel guilty!)

– electronic this and that: I have a drawer in my kitchen for there – charges for AA batteries and  Li Ion battery, plus some international adaptors, earphones.  I also have 2 HDD (at the moment, one I bought last week).  I work INCREDIBLY hard to have a minimal amount of electronics.

– garage items: I have one length of wood leftover from a project, and a caulking gun with silicon.  Both of them bother me, as they aren’t in active service, however it’s rather minimal.

outgrown clothes and toys: I don’t grow out of stuff anymore!  And I’ve mentioned toys above

art supplies: just the Derwents, above, really!

things girls collect: I have some Indian bangles that I seldom wear (they make too much noise), so they could go.  And too many hair clips (and no hair now), so they are in the ‘declutter box’ now.

– unwanted gifts: as soon as I open them, I tend to know.  So the vanilla scented stuff gets passed straight onto my mother (two items recently!).  But mostly, I get cheap jewelry and wine, both of which I use.  Anything that doesn’t suit me, I move on – such as tolitieries not to my taste, books that are… inconsiderate.  There is a travel souvenir from a friend that’s just collecting dust, it may move on v v soon!

– impulse purchases  I am the QUEEN of returns (and store’s policies).  Anything that doesn’t suit/fit goes back for a full refund (even unopened groceries)

THINGS TO DECLUTTER – the strike through items have found new homes since I drafted this! 😀

hair clips (still in packaging)

– excess bubble wrap: why does no one want this when I put it on freecycle?

– two lamp shades: can’t be returned as they were part of a set

– 4 wine bottle gift bags: I never give wine, but I get a fair bit!

– broken (cheap) jewelry: not sure if the bin is the best way, or if there’s hope of fixing them

– travel souvenir from a colleague

Bucket list

First time here? This list started in Feb 2013, and has been a work in progress since – adding items as often as completing items.

This was updated in Jan 2014, to include more details 🙂 I periodically update this, most recently late March 2016! Feb 2017, where I’d done 26 from 65 listed… though a good 10 or so were recently added.

Thanks to Danny Dover, I have a longer bucket list!  I won’t set a deadline though!  And the list isn’t in a priority order either.

Travel

1. Visit every continent (Completed: Australia, Asia, Europe, Middle East – need South America & Antarctica)
2. See Machu Picchu (to think my brother just did this Jan 2014!)
3. See Aurora Borealis (maybe in an igloo?)
4. Visit tulip fields in The Netherlands
5. Go to the super bowl
6. See Carnival in Rio de Janeiro (could do it with the bro in 2014, but alas, I realise I don’t love crowds and big parties, so maybe another time)
7. Go to Burning Man, Black Rock desert, Nevada USA
8. Go to (the original) Mardi Gras in New Orleans
9. Visit The Maldives
10. Visit Russia – see the St. Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square, the Bronze horseman, the summer and winter palace  Aug 2016
11. Visit Serbia/Croatia/Bosnia/Romania – sail in Croatia, see where Romanian gymnasts train, visit Sarajevo, Split, Dubrovnik, Belgrade Aug 2016
12. Visit Mauritius
13. Visit Ethiopia – the birthplace of my cousin/god daughter
14. Visit Oradour-sur-Glane, France – a town annihilated by Germans by torching – May 2017
15. Spend Christmas or Thanksgiving in the US
16. Visit Vietnam/Cambodia Oct 2013
17. Visit Scandinavia (no more exact than that yet!) – likely Norway to see friends, definitely go to Iceland (2016 addition)
18. Fly FIRST class – maybe Emirates where I can shower?
19. Stay in Igloo Village – and see the Northern lights
20. Stay in a tree house
21. Live in NYC
22. Ride the bullet train in Japan Jul 2014
23. Visit San Francisco – see the Golden Gate Bridge Jan 2015

Activities (that aren’t location specific)

24. Go zorbing (all the blue things are on my 12 in 2 list!) Apr 2015
25. Get hypnotised (ideally to solve a bad habit!) done 2015/16
26. Ride a segway planned Aug 2016
27. Drive on a race track
28. Go on a ‘big boat’ style cruise (maybe in retirement)
29. Fly on a trapeze June 2015
30. Swim with dolphins in NATURE (not in Dubai…:s)
31. Watch a movie at a drive in (if they still exist!)
32. Go jet skiing  (on the 12 in 2 list) Dec 2013 and I saw dolphins
33. Get my palm read/fortune told
34. Make a gingerbread house Dec 2013
35. Get body painted for an event
36. Go cave diving <- went canyoning and walked in caves in March 2016
37. Be part of a flash mob (thanks Moonwave for the tip!)
38. Complete a half marathon  July 2014
39. Learn the name and location of all the countries in Africa
40. Own a cello for purely decorative purposes (though I do know how to play, as does my bf..)
41. Own a luxury European vehicle (BMW, Audi or Mercedes)
42. Write my will
43. Prepay and plan my funeral
44. Learn to surf Jan 2015 wouldn’t say I ‘learnt’ but ‘tried’
45. Build a bonfire and make S’mores
46. Pay for someone else’s groceries (I LOVE this one, thanks www.lifed.com) Jun 2013
47. Go to a silent retreat
48. Go white water rafting – real rapids, not the ones we built in Sydney for the Olympics
49. Join the MHC
50. Get married (before the children)
51. Have children (thinking 3, BF thinks 2, so compromise is 2 unless 2 the same gender, or twins)
52. Climb Sydney Harbour Bridge June 2014

Newer items (Jan 2014)

52. Visit Portland, Oregon2015 go to the donut place, eat at places mentioned here, shop and eat here.
53. Go zipling2015 did it in Phuket
54. Go stand up paddle boarding
55. Pay off my mortgage
56. Fully fund my retirement
57. A home with a passionfruit vine, a frangipani tree, a magnolia grandiflora… and a vegie patch.
58. Reiki massage 2015

(April 2015)

59. Try kite surfing
60. Try a pilates reformer
61. Try barre body classes (ballet with yoga/exercise) Jan 2016
62. Zero Gravity yoga 2015
63. Go floating 2015
64. Hot stone massage 2015
65. Go gliding June 2016

Remember, not in any priority order 😉

Glaring Grocery discovery

The past week or two, I’ve felt the pinch of my savings goals, and finding it harder to ‘do everything’ with my pay cheque. It also came to my attention that I had another month’s batch of grocery receipts to process (I started tracking in December 2012), so I got onto that today. I’ve stated that my goal is to cook two meals a week, which equates to about 6 serves or more (2 dinners + 4 lunches at the very least). And mostly I’ve been achieving that.

One thing that’s clear – the pressure in my money management is not from home cooked meals! Now this should be no surprise, but I do feel like I’m in IGA all the time. All the servers know me, and almost know that I don’t want a bag, and on Wednesday, I’ll always want cash out. What I find most amazing is that my MONTHLY spend on groceries was 2.9% of my take home pay in December and 3.52% in January (I assumed a simple 4 week month as I get paid weekly). This is incredibly low, given that after shelter (which in Sydney you pay incredibly HIGH amounts for), food should pretty much come next (up there with electricity and running water I suppose).

I haven’t tracked my eating out spend since October, so I can’t confidently say what it is. (I think I stopped when I started dating… cause you eat out a lot more, but the expense is lumpy as to who pays and when etc). I could easily spend 12-16% of my pay cheque on eating out. **In some ways, this is totally out of line with my parents or many people out there. It seems ‘easy’ to go out for dinner. I think we feel entitled (my generation). Or we need only a small excuse. I realise eating out should really be seen as a luxury**

I probably miss most of the my meat consumption (which isn’t extensive) in these two months, as my butcher doesn’t give me a receipt. For Feb, I’ve started marking up the grocery receipt with what I spent on meat.

(in rough numbers, my mortgage has been taking up about 43% of my take home pay, and household bills (strata, electricity, gas and water) & health insurance take up about 15.5%).

EDIT: This post was inspired by Part 2 of the Spender to Saver series that Carla at My 1/2 Dozen Daily was writing.  Then by magic, Part 3 came out (after this post) and couldn’t have been more spot on.  I only wish I could work out how to comment on her blog!!

Completed Bucket List items

Adventure

– Hot air balloon (Dubai 2012)

Hot air ballooning
– Hang glide (fixed – Tasmania, freely – Wollongong 2011?)
– Sky dive (Wollongong 2010?)
– Helicopter ride (New York City 2011)
– Bungee jumping (really a canyon swing, but similar and less impact on the body 2005)
Go gliding June 2016
– Go zorbing (all the blue things are on my 12 in 2 list!) Apr 2015
– Get hypnotised (ideally to solve a bad habit!) done 2015/16
– Ride a segway planned Aug 2016
– Fly on a trapeze June 2015
– Go jet skiing  (on the 12 in 2 list) Dec 2013 and I saw dolphins
– Go cave diving <- went canyoning and walked in caves in March 2016
– Go white water rafting – real rapids, not the ones we built in Sydney for the Olympics
– Climb Sydney Harbour Bridge June 2014
– Go zipling – 2015 did it in Phuket

– parasailing

– ride an ATV

‘Education’

– Get a floristry certification 2009

Wedding flowes
Flowers for a friend’s wedding

– Get a motorcycle licence (for a scooter) 2009
– Learn to play cello 1995-2002
– Learn to play trombone 2001-2002
44. Learn to surf Jan 2015 wouldn’t say I ‘learnt’ but ‘tried’

Travel

I’m lucky to have nomadic, travel loving parents, so up until 2005, they covered the cost. 2006 was on my own dime. India was at their inspiration. I have left off some of the smaller European destinations (BE-LUX – NE made it in, Andorra)

– Visit New Caledonia – 1988?
– Visit Tokyo (overnight) – 1992 & Japan 2015
– See the Statue of Liberty – first in 1992
– Visit Hong Kong – 1993
– See the Eiffel Tower – first time in 1993
– Live in France – 1993 & 2006
– Visit Barcelona – 1993
– Live in Vanuatu – 1995-1998 (went to boarding school in Brisbane)
– Visit Auckland NZ – 1995/6?
– Visit Bangkok – first in 1996? (my parents LOVE the place!)
– Visit Laos – 2004?
– Visit New Orleans – ?? 1997?
– See the Colosseum – 2006
– Visit Prague – 2006
– See the Pyramids – 2006
– Visit Venice – 2006
– Visited concentration camps (Aushwitz) – 2006
– Visit Singapore (overnight) – 2008
– Visit Germany – 2008
– See the Taj Mahal – 2008
– Visit Cuba – 2009
– Visit Canada (Montreal) – 2009
– Visit Bahamas – 2009
– Sail the Greek Isles – 2010
– Visit Amsterdam – 2010
– Visit Chicago – Summer 2011 & Winter 2016
– Visit Israel – 2011
– Visit Dubai – 2012
– Visit Morocco – 2012
– Visit all major Australian Captials (Brisbane – birthplace, Sydney – current home, the most recent ones were Alice Springs/Ayres Rock in 2011, Adelaide in 2009, Perth in 2011, Hobart in 2009.  Darwin ain’t major… so not been there yet!)

– Visit Portland, Oregon – 2015 go to the donut place, eat at places mentioned here, shop and eat here.
– Visit San Fransisco – see the Golden Gate Bridge Jan 2015 & Feb 2016
– Visit Russia – see the St. Basil’s Cathedral in Red Square, the Bronze horseman, Aug 2016
– Visit Bosnia/Romania – visit Sarajevo Aug 2016
Visit Vietnam Oct 2013
– Ride the bullet train in Japan Jul 2014

Experience

– Attend Olympic Games – 2000 for water polo (which I still play, and in the SAME Sydney Olympic pool!) and volleyball (which I did play)
– See penguins in the wild – 2005

– See the Tour de France live  – 2006
– Fly business class long haul (one way Paris – Dubai – Sydney)

Business class

– Go paint balling
– Try acupuncture (regularly!)

– Try cupping
– Donate Blood
– Swim in the dead sea
– Visit Disneyland (Euro in 1994 and US style in 1996 I think)
– 100% debt free (credit card debt) – I never really wasn’t though!
– Go skinny dipping (we had a back yard pool as kids)
– Learnt to use chop sticks (enforced from a young age!)
– See Cirque du Soleil Show
– Order room service (ah, work trips!)
– Make a gingerbread house Dec 2013
– Try a pilates reformer
– Complete a half marathon  July 2014
– Try barre body classes (ballet with yoga/exercise) Jan 2016
– Zero Gravity yoga 2015
– Go floating 2015
– Hot stone massage 2015
– Go stand up paddle boarding
– Reiki massage 2015
-Pay for someone else’s groceries (I LOVE this one, thanks www.lifed.com) Jun 2013

– Get a fish pedicure

Stuff

– Buy a scooter – 2010
– Buy an (gorgeous) loft apartment by myself – Dec 2011!
– Own a luxury European vehicle (BMW, Audi or Mercedes)