Monday, August 6, 2018

Motherly Advice...Be at Peace with where you are...

We are working hard on edging towards retirement here. Also we are on a tight budget for a little while here, as our business is seasonal and things are very quiet around this time of year. But then, nothing has changed really. We are at peace with making ends meet as comfortably as possible, as we always are.

It's a case of feeling like you're in control of things, rather than taking the view that things are happening to you that are beyond your control. That in itself is a really valuable mind set.

So here are some methods we employ, including growing lavender, and dreaming of visiting the lavender fields in France as seen above.

You can do this too.

Mostly we ensure that we maintain a decent standard of living, and feel like we are in control of our budget and our lifestyle, rather than being dictated to by factors beyond our control.

1. Make a serious effort to cut costs wherever possible. We've made a number of cost cutting measures ourselves in the last two years. We've downgraded lots of  activities or found replacement activities that are free or almost free. We've replaced our cars with more economical versions. We've tried going vegan, but found it too difficult for a family for now. We continue to eat a diet high in vegetables. legumes and fruit though, adding protein in the form of meat, fish, chicken and eggs, which I have a slim budget for and for which I shop carefully.

2. Plan for your needs later in life. We are Baby Boomers and have plans in place for our retirement that do not include a pension. We've made investments over the last twenty years to alleviate that need and although the GFC mucked with that a fair bit, we still think we will be okay if we continue to live carefully.

3. Eliminate expensive entertainment options. Our entertainment needs are simple. We stay home and watch movies, Husband has his music, I have all my creative endeavours, and we spend time with friends or family mainly eating at home. We don't have and have never had cable television, but we do now subscribe to Netflix for a nominal monthly fee. We love theatre, but even then, we are now choosing to support local theatre over the big productions and attend local dance school concerts in preference to attending the professional ballet. This means we see really awesome shows for around $30 each instead of $150 each. We're just as happy and find the shows equally entertaining.

4. Treat your role as the homemaker seriously. As the homemaker, I try to save us money by conserving fuel, making our clothes or checking out the charity stores (which incidentally sees us all very well clothed in 'name' brands), and feeding us economically. I make my own soap, laundry detergent and dog food. Treats revolve around special snacks or meals that I cook, and not around going out for meals or buying takeaway. I don't have expensive habits or hobbies and our only extravagance is that occasional concert or trip to the theatre.

My biggest recent extravagance was buying an $89 robot vacuum cleaner. I figured I'd see whether we liked it before we lashed out on the expensive version. Well, so far, so good. It's doing a great job and the time it's saved me means I can focus on baking, sewing PJs and casual clothes for Daughter, and volunteering.

For me, the choice to be a Homemaker means that I treat my role as seriously as I would a job outside the home. Whether anyone else sees it that way is irrelevant. I go to bed early and I rise early, get as much housework done as I can, and plan my grocery shopping or bill paying or other errands around one or two outings a week, to conserve fuel. I do what I have to do as quickly and as efficiently as possible and return home.

I then unpack the groceries ensuring that they are stored for the greatest longevity and freshness possible. I always bake and cook as I unpack, and try to get at least two meals into the fridge immediately. Today between 9:30 and 10:30, I put on a piece of corned meat, made pumpkin, potato and sweet potato soup, roasted some pumpkin pieces for risotto, and made GF red velvet cupcakes. I also soaked rice vermicelli for Daughters rice paper rolls for her University lunch tomorrow, and partially froze, then sliced one piece of marked down steak into paper thin slivers for ricepaper rolls and stir fry.

I sat down for the first time, at 10:45, having risen at 6am, for a well earned cuppa. Nothing I'm doing is difficult, but I do have to stay focused, resist the temptation to sit at the computer, go to small stand alone shopping centres where nothing is interesting enough to distract me, and say no to invitations to coffee or lunch. I prefer to eat at home anyway and will often suggest that as an alternative but for most of my friends, the lure of Westfield is too great. That's okay. I'm happy to be different, and if I had a job outside of the home, I wouldn't just be trotting off for a jaunt to the shopping centre for coffee whenever I felt like it. I'd be working. So work in the home must take priority as well.

5. Plan ahead for everything. Plan ahead for next seasons clothing needs, for birthdays, for Christmas, for Easter, for holidays for staycations, where you stay at home and entertain yourself and the family with planned activities instead of going away. Planning ahead means you can put what little money you have, into snapping up bargains or buying fabric from the remnants bin, or buying a sewing machine or overlocker or a robot vacuum cleaner, or setting it aside for something worthwhile, rather than frittering it away on random purchases that do little to enhance your life in the longer term. And don't just look ahead one year. Try to see 5, 10, 20 years ahead. This helps keep things in perspective. That pair of shoes, or jeans or bag or coffee will mean nothing in 5 years. That money on your mortgage or into superannuation or just into the bank for a rainy day, could have the power to have a significant impact on your life.

Well that's where I've been with my thinking for several years now. I'm always a fix-it kinda person. I can't sit around for too long complaining. I'm always trying to think 'what can be done to make this situation better', and then I do it.

I'm at peace with where we are in life.

Are you?

Are there things you can do to find that peace?
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  1. Loved this post Mimi, money or not, what a beautiful life you have created for you and your family.
    Lisa xo

    1. We went to visit my daughter in the UK in June/July. Her Birthday is not until October.... so I purchased some of her favourite ECOYA products.....that were on sale for 30% off and Free Delivery. I wrapped these up individually in pretty paper... then placed them in a very standard shoebox to avoid the squeeze and look test. We took it with us... and she placed it at the bottom of wardrobe. Come October she will have an amazing present, of something she loves and misses... that cost me 30% less on Purchase and saved me about $50 postage. As you say its all about thinking ahead. I have about $80 extra in my purse because of it.

      Christmas was equally as planned.... a beautifully packaged gift voucher arrived for her.... for High Tea with bubbles at the Ritz... and experience that will be with her for life... and no money wasted on postage.

  2. My mother always said, "The harder you work, the luckier you get!"
    Always worked for me and obviously you, too!
    Always look forward to your blog, since the old SS days.

    1. Your Mother was right Deborah. And

  3. I spent the weekend home alone as the boys went camping. I got the washing on the line and went out and did my grocery shopping on Saturday morning and browsed in a few shops. When I got back home, like you, I cooked while unpacking the groceries, then did some cleaning. I sat on my verandah and some smoked salmon on rye bread with a pot of tea in glorious sunshine. Later in the day I took the dog to the park and we had a good play. I ate my evening meal and watched some Netflix. My husband phoned to ask if I was OK. OK? I'm in my On Sunday more of the same and topped it off with a trip to the movies with a lovely friend to see a documentary about surfing in Ireland called between the Land and the Sea. Really lovely scenery and lots of young people living a simple life and loving it. JaniebabeX

  4. Your blog posts are inspiring, helpful and comforting Mimi. Thanks for always being so authentic. Amanda

  5. Great advice. Love this post. Thanks

  6. Excellent advice! Don't forget to check your local high schools; they have theater plays as well, for a very low price. My son's high school has a phenomenal theater department and I've been absolutely blown away by the performances there. Last year, they put on the musical CATS, and I could not believe how well done it was- it was seriously at the professional theater level. Well worth the five dollars I spent for a ticket, and I'll continue to attend the performances there after my son graduates. It's an inexpensive evening out!

  7. Hi Mimi, I found your blog through Annabel's. Good ideas here, and I especially like the idea that we have a job at home, and it's important. I don't understand people who think it's boring and are always wanting to get out. So much to do here, and much nicer, too. Deborah

  8. This was a very nice message and something we can all strive towards. My daughter has a son that will be attending kindergarten this year. She got most of his clothes as hand me downs from friends or extreme clearance items. I was honored to buy the last few pieces he needed... a good pair of leather shoes- we found on sale for $15, a well-made light-weight rain jacket- this was the most expensive item which was $30 but I asked her to make sure when he out-grows it to pass it on to someone that could really use it and finally a package of socks. Now, he is set for the year unless his feet grow a lot and then a new pair of shoes will be in order. I am very pleased that my daughter was able to outfit him for school with very little out of pocket expense for her. She is very happy right where she is and he is more than happy.

  9. I love the way you think. Anne

  10. I so appreciate that you remind us how important our home jobs are! I have always loved being at home. There's always more I could do to be more economical. Thanks for the reminders. Keep them coming. :)


  11. Being real homebodies, one thing we like to do is to spend any unexpected windfalls on something for the home that is not strictly necessary, but which will give us a lot of pleasure. The money is not frittered away, but is used as a treat that will continue to give pleasure for many years, both in the object itself and remembering how it was, effectively, 'free'. Tracy. X


I love hearing from you! I always respond to comments, so don't be shy! Mimi xxx