Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Financial Goals: 2013

I think it's important (if not vital) to have financial goals, regardless of what income you are earning, not only is it a good idea to be thinking ahead in regards to your financial status, but it also heaps to keep your current financial 'status' in check.

Example; if you want to buy a house within the next 5 years, you probably want to start a home savings account now rather than later. Just like if you are wanting or needing a newer car in the future, try to save an impressive deposit for the car, so you're not spending the first 2-3 years of your loan paying interest.

Below are our financial goals for 2013:



1/ Pay off all Credit Card and Personal Loan Debt: Over the last few years whether it be due to circumstances or just plain want of an item we have accumulated credit card and personal loan debt. We are not proud of this. I've organized our debt to be cleared within the next 6 months at the very most, following the Snowball Debt Effect. Roughly this debt amounts to $4,300.

2/ Start a Savings Plan: We don't particularly have a 'savings' account at current, as we are largely focusing on eliminating our current debt. However, this is something that I hate thinking about not having, and as soon as we have made a good dent on our current debt we will be aiming to have at least 1 months wages saved, or ideally $3500 or more by December.

3/ Start a Wedding Budget: I don't want to get all the way out of debt, just to get back into it for our wedding. So it's important for us to know what we can afford and what we can't. For me, photography is important and I would without a doubt spend more on photos then I would for my wedding dress. Now that is just my own choice. Finding out what you can afford to pay rather then what you'd love to pay is critical, so before booking venues and caterers, start a wedding budget!

4/ No more negative expense! Negative debt relates to purchases where you are unlikely to see a return of income (for that amount or more.) For example we need a clothes dryer, but if we purchased one using credit cards then not only would we be paying interest on the dryer but also we would never be able to sell the dryer for the purchase amount.

It's inevitable that something unplanned will occur in relation to your finances so to help make the impact of those unplanned events less damaging I can't stress enough to start a savings plan!

Well there you have it! That's our financial goals for 2013 :) Feel free to leave a comment below and let me know if you'd like more finance related posts.

Until next time,





Monday, January 28, 2013

Budgeting 101




Organizing our budget is not something I take to lightly. Along the years of organizing our finances I have come to know what works for us and what techniques just aren't plausible (for our family.) One technique that has worked for us since the very beginning is an Excel Spreadsheet.


I've tweaked the budget repeatedly over the years, as I find new and more efficient ways to keep track of our expenses via the Spreadsheet, which at the moment is the easiest option, as I can go through and add or deduct an expense without having to change the entire budget as it automatically updates once a change has been made.

I also have recently downloaded a free app called iSpreadsheet which allows me to access the budget via my phone on the go! (I simply emailed the budget to myself then opened it on my iPhone via the app) The app comes in very handy if we are at the shops and need to know if we could afford something, I simply open the app, see how much money we will have remaining after all our current expenses are paid and then know whether or not we can afford that something extra. * Note: I'm not affiliated with the app, I just think it's pretty nifty!

 The third way I keep a record of our expenses/ income is via the calendar/budget section of the my day planner. I have highlighted each pay date with a green sticker, I then see what dates all our bills for that month are due, and organize them to be paid around the 2 pay dates. There are 2 expenses that just aren't negotiable and unfortunately are both due the weeks we aren't paid on, so I budget to have the amount needed for each expense in our Cheque account for when they are deducted. 


On the other side of this calendar is the budget planner, this is super handy as I can then plan out our monthly budget whilst easily referring to the calendar. Again this is the least used method as I don't always remember to plan out the expenses in the budget section, and generally favor the Spreadsheet for reference. However I do want to start organizing this area more!

I also want to start incorporating a cash envelope system into our budget for things such as fuel and groceries, as we tend to overspend in this area without knowing it and I'd like to know just how much we are averaging a week for both of these expenses.

So that's how we budget! Do you have a different way of planning your budget? I'd love to know, so leave me a comment below!

Until Next Time,


Friday, January 25, 2013

Virtual Makeover

This Mumma needs a makeover*!

*A Budget Friendly Makeover

 

I'm in a rut at the moment in regards to my looks. I've put getting anything done about said rut off on the back burner for too long now, and I think it's about time I mix it up a bit. Scared I might give myself an Ombre Mullet, I came across Virtual Makeover! A great tool when wanting to see what you'd look like with various cuts and colours...without stepping a foot away from your computer screen :)

I spent a good amount of my night looking at all the different cuts/ colours that I have wanted to try...and some were just plain scary when I saw what I'd look like...BLAH and GAH! Then there were the good ones they genuinely surprised me.

Take a look.

Hair Colour and Cut: 

I have been DIY cutting and colouring my hair for around 2 years now, and it's time I let a professional give it a go ;) I have a local salon near where I live so I might suss it out for pricing.

Until then I made sure I checked out all my options with cuts and colours via the Virtual Makeover...here's just a few!

BLONDE AMBITION:



Choppy Bangs...


 Pretty and Preppy


Siding with a part


BRUNETTE AMBITION:



 Side Bangs

 

B..B...B...Blunt BANGS

If you want to have a crack at a virtual makeover for yourself (or someone else) you can start by clicking here. Please note: I'm in no way affiliated with this site, I stumbled across it and simply believe it's a helpful tool. That's all. I'm not paid a single dollar to say anything about the site.

One thing I really like about this particular Virtual Makeover is that at the end, you have the option to see the full list of products you used though I'd still recommend testing those products in store before purchasing them! The downside to the Virtual Makeover is after a while I got very sick of looking at my own face haha, but at least I now have a firm idea of what looks ridiculously horrible on me and what doesn't.

EBONY ENVY:

 

I quite favored my raven locks but got lazy on the makeup and looked quite...strange :) 

 

MISCELLANEOUS:






So that's my dabble in Virtual Makeovers!

I wanted to quickly add a HUGE Thank you to everyone who reads my blog! I now have over 15,000 views and I am planning on doing a giveaway when that number reaches 20,000 as a way of connecting further with you all. I really appreciate every single person who reads my blog/ follows it! 

If you have a blog, I'd love to give it a read so just leave a link in the comments below x

Until Next Time, 

 




Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Frumpy & Frazzled

I've run out of steam! I've pulled myself in so many directions lately trying to stay on top of everything that I've ended up being burnt out, sitting on the couch with no will to do anything more. Does anyone else do this? Burn yourself out after piling your to-do list way too high?

As I sit and type this post to you, it's 9:27 p.m and I keep staring at the new black notebook I purchased yesterday..why did I purchase said notebook? I don't even know! It looked so organized with it's sleekness and crisp pages, and so it sits in my to-sort pile (that seems to be ever mounting.)

The two images below are to highlight my current state...The left image is what I look like day in, day out at the moment (wait, that's a lie. Usually my hair's hiked in a pony tail) I look tired, so very tired. I'm not really sure why I'm THAT tired, I mean I'm used to the patchy sleep hours with a new baby ... so it's probably my diet and lack (i can't express this enough) of exercise.



The image on the right is what you'd see if you follow me on Instagram, it's got a nice 'radiant' look to it, but I want to be honest and really just state the obvious, I do not look like this all the time. I think it's important people admit to that haha, makes us all feel better I think.

 
 
Isn't duck face just the best... -_-

I am beyond burnt out at the moment, and feel super frazzled. I need a vacation from myself! I'm thinking of booking in a hair treatment/cut, nails done and getting back some self respect and love happening. This year is about not only physical health and well being, but also mental health also. I think a lot of us take ourselves for granted, and get to a point where our body and mind just say hold up, wait a minute!

I want/ need to know I'm not the only one who piles themselves with so much to-do and feels so overwhelmed. If you're like me and you feel anxiety when you don't get everything done, then maybe we can get through it together. Maybe only have 10 things on our to-do list for each day as a maximum, maybe reward ourselves at some point for all our efforts (but let's not over reward and lose track)

Who knows! I'm really keen to get a bit of a pampering day happening though. Total detox I think!

Are the happy go lucky type? Or do you like to keep control over your life and how it plays out?

I'd love to know :)

Until Next Time,




Friday, January 18, 2013

Juicing: Fruit & Veg

I am getting my fruit and veg juice on! I'm swapping my love of energy drinks for a more natural way to get chirpy! This will be my 'go-go' juice, and my reason to start spending more time in the produce area of my local supermarket :)


Juicing is simply put; taking the fruits and vegetables that you love/ want to have but don't really eat as often as you should, juicing them, and drinking it up :) There are all different types of juices, some for digestive problems (combat bloating, irritability etc.) there's the 'detox' juicing for those who like to over-indulge, or even the energy juice for those who love a good kick start in the morning without the aide of an artificial energy drink.

 Before


  After :) It takes under 3 minutes to set up.
Top Tip: put a plastic bag in the 'waste' area of the juicer to minimize washing up :) the fiber that's in the 'waste' after juicing makes great mulch :) I've read that it can be made into cookies as well..but I'm not in any hurry to try that just yet.

The trick if you're looking to save at least a few dollars when juicing, is to look at what fruit and veggies are in season at the time and purchase them. You can also freeze fruit and vegetables ahead, if you really love a certain combination.

 I don't know how much my particular juicer cost (the brand is CookWell) as it was a birthday present from Luke back in 2011, but I have looked around and a decent juicer will set you back around $65-70.



Then there's your produce selection. I strongly suggest you research different juices, and be open to trying different combinations. I'm starting with my mean green energy machine juice every morning which is:


Lemon
Ginger
Celery
Cucumber
Green Apples
Carrots

I intend to make my juice for the mornings the night before so it's all prepped for me at 6:30. I am also not using it as a detox/ meal replacement at this point. Along with my juice in the morning I will be aiming to cook up some protein such as eggs in an omelette to get me zooming along.

I'm off to do some errands for the day. I hope your Friday treats you well.

Until Next Time,


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Home Decor: Lounge Room

And no progress shall be made on the lounge room this week, said my life. And it was done. Sorry this is a day late, my life seems to be runny a bit fast paced at the moment, and trying to scramble a few spare minutes here and there is proving difficult.

Jett seems to be teething, or at least just dribbling a lot and has resulted in him being quite grouchy the last few days, only adding to my lack of sleep/ blogging ability. Poor little guy.

Whilst pondering my bare lounge room, I have come to the conclusion though that before I am able to organize it...I should probably go about acquiring furniture. We are currently renting, so any organization that I do, I need it to be 'renter friendly'. So in the mean time, I've put together a little inspiration board to help me on my way to a much nicer and full lounge room.

 


 

I love white ceramic animals on dark canvas, and since our lounge room colour palette will be all about dark greys/ charcoals, I want to have accent features such as white ceramic and splashes of gold, just to highlight the room a little.

The bookshelf will be a mix of all  DVD's and Xbox games (all alphabetized of course) so I didn't want something so tall that I couldn't reach the top shelf, but tall enough that it could hold a fair amount of cases (vertical length is our preference due to wall availability)

The lounge room layout will be child friendly, whilst still feeling like an adults living room (the kids have their very own kid toy room.) In the next year or two I'd like to replace both our current couch and dining table for something more comfortable and user friendly.

So that's my update on the lounge room, ideally I will have it set up the way I'd like within 6 months (as I'd need to save of course) but that does depend on whether we will still be living in our current house :)

For this weeks home organization challenge, I've started work on our kitchen, here's my goals:
- complete cupboard organization (sooo many cupboards!)
- have the fridge clean and organized (make a system so it stays that way!)
- better bench top space usage

Lily starts preschool next month so I am also organizing her very own lunch station where I have everything she will take for lunch all prepared on one shelf of the pantry, making my life a little easier the night before :)

Until Next Time,



Monday, January 14, 2013

BROOM BROOM!!

This weekend was hectic. Crazy hectic. We just purchased a new car (new to us) to help take the pressure of being a one vehicle family, it just wasn't working having one vehicle with two little children and Luke working 12 hour days. So it was time to get another vehicle. But that meant going to get the vehicle...

Jett (our 2 month old) really doesn't like car rides. In fact he really really hates them. So being in the car for 3 hours, wasn't an enjoyable experience for any of us. I just kept telling myself in the car it's worth the trip, it's worth the trip, IT'LL BE WORTH IT!! We got a Subaru Forester for anyone who's curious. It's pretty schmicko.

 
Let's get serious here.

A new car equals new expenses. And new expenses means re-budgeting our budget. But honestly, being a one car household was driving me absolutely bonkas! We live in a 'bay' area..which is fancy talk for 'stranded from civilization apart from a bay.' To top our 'bay' living we also have a 2 month old and a 3 year old, so all of us spending time in the house together, 24/7 was....was very...hectic.

Getting an additional car, I knew I'd be the one to be budgeting for the additional expenses that brings with it. Luke and I spoke about the chances of getting a new car, and although ideally we had wanted to save up and get a car without the need for finance, we both agreed that it just wasn't going to work that way as we needed another vehicle sooner then what we could save for. Lily starts preschool in a mere few weeks and I need a car more then ever now.

Here's the basic breakdown of our expenses for transportation:


Both our vehicles are on good interest rates, so in that aspect I am thrilled. We will have all debt (apart from our vehicles) paid off by June this year, and have our vehicles paid off no later than October next year, which is great considering they are on a 5 year term each.

The downside about having just purchased the Subaru though, is I now see just how filthy my poor Mazda 6 has gotten, with the likes of my 3 year old who is almost always eating in the car, I found sultanas and crushed dried crackers underneath her car seat whilst trying to clean my car back to a recognizable state. I also found dried up noodles in my center console, empty cans, old takeaway cup holders...I could have potentially opened up my own shop with all the crapola I found.

Not to fear though, I will whip on some gloves, arm myself with the hand held vac and in no time I will zoom zoom in my broom broom!

Until Next Time!



 


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

How to Organize Your Office Desk


I'm so sorry that this post is late! I scheduled it to go up this morning but, as I edited it on my phone for the first time I probably didn't do it right. Anyhoo, last Wednesday I wrote about my Organization Journey that I would be embarking on this year, click here to check out the post in case you missed it.

 It's a super simple desk/layout, but it's effectively efficient :)

The magazines/ books on the left aren't a permanent fixture, I was doing our menu plan/grocery list at the time :)


 
 Before: I used my desk as a dumping ground and got annoyed every time I sat down and looked at the messy set up.

Here's the breakdown of how I went about organizing the first area on my list: The Office Area

My number one tip is: Keep it simple
It's so easy to think I want a really pretty desk set up that looks so organized, then overdo the 'organization' and simply have a desk that looks organized but it's really suiting your needs. Make sure that it looks neat but is also very functional.
  •  My Planner/Calendar: This is always in my inbox tray, at the top, so I have immediate access to it and it's always in site. I refer to this constantly so it's important to know where it is.
  • Desk Trays: A vital thing for me to have on my desk are desk trays. I currently have two. 1 is for my 'inbox' which could mean anything from mail I need to open, to bills I need to pay, the 2nd tray is my 'outbox' which as you can imagine is for things I have already opened/read and now just need to send them off or file them away. I sort through the in/out box at the end of each week to avoid it building up.
  • My Accessories Tray: This is a cute little tray I picked up for $2 (for 2) it holds all my post it notes, my paper clips, hole punch, stapler, staples etc. It's my go-to place so I keep it close to my keyboard for easy access. 
  • The Pull out tray: I use my keyboard on the top section of the desk, so I only use the tray to keep my household management binder (you can read my post about that here) I avoid sticking anything else here (such as loose papers) otherwise I won't see it and most likely forget I put it there
  • Pen Holders: I have 2 that I bought from Kmart for $2. One I use strictly for my pens, the other I have for my highlighters/glue stick.
  • Make sure items that you have at your desk are relevant to your needs. I keep a small selection of magazines at all times down the bottom of my desk. They are related to health and fitness, so I have easy access to tips/ nutrition ideas whilst planning out my weekly goals/food.
So that's it. How do you manage your desk? I use my desk for just about everything I do, from organizing my week, blogging, budgeting, to drawing up ideas for my wedding. It's all done at this space so I need it to be a clean and tidy place.

My new challenge is all about Organizing our lounge room, which happens to look super bare at the moment as we don't have much furniture in it.. but we'll see how we go :) I'd like a more 'inviting' feel, so I will Google around for some inspiration and hopefully turn our lounge room from barely entertaining, to humbly inviting..in one week!

If you have a blog, feel free to link it below :) Don't forget to follow SkinnyBudget (if you're not already) to keep up with my Operation Organization (and even join in if you want!) which I am undertaking over 15 weeks :)

Until Next Time,


Monday, January 7, 2013

Getting fit after having a baby!

As I type this post, I cringe at the thought of the conversation my daughter Lily and I had in the bathroom tonight.

Lily: Mummy, are you pregnant again
Me (horrified): no...why do you think that?
Lily (grabs the side of my belly): your tummy looks like it has one more baby in there
Me (more horrified): well, mummy doesn't have a baby in there, but I just had a baby (2 months ago) so mummy's belly is resting
Lily (rubs my belly): If the baby is a boy, I'd like that.


It was a wake up call for me to say the least. Sure, she's only 3, but I really did need to hear it, and Lily certainly will tell me the elephant in the room type things.

Since having our son Jett 2 months ago, our lives have been all about late nights, early mornings, and a very noisy baby thanks to Colic. Lily, our first born, never experienced colic and was always very content in her bouncer whilst I did the housework, my workouts, cooked healthy lunches etc (also I only had 1 child at the time so it was much easier.) Jett will scream his little lungs out, even if he's in the deepest sleep, if we dare try and put him into his swinger.

So finding time to prepare healthy meals or even exercise has been harder then I expected, and along the way of finding time, I sort of gave up on my diet. When I have a spare few moments, my mentality has been; just do something relaxing, watch some T.V or blog! A few circumstances however have recently changed. YAY! Lily starts preschool in February and Luke starts shift work this month, that means more help when Luke's home annnnnd when Lily's at preschool and Jett's asleep I will do my workouts :)

Here's some healthy alternatives from my usual diet I am also changing:

- replacing white bread with wholemeal

- increase everyone in the household's vegetable and fruit intake: I am getting my juicer out of the cupboard and will be having 1-2 juices a day

- introduce more protein into our diet: this should be simple as we all love chicken, eggs and fish.

- replace take-out with better meal preparation and make-at-home take away. Luke and Lily love when I make hamburgers, so I might extend that to chicken and fish burgers with home made tomato sauce!

- exercise!! 30-45 minutes, 5-6 days a week. This is a big priority for me as I love being active and miss the buzz of accomplishing a workout.

I will also be starting a YouTube channel to track my progress :) I will link the videos to the tab above when I upload them. I don't have a set schedule for when I will do them just yet, but it will definitely be attempted as a weekly thing.

Feel free to come along with me on a new healthier you journey :)

Until Next Time,


Friday, January 4, 2013

Easy Mummy Fashion

4 pieces of clothing, 4 looks
Easy Mummy Fashion on a budget :)

It's not rocket science, I'm aware of this, but sometimes, it's nice to get a little OOTD inspiration from elsewhere and even better if you already have the items needed :) These are 4 very basic looks, the purpose of this is to inspire you to add to it, put your own spin on it and rock it. Easy. Mummy. Fashion :)

Look 1
I wore this on New Years Day. It was super quick to throw on, and although white items usually equal disaster with me (I'm like a toddler with food stains) this look worked really well. It's always easy to accessorize bold colours with simple accessories, and with a 2 month old baby I didn't want bulky accessories that might dig into him while I was give him millions and millions  lots of hugs. I went with hair down for casual look, but this look can be amped up with a high pony tail for an instant prep look.

Singlet: Target $12 Skirt: Target $30 Wrist Cuff: Just Jeans $5 Necklace: Gift
 
Look 2
I'm actually wearing this look today, whilst we go look at a potential new car. It's sophisticated enough for me, yet again, super comfortable and only takes a few minutes to put together. I'm wearing my hair in a sleeked back pony tail with white gladiator sandals as it's a bit too hot for anything closed in. This look would also work on a dinner date, casual drinks or a breakfast with friends.

 Blazer: Avacado $19.95 Singlet: Target $12 Jeans: Kmart $5

Look 3:
This look is more glam. I'd wear this on a date with Luke, or just on an evening out. It's the exact look as Look 2, however with the addition of my sequin top/dress (it's labelled a dress but it's UBER short) I feel a bit more dolled up. Hair down or in a ballerina bun both look great with this look. 

You can mix it up and swap out the jeans for some leggings and even add a bold necklace to the ensemble to give it some extra love.
 

Look 4:
Take off the blazer from look 3 and you're rocking a far more casual/pretty look. I'd wear this to a nice lunch with friends or a birthday party for my little ones. I find the darker the jeans, the more flattering, my preference jeans would be a skinny fit (not the kind that restrict blood flow!) As to show off those pins. The neckline of this dress/top is super flattering, without giving too much away ;) I generally straighten my hair for this look or do a twisty up do, just to indulge my more girly side.  
 Mini Dress: $19.95 Wrist Cuff: Just Jeans $5 Jeans: Kmart $5

So there you have it!
4 pieces of clothing that you probably have in your wardrobe already. I hope you found this helpful, or at least entertaining. They are just my very basic tips on throwing some items together when you're a little more demanded on, and a little less time friendly.
I'd love to know your thoughts :) If you have a blog, I'd also love to give it a read so just link it down below.

Until Next Time,




Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Becoming Organized

I hope everyone has had a great start to 2013! I've been inspired by Pinterest and a few organization blogs to start getting much more organized in my life/ home.  So this year I am doing my very own: Operation Organization, which will be conducted over 15 weeks. I will do a post every Wednesday showing my progress. 



Each week I will tackle a different area, some areas will need A LOT more attention then others.

Week 1: The Office Desk
Week 2: The Lounge room
Week 3: The Kitchen
Week 4: The Kids Playroom
Week 5: Lily's Room
Week 6: The Nursery
Week 7: The Guest Bathroom/Toilet
Week 8: The Spare Room
Week 9: The Linen Cupboard
Week 10: The Main Bedroom
Week 11: Main Bathroom/Toilet
Week 12: My Closet!
Week 13: The Laundry Room
Week 14: My Car
Week 15: My Handbag

Each week will include different tasks as we cover a different area, however the end goal is the same; maximize the usage from the space by organizing and de-cluttering.

If you'd love to be a part of this journey or even take inspiration from myself along the way, you can subscribe to the blog via email or your RSS feed (there will be buttons below/on the side bar to do so.) I will upload before and after photos with each week's post as well as information on what I did to achieve the after look. I have two little children (a 3.5 year old and a 2 month old) so my methods will be time wise and kid home friendly.

If you have a blog, feel free to link it below as I am always looking for more blogs to read :) Also feel free to share this post if you know someone who loves organization and a challenge ;)

Until Next Time,


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