Monday, April 29, 2013

Home Office Desk Organisation

I am always looking for new, more effective ways to keep myself (and my household) organised. It becomes almost a challenge to find that perfect system that works 'kink' free, so whilst on the hunt for that 'perfect' system, I have been on the lookout for a new, larger office desk for a while as my previous layout was feeling a little cramped.

I looked around on sites such as Gumtree for a while however the price range for the type of office desk/ furniture I was looking to upgrade to, was favouring the $300 and upwards... so I kept looking.

After a few weeks however, just like my $1 Filofax.... I struck lucky!

There it was, $70 of pure greatness, solid wood, complete with 6 spacious drawers and boasting plenty of space for everything that I use on my desk daily... Then.. not even 2 weeks later I found my new filing storage unit for $15 at a garage sale. It was exactly what I was looking for. I didn't mind paying $15 for it after we only paid $2 for our DVD stand. Bargain Buys!

$2 Garage Sale Bargain!

I much prefer the hanging files to our old filing system

Luke went to Kmart yesterday and picked up some 'hanging files' so I was able to make a new filing system for all our documents, it took about 3 hours to go through and sort all our old files/ needed to be filed documents but it was well worth the time. Now everything is easily accessible when needed.

I've been inspired by a lot of desks on Pinterest to go the more simpler route and opt for less items on my desk, making full use of my drawer space. Clutter always makes me feel overwhelmed and a little blah, so having a neat and simple layout to my desk only seems to encourage me to keep organised.

Plus, I am able to see what stationary items I am running low on/ have too much of, when they've all got their own designated spot in my drawer.

I picked up a to-do list pad from Kmart for $2 and a weekly planner (I think that was also $2) both of which are permanently on my desk for easy reference. I still have a to-sort paper pile, however I have moved this to my filing storage unit, I wasn't sure if this was a good choice however it seems to be working just fine.

I also picked up some purple desk top organisers from Kmart for around $2 - $5, these house spare cords, stickers for my planner and spare note pads. Out of the way, but still easily accessible if I ever need them.

I store an assortment of magazines on my desk (wedding, health and cooking) as they are all relevant to the planning/ organising I do. I avoid buying gossip magazines, and opt to only keep relevant material around... aiming to inspire ones self and all of that positive goodness. With only 10 months remaining until our wedding, it's always encouraging for me to have bridal magazines close by to gently remind me don't slack off, you're getting married soon!

So that's my Home Office Desk Organisation Layout, the revised edition nevertheless 

Remember for your chance to win your very own Filofax Domino (in personal size) all you have to do is be a member of the blog, one I reach 50 members I will be choosing someone at random. 
Have to be in it to win it, right? ;)

Until Next Time,

Friday, April 26, 2013

My Budget Planner: Filofax

My Budget Planner

Keeping on track with your finances can turn into a gruelling and frankly quite depressing chore when you don't have some sort of system to it. This is why I created our finance binder.

I needed more out of our old system (which you can read about here.)

Introducing the Filofax Domino (in personal size)

I keep my loyalty store cards that I have with various shops in the card section of the organiser for easy access at the checkout. Next I have a pull out calendar, we get paid twice monthly so I have those dates highlighted in yellow, and other income we may receive I highlight in blue as it may not be guaranteed. 

In the week to 2 pages section I make note of any bills we receive on their due date.

Now for the 6 tabs:

Tab 1: Cash/ Cheque Account Monitor

Any small (under $20) purchase whether it is paid with by our debit card or cash is written in this section, it just makes it easier to keep track of the minor costs that quickly add up.

I also store receipts for the week in a clear envelope that was provided with the Filofax.

Tab 2: The Monthly Budget/ Bill tracker

I made up using and Excel Spreadsheet a yearly overview of our entire income/ expenses. This allows me to reference any bill/ income and make sure I have budgeted accordingly. 

We get paid twice monthly so I break the month into 1st - 15th and 16th - 31st then I write out every bill that is due in those 2 periods and make sure our budget covers all those costs.

I also designed in Excel a Bill Payment Checklist, making it easy to see if we are up to date in the month.

Lastly for this section I have a Monthly budget template. This is all of the above information clearly laid out so I can look at the month, see our total expenses and income and know what we will have remaining. 

Tab 3: Wedding Savings Tracker

We are getting married in 10 months time and still have a bit of saving to do, so for me this is one of the most important tabs to keep updated. Whether I am paying $200 or $3, if it is to do with the wedding it will be recorded in this section.

It also helps me keep track of who we owe what to.

Tab 4: Debt Repayment Plan

We have just about smashed all of our debt right out of our lives *applause* but we still do have a tiny bit left, so to make it easier to see our progress I enabled the help of Microsoft Word and made my own printable for this section.

Tab 5: Notes

I urge you not to overlook a simple addition of a notes tab. Whether someone is giving me a quote for something or I need to jot down how much we owe on something... it goes into the notes area for quick reference when I have more time to write it in the proper area. That way I'm not hunting down a random scrap bit of paper later on.

Tab 6: Cash Envelope System

This is pretty self explanatory. I only keep two envelopes in here however and they are only what I do with my pocket money (read about that post here) for the month. Right now I am all about sewing. So I have one envelope for fabric supplies etc. and the other is misc at the moment.

I now use my Finance Binder (the A4 one) to store all my bills due/paid for the month. At the end of every month, I then file all the relevant bills away. But that's for another post ;)

**I'm not an affiliate of Filofax. I am simply a fan of theirs :) If you would like the chance to own your very own Filofax Domino, I will be holding a giveaway once SkinnyBudget blog reaches 50 subscribers/ followers :)

Until next time,

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Budget Savvy Bride: The Dress

May I cast your attention back to my first attempt at buying a wedding dress (you can read my post on that here) when I made the ... unfortunate decision to purchase my dress online, hey it works for some people, it just didn't work out for me... and sadly our budget got a smack for no reason. Sorry budget.

I have taken the experience from dress 1 though (I even cringe writing dress 1) and I intend to move forward, learning from my errors. 

I have since booked an appointment with an actual boutique, I made a call and discussed my budget, body shape and preferences in a dress and now I am excited for what Friday's appointment brings (I'll keep you posted of course.)

I never knew the 'technical' term but apparently I love modern-vintage dresses, and they seem to love high price tags *shakes fist* so I am hoping that on Friday I can try on a dress, it then becomes the dress and I will celebrate with a coffee (not in the dress of course.)

As for that previous dress (let's call her .... Lacey) I will be putting Lacey up for sale and seeing how she goes, she's a great dress, but not a great fit on me. 

Lesson very much learnt; no trying to cut corners! Or they'll end up cutting into your budget

Until Next Time,

Monday, April 22, 2013

Filofax Domino Personal Organiser Review & Giveaway

After last weeks post about my $1 Filofax dupe I started having a look online at the actual pricing of Filofax's (available in Australia) and I was honestly taken back by the pricing of one Filofax organiser in particular: the Filofax Domino Personal Organiser.

I've been wanting to make managing our finances easier for a while, but knew our finances would need their own organiser (they don't like to share), separate from my normal family organiser (my $1 Filofax Dupe.) So this is the perfect size (and colour :)

The Packaging wasn't what I expected, I know Domino is at the cheaper end of the Filofax scale but I still expected a Filofax protective box for it to come in. However it was packaged as below in a delivery box so I was a little oh..okay then about it but not exactly heartbroken as the plastic protecting is very hardy. 

The colour is amazing, it's a rich and vibrant shade of pink which suits me just fine, I was a little hesitant to get yet another pink organiser as I seem to have a problem saying no to the colour pink but the vibrancy of this particular shade lets me forgive myself that I once again chose pink.

 The Domino is wrapped with a strap that holds your life everything in place and while I wasn't sure at first if I loved or hated it (I'm very fond of the generic one push clip mechanism) it's growing on me.

The one thing I will mention that I really am not fond of at the moment is the fact the Filofax doesn't lay flat, it seems to only want to close when placed open on the table, nothing I'm sure a heavy book or sewing box won't correct.


The pop of complimenting pink colour inside the Domino is always a people pleaser. 

If you're interested in seeing how I organise our finances using the Filofax Domino then just leave a comment below (or tweet or Facebook..) and let me know :) 

I want to share the Filofax love so once I reach 50 followers I will be giving away a Filofax Domino Personal Organiser in Purple:

Do you have a Filofax favourite or even just a particular organiser that works for you?

Until Next Time,

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wedding on a Budget pt4

It's Wednesday Wedding Update time! The first thing I will mention is that our budget had to be...ahem upped as I hadn't considered what costs are involved with having a bridal/ grooms wedding party...and that was a regrettable budgeting fail on my part.

We went from $10,500 to $11,500 very quickly (I mean super quickly) so after a very I want to hit myself for being an idiot but don't want to seem like an idiot hitting myself moment, I re budgeted, moved a few things around and wa-la we were back in business bay-bee.

If you want to check my other posts (which show you my progress so far and what projects I am tackling then click here for Part 1, here for Part 2 or here for Part 3) otherwise read on to learn about...the online fail (I like to cover all fail areas, apparently.)

The day I tried my set on in the store...a beautiful day!

Wedding Dress: Ughhhhhhh! GAH and Blah! I thought I would just be very casual in my approach to 'obtaining' a wedding dress, seeing as I am not a huge 'dress' gal, but...that really came to bite me in the butt because I recieved it (after waiting 45 days for it to be custom made) and it was beyond words...terrible. It didn't seem 'custom' tailored to my body shape or size at all, I just feel like I'm swimming in lots of fabric :(

One day you may see this day

I haven't really looked back on the wedding dress 'incident' though (until this post...thanks post) if I'm to be honest, I didn't want to get hung up on the whole experience as it was very draining and frustrating, and it's the type of thing where I just wanted to have a tantrum and smack a pillow (yep, a 3 year old would have been proud of the tantrum I wanted to have.) The dress is safe in my closet and at this point I'm thinking I will put it for sale and see what it is to become of this...experience.

*rant over*

Wedding Budget Savings Plan: I recently changed organizers (read about my $1 gem here) and now I feel a lot more confident in my planning abilities, my biggest tip of all when it comes to wedding planning is to keep it as simple as you possibly can. I have simple tabs for different areas of the wedding (venue: ceremony & reception, celebrant, photographer, catering) and whatever information I need/ have for those tabs will go in their respective place. No headaches, no more dramas.

Well that's it from me for now, if you'd like to follow my progress/ share my journey to becoming a wife (officially) then make sure you're following this blog, I also have some very exciting (non pregnancy related) news to share with you in the upcoming weeks so stay tuned!

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The $1 Filofax dupe

Armed with $5 cash in my wallet and a very heavy baby on my hip, I entered my local thrift store not really looking for anything in particular but hoping I might find that treasure you often hear about.

And I think I did.

Amongst some fabric and other books sat the organizer, it was a little dusty but you could tell straight away that it was a little gem amongst...the fabric, and the best part? It was $1.00. I had a look inside and found that it even still had unused pages for expenses, daily to-do lists etc all of which was in relatively good condition (some pages were faded a little.)

Filofax's are HUGE at the moment, and a large reason for this is (apart from pure internet hype sweeping us all) is that they're very cutomisable, now don't get me wrong I have a crush on them myself, but paying that much for one right this minute...I'm not so in love with. 

So I introduce to you my very own, customizable $1 Filofax dupe.



I took all the paper out then wiped down the whole organizer with a damp sponge and some Glen20  and wa-la I brought some life back into this organizer.


I wanted thicker/ stronger tab dividers, so I reused some muesli bar & cereal boxes, used the original dividers as an outline and then decorated the cardboard with some images I had.

Next I added some post it notes and sticky tabs in the card slots, I don't intend to put any cards or cash in here so this works great as a stationary home. I already had stationary, however I picked up the Japanese doll notepad for $1.99 from my local cheap store.

I also put a long notepad at the back for quick reminders such as picking up milk or remembering to get more contact lens solution.

All the paper/ card stock I used for this binder I already had in my house so apart from the $1 organizer and $1.99 note pad, I didn't spend another cent. I reused old page dividers, left over stickers and envelopes from our wedding invitations and some random cards. 

I used my 2 year planner as the calendar for the organizer by simply taking out the 2 staples in it, then cutting it down the middle and hole punching it. Wa-La!

Using a ruler I gathered the measurements for the paper inside the organizer (it's smaller then A5 but not close to A6) and using Microsoft Word made my own printables for:

2 Page Week View
Meal Planning
Morning/ Afternoon Routine
Cleaning Routine
Family Planner: doctors appts, school events etc.
Blog Planning

 Sure, this post was very picture heavy, but I had a bit to show off to you. 
It's not a Filofax, but it's very customizable was a dollar.

It's my $1 Filofax Dupe

Until Next Time

Monday, April 15, 2013

Why I online grocery shop

I should be in bed. Really I should. It's 10:45 pm but I've just finished off my grocery shopping (online) and realized that the post I was going to upload instead of this one has been accidentally deleted, when I thought I was being super organized and deleting random drafts...I wasn't.

It got me thinking though about online grocery shopping/ budgeting/ being organized (or trying) and I started to wonder what everyone else does.. Jett is 5 months old now but still a lot fussier then what I am used to from Lily (who is 4 today!!) So grocery shopping with him isn't fun, sorry Jett, but you can stress mummy out at the grocery store very easily.

Luke has been telling me to just stick with online grocery shopping as it's much easier and only $9 delivery fee, which I save over that by doing our menu planning/ looking out for specials every week anyway. So I get it, online shopping for us, at the moment works, I just like to think that I like the socialization with our people but sometimes...when you've got a fussy baby and more recently bad pain from a wisdom tooth, all of a sudden you're just not so sociable.

There are pro's and con's to Online Grocery Shopping (IMO):

I get access to online exclusive specials. I save a few dollars occasionally with big brand items :)

I can often miss out on clearance items in store :(

It saves me the stress of having to go do it whilst dealing with a possibly fussy baby

It takes away some potential socialization time (however at the moment that may be a pro)

It's delivered right to my door step, and I receive with it a list of everything I have purchased

The delivery times are a 2 hour window so at times when I may need to head out for a minute I will fear that at the moment I leave...the truck will come.

There's probably a ton more, but for now I will leave you with them. Do you or have you ever done your weekly/ fortnightly or even monthly grocery shop online? Would you ever consider doing so if you haven't?

Happy Shopping!

Make sure you check back Wednesday for my Wedding on a Budget update annnnnd be sure to tune in Friday when I get tickled pink with a finance organizer cute enough for your handbag :)

Until Next Time,

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Learn to Sew Pt 2: How to thread a bobbin & needle

If you've missed previous posts in my Sew with me Saturday Series, I've listed them below for you:

I use a Brother GS2510 and my machine build/ layout may be different to your own however the functions of most sewing machines are the same.

Threading a Bobbin

Firstly put your thread onto the thread spool of your machine


I am lucky enough to have clear diagrams on my machine for how to thread both a bobbin and/ or needle, but even without these diagrams the method is rather simple and similar on most machines.


To thread the bobbin we will be using this method illustrated here on the machine.
Threading the cotton firstly through the hook mechanism of the thread holder,

Loop the thread around the top of the thread holder and making sure you are still able to pull the thread freely.

The bobbin will have two holes up the top and bottom and also a groove in its middle so it is able to be 'held into place once put on its holder, you need to thread the cotton underneath the top hole and pull it upwards as shown in the picture below. Once the cotton is poking through the hole of the bobbin, still holding the cotton thread place the bobbin onto the bobbin holder.

Still with the thread between your fingers, push your bobbin holder to the right hand side until you hear a click (or similar noise) this is the bobbin holder locking into place.

While you are holding the thread and the bobbin holder is now in place, make sure your machine is on and apply slight pressure to the foot pedal. The bobbin will start to spin, and as it does the thread will transfer onto the bobbin. Once there is enough thread you will no longer have to hold the top piece as it'll be held securely by the winding thread.

Once your bobbin is full you will notice it beginning to turn much slower then it did at the start, now you simply take your foot off the foot pedal, snip the long thread running from the thread holder (leaving about 4-5 cms) push the holder back to the left and remove your fully threaded bobbin from your machine.

I wasn't able to get any pictures of the bobbin complete with the thread unfortunately however I will later update this post with additional photos.

I find if I have some free time when sewing, I will thread colours I use a lot such as; black, white, cream, blue and/or grey onto spare bobbins which saves me later on from having to do so.

Threading The Needle 

Make sure the needle on your machine is completely up before beginning, to do this simply rotate the needle wheel on the side of your machine (mine goes anti-clockwise) until your needle is fully upwards
Place your thread onto the spool pin and begin pulling the end of the thread to your thread holder, the same guide we used to thread our bobbin, however unlike looping around the guide as we did for the bobbin, we are simply following the thread downwards.

On my Brother GS2510 the thread guide is located on the left face of the machine, it is numbered to give you ease of use. I pull the thread straight down, then back up (right to left fashion)

I tried to make it easier below by including arrows...and hopefully you understand the point, and aren't overwhelmed by the arrows.

With your needle up, there will be a metal hook (as shown slightly in the below picture) that you will need to loop your thread around, once you have done this continue downwards on the thread guide.


Most newer model machines will have a needle thread guide that works by simply pulling it down, gently and turning it towards you so it rests on your needle. On the guide there is a small hook that goes through the eye of your needle (when in place) and helps bring the thread through, making it easier then ever to thread a sewing needle (I think anyway.)

To make the thread easier to see, I quickly went over it in Microsoft Paint so I hope this helps to get the idea of how the needle threader operates. This is demonstrating the small hook pulling your thread through the eye of the needle.

Below you can see I have pulled the loop of the thread through the needle

Now you need to pull your thread into gap within the presser foot so that it is held in place

Pull the thread back about (3-4 cms) to avoid the machine pulling out your thread off your needle upon starting to sew, I have again highlighted the thread in red to make it easier for your viewing.

Congratulations! You have now successfully threaded a bobbin and your machines needle. 

I'd love to know if you found this useful, so feel free to leave a comment below :) 
Also please feel free to pin this for easy reference to, or even for someone else.

Happy Sewing!

Until Next Time,


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