Community garden

Monday, 10 July 2017

Budget challanges.

According to the recent news, South Australia has a new claim to fame…..We have just received a 20% rise in our electricity prices, which has given us the title of having the most expensive electricity prices IN THE WORLD.  On top of that we can also claim the prize of the lowest wages in Australia AND the highest levels of unemployment in Australia at 6.9%......Let the reality of that sink in for a minute……

OUCH….

Our government has worked hard to push green energy, which in it’s self is certainly a wonderful thing to aim for, if done well.  But the reality is they have done it badly which has left the poor, the elderly and the vulnerable high and dry.  We live in an area where is a large proportion of people on modest incomes.  As a result we see many people being forced to do without heating and cooling, often putting their health at risk as they simply cannot afford the exorbitant power prices.  Solar power is wonderful, but it is often out of the price range for the people who need it most.  Not to mention ,completly unattainable for those who are renting and relying on their landlords to maintain the property. 

We cannot justify the cost of solar on our little old cottage, as we do not plan on being here in 5 or so years’ time.  Which is roughly the time it would take for the solar to pay for itself.  So, what does that mean when the home budget is about to cop a big hit?

It means sitting down, and crunching the numbers to work out where we can save to prepare for the price rise. 

Gym membership? Gone. (hmmphhh, I may have made golden syrup dumplings to comfort myself….Ha!)

Mobile phones? We have gone into Telstra and re-jigged out plans.  We ended up getting more credit and more data for $30 less/month.  I also got a free 6-month trial of apple music, which took the sting out of losing the gym membership.  Win, win!  It pays to keep an eye on phone plans.  (We need Telstra for the rural coverage, and we have always found them very good.)

Other Bills? Check with your provider, we usually keep pretty on top of these as a part of running our business, but it’s worth keeping an eye out on who is offering the best value for money. 

Entertainment?  Well, we have been pretty good at frugal entertainment.  Our monthly camping trips help create a regular special time as a family, bushwalks, the beach, gardening, board games, play dates with friends, maximising the use of our zoo passes which were gifted to us at Christmas.  We do not need to GO somewhere to have a great time as a family, as much as we are told otherwise by commercial media.   


A local hidden gem..."The Rocks". 

Aggie is built for this kind of exploring, she is such a strong, energetic, sturdy little dog!

Food?  As a family of 5, it is not hard to drop $60+ on a meal out.  So, bringing drink bottles, and simple snacks helps immensely.  Even bringing a pack of rice biscuits can hold off the “I’m starving’s” until we get home.  We have embraced hot chips as an occasional treat for a lunch out as $10 can feed us all, and it means we support a small, local family business – Bonus!  Looking for specials on meat is a great saver, chicken marylands all the way!  They are so cheap, and have heaps of meat on them.  They must be an unfashionable cut at the moment or something, which is fine by me.  Making broth from bones, as a base for soups.  Embracing more simple “rustic” meals helps too.  (goodbye fancy cheese, I’ll miss you!) Certain roasts are cheap to buy/kg, and are my kind of cooking.  Whack everything in a couple of big pans and forget about for a couple of hours.  Make a gravy from the juices and serve. Good, easy and cheap!  Being aware of seasonal veggies and growing our own herbs to flavour meals helps bring flavour to meals and save money.  A lot of these things we do anyway, but usually there is always room for improvement.  Baking snacks, rather then buying pre-prepared goods is another.  There are lots of blogs that share great frugal recipes so I won’t go into it, but you get my drift.

Home made chicken soup, made with bone broth and simple veggies.  Costs next to nothing for dinner for 5, and enough left for the boys and I for lunch the next day. 

Cleaning?  Commercial cleaning products are expensive.  Bi-carb, vinegar, and eucalyptus oil do a lot of the work around here, and the bonus us they are both cheap and natural.  I keep a couple of commercial products on hand for the particularly tough times like a bought of gastro.         

Anyway, here are a few of the things that have been in our radar over the last couple of weeks as we juggle our budget.  There are always more, and I’m happy to write about something more specifically if there is interest.

Much love,
Emma
xx
  

9 comments:

  1. Great post Emma. We've got solar panels and I'm glad we installed them all those years ago and they have paid for themselves probably twice over. However, the rebate we used to get is now being eaten up with the cost of power that we use. It will be time to re-jig the whole system soon, as technology is improving all the time. The cost of power is ridiculous and we are all paying for it in many ways besides what we use in our homes. The cost of all consumables has to rise too, so people will certainly be trying to cut back and crunch the numbers in every area they can. If they're not, they're just plain stupid! So much information out there at our fingertips teaching those who aren't well trained at budgeting. Lucky it comes easily to us hey?

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    1. Getting a good sized solar system on our next place (small farm) will absoloutly be one of the first things we do.

      Sadly not everyone knows how to budget, and I don't know if it comes naturally to me or if I have had to learn through trial and error. ;)

      Xx

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  2. We've been able to cut back so much by setting up a yearly budget on top of our weekly. It really highlights problem areas. Our biggest was Citylink tollway my husband uses for work. We hadn't realised just how much this was costing us. He now leaves home at a different time to avoid some traffic and has found another route. Big saving. Also save a lot on utility bills by shopping around.
    I cancelled my gym membership and actually enjoy outdoors more. I walk Samson briskly for a good 40 minutes every morning and ride my bike at least 6 days a week. Just being active outside in the garden, the animals and even inside making things, cleaning etc.
    Meal planning and batch cooking helps a lot with our food bill. Making as much as I can from scratch. Such satisfaction and enjoyment comes from that too.
    Kylie

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  3. Those figures at the top of your post really tell of hardship, don't they, for those vulnerable in the community. It's hard for many these days to make ends meet and a 20% increase for electricity isn't small change to try and find when there isn't much "wiggle room". Your soup looks delicious, I made up a batch of red lentil, sweet potato and bacon soup today and we had that with toasted sandwiches. Healthy and cheap! Meg:)

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    1. They certainly do, and yep, especially when our electricity prices are already so high.

      Oh your soup sounds delish! Im thinking of making a minestrone soup for lunch today. :)

      xx

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  4. Ouch indeed! We are currently looking at solar energy options at the moment, with power storage for home basics, as there are regular power outages around here and we feel the cost for electricity is becoming excessive. We eat lots of soup and stews lately and they contain pearl barley, different pulses and lots of veges and are served with all sorts of homemade grainy/oaty bread!

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    1. yes, South Australias power reliability has dropped dramatically aswell with the switch to green power. They really have not planned it well at all. There were many homes without power over summer for quite long stretches, the predictions are for regulated power cuts throughout the state this summer also to easen the load on the current power system....

      xx

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  5. Wow, that's shocking to me. Your prices for electricity are already so high...twenty percent is a huge increase. Love your solutions, though. I plan to give up my gym membership, too. The photos look great!

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  6. We have just done our budget for the next financial year. I enjoy the challenges of reducing spending. It really brings you back to what is real and important.

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