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