Friday, 28 October 2011

Bring an umbrella

Time really flies!

Where does the time go? If you have been following my blog for some time then you will notice the period between posts has been getting longer and longer! The fact of the matter is balancing family, time, money and everything in between has been somewhat challenging as of late!

Funny, you would think that being on parental leave would give me more time to do stuff like blog, however, with bills to pay, places to go and volunteer meetings to attend, things just get a little crazy. Coming home to seven kids is the calm part.

I am in the middle of writing a post about turkey....if you can believe it....basically breaking the cost down and examining how cost effective it is.

I also have exciting news which I am hoping to share in a month or we are not pregnant again...yet.

In the meantime, I think I will close this post off with a word about providence....and relying on God rather than your master card.

One of the things you hear people talk about these days is the whole instant gratification thing.....but I think that there is a bigger factor working in people's lives that is driving the debt problem that is the elephant in the room these days.

That factor is the sense of urgency that comes when the food is getting low and the money is getting tight. There is an automatic response to run to the credit card just to bridge things over from paycheck to paycheck.

A story : During a period of severe drought, a preacher told his congregation that if they prayed hard enough, God would send the rain....they even set a date! However on the appointed day the preacher stood up in front of the congregation and solemnly told them that the rains would not come because of their lack of faith....when asked what he meant, he replied we have been praying for the rain to come on this day for weeks and weeks, yet today...none of you has brought an umbrella.

We will go through storms in this life...and we will also go through drought. Many automatically turn to God during the storm....however during periods of drought we turn to the credit card...

I am not going to lie, things have been tight income has essentially been cut in half....and the income from this blog has been pretty minimal....however somehow, there is milk in the fridge today...and there is $20 bucks in the bank.....which not zero.

God provides.....just bring an umbrella.


Sunday, 2 October 2011

How good of a deal is it?

This weeks post is about money. Your money. Or more importantly, what to do with your money.

There is a simple truth of life that no one is going to care about your money as much as you will. This is not to say that everyone is materialistic and greedy, nor is it implying that a person can not be generous. But the fact of the matter is, no one but you is going to appreciate the blood sweat and tears that went into every dollar that you earned...and will eventually spend.

Think of it this way:

Say you make a salary of $35 000 a year. If you divide that by 50 weeks (take two weeks off for vacation and sick days) that would give you $700 a week. Divide that by 40 hours, that would mean that you make $17.50 an hour.

Now let's take a look at what that means. The average gas tank these days will hold between 50-70 litres of gas. At 70 litres, it would take you 4 hours to make enough money to fill your tank once! For smaller cars, it would take you 3 hours of work to put 52.5 litres into your vehicle.

The thing is, as green as we want to be, most of us still have to drive to work! Not to mention that contrary to conventional wisdom, money exists to be spent! If we did not spend money, how would we eat?

The key is to keep track of your money...and spend it on things that matter.

Here are some of the things we do in order to spend our money more wisely:

Instead of buying sandwich bags, I cut the end off milk bags and use them for my sandwiches....I reuse the bag (rinsing it every night) for one week before I need a new one.

Instead of paying for cable, we have our computer hooked up to our tv, which basically means we have 42" iMac, and watch our favourite shows online. And for the record, we DO NOT try to save money buy downloading illegally. The way I see it, is much as I might not agree with the outrageous prices of movies these days, the camera operator still has a family to feed. And so does the costume designer. And so does everybody else involved in making the movie....paying for movies is how these guys feed their families. So instead, we subscribe to Netflix and watch our movies that way.

We whip our butter. Whipping butter increases its volume without reducing its flavour, and it lasts twice as long.

We buy food that is on sale. Those bananas on the clearance isle? We use them for banana bread, which saves us on cookies.

A word about buying in bulk: buying in bulk is a good thing for some things but not for others. For example, 5 gallons of cream corn for $6.99 may seem like a great deal but are you really going to eat 5 gallons of cream corn? Personally I prefer All Bran.

When buying an item in bulk, write the date you purchased the item...or if you do not use it right away, the date you started using it. This way you can see how long it takes you to go through this product and gauge your consumption accordingly.

Here is another tip for keeping track of spending: learn to figure out the cost per unit for every thing you buy at the grocery store. For example, $3.99 for one kilo of pasta may seem like a great deal however that works out to $.0039 per gram. Contrast that to 900 gram bags of pasta that go on sale for $0.89, you have $0.00098, which is a significantly better deal.
It may seem a bit like nickel and diming, but 350 nickels is one hours worth of work. Would you rather work for more pasta, or towards the 55" plasma?