Making Money - The Entrepenuer in Me.

There is always a lot of talk about saving money. However, even after you have squeezed every last cent out of the budget there are things that have to be paid for - rates, electricity, petrol (!!)

As most of my readers know, I work completely in cash. Each week I withdraw the exact amount I need in the correct denominations. I put it away into categories for times when I need it. Whether the kids need new clothes or we are going on holidays or hiring a DVD - we always have the money there for it. If we don't have the money we don't do it! It is truly wonderful to know that it is only April and your 'Christmas' bag has lots of $20 notes in it already. It brings peace.

My question today, however, is what do you do currently or have you done in the past to bring money into your home. I don't mean your day job if you have one, I mean those extra entrepreneurial things that we often think up. I will start......

1. Tutoring kids
2. Teaching piano
3. Restoring photographs
4. babysitting
5. Teaching Scrapbooking
6. Writing people's life stories.
7. Selling on Ebay
8. Garage sales
9. Selling at 2nd hand stores
10. Markets

I love how in days gone by people made their own money. Lots of people worked for themselves. Small towns and villages had the local butcher baker and candlestick maker. Today we tend to think that we either have a job or we don't. Or that if we're only making a few dollars then it's not 'worth it'.

When you generate your own money - even if it's only $20, you have the satisfaction of knowing that therein lies a few cartons of milk, some fruit and veg and eggs!

So...... the question is over to you: How have you generated income yourself, or what would you love to do if you knew you couldn't fail or you had all the time you needed ?
Post your reply in the comments section or send me an email and I will put together a list for everyone to enjoy. If you would like to tag some friends to participate simply paste the link to this post into their comments section and ask them to post here.

To get started I am tagging:

10 Tips for Reducing School Morning Stress

Tips for reducing the morning stress.

1. Have all clothes ironed and ready the night before.

2. Put children's clothes in a place where they can easily access themselves. We put our boys clothes over the same chair every day so when they go to get dressed everything is there.

3. Prepare notes the night before. We have a thin folder for communications between school and home

4. Have lunch boxes out ready to be packed. Depending on what foods you include, some can be prepared the night before.

5. Have an early bed time. Reduce stimulation well before bed time – have quiet music, relaxing baths, turn of TV, read aloud etc

6. Start early in the morning. Don’t leave everything until the last minute when you have to run around madly.

7. Have children do their ‘morning jobs’. Kids thrive on rhythm and routine. Depending on their age they may be able to do their own jobs such as making the bed, tidying their room etc.

8. Get yourself ready early. Get up before your children so you have a head start on the day.

9. Take the time to have a good breakfast.

10. Turn off the TV in the mornings. Time always go slower when the TV is off.

If you can implement these things it will bring peace to a very busy time of the day.



Never under estimate that one man's trash is another man's treasure.

Because of all the rain, I started having another clean out and listed some items on Ebay. I listed the DVD of "All The Rivers Run" an ABC series.

I listed it for $11 thinking that was a reasonable price for the whole series. It currently sits at $81 dollars!!!!! Holy Dooley !!! That is absolutely incredible.

Is there something that someone isn't telling me ? Why is it such an incredible price ?

Our Simple Life

In keeping with Rhonda at Down to Earth's challenge, I am writing a post that summarises our approach to simple living.

The whole basis of our lifestyle is captured in my blog tag " - Live Simply, Live Joyfully. Follow the old paths, they are tried and true". The 'Vision Splendid' is the ideal that my family and I are trying to move towards. We are far from it, but the journey is a lovely one.
There are four of us. Me, Hubbie, and two sons aged 6 and 9. I work outside the home 4 days per week and hubbie is now the stay at home Dad. Because we avoid commercial TV we find that we live in a parallel universe. We have no idea about trends, sales and gadgets! We think it is quite funny.

Our underlying philosophy comes from old fashioned living as we saw with our grandparents.

We LOVE the sustainable way of living in the 1940s. We often chat about how our families were 'self sufficient' without really knowing it because everybody was ! They had their own water supply, grew everything, raised their own meat. cooked everything from scratch and never had a garbage truck come to collect all their rubbish each week!

We believe that there is a lot to be learned from the old ways. By applying this philosophy we keep our lives simple and joyful. We have jumped off the treadmill of constantly acquiring stuff to make ourselves feel better and then constantly having to work to keep up. We have less income now but more savings because we don't need 'stuff'.

In practical terms this means the following:

1. Living within our means in a small house with no debt
2. No commercial TV
3. Cooking from scratch
4. Finding old 'sturdy' items second hand rather than a constant supply of cheap 'made in china' items that need replacing every 12 months
5. Spending quality family time together
6. Baking our own bread
7. Brewing our own beer
8. Fixing things ourselves
9. Growing what we can
10. Doing our own renovations
11. Using the town library as a resource
12. Buying local produce
13. Composting our food scraps
14. Minimising plastic packaging on foods
15. Avoiding petrochemicals in products
16. Work on a completely cash budget
17. Changing all lights to CFLs
18. Line dry the washing
19. Menu planning
20. Buying Australian grocery items where local not available
21. Stockpiling
22. Managing my home in a single binder
23. Getting ahead by applying the 6P principle
24. Having a planning day once a week
25. Having a cooking day once a week
26. Work hard at 'saving' through the year for an annual holiday
27. Using old fashioned items and remedies - e.g. washup with sunlight soap, put eucalyptus oil on your hankie if you feel a cold coming.
28. Wear an apron to keep your clothes clean
29. Turn the TV off and read out loud to my children
30. Wear hand me downs
31. Avoiding food additives and chemicals

We also formulated our own family eco-challenge after watching the Carbon Cops series on the ABC last year. Here are the areas we focused on:

1. Energy
a) Turn off lights when not in use
b) turn off appliances at the wall
c) Have shorter showers
d) install energy efficient light bulbs
e) use re-chargeable batteries

2. Water
a) shorter showers and water saving showerheads
b) catch cold water when waiting for hot to come through – use this to fill water bottle and kettle
c) wash up in the small sink
d) flush when necessary
e) install water tanks

3. Transport
a) Ride bikes to school and work
b) Limit trips to town – by planning and grouping trips
c) Get Dad to ride motorbike to town for smaller items/ errands
d) Walk
e) Find cheaper fuel, drive more economically

4. Garbage
a) Compost Food Scraps
b) Stop Getting Plastic Bags
c) Buy items with less packaging

5. Consumption
a) Don’t buy unnecessary things
b) Work on a cash budget
c) Use things sparingly-
d) Do instead of buy – make it yourself.
This is an ever growing and changing list.


My Kermit Moment.

Who’d a thought a Muppet character from the 80s would be espousing such wisdom for generations to come.

Today, I had to agree with Kermit, it’s not easy being green!

We have had atrocious weather, as I said yesterday. My grand plan of having a week to ‘get ahead’ has been somewhat wasted. Today I ventured to town with two kids in tow to go to the second hand shop to get three things – a clothes horse, a torch and ( funnily enough) an umbrella. Previously I had watched ‘THE STORY OF STUFF’. You MUST go to the website and view this short film. I cannot begin to describe the impact it will have on you.

Anyway, at the second hand shop, after the children wanting everything from golf clubs to food vending machines ( so they have to pay for snacks, he tells me ! ) I ask the lady if they have any torches or umbrellas. I wanted an old sturdy torch that was unfashionable but solid. Something that will last another forty years because it’s already been around for 35years. The lady said “ no, we don’t have any. The best place to get them from is THE WAREHOUSE. They’re really cheap”. I said to her, “yes, but I want something old and sturdy because I am sick of buying $2 rubbish” She said “ no sorry and Big W is the best place for umbrellas – they’ve got heaps and they’re really cheap too” – “thank you” I smiled and walked out sighing.

Then I venture to the shops and am very proud of myself for picking up just two apples and putting them in my envirobag, and two carrots and two potatoes – all without plastic bags. I need worstershire sauce and I am happy that the bottle is glass. I buy butter and it’s wrapped in paper and I have a green halo glowing. Then I gt around into the next aisle and rice crackers are on a really good special and I stock up ! bummer – 3 plastics packages ! So I think ‘what the hell’ and grab a packet of salt n vinegar chips on the way out! LOL – MUST TRY HARDER !



I currently have a few days off.

We decided not to go away. We decided we will stay around and 'get things done'. We decided it would be great to do some extra projects. We decided we could have some quality time together as a family. We decided we could do some research and set up some more systems for our eco challenge areas.

But......... it has rained ....... and rained...... and rained........... and hubbie just ducked his head into my office and said "guess what, honey ? " and I answered" it's raining ? " He just smiled.

Here is the summary....

Entries are for the 24 hours 9.00am to 9.00am on the indicated dates)
5th April/6th April - (0.4 mm)
6th April/7th April - (5.6 mm)
7th April/8th April - (15 mm)
8th April/9th April - (18.4 mm)
9th April/10th April - (3.8 mm)
10th April/11th April - (3.8 mm)
11th April/12th April - (0.2 mm)
12th April/13th April - (0.2 mm)
13th April/14th April - (4.4 mm)
15th April/16th April - (0.6 mm)
16th April/17th April - (3 mm)
17th April/18th April - (2.6 mm)
18th April/19th April - (11.4 mm)
19th April/20th April - (25.2 mm)
20th April/21st April - (39.2 mm)
21st April/22nd April - (16.4 mm)
22nd April/23rd April - (21.4 mm)

Number of rain days: 17
Maximum rainfall rate: 96.8 mm/hour at 17:34:00 on 20 Apri
lTotal rainfall for April: 171.6 mm
Days since rain: 0
Last Rain amount: 21.4 mm

So since I started by break on Saturday we have had 113.6mm in 5 days.

The zucchini plants I planted are so water logged they're almost going moldy!

The only thing that stops me from giving up is thinking about what people did in the 1940s. They couldn't just say "oh well, it's too wet too grow anything, jump in the car kids and we will drive the 45 miles to town for pizza" Mind you, they would have preserved their stockpile from the last good season to cover themselves in case of bad seasons. We ( meaning modern society) on the other hand, have no contingency plans. We just rely on a shop being open 24 hours to get whatever we need. We never give any thought to it !

One good thing about all the rain... there's lots of time to sit with cups of peppermint tea looking over the backyard and pondering the Vision Splendid.

Time for plan B.


The Paradox of Our Age by The 14th Dalai Lama

We have bigger houses but smaller families;

More conveniences, but less time;

We have more degrees, but less sense;

More knowledge, but less judgment;

More experts, but more problems;

More medicines, but less healthiness;

We've been all the way to the moon and back,

but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbour.

We build more computers to hold more information to produce more copies than ever but have less communication.

We have become long on quantity, but short on quality.

These are times of fast foods but slow digestion;

Tall men but short character;

Steep profits but shallow relationships.

It's a time when there is much in the window, but nothing in the room.

*Thanks to 'Greening Gavin' for posting this on his site.


Debtland....warning Soapbox moment.

Last night the ABC screened a programme on Four Corners about the debt crisis and focused on one family in the outer suburbs of Sydney who were losing their house. You can see the programme by visiting www.abc.net.au/fourcorners.

The wife in the story spoke about how they had huge debts because the banks 'let them'. Credit counsellors spoke of people in good jobs visiting charities for food because they had 'maxed out' their credit cards and couldn't keep up with their mortgage payments.

Am I heartless for thinking ' as you sow, so you reap' ? I noticed that the house that was being repossessed was far from your three bedroom, one bathroom style of place. It was huge ! Whatever happened to starting out small with a cardboard box under a piece of material for the coffee table? Or having hand me down furniture for some time ? Why do you have to have the huge stylish house the moment you are married. There is not much scope to move if interest rates go up or the wife falls pregnant and can't contribute to the mortgage repayments. But are the banks to blame ? That's like saying McDonalds is to blame for our obesity because they say 'do you want fries with that' and we respond 'yes'. Where is the self responsibility and self accountability ?

We live in a small cottage style house. We have been renovating it for over 11 years now! LOL Well... what I mean, is that the house changes as our family grows. We have taken out walls, closed in verandas, built on to the back of it. It expands as we do. Sometimes I think it will be lovely to move to a bigger, newer, place. When I think about it though it's mostly for the land space, not necessarily the size of the house.

The one thing that keeps me here is that we own it. We finished our mortgage and it's ours. That allows me to sleep at night. I am not trapped in a job I hate because of mortgage payments. I am not worried by interest rate rises.

Our house is not much in some people's books. We could 'afford' a much better home and could, if we wanted to spend our savings, have the 5 acres out of town. But at the end of the day, this is the home where my children were born. It holds our family memories. It is the place that I am so happy to return to when I get home from work. I don't need to impress anyone with my wealth or make out that I am richer than I appear. I don't feel inclined to keep up with the Jones'.

I blame television and advertising for a lot of what is wrong with our lives today. I call it the 'marketing devil'. From advertisers there is a constant message - "go on, you deserve it !" ( said with satanical voice) " you work hard, you know you need it" " think about yourself". etc

It began in the 1950s when they started telling women that they had more 'important' things to do than be stuck in the kitchen, cooking meals for the family! Things have gone down hill rapidly from there until we are told ' buy now, don't worry about paying, you deserve it, pay it back in four years time, you work hard, you deserve it, you want it, you need it, GO ON, life is short" unfortunately for some, life at 28% interest is somewhat longer than they had envisaged!

Anyway....... I'll get down off the soap box now. Epicurus, the Greek philosopher thought that we were after three main things in life...... Good food, Good friends and an analysed free life. When we see advertising portraying a group of people escaping for the weekend in a brand new car, we actually want the friendships and freedom, so we buy the car. Have a look at these elements in advertising and you will soon be a wake up to their ploy . We buy products when what we really want is the lifestyle that goes with them. If you limit yours and your children's exposure to advertising, you don't get bombarded with that feeling that you are missing out, or can't keep up or are inadequate and need to fix the problem.

I stand by my position that if it wasn't for credit cards and mortgage redraw facilities we would be in a 1930s style depression. How would you and your family go if you had to work off cash only. Could you do it ? I find it works for us... and most of all it brings tremendous peace !
Let me know what you think.

April Theme: Re-organise and Transition

In the Southern Hemisphere, April is in Autumn.  The days here are still warmish, but there is a sneaking whisper in the wind. That whisper ...