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Working with a cash budget (repost)

Working with a cash budget (repost)








































Over the years we have tried many different methods for controlling our spending and working on a budget. By far the most successful method for us is to work in cash. I have worked out what we need each week and I withdraw that amount of money.

The following are our ' cash categories'.

Groceries
Fuel
Entertainment
Christmas
Holidays
Birthdays
Scarlet Ribbon ( clothing shoes etc)
Kids Banking

You can see in the photo that I use resealable plastic bags with the category and the amount written on it. Each week I go to the bank or post office and I have a little card in my wallet that says " 3x $50, 4 x $10 etc and get the exact breakdown. When I come home I give the cash to our young sons and they go through and put the amounts into the bags. Then, when we want to do something like hire a DVD or buy a present etc, we just go to the appropriate bag.

Having the money in cash is great for a couple of reasons. When you have cash in your wallet you are much more careful about spending it. My sons have also learnt the value of money because they control it. We are also empowered by the fact that we have money in advance for needs that may arise.

I call one category 'scarlet ribbon' because of the proverbs 31 woman who has no fear for her household for when the winter snows come her household is clothed in scarlet. It is a very old proverb but one that has always stuck with me.

I have also calculated how much we require for bills. You can do this by looking at what your bills are over a year and dividing the amount by 52 or 26 depending on when you get paid. Then I transfer that amount into an account we use for bill paying.

So.... what do you do when you finally sit down and add it all up and the results are frightening ? When I did this the first time I was totally shocked at our living expenses. Son number one was about 12 months old and I was faced with the prospect of going back to work. I was a school teacher then and was going back to work just two days per week. I hated the thought of it! So, we sat down and worked through everything in a huge amount of detail. I called it my " Plug the holes audit". By this, I meant that I thought the ship ( our house) would sink by the little holes that were in it, not the gaping big holes. So I set about saving money on little things, $2 here, $1 there. I changed phone plans, shopped for cheaper insurance, worked out a price book to track specials and calculate unit pricing, worked a cash budget etc etc. The results were amazing and I gave up teaching at the end of that year.

I often hear people talking about how difficult it is to make ends meet ( while they are watching pay TV and smoking and eating take away food). My answer is to be totally honest with yourself and live within your means. Take control of your money so it doesn't control you. It is such a wonderful feeling to jump in the car and go for a holiday with the freedom of knowing that you have the cash for it all and you won't have to face the credit card bill when the holiday is over.

If you can't be bothered with the hassle of micro-managing it all then you will need to be happy with staying in debt and having no money and having lots of stress. The choice is yours to make, so which path will you choose ?
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A Vision Splendid
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The Joy of Ordinary

The Joy of Ordinary




“Do not ask your children

to strive for extraordinary lives.

Such striving may seem admirable,

but it is the way of foolishness.

Help them instead to find the wonder

and the marvel of an ordinary life.

Show them the joy of tasting

tomatoes, apples and pears.

Show them how to cry

when pets and people die.

Show them the infinite pleasure

in the touch of a hand.

And make the ordinary come alive for them.

The extraordinary will take care of itself.”

– William Martin
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A Vision Splendid
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Personal Madness

Personal Madness




You may notice that I have added a new category to my blog. It's entitled personal madness.

When I read back through my writing it sounds so lovely and homely that my friends and family must read it and think 'surely she is not the author'.

I have decided to include my personal madness because I think laughing at yourself is very healthy, and, I have come to realise over the years that there is a lot to laugh at in my life!


You see, the truth is that I have a hilarious life. I am constantly saying the wrong thing, overanalysing and debriefing with my friends. I laugh until I cry, I slap my thigh and snort out loud.

When I am done, I always decide that a good laugh with friends is far more beneficial and cheaper than therapy.




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A Vision Splendid
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Do the Splendid Principles Still Apply ?

Do the Splendid Principles Still Apply ?



When I first start blogging in 2007 - no-one knew what a blog was. I can remember showing someone once who said 'oh that's ridiculous, the page just goes on and on until you hit the bottom'. Now I think about Facebook and Twitter and laugh about how the unusual becomes so commonplace.

Just as there are no telephone boxes anymore, I think there are quite a few things that have changed in the world and in our family life since I first started blogging. In 2007 our sons were 6 and 8 - they are now turning 12 and 15 and are really young men. IN 2007 we didn't have 'smart phones' and didn't have near as much technology in our lives as we do now.

That got me wondering. Do my splendid principles still apply ? I showed 6 years ago that I could apply my grandmother's principles in a modern world, but does that still apply today as I type on an Ipad instead of a typewriter ? Can you still live simply - Iphone in hand ?

Today I pulled out all my old notes and folders that held all my worksheets and scribblings from when we first drafted our budget, when I used to calculate in childcare costs and when fuel was less than $1.00 a litre ( and we were concerned about our fuel usage!)

One of the documents that I found had this handwritten on it:

FOUNDATIONS

1. A working budget

2. A 'stores' cupboard or functional larder ( old terms for a well stocked pantry)

3. A solid routine

4. Cook from scratch skills

5. A working diary/ calendar system.

EXTRAS

A garden
Green cleaning cupboard
Less plastics
Composting
Reduce, recycle, re-use and re-wear
Home Based income
Stop buying crap

Splendid Habits 

Getting ahead
6Ps
Chasing joy
Rising early
Menu planning
Extreme shopping
Homemade presents/ cards
Going additive free
TV free/ commercial free
Exercise/ Yoga.

I was so happy to have found it because it connected me with core values. Now I am considering the role that technology plays in a simple life - does it have a place ? I think it does if we stick to our principles and not let it overtake us.

What do you think ? Can you have a simple joyful life that embraces a modern technological world ?

If you want to join me, I am working through my list to establish these principles in our new home.
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A Vision Splendid
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Back to my Vision Splendid

Back to my Vision Splendid




Well it certainly has been some time that I have spent away from the blogosphere. I actually contemplated giving up blogging completely, but something has drawn me back and had me thinking.

Why blog ? 

When I first started blogging, I didn't know anyone who was doing it. I can't really remember how I stumbled into the art of blogging, but I am sure it was from accidentally finding some online blogs and being completely inspired by them. 

Blogging was the perfect tool for me. It helped me to organise my thoughts, hold myself accountable, give me inspiration to look back on and connect with some fantastic people. 

Blogging brought me great joy as it made me slow down and have gratitude for the small things in life. 

Why the break ? 

Moving house a little over 12 months ago meant a huge change to our lifestyle. Setting up our 'Vision Splendid' on our acreage has taken time and has meant that lots of our routines have changed. This has been both positive and challenging at the same time.

Throughout this time, blogging took a back seat as I have been focusing heavily on building our future. I took on some part time work, (based here at home) which grew and grew. It seems that the biggest hurdle I encounter is that things get TOO big, when really what I am looking for is balance across all areas of life.

Even blogging got TOO big. A Vision Splendid was always designed to be something that I did for myself and a few of my avid readers. Before I knew it there were product sponsorship requests, radio interviews, Sunday newspaper interviews and LOADS of request for help. I guess it was a case of 'be careful what you pray for, you just might get it'. 

Why return ?

I am encouraged by the ongoing emails that I still receive. I am often surprised that readers are still there. When I recently restricted access to the blog I received a lot of emails asking for viewing rights so people could check back on things that I had written about earlier - as a reference tool. I am surprised that with the HUGE volume of information that is on the Internet now readers still come back to this little site for inspiration.

The Verdict ? 

I will be returning to blogging. Although there are now millions of blogs on all sorts of topics, I will blog for the reasons that I had when I first got started. Whether it brings value to others or not, I will blog for my own reasons. Although our children are now older and we are in a different stage of our lives, we are still working towards our Vision Splendid. We are crafting a life that is family centred and holds old fashioned values at its core.

Even though I work from home, I recently let quite a bit of my work go. This will be give me a chance to bring things back into balance again. My first step is to re-read through the old blog posts ad get back in touch with my original vision.

Want to join me as I assess the steps I need to take to bring back a slower more simple life that has family at the core ? 

If you are still reading this site, drop a comment in the box below and say hello! 
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A Vision Splendid
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Looking Back

Looking Back


A reader asked me this week how we are settling into our new place. Well, the answer is ...slowly. The past ten weeks have been complete madness. Who would move house in December ?

Here is a summary of some of the events that have taken place in the past ten weeks.


We did the pre-settlement inspection on our new property and couldn't believe that is was ours!

We then had to move our remaining belongings ( we had a HUGE throw out) into this new house. We had about 13 days before we were booked to go away on our annual holiday where we would be away for 3 weeks.

 We frantically unpacked everything, trying to find functional places for everything and work out where everything was ..... like the light switches and blind openers ! lol


We had to settle our birds and chickens in before we went away and undertake the HUGE job of getting our old place ready for our first ever tenants. 






Then we were off on our holiday. Firstly out west to catch up with family and have our pre-christmas celebrations and then back over the mountain to our holiday place....and boy did we need it.


So for the next two weeks we just laid around, read, swam, walked, fished and were generally recharging our batteries.




After we arrived home I headed off with my sister, Mum and niece to take my mum on a birthday road trip.

We headed firstly to the Hunter Valley and had a look at where we used to live and went to school. Then we headed to Bathurst and had a look at my Grandmother's house ( which has been totally upgraded and is truly wonderful!) We then put my father's plaque on his mother's grave and met some  of my aunties.


Of course, no trip to Bathurst would be complete without a visit to Annie's ice cream parlour. This goes without saying.

 We then headed through the blue mountains, stopping for some tourist walks and visiting some local wine stores.



 Then onto Sydney where we stayed at Four Points Sheraton and were tourists in Sydney. We did an historical walk and visited two of the museums, the Sydney museum and the Police and Justice museum.




 On the last evening we went to see Annie -the musical at the Lyric theatre and really enjoyed it.

So, for the last ten weeks I have been away for one month! Now that the children are back into school and I am back into working some hours each week there will be some settling into routines.


All we need now is for it to stop raining so that we can start preparing our new vegie patches. We have had 276mm of rain in the last ten days. On the 8th Feb we had 102 mm in one day! That is a lot of rain. 

My focus is currently on rebuilding my systems and routines. I have been reading back through my old blog entries to keep me on the track. I hope to incorporate all our previous principles and add to them with new found space and fruit trees. 

It is all very exciting! 

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A Vision Splendid
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Green Acres Is The Place For Me

Green Acres Is The Place For Me



We are slowly settling into our new place. Although we moved in during December, we were away for almost a month because of holidays that we had arranged before we knew that we were going to buy a house!


Since we got back from holidays life has been about establishing new routines and making discoveries about what is around the property.

We have been doing lots of study, trying to work out what all the plants are and how to look after them. It is such an exciting challenge!


The boys have stepped up into work mode and are taking on more and more jobs. The novelty of a ride on mower with a trailer has a lot to do with that I think.


With the amount of rain we have had this week there has been even more time for planning, organising and unpacking. I am waiting to get to know the place a little - to learn where the shadows fall and where the water lies before we plant too many vegies and herbs.

It is such an exciting new start !
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A Vision Splendid
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Moving House

Moving House



If you have been wondering why things are so quiet on the blogging front, it is because we are moving. I thought that we would be staying in this house forever, but over the past few months a series of things have just fallen in to place and before we knew it we had made an offer on a place out of town.

I feel quite okay about moving. I thought I would have a really difficult time leaving this house, after all,  a lot has happened here in the past 16 years. Firstly, it is the longest I have ever lived in one place. It is the home that I lived in when we were first married and the home I brought my babies home to.

In the past 16 years it has seen me be a teacher, a stay at home mum, a solicitor, a business woman, an author, a blogger and an urban homesteader.

What started as a little cottage has expanded over the years to accommodate our growing family. We added rooms, built bathrooms, took down walls, pulled up carpets all to keep up with our changing needs.

Now, as the boys are physically getting bigger they are after space. I am looking forward to new gardens, fruit trees and the next stage of family growth.

With our move shortly upon us, I thought things would be more chaotic. They are busy, but haven't fallen into total chaos......yet. One of the best things we did when we thought there was a possibility of moving was to have a severe cull of our possessions. We donated, sold, gave away  or threw out everything in every cupboard, drawer, shed and shelf that we did not need or completely love. We also shredded years and years of paperwork no longer required. Even if we weren't moving, this was a FANTASTIC feeling of freedom !

Now we have been working on preparing our house for tenants. Painting, cleaning, fixing. It is funny that jobs we have been meaning to get around to for years have all suddenly been completed in a fortnight.

Everyone is so excited about the move. I am really looking forward to having a place for everything and everything is its place. I am excited about creating new spaces for cooking,   baking and making. The most exciting thing for me, however, is the established fruit trees. Strange, I know, but having trees that are bearing so much fruit is really exciting !

Most of all, as usual, I am looking forward to creating......................a vision splendid ! 
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A Vision Splendid
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Hello September

Hello September


Image Source: http://sayingimages.com/hello-september/
Hello September. I am enjoying you so much. Just when I had settled into a life of rugging up, adding layers, snuggling under blankets on the lounge, you turn up and surprise me.

You get me every year!

I get the first hint of you in the breeze. Then I notice you in the song of the birds and the sound of a distant lawn mower. Then I smell you in the blossoms and when your light hits the new green leaves on the crepe myrtle tree.

Then I remember what is to come.... the early mornings, the long summer evenings, the swimming and skiing and playing and gardening and holidays and Christmas and mangoes and watermelon and prawns and shorts and t-shirts and thongs.....

.....and I am one happy spring chicken.
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A Vision Splendid
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Such an Eighties Girl !

Such an Eighties Girl !


 Going through some old photos tonight I remembered these from the 80s display that was at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney last year. It was so fabulous to walk through the display and be reminded of things that looked so familiar, yet I had totally forgotten about.

Are you an eighties person ? Are you smiling knowingly when you look at these images ? The photos were snapped on a phone so the quality is poor, but you will still be reminded of a piece of the past.


I love this teen bedroom ! One of my friends ( Hi Trudi if you are reading) had this exact Ken Done bedspread, I am sure of it!! And what about those movie posters? Who remembers Flashdance and The Breakfast Club? What about Dirty Dancing ( a personal favourite... I now own the (hmm hmmm) 25th Anniversary DVD. Can you believe it was so long ago ?


Oooh the beginnings of the lycra movement - love a good leg warmer !


Oh, and the music!!! Some of the best rock songs ever written came out of the eighties. Khe Sahn anyone ?


Strawberry Shortcake !


This is a really blurry photo taken through glass, but I just had to add it. Do you remember when the top hits were printed each week and appeared on Countdown and you could get a free copy at the record shop ?


Some of these record covers are instantly recognisable. Can you spot Footloose ? What about John Cougar .... or was he Mellencamp then! lol

Oh dear... I am such an eighties girl! What are your memories of the eighties ?
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A Vision Splendid
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Should We All Be More Frugal ?

Should We All Be More Frugal ?



Recently I have been thinking more and more about the instability of our lifestyles and the way that we are set up as a modern society to live.

If you tune in to television or magazine advertising they will have you believe that everything is wonderful. It has never been better! 'Live for today', you hear them say....'go ahead, your deserve it'.......'you only live once'....... Pay tomorrow.... interest free...

I look around and see a very different story. I see people wondering why 'everyone else' seems to have it so easy when they are doing it tough. I see people who just completely block their financial circumstances and live from credit card to credit card and keep refinancing their blues away.


I have really started to sit up and take notice because I see more and more people whose lives have been turned around by such a simple event that pulls the rug out from underneath them.

I have seen friends go through a separation and divorce, the death of a spouse who was way too young, a job loss for the only income earner in the family, serious illness which turns a family upside down and people wiped out through once in 150 year floods.

We all subconsciously believe that it will 'never happen to us', but I am sure people who have been through a change like this have thought exactly that.



Do you think it is prudent to tighten our belts in the name of securing a solid emergency fund ? How many of us could truly survive for six months if our current income source dried up ? If your income stopped tomorrow, how prepared would you feel ?

As you know, I am always using 'times gone by' as a reference point when it comes to being frugal, living green or living more simply. Perhaps because of the instability of the times, people from older generations always put money from good times away for times when they may not be as good. They stood by the traditional wisdom of saving for a rainy day.

Are our times today any more stable today than what they were back then ? Does easy credit disguise society's true position ? I am not sure, I can only judge it by what I see, hear and read around the community and in the blogosphere.

Why suspicion is.....yes.
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A Vision Splendid
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