Keep the Faith!

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This time last year our life took a massive turn for the worst…my husband was without a permanent job! It was a position in the 10 years we’d lived together that we had never faced before! In fact it was a position that either of us had ever faced in our lives! It left us feeling shattered, insecure and wondering if we were able to keep up paying all of our bills! Thankfully Kane has wonderful mates who threw him casual work as much as they could! Beggers can’t be choses in a time like this and I appreciate everyday how hard my husband worked to keep us afloat!

I as the budget guru of our house, managed to keep our head above water. It’s times like this I appreciate my love of saving, because it sure came in handy! I never looked at this situation as poor us, because I knew there were so many more people worse off than us. Thankfully we have a very supportive family who could help us if we needed it and if things came to things I would have had to go back to work more than my two days. But it didn’t get that bad! From Kane’s pure determination and dedication to finding a permanent job, something eventually fell into his lap! It was a ‘not what you know but who you know situation’, but without his skills for the position he wouldn’t have been able to for fill the role!

I’m so happy to say that after going though such instability for months and months last year, we are finally back on track like our lives have always been!!! It’s taken a while, but we’re good, we’re comfortable and most importantly we’re happy and still married lol! Kane is loving the role at his job and November marks one year already! We just bought a new car – a seven seater sports wagon and we are just about to give our house a freshen up with new blinds and carpet and book a two week holiday at Christmas time!!!!!

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For the period that Kane was working casually, we had to watch every single cent we spent. I learnt so much from it and in actual fact it brought the realisation to the fore that we really did waste money! I guess when you’re faced with the situation we were and we still had two mortgages to pay off, plus bills and feed five of us, we had no choice but to prioritise. We gave up things like going out to dinner and takeaway and picked and chose places that were inexpensive and we always took plenty of food when we went on outings! The best thing I’ve learnt in all of this is the art of grocery shopping for 5 people a week for $200!!

In all of this, I haven’t felt like we’ve missed out on anything. Sure we didn’t do everything we normally would have done in that period of time, but never did our children complain or even realise what we were going through! I always live by the belief that as long as we have each other, then we’ll always make it through anything! And that is what I believe got us to the comfortable point we are today! We kept our faith and we never stopped believing. Everyday I would say to myself “it will happen, things will turn our way!”….that belief is finally paying off!

My Budgeting Tips….
1. Save for a rainy day! For us we put as much as we can into our home loan which helps reduce the interest but keeps the redraw increasing and is there when needed!

2. Grocery shop wisely! I have a budget of $200 for groceries per week and this covers 5 well prepared meals (which I have planned before I shop), a scraps night (eggs on toast or leftovers) and one night a week takeaway! I prepare lunches for everyone all week and the kids get tuckshop once a week! I have found myself a really good fruit and veggie shop where I spend $20-$25 a week and get 4 bags full of stuff!

3. Have specific savings accounts! I have a few accounts that I put money into for specific things….Christmas, holidays and the kids have an account each as well. It certainly comes in handy for when the times swing around and the money is needed!

4. Spend within your means! We have a credit card for obvious reasons, but we don’t use it unless we can pay it back! I really dislike owing money and if I have to pay for something on my credit card, I transfer the money straight onto it! We only purchase things that we can afford to without it ‘breaking the bank’…my husband is very lucky that I am the bargain shopper of bargain shoppers!!

5. Have a plan! Most importantly have a budget/plan for your money! Now that we are settled and it’s a new financial year, we have just started our new budget that allows us to pay our mortgage and more, save, pay bills and provide ourselves with some comforts in life!

I cannot stress enough that none of us know what’s around the corner and it’s so important to expect the unexpected or at least be prepared as much as you can be financially! When we were faced with this situation last year, it was a shock! But we’ve picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off and have learnt so much from a not ideal situation! We are also now insured for loss of income and death…sounds morbid but I’d rather be prepared then lose everything that we’ve worked so hard to provide for our party of 5!

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It’s a Juggling Act!

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Life is just one big roller coaster – it has its ups and downs and a lot of stuff in between. Being a mum is awesome! The best job I’ve ever done. But from one child to two children and in my case three children, throw in work, a husband who works 12 hour days, kid’s sport, family, my exercise and the like, life simply becomes a juggling act!

I remember (very vaguely) life when all I had to worry about was me, myself and I! When I look back now at how simple life was compared to now, I ponder at what I did with all my spare time? How I enjoyed eating three meals a day in peace and quiet and without getting indigestion. Sleep…how well I slept and how much of it I had! How I had so many choices laid out in front of me each day as to where to go and who to see! The intimate outings with my husband and the thousands of movies we use to go see! How we use to be able to finish a conversation without taking half an hour to get to the punch line!!!

Now, life is filled with lots of love, happiness, laughter and achievement. But I’m not going to lie, life now is a whole heap harder than it ever use to be! It now requires a super amount of planning and organisation to keep things running as smooth as they can. I now appreciate any sleep I’m able to get and I eat most of the time on the run. Where I would only have to think of two people to cook dinner for, my meals now need to cater for 5! EVERYTHING has been increased from washing, to cleaning, to cooking and grocery shopping! Bills are greater and an overwhelming feeling of not being able to get everything done fades in and out like a big black cloud ready to pour on you! Add to all of this the mammoth job of parenting and you have yourself a very busy lifestyle!

This week I returned to work after having 9 weeks of holidays/long service leave. Being off for that long was pure bliss! Stress was less as everything was always done at a reasonable hour and not having to work allowed time to potter around the house rather than feeling like a raving lunatic trying to get stuff done on my days off! The time I spent with my family was quality as well as quantity and far more enjoyable than usual. But now two days a week are hectic! Getting us all organised for school/work by 7.45am, having dinner planned, relaying messages to my mum for the day, organising Bay for footy training, spending all day teaching special needs students, coming home to then having to cook dinner (usually holding a 2 year old or whinging at my feet), check homework, do the dishes, bath the kids and then get organised for my second day of work! But the beautiful homecoming I get of a shower of hugs and kisses is why I know I’m the lucky one!

I look at what I do during my two work days and appreciate that I only have to do this twice a week. Even though I’d love to be a full time stay at home mum, working two days isn’t so bad and gives a nice balance in order for me to keep up my teaching skills, contribute to our household bills and be able to stay home five out of seven days with the kids! And with my husband working such long days, me working two days a week is sufficient! I know I am very lucky to be able to have the lifestyle I do and appreciate everyday how hard my husband works for us and the huge support my family is as well!

How do I manage this juggling act? I’m always thinking, planning, organising. Having a plan for the month, week, day is how I juggle it all! I use to be a ‘list’ kinda girl. But my list always felt so long and when I got halfway through it, I would start a new one that was double in length. So now I live day to day. Where I have long term goals for the month or week, I narrow each day down now and set myself daily tasks. Since doing this, I feel things are getting done more easily and efficiently! I don’t feel as stressed as I use to and the running of the house is due to a routine that everyone can cope with! But then someone gets sick and everything goes out the window and you play battle of the survival…or in my case I have the best mother to help!

Being a mum, wife, daughter, granddaughter, sister, aunty, teacher and friend is a hard act to juggle. I almost feel like I only scratch the surface of each act when really I love each act as much as the other! But at this stage of my life, my main act is being the best mother and wife I can be. Eventually in many years to come my life will be juggled in a different direction, but I’m certainly not wishing these years away as I believe they are the best a mum can live!

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