Week 5 of frugal living

This week I spent $9.50 on a vegetarian wrap in order to support the small businesses. Small businesses are feeling the pinch ever since the share market was down.

Then I spent $16 on buying supplements and the pack of 12 teas was $10. I don’t feel bad about spending a little bit of the Jobkeeper money to keep these businesses a float.

Dinner on Monday night was spaghetti bolognese which is poor people’s food when they are in isolation. I found out that most of Brazil and some of the third world countries cannot afford fresh food. We need a better way to deal with the obesity rates.

I read this article in Men’s health where someone lived on $4400 a year. I wonder how they did it. This year we might eventually be all reduced to that amount due to COVID.

Then I bought an amazing protein ball from The Organic Wherehouse. It was $3.50 and it was yum. It was on the second day of the highest COVID19 cases.

That week I had a free taco card at Dingoate my taco so I used that and bought another one for $5. It was on the highest day of COVID cases so I wanted to support a small business.

On Sunday there was another high number of COVID cases and that was 671. By then Stage four of restrictions were in place. It is getting harder and harder to buy things.

Money I spent that week totals to: $39 with just one $1 left over.

You don’t need material things to keep you happy

As the Coronavirus pandemic goes on and finances dries up we should stop and think about the material goods that we buy. Everytime we buy something and we only wear it (or use it) once, it either goes to the op shop or dumped when you move house.

fan of money on blooming meadow
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Therefore it is money wasted.

As soon as the lockdown restrictions eased last time in Melbourne people went crazy at Chadstone and went on a huge shopping spree. Not only did they waste money on items they also put the worker’s lives at risk.

So I ask the question, do you need material things to keep you happy? The answer is no. You need money for some part of your happiness but most of it is free. We did do the 31 day of Buddha challenge and Tiny Buddha shows that if we do a little thing or two to brighten someone’s day that is much better. It could be complimenting someone on their mask or outfit or helping a charity. We rely too much on material goods and not on emotional needs. A compliment to someone doesn’t go astray. Nor does patting other people’s dogs outside. If you pat someone’s dogs outside it shows them you care about them and it would brighten their day. Their dogs would be happy and so would you. Seeing dogs is therapeutic for some people

Next time you go to the shops, think about this: do I really need that item? If not just walk out. That item can wait.

Week 4 of frugal living

This week I had leftover noodles and toast and tuna. I only had $20 this week due to overspending in the last week. For dinner one day I had Choko, pork and rice. Choko is a poor person’s food and so is pork and rice.

I had mapo tofu one night. Tofu is also regarded as poor people’s food.

It’s harder than its ever been now that the Government is expected to deliver the budget on Jobkeeper and Jobseeker on Thursday. Millions around the world are in poverty. When the Government did they say that Jobkeeper will be extended until end of March next year, which is good news for some but bad news for business as it is said that without it business cannot survive. The Government said that some businesses would not qualify.

This week the Government mandated the new rules on masks. Whilst I have been fortunate to receive some made by a friend, other people are not so lucky. The masks costs about $10-$15 per pack. I think the government is handing out free masks to charities but we’re not so sure. The Salvos had a visit from St Vincents and they got some free clothes, which that’s good for those out on the streets.

It also leads to another point: I wonder when the hotel housing for the homeless will end? There has been some uncertainty around that.

Bought $13 worth of stuff at Chemist Warehouse. A box of those teas were priced at $10 (normally it is $14) and a protein bar. Bought another snack bar at an organic place in North Essendon. On Wednesday I decided to support a local coffee place and paid $6 for my iced coffee

All up I spent: $29 (including the mobile phone credit allowance). I had $9 from a previous week

Going on a bank account detox

During the Coronavirus pandemic, the economy took a big hit and almost everybody needed Government support. People were working from home and the stress of bills and buying food and paying with their bank account took its toll.

abundance bank banking banknotes
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So I decided to do a bank account detox. That means no spending from there. We spend way too much money on material things. And I was getting into some debt. I got into more than $3000 debt pre Covid. During the first part of the lockdown I managed to pay almost all of it back. Pre Covid I had a lot of late and unpaid fees

I have been going on this Bank account detox for about 30 days now. At first I was really anxious about how I would fare and how much that I would spend the $200 I had in there. During that time there was another $119 added in there from something which I did not use and they charged me for it. My gym membership was frozen and everything else I canceled. But I had to pay the account keeping fees.

I just used cash and the free gift cards that I earnt whilst doing surveys to buy the things that I needed.

I was at home a lot so I saved on transport and outside food. I spend waaay too much money on outside food and coffee in the past. Now that I’m home a lot I drink more coffee at home and eat more home-cooked foods

Week 3 of living frugally

I have $40 for the week

I bought Optus credit for $40. But with the free money I got on Sosure it was $20 and it goes for four weeks. Each week cost me $5. Therefore I have $35 to spend.

I so far spent $2.50 on snacks at the IGA. This week thanks to MSN Surveys I got a $5 Coles Gift card which means that I got some of my snacks free. I also got another $20 gift card for more free snacks thanks to Empowered surveys

I spent $13 that week at Coles on various snacks and the new Kombucha Cola drink. That drink was really nice and it had things to help the live gut bacteria.

I spent $21.60 at Chemist Warehouse. But $7 of that tea powder is for next week. Hence I only spent $14.60 at Chemist Warehouse.

Bought a $5 iced coffee to support the local hospitality industry who are supporting the homeless. All week they are doing this Cafe Smart program where $1 from each coffee sold at certain cafes goes towards feeding the homeless. Right now there are more homeless people needing a free feed and its important to support stuff like this.

One lunchtime I had Zhong which is Chinese sticky rice. And then another time I had risotto. I had poor people’s food most of the week.

I read many other frugal living blogs and they lived on $100 per month. Its hard learning to live frugally when I have not done so pre pandemic.

$120 food challenge

Can you live off $120 food challenge in a month? I know that many people are struggling to put food on the table in this Coronavirus environment as they have lost jobs. Many people are relying on foodbanks to help them get by.

In Melbourne we recevie about $600-$900 in Centrelink payments. Most people rent houses for about $400 per fortnight and on top of that we have to pay the bills. Per day our income works out to be about $40 a day. So that does not leave us with much for food.

So the $120 food challenge inspired me! Here we cannot buy many meals outside. They must be home cooked. Here we ate at home and most of the meals and things are on my Instagram.

We enjoyed lots of leftovers and making use of the stuff that’s in the pantry such as Sam’s Museli that we bought a few months ago. We also bought chips from IGA and the meats from there when they are marked down. Same as with Coles meats.

One day the cans of tuna were $1 a can, so we got three of them. Then last Sunday I got 4 snacks for $5 at one of the IGA stores near where I live. Another time there was 2 for $5 bargain for the Harvest snaps.

One day we had SPAM ham with noodles. The SPAM was in the pantry and was bought a few months ago.

Another time we had Zhong which is Chinese sticky rice. The bundles were in the freezer from a month ago.

One day we had lasagna for dinner from the freezer. That was awesome.

So it is possible to live on $120 per month provided that you know what’s in your pantry and fridge and use it all up. Oh and buy things when they are on special. Buy fruits and vegetables from the market as it is cheaper. If you grow your own fruit and veg it would probably free up some of your spend. I know we all have to get by for the next few months, but you can at least give this challenge a go.

Week 2 of living frugally

We only have $40 to spend each week. We can’t even get our phone bill as that’s $10. Yesterday I spent $2 on a protein bar that was marked down on special. Yesterday we had hainan chicken and leftover chicken curry for lunch and dinner.

Today I had leftover Sam’s pantry museli and bread. I ate poor people’s food for lunch which is peanut butter, bread and a banana. Poor people cannot afford the heating in winter. I try to rug up as much as I can but still feel cold. I spent $5 on a brownie and $4.60 on two protein bars at Coles. Coles should try and help out the poor during the COVID19 seeing as we’re about to go into lockdown a second time.

This week I had my period and imagine if I had to buy pads, they would be worth $21. Its lucky I have some at home and a friend who works in a pharmacy who gives it to me for free. I feel for the women that can’t afford pads. I also have enough ibuprofen for a little while.

I spent $7 at Happy Apple buying juice, banana and something for the Little pantry. I spent my usual $14 at Chemist Warehouse.

Then I spent $7 on tea and protein bars at Coles on Friday. I usually go for the ones that are $2 each there to maximise spending.

We had Oxtail stew at home. It was really nice. But I wonder if Oxtail stew is poor people’s food. Yesterday my flatmate bought a pie from Too Good Bakers for me.

Then I spent $2.50 on a protein bar and chocolate. It was in the clearance bin at a place that I live nearby

All up I spent: $42.10.

Coronavirus and the Economic recession

The Covid19 has left many struggling to pay their bills on time. Here it has left many people in America out of a job and on to the streets. About 2.2 million people in America applied for benefits at the start of the pandemic. The streets are not kind to people and on the streets people can catch Covid 19, even though they say stay at home, people don’t have a place to go to. This has led to America’s rising rate of Covid.

In Australia, we have the same situation too. The lines at Centrelink were long. And with Melbourne’s harder lockdowns it is hard for people to pay their debts on time. Most companies offer some sort of a solution of you can’t pay on time such as paying installments.

During this time we looked up paying debt during Covid19 and it had 42,400,000 results. Most people pay it off on time if they can. But the Covid19 has left many people out of work and there’s fears that a long recession will come.

That we don’t know yet. The stock market crashed on the 20th of February and that was a good sign. Since then everything went downhill. CNN.net says “Yes we are in such one”. We don’t know how long it will go on for. The BBC says that we are facing a depression that is greater than the Great Depression.

What should people do now that we are in a recession?

Be frugal if you can. But don’t skimp out on your nutrition and meds. Make sure that you budget them in your weekly spend.

If you have earnt some gift cards during the pandemic then now is a good time to spend them on the things that you need.

Try to earn a little bit of extra money. That can be doing surveys and the like.

Grow your own vegetables and herbs

Now that Covid is here and people can’t always afford vegetables and herbs. You can grow your own in your garden if you have.

This will be good for those that are in lockdown and are looking for something to do. Gardening is great for mental health.

You will save heaps of money on buying herbs and vegetables. The herbs that you grow in your garden tastes so much better than the ones that you get in store. The herbs that you grow are fresher and have no pesticide spray to them. And its the same for vegetables that you grow.

These are easy to grow and they will last a few years. But you will need some space to grow them. If you live in an apartment block why not have a shared vegetable and herb patch? You would just need to get the landlords permission to do so.

You can buy all the seeds and seedlings from your local nursery. If it’s your first time you could get some advice from the nursery staff about what to grown and when to grow them. You would need to make your own planter and you can buy the materials for that from your local hardware store. Bunnings have some great advice on how to do this.

Oh, and you will need the discipline to water them most days. But now that you are home you can do so. And you can watch them grow. Watching them grow gives you sheer happiness.

How to live frugally during Coronavirus times

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The Government has given you about $3000 per month to spend on the necessary things you need to live on. In Australia its the Jobkeeper payment. There are many things that have been closed due to lockdowns so you need to live frugally now. You don’t know whether you’ll have a job by the end of this and the payments are due to end in September.

Rent eats up most of your budget- Its around $1310-$1500 for just a one bedroom place.

Pay all the things that you have to pay on time like your rent and bills. If you pay them late they will charge you a late fee. Thinking of cutting down on the cost of your electricity? Cut down on the things that you don’t need such as leaving the light on all the time. Ask to pay for everything annually as you’ll save some money.

As for the washing, I like to do mine just once a week to save on water.

Go on a $120 grocery shop challenge. Buy everything on special or at the manager’s special as they are usually cheaper. Buy instant coffee and just enjoy that at home. If you earn Coles gift cards why not use those?

Don’t go out much for dinner or cafe food. If you do see if you can buy a Groupon or two. Remember you only have $300 to spend on dining out and takeaways and coffee out. You can always use the gift cards that you have for dining out.

Do extra tasks for a bit of cash. Who knows you might need it for this year’s Christmas as by that time you might not have a job.