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APRIL 2018 (WEEK 17)

May 2nd, 2018 at 05:15 am

This would have been a low spend month but because we pre-paid internet for a year it total to $2,568.13. Half of this was because of the internet, holiday expenses and my birthday celebration.

Internet – was big total for the month was $845.

Holiday – ended at $285.20. Some of this included money we spent on our Easter Holiday and some for another holiday we are going very soon.

Groceries – We only got few things this weekend because we didn’t need much and it only cost us $9.95. The total for the month was $296.20

Birthday Celebration – I had another birthday get together, with friends this time. We had lunch and then we went to an Escape Room and then had coffee afterwards. It was fun and it cost us $127.00. Overall, my birthday cost me $242.50, this includes that dinner I went with DH.

Eating Out – We did not cook at all the whole weekend. We went a bit crazy. On top of the lunch above we went out to another restaurant for Sunday lunch as well and we got takeaway food Saturday night, thankfully we had leftover and we ate that Sunday night. All the eating out, not including above amount was $61.90.

Fuel – got some $37.20


*Put as much money we possibly can into Investments (at least $45K).
More savings in April than in March - *happy dance*

*Save $4K for Holiday money.
Have spent some of this money at the start of the month and will continues to spend more money in May for our next holiday.

*Save $5K for future House Repairs/Future Remodel.
We should be able to start saving more for this in the second half of the year.

Other –

*Read 70 books.
28. Beyond Good and Evil - Frederick Nietzsche (3 Apr) - Read w/ Audio**
29. Money to Burn - James Grippando (5 Apr) - Audio
30. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad (7 Apr)
31. On the Shortness of Life - Seneca (8 Apr)
32. Ready Player One - Ernest Cline (10 Apr)
34. A is for Alibi - Sue Grafton (11 Apr) - Audio
35. Freakonomics - Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner (12 Apr)
36. The Checklist Manifesto: How to get things right - Atul Gawande (13 Apr)
37. Siddhartha -Hermann Hesse (15 Apr)
38. Crazy Rich Asians - Kevin Kwan (17 Apr)
39. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood (18 Apr) - Audio
40. You Need a Budget - Jesse Mecham (19 Apr)
41. Philosophy for Beginners - Max Charlesworth (20 Apr)
42. B is for Burglar - Sue Grafton (22 Apr) - Audio
43. The Pardon - James Grippando (23 Apr) - Audio
44. War and Gold - Kwasi Kwarteng (24 Apr)
45. The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver (26 Apr)
46. The Teeth of the Tiger - Tom Clancy (27 Apr) – Audio
47. C is for Corpse - Sue Grafton (30 Apr) – Audio

I’m more than half way to my goal! It’s amazing how cutting about 4 hours of television a day adds up. These days there’s not much worth watching unless you are into reality shows. I used to watch those cooking and renovation contest but they are not about cooking or renovations anymore, it’s always just about people fighting which I’m so over it.

As you can see I listened to a bit of audiobooks this month, they are all crime and mystery books except for the first one which I read along while listening to the audio. I already got a copy of ‘Beyond Good and Evil’ in my kindle and I borrowed the audio version from the library online. I do a lot of my listening to the audiobooks while I'm walking the dog, while cleaning and in the last several days while I was doing some painting.

Since I’m more than halfway to my goal already and I’ve increased my reading time while not really reading because of audiobooks I decided to increase the amounts of books I aim to read to 100 books this year.

*Learn Spanish.
Still going and I’m at 104 days streak at the moment.

*Workout 3/4 times a week.
Doing very poorly here, I’m still doing some but mainly just stretching and walking the dog, I need to do harder exercises when we get back from our holiday. This is becoming a bad pattern, me constantly waiting for something to happen before I get my act together. I need to break it.

*Try new recipes every other week.
I tried few and one of them was the Aloo Gobi that I got inspired by toilet-paper-tracker.

*Blogging once per week.

*Continue Garden/Landscaping.
As I mentioned in my previous blog entry DH built a screen wall outside to screen off the clothes line and I painted it.

*Wake-up early (before 7am)

*Continue Decluttering.
DH has been putting our music from CDs to digital so we can listen to them whenever and wherever on our phones and the CDs themselves have been stored away into a plastic tub in the garage. It took him over a month copying them.

New running shoes and some cooking

February 20th, 2017 at 07:26 pm

Groceries - We did our usual Saturday morning shopping for food. Spent $82.33, it would have been about $20 less but I found a Porterhouse steaks that was 50% off (normal price was $32 a kilo) and also got some pork chops that were 20% off (can’t remember the original price). Total for the month so far is $269.42 (budget $300), so just over $30 for the rest of the month. It’s tight but I think we can do it. I’ve done a rough meal plan for this week which should help. Also the pantry is still really full we still got a lot of stuff in there to get through. I think we will just need milk, eggs, fruit and vegetables next shopping trip.

Other Spending – I bought myself a new running shoes, it was on sale for $90. I’m overdue for a new one. DH will also need a new one soon too. His is actually worse than mine but we couldn’t find one that he likes at the shop that we went to and we didn’t have time to shop around.

Cooking – I did a bit of cooking on Sunday. I made spring rolls and meatballs to put in the freezer. Also made butter chicken in the slow cooker, which feed us for 4 meals. And I used up some frozen banana that I had to make a banana cake.

Decluttering – I went through our pots and pans and decided to throw out 2 old pans and 1 wok. I’ve also been going through a box full of papers/notes that I wanted to type out or scan, it will take me a while to get through the box but at least it is good to get it started since I’ve wanted to do this for years now.

Passports – We need to re-new our passports, it expired last year. We are thinking of going overseas this winter so we need to get new ones soon. I don’t know how much they are now these days it has been ten years since we got the last one.

Pay and weekend expenses

July 15th, 2014 at 08:34 pm

I know it's halfway through the week already, I'm a bit late.

Yesterday DH got his pay for last month (last one from his old agency), 3 weeks worth. A lot more than expected, which is good since last week's pay was less than I expected.

Did do much on the weekend but grocery shopping and got a cast iron French pan from Aldi, it was only for $25 and it's great. The grocery only came to $55.52, probably the lowest amount for the year.

The menu for this week was:
Sat - Pizza, we made it and got some leftover dough in the freezer. Probably cost around $8 to make.
Sun - Meatloaf and roasted vegetables (est. cost $6)
Mon - Butter chicken with Rice (around $10)
Tue - Spaghetti Bolognese (pretty cheap probably less than $5)
Wed - Today I'm planning to have grilled salmons with salad (probably est. cost of around $9)
Thu - Leftover - planning to have leftovers we still have some of those chilli con carne in the freezer.
Fri - Ratatouille with Tuna and Egg Salad and Quinoa (maybe $6-7 worth).

Our car is due for service, it will most likely need a new exhaust pipe or something. A bit of it feel off last month. Hopefully it won't cost to much.

things we did and weekly menu

July 8th, 2014 at 09:26 pm

Paid the normal monthly mortgage repayment on Friday. The usual $1218, $219.89 went to the interest and $998.11 to the principal (so close to $1K)

Saturday we went to an antique market (1hr away), a short day trip. We bought some stuff, one of the random stuff I got was Life magazines from the 1947 and 1948, interesting read. I love the old advertisements in it too. DH got an old shaving razor, he collects them.

On the way home we stopped by this small town where they had a small farmer's market. Got $13.30 dollars worth of vegetables, fresh from the market near by.

In the late afternoon we went to Aldi and other stores to do more grocery shopping. All up we spent a total of $63.30.

I'm working hard on trying to get our grocery budget back to a reasonable state. So back to doing a weekly menu. Most of the time I just have a rough idea of what I'm going to make for the week, and we normally do alright to stay close to the budget until this few months. Making a weekly menu and just grocery shopping based on that should help cut down on grocery expenses. And I'm even going further by estimating the cost of each meal (I think I need a hobby lol). This was the menu for this week:

Sat: Paella - this costs roughly $6.40
Sun (lunch): Pumpkin and Lentil Stew - costs roughly $1.10
Sun (dinner): Chicken Drumettes marinated in homemade Nando's style sauce - costs around $4.00
Mon: Chilli Con Carne - costs roughly $11.20 (made a lot, put some in the freezer). The red wine cost a bit but we got to enjoy the rest of it with the meal.
Tue: Pasta carbonara sauce - ~$2.00
Wed: Beef ribs (currently cooking in the slow cooker) - cost roughly $6.00
Thu: We will have leftovers tomorrow. My brother won't be eating with us. We will most likely have ribs leftover.
Fri: Spanish Omelette - around $2.00? Potatoes are in season right now, very cheap.

Okay, I'm gonna have to work on next week's menu.


June 16th, 2014 at 11:49 pm

I lost my entry Frown. I don't even know how it happened??? Oh well. This will be a shorter version.

On Saturday we went to the market we used to go all the time until it got too crowded, everyone found out about this place I guess. It is only about 5 mins away from our house so it is very convenient but the parking is a nightmare. It was worst this time around, it is just getting more crowded, that reminded me the reason why we haven't been to this place for over a year.

But I did get some good deal, like the 3 kilos of bean for only $2 and the roasting beef (over 1 kilo size) for only $9.

Made Sunday roast out of it, we had enough for lunch and dinner and still had enough leftover for lunch the next day.

Saturday night we went out to the city and had Chinese, I was good and didn't have too much rice. I really tried to have a low carb weekend and really didn't have any on Sunday. I got to say it is working. The love handles are shrinking. But today I am really craving it so I made this:

Ricotta pancakes with fruit salad. Oh needed that.

The dinner out was a celebration on finishing the Phase 1 of our workout. We went a bit crazy and ended up at the casino. We ended up at the sports bar there and also did some gambling, and of course lost some money. It was good to watch a bit of the world cup at the sports bar, the atmosphere was great. We watch the first half of Colombia v Greece game. The Colombian fans were very cheerful, especially when they got a goal very early on. I can't believe we stayed out until after 3 am. I felt terrible the next day but it was so much fun.

Fitness and Diet

June 11th, 2014 at 06:54 pm

Almost a month into our workouts (Tapout) and we are still going strong. The best thing I could have done this winter. Last winter I couldn't shake off a cold and I was really lethargic and never got anything done I even quit blogging for months. This winter I got a lot more energy and in so much better mood and have not got a cold (knock on wood), the same goes with DH. My brother got a cold few weeks ago and I was surprise that I didn't get it. I really believe it to do with eating a lot more fruits and vegetables and exercising more.

Last night we did Muay Thai workout for the first time and afterwards I made this.

Grilled pork, qinuoa with apple, beetroot and walnut salad.

Then been having smoothies to fill me up.

The photo made it look quite big but I actually been very good with eating smaller portions. And I've also been good at cutting down on carbs, I try not to have too much of it especially at night. Also on Sunday out rest day of working out I have decided to make it no carb day. And today since we will be doing Yoga not as intense (but I actually find this exercise the hardest - I have no balance what so ever) I will try to make it low carb day.

No news yet & making some pasta

June 11th, 2014 at 06:51 am

DH was meant to talk to his boss about his employment early in the morning today but his boss was given the run around by his boss and was not given the go ahead until late in the afternoon. Apparently, DH's boss was told that he has to talk to everyone's agencies (probably 3 or 4 of them) first before he can talk to the employees about what's going to happen. This thing is a mess and it doesn't help that the upper management doesn't seem to give a damn about the employees. There are apparently 2 tester that have been told that they will only be needed for only 2 months. The 2 months is so they can hand it over and trained up the new people that will only be paid $60K a year. They want to do things cheap and expect everyone to just agree with it. It will be interesting to see if those 2 tester will actually stay, very doubtful there will be any extra pay to make them to stay for it. Anyway, hopefully DH will finally find out tomorrow.

Today I made this for lunch.

This was my first time making carbonara sauce without cream. I topped it with parsley and chives from the garden.

Tax Refund

September 7th, 2012 at 01:24 am

I didnt think it would come for another week or so, definitely wasnt expecting it today. For both of us it added to just over $3,300, then we will be paying the accountant $440. We will have to get to the bank tomorrow morning to deposit the cheques because the bank is only open until 1pm on Saturdays.

Did not have salad last night but had lots of roasted vegetables to go with the roasted chicken. Half way through cooking the roast chicken I had a craving for Japanese food so I made some tempura (using carrots, zucchini and mushrooms). It helped with the craving.
Tonight we will be watching our football team so we will be having meat pie (store bought) and sausage rolls (free from mums friend). I will make some rocket salad to go with it. I think DH is getting some snacks to have for the game. Its a big deal game so we are both looking forward to it.

Tomorrow we are going to a friends housewarming party for lunch. She will be making the mains but have asked us to bring other stuff I elected to bring some SALAD!

Started buying again

September 5th, 2012 at 07:12 pm

We havent bought many stocks this year until now. The stock market here is starting to look a bit better again. DH had bought some the other day in his superannuation (retirement fund) and we have also agreed to put in some buy orders in our margin loan account. We are looking at buying up to $20,000 worth but we will probably only get $10,000 this time around. Im hoping this trend will continue and if does we will probably get some more again at the end of the year.

Steptember Challenge:

I just made it to 10K yesterday.

5 Sept: 10,051 steps

It was a bit of a struggle. I had to keep reminding myself to get up and move around. I had no idea how long it take to do 10,000 steps. Ive realise now that on normal days I probably only do 5000-6000 steps in one day and on lazy days probably only get up to 4000 steps. It will need a bit of effort to get to 10K. Last night we went to Aldi, normally I would just get DH to stop by after work but last night I got him to pick me up at home first so I could come and walk around the shopping centre.

Salad lastnight was just simple baby rockets (i like the peppery taste of it), mushrooms, tomatoes (got some lastnight)and olives with just balsamic vinegar and olive oil for dressing. Still loving salads right now.

September 2012 Mortgage Payment

September 4th, 2012 at 05:08 pm

Regular monthly mortgage payment:
Paid = $1218.00
Interest =$653.60
Principal = $564.40
Current Balance = $124,690.85 (Yes we are now below $125K)


I did pretty well yesterday with my 10,000 steps challenge (Steptember).
4 Sept: 11,257 steps
I did a bit of walking around the city yesterday so it was not hard to get to 10K. However, I think it will be hard to do when Im just at home I have to make sure I keep moving around. I woke up an hour earlier today, so hopefully that will help a bit.


Lastnight I made couscous and chickpea salad. I put in some kalamata olives, mint, parsley and lemon juice. It went well with the beef casserole. DH is not big on couscous but he still eat it. We have a lot of mint, parsley and coriander in the garden at the moment, so I've been putting those in everything at the moment.

Lunch Date

September 3rd, 2012 at 05:48 pm

I'm about to go out to meet up with DH for lunch. 2 weeks ago he asked me to go out for lunch in the city but I did not want to go out because it was soo cold. It's amazing how quickly the weather can change. Today it will get to 22 degrees Celcius, so it will be a beautiful day.

I've got my pedometer on already and will be doing a lot of walking around in the city. I hoping I can get to 10,000 steps today.

I've been having a lot of salad lately and been trying new ones. Last night I made Thai green mango salad, it was really nice. According to DH "it's a keeper", which means he'd like to have it again in the future. I put shredded carrot, cashews, string beans, mint and coriander. I was suppose to put tomatoes in it but we didn't have any. For the sauce I put chilli, fish sauce, lemon juice and palm sugar. I used the mortar and pestle to crush and mix the sauce together.

NSD and Mortgage

June 15th, 2012 at 06:14 pm

Yesterday was NSD, that makes it 2 this week.

Today, I just put another $1,200 into the mortgage. Extra payment into the mortgage so far this month is $1,700. I'm hoping to make it to put $2.5K extra this month. Next Friday is payday I should be able to put more then. Starting on the 18th of June our interest in the mortgage will go down another 0.21%. I think that should be a reduction of $15-20 per month. Can't wait to see next month's regular payment, I'm pretty sure the principal payment side should be more than $500. something to celebrate about but not too much because the interest side would still be around $700. I be definitely celebrating more when the principal payment is greater than the interest payment.

It's Saturday, normally it's our grocery shopping day. We don't really need anything, not even milk (I only just opened the new bottle yesterday but DH wants to get more so he can make some yogurt. I actually need to start using up the produce soon, we got too much stuff in the last two shopping trip. Last night, I made ratatouille just to use up some of the tomato and capsicum, we got too much.
I cooked a whole fish last night not knowing that DH ordered a sushi platter for tonights dinner. So we are having more fish today. The platter will cost $29, it normally cost $65 but we got a coupon deal.

Coconut Pudding

June 7th, 2012 at 06:15 pm

I experimented last night and made coconut pudding. I bought a whole coconut on the weekend at the Asian shop and I decided to use that instead of opening a can. We got this coconut grinder 2 years ago in Fiji and this is our first time using it.

We had to sit on it. We put it on our step so it was easier to put a bowl under it to catch the coconut meat. I then put it into a cheese cloth then DH wringed it to get the coconut cream/milk out. A lot more work than opening a can of coconut but it was not bad. It was actually fun to do.

The coconut pudding is already half gone. DH took some for his morning tea. I will definitely make that again and will take a photo next time (I forgot this time).

BBQ and Risotto

June 3rd, 2012 at 06:44 pm

Only spending yesterday was $7.80 for coal that we need for our barbeque. We had skewer pork bbq for lunch; it was really good I marinated it the night before. DH really liked it and he keeps telling me that we should really make it again. The weather was not the best for bbq, it was cold and raining (it is winter after all), but we managed.

In the afternoon I made chicken stock that I used to make chicken and mushroom risotto. I think it was the best risotto Ive ever made. I used oyster mushroom instead of the boring button mushroom, it has more flavour. I got them from the Asian shop, a lot cheaper, and they have more variety of mushrooms than at the supermarket. I also used few different cheeses (that I got from the market) when cooking it. Then I sprinkled it with parmesan cheese at the end. I got some leftover for lunch Im looking forward to that Smile

Tonight I will use up the leftover stock I might make some soup maybe Vietnamese Pho I got some Vietnamese mint. And Im thinking of making some noodles, to use up the leftover mushroom (they have a very short use by date).


May 21st, 2012 at 09:34 pm

The avocadoes are ready for eating. DH use one last night, he made a banana and avocado smoothie, it was really good. I want to try it with just avocado. There are still 6 left we got to eat them quickly because they dont last long, I dont want to waste them.

So today Im making some avocado and cucumber sushi, I got some sushi rice and I bought a packet of seaweed when we went to the Asian shop earlier this month, so Im all set to go. Im not going to make too much, we are already planning to go to a Japanese restaurant this Friday night. Weve been having a lot of Japanese food lately, not that Im complaining I love it.

Pizza and another NSD

May 12th, 2012 at 03:20 am

We ended up with a NSD today. We decided to not bother with grocery shopping. We can do it tomorrow on the way home from my mums place. There is a nice fruit and vegetable shop near her place that we can go to and there is an Aldi store in the same shopping complex. The weather was not great today so we both did not want to go outside.

For dinner tonight we had homemade pizza, we havent made one for more than a year. DH tried out a new pizza base recipe I think it was the best one we have tried so far. The cheese we got from the market last weekend was really good in it.

We had few tomatoes that needed to be used (actually had to throw one out) so I made it into a sauce. I just put garlic, oregano and anchovy. It turned out really well. DH normally doesnt like anchovies but it pretty much melted in the sauce so he didnt notice.


May 10th, 2012 at 12:18 am

I went to the city to have lunch with DH and 3 of his co-workers today. We went to an all you can eat buffet for $29 each. Wowthe place was massive and had so much food to choose from. It had an area for antipasto and salads, soups, Chinese food (yum cha style), curries and roasts (pork, chicken and duck). It also had an area they called Japanese kitchen where they make fresh sushi and sashimi. And in the other side you can get the chef to cook a dish, just pick the vegetables, noodles, sauce, etc. and they will cook it for you. And then there was the massive selection of desserts. I didnt bother with the soups, even though they look really good. I think if the weather was cold I would have. I did get any noodles either, had to have room for the yummy desserts. The crme brule was so good, one of DH co-worker had two.

While out at lunch I got a message from my friend letting me know that they got the wedding gift and that it is really lovely. Im glad it got to them in time.

Last nights Moroccan soup was good, although it was a bit too sweet for me (thats what you get when you put sweet potato in itDuh!), but DH absolutely love it, he had extra. I used some of the Turkish bread in the freezer as croutons. I have no idea what to cook for dinner tonight, after eating so much for lunch I really dont want to think about it right now (it is 5:10pm at the moment so I will have to decide soon). We do have left over soup. I might be able to get away with no cooking tonight. I could make salad to go with the soup.


May 8th, 2012 at 07:39 pm

I cooked the Singaporean noodles for dinner last night. I also made a key lime pie. I found a really simple recipe yesterday. DH and I both agree it was nice but too sweet for us and we both preferred the cheesecake that I made last week.

On the weekend I bought a lot of sweet potatoes at the market, it was for only 69cents a kilo. I found another recipe yesterday that sound yummy it is for a Moroccan sweet potato, carrot and chick pea soup. Ill make this for dinner tonight. I already started soaking the chickpea last night.
It must be the colder weather that Im really in the mood for cooking.

There is no plan to spend money today. I might go out for lunch tomorrow with DH and his co-workers/friends. We want to try this new all you can eat place near DHs work.


May 5th, 2012 at 01:46 am

We pretty much spent the whole day out shopping. The weather was terrible; the sun never came out, non-stop shower and was freezing cold. First stop was the Asian shop, spent $79.61, $38.00 was for a big bag of Jasmine rice. We definitely got more out of money, for example coriander and Vietnamese mint were only 65cent for a bunch - normally it will be $2 a bunch at the supermarket. Then we went to the market, we got a whole chicken, over 3 kilos of pork (different cuts), a kilo of fish, 2 different kinds of cheeses, more fruits and vegetables.

We came home for lunch, just had some leftover. DH put the washing in the dryer and put on another load of washing is machine. While he did that I decided to make chicken stock to use for dinner.

We then decided to go to hardware/nursery store. We end up getting 4 bags of potting mix, strawberry seedlings and 2 metres of share cloth. We also decided to get my mum another gift, it cost just over $150. I called my brother to see if he wanted to go in with us, he will give me $50. I could have got her the cheaper version but I think this one is nicer and my brother was very happy to just put in money for it. I will just give her the steamer for her birthday in few months time. I dont think I will receive it for another month anyway. So now mothers day is sorted.

Then after the hardware store, we stop at Aldi which was next door. We got milk, bacon, honey, breakfast items eggs and paper towel.

We got home around 4:30pm. I decided to make my chicken stock into Vietnamese Pho soup for dinner so good in this weather.

Rate Cut and Cheesecake

May 1st, 2012 at 08:11 pm

Yesterday afternoon the Australian reserve bank lowered the cash rate by 50 basis points (half a per cent). The official cash rate right now is down to 3.75%. They are anticipating tough times ahead; the unemployment rate will sure increase in the near future and property sales have slowed down considerably.

This is good news for us mortgage holders but not so great for the in-laws who rely on the interest of their savings to live on. Everyone in the media believes that the bank will not fully pass on this cut, actually almost but one has not made a decision to cut rate yet. They will take their sweet time about it. Every day could mean millions saving for them.

Even a cut of quarter per cent I will be happy. Hoping to find out in the next few days about how much cut we will get.

For the first time in my life I am making cheesecake, so far so good. Ive been craving it since the weekend when I saw some at a cake shop. I got DH to get the ingredients last night it cost just under $10, the one in the store were $8.50 per slice. Although I did not realise that will have to wait for hours for it to cool down/chill in the fridge. I was hoping to have some for afternoon tea. I might have to wait to have it for dessert after dinner tonight instead.

Slow Cooking

April 10th, 2012 at 08:18 pm

I just put on the slow cooker, I'm making beef casserole for dinner. It should be ready in 6 hours time.

I've also got a couple of corn in the cob that will need to be used up. I think I will make corn fritter with some bacon bits. I just don't want to waste it. Last night, DH made some yogurt, also using the slow cooker. I think a cucumber and yogurt dip will go nicely with the corn fritter.