I love the start of a fresh week. And the start of a month? I get giddy on the new possibilities that lay ahead. And yes, I’m also a fan of Monday’s – sure that wasn’t always the case but as soon as I respected myself to only work in jobs I loved (which then turned into my own businesses I loved), Monday’s also become a good day.
So with that in mind, you can only imagine that I was a wee bit excited that the 1st of July fell on a Monday. Lame? 100% but let’s move on.
Since moving back to Sydney after our 18 month hiatus in Noosa hinterlands (read: bliss) life has been very full on. Money thrown in every direct, UberEats at our fingertips again and living life a little too ‘unconsciously’.
So July has been the month to check in. Our health, our money spending, our impact on the environment and our quality family time. It may seem like a lot to tackle at once but it’s been seemingly easy and flowing into one another nicely.
Let’s start with PLASTIC FREE JULY
I decided to do this the morning of so I didn’t have time to overthink or prepare, both not a bad thing! I also decided to go all in – well as much as possible anyway as I am being realistic.
Here’s what has been easy:
No takeaway coffee cups
We (kids included) have all keep cups and a cafe pretty much across the road so the hubby gets them in the morning for us #winning
No plastic straws
So far so good. As the kids have their own cups for babychinos they don’t need/use straws. And as I’m being a money scourge this week, that means no juices or smoothie while out and about.
No takeaway containers
By simply not ordering any takeaway, means more cooking for me (yes to health and yes to saving money).
No plastic shopping bags
This is easy guys, just use those 20 reusable shopping bags you have in the cupboard. Leave a thin one in your handbag and a few in the car if you forgot.
Homemade almond milk
We had a few cartons in the fridge and when they ran out today I simply made homemade almond milk. So easy and tastes so much better!
What’s been a roadblock:
We have definitely eaten less meat this week, first we used EVERYTHING in the fridge and freezer and then got a couple of things from the butcher as Coles/Woolies is obviously wrapped in plastic. The first butcher was ok to put straight into paper and then I transferred into a container as soon as I got home but the second time was not… despite my best efforts it was put in a bag BUT I made her put all the items in the same bag once they weight it all. I get it, it’s a hygiene thing and she couldn’t understand my request for her to put paper down to weight the meat instead of plastic… baby steps.
We treated ourselves to a quick coffee and treats on Sunday and dined in (so not takeaway cups etc) but they bought the kids drinks in takeaway cups (juices and babychinos) and then my side of honey in one top. Face slap.
Now we haven’t had to do a full food shop yet as using up everything we have (hello old can of lentils…) but when we run out of butter that may be an issue…
Now onto my next task, SAVING MONEY
It’s no secret that I can’t wait to move back to Noosa so we are working our ass off to start saving money for our next home. After having a sit down and going through our spendings and earnings well it came as a bit of a shock. We spend without taking notice, and well that has to stop!! Sydney is EXPENSIVE and when you write down what you spend daily it’s a bit a scary.
We nailed week one of savings because let’s be honest, I love a challenge. Week 2 (and the rest of the month) might be a different story. We didn’t really go food shopping as I menu planned around what we currently had. We didn’t really eat when out or make any unnecessary purchases. Again, not 100% sustainable but will try and stay positive!
Write it down.
We had a plain piece of paper on the fridge and just wrote it all down for the week. 2 coffees and 2 babychinos? Up it goes. Parking, add that too. It makes you accountable and brings awareness into what you spend. I happened to pay all the bills and rent was paid for the month at the end of June so it was a good time to start, obviously each week won’t be this good but we only spent $521 this week!!
Cooking at home.
Of course this is going to save you money, of course ordering UberEats every night won’t, it’s not rocket science.
On Sunday I look in the fridge and pantry to see what I have left and needs using, then I get a little creative.
Lentils and sweet potato’s? That can be the base of a stew/slow cooker AND have left overs for other meals.
Cauliflower? I can make a dam fine pizza out of that which also uses some cheese, bacon and capsicum.
Bananas for banana bread.
Eggs? Hello omelette or quiche.
Shanks and potatoes – and so on.
This also links back to upping the game on health because you know everything that’s going into your body.
Veggie boxes from markets
We’ve just joined a co-opp (thanks Neighbors!) where once a fortnight we get delivered a HUGE box of fruit and veggies from Flemington markets for only $30. Approx savings of $80 a fortnight. Have a google and see if you have anything similar available otherwise heading to the markets yourself. Otherwise a grocer is a good option to get loose veggies yourself (no plastic) and ensure it’s local and in season (savings).
Making almond milk at home
So so easy and saves money, saves on rubbish and you can be a bit of a smug bitch.
Just soak 3/4 almonds in a cup of slightly salted water over night (or a few hours of short on time), then rinse and blend the next day (I popped in theromix) with 2 cups of water, a date, a little vanilla essence (I did a sprinkle of cinnamon for good measure) and blend for a good 60 seconds. I happened to have a nut bag in the draw which you pour the milk through to capture the pulp (some people leave it in) and then pour the fluffy white ‘milk’ in a jar and use for the next 5 days. Bonus points you can use the almond meal in muffins or something equally Martha Stewart worthy.
We went through the credit card statement to see what is coming out that we don’t need anymore.
YouTube subscription for $12 a month? So unnecessary. Foxtel monthly fee of $104? WTF we don’t even use it anymore when Stan and Netflix is around $12 a month.
Will continue to do this (Spotify etc) as little things to actually add up.
Credit Card Points
This one can be a little risky but if you have a handle on it and a bit of self control it can be a winner. Change to a credit card for one that has lots of flyer points so that Christmas trip home (for us, 4 flying to Perth then country WA) will he for free. Maybe even business class. I’m putting all my biz purchases through it as I know I can pay it off quickly, get the 120,000 points (hello free flights) then cancel it.
Same thing as signing up to things like Fly Buy cards etc make your money stretch a little further.
And that’s it for week 1, hopefully you got a couple of tips and motivate you to join me next week as I go into my week 2!