Frugal Fortunes & Fumbles: FFF#8

fortunefumble

Each week I like to look back at the week that was and reflect on whether or not I am still undertaking steps to get me to my financial goals. I am not superhuman and as such I have my fumbles as well as my fortunes and I think it’s important to learn from my mistakes as well as my successes.

 

Fortunes

  • I got a great deal on the most expensive component of my homemade version of cereal, allowing me to maximise my savings.
  • I remembered to collect my Swagbucks Bonus, and while it was only 66SB, basically free SB is always good SB. Thinking of joining up to Swagbucks? I covered it in my post on Australian Survey Sites.
  • So far we are still on track with our grocery budget goal, and I’m actually contemplating lowering the goal to keep it challenging, but still attainable.

Fumbles

  • FID (Frugally Inclined Dad) was home this weekend so we had a few extra expenses at the last minute with Ubers and then some yummy icecream. A Fumble from the goal, but well worth it still, and was enjoyed guilt free.

Cutting Costs: Project Cereal

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I’m picky when it comes to cereal. Ever since I was a kid, light ‘n’ tasty was the only cereal I never got bored of ⅓ of the way into the box (sorry mum!). I dislike porridge and always have, weet-bix gets soggy and gross… but combination cereals, like just right and sultana bran are my kinds of cereal! However… they’re expensive and more often than not the box image expectation and the reality of what’s inside the box leave me totally disappointed.

Solution: make your own cereal!

Now I’m not saying this is the cheapest way to eat cereal, but I find it is the cheapest way to eat this type of cereal, and you can chop and change it entirely to your tastes.

 

I don’t have a set recipe and each batch I make is slightly different but the basic elements I try to include are

  • Corn flakes
  • Rolled oats
  • Weet bix
  • Rice bubbles
  • A combination cereal like light n tasty
    Optional extras:
  • Dessicated coconut
  • Sultanas

Honestly you can use any cereal you have available to you but it’s the quantity of what that averages the cost out for you. For example I use the cheapest of everything available to me (yes, even the cardboard tasting home brand weet-bix!)

Instead of paying around $7/kg for combination cereal, if I combine the following in complete packet sizes-

Combination cereal 770g = $5
Corn flakes 550g =$2
Rice pops 400g =$2
Rolled oats 750g=$1.19
Weet bix 1kg=$2.86

It comes out at
=3.475kg/$13.05=$3.75/kg
Which is by itself a $2.70 saving per kg however, that’s not the quantities I use.

The rough quantities I use are closer to as follows-

10% combination cereal =(.64c)
30% weet bix (crushed)=(.85c)
20% corn flakes=(.72c)
10% rice bubbles=($.50)
30% rolled oats=(.48c)

Or $3.19/kg a saving of more than 50% of store bought combination cereal!

Of course adding sultanas and dessicated coconut bumps the unit cost up a tad, but still it is much cheaper than a store bought version and if times are lean I can tailor the cereal to be cheaper again by increasing more of the cheaper ingredients and less of the expensive ones. The price can also be reduced by buying the cereals in bulk quantities while they are on special, or sometimes stores have multi-buys (such as 3 for $5 instead of $2 each for homebrand corn flakes and rice pops).

For the actual making part I just layer them all into a airtight container and then – to my sons amusement – shake it all up, and serve.

Have you tried making your own cereal?
What ingredients do you include?

Frugal Fortunes & Fumbles: FFF#7

fortunefumble

Each week I like to look back at the week that was and reflect on whether or not I am still undertaking steps to get me to my financial goals. I am not superhuman and as such I have my fumbles as well as my fortunes and I think it’s important to learn from my mistakes as well as my successes.

 

Fortunes

  • I got a few DVD rentals for free with some promo codes for entertainment this week.
  • Extra repayments on the mortgage meant the end of month mortgage interest was reduced by $1.11 a day compared to last month – down $5.76 a day from January!

Fumbles

  • No fumbles that I can think of this week aside from spending more time indoors than I would have liked, increasing the electricity usage.

PSA: Huggies Little Swimmers Freebie

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Free Sample (Up to 2 per year) For Huggies Little Swimmer pants.

https://www.huggies.com.au/samples/little-swimmers

I have been told by a swimming instructor that these pants don’t actually contain wee, but just catch poo from escaping. This means if your little one doesn’t poo onto these swimpants you could in theory dry the swimpants in the sun until they look worse for wear. So if you only have the occasional swimmer this could make a packet of these pants last much longer.

Frugal Fortunes & Fumbles: FFF#6

fortunefumble

Each week I like to look back at the week that was and reflect on whether or not I am still undertaking steps to get me to my financial goals. I am not superhuman and as such I have my fumbles as well as my fortunes and I think it’s important to learn from my mistakes as well as my successes.

 

Fortunes

  • Once again I’ve been filling some spare time by listening to free audiobooks courtesy of my Library.
  • We started creating a picture book using brochures from out local shopping centre. This was prompted when I realised Little Mister could point out a cartoon frog picture but not recognise a real frog picture.
  • Once again came in under $50 budget for groceries. I could have gotten by without any expenditure this week however on one of my Coles perusal visits I came across 3kg of beef mince for $4.80/kg (usually $7/kg) I’ve since frozen the meat for future meals.

Fumbles

  • The bike seat I mentioned last week ended up costing a little bit as I discovered I didn’t have the necessary extension pieces to mount the seat onto my bike. Still a win overall but not quite the free seat I thought it was last week. The fortune of this ‘fumble’ is that Mr FIM (Mr FID?) convinced me to wait till he was home so we could get an extra discount he was entitled to.
  • I made some homemade icecream with a bargain milk and cream I purchased, sounds like a Fortune, only I then worked the maths and discovered it was actually cheaper to buy store bought icecream! Maybe not quite as tasty as homemade, but cheaper yes. I’m surprised at how cheap the store bought icecream is!

The Importance of Setting Goals

goals

OK, so you’ve got some debt, or you are struggling to save money, maybe for a nice outfit or to break into the housing market. I cannot stress enough the importance of setting goals whatever your financial situation. Goals give you drive and motivation to do, or abstain  from certain habits.

For example as I’ve previously mentioned, we had a somewhat insane sounding goal of paying off the remaining $88,000 of a mortgage in one year, a goal that was completed 5 months early! Yes this had extraordinary circumstances as there was a rather large bonus we were banking our goal on, but having the goal helped massively. I know this because after that mortgage was paid off the amazing payments didn’t automatically cross onto the remaining mortgage. I didn’t instantly set a SMART goal for the remaining mortgage during our celebratory stage and the initial few months following paying off the first mortgage reflect that.

Once I set a SMART goal for our remaining mortgage suddenly I could see results as the mortgage began decreasing rapidly. So what is a SMART goal? “Paying down the mortgage” is not a SMART goal unfortunately. “Getting the mortgage down to $100K by June 30 2017” is a SMART goal. Let me explain. SMART is an acronym that goes as follows

Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Relevant
Timed

Looking at my latest goal it fits into each of those 5 categories. It’s a specific goal rather than the vague goal of paying off the mortgage. It’s a measurable goal by using money as the measurable unit. Its attainable, but not too easy, something that I still have to work at to achieve. It’s relevant because paying the mortgage down will release some financial stress, basically the “why” factor of the goal. And finally its timed to have an end date.

In order for a goal to remain a SMART goal you cannot simply create a goal and then walk away from it and expect a brilliant result. Part of it being measurable requires actually measuring it. The frequency of measurement is up to you but for the time being I measure our goal twice monthly. Once on the first of the month, another on the 15th of the month. Others may choose to measure weekly, or even monthly. I suggest monthly as a minimum frequency to look at your finances as a goal can get off track a lot in more than a month.

To me an ideal SMART goal is an A4 (or larger) piece of paper and consists of the following.

  •  The goal statement
  • A measurable chart (almost always a line graph)
  • A list of things I intend to do to reach the goal.
  • Optional: a specified reward once the goal is reached.

Spend a bit of time looking at your income, allow a portion to be set aside for living costs and bills and then from that get a rough idea of what your attainable goal might be and what needs to be done to make it possible, such as reducing your grocery bills or making extra side income. Then be sure to place your goal somewhere you can see and reflect on it frequently.

Have you created your SMART finance goals yet?