Waste Wednesday update

It might be a busy week, but I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t weigh my rubbish.  So, let’s see how things went in the first (partial) week of the BF living at live-to-list-ville:

rubbish weigh in

Waste weigh in for Wed 31 July 2013

That’s the weight for three weeks worth of trash, so, this week’s weigh in is: 548 – 67 -172 = 302g

Not my biggest week.  Just my second biggest week.  And here’s why

  • meat trays: with all the moving, I settled for meat from the grocery store, in non recyclable trays
  • ice cream wrappers: why does stress come with eating bad things, and thinking it’s ok?
  • cheese packets: yes, I used up TWO of the packets in the photo from last week
  • apple puree cups: I was feeling ill, so I always go for apple sauce to settle my tummy.  Whilst I can buy it in a jar (with cinnamon), I somehow just got single portions pack, with three cups and three pretend foil lids.
  • tortilla bag: I’m not sure I can buy these without plastic, though I could look into making them?
  • plastic wrapping from a lamp: this cellophane wrapping was removed to show the lamp’s fabric (like it’s already un-plasticed twin)
  • tea bags: yes, I still have a stash.  And I could empty out the tea leaves to the Bokashi, and just trash the string and staple, but I’m not that vigilant (yet)

So I’m not that happy, but it’s not *that* bad.  I’ve got to focus on work, and packing my house/showing my house, so I let other things slip.

I also indulged in a cleaner to do the bathroom and the oven yesterday.  She emptied the bathroom bin (curses – seriously, my boyfriend thinks I’m the only person who’d have a problem with a cleaner emptying bins!).  Thankfully, I found the bin liner and contents in the kitchen bin, so I weighed them.  There’s ‘wet’ stuff still inside, so it’s heavier than it I did it later:

Bathroom trash weigh in

Bathroom trash weigh in

It’s by no means ‘full’ but this is 216g since 22 May – so more than two months.  In this bag we have:

  • cotton buds: using the last of the ‘normal’ ones up before buying bamboo ones
  • floss: remember that the silk thread as floss was a failure, so I’m stuck with this waste.  Not yet at rinsing it either…
  • dish cloths: from the cleaner.  I usually use a microfibre cloth and wash it (in the washing machine) and use a little loo paper for the ickiest of wipe downs.

So there in completes my weekly update.  I’m not sure I’ll have a Wednesday Waste post next week – I’ll certainly trash things in the moving day of Monday without weighing them! I’ll perhaps Facebook post any ‘trashing’ in the move process…

On the rental front: There was only one interested couple to apply after two showings.  The other couple found the balcony too small.  I’ve decided to accept the first couple’s application, rather than lower my rent and see if there’s more interest.  The first couple can move in 9th August, which is just 4 days after we vacate, so that’s better than what I might otherwise get.  So that’s one more thing sorted…

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Smile for you close up!

Wow… This was meant to publish last week (Thu 25 July), but it seems all the other changes, I failed to get it to publish! Thanks to everything else going on in my life, I’ve not been meticulously planning content, and preparing photos.  That’s not to say photos haven’t been taken of my new place though 😀

Moving plans

Here’s how things are tracking

  • My place has had it’s professional photos taken (so it’s even more perfect that how you usually see it… No tea towels!  No hand towels! No soap by the sink!)
Kitchen

Kitchen

Living room

Living room

  • The ad will go up today last Thursday (so excited to see it!)
  • My open time is booked in (10am last Saturday)
Bathroom (evidently not cleaned :s)

Bathroom (evidently not cleaned :s)

  • I’ll pick up the spare keys from my parents Wednesday afternoon (as I’m out that way for a meeting today) & drop them to the agent
  • My friends are hiring a van (in the GoGet car share system here in Sydney) and will help the BF and I move his few possessions (this past Saturday!)
Dining area

Dining area

  • My strata manager has approved us to store the BF’s stuff in the ‘games’ room in my building (essentially a storage place/meeting room) for the week between him moving in, and us getting keys for our new place
  • I’ve done my change of address almost everywhere I can think of, the majority were online, so super quick and easy
Bedroom, missing on bedside box from Ikea

Bedroom, missing on bedside box from Ikea

I was getting all frazzled about the ‘hurry hurry wait’ situation, but I’ve now resolved I will commence next Saturday – in the afternoon, after the showing.  With that decision, I’m much calmer.  I think I can realistically get everything packed in 1.5 days, with moving on Monday. Of course, if my place hasn’t yet got a lease, I’ll move ‘half’ my stuff – the stuff I can take away from my apartment, but still give people an idea of space and furniture options.  Mostly everything in the cupboard and occasional storage like side tables and ottomans. Naturally, I have a prioritised list of what to move: from move now, to move last.

Career

In non moving news, I’ve also been told I start my new role on Monday today.  Just what a girl needs :p I’ll be working under (another) new boss.  Everything’s in flux in my office’s management, and I’ve liked my temporary new boss.  The new new boss, well, I’m not sure we gel just yet.  But it’s a learning experience.  I’ll certainly have a much larger amount of work to output (many more smaller jobs, whereas now I have a few large jobs… When I say ‘few’ I mean about 25, of which 5-10 are active at any one time ;))

Along with a new type of work, and output, I will also oversee the work of one person in my office, and a collection of people in another office.  The other office people won’t be working on my portfolio full time, but will help out to raise output.

Needless to say, I’ll have a few plates in the air in the next this week, between starting a new role, having my house open for inspection, and hopefully getting it leased, and packing and moving from my place to our new place.

I’ve always said I’d rather be busy than bored though!

View from the entryway

View from the entryway

Oh I am SO excited to have had my place photographed by a pro, if you couldn’t tell! And here I was thinking (and hoping) I was modest… I’m not, I love my baby(house).

Maybe tomorrow I can share the ‘disaster’ photos of how it looks after absorbing some of the BF’s stuff.  It really isn’t that much of a disaster!

July Challenge: No eating out

Although it’s not the true end of the month, I thought I would check in with my experience of my self imposed challenge not to eat out for a month!

1. I was innovative, with packing everything for a two day road trip. So I know I can be ‘frugal’ and skip eating out. (I will summarise grocery costs at the true end of the month, and see if there’s been a noticeable increase, and probably update this post with more info).

2. I did cheat. There were a handful of take away coffees (some even in single use take away cups!). There was one breach in the first weekend, and then two breaches the following two weekends. I also went out with my next door neighbour for Vietnamese. I didn’t want to reject her suggestion (it’s our first ‘date’), and cooking at home wasn’t practical with going to open houses on the same night.  Last night I got sushi from the sushi place outside the grocery store – so it’s sort of out, and sort of not?!

3. My boyfriend was on board (but bored!). He encouraged me to stick at it (like last night! He cooked nachos, but I didn’t want nachos). Though it’s become a common placeto say ‘we’ll do that/go there in August’.  Bring on August and some dates!

4. I did buy some ready made meals from the grocery store, such as garlic bread, soups and (freezer) pizzas. I’d like to move away from processed foods, as I’ve mentioned before, but it’s just too hard sometimes to balance all the things you want to do, with LIFE! So I gave myself leave passes.

5. I’ve certainly spent less money, with every week having some of my weekly allowance still in my wallet. That being said, I’ve spent way more than a usual month as I outlined here, and more recently with the rental bond and that sort of thing.

Overall, it was an interesting challenge.  I proved to myself that I can cook at home, and eat at home, and it’s not all that taxing, though I do occasionally take short cuts with ready made meals.  It is a little more socially challenging to not eat out, and my relationship with my colleague seems less strong after missing our weekly lunch date.  Actually, in light of my role change, a few one on one lunches might have been better to keep the relationship strong, even though I’m ‘jumping ship’.

On the whole, I don’t think I’ll re-do this challenge for the sake of it.  It’s good to know I can tighten the belt, but it’s all been a bit too much of a challenge in these later weeks of the month, with all the moving plans.

 

Waste Wednesday update

I almost forgot this riveting installment… Oh, how you would have missed it! (Seriously, there was a bolt upright moment when I realised, and I scurried back to the kitchen to snap some photos).  For anyone new to this, I like to weigh my non recyclable waste every Wednesday.  One day, I hope to have zero non recyclable waste.  That’s the aim!  I do the kitchen bin weekly, and the bathroom and bedroom bin when they get full.  For more details, see the Zero Waste page.

Waste weigh in for Wed 24 July 2013

Waste weigh in for Wed 24 July 2013

Blurry picture at 6.30am, sorry, but that’s 239g.  Adjusted (as this is two week’s trash) total is 67g.

That is a RECORD! I’ve never had it that low since I started weighing weekly in April.

Inside the bag

Choc chips, last of the bulk bacon (from freezer), mac and cheese packet… 😦

It’s weird, cause I was sure the yucky bacon packet would take me over.

Oh and for people who remember all my cheese grating efforts (to lessen waste), here’s some photos of what happened when the BF’s fridge was emptied into mine this past weekend:

All the 'inherited' cheese

All the ‘inherited’ cheese

The freezer 'before'

The freezer ‘before’

The freezer AFTER the cheese invasion

The freezer AFTER the cheese invasion

And to think, this was after I consolidated all his half packets into one package, where possible. If there’s one thing I teach the BF, it’ll be to ‘use it up’ when there’s just dregs in the packet… I mean, who couldn’t handle one more sprinkle of cheese to empty the packet?

So, that brings us to… the best week yet, but some bad weeks anticipated in the new future. Any tips on how to keep the BF on board with my waste minimisation targets?

A new home!

Today’s going to be a bit scattered – which is a bit how I feel!

Firstly, we’ve been accepted to rent “home 2” listed as the evening showing in my recent post! This was the BF’s preferred place. When I initially sent the ad to him he said was too pricey, so I worked on not getting my hopes up.  But it is spacious enough, that I can see us being happy there for a long time.  And it’s a great area, in a small building close to shops.  I’ll just need to enjoy the extra blocks to the train station – but seeing I won’t be catching the train to see the BF, it shouldn’t affect me much! 😀 We looked it again on Saturday, and arranged all our paperwork ready to ‘apply’ on Saturday after the showing.  By about 10am on Monday we were told we’d been successful!!! (who wouldn’t want us, really?)

Wooden floors in living room

Wooden floors, and a balcony that might get enough sun I can grow herbs!

I am excited, but a little annoyed, as we can’t move in this Saturday.  This Saturday is the day the BF is moving his minimal furniture out (a sofa, a bed and mattress, a desk and a coffee table) of his rental.  I have measured up my place, and we’ll just store everything temporarily for a week, until we get the keys.

I’m also itching to pack up my house, but first I need to get it rented out! I have engaged an agent.  Did you know, they ask you on the rental agreement to disclose if there’s been a violent crime on the premises in the last five years.  I never saw that clause anywhere when I bought – so you renters, you get all the dirt!  In order to make this work, I’m getting my place photographed tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon.  Then the first showing should be this Saturday (hopefully early, so we won’t be waiting around to move the BF’s furniture in), and fingers crossed someone loves it! But I think it’s likely to be on the market/vacant for about three weeks.

I’ll be sure to share my own photos of the new place once we have moved in.  I’m a little conscious of over-sharing on the internet, so I won’t link to the listing, just to stay safe.  But you can have some of the sales photos:

New white kitchen open shleving

Fully stocked kitchen (during the sale campaign, we saw it empty)

Now to the scattery parts…

I found out a school friend had a heart attack and died.  Such sad news at 28.  She was married, and had twin sisters two years below her at school (which might seem like it might identify her, but my year in boarding school had MULTIPLE sisters in my year, with twins two years below – freaky huh?).  She was married, and I feel so deeply for her husband, but so pleased she’d found someone to share her (much too short) life with.  I spoke to a few girls from school last night, and then received a text from the boarding mistress (the Head of Boarding in modern terminology) this morning, so it’s nice to feel this community rally, even if it was 11 years ago since we all lived cheek and jowl.  I’m yet to know what the arrangements are, and how they might fit with everything else at the moment.

And back to the house… I need to do a budget!  Budgets aren’t something I don’t live by, instead I have a loose system that works, as I’ve explained here.  I budget my savings, and my ‘weekly allowance’ and everything else is fluid – I can steal to get a greater weekly allowance, or I can bump up a savings account as it suits.  But at the moment I’m having that moment of ‘ekk what have I done’ (not assisted by seeing the balance of my $26k by 22 Dec dip, as I track every week).

Lastly, I thought, me, the master list maker, would be immune to the stress of moving. Nope.  I’m busy thinking ‘can’t I just pack up and move, and everything nicely sync up to one day’. Sadly, not to be! So I’m going to sit back and pack once my place is leased.  At least until we get keys for the new house, and then boxed stuff can go straight there…

And at some stage, I’ve got to measure up for a fridge at the new place, as my existing one fits so snugly, I expect most renters will like my offer to leave it there.

Any tips to make this moving house business easier?  Less stressful?

Women and retirement savings

I recently read an interesting article in the Sydney Morning Herald, about women and superannuation – our state mandated retirement policy. The law states that employers must contribute 9% of their employee’s salary into a superannuation fund, which cannot be touched until retirement. (Simply speaking of course – there are loopholes in every part of that previous sentence, but I’m trying to keep it simple!). With July 2013 clicking over, Australian’s will now get 9.25%, increasing slowly to 12% in 2019.

It’s a great system – but it’s not working in reality. And it’s not working the most for women. Naturally, women take time out of the workforce to have children, and this impacts their retirement balance. Women also live longer, which means they need even more than a man would.  The article outlines the details of the shortcomings most women will face, based on their research.  There is the capacity for individuals to add to their superannuation, up to a point (it’s got some preferential taxation laws, so it was being used by the super rich to save bucket loads of cash). In my first year of working in my career, I overheard older people talking about their super balances, and how much they should co-contribute to have enough in retirement. Of my own volition, I took this eavesdropping to heart, and decided that I wouldn’t miss $50 per week, and I’d add that (pre tax) to my super account.

What I find incredibly interesting in this issue is the discussions I have with people my age: almost everyone is against or ambivalent that someone their age would be doing this! Their feelings are either

  • I need the money more for other things (lifestyle, saving for a house, paying off a mortgage)
  • You never know what might happen to the balance (as it’s in the stock-market)
  • Retirement is so far away – if I have a huge property/shares portfolio, I’ll be fine

Evidently, I don’t buy into any of these arguments.

Reading the article that I linked, heartens me.  It heartens me most when I look at the graphic. (You can be disheartened, so you can be heartened right? Spell check disagrees?!)

source: smh.com.au

source: smh.com.au

I don’t like to be brash, or the tall poppy (something Australian’s avoid). But that decision in 2010 has meant I am ahead of where a 45-49 year old women is!  I’ll admit it’s not all my doing, my employer has been contributing above 9% for as long as I’ve worked here (4.5 years), and has risen to 15% today!  When I asked a colleague who started when I did, therefore had the same salary, his balance was $19k less than mine. Both of us have our entire balance in the high growth option.

It’s nice to feel safe to take some time off to have children! And I can heed the advice, which is ‘a man is not a plan’ (but a man sure is nice…)

I’m glad to see other bloggers at my age and stage are talking about retirement savings… even if my real life friends aren’t!

How do you feel about retirement savings?  Is it too risky to let a fund manage a huge amount of your money on the stock market?  Do you think you can do a better job?  Would you co-contribute?

Friday – fun or not?

This is another ‘memory’ post, in line with my board school food memories. Now days, Friday seems to be almost the best day of the week – it’s the last day before two days of weekend.  Days of freedom for most, to spend doing what they please.  Only in the last few years have I come to see Friday as the fun day others have always been thanking goodness for!

When I was at boarding school, there were two types of Fridays.  Those preceding an ‘in’ weekend, and those preceding an ‘out’ weekend.  When I started at StM in 1995, the in and out weekends were dictated on a calendar.  This made staff management easier – the school knew when it would be empty, and when it would be full.  I gather the older students hated it!  They had to find somewhere on random weekends, but on other weekends, when they might want to be ‘out’ (to attend a party or similar) they may not be allowed to go.

In 1997 (I think) they moved to a more flexible system, where each student was permitted 4 weekends out a term.  How it worked was that you could take both Friday and Saturday night.  Or just one of those nights.  But you were only allowed four instances, up until Year 11, where you got some additional privileges, such as party leave – which was essentially ‘day’ leave so long as you were back by curfew.

Also, in the later years, maybe 1997 too, they added a Friday afternoon activity of shopping at the local mall.  This required a hired coach to take all those that were interested.  It was a boon to have this easy access to grocery stores, clothing stores, hairdressers etc.  As I was only 11/12, I didn’t have such a long list of needs and wants, but I can imagine for 16 and 17 years olds, the addition of this weekly pilgrimage was warmly welcomed.

So, Friday – fun or not?  Well, it was ALWAYS fun to go to Toomba’s (Toombul, in Aussie school girl slang, is a suburb in which the shopping mall was).  We slouched our way around in our full uniform, complete with panama hat, slurping soft drinks, and scoffing McDonald’s fries, or Wizz Fizz sherbet, or even sucking on baby bottles.  We had all sorts of ‘trends’.  Sometimes we bought pet fish.  Or CDs.

We were spirited back to school in time for dinner (5/5.30pm).  It was usually deep fried fish and chips.  Or a BBQ, during summer.  The return to dinner and the thoughts of the predictable meals, particularly weekend meals, to this day make my stomach and heart sink.  Imagining this Friday dinner, and it’s start of a long and boring weekend, usually gave me a dull ache for a more interesting life.  Something more ‘fun’.

What’s even more interesting about these memories of 7 years of my life, was that after a few years ‘out of the system’ I put myself back IN the system, by being a boarding house supervisor.  For almost two years, I worked weekends at boarding schools.  I rejoined the predictable, bland Friday meal, with nothing exciting on the horizon, til everyone’s return on Sunday night.  And like my school, other schools feed you with a routine menu.  Different to the last place, but the same every week!

Nowadays, I think about Friday as a night I can stay up.  I don’t play sport on a Saturday morning, as I did all through school.  I don’t even work on a Saturday now I’m in my career job, and if I do, it’s on overtime rates.  Fridays mean I can drink some wine, maybe even outside the house! I can go out for a meal! I can sleep over with friends (if we have too much wine!).  I can go wherever and do whatever.  I’m not ‘locked’ in.  At any time, I can make or change plans, without a form, without a leave balance to consider, without needing my host to ring in by Thursday 9pm to verify they are in fact an adult and will care for me for the times I indicated on the said form.

When I look back on boarding school, I was incredibly fond on it on the whole.  I loved the order.  I loved the noise and bustle.  I loved the convenience (which I have largely emulated in my own home by living on top of shops!).  But I did not relish weekends. I did not look forward to Friday dinner, which marked the start of a barren expanse of time and loneliness.