Saturday, 10 December 2016

Meet Mavis

After a 4 hour drive from the country there are bugs sticking to the grill and
Mitsubishi emblem. 

Hi Folks

There is a member of our family you have not officially met - Mavis.

Mavis is our frugal car, the car we paid cash for, the car that is a classic (well almost!), had only done a genuine 63,000 km's, perfect cloth interior, affordable to run and old enough for me to service myself.

We have done 10,000 km's  in Mavis this year.

We've chatted recently about cars and car loans HERE and similar notions are also supported by Australia's Bare Foot Investor and USA's Dave Ramsay regarding cars and car loans.

Mavis is a real sweetie and meets our needs perfectly.  We have two L plate drivers with a third about to 'hatch' later this month and a P plater as well as Mrs HM and I.  Mavis's fuel economy beats the pants off our big family car (Rosa) and thus the girls are keen to use "Mavey" (as they affectionately call her) for all their commuting needs. She draws a crowd of admiring fans wherever the girls take her as she has a certain amount of 'cute' value.

Mavis in all her 1980's glory. 

Mavis cost me $700.00 and although she has very little kilometers on the clock there were things that needed doing due to the age of the vehicle.  I spent over a period of one year about $1,500.00 slowly working through these small but important repairs and thus have paid in real terms $2,200.00. She is in top mechanical nick now.

Very neat and tidy little car indeed.

So my girls are unknowingly achieving the following frugalities:

  • Car sharing
  • Debt free whilst many of their friends have car loans
  • Economical 4 cylinder
  • Shotgun proof go-for-ever Mitsubishi pack-horse engine
  • Leveraging classic (well, classic to them anyway) styling as a social talking point that costs zip.

Recently Dear Daughter number 2 (DD2) drove Mavis down to her rural teaching placement 4 hours south and Mavis went there and back a few times without missing a beat - so Mavis can certainly be relied on and is not just a fragile old heap. We have bugs on the grill to proove it! hehe.

The cloth interior is spotless.

I did have plans to use this as my car....but the dear daughters have 'commandeered' it and I am permitted to use it to drive to the train station!  Truth is, I am happy for them to commandeer it if it is saving them from being in debt and teaching them lessons in financial prudence.

Anyway.....just thought I would show Mavis to you all and that Mr HM does put his money where his mouth is and encourages others to do the same. You can now have a chuckle as you imagine me shoe-horning myself into this little cutie every morning at 4.30am to drive to the train station - ha! 

Take care folks, stay nice.


Sunday, 4 December 2016

The Tree Is Up!

The outside deck lights add to the ambience

Big smiles....the tree is up.

We have reduced the plastic content by 50% on the tree this year by using paper decorations made from old books.  We also have brought out our non-plastic traditional ornaments that we now use every year (pics below).  We are using the left over baubles from last year....and now the challenge of how to keep Toshi the cat away from the tree. She hates Christmas trees.

Hanukkah falls on the 24th this year, so that will make things 'interesting' this year.  Normally there is some breathing space between each celebration, but this year Hanukkah overlaps with Christmas.  It gets a little tricky with those in the family with Jewish heritage (dear wife and five daughters) and me, the good ol' fashioned British/Irish bloodline with Christian roots. Luckily we all totally enjoy both types of festivals from each heritage - it is just tricky when the dates line up.  And...then there is daughter number five with her birthday two days before Christmas....who planned that?!

Anyway - enough yakking.  Here are the pics.

I have pine needles to vacuum up by
the looks.  The house smells
amazing with a real pine tree.
Carbon neutral, non plastic and
can be used in the chiminea
once dried.

Some prezzies under the tree.
Brown paper and string wrapping.

Porcelain bauble with nativity
scene - by Wedgwood.

Mamma HM reaches up
with the star........

....can't quite reach!

We placed it in front of the window
that looks out onto the deck
so we can enjoy it from both
inside and outside.

Papier mache bauble from

Three wise men looking rather lost.
They should have asked for directions!

Painted metal cow bell from Austria

Mr Squirrel.

Paper book baubles

Do you think it will reign deer?

Paper snowflake to counter-act
the Aussie summer.

Aaaaw - pretty. It is starting to
look a lot like Christmas.

Sleigh bell on a satin ribbon

Christmas doll from Austria

Wooden rocking horse.

Apparently there will be some red and gold material bows to be added yet.

Take care and stay nice folks.


Thursday, 1 December 2016

Four Sites I'm Enjoyng

Dinner from scratch.
A fresh garden salad with feta cheese
and Southern fried chicken (thanks USA!)

Hi folks

These four sites have been around for a while but I have only recently spent time reading the back-dated posts and articles or browsing through the sites more thoroughly.

You all have probably seen them before, but for those of you who have they are:
(just click the titles)


Jamie is a stay-at-home dad who sews and tailors his own clothes and plenty of clothes for other people too.  Looking through his back-dated posts reveals a vast array of knowledge especially around tailoring men's clothes.

LEHMAN'S - For A Simpler Life

An astounding site and interactive catalogue of wares - they ship world-wide.  The farming and gardening equipment is great, so is the kerosene fridges and cookers, the lamps and hand washing machines and....and....and....
Just get a cuppa and enjoy it.  The catalogue can be downloaded as a PDF - the best junk mail in the whole world!
(It is a bit Chrismassy-themed at the moment - but dig deeper into the categories to get to the real good stuff)


Many of you will know of Joel Salatin.  His 'take' on farming is refreshing and drives a sense of hope and possibility into my mind.  Perhaps for starters, watch the video on the front page and then take it from there.  This site is chock-a-block full of info and links as well as videos on methods and systems that will shift our paradigms on farming.


Peter's site shows his journey from never having sewn ever, through to the amazing tailoring and sewing he produces for himself and others nowadays.  He is a tad flamboyant and has a great twist to his humour too.  Reading through the back-dated posts shows the technical excellence developed but also the generous sharing of all these skills with his readers.

I am not affiliated at all with any of these sites or people - these are just four that I have been reading lots of recently and genuinely enjoying the information, skills, ideas and insights that each offer.

Enjoy, lean in, take care and stay nice.


Sunday, 27 November 2016

Frugal In Pictures

Hi Folks

Here are some little frugal things we have done lately that have saved us from spending unnecessary money. The great thing about some of these is that they have been executed rather nicely by some of our daughters.  This frugality thing might just be catching-on a little.....I hope.

Youngest daughter made these potted succulents as a
'thank you' gift to her birthday guests.  They worked out
costing her $1 each.

The girls have been experimenting with
using old books that we have culled
for decorations...some more
further down too

We got a new inside lounge suite so instead of getting rid of
the old one, we repurposed it as an outside setting on the deck.
Cost for 7 seater outside setting = $0

Waiting for guests to pick their fave
succulent as they leave.

A view of the deck with furniture
all in place

The opposite view of the deck now

Some more Christmas decorations made from old books
Cost $0.  Heaps more of these are getting made as we speak.

Miss 16's birthday cake made from scratch
by daughter # 3.
Saved a motza by cooking this from scratch

Take care and stay nice Folks!


Container gardening along
the back wall of the house.
Faces North East.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

How To Escape The Car Loan Trap

Nothing quite as irresistible as a shiny
new red car - until the loan repayments

Car loans - everyone has them apparently.  It is just part and parcel of the new consumerist culture. Mostly everyone I know has a car loan or lease...or two. Sometimes three.

It is totally normal these days for a young person to buy a new or near new car using a car loan soon after they get a job. Car loans are usually over a five year term. Incidentally cars seem to start to need serious mechanical attention by the five year mark and this normally prompts folks to flog it off and buy a new one....using yet another loan or lease.  This cycle repeats every five years for the rest of their working life, each five year loan playing 'tag' with the next.

My first car - a 1976 Alfa Sud Ti.
 Lemon in colour, lemon all round really!

It seems totally what?

So what? Here's so what - let's do the math.  If you took the average amount of a car loan ($395 per month) and invested this amount conservatively for your working life....guess how much you would have at the end of your working life?

Answer:  At least 4 MILLION DOLLARS.  

That's so what!

Double that if you are running two car loans/leases.

If only my father had never sold his 1961 barn-door VW Kombi !
Worth a mint these days I am told.

Folks, not only is planned mechanical obsolescence prompting us to replace a car every five years or less, so is the pressure of fashion, the illusion of safety-in-newness, the unspoken 'success' markers of a new car and the relative simplicity in getting a car loan.

Those that turn their back on this sinister car loan racket are wise.
Those that take the equivalent amount and invest it over a working lifetime are wise and wealthy.

My grandfather's Chrysler (1937??) with a broken axle.  This happened in
the 1940's as he and Nan were driving to Brisbane Queensland.
That was back when the Pacific Highway was gravel all the way.

If you need a new car  - do this instead.

1. Put away $20 per week for five years into a high interest bearing bank account
2. At the end of 5 years you will have about $5600 saved
3. Purchase a low mileage car for $5000 or less (use a local car sales internet site and sort by mileage lowest to highest with a filter on cars maximum price $5000 - you be surprised what you'll find)
4. Use the $600 to pay for stamp duty, rego transfer, insurance etc
5. Continue to put away the $20 per week and repeat this process every five years

One little boy socialised very young on the excitement of owning a new
shiny car of his own.

Paying off your car loan is NOT enough

If you have budgeted and scrimped and been frugal and paid off your car loan - WELL DONE.
But beware, you are still at HIGH risk of falling back into the car loan trap.  As soon as your car hits the point where it is needing lots of endless repairs, you will be (by pure necessity) lured back into a car loan/lease cycle because you do not have a choice.

Start TODAY to put away for a replacement car. The weekly amount required to replace your car (paying cash) every five years should be ABSOLUTELY part of your budget - no matter what.

99% of folk fail to write into their budget that weekly amount required to replace their car every five years, paying cash.

Without that money sitting there saved, you will be at extremely high risk of falling back into the sinister never ending whirlpool of a lifetime of car loans.

Don't lean into this one folks - jump in both feet.

Take care and stay nice folks


Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Wednesday Hump Day

A harvest bowl of fresh garden produce

OK folks, so it is hump day - that mid-week time for a bit of a sigh.

I have been working away on finishing the posts series on core values as well as draft writing the stockpiling posts too. Thoughts are getting jotted down for a post on the evils of car loans and I have typed up some thoughts for a post on several other topics too.

Meanwhile........the garden grows.....

Fresh garden produce straight
into tonight's salad

A TV dinner - from scratch.
Crumbed lamb chops - yummo!

Capsicum ripening quickly

Eggplant is setting fruit rapidly

Some more tomatoes to pick

The Aloe Vera I took a cutting off
a couple of months ago has had
three babies!

The gurlz....except for June who is
STILL clucky.

Kent pumpkin is now flowering

It is my favourite time of (late) spring here in Australia where you can wander out and pick a bowl of produce from the garden every evening. The feeling of abundance is all pervading - it's lovely.

So, I just thought I had better check in and post up some new pictures for you all to enjoy.  I am now super busy at work as we enter into our busiest time of the year. paying 144,000 Doctors, nurses, health professionals and hospital staff accurately every Thursday is a never ending and highly exacting job.  Ah well, no rest for the wicked.....better worn out than rusted hey?!

Take care folks and stay nice.

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