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Tuesday, 23 July 2013

The Joy of Paying Bills?

Years ago I decided to “invest” in a “PAID” stamp. I wasn’t running a high powered enterprise with squillions changing hands – I was earning a modest sum trying to get ahead and chase the illustrious and ever disappearing dream of owning a home. But there was something about that stamp that kept me going.

Sometimes I could only stretch to a certain amount, other times I had even got ahead! When as a couple we both ended up being paid monthly and within 48 hrs of each other the buffer that alternating fortnights we enjoyed for many years was gone. We had to actually budget.

Money is so intangible now that it is all about virtual transactions – it’s not like dividing up your cash into piles across all your bills and heading in to pay them all. A lot of that symbolism has gone and and to me sometimes it feels some of the consciousness around what we spend disappeared with it. My cousin writes down everything she buys. I have never understood it – I am far too reckless. Sometimes I like to just not have to think about it. Perhaps it was all those years of working to put myself through formal study and support myself after leaving home as a teenager that having a decent income rewards me with sometimes not even caring what I spent at a cafe so long as I enjoyed myself and the company of others.

Being back on one income after the arrival of little dragon has required the need for some discipline (gaaah and even after six months I am still not getting it quite right!!) so I wasn’t surprised that as the COO of this household, responsible for all financial and administrative duties I took some pleasure in using this stamp and putting these bills in the filing pile.  Even during our worst struggles when using this stamp was far less frequent it still was the little ‘pat on the back’ I needed to keep going so that we could climb back up again.

I have always felt that as a woman there were two things in life that one should aspire to do:- drive a car (even better own one) and be able to pay your own bills. Why? Because I witnessed and experienced too many women fall victim to abusive relationships where their survival was at the mercy of the perpetrators of the violence. Being able to drive away and pay your own bills could be the key to unlock the door.

So each time I grudgingly deal with those bills, I remind myself I am lucky to be able to pay them. And if you’re in business for yourself you know you enjoy the feeling when you get paid so how about upping the ante and don’t delay on getting your invoices out!?

How do you motivate yourself financially?

Paid

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Making Your Own Wet Wipes at Home

I’m naturally suspicious – doesn’t matter what they tell me on the label is in the baby wipes it just doesn’t seem quite right and when I am not using my fabric wipes, I keep home made “wet wipes” on hand for clean ups that just should not be sitting on fabric waiting for the next laundry load (yes we have started solids!).

There are loads of recipes online but the following is my favourite combo and it is actually pleasant to open the container to these and the clean up efficacy is really good (Mr T likes them alot when he is on diaper duty). With teething upon as well I find this recipe a nice gentle remedy for soon-to-be sore skin on cloth wipes as well.  Works well with disposables and cloth nappies.

Materials

Roll of strong paper towels (you can also use woven wash cloths like “Chux” that you can wash and reuse)
2 cups boiled water
1 chamomile tea bag
1 tblsp sweet almond oil
2 tblsp rosewater
2 tsp soap free baby wash (optional)

Method

Watch TV late at night and tear off each of those sheets and fold in half. This was the most efficient way to get  such a tedious job done without interfering with the rest of your life! Using a container (I used an empty commercial wipes container).

Pour the boiling water into a glass jug with a chamomile tea bag and leave it to cool. At this point I take all my materials to the bathroom and mix in the the other ingredients into the glass bowl. It will have a caramelly colour to it from the chamomile.

Separating the towels into about three piles I place a third into the container and pour enough of the mixture to soak the first few layers then with the palm of my hand press down allowing the bottom layers to soak. I flip the entire pile around and press again. I place the next third on top of this and repeat. Then again with the final third. Do not pour all the liquid at once as the amount of fluid the towels can contain will depend on its absorbency. There should not be excess fluid, and the cloths should not be soaked to the point of disintegration or even if you can wring out the liquid. Pull out lots, turn and press to even out the liquid. You will find that less is more and the towels will soak up the moisture while sitting in the container.

You can take out a portion from here to put in a snap lock bag and take with you. They are great on little hands and faces as well.  If you have the hard wipes cases they will fit with only a small amount of excess to fold over.  The oil in this mix helps “preserve” the wipes and makes it very gentle on skin. Another popular ingredient is witch hazel which acts as an astringent.

If you have any mixture left over you can always decant it into a spray bottle to keep in the nappy bag to spritz on reusable cloth wipes or flannels.

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