What is the Truth about Budgeting, frugality and living on a low income?

There are so many budgeting sites online, though for me it seems most are for families. The really interesting thing I am noting when I go shopping or seeing things online, is that supermarkets are aiming for bulk buyers, vegetables in plastic, and prepared foods.
I find so often that many of these Youtube and blogs do not really seem to discuss the reality and holistic approach to budgeting, frugal living or even simple living. Often they are just about food.

Budgeting can be affected by so many things. Where you live, how you shop, how you get to the shops. What services are available to you. Government services, doctors, hospitals, child care, education, shops, petrol, all the things you need to live today. For some trying to budget involves seeking work, and going to interviews. For others it requires medical costs and visits to doctors, specialists, hospitals. Paying rent or a mortgage is major necessity and should be first priority in my opinion.
Your income of course, and family size, are important factors in setting up a budget that is realistic and possible for you.

I can cook from scratch, and as I have said previously it is this that helps me save a fortune. I also have a vegetable garden, and encourage people to grow what ever they can.
So it is a single person budget I expound. I encourage single people to learn to cook from scratch. For me whipping up an ommlette

I live in a small populated community with a large area 5,497km² (1358338.2819acres) The Huon Valley is the Southern most Council region in Australia.
Australian Bureau of Statistics Census (ABS 2016)
POPULATION (ABS 2016)
3,069 under 14 years
3,338 15-34 years
7,071 35- 64
3,197 65 years and over
16,675 TOTAL POPULATION(ABS 2016)

I bring this up so you will understand that I we have only one big Corporate supermarket, Woolworths, we also have Several Independent Grocery stores in each of the townships that make up the Huon Valley. However in Tasmania it is called Independant Grocery Austraila. Each store is independently owned, but they form I assume a sort of co-operative for buying in bulk. I personally love my local IGA as they will order things in for you, if you are known to them and you are a bit short they will take a note and you sign it and pay it asap. Very few places allow this these days. I can not imagine the likes of Woolworths, Coles or Aldi, or what ever your large supermarket chain doing this for you. They also carry your boxes to the car if required .

So I do not have ready access to ‘competitive’ pricing as most people who live in cities do. Perhaps the lack of competition is why I have to be a very aware shopper.

I could travel further a field to shop to Kingston but it is 93km return and takes about 40mins each way not including shopping time. Petrol wise it would cost me about $20 approx. So when I look at any savings is it really worth the wear and tear on my vehicle every fortnight, and time.
My answer is no.
I would very rarely save enough to make it worthwhile to make this a regular event.

However if I did have to go to Hobart(Capital City of Tasmania 224,000 people population of the Island state of Tasmania is only 522,327 as 2019 ABS) (a further 20km each way from Kingston), I would certainly try to look to see if there were things that might save money if I budgeted for them.

Most people on low incomes, generally are not able to buy in bulk as so many have rent and other costs that I perhaps do not. So again I am very aware that I am very fortunate.
For me I have to have a car to get to the shops. I have no public transport I can catch the school bus occasionally but it is not really aurthorised the drivers just know how hard it can be for locals. I take a freezer carrier bags and reusable material shopping bags. I take a shopping list. (I do not always stick to it believe me).

For my budget not going out saves me money. I usually go shopping once a week.
Budgeting and living simply (frugally) are often shown to be by people as just shopping. To me it is far more than this. To really budget you Have to know how much it costs to fill your car, and how much mileage you get. How much it costs per km/ml. How much it costs for services, tyres, oil, radiator fluid, coolant/anti freeze. Not just the price of fuel.

I do look at online shopping though sadly freight charges are often prohibitive for weighty items. I also do not use online for groceries, as I prefer to pick my own things, and It means I can look at lower levels on the shelves. Though I do see online shopping is spurring an increase in employment in supermarkets as people have to pick out the items to be delivered. (at least here in Tassie).
I imagine it is the same for many people living in rural areas on low incomes.

Most people who live on low incomes are frugal out of necessities. They are not following a trend, nor are they generally able to remain debt free. It can be just the way it is.

I also look at the huge differences in pricing. American budgeting sites especially about groceries seem to be so cheap compared to here in Tasmania. Then I read the comments and find I am not alone in seeing that not just for me but others including from other states in US.

Different countries have vastly different costs for everything, and where you live within that country can have vastly different costs. So for me you have to evaluate and consider your own area and needs, base your budget on only your personal situation.

The other thing that is not always mentioned is what income the family or person may have, nor are the annual costs shared.

I want people to remember that yes some people are honestly sharing how they budget I just wonder as some seem more focused on presentation and looking successful doing it.

Let me tell you I am not always successful with budgeting, as costs spring up and reality of life steps in and sees me eat the same thing for meals over a week or fortnight. Not many people share that on frugal life, or budgeting videos or blogs.

I also have to include in my budget the cost of rubbish removal, I pay to have my rubbish picked up,It is included in costs for my council rates. I do not have recycling as currently I try to recycle at home. Creating compost and worm farms.

Budgeting. I have written before about how I budget. I know how much money it takes for me to live a year all my bills. https://echidna.home.blog/2019/12/29/living-on-a-tiny-budget/

So to truly budget well it is knowing where every cent of your money is going annually. Know your bills and charges if late payment, know how much you save if you can budget to pay your bills annually such as for me registration and insurances, rates. Wood for heating and gas for the year Perhaps my bigger expenses are internet connection, mobile phone, and my dogs food.

I do wonder for some of the budgeting sites online, Youtube, when I see them talking about going from shop to shop how much time, how much petrol is used and how does that add to their cost, and is this actually included in the budgeting.

Blessings to you all Tazzie









Musings from down under down under

It is really interesting, I kind of thought with my budget being so tight and me being more content at home not finding it easy to be around people even to just pop in on people who tell me too.
I have not been anywhere out of my home area, well the dogs walks and I have chatted briefly with neighbours, for a week. I imagine to many this must be such a strange thing and way to live. I do not believe I am depressed, as I am achieving some small things inside my home. On top of having been getting my veggie garden up and functional again this summer. My dogs make me laugh and I laugh at things I watch appropriately

I have achieved finding a new psychiatrist, but I had to do all the work and that really annoyed me and exhausted me. We have a company/organisation called Phscy 2 U. Which is supposed to provide people who live in rural and isolated areas the access to psychologists and psychiatrists. I have been seeing a psychiatrist for 7 months (need to have an assessment conducted to get a letter from he/she to apply for disability pension). I use the term 7months very loosely here. I saw this particular psychiatrist for five months and then I have been trying to find out why he told my GP I no longer wished to see him. (I never said that). So to catch to the chase. I had rung the organisation to find out what was going on and if he would see me but I needed a new referral from my GP which was sent on the 12 December 2019. They never got back to me. I rang again, to be told that they would look for another psychiatrist.
Never heard anything, and as it was Christmas time now there was no point trying again until the new year. So ring again I did. No he was not seeing me anymore, no reason. They would look for a new psychiatrist.

One week later I ring again having heard nothing, oh the Psychiatrist had been away on leave and they would imagine I would hear from him soon. Another week passes, I hear nothing.

I ring again to be told I have to wait for this person to contact me as I am on ADHD medication and he is the only psychiatrist who can prescribe in Tasmania. I say I am not on ADHD medication where did you get that information from it is incorrect. Oh. I say since I am not on that medication you could find me a psychiatrist who could see me. She says she will send some emails.

I ring back again 10 days later. No record of me not being on ADHD medication no record of the conversation I had 10 days ago and no emails sent to any other Psychiatrists. Me not so happy. Person I spoke to lovely and says she will send something of right now. Me great I have been waiting since the 12th December it is now 26 January, and I have rung several times to follow up and no one has ever contacted me. This is making me unwell having to chase all this up my anxiety CPTSD is not great.

I ask if I can speak to a supervisor, she says no one is available at the moment but someone will ring back. I ask today? Yes today. OK

I wait and wait, the office closes at 4pm I have heard nothing and it is 3.30pm so I ring. The woman I spoke with was no help I said I had been waiting for a call from the supervisor, she says did you want the office manager or the Head person, me I just want someone who can help resolve this. She then went on to tell me emails had been sent before, I said are you meaning the emails that were sent this morning? No before that. Really how come you are the first person to tell me this, as the woman I spoke to this morning said nothing had been sent and she would email them. So would you give me the dates these emails were sent please. She was reluctant to do this. I again asked for the dates, and said to her I felt that I was getting a bumsteer from this company.

I also found out that the actual second referral from my GP which was faxed on the 12.12.19 (I rang my GP to confirm) was not put into this companies system until the 06/01/2020. No explanation available as they did not close the office until 24/12/19

In the course of this conversation I discovered there was no record of one of my phone calls and the conversation from that date. I as an RN/RPN (no longer working) stated that legally that was a huge error. I had called and there was no record of it! I said in a legal situation the courts would say if its not documented it did not happen, and that is wrong in so many ways in a medical setting to not have a record of a clients call documented. I said I would be contacting the Ombudsman in regard to that. I also said I had a right to know when the emails were sent I did not want to know who too. Just the date they were sent. She then admitted they were sent that morning! UGGh! I was feeling so angry.

I was so fed up and I could feel I was being triggered and my anger was beginning. I hung up not expecting to hear from anyone today.

A few minutes later I got a call from the person in charge. I had managed to calm myself a bit in the interim time, but I just waited for her to begin the conversation as she had rung me. She begins with there is no issue about the phone call not being recorded. I disputed this. I also requested that I wished to make a formal complaint about the process and what had occurred with the documentation she refused saying that me speaking to her was dealing with it. I said NO I wanted it to be documented as a formal complaint so it would go to the governing body. or whomever. As medical notes had to be kept objectively and correctly again I stated that in a legal situation the fact my phone call and the information was not documented in my notes meant it did not happen. How many other clients were having this sort of treatment? She did not like my attitude. She then said my previous psychiatrist did not want to see me. I said sorry is that documented? Where did you get this information? She did not respond. I said he sent my GP a letter saying I no longer wanted to see him, and that was not correct, as could be seen as I had rung up (and fortunately that had been documented twice) to say I did want to see him.
If she had records saying he did not want to see me, than they should be sent to my GP, as the information she had was incorrect. As a mental health client that could go against me, if the Disability people thought I did not want to see the psychiatrist. I was so upset and my anger was rising. I just wanted to get an appointment with a psychiatrist, there are no psychiatrist available in the southern area of Tasmania that bulk bill. I can not afford to pay to see one at all. I was crying by this point and had to hang up.
She rang me back about 10mins later, saying she hoped I had calmed down…I really battled to not bite her head off.. I let her talk, she said she had tried to ring 2 psychiatrists but no one was answering. She had left messages. I said is that all? yes I hung up. I was drained exhausted frustrated and just shattered.

The next morning I rang and lodged a complaint about information not being documented in my records and asking for a copy of the information that says the psychiatrist I had been seeing no longer wanted to see me. Not that I did not want to see him. I wanted my GPs records to be amended. I had to do that on the computer which at least was not a huge form.

I just can not cope. I do but it takes so much out of me. I get fixated and then begin to think if I am struggling and I am sort of better than I was, in some ways, how would anyone who was more unwell deal with any of this, and like with my Centrelink ban, I think many people would just give up and try and struggle on.

The concept of these Skype meetings is full of good intentions. But having people who have no idea and seem to not want to know anything about you but just give you drugs, (and Yes the meds I’m on are helping my brain but other areas are blah..like constantly weary. I sleep 12+hours with some weird really weird dreams, for a week or more and then I have a few nights were I am up all night, It is part of the have a brain that is functioning, or not symptoms.

Yet when I create a post such as this I see my mind is a bit all over the place, and I really struggle with paperwork. I am so fed up with what seems to me having to resolve things that I as the person with a mental illness should not have too. I am exhausted by the dealings of it all and my reaction is to begin to close myself off again. Not look at the phone, not communicate with other bloggers, not go and get the food I need. It was really only because my dogs needed their food for the fortnight that I ended up going out today. Then I am out for so long as I usually run into people who want to chat. Even today, I had rung and ordered my dogs meat, on Monday, and the person who took my order did not get it right. I had a few kilos in the freezer at home which would have got me over the long weekend(which I was oblivious too). So I was able to manage the situation in a no major issue kind of way, which was positive.

I keep reminding myself to be aware and to breathe, to acknowledge the feeling but not let it rule me. I also am getting better at saying to my little me that I the adult person am in charge and will deal with it.
I am really happy to be finding so many amazing bloggers out there I especially love wordpress.com/read/feeds/36149739/posts/2580354980, Charlies writing and his artwork make me smile and light a spark inside me wanting to be creative again. Yet for the moment I have to put that on hold for a few days.

I am really thankful that as a hoarder, (I have not shared that here before) I actually am really conscientious about what I am bringing in to my home. For quite a while I was gathering boxes, so many boxes cardboard and today the dog meat came in two cardboard boxes, and I know that they will go out in my car port(now devoid of cardboard boxes) but I will use them and put them on the grass in my veggie area that I am trying to get rid of. I threw a fair few of the other ones away as it was very big problem into recycling. I was somewhere else today and I was offered a box to carry some things (breakables) but I said thank You but I won’t and explained that I hoarded them! Wow was I so happy that not only I said no, but I reiterated out loud the reason why I did not want a box. I knew I had two already. If I had a third that I could do without, and I said NO huge step forward.

As a hoarder I also have to look at anything I am bringing home in any multiples. For example I got several large bowls at the tip shop(which is where I was offered the box) and a few pie dishes all glass or pottery. Plus I needed to replace my microwave glass plate that spins having broken my 18 months ago. I was tempted by so much stuff, and the constant thing in my head was you do not need that you are trying to de clutter, and not hoard, you are hear for large bowels for bird baths and drinking bowls for wild life. (some of my old plastic ones are deteriorating and need to be replaced). So I came home with four bowels, on microwave plate and this was a near miss in the hoarder scenario, as I there were five different sizes and not being sure of the size I almost bought the five. Self talk and I looked at them all and from somewhere inside my brain, take this one and if it is not right I am sure they would let you do a simple swap next timer! YES wonderful. I got the one I chose home and it fitted. Yippee.

So along with the part of my brain that is not functioning well and the constant tiredness, some aspects are going well.

The other thing is I am doing OK. I do think some of my reactions in dealing with the psych 2 U people were anxiety driven, I am no closer to having my assessment for DSP than I was nearly 8 months ago which is frustrating. I was about to write that I was also worrying about the new person changing medications, and I could feel myself reacting, and my auto anxiety responses physical sensations begin, and into my head came…not much point worrying about that now, you have five weeks before your appointment.

I am thankful I have an appointment, I am thankful that I am on meds that have some positives that out weigh the negatives, I am thankful for the wonderful bloggers who I enjoy reading, seeing their creativity and learning and sharing experiences with each other.

blessings Tazzie

Frugal tips to keep cool

It is the end of January and I have just looked at my out door thermometer which is on the eastern-south side of my home, under cover of my porch and has green deciduous plants covering it. The temperature was reading 38dC in the shade 100dF. It is 1.30pm eastern standard daylight saving time, for us it is horrendously hot here in Tasmania.

I watered my Rhubarb this morning and had removed big leaves and steams off three days ago, fingers crossed it picks up.

I

My frugal way to keep cool in my home with only a fan no air conditioning is to close all the windows, to draw all curtains before the sun hits any of them. Even though my curtains are cover my windows and are insulated rubber backed ones, the sunshine is still hot in my home.

So I was in my car one day and realised that the windscreen cover I put on my windscreen internally was excellent at reducing the heat inside my car.

I purchased a whole heap of windscreen foiled type sun shades. With some gaffa tape I stick the sunshades on my windows behind the curtains.

It works a treat for me and the dogs we are all cool. If the evening is cooler than the inside house temperature, which it usually is here I will open the house up once the sea breeze comes in and the temperature has become pleasant enough to open doors and windows to get the cooler air into the house.

One of my neighbours asked me if I was cooking up meth. I laughed and said no, it is my way to keep my home cool on hot days.

I bought the windscreen sun shades from BIG W three years ago, and they were only cheap about $5 each at the end or close to the end of summer. There were bigger ones and better quality but they were much more expensive, and these do the job I need well.

I am very very happy with this method of helping to keep my home cool.

When I worked nights and slept during the day. In summer I would freeze large plastic storage containers full of water with a lid so a two litre container. I would than get it as I went up to bed and set up my fan so that the breeze skimmed over the container. I got to sleep with a cool breeze, and if I woke up and was hot I would grab another one replace it and get more sleep.

I also will have a few freezer blocks and use them on my person as you would a heat block, but to cool down. I have also sat with my feet in water with a freezer block in the water. Sigh bliss.

Your wrists are one of your areas on your body that if you cool will help cool you down, I will have a ice pack and place it in a towel and put my wrists on it, and behind my neck.

keeping hydrated and reducing sugar intake is great sugar will make you hotter

If you do not have air conditioning it really does help. For hardly a lot of money and both of these frugal tips will last you for many years.

Nutritionist Kerry Torrens advises Ice-cold lollies, slushies and ice cream might seem like natural choices when you want to cool off, but they may actually do more harm than good. “Cold food and drinks might give you an initial cooling effect but it’s short-lived,” says Kerry. “That’s because consuming food leads to an increase in temperature as the process of digestion is heat-generating. This combined with the rapid cooling initiated by cold food and drinks means your body over-compensates by increasing your core temperature. So you may actually end up feeling hotter than you did to start with!” That sorbet doesn’t sound so appetising after all…

Drinking something hot on a sunny day might feel like the least appealing thing to do, but warm drinks can actually help regulate your body temperature. Kerry says: “Hot drinks make your core temperature rise and that makes your body want to cool down so you sweat more to lose heat through your skin.” ‘Thermogenic’ foods like spices and chilli also increase body temperature as they kick-start our metabolism. This promotes sweating, which has a cooling effect.

Makes sense when you think about India and the Carribean, Mexico, Chile and Thailand, Malyasia, other countries with hot temperatures and a diet with spicy and hot food.


I will have cold water in the fridge and flavoured cold teas, some I have made much better and cooling with no sugar added to keep you cool and hydrated.


I give my dogs a yogurt ice block I make for them just using greek yogurt no flavouring or sugar. I dont give them too them until they have begun to melt as it may be too cold for them straight from the freezer. They love these and my cool carrots, I place carrots in the fridge and they munch away on them they seem to really love carrots and chilled on a hot day, brilliant. I dont let them outside and we do our exercise in the cool if possible as I am aware of how hot the ground, tar and cement paths can be on their paws.

keep cool

blessings Tazzie

Thankfulness.

Being on a low income means I plan for the future (12months any way) in most ways. About this time of year I begin to think of my wood supply for winter. I have been fortunate with having a fantastic wood supplier. It is an interesting phenomenon where I live you can have one a great supplier one year and then the next they have vanished. So to have the same one for quite a few years, is wonderful. The added bonus is that he no longer takes anyone else on preferring to maintain his long term customers.

I rang him on Sunday it was all good. So I began to think how to budget for it. 4 tonne at $120a tonne. A great price same as last year, and $30 a tonne cheaper than other suppliers. So I am assuming most will have raised their prices this year. I was thrilled.

It is a lot of wood and I need to move it and stack it..

Monday morning I woke up and was in the loo, not yet dressed, I heard a vehicle slowly approaching my driveway. I looked out the window and saw a ute loaded with wood. It was reversing down my driveway. I quickly finished threw some clothes on and raced down stairs. Grab my car keys and outside. I moved my car to enable the ute to go where I wanted the wood dropped. My brain working overtime, as I had zilch dollars to pay.


The guys reversed in and dropped the first of two loads. I went up to my wood man, explained the situation. He said it is all cool mate. I know where you live. You just have to love living in a small country area, where trust is still there. Of course my thing is not having debts so my benefit is due this week I will put as much as I can towards this bill.

Last year the wood was not delivered for two months, I had time to save. For me the fact is I have enough wood now for the winter. The bonus will be my heating bill will be paid in full before the end of February. It is a good feeling. I also have kindling on hand with my trees that drop branches and leaves. I have also been using the toilet paper rolls with the wrapping (paper ) that comes with them as an insert these will also be fire starters. I also go collecting pine cones. Brilliant fire starters.

Added to this I was thinking about buying a new pair of winter shoes/boots. Something feminine as I do tend to live in my walking boots during winter. I have an old pair and a newer pair so at least I have a change if one pair gets wet. I was sitting at a cafe having coffee with a friend and a lady I have met came up to me and said I have been trying to find a home for these would you like them. She gave me a pair of boots, Black with a rose pattern on them. I said oh thank you yes. Her only request was if they did not fit me to pass them on to someone else. I assured her I would.

My friend looked at them after I had shared my story of wanting some new feminine shoe/boots for winter and advised me not to get disappointed, but they did not look as if they would be wide enough for my foot. I felt they would…well I hoped I really hoped.

I put them in my bag and kind of forgot about them. I guess in a way I did not want to find out they were too small. So today I have tried them on.

New winter boots.

They fit. They are a bit long, and I have fat ankles but they fit my wide foot. I am so delighted. They are probably not what I may have picked for myself. Yet at the same time they were free, go with most of my colours and as I have said in other posts I am not a fashion follower. Perfect shoes for going into town or our in during winter.

It is warm today not super hot but muggy. We are supposed to have rain by this afternoon and cooler conditions for a few days. Nice. I picked some more sweet peas, and I do like sweet peas perfume and in my upstairs loo it is the only air freshner I use the sweet smell of flower or herbs. I am not any good with chemical smells. They also look lovely. A lovely greeting first thing in the morning.

100% natural air freshner.

hmm maybe I should try and clean the upstairs windows at some point. Cobwebs everywhere. It is a problem of a rough sawn timber building and I don’t mind them. Helps keep insects down.

Oh the blow flies and house flies have been bad this morning. I was reading that flies are not keen on peppermint oil. I have some really good quality peppermint oil and rubbed a drop on my fan. It worked all the flies have left or hidden. Away from the smell. Simple pleasant. I have my windows and doors open as I have also read that it is not a oil that dogs are good with. My dogs can come and go as they please. There is plenty of fresh air.

I end this post with so many things that have made me thankful. I am thankful for:-

kindness of people, community, support, my dogs, fresh clean air, flowers, simple pleasures, plenty of wood for winter, cobwebs, new shoes, my garden, my home, my life, waking up each morning, enough money to live on, food, clean water, the fact I have water, my car.

blessings Tazzie.

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