Sunday, 4 January 2015

Joining the challenge

There has been great feedback from members of the Down to Earth Community - both on FB and the forum - to join the 52 week challenge. However, a few people of raised concerns that the amounts are too high. I have chosen the mega challenge as I still have a well paying job, also this might be my last year of having this kind of job, so I wanted to make the most of it.

You can design the challenge with your own preferences - you could start with 50c and increase it by 50c each week which would save you $689 by the end of this year or you start with $1 and increase it by $1 every week and you save $1378 by the end of the year. Alternatively, you could take a coin out of your wallet every day and save that - obviously the amount then would vary.

Whatever your choice, make it achievable for yourself - then it will be much easier to stick to it!

If you like I'm happy to offer you my help and create a spreadsheet for you, which tells you how much you have to save each week/day/month based on the choice of your challenge. Just leave a comment with your details and I will email it to you within the next few days.

Good luck everyone and thanks for joining!

Saturday, 3 January 2015

The 52 Week Money Challenge

Welcome to 2015! Please come and visit my new Facebook page 'Simple Frances' to see further updates and links on any of the information I provide in this blog.

Most people would have started the new year with new year's resolutions. I'm one of them, also they have become less and they're much more achievable these days as I don't like to fail! So why don't you join me in one of them, which is called the '52 week money challenge'?!

Each week (or each day or each month), you save a certain amount of money and it will snowball into a nice amount of money by the end of the year. This is a good way to start building up an emergency fund and it's fun to do it together - so who's going to join me?

Here're the links to classic challenge:
365 Days
52 Week Standard
52 Week Variation
52 Week Make Money
52 Week Double
52 Week Mini
52 Week Kids
26 Bi-Weekly
24 Bi-Monthly
12 Monthly

and here's the link to the Alternatives to the classic 52 week challenge

I really wanted to get into it this year, so I decided on the mega money challenge. The mega challenge is based on the standard challenge, but instead of beginning week one with a $1 deposit into the challenge fund, the mega challenge begins with $5. Then each week of the year, you multiply that week’s number by $5. In week two, the goal is $10, in week three it’s $15, and so on until the last week of the year (fifty-two) when you’ll need to deposit $260 into the fund. So for December alone, a whopping $1010 need to go into the saving account! This will reap up $6,890 at the end of the year! Not bad at all!
I'm off to deposit my $5 for this week. Which challenge did you choose?

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Goodbye 2014 - hello 2015!!!

2014 was an interesting year. I started celebrating the New Year with Steve in Adelaide as this was the only place I could make it to for the New Year's celebration.
I always say how you celebrate the new year is how the year will unfold. As we were travelling, we more or less travelled the entire year. We had a nice week in South Australia with low temperatures (around 15 deg C) while a heatwave in Queensland made things uncomfortable.
In March, my heart got broken with the sudden death of my beloved Quentin who got bitten by a snake. Quen, I will never forget you and I miss you so much!
We spent a few days in Brisbane in March. We stayed at a fantastic place but unfortunately my grief was still too strong to enjoy it.
To thank Steve for being there for me when I needed him the most, I arranged for a romantic weekend away at Lake Maraboon in June. We both enjoyed it there very much.
When I came home from work in July, I was really excited as it was Steve's 60th birthday and I bought him a Harley as a birthday present. He always wanted one, so finally his dream came true. He was very happy and excited! Doesn't he look good on his bike?!
We spent a day on Keppel Island to have a look around and decided that we need to come back here when it's warmer, so we can jump in the water. It was beautiful and very peaceful.
At the end of July, we travelled to Tasmania for 2 weeks. It was beautiful and cold. We both look forward to go back there as it has magnificent countryside. We enjoyed walks in the rain and snow, we tasted the fantastic local produce and sampled some of Tassie's Scotches. It was a great holiday and I loved that there were no long distances to drive. I wanted to get a painting with Tasmanian landscape, like mountains, forest, a lake and an Australian animal but unfortunately we didn't find anything no matter how hard we looked.

I went straight back to work from Tasmania and so Steve and I said our 'goodbye' in Launceston and our 'hello' in Dubai as we were travelling to Europe after my swing. We had an overnighter in Dubai and then landed in Germany where we visited my family and did lots of sightseeing. After Germany, we continued to travel to Brussels and London from where I left to go back to work in WA, while Steve enjoyed another month abroad in England and Wales which he enjoyed very much.

When Steve returned from England and I from work mid-November, we met up in Sydney as we wanted to go and see his family as well. We spend a couple of days at the Eagle View Escape which was absolutely magnificent. So beautiful and peaceful!
Steve gave me presents from his trip and when I unpacked the last one, he said 'That's it - you're stuck with me; we're getting married.' I was speechless. Now, after 14 years, we're engaged and are getting married in November next year - how exciting is that?! 
We visited Steve's daughter, parents and brother while we were in NSW and they're all excited about our engagement. I can't wait for my family to meet Steve's family next year for the very first time!
I was sooo excited to get back home at the end of November! I haven't been home since July!!! We had fantastic housesitters who took care of our animals and our home. We had our kitchen extended into the family room as this was just wasted space and as our kitchen is tiny - the pantry was in the shed. With the new cabinets, I have even more benchspace AND I can store everything in there. Doesn't it look fabulous?!
I decided to do a big spring clean. I actually managed to clean the entire house AND outside areas top to bottom within my 3 weeks I was home which makes me re-consider the monthly focus areas. We'll see.
We also extended our flock of chicken and took 3 French Marans on. They will eventually lay beautiful chocolate coloured eggs. I've transformed the cubby house into a chook pen but more about that later.
Steve and I celebrated Christmas on the 6th December - just before I had to go back to work. So, I've spent Christmas and New Years at work and am ready to go home in a week's time. It is very hot and humid at work at the moment. Going outside feels like walking through fire. But it's not long now and I can sit at home in the pool and relax. 
In 2015, we want to take it easier. We want to enjoy our little paradise we built us in the past few years with occasional trips. We have a few projects around the house planned and I'm looking forward to continue my simple life journey. I've lost track for a little while, stepped back and now I'm back, stronger and more determined than ever. I look forward to my routines, new dishes to cook and bake while becoming fitter and healthier, so I can create the wardrobe I dream off. I have new challenges in the garden as Steve created new garden beds for me and I want to try and grow fruit and vegetables from seed for the very first time. I've done up the budget for 2015 and showed it to Steve so we're both aligned. I can't wait to mix new cleaning mixtures which make our home sparkle without hurting the environment. I'm also anticipating my new Christmas presents and the projects I can do with it. More about that in a couple of weeks. :-)  Our wedding in November is something we all look forward too.
2015 - the year of new beginnings!