It seems that more and more people these days have backyard chickens and if they are heritage hens they can go broody. It you, like me, have the space and are prepared to do a little work then you can have the joy of eating […]
Are you one of those persons who are into saving money? Or are you on of those persons who likes to spend more than you save? Why save money anyway? Is saving money a good idea?
Saving money will make a difference to our lives when something unexpected happens. Such as, an illness or taking time off work to care for a partner, child, mother or father. Then there are times when we just need a break from the stress of work. A holiday can help but then sometimes an extended time off, leave without pay, is needed. We can also have unexpected financial expenses. A fridge/freezer may need replacing or electrical wiring on the house, and the household, car and medical insurance increases. If we have not saved money we find ourselves in an unsettling place, possibly borrowing from family/friends or the bank or money lender. Interest rates on loans, even small loans of $5000 can cost thousands of dollars more!
Why am I on about this today? Because this week I looked at our bank accounts and how much interest we are getting, or not getting on our money! There is not a lot of incentive for young people to save money today as it grows so slow. However, saving money is an essential habit to a happier and carefree life for when we reach retirement age.
In Australia the interest on savings accounts has, for the first time since 2014, fallen below the official inflation rate. What that means is that if we have cash in the bank we are losing money. We are not adding more money to what we have saved, but still saving money is better than spending it all. If we want to avoid the volatility of online and standard savings accounts, the best place for our money is in long-term deposits.
It is not good news for retiree’s or those thinking of retirement who don’t have superannuation. Money in the bank in not making us rich. If you are retired and relying on a good return from a bank savings account, it is not going to happen. I have known people who have taken all their money out of superannuation when retired to do other things. Such as, take a holiday, renovate the house, buy a new car and then put the rest in the bank. If you did this, you will be finding it difficult right now as your money is disappearing before your very eyes. It is difficult to find investment options that have a good return. If you find one that looks too good to be true, then it will be too good to be true.
The key to enjoying retirement is to have your money diversified, across different investment options including shares. The most reliable investment for retirees has been shown to be superannuation. The best approach for younger people is to increase superannuation savings when you can. Any money left over after fortnightly expenses will not increase if you put it in the bank. From all that I have read about interest rates, inflations, low-wage and low-yielding economies nothing will change soon. The Reserve Bank governor has confirmed that Australia’s official interest rate will remain near historical lows for years to come.
My thoughts about saving money are simple. Enjoy your life, but don’t spend more than you earn. If you have money in the bank, then review your accounts. Find a financial institution that will offer you the best interest, including no account keeping fees; free monthly statement; no overdrawn fees and no minimum deposit amounts. If you have superannuation just don’t let it sit there, review what is happening with your money.
Regular visits to your accountant will pay off, if you have one. Then you can always see a financial advisor. However, make sure an advisor gives you independent financial advice and is registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. It is in your interest to do your homework. Getting into the habit of saving money makes sense (cents)!
Please note: I am not qualified to give financial advice. Always see a qualified and registered financial advisor or accountant if you need advice. The above comments come from my personal experience. However, some of it is good advice and it is free!
Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock, all our clocks have ticked over to 2018. At least, for all of us who have a clock that goes Tick-Tock! It only seems yesterday when we were waiting for the clock to tick over into the year 2000.
The Latin statement stat pro tempore nemo adhuc is so true. The words translate as time stands still for no one. Time keeps moving forward, the same number of hours in the day, seven days a week. Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), the local time at Greenwich, London, has been used as the basis for calculating the standard time in various parts of the world since 1884. From 1884 up until 1972 all major countries adopted time zones based on the Greenwich median. GMT is now used by fewer countries after the introduction of UTC – Coordinated Universal Time. This was when leap seconds were introduced to keep UTC lined up with the Earth’s rotation. In Australia we use three main time zones. Where I live in Queensland we have Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) – UTC+10 hours. In Western Australian where my son lives the time zone is Australian Western Standard Time (AWST) – UTC+8 hours. The other time zone is Australian Central Standard Time (ACST) – UTC+9:30 hours. Daylight Saving Time (DST) is used by South Australia, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory. DST begins at 2am on the first Sunday in October when clocks are moved forward one hour. DST ends at 2am (that is 3am DST) on the first Sunday in April, when the clocks are moved back one hour.
Time moves fast and before I knew it, Christmas was over, and we welcomed in a new year – 2018! I am deciding whether I should set a few goals? Ones I can keep! One goal we don’t have to set this year is working out how to pay off our credit cards. That is, after having such a good time over Christmas and the New Year! Using a credit card is convenient, but then having to pay off debt over time, takes so much time. In the meantime, with too much debt life can become depressing. To reduce credit card debt, it is as simple as “stop pressing that plastic card against the EFTPOS machine”!
Given so many Australians are pressing and waving those plastic cards around, including the government, debt is rising exponentially. In 2018 the total Australian credit is over $6 Trillion and by 2026 the debt will be more than $10 Trillion. Time is ticking, and the debt clock is ticking! Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock!
If you are like me, retired or planning retirement your money matters. Therefore, if you are looking forward to retirement it is a good idea to invest time in planning and preparation. The Australian Securities Commission has a great little brochure “Financial decision at retirement – How to make the most of your money and avoid costly mistakes”. Look here for your copy!
Setting lifestyle and financial goals well before retirement is the way to go. Then it is time to sit back, hitch up the caravan, plan that trip or just chill out at home. While we like taking trips away we also enjoy time at home. This summer we had plenty of time to watch the cricket and now it is time for tennis. In between time we enjoy the “fork to fork” experience. A fresh lettuce, fresh basil for the home-made pizza, straight from the garden, and then the pleasure of fetching those eggs from the nesting box, less than an hour old! More about our “fork to fork” experience at another time! Have a Happy, Successful and Prosperous 2018 and thanks again for reading my blog – scattered straws.
This week it was time to preserve that beautiful tropical fruit, mango! My O&O and I were out shopping, and we came across a tray of beautiful R2E2 mangoes – 11 for $15. It was definitely time to preserve and for me to use my time to launch into my first experiment with my Fowlers Natural Preserver, bought a few months ago. Engaging in the process of preserving food got me thinking about other things we can preserve.
We can preserve memories, such as through photos, the written word or a time capsule. We can preserve nature, our culture, our relationships. The list goes on and on. As the list developed I thought this could be an occasional series to write about in 2018.
But for now, I will concentrate on the topic of preserving food. Why do we preserve food? For me, preserving food is like having a time capsule in my pantry. I can enjoy fresh mangoes in the middle of the year when they are out of season. I know what is in the bottle – just mango, water and a little sugar, no other preservatives. Wait! There was one other ingredient, lemon juice. This addition raises the acidity level and prevents the bacteria Clostridium botulinum. To be sure any home bottling or canned food is safe to eat check that the lids are properly sealed before storing the bottles. Also, smelling the food before it is consumed will tell you it is good to eat!
I am reading and learning about home preserving and it is a rewarding past-time. After the processing period in the water bath the bottles (full of mango) had to cool down and the spring clips are not removed for 12-18 hours. Then I tested the bottles to made sure a vacuum had been created and the lids were secure. To check for a proper seal, I had to press the centre of the metal lids. If the lid is flexible, then it has not sealed properly. Once I had confirmation the bottles were all sealed okay, all that was left was to label and store in a cool dark place.
When there is an abundance of fruit and vegetables in season this is the time to buy and preserve, as they are cheaper. But for me, it is not about the money but more so the health benefits. That is, knowing what I am eating and what is in the bottle!
When fruits and vegetables are out of season or are in short supply due to unfavourable weather, they become expensive. Home preserving gives you the best food, at the best price, at the time of the year you choose! Also, bottled fruit make a great gift. That is, when we have an abundance – only 6 jars so far, this mango season!
When I was taking my time preparing the fruit for bottling my thoughts went to my great grand-mother, Mary. I was 8 years old when Mary passed away at 91 years of age. My mind wandered to how she would have managed feeding a family without refrigeration and cooking on a wood stove. Meat was preserved by curing it with salt and then hung in a tin box with air holes on the side. Onions, eggs, and beets were pickled. Jams, mustard pickles and chutney were made at home. Milk and cream was fresh each day, unpasteurised and unhomogenised!
Mary had time to preserve as she mostly spent her time at home. Any bottling Mary did would have been carried out by the water bath method. Using a large pot where the jars are submerged. Not so easy though when keeping the water at a constant temperature, on a wood stove. Living to the ripe old age of 91 years meant she must have been a great home-maker. Preparing food for herself and the family that was wholesome. It was all made from scratch with nothing out of a bottle, unless she had preserved it herself.
For home bottling it takes a little time and for now this is how I choose to use my time. However, it also takes time to go to the supermarket and reach for that canned fruit with all the artificial flavours and preservatives. Reaching into the home pantry for a bottle of fruit that is made at home, is more satisfying. When you have time, you can play around in the kitchen like me and experiment with preserving food through home bottling. Try it, I am sure you will enjoy it.