Category Archives: Finances

How to save on rent…

MOVE.

Yep, that’s what we’re doing, so everybody should do it, too, am I right?! Haha, nah, I doubt everyone wants to go through the hassle, and if we’re honest, neither do we! Alas, it’s not really up to us as hubby is going from a good paying job to minimum wage, thus the necessity of change.

As I’m sure that all of you are faithful followers of my blog because you hit “follow” last time you were reading my ramblings, you will have read the post about my husband losing his great job recently. Here’s a link to the beginning of the story, and this blog will be an update to calm your curiosity! 😉

10563199_651968334911588_5123040647543176932_nSo I wrote that post about a month ago now, and we received four weeks notice from his work, so thankfully we’ve been paid until now. God is so good, and we are thankful for His provision! It worked out that hubby basically had two months off over summer- completely paid! Albeit it wasn’t the most awesome way to spend summer…the uncertainty, anyway! We got in a lot of family time, though, and that WAS awesome!

Hubby applied for and got a job at the local gourmet burger place- Burger Fuel…pretty much our favourite place to eat. 🙂 WIN! He starts on Monday and we’re so stoked that he has work already! As I mentioned in the previous post, he had gone more than a year without a job last time because of his ridiculously amazing qualifications and superman skills, so it’s a huge answer to prayer that he got this job so quickly! THANK YOU for those who have been praying for us!

We realised once he lost his job that we would need to move as our income would very likely go to minimum wage, so we started looking for a new house over a month ago. Nothing was ever quite right, and the one place we were super keen on had an agent that just would NOT get back to me for anything. (I can see the blessing in that now!) Yesterday, after ever so slightly bugging a real estate lady, we were able to view a place that had potential and we confirmed that we wanted it. It is $115 a WEEK ( A WEEK!!) less than our current rental! I know those of you living in other countries may not pay much in rent, but over here in the most beautiful country in the world, our rent rates are dumb- I guess we’re paying for the views. 😉

We will miss our hillside home that backs onto the gondolas (as seen here!) and has lake and city views, but for that savings, we praise God for His provision! And you know what?! When we went to see the house, we realised that the views were beautiful there, too! Oh, how God gives over and abundantly above all that we ask or think!  Check out the view from the new place!!!

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Tell me you aren’t impressed with that view?!! I was so amazed! We have loved our last two houses as they’ve been on hills so we don’t feel smothered from a city atmosphere, and now I don’t even have to look at houses! Sure, there are houses on both sides and behind us, but WOW! What a view! And do you know what is even BETTER?! We are directly below the flight path- and only about one kilometre from the end of the runway as the crow flies! My boys (all three of them. 😉 ) are going to LOVE that! I love it! There’s a reason aeroplanes is in the name of this blog!

Part of why the house is so cheap (only $195 a week!) is that it’s on quite a dodgy road…sometimes considered the worst road in the town. I talked to a close friend (who owns a house two doors down and has had it for twenty years) to get his opinion. He assured me that this part of the street is fine, so you can breathe easy now! (in and out, in and out…sloooower…that’s better!) Do you know what? We’re not afraid!

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Tim 1:7

Everywhere we’ve gone over the past few months, God has given my husband and I amazing peace in choosing the homes we’ve chosen. We’ve seen His hand of protection in the bad areas that we’ve lived in (pretty much the only areas we can afford!) The safest place we will ever be is in the centre of His will, and we have no doubt that we are there now- and will be in moving to this new home.

We look forward to getting to know our neighbours, and we’re sad to be leaving the amazing neighbours we have now. Check out this welcome home note from our neighbour, Lisa, that we found when we got home a week ago…

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…there were even “footprints” up to the door! My three year old was tickled pink! He adores our sweet Lisa! Yes, we will definitely have to visit her regularly!

So that’s the latest anyway! We’re moving- AGAIN. We have been in this house for FOUR WHOLE MONTHS now, after all! That’s how long we were in the last house, six months in the one before, and seven and a half months in the one before that. We hope that this will be that last move for a while! Maybe a year?! Dare we hope?!

How many times have you moved? Do you like change or detest it? We are obviously not too phased by change and probably thrive just a little bit too much on it, but I am sure that some of you have stayed in one place much longer than we ever have! I would love to hear your stories in the comments below! Maybe some moving tips?! Pretty please?

The ramblings of the crazy woman who is packing up her house yet again…and the mama of this adorable boy whose face shall go instead of mine this time!

He was having fun on the swing at the playground just across the street from the new house!
He was having fun on the swing at the playground just across the street from the new house!

LydiaPs. Here’s a song that always encourages my heart…

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Simple gifts can be enough! Part One- Kid’s Presents

Have you ever done home-made gifts for friends or family?

Baking? Framed memories? Jars with ingredients? Love vouchers?

A sample of a love voucher Cameron made up for me. Last time he did it, he printed them as 4x6 pictures and put them into a small photo album. Once redeemed, they get put into the back and turned around so not visible, and on a birthday or Christmas, he'll randomly put them back in the front and give them again. I. LOVE. IT.
A sample of a love voucher Hubby made up for me. Last time he did it, he printed them as 4×6 pictures and put them into a small photo album. Once redeemed, they get put into the back and turned around so not visible, and on a birthday or Christmas, he’ll randomly put them back in the front and give them again. I. LOVE. IT.

We are big fans of thoughtful gifts, and not fans of materialism and spending big bucks on stuff that people don’t want.

For our son’s first birthday, we spent a whopping $5 on a second hand boy doll (that he loves to this day at 3 and a half years old), and a $2 thing of bubbles! They were both very appreciated! We spent more on his cake because we bought two model type aeroplanes (for about $15 all up) for the awesome cake my husband made for him! (Hubby’s dad made the cakes when they were kids, so I wanted to carry on that awesome tradition! 🙂 ) We  had a fun family dinner to celebrate!

BUBBLES!!!!
BUBBLES!!!!
All we asked from my brother and sister-in-law was a big box so we could make a playhouse! It was perfect and FREE!
All we asked from my brother and sister-in-law was a big box so we could make a playhouse! It was perfect and FREE!
Hubby's first try at making a themed cake! EPIC! Hangar, tower, and runway in the shape of a number one- complete with a plane taking off!
Hubby’s first try at making a themed cake! EPIC! Hangar, tower, and runway in the shape of a number one- complete with a plane taking off!

 

Birthday number two- family dinner again, stuffed Mickey Mouse ($1 from op shop!), and pull back aeroplane ($6 from Save the Children shop!)

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Birthday number three- first kiddy party! I wanted to wait until HE could appreciate it. Before three, do they really care if people are there other than family? The only present from us was an awesome rocket I had found as-new, second-hand months earlier for $200 $50!!. We used rockets as the theme and daddy made an amazing, gruesome cake! It had “crashed” because that’s what Josiah always did with his planes and rockets, and hubby made blood  jelly/jello ooze out the hatch door. It was pretty perfect for J, though, and he loved it!

We kept the party cheap by finding décor throughout the year on sale or at dollar stores, putting his many aerospace books on window ledges for inspiration, and having mostly naturally gluten free foods that he is normally allowed to eat. I’m not keen for my kids to go crazy on sugar, so why would I waste a special day and make my kid go nuts and feel sick on sugar? That doesn’t make sense to me! So we had bananas, home-popped lightly salted popcorn, apple slices, carrot sticks, celery with peanut butter and raisins, some sausages, and cake- with water as the drink. Not one kid complained! Anyway, back onto the topic at hand! Healthy eating is another post entirely!

Healthy doesn't have to mean BORING!
Healthy doesn’t have to mean BORING!

 

Lovely, eh?! This is what can happen when hubby gets free reign of the cake design!!
Lovely, eh?! This is what can happen when hubby gets free reign of the cake design!!

 

I have SO many more things I could say about affordable gift-giving, but I’ll leave you for now with our boys’ ONLY Christmas present from us this year.  (call us Scrooges, but they didn’t care!)

TA DA!! I promised in my earlier post about building free forts that I would show you our latest creation! Here is it! We finished it on Christmas afternoon while J slept at Grandma’s house. I found all of the materials for this as I was out and about doing errands in the weeks before. I would drive through the industrial area on my way home and pick up odds and ends every trip. We already had the stuff like drill, hammer, nails and screws, so it was free for us and pretty cool! They love it!

It's pretty tall and sturdy! Hubby is 6'3"!!
It’s pretty tall and sturdy! Hubby is 6’3″!!

 

What are some clever DIY or simple, affordable gifts you have given? I would love to hear your ideas below in the comments section!

 

Sincerely, a simple mama trying to raise children who are grateful for the simple things…

Lydia

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Contentment during unemployment- is that even possible?

My husband lost his job this week. We’ve known for a couple weeks that it was a possibility, so it wasn’t a shock. (It was a shock when we found out a few weeks ago, though!)

Again we can’t help but be curious about what God has in store for us! Here’s a little bit of our last experience of unemployment…


We had been married only 7 months when my husband was made redundant from his “good” job. They said there was re-structuring happening, and to no surprise of ours, despite them saying they’d call back when they needed more instructors, that never came to pass.

He took a six month automotive course and that has been paid for time and again by all of the things he learned and has applied to our cars and friend’s cars.

At this point he was diligently looking for work and doing some online designing. I was working two part-time jobs as Nanny and Secretary, and then later as a call centre staff for our tax department. I loved it! After a year, I got pregnant, so you can imagine that we were kind of wondering when he would get work! I was going to have a baby in nine months- that much we knew!

Time went on and it was fairly stressful, obviously quite tight, but God always provided. Sometimes we’d get to church and friends would have some groceries for us. Things wouldn’t have added up on paper…but we never lacked. God is so faithful! (We were still learning the “trusting in God completely” thing!)

When I was 34 weeks along, my waters broke one morning right before work and we had a little boy show up less than five hours later. He was pretty healthy, but spent three weeks in NICU doing a bit of growing. Now we were really starting to think “Ok, God! Any time now would be great!”

Within a week of J coming home from hospital, Hubby got a temp job which turned into a full time position. Praise God! We were thrilled. God’s timing was actually perfect (It’s so silly that we mere humans are surprised at God’s perfectness, isn’t it?!)

Had Hubby started a job earlier, he likely couldn’t have had any time off for the baby, and he was so helpful in that first week and the three weeks in NICU. It was a special time for us all, and after that, we could appreciate God’s timing so much more.

That, combined with having long waits for our children, we’ve seen the beauty in God’s timing, and we’ve learned so much trust. I LOVE these verses. If everyone followed them, think of the joy that would surround us!

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.

Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.

11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

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So, here we are again, this time anticipating  God’s plan. We certainly didn’t expect it, but He knows exactly what is happening and why, and He can provide our every need. In the mean time, we’ll keep trusting him, rejoicing in him, thanking Him, thinking on the blessings He has given us, and learning through this time. Please do pray with us as we seek only His best for our lives!

Have you seen God miraculously providing for you in difficult times? I would love to hear how He has shown Himself faithful to you! Click here to read about hubby getting a job!

To God be ALL the Glory.

With a heart full of peace that passes all understanding,

Lydia

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How to build a free fort! (well, almost free!)

Have you ever had more time than money?

I’m pretty sure it’s a common scenario!

We lived in a very, very rough house for eight months during some work training my husband did in Canterbury, so we wanted to make the outside as child-friendly as possible for the long winter months ahead (That house is another blog entry entirely!). I had seen a lot of Pinterest ideas for pallet forts and was super excited to try to make one!

I went down the road (literally only 500m from the house), and the Countdown guy so graciously loaded these pallets into the boot of our car. I got six all up! Woohoo! Well on our way to building our first ever DIY fort!!! (the biggest mission was getting them to the very back of our long section!) There are pretty much always free pallets available- either from your supermarket or industrial area, and the most recent fort we build was free as well due to me gathering random bits of wood from along side the road or behind Bunnings! (I’ll show it to you soon!)

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Can you spot the hidden pallet? Just kidding, it’s not there! hehe

Next, we grabbed a couple rubbish doors out of the shed that had been left full of junk and J happily watched while eating snacks!

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The only thing we had to buy was a bulk container of screws for $10, and we used less than half of them!

After a couple hours of putting it together (did I mention that our internet hadn’t been turned on yet? That helped our time management!) As happened this last time as well, I got things started, and hubby did the a decent part of the grunt work. I love working together with my hunny!

And VOILA! Check out this cool fort!! J LOVED it!

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I would love to see your clever creations! Link to your blogs below or tell us all about them in the comments!

See ya next time!

A DIY lovin’ mama (or rather a cheapskate, free stuff lovin’ mama!)

Lydia

PS. I absolutely loved living down south! This picture was taken at Lake Tekapo!

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