Budget Talk: Eliminating Debt

My latest obsession is watching YouTube videos of people who are working hard at chipping away their debt. I find these videos extremely inspiring and motivating, so much so that last week I took a good hard look at my own budget and in particular… debt. Of course, I currently pay what’s owing each month on each individual debt that I’ve lumped myself with, but to be honest I never pay much attention to it beyond that. Which is a mistake. I’m not going to include my mortgage in this little eliminating debt challenge that I’m sharing with you all, because honestly I think I’ll be old and grey by the time I’m done with that. However, I do have some lesser amounts, that I’m happy to share in the hope that I will inspire others to start eliminating their debt. I’m using the “debt snowball” method, and currently focusing all of my attention on my smallest debt. My goal is to completely clear that amount before the end of this year. I’m going to keep a running tally of what I pay off of the smallest debt, and bring you all along for the ride. Here’s hoping I can get this debt GONE by the end of 2015!

Paid in August: $175
Currently Owing: $2371.94

Weekly Grocery Haul + Meal Plan

I love watching grocery haul videos on YouTube, but I do really enjoy watching the most mundane things on that platform. I decided to share with you our grocery shop for the week, and the meals I’ve planned out for us. My goal this week was to keep the shop under $150, and I even went so far as to cash in some of our Flybuys points for money back on the shop (which ended up taking $30 off of the total for the week – not too shabby). The grand total came to $109.61 which was under what I had budgeted for the week and I’ll be carrying across the excess $40.39 for future shopping trips. Here’s my meal plan for the week –

Monday – Friday: Gluten free weetbix w/ lactose free milk

Monday: Leftover spaghetti bolognese
Tuesday: Out
Wednesday: Toasted cheese sandwich
Thursday: Noodles
Friday: Slow cooked beef massaman curry

Monday: Chicken w/ roasted sweet potato & steamed broccoli
Tuesday: Burritos
Wednesday: Moroccan seasoned lamb w/ cous cous & roasted carrots
Thursday: Chicken schnitzel w/ mash & steamed broccoli
Friday: Homemade pizza

Monday – Friday: Strawberries / carrot sticks / gluten free crackers

Thoughts of the week…

01) Guess who tore his other ACL? Ben did, and he’s due for surgery next week. Please send him all the good and health doggy vibes you have free!
02) I started making YouTube videos again.
03) Speaking of YouTube, my favourite channel for the week is BudgetGirl – who has inspired me SO MUCH in regards to budgeting and eliminating debt. I have a new budgeting goal and plan that I’m going to share with you all soon.
04) Speaking of YouTube, a fellow (ex)beauty blogger who is living the dream and writing novels for a living, is also posting some informative videos and vlogs on her channel. Head on over and subscribe!
05) I had never made this connection before, but wow.
06) I’m sure this is all too familiar for many of us.
07) They released the dollar figure that Jeremy Clarkson will be earning (a year) over at Amazon video… 26 million. Wowza.
08) I’ve started drinking coffee again. Help.
09) If you’re interested in joining me and some other book lovers in a monthly book blog, be sure to head over to Look At All These Books to vote for next month’s book.
10) I’m planning on starting a bit of a “use it or lose it” project to try and clear out a lot of my beauty products. Let me know if you’d be interested in joining in!

Product Review: Tresemme Cleansing Dry Shampoo

I’ve always been a “wash my hair every day unless I don’t need to leave the house or see anyone who doesn’t already love me a lot” kinda gal. Lately however, I’ve become time-poor in the mornings (cold weather = me not wanting to leave the bed) and it’s thrown a spanner into my daily hair washing routine. I’ve been forced to become an every-other-day washer. I know, right? Who even am I. Anyway, not washing my hair every day has left me with a flat and oily hair situation. I work in a professional environment, and I can’t afford to look completely disgusting when I rock up to the office. Which is a pretty accurate description of how I look when I don’t wash my hair. Enter DRY SHAMPOO. I’ve tried quite a few dry shampoos in my time, but honestly this is the best I’ve come across so far. It smells nice, it helps (to a point) control oiliness, and it adds a decent amount of much needed texture to help battle the flatness of my annoyingly fine hair. Another plus is that when you spray it into your hair and rub it into your roots, it doesn’t leave you looking like you’ve got a bad case of dandruff. It’s also budget friendly, which for me at the moment is hugely important. The Tresemme Instant Refresh Cleansing Dry Shampoo retails for $10.99 and is available for purchase from Priceline (please note: product was supplied for consideration for review).

My Current Gym Routine

A doctor once told me that it’s a bad idea to have your partner as your gym buddy, because it causes relationship strain and a whole lot of other problems. Thankfully, that is not the case for Sebastian and I. Having set times that we go to the gym (together), has made it so much easier to work exercise into our weekly routine. The other thing that has made the whole process feel a lot easier is having a set routine in place for when we actually get to the gym. I much prefer having this routine in place, rather than faffing about on all of the equipment I actually know how to use (fun fact about me: I really hate asking people for help at the gym). So here’s my current routine, which will change over time as my needs and fitness levels change (my goal is to improve on one thing each gym session – extra weight, etc). Oh, and we’ve been aiming for around 3-4 gym sessions a week.

Warm Up – 10 minutes on cross trainer
3 Sets x 15 Reps on Pin Loaded Press (weight is currently at 35kg, but will increase soon)
3 Sets x 15 Reps Fitness Ball Wall Squat
3 Sets x 15 Reps Donkey Kick (lol)
3 Sets x 15 Reps Chest Press (current weight is 20kg)
3 Sets x 15 Reps Support Row (current weight is 20 kg)
3 Sets x 15 Reps Basic Curl
3 Sets x 15 Reps Reverse Curl
Cardio – 10 minutes on treadmill or bike (currently at 1:1 ratio)
Cool Down + Stretches

Thoughts of the week…

01) You may have noticed the change in design here at The Belle Lumiere, and I’d love to know what you think! All of the handdrawn artwork here and over at my other site ‘Look At All These Books was done by Stevie Ann Clarke. Isn’t it beautiful? You can check out her Etsy store here.
02) Guess what? There is just over a month until I have three months off of work. Can you believe it? Oh, AND IT’S NEARLY CHRISTMAS.
03) This is my favourite Jessie Baylin song at the moment. I’m obsessed.
04) I have a new favourite youtuber.
05) Jimmy Kimmel and Mumford & Son’s Boy Band
06) This is incredible.
07) This tumblr takes horror movies and turns them into Goosebumps covers.
08) The science behind why reading is so good for the soul.
09) They’ve announced the actress that will be playing Anna in the Girl On The Train film adaptation, and I think she’ll be perfect.
10) If you’re feeling particularly flush with cash this week and are in the mood to do a good deed, perhaps you could head on over to Jessica’s page and donate whatever you can spare. Thank you to all that have donated already.

50 Book Challenge (part 4)

I feel like my love of reading has returned, and it’s wonderful. It’s entirely possible that starting up my book blog helped with the return of reading motivation, but who knows. I’m just glad this feeling is back and I hope it’s here to stay! Here’s what I’ve been reading lately:

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Scholl – 9/10 – This is my favourite book of the year so far. Actually, I’d say it’s probably tied with The Kind Worth Killing (see below) for that coveted number one spot, so needless to say it’s been a good few months of reading for me. I loved this, and it was an unusual love for me because I disliked all of the characters. I guess that’s a true testament to good writing. Go into this book knowing very little about it. Read it ASAP.

Never Never by Colleen Hoover 7/10 – This is part one in a trilogy (which, for once, I knew going into the book), and it was good enough for me to want to read the next two books. If you know anything about me, you’ll know that means a lot because I very rarely read more than one book in a series. This book was part mystery, part thriller, part romance (ugh), and it ended on a really great cliffhanger. I can’t wait to get stuck into book two.

Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight 6/10 – This was a decent thriller, but unfortunately I picked it up between reading Luckiest Girl Alive and The Kind Worth Killing, and it had too much to live up to. It was still enjoyable though, and worth picking up for an easy rainy weekend read.

The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson 9/10 – As I mentioned earlier in the post, this is tied for first position for best book I’ve read in 2015 so far. I’m going to be annoying and say that this is another book that you need to go into knowing very little about. If you’re not afraid of something a little bit twisted, check this out. I’ve already reserved Peter Swanson’s first book at the library and I can’t wait to read it.

Survive The Night by Danielle Vega 3/10 – This book had so much potential, and I was really enjoying it until it got ridiculous about halfway through. Such a shame.

House Project List

Did you know there is actually never a time where the list of things you need to get done around your house is empty? In fact, my seems to be growing. I have three months leave coming up at the end of the year (are you sick of me mentioning that yet? TOO BAD), and I want to spend some time getting things done around the house. I know you all like lists as much as I do, so I thought I’d share with you my current house project list. Here it is:

Front + Back Yard
Plant honeysuckle and start training it against the front fence
Re-spray the honeysuckle pot for re-use
Plant a small lime tree in the old honeysuckle pot
Weed the entire garden
Lay down new mulch in the front and back garden beds
Buy a BBQ
Buy an outdoor setting
Set up a shade sail over the outdoor setting
Plant more herbs
Put tall flowering plants outside the study window
Clean the front door
Replace the back door mat
Buy & install an outdoor light fitting

Buy paint
Paint the entire interior of the house
Buy and hang a mirror in the master bedroom
Re-organize the walk in robe
Re-organize under bed storage
Purge clothes
Purge jewelery collection
Re-organize bathroom cupboard
Deep clean the glass wall in the shower
Deep clean the bathroom & laundry air vents
Hang shelf in laundry room
Purge makeup collection
Purge beauty product collection
Take all unwanted books to the book exchange
Create a gift card storage solution
Re-organize the study cupboard
Re-organize the linen press
Hang plastic bag holder (and possibly an iron holder) in the linen press
Re-organize the small hutch
Re-organize the tall hutch
Deep clean the shower
Purge everything in the fridge and pantry
Have light fittings installed
Donate unwanted cat beds and scratching post to the cat haven
Buy + hang a suitable print for the living area
Buy a tall storage solution for the living area
Sort through and donate all unwanted DVDs and games
Organize the cable and electronics drawer

That’s all I can really think of right now. I’m hoping to dedicate a set amount of time every day to working on these projects, so hopefully I can make a big dent in this list before my holiday wraps up at the end of the year. I’ll be sure to keep you posted on my progress. If there is anything in particular that you’d like me to do a blog post feature on, let me know. Oh, and wish me luck!