October Finance Chat

I’ve had a few requests to write some more posts about money, budgeting, and how I sort out my personal finances. I thought about it a little bit and decided that the easiest way for me to do this is to include a monthly ‘finance chat’, where I’ll give a general overview of where I’m at with my finances and what my goals for the following month are. I recently wrote up a savings plan for our trip the US next year, and it was a bit of an eye-opener for us. We are not the most careful people when it comes to spending money, but it was a wake up call that we need to start taking better care and stop being so frivolous when it comes to our finances.

November Goals
My goals for this month are mostly to assist me in working towards bulking up my travel savings fund. I have a specific savings account set up that accrues more interest than a regular account, and you’re charged for taking money out of the account. Works for me. My first goal is to NOT dip into my travel savings account for money to use elsewhere. This is to be for travel only, and the total should not go down at any point. I also want to try and cut down our weekly grocery shop (excluding fresh fruit and vegetables) to below $100. Currently we fluctuate anywhere between $150-$250 a week, which is just ridiculous. We can definitely do better in this regard. I’ve also implemented a ‘noodle night’ once a week, where we eat something out of the pantry that otherwise wouldn’t be set aside for dinner (ie: noodles). This is an easy way to save money, and also helps us work through the food in the pantry that can sometimes get overlooked and sit there for months on end.

I’ll be sure to check in again at the end of November and let you all know how I’m doing. I’d love to hear any of your goals for the month, and if you decide to include something similar on your blog please let me know!

Product Review: Jergens Daily Moisture (fragrance free)

I was a big fan of scented body lotions up until a couple of years ago when my tastes changed completely. Now I’m all about the fragrance-free stuff, and for a couple of reasons. First of all, I find that if I wear non-scented body lotion my perfume wears better throughout the day and secondly, I have sensitive skin and the fragrance-free options do a much better job of not irritating my skin. I decided to pick this lotion up while browsing my local Priceline, as I’d noticed a lot of people on twitter getting excited that the Jergen’s range was now available in Australia. I’d never heard of the Jergens brand before so I wasn’t sure what all the fuss was about, but now I do. This is a GREAT product. It doesn’t irritate my skin at all, even if I apply it immediately after shaving. It’s targeted at dry skin so it’s quite a thick lotion, but it sinks into skin quickly, and I can easily apply this right before putting on my clothes in the morning. I also love that it comes in a pump bottle, because it makes it all the more easy to apply on the go. It really is fragrance free, some lotions claim this but then they have a weird kind of smell to them – this doesn’t. If you’re in the market for a decent body moisturiser for summer, definitely check this out. The Jergens Daily Moisture (fragrance free) retails for $7.99 AUD (currently on sale for $5.99) and is available for purchase from Priceline.

October Fitness Chat

Summer is coming, and with it comes renewed motivation and fresh inspiration. The warmer weather makes it so much easier to eat well and find time to fit in workouts throughout the week. My partner and I are both feeling extremely motivated at the moment (driven by a wedding we’re attending in January, and the fact that beach season is upon us), so we’re trying to help each other to get moving and eat better. Having this kind of support is endlessly helpful, but if you don’t have a partner to help you with your fitness endeavors, I find that a ‘gym buddy’ works just as well. Having someone besides yourself to be accountable to when it comes to working out, is surprisingly motivating.

September Goals
Unfortunately I failed to achieve my September goals. I didn’t reach my caloric burn goal, I wasn’t able to complete the Lorna Jane Squat Challenge, and we’re still eating out way more than we should (especially as we’re saving for a big trip next year). But it’s a new month, and I’m setting myself a fresh bunch of goals to achieve. Here we go!

October Goals
I find that when I have a schedule in place, I’m more likely to stick to a plan. So I wrote up a month’s worth of workouts on a calendar page and my goal is to achieve all of them in a month. I don’t have to do each workout on the date shown, but I do have to do ALL of them before the month ends. When they’ve been completed I’ll mark them off with a gold star. So far so good, but we’ll see how we go. Tying in with this, I want to start running on the little track we’ve worked out near our house. It takes me a bit longer to get into road-running, but there is so much additional benefit that it’s well worth the effort. Food-wise, we’re aiming for only one takeout meal per month. I’m sure we can achieve this, especially as we’re both in strict budget mode at the moment.

Health & Fitness Related Goodies
* The biggest motivation for me lately has been watching BreeLovesVlogs, as she has a very healthy lifestyle, and watching her constantly hitting up the gym or heading out to do some kind of fun workout is quite inspirational. ** This is an awful song, but it’s catchy, and it makes me want to move.

Thoughts of the week…

01) There is a new Taylor Swift song in my ears, and all is right with the world. One day I will get the chorus out of my head. One day. Speaking of Taylor, her new Diet Coke ad is too adorable.

02) Kimberley so kindly pointed out this budgeting blog to me earlier in the week. I love all things budgeting, and I know a lot of you guys do too so I thought I would pass this one on for you to check out. If you know of any other budgeting blogs you think I might like to read, please let me know.

03) Speaking of Kimberley, she favourited a youtube video that popped up on my ‘what to watch’ list on YouTube, and I’m now OBSESSED with BreeLovesBeauty’s two channels. In particular, I love how positive and outgoing and energetic she is. If you’re after some motivation to get your butt moving, check out her video on tips for starting up a healthy lifestyle.

04) Ben says HELLO!

05) My Erin Condren planner arrived during the week, and I am SO excited to have it in my hot little hands. I decided to finish out the month of October using my Lilly Pulitzer planner, but I’m keen to get stuck into using the Erin Condren one when November rolls around. I’ve been scouring Etsy for stickers, and so far KarolinasKrafts is my favourite store to shop from.

06) I’ve never paid much attention to Ansel Elgort (what a name, eh?) before, but this video of him surprising Jimmy Kimmel’s niece is utterly adorable.

07) This was definitely my favourite random news story of the week.

08) Emma Stone and Jimmy Fallon play ‘Box Of Lies

09) So we started watching American Horror Story FreakShow last weekend… What the hell is up with that clown? Why. I’m never sleeping again. Thanks, Ryan Murphy.

10) Lisa Eldridge did a Downton Abbey makeup tutorial and I am all over it.

50 Book Challenge (part 8)

This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer (3/10) – Honestly, I picked this book up just so I could read it and get it off of my shelf. This was the third and final book in a series that I really wasn’t that interested in. This was a short and easy read, and I think from memory I powered through it over the course of a weekend. If you’re interested in post-apocalyptic stories this may interest you, but there isn’t much else going on to keep you interested, to be honest.

Lost & Found by Brooke Davis (7/10) – I was lucky enough to be given a copy of this book by the publishing company as part of their Australian marketing campaign for the book’s release release. They hid copies of the book throughout Perth city, and when I wasn’t lucky enough to find one for myself they were kind enough to deliver one to work for me. Such an amazing campaign, and I have since paid it forward and sent the book onto Tonile from ‘my cup and chaucer’ so she could have the opportunity to read it too. This book was incredibly sweet and touching, and had a lot of laugh out loud moments for me. The characters are all so rich, and feel so real, and the storyline is really something special.

The Circle by Dave Eggers (7/10) – Despite the protagonist in this book being absolutely AWFUL, the plot and the ethical questions posed by it were enough to make me enjoy ‘The Circle’ quite a lot. My IT-worker boyfriend is reading this at the moment and although he also hates the protaganist, he’s really enjoying the story. It’s the most probable ‘dystopian’ world I’ve seen a book set in, as it’s really not too different from how we live now and how we seem to be progressing as a society on the whole. One thing I will say about this is that I listened to the audiobook of the story, and the narrator used a very strange accent for nearly every supporting character in the story. It was quite offputting, so if you’re keen to read this I would suggest picking up a physical copy of the book.

The Sky So Heavy by Claire Zorn (5/10) – I was really excited to pick this up, as the author had been likened to John Marsden (one of the author idols of my teenage years), and the story seemed right up my alley. Not only does it centre around a post-apocalyptic world following a nuclear attack, but it’s set in Australia. Perfect. I did enjoy this book, but it was clearly set up to be the first book in a series, which bothered me a little bit. I’m not a big fan of series books, so if I’d known that going into the book I may not have bothered with it at all. Having said that, the book was pretty good, the characters weren’t annoying (this seems to be a big problem for me with YA fiction, as I’ve mentioned before), and a lot of the situations presented were pretty stark and realistic. Now that I’m into the story I’ll probably pick up the rest of the series when it eventually comes out.