Thursday, January 21, 2010

The crunch year of 2010

Christmas presents from my family - which I adore

It's coming up to Australia Day soon, which means two things! It's nearly the end of January already - crikey, where has it gone - and school starts back, the day afterwards.

For us this year however, we won't be returning to school as we know it. Although I must confess to being extremely undecided in the last few weeks. I've been tossing and turning over our decision to home school - in fact, it wasn't too late to enroll in a public school. To this end, I started researching other schools in our district and then looked at the on-line bookstore, which has many school lists for the various schools. I normally purchased school books for her previous school, through this on-line store.

I did something different however, I decided to look at what other schools were putting down as relevant text books and materials for grade 2. Some had calculators - others didn't. Some had maths, spelling and writing texts - others didn't. Some had a combination between the two ends of the spectrum. It then dawned on me, if every school does it differently - what was I so afraid of?

To start with, I'm going to buy some of the recommended texts for maths, spelling and writing - then gradually work our way through it. Dave will be in charge of excursions - which he's enthusiastically accepted! I'll let him know the themes of what we'll be studying, and he can organise and implement excursions around those themes.

Many of the outings, we'll go as a family, but sometimes if I feel like a break, the two of them can attend on their own. Excursions will be planned on Dave's rostered days off from work.

But also this year, is our "no spend" year. Wondering how that's been going? Well, there has been many surprises I wasn't expecting. So far, we've been really strict on not spending. We've decided to ditch the pocket-money idea, as we felt this was kind of cheating. And the harsh reality of NOT SPENDING is rearing itself in many interesting and unexpected ways.

For example, I always thought I didn't spend money. I was the one who could go weeks without spending one cent on myself. My purse could be empty and I'd only take what money I needed to pay for essentials. So I figured not spending was going to be easy for me, right?


I was spending money - only in ways I didn't truly appreciate at first. Every chicken coop project, every trellis, every fruit tree - stuff we would buy to maintain the property - that's where my consumeristic habits were hiding!! I've only just realised it, after three weeks into our no spend year.

Laugh if you will, nod in agreement if you recognised it before me - but it's really serious how physical a consumeristic desire can show itself. I was getting really anxious, pacing around the house for something to do - looking at everything which wasn't done yet, and my "to-do" list was growing longer with each passing day. I WAS starting to feel unhappy. I WAS feeling like I hadn't achieved anything.

More unfortunately (or fortunately) our regular ABC channels were losing reception lately. So we had to defer to commercial channels, to watch some children's shows. After a few days, I started to realise what those little advertisements were doing. They were feeding my sense of anxiousness even further. I thought I was fairly clever when it came to advertising campaigns. They wouldn't fool me. I'm too smart for them!

But the point is, you don't have to believe in what they're advertising. You just have to doubt what it is you're doing, long enough, so you'll go out and buy something to appease it. Of course, no spending means exactly that. I had a very valuable lesson in how much of a consumer I still was. Or more to the point, how quickly I could doubt myself and my abilities.

On the expenses front, we've had a few unexpected bills arrive. A dentist for Dave's teeth, for example. We pay cash, as we don't have health cover. It's not just a one-off bill though. Dave's in for several trips to the dentist this year. In his mid 30's, some of his original fillings received as a youngster, are starting to decay. They need replacing.

We anticipate at least $2,000 minimum at the dentist, this year. And that's just for Dave! I'm sure I'm due for a visit soon. I've only got two fillings, but I'm sure there's room for more. I just don't visit the dentist enough, for them to be found. No pain in my teeth is a good sign, and I brush daily. Still, I can see both of us going through at least $4,000 at the dentist. Which should do us for another 20 years, before our next service, LOL.

So welcome to the crunch year of 2010, folks. It's now getting very serious.


  1. Keep your reciepts from the dentist, you can claim back 20%anything over $1500 (I think?) on your tax return! We had some hefty dentist bills last year too!

    We're also starting our first year of 'official' homeschooling this year, and really enjoying it. (I decided to start early, since we were all in the mood.)

  2. Thanks for the tip, Rinnelle. That's to do with the Safety Net, regarding the tax return, isn't it?

    I'll check it out anyway.

    Good luck with your official homeschool year too. I hope you all enjoy it. :)

  3. schools going to be great im sure & all three of you will benefit from it
    as for the no spend it is really hard, im not a spender but A is so makes it a bit hard here
    i have my fingers Xed for you :o)

  4. you will do wonderfully homeschooling have a great time

  5. I didn't thank you for your comment Nicole. So sorry. :)

    Thanks for the crossed fingers. We're doing well in our no spend year, but it's still early days.

    Also thanks Mashelly, for the homeschool encouragement too. You do well with your children and they seem to really enjoy it. I reckon they're very lucky to have their own classroom building too.

    I imagine it would be very handy with lots of enthusiastic minds to teach. A place to put all the learning gear too. :)


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