Welcome to my July diary! Intense puppy training, balcony gardening, pet insurance decisions, cash back, a job interview, birthday cake creations and lots of writing!
My Personal Update
It has been a relatively quiet month for me – no big dramas and no big life events but puppy training has kept me busy! Working from home means I can also be here for my pup – training her, keeping her from destructive behaviour and cleaning up her messes. It also means I don’t get much of anything else done! I’m trying to show patience with certain training aspects but she is still only 4 months old and puppy training is hard!
I have been delighted to harvest some beautiful lemons and chilli from my balcony garden this month! This is the first time I have tried to grow chilli and so I’m so excited to harvest some! My lemon trees have been thriving lately and while some are affected by some bugs eating the leaves, they continue to bloom and fruit! I planted snow peas a short time ago too and they are starting to climb which I love to see! Last year I had an amazing crop of snow peas with my vines giving me around 8-10 beautiful, fresh snow peas every day! Here’s hoping for another beautiful crop of snow peas! My basil has also been cut right back for a bit of pest and growth control. It always grows back even more beautiful than before. You can look at my article about my Balcony Garden HERE, which goes into detail about exactly what else I grow and how much it saves me to grow my own food!
One big financial decision I’ve been going back and forth about recently is whether to purchase pet insurance or not. I looked into 3 major insurers (even though I think they are all underwritten by the same company – Hollard). I compared Woolworths Pet Insurance, RSPCA and Bow Wow Meow. I looked at sign-up bonuses such as offers of 2 free months of insurance (Bow Wow), $50 Wish gift card (Woolworths) as well as what was covered, excess amounts and premiums. They were all very similar in pricing and so I decided to go with Woolworths as they offer Vet Assist as well, which is a 24/7 call centre with access to real vets you can consult with any concerns or questions regarding your pet’s health.
While I realise I could end up spending more on insurance than I would on vet bills if my pup remains mostly healthy, there is always the ‘What if’. With my last dog, there were several expensive emergencies in the first couple of years including allergic reactions to bee stings, ingestion of poison and plenty of skin infections. I also just paid $480 on one vet bill this past week for vaccinations, an exam, pathology and meds for an ear infection. I know how insurance companies work and they count on us being fearful and worried about expensive vet bills but the reality is, life happens and shit happens! More than one of my friends have had to fork out more than $10k!!! for surgery for their dog which technically I could afford with my emergency fund currently sitting at $25k but I don’t want to be in a position of having to empty my emergency fund, leaving me vulnerable. So.. I opted for top cover and a commitment of around $60 per month. This has put my mind at ease. What are your thoughts on pet insurance? Necessary or not (if you have emergency money)??
One splurge this month was a full body massage and a facial. I LOVE to spend my money on things like this. I can easily forego takeaway coffees, resist buying new clothes and I’ll dine out less often just so I can splurge on facials and massages! I just think we need to spend money according to our values. THIS is what I value and I couldn’t care less about coffees and branded clothes. What do you splurge on?
I made some awesome cash back this month using both ShopBack and Cashrewards, I did some orders of pet food and pet supplies including wee training mats, harness, toys, treats etc and took advantage of awesome sales with Pet Circle and My Pet Warehouse. I also did another order with Baby Bunting for gifts for my nieces. At the time, the websites were having big sales but ShopBack and Cash Rewards were also offering about 20-30% cash back! This meant I saved on the initial order and then once the cashback gets approved, I get cash returned to me which I can withdraw from ShopBack or Cashrewards. Do you use ShopBack or Cashrewards? They both offer free money for joining up too!
To score $20 FREE, you can sign up to CashRewards with THIS LINK HERE. (I will get free cash too).
To score $5 FREE, you can sign up to ShopBack with THIS LINK HERE. (I will get free cash too).
Ok I’m officially procrastinating with getting my tax documents together. I just know this will be a complicated return because of the fact that I was working full time for 6 months of the year and once I resigned in January, I started doing contract work for which I am receiving pay without any tax deducted. I also have my own business income and lots of deductions as I’m working from home. There is one aspect of my tax I’m not worried about and that’s my shares. Sharesight is linked to my investments and it makes tax time SO much easier if you have shares. It’s also FREE! If you want to upgrade in the future, you can get 4 months free by clicking this LINK HERE.
Sharesight is an accounting tool which is FREE to use and keeps track of all your investments in one place, which makes tax time SO EASY!! When it’s time to start tracking dividends as well as performance, you can simply print off a report in Sharesight and hand this to your tax accountant. If you do choose to upgrade in the future, you can get 4 months free when signing up to the premium plan, but you can stay on the FREE plan and still make things so much easier for yourself! You can sign up to Sharesight for FREE with my link HERE.
Parenting and Co-parenting
Parenting now involves 2 of my loves! Andy and Missy! Little Missy graduated puppy school during July and training her has been a roller coaster! Hands up who is going through puppy training at the moment, or who has recently?? It can take a lot out of you, that’s for sure – so satisfying when they learn something important, but also a test of your patience when they take a long time for something to click. We are doing daily training walks on the leash to learn how to walk nicely but we take one step forward, and two backwards at the moment. Literally. We need to stop or walk in the opposite direction when there’s pulling or tugging on the leash. On a positive note, we have mostly learned Sit, Drop, Leave It, Stay, Paw and Come which she will do sometimes – needing lots of practice!
It was Andy’s birthday recently and though we didn’t have a big celebration, he had some friends over for the day which he loved and I did a cheat cake! My version of a cheat cake was 2 x Coles mud cakes for $5.20 each, stacked, covered in frosting with crushed Oreos and topped off with Oreos and Marshmallows. Andy loved his Cookies and Cream cake and his friends did too. I even made an Instagram reel showing how easy it was and how much the cake cost me in total, which you can view HERE.
Well, I went for an interview for another Child Care Director position because the business owner was open to the idea of me working only 2 days per week as a job share position. I had not been for a job interview in more than 15 years! Choosing the right outfit was almost the hardest part! I prepared my resume, chose my outfit and made the 45-minute drive to the centre, ensuring I got myself there at least 15 minutes early.
I felt like the interview went really well and the business owner showed me around the centre and said she was impressed by my resume. She also asked me when I might be available to start. Following the interview, she actually reconsidered and told me she wanted somebody who could do the job on a full-time basis which I wasn’t prepared to do at this stage. Though I was a little disappointed at not being formally offered the position, it helped me to re-evaluate what it would have meant for me. The centre was quite a distance from my home so the daily commute would have been 2 hours in the car, and it would have meant taking on huge responsibilities once again. I was open to it for the right salary but I’m a firm believer that things happen for a reason, so at this point in time, it just wasn’t meant to be!
Teaching Brave Update
In July I published the following articles:
Single Parenting Payment: What Am I Entitled To? – It can be overwhelming trying to figure out which govt benefits you may be eligible for but there are various Centrelink payments available for single-parent families, whether you’re in severe financial hardship, or you need a basic level of family assistance. This article covers what is available to assess what you may be entitled to.
Sensory Table Ideas; 20 Activities – Sensory Play helps to develop a child’s imagination, fine motor skills, language abilities, social skills, creative thinking and so much more! There are hundreds of ideas out there for Sensory Play tables, which you can incorporate into an early learning service or at home. I have included 20 ideas here!
Public Speaking For Kids – 10 Top Tips – My son Andy won his primary school public speaking competition twice, bringing home 2 trophies which we were both so proud of. Andy and I together, listed 10 top tips to help other kids with their public speaking tasks. It’s not as hard as you might think!
Pregnancy Massage; How Is It Different And Is It Safe? – Who doesn’t love a good relaxation massage? A lot of pregnant women seek pregnancy massage to relieve tension, swelling, aches etc, but is it really safe? There are some health considerations that I have discussed here, including pressure points and positioning, as well as ensuring the correct training and qualifications of your therapist.
Jolly Phonics: What Is It, And Does It Work? – Jolly Phonics is an early literacy program, taeching the phonetic sounds of alphabet letters with numerous resources and lesson ideas. In this article I break down the Jolly Phonics program, look at the benefits and some of the resources available for educators or parents.
5 Parenting Mistakes, Making Life Harder For Your Child – This is a guest post by Halimeh from CryingToddlers.com. Halimeh discusses some of the parenting mistakes we may be making and why it’s a good idea to be aware of these and how it can affect your child.
Interrelate Sex Education For Kids; What’s Involved? – Andy and I attended the Interrelate sex education night at his school recently and though Andy didn’t want to go, saying, “I already know everything mum”, I assured him he did NOT know everything and it would be beneficial for him. He ended up learning quite a few things and really enjoyed the night! I put an article together with everything that was covered, as I know many school run these info nights for sex ed, puberty etc, by Interrelate.
Fussy Eaters; Causes And Solutions – Fussy eating can be frustrating for parents and it can turn meal times into a battle, but first it’s important to look at why your child may be picky with their food before looking at how to encourage them to try and enjoy a wider variety of nutritional foods.
ACCS – What Exactly Is Additional Child Care Subsidy? – The Australian government offers additional financial support for some families in the form of Additional child care subsidy (ACCS). You must already be eligible for Child Care Subsidy (you can read my article on CCS here), and there are additional eligibility requirements but it can cover a much higher percentage (up to 100%) of child care fees.
During July I wrote a Guest Posts for the Money and Finance Magazine about How to be Financially Free. You can read the article HERE. – I talked about the importance of having realistic GOALS, making SACRIFICES along the way, the importance of PERSONAL EDUCATION, LIVING FRUGALLY, and most importantly, SPENDING MONEY! (according to your VALUES!).
KIDS FIRST AID
Have you had a look at my Kids First Aid review?? I’m a huge advocate for having current, up-to-date First Aid knowledge as it saves lives. For those that don’t need to have an official First Aid qualification but who need to build their First Aid knowledge, this course is perfect. It’s only 2 hours, all online and delivered by paramedics. It covers the 10 most common emergencies involving children and signing up gives you lifetime access. You can read my full review of the Kids First Aid course here. If you’re interested to get started right away, you can sign up HERE. Don’t forget to use my promo code TEACHINGBRAVE for a $10 discount.
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Liz. : )
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