Free Fun Adventure – Week 9 – Weekend Away

14 03 2010

Last Wednesday my partner had to travel to Sydney for a conference for his work.  We lived in Sydney for about 6 years before moving to Brisbane in 2001, so still have some great friends and family who live in Sydney.  With my partner already in Sydney it seemed like a perfect opportunity for me to take a trip so we could spend the weekend catching up with family and friends.

First thing I did was check out the Frequent Flyer Point situation and bingo I had enough points for a return trip (FREE).

So now I need to find somewhere to stay that is either free or almost free! secondly a place to stay.  My partner is a member of Accor and each year they give members a free night’s accommodation Yay ……. nothing available anywhere near where we wanted to be …… booooooo.

So, let’s call some friends and see if we can “invite” ourselves.  Bingo (again), a friend of ours was going out of town for the weekend so we could stay at their place and use their car all weekend (FREE).

We had a fabulous time catching up with some very dear friends, in particular some friends who have a very sick little boy (6 months old), he had Downs Syndrome and some associated complications – but oh-my-gosh he is the most adorable little man you’ve ever seen – I wanted to bring him home!

Where could you go with your frequent Flyer Points, or Fly Buy Points or any reward scheme you are part of?  Could you do a house swap with a friend in another City for a weekend or perhaps a longer holiday?  What about house-sitting a friend’s home if they are going elsewhere?  Lots of creative options to get a very inexpensive holiday or just a weekend mini-break!

Adele – Green Apple Organising

www.secretbudget.net

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Free Fun Adventure – Week 8

14 03 2010

Ok, so with the continue rain here in Brisbane, we have had to investigate another in-door activity for our Fun Free Adventure this week. I guess you could say we did two things this weekend, first of all we had a movie pass, so we took ourselves off to see “The Men Who Stare at Goats”, I liked the film and it was even better because I didn’t know anything about it really, so it was full of surprises, overall I gave it a rating of 3 out of 5. If you are a George Clooney fan I think you’ll like it took, I like him better in this film than in “Up In The Air”. The second thing we did was scout around the house to see what items we could sell on eBay. I am a self-confessed eBay junkie, but for selling, not really for buying. We sell a lot of items for clients on eBay and the thrill of seeing people bid for items sure is fun – it’s even more fun when the items for sale are mine and the money comes straight to me. So we’ve listed a Mountain Bike, a Coffee machine, a gorgeous Cellini handbag and there might be some clothes go on their too later in the week. What could you sell on eBay to raise some money? Not only is it a great way of getting rid of excess clutter, but it so much fun watching the prices rise! Check out some tips at www.secretbudget.net

Adele – Green Apple Organising





Free Fun Week 7 – In House Movie Marathon

8 03 2010

A couple of weeks ago my other half celebrated his birthday and as a result received 3, yes 3 DVD’s, all his favourite releases of 2009, The Boat that Rocked, Grand Torino and Inglorious Basterds. As the weather was …. let’s say …. unpredictable this weekend in Brisbane, we decided to settle in for a movie marathon complete with home cooked popcorn. Even though we had both seen all these films before they were still great fun – if a bit scary at times! I especially love the music on The Boat that Rocks – absolutely brilliant! And of course it is never too difficult to watch Brad Pitt! Why don’t you plan a movie marathon, each member of the family pick their favourite film. What about inviting your friends over and ask them to bring their all-time-favourite flick and enjoy – who knows what your guests might bring! If any of you guys have suggestions for our Fun Free Adventures, be sure to send them in, we are game to try anything – well almost!

Have a great week.

Adele www.greenappleorganising.com.au





Free Fun Week 6 – Picnic

21 02 2010

So after being out of the house almost all of last weekend at the seminar, we decided to have a weekend adventure closer to home.  Like everyone the usual chores had to be done, and of course the lawn needed a good mow after the week’s rain.

We have been driving past the development of the Kangaroo Point Cliff Park since it commence a year or so ago, and now that it is finished we decided to take a picnic and check it out.  As luck would have it parking was a breeze on Sunday afternoon and the park itself was relatively empty.  There is loads of vantage points to view the city (will be great for New Years Eve and River Fire celebrations), and of course lots of lovely fresh lawn to relax on.  In addition there are several BBQ’s and it looks as though the cafe is almost ready to open complete with a liquor license!

We took a very basic picnic of sandwiches and drinks and found a shady spot to enjoy the surrounds and read.  As a side note; that would be one thing that I would point out,  shade at the moment is at a premium so until the trees become more established I would recommend visiting at early morning or late afternoon during the summer months.

Why don’t you find a local spot that you haven’t been to before, or not for a long time, pack a picnic, grab a book or games for the kids and get out in the fresh air and enjoy the many green spaces Brisbane has to offer, they are pretty much all free!

Have a wonderful week!

Adele Blair

www.greenappleorganising.com.au





Free Fun Week 4 – Friends for Dinner

7 02 2010

This weekend was quite a busy one, I had to do the usual chores – as we all do – such as the housework. I also do a swimming squad class on Saturday morning, then we wanted to go to a house auction and I also had some work to do.

So where was the fun? Well we had invited some friends for dinner who had just spent 5 weeks in the US over Christmas and New Years; we were keen to hear all about their trip. It’s always fun to catch up with friends however, sometimes the thought of hosting a dinner party can be (a) overwhelming and (b) expensive.

As a professional organiser I highly recommend planning for such events in advance; it goes a long way to deal with both these issues. In addition, I had to plan a healthy menu as one of my guests was in the middle of a 12 week “boot camp” programme, and I didn’t want to sabotage her efforts. I have included the two main dishes I prepared so you might be able to use them for your own events.

It is definitely possible to have fun with friends at a dinner party on a very limited budget – you could even take it one step further and invite a larger group but ask everyone to bring their “signature dish” and bring the recipe to share with the other guests – this is loads of fun too!

Vietnamese Chicken and Prawn Salad (Main)

200g Chicken Breast Fillet

12 Cooked Prawns (Peeled)

Dressing

1 long red chilli, deseeded and chopped

½ garlic clove

3 teaspoons of shaved palm sugar (I just use soft brown sugar if you don’t have palm sugar)

1 ½ tablespoons of lime juice

2 tablespoons of fish sauce 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar

Salad

100 g of finely shredded white cabbage

1small carrot, finely julienned

1 cucumber (deseeded and julienned)

1 large handful of Vietnamese mint leaves

1 handful of coriander leaves

1 long red chilli, deseeded and julienned

To Serve

2tablespoons ground roasted peanuts

2 tablespoons friend shallots’

4 lime wedges

Method

Steam the chicken, allow to cool and shred or finely slice

To make the dressing, combine all ingredients and work together with a mortar and pestle or simply add to a food processor and blend.

To make the salad, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and toss together, add the sliced chicken and prawns, drizzle with dressing and then gently toss together.

To serve, divide the salad among four plats and sprinkle with the peanuts and fried shallots and serve with a lime wedge.

This is about $5.00 per serve! And oh so delicious

Fruit Salad and Moroccan Dressing (Dessert)

Seasonal colourful fruit, can be anything!

Grapes

Rockmelon

Blueberries

Banana

Pear

Passionfruit

Orange

Mandarin

Dressing

1 cup water

1 cinnamon stick

2 teaspoons of Orange Blossom Water

3 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons lemon juice

10 mint leaves

Method

Combine all dressing ingredients (except the mint leaves) in a saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes and allow to cool and place in the fridge for about an hour Cut all the fruit in to chunks or slices, and then gently toss with dressing. Top with mint leaves and serve. I also served with a dollop of cream.

This is about $5.00 per serve which includes the Orange Blossom Water which is about $7 a bottle but lasts for ages!

Adele Blair- Green Apple Organising





Free Fun Week 3 – Games Night

1 02 2010

After last weeks road trip, I thought I might stay closer to home this week – it was a bit tricky planning ahead this week as the weather was either going to be boiling hot or a complete wash out – as it turned out it was a combination of both.

So what did we do this weekend?  We went “old school” and played a board game!  My mother had sent us a game of Rummy-O for Christmas and we hadn’t even taken the wrapping off!  The game is similar to the card game but you use tiles like dominos – it was loads of fun as we tried to decipher the rules and eventually made up some of our own.

We played for hours whilst watching the cricket!

So it’s a short and sweet one, but the bottom line is get together and play an interactive game with the other members of your family whether it’s on a Wii where you all get a turn or a good old game of cards.  Take time to connect with your family and playing games is both free and fun! Have a fabulous week! – Adele Blair





The Most Important Discussion after the Most Important Decision

14 07 2009

The most important discussionEngaged couples spend a lot of time thinking about merging physical assets, points of view, and expectations for the future, but many omit the all-important discussion on how money will be handled within the marriage. The number one issue couples fight about is money, so being on the same page from the beginning can avoid a lot of conflict later on.

In a perfect world, couples would agree on things like how credit cards will be used, what sort of savings and investment plans should be in place, and how to stick to a budget, but in reality, that rarely happens. But with a straightforward conversation before the joint account is opened, five major mistakes can be avoided.

Mistake #1: Mismatched financial goals

It isn’t romantic, and may seem untimely, but it is never too early to talk about long-term financial goals. Couples should have an idea of when they would like to retire and what it will take to meet this goal. This includes when and how much they are going to contribute to superannuation and retirement funds, disability insurance, wills, and other joint assets. Both partners should have a clear understanding of the assets and who holds them, understand where the documentation is kept, and be clear on how they will be handled in the future.

Mistake #2: Overspending

Going from one household and no accountability for how money is spent to a joint household with a lot of accountability can be difficult. Different values, priorities, and spending habits make overspending highly likely a meeting of the minds when it comes to spending. Couples should decide on a spending limit that, if approached, requires a discussion. For example, if one partner wants to buy new golf clubs for $500 but they agreed to a spending limit of $300, a discussion would be needed before the clubs were purchased.

Mistake #3: Skipping the rainy-day fund

Bathrooms flood, people get sick, jobs get lost, and acts of God happen. Households living pay to pay have little recourse aside from credit when the unexpected occurs. Couples should agree in the beginning of their marriage to build up a rainy-day fund above and beyond their retirement accounts that is equal to at least three months’ salary. This money should be kept in a safe and liquid form (ie.., no real estate, or heavy penalties for accessing it) and should be used ONLY in case of emergency. Couples should agree on the use of this money before any of it is used.

Mistake #4: Pretending the budget doesn’t exist

All couples should have a budget and stick to it. When most people think of budgeting, the word tedious comes to their minds, but budgeting can be liberating. Setting boundaries about money fosters communication between partners, keeps partners focused on both long and short term financial goals, and can even spark creativity by forcing couples to come up with very inexpensive or even free entertainment when the budget shows that there is no more money at the end of the month. Couples should set aside time every month to take a look at the budget and designate one partner as the keeper of the spreadsheet.

Mistake #5: Living beyond your means

Even when couples have the same spending habits, use credit the same way, and have no disagreements about long-term financial goals, they can still live well beyond their means. The past year has taught us a lot about the dangers of taking on more debt than can be handled. Couples should make living below their means a way of life.

The money discussion is the most important discussion an engaged couple can have. Making sure they communicate well about something that most people take very seriously will hopefully set the tone for a long and happy life together.

www.secretbudget.net