Where is the year going?
The busier I get the faster it seems to go. And it’s not about to slow down any time soon. I don’t think I have a free weekend until October.

Last weekend B and I traveled to cairns for a quick getaway to celebrate five years together. It was quite exciting as we’ve never been to cairns. I got to go to the virgin lounge with B as he has a membership which was definitely fun. In Cairns we went on the Skyrail to Kuranda then caught the train back.

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The views were absolutely beautiful and worth the anxiety the Skyrail trip gave me. I don’t deal well with heights.
Even the views from the airport were pretty.
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While I’m not the biggest fan of flying I must say I do enjoy the view of the land and the clouds from above. The lovely view of the coast and the beautiful patterns the hills form in the land below.
Onto this weeks recipe.
This is one of my favourite slice recipes. It’s very easy and tasty to boot. Best of all I tend to have the ingredients on hand.

Ginger Crunch Slice

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Base:

114g Margarine

57g Sugar

1tsp Ground Ginger

1 -1 1/4cups SR Flour
Topping:

2 Tbs Margarine

1 tsp Ground Ginger

1 Tbs Golden Syrup

1 cup Icing Sugar
Oven:

180C-200C
How To:

For the base combine margarine sugar and ginger. Mix in flour until it just forms a dough. Press into the base of a square baking tin.

Bake for 15-20 mins or until lightly brown.
In a small saucepan combine all topping ingredients. Stir over a gentle heat until smooth then allow to just boil.

Pour over hot base.
Cut while warm then cool before serving.
I hope you enjoy this slice as much as I do. If you give it a go send me a picture on Facebook or Instagram @thegammiecreative.
Lil

Budgeting – Its not as fun as Fivesies but its certainly an important life skill.

Wether you have a big savings goal or your just trying to make it from one week to the next there are certainty many times in life when you’ll need to create and stick to a budget.  This can sometimes be tough but hopefully some  of these tips will help you.

Know what you have to work with.

Fist things first, Know what you have to work with. Write down all your usual income sources and their frequency and amount. This may be just the one income from your job or you may have other income sources as well like government payments, regular casual jobs (like babysitting), ad revenue (if your lucky enough to have enough internet traffic for something you create to collect that). If your income is not always a regular amount try to average it across a month or two to get a regular weekly/fortnightly amount.

Prioritise

Possibly the toughest part,  get your priorities straight. What’s you’re big goal, what can you drop if it just doesn’t fit, what payments must be made in a certain time frame/frequency.

To start this I would suggest listing what you spend your money on. Either in detail or some slightly boarder categories. Whatever works for you. Just remember you want a good idea of where your money goes (or will go if you only just got an income).

From there rank them in order of priority to be paid. In general things like bills and other general living expenses should be at the top and fun and non essential items should be at the bottom.  Depending on your savings goals it may be at the top or somewhere in the middle.

Break it down

Break all your bills and general spending down by pay period. If you get paid weekly put money towards each category/item weekly. If you get paid fortnightly put aside the money fortnightly.

Always work on a pay period basis. This will especially help if you don’t have a steady income. If you’re paid different amounts each week, work out your weekly wage by averaging a month or two of your last pay cheques. On weeks where you earn more than the average put what’s left to the side to boost your pay to the average amount on weeks when you are paid less. If you then put money aside each week towards your bills and other fixed expenses then you won’t  be caught short if they happen to be due in low income weeks. It also means you aren’t reducing your saving or spending amounts on weeks you have bills due.

Get Organised

Create a spreadsheet, start a log in a notebook, find an app that works for you. Write down your plan somewhere you can refer back to it and adjust where necessary.

Personally I have a few different methods for a few different aspects of my budget.

I have a spread sheet that details the break down of my budget and generally how I came to decide on those figures. Its easily editable when things change and helps me remember why I set the figures the way I did.

I keep track of monthly payments and bills in a monthly calendar. I mark down what days payments come out of my accounts and what bills I need to initiate the payments for.

I have in the past tried a few apps and while I haven’t found one that works for me yet it doesn’t mean that one won’t work for you. In this mobile day and age there are many different apps out there which will help in many different aspects of budgeting.

Separate

Once you have worked out what you spend your money on put it into categories then separate that money out. Whether you do that by setting up multiple accounts or withdraw the money and stick it in envelopes or use an app to digitally keep track of what money you have just make sure it’s always very clear how much is there for you to spend and how much is already tucked away for something else.

Be Flexible

Build in safety nets where possible inflate your expected bill amounts especially for fluctuating amounts.

Most importantly, budget yourself some spending money.  It doesn’t have to be a lot but in my experience the best way to stick to a budget is to have some freedom in spending your money. If you budget in some spending money you know you will have some money to spend on you or someone else guilt free each week.

Review

Give a go for a few pays then review it. Look at what’s working for you. Look at what’s not working. Add in the things you forgot about at first. Adjust your buffer amounts if needed.  Then keep reviewing it as regularly as needed. I usually review my budget every couple of months or whenever I feel like my spending is getting out of hand.

If you’re constantly having to move money between categories to make up the differences it’s time to review it. If you regularly find yourself with excess money at the end of your pay review your budget, work out where else it could be used.

Even if it’s all going well you should still review it a few times a year if only to make sure it’s all still relevant.

So that’s my tips for basic life budgeting.  If you have any questions please comment and I’ll do my best to answer them.

The next life skill we’ll be tackling in a couple of weeks is washing.

Lil