Our Frugal Lifestyle

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Passionate about eco-frugality. I used to party hard, clubbing my way from pay-packet to pay-packet. Never getting ahead, just getting by. Then came our much wanted baby with no savings in the bank - only an old car. Changes were made to our lifestyle and we didn't turn back. In the past 6yrs we purchased a flat, found employment, lived below our means, built an emergency fund, purchased a reliable car and saw the financial benefits of our frugal lifestyle. Our only debt is our mortgage. Our aim is to manage our cash flow wisely, pay off our home quickly and eventually work for pleasure, not necessity. Join us on our journey, share insights, tips and tricks to help us and others to get ahead while having a good time.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Bartering Domestic Help.

Hello Hard Workers,

Every once in a while we take in Helpx travellers to give us a hand in exchange for a place to sleep and a evening meal. We don't do it all the time only when we are in the mood or someone is in desperate need as our flat is cramped.

We live in a small touristy city. The gateway to Asia, so there is a lot of coming and going. A dorm bed in a noisy backpackers is $26.50 a night which is very pricey for people trying to travel on a super tight budget. Knowing this we joined Helpx and have travellers of all ages stay with us for 3 to 7 days. They don't have to fork out $$$ for their accommodation and we don't have to fork out $$$ for domestic help - plus we get to meet some extremely interesting people!

However we are also careful; we check references, we never leave anyone in our home when we go out, we don't give out keys, we don't have valuables and our daughter always sleeps in our room (her bed is next to ours), so she is NEVER EVER alone with strangers. Our profile also states clearly what we want and don't want.

In the past 2 years we have had about 100 Helpx and Couchsurfers stay with us. We have barely had problems. A few broken dishes and a couple of sponging slackers but they are in the 3% minority. We have the luxury to pick and choose our guest/helper carefully as we receive numerous requests each week.

We try to never exploit people,we ask for a maximum of 3 hours help in the late afternoon and they have the day free to visit our city. We try to make their stay as comfortable as possible. We see it as an exchange and aim the exchange to be equal benefit to both us and the guest.

Earlier this week we had lovely young man from Hong Kong. A uni graduate who has spent 6 months in Melbourne working and is now ready to do some tourism before heading home again to his family, girlfriend and his chosen career path.

Our "guest" on the fold out couch/bed.
We loved having this particular Helpx. He was calm, respectful and a great helper! He watered the garden, helped with dinner preparation and played with Dolly. And while I went to bed unusually super early with Dolly, he washed the dishes, cleaned the kitchen floor and hang out the laundry without being asked. In the morning I woke up to everything looking sparkly clean and it was a great start to another crazy hectic day.

The Rambling Expat and I both work full time and Dolly is super energetic, so this gives us time to give our daughter quality attention after busy work days.

Would you take in a travelling helper too?

Stephanie @ Frugal Down Under.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Frugal Down Under...

    I am from Padang, West Sumatra, Indonesia and a mother like you are. Your story remind me of mine. Domestic Help? Ehmmm... it is so tempting for a full-time mother like me. But I choose not to, since I had bad experience. She was like a family to us, we never exploit her. She got a good salary, meal and room, also regular some days off.. but she gave my son unhealthy food so he could quite and did not bother her with her boyfriend when she took him at the play ground. I saw this with my own eyes! So, from now on, I take my children by myself. Btw, this is my blog:


    Hope you can enjoy my blog as much as I enjoy yours.




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