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.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Perks of Volunteering

Hi Everyone hope you are well and enjoying life. My grouch has gotten off my back and I'm happy go lucky again :-)

I have done a great deal of volunteer work in the past 15 years before Dolly came into my world. Here are some of the things I have done:

  • London for 8 weeks, to help build a community house with hammer and nails. 
  • 4 weeks (against my families wishes) in a refugee camp for traumatised children in ex-Yugoslavia towards the end of the war.
  • In Melbourne with Asylum Seekers and Refugees for a couple of years in a food bank and legal team assistant and researcher.
  • In Australia for an AIDS council, early nineties handing out condoms at concerts/nightclubs and counselling on the phones.
  • Sorting clothes for the Red Cross during flooding.
  • Helping with activities during a Mental Health Week Event.
  • Working in a needle exchange for roughly a year every second Saturday handing out syringes to substance users and condoms to sex workers.
  • A few months filling in for a volunteer at a Red Cross book trolley in a hospital handing out books and magazines for people to read and lending an ear.
  • "Friend" to a young woman with various disabilities who no one wanted to work with due to a past extremely violent act and constant stream of "offensive" swear words.
  • Various sausage sizzles for different fundraising events.
  • Helped the UN feed refugees fleeing East Timor in Darwin's Tent City (I was able to also track down a friends missing family by showing everyone 2 photos I had of her family. Found out they were taking refuge on another Indonesian island and got a phone number for her! Great personal moment making the call to her with the news!)
  • Helped a toy library stock-take all their toys for a couple of days. Mind numbing.
As you can see from the sample of jobs I'm a Jack of All Trades but mainly with a human rights theme, left leaning and pretty open to peoples choice of lifestyle.

With my hectic eco-frugal family life I feel I don't have time to regularly volunteer anymore. And if I do volunteer it must not put me out of pocket or drain me emotionally, as I need all I have for my family, which has definitely not been the case in the past.

Last week I did a 3 hour volunteer stint at the Darwin Show for the department I work for. No heartbreaks there. In exchange I received a Polo Shirt ($40) which I can wear as a uniform to work and get a tax break of .50 cents every time I wash it. I also received a ticket to the show which saved my family one $17 entry fee.
Total yearly value: $40 shirt + $17 ticket + $69 washing = $126, not too shabby :-)

Tonight my partner The Rambling Expat is volunteering. He is sleeping in a hammock on the Endeavour Replica from the Australian National Maritime Museum, which is visiting Darwin for 10 days. In his 12.5 hours on board he also has to complete a 2 hour stint of guarding the ships decks during the night. In exchange he gets an amazing experience that others pay $250 to $500 a night to have AND he receives a free family pass for 2 adults and 4 children $38! Now that is cool... And it was so easy. All he had to do was apply, be enthusiastic, have a clear police check and attend a 3 hour training with free lunch.
Total value: $125 twelve hours experience on the ship + $38 family pass + $15 lunch = $178, very nice deal indeed.

Arrived in Port a few hours earlier, Sails Down.

The Rambling Expat Off to Experience Boat Living 200 yrs ago.
So our volunteer work may be more "selfish" now. But we are still helping out in some way and enjoying the perks in exchange. Once Dolly is older, I will go back to doing volunteer work on social issues that are important to me. At the moment I will do mostly one off volunteer jobs that give me a perk as a dollar saved has more value then a dollar earned.

Here's another Blogger who volunteers for enjoyment and perks.

Do you do any volunteer work for the good of humanity/community or for any perks to keep you life financially balanced? Love to hear what you have to say.

1 comment:

  1. You are doing okay with Dolly by being with her. I know people, well-educated and well-meaning, who are not around when the child needs to talk or just be with the mother. Then, these people, principal and minister's wife, are horrified their child is in trouble. Each woman has expressed the overwhelming number of hours spent doing what they loved best to do. Both said they were never home, and that the child was just an appendage to everything in their lives....hmmm. Maybe the kid just needed a mother (or father). It is great to be able to take your child to work, but it seems all this overwhelmed the two specific children. Yes, I think mothers have every right to work. They just needed balance. They both had husbands who could support the family, so they were not mothers struggling. I think it is great that you volunteer with perks. Why not? Please do not take anything I have said as against mothers who have well-paid husbands also working. Both these husbands were not able to take a child to their work. I know of other children who just need a bit more time with a parent. Even teens have this need whether they fight against it or not. Your volunteer work is actually good for your child. It helps you rear a child who is socially conscious. Sorry to be so preachy.


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