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, February 24, 2012

This and That

Hi Everyone,

I haven't blogged as profusely as I tweak my new lifestyle with my finishing work at 2:00 pm instead of 4:51pm.

I find due to bicycling 30 minutes in the morning, then 30 minutes again in the afternoon and a 20 minute walk home from Dolly's school has made me hot and tired. I have needed 8 hours sleep a night, meaning blogging has been cut, cut and cut. As my fitness and stamina increases I hope to get back to a little less sleep to squeeze everything in I want to do each day. I need to eliminate clutter and be highly organised. It's a work in progress which I am currently trying to develop in myself.

Dolly turned 5 today. So I took a Recreational Day from work and spent the day in her class helping, participating and observing. It was interesting and I was able to put faces and personalities to names Dolly always mentions. It was lovely to see my daughter is very popular with kids competing to hold her hand. However... It was also frustrating to see she is a chatter box, like her mama with teachers reminding her to shush... often.

I put Dolly in a pretty dress and cardi (thrifted of course) for her special day. (Turning 5 is only once in your life you know!) However the school asked me to change her into a school uniform. I was taken aback. I asked Dolly if she would like to leave school for the day but she wanted to stay so I did as I was asked. Compulsory uniform wearing is newish to our state and I understand the theory behind it all but I don't back it.

I would like to remind my readers I am a French Australian and my culture is thus mix in this large multicultural country. Plus I'm pretty left leaning in many of my views. In France uniforms are not in public schools as many French are anti uniform. My views are in norm with this and I have strong feelings that it takes away identity, creativity and individualism of people. There is no proof that in puts children on equal footing and quite frankly schools sell them for such a high amount it's cheaper to buy clothes elsewhere. I hate that schools try to make children the same and become a commodity of the school by the uniform being an identitfyer. And if schools want to uniform kids why don't they uniform staff too? I'm sure uniforms is a topic that many of you will have an opinion to share and I look forward to reading your comments.

Anyway.. I had planned to blog just to show you quickly the cupcakes (from a packet mix) and the mice (from white fondant) that Dolly and I made for her classmates, teacher and teacher assistant. Dolly is becoming multi skilled as I teach myself many "know hows" and she shares the journey with me.

Dolly Hard at Work. Originally we were making Roses - but they were too complicated, so we made mice :-)

We made 24 of these Mice Cupcakes!

One last thing... I don't mean to offend any teachers (as the majority of my friends are teachers) regarding the uniform. I think you all do a hard job :-) that takes many hours from your own free time for little monetary reward. To me the uniform issue is on a social institution level.


  1. I agree with you on the uniform issue - I'm an eternal non-conformist and supporter of creativity and the personal expression of identity. How strange that I was married to an army officer who had a love of uniforms! (Well, it didn't last...)

  2. I do understand and respect your stance on school uniforms even though I am a teacher. Not all schools have uniforms in the US. One thing uniforms does in inner-city schools is to make gang symbols less of a factor at school.

    Can you not send her to a school that does not have uniforms?

    If they wear uniforms at school, why did you put her in something else? I mean you defied school policy, as it were. To me that would be like you deciding she should arrive late without some sort of reprimand.

    The French don't like uniforms? Actually, Americans don't much either. But, one idea is to take away individualism so they can work together and not compete over whose clothes are the most stylish.

    I would never work at a job where a uniform was required. But, if I did, I would never just decide not to wear one. Other people look great in military uniforms, but that is not for me.

    Those mice are just about the cutest things I have ever seen. Did the children oooh and aaaah?

    My friend sent her children to a church-run school where they had a day set aside where parents came and had their uniforms for sale, saving lots on the costs. Does you school have this? If not, maybe you could just find parents willing to sell to you or suggest to the school that a sale of used uniforms would be a nice event. Of course, they will, just your luck, ask you to organize it.

    Mu niece hated her uniform she wore to Catholic School and would change clothes in the car on the way home. She had more clothes for the weekend than she did for school.

    I don't think uniform-wearing stifles creativity anymore than the dance classes all wearing the same costume to dance for practice or on stage. Maybe that is not a good example...lol.

    My daughter had cheerleading uniform, dance costume, Girl Scout uniform, swim team swimsuit, baseball uniform and other team uniforms. She is a soprano coloratura, an artist, loves karaoke, and makes sure her son and daughter had and have all sorts of art supplie. She was not about to be stifled! Oh, and in high school all the girls wore identical dresses for thier choir performances.

    Probably Dolly's mother and teachers foster creativity that nullifies your fears of stifling. Dolly will emulate you.

  3. Ms Dig, You and I are similar.

    Practical Parsimony, All the public schools and private schools have uniform here. Yes I broke the rules because it was her birthday and wanted to make the day special all day. But I'm also a rule breaker. If we obey all rules then the world wont advance and I don't believe in all the rules in my society and break them when I have courage. I certainly don't believe in the rules of uniforms in schools creating little soldiers. I have 4 sets of uniforms (2 were thrifted) to prevent clean uniform stress so I have no problem in that area. I just hate sameness, I hate the rule that does not give people a say and I love people who dare to use clothes as a creative outlet.

  4. Didn't realise you were French - bonjour!

    In the UK both state-funded and private schools (called public schools in England and Wales, meaning that all the public can go to them if they can afford it, rather than only certain religions or whatever) have uniforms. I always wondered why American kids on TV didn't!

    I agree that it does make you something of a commodity for the school. We were always reminded that people who see us after school in our uniforms will know where we go to school and our behaviour will reflect on them!

    Certain sixth forms and colleges (not University, but 16-18 year old education, which is non-compulsory) have uniforms too, however most don't. I think this is good, because you are then an adult and more free to make your own decisions.

    I don't think that wearing a uniform stifles creativity. Like PP said, you are very creative at home with Dolly and it definitely won't be an issue for her!

    As for the price of uniforms, it is ridiculous! When I got to sixth form, the majority of people wore scabby old jeans and t-shirts, so I think uniforms are actually disadvantageous to poorer families!

    Love the mouse cakes!

  5. I liked the fact that my girls wore a uniform to school - it certainly didn't stifle their personalities or creativity, but it did stop all the angst about 'What shall I wear today' and all the competition about who had the best clothes. Their charity ' non-uniform days' were bad enough - girls can be incredibly bitchy about what one another are wearing.

  6. I have to say i like my kids wearing uniforms. If they didnt have them it would cost a fortune, especially having a teenager! At my daughters school the teachers all wear a uniform shirt and just have different bottoms. But in NSW basically every school has uniform and has for at least 40 years. I dont think wearing a uniform has any bearing on a persons individuality or creativity.

    Hats off to you making those gorgeous mice! I bet Dolly had an awesome birthday!! My girl has already started mentioning next bday and thats 10 months away!!!

  7. Oh,............I teach 5 year olds. The children are very proud of their UNIFORMS. They even wear ties!

    I bet you would hate it! LOL!

    But I don't see this as something to get stressed out about as even in their uniforms their individual personalities SHINE THROUGH!

    I would have asked Dolly to change too, and you would have been black marked as a naughty rebel Mum! Ha, ha!

    School uniforms are very expensive, I do see your point there.

    But on a serious note, the children's well being is my biggest concern and on a school trips a child is far safer and QUICKER to locate if in a type of uniform. It is essential.

    Sft x

  8. FDU,
    I am a rule-breaker, always. But, I never broke rules that would have consequences for my children. I think that the rule for uniforms everywhere in AU and the non-rules for uniforms in the US make the difference in our attitudes. Neither attitude (tolerance)is wrong or right.

    I never said to obey all rules. I was just perplexed at this rule, so hard and fast, that you flouted.

    It's a fine line to walk when teaching children to break rules. I have done it myself--taught my children to break rules.

    It seems the uniform rule is one of the non-negotiable rules. I would have broken another where the line was not so sharp, less defined. And, I have lots of courage when it comes to breaking all the rules I can.

    Clothes were always a creative outlet for me and my daughters. But, there are boundaries we all must stay inside to be socially acceptable. That is why there are so many dress codes in schools here in the US--some people think they need to be creative with clothing. They are the ones who wear skirts too short, holes in the seats of pants, strapless blouses to school, black lipstick (boys and girls),gang colors, etc. So, every school here has a long list of strange rules. Most students are not affected by the rules.

    I would have railed against uniforms for my children. We would have moved to another city. So, I am definitely opposed to uniforms.But, I don't think of them as future soldiers. Maybe the difference is that I had choices and you do not.

    What is the AU reasoning for uniforms in all public schools?

  9. interesting post.
    Happy Birthday DollY! I shouted because I live a long way from you, love the mouse cupcakes much nicer than roses :).

  10. happy birthday to your gorgeous little girl!!

  11. The school uniform thing is great. I completely support it. Here in the Northern Territory it is really well publicised and all parents are fully informed of the school policies on this matter. Your school principal did the correct thing in asking you to change your daughter's clothes and you did the correct thing in helping Dolly to comply with the request without any fuss. Why uniforms? To fight against bullying. This is a huge issue in modern schools and some children have been terribly victimised because of brands and styles of clothing worn to school.

  12. How clever! I love seeing what you creative little girl is up to. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Hi there

    I have no probs with uniforms in schools( or not!)I am a high school teacher and would be happy to wear a uniform if necessary. The point I make to my classes about uniforms is not really about uniforms. Uniforms = Conformity. I think we all need to be able to conform when we need to in life. I dont mean we SHOULD,just that we need that skill.And acceptance, accepting some things and not trying to change everything.
    Kids individualities will shine, uniform or not.
    Both my boys attended private schools and they were VERY strict about uniform. Didnt worry me, didnt worry them ( except in QLD summers!). The eldest is the most individual person I know, not because he tries to be, but that is just his nature. He now looks like a hippie with hair down his back and many idiosyncracies.School didnt stifle who he is or how he turned out ( except in a good way).
    The younger one is an upholder of rules and loves it! He loves his uniform and really enjoys doing the right thing.He wants to be a cop and will flourish in that strict environment.
    Dont worry about Dolly, she will thrive for having parents who are as individual as you are and not those who follow trends for the sake of it.
    In the classroom, I dont see my students as soldiers just because they are wearing a uniform, their personalities shout out, loud and clear.

    And as I get older, I see so much more worth getting upset about. Wear the uniform, dont stress and eat more mice cakes!!
    XX Mimi

  14. I'm a little surprised that you were 'taken aback' at having to change Dolly's clothes. Just because you like to break rules, doesn't mean that you're expecting tolerance or reward in doing so surely?

    I'm not intending this as an insult - I enjoy your blogs (and am glad this didn't spoil Dolly's day). Just not sure what you expected to happen.


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