Saturday, 27 March 2010

More Home Reno

So far, we've replaced the cooktop, fridge, microwave, and now the flooring in the kitchen. In about 5 years or so, we'll gut the lot. So glad to be rid of the 70s carpet! If anyone needs a recommendation for a flooring (vinyl/carpet) installer, let me know as I'm more than happy to recommend the fella that did ours. He did a great job and was reasonably priced; will be having him back eventually to do carpeting.

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Grocery Shopping in Oz

One thing Steve and I almost always do together is the grocery shopping. It's more fun, it shares the responsibility, and we tend to save money when Steve's along;) Note above the Aussie tendency to shorten all words, and the legal issues regarding stating where your dollar is going.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Election Woes in SA

Tomorrow is election day. Yes, on a Saturday, millions of South Australians will be forced to take part in compulsory voting on the weekend, in order to elect a new Premier, among others. They'll muddle through a preferential voting system, ranking their preferred candidates according to who they would least mind winning. Upon questioning my husband as to who he is voting for, at least who will receive his 'top' vote, he told me definitely not candidate A. That seems to be the consensus from all the Aussies I've spoken to. They don't like anyone for Premier, but there is one they dislike over all others. So, on my first proper election day in Oz, my understanding of preferential voting is that Aussies vote by ranking the candidates according to who they dislike the least being on top. (It doesn't really sound that much different to home does it?)

Sunday, 7 March 2010

The Adelaide Festival(s)

Adelaide is known as the Festival State. At no time is this more apparent than in February/March, when the Fringe Festival, Adelaide Festival, and Womad are on. We went to a play last night as part of the Adelaide Festival, than wandered down to the riverfront, to see the Northern Lights and stop off at the Artists' Bar.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

The Most Expensive Pairs of Shoes I've ever Bought - or Why American Healthcare is Better than Australian

I estimate that these shoes will end up costing me approximately $6,000. As of next Wednesday, I'll be around $3,000 out of pocket for dental work, with another $3,000 or so to follow over the next 2 years. Hopefully, that will be the end of it although I'm guessing that there'll be some (not cheap) cosmetic maintenance for the rest of my life. That big smile you see in this pic doesn't exist any more. For the second time, I'll have braces, although this time around, I'm opting for the clear ones. After that, I get a cap on one of my teeth. My goal is to be able to eat ribs again some day, but eating crusty bread without pain would be a good start.

Lesson - don't wear girly shoes, and if you do, don't fall off the porch in them and land on your face!

By the way, I bought those shoes for $25 (down from $90) at the Nordstrom Rack store about 10 years ago and have only worn them a handful of times. They weren't a bargain in the end. The second part of the title - if I had American dental care, it would have covered ... every... last... cent!

Monday, 1 March 2010

What we Do Differently, Part 1

Quite often, people back home tell me they couldn't do what I've done, that the change would be too much for them to handle. I've deleted the link, but I found a post on another expat blog describing what that expat does differently, now that she's moved countries. Here are a few things that have changed for me.

1. I drive a cosmetically challenged, '93 Toyota Camry wagon. Since buying it for $1500 a little over a year ago, I've replaced tires, the battery, starter motor, and various other inexpensive bits and bobs. It runs fine, but it's definitely my first 'bomb'. In '93, when I was 17, my first car was my mom's old '87 Camry wagon with all the bells and whistles - electronic readout on the dash, seatbelts that put themselves into place when you shut the door and turned on the car, sun roof, and power windows (none of which I have on my current car). When my mom bought a new Saturn in '97, I talked her into giving it to me (I was a VERY spoiled 'child').

2. I never had any savings to speak of when I lived in the US, and I always bought what I wanted when I wanted it. Now, I put a 1/3 of each paycheck into savings as soon as I get it. I split that savings into 5 equal amounts, for specific things I'm saving for (for example, flights home, a container to ship my US furniture and belongings to Oz eventually, a car fund so I can replace my 'bomb' with something a bit nicer...) If I was still living in the US, I wouldn't need to save for these things. Another 1/3 of my paycheck goes directly to mortgage and house repairs, and I pinch my pennies to live off the remaining 1/3 until the next payday. I have no debt, don't have a credit card to my name in Oz, and don't buy anything until I have the money for it. There are few luxuries, and I don't feel the need for them to be honest. I buy clothes when I go home for visits since it's cheaper, and occasionally treat myself to a pedicure and meals out with friends.

3. I do at least 2 different grocery shops each time I go. For general groceries, and sometime meat, I go to the supermarket, although quite often we make a separate trip to the butcher for meat. For veggies, I either go to the veg shop in the mall, or more likely, to Central Market. Veg is much cheaper, and heaps fresher, there.

More to come as I think of them. In the meantime, to those of you who say you couldn't do this, I say you don't know until you've tried.