Financially Independent, Retired Early(ish) at 57.

Wednesday W’s #52

What’s top of my mind: How much money I spent last year.

For some reason, I didn’t keep up with my annual expenses chart last year. The end of August was the last time I’d looked at it, and then of course, once I realised this, I couldn’t face the arduous task of totting up months of figures.

Until I had a couple of periods off at work. I had no marking and I’d prepared all my classes, so I grabbed my iPad, pulled up the calculator app, and got to work.

In the end, it only took a little over an hour. My ‘no-spend’ chart made short work of it – everything was there. I already knew it’d be a spendy total… Antarctica, even with the absolute bargain I got with the cruise, isn’t a cheap destination, while giving 15K away to help a son get into the housing market is always going to hurt the bottom line.

So yeah, I was prepared for the total. Let’s hope that no other children want to buy a house this year! I’ve already paid for much of my England/Ireland trip, but all of that will be covered by the work I’m doing now, so with a bit of luck, my number crunching in January 2024 will leave me with a smile on my face.

We can only hope…

Where I’ve been: to my pumpkin vines.

I had no success for years at the old house when I tried to grow pumpkins. It was infuriating because everyone who grows veggies crow about how easy they are to grow. However, once I started putting pumpkin seedlings underneath the fruit trees in my front yard orchard, it was a game-changer.

This year I’ve planted Bunnings butternut pumpkin seedlings and they’ve taken off. I can’t see beneath the leaves on the seedlings that are towards the back, but I’ve spied 5 or 6 plump pumpkins happily growing.

I love pumpkins. I’m looking forward to the harvest.

Where I’m going: a kitchen tea.

Izzy is having a kitchen tea before the wedding. I’ll be picking up Mum and driving to Izzy’s place on Sunday, presumably to drink tea and eat dainty foodstuffs like a lady.

What I’m reading: A Sliver of Darkness by C.J. Tudor.

Normally I search for books from the library and put them on hold, but this was one I selected when I was quickly browsing the shelves. She’s described as “Britain’s Stephen King’ so I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s like. So far, I’ve just read the introduction.

What I’m watching: Anh’s Brush with Fame.

I’ve caught the odd episode of this over the years, but when I was looking for a feel-good show to watch, I saw this on Stan and decided to give it a go. I’m absolutely loving it.

My Mum is an artist and I have inherited none of her talent. To see the way Anh is able to produce such incredibly lifelike portraits in such a small amount of time, while he interviews his subjects is incredible.

Stan has series 2 and 3. Imagine my joy when I pulled up this link for you when I saw that ABC iView has 6 series of it! Writing this blog just keeps on giving.

What I’m listening to: The Familiars by Stacey Halls.

I finished the audiobook I was listening to last week, ‘Mrs England’, and thought I’d listen to another novel by the same author. This one is about the Lancashire witch trials. I know nothing about them, so I thought I’d give it a go.

What I’m eating: Plums from my tree.

I’m still bringing satsuma/blood plums into work to eat at morning recess. 3/day. Yum!

What I’m planning: Nothing.

There’s nothing much on the horizon at the moment. That’s ok.

Who needs a good slap: Netflix.

Ever since I moved to The Best House in Melbourne, I’ve been paying the top tier for Netflix subscriptions. It’s now $23/month for 5 screens. This allows myself and my 4 sons to all have access to it.

Now that Netflix is rumoured to be cutting off memberships who don’t log into their account from their home screen address once a month, this may change.

There’s no way the boys will pay for Netflix memberships of their own. And there’s no way, if this comes in, that I’ll continue to keep paying for screens I won’t use. I think Netflix will find out that they’ll lose a great deal of money with this decision. I’m sure there are many families and groups of friends just like us.

What has made me smile: The kids’ reactions to today’s Dad joke.

They love it. See below:

Dad joke of the day:

If I have twin girls, I’m going to call the first one Kate.

I’ll call the other one DupliKate.


  1. sandyg61

    Well done on totalling your year. I’m with you on the Netflix “shoot themselves in the foot”. Like you we share we our son and his partner and they use our Foxtel. We pay for the number of subs so why not let us continue to use them. We also have a caravan for travel and there will be no way we can log on to the home internet from outback Australia.

    • FrogdancerJones

      Yes, nomads and families are going to be the ones who’ll either downgrade or quit it altogether. It’s not as if they’re the only streaming service in town!

  2. Onevikinggirl

    You so speak my language. Spend when it’s worth it (‘valuist’) and not when it isn’t (‘frugalist’). When I wonder if a purchase is ‘worth’ it, I leave it in-purchased. Most of the time I don’t even make it out the shop before ‘the want’ disappear.

    • FrogdancerJones

      My son (Evan26) is coming to Amsterdam in July. I’ve told him, whatever else he does, to go to the Anne Frank house. That was one of the most emotional things I’ve done in my life.
      Speaking of Viking girls… I’ teaching year 8 history. Just finished a set of lessons on the Vikings. 🙂

      • Onevikinggirl

        Cool, but the Franks lived on Merwedeplein after they came from Germany in ‘33 so I’d visit there as a celebration of life instead of a staircase and a bookcase. Unpopular opinion probably. There is also the new Holocaust memorial wall next to the Jewish museum and the Portuguese synagogue museum and the many many other memorials and celebrations of Jewish identity instead. And remember Baruch Spinoza too! Let me know if he wants more ideas and if you’re coming too, let’s meet up!
        Tell your students Vikings (used to) graffiti everywhere and loved writing their name on everything! Runes are really useful as tags.

        • FrogdancerJones

          I absolutely loved the Frank house. I nearly lost it a couple of times, and I remember telling myself as I stood in the kitchen, chin quivering and tears about to fall, “Don’t cry in front of half of Amsterdam!!!”
          I’m not coming with him – imagine his horror if I suggested it? LOL – but I’ll be in England and Ireland in Sept/Oct. Just around the corner!

  3. Maureen

    I went through my streaming subscriptions and quit one, got a 3 month reduction on another, and Netflix is on the chopping block. I’m mulling just paying for one at a time and rotating throughout the year to take advantage of sign up deals.
    It’s winter here and your gardening successes make me long for my garden – pumpkins!

    • FrogdancerJones

      Rotating the streams sounds like a great idea. There are so many goos shows and they’re all on different companies. It’s ridiculous.

      • Mrs. ETT

        And with them introducing ads at the basic tiers, I wonder if it will come full-circle and we’ll all head back to free TV?! There’s more on ABC iView and SBS On Demand than I could ever have time to watch, let alone all the other commercial channels. We’re also planning on dropping Netflix, as we share that and Stan with Mr. ETT’s mum. I prefer Stan so when forced into a “one or the other”, Netflix is the one to go.

        • FrogdancerJones

          I’m really liking Stan too. I have so many shows in my Netflix queue, but I’m staring to wonder… if I haven’t watched them by now, will I ever get around to watching them at all??

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