This page is all about me, my name is Adrienne and what makes my blog the one you should read?
In the beginning
Over the years life has presented me with many challenges. Some I have met and conquered. Two challenges I have met, ignored and then been defeated by them on more than one occasion.
The first is money, saving, budgeting, all things in those categories. When I first started earning what I considered a proper salary, I was easily able to budget. I paid my rent, my petrol, my medical aid and my clothing store cards (all 3 of them) – my mom had to sign surety to open these as my salary was so low.
25 Years of marriage
Then I got married to a man who had never had to budget, or price watch, and some of that rubbed off on me! Actually, I think most of it rubbed off. We had money to spend and did!
I underwent 4 years of fertility treatment to have my first child. This is where I lost control of my money brain. Medical aid covers almost nothing of this treatment; you pay for procedures with no visible results.
I once worked out what it cost us 19 years ago. It came to nearly the same amount as a mid-range new car would cost at today’s prices. Worth every penny!
Please G-d, every parent should be blessed with a child like my first born. We have blessed with 3 more wonderful children (daughters), each one a blessing and without fertility assistance.
I have spent the years since then, either ignoring our lack of budget, or stressing till I got heart burn over it but never facing it, or trying to conquer it, till now.
Challenge number 2, is the clutter in my house. My husband is a mild hoarder (he says not), I too am not blameless but my hoarding is more to do with my hobby than the fact that I might need it someday.
My husband collects magazines, invoices, electronic equipment and tools. A couple of years ago I got a bee in my bonnet and did a fairly large clear out of the magazines, some as old as 5 years, still in their sealed plastic sleeves. I found invoices and service records for cars that he, or a member of his family, had from before we were married.
At this stage we had been married about 15 years.
We have tools enough to start a handyman service, if only they were used! I do have to admit to being grateful for this on more than one occasion when I have needed a specific tool to fix something!
The other day I needed a screwdriver that fit into an odd space where I couldn’t get my hand. Voila! I dug in one of the tool boxes, and there it was. So the plan was to just organise them and get rid of duplicates but that is all. This is still a work in progress.
My laptop is old and the keyboard is now missing a few keys, dig in my husband’s dump site and a working external keyboard is unearthed. Problem solved. This does however, create a new problem, as in, “See, I told you we might need it someday”. Another topic to blog about http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/index.php/2015/12/31/it-is-out-there/
I finally got my own laptop, second hand this means I no longer have to compete with the children for computer time.
My problem began when we decided to have baby number 3. After 3 years of trying and being told I would need to go back to the clinic if I wanted more children, my husband and I decided we were satisfied with the boy and girl we already had.
I got rid of the baby stuff and 3 months later I was pregnant! Then 2 years later I was pregnant again.My youngest is now 11 years old. I had thankfully lent my cot, high chair and changing table with bath to a friend who had triplets. My pram broke so we had to buy a new one for baby #3. That first fancy, expensive, pram didn’t make it through two kids!
I got rid of my high chair only 2 years ago (2014) when I gave it to a family member. My pram left the house only this year (2016). The cot was thrown out when it broke.
I still have one or two things in a cupboard that need to go but out of sight out of mind. These include the double pram that made it through all four kids and which I later used to bring groceries from my car to the house before I discovered online shopping.
As of November 2016 the double pram is no longer in my home!
My beads and jewellery tools do take up a lot of space. I have been very good and not gone shopping in quite a while.
I use these beads and tools all the time, as I make and sell jewellery, as well as teaching a class one night per week. My shop is on Etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/Adiesdesigns, and has been running for 5 years now. I even tried to blog about it! (It wasn’t a successful blog, I am not sure if it was because of the platform I used, or that I was just not as passionate about it). I may try again in 2017 when my meal planning business is running succesfully.
I have put my Etsy shop on vacation, to focus on my new blog and business, I will defintely go back to making and selling jewellery but probably only in a year.
While some things are good to keep, like your matric certificate (thanks, Ma), your birth certificate and any legal documents, the rest is clutter. You do need to keep bank statements and relevant documents for tax purposes for a minimum of 5 years. http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/index.php/2016/01/10/the-paper-round-magazines-and-newspapers/, http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/index.php/2016/02/23/file-space/, http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/index.php/2016/01/17/manuals-warranties-and-passwords/
Every now and then I make a stab at getting organised. A couple of years ago I drew up a cleaning schedule for my house, I bought myself a book on housekeeping and I even tagged the pages that I was going to use. I bought a couple of books on budgeting and how to get out of debt. Money well spent, I thought, but nothing really came of it.
At the beginning of the year (2015)I got fed up with me, my house and my life, I decided to do something about it.
This is when I began reading blogs about cleaning your house. I signed up to follow blogs on saving money and read them all. However, working 12 hour shifts are not conducive to having the energy to put the things I learned from these blogs into practice. Added to this was the fact that they were all American, which made it more difficult to use the information. In January 2016 I started a group on Facebook for this https://www.facebook.com/groups/gettingsorted/ We have reached 382 members and it is only November 2016.
I started looking for blogs for South Africans. I could find lots of cooking blogs, 1 or 2 decluttering blogs and the only budgeting advice I could find were the occasional pieces put out by financial institutions.
Then, in March 2015 I changed jobs, and started working normal hours; I am home at the latest 6 pm but most days I am home by 5:10 as I work within walking distance of my home, so driving is instant.
It changed everything! From what food we had for dinner, as I was now home in time to make supper every night (so no more pasta and bottled sauce every night) to having the energy to start tackling my challenges.
Welcome Meal Planning
We have started slowly. The first thing I changed after taking over the cooking was the way we did grocery shopping.
I began online shopping. I was a little wary at first as my house is strictly kosher and I had heard horror stories. The first month I did have to return about 8 items that they had substituted with non-kosher. I learnt to request ‘no substitutions’ on some items and others I just requested that it must be kosher.
My last order only had 1 item that needed exchanging. My monthly shop is down about 6%. I buy milk, bread and vegetables weekly, as I don’t have enough freezer space and fruit mostly can’t be frozen.
I also got into menu planning. We have a school lunch menu, an after school lunch menu and a dinner menu. I make my shopping list according to my menus and what is left over in the cupboards from the previous months. My husband, my eldest daughter and I, have all lost weight! We didn’t go on diet; we just changed our eating habits! I didn’t cut out sugar or carbs either.
The menu planning is time consuming in the beginning but stick to it and you will find it worth it and if you keep a record of the meals the family liked, then you can make it again a few weeks later. http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/index.php/2016/02/26/a-taste-of-menu-planning/, http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/index.php/2015/10/08/menu-planning-advice-from-the-dark-ages/, http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/index.php/2015/07/30/10-things-you-need-to-know-when-drawing-up-a-menu-plan/
Lightening the load
Next step was decluttering. Here I know I needed assistance. For all that I write about how to declutter, I have two rooms that just overwhelmed me each time I tought about it.
I have decluttered my entrance, my dining room, our bedroom and my clothes (see the posts – Cutting through the clutter, Cleaning up your schedule or Scheduling your clean up and the Konamari method of decluttering .
In my kitchen I decluttered old dishes and utensils that haven’t seen the light of day in forever. I went through my grocery cupboard (see my post – I own my kitchen). http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/index.php/2015/06/30/i-own-my-kitchen/
Lastly, but probably the most important, is relooking at my budget. The month just always seems too long for our salaries!
I think I have gone about this the wrong way, but it is still making a difference. I have always practiced a form of envelope budgeting (I wrote a post on this topic), with more research I have now done an audit on my budget (see post – Auditing your budget) and I have done an income and expense exercise (see post – are you on track?). http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/index.php/2015/08/16/auditing-your-budget/, http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/index.php/2015/07/05/envelope-budgeting/,http://kasheringyourlife.co.za/index.php/2015/08/23/can-you-keep-track/
After having a discussion on a Facebook group I belong to, I decided to share my learning experience with others.A lot of people are struggling, no matter what they earn.
In South Africa our lives are different. Almost everyone has some sort of domestic help, whether it is full time, part time or just once a week. Our banking rules are different. We don’t have couponing to help us save. Maybe if the right people read my blog, we can change this.
South Africans needed a blog just for them. Menu planning is apparently something the American’s do normally, possibly because there is no full time domestic help in most homes.
This year my advice has been featured in SA People magazine.
When something is referred to as being kosher, it usually means it is okay . I have heard people say “this is not kosher” they are not referring to the Jewish kosher, which means suitable to eat, they are referring to a situation that doesn’t seem right. Shady schemes are but one example. Kashering something means making it right and hence the name kasheringyourlife. It is about taking what you feel is wrong in your life, whether it is your budget, your kitchen or your home and fixing it to make it right for you.
I found a gap
I hope this long essay gives you an idea on what makes my blog the right one for you. This blog is for all South Africans and people everywhere. I would like to think that what I post helps make a difference to the quality of life we all live here, in the most beautiful country in world. That it is making living life easier.
the journey so far
In the 18months since I started this blog, it has grown beyond expectations. It is time for a re-brand and we are looking for a new name. The name needs to reflect what it is we do. The business is still about meal and menu planning, saving money on your grocery bill, but it will now also include food and cooking for busy people.
To help choose the new name and stand a chance to win, please go to the Facebook page and write in your suggestion in the comments of the pinned post https://www.facebook.com/kasheringyourlife/. The winner will recieve a meal planning pack (1 magnetic weekly planner board, 1 laminated weekly planner and 1 monthly weekly planner, plus a party planner board), they will also recieve 60 pre printed budget envelopes and a 30 minute Skype consultation with me.