Baby Hints & Tips

Planning for living well

Planning for living wellLouisa Forrest joins us for her second installment of tips for living well. This time her focus is on planning.

Businesses, both large and small, the world over, spend a fortune on planning with meetings and breakout groups, brain storming sessions, retreats … even meetings to plan the meetings!

Why do they spend so much time, money, effort and resources on so much planning?

Planning ensures they are prepared for the year ahead AND that they will be better able to achieve their goals.

A successful home hinges on the ability to plan in advance and prioritise.

10 tips to get you planning

1. Simplify

This is where the prioritising rubber meets the metaphorical road.

Prioritising is not about sacrifice. It’s about putting the needs of you and your family first above all else, and ensuring connection and love are more important than spending and the like. Learn to say no. Turn off the phone. Introduce “No Screen” time. Sit together to eat a meal every week (or every night) at home.

2. Bust the busy myth

You can’t expect to plan and execute if you are busy all the time.

Pull back on all those activities. Do the kids need four after school activities a week each? No! Being overly busy is a killer for priorities and a balanced, serene family life. Think about it…

3. From scratch

I used to eat out nearly every meal, every day. Seriously.

We cook nearly everything from scratch because we had to initially due food intolerances. Now it’s because I prefer to. It’s cheaper, tastier, healthier and we save so much!

We would spend $75 a night on meals out, five to seven nights a week! EEK!

4. Water, water and more water

Initially, a weight loss thing until I stumbled over a picture of a woman who drank three litres of water every day for one month – she looked 10 years younger! So then it was a vanity thing – ha ha!

Now it’s a matter of course. I have noticed how much less food I need to consume and how much less the kids eat. By simply saying, “Have a glass of water first” before eating, they don’t snack anywhere near as much. They are calmer too.

Most often we are not hungry. We are thirsty. So, have a glass of water!

5. Stop when satisfied

I read this in the biography of Audrey Hepburn, who, as well know, was positively tiny! She said she used to leave the table feeling ever-so-slightly-hungry.

I don’t eat to the point of full or over full.

You save a fortune in wasted food by cutting portion sizes and drinking more water before and during meals.

6. Fill out meals

I always look for ways to fill out meals – adding lentils to mince, adding chickpeas to salads etc. I have four or five basic “fillers” which are healthy and carbohydrate rich. The kids don’t notice, it stretches a 1kg packet of mince twice as far and actually enhances the flavour. It’s super frugal – sure – but it’s also smart.

7. Never scrimp on health

In our house, health is a #1 priority. I actually refuse to date people who do not value their health! We spend roughly $200 a month on preventative health care or nutritional supplements and superfoods.

My daughter is five and has never been to a doctor for illness. I have not been either for over five years whereas I went monthly before…

8. Make room for boredom

Making room for boredom – aka not scheduling activities every moment of every day – is a great way to allow kids room to grow, breathe, move, create and be.

They NEED that and the last few generations have been sorely lacking in it. Let them be bored. It will equip them for later life… and save you LOADS!

9. Teach kids about compound interest

I came from a home where money was not discussed openly and we were not taught how to handle our finances. Consequently I went bankrupt in my twenties. It was a bitter pill to swallow – I had no one to blame but myself.

My children are being taught from four years old about compound interest; about how saving LONGER means you save MORE. When I get “I want this” or “I want that” I say “Fine – how are you going to pay for that?” When it’s back on them to use their own money the novelty of it wears off quickly.

10. Remove temptation

Whilst I am a reformed over-spender, I am still tempted and my discipline muscle needs work. I recently unlinked my savings accounts from my internet and phone banking so that the only way I can take out money is to go into the bank. I can’t even get an account balance without lugging two kids into the bank with me!

So there you have it – two posts, twenty tips and loads of personal experience to boot!

Louisa Forrest

About the Author:

Louisa is an author, single mother, passionate environmentalist and the creator of The Eco Mum community. Louisa is also Director and founder of The Lavenderia NappyCare, providing the greenest nappy solution available in Australia today. She lives with her two young children in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales.

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