As I said in my last post, I was going to make feijoa chutney and guava jelly with the ripened fruit over the next week or so. And I have. Well, at least I have done one batch of each, and will do another batch in the couple of days. I have tasted the feijoa chutney and it is amazing, especially with cheese – forgive the lack of modesty here! I have yet to taste the guava jelly, barring a lick of the spoon when I finished putting it in the jars, but I am sure this, too, will be fine.
This morning I tried out a recipe for feijoa jam . This is crammed full of sugar, and looks totally unpalatable -I don’t think I will make anymore. I also whipped up a batch of yoghurt using powdered milk, and my yoghurt maker. This is both incredibly easy to make and a cost effective alternative to the bought options. I have included the instructions for it below this post.
The other big news is we have built a new vegetable garden. The original garden which was here when we arrived was a long way from the house – too far, in fact, to easily maintain. So over the last couple of years when I was working fulltime, I didn’t!
When I was planning for retirement, resurrecting the vegetable garden was on the list of ‘must do’ things. The man and I knew that for it to work we needed to move the garden and composting bin closer to the house. In preparation for this, we moved the worm farm and compost to the other side of the first row of trees in Spring. These are now about 20 metres from the house and we are using them properly everyday.
With regards to the vegetables, in early summer I planted my vegetables in pots on the patio outside the dining room to see if the spot worked out well for easy tending of them. It did, so we made the decision to put the garden in a space between this patio and the upper patio. The land here is on a slight slope, so the man built a small retaining wall out of rocks that were on our property, making the first level of the two-tiered vegetable garden. Last week the man back filled this level with volcanic soil, and added a bag of vegetable garden mix we had hanging around. We will add compost shortly to this garden and then we will be ready for the first of our winter planting in April. We will complete the second tier of the garden in the next couple of months in time for planting garlic in June.
We will keep you in the loop how this new garden pans out.
1 c. milk powder (I use full milk rather than trim)
1 litre cold water.
A culture- I use one or two tablespoons of plain yoghurt (this can be left over from last batch made or you can buy a small tub of plain yoghurt to start you off)
Mix milk powder into 1 litre of cold water in container with lid. Stir culture through.
Pop container into yoghurt maker (we have a Hansells one). Pour boiled water around the container. Pop on lid and leave on bench overnight.
Refrigerate the next day.
NB: I take a couple of tablespoons from the new batch of yoghurt and store this in a small screw top container in the fridge – otherwise the man eats the whole lot and I have lost the culture for the next batch.
Superannuation is going up on 1 April by $42.22 extra per fortnight. I have added an additional $22 per fortnight to our food budget which rounds the food budget out to $300 per fortnight.
I have increased my yearly expense budget by the remainder of the increase ($20 per fortnight).
On May 1st the winter energy payment comes in too. It runs from 1 May to 1 October each year.This is $20.46 per week for a single pensioner rate and this has not been allocated in the budget yet.
So how is the budget going to date?
Food budget: $278.00 budgeted per fortnight. Last food shop was $278.57 (over by .57) and the previous one was $273.50 (under by $4.50). I am getting very good at buying everything I need in this one fortnightly supermarket shop.
Our food budget does not include any cafe meals which are paid for out of our own discretionary savings of $200 per fortnight each. This fortnight we had Grant’s birthday so we went out for brunch ($56.60) and had a one cafe morning tea ($13.55) which was split bill with our daughter.
Electricity: $120 budgeted per month. Our electricity has remained under the budgeted amount. It was $47.85 for February with the $50 credit from Genesis for renewing the yearly contract. The bill in January was $98.61. March’s bill looks like it will be under $95 this month (shorter number of days in the cycle). It will be interesting to see what winter brings, but as I mentioned earlier, we have not allocated the winter energy payment yet, so I think we will be well and truly OK.
Petrol: We are keeping to our $150 per month for petrol with ease. Most of our trips are local, with a trip to town about 3 times per month. We have been to Auckland twice since I retired in January, and to Mangawhai once.
We have spent $70 at the petrol station so far this month, but had fuel in the tanks from the previous month. We do use our fuel card when we can for the discount.
Car insurance: My car insurance is due for renewal on 30 April and I have just received the invoice. It has reduced in cost by about $1.00 per month which is a pleasant surprise, but this is probably due to the depreciating value of the car!
Luxury Purchase (don’t scoff, it is all relative!) I have gone wild and purchased a Neon tv subscription for $15.99 per month. This is in addition to Netflix. I will pay for this out of my discretionary spending $$.