Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Interesting how life tends to be syncronistic. Or at least it appears that way, the thoughts that I have been having recently have been mirrored in a few ways. In the lastest issue of Money magazine was an article of an extreme frugal family. In many ways, I would love to be them. They save 50% of their monthly income, and they have 5 kids with one on the way. But, they are an extreme.

Over on the Honest Scrapbooker blog, there are ongoing discussions on the cult of shopping and our need as scrapbookers to consume the newest items, only to have them sit on a shelf. PERSONALLY VERY GUILTY HERE!

And, then as I enter our monthly expenses into the computer to track our spending (we don't budget per se, but track instead to determine savings patterns and needs) I noticed that we have started to spend again. A few items are required. Tuition for Declan, Tax bill that came due made August the biggest month of spending I think I have ever PERSONALLY paid, without loans. But, even with Jeff having taken some time off last year, we saved and paid cash for everything. Even so, as Jeff is now earning money again, our expenses have increased. Some, of course as would be expected are required expenses... transportation has increased. But so has dining out, some is Jeff and his lunches, and it seems silly to fuss over 6 sing a day for lunch, but it does add up. That is an increase of 140 Sing a month (figure 23 work days). That money could go onto our student loans and would pay off my student loan sooner. In fact that is about 90 US, so my high interest student loan would be paid off one and a half years earlier..simply by adding $90 a month.

What are we going to do? I don't know. Cut back again, stop getting magazines at the store every weekend, stop buying convience food for Declan's snack and instead feed him homemade food, stop purchasing coffee/muffins at starbucks (already better now that I have cut out milk)... but the point remains. Just because we have two incomes again, doesn't mean we need to spend it all.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Off to School

  Declan getting on the bus.

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Thursday, August 10, 2006

No More Milk :-(

Yes, that is a frowny face. I have fought this for years. Denial is a good thing. I just can't drink milk. Cheeses seem to be ok, a small bit of milk with my cereal is ok, but no milk. I get sick. Don't need to tell you details, but it is just not fun.

So, I haven't been a glass of milk drinker for a long time, but I do like Mochas, Lattes.. ice blended drinks. Give me the shot of extra whip... cause it tastes so good. How will I survive? I had a soy Mocha yesterday at Starbucks. It was ok, but not quite the same. The only good thing...well...it is good for loosing weight. And, good for my pocket book. While Jeff and I always try to watch what we eat, and what we spend our money on... my weakness has always been that ice blended drink at Starbucks or Coffee Bean. 7 Sing dollars and a stomach ache later, I always feel bad (both in a literal and figurative sense) afterwards.

So, onto another healthy change. Feeling better, feeling a bit richer today...to the tune of 7 dollars, but still feeling a bit sad for the loss of my favorite drinks.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Scrappers Talk Radio

So had some fun this week posting my opinions over at Scrappers Talk Radio. In a nutshell, I have been asked to be the international expert and opine on the trends in international scrapbooking. I mean really where to start... the awesome aussies like Ngaire Barlam, Emily Falconbridge, Helen Williams? The amazine Celine Navarro from France? How about Shimelle Laine?

How about the awesome companies like Delish Designs? Urban Lily? New designs comming from France? Oh where to start?

So, I started with Far Flung Craft and my reason for starting the business. Next week I will get to talk about someone else. Can't wait!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Cost of Living

So, we are paying our taxes this month in Singapore. It is a big bite, but only because we don't withhold. Jeff worked 9 months last year, I worked the whole year. Because I work from home as an independent contractor and have the Far Flung Craft business, we are able to deduct business expenses for the business, which does help reduce our overall taxable income. That being said, taxes in Singapore are low. Really low.

In the US, we would be in the higher tax bracket based on our jobs. So far we still don't pay any US Tax (don't even get me started on the fact that US Citizens are about the only ones in the world subject to double taxation on income earned overseas....) but let me tell you what we paid this year.

Our total tax bill...less than 5.5% of our income. Unbeleiveable.

For this, we get semi-socialized medicine. Jeff's total hospital bill for surgery on his foot and an overnight stay was $500 US. We were NOT insured. That is TOTAL cost.

We have a high standard of living with all of the things we could need.

We have an effective and clean public transportation system that is inexpensive

We have access to public education for our children, if we chose to use it, for little cost.

We have a safe and clean environment in which to raise our family.

Even when you add in the cost of my child's private education and you assume that we would not pay for that in the US, our "Tax" is still less than 19%. Big issue will come when Kiera attends the American school if we can still claim that the cost of living is better here.
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