A friend of mine who claims to know horoscopes (Chinese and Western) said that 2017 would be a sparkling year for me. I guess she was right in some respects – I did drink an awful lot of Prosecco and Champagne (and even a lot of Moet, but for the record I prefer a good King Valley Prosecco such as Dal Zotto any day over that expensive French stuff). But like most things in life, there were the highs and lows. Overall I think it fair to say that 2017 was a year of significant changes.
- I celebrated the start of 2018 with my Dad and my boys, a quiet night at home. I had planned to pen this post from the Gold Coast. The idea was to write a smug post about how last year I had been in Taipei for NYE, but now I have traded up with a better man and we watched the fireworks over Southport together with family and life was so perfect and great, blah blah blah. But then my lovely man Neil went and had a heart attack, and is still in the Canberra Hospital battling post-operative pneumonia. So our plans have changed. And that’s just the way it is. Through this there are blessings – the heart attack could have happened in a remote area while he was towing a caravan on our big trip up north. Thankfully he got to the hospital within the crucial first 90 minutes. Before you think I ditched him on NYE, I went in twice to see him and I am cooking him meals to replace the awful hospital food. My supportive Dad came up to help me through this time, so I got to spend Christmas and NYE with him a well. (I did, however, venture out with my five-year-old to see the fireworks – we cycled there and back, loving my inner north apartment.)
- 2017 was a year of big changes. Well, more than big changes – HUGE and unexpected changes. Compared with this time last year I now live in a different apartment close to the city, my kids go to a different school, I have been working in a different job on secondment, and I am now in a committed relationship with a different man who is incredibly good to me – I didn’t even know him this time last year, and now I am blessed with knowing his large family and extensive network of friends.
- I leaned in and took risks using imperfect action. Some people fear change and transition. My attitude is that you must run with it. When the universe sends me an opportunity, I like to grasp it with both hands and say YES THANK YOU. This has meant doing things like going online and then out on dates after my last relationship ended, starting a new relationship with someone whose friendship I was worried about losing, dealing with my fear of not being good enough as a writer, and, well, just doing a whole lot of things that I was scared of – including cycling to work and driving to the Coast by myself (funny thing is that the car broke down when we got there, but I still did it.)
- I got engaged. Yeah, kind of a big development in 2017. And wow, I don’t think I can ever remember being this happy. I could not have forecast this engagement twelve months ago, especially as I was with someone else then and it was looking all rosy and I could not have predicted how badly and suddenly ended. And also, I had this dialogue about wanting to be all independent and not being ready to move in with someone etc etc etc. Neil had better pull through his heart attack – my home is not the same without him. One thing I have discovered is that we share similar frugal values, and with that similar values of family, community and integrity. This will, I believe, put us in good stead as a couple. But more than anything, we have so much fun together. OMG, we have fun.
- I lived according to my gold standard. I write about frugality and money, but really you need to have self-worth and radiate an internal gold standard if you want to attract all forms of love and abundance. Do you sell yourself short? I know that I certainly did. Oddly enough I had this ah-ha moment on the dance floor, as you often do.
- 2018 is the year of wellness. While I have recently put on a bit of weight, overall, I am much healthier and have more energy than I can remember. I now cycle to work two to three days a week and aim to make it four days a week in 2018. I went skiing last year and for the first time could keep up with my Dad (he kept telling me he couldn’t believe how I improved). But still, there is a lot of work I need to do to. With Neil recovering from a heart attack we will both need big lifestyle changes. I hereby decree 2018 will be the Year of Wellness, with more health-related blog posts to follow.
- I weathered some financial challenges in the first half of 2017. Moving house was, as is often the case, more expensive and stressful than I envisaged. I also had some random expenses such as my account being hacked into, needing a new washing machine, expensive car service, backing into a car, and dropping my mobile phone. What I realised was that I was starting to get a negative and anxious mindset about money, feeling like I was always in debt. Once I faced the problem and came to terms with it, I went into action – and then, oddly enough, money began to appear. Well, being calm and able to think creatively certainly helped.
- I survived on $50 a week. I did this from September 2016 to September 2017. Since I started dating Neil he has been corrupting me a bit. The first thing he said after the heart attack was that our food budget would have to increase. I paused before saying ‘no way’. To be fair I probably do need to increase it a bit to incorporate a stocky male. But a large part of our new diet will be about eating less: less salt, less sugar, less red meat, less processed foods.
- I have investment properties and soon will have more. Previously my focus had been on paying off my home mortgage and sitting tight. But then (once again) my focus changed. I decided to take over the remaining two investment properties from my ex-husband. And Neil and I are buying two investment properties together (yeah, odd timing with him having a heart attack and all). I feel so empowered doing this. I thought it would take me years to get to this stage. All around me people are saying things like “the market is too expensive, there are too many investment properties, a new government will abolish negative gearing, it is so hard to get into the market” etc etc etc. We have just drowned out the negative noises, done our own research and crunched the figures – and we liked what we discovered. (As an aside, before I ever invest in a property I always consult Terry Ryder’s Hotspotting reports. I would not invest without it.)
- I cancelled my credit card. I cut up the plastic and instead, I am now using a Qantas Cash card. No fees and charges and I get at least some Frequent Flyer points.
- Ms Frugal Ears hit 1,000 likes on Facebook. Woo hoo! Thank you all for your support this year. It has been amazing.
- I started Facebook Live posts. This has been so much fun. I am looking forward to doing more in 2018 – what topics do you suggest?
- I’m writing a book called Frugal Dare to Millionaire. I don’t know what took me so long to write about frugality. Doh. I think insecurity and self-doubt have kept me back. As part of this, I have created a new Facebook group and I would love you to join me on it. And I also love your support, which is what is making this possible.
Thank you for joining me on the journey in 2017. Peace, love, happiness and abundance to you and your family in 2018!