Footnote Frivolity***, Money Matters, mustbethrifty house

Gutter talk

Painted mission-brown, and made from galvanised steel, our gutters probably came with the house in 1965. However, as much as I love mid-century modern, gutters that leave puddles of water in front of the back door for me to step in, instead of delivering said water into the water tanks, is not cool. They had to be replaced, and soon.

Cheap Geek and I opted for continuous guttering in Colourbond steel. It was a little bit more expensive than the traditional ‘stick-length’ guttering, but it meant less wastage on installation. We also requested wider-than-standard downpipes. Downpipes with a large diameter should be able to cope better with a future climate-change-related ‘increase in the number and intensity of extreme rainfall events’ (via CSIRO)*.

Colourbond downpipe
Wider-than-standard downpipes installed in anticipation of climate change related weather weirdness.

The gutters went up 2 weeks ago and there are no more leaks on the back porch! We also found out from Alan Cuthbertson, a Sustainable House Day 2015 host, that drying your clothes inside in winter is a dumb idea: wet clothes on a clothes horse is pretty much a primitive evaporative cooling system. Chris Woodford from ExplainThatStuff! whilst detailing the science behind drying clothes, notes

…no matter how you dry clothes, you have to put in energy from somewhere to evaporate the water. Dry things outside and that energy comes for free from the Sun and the wind. Dry things on indoor radiators and the energy comes from your stove, gas boiler, or heating system. The laws of physics tell us that you cannot dry clothes for free indoors: the energy has to come from somewhere.

Clothes in a laundry basketSo drying the clothes on a non-leaky porch should, in theory, help reduce our heating costs. New guttering FTW!

*Thankyou Michael Mobbs for highlighting the need to prepare for climate-change-related storm events.

Gardening on a Budget, Going Green, Money Matters

Renting chickens (because a mortgage is enough commitment already)

For the last four weeks, we have been hosting two chickens, Henrietta and Lily, from Book-a-Chook.

Pekin chickens
Pekin chickens, Henrietta and Lily, from Book-a-Chook

And like any new parent, I’ve been harping about them to everyone I meet: Henrietta is greedy, pecky, and sprints like an Olympic athlete, whilst Lily is the more cautious of the two and stays up past her bedtime. Most responses so far have been, ‘You can rent chickens?’ which is soon followed by ‘but why not just buy them?’

In the community, there persists a belief that chickens are mustbethrifty pets, since they give you free eggs, free fertiliser, free bug killer, and (occasionally) free chicken roast. And teenage chickens (8-10 week olds) only cost $30-40 each.

What most punters don’t consider is the cost of a fox-proof chicken coop (and run). There’s some cheap imports out there for a couple of hundred bucks, but they’re not very sturdy and you still need to wrap metres of mesh around them. Mesh, I’ve discovered, is surprisingly pricey.

Plus there’s the usual ongoing costs of feed, bedding, and veterinary treatments. And you have to be able to put them to bed at dusk, every frakking night. Buying chickens is a huge commitment.

Hence, Book-a-Chook is good for indecisives like me. It prevents people buying a flock of chickens as a whimsical Christmas present for the family before trying to get rid of both the chickens and the chicken-keeping paraphernalia on Gumtree a couple of months later. Okay, it’s not the cheapest exercise ($170 for 4 weeks, plus $100 delivery), but it helped confirm this particular life-choice. And Fleur, Book-a-Chook’s Chicken Whisperer, was great at guiding us through the process.

If only there was such a thing in the world called Book-a-Baby or Book-a-Dog.


Going Green, Money Matters, mustbethrifty house


When we moved last year, I had planned to document the sustainable updates done to the new house. I must have dropped those plans off at the local op shop, along with all the clothes Cheap Geek and I had outgrown. And life, like the blog, feels like it’s come to a stop.

It hasn’t of course. Mum and Dad altered and installed some heavy-duty ex-hotel curtains to replace the threadbare sets inherited from the previous owner. Instead of splurging on new furniture, we splurged on energy and water efficient white goods. A local business made and installed some external awnings for our north-facing windows. I’ve turned the side garden beds along the driveway into pockets of edible garden and planted fruit trees such as ballerina apples, pomegranate, nectareze, and a nagami cumquat. And we’ve rented 2 pekins to try before we buy into the keeping chooks lifestyle.

Cheap Geek and I are also in the red, having spent too much money on the house/the move. We have not yet adjusted to the higher mortgage repayments; this has got to change.

And so, mustbethrifty begins again (hopefully)…

NOKIA Lumia 800_002536

Going Green, Money Matters, mustbethrifty house

End of an era

Three years have past since my first mustbethrifty post. In my quest to save money and resources, I’ve done things my pre-mortgage self never considered doing: getting multiple quotes, researching products, putting up with housemates, clothes and food swapping, scavenging and borrowing, mending and altering. I’ve finally learnt how to become comfortable with my mortgage.

Now, after nearly five years with my first mortgage, I am about to sign up on a second mortgage, this time hand-in-hand with Cheap Geek. We will be moving out and ‘living the dream’ of house and land (and chickens).Putting on a sold sticker

I’m really happy with the house we’ve bought. Continue reading

Dress to Impress (for Less), Money Matters, Second-hand Scavengers

My shop on Etsy

My interview with Grace has inspired me to sell some of my vintage collection on Etsy. Back in the days of pov-uni-studentdom, I used to sell unwanted books and CDs on eBay (I even made a profit when I sold my Death Cab for Cutie and Tamora Pierce to some European buyers) but I thought I’d give Etsy a go since it seems to be the online marketplace for all things vintage and quirky.

The shop I’ve opened up is called ‘mustbethrifty’ (naturally) and over the next few months, I will be slowly uploading some vintage pieces that I love but no longer wear or have room for. So please drop by if you’re a size 10-12 in need of some retro/vintage flavour.