When someone goes

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It’ll either be incredibly saddening or a massive celebration, depending on your relationship. There are, unfortunately, a multitude of things you need to do before they go (aside from have a going away party).

  • Make sure no rent is outstanding with your real estate
  • Make sure no damage has occurred in their living space
  • If there is damage caused by the individual make sure to have a discussion with them about taking some of the bond to cover the damages
  • Make sure you have a replacement tenant (if you need/want one)
  • Make sure you’ve separated their stuff and your stuff and are agreed that is exactly what it is
  • Make sure to give the real estate agent two weeks notice
  • Make sure to get into the real estate and sign all appropriate paper work
  • Make sure to party hard prior to them leaving
  • Make sure to get their contact details in case anything should crop up in regards to before they vacated
  • Have any bills in their name signed over to yourself
  • Get prepped for the new house mate
  • Write out an advert to place online/in the paper for the vacancy
  • Make sure you time the new tenant/your increase in rent payments with the departure of the previous one
  • Make sure the previous tenant returns all their keys and any copies
  • If required, do another condition report
  • Get a forwarding number for any callers or visitors to the house
  • Clean!

You should find that this list (while extensive) will not leave you unprepared for a new housemate or life without your old housemate. Also be prepared for a house balance shift and personality adjustment. Different housemates have different tendencies and you might move in with one of the house mate types as discussed in previous posts.

Resourcefulness

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Get used to being resourceful. In fact, work your tiny little butt off at being resourceful all the way through your entire rental future.

This can range from budget shopping, to actually looking around for a better deal instead of taking the first item you see, to haggling when you actually are purchasing something.

Below are a few tips for the utterly resourceful:

  • Budget shop. Check out the Aldi link on the home page, you can find some amazingly cheap items at Aldi that will switch your weekly shopping allocation from 160 dollars down to 90. They’re opening more and more branches in Australia every week. For clothes shopping try DFO (Direct Factory Outlet). You can find some amazingly cheap bargains at these stores.
  • Bulk buy. Try Costco. You pay low, low prices because everything is bought in bulk. Everything. If you have the storage space and/or a large freezer as well as a large initial capital behind you in moving out, head to Costco first.
  • Search around. You think you’ve found an amazing deal at Dick Smith when you find a Dell laptop for 700 dollars, not realising that the computer store around the corner has the same laptop for 550. You don’t help yourself by not calling around searching for the best deal.
  • Wait for EYFS (End year financial sale) This comes around June/July every year with a lot of stores. Be on the look out for any stores.
  • Shop at your local market. We live closest to the Preston and the Camberwell markets and there are some amazing deals on everything from fruits to suits. Don’t be afraid to step out of your shopping comfort zone, often you’ll find a much better deal.
  • Haggle. Haggle like hell. Don’t walk in and pay the price on the sign. Ask how much you can get off, and when you’ve done that, ask for a further 50. Every dollar you save goes back in your pocket.
  • Keep your warranties. There’s nothing worse than taking something home, realising it doesn’t work, trying to take it back and failing because you didn’t keep the warranty.
  • Swap meets. These guys cover anything from computers to lingerie. Normally not in the same market for obvious reasons. You can find some great deals at Swap meets, just remember to take your own things too.
  • Trading Post. It’s online but I rarely see it in shops anymore. Just be aware that unlike a shop, you won’t get a warranty on the item unless it’s explicitly stated.

These are just a few of many. Get used to trying to find the cheapest thing you can. Don’t rely on the “honesty” of shop keepers to get you a good deal. You have to look for it yourself.

Good luck!

Food Etiquette

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It’s best to discuss etiquette before you begin living with someone so you know what is and what is not acceptable in regards to food. Some houses utilise a complete share system (one person shops one week and the food is free reign- one person shops the next and so on and so forth). Other houses utilise the common items and personal items rule (salt, pepper, milk, butter, bread, flour etc. are shared food- dinner items, fruit, vegetables, pizzas, alcohol are personal). Other houses use the all items are personal rule.

To varying degrees- They all work. Some more effectively than others.

All items are shared– With this method it’s a free for all. Any food you want, you had better eat quick because you can’t claim dibs in a free for all environment. You also run into the problem of selfish housemates. If on your week you go out and really stock the entire place, the next the housemate (instead of throwing you some cash for your massive effort) might just buy a small shopping load and claim that the house didn’t really need that much food. This has the foundations of a massive argument.

Some share, some personal- This is probably the best method in my experience. Milk, pepper, bread, salt, flour, butter etc are all shared as it makes no sense to have three pepper shakers, three open cartons of milk, three containers of butter etc. Not only will you be able to fit minimal items into your fridge/pantry, you’ll find you waste double the amount of food. With this method you still get your personal self bought items such as pizzas or doughnuts, but you’re still contributing to the house.

All personal- Probably best to try to avoid this method. You’ll triple up on anything and everything in the house and wars will break out when a personal item is used. It’s just a scary situation- Avoid at all costs. It’s for selfish uncooperative houses.

It’s definitely best to find out what kind of house you’re moving in too.

In any case, always share so that when you need something you won’t feel bad for asking. Always ask before taking, and always ensure that everyone around you is as happy as you can make them without over stepping your limits. A full bellied house hold is a happy house hold!

Wrap it up

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If you live on a budget, wraps are for you!

Me and my partner adore these little buggers. You can make hot ones or cold ones, both are equally delicious. For the colder version use lunch meat like ham or chicken and lose the fried tomato/radish/spinach and simply run with lettuce, tomato, cheese, carrot.

Hot Chicken Wraps (Use beef or pork or lamb if you want)
Serves: 4
Cooking Time:
1/2 an hour
Prep Time:
20 minutes
Note:
You can get all the below ingredients at Aldi for about 20 dollars.

Ingredients

1 Lettuce (I prefer Cos, if not- Iceberg)
10 Tomatoes (Cherry)
Spinach (Handful)
Carrot (1 or 2)
Sundried Tomato Pesto (Leggos is great)
Sundried Tomato Wraps (4)
Radish (1)
Red/Spanish onion (1 or a 1/2)
Garlic (2 cloves)
Mushroom (A handful or two)
Olive Oil (3 shakes)
Salt+Pepper (2 pinches)
Cheese (processed, tasty or parmesan)
Ranch Sauce
Mixed Herbs (Herbs of your choice- We love ones with Garlic)
Chicken Strips or Chicken Tenders

  • First preheat the oven to 180°c (or whatever your chicken states).
  • Slice the mushrooms, garlic, cherry tomatoes and radish and place it in a slightly oiled pan along with a handful of spinach.
  • Slice the lettuce and red onion
  • Peel the carrot skin off, then peel wafer thin strips off the carrot
  • Add the lettuce, red onion and carrot to a bowl and mix it all together
  • Enter the chicken into the oven
  • 10 minutes after beginning the chicken, start frying off the vegetables in the pan while carefully adding touches of herbs
  • While frying (keeping a close eye on it) heat the wraps for 15 seconds in the microwave on high.
  • Spread the pesto (Sundried tomato or basil is fine), over the area where your wrap contents will be.
  • Place the lettuce/onion/carrot mix as a bed on the wrap.
  • When the chicken is ready, take out of the oven and place on the bed of lettuce etc.
  • Place the fried off vegetables on top of the chicken
  • Top with your choice of cheese (Processed melts deliciously, tasty or parmesan is delicious however)
  • Sprinkle with salt and/or pepper
  • Sprinkle with a shake of mm
  • Top with Ranch sauce (any sauce is fine- I prefer ranch)
  • You can heat again in the microwave if you prefer hot wraps as oppossed to warm (the wrap and chicken will cool a little while you are topping).

This recipe is cheap, is extremely fast to cook and tastes amazing when all the flavours come together. The mixed herbs in with the spinach and tomato really add to their flavour. Feel free to add less herbs though if you want to just taste the flavour of the vegetables.


The Cookbook Blog

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This link will take you to a Blog by a friend of mine called “Cookbook”. Jess has a great vocabulary and personality in describing and explaining the delectable and delicious delights she eats at these restaurants, as well as some of the not so good points of some “fine dining” experiences.

You can trust in her honest critique of these locations, await a laugh in some of her posts and generally just learn where some great places are to head off to. She’s got a knack for good blogging. You can also find some insanely delicious sounding recipes “Cheese and Chive Scones” anyone?

Take a look!

Chorely not

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If you’ve brought it up then you most likely know what being universally hated feels like. Your entire house probably let out a collective “Ughhhh, really?”.

Regardless whether you are a mum in a bought house with children, a renter who likes to keep their place neat and tidy, or a one-of-a-kind share accommodation tenant who wants a clean house, you know what I mean already.

You can’t lightly step around the issue of living in a deli of dirt, a grotto of grot, a house of …. well you get the picture. Someone in the house is going to disagree about there being a method of organising the cleaning duties. Chances are that someone is the same someone who had that mexican stand-off with you about taking the garbage out for so long that flies started making your house a regular stop in point before the tip.

This isn’t going to be an easy step and you’re most likely going to be initially (or permanently) disliked. So is there anyway to make things a little more bearable?

Yes. But only a few.

Chore Wheel. Randomise it. With a Chore Wheel it doesn’t seem like you’re setting out a bunch of rules for people to follow and it’s entirely random who does what on what day. There may even be weeks where one individual escapes the chore wheel entirely. That being said, however, some weeks they might find themselves on it every single day.

Chore Dart Board. Every house member throws a dart for the day, that day that person is doing that chore. This psychologically shifts the blame off of you. If you throw a dart and it hits a chore, you feel like it was your poor decision to throw the dart in that way. Change it up a little with bonuses E.g: I.O.U chores, Chore Free Day or a prize of some sort. Make it a game.

Chore Sheet. It’s probably the most controlling option, but things get done. Plus when someone isn’t home- they pick up the slack the next day as they got to skip. There’s a variety of downloadable chore sheets from the Microsoft Office program. Alternatively you can find one here and here.

If you’re a mother, the chore dart board and chore wheel are probably the best options. As children can see it like a sort of game. If you are in a share house or rental accommodation with a friend then it’s likely that you’re mature enough to have a conversation and agree to fair terms on the Chore Sheet.

The cleaning has to be done and one person shouldn’t be stuck with it all regardless of accommodation type.

In our house, we have a chore sheet (which hasn’t been followed once since it’s introduction)- however we have dealt with a Housemate War that somewhat hindered the shared duties.

Good luck with whichever deadly avenue you choose to wander down!

Quick Healthy Cheap Spaghetti

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Quick Healthy Cheap Spaghetti
Serves:
4 for two nights
Cooking Time:
1/2 an hour
Prep Time:
15 minutes
Note:
You can get all the below ingredients at Aldi for about 20 dollars.

Ingredients

1 zucchini
2 cloves of garlic
1 onion
1 carrot
5 cherry tomatoes
1 Roma tomato
2 handfuls of spinach
1 handful of mushroom
7-800 grams of mince-Lean or premium (adjust according to Per Person numbers)
2 glasses of pasta sauce (we also found Aldi’s Pasta bake sauce works brilliantly and tastes delicious)
1 loaf of garlic bread

Method

  • Pre chop and dice all your vegetables, separate into three bowls (one bowl for spinach and cherry tomatoes/Roma tomato and mushroom, the second bowl for carrot, zucchini and garlic, the third for onion). The bowls (while making more dishes) make it easier to know what to add next.
  • Set your hot plate to high and grab a large saucepan (It should be big enough that when the sauce is added you have about a 5-7 cm layer of meat and sauce.)
  • Spray the saucepan with the cooking spray or use olive oil to coat the base.
  • Add the mince and cook until almost browned- Separate it with a spatula or slotted turner to ensure it cooks through.
  • Add onion and garlic and mushroom, cook until almost browned.
  • Add the bowl of carrot, zucchini and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the tomato/spinach bowl and cook until the spinach shrinks and wilts.
  • When all ingredients have been mixed in and are cooked off, add the two jars of pasta sauce (rinse with 1/4 cup water to get all the sauce and add a little more volume to end result).
  • After ten minutes on medium heat, add some mixed herbs, a little salt, or another seasoning of your choice to flavour.
  • Place Garlic bread wrapped in foil into oven, cook for ten minutes, unwrap foil and cook for another 5.
  • When garlic bread is cooked through, remove spaghetti from heat and serve into bowls.
  • The remainder can be placed in Tupperware and either kept cold or frozen for up to 2-4 weeks.
  • You can use parmesan cheese on top to add further flavour.
  • Top with grated cheese to add a thick texture to the spaghetti as well as extra flavour (we prefer tasty).

This recipe is perfect when you are running low on funds and time. It can be made in larger quantities and split into Tupperware to feed a family of four for about a week. You will need a stock pot and the ability to adjust the ingredients accordingly. This is a family favourite in our household. You may struggle to get kids or teenagers to accept all the vegetables.

Enjoy

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