Monday, 26 June 2017

I'm A Recovering Consumer Addict

Hi folks

Being honest with myself has been deeply meaningful over the last five years - to be specific, I am and always will be a recovering consumerist.

I still experience the following dangerous triggers:

  •  The rising feeling of excitement when spending - even small amounts (yep, even when buying milk and bread!)
  •  The endorphin rush of a new purchase
  •  The glow of having attention paid to me by sales staff
  •  The sense of invincibility immediately after purchase
  •  The excitement of being offered credit
  •  The sense of abundance triggered by purchasing
  •  The sense of achievement walking away with multiple bags of purchases
The personal honesty that is required to admit to oneself that this addiction to consumerism will never be cured but only ever vigilantly 'well contained' takes truck loads of humility and guts. An addiction is an addiction no matter what the drug-of-choice and every addict knows that it only takes one single return to (insert drug-of-choice) and we are immediately and thoroughly in a frightening free-fall.

One of the most powerful tools I have used to reduce the addictive self-harming habits of consumerism is to employ replacement therapy. Replacement therapy allows a new and powerful dominating passion to replace or significantly minimise the effects of an existing addiction.....really it is replacing one type of addiction with another. Certain personalities are more prone to addiction than others (some science tells us) and replacement therapy can often work well. It is my best tool against consumerism to date, that's for certain.

I am now happy to openly admit that despite the massive measurable progress I have made with fighting consumerism over the last half a decade via several ongoing replacement therapy scenarios, I will always be addicted consumerism. True, I may never or rarely relapse, but it is 'there' just in the shadows as powerful as ever.

So, if you find yourself falling off the budgeting wagon regularly, succumbing to spending of all things big and small, lying to yourself about spending habits, racking up debt on 'necessary' things, spending to simply feel better, spending on others regularly, being 'generous' outside of your means, fabricating reasons about money issues, doubting your true ability to earn a better income then I truly understand, I truly empathise .... BUT ..... I refuse to sympathise or join you in the excuses.

I spent many years sympathising with myself and believing my own excuses. Enough. Stop. Nuh.

If you believe you can't cut your expenses any further - then you'd be wrong about that.
If you believe you don't earn enough - then you'd be wrong about that as well.
If you believe it's all someone else's fault - then you'd be wrong about that too.
If you don't thing you can master your circumstances - then you'd be wrong about that.
If you think you are the only one - then you'd be wrong about that for certain
If you know you'll never change  - then you'd be wrong about that.
If change won't happen because of what your partner is doing/not doing - then you'd be wrong about that absolutely.
If you think you are so far behind that you'd never get ahead - then you'd be wrong about that...totally wrong in fact.

The powerful emotions engaged in the addiction of consumerism cannot be fully cured.....but they can be mostly reassigned to new powerful and meaningful addictions. I now fully believe this.

I believe because I've done it and I'm doing it.

Here's a challenge to control the mighty addiction of consumerism:

If you think living on 50% of your income is impossible - then you'd be wrong about that. Send me your budget (if you're game) and I will be happy to rewrite it and show you how to do it in detail. 


Take care dear folk....and stay nice.

Mr HM (Phil)

Friday, 23 June 2017

Whites - A Fabulous Laundry Tip

Mr HM's laundry room.

Here is a repeat of a frugal for you.....seeing it is Friday.

Ever have trouble getting whites as white as you would like?  (e.g. grubby white school socks  – eeewww!!)

Try this – I guarantee it works brilliantly


1.       Soak whites in plain cold water overnight – yep just plain water
2.       Put clothes into washer
3.       Select the HOTTEST wash your machine will allow
4.       Select the LONGEST wash your machine will allow
5.       Add – ¼ cup Borax
6.       Add – ¼ cup of your normal laundry liquid
7.       Add – ¼ cup of cheap bleach
8.       Add – ¼ cup of cheap dish washing detergent (yes that’s right!)
9.       Start the machine
10.     Ideally hang clothes out to sun-dry after the wash (sun drying is the best)

It works every time!  This recipe works for front or top loaders perfectly fine.

Mrs HM says to tell you all not to use this recipe every single time you wash whites, only when your whites are starting to lose their whiteness.

Take care and stay nice folks.


Thursday, 22 June 2017

Vintage Safety Razor Shaving

Double Edge Safety Razor on its stand.
Home-made shaving lather ready for action.

Hi folks – here is one for the men J

The vintage double edge (DE) safety razor is having a comeback.....and about time.
The cost benefits as well as superior shaving results are well worth the switch.

DE safety razor and stand will last any
man a lifetime.

I went out and bought one (as the vintage ones online are now so expensive and my dad still uses his, so I could not snaffle that one!) for $30 which included two packs of razors and a razor stand.

The mechanism opens by winding the handle.

The frugal benefits are manifold:
·                      Once-of purchase will last a lifetime
·                      Cost of blades is a fraction of the cost of replacement plastic cartridge razor heads
·                      Minimal waste and plastic landfill
·                      The ladies of the house will not be as tempted to 'steal' this for their needs (maybe!)
·                      Suits the use of homemade shaving soap beautifully
·                      Compare DE razors for $8.00 to a packet of Mach 3 Cartridges for over $20.00

Other benefits of safety razor set up compared to modern cartridge shavers.
·                      Looks a million times classier than a plastic razor set up
·                      Gives a superior shave with just a single blade
·                      A unique shaving experience
·                      Uniquely manly
·                      Requires zero pressure against skin (uses the weight of the shaver only)
·                      Uniquely gentle on sensitive skin.
·                      Significantly wider blade than modern plastic cartridge shavers

New blades wrapped in paper.

Why are they called safety razors?  Well compared to the cut-throat single blade razors used previously which had a propensity to shred men's faces in inexperienced hands, the safety of DE razors were a quantum leap forward for those men shaving at home instead of the daily visit to the barber.

New blade placed inside opened razor mechanism

Men, do yourself a favour, either resurrect your fathers' or grandfathers' DE safety razor or buy one online or at your local shaver shop - you will not be sorry.....and you will save a packet of money  too.

A badgers bristle brush will
last a lifetime.

ENJOY! Take care. Stay nice.


Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Frugal Anti-static Dryer Sponges

Frugal Anti-static Dryer Sponges - sitting handy on top of the dryer.

Hi folks

We try not to use the clothes dryer any more than we absolutely have to. Sun dried clothes are our preference as the sun deals with many germs, uses no electricity, is quiet and calm.
Nevertheless, with 6 people in our house and living on a rainy Australian eastern seaboard, there is time and place to use the dryer.

One of my pet hates about dryers (besides the power bill and the noise) is the extreme static it creates in clothes. Enter DIY anti-static dryer sponges. If you're fancy, you can buy them........of course here at our place, we make our own at a fraction of the cost.

Three simple ingredients: sponges, water, hair conditioner.

Frugal Anti-static Dryer Sponges:
·                     Cut a couple of new dish sponges into quarters
·                     Place the small sponges into a jar
·                     Add equal parts of cheap hair conditioner and warm water

Cut up the sponges, add the conditioner and water.....

To use:
1.            Squeeze out 3 or 4 of the sponges
2.            Put into the dryer with the wet clothes
3.            They will reduce the static and create a nice mild smell
4.            Greatly reduced static in dried clothes!
5.            Simply pop the squares straight back in the jar when the dryer cycle finishes

Sponges soaking up the solution - ready in 3 minutes!

Give it a whirl folks - easy peasey.

Take care and stay nice now!


Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Frying-pan Swedish Meatballs

I'm resisting the urge to eat directly from the pan!

Hi folks

Here is the recipe for one of my most favourite comfort foods - Swedish meatballs.

I remember when IKEA first opened up and we ordered Swedish meatballs in their cafe - oh yum!  We have been known to go back just for the meatballs and not even look at the furniture (desperate I know).

Anyway - here is my version and I think you will agree that it tastes better than IKEA's - even if I say so myself.
Frying-pan Swedish Meatballs

This recipe takes three steps:

1. Making the meat balls
2. Making the sauce
3. Cooking the meatballs in the sauce

The Meat Balls:

500 g of pork mince (you can use beef, chicken or lamb too)

1 x cup of SR flour
1 x tsp of salt
1 x tsp of garlic powder
1 x tsp of parsley flakes
1 x tsp of coriander flakes
1 x large egg
1/2 x tsp of pepper

A. Mix all ingredients together very well till smooth

B. Create walnut-sized raw meatballs (you should end up with 25-30 meatballs)
C. Caramelise in fry pan in plenty of lamb fat (do not cook completely - just brown all sides only)
D. Set aside

Lamb dripping - so tasty for frying.

The sauce:

Using the same frying pan and leaving the lamb fat in there....

A. Turn frying pan off
B. Add 1 heaped tablespoon of flour
C. Using a fork, mix flour in thoroughly with lamb fat (no lumps please)
D. Add 400 mils of water
E. Turn on frying pan to medium
F. Stir vigorously with fork till flour thickens
G. Turn off frying pan
H. Add 1 x tablespoon of Vegemite
I.  Add 2 x tablespoons of mild mustard paste
J. Add 1 x tablespoon of honey
K. Add 1 x tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
L. Add 1 x pinch of Turmeric powder
M. Add 500 mils of cream
N. Turn frying pan back on
O. Stir thoroughly (ensuring the Vegemite is completely melted and integrated)
P. Taste test - add salt and pepper to taste

Cooking the meatballs in the sauce:

Leaving your sauce in the frying pan on medium......

A. Add meatballs back in
B. Ladle sauce over the top of the meatballs
C. Pop lid on frying pan
D. Let simmer on medium for 7 minutes
E. Turn meatballs and ladle sauce over them again
F. Pop lid back on frying pan
G. Let simmer for another 7 minutes

Serve hot

Serve with a mashed potato, cous cous or a rice base (serves 6)
Or, serve as just meatballs and sauce (serves 4.....hmmm or maybe 2, or eat the whole lot yourself! hee hee!)

Take care folks and stay nice out there!

Mr HM (Phil)

Monday, 19 June 2017

The New Dark Age

Home made chocolates and sweets

The new dark ages are upon us - but it just does not look like it.  For all intents and purposes it seems like an age of light, knowledge and progress.

The dark ages in history are a loose term applied to Europe post the fall of the Roman Empire.  Europe appeared to fall into a long period of misinformation, subsistence living, unrefined skills, personal drudgery, polarisation of wealth and a regression in meaningful progress.

To be fair - the dark ages did see some amazing art, thought and progress in certain pockets of civilisation - but for the run of-the-mill person...things had regressed significantly from an earlier age in many ways.
Blini's !

Despite our glittering cities, our ubiquitous technology and our brain-exploding levels of education, we too are now entering into a dark age - a dark age of real life skills. My guess is that we are about 55-60 years into it.

Afternoon tea keeps ones equilibrium in good health.

As the historical dark ages were characterised by certain things, so too is our new dark age viz:
·                     Atrophied knowledge on personal food production
·                     Lost knowledge on self-medication
·                     Complete reliance on systems, super-producers and mega-farms
·                     A monetary system where currency has no intrinsic worth 
·                     Huge shifts from producer-societies to consumer societies
·                     World resources, power and wealth poured into arms and warfare
·                     Massive increase in mental health issues (despite our modern wonder-world)
·                     Slavery to job, careers and a consumer society
·                     Inability to obtain goods and services that last a life-time
·                     No personal access to free or communal water
·                     No personal access to free or communal earth
·                     No personal access to free of communal commodities
·                     Atrophied knowledge on what basic commodities, elements and staples are.
·                     Reliance on off-shore (out-sourced) slavery
·                     Non-existent life-skills on clothing production
·                     Removal of certain basic human skills/knowledge from schooling curricula
·                     Reliance of substances to create enjoyment, peace or calm.
·                     Council laws prohibiting production and growth of food or food producing animals
·                     Products designed to fail and of necessity be repurchased (planned obsolescence)
·                     Retirement funding failure
·                     Housing unaffordable for most without a significant uninterrupted lifetime income.
·                     Synthesized chemicals and compounds replacing real foods
·                     Personal disconnection from land, sea, soil, fire, water, clean air and nature.
·                     Seasons have simply become fashion triggers or personal inconveniences
·                     Being "green" is expensive, dominated by green consumerism.
·                     Full and utter dependence on electricity in all its forms

Buns in the oven

Despite the appearance of a thriving modern world, this small list above quickly shows that we are in a dark age - a dark age where our most basic instincts and skills have been stripped, outlawed, socially scorned,  stealthily removed, atrophied and stolen whilst we have been distracted.

We use our pressure cooker nearly every day.

Time to effectively revolt.  Revolt by quietly and stealthily relearning lost skills, amassing real wealth (Real Wealth - see previous post!), educating widely and freely, politely eschewing the offerings of consumerism, remeasuring success with utterly different KPI's, rewarding a completely different set of human behaviours and norms - turning the world upside down without a single shot being fired.

Take care folks

Stay nice!


Sunday, 18 June 2017

Real Wealth

Every dollar counts

Hi folks

It has been many years since banks were required to hold the equivalent amount of gold against their paper money - and it has been many more years since coinage was worth in actual metal value what the amount stamped on it declares.  Paper has always only been representative and of no actual value.

Our current banking, investment and monetary system has slowly evolved into a representative system and from thence into a perceived representative system that is so fragile that a fox could knock it over with a nudge of  its nose.

Money is an illusion - an illusion that 'stable' countries believe in.  That illusion crumbles instantly in the face of natural disaster, civil unrest, widespread international unrest, fashion and market fluctuation.

If you have ever been in the following scenarios you will know that money is not real or 'safe' as an end in itself.

·                     A stock market crash
·                     A GFC or depression
·                     A factory built around your family home 
·                     Poisons found in your neighbourhood (extreme case: Chernobyl)
·                     Inflation in your country becomes uncontrolled
·                     A war
·                     A country town with no EFTPOS /  ATM
·                     A bank closure
·                     You contract an incurable disease

Money is only real to the point that we believe it is real and treat it as real - however when we are cold, hungry, wet and sick, money cannot physically help us unless someone else sees value in our money and is prepared to take it in exchange for the thing/s we need to warm, feed, dry or heal ourselves. Pretty risky stuff actually.

Breakfast shared for two.

Even peoples' understanding of what an asset is, can be skewed - An asset is only an asset if it is earning you a usable income or producing you goods and services of a value that exceeds your expenditure on the asset. 

What is Real Wealth?

When the chips are seriously down, real wealth is this:

Total uninhibited ownership or free access to resources that can directly provide:

·                     Surplus and replenishable food sources
·                     Surplus and replenishable water
·                     Surplus and replenishable minerals and compounds
·                     Surplus and replenishable building materials
·                     Surplus and replenishable clothing fibres
·                     Surplus and replenishable fuel
·                     Surplus and sustainable peace and security
·                     Surplus and sustainable shelter and liveable habitats
·                     Sustainable, meaningful community
·                     Knowledge and skills to extract, manufacture, heal, delight and create from these resources.

With this list - we can live full, happy, healthy, celebratory lives with connectivity to the earth and its folk.  

Anything more is just an exhausting meaningless illusion created and fiercely maintained and promoted by consumerists and their addicted devotees.

A lovely harvest of garlic

Take care folks and stay nice.


P.S.  Think critically about who currently owns (or is quietly acquiring) and controls the list in red above......yep.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Monday Night Gossip

Toby-the-dog looking rather fierce and brave.....

It has been a long weekend here in NSW Australia and we have spent it .... painting.  Whilst Mrs HM's biological mum is in hospital with a broken hip (she is doing very well) we have swooped on the opportunity to paint her bedroom, lounge and dining room so it is nice and fresh for her when she returns from rehab. It has not been painted for 30 years, so it's probably due for a freshen up.

As you all probably know, it is the prep and cleaning that take the longest - the painting is the fun part.  We have chosen combinations of Dulux Antique White USA and Dulux Hogs Bristle 1/2 strength and it is looking fabulous. We finished the last coat tonight and all that is left to do is remove the taping, clean and polish all the woodwork, dry clean the carpets, clean and put back all the furniture, polish the furniture, buy new bed linen and lounge room cushions, clean the windows, rehang the washed curtains and then lastly reinstall Mrs HM's mum!  Easy....should be all done by morning tea time tomorrow- ha ha.

Drop sheets and wet paint - that dreadful green paint all gone now.

We have also been dog-sitting her pupper whilst she has been in hospital too. Toby-the-dog has been very well behaved....well mostly. Toby has only barked at the cat 17 trillion times in the last two weeks, chased the chooks endlessly, 'conversed' ceaselessly with the puppers next door, had excited peeing in every room, escaped out of the front gate countless times....(exhale) it's going well.

So that's how we spent our long weekend - gettin' stuff done.

Take care folks and stay nice.


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