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How to budget for a home on a low income

How to budget for wedding costs and save for a deposit on a home at the same time

Saver v spender: How to get on the same page as your partner to save for a home

Everyone has to curb their lifestyle in some way, shape or form to buy a home.

It might be by cutting back on nights out, buying fewer coffees or purchasing budget clothes instead of designer.

But the one thing you don’t want to compromise on is your health.

Whether or not it is more expensive to buy healthy food than unhealthy is debatable, with different research studies proving it both is and isn’t. Some have even found that we just believe less healthy options are more affordable.

But the fact is that food in general isn’t cheap – it’s one of our biggest expenses. How many times have you popped into the grocery store to buy just a few items only to be shocked when the total rolls well past $100 at the checkout?

There are ways to reduce your weekly food bill, starting with the elimination of wastage, which is equivalent to throwing money in the bin.

To make sure you’re using every last morsel of food in your kitchen, go through your fridge and pantry thoroughly so there’s nothing hiding in the back that you forgot about.

Next you should do up a nutritious meal plan, put the groceries you need on your shopping list, and don’t buy any unnecessary items.

If you shop wisely and look for specials you’ll be able to make extra savings.

Other options to save money on food include shopping in bulk and starting a vegie patch. Fresh rosemary, mint and cherry tomatoes picked from an inner-city apartment’s balcony garden.Photo: supplied

Some people opt for food delivery programs to lose weight, but these aren’t for those on a tight budget. It will cost you far more than buying your own ingredients or even buying a frozen meal at the grocery store.

This might be a little out of left field, but if you’re after a quick fix for your waistline and your bottom line, I have four little words for you – brown rice and tuna. Repeat after me – B,R and T. BR&T.

Now, before you screw your nose up, hear me out.

Fitness nuts have been onto BR&T for some time because it helps your physique. In fact, these were key ingredients in Sylvester Stallone’s diet when he was preparing for Rocky III.

I’m making a bold prediction that it’s now coming into vogue for wannabe home owners, because in addition to being healthy, it’s cheap. And it means you can prioritise your health and your bank balance. BR&T could be the new smashed avo – in terms of trendiness, not price – for budget-conscious Aussies who are holding on to the Great n Dream.

One of the much-cited ways of cutting spending is to bring your lunch to work, and while the smell of BR&T might offend some of your colleagues, it is guaranteed to shave dollars off your grocery bill.

It will cost you no more than $3 for a standard BR&T meal with a splash of soy sauce. If you want to fancy it up you could add corn, tomatoes or cucumber for an extra dollar or two. Obviously you can’t have it for every meal, but even just a few times a week will make a big difference. If you had BR&T for your work lunches five days a week, it would only cost you $720 a year.

Compare that to buying a salad, costing about $12, or less healthy takeout options such as a burger and chips, costing about $15. That’s four to five times more! Meanwhile, for a snack, a healthy serving of carrot sticks and homemade hummus will cost you no more than $1 and will be more filling than a $2 chocolate bar.

The thousands of dollars in savings you make from switching to BR&T will only go a little way to saving a deposit, but when combined with other measures to slash your food bill it’s a good start.

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Wilpinjong protesters first to face new law Arrest: Wollar resident Bev Smiles in the area she has called home for more than 30 years. She was arrested on Wednesday for protesting outside Wilpinjong coal mine.
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Charge: Bev Smiles outside Wilpinjong coal mine as police escort her away to be charged.

Protest: Bev Smiles is interviewed outside a Planning Assessment Commission hearing into the Wilpinjong coal mine expansion project.

Victory: Bev Smiles (left) and other Upper Hunter residents celebrate after former senior Labor politicians were charged with offences relating to controversial coal mine projects.

TweetFacebookI’ve always said I won’t go down without a fight. We just upped the ante on that. I’ve got nothing to lose. My message is you can put me in jail. Do what you want.

Environmental activist and Wollar resident Bev SmilesOnly three homes in Wollar remain privately owned. East of the village, where Ms Smiles, her sister and brother in law live, they are the only remaining residents and their homes are surrounded by land owned by Peabody Energy, which owns Wilpinjong mine.

Mr Hughes, who grew up in the Gulgong area and whose father was a timber cutter in the Wollar area where Mr Hughes now lives, is one of about 10 remaining property owners to the north.

Ms Smiles said another highly controversial coal mine proposal, in the Bylong Valley, would also have significant impacts on Wollar because mine traffic would be through the village.

“I certainly don’t want to move anywhere else, but the impacts of the mine as it is are significant, and we know that’s going to get worse. The Environment Protection Authority and the Department of Planning are trying to sneak in new industrial guidelines to this mine, before they’ve even been approved, and if they apply to this extension then I’m probably going to have to just walk away from this place for the sake of my health.”

Ms Smiles and others had asked the PAC to consider conditions which would give them acquisition rights, where they can negotiate to have Peabody buy their properties because of mine impacts.

“We’ve got properties you can’t sell on the open market. That’s the reality when a mine moves in.”

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The new NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller.30th March 2017.Photo: Steven Siewert Photo: Steven SiewertThe newly-appointed NSW police commissioner has lambasted a view propagated among some Muslim ns that Muslim husbands are permitted to hit their wives.
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In a video discussion posted on the Women of Hizb ut-Tahrir ‘s Facebook page on April 8, two women from the hardline fringe group said that the permission to strike a disobedient wife was “a beautiful blessing” but it should only be soft and “symbolic”.

The women, western Sydney primary school teacher Reem Allouche and Indian-born scholar Atika Latifi, also said that Muslim men have slower reaction times and no ability to multi-task but are physically stronger and obliged to be the leader in a marriage.

It was widely condemned, including in a statement signed by 34 sheikhs and prominent Muslims which said the promotion of violence is “against the spirit and letter of Islam” and “undermines the love, mercy and mutual support that should define a Muslim marriage”.

On Thursday, federal minister for women, Michaelia Cash, said the video was an “abhorrent” attempt to teach the next generation of young n Muslims that violence against women was acceptable.

“Domestic violence is abuse – plain and simple. It is not “a beautiful blessing”, she said.

Shadow minister for women, Tanya Plibersek, tweeted: “Violence and control – never okay. No excuses. Always a crime.”

Commissioner Mick Fuller, who led the police force’s response to domestic violence before his promotion last month, said the law doesn’t distinguish between race or religion.

“At a time when police are determined to break the cycle of domestic violence, it’s disturbing to think there are people who will condone it,” he told Fairfax Media on Thursday. “Men need to take responsibility and not receive encouragement to behave violently.”

The 30-minute video aimed to discuss a contentious verse from the Koran that says: “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means. Therefore the righteous woman are Qanitat, and guard in the husband’s absence what Allah orders them to guard. As to those women on whose part you see ill conduct, admonish them, and abandon them in their beds, and beat them, but if they return to obedience, do not seek a means against them.”

Ms Latifi said that husbands should exercise their three options in order.

First, he should advise the disobedient wife of the rule of Allah. If that doesn’t work, he should refuse to share the bed with her. If that doesn’t work he is permitted to hit her.

Citing two scholars, she said the strike should not cause pain and should be done with an item like a sivaak (a small stick used for cleaning) or a coiled scarf or folded handkerchief.

“It is merely a symbolic act,” she said. “What a beautiful blessing from Allah, that he said not to take all the steps at one time. It is one after the other.”

She said examples of disobedience are acts considered a sin rather than something like forgetting to cook dinner. Strong statement from @SenatorCash on that Hizb ut-Tahrir video. #auspolpic.twitter苏州夜总会招聘/pS8Gm3xcSD??? Bianca Hall (@_Biancah) April 13, 2017Read More →

How do we raise girls to be strong and free? It actually starts in the toddler years.
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They need encouragement and permission to be adventurous, messy, noisy and physical.

Fathers are often the key to this – many dads like to take their children into the outdoors, and are much more vigorous in how they play.

This is good for a girl who can learn to trust and enjoy her body and what it can do.

Of course you have to be careful – I read once that children are five times more likely to end upin hospital while in the care of their dad!

So some common sense is called for.

The neuroscience is proving something very important – that nature is good for our brains.

Your daughter, whatever her age, is a wild creature, and needs to be in the rhythms, textures, seasons and peace of nature.

An overgrown garden she can build cubbies in,pets she can cuddle and love – and even see die – and big landscapes of beaches and hills to run in.

They are all essential to her mental health.

Kids learn calmness in nature, away from screens and the jangling artificial world.

Nothing in nature is saying be thin, be pretty, be rushed.

She can find and be herself, happy in her own company, or teaming up with others to build or imagine.

The clothes and toys we choose are important because they unintentionally may put limits onto her.

Don’t dress your toddler in frilly, expensive or fragile clothes.

That sends a signal to her that she is there to be looked at.

Don’t keep telling her how pretty she is, as she will start to think that’s what matters in life.

Tell her how kind she is, how strong, how funny, how good a friend, what a good climber she is.

An occasional princess dress won’t do any harm, but in the main,avoid anywhere the words kids and fashion occur together.

Dress her for messiness whenever you can.

Imagination is better when toys are few, and don’t determine how you play.

A big box of wooden blocks is better than “My little clothes shop”.

In fact, according to Simplicity Parenting author Kim Payne, halving the amount of toys our kids have lying around actually makes it easier for them to play, and learn to focus.

It also helps not to have TV or radio on where they are playing, as studies show that kids can’t concentrate.

In a quiet living room, toddlers make up more stories and act out the conversations between their toys.

It’s a brilliant (and often hilarious) way that they learn social skills and deal with their lives through play.

TV and screens are not great for toddlers – a few, well loved and well worn DVD’s or regular shows like Playschool that are crafted to suit their brain development, should be the only electronics in toddlers lives.

With a bit of thought, we can focus on keeping little girls feeling strong, active explorers.

Girlswho don’t give a thought to how they look and see the world as theirs to explore.

And that’s the start of making them free.

Next week, we’ll talk about how tokeep that going through the primary school years.

SteveBiddulph is the author ofTen Things Girls Need Most.

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