Thrifty

People are always looking for ways to save money or live a cheaper lifestyle, especially if you want to travel or buy a home your disposable income quickly is eaten up by your savings or mortgage.

A couple of months ago I went to the USA and Mexico and to make that financially possible I looked at ways of becoming more Thrifty.

Here a few tips I have for you, some may be common sense or not very life changing but every little bit counts.

GET A SECOND JOB OR ASK FOR MORE SHIFTS: So far between rent, internet, phone, electricity and gas bills, car registration & unexpected expenses like getting fined for jaywalking and a rock smashing windscreen on motorway I have needed to take up working every second Saturday (on top of my regular 9-5 Monday to Friday) this is thoroughly exhausting and not for everyone but I am certain the end goal was worth it!

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Taken by yours truly ~ TULUM, MEXICO, SEPTEMBER 2017


SHOP AROUND: Ironically my jaywalking ticket was as a result of trying to be thrifty and it ended up costing me more. I wanted a strawberry milkshake ($6 from café across from my office) I opted to get an Oak Strawberry milk from Woolworths across the road for $2.75, my $3.25 saving ended up costing me $72.25 more! (Side note: I am no law breaker all I did was cross the road 3 seconds before the little man went green, after the cars had stopped on the red, endangering no one! Unlucky for me an eagle eyed tax collector masquerading as a highway patrol officer was at said red light, this ticket was my first EVER! and defiantly my last! I felt the ticket was not about law enforcing or public safety it was pure revenue raising and soul destroying!!!  I would still recommend going to Woolworths and saving an extra $3.25 just make sure you don’t cross the road seconds before the green man appears!

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Other things to shop around for are a better deal on your insurance, utility providers, accommodation – anything and everything!  Make a regular habit of checking to see if you are still under contract, are you getting the best rate or plan available to you. Question price increases, chances are you can find a better deal elsewhere or persuade the company to give you a discount for loyalty of not leaving to get a better deal, this has worked for me with my phone/internet provider, as well as storage company.  Another thing to check is your bank, are you paying too many fees, can you find someone offering free account keeping fees, start with your own branch I never realized I was entitled to zero account fees until I asked saving me $60 per year which is 850 MXN Peso!

You could get entry into Frida Kahlo’s house and still have 760 left over just on that one saving per year!

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Picture of Courtyard taken by me at Frida Kahlo's House 
Mexico City - October 2017

MORNING COFFEE: The oldest trick in the book is to cut out your morning coffee (and save approx $1,000 per year!)  but If you are like me and do not want to miss out on your $4.30 flat white with extra shot from the café downstairs that used to have a cute barista, at least pick up their loyalty card. Getting your coffee on a Monday morning for FREE will make your day a little brighter trust me, and make you feel less bad about the $20 you spend a week on coffee!

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My Instagram photo of a Soup bowl super sized coffee on my first morning 
in Los Angeles.  
DTLA September 2017

 

LUNCH SPECIALS: Check out your favourite restaurants for lunch specials, I know my local Thai and Indian lunch specials are $9.90 & $7.90 compared to the $15+ per dish spent in the evening. Pick up lunch specials and put in the fridge at work to take home for tonight’s dinner. Thai or Indian for 2 delivered in the evening can be in excess of $45 compared to the $15-$20 lunch specials, over time that is a potential $65 per week you could be saving.

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MEAL PLANNING: I touched on this slightly with lunch specials, I try to make lunch at work as much as possible, even if it means eating peanut butter on toast every second day. Also plan evening meals, if you know you are going to dinner with a friend or out for a special occasion budget for these things (look up the menu before you go) and more importantly don’t buy unnecessary food for home. If you are like me and buy fresh and you know you are only going to be home for dinner 5 out of 7 nights only buy enough food to make 5 dinners, the savings will add up in the long run.

 

 

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CAR VS PUBLIC TRANSPORT: I gave up catching the train to work – I know I know Carbon footprint etc but I realized a couple of things that made more fiscal (not socially responsible) sense. By catching the train I was spending $80 per fortnight on Opal (train ticket) as well as spending $23.07 a week just to own a car (registration/ insurance) and by leaving my car at home it was still costing me money! Petrol to get to and from work is less than $80 per fortnight so it just made more sense to sit in peak hour listening to music in comfort alone with the heater on vs. sitting (in peak hour mostly standing) on a cold train with 100s of people coughing all over me.  I am also saving a fortune on taxis from the train station, as often I would get caught in an unexpected rainstorm or be carrying heavy parcels and didn’t want to make the 1km trek home. I am also more productive at work, not contracting nasty colds shared on public transport.

 

SELF CONTROL: I have also stopped buying random things and clothes and makeup until it is thread bare or down to the last drop. I am sure everyone can cut back somewhere on something and be amazed at the savings.

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Other money saving ideas include: Growing your own vegetables, buying second hand goods,  getting things for free from freecycle groups on facebook.

STAY WITH FAMILY & FRIENDS: Full disclaimer I have family who recently moved to the USA and my Best Friend recently moved back to Mexico so I only stayed and paid for 5 out of 20 nights in accommodation as the rest was spent with family and friends and one night paid for by Virgin Australia for cancelling my flight home.

 

If you have any more great money saving ideas leave them in the comments below.

Long time no see!

Hello World I am working on some blogs, I always have ideas but then life gets in the way,  I dont log on and then I forget to email myself photos to make the words pretty.

I will be back with some interesting stories soon I promise!!! Don’t forget to follow me on social media visit me on INSTAGRAM  OR TWITTER

If you have nothing better to do re read some of my previous blogs.

 

Karla

 

 

 

 

Welcome 2017

Every year I make a resolution to blog more and every year I am lucky if I do one or two blogs so I am not promising more blogs. While the rest of the world is waking up to the first day of 2017, it is late afternoon here in Australia. For breakfast I made blueberry pancakes however the blueberries sunk into the batter and didn’t turn out as pretty as I wanted them to.

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Attempting ’17 in my blueberry pancakes

2016 was a year of travel for me, some short trips, some not so short trips. I went to Brisbane in February to visit my best friend and her beautiful little family, In June I spent a week in paradise on Hamilton Island exploring surrounding Islands and the Great Barrier Reef, in September I went further abroad and visited Ireland and The UAE, in November I went down to Melbourne to accept my award from work #1 Sales Support (within the Network) in Australia and finished up the year spending Christmas with some of the Family in Byron Bay.

One of my bestest friends moved back to Mexico at the end of 2016 and I already miss her sooo much, hopefully more travel is on the cards in 2017! I am going to Mexico to see my Amiga!

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Farewell Brunch for my BFF Vanessa

 

For New Years Eve the weather was cloudy, hot and not the sunny Sydney I am used to so I decided to stock up on liquor and snacks and stayed in and had a cocktail party for 2!

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The Weather on New Years Eve

Usually we make the pilgrimage down to Sydney Harbour to watch the $7million dollar fireworks extravaganza but this year I decided you know what No! No to crowded public transport, no to standing shoulder to shoulder with 1.5 Million sweaty strangers, no to bathroom ques so long you just want to go home and no to overpriced drinks and cover charges in clubs.

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Our view of the Fireworks last Year NYE 2015-16

For my cocktail party I decided to use my nutribullet to blend some ice cubes, fruit and spirits off the top of my head and they turned out pretty well. After getting a bit tipsy we decided to stick to more traditional recipes that didn’t involve blending and made some pretty tasty food to  compliment the drinks.

What we used for our cocktails: Tequila, Vodka, Midori, Apple Schnapps, Peach Schnapps, Cranberry Juice, Pineapple Juice, Nutribullet, Limes, Apples, Kiwi Fruit

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1800 is the best tequila ever!

Below is the home made pizza, we used a pre made fresh pitta bread base and I added tomato’s, spinach, green capsicum, breast chicken and tasty cheese.

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Home made Pizza

For snacks I cut up some celery, got some crackers, smashed some avocado, got a pre made taziki  and a guacamole, the other half is into cheese and salmon so I put some on a plate to the side, we also had a mix of lollies, grapes and chocolate to complete the snack.

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Party for 2

After we had eaten it was time to get mixing, I chopped up some limes, apples and kiwi fruit and we got creative. I named the following Karla’s Ninja Turtle as I am sure that a drink somewhere out there is already called Ninja Turtle.

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Ingredients for Karla’s Ninja Turtle

Karla’s Ninja Turtle

  • Vodka – As much as you want
  • Midori – As much as you want
  • Apple Schnapps – As much as you want
  • Apples – We used 2 small granny smith chopped
  • Ice cubes- A hand full
  • Lime – 1/4 of a wedge
  • Pineapple Juice – Just a splash

Put in nutibullett blend until smooth and drink

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Karla’s Ninja Turtle

I found the apple made it a bit cloudy and gave it a froth on top, it was a bit sweet and the next one we added more lime to make it less sweet.

After experimenting with the apple we moved onto Kiwi fruit this was pretty much the same recipe  as above except with Kiwi Fruit, I found the kiwi fruit made it really tangy and if I do kiwi again I might stick to the recipe book.

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Karla’s Kiwi

By now we are tipsy and over using the nutribullett and decided to make our own take on the shot with a naughty name “Wet Pussy” at this stage I thought it was called a “QF” and decided to call this one the Slow F.

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Karla’s “Slow F$@#”

Karla’s Slow F

  • 1 Part Tequila
  • 2 Part Peach Schanpps
  • 3 Part Cranberry
  • Ice cubes

We also tried this replacing tequila with vodka.

Did I forget to mention our freezer is too small to put the ice in and we had the ice inside 2 supermarket cooler bags on the floor. By this stage the ice was melting and the cooler bags dripping water onto the floor, so we moved them to the bath tub.

 

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Our Freezer for the night

With the ice cube stock depleting (melting in our bath tub) and the lack of desire to chop fruit we moved onto shots.

This shot is the traditional Wet Pussy and like the Slow F you can use Tequila or Vokda

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Shots, Shots, Shots

Surprisingly we stayed awake until midnight and saw in 2017. By this stage we had cracked out glow sticks and played music from 1999 ( Our own little tribute to Prince) We partied like it was 1999!

At 12 we sent out a blurry selfie to our nearest and dearest, taken in the dark (so you could see our glow sticks of course) and then went off into a sound sleep.

I traditionally take a photograph of the first sunrise of the year however I got up a few hours later to discover much like the previous day the sunrise was nothing special just a soft cloudy glow, so I didn’t bother to get my camera and just crawled back into bed, I will leave you with the stunning sunrise that was New Years Day 2016 and wish you all a very happy healthy 2017!

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The First Sunrise of 2016 – The sun on the first day of 2017 didn’t come to the party

 

 

Top of the Morning To You

Today is my birthday and my present to you is a overdue blog.

Last week I was in Dublin, Ireland for the celebration of my brothers wedding. I didn’t post much of my travels on social media as I was present in the moment, exploring the city and creating memories that last a life time.

Irish hospitality is second to none, nothing was too much trouble, everyone is so friendly.

The only downside to the Emerald Isle is the weather… cloudy, cold with a touch of rain everyday,  luckily I packed a waterproof jacket and didn’t let the rain get in the way of my stay.

Below are some images of Dublin from Dublin Castle to Christchurch Cathedral, Liffey River, Trinity Collage, Four courts, Oldest Pub in Ireland and everything in between.

 

 

These images are by thakarla.com for thakarla.com

What is in a name

Facebook’s new “Real Name” policy has sent a wave of emotions around the world. There are many reasons why people do not want to use their real name on Facebook, and the majority of these reasons are not sinister! You may need to use an alias due to employment, teachers and  prison guards come to mind as people who may not want to be found by their peers, what about people fearful for their life due to an ex partner, ex criminal ties, past gang affiliation, or people who are LBGT and don’t want to be publicly outed, and just every day people who don’t want to be added by co workers or ex classmates.

For me personally up until recently I used Tha Karla simply because this is my social media alias. Tha Karla all started when I went to sign up to something and Karla was already taken, The Karla was already taken, and I was like you know what I am THA KARLA!  I have Tha Karla for Email, Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Instagram (well kind of its tha.karla)  and of course my blog is also tha karla, so why is it that I logged onto facebook a couple of months ago only to be advised by Facebook that I was not a real person, Tha Karla was not my real name and should I wish to keep using Tha Karla on Facebook I had to provide government Id to Facebook!

This is just ridiculous atleast my name really is Karla!!! I have seen so many names that are not even close to real yet I am the one singled out!

I remember a time when it was highly popular to use a pseudonym or alias online and people were warned not to use their real identity, so when did this suddenly change? When did it be considered socially acceptable to use your real name? So why Mr Zuckerburg is it that I have to use my real name? Is it so you can sell my information to companies to smart market me, is it so the intelligence agencies can have a database of the world? Why Mark, Why? Wasn’t facebook started out as a rating site for attractive woman? When did facebook become so political and driven by monetary gain! What happened to the mystery of online profiles?

Side note: back in the day I was #1 on HotorNot.com for like a day or something (using an alias of course) 

Society has changed so much and so quickly, not only is it now okay to use your real name, it is a policy of one of the most popular websites on the internet today, as is the rise in popularity to document every waking moment online and give pictures and locations (geo tagging or check ins) to further assist in the identification of not only your real name but your whereabouts too.

Who is identifying you, you may ask? It is more like who is not identifying you! Of course we have the usual suspects Exes, people you went to school with, people who you went to uni with, people you used to work with, people who now date said exes, even random curious people who saw a mutual friend like or comment on your photo or latest over share of your life, not to mention the creepy next door neighbour, the spy agencies whose job it is to monitor the online world need I continue, which is is why people should have the right to use an alias whether it be on Facebook or instagram or whatever online forum you chose.

With the rise of cyber crime, cyber bullying and identity theft, it may not be the wisest move to post every intimate detail online creating a digital footprint of your latest relationship disaster or the recent birth of your child, and most importantly giving people real time access to your real name, real date of birth, whereabouts, etc.

For now I will keep using my aliases in hope to protect whatever privacy we have left in the modern world.

Australian Premiere of Magic Mike XXL

Last night I attended the long awaited Australian Premiere of Magic Mike XXL which is no surprise to those who know me, since I have been a long time fan of Channing Tatum from the first time I saw him it was love at first sight, apparently this was also the case for his beautiful wife Jena who went onto marry him after co staring in step up.

Channing has come along way since She’s the Man and Step Up arriving on the red carpet in a three piece suit…Surely I am not the only one who thinks that this is highly inappropriate attire given the movie he is promoting! Also in attendance was the older and almost sexier co star Joe Manganiello, known as “Big Dick Richie” in the movie, as well as the men who made the movie happen- Writer/Producer Reid Carolin and Director Greg Jacobs. Although thousands of woman of all ages kept screaming for Channing and Joe, I would like to give Reid and Greg a big cheer too and say Thank you for giving us a sequel.

First things first, the red carpet and the celebrities (or lack of celebrities) the ONLY person I recognized on the red carpet (besides those sexy movie stars Chan & Joe) was newcomer  Matt Wilson (aka Aaron Brennan) from Neighbours; who also happens to play a gay male entertainer on the Australian soap.

After the never ending parade of poor fashion, and people who I no idea about finally took their seats up next was “Australia’s own Magic Mike Dancers”.

Australian dances pretending to be Magic Mike

Australian dancers pretending to be the guys from “Magic Mike”

This was disappointing, not because they are bad dancers or unattractive, totally the opposite, however I had secretly hoped when I read “Magic Mike Dance Performance” on the run sheet that this would mean Channing would be dancing on stage, right now, in front of me! Sadly it appears that Channing only dances when he is edited to perfection… sigh!

Finally the moment everyone is waiting for; Channing, Joe, Greg and Reid introduce the movie, the ladies scream and the movie screens. Meanwhile the cast retreat back stage, presumably eating, drinking, smoking cigars, and doing whatever it is movie stars do. At first I spent a good first few minutes of the movie wondering if I should try sneak back there but then Channing’ s character hears Pony on the radio and starts a seductive dance full of sexual innuendo with power tools and I decided I didn’t want to risk getting kicked out of the premier after all.

Anyways….I wont go into details, as I am sure by now everyone who wants to see the movie has seen the movie, and as for my Australian fans who have to wait until Thursday I wouldn’t want give anything else away, except that the character “Mike” used to work in another club, his nickname was “White Chocolate”…. and I much prefer that stage name to “Magic Mike”!

Cast Q&A

Cast Q&A

After the film the cast, director and producer appeared back on stage for a question and answer. I wont go into too much details, you can watch it here for yourself  LIVE on Periscope but what I will say is that Channing hinted at a live Vegas Magic Mike show (Think Thunder from Downunder) and that he might even be in it, if that happens I am going to need deporting from the US!!! I would be front and centre every show- check back here for a kickstarter page to help fund me should this Vegas show ever eventuate.

Apologies the photos are a bit blurry but you can only do so much in a dark room, with a camera phone, and a cast covered in spotlight; I would also like to mention I am devastated that I didnt get to take a picture of Channing with me, but the crowds camped out overnight, it was just too cold and too stalkerish to stand around and wait for him, although if his people want to contact my people karla@thakarla.com I would gladly venture back out in the cold for a chance to get a hug and get a picture with the man himself!

Anyways ladies and gentleman it was a great night but by the end of it I had a headache from all the screaming that went on before, during and after the movie at the Australian Premiere of Magic Mike XXL  (Qantas Credit Union Arena – formally and always known as The Sydney Entertainment Centre)

If you are lucky selected Hoyts cinemas are doing advanced screenings Wednesday night for Magic Mike XXL and for everyone else get out there on Thursday and watch the movie because lets face it the rest of the world has already seen it and you wont be disappointed, except for the fact you are not in it.

~Karla

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