Time to reflect back on 2015, the trials and tribulations, successes and wins, and to look forward to 2016, a brand new year - a clean slate just waiting for me to add my tiny influence on what will become history.
Wendy (My Abundant Life) told me she likes reading my "week that was" posts so I thought I'd do a "year that was" and see how far we've come in 2015.
So much has happened this year and we have been blessed in so many ways.
Hannah officially started her apprenticeship, giving her job security and beginning her "life plan".
AJ started a business with two friends from Uni. These three brilliant young men are so enthusiastic about their futures, it's been an absolute joy to watch them as they've established their company and settled into a working partnership that has strengthened their friendship. And we're all going to benefit from their enthusiasm and expertise too.
Tom has taken an interest in Cheapskates and began helping in the office and learning how the website runs and his input and help has been invaluable.
A Current Affair spent a few days with me, filming my day-to-day life and putting together a story about just how Cheapskates came to be. The story aired in March and I'm still getting emails from people who watched it. The repercussions have been astounding, and I'm humbled to think that by sharing my story I've been able to help others. You can watch the story here. http://aca.ninemsn.com.au/article/8970023/australias-supermarket-whistleblower
The first Cheapskates workshop was held in Adelaide and it was amazing. Wendy and I had the best time with everyone, putting faces to names was lovely and meeting "old" friends in person for the first time was wonderful. The excitement and enthusiasm in the room was overwhelming, so much so that the Today Tonight crew who came along to film our workshop were blown away.
I also did lots of library talks around Melbourne this year. I love library talks because they're (usually) smaller groups, where we can be relaxed and really share hints, tips, ideas, stories, experiences and spread the word about living frugally. I already have quite a few booked for 2016 and I'll post the details closer to the dates.
Wayne and I were able to get away for a few weeks, this time travelling from Melbourne to Robinvale, Broken Hill, Tibooburra, Birdsville, Mt Isa, Burketown, Katherine, Alice Springs, Port Augusta, Adelaide and Ballarat and lots of places in between. Along the way we caught up with some lovely Cheapskaters, again putting faces to names and email addresses was wonderful.
Back home in July and straight into sorting out our new website. This has been a HUGE job, much bigger than even I thought it would be and I knew just how much there was on the old site. It's had ups and downs, swings and roundabouts but we are almost done completely. I'm still tweaking little things here and there but for the most part the old website is shut and will be gone completely very soon. It served us well for 15 years. In website years that makes it pre-historic and I am really sad to see it go, but I'm more excited at the possibilities our new home brings with it.
We had some interesting news, with a new challenge for us financially. It meant a major overhaul of our spending plan, shopping habits and spending habits and things are tight, but not so tight we're choking. We've survived on less before, I know if we stick to the plan we'll survive this too.
Throughout the year we've been blessed by the most unexpected gifts that have come just as we have needed them. God is good.
In August we started our card-making afternoons and they've been so much fun. Again putting faces to names and sealing online friendships into "real" friendships has been such a blessing. I look forward to the next card day as soon as the last one is over, tragic I know, but I've saved a fortune on cards already!
Along the way we've dealt with health problems and learning to care for ageing parents.
We've persevered with the garden, even a few veggies saves us a lot of money.
I finally have my very own shed (yay).
Of course there were the weekly newsletters and the Journal each month, along with blog posts and Tip of the Day emails that, along with answering your questions, have kept me out of mischief.
I'm sure there are other things that have happened this year, but they don't come to mind right now. That's OK. 2015 has been a great year. It started full of promise and is ending with lots of those promises kept and for that I am grateful and feel blessed.
Thank you for your support, kindness and friendship, I can't wait to share 2016 with you.
Happy new year!