The Saving Habit

“Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving”
Warren Buffet

At the bus stop today I decided not to front the fare. I walked instead.

On the way I smelt coffee and considered buying a newspaper and a brew, but I kept walking.

In a window I saw some nice shoes at a really great price. I was tempted to splurge on them and affordability wasn’t really a problem, but instead I strolled on.

At lunchtime the day was overcast and a little cold. I considered going into a warm cafe and buying lunch. Instead I put on a coat and ate my prepacked potato salad in the park while I read a chapter of my book.

I didn’t spend on a whim today. Truth be told I wasn’t even tempted. I have committed every dollar available to a single result. Through the earnings I get from saving and investment I don’t have to work for somebody.

Coffee or work? Easy choice in my case.

Simple Parenting: Evolving beyond violence and intimidation

“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body”

Elizabeth Stone


As a parent I’m committed to not use fear or violence to control my children. In fact I don’t believe I have the right to expect that my children will be obedient or that they will respect my every wish.

Crazy right?

Let’s accelerate the madness.

I don’t even use timeout to punish because to my way of thinking to make another human sit in an invisible prison isn’t legit.

So if you don’t smack, you don’t scare and you don’t use timeout how do you keep things together?

I generally consider this question in my interactions with my child:

How would I feel if a smarter and physically superior person used this approach to control me?

This view has resulted in a decision to try to identify and outlaw the use of intellectual domination of my children as well.

Sure I still use the false choice like “would you like to put your shoes on or would you like me to help you put your shoes on?”.

It’s a false choice because no matter what the shoes are going on, but it’s a far cry from simply begging your child to put their shoes on while they assert their tiny will and bellow “I won’t!!”.

When you get in those types of confrontations there is no easy solution. My feeling is they can mostly be avoided. It’s a lack of understanding of your child and your child’s lack of understanding of the opportunity cost of not putting their shoes on.

So how the hell do you parent a kid without smacking, without intimidation and fear, without aggression and punishment and without using your smarts against a juvenile mind in a way that is unfair?

Good question.

Simply it comes down to coaching, guiding, negotiating (I’m massive on the value of negotiating), opportunity cost, clarification/reframing and bribery. You definitely have to do a little bribery sometimes! :)

Imagine you are back in college. You room with a really nice guy or girl who is still pretty immature. You care about them and want the best for them, but left to their own devices you can see they are a screw up in the making. You can’t bear to see all that potential squandered. How would you help in that situation?

Well you could beat the shit out of them every time they run late leaving the house. You could lock them in their room if they make a mess in the toilet. If you are scary enough you could make them stay at the table and eat dinner instead of allowing them to eat Cheetos, but tell me would you ever consider behaviour like this?

Face it you’ve slipped over from a strong desire to help to possibly committing a crimes against them.

If you agree that you’d never dare treat a buddy like this then why the hell do we think we have the right to treat the most vulnerable in our care in this way?

We need simpler and more effective parenting methods.

Using fear to parent your child is just a lazy excuse for real parenting. If you give up the violence you are going to need to become incredibly patient. You need to lay the table for the right behaviour and everything has a long lead time to avoid that store isle tantrum (seriously why are you even in the store in the first place…:)).

I started teaching my son about negotiation from 2 years old. He’s 3 now and he understands a few of the basics.

  1. We leave his presence (or ignore him if it is unsafe to walk away) when he tantrums. We are committed to making sure that is an ineffective expression of desire and that he sees the negotiating framework as the best way to achieve his aspirations.
  2. A ‘deal’ is an exchange of value and both people need to win.
  3. No deal means you need a new offer (his offers are hilarious and it’s a fun way to co-author your shared experience).
  4. Sometimes you can’t make a deal.
  5. A handshake is a binding arrangement (we do an olden style forearm grasp hand shake like Odysseus). I teach him that a man does what he says and that is where a bit of Greek bed time stories help to develop the concepts of integrity, honour and trut.

The other key to success in negotiation is to ensure that your child’s action goes first. Then you can renege if they don’t ‘do what they say’.

Of course you need a few other ongoing lesson layers because any prodigy of yours is going to quickly start to negotiate for the things that aren’t great for their health like lollies, TV, staying up and never bathing.

That said if my son crafts a very creative or innovative deal I let him won some things I’d prefer he didn’t have (e.g. staying up late) because I value the skill of negotiation and I think being an effective deal maker is going to set him up in life.

I want him to become a great negotiator and I’ll accept the risk that he gets so effective at negotiating that he can spike every at bat in his favour.

By that point hopefully some other lessons about health, humanity and the world around him have bedded in.

We fully expect our daughter to catch up fast under her brother’s tutelage. She’ll be speaking soon then we’ll have a houseful of little deal makers and deal breakers.

What we absolutely won’t have is physically or emotionally broken children. I want my kids to look back and say hey our parents really set us up with a few great skills for life.

I’m looking for future friends instead of the usual broken parent-child relationship thanks to overwhelming fear and loathing which children of abusive and intimidating parents get landed with in later life.

Simple parenting is harder. So what?

I believe it is so much more fun and so much more rewarding that once you give up violence and intimidation as your only tools you will realise how silly and childish that style of parenting really is.



Lost your job? Shit! Now do this…

“Whether you think you can, or think you can’t–you’re right”

Henry Ford

Just lost your job? Cripes, but congratulations! While losing your job unexpectidly is a bummer on the bright side you just landed two of key attributes you need to massively change your life. Free time and hunger (from the loss of comfort).

Before you jazz up your CV and start shopping it might I suggest that you don’t really want another boring, insecure corporate job. What you really need is money without the need to work. We’ll get to that, but first things first. Essentially why can’t your work be as interesting as poker, chess and fishing (or whatever you like doing)? Get out of the stupid trap you are in while you have this golden opportunity!  Check out my guide to the good life.

You are going to be broke. Being broke isn’t so bad if you have the right mindset.

Right now you need to crush your spending to soften the transition to another job (or out of work completely…sorry I’m getting ahead of myself). You can live for cheap and eat buckmeal until your financial situation improves.

Getting another job isn’t the only alternative. Broadly your response should be one of these options instead.

Starting your own business isn’t that scary.

Thanks to the digital world you don’t need much money or even a good idea to get into profitable business. There is only one critical thing you need to be in business and you can find out what that is by clicking here.

Maybe you don’t even need to be in business. I like unjobbing which has become viable because we really don’t need a lot of money to fund our lifestyle. We built up skills instead of credit.

Your response to losing your job is all on you. Take total responsibility and accept that you have everything you need to relaunch yourself.

Too many parents tell their kids that they can do anything they want to, but in the next breath they say that they gave up on their own dreams because of their children. What a weight on your kids. Wouldn’t you be a better role model for your kids if you went for it when your back was against the wall and the odds were stacked against you?

If you believe in yourself and seek out the right information you can look back on the experience of losing your job as the greatest pivot of your life. Use your time wisely and harness your hunger to drive the change to transform your working life.

If you know somebody that has recently lost their job (or who hates their job and would love to chuck it) please share this resource page with them using the sharing tools or via this link – Maybe bookmark this page yourself. You never know what is twists are around the corner!




Simplify your life: Discover 4 simple things you can change right now

“The life of inner peace, being harmonious and without stress, is the easiest type of existence”

Norman Vincent Peale


Is your life a stressful hot mess right now?

If the answer is yes you are not alone.

Our modern lives are so fast paced, pressurized and over scheduled that few people cope elegantly.

I often hear people talk about gaining work-life balance. Really there is no work or play or study. Just life in disguise and so you have to enjoy all of your moments whether they are labelled work, play or education.

Starting today I urge you to commit to four simple habit changes that can dramatically improve the quality of your experience.

Number one – don’t live in your inbox

Your email and phone messages should not run your life. You are the scheduler of your life not some external person. If you react to every email and text the instant it lands you are giving control of your life to a remote person. It’s like you are voluntarily becoming the TV in the corner and their device is the remote that turns you on and flips your channels! Turn off notifications and program 1-3 times a day that you will check your messages. This puts you in charge of the information rather than letting the notifications shape every moment of wakefulness.

Change Two – find the fun or the funny side of every experience

The things that grind on us tend to do so because of the mental lens we cast over them.

Years ago I took a leaf out of the famous Farside cartoonist Gary Larsen’s life and never looked back.

Gary worked in a boring lab job.

To add some humour he began writing one single stanza cartoon per week and posting it on the noticeboard.

After a few years a colleague bundled his cartoons up and pitched a book deal to a publisher.

The publisher loved Gary’s work and signed Gary into a two or three book deal. This resulted in him having to scale from one cartoon per week to two per day seven days per week. He stressed because his initial reaction was that he wouldn’t be able to come up with enough ideas, but then he started searching for the funny in life and he found boat loads.

He later reminisced that the lab job was actually a very comical place to work. He commented that it was originally a boring job for him because his focus was on the mundane and dull elements of his work.

The moral for me is no matter where I am, who I’m with or what we are doing I am looking for the funny side. This is a simple game changer that you can action right away.

Three – Schedule free time

Take glimpse at your month. Pick one thing on your calendar, preferably reoccurring, and cancel it permanently. Don’t sweat it if it’s something for your kids like their piano, soccer, karate or elocution lesson. Pick one that is least important to you, to them, and that creates the biggest hassle in your life and dump it. In place leave a gaping nothing in your calendar. No programmed meeting or activity. When the time rolls around do whatever you think will make the greatest positive impact on and your families wellbeing and happiness and do it.

Repeat this process over a couple of months until your life regains a sereneness that it mas missing when your event calendar was chocka.

Fourth (and finally) – gain distance from mind, body and worldly phenomenon

This is going to take a bit more focus than the other three, but I figure if you’ve read this far you are up for some crunch peanut butter.

First relax on purpose.

David Cain calls this ‘becoming a good passenger’. The theme here is to find some space between your mind, your body, the events that happen, and the observer that watches the experience play out.

Bringing awareness to this concept makes it part of your focus and by doing so you can gradually gain a sense of separation between you and the experience that is happening to you.

It’s like watching a TV show. At times you may feel invested. Something might happen to a character on the screen and you cry.

This is mostly how we live.

Other times you watch with distance and are able to maintain the separation from you and the drama played out on the screen.

Seek out the second experience where you watch the drama dispassionately.

It’s not hard to experience life in this way, but I’m not sure I’ve described it succinctly.

It’s like being able to see your body, it’s interactions with the world and the phenomenon that arise as something you are observing from a hiding place rather than as the involved agent actively engaged in as a participant.

If you can pivot your experience in this direction doors open and deep understanding is accessible.

Fundamental to this way of being is an unearthly stillness or a reassuring calmness that life is all okay and that you have untapped capability to deal with whatever may arise.

If other parts of your life are being simplified, why not spring clean the weeds from your consciousness?

What can be learnt from Daffodils and Pineapples in our journey to save money and work less?

“We don’t need bigger cars or fancier clothes. We need self-respect, identity, community, love, variety, beauty, challenge and a purpose in living that is greater than material accumulation”

Donella Meadows



Mostly we place high value on stuff that somebody important to us doesn’t have or can’t afford. Isn’t that so? At one point in history people went nuts over Daffodils. Then Daffodils became common place and now most people are too busy to notice flowers of any sort.

At another point folks went bonkers over pineapples. Some were so inspired by the Pineapples in their lives that the fashioned castles and buildings into Pineapple shaped monuments. At that point everyone that was someone had pineapples and the richest people deliberately had pineapples rotting in a prominent place in their living rooms to demonstrate exactly how important there were to any visitor. Now pineapples are available in every grocery store year round and nobody gives a toss about the other yellow fruit (unless you are an orgy type – google it if you dare).

There are moments where we care immensely about ordinary items that everyone has, but not many.

I still consider it a weird world when we panic if our phone falls, but laugh when our friends do.

A meaningful self understanding is that we shop and consume mainly to improve how other people view us. While we conceive of our shopping as enriching our existence, making life more convenient or improving the quality of life (and they may be all true), the ultimate reason is to attain something material that someone else does not have. Thus we propel ourselves in front of them. Why did you buy the 50 inch TV over the 32 inch? Was it your failing eyesight or was it to impress your mates on the next big game day? That self knowledge of who we buy for is sufficient insight to change your own inefficient consumption behaviour. By voicing the question ‘exactly who am I buying this for?’ at point of sale you can nip wasteful expenditure in the bud.

On a deeper level, when your body is fertile soil, will you care for your material possessions? The answer is no as there will be no body and no mind to care. You will not. If you believe in reincarnation then perhaps your experience is important, but your possessions certainly not. If you believe in ‘this is all their is materialism then again when you are dust what you own or don’t own doesn’t matter whatsoever.

Instead of chasing new toys seek out means and ways to become truly intoxicated on life.

Envelope yourself in the experience. Enrich the lives of everyone that crosses your path.

Pay heed to the old advice that who you are matters more what you own.

You can have a more profound impact with an unsolicited act of kindness than adding two more inches to your TV screen.

Transform your income – transform your life…the problem of bad faith


“Now he understood clearly that roads do divide, at the crossroad there is a choice, and blinding oneself to it is a form of choosing, too; it is the fool’s way, the coward’s way”
Erik Christian Haugaard


Correct me if I’m way off here, but the nub of it seems to be to be that people are utterly locked into jobs they hate. While many of us dream of a better life we can’t seem to find the way and often we feel like we have no real choice in the matter and therefore no possibility of getting out of a lifestyle that fits like a bad suit. Our mental game is something like – “I’m a plumber and that’s how I pay the bills. I don’t have any choice!”. Or, “I’m in clerical. I hate it, but how else can I pay my rent?”.

My third most favourite French man calls this way of thinking bad faith. Basically, bad faith is when we lie to ourselves that we don’t have choice to save having to face up to the fact that we have unlimited choice, but we aren’t answering our call to action.

Still don’t understand bad faith? Alain de Botton explains bad faith far better than me:

Once you reject bad faith as a staple of how you interface with the world you have to face up to the undeniable fact that you are wasting your life working a corporate job, but you are choosing this life every single day. There might be plenty of things that you don’t have in your life, but choice isn’t one of them.

You have plenty of choice and that means you can transform any experience you dislike. The better news is that on the scale of things a financial transformation is actually pretty light weight. While it will definitely change your life it won’t take as much effort or have anything like the seismic impact of a spiritual (understanding your true nature/who/what you are), physical (fat to thin or unhealthy to well) or relational transformation.

A relational shift is simply mending relationships and engaging with others in a HAIL type means. HAIL being a memorable way to cue yourself into honest, authentic, intelligent/integrity and loving interactions with others. By contrast figuring out another far more fulfilling way to earn your living is child’s play in comparison to successfully shifting yourself in the three other spaces.

In my own life I conceptualise all this as a pyramidal framework. Mind is the the foundation for all else, then your body, then your connectedness and then your income last. pyramid

The good news is that you can easily transform how you make your money and therefore the quality and style of your life. You can do this easily, but only when you face up to the truth and build up a buffer or some mental resistance against our natural inclination to apply the bad faith lifestyle lock in.

If you know dreamer who is locked into the workday grind please gift them this post by clicking on one of the share buttons in the comments section. Or email them this link:

$1 Meals: Dinner’s for Dudes and Dames (on a budget)

“Rather go to bed with out dinner than to rise in debt”
Benjamin Franklin

This is the last in a series of posts on meals for under one buck. If you’ve missed the other posts in the series you can click here or here.

All of these meals are cheap, nutritious, delicious and I’ve assumed the ingredients were store bought in all of the costings. Of course a simple garden could radically reduce the cost of putting this food on your plate.

Also a word on shopping. Depending on where you live and the season you won’t be able to make all of the meals for just $1. If you are buying everything you’ll need an eye for the buy and a few simple base recipes to pick out mint ingredients that you can combine simply and efficiently all week for classic meals. If you take the lead here the reward is that your food bill would be a paltry $21 for yourself or somewhere between $21-$42 for a couple for an entire week. Even $63 for a family with one kid is ridiculous by modern Western Standards. If you are reading this from rural Africa or India please stop laughing now :).

We know people with two kids that spend >$400 a week on groceries. What a waste of capital and probably not as easy or satisfying as the meals listed on this page.

Let’s leap right in with…

Burritos. Love them. I cook up 1 potato. Steamed, boiled, baked or microwaved. Mash and set aside. Make a gravy stew with whatever vegetables you can find and add some precooked beans (pinto, kidney or black beans work best). Add some soy sauce, nutritional yeast, stock cube (dried) and thicken to a gravy with either whole wheat flour or cornflour. Smear the potato on the tortilla and then add the gravy mixture. Wrap and bake in the oven or eat fresh. Mostly I’d add another fresh herb like basil or coriander, but you could add some dried oregano. Now this might sound like a lot of ingredients for under a buck. It is, but if you’re planning to use these for lunches then you can easily bring it home under budget for your 7 days of yum.

Potatoes. I think I will write another post just on potatoes and sweet potatoes. There are so many recipes and they are all delicious and satisfying. If you think gawd potatoes will make me fat think again. It’s usually the stuff with the potatoes e.g. oil and heavy sauces that are adding to your belly or hips. Remove the offenders and maximise the brilliant impact potatoes can have on your health and on your pocketbook.

Pasta. You can buy a packet of pasta for under $1 and use it for 2, 3 or 4 meals. Assuming only 3 that makes a 30c cost. Add a can of diced tomatoes at say 70c and use half as the sauce with a splash of vinegar and a little sugar. Cook the pasta following the directions combine and eat. Easy and cheap. While you couldn’t live on this forever it is a quick and easy gap filler. To make it a major staple add a handful of cooked lentils or a handful of cooked beans. My favourite pasta is actually a mix of a head of blended broccoli and a splash of homemade BBQ sauce and some lime and salt. Mix it in with the pasta. Now you could live on that and most often you can deliver it for under $1 when Broccoli is in season, homegrown, or available at a discount.

Curry. You can make like 7,000,000 curries for under a buck. See how by clicking here.

Roast Chickpeas. Chickpeas are dirt cheap. Soak them overnight then boil to soften. You can blend them into a fresh hummus, roast them or add them to a burrito or a curry. My favourite recipe is just straight roast chickpeas. Make a marinade of soy sauce, lemon juice and dried oregano. Add a little honey (admittedly you can’t use honey for under a buck unless you cast the cost of the honey across a lot of meals, but honey is immortal so having some in the pantry isn’t stupid since it won’t spoil. To keep it under $1 use sugar instead. Marinade the chickies for at least one hour then add everything to a flat pan and roast. Delicious! I wanted to share this roast chickpea recipe because it is super simple and it rocks. Glorious snack and popular with the kids!

There are millions of other options from Bulgar wheat to rice, to couscous to bean one pots that you can make for a buck. Hopefully some of these ideas sounded good enough to eat and they were all cheap cheap like the Budgie!!

If you missed the breakfast or lunch edition. Click the links here:
Breakfast Bucks
Lunch that’s lite on your wallet