March 2023 – Birthdays, barbells and bills

Obviously not every month is going to have a theme here but this one certainly did. March 2023 was all about celebrating birthdays and everything deciding it wanted to be paid at the same time. And I got back into exercising, after we made sure the house was ship shape first though..

(It’s impressive how quiet you think a month has been until you look back and start writing about it. Like a late stage turbo, everything got busy all of a sudden after a slow buildup start. So before we put March 2023 up on blocks for a bit of a poke around, maybe grab a decent cup of coffee first? Hell, even a snack. I’d love a steak sandwich myself, thank you.)

In the background

-March 2023 had a bit of a delayed start for the usual things I do (or at least attempt to do this year) on account of a rental inspection. And although everything was fine in the end (and we learnt a few things in the process) god was it draining. As much as we’re not in the market for a house yet, boy am I looking forward to the end of the renting thing and being able to put a nail in a wall (any wall really) without having to fill out three forms and wait four days for an answer.

-I also got around to taking a look at my malfunctioning knock sensor on my Subaru (that’s the doo dad I’m holding above) and thought I fixed its heavy petrol drinking ways, only to have the check engine light appear again soon after. Maybe the car knows I’m keen to sell it and move on which is why it’s throwing up the odd erratic behaviour, just so it doesn’t get forgotten.

-A quick note on cheap pesto jars. While Woolsworths $2 pesto seems good value, it comes with zero taste. Seriously, it’s bland as all get out. If you are about to pesto up your pasta, look elsewhere.


-This month contained my birthday, my wife’s birthday, the mother in law’s birthday and two of my nephews also turning a little older and potentially wiser (although for the youngest he turned just 1, so the wiser bit might come a bit later.) And while we celebrated in a huge way, fate decided that the last dregs of the pay packets were best left to things that randomly popped up – like school camp deposits and a reminder that car rego was popping up soon. And here I was thinking I planned well ahead for food and living expenses..

-And a shout out to Di my mother in law who knows how busy I’ve been making mead and found these awesome 5 litre demijohns on sale for just $8 each locally! No more having to use empty water containers! As we speak she’s working on her own mead, a ginger chilli – that’ll be interesting!

March 2023 – the finances

-In a true taste of ‘cost of living increase’ my wife asked me to grab a 600ml Coke from the supermarket on the way home this month and I was a little shocked to see that it’s now $4.05 a bottle, compared to the usual $3.60 before the word went bananas. Yes forget a measly 10% increase, it’s jumped right up and is venturing into what I’d expect to pay for it at a 7-11 or in an overpriced hospital vending machine.

-We’ve been shopping at Aldi recently for a change two things have struck me – 1. At 43 years of age officially, when shopping there I still feel like I’m one of the youngest in the building by a long shot (not counting the people manning the counters of course and 2. They’ve got some great bargain meat. In saying that though, it hasn’t always been top shelf in our experience. Recent schnitzels seemed like reconstituted mush instead of solid chicken and the pork steaks had a very strange texture too them, like they’d been marinated in vinegar for some strange reason. This isn’t the norm though, everything else has been great.

-Sadly both the savings and the credit card took a hit this month due to things popping up you’d least expect. The kids are off to camp, we need to pay the deposit. We’re going camping with family friends next month, we need to pay for the deposit for that too. Wifey’s been sick, her work at the coffee van has been on and off during weather, birthdays and trips to Melbourne and Bendigo recently for family and medical reasons, well it all adds up. I’m hoping Easter then next month is a touch on the calmer side (it probably won’t be though.) As everyone keeps thinking Ned Kelly once said, such is life.

-I did take a look at a few accounts that I wasn’t really getting much out of and make the decision to close them though. Spaceship being one of them and the other an ING Orange account. Spaceship got voted out over Raiz because I wasn’t putting much into it each month and that meant the monthly fees were chewing up what little gains I was making. A $10 investment into something each month isn’t going to go as far as you’ll like if you’re getting stung 20% of it in fees every month.
Raiz stays for now given their occasional cash back offers that I use when it’s time to buy birthday presents (I wish they had a few more shop options though) but there’s every chance that it’ll be closed later on down the line and the small funds there moved to more shares and etfs over at Superhero.

The ING Orange account I used to use to pay bills with but it’s been sitting there doing very little for a long time and not generating any interest, it got shut down too. If any of my backup money isn’t working while I’m sleeping, I’m moving it to somewhere it will. Unfortunately it’s nowhere as easy as closing a Spaceship account (that took three button presses on the app), you have to ring them up and when I did that the machine told me there was a 20 to 30 minute wait just to talk to someone! I might try another time then when it’s a bit quieter then.. (Seriously ING, maybe make it easier to do this through the account itself?)

-And finally I bought some more shares. Throwing in a few cents here and there into my Superhero acc during the week (and finishing things off at the end of the month for a trading minimum) I added to my meagre shares collection. My sister in law recently sent some cash for my birthday and having no idea what I wanted to spend it on, I bought a partial share of Electronic Arts (EA.US) I figured since they like their video games and so do I, why not own a fraction of the company? So I have. Untold riches, here I come!

March 2023 – this blog

-March 2023 was a landmark month for this place, hitting the 100+ visits (and most of them weren’t me!) Tiny figures considering what some big blogs are getting obviously but it’s building up. So if you enjoy this place, make sure you tell your grandma about it so she can share it with her friends from bingo – I’m sure she’ll love it! (And thanks for coming btw!)

-Most popular page during the month was all about AFL Supercoach and it was a timely reminder that on the odd occasion, Twitter can work in your favour provided a) You post at the right time with b) the right hashtag. In saying that though, unless you have a massive cult following when you tweet I reckon it’s one of the worst places to try and get your work across. (Not to mention every time Elon makes a change, things seem to get worse.)
Interestingly I popped up the same post about my Supermarket Job offer on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin (I’ve rarely put anything up there btw) – And Linkedin was the only place that people clicked on it, go figure. Still, you’ve got to try these things.

-Speaking of trying things, in March 2023 I gave Adsterra (refferal link) a go. Similar to Adsense, it’s an ad service for blogs and I thought I’d at least have a look at how things go on a couple of my other blogs like The Adventures of Almigo – they’re the ads at the very top of the page (I may host an ad or two from them on this blog, we’ll see). All in aid of possibly increasing revenue through online writing, setup was very easy and apart from a couple of teething problems at the start (alert ads just about locked up my page up when viewed on a mobile) things have smoothed out since then. CPM rates seem staggeringly low at the start but should get better over time. Comparing both (yes you can use both on a website/blog at the same time):

Adsterra over the last six days (2 blogs) – $1.95

Adsense over the last seven days (3 blogs, a lot more ads) – $0.51

A good start, but let’s see how things go across a month or more.

March 2023 – the latest book

-As much as I’ve been trying to will my latest book to finish itself (including editing and a cover) that just hasn’t happened, so I’ve had to revert to the old fashioned way of doing this writing biz, namely mashing fist to keyboard. While I can’t see this trend ever taking off, it seems to have worked well this month because I was at 51% completion when the month started and bees privates past 70% at the end of it. It’s still not as quick as I’d like (I want to get it out and get onto the next one while the idea is still fresh in my busy head) but at least something is happening and that’s a start.
Maybe if I spent less time on this project and more time on- ha, who am I kidding. This place is far easier to work on!

-On the book promotion front, I’m trying out the hilarious Librarything. I’ll be honest, I’m still working the place out and I’m guessing the Library you ad books too isn’t just reserved for the ones you wrote (otherwise there might be some very small libraries.) No what I’m there for is the Early Reviewers section where you can give away copies of your work in trade for honest reviews. And so I’ve offered up 30 copies of Hack Frost (Yes there’s nothing early about this one given it was released back in 2020 but like any book, it could certainly do with more favourable reviews.) If I could get request numbers like this (pictured left), well consider that a very successful review campaign.

March 2023 – the fitness

-Usually I don’t get sucked in by the Aldi special buys (which seems to be mostly ski gear and camping stuff) but a $5 resistance band? Well why not? And I have be working it in with the exercise regime which means now there’s a few more band resisted moves each week including chest and prayer presses as well as using it to stretch and warm up with.

March 2023

-What the hell happened to Fitocracy? Suddenly the site is down, the app isn’t working and I’m not the only one asking that question. Looking into R/Fitocracy on Reddit there’s a lot of users looking for their next hit of gamification (if you want me to exercise, attach some kind of scoring to it) and right now it looks like Thunderwave Fitness seems a possible replacement. I say possible because it’s still in beta testing, there’s no app yet and there is a fee (but you can sign up to a 30 day trial with no cc currently which is good) and there’s a few bugs and kinks to iron out but it does look like Fitocracy with a few more moving parts bolted on. And considering how much I used ‘Fito’ (including rewarding myself with small amounts of money into my savings with every workout, this might be my next move.)

Thunderwave Fitness March 2023

-Plugging in the stats for Thunderwave, I’ve now discovered I’m a couple of kilos heavier and with a bit of luck, that’s all muscle! While I’m not looking to grow or shrink across 2023, I’m still considering this a win.

-But aside from trackers falling over and me spending too much time gardening than exercising during March 2023, it’s been a solid month and I’m still on track for my yearly target. Onwards and upwards then!

Phew, that was a hectic March 2023! Here’s to a quieter April then!

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