'You think Wayne Swan's budget is tough? This is what's happening at my place.'

Kate Hunter


Family, the purpose of this budget, is to maximise the opportunities that flow from the hard work of your father and I. So please, put down that iPod Touch and pay attention or that thing will be auctioned to fund education reforms.

This budget is not intended to threaten, intimidate, or punish. All right, threaten, but just a little bit.

In the last year, we have considerably reduced our level of debt which is bloody marvellous. However, our slackness in re-using things, love of Friday night takeaways and sheer laziness when in comes to monitoring expenditure could see these advances eroded.

Also, have you SEEN the price of electricity? Run upstairs NOW and turn the bedroom lights off.

Thank you. As I was saying, this budget will not be pretty, but unless you want lumps of coal for Christmas, this is how it must be.

Housing: Expenditure on garden, external plumbing and electrics to cease. Planned deck on hold. Funds to be re-directed to internal painting but will NOT cover labour.  This will need to be supplied by family members or visiting friends who outstay their welcome.

Transport: Extra funding allocated for set of new tyres. Also for panel-beating thanks to thoughtlessly placed pylon in Woolies car park. Car washing will be done by family members, not staff at Mr Sparkly-Wheelz. Bus passes will continue to be funded although bicycles will need to be privately maintained if they become rusty because they were left in the rain.

Kate’s dumbphone.

Communication: Program to restrict use to continue as long as certain individuals continue to use mobile because cannot be bothered to look for landline handset.

Dumbphone‘ policy (restricting mobile access to interweb services) proving fruitful.

Education: Current commitments will be maintained. However, replacement school hats, drink bottles and jumpers will no longer be parentally funded. Pocket money will be docked. Tuckshop will continue to be big lunch only. Cupcakes and rainbow paddle pops will need to be privately funded or scabbed from friends.

Health: Geez Louise, we have private health insurance but for how much longer? Just stay healthy, kids. Have you had your olive leaf extract today?

Recreation: Policy of one-sport-per-child-per-term to continue. However, sundry expenses i.e. post-match slushies will cease. Items such as mouth guards, goggles and visors are NOT disposable items and therefore will not be replaced from consolidated revenue. I realise you cannot play hockey without a mouthguard, so either look after it or use one from the lost property box. Your choice.

Gym memberships will not be renewed unless enthusiasm for actually attending gym is demonstrated. No DVDs will be rented until $19 fine for late return of ‘Madagascar 3’ is covered by non-parental funding.

Foreign Policy: Planned holiday is dependent in revenue  from savings made by the purchase of fewer packets of Barbecue Shapes, Friday night bottles of wine and foodie magazines no one cooks from. Further economies can be made by using the local library instead of Amazon and writing a shopping list instead of randomly wandering supermarket aisles trying to remember if we have tinned tomatoes. Additionally, meals will be planned according to what we have, not what we feel like.

Community Aid: Levels of commitment to continue with the exception of purchasing tickets in raffles where the prize is something we don’t want. On that, can someone check what a 2012 bottle of Northern Territory Tawny Port will go for on eBay?

Sustainability: Heaters will not be switched on if you complain of cold while wearing shorts and a singlet.

Family, these measures may appear excessive, however for the good of us all, it is necessary to band together and commit to them wholeheartedly. Our future depends on it. Unless we win Powerball. Then we’ll draw up a newer, funner kind of budget.

Do you need to make changes to the budget at your place?