Bottom Line Project

Sustainable Budgeting

I believe in community. I believe in our ability to make communities that are larger, more creative, and more vital than the sum of what we each add.

I love the feeling of coming home. I've been in New Zealand for 15 years, and while my American accent always gives me away, with children born in Greymouth and Invercargill, my home is here in NZ. I've been away from home for 10 days for a trip to the US, and I consider myself lucky to be sitting in Auckland Airport because many people that were also at my conference are tucked up in Phoenix waiting out the effects of Hurricane Sandy.

The conference I attended was put on by Jeff Walker, a man who attracts entrepreneurial changemakers, and with 500 of us jumping to Seven Nation Army, a new community was created. We fed each other's enthusiasm with ideas and resources. Boundaries were moved, and hugs were shared. When we all eventually get home, each of us will be better at our chosen missions because of what we've shared.

This week's article is contributed by Leanne Martell, and I think it will hit a chord with you. She talks about the way we choose to live and the money that we spend. She and her husband Greg who runs Music Lab have initiated a fascinating project that, just by documenting, creates community.

In Check It Out, there is another community waiting for you called Out of Our Own Backyards (OoooBY), I can't wait for you to see all the things going on there!

Wishing you a week filled with the gratitude of home and community. With love, Becky

Bottom Line Project

Leanne Martell


Managing our Household, or mismanaging, I am not convinced some days, that I have a clue what I am doing! There has been much made of the poverty situation here in New Zealand, and the rising cost of living. A few recent projects have been going on around our little country that has given me, and my family pause for thought. The Oxfam‚ Live below the Line project has seen people challenged to live on $2.25 per day for food. And The KidsCan drive to get donations so that school children throughout New Zealand in decile 4 and under schools can be given lunch. The target for those lunches was $3.00.

We have kept track of our spending over the years, and though we were pretty good at documenting our expenses, and for the year ending March 31, 2012 we spent nearly $17,000.00 on groceries. Now that includes ALL our grocery items, personal hygiene, pet food, alcohol, cleaning products, AND food. We have five people in our family, so that worked out to $46.70 per day for our family or $9.34 per person.

One of the news articles mentioned that the average income in Kaitaia was $17,000.00. The same as we spend on groceries so if you had a single income family in Kaitaia, that has 3 children "the ENTIRE income would be spent on food" if they spent what we do. Now, we don't earn very much – my business is still in the stage of paying enough to reinvest to expand my business looks after our family car, insurance, petrol, WOF, new tires, etc as I use it pretty exclusively for work. My husband can walk to work, or I drop him off, and he works at home, so we are lucky in that sense, but he earns doesn't earn very much, and it's his income we have to live on. We struggle, and I thought I was pretty frugal. We don't eat out, we don't take holidays, we rarely go to the movies, we don't smoke. We do like a glass of wine every now and then so we DO buy that.

We were challenged to really analyse our spending and work out what our meals ACTUALLY cost to make. We have begun a vegetable garden in the hopes of reducing our food outlay and we have learned some very interesting things. We have learned that MANY people out there are struggling. We have taken our journey online and are exposing ourselves completely. We thought if we could learn something by understanding our spending, then others might too, and it may either make you look at your own spending and shudder, or it may make you feel like you are doing a great job already. At the very least we will at the end have a very accurate picture of reality and how we can alter that. At the most, we will have saved others the time and energy, and make a difference, not only in our own house but in someone else's too.

Bottom Line Project

Bottom Line Project was begun in the hope of understanding our own habits, and being able to break down our spending into real costs per meal‚ and hopefully look at real ways we can save, or improve our eating habits and our lives by changing how we think, what we spend our money on, and how we choose to spend the money we have. We are not special. We are an average family, on a below average income trying to get by without sacrificing nutrition. We'd love to hear from you too we know we aren't the only ones struggling. Let us hear your story too.

Join The Bottom Line Project and the 'Raised Garden Bed' Project to share ideas.

Check it Out


Since Oooby (Out of our own back yards) was shaped by Pete Russell here in New Zealand in 2008, the organisation has built a 5000 plus strong membership that connects communities through local food.

If you grow food or if you like to eat local food then Ooooby is for you.

Ooooby is a lifestyle philosophy embodied in its acronym. It is a wholesome food lifestyle with family, neighbours, and friends.

Ooooby exists in two ways.

1. As a food growers trading network.
Ooooby is like Facebook for people who grow food. With 181 groups as diverse as 'I eat rabbits' to 'Forum for Community Gardens', if you are connecting your food to the land that grows it, you will find others who share your interest.

2. As a local food home delivery service.
To go one step further toward bringing about the cottage food renaissance, they have also set up the Ooooby Box service where food from local farmers and backyard growers is delivered to local doorsteps.

To join this fast-growing network of people and to show your support of this vision come and

join Ooooby here

From You

I love the authenticity and realness of it and you and how you share articles from other similar value based writers. Keep up the great work!
Cindy, New Zealand


I have inherited a belief in community, the promise that a gathering of the spirit can both create and change culture. In the desert, change is nurtured even in stone by wind, by water, through time.
Terry Tempest Williams
About the author

Leanne Martell

Founder ~ Feel At Home

Leanne Martell is the founder and creative muse behind Feel at Home. She lives on the Hibiscus Coast with her husband, 3 boys and 2 dogs, where she runs her business, loves to cook, and enjoys nothing more than walking on the beach! Leanne's background is in the Complimentary Health professions, working in the regulatory board for Chiropractors in British Columbia; organizing the Continuing Education for them in the areas of Aromatherapy, Modalities, and Massage Therapy. A passion for the natural, combined with the desire for the indulgent has led her to create a range of soaps and skincare products to meet both of those needs using only pure essential oils, local organically grown, and ethical imported oils. It is not just about what we use on our skin, it's also about how we MAKE what goes on our skin, how it affects our environment, our global community. I want to make products that are safe for our skin, and respectful of our earth, but I also want to feel indulged, and beautiful. I don't believe these are mutually exclusive! I believe that true beauty comes from confidence, and that comes from being able to Feel at Home with who we are.