Funding and Games

This week while running into the local IGA supermarket for some ice cream, *coughs* kale.  I made super quick eye contact with a fundraising individual right near the entrance. This is something I try to avoid. Don’t get me wrong I will support many a cause, but the methods that these outsourcing agencies go to get a regular direct debit out of your account are extreme. By the time I have managed a trip from one end of the mall to another I have signed up to save bears, whales, cured cancer, sponsored a couple of children, lathered myself in an exotic cream from the Dead Sea and subscribed to Foxtel. I just can’t say no, even when my bank account does.

Fundraising got BOLD in the last few years. No longer is it a tin can and a cheeky sticker. They have EFTPOS, payment plans and they go in hard. “Can you spare $100 a month?” Erm. Can you see my shirt with non-ironic holes caused by moths? “What about $75,  we take it directly out of your account, you don’t need to worry about a thing”. Except maybe the gas, electricity, phone, internet, mortgage, car payments also coming out that day?
I will always give, but only within my means. And usually, the first 10 options are not within mine. I go straight to the bottom of the list. $5. Maybe $10. Okay, sometimes $20.  This particular one though was a raffle which is less commitment and was for the Australian Paralympic team. You just can’t say no to that. Because that would make you a douche canoe.

I have never really dug the Olympics, too Sporty McSport face for me, and it only ever represented a gap in the Grays Anatomy plotline for the year. Meredith and McDreamy will they or won’t they, will they or won’t they. For those playing at home they did, didn’t, did and didn’t then someone died, or something. They lost me at Cristina Yang’s departure. However in 2020, based on what I have learned outside the IGA supermarket I am going to get inner my jock on and throw a little support behind our Australian Paralympic team. This is not about disability inspiration porn, but inequality in funding which just is not cool and not that uncommon in Australia.

A $10 million funding boost was offered up for Australian Olympians and Paralympians by the Australian Government in December 2017 in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but when you look at the fine print, our Paralympians will be again getting crumbs as the published list only includes para-canoeing and wheelchair rugby in the bonus round. Our Paralympian team in Australia is funded largely by a non-government agency the Australian Paralympic Committee, while their able-bodied compadres come under the Australian Sports Commission, which sits under the Australian Institute of Sport which is wait for it.. totes government funded.

kurt fearnley - australian paralympic team facebook page
Kurt Fearnley Photo: Australian Paralympic Team Facebook Page

Now, as the charming fundraising gentleman explained, the cost of getting a Paralympian to Tokyo in 2020 is going to be substantially more than an able-bodied athlete due to medical equipment, transport and accommodation for carers as well as a medical hub. So you would think that their government funding per person with said needs would be a teeny bit more. Not so. While the figures and costings for 2020 aren’t in the public domain just yet Rob Flude over at The Final Whistle worked up some costings from the Rio Olympics in 2016.

In the 4-year build up to Rio, the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) – through the government’s organisation, the Australian Institute of Sport – has funded Olympic sports to the tune of $377 million (422 athletes plus support staff) and Paralympic sports about $62 million. On a per-athlete basis, Olympians, therefore, receive more than double their Paralympian equivalents .

Rob Flude

But the medals and the faaaame…

Is it a return on investment? Sure able-bodied Olympians are probably more well known, although I personally wouldn’t recognise an Australian Olympic swimmer unless they were in their Bonds undies in a magazine. So let’s have a little look at where we are sitting in the tallies.  The Rio Olympics had Australia sitting at 10th place with 8 gold, 11 silver and 10 bronze. On the other, much harder to find tally, our Paralympian team came in 5th place with 22 gold, 30 silver and 29 bronze. I’m crap at maths and not that mint with investments but come on. Our para-athletes are crushing it!

My moth bitten shirt and broke ass weren’t quite able to meet the $1500 to fly a Paralympian to Tokyo in 2020 or even $50 for physiotherapy, but I did cough up enough for a pin, a reminder and a self-promise to bang on about it for the next two years. So how can you help?

You can make a donation and make some noise.  Do you have some clout in the workplace? The APC corporate program can create a team building day. Having an event? Get your keynote speaker here! Way more interesting than that cooking/marrying a stranger/renovation comp C grade celeb Karen from accounts arranged through her cousin.

Or be like me and get a cool pin and a chance to win $65,000.

Photo of a pin supporting the Australian Paralympic Committee with words “Believe and together we are invincible.”


MJ x





It’s not about the money, money, money..

Actually, it really is.

One of my New Year goals is to get in better financial shape. In Australia, that means following the advice of our monetary Marie Kondo. Scott Pape – The Barefoot Investor. He is at guru status now, still holding on to his title as Australia’s best selling author.

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Book cover: The Barefoot Investor

For those playing in other countries, he is the Australian equivalent of Dave Ramsey, but keeps his money in banks, not envelopes. I recommend this for any spoonies with brain fog. I still open books and find dollar dollar bills ya’ll that I have hidden in a moment of impure genius. Banks, much safer.

Pape’s system is to have “buckets” to divert your income into. 60% for Daily Expenses, 20% for a Fire Extinguisher to assist with emergency and savings, 10% to Splurge on your own good self and 10% to work on your future Smile. Not dental bills but dreams. Like Bora Bora. He also recommends that you do all of this planning on date nights. He had me at Mexican.

I don’t use cash. I’m financially independent so I don’t need to. I’m the only person that gets to cringe at my bank statements and the amount I spent on coffee and biscotti. So for me, it is quite easy to see where every last cent goes by downloading my banking history into an excel sheet, sorting by merchant and hiding all KFC transactions and pretending that never happened.

This is where it gets a little different for spoonies. Medical needs are daily expenses, but if you include them it’s going to mess up your ratios. If they are like mine, combined with my daughters, they fluctuate enormously. Unexpected ones technically could come from your Fire Extinguisher account, but what if your oven breaks down the same day as a brain MRI is ordered? In Australia, we have exceptional health care courtesy of Medicare and the PBS, however my out of pocket expenses last year could have funded a lovely first class ticket around the world. Or you know, go towards my mortgage.

Like all gurus, the Barefoot Investor has many groups of followers on the Book of Face and they are often a source of great wisdom. HOT TIP: never start with “I haven’t read the book yet but…” the collective eye-roll would be felt at Zuckerberg’s open plan hot desk.

Taking my financial woes to my personal favourite Barefoot Facebook group it appears that I have missed a pretty important subsidy to cover catheters under the Continence Aids Payment Scheme. At the time of entering the world of our new normal, I was assured that we wouldn’t qualify for anything. I had a cursory glance and trusted the professionals.

This is a Barefoot no-no in the world of finance and must be applied to more than our interest rates. We should be doing regular check-ins, we should be lobbying for change, we should scrunch dry our “may I speak to the manager” haircuts and ensure we are getting the best possible deal. Government budgets change often and we should be setting minimum yearly pulse check. On our health finances, not the Government. That caper is Weekend at Bernie’s enough.

So today in that spirit, mine not Bernie’s, I will be putting in an application to relieve some of the financial pressure we face as a duo spoonie household and diverting that money to a first class ticket to Bora Bora.

I mean, the mortgage.

But if Scott isn’t reading – totally Bora Bora.


I said a hip hop a happy to the new year

And unpause.

Well hello fellow Kickers and Hoopers. As mentioned in previous posts Kicking Hoops started its life as a university assignment, but in time it became more of a pet project. Now the semester is over, the grades are in, and it’s time to get back to work.

Today was my New Year resolution start day. January 1 is too much pressure as I am often still on holidays and you would have to pry the camembert and prosecco out of my cold dead hands before the camping chairs are packed away and the sandy washing is finished. This means my resolutions also coincide with my first day back at my day job, which can be limiting in itself when first-day exhaustion sets in. My gym bag remains packed under my desk at work, but after this blog entry, I will be partaking in a little bedtime yoga courtesy of Yoga with Adrienne on the old Tube of You. Balance.

I have set many goals for this year, I am a sucker for a resolution or ten and figure the more I start with, the more chance I have at achieving a few! This year will be a little more relaxed as I look for hacks for a healthier sustainable lifestyle that will keep the inflammation and stress at bay and spoons in the top drawer.  You should have seen what I managed with some tinned tuna, microwavable rice and a packet of salad for dinner tonight to avoid a take away drive through. (In fact, you just might on the socials once I can get the hashtag down from #tinnedtunamicrowavablericeandapacketofsalad).

Nothing in Kicking Hoops is going to be perfect, even of the Insta kind. It may not always work out as planned, but I will persist in finding other ways to shoot my goals and have some fun doing it. I hope you come along for the ride, find some inspiration, share some knowledge and shorten my hashtags.

neil gaiman

MJ (2)