Saturday, 19 August 2017

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 19th August 2017

As I'm writing this post,  Melbourne has dipped into a Winter freeze again.  We are finding comfort in hot home cooked comfort food and warm blankets.  Here's our frugal list for the week -

*  Found a much cheaper supplier of padded envelopes on Ebay.  I use these to send my shop orders to customers.

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  Kept the heater off when possible or lowered the temperature

*  Saved the washing machine water for each next load.

*  Juiced more lemons from our tree.

*  Megan did a big cook up of work lunches. She made 18 plus serves.  I'm very proud of her for saving money..

* Went to a garage sale of retired Stampin Up supplies.  I was able to purchase 8 ink pads,  5 shape punches and a few stamp sets at a fraction of their retail value.  I'd been saving my pocket money for quite a few months in anticipation of this sale.

*  Sold a few more cards in my blog shop.  Thankyou for the orders.  I now have new stock and some crafts for sale with more stock to follow shortly.

*  Froze lots of single serves of curried sausage casserole.  The joys of grown children not always being home for dinner.

*  Froze the last portion of tomato paste into ice cube trays

*  Did my monthly shop and stuck to the list.  Butter has once AGAIN increased in price so I only bought 2 x 500 gram blocks instead of the usual 5 or 6.  I'll be writing a blog post about this topic shortly.

*  Darren picked a few silverbeet leaves from our garden to be used in two meals.

*  Froze lots of single portions of lamb casserole.

*  Bought lots of Avon eyeliners at a bargain price.

*  Diluted a bottle of white vinegar 50 / 50 with water.

*  Found and bought two 5kg bags of washed potatoes for $2 a bag.  I haven't seen potatoes this cheap for many, many months.
Salmon patties and salad for lunch

Bread making

Apple Sponge Dessert

Magnetic Peg Clips for sale in my blog shop.

How did you save time,  money and energy this week ?

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Make Your Own Bath Bombs

Making your own bath bombs is quite easy.  Once you've had a go you'll be making all sort of bath bombs to give as presents.  Here's the recipe Jessica and I used recently -  

I cup of bi carb of soda ( baking soda )
1/2 cup of citric acid
1/2 cup of Epsom salts
1/2 cup of corn flour

1 teaspoon of water
2 teaspoons of essential oil
4 teaspoons of olive oil
3 - 4  drops of food coloring

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl with a whisk

In a small glass bowl or jar mix all the wet ingredients together

Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ones mixing / whisking constantly as you go. Don't add too much of the wet ingredients or it will foam up.

Press the mixture into bath bomb moulds or silicon baking moulds.

Dry overnight or put into a warm oven for 45 minutes.  The oven temperature needs to be as low as you can get.

Gently unmould when cold and hard.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 12th August 2017

Baking,  cooking,  crafting and general frugalness has filled this week.  I've also been busy writing up some blog posts for future reading.  Stay tuned for Thursday's post.  You'll love it.

Here's my frugal list for the week -

*  Used lots of bread bags to line the bathroom bins.

*  Made and sold two lemon slices for a catering order.

*  Sold one dozen eggs.

*  Made sweetened condensed milk from scratch.  I froze some to make choc truffles later on.

*  Filled up my car with petrol using a discount docket.  It was $1.01 per litre at the discounted price.

*  Darren transferred another $10 worth of Flybys points onto our card.  We are saving the money to buy groceries on our next family holiday.

*  Fed some stale bread and grass to the chickens.

*  Sold a few more cards in my Blog Shop.  Thankyou to the customers for your support.

*  Made bubble and squeak to use up some leftovers in the fridge.

*  Kept the heater off for hours at a time when the Sun was shining.

*  Darren and I had a date night at home on /Wednesday.  We watched a dvd from our collection and ate snacks from the pantry.

*  Gratefully received the magnet strips from an old fridge door.  This will be used in crafts.

*  Our latest water bill reflects our continued reduction in water usage.  Unfortunately it doesn't quite cover the cost increases but it has helped.

New card in my blog shop

Coffee cup gift card holder

Lemon slice

Home grown eggs

Daisy bush has come back to life after a heavy pruning

What does your frugal list look like this week ?

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Stretching Meals To Go Further

Keeping the cost of groceries down can be a never ending battle. Prices are always on the increase, appetites increase, food is bought then wasted and adult children don't always show up for dinner. Unexpected visitors can send you into a tail spin ( or at least another trip to the supermarket )

Here are some of the tricks I use to keep my family fed for well under $300 a month and still put good food on the table -

* Spag bol is often served with shredded silverbeet from the garden and grated carrot and zucchini in the meat sauce. I've also been known to add half a handful of quick oats to the sauce. These " extras " increase the volume of meat sauce. I don't serve larger quantities because of this. The extra sauce is frozen and might serve two people for another meal.

* Two minute noodles as well as cabbage really bulk up chop suey.

* Meat is the most expensive component of a meal. Loading up the dinner plate with veggies will fill up hungry tummies. A much cheaper alternative to serving large portions of meat.

* When dishing out the main meal, serve out the leftovers at the same time into takeaway containers or other suitable freezer containers. When you are eating dinner, let those leftovers cool until the steam disappears. Put them straight in the fridge after dinner until completely cold. Put a lid on, label and freeze ASAP. You save more money if the leftovers are eaten at dinner instead of a lunch treat. When you have enough frozen leftovers, write " freezer meals " into the menu plan. A free meal.

* When adult children don't show up for dinner, cook as you usually do and freeze the leftovers.

* If the main meal looks a little on the frugal side, put a plate of buttered bread or toast on the table.

*  Stews and casseroles need less meat per person.   My chicken curry recipe uses two small chicken fillets yet serves up to eight people.

 * When I make chunky soups, I add 1/2 to 1 cup of small shell pasta 20 minutes before serving.

* Add mashed potato to salmon patties. You'll get more patties without changing the flavour.

*  When you come home from grocery shopping portion out the raw meat and freeze in meal sizes. This is a really frugal tip and easier to defrost instead of a whole tray of meat.

*  When cooking casseroles and stews,  cut the meat into smaller cubes.  The meat seems to go further and you are more likely to get a piece of meat with each mouthful.

Have you stretched food without your family noticing ?

What are your tricks for making food go further ?

Loading the plate with veggies

Adding silverbeet to a pasta bake

Chicken curry with two small chicken fillets

Chop suey with lots of veggies

Freezing leftovers

Saturday, 5 August 2017

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 5th August 2017

This week I've been quite busy making greeting cards to sell in my blog shop and Etsy shop.  The hours just disappear when I'm crafting.  I still managed to get all the housework done with some help from Darren,  a little baking as well as my paid work - cleaning homes.  Here's what else we got up to this week -

*  Darren gratefully received three more avocados from a friend.

*  Redeemed a Good Guys voucher for $20 and bought a few items for my kitchen.  I'll be getting one of these vouchers every 3 months for the next three years.  This is an added bonus for paying for an extended warranty on our new fridge.  You could say we are getting the warranty for free.

*  Juiced and froze a couple of bags of lemons.  I also picked more from our tree.  I like to sit them in a bowl for a week.  It seems to relax the flesh and I get more juice from them.

* Mended a pair of socks.

*  Darren picked a few silverbeet leaves from the garden when we realised we'd run out of frozen beans.

*  Froze four single serves of leftovers.

*  Fed the compost bins with veggie peelings.

*  Made a big pot of chunky chicken soup from two chicken carcass I had in the freezer.  These were from a catering job I helped at in May last year.  I think I've now used the last of the fifteen carcasses.

Cleaned the kettle with citric acid and the dishwasher using bi carb,  vinegar and Miracle Spray.

*  Used the dry mop on the bamboo floors instead of getting the vacuum cleaner out.

*  Dried a few loads of washing on the line,  a few on clothes horses and a couple of items went into the dryer.

*  Refilled the foaming hand wash pumps with diluted shower gel.

*  Sold one of my handmade cards in my blog shop.

*  Bought three men's toiletry packs on clearance in Kmart for $2 each.  Such a bargain and they smell great too.  These will make great presents and I'll team them up with a block of chocolate.

*  Baked peanut butter choc chip biscuits using dough from the freezer.

* Cooked all meals from scratch.  Ate a few freezer meals.

*  Jessica and I made bath bombs for the first time.  We were doing a trial run for a Bella Pamper Party we are holding today for a 13 year old.  They were so easy to make.  I think bath bombs might be on the Christmas present list this year.

Peanut butter choc chip biscuits

Handmade bath bombs

Bargain $2 toiletry packs

Chunky chicken soup

From our Bella Pamper Party last Saturday

What was on your frugal list this week ?

Thursday, 3 August 2017

It's Citrus Season

At this time of the year, citrus fruit is in abundance and it's cheap. Here are some ideas to make the most of these fruits and to continue the money savings all year round.

* Eating oranges / mandarins it in the usual way for snacks.

* Cutting up oranges and freezing them for icy cold Summer snacks.

* Making 50 / 50 cordial. To have this yummy cordial all year round, zest and squeeze 3 oranges and 3 lemons per batch of cordial. Place the contents into a container or zip lock bag and freeze.

* Blitz a whole orange in a food processor to make whole orange cake. Blitz a few extra oranges, portion and freeze to make this yummy cake whenever you feel like a baking treat.

* Zest and juice lemons for lemon slice. Zest can be frozen in a container for up to a year. Alternatively freeze the zest in ice cube trays.

* Juice the lemons and freeze into ice cubes Then pop them out into containers for future baking / cooking.

* Use lemon juice to make lemon butter.  This is so yummy on toast and in tarts.  It's very quick and easy to make in the microwave and keeps for up to three weeks in the fridge.

Lemon chicken is quick and easy to make using lemon slices,  juice and seasonings.

*  Use the juice of a couple of lemons in jam making.

Other uses for lemon juice are -  lemon and pistachio biscuits, on pancakes, in  chicken flan, on fish and salmon patties or as a dressing on salads.

It's great to have these items on hand in the freezer. It stops the need to run to the supermarket for one lemon. I'll bet it would be out of season and you'd be paying premium prices.

If you haven't thought about it before, growing a lemon tree is great. It looks good, the blossoms and fruit smell divine and a bowl of lemons on the kitchen bench is a little ray of sunshine in the middle of Winter. It can be grown in a pot too. Best of all, you'll get your money back from the cost of a tree in no time.

So if anyone offers you a bag of lemons / oranges, or your neighbour has a tree with too much fruit for them to use, you'll know what to do with it.

Freshly picked lemons

Our tree

Lemon butter

Lemon slice

Whole orange cake

50 / 50 cordial

Lemon chicken
If you click on the purple writing it will  take you to the recipe on my blog.

How do you make the most of citrus fruit ? 

Saturday, 29 July 2017

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 29th July 2017

We are very grateful for the many blessings that come our way.  Sometimes those blessings come to us as tangible items we can use in our everyday life.  Some days the blessings come as a word of encouragement for the way we live.  Daily we look at our bachyard and marvel at God's creative blessings in the form of plants,  fruits,  chickens,  grass and even the rain.  However you live you life,  there are many blessings to be grateful for.

Here's our frugal list for the week -

*  Gratefully received a bag of lemons from a cleaning client.  I'll been juicing them over the next few days.

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  Bought a few lamb specials at Tasman Butchers.  Lamb shanks were $5.99 for a pack of two.  I bought 6 packs and will ration them out as a treat.  I also bought two trays of lamb off cuts.  They were $5 a kilo with almost 2 kilos per tray.  I've cut the excess fat off and frozen the meat for future stews and chunky soups.

*  Turned the heater down to 19 degrees a few times especially when I was doing lots of housework.

*  Saved the washing machine rinse water as usual

*  Cleaning the washing machine with Epsom salts as explained here. Hopefully this will keep my 4 year old washing machine in tip top condition.

*  Darren received three avocados from a friend.  Such a blessing he is very grateful for

*  Bought petrol at $1.10 per litre.  This is a very cheap price for Melbourne at the moment.

*  Made a litre of yoghurt from scratch.

*  Darren bought $2 t shirts reduced in Kmart.

*  Gratefully received some craft stamps and envelopes from a friend.

*  Sold a jar of jam. .

*  Gratefully received some young girls magazines in the mail from a blog  / Facebook reader.   Jessica will be able to use them in her pamper party business.  Thankyou so much Janine xoxo

*  Cooked all meals from scratch and stuck to the menu plan.

*  Used a 20% off discount to buy new ink pads,  stamps and papers to make more cards.  Stay tuned.  I'll b adding more stock to my blog shop shortly.

*  Used blankets,  closed the curtains early and turned a few light off when I could to reduce our power usage.

*  Dried most of the washing on clothes horses and coat hanger in the showers.

It's lemon season

Lamb shank dinner

For the family.

My meat bargains

More lamb bargains

From a Bella Pamper Party last Saturday

Princess getting a blow dry on the heating duct 

It's a cat's life.

  What was on your frugal list this week ?

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Salmon Patties

Salmon patties are wonderful to eat all year round.  Served with rice,  mash or salad,  they make a wonderful tasty meal.

1 410 g tin of pink salmon
1 stick of celery finely diced
1 large potato cooked and mashed
1 medium carrot grated
2 eggs
Salt,  pepper,  parsley,  dried onion flakes and garlic granules to taste
1/2 cup of dried seasoned bread crumbs
Juice of 1 lemon

¾ cup of milk
1 cup of plain flour
1 ½ cups of dried seasoned bread crumbs
Olive oil for cooking

 Drain the juices from the salmon and flake it in a large bowl.  Add the celery,  potato,  carrot,  1 egg,  lemon juice, 1/2 cup of bread crumbs and seasonings.  Mix well.  Line up three bowls on the bench.  One with flour,  one with egg and milk mixed together and the last one with the seasoned bread crumbs.

Spoon the salmon mixture into balls using a dessert spoon.  Roll in the flour,  roll in the egg mixture then coat with the bread crumbs.  Once all the patties are done,  cook in a fry pan with some olive oil until browned on each side.  Flatten the patties with a spatula while they cook. Alternatively,  spray the patties with olive oil and cook in the oven for about 40 minutes at 180 degrees.

Makes about 12 - 15 patties which is enough for  5 - 6 people.


*  Patties can be frozen.  I freeze them in meal sizes as well as in bundles of 2 or 4

* Salmon patties are wonderful in a wrap with salad or as a toasted sandwich.

 *  This recipe can be multiplied. I use 4 – 5 tins of salmon at a time and freeze most of the patties for future meals.

 *  Other veggies can be grated and added to the mixture.  Zucchini and pumpkin work well.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 22nd July 2017

Saving money comes in shapes and forms.  Some tasks save us a small fortune over time while others keep us healthy and away from the doctors ( also saving money ).  No matter how we save money,  it all adds up to quite a few dollars.  Most importantly,  it gives us great joy knowing we are being good stewards with what God has given us.

Here's our frugal list for the week -

*  Received our Flybuys vouchers in the mail.  We hadn't received any for quite a few months and Darren was worried Flybuys had forgotten him ( or we don't spend enough money ). Darren has already sorted through them and worked out which ones we can use and in what order.

*  Made up two bottles of diluted Dynamo laundry liquid.  I'm trialing 1 capful of liquid to 500mls of water.

*  Saved a gift bag to use for men's greeting cards.  Saved a piece of tissue paper to reuse at a later date for a present.

*  Found a bargain in Aldi.  They were clearing out hand pumps of antibacterial hand wash for 49 cents each.  I bought 4 and will put them with presents.

*  Made lots of pita chips for snacks.

*  Bought a long sleeve top in Savers for $5.20

*  Gratefully received a tax refund.

*  Jessica bought lots of nail polishes for her pamper part business.  In the boxes was gold colored cardboard.  She saved it all for me to make or decorate cards.

*  Kept the heating temp a little lower to help offset the dryer usage costs.

*  Wrote a menu plan for the next four weeks.

*  Froze four single serves of leftovers.  I getting quite a stockpile so I've written freezer meals into the new menu plan to make room in my freezer.

*  Made lots of mini quiches using ingredients I had on hand and silverbeet from the garden..  Some will be taken to a function Darren and I are going to on Sunday.  The rest went into the freezer for snacks. 

*  Cooked all meals from scratch.

*  Did the monthly grocery shopping on Tuesday.  I recently increased our grocery budget from $200 to $250 a month.  So far I've only spent just over $100 and put $40 into the meat fund ( waiting on specials )

*  Added a few more greeting cards to my blog shop.  I now have pretty dress cards for sale.

Homemade mini quiches

Silverside and roast veg for the freezer stockpile.

              Dress greeting cards for sale in my blog shop


What was on your frugal list for this week ?

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Slashing Your Laundry Costs

If you feel your grocery bill getting out of control,  have a look at what you spend to keep your clothes and home clean.  Product marketing can be very persuasive and before you know it,  your laundry cupboard is full of bottles and wipes.   Why don't you go and have a look in the laundry ?  I'm sure you'll find something you thought would solve all your cleaning / stain / germ problems.  You were tricked weren't you ? 

I've been cleaning homes for almost 20 years.  I've used just about every wipe,  spray, powder and deodoriser under the sun.    A few work quite well but most are just expensive versions of what soap and water will do.

Here are some items your laundry could do WITHOUT -

Fabric softener.  Are our clothes and towels really that hard that we need to soften them ?.  Fabric softener is NOT good to use in the washing machine.  It eventually coats the machine's pipes and hoses leaving a sludge and smell. Microfibre material cannot be washed with fabric softener.  It coats the fibres.  A good drizzle of no name white vinegar in the final rinse will keep your clothes soft. 

Washing sanitiser.  I personally have never used it.   A drizzle of disinfectant in your washing will help to kill germs when sickness invades your home.  Drying your washing in the sun also kills germs.

*  Washing pods. You know,  those little pods of premeasured laundry liquid.  For starters they cost approximately 50 cents per load.  Compare this to home made laundry powder costing 3 cents per load.  That could be a saving of $244 per year based on 10 loads of washing per week.  With a family to keep clean,  10 loads of washing is not out of the ordinary.  Also,  are we so time poor we can't scoop out a little laundry powder into the machine ?

*  Dryer sheets.  I've never used them but I know people who do.  From my understanding they are not good for the dryer.  I worked for a lady who used them.  Her dryer broke down and the repairman said the dryer sheets were the reason..  Another option is to dry your clothes on the line,  on a clothes horse or on hangers in the shower.  Or,  put up with a little static.

Stain remover sprays.  Sure,  they might work but so does Miracle Spray and a light scrub with a toothbrush.  Soaking the soiled item before washing improves the chance of removing the stain.

Full strength laundry liquid.  We are lead to believe we need to use it at full strength to get our clothes clean.  Try diluting it by 1/3 for starters and see if you notice a difference.  If not, dilute it 50 / 50 with water.  You'll still get clean washing with a hint of fragrance.  There have been times when I can smell our neighbour's washing on the line approximately 10 metres away. 


Saturday, 15 July 2017

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 15th July 2017

My week has been a varied one.  I love starting a new week because it's like a clean slate.  When Monday comes around,  I mental plan out what I'd like to get done or achieve.  If I have too much to do,  I write out a list for each day.  I seem to get more done when I follow a list.  Here's what I got up to this week -

*  Sold 1 dozen eggs and one jar of jam to a cleaning client.

*  Made a trip to the Dandenong Market and bought 4 bags of pita bread for $3.  This is about 1/2 the price of supermarket pita bread.

*  Made scones for last Sunday's afternoon tea I hosted.  I served them with homemade jam and whipped cream.  The rest of the scones went into the freezer for future occasions or morning teas at home.

*  Bought a few roast beefs for $7.99 kg and mandarins for 69 cents a kilo..

*  Added more stock to my blog shop.  I now have handmade cards for sale with more to come shortly.

*  Gratefully received a few glass jars from my SIL.

*  Made a new type of card using supplies I had on hand.

*  Gratefully received a parcel from Annabel in the post.  It was just wonderful to open up the apple green colored goodies that brightened my day.

*  Picked a bowlful of lemons from our tree.

*  Made a batch of laundry powder.  I then mixed it with the last box of supermarket laundry powder I bought in a bargain hamper.

*  Jessica made more veggie soup for her lunches.  She also made a lemon slice using our lemons.

*  Cooked all meals from scratch.  Darren and I did have afternoon tea out twice this week but we paid cash from our treat fund.

*  Saved a few gift bags and ribbons from presents.

*  Refilled the kitchen detergent bottle and diluted it by 50%.

*  Made chicken stock in the slow cooker from a chicken Jessica bought last Sunday.

*  Fed a few bread crusts and handfuls of grass to the chickens.

*  Saved the washing machine rinse water as per usual.  Dried some clothes on clothes horses.  Dried some on coat hangers in the bathrooms ( ducted heating ) and the rest went into the dryer.  To help offset the dryer costs,  I kept the heater off for a few hours here and there.

Drying the umbrella but Princess had to use it too.

Roast beef dinner.

Chicken stock in the slow cooker

Twist and Pop card for sale in my blog shop.

Inside of the Twist and Pop

Cogs and Gears Z Fold card for sale in my blog shop.

  How did you save time,  money or energy this week ?