Saturday, 24 September 2016

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 24th September 2016

This week has been a bits and pieces week.  Darren has been patching and painting our ceilings after the new downlights were installed a couple of weeks ago.  He will finish painting them later in the year.  I've been busy taking photos of my cards and getting ready to sell them. Stay tuned for the big announcement.  I've completed my monthly food shop this week and started planning and buying for my Summer stockpile.

Here's what else I got up to this week -

*  Sold five of my handmade greeting cards to a friend.

*  All of our chickens have started laying.  Wednesday was the first day we collected five eggs.  I've added  weeds,  grass and old vegetable plants from the garden to their diet..

*  Kept the heater off for a couple of days.  It was even warm enough to have the doors open.

*  Refilled a couple of foaming hand wash dispensers with diluted shower gel.

*  Picked a few lemons off our tree.

*  Dried some washing on the line and clotheshorses.  Some items had to be dried in the dryer.

*  We all ate leftovers out of the freezer for dinner one night.

*  Gratefully received three avocados from a friend.

*  Gratefully received a few placemats,  serviettes and doilies at the Cheapskates card making day.

*  Made a card for a wedding we are going to.  I used supplies I already had on hand.

*  Bought a beautiful pair of near new shoes from Savers for $24 using my 20% discount.  These shoes are for the wedding.

*  Refilled all the spray bottles with Miracle Spray.

*  Cut off the hanging ribbons from a cardigan.  These will be used in card making.

*  Gratefully received a handful of train magazines.  I cut out a few pictures for decorating cards.

*  Saved the washing machine water for each next load.

My ( new ) shoes

Handmade wedding card

Handmade men's card
Free card making items

What was on your frugal list this week ?

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Grocery Specials Wednesday 21st September 2016

Here are this week's best grocery specials -


*  Mars Medium Funsize 144g-216g1/2 PRICE Was $4.60, Save $2.30  Now $2.30 each

*  Golden Circle Tetra Fruit Drink 1 Litre1/2 PRICE Excludes Pineapple, Tomato & Nectar.
Was $2.15, Save $1.08  Now $1.07 each

*  Cheezels Cheese Snacks 110g1/2 PRICE Was $2.00, Save $1.00 Now $1.00 each.  Put a few away for end of year school parties.

*  Gold Choice Canola, Vegetable or Sunflower Oil 4 Litre or La Española Rice Bran Oil 3 Litre1/2 PRICE Was $18.00, Save $9.00  Now $9.00 each

*  Continental Cup a Soup 2 Serve 40g-75g1/2 PRICE Was $2.00, Save $1.00  Now $1.00 each

*  Heinz Classic Soup 535g1/2 PRICE Was $3.49, Save $1.75  Now $1.74 each

*  Vittoria Mountain Grown Coffee Beans or Ground or Organic Coffee Beans 1kg1/2 PRICE
Was $36.70, Save $18.35  Now $18.35 each

*  Don Footy Franks 375g-500g1/2 PRICE From the Dairy department.Was $5.60, Save $2.80  Now $2.80 each.  Great for the footy finals season.

*    Golden Crumpet Rounds 6 Pack1/2 PRICE Was $3.30, Save $1.65  Now $1.65 each

*  30% OFF All Mitchum

*  Carefree Regular Tampons 20 Pack or Stayfree Ultra Thin Regular Pads with Wings 14 Pack40% OFF All Stayfree & Carefree Pads & Tampons.Excludes clearance and Every Day items.
Was $5.00, Save $2.00  Now $3.00 each.  This is a stockpile worthy price.

*  Dettol Pro Fresh Shower Gel 500mL1/2 PRICE Was $6.49, Save $3.25  Now $3.24 each

*  Viva Paper Towel 3 Pack Was $5.00, Save $2.00  now $3.00 each

*  1/2 PRICE All Sistema Klip It.

*  Willow Cooler 25 Litre1/2 PRICE On sale for 2 weeks.Was $42.00, Save $21.00  Now $21.00 each.  This makes a great present.

*  Old El Paso Soft Taco Kit 405g1/2 PRICE Was $6.50, Save $3.25  Now $3.25 each

*  L’Oréal Elvive Shampoo or Conditioner 250mL1/2 PRICE Was $5.95, Save $2.98  now $2.97 each

*  Arnott's Chocolate Biscuits 160g-250g1/2 PRICE Excludes Tee Vee Snacks & Mini Wagon Wheels.Was $3.65, Save $1.83  now $1.82 each.  Stock up for Christmas


*  Peters Drumstick 475-490ml Pk 4/6 Now $3.99 each1/2 Price, Save $4.00

*  Golden Circle Sliced Beetroot 450g or Corn Kernels 410g Now $0.82 each1/2 Price, Save $0.83

*  Tip Top Raisin Toast 520g or Wholemeal Raisin Toast 600g Now $2.70 each1/2 Price, Save $2.70

*  Tip Top Muffin Varieties Pk 6 Now $2.45 each1/2 Price, Save $2.45

*  30% off All Moki, Essentials Cutlery, Inspire Glassware or Corelle

*  1/2 Price All Décor Tellfresh & Match Ups.

*  Fairy Dishwasher Tablets Pk 20-24 Now $7.49 each1/2 Price, Save $7.50

*  Handee Ultra Paper Towel Pk 3 Now $3.00 each Save $1.40

*  30% off All Poise

*  Maybelline Blushed Nudes Eyeshadow Palette 9.6g Now $12.97 each1/2 Price, Save $12.98

*    30% off All Suncare & Tanning

*  30% off all L'Oreal

*  1/2 Price All Dove

*  1/2 Price All Colgate Optic White

*  Garnier Nutrisse Hair Colour Now $6.00 each1/2 Price, Save $6.00

*  30% off All Only Organic Baby Food

*  25% off All Sabco Mops & Mop Refills

Please feel free to post any other specials you find in supermarkets and department stores


Monday, 19 September 2016

Planning A Kitchen That Works - Part 1.

I love my new kitchen.  It's clean,  shiny and works so well.  I guess 20 years of dreaming and planning has paid off.  It also helps that I've been cleaning other people's kitchens for the last 18+ years too.  This has given me the chance to see what works and what doesn't.    Here are some things to consider when planning a new kitchen -

Pull out tap. These taps make it easy to rinse off large pots and to swish a sink clean.

Stone bench top color and edge.  If you get a stone bench top,  consider the color you choose.  A black or dark color is very hard to keep clean.  Every wipe mark and smear shows up no matter how hard you try to keep it clean.  Stone benches will have joins in them.  Choosing a light color with detail helps to conceal the joins.  The edge of the bench matters too. If you pick a slightly rounded edge it prevents damage to your clothes.  

* Drawers. Replacing cupboards with drawers makes it easy to access everything.  No more bending down and digging into the back of a cupboards.  Please note,  drawers might not hold as much as you think.  I had to do another declutter to fit everything in.  At least  I've only kept the things I really love.

Corner cupboards - lazy susan or not.  When I picked out my kitchen,  I was shown a corner cupboard with a lazy susan in it.  At first glance it seems like a great way to access everything.  Unfortunately the shelving is not as strong as a regular cupboard shelf.  I like to stack casserole dishes inside each other to maximise space.  A lazy susan would only be good in a plastics cupboard.

Sinks are smaller.  When I was researching the sinks available to buy,  I was quite suprised to find that sinks have shrunk in size over the years. Please keep this in mind when choosing one for your kitchen.  I picked the biggest I could find.  Even doing that,  I lost 20 centimetres off my old one.

*  Range hood with canopy or pull out.  Range hoods with a canopy might seem like all the rage on those cooking shows.  Keeping them clean is another issue.  When cooking,  steam rises.  So does the oil you cook with.  Before you know it your range hood has a layer of grease that can be a pain to remove.  Even if you do remove it,  you'll see the wipe marks from your cloth.  I've wasted so much time cleaning clients canopy range hoods only to see they are still not perfectly clean.  I chose a Westinghouse 90 centimetre pull out range hood.  The filters can be pulled down and cleaned in the dishwasher.

Pull out tap
Detail in a bench hides the join

Saturday, 17 September 2016

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 17th September 2016

My frugal  list is not it's usual length this week.  I spent a fair bit of time this week crafting and watching tv.  I even watched the midday movie which is unheard of for me.  Thankyou for all your well wishes and prayers through my facebook pages, texts and the blog. I'm blessed to count you as thoughtful friends.   The doctor said I have a flu like illness but I'm now on medication and getting better.  God blessed me with a fairly quiet week to start recovering.

Here's what I got up to this week -

*  Picked silverbeet from the garden to eat with as many meals as possible.  I needed all the vitamins in my body.

*  Stayed away from the shops for most of the week.  I sent Darren up to get potatoes.  That was it.

*  One of our chickens started laying little eggs this week.  It certainly was the highlight of my week and made me feel happy.

*  Used a few lemons from our tree to make a lemon and honey drink.  This helped to stop my coughing.

*  Dried most of the washing on clotheshorses over ducted heating vents. 

*  Put the pot plants out in the rain for a free drink.  I also fed the fruit trees with Powerfeed.

*  Used what I had on hand to make more greeting cards.  Making the cards became my happy place when I didn't have the energy to do anything else.  Sitting on a soft couch crafting away is a rarity for me.  This was probably the only upside to being unwell.

*  Gratefully received two bottles of conditioner and one bottle of Argon oil ( for hair ) from some friends.

*  Found a pair of shoes at Savers for a wedding I'm going to next week.

*  Made a big pot of chunky chicken and vegetable soup.  It really is food for the body and soul.

*  Made 9 dress cards  and a handful of men's cards to sell

In our backyard
The raspberry plants are coming to life
Lots of silverbeet to eat
Color in the garden
Little eggs
Greeting card
What was on your frugal list for this week ?    

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Mid Week Reading

I'm sorry to say I'm unable to post this week's grocery specials.  I haven't been well and went to the doctor on Monday.  He says I have a flu like illness.  Thankfully I'm now on medication and hope to feel better in the next couple of days.

I thought I'd post some mid week reading to keep you inspired

Kitchen Cloths For Free

Op Shopping

How To Make Gift Tags

Padded Hearts - a Simple Craft

Chunky Chicken And Sweet Corn Soup

Monday, 12 September 2016

An Extra 5 Ways To Use Bread Bags

Here are some great ways to recycle bread bags around the home -

*  Use bread bags as extra packing material when sending parcels in the mail.  Just make sure they are clean and reasonably new.

* Bread bags are great for greasing baking tins.  Turn a bag inside out and put your hand in it.  Then dip it into a butter dish or margarine container.  Grease your baking tin then turn the bag back the right way and throw in the bin. No greasy paper and no greasy hands

*  Use a bread bag to crush up biscuits for a recipe.  This keeps the crumbs within the bag.  No mess.

*  Bread bags make great ice packs for injuries.  Make sure you wrap a tea towel around the bag to prevent damaging the skin.

* Keep one on the kitchen bench for collecting food scraps for the compost bin.  Roll the top down a little then collect your scraps.  If you use the bag a few times during the day,  fold it over to prevent smells escaping.


Saturday, 10 September 2016

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 10th September 2016

Spring has sprung and I'm just busting to get out in the garden.  As soon as the weather brightens up a little I'll be out there almost every day pulling weeds and planting our Spring veggie garden.  Thankfully with all the renos making a mess in our home,  I've wiped and cleaned everything as I put things back in place.  This will free me up for outdoor activities.  Here's what I got up to this week -

*  I cleaned the dishwasher using bi carb and white vinegar.  I also cleaned the kettle using citric acid.

*  Stocked up on Pinocleen disinfectant at half price for $2.49 a 1.25 litre bottle.

*  Made lemon slice for a family afternoon tea.  I used lemons from our tree and sweetened condensed milk I'd made.

*  Made four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.  Yes,  I used both ovens at the same time.  So quick and easy to bake in bulk.

*  We had lots of electrical work done on our home on Wednesday.  While the power was off I used the time to cut out images to make men's birthday cards.

*  Dried all the washing on the clothesline and clotheshorses.

*  Picked silverbeet from the garden for a couple of meals.

*  Froze one leftover portion of tuna casserole and three of mince pasta bake.  Soon I'll have enough frozen leftovers to write them into the menu plan.

*  Saved lots of shower and washing machine water for each next load.

*  Continued to feed the chickens handfuls of grass each day and a broccoli head ( gone to seed ) every few days

*  Diluted the dishwashing liquid and refilled the pump.

*  Gratefully received lots of bread bags.  I turned them inside out,  decrumbed them and dried them on a clotheshorse outside.  They'll be used for bin liners and for flouring chicken drumsticks.

*   Stayed away from the shops as much as possible.  I haven't been well since Tuesday night so Darren and Jessica ducked up to the shops for milk,  carrots and tomatoes.

*  I needed to go to the city with Megan on Tuesday.  I took bottles of water and muesli bars to save a little money on food.

*  Kept the heat off during the day most days this week.  I love Spring weather for many reasons especially the gas and electricity savings.

I'm sorry I don't have many photos this week due to me being unwell.

Lemon slice
Images to use on men's cards
Fridge magnets I made last week.
Wedding anniversary roses from Darren
My new business card for my blog.

What frugal tasks did you complete this week ?

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Grocery Specials Wednesday 7th September 2016

Here are this week's best grocery specials -


*  Cadbury Family Block Chocolate 180g-200g1/2 PRICE Was $5.00, Save $2.50  Now $2.50 each

*  Golden Circle Tetra Fruit Drink 1 Litre1/2 PRICE Excludes Pineapple, Tomato & Nectar.Was  $2.15, Save $1.08  Now $1.07 each

*  Sargents Traditional Meat Pies 4 Pack 700g1/2 PRICE Was $7.65, Save $3.83  Now $3.82 each.  Great for footy finals

*  MasterFoods Squeezy Tomato Sauce 500mL1/2 PRICE Was $2.85, Save $1.43  Now $1.42 each

*  Gold Choice Canola, Vegetable or Sunflower Oil 4 Litre or La Española Rice Bran Oil 3 Litre
1/2 PRICE Was $18.00, Save $9.00  Now $9.00 each

*  Continental Cup a Soup 2 Serve 40g-75g1/2 PRICE Was $2.00, Save $1.00  Now $1.00 each

*  Continental Pasta & Sauce 85g-120g1/2 PRICE Was $2.09, Save $1.05  Now $1.04 each

*  Cottee’s Jam 500g Was $3.35, Save $1.35  Now $2.00 each

*  Freedom Foods XO Crunch 285g1/2 PRICE Was $4.00, Save $2.00  Now $2.00 each

*  Aeroplane Milk Shake Mix 500mL1/2 PRICE Only at Coles.Also available in choc hazelnut, peanut butter fudge and choc lamington flavours.Was $5.00, Save $2.50  Now $2.50 each

*  Golden Crumpet Rounds 6 Pack1/2 PRICE Was $3.30, Save $1.65  Now $1.65 each

*  Lux Body Wash 400mL1/2 PRICE Was $6.00, Save $3.00  Now $3.00 each

*  Impulse Perfume In A Spray 75mL1/2 PRICE Was $5.00, Save $2.50  Now $2.50 each

*  Ansell Handy Disposable Gloves 100 Pack1/2 PRICE Was $10.99, Save $5.50  Now $5.49 each

*  30% OFF All Razza & Sheer Relief Hosiery

*  Tresemmé Shampoo or Conditioner 750mL-900mL1/2 PRICE Was $10.50, Save $5.25  Now $5.25 each  


Mars Sharepacks 144-216g Now $2.30 each1/2 Price, Save $2.30

*  Cadbury Favourites or Mini Blocks 320gNow $6.00 each1/2 Price, Save $6.00

*  Cadbury Coco Dark Chocolate 100g or Bubbly Block 155g Now $2.00 each1/2 Price, Save $2.00

*  Praise Aioli or Flavoured Mayonnaise 250ml Now $1.99 each1/2 Price, Save $2.00

*  Nescafe Menu Pk 10Now $3.29 each 1/2 Price, Save $3.30  Great Christmas stocking stuffer.

*   Sunrice Jasmine Rice 5kg Now $6.75 each1/2 Price, Save $6.75

*  Continental Cup a Soup 2 Serve 40-75g or Standard Pasta & Sauce 85-115gNow $0.90 each1/2 Price, Save from $1.10

*  Imported Freshwater Basa Fillets Now $5.49 kg1/2 Price, Save $5.50 kg

*  Tip Top Raisin Toast 520g or Wholemeal Raisin Toast 600g Now $2.70 each1/2 Price, Save $2.70

*  Tip Top English Muffins Varieties Pk 6 Now $2.45 each1/2 Price, Save $2.45

*  Morning Fresh Dishwashing Liquid 400ml**Excludes Eco Range.Now $1.97 each1/2 Price, Save $1.98  Stockpile worthy price.

*  Pine O Cleen Disinfectant 1.25 Litre Now $2.49 each1/2 Price, Save $2.50  Stockpile worthy price

*  Dynamo Laundry Liquid 2 Litre  Now $8.24 each1/2 Price, Save $8.25

*  Oates Sponge Pk 3Now $1.79 each1/2 Price, Save $1.79

*  Schick Hydro 5 Razor Now $6.85 each1/2 Price, Save $6.90

*   Schick Hydro Shave Gel 238gNow $3.00 each1/2 Price, Save $3.00

*  Dickies Plain Bath Towel 68 x 130cmNow $7.99 each1/2 Price, Save $8.00

*  40% off All Inspire bedroom Manchester

*  30% off All Brunnings


Please note - this is an older photo.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Coping With Financial Storms

Some of the most commonly asked questions I get is -  How do you cope ?  How do you plan for the unexpected ?  How do you keep going ?

There are times when I've wondered " why us ". We've never had a comfortable income to live off.  It might seem that we are comfortable but it has taken so much hard work to get where we are. We've seen more financial challenges than most people we know.  Our income gets cut when most people's go up even if it's just in line with CPI. We lived for years and years with no pay rise and the cost of living increasing. And again I've wondered - why us ?

I get through these times firstly by praying. God knows our needs and they are always met, sometimes in the most miraculous of ways.  After praying about our situation, I start planning. There is nothing better than tackling a hard situation as soon as possible by putting pen to paper and finding a way out. Trying to ride out a storm hoping you will cope just doesn't work.  Every time we've had a income cut,  straight away I rework the budget. Of course we don't waste money but we always seem to do without something else. At the moment I'm able to start my Summer stockpile shopping on the $200 a month allocated grocery money. It sounds like a crazy amount but I'm doing it.

Being prepared for the storms of life makes it easier to cope. Having a monthly menu plan reduces stress if I get sick or something else happens. Weekly and fortnightly menu plans don't give a lot of wriggle room. If the monthly menu plan runs out and I don't have time or energy to write another one, we just repeat it. Because it's monthly, there are approximately 25 - 30 different meals on it so we don't repeat meals too often.  Constant repetition leads to boredom and boredom leads to eating out.

Having a healthy stockpile in the pantry, fridge and freezer gives me peace of mind. When I talk about a healthy stockpile, I'm talking about 4 - 6 month's worth ( except milk, fruit and veg ). My veggie garden is always there as a back up. I grow silverbeet and lettuce all year round and it saves us a fortune. If I can't get to the shops, I know I have greens to pick to go with a meal. Those greens are some of the most healthiest things to grow.

We all have unexpected bills arrive. Dental, car and appliance repairs are the most common. A way to get around this is to build an emergency account that covers these items. $5000 should be a minimum to set aside. This might seem like an unachievable goal but it can be done.   Holidays, and  luxuries such as gym memberships,  magazines,  coffees out etc etc should be avoided until the emergency account goal is reached.  If the emergency account is dipped into, it should be topped up as soon as possible.  Having that safety net at all times is so important.  It eliminates the need to use the credit card.

My family doesn't always understand my hard approach to saving, but they support me and certainly appreciate it when they see the fruits of our labour.  Then I remind them of why we saved.  My kitchen is a fine example.  The kitchen took almost two years of hard saving and 20 years of dreaming. Sure, I could have bought a cheap kitchen or taken out a loan. But it wouldn't have lasted the distance and I wouldn't have liked it.

Are you prepared for financial storms ?

How do you cope with the unexpected ?

Saturday, 3 September 2016

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 3rd September 2016

Where did my week go ?  I know I've been busy but I can't remember what I was busy doing.  There's always housework,  cooking,  baking,  food shopping and the general tidy up.  Here's what else I got up to -

*  I made four trays of zucchini slice using zucchinis bought last week for $1.49kg.  Two trays were cut up into single portions and frozen.  Yes I used both ovens at the same time.

*  Picked and juiced lots of lemons from our tree.  The juice was frozen into ice cube trays.

*  Diluted a new bottle of white vinegar by 50%.  This is used for cleaning and making Miracle Spray.

*  Started drying the washing on clothes horses again.  Now that my home is back to normal by about 95%,  I have the room to put them over the heating vents.

*  Froze three leftover portions of chicken curry and two of chop suey.

*  Lined my bathroom bin using recycled bread bags.

*  Made another 8 cards to sell ( very soon ).

*  Made a double batch of pumpkin scones using cooked pumpkin from the freezer.  Most of the scones were frozen for morning teas.

*  Fed a few broccoli stalks and leaves to the chickens.  Unfortunately most of my broccoli went to seed while my kitchen was being built.  Not wanting it to go to waste I thought the chickens might like a feed.

*  Saved the shower and washing machine water.

*  Recycled and reused lots of plastic shopping bags and freezer bags for different uses around the home.

*  Made a couple of fridge magnets to hang the family calendar on the fridge.  I used magnetic strips saved from an old fridge seal from years ago and some card making bling.  Before the kitchen renos the calendar hung on the wall under the clock.

*  Made the most of Vista Print having a 50% off sale and ordered business cards for my blog.  I also ordered a couple of stamps that say " Handmade by Wendy " etc for the cards I make.

*  Gratefully received a free mobile phone from Telstra in the mail.  It's all to do with the network upgrades.  This saves me buying a new phone in a couple of years.

*  I purchased a new dishwasher control panel and fitted it myself.  The part cost $77 but  I saved at least $200 - $250 on a call out fee if I'd rung the company to fit it for me.

Lemon season
Double ovens in use - zucchini slice
Peach tree blossoms
Chicken curry
Spring growth on the feijoa tree
21 years of marriage on Friday

How frugal were you this week ?