Saturday, 21 July 2018

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 21st July 2018

I'm counting down the weeks until Spring arrives.  I just can't wait to get into the garden again and grow some veggies.  Although I love the colder weather,  it's great to get out in the sunshine.
Here's how I saved money this week -

*  Gratefully received some delicious mandarins from a friend's tree.

*  Made a few baby cards with supplies I had on hand.  They will be put into baby packages to sell in my blog shop.

*  Gratefully received a gift card to replace a packet of biscuits that were damaged.  I contacted the company to let them know about the damaged biscuits which resulted in them discovering a fault in their production line.  With the gift card I was able to buy 2 packets of biscuits.

*  Darren filled up our cars with petrol at $1.33 just as the price jumped to $1.59.

*  Closed the curtains on dreary overcast  days and kept them open when the sun was shining.  This helped the house temperature to stay at 18 degrees Celsius most days without the heater on.

*  Bought two legs of lamb at $7.99 kg.  Lamb doesn't seem to get much cheaper than this.

*  Did some ironing for a cleaning client that earned myself some extra money.

*  Fed the compost bins with kitchen scraps and tea leaves.

*  Redeemed $10 worth of Flybuys points onto our card.  We are saving the money for our next holiday so we can buy our groceries for free.

*  Gratefully received lots of bread bags.  Some have been used to line the bathroom bins,  some were used for wrapping food for the freezer and others were used to store soft plastics to recycle.

*  Dried the washing in the bathrooms over the ducted heating vents.  Only the sheets went into the dryer.

*  Signed up to the NBN with a cheaper monthly deal than what we usually pay for the internet.

*  Ate leftovers from the freezer a couple of nights for dinner.

*  Took soup from home on the days I had lots of cleaning work.

*  Redeemed $40 worth of Coles vouchers for doing surveys.

Gifted mandarins

Princess snuggling Jessica's teddy bear.

Baby card I made

Damaged biscuits.  Some of the others were broken too.

How frugal were you this week ?

Did you try any new thrifty tasks this week ?

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Getting The Most Out Of A Toothpaste Tube

Do you have squeezers and twisters of toothpaste tubes in your home ?  Do you find it frustrating when a tube is in the bin when others think there's no more to squeeze ( but you know otherwise ) ?

Here are a few simple ways to get more out of the tube

Place the tube in both of your hands.  One hand at the top,  one at the bottom
Starting at the bottom end of the tube,  run it over the edge of a bench until you reach the top.
This should push all the toothpaste to the top of the tube.

Once you can't get any more from the tube after completing the above,  cut the top of the tube off.
Dig your toothbrush in.  There might be another couple of portions left.

Keep squeezing the toothpaste to the top of the tube every few days.  The squeezers and twisters in the family will see that there is more toothpaste to use.  If you leave it until the tube has been twisted to billyo,  they'll just throw it in the bin when you are not looking,

Saturday, 14 July 2018

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 14th July 2018

Keeping warm has been my biggest task each day.  I find it helps if I keep moving.  Wednesday's post on this topic had lots of people chatting about their ways to keep warm.  There were some great ideas to add to the list.

Here's what else I've been up to this week -

*  Made dried bread crumbs from saved bread crusts.  When I need seasoned bread crumbs I'll add the seasonings.

*  Cut up a cereal bag to use as go between for crumpets and hamburger patties.

*  Fed the compost bin with coffee grounds from a cafĂ©,  kitchen peelings and used tea leaves.

*  Juiced lemons and froze the juice for future jams,  lemon butter and other meals.

*  Cut up a few odd socks to use as garden ties.

*  Froze tuna pasta bake leftovers for future meals.

*  Gratefully received lots of muffins from Jessica's work.

*  Bought an overlocker from Aldi on clearance for $129.  It was reduced from $199.

*  Made a bread pudding in the slow cooker using saved up bread crusts.  Such a frugal recipe and very yummy.

*  Made chicken stock in the slow cooker using a chicken carcass.  Today I'll be making up a big pot of chunky chicken and veggie soup.

*  Saved washing machine water, shower water and drink bottle water as per usual.

*  Stuck to the 2 light rule with some nights only needing one.  Also turned off standby lights,  closed ducted heating vents in rooms not being used and closed the curtains just before  dusk.

*  Received our latest electricity bill and it was $111.90 cheaper than the same time last year but does include a $50 credit for switching to a better discount.  So you could say we really saved $61.90.  The new discount is for part of the bill period so we hope to save more on the next bill.

A card I sold to a friend.

Drying bread crumbs

Cutting up odd socks for garden ties

Princess the supervisor.

Roast veggie pie.

What frugal tasks did you complete this week ?

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Keeping Warm This Winter

Keeping warm in Winter can at times be a challenge.  Turning the heater up seems to be our first thought but it isn't very cost effective.  Here are a few super budget friendly ideas -

*  Drink a hot cup of tea,   coffee,  hot chocolate,  Bonox,  vegemite and water ( you get my drift ).  The heat of the drink seems to warm up our insides.

*  Heat up a heat pack and place it in your bed 15 minutes before climbing in.  This is a much safer option than an electric blanket or hot water bottle.  It's also cheaper and more comfy than an electric blanket.

*  Put on an extra jumper,  a scarf ,  gloves or hoodie jacket.  You might not look like the height of fashion but you'll be warm.

*  Wrap your hands around a cup of tea or coffee.  Be careful not to burn yourself.

*  Soak in a hot bath with bubbles. The bubbles seem to keep the heat in the water longer.  If your bathroom is close to the laundry,  bucket some of the water into the washing machine when you've finished taking your bath.

*  Put an extra blanket on your bed.

*  Close your curtains as soon as the Sun goes down.

*  Keep moving.  Our bodies warm up when we are doing something.

*  Wash the dishes by hand.  Ok,  this isn't my favourite  tip but the hot water really does warm me up.

How do you keep warm on the cold days ?

Saturday, 7 July 2018

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 7th July 2018

Sewing,  shopping,  baking,  tea drinking,  cleaning jobs and bargain hunting were some of the varied things that filled my week.  I love living a thrifty life.  No I'm not stingy.  No I'm not counting pennies although there's nothing wrong with that.  I'm thrifty because our dollars stretch so much further.  We can afford more things,  take big and small holidays a couple of times a year but most importantly,  we can afford to pay all our bills and live a good life on a low income.  Here are the frugal tasks that helped us save time and money this week -

*  Sewed up some baby drool towels to sell.

*  Cleaned the kettle with citric acid.  Cleaned the dishwasher with bi carb and vinegar.  Cleaned the lint filter and everywhere else in the washing machine.

*  Took up the legs on a new pair of jeans for Darren.  We made the most of the mid year sales at DFO and he bought a pair of jeans at 60% off.

*  Redeemed a voucher for a free hot drink at  Muffin Break.

*  Froze two chop suey leftovers.

*  Gratefully received some muffins left over from Jessica's work.

*  Sewed a couple of buttons back on a cardigan.

*  Continued to use up more loose leaf tea that was given to us.  It's so easy to keep using the teabags and forget about the tea leaves piling up in the pantry.  To make sure we are using them up,  I've let the teabag cannister go empty.  There's nothing like a pot of tea and some home baking.

*  Baked four loaves of whole meal bread with extra goodness.  Reused bread bags and the plastic clips that come with bought bread.

*  Reused bread bags over and over again.  Putting the storage containers under the sink encourages us to put them back there after each use to use all over again.

*  Found a set of six Maxwell and Williams coffee mugs at Savers for $5.99 the lot.  Thy are brand new and usually retail for about $6 each.   It's great to have a set of  pretty matching mugs.

*  Filled up both cars with petrol at $1.37 per litre.  I'm pretty sure the price is about to go up ( again. )

*  Purchased a few more birthday gifts for next year at 60 % off.  Mid year sales might look great but you really need to know your prices.

*  Dried most of the washing over ducted heating vents.  Saved shower water and drink bottle water for plants and the washing machine.

*  Gratefully received a few glass jars and poppy seedlings from my parents.

*  Kept the curtains mostly closed on the cold,  overcast days to keep the heat inside.  I was also aware to only use the heater when really necessary and closed off unused rooms..

*  We received our first gas bill since securing a new discount from our provider.  Including the $50 credit they promised us for switching plans,  we saved $72.90 compared to the same time last year ( or $22.90 without the $50 credit ).  The new discount only applied to half the time period of the bill.  We should see a bigger saving on the next bill.

*  Sold a couple of cards and a soap to a friend.

Even Princess was feeling the cold.

Taking up Darren's jeans

Sunday afternoon tea in style.

This week's op shop find.

One of the cards I sold.

How thrifty was your week ?

Did you try something new to save money ?

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Chocolate Truffles

This recipe has been a family favourite since the 1980's.  I can't lay claim to the recipe but I've been known to make variations that include choc chips,  dried fruit and nuts.

I packet of milk arrowroot biscuits
1/2 cup of desiccated coconut
1 tins of sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder - sifted
extra coconut for rolling

Crush the biscuits until they are a fine crumb.  You can do this in a food processor or with a rolling pin on baking paper.

Add the crushed biscuits,  coconut and cocoa powder to a large bowl and mix well.

Add the sweetened condensed milk to the biscuits and mix until well combined.

In a medium bowl add the extra desiccated  coconut   ( 2/3 of a cup approx. ).

Using a teaspoon,  form small balls of mixture and roll between your hands to smooth out the lumps.

Roll the balls in the extra coconut and place on a tray.

Refrigerate for one hour until firm

Store in the fridge for up to two weeks.


*  Make sure your hands are wet when forming the mixture into balls. This stops the mixture from sticking to your hands.

*  I use generic ( no name ) ingredients to reduce costs. If I have time,  I make the sweetened condensed milk from scratch..

*  Add finely chopped apricots,  choc bits and peanuts for a different flavour.

Saturday, 30 June 2018

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 30th June 2018

Lots of good home cooking has helped to keep our tummies and souls warm this week.  When the temperature drops I'm more inclined to stay at home and potter around.  Here's how I've filled my week at the Gower Abundant Cottage -

*  Gratefully received some bread bags then used them to line our bathroom bins and to wrap food for the freezer,

*  Made a batch of Miracle Spray to sell to a cleaning client.  Made a batch of double strength to use around my home.  I dilute it when filling up the spray bottles.

*  Made a double batch of scones.  Some were used for morning tea at church and the rest went into the freezer for our use.  Very yummy with homemade jam.

*  Fed lots of weeds and some kitchen scraps to the chickens.  I'm sure it brightened their dreary Winter day.

*  Found lots of brand new dvds in their original wrapping at Savers op shop for $2.99 to $4.99 each.  They have been put aside for Christmas stocking stuffers and birthday presents next year.

*  Dried the washing on clothes horses over the ducted heating vents in the bathrooms.  Only the bed sheets went into the dryer for 40 minutes.

*  Roasted a chicken for dinner one night then used the carcass to make chicken stock overnight in the slow cooker  The next day I made a big pot of chunky chicken and veggie soup for dinner.  We had six single serves left over which went into the freezer.

*  Gratefully received a bag of lemons.  Our lemon tree is not looking well this year.  It has lots of gall wasp in it and we'll have to give it a hard prune just before Spring

*  Found a small cane basket in Savers for $2.99.  This will be painted and used for the flowergirl at Jessica and Eugene's wedding.

*  Kept most of the curtains closed during the day to keep the heat in.  Melbourne's temperature has dropped to 11 - 14 degrees Celsius over the last couple of weeks and we are starting to really feel the cold.  Oh well,  it's much better than the scorching heat of Summer.

*  Cooked all meals from scratch and was mindful to use up bits and pieces in the fridge.

*  Fed the compost bin with veggie peelings and tea leaves.

*  Jessica found lots of Winter clothing bargains online at Target.  The clothes will be put away for next year when she does her teaching rounds again.  Jessica also found a couple of dresses and coats at Savers on Sunday and used her student card to get a 20% discount.

*  Hand washed the dishes most nights and only used the dishwasher when really needed.

*  Saved the shower warm up water for the garden.  Saved the washing machine water for each next load.  I know this frugal task appears often in my list but I REALLY do this every week to save lots of water.

Blessed with lemons

Making Miracle Spray

Scones for morning teas.

How did you fill your week ?

.   .

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Paper Doily Bunting

Recently I hosted an afternoon tea for Jessica's 21st birthday.  She wanted all things girly,  pretty and pink.  Balloons and streamers together wouldn't give us the look we were after so I dug into my card making stash.  I have lots of paper doilies in all sorts of sizes.  Suddenly an idea was forming.  Why not make  doily bunting ?

The bunting is very simple to make.  Here's what you need -

Paper doilies of your choice and color
String or twine
Sticky tape on a dispenser

Cut the doilies in half.  I cut 6 - 8 at a time

Roll out the string on a flat surface.

Work out the pattern you'd like to make.  I used one large,  one small,  one large,  one medium as a pattern.

Fold the flat edge of the doily over approximately 4 - 5 mm.

Place the string in the doily fold and use sticky tape to secure the edge.  Larger doilies required 3 pieces of sticky tape.

Make sure you use sticky tape on the same side of each doily.

Hang the bunting and enjoy.

When taking the bunting down,  be extra careful so you can use it again.

COST -  $2 - $3 for approximately 10 metres.


Saturday, 23 June 2018

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 23rd June 2018

This week has been a little challenging to get through. I've been battling a severe headache from last Saturday until Friday ( yesterday ).  Thankfully I didn't work on Monday and Tuesday so it was lovely to slow down a bit  The highlight of the week was celebrating Darren's birthday last Sunday with a lovely family dinner.

Here's what else I've been up to -

*  Cleaned and sorted out all the freezers.  I had to defrost one of the freezers because it's about 25+ years old.  I use bowls of boiling water to defrost it so I saved all the water once it cooled and poured it on the garden.  Thankfully I only had to throw out a few bread crusts.

*  Wrote a menu plan for the next four weeks once I could see what needed using in the freezers.  It kinda feels like a ' Use It Up ' challenge.

*  Cooked up a big roast beef  in the slow cooker for Darren's birthday.  Five serves were eaten that night for tea and another six serves were frozen in gravy..

*  Rang our electricity provider to make sure we are receiving the new discount.  While I was on the phone I found out the off peak times are Monday to Friday 11 pm to 7 am and all day Saturday and Sunday.  Although I won't be doing the washing at midnight,  it's  handy to know the times.  I've been vacuuming and mopping the floors on Saturdays so I'm glad I'm saving a little bit there.

*  Found some amazing bargains at Savers op shop.  2 x large cereal containers for $1.99 each ( almost new RRP $10 + each ).  One is now being used under the kitchen sink for bread bags.  2 x veggie spiralers for $2.99 each,  small storage suitcases set of three for $3.99,  picnic plates and a few other things.  Most will be given as presents over the next year or two.  It really is worth popping in to op shops a couple of times a week to snap up new or near new items people no longer want.

*  Refilled the foaming hand wash pumps in the bathrooms and kitchen.  I also made up two big bottles of the diluted shower gel ready to refill the pumps next time.

*  Popped into Spotlight to purchase some material for a few blog shop projects on the go.  While I was there I overheard the store manager talking to staff about setting up a $5 bargain table. You can bet your bottom dollar I hung around until the table was full and picked up a few gifts for next year.  While I was doing this, a staff member recognised me from tv and asked if I was still blogging.  She then informed the store manager about my tv stories and bargain shopping telling him it's how I save a lot of money.

*  Sorted out the presents cupboard and allocated the latest bargains to particular people.  It feels great to have most of my Christmas shopping done and half of next year's done too.

*  Made pizza from scratch for dinner using bits and pieces from the fridge and freezer.  Darren made the dough from scratch too.

*  Used heat packs and blankets to stay warm at night.  Our ducted heating turns off at 9 pm and we have blankets draped over couches and chairs ready to be used.  It's cheaper than turning the heater back on.

*  Saved the shower and drink bottle water for the washing machine and garden.

*  Sewed some pretty hand towels / baby burp towels for my blog shop.  I mostly used materials I already had on hand.  They will be ready for sale in the next week or so.

Storage containers from the op shop

Rosemary growing wild

I LOVE op shopping

Getting veggies ready to roast

How did you save money this week ?

Did you try to complete two frugal tasks a day ?

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Easy Lo Mein

I first saw this dish doing the rounds on Facebook recently.  It comes from a blog ' The Recipe Critic  '.  My first thought was that it looked so easy to make.  My second thought was "  It needs more veggies and I'll make it my own. " Here my version of this tasty dish -

400 grams of spaghetti pasta
2 cups of broccoli florets
1 cup of cauliflower florets
1 large carrot thinly sliced ( Julienne )
300 - 400 grams of steak thinly sliced against the grain
1 tablespoon of olive oil


1/4 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup of soy sauce ( salt reduced if preferred )
2 tablespoons of Hoi Sin sauce
2 teaspoons of sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon of dried ground ginger
1 teaspoon of dried garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon of crushed chilli flakes ( optional )

Cook the pasta in salted water as per instructions.

While the pasta is cooking,  add the vegetables to a steamer insert and place over the top of the pasta saucepan.  Cook until slightly firm.  Alternatively,  steam them in the microwave.

Place oil in a fry pan and cook the beef until  brown.

In a medium bowl,  combine all the sauce ingredients.

Once the pasta is cooked,  drain well and return to the saucepan.

Add the steamed vegetables,  beef and sauce to the pasta and combine well.

Serve in pre warmed pasta / noodle bowls.

Serves 4 - 5 people


*  Beef is quite expensive at the moment.  I used three sizzle steaks which cost $4.50 to serve 3 people ( I halved the recipe for Darren and I ).

*  Drain the pasta really well.  Adding the sauce gives the dish plenty of moisture.

*  If broccoli and cauliflower are not in season,  use beans and zucchini instead.

*  Make sure you have all the vegetables and sauce  prepped before you start cooking.  This dish is reasonably fast to make so make sure you have everything ready to go.

*  I pre warm pasta bowls with a little boiled water in the bottom.  Be careful to drain the water away before serving your dish.

*  If using fresh garlic,  crush it and add to the beef when cooking.