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.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 16th June 2018

Have you ever wondered how I get so many frugal tasks completed each week ?  I have a little secret to share.  My personal goal is to complete two frugal tasks each day.  Some are big and save us a good amount of money over a year.  Some are so small it hardly seems worth doing.  But every little bit counts.  I'm a list and goal oriented person and two tasks a day is achievable for me.  Here's my list for the week -

*  We had a family outing to the football on Monday.  To save money we carpooled and pitched in for the parking fees.  We also took all our snacks and bottles of water.  We did purchase lunch as a rare treat.

*  Cleaned the inside of kettle with citric acid.

*  Jessica and I found some great bargains in Kmart.  Seasonal clothes and dvds were being reduced.  We did pick up some dvds for birthday and Christmas presents for well under $10.

*  Gratefully received a $5 voucher from Snickers to replace a share bag that had opened chocolates inside.  Unfortunately Snickers wasn't on sale in Coles so I picked up a bag of Picnics and Crunchies for the $5

*  Sold a few hand towels and soaps to a friend.

*  Found a great recipe book for $3.99 and a bag of craft stamps also for $3.99 in Savers op shop.  The recipe book looks new and will become a present.

*  Put a pump on a newish bottle of detergent and diluted it.  The brand in the photo is quite thick so diluting was needed otherwise it just drops into the water and sits there.

*  Reused and washed a couple of snap lock bags.  I try not to use them too often but sometimes a bag can be a space saver in my handbag.

*  Made a big pot of beef,  veg and tomato stew in the slow cooker with discounted beef.  All leftovers were frozen and the pot yielded 8 serves.

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  I cut Megan's hair a couple of weeks ago.  Since then she has given herself a long side fringe.   Megan doesn't trust hairdressers with her hair.  She's only been twice and didn't like the end result.  Over the years I've saved hundreds of dollars by cutting both girl's hair.

*  I only used the clothes dryer for bed sheets this week.  I've been putting a clothes horse over the ducted heating vent in the bathroom and closing the door.  Jeans and jumpers are put on coat hangers then hung from the shower rail.  With the door closed and the heater on,  it's amazing how quickly things dry.

*  Saved the shower warm up water for the washing machine.  Drink bottle water was saved and put on the mango trees.

*  Fed bread crusts to the chickens.  Fed the compost bin with kitchen scraps.

Bread making

Diluted dish washing liquid

Proofing the bread dough over the ducted heating.

My tin stockpile.

Flowers from Jessica's birthday.

What's on your frugal task list this week ?

Do you set yourself frugal goals ?

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

5 Ways To Reuse Glass Jars

Do you look at empty pasta sauce jars,  tomato paste jars and jam jars and wonder if you can use them instead of throwing them in the recycling bin ?  They just seem too good to throw out don't they ?  Here are a few ways to reuse them and save a bit of money -

*  Store your much used herbs and spices in them for freshness.  I use lots of dried onion flakes,  parsley,  basil,  oregano,  chives,  rosemary and garlic.  The larger jars would be awesome.

*  Glass jars of all shapes and sizes make wonderful vases.  Just cut the stems to suit the jar height and arrange them into a stylish posy.  Very posh and very elegant.

*  Select glass jars with the pop button lid to store your homemade jam,  relish and lemon butter in.  Add a cute material hat, ribbon  and label to give it a completed look and you have yourself an inexpensive gift to give for any occasion.

*  Glass jars perfect for storing screws,  nuts,  bolts and nails in the garage.  Many people like to nail the lid to the underneath of a shelf.  Then just screw the jar on.

*  Little tea lights look fantastic in glass jars.  Pop the tea light in by itself or add a little sand,  stones,  shells,  glitter or anything inflammable for a themed look.    


Saturday, 9 June 2018

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 9th June 2018

This week I took some time to recover from all the preparations for Jessica's 21st birthday party.  Then it was back to work as usual,  cleaning my own home and stockpiling some great bargains.  Here's my frugal list for the week -

*  Served homemade yummies of slices,  scones with my jam,  sandwiches,  mini quiches and sausage rolls at Jessica's high tea birthday party.

*  Made a paper doily bunting for the party using supplies I already had on hand

*  Ate leftovers from the party for dinner that night.

*  Made This And That Pasta Dish using bits and pieces from the fridge.  An almost free meal for three people.

*  Stocked up on tinned soups to use in casseroles.  I now have enough for the next 2 - 3 years.  They are on sale in Coles for $1 a tin until next Tuesday..

*  Dried all the washing on the line.  We've had some great weather in Melbourne this week.  Considering it's Winter,  I feel blessed to have sunshine on my wash days.

*  Took snacks and lunch with me when I was at cleaning jobs.  When I have food in my tummy I can resist the takeaway option.

*  Used the shower warm up water to water our mango plants.

* Fed lots of weeds,  grass and bread to the chickens.

*  Combined all my errands and supermarket visits when I was travelling home from cleaning jobs.

*  Jessica bought plain vanilla cakes from the supermarket and turned them into a beautiful birthday cake for her party.  I think she did a fabulous job.

*  Used containers for all leftovers instead of using cling wrap.

*  Gratefully received lots of muffins leftover from Jessica's work.  I cut them in half and froze them in recycled bread bags.

Jessica's birthday cake

The birthday girl.

Some of the party food.

My family

This week's stockpile item.

A radio interview I taped last month went to air recently.  If you didn't see the link on my Facebook pages,  here it is

How did you save money this week ?

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Buying Budget Friendly Gifts.

Buying gifts for family and friends should be joyful.  When the budget is tight,  it can be a  real challenge..  Here's how I manage to buy lovely gifts without blowing the budget or taking out a loan.

*  Perfumes are at their cheapest around Mother's Day,  Valentine's Day and Christmas / Boxing Day.  Larger chemists quite often offer the cheapest prices.  Stock up on the favourites and store in a cool dark place until the occasion arrives.

*  Aftershave is in abundance and at rock bottom prices around Father's Day.

*  Pool toys and  beach towels are on clearance towards the end of Summer.  Stock up for the following Christmas or kid's birthday parties.

*  Christmas platters,  plates, table runners and bowls are sold at bargain prices straight after Christmas.  Stock up because they make wonderful presents for the following Christmas or any occasion during December.

*  Football merchandise should be bought towards the end of the finals or after the grand final.  If you are not fussy about the brand,  have a look at stocks in department stores.

*  Power tools and general hardware might be on sale for Father's Day or for Spring renovations.

*  Slippers,  coffee mugs,  blankets,  cushions and chocolate are on sale for Mother's Day,  Father's Day and just after.  Blankets are definitely on clearance after Winter.

*  Baking utensils,  patty cases and  cookie cutters come on sale just after Mother's Day,  Easter and Christmas.

*  Eskys,   cooler bags and electric fans will be heavily discounted after Summer.  Supermarkets generally offer fantastic prices on these items.

If you still can't find a gift to fit your budget,  bake some giant cookies ( for the males and teens ) or fill up a pretty jar for the females.  It really is the thought that counts,  not the price tag.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 2nd June 2018

This week has been a week of stockpiling.  I'm thankful I had a good amount of money put away in the grocery slush fund for bargains.  Stockpiling is a way of never paying full price and ensuring we don't run out of anything.

Here's my frugal list for the week -

*  Made lemon slice and chocolate truffles  for Jessica's 21st birthday party.

*  Gratefully received lots of bread bags.  They were used for wrapping meat,  lining bathroom bins and for scooping up kitty poop.

*  Kept the heater off as much as possible when the Sun was shining.

*  Stockpiled toothpaste at $2 a tube and teabags 200 for $4.99.  I now have enough toothpaste for 2 years and tea for 2 1/2 years.

*  Dried most of the washing on the line.  Some things were finished in the dryer.  Darren is still painting so clothes horses would get in the way.

*  Cooked all meals from scratch except Jessica's birthday dinner.  We went to a local restaurant to celebrate.

*  Fed the compost bin  and worm farm with kitchen scraps.

*  Started using the door snake at the front door to prevent the cold air coming in.

*  Put the Winter doona on our bed.  With the temperature dropping overnight,  we won't be tempted to turn the heater up.

*  Jessica and I were in Kmart just as a staff member was filling up the discount trolleys.  Jessica picked up a stainless steel kettle for $17 and a couple of jumpers for $8.  I picked up a few makeup / toiletry goodies to go in the girl's Christmas stockings.  I also bought clips to seal chip and biscuit packets for 75 cents a pack.  I bought lots for us to use and some will be put in the present cupboard.

*  Saved water in the shower,  washing machine and kitchen sink.

*  Bought lots of butter from NQR for $3.69 for 500g.  I've put a few blocks in the fridge and the rest went into the freezer.  $3.69 is a bargain price considering butter increases in price just about every week and is now selling for $5.10.

Drying the washing for free

Chocolate truffles

Lemon slice

How did you save money this week ?

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Chunky Chicken And Veggie Soup

This hearty soup is very thrifty,  tasty and filling.  What more could you ask for ?

1 1/2 litres of homemade chicken stock or  store bought
Shredded chicken from the carcass or 1 chicken breast
1/2 cup of soup mix - washed ( Mc Kenzies )
4 - 5 large potatoes,  peeled and finely cubed
4 medium carrots peeled and finely cubed
2 sticks of celery or 1 broccoli stalk finely diced
1 400g tin of corn kernels
Dried onion flakes or 1 finely diced onion
2 teaspoons of dried or fresh parsley
1/2 cup of small shell pasta
1 tablespoon of chicken stock powder ( if needed )

Place the stock and washed soup mix in a large saucepan and bring to the boil.

Add all the veggies, parsley,  onion and chicken to the stock.

Simmer for 1 hour after adding the veggies.  Add extra water if the soup becomes too thick.

Add the pasta halfway through the cooking process

Once cooked,  add the chicken stock powder if needed.

Serve with crusty bread or on it's own

Can be frozen

Serves 6 - 10 depending on how hungry you are.

Here's the link to slow cooker chicken stock 

Saturday, 26 May 2018

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 26th May 2018

Hi everyone.  My weekend away at Phillip Island was lovely and relaxing.  We made a few cards each,  made lots of bookmarks for a primary school as well as Father's Day cards for a school stall.  We suspended card making on Saturday night to watch the Royal wedding and enjoyed a cup of tea with homemade scones,  jam and cream.  Back at home Darren was busy painting door trims with the help of Megan's boyfriend.  The girls watched the wedding while the men ducked in and out of the lounge room with funny comments.

Here's my frugal list for the week -

*  Gratefully received a large tub of margarine from a friend.

*  Stocked up ( again ) on bargain priced shampoo and conditioner.  They were all $2 each and some were large pump bottles.  I think I have enough for the next 5 - 7 years.

*  Fed kitchen scraps to the worms.

*  Picked another handful of feijoas from the ground under the tree.  Feijoas are generally ready to eat once they are on the ground.

*  Stocked up on 160g tubes of toothpaste for $2 each.  They are available at NQR.

*  Collected my prize of a jar of burger sauce from House Of Burgers in Berwick.  Now to make homemade burgers to try it.  I'm sure it will be yummy like the food we've tasted there.

*  Received the refund from Coles for the refrozen fish.  I used that money to buy a cooked chicken which goes a lot further in this house.

*  Made chicken stock in the slow cooker from the above chicken.  This was then turned into chunky chicken soup which gave us 10 serves.  The rest of the meat went into the freezer.

*  Found a new squeezy frosty mug in Savers op shop for $2.99.  It's still in an unopened box so I've put it away for a present some time in the future.

*  Saved lots of water in the shower,  washing machine and kitchen sink. We then reused it to water plants,  soak saucepans and pour into the washing machine ( not in that particular order ).

*  Took  a homemade meal,  muffins and a packet of biscuits  to my weekend away at Phillip Island.  The other ladies who came shared in providing the meals and snacks.

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

*  Made up two bottles of diluted Dynamo laundry liquid.

My stockpile

Around the home

Tidying up my tins in the pantry

In the garden

Autumn in the garden.

How did you spend your week ?

Did you watch the Royal wedding ?

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Pre - Winter Fridge Clean out

For most of Australia,  the warmer weather has disappeared and Winter is just around the corner.  It's time to give your fridge a clean out to use up or throw out any Summer related foods and sauces.

Last week I looked at the shelves on my fridge door and declared we have too many bottles and sauces.  Now that Summer has gone,  I'm not inclined to make potato salad or coleslaw every week.  With this is mind,  any bottles with just a little in the bottom were tossed out.  I've asked Darren to use up a couple of smoky bbq sauces that were opened at the same time.

Next I wiped out the shelves and the wall of the door where saucy finger marks and drips appear from time to time.  It doesn't matter how careful I am with the soy sauce bottle,  there always seems to be a ring left on the shelf.

While I was in the organising mood,  I took stock of the sauces used more frequently in Winter.  Although mint sauce,  soy sauce,  Worcestershire sauce,  Dijon mustard and wholegrain mustard are used  during Summer,  by the time Winter comes around,  they are on the low side and are used more frequently.  These sauces were added to my shopping list for the next couple of months.  I'll be stocking up again as soon as they come on sale.

Is your fridge due for a pre - Winter clean out ?

What will you be using up or throwing out ?