Saturday, 4 July 2020

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 4th July 2020

My frugal list is not as long as it usually is this week.  I've spent time pottering around our home,  cleaning and watching Hoarders the tv show with Megan.  This show really gets me in the mood to declutter all over again.

Here's how I saved money this week -

*  Made dried seasoned bread crumbs from saved bread crusts.

*  Made a jar of mixed herbs from herbs given to me that I dried myself.

*  Saved a few glass pasta sauce jars.  These will be used for future pantry storage when needed.

*  Took a couple of bags of unwanted items to Savers and received a 20% off discount coupon.

*  Sold a greeting card.

*  I made shortbread biscuits for the first time.  I was surprised at how easy it was.  Some were given to Jessica as a treat and the rest were enjoyed by Darren and myself at morning tea times.

*  Hung lots of wet washing on the shower door rail to dry.  We have a ducted heating vent in both our bathrooms.  The vent is in the floor which is great as hot air rises.  We just close the door and the washing dries in 24 hours.

*  Picked silverbeet from our garden to put into a large lasagne I made.  My lasagne serves 12 people so any leftover portions are frozen for future meals.

*  Stocked up on Campbell's tinned soup for 97 cents a tin.   I occasionally use a tin when making tuna casserole,  chicken curry and chicken pasta bake.  Otherwise I make soup from scratch.

*  Saved a couple of gift bags to reuse in the future.

*  My local op shop had a 50% off store wide sale.  I purchased bars of soap to make laundry powder and shampoo,  conditioner and toothpaste for my stockpile.

Enough for the next 12 months

Have you enjoyed watching any tv shows lately ?

How did you save money this week ?

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Keeping Busy When Stuck At Home

So many of us are spending more time at home than we ever have.   While some are extra busy juggling home schooling,  working from home and running a house,  others might have too much time on their hands.

I've personally had more time at home due to the loss of some of my cleaning jobs and Darren had no work for eight weeks.  Each day at breakfast we made a plan of what we were going to do that day.  We knew we had to make the most of this unusual situation and use our time wisely.

Here are some ideas to keep you busy,  organised and motivated -

*  Clean out your pantry and make an inventory.  Are there items that need using up ?  Do you have too much or too little of an item ?  Once you've done an inventory,  write out a shopping list for the next few weeks or months.  Being prepared and shopping ahead of time gives you peace of mind knowing you can feed your family no matter what.

*  Take up a craft or hobby  YouTube is a wonderful and easy way to learn something new.  Do you have a craft or hobby already on the go that you could finish ?  If you have free time on your hands,  now could be the time to complete something.

*  Declutter a cupboard or wardrobe.  How many times have you wished you were more organised or had more space ?  Op shops are starting to open up again and would love your unwanted items.

*  Write out your Christmas present list. No matter what's happening in the world,  Christmas is still on the 25th of December and presents will need to be bought or made.

*  Search for new recipes and expand your repertoire in the kitchen.  Megan has cooked a few new dishes for us.  Tuna mornay,  curry beef casserole and chicken pie are now regulars on our menu plan.  I've just made shortbread biscuits for the first time.

*  Start a veggie garden or expand on what you already grow. Veggies can be grown in pots,  polystyrene foam boxes,  old shoes,  icecream containers,  old guttering,  timber pallets or in your garden beds.

*  Watch a tv series you haven't seen in a long time.  With free to air channels expanding their catalogue,  you are sure to find something you like.  I've been watching A Country Practice,  Homestead Rescue,  Hoarders,  Packed To The Rafters ( I've just finished )  and Tiny Homes.

*  Get your filing in order.  Record all your bills onto a spreadsheet to keep track of how much it costs to run a home.   Make copies of important receipts before they fade.  Gather your receipts for tax time.

*  Start your Spring cleaning a little early.  How often do you wish there was more time to get your home really clean before the hot weather arrives ?

*  Clean out and organise your garage, carport or shed.   Are you storing too much stuff that isn't used.

*  List and sell your unwanted items on Buy , Swap,  Sell ,  Marketplace,  Gumtree or Ebay type of sites.

Out in the garden

Being organised

How have you been using the extra time at home ?

Saturday, 27 June 2020

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 27th June 2020

This week I took a break from gardening to concentrate on organisation and tidying inside our home.  I spent a couple of delightful hours tidying our pantry,  filling up herb and spice jars,  making mixes as well as making the most of the storage space I have    I just love spending time in my pantry because tit  holds so many possibilities for cooking and baking when it's stocked correctly.  Having Luka down for a long nap meant my little helper wasn't trying to pull out all the glass  Moccona storage jars I use.

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

*  Cut the dish washer tablets in half.  They still wash the dishes really well.  Most of these tablets came from accommodation we've staying in over the years.  Some were also samples and the rest came from Megan.  I still use the Aldi powder for dishes that don't have baked on food.

*  Used old bread bags as bin liners in the bathrooms.

*  Bought brand new Spot and Pepper Pig Easter books for $1 each from a local op shop.  They will be put away as presents for our grandbabies next year.

*  Megan diluted her fabric softener by 50%.  She'd saved an empty bottle and halved the mixture.

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  Purchased a few brand new DVD's from a local op shop.  They have been put away for Christmas and birthday presents.

*  Diluted a bottle of laundry stain remover by 50% that was given to us.  It still works fantastically.

*  Made butter from cream I'd purchased on clearance and froze a few moths ago.

*  Diluted a bottle of Windex window cleaner.  I don't use it but other family members do.  I'd already diluted it about a year ago but saw the bottle was getting a little low.  I'm sure no one will notice what I've done.

*  Fed the compost bins with kitchen scraps.

*  Mended a coat.

*  Made up a jar of homemade gravy powder mix using pantry staples.

*  Processed the rosemary I'd hung up to dry a couple of months ago.  I run my fingers down the sprigs to get all the leaves off.  This is done over a large deep bowl to prevent the mess it usually makes.  Then I give it a quick whizz in the coffee grinder until it's a coarse powder.  This helps it to stick to veggies I roast.

*  Made up a jar of French onion soup mix using a few store bought packets and pantry staples to stretch the mix out.

Making my own mixes and herbs.

Dish washer tablets cut in half.

Do you tidy your pantry on a regular basis ?

What was on your frugal list this week ? 

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Supporting Aussie Made On A Budget.

In recent times there has been a call across Australia to support Aussie made to encourage more jobs and to stimulate our economy.   Our heavy reliance on other countries to fill our supermarket and department store shelves became very evident when our boarders were closed and production halted in many overseas companies.  This included Australian companies who relied on ingredients, components and / or materials from overseas.

While I would love to buy everything Australian made or owned,  my budget doesn't stretch that far.  So I did a bit of investigating around my home to see what Aussie made products I already have.  I will be the first to admit that I have the united nations living in my pantry and bathroom cupboard but  I was pleasantly surprised to find I had many Australian made products.

My trips to the supermarket have taken on a whole new meaning too.  I've found that Aldi stocks many Aussie made products with the symbol proudly displayed on the outer cardboard packaging on the shelf making it very easy to identify.

If you live in another country then I'm sure you'll be doing your best to support locally made products too. 

Below are some of the Australian made products I found around our home.  Please keep in mind that some were purchased a couple of years ago so the country of origin might have changed since then.  Also,  this blog post is not to be used as a platform to debate whether certain products should be consumed or used or how much they cost.  I'm budget conscience and always buy at the best possible price,

The dish washing liquid on the left is my latest bargain find. It comes from Aldi and costs 99 cents for one litre and works fantastically well.

The skin repair cream on the right is used to remove make up especially around the eye.  I just use a tissue.

All these shampoos were bought at rock bottom prices.  Tresemme often comes on a half price special.

Sukin products come on sale in the supermarket or can occasionally be found at clearance centres at rock bottom prices. Lynx products often half price in supermarkets.  Tilley soaps ( candle pictured ) is Australia's oldest 100% Australian owned soap manufacturer.

A few Aldi groceries.

Flour is flour and sugar is sugar.  No need to buy the fancy brands when even the home brands are made in Australia from Australian wheat.  Campbell's soup come on a half price sale especially during Winter.

A few more Australian made groceries I found in my pantry.  Lemon Crisp biscuits are the only store bought sweet biscuit I'll buy ( and only when on sale ).

What Australian made / owned products to you like to buy ?

Will you be supporting more Aussie brands if your budget allows ?

Saturday, 20 June 2020

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 20th June 2020

Life has been quite busy at the Gower Abundant Cottage since the last time I posted about 4 weeks ago.  Darren and I have been in the garden every chance we get.  Our backyard makeover is almost complete with only a new shed for Darren and a new chicken coop to be installed late Winter / early Spring.
We've relayed garden edging that was looking a bit crooked.  Plants have been moved to better locations with some being ditched all together due to poor growth habits.  Lots of new plants are filling up the garden beds around our home.  Our Winter veggie garden  has now been planted.

Over the next few weeks we hope to tackle our front garden which has had little attention for many years.

Darren and I were blessed with an extra cleaning job that lasted 8 weeks while our friend completed writing her third novel.  This cleaning job helped to fill in the gaps left by other cleaning jobs that have been put on hold due to the lock down.

Our grandbabies continue to bring us great joy ( and busyness ).  Luka keeps us on our toes as he tries to get into everything he can.  He has enjoyed helping us in the garden with his own digger and watering can.

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

*  Grated lots of little hotel guest soaps we've collected over the last few years.  They will now be turned into laundry powder.

*  Cleaned the kettle with citric acid.

*  Made up a spray bottle of diluted dish washing liquid to use as a spray and wipe on the kitchen and bathroom surfaces.

*  Sold 2 bars of handmade soap,  a bottle of room spray and a bottle of Miracle Spray to a friend.

*  Froze lots of leftovers into single serves.  Some were given to Jessica to use when she's had a busy day at work.

*  Megan and I made a menu plan.  10 days at a time seems to work best with all the comings and goings in our home.

*  We filled up our cars with cheaply priced petrol just before it went up for the long weekend.

*  I received 10% off at Woolworths when I scanned my Everyday Rewards card.

*  Hung wet washing on the shower door rail to dry.  This works well for jeans and jumpers.  I just close the bathroom door and let the ducted heating do all the work.

*  Cleaned the shower with diluted dish washing liquid.

*  Picked silverbeet from the garden to add to a few dinners.

*  Planted broccoli and cauliflower seedlings.

*  Refilled the herb jars from bulk bags.

*  Baked two orange cakes.  The mixture was divided so we could eat one cake straight away and the other one was frozen for future eating.

*  Made chicken stock in the slow cooker then made a chunky chicken soup.  Some was frozen into single serves.  

*  Gratefully received lots of lamb chops from a friend who couldn't use them.

What do you do with the little hotel soaps ?

What has been on your frugal list lately ?

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Abundant Cottage Adventures Tuesday 19th And Wednesday 20th May 2020

To be honest,  I wasn't feeling that good on Tuesday and Wednesday.  I'm not one to spend the day in bed or become a couch potato from sun up to sun down.  Whether it be ill health ( in this case ),  worries or stress, I find it best to keep my mind and body active.  I did take some time out in the afternoons to watch a few episodes of A Country Practice.  The hairdos and fashions from the 80's are quite fun to look at. Here's what else I got up to -

*  Megan and I wrote out a menu plan for the next 10 days.

*  I used Megan's stick vacuum on the carpets and used the dry mop on the bamboo floors   I mopped the floors as well.

*  I gave our bedroom a bit of a tidy up.  With extra family members in our home and a 14 month old who gets into everything,  our bedroom was becoming a dumping ground for household items in the way.

*  Cleaned our bathroom.

*  Did a load of washing.

*  Watered the plants that don't get watered from the rain.

*  Poured the shower warm up water into the washing machine.

*  Did a quick sort out of my wardrobe.  I now have a bag of donations ready to go to the op shop.

*  Roast chicken pieces was on the dinner menu for Wednesday.  We had Tuna Mornay for dinner on Tuesday night.   This is a new meal for us and Megan found a recipe on the internet she liked and changed it a bit to suit our tastes.  She did a fabulous job.

In the garden

Have you tried any new recipes while spending so much time at home ?

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Abundant Cottage Adventures Monday 18th May 2020

Yesterday I spent the morning volunteering at our local community pantry.  When I got home Darren had been working on the front garden. 

We have a very overgrown Agapanthus plant at the letterbox that really needed to go.  The roots had grown under the garden pavers and lifted some of our lawn.  Once the plant had been removed ( which took hours and hours ) all the roots were dug out and the soil sifted.  Such a big job so I helped Darren for a couple of hours.

Lasagne,  mash and steamed veg was on the menu for dinner.

Portions of lasagne 

What is your favourite dinner dish ?

Sunday, 17 May 2020

Smiley Sunday 17th May 2020

I've always been one to find great joy in the little things. When our daughters were toddlers,  I made it a point to see the world through their eyes with wonderment and happiness.  If they thought the grass was fascinating,  then I thought the grass was fascinating too.  After all,  God did create it for our pleasure.

Here are a few things that bring me joy -

*  A flower in the garden.  At the moment we have lots of different flowers blooming. They are a bright ray of sunshine amongst the bushes and shrubs.

*  Chocolate.  I love chocolate and there's no hiding it.  I'm blessed to have received lots of chocolate for Mother's Day from my family.  They know me well.

*  Our youngest grandson Bryson has just started smiling.  This brings a smile to my face as I encourage him to smile some more.  Even his eyes smile before it his mouth does.

Growing in some guttering on the fence.

What makes you smile ?

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Abundant Cottage Adventures Friday 16th May 2020

We are making the most of the mild weather here in Melbourne.  The back garden continues to get it's make over which has been keeping us busy.  Here's what we've been up to over the last week -

*  Put petrol in the car on the way home from work.  With very little driving compared to what we normally do,  we can go 4 or 5 weeks before filling up again.

*  Cleaned the toilets.

*  Darren had a delivery of soil for his new garden bed.  He spent a bit of time fill the garden bed up and used the leftover soil to top up one of the vegie garden beds.

*  Wiped out one of the ovens while it was still warm.

*  Dusted a few window sills.

*  Massaman beef curry from the freezer served with rice was on the menu for dinner one night.

*  Spent time with Luka outside playing with a bubble machine.  Unfortunately it was too windy and the bubble blew away before he could play with them.

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  Picked a couple of handfuls of beans.  The plants were starting to die so I've pulled them out.

*  Moved a couple of small silverbeet plants into a better position and fed them.

*  Moved a couple of packets of toilet paper from my shed and into the house before the weather gets wet and cold.

*  Cut open and scraped out a conditioner bottle.  Refilled the pump bottle and diluted it by 1/3.

*  Refilled the herb and spice jars with bulk packets.

From the garden

Darren's new garden bed in memory of his Mum

How did you spend the past week ?

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Abundant Cottage Adventures Wednesday 6th May 2020

Here is the latest happenings at the Gower Abundant Cottage -

*  Dusted under the pergola and got rid of the spider webs.  I also de - cobwebbed the guttering and eaves around the back of the house.  The front of our home is much higher up so Darren will have to do that part.

*  Did a load of washing.  Darren has been in the garden almost every day so there has been a little bit more washing to do.

*  Cleaned the ensuite sink and mirror.  I also wiped the towels rails and the trims of the shower to remove built up fluff and hairspray residue.

*  Dusted all surfaces around the home.

*  Darren picked three hot pink roses from the garden.

*  Picked three feijoas and a handful of beans and raspberries from the garden.

*  Megan vacuumed the carpets with her stick vacuum.

*  Megan cooked a chicken,  potato and pasta bake for dinner.

Afternoon tea in style.

Have you been taking time out to enjoy a cuppa in peace ?