Saturday, 22 February 2020

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 22nd February 2020

It's been an interesting week at the Gower Abundant Cottage.  We had family move in last Sunday.  Combining two households has been a little challenging and all our cupboards are now choc a block full.  We really do feel like the tv show called ' Packed To The Rafters ' ( one of my favourite tv shows ).

Wednesday night Darren and I had just arrived at a bible study when Darren received a call from Megan telling us she'd gone into labour and was home alone.  We arrived home to find that Kurt had taken her to hospital.  So off to the hospital we went to bring Luka back home for bedtime.  Kurt and Darren stayed on for another hour or two only to be told it was a false alarm and that the baby was moving around in such a way that it was causing .Megan extreme pain.

Friday morning Darren received a call to let him know that a very close family member had passed away after a 10 month illness. Although we knew the time was near,  nothing quite prepares you for the death of a loved one.

So with all this going on,  up until Thursday I didn't have anything on my frugal tasks list to share with you.  I also had 4 days of cleaning work and completed my monthly food shopping ( last Monday ).  Life just didn't allow for anything terribly thrifty to be done.  I guess when you've lived a thrifty life for so long,  some things become second nature.

Looking back on the week I did complete a few frugal things -

*  Diluted the dishwashing liquid and refilled the bottle.

*  Planted more bean,  lettuce and silverbeet seeds.

*  Made apple butter in the slow cooker using gifted apples.  I've had it on my toast for breakfast the last two mornings and have really enjoyed it.  Thankyou to the blog reader who suggested it last week.

*  Gratefully received more lemons,  pears and apples from a cleaning client.

*  Cooked all meals from scratch.

*  Saved the shower warm up water and poured it into the washing machine.  Saved kitchen water was used on pot plants outside on our deck.

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

*  Started picking beans from the garden.  Darren picked silverbeet to go in our spag bol sauce.

*  Went to the 50% off sale at Savers and bought 2  Summer tops for $3.50 total.  These are light and breezy and will be great for a holiday for our 25th Wedding Anniversary later in the year.

*  Diluted a bottle of foaming hand wash that was gifted to us.

*  Resisted  the urge to get takeaway last Sunday when our house was in chaos.  Instead, we made pizzas from scratch using what we had in the fridge and freezer.

*  Bought chicken thigh fillets for $3.99 kg and 5 kilo bags of potatoes for 99 cents from a friend who was at a cheap butcher shop.

*  Picked raspberries and strawberries from the garden.

*  Our strawberry plants are throwing runners ( small  new plants )  I've positioned and planted these runners to multiply our strawberry plants.

Potted color

Homemade apple butter

Planting strawberry runners

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

What is your garden producing at the moment ?

Saturday, 15 February 2020

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 15th February 2020

Looking back on my week it doesn't feel like I've achieved any major frugal goals.  I'm meant to be participating in a no spend month with the Cheapskates Club.  That lasted about 5 days.   Our fence needed a repair and couldn't be put off any more.  Then I came across some great bargains of everyday items we use.  Resisting the sales would mean we'd be spending more money sometime down the track.  Maybe March can be our no spend month.

Here's what I managed to get done when I wasn't shopping -

*  Dried all washing on the line and clothes horses.

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  Made lots and lots of zucchini fritters using zucchinis from our garden.  I've frozen some to have with simple meals in the future.

*  From Savers I bought a Thomas The Tank doona cover in mint condition for $6.99 less 20%.  For myself I bought a light Summer dress.  The price tag said $9.99 but I noticed there was a small oil stain on it.  I asked for a small discount and they knocked it down to $4.99 less 20%.

*  Picked raspberries

*  Filled up both cars just before the price of petrol went up by 47 cents a litre.  We paid $1.26 per litre.

*  Our local small op shop had a three day sale to clear out stock.  Everything in their store was going out for $1.  I picked up lots and lots of shampoo,  conditioner,  deod,  Sukin  toiletry products,  soup flasks,  hairspray,  toothpaste and shower gel.  Most of these products usually retail  for $3 - $15.

*  Ate freezer meals for two dinners.

*  Picked silverbeet,  strawberries,  beans and lettuce.

*  Collected water from the shower,  bath and kitchen sink to reuse where possible.

*  Use an electric fan to help keep cool during the humid weather.

*  Sold the baby pram we used for our girls and Luka.  The lady I sold it to generously paid for me to deliver it to her.  It was hard to part with such a beautiful pram but the lady will be using it for her great grandchild.

The family pram was sold

$1 bargains

$1 bargains

Bread making

How did you save money this week ?

Saturday, 8 February 2020

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 8th February 2020

Gardening and jam making have been in full swing at the Gower Abundant Cottage this week.  Whenever the weather was allowed,  we were out in the garden tidying,  pruning and pulling weeds.  It doesn't take long to keep a garden neat if you tend to it every now and then.

Here's what we have been up to -

*  Made another two batches of plum jam.  I almost have enough jam to last 12 months.  Some will be given as presents,  some will be sold and the rest will be for us to consume on toast each morning.

*  Picked more zucchinis from the garden.  I need to make more zucchini fritters and freeze them.

*  Made up powdered milk to use in mashed potato,  lasagne making ( white sauce ) and baking when we were running low on milk.  Powdered milk is a slightly cheaper option than bottled milk.

*  Sold 2 jars of berry jam and one of tomato relish to a cleaning client.

*  Picked lettuce,  strawberries and beans from our garden.

*  Cooked all meals from scratch.

*  Wrote out a menu plan until 2nd March.  I've added in a few cheaper meals like fried rice,  spag bol and soup to keep to our tight food budget.

*  Bought lots of beef mince from Tasman Butchers for $7.99 kg and froze it into meal portions of 250 g.

*  Saved the shower warm up water,  Luka's bath water and the washing machine rinse water to pour into the washing machine.

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

*  Darren used worm tea to feed our garden.

*  Made up a big lasagne and added a large grated zucchini.  As I was making up the lasagne I noticed the meat sauce seemed to be stretching further.  Instead of a 12 serve lasagne,  it made 16 serves.  I could put it down to a miracle like Jesus feeding the loaves of bread and fish to the crowd,  but it was probably the zucchini that stretched the meat.

*  Bought more Sukin toiletries at 60% off.  They have been put away for birthday and Christmas presents for this year.

*  Gratefully received lots of lemons,  apples and pears from a cleaning client.  I've already zested and juiced the lemons and placed it all in the freezer.  I'm not sure how to best use the apples and pears.  We are not big fruit eaters so I'm thinking of stewing and freezing the fruit perhaps for putting in cakes and desserts.

Our free blessing

I was making jam this week when Luka was visiting.  He wanted to be picked up and cuddled by Nana.  How could I resist ?

How did you save time money or energy this week ?

How would you best use pears and apples ?

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Zucchini Fritters

Darren came across a similar recipe to this on Facebook a couple of weeks ago.  I'm always looking for something different to make that has normal ingredients and goes great with salads and meats.  Darren was thrilled to have another excuse to fire up the bbq.
The recipe below is one I made up from the original recipe using what I already had on hand..

1 large Zucchini
1 small Carrot
2 medium Silverbeet leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup of Plain Flour
2 Eggs
1/2 cup of grated Cheese
Zest of 1 Lemon
Season to taste with dried onion flakes,  parsley,  garlic powder and salt and pepper.
Oil for frying

Grate the zucchini with the large holes on your grater.
Use the fine grating side to grate the carrot.
Squeeze out all the liquid from the zucchini and carrot.
Add all other ingredients and mix well.
Heat a small amount of oil in a large fry pan or on the bbq.
Drop a soup spoonful of mixture into the oil and spread  slightly.
Cook for 2 - 3 minutes on each side on a medium heat
Serve with sour cream,  tomato sauce or a dip of your choice


*  I didn't have lemon zest in the freezer so I just used lemon juice.
*  If you don't have silverbeet on hand,  spinach or any green herbs will work too.
*  Darren used a bbq mat on his bbq to cook the fritters.  This really helped with the clean up and still gave the fritters lots of color.
*  Fritters can be frozen but need go between or squares of cereal packet in between each fritter to help separate.
*  If you have an air fryer,  fritters can be reheated in about 3 minutes.

Makes about 15 fritters.

Saturday, 1 February 2020

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 1st February 2020

I've had a very productive week in the kitchen with lots of cooking,  baking and bottling of goodies.  Darren has been kept busy out in the garden tidying things up now that Luka is on the move.  We are looking at everything with the eyes of a child.  Luka has become Darren's little shadow when he's over here visiting.  Mind you,  Darren is the one who takes Luka outside to feed the chickens, pull some weeds and to enjoy time on the deck with Darren drinking tea and Luka playing on his toys.

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

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.  We've been enjoying this as toast each morning with homemade jam on top.  Absolutely delicious.

*  Made up a bulk amount of salmon patties.  We had some for dinner that night and the rest went into the freezer in meal sizes.  From 2 tins of salmon we made 27 patties.

*  We've been picking one zucchini every couple of days.  I found a recipe on Facebook for zucchini fritters.  As per usual I changed the recipe to suit out tastes and to add more flavour.  Darren has been cooking them on the bbq.  They are delicious and super easy to make.  We've served them with tomato sauce or sour cream.  Darren also likes them cold.  The recipe will be coming soon.

*  Made 3 jars of jam using frozen berries Jessica left behind when she moved out.  I have a cleaning client who loves berry jam so 2 jars will be sold to her.

*  Made a big batch of cranberry hootycreek biscuits.  Some dough was cooked and the rest went into the freezer.  My brother,  sister in law and niece came over for a cuppa last Sunday.  I was able to give them a completely homemade afternoon tea of scones from the freezer served with raspberry jam ( yum  !! ) and the cranberry hootycreeks.

*  Picked silverbeet from our garden to add to the zucchini fritters.  We have also been picking lettuce to go in our salads with the warmer weather.

Cleaned the kettle with citric acid  It really comes up clean again. like it's new.  We've tried vinegar and it didn't work at all.

*  Made 7 1/2 jars of tomato relish from tomatoes we were given.  I'm very excited about making the relish.  Over the last couple of years I haven't had enough tomatoes at one time to make relish.  We enjoy it on chicken,  silverside and deli meats.  My Dad is a big fan of the relish so he'll be getting a jar with his birthday present coming up soon.  I'll also be selling a few jars which will recoup all the ingredients cost.

*  Saved the washing machine rinse water for each next lad.  I've also saved Luka's bath water when he's here.  Megan doesn't have a bath where she lives ( modern homes apparently don't need them ).  So Luka gets very excited to see the bath at our place and Nana is very happy to give him lots of water playtime.  We also saved the shower warm up water.  With the weather warming up we are trying to recycle as much water as possible for the garden too.

*  Bought more Sukin products from our local op shop at rock bottom prices ( $1.50 per bottle )  Both our girls have recently announced to me that they love everything Sukin so that's what they are getting for birthdays and Christmas.  I was also given a few bottles so they have been put away for presents too.  Just when I thought our gift budget was looking a bit grim,  I've had blessings come my way that have really helped.

*  Up until a couple of days ago we've had really mild weather.  We haven't had to use our evap cooling much at all this Summer.  We are hoping this is reflected in our next electricity bill.  I also got out a electric fan from the shed and Darren assembled it.  This really helps with airflow on the 40+ degree days.

*  Cooked all meals from scratch and froze leftovers.  We've also stuck to the menu plan and only moved a few meals around to suit the day.

*  Gratefully received a bag of plums from my Dad's tree.  Some will be eaten and the rest will be made into jam.

Homemade tomato relish

Zucchini fritters

Homemade bread

How have you saved time,  money and energy this week ?

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Our Family Goals 2020

As each new year begins I like to reflect on the year gone.  Have we done our very best ?  What areas could we improve ?  These are the two main questions Darren and I ask ourselves.  2019 was an extremely difficult year for us emotionally,  physically ( tiredness ) and financially.  We had some systems in place to prevent buying takeaway when we were in the midst of a crisis.  But we are human and at times we failed.

2019 saw us living close to the poverty line at times.  While we don't feel poor,  we've had to be very careful about our spending.  We did have a few small holidays which we booked before our incomes dropped.  

Looking forward for the new year,  we try to be wise or wiser with what we have. Ways we can improve are -

*  Looking at ways to increase our incomes.  We have already made a start on this and praying about new opportunities.. .

*  Reopening my blog shop with handmade crafts. I made quite a few sales in 2018 with greeting cards,  decorated hand towels and Christmas decorations being my biggest sellers.  Please consider supporting my shop and sharing it with your friends and family.

*  Growing more vegetables  Supermarket prices are almost out of reach for us and prices are set to increase even more with droughts and fires affecting supply.  We will endeavour to grow silverbeet all year round as our green vegetable.  This is quite a productive vegetable and saves us lots of money.  Seeds of broccoli and cauliflower will be sown earlier than we usually do so we can pick more to freeze.  I don't like buying leafy lettuce so I'll be growing more.

*  Pruning and feeding our fruit trees to help them produce more.

*  I'm seriously considering a ' Buy Nothing New ' year.  I have plenty of clothes and if I really need something then the op shop is my first port of call.  Our home is nicely furnished and unless something breaks,  we don't need anything.  Craft supplies must run out or wear out before I replace them.  I'll keep you informed of my progress.

*  Taking time to enjoy a cuppa and biscuit on our deck / pergola instead of going out to eat.

*  Eliminating food waste. Since it's just been Darren and I at home ( since Dec ),  we've been pretty good at this.  There's always room for improvement and having less in the fridge does help.  I still cook for 3 - 6 people at least a few nights a week.  The leftovers are carefully portioned out and frozen.

*  Sourcing better meat prices.  We've been living off our freezer stockpile but now that's getting low.  Meat prices have skyrocketed so being on the ball for sales will be really helpful to our budget.

*  Last but not least - refining our family budget.  I do this at the start of every year by reassessing all expenses and trying to cut out waste.  So far I've cut out gift budget to the bare bones.  I've changed to a cheaper plan for my mobile and Darren is hoping to do the same shortly.  Utilities are proving to be a challenge but we are being mindful of all usage.  The milder weather so far is helping.

Growing more

Making the dollars stretch until they scream.

Have you written down your family goals for 2020 ?

How will you achieve them ?      

Saturday, 25 January 2020

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 25th January 2020

My frugal list is not very long this week.  I was out at cleaning jobs 4 days this week.  I pulled a few weeds out of the garden every time it stopped raining. One day I pottered around tidying things,  decluttering and sorting out our 2 abandoned bedrooms and generally getting ready for when our family moves back in.  I spent all day last Saturday with some of my closest friends doing what I love the most - drinking tea,  eating, talking and making a few cards.

Here's what else I got up to

*  Recycled some birthday cards given to me by a friend.  I cut them down to size,  matted and mounted them onto new blank cards.  Added a bit of bling where needed and they look great.  I also made gift tags from card making  scraps.

*  Found packs of 2 lamb shanks at 49% off bringing them down to about $7.50 a kilo.  There were 4 packs on the shelf so I bought the lot.  They have been frozen and will be rationed out over the next 12  months for special occasions instead of going out for dinner.

*  Menu planned for the next 2 weeks.  I'm concentrating on using what we already have in the freezer instead of buying more.  We need room in the freezer for tomatoes and beans that are growing in the garden.

*  Sold 2 dozen eggs to a friend

*  Picked lettuce and zucchini from the garden.

*  Refilled the shampoo and conditioner bottles by turning almost empty bottles upside down.  I also diluted the conditioner by 1/3

*  It was my turn to host the card making day last Saturday.  For morning tea I made a double batch of scones and served them with homemade peacharine / peach  jam.  The leftover scones were frozen and Darren and I have enjoyed a few during the week with a cuppa.

*  Picked a few raspberries every couple of days.  I'm working towards my next jam making session.

*  Made a large jar of dried seasoned bread crumbs from scratch.  I used the ends of loaves of bread,  whizzed,  dried and seasoned them.

*  Received a $20 store credit for the Good Guys.  I put this towards a George Foreman Grill for a  Christmas present which also happened to be on sale.  Normal price was $39 down to $29.  I only paid $9.  Bonus.  The store credits come every 3 months or so as part of a extended warranty scheme.
*  Cooked all meals from scratch.  At the moment it's just Darren and I at home.  We still cook for 4 - 6 people as that's what most recipes are.  We freeze all the leftovers into single serves.  This eliminates waste and I only have to cook a few times a week.

Unfortunately we didn't get much sunshine this week.  This is the reason why the photos are a bit dull.

Finished this card I started a couple of years ago

Megan's birthday Card - a new design

Recycled card

Recycled card.

Homemade - just divine.

How have you saved money this week ?

Do you cook extra quantities and freeze the leftovers ?

Saturday, 18 January 2020

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 18th January 2020

The last 3 - 4 weeks have been quiet ( at times ) with lots of decluttering,  gardening,  jam making and family time out on our deck.  When the weather is mild,  Darren and I like to take our cuppas and a biscuit or two outside to enjoy the fresh air.

We had a lovely Christmas and hosted Christmas Day lunch at our place.  It was Luka's first Christmas and he really enjoyed the wrapping paper as well as his new toys.  Under the Christmas tree was choc o block full of presents especially for Luka.  Imagine what it will be like next Christmas with another baby joining our family.

Family will be moving in with us in 4 weeks time ( for the next 12 - 18 months ) so I've spent a lot of time decluttering and making space in cupboards and drawers.  There have been many trips to Savers with bags of no longer needed goodies.

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

*  Made a large jar of castor sugar by whizzing small batches of white sugar in the coffee bean grinder.  It was so easy to do and works out much cheaper per kilo.

*  Made 14 jars of peach and peacharine jam.  The fruit was free and came from my Dad's tree and a local community pantry.

*  Made Christmas cards by cutting up the old ones we had.  I think they look quite nice.  It feels good to have that task finished at the start of the year when life is a little quieter.

*  I went shopping on Boxing day to pick up a few bargains.  I purchased a couple of presents for this year,  bought sneakers at 40% off to wear to my cleaning jobs and used a gift card for a Kaisercraft store that had 50% off most items.

*  Saved the shower water,  washing machine rinse water and Luka's bath water ( when he was here ) and poured it all into the washing machine for the next load.

*  Diluted the dishwashing liquid by 1/3.

*  Redeemed our saved points at Coles supermarket to get 6 drinking glasses for free. We did not go out of our way to spend more money so they truly are free.

*  Used fuel dockets to fill up our cars with petrol just before the price went up.

*  Made chicken stock in the slow cooker from a chicken carcass.

*  Picked a few raspberries each day.  The fruit isn't as big or abundant this year but I'm hoping I'll have enough to make a couple of jars of jam.

*  Darren and I ate Christmas Day leftovers for 2 days afterwards.  Nothing went to waste and it was great to have a break from cooking.

*  Dried lots of rosemary and whizzed it in the coffee grinder so that it sticks better to roast veggies.

*  Picked about 8 apricots from our tree.  The birds got 4 of them.

*  Made butter with a small amount of cream I knew we couldn't use before it went off.

*  Made 9 jars of peach jam using free fruit I was able to access.  Made 6 jars of raspberry jam using fruit from our bushes.  Made 3 jars of apricot jam using fruit from our tree ( for the first time).

*  Picked up 4 rolls of Christmas wrapping paper from The Reject Shop for 25 cents each.  3 of the rolls can be used for birthdays and other occasions.

*  Found a cheaper plan for my mobile phone saving me $10 a month.

*  Bought Dove soap at NQR costing $4 for 6 bars.  Some have been put away for Christmas stockings.

*  Gratefully received potato chips from a family member who had access to slightly out of date stock.

*  Filled up our cars just before petrol went up.

*  Planted cucumber and   lettuce seeds.

*  Picked three zucchinis so far from the one plant my Dad gave me.  I'm hoping to make a zucchini slice.

Christmas Day table

Christmas Day table
From the garden

Peach and peacharine jam.

Making butter

Processing the dried rosemary

Boxing Day bargains.

What frugal tasks have you completed over the Christmas / New Year break ?

Saturday, 21 December 2019

My Latest Frugal Tasks List Nov / Dec 2019

It's been over a month since I last posted my frugal task list.  Life has been a bit of a roller coaster with a family member in hospital after suffering a stroke just before starting a new,  stronger round of chemo treatment.  She's recovered quite well from the stroke but the chemo has knocked her about a little.  We are grateful for all the prayers from caring people around the world.  God is watching over our family.

I've tried to be frugal when time and energy has allowed me to be.  We did get takeaway once or twice when we got tired of frozen leftovers in the freezer.  Some days I was on the go from sun up until sun down and Darren was quite happy to get fish and chips to make life a little easier ( no dishes to wash ).

Here's my frugal list of things I remembered to write down -

*  Saved Luka's bath water and bucketed it into the washing machine.

*  Made up two bottles of diluted Dynamo laundry liquid.

*  Saved the washing machine final rinse water and poured it into the machine for the next load.

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

*  Made a couple of batches of chicken stock in the slow cooker when a cooked chicken came into our home via the girls or shopping day.

*  Picked bunches of iceberg roses from our garden to brighten up our home.  There's no point in buying flowers that wilt within a couple of days when we can pick flowers for free that last longer.

*  I was a very good girl this Christmas season and didn't buy any decorations for our tree.  This would be the first time in 24 years of marriage.  I love Christmas and all the festivities,  but we don't need any decorations and they just didn't appeal to me.  They all seemed cheap and tacky this year.

*  Made 2 batches of lemon butter to have on my toast each morning.  I ran out of homemade jam a couple of months ago and don't like buying it ( I don't like the taste ).  I have plenty of lemon juice in the freezer and we still have one chicken laying so the lemon butter is quite cheap to make.

*  Picked silverbeet as much as possible to have with many meals as our green vegetable.

*  Used a 20% off discount coupon to buy a doona cover for Luka for about $6.  It's an Elmo doona cover in very good condtion and will be a bright addition to his bedroom when he goes into a big boy's bed late next year.

*  Darren picked the last of the hot pink roses from our garden for my bedside table.  We could smell their  scent  all throughout the house.

*  Made choc chip biscuits for afternoon tea snacks.

*  Gave Megan a haircut.

*  Picked strawberries from the garden to have with icecream a couple of night after dinner.

*  Made a big batch of sausage rolls using sausage mince I bought for $1.99 kg earlier this year.

*  Printed off a few photos to frame for Christmas presents.  The frames came from op shops for $1.

*  Made a large batch of spag bol sauce.  We ate some for dinner that night and froze the rest into serves for two.  This became our ' go to meal ' on busy days.

*  Used wrapping paper I already had to design this year's Christmas cards.

*  Froze leftovers of Massaman beef curry,  lamb and veg soup and chicken and veg soup.

*  Cooked up the last of a hoarded leg of lamb ( from last Spring ).  After having it for dinner,  I froze the leftover meat into portions for two.  The bone went into the pot and I made lamb and veg soup.  That leg of lamb gave us a total of 22 serves of meat.

*  Gratefully received a bag of peacharines from my Mum and Dad.  They are super juicy and delicious.

*  Gratefully received lots of rubber craft stamps from a friend.

*  Kept the heater and cooler off as much as possible.  The windows and doors were flung open wide on the milder Spring / Summer days.

*  Gratefully received a couple of tubs of margarine.  We don't usually use margarine but it is a cheaper option to use in mashed potato when we can't taste any difference to butter

*  Made ANZAC biscuits using dough from the freezer.

*  Made a whole orange cake using oranges I froze from last Winter.  I divided the batter into two cakes.  One was to eat fresh and the other was frozen for future eating.

Other pink roses from our garden ( not the hot pink ones )

Christmas card I made using wrapping paper as the background mat.

Lots of sausage rolls

Lamb and veg soup

Whole orange cake

A card I made for Kurt's 21st birthday.

We wish you a joyous Christmas Season with your family and friends.

Thankyou for your continued support and friendship. Somehow Darren and I made it through a very difficult and challenging year.  Having a network of friends,  family and blogging friends made it a little bit easier to get through each day.

This will be the last post I write for the year. I'll be back mid January 2020.

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Gifts For Under $5

Gift giving at Christmas does not have to break the bank or home budget.  Quite often homemade / handmade gifts are very budget friendly and generally better received than the mass produced gift packs found in department stores.

Here are a few ideas that could save you a small fortune.  I personally have either made these gifts or gratefully received them.

*  Wrap boxes of Dove soap ( or similar ) in pretty paper.  Thread a bling buckle onto a small length of ribbon and attach it around the box.  Hide the ribbon seam underneath.  Alternatively you could hot glue gun a button or flower to the ribbon.

*  A vintage saucer or bread and butter plate can be sourced from op shops for under $3 and makes a beautiful present.  Add a candle to the gift and it becomes a useful gift too.  In Australia,  Spotlight stores sell a range of candles for under $2 each and they smell amazing.

*  Wheat / heat bags are super easy to make.  Use cotton material to sew up a pouch and fill with wheat,  rice or  barley.  Sew up  the opening  and tie a luscious ribbon around it into a bow for a professional look.

* A framed photo is always well received.  Discount shops sell a variety of picture frames for $2 or $3.  If you are wanting a more substantial timber frame,  try looking in op shops.

*  I know I mention this often,  but jars of homemade biscuits are super cheap and well received.  Recently I've been able to get lots of large Moccona coffee jars for free on my local Buy,  Swap,  Sell Facebook page.  Add a ribbon for an elegant touch.

*  Pot up a punnet of lettuce seedlings for a gift that keeps on giving.  Lettuce seedlings cost about $3 per punnet.  $2 discount shops sell plastic garden pots or you could recycle one you already have.

*  Make your own food hamper.  I recently purchased new colanders for $2.50.  I added a packets or two of pasta, a couple of tins of tomatoes and made up a jar of Italian herbs for the receiver to make spag bol.  Try your local op shop for stainless steel colanders.  With so many people buying ready made foods,  it's amazing what new or near new items people donate to op shops.

Spag bol hamper

The contents

Italian herbs for the hamper
From memory this gift cost about $3

Vintage plates bought for $3 each at op shops
A jar of biscuits.

What are your super budget friendly gift ideas ?