Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Pack Holiday Savings In Your Suitcase

Holidays are a fabulous way to unwind,  relax and have a change of scenery.  Darren and I have always made it a priority to have a least one holiday each year.  Sometimes it's just a night or two away and other holidays have been as long as four weeks.  We live frugally,  save all year and get the best deal we possibly can by doing lots of research.

Booking a holiday is just the start of the spending.  Transfers,  activities,  spending money and  souvenirs add to the cost of having a good time.  Then there is the eating.  We all have to eat - right ?  How many people factor in the cost of eating everyday ?  Sure they say they'll eat out every night but that can be unrealistic for budget conscience people.

Depending on where we are holidaying we try to bring as much food as we can to keep  our food bill right down.  Here are some examples of what I pack -


*  Tea bags
*  Coffee sticks ( when Darren was a coffee drinker )
*  Biscuits - a couple of varieties
*  Tinned tuna or salmon for sandwiches or salads
*  Sugar sticks or a small container of sugar
*  Single serves of Vegemite,  peanut butter,  jam,  honey
*  Packet of jelly crystals
*  Custard powder,  milk powder and sugar in a snap lock bag to make custard
*  Seasonings for a variety of main meals each in a labelled snap lock bag.  For example,  all the chop suey seasonings are portioned into one snap lock bag.  All I need to do is cook the meat and veg,  then add the entire contents of the snap lock bag.  Tastes just like what I cook at home.
*  Muesli bars


We take all of the above listed items plus these  -

*  Fruit and veg from our fridge - Whatever needs using.
*  Cheese,  grated and block
*  Potatoes
*  Cereal ( wheat biscuits or porridge )
*  Pasta,  tinned tomatoes and seasonings to make spag bol
*  Spag bol meat sauce from the freezer
*  Tinned fruit
*  Milk
*  Tinned spaghetti and baked beans
*  Tinned chunky soup or homemade from the freezer
*  Homemade meat pie from the freezer.
*  Chips and chocolate ( always bought on sale )
*  Thermos for tea and coffee drinking


*  Take packets of biscuits in your backpack on the plane.  If you are worried about them crushing,  put them in a container.  I use the Tupperware collapsible containers.  When we've eaten the biscuits,  I collapse the containers to save on room.

*  Take some containers as well as foil,  cling wrap,  bread bags and snap lock bags wherever you go.  It saves on wastage or spoilage of food..  Also great for taking snacks on outings instead of buying.

*  I always menu plan before we go away.  Then I pack the food accordingly.  We always allow for a couple of lunches out and one dinner out especially when we travelled with our girls.  It as too expensive to eat many dinners out so we always looked forward to the treat.

*  Write a shopping list for your holiday destination before you arrive.  Then when you've unpacked,  dick up to the shops with your list in hand.  This avoids buying unnecessary food with the family in tow.

*  Pack at least one water bottle each and make sure you fill them up each night ready for the next day..

*  Pack at least one insulated bag and a couple of green bags to buy your groceries.

How do you save on holiday eating ?

Saturday, 10 November 2018

The Ups And Downs Of Life

Our week has been crazy busy.  Infact,  the last few weeks have flown by with barely a chance to rest.  Due to this I am unable to post this week's frugal tasks list.  I've been writing my frugal doings down as I go but haven't had the time to write it in a post.

Yesterday my Dad had major eye surgery.  The hospital is in the city about 45 minutes away.  My Mum hasn't been well all year and due to this illness hasn't been able to drive.  She's only just got back on the road but unable to drive long distances.  The family are all pitching in to take Mum each day to see Dad.  We are hoping to have him home mid next week.

Unfortunately Jessica's wedding has been cancelled.  Circumstances beyond ours and Jessica's control changed and it just couldn't happen any more.  We've gone through some tough days together with lots of hugs and God keeping us strong..  Jessica is ok and has kept herself busy with Uni exams.

I would like to ask that no comments about the wedding be posted on Facebook.  

Darren has been super busy finishing up his Bible College studies for the year.  He has an exam coming up shortly.  He's also been organising the community day our church holds on the last Saturday of November.  Yesterday Darren and I were at the church packing 200 hampers with a team of helpers.

Due to all of this  I've plunged myself into Christmas preparations.  I've put out a few Christmas decorations to cheer us all up.  I know it's early but we needed something to brighten our home. The Christmas tree will go up either today or tomorrow.

I finished the Christmas shopping this week except for a few last minute stocking stuffers ( chips and lollies ).  Last night I was up late wrapping and labelling all the presents.  I've made about 15 Christmas cards and will finish making and writing this next week.

Next week's frugal task list should be twice as long ( I hope ).

If you have been busy saving money this week I'd love to hear all about it.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Planning Ahead For The Christmas Season

Christmas should be a time of fun,  laughter,  togetherness,  relaxation ( to a point ),  good food and  celebrating of the birth of Jesus.  Unfortunately it's easy to feel overwhelmed with all the presents to purchase,  food to prepare and parties to attend in the lead up.

Making November your planning and doing month will give you peace of mind and a chance to put your feet up while others are running around in December.

Here's a list of  tasks to complete in November while you have the free time.

*  If you haven't already done so,  write out your Christmas list and budget for each person.

*  Check your present cupboard to see if you have any presents put aside.  Allocate the presents to your list.

*  If you are planning on a hand made Christmas,  make a list of gifts to make and start making.  Bath bombs,  shortbreads,  tote bags,  aprons ( bbq and kitchen ),  hanging hand towels,  knitted dish cloths and soaps are all fairly easy to make.  If you are going to make soap,  use the hot process so the soaps set in a couple of days, ready to wrap and give.

*  Check your wrapping box.  Do you need sticky tape,  tags,  paper,  card or ribbon ?

*  Write a few Christmas cards each day.  Send overseas cards by the end of November.

*  Make and freeze biscuit / cookie dough ready to bake last minute presents.  The dough is great to have on standby for ' take a plate ' functions.

*  Build up your stockpile of freezer meals or single portions in readiness for those crazy December days.

*  Plan your Christmas Day / Eve meals.  Start buying ingredients when you see them on sale ( especially lollies and chocolates ).

Menu plan to the best of your ability for December allowing for functions on the calendar.  This will help to put your mind at ease.  Remember,  a menu plan is not set in stone.  Swap meals around when things pop up.

*  Fill in your calendar when invitations arrive.  The rule in our house is - " If it's not on the calendar,  it's not happening ".

*  Pull out the Christmas tree and decorations.  Inspect for damage and plan to buy or replace before mid December.  In recent years,  retailers get rid of their Christmas stock well before the big day,.  If you are looking for decos on Christmas Eve,  you might be disappointed.

*  Most importantly,  start present shopping.  The quicker you get it done,  the more time you'll have to relax.

Get supplies ready

Check your decorations

Wrap as you buy

Stockpile meals

Do you use November to plan for Christmas ?

How do you keep the calm in your home ?

Saturday, 3 November 2018

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 3rd November 2018

This week Jessica and I made a trip to Chadstone shopping centre to have a look around.  I say that but Jessica was the one keen to do the shopping.  I was the one just wanting to look.  Chadstone is a beautiful shopping centre but it's not my cup of tea.  There are far too many high end stores with overpriced merchandise.

The funny thing is, many years ago I worked there for two years until just before Jessica was born.  I loved Chadstone then,  now my tastes ( and budget ) have changed.  This week my heart was steering me in the direction of Kmart,  The Reject Shop,  Target and Daiso. My kinda stores for my budget.

Here's my frugal list for this week

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.  I used recycled bread bags to store them in the freezer.

*  Refilled the dishwashing liquid bottle and diluted it by 1/3.

*  Refilled all my herb and spice jars with bulk packets I purchased from Hindustan Imports in Dandenong.  By doing this I save a small fortune each year.  I also made a list of what I'm running low on so when I'm near the store next,  I can buy the items

*  Gratefully received a few department store gift bags from a friend.  This weekend I'll be redecorating them so they can be reused.  I think it's been a few years since I bought wrapping paper for birthday presents.

*  Gratefully received lots of muffins leftover from Jessica's work.  We had so many that I took some to a cleaning client's home for them to enjoy too.

*  Picked silverbeet,  rosemary and a couple of bunches of roses to take to Megan's place when we went over for dinner.  She really enjoyed the flowers which I arranged in a couple of jam jars.

*  Baked and sold lots of raspberry and white chocolate muffins to a long time cleaning client.  She's also put in an order for mini quiches and chocolate muffins for next time.

*  Jessica did another declutter of her bedroom.  I was able to take quite a few items to Savers and received a discount stamp.  With that stamp I was able to purchase Christmas decorations and baby clothes for Megan at 15% off.

*  Saved the shower warm up water to pour into the washing machine.  Saved water from our drink bottles into a bucket in the kitchen.  This was used to soak saucepans and rinse out the sink.

*  Jessica and I ate from the freezer ( leftovers ) for dinner  when Darren was out at night.

*  Picked a bunch of roses for Jessica's bedside table.

*  Replenished my dishwashing stockpile with bottles on a half price sale in Coles.

*  Picked lettuce from our garden to make a salad for dinner.  I also picked silverbeet for three meals.

Garden goodies for Megan

Iceberg roses with a hint of pink.

Bargain present buy. $3 a plate

Plate teamed with a candle from Spotlight.

Lightly cooking the silverbeet.

A couple of weeks ago I launched a new Facebook page called Aussie Bargain Shoppers.  This is a page where people can share any bargains they find or sales they see advertised.  If you'd like to join this group,  please pop on over,  answer the three question on the page ( just so I know you are truly a bargain shopper and not a robot ) and we'll approve you for the group.  Here's the link Aussie Bargain Shoppers

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

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Another ' Use It Up ' Challenge November 2018

Christmas is just around the corner ( or two ) so I thought it would be a great time to have another ' Use It Up ' challenge.  I'm sure we  all need to make room in our pantries,  freezers,  cupboards,  wardrobes and bathroom cabinets for the gifts we'll receive or the food we'll need to stockpile.

The idea of this challenge is to list your goals ( what you'd like to use up ),  how you'll do it and maybe a money saving along the way.

The challenge will last for the month of November which gives us all plenty of time to work out our strategy and to use things up.

My goals are -

*  To use up more toiletry samples like shampoos,  little soaps and shower gels.

*  Use up a few unusual ingredients in my pantry by writing them into the menu plan

*  Eat out of the freezer as much as possible.  I'll be writing bits and pieces into the menu plan.  I'll be needing room in my freezers in case legs of lamb,  chicken fillets or drumsticks come on sale ( I can only dream ).  We'll also need room to freeze our garden produce.

*  Use up scraps of card making papers.  Our card making group has made this a bit of a mission each month.  We all have too many little bits of papers.  The Christmas cards I'm making this year are following this theme.

*  Take a good look at my fabric stash to see if I can make some presents. I do need to make a Christmas stocking for a new family member.  Maybe I can research making Christmas decorations from material.

*  Try to reduce my stash of tissue paper and gift bags by using them for Christmas presents.

If you'd like to join in the challenge feel free to comment below with your goals and how you'll achieve them.

My fabric stash

Saturday, 27 October 2018

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 27th October 2018

With Christmas getting closer,  I've revised and rewritten my list and made a huge effort to get more shopping done.  I've made the most of a few sales and can proudly say I've almost finished shopping.  I just need to buy a few stocking stuffers closer to the day.  Here's what else I got up to this week -

*  Made pizzas for dinner using up bits and pieces from the fridge and freezer.  We used this recipe to make the bases.  So yummy and far better than anything we've had in a restaurant or from takeaway.

*  Decorated a few department store gift bags so I can reuse them for birthday present giving.  I'll put a birthday or other occasion stamp on them when it's time to use the bags.

*  I packaged up the last batch or handmade soaps to sell at a craft / garage sale.  The ribbons tied around them were saved from gifts over the years.

*  Gratefully received extra cleaning work at one of my jobs.  The client wanted his business shirts ironed and extra Spring cleaning done.

*  Bought a few packets of nappies form Coles at half price.  The packaging is changing so they need to clear out the old stock.  I'll keep one packet here and the others will be for Megan's baby.

*  Found a few more goodies at Savers op shop.  Baby coat hanger bundles for $2,  pasty cutters for $2,  a Bob The Builder doona cover for $10 in it's packet and a waterproof cot sheet for $5 also in it's packet.  I also used a 10% stamp on my card.

*  Picked a couple of bunches of iceberg roses from the garden.  They are so elegant in recycled jam jars.

*  Picked silverbeet for two meals.

*  Ate from the freezers as much as possible including morning teas of muffins and pumpkin scones.

*  Froze a couple of serves of leftovers.

*  Took morning tea snacks,  water bottles and lunch with me when at my cleaning jobs.

*  Purchased a few Christmas and Mother's Day presents when The Body Shop had a 20% off their online store.

*  Used up a few samples of body wash and face cleanser.

*  Darren did some online research to get a better deal on my car insurance.  He saved about $130.

Decorated bags

From the garden

Morning teas

Samples to use

Homemade pizza

How did you save money this week ?

Have you made a start on your Christmas shopping ?

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

5 More Ways To Reuse Glass Jars

I find it hard to throw out a glass jar.  There are so many way to reuse them and reduce what goes into landfill.

*  Use the glass jars to serve drinks in.  The first time my parents visited the USA back in the early 1990's,  glass jars or jam jars were the latest fashion as drinking glasses.

*  Glass jars are perfect  for making your own salad dressing.  Add your ingredients,  screw the lid on tight and shake.

*  Large pasta sauce / tomato paste jars are great for storing your healthy salad lunch.  Layer your favourite ingredients and store in the fridge until ready to eat.  Mix the ingredients when you eat.

*  Make a pin cushion on the lid then use the glass jar to store your much used sewing bits and pieces.  They could make great presents.

*  Decorate a couple of jars with scraps of wrapping paper,  ribbon or twine and store your pens and pencils in style.

Saturday, 20 October 2018

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 20th October 2018

I'll be the first to admit I've been too busy this week to be extremely frugal.   Sunday we were at church then out to lunch.  Monday I was doing the monthly grocery shop plus a couple of loads of washing.  I worked Tuesday to Friday at my cleaning jobs.  Plus there was the usual housework,  Spring planting of veggie seeds and seedlings and a few hours of weeding and planting a few flowers.

Here's what I managed to fit in when I found a few spare minutes -

*  Sold two dozen eggs.

*  Used recycled bread bags to line the bathroom bins.

*  Planted bean,  cucumber and lettuce seeds as well as bean seedlings I'd grown.

*  Dried the washing on the line and clothes horses.

*  Saved shower warm up water,  drink bottle water and washing machine rinse water and reused it all around the house and garden  where I could.

*  Picked silverbeet for two meals.

*  Filled up on petrol when I heard it was going up.  It hasn't risen yet so I'll keep topping up every few days.

*  Gratefully received six daisy plants and one cherry tomato plant from my Dad.  My Dad has a beautiful display of daisies in his front garden.  There are quite a few different colors and the plants have been throwing seedlings that Dad has been digging up and potting.  He's got quite a nursery going under his pergola.

*  Hand washed the dishes most nights.

We'll start picking lettuce next week

The raspberry plants are growing rapidly

The tomato plants we grow each year.

What's on your frugal list for the week ?

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Supermarket Freezer Food.

How often have you walked past the supermarket freezer section and been dazzled by it's contents ? I used to be like that as a newly wed about 18 - 19 years ago. My cooking skills were limited so those prepacked, pre prepared foods looked like heaven to me. 

I'll admit that I bought a frozen lasagne or two. I also bought frozen sticky date puddings, a cheese cake or two, a few pizzas, apple pies, a few frozen meals as well as the staples like frozen vegies, icecream and fish.

At the time, these frozen foods tasted very nice. Divine infact. Then I saw the light or should I say recipe books and the internet. These two sources of information opened up a whole new world to me. I found easy to follow recipes that used normal everyday ingredients. Suddenly that frozen sticky date pudding that I thought was " oh so yummy " didn't have the same appeal any more. I could make it better and cheaper.

I now freeze my own lasagne, leftovers ( my version of a freezer meal ), sticky date puddings in muffin sizes, pizza dough to make my own pizzas and stewed apple to make apple desserts. My grocery budget has shrunk as a result of making my own and I enjoy my own food far more than anything made in a factory.

These days, the only things I buy from the freezer section are bags of fish portions ( not crumbed ) , icecream ( plain vanilla ), pastry ( to make my own yummies ) and beans and corn kernels. Everything else we either grow, bake or cook ourselves. 

The next time you walk past the supermarket freezers, have a think about making these foods yourself. Your family will be thanking you for it and you'll notice a change in your grocery budget.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 13th October 2018

Last weekend Darren and I escaped to Ballarat for a few days.  The miner's cottage we usually stay at has been sold and we are not sure if the new owners will keep it as a bed and breakfast.  We had a booking for early December but had to change it before the new owners take over.

We had a wonderful time relaxing,  shopping at both  Mill Markets ( antique mega stores ),  enjoying morning and afternoon teas out and had a lovely picnic by the lake at Daylesford.   We took all our own snacks,  water bottles,  teabags,  breakfast spreads and a few treats.  The weather was glorious which can be unusual for Ballarat.

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

*  Saved $12 on petrol by activating and using an offer from Flybuys in their phone app.  We used the 10 cents a litre discount to fill up both our cars.

*  Used our Flybuys card to pay for our groceries while we were in Ballarat.  Every time we get to 2000 points,  Darren converts it into $10 and loads it onto the card.  A great little bonus for doing our usual shopping at Coles and Kmart.

*  Donated a couple of bags of unwanted items to Savers and received a few discount stamps.  They only allow one stamp per day so I make sure I do a few trips when driving by to really make my donation count.

*  Dried all the washing on the line.

*  Refilled and diluted the shampoo and conditioner pump bottles.  I diluted them by 1/3.

*  When we left our accommodation to come home,  we took all the food that was included in the price for our breakfasts.  We took home a couple of pieces of fruit,  a box of orange juice,  milk and a small tub of  margarine

*  Converted $20 worth of Flybuys points into money.

*  Picked silverbeet from our garden to include in two main meals.  Broccoli isn't cheap at the moment so the silverbeet is our ' green ' vegetable on our plates.

*  Found lots of great presents at Savers.  I found new pizza trays ( with the holes in it ) for $2.99,  Royal Albert bits and pieces,  Tupperware hamburger presses for $3.99,  brand new cook books for $2.99,  baby coat hangers for Megan and  a table runner for $2.99 ( I might keep that one ).  I've made a fantastic start on the present list for 2019 and 2020.

*  Bought hard cover Mr Men books at The Mill Market in Ballarat.  They were $10 for 5 and they are in excellent condition.  I'll be putting them away for when our future grand children come to visit.

*  We received out electricity bill and saved $21 compared to the same time last year.  It might not be much but with power prices skyrocketing,  we are very happy with the saving.

*  Cut the end off a shower moisturiser tube to scrape out the last of the contents.

*  Fed weeds,  bread and grass to the chickens.

*  Darren emptied both compost bins into the veggie garden.

The miner's cottage

Mill Market buy

Apricots growing on our tree.

I've set up a new Facebook group called Aussie Bargain Shoppers where everyone can share any bargains or specials they see when out and about.  

It's closed group so click on the button ' Visit Group ' at the top right hand side and that will take you to the closed group.  Press the join button,  answer the three question and we'll add you to the group.

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