Saturday, 23 October 2021

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 23rd October 2021

 As our last lockdown ( hopefully ) come to an end,  we've been busy trying to finish up a few projects before we go out and about.  We've done as much as we can in our garden using what we have on hand.  A trip to a couple of garden centres is high on our priority list to buy a few more plants.

Darren has installed a few new internal doors to the spare bedrooms.  These were given to us almost a year ago for free. Now we need to do a bit of sanding then lots of painting.

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

*  Baked three loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  Made up a batch of dried seasoned bread crumbs.  I added a small bag of extra crunchy corn flakes that were gifted to us.  Hopefully the bread crumbs will be extra crunchy.

*  Fed lots of garden snails to the chickens.  I go snail hunting almost every day and seem to find so many.  Better in the chicken's tummies that the snails eating my plants.

*  Picked silverbeet,  sugar snap peas and parsley from the garden.

*  Found lots of self sown seedlings growing in the garden.  I dug up quite a few forget me not seedlings and replanted them to fill in gaps around the garden.

*  Filled up a thermos with leftover boiled water from the kettle when we boil it for our breakfast cuppas.  This gives us enough boiled water for morning tea and sometimes afternoon tea.  If we don't use it all for cuppas,  it's used to cook veggies for dinner.

*  Once again Woolworths over charged me for packets of tissues.  When I pointed this out they gave me three packets for free and charged me the correct price for the others.  I was also over charged for a 5 kilo bag of rice.  When I returned it they gave it to me for free.  That was worth $20 ( not that I would pay that much ).  It certainly pays to check your receipt after shopping.

*  Used cut up old socks to tie our standard roses to their garden stakes.  The socks are sturdy but have some give which reduces damage to the plant stem.

*  Over the last few weeks we've been mulching our garden  for free.  I asked on a local Facebook page about sourcing mulch that wasn't full of weed seeds.  People gave me a few suggestions but they were out of our price range.  A man who follows that page contacted me and offered as much mulch as I needed for free.  He'd just had a tree chopped down and mulched by a contractor.  We estimate the mulch we took was worth over $200.  We've mulched just about all our garden beds and still have 8 big bags left.  Such an amazing blessing.

*  Darren juiced the last of the lemons off our tree.  We've frozen the juice in ice cube trays.

*  Baked whole orange cakes using oranges from the freezer.  I made the cakes in various sizes to suit the occasion.  Small ones are great for the grandbabies or to take to my card making group.  Medium size is great for Darren and I over a couple of days.  The larger one is good for having visitors or for when we visit other people.   

Sugar snap peas from the garden

Making my own from scratch.

Whole orange cakes

The apricots are growing fast.


How have you saved time,  money or energy around your home ?

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

I Found Freebies In My Garden

Over the last six months Darren and I have been making over our front garden and filling in gaps in our back garden.  Unfortunately due to the almost continuous lockdowns this year we have not been able to buy plants for such a long time,  Our local garden and hardware stores have been closed to the general public and I've not been game to do any online ordering for plants.

So we've kind of been stuck for new plants.  As I've been weeding our gardens on a regular basis I've been looking under plants to see if they have grown little seedlings.  To my surprise I've found many little plants hiding out of sight.  I've scraped away the mulch and gently dug up the seedlings and replanted them to help fill out our garden.

Over 20 years ago we planted many lavender plants along our driveway,  only to have them all die about a year later.  Fast forward to earlier this year and we found about 8 - 10 had popped up again out of the blue.  How exciting and such a surprise.  I've dug them up and replanted in various locations.

I've also taken cuttings from the few plants we did buy earlier this year.  A new Hebe plant we bought has given us many new plants from cuttings and I've been able to give one to my parents.  Darren has even grown a few hydrangea cuttings from a plant his Mum gave us many years ago.

When the garden shops reopen we can't wait to buy a few different plants to complete our garden transformation.  While we await that glorious day,  we've saved hundreds of dollars and our garden is looking fabulous ( all things considered ).

Below are some of the freebies we've found and nurtured.

Snapdragon seedling we found.

Federation daisy we've grown from a cutting

Osteospermum and lavender plants that popped up

A Hebe plant we grew from a cutting

Grown from a cutting

Alyssum - the ;plant that gives many seedlings

Do you dig around in your garden for freebies ?

What plants give you freebies ?

How have you gardened during lockdowns and restrictions ?

Saturday, 16 October 2021

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 16th October 2021

 I must admit this week has been a bit of a lazy one. We've been dealing with quite a stressful situation and we are not sleeping well.  I keep reminding myself that God is in control and to breathe.  I've been in the garden almost every day even if it's to pull a few weeds and to admire the beautiful flowers.  Our garden has been a wonderful escape and I praise God that we have the space to create such beauty.

Some days I've watched lots of Youtube with a cup of tea and some baking as a way to relax.  So I apologise that my frugal list is a little short this week. 

*  Darren made pork dumplings from scratch.  He likes to make them a couple of times a year as a dinner / lunch treat.  Both Jessica and Megan think they are better than anything they have bought at the shops.

*  Fed lots and lots of garden snails to the chickens.  They get excited when I throw them over the fence and gobble them up as if they were lollies.

*  Made pita chips to have as snacks with a little bit of dip.

*  Planted corn,  beans,  cucumber and zucchini seeds in our veggie garden.

*  Made up two bottles of diluted Dynamo laundry liquid.  The ratio is 1 part liquid to 5 or 6 parts water.  I use this on the odd occasion when I do a dark load of washing that is a bit smelly.

*  I picked sugar snap peas,  one mini cauliflower and silverbeet from our garden.

*  Dried all the washing on the line.  Darren watches the weather and tells me when it's going to be a sunny day without rain.  If needed I'll change my wash day to suit the weather,

*  Saved shower warm up water and washing machine rinse water.  Reused it in the washing machine.

*  Filled up the shower gel pump bottles and diluted it just a little.

*  Sold a dish cloth and some greeting cards to a friend.

I treated myself to a platter for lunch

Forget me nots in the garden

One of the eight cards I made for an order.


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

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Start Your Christmas Shopping ASAP

 There are just 10 1/2 weeks until Christmas is here.  Have you started your shopping yet ?  Do you have any presents set aside in your present cupboard ?

I live in Melbourne and retail will not be opening up until early November ( at this point ).  If that's the case,  we will be left with just over 6 weeks to get all our shopping done.  That's us and every other Melbournian crowded into shopping centres desperately trying to buy much needed clothes,  household items and presents. That's not an ideal situation and certainly something I will be avoiding as much as possible.

When you do get to the shops,  you might not be able to buy exactly what you want.  In other states shelves are being stripped bare and variety is not what it once was.

Many supply chains have been broken for various reasons.  Transport strikes,  workplace restrictions and world issues ( you know what they are ) have taken a real toll on imports.  Also delivery times and costs have blown out with so much online shopping.

So what is the solution ?  How will you be able to buy Christmas presents this year ?

Here are a few ways you can get started now -

*  Buy local,  buy from small businesses or friends and family.    This helps to support people in your own state or country.  

*  Check your local Buy,  Swap and Sell Facebook pages,  Marketplace,  Ebay or Etsy.  People are always selling something and you might just find what you are looking for.

*  Can you make some presents with supplies you have on hand ?

*  Can you grow plant cuttings to give as presents ?

*  With so little advertising for toys ( certainly in our state due to shops being closed ),  are your children asking for general toys like a doll,  Lego,  sport equipment ?  If they are not asking for a particular brand,  model or color you will find it easier to get what they'd like.  Darren and I rarely bought the latest and greatest for our girls when they were little but they never missed out on great toys.

*  Can you upcycle items you already have.  Make something over or give it a coat of paint ?

*  Are there hard rubbish ( curbside ) collections in your area ?  I've seen photos of unwanted dolls houses and play furniture on curbsides waiting for the council to collect and crush in their rubbish trucks.  This could be a great opportunity to upcycle items with a fresh coat of paint or a good clean.

*  Can you trade items with your friends and family ?

* Try shopping at op shops for giftware and kitchenware.  It's amazing what people will donate in new or near new condition.

Lastly,  there's no need to buy for every man,  woman or child you know.  Trim your present list to suit your budget.

What plans do you have for Christmas shopping this year ?

Saturday, 9 October 2021

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 9th October 2021

 Over the last three weeks since I last posted our frugal tasks,  we've tried to stay busy each day.  I've started Spring cleaning around our home and clean something different every few days. On the milder days we've had lunch or morning teas outside on our deck and admired all our hard work in the garden.

Here's how we've spent our days -

*  Bought Osso Bucco beef from Australian Butchers for $10.99 kg.  This is a fantastic price for any cut of beef.  

*  Made up one slow cooker of Massaman beef curry and one slow cooker of beef stew ( at the same time ).  We enjoyed these meals for the next two nights and all the leftovers were portioned out and frozen.

*  Gratefully received a pot of chicken noodle soup from Megan.  Unfortunately she made too much for herself and had no room in her freezer.  She dropped it off on our doorstep and we enjoyed it for dinner that night and froze the leftovers.

*  Dried the washing on the line or clotheshorses.  Over the last three weeks I've only put one load in the dryer when it was too muggy for the washing to dry naturally ( I tried ).

*  Wrote out a menu plan for the next four weeks.  Added in soup a few times as our cheap meals.

*  Baked wholemeal bread with extra goodness twice during the last three weeks.

*  Baked a batch of ANZAC biscuits using dough I'd previously frozen.

*  Gratefully received tomato plants from my Dad.

*  Made up a bottle of surface spray using cooled boiled water and a dash of dish washing liquid.  I use this to clean my toilets,  wipe sinks and clean the stove and kitchen benches.

*  Bought approximately 10 kilos of chicken breasts for $4.99kg.  For just over $40 I portioned out the meat and there was enough for 40 meals for the two of us.  Some meals I might be able to get 3 or 4 serves.

*  Made a pot of chicken stock from chicken skins and offcuts from the chicken breasts.  The stock should give us enough for 8 serves of chicken soup when I make it up.

*  Sold a few cards and face masks to friends who requested them.

*  Sold quite a few dish cloths,  face scrubbies and greeting card sets.  I still have a few left so if you are interested please check out the posts I put on my Facebook pages.

*  We picked lettuce,  silverbeet and sugar snap peas from our garden.

*  Darren and I baked raspberry and white chocolate muffins,  blueberry muffins and sausage rolls as our latest lockdown treats.

*  I found a few rouge seedlings growing under bigger plants in our front garden.  I gently dug them up and planted them in better locations to fill in some gaps.  With all the gardening shops closed,  we are grateful for the little surprises in the garden.

*  Made a garden scoop from a recycled vinegar bottle.  I'm planning on using it to scoop out potting mix from the bag.

*  We had both our ovens fixed for free by the company who makes / distributes them.  Even through they are well out of warranty,  it was a design fault.  The value of the repairs was approximately $500.

Here are a few photos from our garden -

Tomato plants from Dad

A  birthday chocolate / rose bouquet from Jessica

Massaman beef curry and beef stew

Dish cloths for sale on Facebook.

How have you saved time,  money or energy lately ?

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Look What I Made With A Vinegar Bottle.


Just the other day I emptied a small bottle of brown vinegar.  As always I try to reuse,  recycle or upcycle instead of tossing items in the bin.  Here's what I made with the plastic bottle - 

A Scoop.  It has many uses around the home and garden but I'm planning on using it to scoop out potting mix from the bag.

First I used a permanent marker to mark where I needed to cut.  Then using a pair of ordinary paper / craft scissors I cut on the line I'd made.

Here are some other ways to use this scoop -

*  For scooping out bulk foods from buckets like flour. and rice etc
*  A great scoop for playing in the sand pit.
*  Take to the beach to scoop sand or water
*  For measuring out food for pets 
*  For transplanting seedlings.  This keeps the soil around the plant roots when moving it.

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

Another 6 Ways To Use White Vinegar.

 Vinegar is SO cheap to buy and has SO many uses.  Here are another 6 for you to try - 

*  When your washing machine starts to smell,  clean all the filters and surfaces.  Give the inside a good spray of vinegar,  let it sit for 10 minutes then wipe down again.  If in doubt about using vinegar in your washing machine please read in the instruction manual.

*  Vinegar can be used to help remove rust from tools.  Soak the tools in white vinegar for a couple of hours,  rinse off and wipe dry.

*  Keep your cut flowers fresh for longer by adding 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of sugar to the water in the vase.  Change the water every few days.

*  Vinegar can be used to help relive itchiness from insects bites.  Dab a little on the bite with a cotton ball / tissue every few hours.

*  Fill up your dishwasher rinse aid compartment with white vinegar.  This makes a very cheap and healthy alternative to the store bought varieties.

*  Spray your smelly kitchen bins with vinegar and leave for 10 minutes.  Wash as per usual and the smell should be gone.  This is really handy for plastic bins that can absorb bad odours.


How do you use vinegar around your home ?

Saturday, 25 September 2021

I'll Be Back Next Week.

 Due to the continuing lockdown and Darren and I not working,  I will not be posting my frugal task list this week.

To be honest,  we haven't been motivated to do much at all.  Both of us are battling to get Covid disaster payments through Centrelink who have serious glitches in their system.

Yes,  I've done a few frugal things this week but there's not much to speak of.

Hopefully next week I'll have a super long list to post and lots of positive things to talk about.

See you shortly.  xoxo

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

10 Ways To Use White Vinegar

 Do you have a bottle of white vinegar sitting in your pantry or laundry cupboard unused ?  Maybe you thought it was only good to sprinkle on fish and chips.  I did for many years.  Infact,  I use to buy the smallest bottle possible and poked holes in the top just for sprinkling purposes.

Now,  I've found so many uses for vinegar and buy 2 litre bottles that get used up very quickly.  The tips below I've personally used around my home with great success.

*  Spray underarms of clothes to get rid of body odour smells before washing.

*  Use as a natural fabric softener in your washing machine.  One cup or a good drizzle in the final rinse  should do the trick.

*  Keep your hard floors clean with a dash of vinegar and a few drops of dishwashing liquid in hot water.  I've been using this trick for over a decade on my own floors and in my cleaning clients homes.

*  Kill young weeds with vinegar.  Add one cup of salt to one litre of water. and drench the weed.  Be careful that the solution doesn't get sprayed on nearby plants 

*  Reduce the odour of smelly shoes by spraying vinegar inside.  Allow to dry before wearing the shoes.

*  Wash your fruit and vegetables in one part vinegar to three parts water to help remove potential bacteria..

*  Give your dishwasher a natural clean by splashing vinegar around the bottom.  Add bi carb to the tablet dispenser and run the dishwasher on a long hot cycle.

*  Clear minor drainage problems in your sinks with vinegar and bi carb.  Drop a couple of spoonful's of bi carb down the plug hole followed by one cup of vinegar.  Finish off with a kettle of boiling water.

*  For a streak free bench, make up a spray bottle of cooled,  boiled water.  Add 1/4 cup of vinegar and a small dash of dishwashing liquid.  Use either cotton cloths or microfibre cloths for a brilliant finish.

*  Rid your kitchen compost bin or general waste bins of smells by spraying with vinegar.  Leave for 5 minutes then wash as per usual.

Great for using in your washing machine


Saturday, 18 September 2021

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 18th September 2021

 Darren and I try to stay busy each day with various tasks around our home and garden.  Spring arrived this month but we've had many days of high winds and cold weather.  Still,  we try to get outside each day even if it's just to do an inspection of the garden to see what's happening.  

Darren is now staying home every day due to the current lockdowns and the effects they've had on the hospitality industry he works in.   We are making the most of this situation by finishing off small home maintenance jobs,  painting trims,  doors and our bedroom.  I'll be spending more time crafting and posting various handmade items for sale on my Facebook pages in the lead up to Christmas.

Here's what else we've been up to - 

*  Cleaned the dishwasher using bi carb and vinegar.

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  Made pita chips for snacking.

*  Made plum sauce for the first time in 20 years.  I used the plums from the freezer that my Dad gave me last Summer.

*  Made chicken stock in the slow cooker then turned it into a big saucepan of chunky chicken and vegetable soup.  We had some for dinner that night and the rest was divided into single serves and frozen.

*  Made tomato relish using tomatoes we grew last Summer and froze.  We will be giving some of the relish and plum sauce as presents.  Some will be consumed by ourselves and a few will be sold to a friend.   

*  Baked and sold chocolate choc chip muffins to a friend who needed them for a couple of vulnerable family members.

*  Sold a few jars of homemade jam and tomato relish to a friend who requested them.

*  Sprayed white vinegar on a couple of bathroom towels that were getting a bit smelly.  I let them sit for about 10 minutes while I sorted out the washing then washed and line dried them.  They now smell like the great outdoors.

*  Took a few more cuttings of plants in our garden.  I'm not sure of the names ( other than lavender ) but I will post photos when they grow. 

*  Darren planted out many flower and vegetable seeds from the Woolworths seed give away ( 2019 / 2020 ).  He is pleased to announce that many of them have sprouted.   When you can't go to Bunnings to select and buy plants,  you make the most of what you have on hand.

*  Saved the washing machine rinse water and shower warm up water and poured it all into the washing machine.

*  Used old bread bags to line our bathroom bins.  This saves me from washing the bin inserts.

Tomato relish

Plum sauce

Do you have plans to makes sauces,  jams and relishes this Summer ?  Do you give some as presents ?

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