Saturday 2 August 2014

This Week's Frugal Tasks

This week has been an interesting week in the Gower household.  It was a week of firsts for all of us.  On Monday afternoon I flew out from Melbourne Airport to go to the Gold Coast for a few days to film another story for tv.  This was the first time in 24 years that I'd travelled by myself.  The first time I'd been in a taxi by myself in over 26 years and certainly the first time I'd taken a taxi from Narre Warren to the airport.

It was also the first time I'd travelled without my husband and two daughters.  I must admit that it was a strange feeling and I felt all grown up.  I did meet up with the camera crew the next day and all was right in my world again.  They took good care of me and were very kind.

Trying to prepare a menu plan  for my family was a challenge.  They all said they'd be fine and would take it in turns of cooking each night.   So for the first time in about ten years there was no menu plan to follow.  It was a little strange to leave the family to fend for themselves but if they'd really got stuck for meal ideas,  there was a stash of single serve leftover meals in the freezer.

We all survived and my family didn't starve.  The house was still standing and tidy when I came home.

When I looked at my list of frugal tasks for this week,  it was a little on the slim side.  So in the last two days I've tried to get a few things done so that I wouldn't be embarrassed to post the two tasks I completed before I went away.

So here's my frugal tasks list -

*  Made cranberry hootycreek biscuits for the biscuit ( cookie ) jar.

*  Made lemon butter with lemons from our tree and eggs from our chooks.

Lemon butter.  So yummy on toast  !!!

*  Made room air freshener.

*  On the cold days I closed the toilet and laundry doors so that I wasn't heating the whole house.

*  Packed water and snacks from home for my trip.

*  Closed the curtains a little earlier on cold days.

*  Filled up the cars with petrol when it was cheap and used discount fuel dockets.

*  Gave homemade peanut butter choc chip biscuits with a present for my Mother in Law's birthday.

*  My daughter made honey mustard chicken from scratch while I was away.

*  Brought the free muffin from the plane home for someone to eat.

*  Made strawberry yoghurt.

*  Picked 5 broccoli heads from the veg garden and blanched them for the freezer.

Broccoli still growing rwo weeks ago

Freshly picked broccoli

*  Picked silverbeet from the garden for a meal.

*  Cut up a cereal box to add 2 page dividers to my price book.

*  Cut up the cereal liner bag to use as go between for freezing food.

What did you do this week that was frugal in any way,  shape or form ?


  1. Hi Wendy,
    I can't wait to see your story tomorrow. Ours has also been a busy week with both the boys birthdays and me starting my childcare course in class.
    The frugal things I have done are:
    *Took my lunch both days of my classes.
    *Took milk the second day so I didn't have to buy coffee (tea, coffee and sugar are provided).
    *Drank black sweetened tea the first day instead of buying coffee.
    *Made a lasagne from scratch for family dinner, there are 2 double serves in freezer.
    *Made garlic breads with French sticks and MOO garlic/parsley butter.
    *Made Ryan's cake from scratch.
    *Closed the curtains before it started turning dark.
    *Avoided the dryer.
    *Bought last months BH&G and a puzzle book at an opshop for $1 each, better than $6-7 each.

  2. You had a great week considering you were away from home. What is your recipe for air freshener please?

  3. Debbie, the air freshener is cooled boiled water and a dash of water soluble lavender oil.

  4. Having a newly retired husband now on the pension which pays somewhat less than his job in a previous life;) we ventured into the city on the train. With concession tickets in hand, backpack stuffed with thermos for a cuppa, a picnic lunch and even a tablecloth we ventured forth. Spreading our tablecloth on the bench seat we enjoyed a wonderful frugal feast with million dollar views at Circular Quay, Sydney....then after a walk along the water front we enjoyed a free brewed coffee at Maccas using our seniors card plus some Anzac biscuits I'd made.

    Made another batch of Anzac biscuits yesterday but made them in a Lamington tin and then sliced them into bars once baked.

    Thanks for listing your frugal deeds which shows how really easy it is to save is a change in mindset we need to implement.
    Glad your family showed their true colours by their cooking from scratch. Imitation is the greatest complement :)
    Alexa from Sydney, Australia

  5. Wendy, what is the tv program you will be featured on please?

  6. I'm on A Current Affair Channel Nine 7pm tonight.

    1. How does one send you a personal email Wendy?

  7. Hi Wendy, saw you on ACA tonight and saw you had a blog and well here I am. Thanks for sharing your hints and tips. I have just gone and turned off surplus lighting and adjusted ducted heating thermostat! Your "cranberry hootycreek biscuits" sound interesting, cranberries are just lovely. Would you be able to share your recipe please? Cheers Donna Z :)

  8. Thanks for joining my blog Donna. More recipes will be revealed soon I promise.

  9. Just found you and really appreciate what you do. You give inspiration to so many people that you can live the good life and live off less.:-)

  10. Dear Wendy, Well done on the A Current Affair segment it was wonderful. We frequent the same places Wendy as I follow Cheapskates and The Prudent Housewife Blog so I feel as if I bump into you! I follow your $300 food challenge thread and love it.
    Wendy I also blog about happiness, abundance and money saving and I am also a Christian and I encourage Mothers to embrace homemaking and cherish their children. I will post a link to your blog on my homepage for you. And I will be a follower! Love Annabel. x

    1. Annabel, I've been a member of the Cheapskates Club for four years now. The best four years of my life. Everyone is so friendly and supportive there.

      The Prudent Homemaker is to be admired. She does so much for her family on such a small amount of money.

      Even in our tough times, God has always provided. We try to remember those blessings every day and not take them for granted.

      Please visit my blog again and say hello.

  11. Hi Wendy. Where do you buy your water soluble lavender oil? :-)

  12. Water soluble lavender oil is the the toiletry section of the supermarket. It's generally on the bottom shelf next to the tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil.

  13. Loved the program last night. Very inspiring. Well done.
    This week I have discovered a fantastic shampoo and conditioner substitute. with 2 teen girls myself, they go through lots of this. We ran out. So we used 1 tablespoon of bicarb soda mixed to a paste for the shampoo. And 1 tablespoon vinegar which we put in a 300ml water bottle and filled with warm water as the rinse. I tried it too. Us 3 girls have never had such soft clean hair!

  14. I have come to visit after seeing you on ACA last night. You are very wise and have some great tips. It is wonderful that you are able to help others in their quest to save money especially with so many people struggling these days.

    I live a pretty frugal life and it is always nice to find people who are like minded and I can always learn more :)

    I am so glad you have a blog, I look forward to following along with your journey :)


  15. Hi Wendy, I just wanted to say that you are so inspirational. Thank you for sharing your wonderful ideas. Keep up the good work. May God bless you and you family.

  16. Thankyou Tania and Anonymous for your lovely comments. Living a simple life is so rewarding. Please come and visit my blog again. I'd love to hear from you.

  17. Wow Wendy we have been inspired. My sister saw the segment on A Current Affair and begun her frugal journey. She told me about it and what she was doing so I watched it and begun. Others have now joined us in the challenge to spend $400 for the month on food/general shopping. We share our frugal tips and what works for us.
    Homemade washing powder and general cleaner.
    Meal plan for the month
    water added to shampoo and conditioner
    Bread, yoghurt, snacks etc homemade
    We are all excited about the challenge and satisfaction that comes from making your own and sticking to $400 food budget.

    1. I'm so pleased you have started a frugal journey with your family and friends. You'll be able to support each other and share tips.

      Living simply / frugally is such a joyful lifestyle. It makes you appreciate all the blessings in your life.

      Well done.

  18. Hi Wendy,
    I grew broccoli last year and loved it. I also harvested the side leaves and stems as they grew, too. I just sliced them up and used them in stir fry. Yum!
    <3 Shadow

  19. Hi Wendy. I just found your blog through The Prudent Homemaker. Watched the episode of Current Affair - well done! I'll be following you from now on.

    ~Halfway around the world in South Carolina, USA.

    1. Thankyou for taking an interest. I love reading the Prudent Homemaker's blog too.

  20. Hi Wendy, I use to ask myself why I run my household the way I do, when everyone around me does the opposite . Now I know I'm not crazy or strange. I buy in bulk, cook in bulk and freeze left overs, even dehydrate fruits and vegies, make my own laundry powder, yoghurt, soup stocks, ice cream birthday cakes etc etc This lifestyle is the best way to live and hope it becomes the "new" way for others. Have been surrounded by people who would knock back making something because they can buy it instead. There are many other things I'd like to try making at home eg making tomato sauce at the end of the season, pickling vegies, the list goes on. It's so satisfying and healthy. I'm seeing a change in our culture back to the days of my European parents. Thank you Wendy for bringing this back into the open and will keep reading your blog.

    1. It sounds like you are doing a wonderful job in your home.

  21. Anonymous9 August 2014 20:22

    Hi Wendy,

    I loved most of your tips and hints when you first appeared on the ACA and came across your blog this evening.

    You don't have to put this on your blog but I REALLY HAD to write to you.

    Thank you so much for sharing all those loved tips and hints. I have been 'frugal' in some areas but not in my grocery shopping. At least I'm trying now and it is getting under control little by little.

    I had this 3.5kg tin of peeled whole tomatoes from Aldi for sometime but not knowing what to with it. I bought it the other day as it looked appealing and at that time I was 'planning' to make my own tomato based sauces. Anyway, I ultimately made some last week using few leftover raw ingredients such mince meat, fresh herbs (from my garden) and so on and managed to freeze 6 containers of tomato based sauces (I can't name it as it was an invention). It made me so happy as it tastes lovely. Hereafter, I will be making my own sauces as much as I can.

    Actually the main reason behind my writing this to you was, I thoroughly enjoyed reading one of your frugal tasks - using the bread bags to scoop cat litter. I couldn't help laughing for sometime for not using my 'brains' to do the same. You see, I walk my neighbour's doggie and she does her business twice during our walk. I use the plastic bags in which I bring veggies and fruits home but when I run out of it I either stop walking her or go to the nearby doggie park and grab few doggie poo bags. I feel embarrassed to grab few bags at a time though I time my visits well to avoid others - for me it is more like stealing though I do it in good intention.

    So, when I read your tip, I thought how come I didn't get this idea before. We use about 2-3 loaves of bread a week and I don't bake my own bread yet. Thanks to you, I will be using my 'bread bags' to remove the doggie business, until I start baking my own bread.

    Wendy, I'm sorry if I took your time but at least I hope this would bring a smile to your face. I was not kidding when I said I would use them in the future - this is a very serious matter for me. Doggie is over 13 years old we don't think she has much life left, and she is attached to me a lot. I walk her only to make her happy in her old age and it doesn't benefit me that much to keep me fit as she wants to do her sniffing around every other minute, but I do it out of love as her owners too are elderly and not very good in health.

    Thanks heaps, Wendy, I'm really grateful to you for motivating us to be more frugal in our lives and gain more on the other hand.

    I wish you and all your loved ones all the best and good luck with all your future endeavours.

    Thanks once again.

    Best regards,

  22. Hello Wendy, is it possible to see the film clip of the segment you did on A Current ffair back in 2014? Regards Robyn S.A


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