Saturday 20 September 2014

This Week's Frugal Tasks

The weather has turned cold again in Melbourne.  This week I've had to concerntrate on indoor frugal tasks to keep us warm.  Here's what we got up to -

*  Made pumpkin scones.  They are now in the freezer for morning teas.

*  Saved and recycled twelve bread bags from a charity bbq.  I turned them inside out,  brushed the crumbs off and pegged them to a clothes horse to dry out.  They will be used as bin liners and to scoop out the kitty litter.

*  Cut up a cereal box to make two more page dividers for my price book.  I also cut up the cereal bag to use as go between for crumpets,  hamburger patties chops and frozen soup portions.  It stops things sticking together.

*  Juiced a big bowl of lemons and froze the juice in ice cube trays.  I then went outside and picked another bowlful.  These will be juiced in a week's time.

*  Found two Summer tops at Savers op shop for under $10 total.

*  Gratefully accepted 5 grape fruits and a loaf of soy and linseed bread from a friend.

*  Menu planned for the month.  It's always a relief when it's done.  Then I don't have to think about it for another 30 days or so.

*  Sorted,  rearranged and wiped out my pantry.  I made lots of room as I start to stock up on general groceries ahead of the busy Christmas period.

*  Saved water every day from the showers and poured it into the washing machine.

*  Picked silverbeet and broccoli florets from the veg garden to use in meals.

* Avoided  using the dryer for the fourth week in a row.  Our Winter sheets are thick and take too long to dry on clotheshorses.  We have been blessed with windy,  warmish weather on the day we wash our sheets.

*  Baked some peanut butter choc chip biscuits ( cookies ) for the cookie jar.

*  Cooked all meals and snacks from scratch.

*  Bought pretzels on sale for 99 cents a bag at NQR.  I bought 8 bags.  These will be used for class Christmas parties and other occasions leading up to Christmas.

*  Did my monthly food shop and stuck to the list.

My pantry before the sort out

Peanut butter choc chip biscuits ( cookies )

Drying the bread bags on a clothes horse

Pumpkin scones before bakng

Some of my monthly food shopping

Saving water from the washing machine

One of our chooks.  Her name is Becky.

Did you do anything this week to save time,  money or energy ? 


  1. This week I cooked from scratch.
    Am going to make pumpkin soup in the slow cooker today. Pumpkin from garden.
    Picked Silverbeet & first asparagus from garden.
    Finished a cushion cover the front made with hexagon patches.
    Finished knitting a pair of fingerless gloves, just have to stitch them up.
    Saved the rinsing water I use when washing up & water plants. Not much rain here. It has also been much cooler again.
    I think that is all I can think of!!

  2. Hi Wendy. It's always good to read the tips you have for us and I enjoyed perusing your menu plan. This week I've kept a written list of my frugal tasks and here it is. I sold a uniform at school, cashed in credit card points for a Coles voucher, planted in my greenhouse potatoes, peas, zucchini, lettuce, leeks, cucumbers and tomatoes. I gave myself a facial and used home wax for those unwanted hairs. I also made a room diffuser for my bathroom as mine just ran out of oil. I made 3 meals of spaghetti Bol sauce and 1 lasagna sauce for the freezer. I also made homemade donuts and coated them with cinnamon sugar which my family just adored. I also sold unwanted violins, turned off the pilot light in our lounge room heater as the weather had been warming up and I had saved and now used, the little plastic bags for fruit and veges, to store portions of bacon that I buy in bulk when on special, instead of using glad wrap. It's a real shock when you record it all to see how much we actually do to save and it's a challenge to write more on the list for your blog which is the savers version of a show and tell!! I also live close to you Wendy, in Narre Warren North so may see you around the cheapskate circuit of Aldi and NQR! Blessings to your family. Liz.

    1. If you see me please say hello. I was in NQR the other day and had a lady race up to me saying " Hello lovely lady from A Current Affair ".. So funny. You should have seen the reaction of the staff members..

      Having a frugal list challenges me to do more. Which is a good thing !!!

  3. I'm having pantry-envy! Ours is a mess even though I did organise it a few months ago, I think my 5 year old has been helping herself to a few too many things in her effort to "help" ;)

    Those bikkies look yummy! Did you use a recipe online or is it one of your own?

    1. Larissa, the recipe for the peanut butter choc chip biscuits is one that I adapted to make it my own. I promise I'll share shortly and the wait will be worth it !!!

  4. Hi Wendy, we planted basil, tomatoes, chives, coriander, ready for our summer salads in our vege patch.
    * walked to coles instead of driving
    * used less cling wrap
    * used less shampoo & conditioner
    * cleaned all my floors in the house with hot water & vinegar
    * this week went to call the window man to clean, but have decided to clean the windows myself
    * cleaned my oven with bi-carb and vinegar getting ready for xmas baking!
    * cleaned out my fridge from top-to-toe
    * menu planned
    * cooked from scratch
    * did my daughters hair and makeup for a formal instead of paying for someone else
    * Didn't use the dryer this week
    Have a wonderful week everyone, Simone
    PS I have living in Narre Warren envy, I would love to bump into you all shopping at Aldi

  5. Of course I would come up to you to say hello, if I saw you Wendy! My real concern though, is that I would lunge on you in excitement with frugal list in hand asking for it to be graded!! Regards, Liz.

    1. That's so funny Liz. I almost fell off the chair laughing. I was the same when I first met Cath from Cheapskates. Infact I told her recently how nervous I was the first time I met her. We had a good laugh about it.

      The thing is, I'm just a Mum, ( I mean that in the nicest way ) doing frugal things who has had an amazing opportunity to share her life on tv. I'm very blessed and will always be very grateful to ACA and the readers here who are interested in what I do..

      Thanks for the laugh !!!

  6. Probably more frugal for the recipients, I put together two birthday presents for Year Six students in same class as my youngest, using all the discounted stationery I have picked up throughout the year. The local HS book supplier charges $80 for a stationery pack - some of which I already had. Frugal and needed

  7. Hi Wendy, well my little munchkin is all healed and running around like crazy again which is great so I have had a bit more time to be frugal this week :) Heres my list: shopping at about 5 different op shops to get all our baby needs and our girls some clothes and shoes, especially my 5 year old who has had a growth spurt and now doesn't fit anything! I think I spent $100 all together but the amount of clothing and shoes I got all 3 kids was amazing! I spent $75 at the meat shop for the month, $130 at Aldi for a weeks food shop going to try very hard to make this food last for 2 weeks with a small top up on Monday and $40 for 2 weeks of snacks at NQR so not too bad all together! Filled up for $1.32 per litre, took out the bean plants as they were finished and planted watermelons and silverbeet. We finally got our 2 new little additions (chickens) and the girls called them Elsa and Ana from frozen movie. I made a cheesecake for dessert at friends, only used dryer once this week for towels as they are too heavy for the clothes horse, kept heater off most of the time but if it was on it was never over 20 degrees. We had a movie night at home with the kids instead of going out and I made popcorn and fudge for treats and used a movie we already had on DVD. Tried to only have 2 lights on at a time at night. The school holidays are going to be tricky to save on but I think I have managed to plan most things for free and have allowed 1 paid activity per week, first week is movies but I will take homemade food and second week is the zoo but once again will take a picnic from home. Plus will do home activities with crafts and baking and walking to the park ect so hoping it will work out ok! Any ideas to entertain 5 and 3 year old much appreciated! Hope everyone has a great week!!! Kayla :)

    1. Your local library may have a school holiday program with free activities, also borrow books and dvds for free. Kids clothing at the opshops in my local area varies from 50c per item at one to an absurd $5 at another, Often cheapest at garage sales. My kids always loved a pyjama day at home where they stayed in Pjs all day. K

    2. Thank you K great ideas! We will have to go garage saleing - not been to one before lol so will be an experience. PJ day sounds awesome to me! One less thing to do for the day - get dressed haha :)

  8. Hi Wendy, I was wondering what is NQR and do we have this in Sydney I wonder? Kayla, firstly congratulations on your pregnancy, that is very exciting news! You have done so well with all your savings, I can really see you are trying so hard and made some huge adjustments. I love the names your children have chosen for the chickens, very cute. I remember how hard and not to mention expensive school holiday time can be, these are some of the things I used to do with my girls;
    * go outside and blow bubbles
    * make play dough
    * make a cubby house inside with lots of sheets and have a tea party
    * draw a welcome home sign on the driveway for daddy when he gets home from work out of chalk
    * make birthday cards and put them away for when needed (always handy to have on hand)
    * water the pots in the garden (little people love water)
    I hope some these ideas help. Warm regards Simone

    1. Simone, NQR stands for Not Quite Right. It's a grocery clearance store in Victoria.

    2. Thank you Simone they are great ideas!! Will definitely put those ideas into practice these holidays :) Holidays are soooo expensive! We did our one paid thing yesterday which was the movies and managed to get a deal on the tickets which was great but still $38 for 1 adult and 2 kids! other then that we have been on play dates, beach, park and in the garden as daddy made another vege patch for us but girls will LOVE the sheet tent and tea party! I havnt made one with them before but I remember doing it when I was little and they will be so excited! Thanks so much Simone! :) Kayla

  9. Hi Wendy. Well done on the blog, it's just such a natural progression of how resourceful you are, and what you have been doing for years prior to publishing anyway.

    Could you please give us a basic idea of your weekly schedule? How long should I set aside for each week for these various tasks (would a whole Saturday do the trick?). And also how do you schedule "me" time amongst this - do you plan and allocate a time each week, or just once task are finished each day etc? Thanks Sally

    1. I get " me time " on Sunday afternoons and every night after tea. Most tasks take about 5 - 10 minutes unless it's baking / cooking which takes about 1/2 an hour to 1 hour. I make so much in bulk as it saves heaps of time. If I'm going to make a mess in the kitchen it has to be worth my while.

      I'll do a post on my housework schedule sometime soon.

  10. Hi Wendy, I've had a busy weekend so now a moment to myself to let you know of my past week. Saved lots of shower water for the washing machine and did lots of jobs off peak. Took your advice and visited Tasmans Meats and did lots of homemade cooking and baking. Remembered "Wendy in my ear" when it came to leftovers and instead of eating for lunch, froze for later meals. I tried some new recipes this week such as Quiche and Chicken Alfredo, beautiful. As a family, we've tried to have some frugal days out eg: my dh and 16yr son played a fun game of football (umpires Vs CFA) we took lunch and snacks and had a great day out. Yesterday we visited the Royal Melbourne Show and did it "on the cheap". Pre purchased our tickets $52.00 total , free parking, byo lunch and snacks, my boys dont like the rides so no cost there and they saved their own money for showbags. I bought one showbag for myself (the woman's weekly bag $15.00 lots of samples and $32.00 worth of mags) and a cuppa $3.00. We got given heaps of samples and tasted heaps of various food samples. Watched lots of shows and patted lots of animals all for the grand total of $70.00. On the down side, I did waste some food in the fridge when I did a big clean out and went out to dinner for my birthday this week. So budget school holidays ideas for us are going to the movies using movie vouchers purchased from reward points, scienceworks and bike rides. So thanks again Wendy as my whole way of thinking is changing thanks to you and your humble tips, Maureen

    1. Maureen, my girls save for months to buy their showbags. We also buy the tickets online and the girls go the the show's website to pick out the showbags before hand. When we get to the showbag hall, they whip out their list and go buy. Easy peasy.

  11. Hi Wendy, sorry I forgot to add a few things, I made your washing powder and wedges instead of frozen chips. I bought pita bread for 75c each and went to NQR like you said and purchased the pretzels 99c and a packet cheesecake mix for 99c where I worked out the few ingredients that I needed to put into it, would only cost me 87c, so the total cost of the cheesecake would be $1.90(roughly). I think it might cost me more to make from scratch, so I hope I purchased a bargain. Anyway, cant wait for your housework schedule either, xxx Maureen

  12. very impressive :) - how do you move water from the washing machine bucket? it looks so heavy :)

    1. I use a 10 litre bucket to pour it back in.

    2. thank you Wendy - I was wondering how you managed :)

    3. I'm very careful with my back. The big bucket holds about 60 - 70 litres. I bought it from Bunnings about 10 years ago for $10 when we had the drought and went to servere water restrictions. I've saved that $10 many times over.


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