Saturday, 11 October 2014

This Week's Frugal Tasks

Darren and I have spent some time out in the garden every day this week.  So much is happening that we like to be out there observing and enjoying all of God's creation.  It's pure joy to see a seed we planted grow into a vegetable that feeds our family.  Excitement fills my soul to see fruit appearing on our little fruit trees.  Who needs a reality show when reality is happening in my own backyard.

Here's my frugal tasks for the week -

*  Planted more corn,  lettuce and bush bean seeds. I used seeds that I bought last year so no cost to us this year.

*  Dried all washing on clotheshorses under the pergola.

*  Went to a food /garden swap at a friend's place.  This was so exciting.  Everyone brings excess garden produce / plants or seeds to share with others.   A garden tour takes place with lots of information shared.  Afternoon tea is provided by all attending.  We bought a big bag of lemons from our tree to share.  We came home with 20 strawberry plants,  a Jostaberry plant,  bumble bee tomato plant,  pesto,  2 jars of tomato chutney,  some flowers and seeds.  I'm hoping to organise a garden swap in my street soon.

*  Fed our compost with food scraps and a few pages from our local newspaper..

*  Used the clean water from our showers to water the fruit trees. 

*  Used the watering can to water the vegetable seedlings,  fruit trees and other plants.  It might take a little longer this way but so much water is saved by using a watering can.

*  Sold two dozen eggs to a cleaning client.

*  Made some spag bol sauce and soups to sell to a cleaning client to help her extended family in need.  This extra money was added to my food slush fund to buy groceries when I see them on special.

*  Froze two leftovers from a mince pasta bake I made.

*  Accepted a few jam jars from a friend at church.

*   Bought 10 boxes of Lipton teabags on sale at half price for $2.34 in Woolworths.  I still have 12 boxes of Tetley for soy teabags that I bought from NQR for 69 cents a couple of years ago.  It lasts a few years past the best before date and as we don't drink coffee,  they will all be used in good time

*  Saved a cereal box liner and cut it up to go between foods that I freeze.  I used the cereal box to add two more page dividers to my price book.

*  Used the two light rule as much as possible.

*  Picked silverbeet from our garden to bulk out a mince pasta bake.  No one noticed it was in there.

*  Fed all our fruit trees and veg seedlings with a seaweed solution that was given to us.

*  Poured some saved water into the washing machine.

*   Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread.

*  Baked lots of luchbox muffins.  I will be selling most of them to a cleaning client.

Flowers Darren grew from seed

Peaches forming on our little fruit tree.

Flowers from the garden swap

Flowers on our strawberry plants

Strawberry plants from the garden swap growing in guttering

Part of our back garden

Our raspberries are looking healthy

Daisies we grew from cuttings

Our feijoa tree has lots of new growth.  Can't wait for the fruit.

Have you been out in your garden this week ?

What did you do this week that was frugal ?


  1. Our temperatures are still in the 90's many days here in Central Texas. We open and close light-and-heat-blocking drapes as the sun travels across the house.

    I picked basil from the garden, chopped it, and filled silicon mini muffin cups with the basil and a little water. When frozen, I popped out the basil and stored it in saved plastic bags. It will be used in soups and sauces all winter long. I have done the same with parsley from the garden.

    I completed a price list before a trip to Costco. I stocked up on some items we needed that were about 40 percent less than we usually pay and avoided overpaying for deals that appeared great but weren't after comparison with my master price list.

    My husband and I are vegan. I baked whole-grain bread, vegan chocolate-chip cookies, and cinnamon rolls. We cooked a spicy peanut-sauced pasta dish with veggies and sauteed marinated tofu, a vegetable soup using up all the veggies from the fridge and other foods for the week's meals. We packed coconut corn chowder and Ethiopian-spiced lentils for a trip to visit our non-vegan daughter and her family.

    We continued to rinse out zippered sandwich bags and bread bags and reuse aluminum foil. I coated colorful thin cotton squares with shredded paraffin and heated them in the oven at the lowest heat, and use those instead of plastic wrap most of the time. Occasionally they have to be refreshed with more paraffin.

    I use my warm-up shower water to refill the dog's water bowl each morning. He's 90 pounds and our water heats up relatively fast, so there was a good fit with the collected water and what he needs each day.

    My most difficult frugalities revolve around my chronic illness, however. We decided to sell my car because I put so few miles on it, as driving is sometimes difficult. It's not worth it to maintain insurance on the car. That was tough. My violin and mountain bike have already gone, as they were too valuable to hang on the wall or in the garage. In addition, because I'll be on Medicare beginning in December, the medication that keeps me moving will now cost me an estimated $5,700-10,770 (US) out of pocket each year. I made an appointment with my rheumatologist, and he was great at working through this dilemma with me. I will switch to another medication that is given via infusion. Here in the U.S., that medication is treated as a "treatment" and covered under Major Medical with low copays. That's because it has to be administered via that infusion at a doctor's office or infusion clinic, while the other medicine that I can administer to myself via an autoinjector is treated as a drug and covered differently. It's a bit scary to change medications, but that's my biggest frugality this last week.

  2. Hi Wendy. This week has been busy as I went on school camp with my son. I made enough food and treats for dinner in our absence for my hubby and daughter and for lunchboxes to limit any temptation to purchase anything. I had waited until the clothes that my daughter liked were reduced before I bought them for her and we used unwanted clear tennis ball containers to cover seedlings planted for protection from birds. Hope all your readers have a wonderful week. Regards, Liz.

  3. Hi Wendy

    You've had a very busy week :) I had a go at making my dishwasher powder this week and have to say I'm going back to the tablets. Just didn't work in my newer model dishwasher :( so I think that making my own laundry powder, laundry soap and miracle spray is still saving me so much money so still happy :)
    Just a question though, you mentioned last week that you use a laundry detergent to freshen up your laundry sometimes, do you mean colour wise or smell wise? I love my colours now with the laundry detergent you make they seem so much brighter.
    I only got to the shops once this week for some fruit and vegetables and spent $22 so good for us. My groceries come in at around $350-$500 some months but this month I want to start buying some extra things for my December shop and come in under $300. The extra will towards towards my slush fund.
    Have a great week.


    1. I freshen up my laundry " smell wise ". Sometimes my dark load of washing smells as it dries. Using the liquid on the odd occasion with disinfectant helps.

    2. I use a dash of shampoo in my wash to freshener it and still use the home made powder. It works a treat and as I have the shampoo anyway it is no extra cost.

  4. Hi Wendy, I've had a fantastic frugal and productive week. I had a similar week to you Wendy as I was also in the garden alot this week. I gave some of our celery, spring onions and snow peas away and in return excepted homemade bread and free range eggs. I used the tank water in the washing machine and on the garden and as I didn't have any cream for my quiche, I used full cream milk powder instead and it turned out great. My shopping has dropped from $140.00 to $90.00 p/w so far, I cant believe it, I still budget for the $140.00, but put the change into the slush fund, first time this month!
    I made: Yogurt, soup, pita chips(family have gone mad for these even DS1's school friends want some), choc chip muffins, hot chocolate drink mix(didn't have to buy Milo), choc chip lunchbox cookies, breadcrumbs, jelly slice, DS2 made chocolate truffles(like rum balls) and chopped up celery and spring onions from garden to freeze.
    I saved the water from the shower for washing machine, froze leftovers, kept wheetbix crumbs for shake and bake and kept the cereal bags to cover the seedlings. I froze the vegie peels etc for vegie stock later, grated big block of cheese to make it go further. I purchased Cadbury blocks of chocolate 350gm for $2.99 at Woolies(I usually go by $1.00 per 100gms) to put away for presents.

    In the garden I resurrected the compost, fed the fruit trees and vegies with seaweed solution and mulched and planted more seeds as the seedlings will be planted tomorrow.

    I kept smallish boxes to cover and use for Christmas hampers, I found in a wardrobe, a perfectly good curtain to use for my front room as I needed to mend the old one and as DS2 had a curriculum day yesterday, we went to the movies and used movie vouchers(from reward pts) and byo our own snacks. One meal this week that we had was roast lamb and I stretched it till it screamed, 4 meals from one small roast. I also worked a bit more on our monthly spending plan and created an Emergency fund which we have never had before and also Christmas food budget as we are having christmas lunch at our house.
    Wendy, your garden looks beautiful and I love the idea of growing strawberries in a gutter. Feijoa's are a delicious fruit which I tried once many years ago in Fiji. What daisies are you growing, they look gorgeous? Wency, is it possible for you to take a photo of a page of your price book as I have started mine and I'm using the template from Cheapskates but I'm not sure if I'm doing it correctly as it seems confusing(one item per page?).

    What I have achieved this week is thanks to you for your tips and encouragement, Blessings, Maureen

  5. Sounds like you had a great week Wendy. Your garden is looking lovely with the nice spring weather. The garden swap sounds like a good idea, wish we had something like that here.

    My tasks for this week were; I squeezed excess lemons and froze into ice blocks for later use, whizzed oranges and froze for orange cakes, made yoghurt (haven't tried your method yet Wendy), saved pumpkin seeds from homegrown pumpkins to snack on, mended my garden straw hat that was falling to bits, swapped a dozen eggs for some sawdust for chook nests, mulched my garden beds and pulled over shades to save water, cleaned and de-cluttered the sink cupboard, and organised my cleaning gear into one go to tub. Only using homemade cleaning products now. I watered down my hand cleansers, mended two pairs of hubby's jeans with holes in the knees, saved water from sink to water pot plants, left the TV off as much as possible. For main meals this past week I prepared a couple of non meat dishes using vegetables from my garden. I intend to start incorporating more of these meals on a regular basis. Only went to the shop once this week, to grab fresh veggies. In the evening, I am crocheting dishcloths and making other small items to give away as gifts.

    Have a great frugal week!

  6. Hi Wendy
    Your Garden is looking spectacular, cant wait to see those Raspberries growing! The flowers look lovely too.
    Frugal things for the week include:
    I will start a grocery price book today.
    Knitting a little hat to take as part of a baby shower gift tomorrow.
    Looked carefully at the 'cost per kg' price at Coles this morning and in some cases, bought a bigger quantity than I usually would - particularly cheese (home brand) and Bacon.
    Planted some spring onion seeds
    Bought 3 little herb plants from the Farmers market. Also bought brown paper bags from the supermarket, now I need to research how to dry herbs in paper bags - did you have success with this?
    It is that great time of the year in Melbourne where you don't need either the heater, or the air conditioner!
    Cooked from scratch all week long.

    2 questions for you Wendy - which brand/type of pita do you use to make pita chips? Also is there a brand of toilet paper that is consistently cheapest?

    All the best for the week ahead.
    Tania in Hawthorn

    1. Tania, I buy Aroma pita breads from the Dandenong Market 4 bags for $3. I always buy the wgloeneal as it's better for you and you can't taste the difference from white pita.

      I buy toilet paper from a shop in Dandenong called Cinmax. It's on Greens rd just behind Harvey Norman. The brand is Finesse and is three ply. The slab is $28 ( I think ) for twelve packets of 6 rolls each. Better quality that the Aldi three ply.

  7. Hi Wendy

    Although both my husband and I work full time, we work on a frugal lifestyle as well This week we:

    * saved the water from the shower for the washing machine

    * watered the plants with diluted 'worm wee' from the worm farm

    * removed and binned the diseased leaves from the roses and mulched them

    * tied up the tomato plants and mulched them - they've already got fruit on them

    * picked organic lettuce from our garden to use for salads and sandwiches

    * picked huge leaves of crunchy organic silverbeet from the garden - spinach and feta pie cooking as I write

    * used a coupon for 1/2 price to buy my husband new boots for work

    * ate leftovers for one meal

    * cooked a pork shoulder roast that lasted us for four meals (that included lunches)

    * took home made lunches

    * made our own dishwasher powder - works like a charm!

    * made our own a2 yoghurt - I can make 2 kg for less than the price of 1 kg from the supermarket

    * made our own bread

    * repotted and mulched the strawberries - they're already producing too

    * accepted the gift of a six seater outdoor setting with umbrella (almost brand new) to replace the aging plastic table and chairs

    * held a pool party at home for our teenage son and his mates (instead of going to Wet and Wild) and fed them with cheap pizzas, fruit, sandwiches and on-special icecreams

    * froze left overs into one-serve dinners for use when we're tired

    * repotted and mulched the orange tree until we can make above ground beds to plant it and the apple and lime trees into as we have heavy clay soils

    Am making scones this afternoon for snacks for the boys and scraping out the last of the jam jars to recycle for when I make lime and mandarine butter for them. A friend has had their household goods stored with us in between moving homes and that goes this week. The gym equipment (on permanent loan from another friend) is being moved into that shed so we can exercise for free. The excess furniture, books and other household items that we've accumulated over the years are being put on Gumtree and the money will go towards a holiday ... or a kitchen aid mixer as my poor Sunbeam Mixmaster has given up the ghost after 25 plus years of use.

    Our son is also getting into the frugal game by keeping coupons given to him by a friend from the current McDonalds promotion and he has free smoothies, chips and burgers there for when he wants to use them.

    We're so blessed by all this abundance around us - thank you, Wendy for sharing and encouraging us to support each other and live from the heart.

    Have a happy week everyone!
    Best regards

    1. Sandy, it sounds like you had a very productive week. Well done. I enjoyed reading all the things you are doing. I hope you are able to share your frugal tasks with us each week.

  8. * I haven't done a big shop in a few weeks, but will tomorrow and I thought it's going to be a huge one since it's been so long. I spent about 15 minutes rummaging through the pantry and making a menu plan and sorting out the kids' snacks for the week based on what we have already though, and was surprised at how much is actually there we can use! I need to properly organise it and keep track of what is going in (and out), as I seem to have ridiculous amounts of some things (bicarb soda, I think I have 3 un-opened packets!) and things I forgot we even bought. After having a good look and writing a menu, my shopping list is now only quite small, and mostly fresh fruit and veg. If I'd gone shopping on auto-pilot I would have bought so much we don't need!

    * We went on a little family outing into the Dandenongs this afternoon. Instead of spending money on snacks at the cafes there I threw together a quick picnic for afternoon tea (apples, fairy bread and a half-eaten bag of potato chips hubby likes). Miss 5 was a bit put-out that we didn't get an ice-cream but she got over it quickly and we all had a lovely cheap afternoon in the fresh air and sunshine :)

    * We spent most of the day yesterday in the garden, and I spread quite a few buckets of compost where it was needed to help our flowers bloom :)

  9. Paid my car rego - and adjusted my spending plan / budget for next years. Bought teabags 1/2 price for food drive at primary school in December. ( Thank you Wendy for pointing out the special ), Made kangaroo meatballs using marked down Roo mince. Homemade means I make the right number for my family of 5, got two meals from $5.99 of mince. K

  10. Wendy I just love the food/garden swap! That is brilliant and also good fun. Your garden is looking lovely. xx

  11. I'm only weeks into retirement, am now reclaiming my garden. Got out early before it got too hot. dug out another section of weeds and grasses. Transplanted 3 plants from the front garden to the back as I need to fill in quite a large area and I don't want to buy plants at this time. Went to the Op-Shop and found a length of good quality dress fabric for $5.95 in pale pink to make my granddaughter (who is 24yrs) a dress for the holiday season. By the time I purchase a zip, lining and thread the outfit will have cost about $16. Prepared ingredients for Sweet Mustard Pickle (which has to stand overnight ) to be made tomorrow as part of Christmas gifts. I'm tired now, made a cuppa, put my feet for a few minutes, thinking about dinner menu. Patricia. ADELAIDE


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