Saturday, 3 January 2015

This Week's Frugal Tasks

This week has been a very frugal week.  Summer fruits have reduced in price and I'm making the most of it by making jam.  There's nothing like the taste of homemade jam.  With no artificial ingredients you can really taste the fruit.  A jar of jam makes a great present either on it's own or combined with a bag homemade biscuits.

Here's my frugal list for the week -

*  Saved the warm up water from the showers.  This week we've had a bit of rain so the shower water was poured into the washing machine.

*  Fed bread crusts to the chooks.

*  Made one kilo of brown sugar.

*  Made  11 1/2  jars of tomato relish.  This was the first time I've made relish although I have tasted this recipe before and it's very yummy. Some of the jars will be sold to my cleaning client,  some will be given as presents and the rest will be for us.

*  Made one kilo of natural yoghurt.  From this I made one kilo of vanilla yoghurt and froze 9   portions to use as a starter for more batches.

*  Saved 12 bread bags from a couple of charity bbqs Darren organised.  I've got so many of these bags I'm going to have to find another use for them other than scooping the kitty litter.  I might try using them as bin liners in the bathrooms.

*  Made 8 jars of strawberry and apple jam.

*  Had the heater off all week nnd the cooling off for most of the week.

*  Pushed up the retractable part of my Avon eyeliner to get another four weeks worth of use.  So much of the eyeliner sits down below the  plastic holder.  I just pull it apart,  pull it up and bend the holder so it doesn't slip down.  Then I assemble it again.

*  We had silverside for tea on Tuesday. I cooked it,  cooled it and sliced it thinly to go with salad.  There was enough leftovers for tea for all of us the next night.

*  Made 10 jars of apricot jam with fruit bought on clearance at $1.49 kg.

*  Made 9 1/2 jars of peach jam with fruit bought on clearance at $1 kg.  The peaches and apricots were bought at about 9pm from my local fruit and veg shop.  All stone fruit and cut fruit was 1/2 price.  Bargain.

*  Picked and froze strawberries from our garden.  When I have enough I'll make some more jam.

*  Picked and froze beans from our garden.

*  Kept the curtains closed on the hot days.  We didn't need to turn the cooling on until well after lunch.

*  Our homemade takeaway food this week was hamburgers with wedges and pizza made on ciabatta bread.  The rolls and bread were given to us.  What a blessing !!!  We are so grateful.

The fruits of my week.

Preparing peaches to make jam.

Just a small portion of the jars I filled this week.

Homemade hamburgers and wedges - YUMMY  !!!
What frugal tasks have you completed this week ? 

Do you have new frugal goals for this year ?


  1. As I refuse to use supermarket plastic bags I use bread bags for my kitchen rubbish. Even with 5 of us it fits into a bread bag if you cut up the bigger bits.
    Today i'm using the sun to dry several loads of laundry. 41 degrees in Melbourne. Agggh. K

    1. I used the sun yesterday to dry the washing on clotheshorses under the pergola. I WAS NOT going to stand in the sun to use the clothesline.

    2. I agree, which is why my teenagers hang it out. And with several reminders, bring it in and fold. Lovely to smell a freshly washed blanket dried in the sun. K

  2. Happy New Year Wendy. I am feeling enthusiastic for the coming year, and your posts are indeed encouraging. This week, I have revamped our budget , cleaned and tidied the pantry, which I am happy to say is full from my stockpiling. Cooked and frozen meals in advance. Made more Laundry powder and powdery mildew liquid, for my roses. Your Jams and Relish look so ...yummy, you have been very busy. Do you think you could give us your recipe for Your Jam sometime Wendy?? Have a good week.

    1. The recipe for jam is coming soon.

      Doesn't it feel great to have things organised and enough food for any emergency. It really does give you peace of mind.

  3. Wow Wendy you have had a busy week. All your preserves look great. I especially like the look of your relish. I make some here but it doesn't look as nice as your jar, even though it does taste good.

    My frugal efforts this week were light on as we were away for part of it.

    *I have been gifted some jars. In among them are some nice large ones that would be good for storage in my pantry.

    *I was also given a heap of zucchinis from my mum so I have grated them and put in freezer for later use. I don't need anymore zucchini relish so freezing them is the best option to preserve. I add to stews, cakes, quiches etc. I am still picking heaps of zucchinis from my vines too. One I didn't find until it was big enough to be a marrow, so I am going to stuff it with mince for a meal.

    Mum also gave me some apples, and mushrooms that the local IGA store we tossing out because they were going to be shut for quite a few days over Christmas. Mum and dad are best friends with the store owner so they are always receiving free food. Wish I lived closer to them :)

    *I saved water pre washing up for pot plants.

    *I received a low electricity bill, so turning off the TV has definitely saved us money. We also use the two light rule.

    *With this very hot weather the blinds are drawn to keep house cooler.

    *Line dried the clothes yesterday, and being in the mid 40's it was dry in half an hour. The clothes were so hot, I didn't have to iron them. I just used my hands to iron out the creases.

    *I haven't been to the shops since before Christmas, so therefore saving money.

    *I am knitting my eldest daughter a pair of boot toppers for her trip overseas. I picked up some pure wool a while back for $2 a ball so I am using this to make them.

    *We are still selling our excess eggs. The chooks had plenty of leftovers from Christmas to feast on.

    Wishing you a blessed week!


    1. Hi Tania, you still have a great frugal list. Counting the blessings is very important too. Darren and I quite often think back to the big and small blessings we've received over the years and it warms our hearts to think that people cared enough to bless. Most people would dismiss them or trivialise them as the memory fades.

      I'd love to be best friends with a supermarket store owner. What a blessing it is to your parents.

  4. Hi Wendy.
    I love your blog! I have found a great way to re-use all those Christmas cards we have been sent. Any cards that haven't been written on the inside cover, I cut up. They make beautiful gift tags for the following Christmas. I now have enough for all the gifts I need to give next Christmas, so I don't need to buy any!
    On Christmas day I sorted through all the wrapping paper left on the floor from opened presents. About half of the paper was still in good enough condition to be re-used. I just cut off any torn sections, then folded it all up and stored it away for next christmas.

    1. Great idea about the cards. If I get to do another Christmas story on tv I'll be sharing a way to make Christmas decos with the cards.

  5. Hi Wendy
    Hubby and I took advantage of the free concert for New Years Eve in Canberra. Definitely worth the bus fare into town.

    We have stopped into Kmarts and grabbed clearance items for gifts for this year, when ever we have had an appointment close by. We now have Xmas gifts for everyone for this year and birthday gifts for nearly everyone for next year. We have spent a total of 13.50 this week to get ten gifts.

    I have continued on with the 'mending clothes' theme with my sewing and managed to salvage some more items of clothing.

    We picked up my glasses today...they were on special at the time we purchased them so I am very happy with my cheap but expensive looking glasses... although I have to admit I look more like my Mum now lol.

    Your jams etc sound so nice. I wish we were able to have lots of fruit trees in our rented place but it is just too small to do much with unfortunately. I miss the larger yard and the ability to grow more...

    1. Keep a look out at your local fruit and veg shop for cheap fruit. Stone fruits are getting cheaper as the season moves on.

  6. Hi Wendy,
    Have enjoyed all your blogs this year and have been quietly revamping our food budget and meal planning. All thanks to inspiration from reading your blogs. Having worked our budget to $85 per week with food, I am challenging myself to try the $300/month food challenge for 2015. I certainly picked up a few bargains Boxing Day at Coles with $2 fresh chickens and $10 lamb legs, so have a couple of each in the freezer. I would be keen to know how you make your own brown sugar, when you have the chance please. We too are a family of 4 with 2 teen girls. I thought your notetaking/listing of presents to give this year and beyond was so sensible, so I've made a spot for that in my diary. Such a simple thing but so helpful. I was able to pick up gifts for teenage nieces and nephews at Cotton On and Typo for their bdays and Christmas but this list will help me keep on track as I'll know who I actually need to buy for. These days I find it helpful to have one of my girls with me when doing such shopping as no longer do I know what's cool!! I did my grocery shopping this morning and came home with a massive bag of mushrooms for $3 so we had homemade pizzas for lunch and now hubby and girls are off to the movies with tickets they received for Christmas. I was happy to stay home as I have a book I am into. I don't have any freezer room left so will work out what meals to make with mushrooms this week! A neighbour gifted me some ricotta cheese which I don't normally buy but it was great on the pizza. We had a frugal week like any other. Travelled for free into the city for the NYE fireworks, taking own snacks and on the same night went into see the Myer windows (Melbourne) as hadn't had a chance to see them pre-Christmas. Has been a tradition to see them every year since the girls arrived. They are on til the 5/1 and lovely. I made your pita chips for events over the season to have with dips and was impressed. Will do this again. Just sprayed them with Canola spray and salt/pepper in the oven. Blessings to you for 2015. Sue

    1. Thankyou for your comment Sue. Having a gift list is very handy to have. My girls have to help me with friend's presents too. The trends change so quickly. Lynx deod / shower gels bought on sale coupled with giant homemade biscuits in cello bags have been a big hit with teen boys.

  7. This week we have had to use our air conditioner as it has been 42 and 40 so Im a bit sad about that! But otherwise I have made some creative meals of left overs which were really good as it turns out! I hope to make jam this week. I am going to be brave and ask a neighbour if I can pick fruit in exchange for jam... these people let it all fall to the ground every year. They are not my immediate neighbours and dont know them... well, I am going to ask so wish me luck! (they have apples, peaches, nectarines) Once I had some pears and some peaches and mixed them together and made peach and pear jam. It turned out to be wonderful and pale pink. From that I learned it is ok to mix flavours you think will go together!!
    Mums Birthday is coming up . I asked her what she would like. It was glass ware so I am able to get what she is wanting in the sales at 50% as the shop near me has just what she wants and everything is half price.
    I am on the look out for bargain tomatoes as I would like to make sauce. Hopefully I will get a box sometime soon. I will buy any really good bargains if I see them and make jam, sauce or relish!
    I hope next week is good as I really want to get my savings underway for the

    1. Annabe, be bold and ask your neighbour. I would if I knew the fruit was going to waste.

      I've mixed fruits together to make jam. Strawberry and granny smith apples work really well as the apples help to set the jam.

  8. I save bread bags too - when we have table scraps like chicken bones and it's not bin night yet, I use the bread bags to freeze these things that would start to reek otherwise, and get them out to throw away on bin night.

  9. I'm bummed I threw out our cards now, what a good idea to make them into gift tags! All your jam looks delicious. I love the idea of having enough in storage to use as little gifts too. I am keen to add this to my jobs this year. We have a smallish plum tree that is heavy with fruit at the moment, I'm just waiting for it to ripen.

    I spent about $10 on new bits and pieces for future Christmas times, I got myself a Christmas oven-mit, and my daughters new hats, and some little stationary packs, stickers and an outfit for our Cavalier (yep, I dress up our dog if the occasion calls for it!), which I thought was pretty good!! :)

    Being school holidays, as a treat we took our eldest daughter (aged 6) to the movies. We are Telstra customers and they have an ongoing offer where you can get Village movie tickets for $11 per adult ticket. You just buy the tickets off their website, I think the only catch is you can't use them on public holidays, and if the movie is a V-max it is an extra $2, but still cheaper than full-priced. We are keen to try the drive-in sometime, I've never been and have heard it is better value :)

    Hubby got me an Easi-Yo maker as part of my Christmas gifts. It is a big hit! I made our second batch last night (first was strawberry, very sweet but yum!). So far I've only used the sachets, but will try it from scratch soon :)

    I gave 'cookie jars' as gifts for friends and teachers this Christmas. I found a recipe for cranberry and white chocolate chip biscuits, got perfect size jars from Woolies for $2 each, layered the ingredients and hand-wrote the instructions, so I'd estimate they cost about $5 per jar to make. I saw the same thing in Aldi for $15 a jar!

    Can you tell me Wendy, how do you freeze your strawberries? Do they need blanching or anything?

    Hope you and your girls are enjoying the holidays!

    1. You'l love the yoghurt mad from scratch.

      I just wash and cut the strawberries and place them in freezer bags. That's it.

  10. Hi Wendy. Happy new year to you and your family! I have followed your blog now for some time and have been living the frugal lifestyle for about 4 years now, getting better with each year and last year was able to buy a house as a single mum with 3 kids (had to save long and hard as needed 20% deposit plus all fees and stamp duty).
    I have been making my own yoghurt for years using freeze dried yoghurt culture bought from (I have NO affiliation, I just really like their yoghurt culture). It seems expensive to buy, but makes 200L! I have never had a failed yoghurt using the following recipe:
    1 1/2 cups full cream powered milk
    1/3 cup sugar (I use raw)
    1tsp vanilla essense
    1/8tsp yoghurt starter

    I then make it up in my easiyo container and flask. I wrap the flask in a towel or blanket to help the setting process.

    Just thought you might be interested :-)

    Have a wonderfully blessed day.

    1. Thankyou for the info. How long does the starter last ? 200 litres of yoghurt would take us many many years to eat.

  11. I just followed you here from The Prudent Homemaker. I have you bookmarked on my regular reads file now. Nice to "meet" you and I look forward to reading your blog.

    1. Welcome Anne. and it's lovely to meet you too. I do remember seeing your name on Brandy's blog. She's inspired me to be really wise with what I have.

      Hope to hear from you every now and then.

  12. Wendy, I re-use bread bags for homemade bread as I make 2 loaves at a time. I also sometimes use them for freezing meat etc after it has been wrapped in clingwrap.

    1. Yes, I reuse the bread bags for storing homemade bread too. My problem is that I reuse them so many times that I can't get rid of them quick enough. I will try storing frozen meat in them too. Thanks for the idea.

  13. Hi Wendy

    Hope your family had a wonderful Xmas and a Happy New year.

    I've only been following your blog since mid 2014, but have learned heaps and even though I haven't quiet managed the $300 a month challenge things have definetly improved and writing a meal plan is really helping. I'm very proud to say we had a wonderful Xmas dinner but what makes it even better we stuck to our budget both with food and presents, and 2015 will be even bettter and a little easier as i've been stocking up both cupboards and freezers and have a also started a list for presents with a few already taken care off. Thank you again Wendy for all your help.

    Sometimes we do things without even realising that it's frugal. I've actually been cutting our Xmas cards for years to use for gift tags, as I find their is never enough space to fit everybody's names on the store bought gift tags.

    Look forward to more stories on a current affairs this year, and your blog is a great inspiration to keep us motivated


    1. Our Christmas was great thankyou. We had a suprise on New Years Eve with A Current Affair featuring part of our family's story on their year in review show. If you get a chance to watch it, it's at the end of that segment and it's quite funny.

      Good start on your present buying. .

  14. Hi Wendy

    Yes I saw your end of year review on A Current Affair, it was really good and a bit cheeky at times with some of the comments from the presenter

    The last few weeks have not been so frugal with having to have the air con run most days from around 10am to 10pm....extremely hot here and with a DD4 who has chicken pox this is the only way to keep her comfortable and me sane.

    But in the last weeks I have managed

    *collect 30 eggs from friends chooks
    *collect some small tomatoes of 1 friends vine
    *make 2 batches of homemade ice cream (gave one to a friend) using some of the eggs
    *make up 2 lots of foaming soap
    *use up lots of leftovers and turn into other meals
    *collect jars to make mayonnaise and jams (as DD4 has allergies and intolerances lots of things need to be homemade)
    *line dry all my washing

    I look forward to spending this year following your blog with many useful ideas.
    I collect my old Christmas cards also and make my own cards with them or some of the gift tags of present are also great for card making

    Have a wonderful week


    1. Your frugal list looks great. Well done considering the heat.

  15. Happy New Year to you and your family :) I love the idea that you made your own brown sugar!

    How do you do that? With baking a hit in our family it would be great to know how to do this.

    Blessings to you and your family. May 2015 be a year of abundance for all x

    1. I'll post the brown sugar recipe this coming week.

  16. Hi Wendy, Great frugal week this week for us this included : Making Muffins, cake, double meals, hot chocolate mix, brown sugar, castor sugar and all meals from scratch. Picked lots of strawberries and silverbeet. We were blessed to be given Bread, cup cakes and mince pies which I froze. Diluted the white vinegar 1/2 water 1/2 vinegar so I got two bottles out of it. NYE we went to free event with friends and BYOed own snacks. Used movie vouchers we received at Christmas and took own snacks and same with an ice skating voucher that we received to take boys out during school holidays. Tide up Tomatoes with old socks as they were getting much bigger. Finished $300.00 Food Challenge and was only over by $4.75. I surprised myself, really I did, as I thought I wouldn't be able to do this, especially during Christmas. I did have to be more organised and make more things but I'm doing it again this month, Yeh!!!! During my shopping this week, I came across a few bargains: Chicken drumsticks from Woolies for $2.99 per kg, Cream Woolies brand 600ml $1.15 used by 28/1/2015 and Praise Coleslaw dressing from Woolies 2 for $5.00. Wendy the cussons shower gel is a priceline for $1.99. I set my goals for this year and two are to use less water so I can water garden more when our tank is empty and reduce electricity to offset new freezer. So we are going back to Blackout nights. A few years ago, we used to do this and the boys loved it. We would sit by candlelight or torch and play games once a week for 3hrs. The boys used to really look forward to Thursday night and it brings the family together. Also, I'm going to try to go to be earlier by 1 hr, that's 90 hrs over 3 months, so hopefully this should reduce the bills. Also to double cook meals and to have shorter showers. Happy New Year to all,xxx Maureen

    1. i'll be going to Priceline to get some more shower gel. Not that I really need it but it keeps for a long time.

      We might start doing blackout nights again too. Good idea !!!

  17. I know suggesting spending money is a little off topic, but your local op shop is probably bursting at the seams with donations right now. Please consider making a purchase there - some holiday reading, xmas decos for next year, clothing and back to school stationary items. Toys and board games.

    1. I love op shopping, even if I don't spend any money it's great to look.

  18. Wendy, I have been reading your blog for a couple of months now and thought I should introduce myself. I think of myself as a pretty thrifty person, but you have given me some great ideas to stretch the pennies even further, as well as a wonderful positive attitude to living with less. We truly do not need stuff to make us happy.
    I do have a question for you from this post - how do you make brown sugar? Maybe you have mentioned this before, but if you have, I have missed it!

    1. Welcome to my blog Jo. I hope you can comment often.

      The brown sugar recipe will be posted this coming week.

  19. Happy New Year Wendy and to your family also!

    We had an enjoyable Christmas and New Year spending time at home together. Hubby Phil on the bbq and myself in the kitchen cooking up a storm.

    With a new year ahead 2015 it is planned to be fabulous. Lots of saving and getting ahead. I am learning a new project making Kombucha. More on that later but its suppose to be a healthy brewing tea type of drink.

    I am certainly keeping on top of our monthly grocery bill and its great. We can put some money on other bills to get ahead.

    It was great to see you on A Current Affair again. As soon as I saw it advertised I just had to tune in to watch. Thank you!

    I'm hoping you have your jam recipe handy somewhere as jam making is something I would like to do. Although it is cheap enough to buy at Aldi, making your own is certainly different and an achievement.

    Thanks again for your inspiration. Cath at The Cheapskates Club is also doing a fab job keeping me on top of things also. I am so grateful and so are the family finances hahaha!

    1. The jam recipe is coming shortly Wendy. I also commented on your blog.

      I count Cath from Cheapskates as a personal friend and joining her website changed my life.

  20. Hi Wendy. I too have taken on the $300 a month grocery challenge for this year in a bid to cut down food costs and put as much money into our mortgage as possible, especially since we now have a baby on the way. I've set a budget for no more than $75 and so far been under budget each time! My frugal tasks so far:
    - Bought foaming soap dispensers at chemist warehouse for $2 each, once the soap is used I will re-fill with diluted shower gel as you suggested.
    - Making miracle spray and not buying all-purpose surface cleaners from the supermarket.
    - Make my own bread as opposed to buying it (I have to maintain a strict gluten-free diet, GF bread costs easily $6 or more for a very small loaf at the supermarket, I have calculated I can make two loaves for less than that).
    - Baking all sorts of things such as muffins etc, freezing them so that we can take them to work as needed.
    - Plan all my meals each week carefully, cull anything off the list that we can do without or is not necessary this week.
    - Cook only enough for dinner, in cases where we have left-overs, they are frozen for next time or eaten the next day (depending on what it is).
    - Carefully looked through supermarket catalogues we received in the mail for any good bargains. Boxes of nappies were half price and so I stocked up.

    You've inspired me to make my own jam. I will have a look this weekend to see if I can buy bulk fruit for cheap so that I can make jams for the year. I would love it if you could post your apple jam recipe if you get the chance =)


This blog is designed to be a source of encouragement and inspiration.

Negative comments will not be published. Comments advertising businesses or goods for sale will not be published.

Please include your first name in your comment so that I can respond to you.

Comments are moderated manually. Please allow a few hours for them to appear.