Saturday 31 October 2015

This Week's Frugal Tasks 31st October 2015

Here's this week's frugal list.  I hope you can add your frugal tips too.

*  Stocked up on TRESemme shampoo and conditioner at half price.  I think we have enough stockpiled for one year.

*  Darren and I went to the movies for free by using a gift card from last Christmas.  Darren bought the tickets online through Telstra for $11 each.  We also bought our snacks and bottles of water from home.

*  Watered the fruit trees with the shower warm up water.

*  Picked silverbeet for two meals.

*  Ate freezer meals twice this week.  Because we freeze all leftovers,  they pile up quickly.  The more we eat out of the freezer,  the more we seem to put in  !!

*  Only spent $2 on milk this week ( other than the shamp / cond ). We didn't need any fruit and veg.

*  Sold some eggs

*   Made a batch of vanilla yoghurt using a starter I'd frozen a while ago.

*  Gratefully received three avocados from a friend.  Darren and Jessica are in avocado heaven as we rarely buy them.

*  .Made another batch of homemade soap using a different recipe from Phil at the House of Simple blog.

*  Picked some roses that were growing in the chicken coop.

*   Saved water as per usual.

*  Filled up my car for $1.08 per litre using a fuel docket.

*  Stayed away from the shops except to buy the milk,  shamp / cond.

*  Watered five small bushes using water we collected in a bucket under the hot water system  overflow pipe.

*  Fed the chickens some bread rolls that were given to us.

*  Made lots of muffins to raise funds at church for our Christmas hamper program.  I used supplies I had on hand.

*  Darren repotted some raspberry cuttings from last season.  If they take off we'll have lots of raspberries for muffins, icecream and jam.

Muffins to sell
Homemade decorations using silicon moulds

Tuna pasta bake with shredded silverbeet
So easy to bring the washing in if the weather changes
Raspberry cuttings.
A feijoa flower
Roses in the chicken coop.

Wednesday 28 October 2015

Grocery Specials Wednesday 28th October 2015

Here are this week's best grocery specials.


*  Lynx Deodorant Body Spray 96g-100g 1/2 PRICE Was $5.99, Save $3.00  Now.$2.99 each.  Great stocking stuffers and handy to have on hand for teenage boy's birthdays.

*  Val Verde Passata Cooking Sauce 700g 1/2 PRICE Was $2.79, Save $1.40  Now $1.39 each.  I don't buy this presonally but it seems like a good price.

*  Alfa One Rice Bran Oil 3 Litre 1/2 PRICE Was $18.00, Save $9.00  Now $9.00 each.  Good for soap making.

*  SunRice Medium Grain Brown or White Rice 5kg 1/2 PRICE Was $13.60, Save $6.80  Now $6.80 each.  This is a great price for brown rice.

*  TRESemmĂ© Shampoo or Conditioner 750mL or 900mL 1/2 PRICE Was $10.50, Save $5.51  Now $4.99 each.  This is the lowest 1/2 price sale for quite a while.

*  30% off all BIC razors

*  20% off iTunes $30, $50 or $100 Gift Cards Excludes $20 denomination

*    1/2 PRICE Sistema To

* Palmolive Dishwashing Liquid 700mL-750mL 1/2 PRICE Was $5.49, Save $2.75  Now $2.74 each

*  Dynamo Laundry Liquid 1 Litre 1/2 PRICE Was $10.00, Save $5.00  Now $5.00 each.  I use this on the odd occasion ( bought at $2 a bottle ).  This dilutes really well by 50% and still washes the clothes.

*  Cadbury Sharepacks 160g-180g or Mars Medium Funsize 144g-216g Save $4.00  Now 2 for $5.00


*  Moccona Freeze Dried Instant Coffee 200g Now $9.70 each1/2 Price, Save $9.79

*  Cadbury Sharepacks 160-180g or Mars Medium Sharepacks 144-216g Now $3.00 each Save $1.59  OR 4 for $10.00 Save $8.36 

*  Lindt Lindor Balls 150g Now $6.00 each 1/2 Price, Save $6.00

*  Head & Shoulders Shampoo or Conditioner 350-400ml Now $6.25 each 1/2 Price, Save $6.25

*  Energizer Advanced Batteries AA Pk 10 Now $8.24 each 1/2 Price, Save $8.56.  It looks like it's 1/2 price off all sizes.

*  VIC Iceberg Lettuce VIC Grown. Now $1.20 each

Monday 26 October 2015

Creating Your Own Mini Economy

Do you ever have the feeling that money is leaking out of your home left ,  right and centre ?  Do you feel that your shopping habits are making everyone else rich and your purse a little poorer ?  Do you cringe when large companies post their yearly profit reports ?

If you are answering yes to any of these questions,  I have a solution that will make you feel a little better about your money situation.

Create your own mini economy at home.

Here's how it works.

Buying presents for family and friends all year round can cost a fortune.  If you're like me you have a present / gift  budget.  I always like to beat the present budget and have money left over at the end of the year to buy treats.  Yes I can buy presents on sale and that will save me money.  If I go one step further I can keep most of my present fund within my home instead spending all that money at the shops.

Making presents is a great way to save money and results in a lovely present to give for just a couple of  dollars.  Because I have a well stocked pantry, when I make biscuits for presents,  I just use what I have on hand.  I estimate that  a jar of biscuits costs me $2 for the jar and less than $1 for the biscuits.  Ribbons and gift tags cost zero because I use free supplies to make my own.   The present looks like it's worth much more,  maybe even $10.  I take $10 out of my present / gift budget and put it into my food / grocery budget ( envelope ) to pay for the ingredients.    By doing this,  my food budget has made a profit of $7.

The savings doesn't stop there.  I might have budgeted $15 for a present for a friend.  By only taking $10 out of the present budget to pay the food budget,  I've saved $5 on the present budget.

Here's another example.

I made a couple of tote bags late last year to be given as presents.  The material cost $4 in total for the two bags and I paid for it out of my clothing budget.  That was the envelope I had with me when I was in Spotlight looking around.  Tote bags cost about $10 in the stores if paying retail  Using this valuation,  I took $20 (  $10 for each bag ) out of the present budget and put it into my clothing envelope to reimburse for the material costs.  My clothing envelope has just made a profit of $16. I usually budget $15 for each present so if I chose to give the tote bags on their own,   I've just saved my present budget $5 on each present.   Everyone wins.  I gave one of these tote bags to Darren's sister for her birthday recently and she loves it.  She's already used it too.

Here's one final example to seal the deal -

I love making jam.  I also love eating it because it tastes so much better than anything I can buy.  I also know exactly what's in it.    If I make raspberry jam using our own home grown berries and lemon juice from our own lemons,  the only cost is sugar.  I have a few friends and family members saving jars for me,  so no cost there.  When I make a batch of raspberry jam,  I might use one kilo of sugar ( for example ) which cost less than $1  That batch might yield 10 jars of delicious jam.   If I put a retail price of $3 on each jar ( they are small / medium jars ) then the total retail value is $30,  yet they only cost me $1 to make.  I could be technical and add in the cost of the gas to cook the jam.  I give lots of jars of jam as presents so each time I give one,  I take $3 of of the present budget and  put it into my food budget

You could use this idea for all sorts of presents.  If you take cuttings of plants or grow seedlings from seeds,  they make wonderful presents.  Put a retail value on them and boost your gardening budget as well as saving a little money on presents.

Make some cards and give them in packs of ten wrapped on cellophane with a ribbon.  Put a retail value on it and boost your craft budget.

Make soap,  wrap it in tissue paper or cellophane with a ribbon.  Put a retail value on it and boost your toiletry / make up budget.  Or boost your food budget (wherever you took the money from to buy the ingredients ).

Yes you are still spending money at the shops.  You are still helping businesses but you are not giving all of your hard earned money to make the rich richer.

What gifts do you like to make ?

Saturday 24 October 2015

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 24th October 2015

It's been a very exciting week here.  Lamb and broccoli were on sale and Jessica finished high school.  Please read on to find out what else we got up to -

*  Received a few belated birthday presents.  I saved the gift bags,  bubble wrap,  tissue paper and gift boxes to use again some time in the future.

*  Picked silverbeet  for two meals,

*  Went through all the birthday and Christmas presents I've stashed away for the next couple of years.  I've  now allocated them and written them into my present / gift book.

*  Gratefully received a tomato plant and a few colored chard ( silverbeet ) plants from my Dad.

*  Hand washed the dinner dishes a couple of nights.

*  Dried the washing on the line and clothes horses ( when it rained ).

*  Saved the shower warm up water to water all the fruit trees.

*  Wrapped up my handmade rose soaps ready to give as presents.

*   Made a double batch of Cranberry Hootycreek biscuit dough for the freezer.  I baked some that day and the rest of the dough will be baked just before Christmas to give as presents.

*  We ate freezer meals ( leftovers ) for dinner two nights.

*  Filled up both the cars with petrol using discount dockets and paid $1.14 a litre.  Darren's old car was on gas / petrol.  Now that both our cars run on petrol we need to watch the price cycles carefully and use dockets to get the best price every time.

*  Darren organised a better deal on both our car insurances.  He saved $154 on mine and got a better excess and windscreen replacement included.  For Darren's new car he saved $172.  Our insurances were not that dear to begin with compared to what you see on tv.  So we are happy with our savings.

*  Bought rice bran oil on a better than half price sale.  This will be used to make a different type of soap.

*  Bought eight kilos of broccoli for $1.50 a kilo.  I spent 1 1/2 hours cutting,  blanching and freezing all of it.  I even cut up most of the stalks and froze them to use in casseroles.

*  We went out for dinner to celebrate Jessica graduating high school.  We used a coupon for 25% off the food bill.

*  Bought five legs of lamb for $5.99 kg from a new local shop called Fresh Value Market in Cranbourne.  This will be enough lamb roasts for Christmas Day and until lamb comes on sale again next Spring.

*  Made a batch of Miracle Spray to sell to a cleaning client.  I also made a double strength batch to use at home.  It's time saving to make it double strength then dilute it when it's decanted into spray bottles.

Rose soaps wrapped to give as presents
They all look so pretty
Do you think I have enough broccoli ?
Raspberry plants are growing in leaps and bounds.
Cherries.  We hope to get more than 6 from last year.
Our first ever pears.  We hope they stay and grow.
Our only peach.  The plant has curly leaf.

What does your frugal list look like ?

Wednesday 21 October 2015

Grocery Specials Wednesday 21st October 2015

Here are this week's best grocery specials -


* Frantelle Australian Spring Water 24 x 600mL 1/2 PRICE Was $11.00, Save $5.50  Now $5.50 each.  23 cents per bottle.  I wouldn't normally advise people to buy bottles water but at this price you'd be saving a fair bit of money.  Much cheaper than buying a drink with a meal.

*   Carr’s Water Crackers 125g .Was $1.82, Save $0.82  Now $1.00 each

*  Sanitarium So Good Almond Unsweetened Long Life Milk 1 Litre Was $3.29, Save $1.29  Now $2.00 each.  I don't buy this but it seems like a good price for those who have allergies.

*  IXL Jam 600g 1/2 PRICE Was $3.99, Save $2.00  Now $1.99 each

*  Cadbury Cooking Chocolate 200g-225g 1/2 PRICE Was $4.19, Save $2.10  Now $2.09 each.  Stock up for Christmas baking.

* La Espanola Rice Bran Oil 3 Litre1/2 PRICE Was $18.00, Save $10.00  Now $8.00 each

*  Golden Crumpet Rounds 6 Pack 1/2 PRICE Was $3.30, Save $1.65  Now $1.65 each

*  Tip Top CafĂ© Raisin Toast 650g 1/2 PRICE Was $5.80, Save $2.90  Now $2.90 each

*  Bulla Multipacks 8 Pack-14 Pack 1/2 PRICE Was $6.15, Save $3.08  Now $3.07 each

*  Olay Moisturising Lotion 150mL Was $14.70, Save $4.70  Now $10.00 each

*  Energizer Max Batteries AA 10 Pack 1/2 PRICE Was $13.19, Save $6.60  Now $6.59 each.  Stock up for Christmas toys.

*  Cadbury Sharepacks or Mars Medium Funsize 144g-216g Save $4.00  Now 2 for $5.00.  Great for Christmas stockings.


*  TRESemme Shampoo or Conditioner 750-900ml Now $5.24 each 1/2 Price, Save $5.25

*  Arnott’s Shapes 160-190g or Sensations 180g Now $1.49 each 1/2 Price, Save $1.50. It doesn't get any cheaper than this.

*  Streets Magnum 360-468ml Pk 4-6 Now $3.99 each 1/2 Price, Save $4.00.  Cheapest sale price.

*  Cadbury Sharepacks 160-180g or Mars Medium Sharepacks 144-216g 1 for $3.00 Save $1.59
or 4 for $10.00 Save $8.36.  Stock up for Christmas

*  Mars Celebrations 300g Now $5.00 each 1/2 Price, Save $5.00  Great for Kris Kringle

* Edgell Seed Beans 400-420g or Sliced Beetroot 425g Now $0.84 each Save up to $0.96  Stock up for Summer

*  Dermaveen Everyday Soap Free Wash 500ml Now $8.49 each 1/2 Price, Save $8.50

*  Handee Paper Towel Pk 2 Now $2.00 each Save $1.50

*  Morning Fresh Dishwashing Liquid 400ml – Excludes Eco Range Now $1.97 each 1/2 Price, Save $1.98

Please feel free to add any great specials you find.

Monday 19 October 2015

Potato Cakes From Mash

These potato cakes are very frugal and oh so yummy.  Served on their own as a lunch or served with a salad in Summer they make a delightful treat to eat. My Mum started making these when I was iny teens.  There's no recipe as such so I've written down what I use to make them

Left over mashed potato or potato and pumpkin together. You need as little as a cup in quantity
1/2 cup of grated cheese
Sprinkle of -
Garlic salt or powder
1 teaspoon of chives or parsley
Olive oil for cooking
Plain flour for coating
Paper towel on a plate for draining

In a large bowl mixed together the mash and seasonings until well combined

In a smaller bowl add 2 - 3 tablespoons of plain flour

Place rounded tablespoons of the mash mix into the flour and coat.

Place the potato cakes in a heated fry pan with olive oil.

Flatten the potato cakes a little

Cook on each side until golden brown

Serve with sauce or tomato relish


*  I prefer to use cold mash as it's easier to form into balls to coat in the flour

*  Be careful that the oil is not too hot as the potato cakes can burn very quickly.

*  If the mash mix is too soft,  add a little flour until it stiffens a bit

*  If I'm planning on serving pumpkin and potato mash with dinner the night before,  I cook up extra so I can make these potato cakes the following night.

*  Store them in the fridge for two days if you make too many.

Left over pumpkin and potato mash
Add the seasonings
Cook in olive oil
Golden brown
Ready to eat.

Saturday 17 October 2015

This Week's Frugal Tasks 17th October 2015

We've had some comings and goings in the Gower house this week.  Please read the frugal task list to find out what happened -

* Made 10 cards with supplies on hand to raise funds at our church for our hamper giveaway.

*  Megan went to a birthday dinner.  She was able to give some earrings she bought a while ago and didn't use.  She also used a homemade card from my stash.

*  Used the watering can all week to water all the fruit trees and veggie plants.  I used the shower warm up water to do this.

*  The family ate bits and pieces out of the fridge for dinner on Sunday night

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness and two of white bread.

*  Made fruit icecream using bananas and cream given to us and a few raspberries I froze from last season.

*  Made a 1 kilo batch of Brown Sugar.

*  Dried all the washing on the line.

*  Darren fed our fruit trees with worm tea from our worm farm.

*  Froze two singles serves of left over beef stew and one of Tuna Casserole.

*  Stocked up on Lynx shower gel,  Lynx deod and Nature's Fruits body wash.  All were bought at half price and most will be put away for presents.

*  Darren is now the proud owner of a two year old Nissan Dualis after saying good bye to his 14 year old Nissan Pulsar ( the work horse ).  Some might wonder how this could fit into the frugal tasks post.  We saved hard for four years and paid cash ( bank cheque ).  No car loans for us.  Now we've started saving for when my 2008 Camry needs replacing. With our car history,  that won't be for quite a while.

*  Made Chunky Roast Beef and Vegetable soup using left over meat.

*  Darren picked a beautiful pink rose from the garden to put on my bedside table.  It smells so lovely.    

Darren and his new car
Banana and raspberry icecream

What does your frugal task list look like this week ?

Wednesday 14 October 2015

Grocery Specials Wednesday 14th October 2015

It's time to start thinking about Christmas stocking treats.  This week's grocery specials provide a few bargains.


*  Moccona Freeze Dried Coffee 200g 1/2 PRICE Was $18.36, Save $9.36  Now $9.00 each.  Don't forget to save the jars for food storage or gifts.

*  Cadbury Medium Bars 39g-60g 1/2 PRICE Was $2.00, Save $1.15  Now $0.85 each    A great price to pop a few in Christmas stockings.

Mars Maltesers 360g or M&Ms Peanut 440g 1/2 PRICE Was $10.00, Save $5.00  Now $5.00 each .  These make a great Kris Kringle present or suitable for teenager birthday parties.

*    SunRice Basmati Rice 5kg 1/2 PRICE Was $18.00, Save $9.00  Now $9.00 each

*  BabyLove Nappy Pants 20 Pack-28 Pack Was $16.99, Save $6.99  Now $10.00 each

* Radox Antiperspirant Deodorant 250mL1/2 PRICE Was $5.99, Save $3.00  Now $2.99 each.  Great for a man's Christmas stocking

*   Bulla Ice Cream Multipacks 8 Pack-14 Pack 1/2 PRICE Was $6.15, Save $3.08  Now $3.07 each.  Great to put away for a Summer treat.

*  VIVA Paper Towel White 2 Pack Was $3.50, Save $1.50  Now $2.00 each.  Stock up now for the bbq season.

*  Pantene Shampoo or Conditioner 350mL1/2 PRICE Was $7.89, Save $3.95  Now $3.94 each

*  The Natural Confectionery Co. Family Bags, Sour Patch 200g-260g or Pascall Family Bags 260g-350g 1/2 PRICE Was $4.00, Save $2.00  Now $2.00 each


*  Lynx Antiperspirant Deodorant Varieties 96-100g  .Now $2.99 each 1/2 Price, Save up to $3.00  1/2 Price on all Lynx Men's Care

*  Nestle Blocks 118-200g Now $2.25 each 1/2 Price, Save $2.25

*  Arnott’s Shapes Extreme 130g or Salada 250g Now $1.49 each 1/2 Price, Save $1.50

*  Sanitarium Weet Bix Gluten Free 375g – Available in the Health Foods Aisle Now $2.50 each 1/2 Price, Save $2.50

*  Imported Freshwater Basa Fillets ^Seafood may not be available in all stores. ^Thawed for your convenience.Now $5.49 kg 1/2 Price, Save $5.50 kg.  Always ask for frozen fish to take home and put in your freezer.

*    Victorian Whole Celery Bunch VIC Grown. Now $1.20 each.  Celery can be diced and frozen to put in stews,  casseroles and soups.

*  Nature’s Organics Fruits Shampoo, Conditioner or Bodywash 500ml Now $1.00 each Save $0.90.  This is a fantastic once or twice a year sale price.  If you don't want to use it for your hair,  the shampoo can be diluted and used in foaming hand wash dispensers.  Conditioner can be used for head lice and as a fabric softener for clothes

*  Cadbury Favourites or Favourites Mini Blocks 320g Now $6.00 each 1/2 Price, Save $6.00.  Great for Kris Kringles and those hard to buy for relatives and friends.

*  Golden Circle Juice 2 Litre Now $2.00 each Save $1.59  Great for making icypoles.

Feel free to add any great specials you find.

Monday 12 October 2015

What's In My Freezer.

I guess the title of this post should read "What's In My Freezers " as I have three freezers.  No I don't collect freezers as a hobby but I do love having the space to freeze whatever I want.  I have a 660 litre side by side fridge / freezer   I think about 240 litres of it is freezer space.  I have a 120 litre freezer and a 180 litre freezer ( our latest addition to the freezer family ).

For ten years I fed my young family out of the 120 litre freezer and Darren's old fridge that had a small freezer compartment inside.  Space back then was at a premium and boy,  did I stack those freezers well.  Not one box of convenience food could fit in those freezers ( not that we could afford it back then ).    Bread,  rolls and icecubes went into the little freezer compartment in the fridge and mince, chicken  and a few meals went into the 120 litre freezer.

When we outgrew Darren's old fridge we upgraded to the 660 litre side by side.  About 2 1/2 years ago we were given another freezer but unfortunately it only lasted two years.  So a few months ago I bought the 180 litre freezer.

As you know we have a vegetable garden and fruit trees.  The freezers come in handy for storing excess  garden produce.  This saves us money as quite often we can eat our produce from the freezer when it's out of season and costs a fortune at the supermarket.

Here's a list of what we store in our freezers -                          LEGEND -

                                                                                                  HM = homemade
Mince divided into 300 gram sizes
Lamb chops 4 per package                                                       C = convenience
Chicken fillets individually wrapped
Fish                                                                                           G = from our garden
Legs of Lamb bought in Spring on sale
Sausages 6 per package
Diced beef in 400gram snap lock bags
Roast beef cut in half to serve 4 people
Silverside cut in half to serve 4 people
Salmon patties 10 per package     HM
Fish fingers   C
Sliced ham
Hamburger patties     HM
Whole chickens
Chicken drumsticks 4 per package


Chicken stock     HM
Vegetable soup    HM
Pumpkin soup     HM
Chunky chicken and veg soup    HM
Chunky beef and veg soup    HM
Potato and leek soup     HM


Spag bol sauce     HM
Lasagne portions    HM
Leftovers of casseroles in single serves     HM
Pie meat - ready to make a pie     HM
Meatloaves          HM


Raspberry and white choc muffins     HM
Blueberry and white choc muffins      HM
Chocolate choc chip muffins              HM
Wholemeal bread with extra goodness      HM
Pita bread     C
Rolls      HM
Pumpkin scones        HM
Plain scones        HM
Chocolate brownies      HM
Cakes for church morning teas       HM
Biscuit dough - assorted varieties     HM
Saved bread crusts to be made into dried bread crumbs      HM
Raisin bread    C or HM
Pizza dough      HM
Hot cross buns      HM


Corn cobs     G
Beans           G
Corn kernels
Broccoli stalks diced     G
Broccoli       G
Cauliflower   G
Cooked and pureed pumpkin
Cooked tomatoes     G
Zucchini    G    


Lemon juice in ice cubes    G
Raspberries     G
Strawberries     G
Cooked apple
Oranges - blitzed
Fruit icecream      HM


English muffins    C
Crumpets     C
Sweetened condensed milk in 1/2 and whole can portions     HM
Tomato paste in ice cube size
Mini quiches / flans     HM
Sausage rolls      HM
Rice - cooked leftovers
Icecream    C
Yoghurt - to be used as a starter      HM
Vegetable stock ( given to me )     HM
Icypoles    C or HM
Pastry    C
Zucchini slice    HM

I think that the entire contents of our freezers.  Of course we don't have everything stocked at the same time,  but we do try to keep as much a possible.

In a few weeks I'll talk about the best way to store food in the freezer

This is the freezer part of my side by side fridge.  That's pita bread on the top shelf bought at a market.  Baking is on the next shelf with the lemon ice cubes and sweetened condensed milk. Crumpets are on the third shelf with cooked rice stored in the white container. Veggies are on the next shelf.  .

Then there is the bread shelf and below that are two slide out drawers with frozen fruit and biscuit dough

The 120 litre 23 year old freezer and our new 180 litre freezer.  They hold the meat, soups,   garden produce and freezer meals

                                                 Our 660 litre side by side fridge / freezer