Saturday, 9 January 2016

This Week's Frugal Tasks 9th January 2016

I had plenty of free time this week to craft,  garden and de-clutter.  Oh what joy.  I love this time of the year when the garden is producing.  There's always something new to look at or to pick to eat.  There's what else we got up to this week -

*  Saved more tissue paper,  ribbon,  gift boxes and gift bags from some Christmas presents I've put to use.

*  Picked lettuce,  strawberries,  raspberries, tomatoes and beans to use in our meals.

*  Dried all washing on the line.  Saved the washing machine water for each next load.

*  Used the shower warm up water to water all our potted plants / fruit bushes.

*  Made dried bread crumbs from saved crusts.  They seem to multiply so quickly.  Oh well,  much better than throwing them out.

*  Tied up the tomato plants with old cut up socks.

*  Sewed 8 more hand towels with some Christmas material.   I'm trying to build a stockpile of hand made presents just in case extra birthdays come up.  I love them so much I think I'll keep some to use in my kitchen next Christmas.

*  Darren picked a couple of beautiful pink roses from the garden.  He placed them on my bedside table as a suprise.

*  Bought a Boysenberry plant from Bunnings to add to my collection of fruit plants. I repotted it into a larger pot we already had.

*  Had the evap cooling off for a few  days.  I love the in between weather when you don't need heating or cooling.  Just the fresh air from outside.

*  Made pizza using pita bread and bits and pieces in the fridge.  The rest of the pita breads from the packet were made into pita chips.

*  Planted more bean and lettuce seeds for continual picking.

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  Megan went through her school book list and found we had all the stationery on hand in our stationery box.  I always buy a few extra binder books and pens when they are on sale in Big W each year.

*  Darren has painted both girl's bedrooms over the last week and a half.  He was able to get a good price on the paint and used some equipment he already had on hand.  This gave the girls a perfect opportunity to sort through everything in their rooms. From Jessica's room I reclaimed a pair of green and pink curtains.  I'm not sure if I'll keep them to put back up when she gets married and moves out or if I'll use them for craft projects.  I also reclaimed a plastic tub with lid.  Darren will use this in his car to bring home coffee grounds from work..From Megan's room I reclaimed some stationery,  a book light,  a torch and other useful items.

*  I gave Megan a haircut..

*  I ripped up lots of Jessica's old school papers to use as note paper.  I think I'm set for the next few years.

*  Made a batch of soap using my fancy moulds.  I put a a photo of the finished product next week.

A new stack of hand towels
I think I'll be keeping some for myself
Which is your favourite.
Soap moulds with rose petals
Bean plants galore
A rouge pumpkin plant ( I think )
Tomatoes are starting to ripen
Yummy bread.
Jessica's old school papers ripped into note paper.

What did you do this week to save time,  money and energy ?


  1. Hi Wendy what beautiful hand towels you made! I love the one with the reindeer on it. It sounds like you had a really good week and perhaps I should drop hints to my husband about picking flowers for me hehe. We have a tomato plant too which is starting to give us lots of tomatoes, we are now just waiting for them to ripen. I was back at work this week but I think we managed to get a few money saving things done!
    - very happy with myself that I managed to buy our fortnightly shop under budget. With baby formula costing us $25 per tin (we go through one tin per week) it means we must spend no more than $50 a week on food. It won't be much longer until we can use cows milk instead
    - made an excel spreadsheet with our fortnightly meal plan, costings, what we have/haven't eaten yet. I've also got an excel sheet for homemade vs store bought items and their costings (already saving about $400 a year just by doing basic things!). And also veggie patch yield and how much we are saving ($20 this year and it's only the first week!).
    -planted lettuce seeds and coriander seeds
    - our zucchini plant went crazy after the amount of rain we had, picked a few for ourselves and traded the others for other food items
    - we cancelled our gym membership, we used to go 3 times a week but since having baby it's been difficult to go to gym. This will save us a lot of money.
    - bought a second hand treadmill, so far getting good use out of it and I love that I don't have to leave my house and I can attend to baby whenever needed.
    - hubby managed to get gym weights for 1/3 the price of what they usually are, you can't even buy them that cheap second-hand
    - discovered from a patient that there are yoga lessons on you tube that you can access for free, don't need to leave the house or pay for classes.
    -froze an over-ripe banana
    - gratefully received half a pumpkin, banana bread, a lemon cake as well as Jam drop biscuits.
    - made my own blog (inspired by the cheapskates saving revolution), so far it hasn't gone public, i still have a way to go before it does.
    - used the leaves of the cauliflower in a lamb and vegetable curry so that nothing gets wasted, it also helped stretch that meal over two nights.
    - used broccoli stalk in a home made veggie soup.

    I can't remember anything else I did. We had a very busy week!


    1. Cancelling thr gym membership will save you a small fortune over the year. Doing your own gym is even better.

      Please let me know when your blog goes public. I'll be reading it.

  2. Hi Wendy,

    Thanks for the photos. I prefer the last hand towel. If the deer hand towel had one more deer on it, I'd love it as the first. Anyway, all those look fabulous.

    I just wanted to share my happiness with you. I'm doing an upholstery job right now - new challenge for me as this is my first time. We have two chairs (some sort of rocking chairs) and the cushions were wearing off. The other I did something stupid and the seam ripped. There was no way I could fix it and thought of doing my own covering. Hope this would come out OK and I would save some money too.

    The other day I saw some black ants going in to my pantry cupboard and I had to take out everything and clean it all over. Then I came across few bottles which only had a little bit left in them with expiry in early 2017. You know the stuff, you like them so much so want to use up every last drop but you can't do that in a hurry or in front of others so you put them back in a hiding and later on forget about it (at least I do).

    I came across few of those and was determined to use up all. It was a waste of pantry space. So I made a tomato sauce and washed up all those bottles and add everything to it. The final taste was a bit weird as some of the additions were so mismatching and I knew my hubby would question me, so I had to add a whole jar of store-bought tomato paste ... hehehe .... Then I decided to make some spaghetti and mixed mince meat to part of the sauce to make it a meal. It was a lovely and very economical meal. He hates when I put those almost empty bottles back in the pantry for later use. Hubby would never know what took place under his own nose!

    Most of my other frugal tasks were pantry related and the usual stuff.

    Have a great weekend!

    1. I love your bottle story. So funny. Pantry space is at a premium here. I'd love a walk in pantry but we don't have space for it. Won't even stockpile paper towel, foil and cling wrap in the pantry. That goes into my garden shed.

  3. Wendy, I love the Christmas towels and your garden plants look like they are doing really well. I have been busy working on a canning marathon and am adding jar after jar of home canned food to my pantry. Even in the winter months one can add to their pantry.

    1. Thankyou Patsy.

      I'm glad you've got things to do in the Winter months. I love being busy no matter what time of the year it is. If I'm making, I feel like I'm providing for my family.

  4. Wow what a great week you have had Wendy, and those Christmas towels are just gorgeous! I love them all!

    I am trying to get back on track with my frugal life, I have not been so strict over the Christmas period, but now I will pull the reins in again.

    *I made a couple of discoveries this week and they were;

    Sugar soap is a great cleaner (I already knew this). I used it in an oven that I had to clean for a client as I don't like the chemical laden options. I put some on the baked on grime and left it for a while, then with some serious elbow grease, I removed 99% of the grime. I then used it on the rest of the oven with great success.

    Next I found that I don't need to use the foaming soap for the dispensers (you may already know this lol). Plain dish detergent or similar other work fine, just water down to the right consistency until it foams perfectly.

    *Out in the veggie patch I am picking spinach, celery, tomatoes, zucchinis, capsicums, rhubarb and cucumbers. My bean plant has babies, and my strawberry plants have sent out runners. I noticed that our grapes are ripe this morning, yum!

    *Washing and drying the clothes the natural way and only twice a week.

    *Selling excess eggs.

    *Went out and got a wild rabbit to use for a meal.

    *Added more two dollars to our drink bottle, it is nearly full and we estimate quite a bit of money in there. This will be used for our trip away in June.

    *Trying to save electricity where possible. I only run the air conditioner when the temperature reaches 35C and turn it off at night if it is cool enough. The TV is hardly used these days. Our last bill was $130 so very happy with that :D

    *Bought cheaper fuel while we were in Adelaide, also stocked up on cheaper fruit and veg.

    *I am cleaning houses now (taken over my daughters clients while she is pregnant). The money I make from this is put away for our holiday.

    *Our lawn mover died, so hubby rounded up a couple of others that weren't working and made one good one from three.

    Have a great frugal week!


    1. You've had a well rounded week Tania. I'm popping over to your blog for a read xoxo

  5. Dear Wendy,
    You are off to a great start for the year! I cant wait to see how the soap turns out with the rose petals!
    Also I love the hand towels for next Christmas. You are way ahead. it is wonderful.
    I can just imagine the room painting. It is quite exciting and also (I remember well) it means a big clean out, re arrange etc and by the time the room is back together it is like a whole new room and so organized and nice.Really its a good project on many levels and I know the girls will be excited.
    Painting is starting here too. Paint is wonderful how it transforms things!
    I hope you are having a good weekend! With love,

    1. I just got the soap out of the moulds. In the warmer weather I think it needs three days to firm up before touching them. They are fine but need a little fixing when firmer.

      Yes the girl's rooms have been decluttered and our bins have been full for a few weeks. This is a rarity in our home. I've made lots of trips to the op shop to donate too.

      I'm loving your Christmas challenge.

  6. Hi Wendy,
    Love the hand towels and the vegetables look yummy and fresh!
    This week I

    - cut out many beautiful pictures for card making project from a number of diaries that my Mum was going to bin in her sorting out/throwing out mode for downsizing where she'll be living. Also cut up many of the note pages at the end of the diaries for scrap paper.

    - re organised a couple of rooms to enable me to have a table on which to put the new sewing machine. A dear friend was given some wise words that she passed on to me and that is, 'More sewing is able to be done if the sewing machine has its own 'home' and doesn't have to be packed up when not being used.'

    - Sorted and cleaned out the pantry. Aaaaah love looking at a clean, organised pantry lol.

    - Cleaned out the fridge and cooked things like muffins and zucchini slice to use items that were nearing their use by time or starting to look a little 'weary'.

    - Waited patiently for the price of the accommodation for where we'll be staying a few days next week, to come down. It did, plus a promotion at the time of booking gave an extra 10% off the reduced price.

    - Waited patiently for the price of the 10kg bags of basmati rice to come down. The supermarket doesn't normally stock them. However, when they were advertised on special in a catalogue several weeks before Christmas they got them in. The first price was already good, 1/2 price, and I bought a bag but then some bags stayed sitting there....and sitting there.....and sitting..... Yesterday when I was in the supermarket they'd been reduced by another 50%. Result? 10kg of basmati rice for $10. I'd say we have enough rice now to tide us over for the next 12months :)

    As the first page of the desk calendar I was given for Christmas says 'God has perfect timing; never early, never late. It takes a little patience and it takes a lot of faith. But it's worth the wait.' followed by Habakkuk 2:3

    Enjoy a lovely week.


    1. What a lovely Bible verse to think about, and so true.

      I guess you can eat rice for many, many meals for that awesome price.

    2. Wendy, have you got your sewing machine yet ? I can't wait to have a permanent home for my sewing machine. I'll have to wait for one of my girls to get married first. Actually, I can wait. They are too young for marriage!!!

      Love a tidy pantry and yes, I've been known to stand with the doors open just looking - hehehe.

      God's timing is always perfect.

    3. I was going to get the sewing machine early last week however due to several days of torrential rain and flooded roads I decided to stay indoors and do the things as mentioned above instead. Needless to say I am sooooo looking forward to purchasing the machine Monday or Tuesday week when we return from a few days away.

      Enjoy and cherish the time the girls are still at home as one of the reasons I'm able to have a 'home' for the sewing machine is because our eldest son had to move to a major city to study the uni course he had his heart set on. It's amazing how quickly time flies!


  7. Hi Wendy, will you still be doing your grocery specials on Wednesday's please. I have been finding them very helpful as am still learning much about stockpiling my pantry and your lists really help especially when you noted if it was a super good price. Thankyou.

    1. Yes I'll be doing the grocery specials in the next week or so. I'm having a short blogging break so I can enjoy some free time, my family and the garden. I'm also working on some exciting new topics.

  8. Hi Wendy,

    You have had a greatly filled week loving the things you have achieved!

    Frugal tasks this week

    Stuart and I picked some beans and gave them to my mum

    Picked some tomatoes before the birds got to them they are still green but will ripen

    Planted some lettuce seedlings

    Picked zucchini corn and cucumber which were used in meals

    Pollinated around 5 pumpkins and one zucchini (I'm getting excited!)

    Collected the rabbit poop and tossed it in the garden for fertiliser

    Sprinkled Epsom salt through all the plants in the garden

    Did lots in the garden.

    Cooked meals from scratch and ate some freezer meals

    Bought an abundance of fresh leafy greens from two different fruit shops for only $15 I came home with lots of bags haha

    Have been intensely decluttering I gave 5 garbage bags of clothes and 1 of toys to my mum to send over seas.

    Made a batch of washing powder.

    Shopped the specials and got some great gift sets from Safeway and Coles all were marked down from half price to 75% off woohoo! My present box is loaded and I still need to put more in there!

    Picked up a really big desk cupboard for only $30 not in immaculate condition but nothing I can't fix myself. It now houses my new tv and all the electricals that you would have in a tv unit.

    Picked up some recycled timber to build a new fence for the rabbits. They are very adventurous

    I think that's about it for this week

    Have a great week next week!

    Love Anne

    1. Yes it's ben great garden weather.

      I saw the tv cabinet on your facebook page. Great for keeping little hands away.

    2. Absolutely! I'm loving the weather...

      And yes saves those little fingers from getting in to mischief hehehe

  9. I love looking at your garden pictures. It's winter here, soggy and wet for the most part, in western Oregon, USA. So, no garden until spring/summer here. I am working hard at using up the frozen, canned, pickled, etc., items from last year's garden, as well as pantry items that have been there for quite a while.

    I have been cooking at home, even when not convenient. We were given a 40 lb. box of bananas and some bread, so I am drying and freezing bananas, as well as eating them.

    1. I'm sure you can't wait for Spring. Our Winters here are mild compared to yours. Still, I always look forward to Spring and planting time.

      What a blessing the bananas are.

  10. I love the towel with snowflakes, but they are all pretty :) Your garden is looking lovely! I am looking forward to the weather warming up here in the States, but since winter just arrived, it will be awhile.

    This past week I:
    *made bread for lunches
    *made cookies for lunches
    *stayed in for date night
    *stocked up on chicken for .99/lb
    *finally stopped buying and drinking soda
    *made a two small gifts using materials on hand

    I'm do you collect your washer water and your shower water?

    1. Well done to you on giving up the soda. Your body will thank you for it.

      We have wide mouthed buckets in the shower. They are like hand washing basins. For the washing machine I bought a 60 or 70 litre big bucket from a hardware store. When the machine is on the final rinse then spin, I angle the hose into the bucket to collect the clean water. This then gets poured into the washing machine when I'm doing the next load. I always do a white / light load first then the dark load. If you do it the other way around you end up saving dark water to wash your whites in . Not good.

    2. Thank you! This is about the third time I've tried! ha!

      That is interesting! Thanks for sharing! I tend to not sort laundry and throw everything in together :)

  11. Hi Wendy, Happy New Year. Love your blog. I was wondering if you might be able to do some posts on cleaning schedules/organization this year? I am a sole parent working full time ( only 2.5 years to clear the mortgage) and also care for my elderly parents and assist with their cleaning, so am often very stretched for time. As a professional cleaner, I am sure you have invaluable knowledge on maximizing results in a short time frame. Any advice you could give would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks, Lisa

    1. I'll make a note and post something soon. I've had a few people ask me how I get my housework done.

  12. Hi Wendy, the towels look great and I bet those rose soaps will smell wonderful! We did the usual things, shopped sales and ate at home. We were lucky to have a gift card to purchase new kitchen cabinet knobs. Have a great weekend, Melissa

    1. Gift cards are great aren't they.

      I didn't scent the soaps as I have skin allergies. I will try it in the future though.

  13. Hi Wendy,

    This week I mooed Truffles, Bread, cup cakes, Apricot jam, Meat pie and pasta salad. Picked from the garden Strawberries, Zucchini, cucumbers and capsicums. I also staked our Tomatoes this week with old socks and planted more veggies seeds to keep us picking.

    I cut up a Christmas pudding that was given to us to freeze and we had two freezer meals this week, what a blessing. Found a blind for the back door in a cupboard so now we can have the back door opened without the flies.
    A neighbour was getting rid of an outdoor setting and we were saving for a new one for this year, so we gladly accepted this one as it's in great condition with the chairs and we don't have to worry about buying a new one for awhile.
    I was invited to see 'Fiddler on the Roof' on Saturday for free so I took my water bottle and snacks and we caught public transport to the theatre.

    Filled the car up when petrol was cheap with the docket. Went thru the school booklist and bought some 2nd hand things and was blessed to receive some free items also.

    Your handtowels look gorgeous, I love them all. Your garden is growing so well, maybe a post this year on gardening.
    Can't wait to see how your Roses soap turns out.


    1. I love reading about your week Maureen.

      I love all the hand towels too. I can't decide which ones I'll keep for myself.

      You've received some wonderful blessings. Great about the outdoor setting. WOW !!!

  14. Hi Wendy

    Why just stop at the you make the wonderful soaps why not include a matching face washer also. I have some material that I am going to sew on a few of my hand towels and face washers this year that are not Christmas related (will do Christmas ones also) but I will have some on hand for birthdays

    What an abundance of produce you have coming on. How wonderful to just pick your own. Unfortunately the heat got to our mini tomatoes and DD5 is not happy. We will plant something else in the mean time.

    This week I have not got a lot done as I have De Christmased the house (had to wait for DP to be off and entertaining DD5) rearranged the lounge room and gave it a thorough clean.

    Had a little rain so put a bucket out to catch some water and filled it halfway

    Collected eggs for a friend who is away and fed the chooks (1 week to go)so love the fresh eggs

    Bought a roast chicken on special at $2 off so had a roast lunch today

    Dried everything in the sun

    Helped DD5 put her lego together (Christmas presents)

    Went to the library 3 days for crafts and book borrowing

    Used up scraps of Christmas paper for doing crafts with DD5

    Sorted through all the school items that DD5 bought home and discovered not much was needed as Santa had bought a few items for her

    Made a lay by for DD5 birthday present (May) and only needs to come out 2 weeks prior to her birthday but they are happy to hold it a little longer.

    Cleaned out the freezer and discovered that there is not much that had to go out

    Used up some ham and froze the rest (won a full ham and there was only 3 of only cost me $6)

    Have a wonderful week


    1. Aly, I'm planning on making towel and soap sets. I only have a couple of face washers decorated. Next time Spotlight has 40% off towels, I'll buy some face washer packs.

      It sounds like you've spent some wonderful time organising around your home. It's good to have a clean without littlies under foot.


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