Monday 31 October 2016

Cutting The Electricity Bill.

Lately I've been thinking about the rising cost of electricity for all households. I was alarmed at the cost of our last bill of $251 for the quarter ( including discounts and solar panels ). According to those online comparison websites, we are not high energy users yet it doesn't feel like it's being reflected in our bills. So I'm on a mission to cut our electricity usage and slash our bills.

There's what I'm going to do -

* Not using the clothes dryer until April next year. Even then only for urgent use.
* Get the electric fans out of the shed at the end of November. Evap cooling will only be used when really hot.
* Not using the lights in the bathroom when having a shower unless it's dark. This means getting my girls to have a shower before tea when the sun is still up.
* Limiting use of the tv.
* Reminding everyone to turn standby lights off.
* Turning the outside light on 10 minutes before Darren is due home from work, not when he rings ( he's 1/2 an hour away ).
* Charging my laptop every few days when I'm using it.
* Having tea a little earlier so that we don't have to turn a light on.
* Double use of the oven when possible.
* Getting the girls to go to bed earlier, therefore the lights, tv and laptops will be turned off.
* Doing some online research for more handy tips.
* Making use of our curtains and keeping them closed on hot days. ( when they finally arrive )
* Getting Darren to turn the hot water temp down a little.
*  Using the thermos to store boiled water.

If I think of anything else I'll keep adding to the list.

Will anyone join me in reducing their electricity bill ?

When I get my next bill,  I'll post any changes - good or bad .  I keep my bills from the same time last year, so I'll be able to compare costs.

Saturday 29 October 2016

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 29th October 2016

I've been fairly busy this week making lots of angel decorations to sell in my Etsy shop.  I've also done some more Christmas shopping and lots of cleaning.  Here's what else I got up to

*  Refilled all the spray bottles with Miracle Spray. I keep a spray bottle in the ensuite,  kitchen and laundry.

*  Lifted up the last of my retractable Avon eyeliner.  There's about $2 worth of the eyeliner that sits in the holder that you can't use unless you pull it apart and lift it up.

*  Made a quadruple batch of taco seasoning mix.

*  Refilled all my herb and spice jars using bulk packets.

*  Saved the shower warm up water for the washing machine.  We've had lots of rain here so the pot plants are well watered this week.

*  Made a large lasagne that serves twelve.  Eight serves were frozen for future meals.

*  Made yoghurt using a sachet.

*  Made four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

* Juiced more lemons and froze the juice.  Picked more lemons off the tree and pruned it.

*  Kept the heater off as much as possible.  When the sun was shining I made sure the curtains were wide open to get the free heat.

*  Fed the chooks some silverbeet.  We have so much growing we can't keep up.  I also fed them lots of snails found in the garden.

*  Received a discount on a blanket from a department store.  It was ever so slightly marked ( all the others were badly stained  )  so I asked if I could buy it cheaper.  It was a $16 blanket and I got it for $11.

*  Picked silverbeet for two meals.

*  Received a discount when my engagement ring needed repairing.  It pays to know people in retail

*  Made some lovely Christmas Angel decorations to sell in my Etsy shop.  I used craft items I already had on hand.

*  Cut off the hanging ribbons from a few items of clothing.  The ribbons will be used to decorate
 cards I'll make.

*  Made a spag bol stretch further by adding pureed cauliflower ( I had in the freezer ) and shredded silverbeet.  I froze the extra single serves to eat later.

* Darren picked a bunch of roses from the bush in the chicken run.

From the garden

Juicing lemons
I'll wait a week before juicing the next lot.

Now selling on Etsy

What frugal tasks did you complete this week ?

Wednesday 26 October 2016

Grocery Specials Wednesday 26th October 2016

Here are this week's best grocery specials -


*  Cadbury Sharepack 160g-180g, Mars Medium Funsize 144g-216g or Nestlé Fun Pack 140g-185g
1/2 PRICE Was $4.60, Save $2.30  Now $2.30 each   Great for stocking fillers

*  Tresemmé Shampoo or Conditioner 750mL-900mLBETTER THAN 1/2 PRICE Was $10.50, Save $5.50  Now $5.00 each

*  Kellogg's Nutri-Grain 500g1/2 PRICE Was $6.30, Save $3.15  Now $3.15 each

*  Smith’s Thinly Cut Potato Chips 175g1/2 PRICE Was $3.30, Save $1.65  Now $1.65 each

*  Carr’s Water Crackers 125g1/2 PRICE Was $1.82, Save $0.91  $0.91 each.  Cheaper than no name

* Fountain Squeezy Sauce 500mLBETTER THAN 1/2 PRICE Was $2.39, Save $1.39  Now $1.00 each

*  Gold Choice Canola, Vegetable or Sunflower Oil 4 Litre1/2 PRICE Was $18.00, Save $9.00  Now $9.00 each

*  Sandhurst Kalamata Olives Sliced 300g1/2 PRICE Was $3.40, Save $1.70  Now $1.70 each

 Spam Ham 340g 1/2 PRICE Was $4.90, Save $2.45  Now $2.45 each

*  20% Off $30, $50, $100 iTunes Gift Cards Excludes $20 iTunes Gift Card.

*  1/2 PRICE All Sistema to Go

*  30% OFF All Willow.

*  Pedigree Dog Food 1.2kg1/2 PRICE Was $3.70, Save $1.85 Now $1.85 each

*  Imperial Leather Body Wash 1 Litre1/2 PRICE Was $9.00, Save $4.50  Now $4.50 each.  Add a hand towel / face washer and you have a great present.

*  Lynx Black Shower Gel 400mLBETTER THAN 1/2 PRICE Was $7.79, Save $4.67  Now $3.12 each

*  Lynx Black Bodyspray 100g1/2 PRICE Was $5.99, Save $3.00  Now $2.99 each

*  30% OFF All Simple Skincare

*  Stayfree Ultra Thin Regular Pads with Wings 14 Pack or Carefree Regular Tampons 20 Pack
1/2 PRICE All Carefree or Stayfree Tampons & Pads.Excludes clearance & Every Day items.

Was $5.00, Save $2.50  Now $2.50 each   This is a stockpile / clear the shelf item.
*  Arnott’s Shapes Crackers 160g-190g1/2 PRICE Was $3.00, Save $1.50  Now $1.50 each
*  Rexona Antiperspirant Deodorant 250mL1/2 PRICE Was $6.99, Save $3.50  Now $3.49 each
*  Cadbury 160-180g, Mars 144-216g or Nestle Sharepacks 158-185g - Varieties May Vary by Store  21 packs to choose from.$2.30 each 1/2 Price, Save $2.30  Stock up for Christmas / New Year's
*  Nestle Choc Melts 290g Now $1.92 each1/2 Price, Save $1.93 Great for Christmas baking or all year round treats.  Stock up.
*  Arnott’s Salada 250g Now $1.50 each1/2 Price, Save $1.50
*  CC’s Corn Chips 175g Now $1.60 each1/2 Price, Save $1.60
*  Thins Chips 175g Now $1.60 each 1/2 Price, Save $1.60
*  Fountain Sauce Varieties 2 Litre Now $3.00 each 1/2 Price, Save $3.00
*  Golden Circle Sliced Beetroot 450g or Corn Kernels 410g Now $0.82 each1/2 Price, Save $0.83
*  Four’n Twenty Angus Pies 760g Pk 4  Proudly VIC. Now $4.00 each1/2 Price, Save $4.00
*  The Natural Confectionery Company or Bulla Everyday Multi Packs Pk 6-14 Now $3.00 each1/2 Price, Save $3.15
*  Imported Freshwater Basa Fillets^  .Seafood may not be available in all stores.Thawed for your convenience. Now $5.49 kg1/2 Price, Save $5.50 kg  Always ask for frozen.
*   Oral B Pro Health Toothpaste 145g Now $2.99 each1/2 Price, Save $3.00
*  Nature’s Organics Fruits Shampoo or Conditioner 500ml Now $1.00 each Save $0.90..  Buy lots to make your own foaming hand wash and save a fortune.
*  1/2 Price All Bonds

Monday 24 October 2016

I Now Have An Etsy Shop.

A couple of months ago a group of friends and myself opened up an Etsy shop.  Our shop is called The Crafty Mums Co op and is an online shop to sell our handmade crafts to the general public.

We are a group of mums who get together regularly to make greeting cards,  gift tags and other crafts.  We also do lots of talking,  tea drinking and eating.  In other words,  a fun get together doing the things we love to do.

Please come on over to our shop and have a browse.  Once you click on The Crafty Mums Co op you can scroll through all the lovely handmade items for sale.  The other option is to click on the individual shops listed on the left hand side of our page.  That will take you to the seller you'd like to view.

New stock is being uploaded often so there's always something new to view.  All items are handmade,  unique and made with lots of love.  Some can even be made to order if time allows.

Our greeting cards are beautifully made with quality papers and designed to bring a smile to the receiver.  Check out our Easel cards.  They are show stoppers that stand out from the crowd ( not like run of the mill mass produced cards ).

The craft section will be expanding shortly so keep a look out for lots of gifts to choose from.  At the moment I have decorated hand towels and Christmas decorations for sale that make great presents for teachers,  Kris Kringle,  office parties as well as for friends and family.  I personally have given lots of these items as presents and they are always well received.

Please share our shop details with your friends and family.

The Crafty Mums Co Op shop

The Crafty Mums Co op Facebook page

You can also click on the Etsy ad I have on the right hand side of my blog.

My business card.
Christmas decorations for the tree
All hand towels come with a bonus gift tag.
Easel cards for females

Easel card for men
Gorgeous side stepper card.

Christmas hand towels come in five designs

Cards for car lovers

Summer dance time card.
Ballerina card
These decorations come in sets of four.

Saturday 22 October 2016

This Week's Frugal Tasks 22nd October 2016

I really didn't think I'd have much of a frugal list to share with you this week.  Time gets away from me and being frugal  has become second nature.  I don't feel like I'm doing anything special but our grocery bill,  household bills and bank balance tell me otherwise.  Being grateful for the blessings that come our way also forms part of our frugal lifestyle.  Here's what I got up to this week -

* Refilled and diluted the girls conditioner bottle.

*  Saved the shower warm up water to water our pot plants.

*  Picked silverbeet from the garden for a few meals.  It just keeps growing.

*  Juiced and froze more lemon juice.

*  Gratefully received some jars from family.

*  Gratefully received some groceries from a friend.

*  Gratefully received  card making supplies at the Crafty Mums Co op card making day.

*  Cooked all our meals from scratch. This included chunky chicken and veg soup using a frozen chicken carcass from a catering job back in May ( that job just keeps on giving.  Only 8+ carcasses to go )

*  Froze two single serves of leftovers.

*  Kept the heater off for a couple of days.

*  Avoided using the dryer all week.  The clotheshorses have been given a good work out with all the rain.

*  Saved a few pretty envelopes from my birthday cards.

*  Gave a few presents this week using items I already had on the present shelf and cards I'd made..

*  Gratefully received lots of patterned paper pads from a friend for card making. 

*  Gratefully received a recycled gift bag full of recycled ribbons

*  Sold a  few items in my Etsy store.  This was very exciting because it's my first order.

*  Saved the washing machine water for each next load.

*  Planted the lettuce seedlings I bought from the Masters hardware sale a couple of weeks ago. 

*  Gratefully received a couple of tops from Megan when she was cleaning out her wardrobe.

* Started buying my Summer wardrobe at the op shop and Kmart.  Darren,  Megan and myself get $150 each twice a year to buy our clothes,  coats,  bathers and shoes.  Being on a tight budget means we look for the best deals and only buy what we need.  Jessica now buys her own clothes because she works full time.

*  Saved a couple of envelopes for card making.

*  Got back into the habit of turning off the girl's power points when they are at school and work.

*  Fed the chickens lots of grass and weeds.

*  Sold five dozen eggs to friends.

* Dug up another 4 raspberry plants ( seedlings ) from our garden to give as presents ( if they grow ).

*  Sold a jar of relish to a friend.

Honey soy drumsticks cooking.
Chunky chicken and veg soup.
My Etsy Shop
Selling in my Etsy shop
Hand towels in my Etsy shop

In the garden.
What frugal tasks did you complete this week ?

Monday 17 October 2016

Chop Suey - Aussie Style

 Chop suey was one of the first recipes I learn to make as a newly wed.  It's cheap,  easy and quite good for you..  It's full of flavour and full of veggies.

250 - 300 grams of mince beef
2 cups of frozen beans, corn, peas ( combined )
1 stick celery finely sliced
3 - 4 mushrooms sliced
Broccoli and cauliflower florets cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon curry powder
Salt, pepper and chives / parsley to taste
2 handfuls of cabbage,  spinach or silverbeet finely chopped
1/2 pack 2 min noodles
1/2 packet of chicken noodle soup
Dried onion flakes and garlic granules ( or fresh )
I medium carrot,  peeled and finely sliced 

Cut all veggies and place in microwave veggie steamer and cook in microwave on high for 8 mins. 
While the veggies are cooking, cook the mince in large electric frypan.  
Put the chicken noodle soup into a measuring jug and add 1 cup of boiling water and stir. Add to the meat  
When veggies are cooked, add them to the meat. Add curry powder and seasonings to taste. Stir well. 
Add cabbage / silverbeet / spinach on top of the meat and veggies and place the lid on for 5 mins. Stir everything together and add extra water if needed. 
Add cooked and drained 2 min noodles just before serving. 
Serve with a dash of soy sauce and  rice or mashed potato on the side.  
Serves 4 - 5 people  
*  Yummy as leftovers on toast 
*  Can be made with chicken and bacon as an alternative - known as Chop Chicken 
*  Leftovers can be frozen 
*  You can use any veggies you want and as many as you want 

Saturday 15 October 2016

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 15th October 2016

The rain has finally stopped and I've been able to get outside into the garden.  I've pulled a few weeds,  fed the fruit trees and taken a tour of our garden each day.  Here' what else I got up to this week -

* Gratefully received some glass jars from a friend.

*  Redeemed a Flybys offer of $15 off your next shop at Coles.  So Darren and I went to Coles and picked out the ingredients to make white Christmas and rocky road for Christmas presents.  Darren likes to make this each year for his friends.  Some of the ingredients were 1/2 price.  I purchased two packets of microfibre cloths.  The total of our shop came to $15.24 so we only had to pay 24 cents.  Bargain.

*  Sold two dozen eggs to a friend.

*  Picked and juiced more lemons from our tree.

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  Made pizza from scratch on Tuesday night using up bits and pieces in the fridge.  Very yummy.

*  Darren and I dug up three small raspberry plants.  We've potted them and hope to give them as presents when they grow.  Raspberry plants retail for about $15 each in hardware stores.

*  Bought a couple of pairs of Winter pj bottoms on clearance for $7 in Target.

*  Emptied everyone's water bottles into the watering can outside.

*  Saved the shower warm up water to use on the pot plants.  Saved the washing machine rinse water for each next load.

*  Used the carpet sweeper instead of the vacuum cleaner.

*  Listed a few cards and hand towels in my Etsy shop.

*  Dried the washing on clothes horses and the line outside.

*  Combined multiple errands into one trip in the car.

*  Ripped up a few school notices for scrap paper.

*  Redeemed a supermarket rain check for kitchen detergent that was on sale a few weeks earlier.  It's a new fragrance that smells divine and can be hard to get.  I really don't need any more detergent after clearing a supermarket shelf a couple of years ago on tv,  but I don't know how long this fragrance will be available.  If anyone wants to try it, it's the Morning Fresh brand and the fragrance is Sweet  rhubarb..   

In the garden
Seedlings to plant
Raspberry seedlings we are growing from our garden
Pretty microfibre clothss
A card I'm selling in my Etsy shop
Kitchen detergent that smells divine

What was on your frugal list this week ?

Wednesday 12 October 2016

Grocery Specials Wednesday 12th October 2016

Here are this week's best grocery specials -


*  Bulla Ice Cream Multipacks 6 Pack-14 Pack BETTER THAN 1/2 PRICE Was $6.15, Save $3.15
Now $3.00 each

*   Doritos Corn Chips 150g-170gBETTER THAN 1/2 PRICE Was $3.30, Save $1.80  Now $1.50 each.  Stock up for Christmas treats

*  Mars Maltesers 360g, M&M’s Peanut 440g or Celebrations 300g1/2 PRICE Was $10.00, Save $5.00  Now $5.00 each.  Makes great Christmas presents.

*    Golden Circle Tetra Fruit Drink 1 Litre1/2 PRICE Excludes Pineapple, Tomato & Nectar.

Was $2.15, Save $1.08  $1.07 each.  Great for taking on holidays
*  Maharajah’s Choice Basmati Rice 5kg1/2 PRICE Was $17.50, Save $8.75  Now $8.75 each
*  Gold Choice Canola, Vegetable or Sunflower Oil 4 Litre1/2 PRICE Was $18.00, Save $9.00  Now $9.00 each
*  Playboy Body Spray Deodorant 150mL1/2 PRICE Was $5.80, Save $2.90 Now $2.90 each
*  Pantene Shampoo or Conditioner 900mL1/2 PRICE Was $15.70, Save $7.86  Now $7.84 each
*  Redwin Sorbolene Moisturiser with Vitamin E 1 Litre1/2 PRICE Was $6.25, Save $3.13  $3.12 each
*  Sunsilk Shampoo or Conditioner 700mL1/2 PRICE Was $9.99, Save $5.00  $4.99 each
*  30% OFF All Olay Regenerist & Total Effects
*  1/2 PRICE Oral B Power Brushes & ToothPaste
*  Dynamo Laundry Liquid 1 Litre1/2 PRICE Was $10.00, Save $5.00  Now $5.00 each.  This product dilutes and works really well.
*  Palmolive Dishwashing Liquid 700mL-750mL1/2 PRICE Was $5.49, Save $2.75  Now $2.74 each
*  40% OFF All Mix Socks.
*  40% OFF All BIC Stationery
*  Pantene Shampoo or Conditioner 350mL1/2 PRICE Was $7.89, Save $3.95  Now $3.94 each
*  Lynx Body Spray or Antiperspirant 96-100g  Now $2.99 each 1/2 Price, Save $2.99 1/2 Price All Lynx.
*  Nestle Blocks 118-200g Now $2.25 each 1/2 Price, Save $2.25
*  Mortein Professional Surface Spray DIY 2 Litre  Now $14.99 each 1/2 Price, Save $15.00
*  Sanitarium So Good Almond Milk UHT 1 Litre Now $1.64 each 1/2 Price, Save $1.65
*  Golden Circle Juice 2 Litre Now $1.79 each 1/2 Price, Save $1.80
*  Golden Circle Drink 1 Litre Now $1.00 each1/2 Price, Save $1.05
*  Riviana Basmati Rice 5 kg Now $8.99 each1/2 Price, Save $9.00
*  Continental Cup a Soup 2 Serve 40-75g or Standard Pasta and Sauce 85-115g Now $1.00 each1/2 Price, Save $1.00
*  Sanitarium Weet-Bix Gluten Free 375g Now $2.50 each1/2 Price, Save $2.50.  Buy up big if you use this product.
*  Heinz Seriously Good Whole Egg Mayonnaise or Garlic Aioli 460-470g Now $3.24 each 1/2 Price, Save $3.25
*  Imported Freshwater Basa Fillets Now $5.49 kg 1/2 Price, Save $5.50 kg
*  Mission Mini Wrap Varieties 384g Pk 8  Now $2.39 each 1/2 Price, Save $2.40
*  Tip Top Cafe Raisin Toast or Cafe Style Breakfast Toast 650g  Now $2.95 each1/2 Price, Save $2.95
*  Filled Profiteroles Pk 8 Now  $2.50 each1/2 Price, Save $2.50
*  Dynamo Laundry Liquid 2 Litre Now $7.99 each1/2 Price, Save $8.50.  Dilutes really well.
*   30% off All Brita*.
*  1/2 All Lynx
*  Listerine Freshburst Mouthwash 500ml Now $3.99 each1/2 Price, Save $4.00
*  40% off All Clearasil
*  30% Off All L'Oréal Women's Skincare
*  Streets Golden Gaynetto 440ml Pk 4  4 pack only at Woolworths. Now $3.49 each1/2 Price, Save $3.50

Monday 10 October 2016

Surviving A Kitchen Renovation. Part 1

Planning ahead of time is the key to surviving and staying sane.   The kitchen is the heart of a home so when it gets ripped out,  chaos can arrive.  Here are some ideas and hints that we used to survive our kitchen renovations.

*  Setting up a temporary kitchen.  This can be quite a big task.  For starters,  you'll need to empty your kitchen completely.  I started by packing everything I haven't used in a while.  All these items were boxed up,  labelled and stored under the dining table out of the way.

Then I worked out a menu for the next two weeks.  After that I got out every utensil,  pot and appliance I needed to make those meals.  All these things were stacked neatly on top of the dining table.  I tried to keep things in groups for each meal.  Anything that would be used regularly was put to the front of the dining table.

Here are the items we used often -

Kettle,  toaster,  microwave,  microwave veggie steamer, chopping boards,  sharp knives,  cutlery, tongs,  peeler,  electric fry pan,  medium fry pan,  medium saucepan,  portable electric hot plate,  dinner set ( 4 of each item only ),  serving spoons,  cling wrap,  foil,  plastic bags,  plastic storage containers,  serviettes, glasses and paper towel.  I left out the slow cooker but didn't use it.

*  Planning a menu.  For a couple of months leading up to our kitchen renovations,  I froze every single leftover from our main meal.  No one got a chance to have second helpings.  By the time our kitchen had been ripped out,  I had enough single serves for four nights ( 16 serves ).

When I wrote out our menu,  I spaced out the freezer meals so that we wouldn't be using them up straight away.  I also tried to use those meals on days when we couldn't get into the kitchen area to do anything.  In between those meals I tried to fit in easy cook meals like spag bol,  bbq and salad,   honey mustard chicken,  sliced meat baked potatoes and salad, 

*  Eating healthy.  This was really important for me to be able to still provide good meals for my family.  Darren joked that we could have takeaway for two weeks straight.  Infact,  we had quite a few people tell us this was the way to go.  For starters we can't afford takeaway that often.  Secondly,  I don't like many takeaway options.  Thirdly,  I'd feel sick after a few days.  We always have lots of fresh and frozen veggies on hand.  Some nights the meals looked a little different to the usual but we always had a few veggies on the plate.

*  Going to bed at a decent time.  Some nights this was hard to do but I tried to be in bed by 11 or 11.30pm.  We soon learnt that tradies work to a different clock.  They like a really early start.  One tradie tried to come to our place at 7am only to be told by the kitchen company that was unacceptable..  This is why getting enough sleep is important. You need to be showered,  fed and presentable before the tradies show up.

The finished product was worth it.
Our temporary kitchen
The items we needed
Trying to keep everything in order.

 Stayed tuned for Part 2 coming soon.