Saturday 29 July 2017

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 29th July 2017

We are very grateful for the many blessings that come our way.  Sometimes those blessings come to us as tangible items we can use in our everyday life.  Some days the blessings come as a word of encouragement for the way we live.  Daily we look at our bachyard and marvel at God's creative blessings in the form of plants,  fruits,  chickens,  grass and even the rain.  However you live you life,  there are many blessings to be grateful for.

Here's our frugal list for the week -

*  Gratefully received a bag of lemons from a cleaning client.  I'll been juicing them over the next few days.

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  Bought a few lamb specials at Tasman Butchers.  Lamb shanks were $5.99 for a pack of two.  I bought 6 packs and will ration them out as a treat.  I also bought two trays of lamb off cuts.  They were $5 a kilo with almost 2 kilos per tray.  I've cut the excess fat off and frozen the meat for future stews and chunky soups.

*  Turned the heater down to 19 degrees a few times especially when I was doing lots of housework.

*  Saved the washing machine rinse water as usual

*  Cleaning the washing machine with Epsom salts as explained here. Hopefully this will keep my 4 year old washing machine in tip top condition.

*  Darren received three avocados from a friend.  Such a blessing he is very grateful for

*  Bought petrol at $1.10 per litre.  This is a very cheap price for Melbourne at the moment.

*  Made a litre of yoghurt from scratch.

*  Darren bought $2 t shirts reduced in Kmart.

*  Gratefully received some craft stamps and envelopes from a friend.

*  Sold a jar of jam. .

*  Gratefully received some young girls magazines in the mail from a blog  / Facebook reader.   Jessica will be able to use them in her pamper party business.  Thankyou so much Janine xoxo

*  Cooked all meals from scratch and stuck to the menu plan.

*  Used a 20% off discount to buy new ink pads,  stamps and papers to make more cards.  Stay tuned.  I'll b adding more stock to my blog shop shortly.

*  Used blankets,  closed the curtains early and turned a few light off when I could to reduce our power usage.

*  Dried most of the washing on clothes horses and coat hanger in the showers.

It's lemon season

Lamb shank dinner

For the family.

My meat bargains

More lamb bargains

From a Bella Pamper Party last Saturday

Princess getting a blow dry on the heating duct 

It's a cat's life.

  What was on your frugal list this week ?

Thursday 27 July 2017

Salmon Patties

Salmon patties are wonderful to eat all year round.  Served with rice,  mash or salad,  they make a wonderful tasty meal.

1 410 g tin of pink salmon
1 stick of celery finely diced
1 large potato cooked and mashed
1 medium carrot grated
2 eggs
Salt,  pepper,  parsley,  dried onion flakes and garlic granules to taste
1/2 cup of dried seasoned bread crumbs
Juice of 1 lemon

¾ cup of milk
1 cup of plain flour
1 ½ cups of dried seasoned bread crumbs
Olive oil for cooking

 Drain the juices from the salmon and flake it in a large bowl.  Add the celery,  potato,  carrot,  1 egg,  lemon juice, 1/2 cup of bread crumbs and seasonings.  Mix well.  Line up three bowls on the bench.  One with flour,  one with egg and milk mixed together and the last one with the seasoned bread crumbs.

Spoon the salmon mixture into balls using a dessert spoon.  Roll in the flour,  roll in the egg mixture then coat with the bread crumbs.  Once all the patties are done,  cook in a fry pan with some olive oil until browned on each side.  Flatten the patties with a spatula while they cook. Alternatively,  spray the patties with olive oil and cook in the oven for about 40 minutes at 180 degrees.

Makes about 12 - 15 patties which is enough for  5 - 6 people.


*  Patties can be frozen.  I freeze them in meal sizes as well as in bundles of 2 or 4

* Salmon patties are wonderful in a wrap with salad or as a toasted sandwich.

 *  This recipe can be multiplied. I use 4 – 5 tins of salmon at a time and freeze most of the patties for future meals.

 *  Other veggies can be grated and added to the mixture.  Zucchini and pumpkin work well.

Saturday 22 July 2017

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 22nd July 2017

Saving money comes in shapes and forms.  Some tasks save us a small fortune over time while others keep us healthy and away from the doctors ( also saving money ).  No matter how we save money,  it all adds up to quite a few dollars.  Most importantly,  it gives us great joy knowing we are being good stewards with what God has given us.

Here's our frugal list for the week -

*  Received our Flybuys vouchers in the mail.  We hadn't received any for quite a few months and Darren was worried Flybuys had forgotten him ( or we don't spend enough money ). Darren has already sorted through them and worked out which ones we can use and in what order.

*  Made up two bottles of diluted Dynamo laundry liquid.  I'm trialing 1 capful of liquid to 500mls of water.

*  Saved a gift bag to use for men's greeting cards.  Saved a piece of tissue paper to reuse at a later date for a present.

*  Found a bargain in Aldi.  They were clearing out hand pumps of antibacterial hand wash for 49 cents each.  I bought 4 and will put them with presents.

*  Made lots of pita chips for snacks.

*  Bought a long sleeve top in Savers for $5.20

*  Gratefully received a tax refund.

*  Jessica bought lots of nail polishes for her pamper part business.  In the boxes was gold colored cardboard.  She saved it all for me to make or decorate cards.

*  Kept the heating temp a little lower to help offset the dryer usage costs.

*  Wrote a menu plan for the next four weeks.

*  Froze four single serves of leftovers.  I getting quite a stockpile so I've written freezer meals into the new menu plan to make room in my freezer.

*  Made lots of mini quiches using ingredients I had on hand and silverbeet from the garden..  Some will be taken to a function Darren and I are going to on Sunday.  The rest went into the freezer for snacks. 

*  Cooked all meals from scratch.

*  Did the monthly grocery shopping on Tuesday.  I recently increased our grocery budget from $200 to $250 a month.  So far I've only spent just over $100 and put $40 into the meat fund ( waiting on specials )

*  Added a few more greeting cards to my blog shop.  I now have pretty dress cards for sale.

Homemade mini quiches

Silverside and roast veg for the freezer stockpile.

              Dress greeting cards for sale in my blog shop


What was on your frugal list for this week ?

Thursday 20 July 2017

Slashing Your Laundry Costs

If you feel your grocery bill getting out of control,  have a look at what you spend to keep your clothes and home clean.  Product marketing can be very persuasive and before you know it,  your laundry cupboard is full of bottles and wipes.   Why don't you go and have a look in the laundry ?  I'm sure you'll find something you thought would solve all your cleaning / stain / germ problems.  You were tricked weren't you ? 

I've been cleaning homes for almost 20 years.  I've used just about every wipe,  spray, powder and deodoriser under the sun.    A few work quite well but most are just expensive versions of what soap and water will do.

Here are some items your laundry could do WITHOUT -

Fabric softener.  Are our clothes and towels really that hard that we need to soften them ?.  Fabric softener is NOT good to use in the washing machine.  It eventually coats the machine's pipes and hoses leaving a sludge and smell. Microfibre material cannot be washed with fabric softener.  It coats the fibres.  A good drizzle of no name white vinegar in the final rinse will keep your clothes soft. 

Washing sanitiser.  I personally have never used it.   A drizzle of disinfectant in your washing will help to kill germs when sickness invades your home.  Drying your washing in the sun also kills germs.

*  Washing pods. You know,  those little pods of premeasured laundry liquid.  For starters they cost approximately 50 cents per load.  Compare this to home made laundry powder costing 3 cents per load.  That could be a saving of $244 per year based on 10 loads of washing per week.  With a family to keep clean,  10 loads of washing is not out of the ordinary.  Also,  are we so time poor we can't scoop out a little laundry powder into the machine ?

*  Dryer sheets.  I've never used them but I know people who do.  From my understanding they are not good for the dryer.  I worked for a lady who used them.  Her dryer broke down and the repairman said the dryer sheets were the reason..  Another option is to dry your clothes on the line,  on a clothes horse or on hangers in the shower.  Or,  put up with a little static.

Stain remover sprays.  Sure,  they might work but so does Miracle Spray and a light scrub with a toothbrush.  Soaking the soiled item before washing improves the chance of removing the stain.

Full strength laundry liquid.  We are lead to believe we need to use it at full strength to get our clothes clean.  Try diluting it by 1/3 for starters and see if you notice a difference.  If not, dilute it 50 / 50 with water.  You'll still get clean washing with a hint of fragrance.  There have been times when I can smell our neighbour's washing on the line approximately 10 metres away. 


Saturday 15 July 2017

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 15th July 2017

My week has been a varied one.  I love starting a new week because it's like a clean slate.  When Monday comes around,  I mental plan out what I'd like to get done or achieve.  If I have too much to do,  I write out a list for each day.  I seem to get more done when I follow a list.  Here's what I got up to this week -

*  Sold 1 dozen eggs and one jar of jam to a cleaning client.

*  Made a trip to the Dandenong Market and bought 4 bags of pita bread for $3.  This is about 1/2 the price of supermarket pita bread.

*  Made scones for last Sunday's afternoon tea I hosted.  I served them with homemade jam and whipped cream.  The rest of the scones went into the freezer for future occasions or morning teas at home.

*  Bought a few roast beefs for $7.99 kg and mandarins for 69 cents a kilo..

*  Added more stock to my blog shop.  I now have handmade cards for sale with more to come shortly.

*  Gratefully received a few glass jars from my SIL.

*  Made a new type of card using supplies I had on hand.

*  Gratefully received a parcel from Annabel in the post.  It was just wonderful to open up the apple green colored goodies that brightened my day.

*  Picked a bowlful of lemons from our tree.

*  Made a batch of laundry powder.  I then mixed it with the last box of supermarket laundry powder I bought in a bargain hamper.

*  Jessica made more veggie soup for her lunches.  She also made a lemon slice using our lemons.

*  Cooked all meals from scratch.  Darren and I did have afternoon tea out twice this week but we paid cash from our treat fund.

*  Saved a few gift bags and ribbons from presents.

*  Refilled the kitchen detergent bottle and diluted it by 50%.

*  Made chicken stock in the slow cooker from a chicken Jessica bought last Sunday.

*  Fed a few bread crusts and handfuls of grass to the chickens.

*  Saved the washing machine rinse water as per usual.  Dried some clothes on clothes horses.  Dried some on coat hangers in the bathrooms ( ducted heating ) and the rest went into the dryer.  To help offset the dryer costs,  I kept the heater off for a few hours here and there.

Drying the umbrella but Princess had to use it too.

Roast beef dinner.

Chicken stock in the slow cooker

Twist and Pop card for sale in my blog shop.

Inside of the Twist and Pop

Cogs and Gears Z Fold card for sale in my blog shop.

  How did you save time,  money or energy this week ?

Thursday 13 July 2017

Saving Money At Restaurants

Dining out can be a wonderful experience.  For me, I get the night off from cooking and doing the dishes.   A treat for sure.  Unfortunately a lovely meal out can be tarnished when the bill comes.  Here are some tricks to keeping your costs down.

*  Kid's could share an adult meal.  Sometimes it works out cheaper to order an adult meal for two children instead of two children's meals.  Just ask for an extra plate to divide the meal.  An added bonus is the healthier options on offer for main meals.  You know what I'm talking about.  Children's menus are loaded with chip,  nuggets and more chips.

*  Ask for a jug of water with your meal.  Soft drinks and alcohol add so much to the bill total.  Quite often the soft drink on offer is mixed soda water and syrup.  Save your money and drink healthy.

* Look for the " kids eat free " nights.   This might be earlier in the week when restaurants are hoping to entice customers in.

*  Sign up to loyalty cards.  If you are a frequent diner,  see if your restaurant of choice offers these discount cards.  You may as well save a few dollars along the way.

*  Eat a small snack before you dine out.  A couple of dry biscuits and cheese at home will be far cheaper than ordering garlic bread for everyone at the restaurant.

*  Eat out at lunch time and order from the lunch menu.    Quite often lunch menus offer cheaper / smaller meals.  You'll still get the same enjoyment of eating out but saving lots of dollars.

*  Watch out for the added extras when ordering your meals.  Wait staff might ask if you'd like cheesy sauce,  dressings,  flavoured butters or avocado etc,  etc with your meal.  Always ask if it costs extra for these items.

*  Share  dessert if you're still hungry.  Even better,  have your dessert at home.  I'm sure you have a tub of icecream in the freezer just begging to be eaten.

*  Little children generally don't eat much.  Have a think about it.  How many empty kids plates do you see in restaurants ?  Probably zero.  Ask for an extra plate and give them some food off yours.

*  Check the back of your shopping dockets for discount meal coupons.  Just make sure you read the fine print.

*  When dining in a large group,  ask the wait staff if they do separate bills.  There's nothing worse than paying for other people's food.


Saturday 8 July 2017

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 8th July 2017

I'm sure my week disappeared before my eyes.  I've been getting our home ready to host an afternoon tea this Sunday.  While we were tidying up,  we discovered mice in my garden shed - grrrr  !!!  So everything had to be emptied out of my shed and onto the lawn.  Not a task I wanted to do in the middle of Winter,  in the cold and damp.  I took this delightful ( not ) opportunity to declutter items I'd been holding onto thinking I'd use or need.  With sticky nose neighbours peering at us from their second story window,  we spent about 6 hours on Thursday sorting and wiping everything.  Talk about "your life on the lawn ".  Do you remember that tv show ?  That was us but thankfully no camera crew in sight.

Here's my slightly smaller frugal list for the week -

*  Made chicken stock in the slow cooker.  Jessica bought a cooked chicken to make sandwiches for herself.  She gave me the carcass so I made the most of it.  From that I made a pot of chunky chicken and veggie soup.  Some was for a lunch and the rest went into the freezer in single serves.

*  Made four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  Sold one dozen eggs.

*  Made lots of cards using stock I had on hand.

*  Saved the washing machine rinse water for each next load.

*  Made 32 muffins using frozen berries Jessica had bought and abandoned in the freezer.  I added raspberries from our garden last Summer.  I used this recipe.

*  Made another pot of chicken stock in the slow cooker.  This went straight into the freezer for future soup making.

*  Cleaned the dishwasher and filters with bi carb,  vinegar and Miracle Spray.

*  Cleaned the kettle with citric acid.  While I was at it I put bi carb,  vinegar and water from the kettle down the sink to clean the pipes.

*  Darren and I had freezer meals ( leftovers ) for dinner one night.

*  Hand washed the dinner dishes instead of putting the dishwasher on.  Some nights it's just Darren and I home so there's not enough dishes to use the dishwasher.  I don't lie dirty dishes sitting in the dishwasher until there's enough to put a load on.

*  Found an old room spray in our bathroom cupboard.  The fragrance had changed slightly so on the advice of the shop owner from where we bought it,  we diluted it with cooled boiled water.  Now it smells fine and we are using it up.

*  Darren took a carload of unwanted items from my garden shed.  He received two discount stamps for the donation.

The little green teapot at the bottom is my latest addition..

Chunky chicken and veg soup.

Chicken stock in the slow cooker

Wholemeal bread

Fruit and choc muffins

My latest cards

How did you save money this week ?

Thursday 6 July 2017

Decorating On A Budget - A Few Ideas

Decorating your home can be an expensive hobby /task.  Some people pay thousands of dollars for designers to do everything for them.  Those of us living on limited means can find it challenging to decorate without breaking the bank.  Here are a few budget friendly ideas to get you started on a new look.

*  Need a new vase ?  Pasta sauce jars,  tin cans and small glass juice bottles all work so well as vases.  You could jazz them up with a ribbon,  piece of hessian or a strip of old curtaining.  Just tie in a bow or attach with a hot glue gun.

*  Cushion covers can be made from pillow cases.  We all have odd pillow cases in the linen cupboard.  Grab them out, slip over your existing cushions and make adjustments as needed.  You might need to turn it inside out and tack a new seam .  An odd button sewn on could fasten the leftover material in place.

*  Tired on the pictures on the wall ?  Have a look through the photos you have stored on your phone or computer.  Enlarge and print one off. If it's larger than A4,  your local stationary shop might be able to help with large photocopies.

*  Local op shops can provide a wonderful supply of picture frames both big or small.  If you don't like the color of the frame,  give it a light sand then a couple of coats of paint.

*  Painting the walls can be an inexpensive way to freshen up a home and add real value.  Painting a whole house could run into big dollars.  There are a few options here. Check your local hardware  store for tins of mistinted paint at discount prices.  Another option is to paint one room at a time as your budget allows.

Pasta sauce and tomato paste jars as vases

Bottling jar recycled into a tall vase

My baking photographed and framed.

Saturday 1 July 2017

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 1st July 2017

The temperature has certainly dropped here in Melbourne.  Friday was only 12 degrees Celsius but thankfully the sun came out. On Thursday, Darren and I spent the day in the Dandenong Ranges as part of his birthday present.  It was a whole lot colder up there with Sassafras blanketed in a cloud until after lunch.    We had a lovely lunch at Miss Marple's then wandered around the local shops in Sassafras and Olinda.  We were very grateful we packed our scarves,  coats and gloves.

Here's what else we got up to this week -

*  Made pita chips for savoury snacks and nachos.

*  Made pizzas from wholemeal pita breads.  We used bits and pieces from the freezer and fridge.  This is one of our budget friendly versions of takeaway.

*  Saved the washing machine rinse water for each next load.

*  Made another container of dried seasoned bread crumbs.  After making all those salmon patties,  my container was almost empty.  Thankfully I had a container of dried bread crumbs I'd made a few weeks ago.  I just had to add the seasoning and shake.

*  Made a bottle of double strength Miracle Spray.

*  Froze four single serves of leftovers.

*  Picked more lemons from our tree.  I juiced and froze it into ice cube trays.

*  Fed the compost bins with kitchen scraps.

*  Let our chickens out to free range for a while. They had a lovely feed of grass and insects.

*  Dried most of the washing on clothes horses over the ducted heating vents.

*  Used storage containers to store lots of bits and pieces in the fridge.  I'm trying to avoid plastic cling wrap as much as possible.

*  Gave a jar of homemade jam and some lemons from our tree as a hostess gift.

*  Used old school notices as shopping lists and " to do ' lists.

*  Reused lots of plastic bags over and over again around our home.

*  Saved the washing machine water for each next load.

Lunch at Miss Marple's

Out with my love.

Making Miracle Spray
Ham and pineapple pizza

How did you save money this week ?