Saturday 30 September 2017

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 30th September 2017

There's never a dull moment at the Gower Abundant Cottage.  We've started to get the gardens back into shape after a cold Winter.  Darren moved the strawberry patches to make room for our new grape vines ( to be planted shortly ).  I'm starting to see dirt in the veggie patch after much weed pulling.  Lots of cards and crafts were made and sold.  We de-cluttered a little and completed the usual housework tasks. There's no time to tv watching during the day.

Here's our frugal list for the week -

*  Made up a bottle of diluted shower gel to be used for refilling foaming hand wash pumps.

*  Blanched and froze lots of broccoli.

*  Sold two dozen eggs,  a jar of jam,  a bottle of Miracle Spray and a few Christmas coffee cup cards to a cleaning client.

*  Diluted a bottle of Windex.  I'd already diluted it by 50% but it needed a little more diluting.

*  Darren took a couple of bags to Savers and received a couple of discount stamps on our cards.

*  Sold a few new styles of cards and face washers to a friend and blog reader.

*  Used the $20 voucher from the Good Guys to buy a stick blender at a bargain price.  It comes with a bowl and lid so I can process nuts,  veggies and lots of other things.

*  Picked silverbeet to add to the spag bol sauce. I used the new stick blender to process it until it was fine.  This is a wonderful way to prevent family members from picking it out.  I also added linseed meal to the meat.  No one noticed they were eating extra fibre.

*  Dried some washing on the line,  some on clothes horses and only the sheets went in the dryer.

*  Froze two serves of spag bol, 

*  Avoided the shops for the whole week.  For some reason we still had enough milk,  fruit and veg to keep us going.

*  Sold 1 dozen eggs to a friend. 

*  Darren booked a car space in the city by going online.  This is a much cheaper way to park the car and guarantees you get a car space.

*  Gratefully received lots of bread bags which I promptly de - crumbed and lined the bathroom bins with.

*  Fed grass and weeds to the chickens ( as well as their usual feed ).

*  Chopped up lots of broccoli stalks and froze them into portions to use in casseroles. 

The heart of my home.

Pear blossoms on our tree

One of the cards I sold

Now selling in my blog shop.

Cherry blossoms. The hope of fruit to come.

What does your frugal list look like this week ?

Thursday 28 September 2017

Apple Sponge Dessert

This comforting dessert is a great way to use up a few wrinkly apples from the bottom of the fridge.  I prefer to use Granny Smith apples ( cooking apples ) for their tart flavour which is offset by the sugar and cinnamon.

2 - 3 Granny Smith apples
butter for greasing
2 teaspoons of sugar
cinnamon for dusting

! tablespoon of butter
1/4 cup of sugar
1 egg
1 cup of Self Raising flour
1/2 cup of milk  (approximately )

Peel, core and thinly slice the apples

Arrange the apples on the bottom of a greased pie dish.  The apples can be arranged up the sides a little but allow room at the top for the sponge batter.

Sprinkle the apples with cinnamon and 2 teaspoons of sugar.

In a bowl mix the melted butter,  1/4 cup of sugar,  egg,  flour and milk until it forms a smooth,  slightly runny batter.

Pour the batter over the apples making sure they are all covered.

Bake in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 30 - 40 minutes until golden on top.

Run a knife around the edges to loosen. Place a larger dinner plate on top of the pie dish and flip over so the dessert is now on the dinner plate.

Serve with cream or icecream ( or by itself ).

Serves 5 - 6.

The final product

Arranging the apples

Cinnamon and sugar added 

Adding thr sponge batter

Ready to flip

Ready to slice and eat.

Saturday 23 September 2017

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 23rd September 2017

The weather has slightly warmed up here in Melbourne.  I can now start thinking about our Summer veggie garden and pulling out the weeds.  I've had a busy week crafting and with work.  Here's my frugal list for the week -

*  Dug down to the bottom of a lipstick to get every last drop ( smidge ) out.  I've been doing this with every lipstick for the last 3 - 4 years and I estimate it's saved me about $24 each year.  The lipsticks cost about $10 but I think there's another $8 worth down below the tube.  I go through about 3 lipsticks a year.

* Mended two pairs of socks.

*  Received lots of ribbon and lace I can use in card making and other crafts.

*  Bought lots of broccoli from Fresh Value Market for 99 cents a kilo.

*  Received a bag of lemons.  I've already frozen the juice,

*  Lifted the last of my eyeliner up so I can keep using it for the next few weeks.  There's so much below the plastic dispenser. 

*  Made lots of decorated hand towel and face washer sets.  They will be for sale in my blog shop next week.

* Due to me being sick over our wedding anniversary a couple of weeks ago,  Darren and I had a belated  celebration last Saturday.  We went into the city for dinner then went on the Melbourne Star ( giant Ferris wheel ).  Megan gave us a 2 for 1 voucher for Melbourne Star.  We had a lovely evening out.

*  Picked silverbeet from the garden for two meals.

*  Received another $20 voucher from the Good Guys electrical store.

*  Had the heater turned off for three days this week.  Spring weather has finally hit Melbourne and the sun is shining every now and then.

*  Dried the washing on the line and clothes horses.

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  Topped up all our cars with petrol just as the price started going up.

*  Darren received a $40 saving on his car service.  Another discount voucher from Megan.

*  Blessed a local mum in need by shopping from my stockpile.  Another wonderful reason to have a healthy stockpile.  A few of my card making friends also shopped from their stockpiles to help too.

Just before baking

Decorated hand towels

In the garden

Princess at home on top of my card making bag

Darren insisted on buying the Melbourne Star coffee mug
because of the color on the inside

Raspberry plants starting to grow again.

A sneak peek of the latest card I'm working on.

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

Thursday 21 September 2017

25 + Ways To Reuse Iceream Containers

Plastic icecream containers are so useful and handy to use around the home. I find it really hard to throw one out.  Instead,  I find a new way to get the most out of this FREE container.  I've listed 25 ways to use icecream containers.  I've personally used 24 of these ideas around the home.  Can you pick which one I haven't used ?

Feel free to add your own ideas and let's see if we can get to 50 or 75 ideas.  Share this post with your friends and help reduce the amount of containers going to landfill.

1.  As biscuit / baking containers.

2. To store Barbie Shoes.

3.  For storing homemade first aid kits

4.  For freezing food

5.  Travel sickness bucket.

6.  For storing bits and pieces for the home like screws,  curtain brackets,  curtain hooks,  washers from furniture etc.

7.  For storing battery packets and loose batteries.

8.  As drawer dividers for socks and underwears.

9  Lego block containers.

10.  To make large ice blocks for Eskys.

11.  Small round icecream containers make great pencil holders.  Have fun decorating the outside.

12.  Long oblong containers from ice cream shops make wonderful fruit storage in the fridge.

13.  Pet water bowl for outside.

14.  A large one with a handle makes a great peg bucket.  I used the same one for 10+ years.

15.  For storing plastic cutlery neatly.  I have one in the pantry

16  For storing coffee,  sugar,  salt and pepper sachets from accommodation

17.  For storing hair ties,  ribbons,  butterfly clips and headbands.  Years of first hand experience with my girls.

18.  As a planter.  Just add a couple of holes in the bottom.

19  For keeping seedlings hydrated.  When we buy a punnet of seedlings,  Darren puts them in an icecream container with 5cm of water in the bottom.

20.  As a mini rubbish bin in the bathroom.

21.  Tea,  coffee and sugar canisters  Decorate the outside to tie in with your kitchen colors.

22.  For storing bin liner packets.  Those bin liners can be hard to keep tidy when they come in a plastic packet.  An icecream container will keep them in place.

23.  For storing bits of ribbon.

24.  Make up storage to prevent the bathroom cupboards from getting dirty.

25.  To prevent food from being damaged when travelling by car.

Different sizes and colors

Household bits and pieces

Battery storage

How do you use icecream containers around your home,  garden  and garage ?

Saturday 16 September 2017

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 16th September 2017

This week feels like it's been more productive than the last couple of weeks.  I'm now back at work,  made some cards and crafts,  had my card ladies over for a day of card making and did a monthly grocery shop.  Most of the usual housework got done with the help of Darren and i even had a chance to pull a few weeds.  Ahhh, the fresh air.  Here's what else I got up to this week -

*  Sold four dozen eggs.  It looks like 3 of our 4 chicken are now laying again.  During Winter we were down to one chicken laying.

*  Gratefully received lots of card making supplies from a couple of friends.  I've already started using the new supplies to make more cards.

*  Saved the washing machine water for each next load.

* Did my monthly food shopping on Thursday and stuck to the list.  I've started stockpiling for Summer and the holiday season.  Because of the extra buying,  I need to be really careful to stick to the list so I don't over spend my grocery budget of $250 per month.

*  Froze 4 serves of chicken curry.  It was only the three of us home for dinner that night so thee was more than the usual leftovers.  If you're ever after a REALLY budget friendly meal,  chicken curry is certainly cheap to make.

*  Bought 2 trays of sausages marked down by 20%.  I've portioned them into meal sizes and frozen for Spring /Summer bbqs.

*  Recycled a gift bag for a gift  and gave a handmade card for a birthday.

* Fed new Spring grass,  weeds and bread crusts to the chickens.

*  Darren gratefully received three avocados from a friend.

*  Jessica made sugar biscuits for a party she went to.  She also made potato and leek soup to take to Uni for her lunch.

-  Turned lights off around the house.  Some night's Darren and I just had the light from the tv on.
-  Closed the ducted heating vent and doors to the girl's bedrooms when they weren't home.
-  Dried most of the clothes on coat hangers and clothes horses
-  Turned the standby lights off appliances when we finished using them.
-  Put lids on saucepans to reduce gas usage.
-  Closed the curtains when the sun went down ( or just before )
-  Boiled the kettle to make cuppas then used the rest of the water to wash the dishes.
-  Hand washed the dinner dishes when there wasn't enough for the dishwasher.

Flowers Megan bought me two weeks ago.  Still going strong.

Jessica's potato and leek soup.

A new card coming soon to my blog shop.

Christmas coffee up card.

How did you save money this week ?

Thursday 14 September 2017

10 Favourite Savings Tips

I have lots and lots of saving tips that have become my favourites over the years.  If you are looking to save lots of money for very little effort,  here are my top 10 money saving tips.  Many of them were light bulb moments for me.

Freezing biscuit / cookie dough.  I discovered this concept / savings tip on the Cheapskates Club forum quite a few years ago.  I asked if you can freeze dough and was suprised to learn you can.  It was a huge light bulb moment.   Before this I was making and baking the whole batch of dough to find out after a week, half of the biscuits were still uneaten.  It didn't help that some recipes make 60 biscuits.  I now bake a tray of biscuits and freeze the rest of the dough into log sizes.  Not a scrap of dough is wasted and it's handy to have on standby when visitors pop in or I'm asked to bring a plate.

Making Miracle Spray.  Oh my goodness,  how this has changed my life.  Joy from the Cheapskates Club ( and family member ) mentioned making Miracle Spray.  You could say my ears pricked up and I asked for the recipe.  Now I no longer need to buy spray and wipe,  toilet cleaner,  laundry stain remover, carpet stain remover and shower cleaner.  It's better for my health and I'm no longer breathing in toxic cleaning fumes.  I use Miracle Spray at all of my cleaning jobs too.  I've saved a small fortune over the years.

Turning standby lights off.  I know this is probably an obvious one but it makes me more conscious of our power usage and helps us keep our power bills down.

Making Laundry Powder.  Before I met Cath from the Cheapskates Club, I didn't know you could make laundry powder.  I'm from the generation of just buying what's in the supermarket.  Laundry powder is so easy and cheap to make.  It's been wonderful on my skin and great for my purse too.

Saving shower warm up water.  When water restrictions came into force in Melbourne in 2006,  most people started viewing their water usage in a different light.  I couldn't stand seeing good clean water going down the drain.  So I found a couple of plastic hand washing basins and put them in each shower to collect the water.  I use it to water the garden,  to top up the washing machine,  to clean the car, to wash the kitty litter tray and to mop the floors.

Diluting dishwashing liquid,  vinegar,  window cleaner,  shampoo and conditioner,  foaming hand wash etc etc.  When money was really tight back in 2014 I started looking at our consumption habits to save a few dollars.  Just because I buy a product at a certain strength doesn't mean I have to use it that way. Companies want us to consume products quickly to increase their bottom line.  I'm more interested in my bottom line.

Freezing leftovers.  We've always use the 48 hour rule in our fridge.  Leftover must be consumed within 48 hours or they get tossed out to avoid food poisoning.  By portioning out the leftovers when I serve dinner then freezing them,  no food is wasted.  The bonus is I get a stockpile of freezer meals for emergencies or busy days.  I always view freezer meals as a free meal..

Bulk / batch cooking.  This is really a time and money saver.  It takes no longer to cook four meals of spag bol sauce than what it does to cook one.  The savings are in the reduced power usage and having meals in the freezer to avoid takeaway.

Stockpiling.  My favourite subject.  Having a stockpile saves us so much money.  I don't pay full price for many, many groceries.  For example,  tinned soup comes on sale for $1 a tin during Winter I stock up enough to get me through until the following Winter.  I don't want to pay $2 a tin during Summer to put it in a casserole.

Making dry mixes like hot choc drink mix,  gravy powder,  French onion soup mix.  Once upon a time,  I bought packets of this and that.  Now I just make up my own using ingredients I already have.  I know exactly what's in them and I'm not paying retail prices. 

Stockpiling all year round.

Bulk cooking and freezing leftovers

Making laundry powder
Making dried seasoned bread crumbs.

What is your all time favourite savings tip ?

Saturday 9 September 2017

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 9th September 2017

Once again my frugal list is on the small side.  I've spent most of the week in bed or laying on the bed watching tv,  trying to rest and recover from the flu / illness / cold ( or whatever it is I have ).  Thankfully I'm on the mend and almost back to full strength.  Here's my frugal list for the week

*  Made four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.  I didn't have the strength to do it all on my own so I roped Jessica in to help me.  She did a great job.

*  Lined both bathroom bins with recycled bread bags.

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

*  Cleaned the kettle with citric acid.

*  Made a big pot of veggie soup using veggies we already had plus the stalks from an older cauliflower and broccoli.

*  Made up a container of French onion soup mix using a few packets plus ingredients I had on hand.  I use this mix for cooking roast beef in the slow cooker,  sausage casserole and as a seasoning.

*  Refilled the foaming hand wash pumps with diluted shower gel.

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

*  Made the most of the Lincraft 40% off sale and purchased a couple of shapes punches for my card making.  I also bought lots of tissue paper at 40% off for Jessica's pamper party business.  60 cents for 10 sheets is a fantastic price.  I cleared the shelf of pretty girly colors.

*  Darren and I made a trip to DFO Moorabbin on Friday.  There is a Kaisercraft clearance store there and they have 50% off storewide. I picked up some absolute bargains for my card making and a few presents that cost next to nothing.  I think I'll be heading back there in a few months to see if they have any new stock in.

*  Stayed home most of the week due to being unwell.  I made a good saving on petrol usage.

*  Sold a few crafts and card in my blog shop.  I also made a few new items with supplies I had on hand.

A pot of soup for recovery

Jessica's bread

New items for sale in my blog shop

Magnetic ladybug pegs

Magnetic flower pegs

All occasion greeting card / gift card holder

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

Thursday 7 September 2017

10 Items Frugal People Reuse

Being frugal or thrifty is NOT  about counting your money and being stingy.  More than anything it's about being mindful of what you use and reusing it until it cannot be reused any more.  The bonus is in the money saving and lowering our environmental impact.

*  Egg cartons can be reused for growing seedlings,  collecting eggs if you have chickens,  hold beads when the kids make necklaces and a myriad of craft ideas.

*  Empty bottles,  jars and tins.  Jars are great for jam and sauce making or to use as a vase. Bottles can be reused for homemade cordial,  sauce and to refrigerate water.  Tins can be used for baking cakes and as a rustic vase

*  Empty envelopes make great shopping lists,  to do lists or to jot down a note.

*  Birthday / Christmas cards can be made into lovely gift tags.  If the image is to your taste,  frame it in a cheap frame or cut it out to make a handmade greeting card.

*  Gift bags can generally be reused over and over again.  Generally when I receive a gift bag,  it's in perfect condition and too good to throw out. 

*  Icecream containers have so many uses I could write a blog post about them.  Here are a few uses - storage containers for baking,  to save water,  vomit buckets,  craft containers,    Barbie shoe storage and freezer storage.  

*  Shoe boxes.  I find it hard to throw out a good sturdy shoe box.  I use them for storing craft items,  for school projects   storing seed packets,  storing soup / meal packets,  Barbie clothes ( back in the day ) and wrapping paper / greeting cards.

*  Toothbrushes.  I never throw out a toothbrush once it's past it's best before date for teeth brushing.  I reuse them around the home for cleaning around taps,  down plug holes,  dishwasher seals,  to clean the stove top,  in the laundry for stain removal and to use at my cleaning jobs.

*  Old bathroom towels.  We use them as drop sheets,  rags,  to kneel on when weeding,  to mop up spills,  to wrap around items for protection when travelling / moving or storing and to protect bedding ( illness ), 

*  Newspapers.  Although most people now read their news online or watch it on tv,  the occasional local newspaper can make it's way to your letterbox.  Newspapers make great seedling pots.  These can then be directly planted into the ground.  Newspapers can be used in compost bins,  to line bird cages and chicken coops,  to clean windows and as a layer to prevent weeds growing.    

gift tags made from magazines and cards.

Recycled jars for jam making

Recycled bottles for homemade cordial

Pasta sauce jar makes a great vase

When looking at this list,  how frugal are you?

Saturday 2 September 2017

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 2nd September 2017

My frugal list this week is very much on the small side.  I've been unwell since Tuesday afternoon so being frugal has not been a priority. I should be better in a few days.  I think I've caught a cold of sorts with aches,  hot and cold fevers and a sore throat. Thankfully so many frugal tasks are routine in our everyday life.  Here's what I managed to get done ( without thinking about it ) -

*  Made pita chips for snacking.

*  Ate freezer meals and leftovers a couple of nights when I wasn't well.

*  Saved the washing machine water for each next load.

*  Sold more cards and crafts in my blog shop.  I also sold a few wallet cards to family members.

*  Cooked all meals from scratch.

*  Picked the very last of the lemons off the tree for this year.

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

*  Used the dry mop to sweep the bamboo floors.

*  Lined a few household bins with bread bags

*  Closed a few ducted heating vents and doors in rooms not being used during the day.

Plum blossoms.

Made to order for the blog shop.

What was on your frugal list this week ?