Saturday, 24 February 2018

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 24th February 2018

Over the last seven days I've kept myself busy with work,  keeping up to date with the housework as well as cooking some produce from our garden.  My Mum came over on Wednesday to help make engagement invitations and we spent a lovely three hours crafting away.

We had some news that there could be further cuts to Darren's work hours in the next few weeks. So I went back to the drawing board again to make further cuts to our budget. Our budget now consists of paying bills, buying food and petrol and getting a haircut every now and then.  That's it. Presents,,pocket money ( not that it was much ) and chemist have now been cut from the budget.

Thankfully we already had a little money put aside for these categories but now we'll have to stretch it until things improve. Maybe everyone will get handmade soap and jars of jam for presents,  I also have money put aside for wedding related expenses which is a big relief.

Here's my frugal list for the week -

*  Gratefully received a big bag of organic beans.  These have been cut up and frozen for future meals.

*  Stayed away from the shops as much as possible and only bought wedding related items ( money from the wedding fund ).

*  Sold three dozen eggs.

*  Sold two jars of peach jam with an order for more in a couple of weeks.   This is the cleaning client who buys my baking.  She's also buying a couple of my handmade soaps too.  In a few weeks I'll have a catering order for sausage rolls,  mini quiches,  lemon slice and maybe a few other items.  God knows our needs and he's providing opportunities to earn a little money.

*  Picked lots of tomatoes from the garden and cooked and froze them.  That's another 15 cans worth of tomatoes.

*  Fed the compost bins with kitchen scraps.

*  Saved the shower water and poured it into the washing machine.  It's mostly Darren and I home now and we can get by on 3 loads of washing a week.

*  Gratefully received a bag of groceries from a dear friend who wanted to help us.  Thanks again for your kindness M.

*  Cooked up a leg of lamb I'd been hoarding in the freezer.  Darren and I had a roast that night.  Jessica and Eugene ate some when they got home from their engagement photo shoot.  The rest of the meat was portioned into containers and frozen for another 3 meals for Darren and I..  Lamb is still considered a luxury in our home so we'll ration the treat out until next Spring when hopefully it will come on sale again.

*  The Crafty Mums came over last Saturday for a card making day.  We had lots of afternoon tea leftover so I froze what I could.  We also had a swap table and I received a few craft bits and pieces.

*  Made a bottle of Miracle Spray and sold it.

*  Sold a few items in my blog shop.

*  Picked a bunch of white roses from our garden to put on display in the main bathroom.  I used a small glass juice bottle as a vase.

*  Used the dry mop to sweep the bamboo floors instead of vacuuming.

*  Picked raspberries and froze them.  I also picked cucumbers and beans.

*  Wrote a menu plan for the next three weeks.  I concentrated on using items from our freezer to make space.

*  Made a pot of creamed rice using ingredients given to us.

*  Gratefully received three cans of flavoured mineral water as a freebie promotion in the shopping centre.

From the garden

Roses for the bathroom ( at the end of their life )

Freebies from the shopping centre

Making creamed rice for dessert.

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


  1. You have certainly been busy and your produce from the garden looks wonderful.

    1. Thankyou Jean. The garden does keep me busy at this time of the year.

  2. You are so resourceful, Wendy! It's great that you can sell some of your crafts and baking for some extra $. How did you come to sell your baking? We've had a fairly frugal week here, though I wish petrol prices would come down! 1.49perL is not funny:(
    * filled car with E10 fuel for $1.33pL then had to top up at $1.47pL later in week.
    * shared picnic lunch with a friend at beach, I brought homemade salads, bread, fruit and nuts and she paid for the lovely grilled fish we enjoyed.
    * Sewed a skirt as a gift for a friend. Used leftover fabric from skirt trim to make a top for myself.
    * Reserved a newly released book, that I can't wait to read, at local library. To buy it would cost $85!
    * Worked a half-day relief teaching and accepted booking for four more days work soon. They will be welcome $.
    * Thermostat on our hot water system went again (second time in a fortnight) and was fixed, again, under warranty. No cost! (Though I suspect a big cost might be coming!)
    * Happily received some beautiful passionfruits from a dear friend. I gave her a cutting from my garden. Both of us blissfully happy with this exchange!
    * Cleaned out and reorganised both my pantry and freezers. Prioritised what to use up and this kept grocery budget down this week as I did not buy meat or any baking supplies.
    Today, I will be out in the garden, readying it for Autumn planting. It's something I'm really looking forward to. I hope you have a lovely weekend too. Meg:)

    1. Hi Meg. You've had a great week and sound so organised. Yes petrol is so dear and I'm waiting for the ACCC to finally stretch those new powers the government has given them to investigate.

      I have a cleaning client who loves to buy homemade / handmade things. She'd pay a fortune from the supermarket for the fancy jam so she may as well buy from me. I just let people know that I have lots of jam and usually they ask to buy some. I only give jars that have the pop top seal on it as a safe guard and peace of mind.

  3. Wendy have you thought of doing online surveys? You can get voucher for Coles or Woolworths. I do one an can get up to a $50 voucher every two months. My Husband also does them too.

    1. Darren has been busy doing them for a couple of hours at a time. He's working towards a Coles voucher.

    2. They come in handy. I often find more surveys at odd times earlier in the morning or later at night. My husband also seems to get more surveys than I do.

  4. Hi Wendy, have you and Darren ever thought about working in age care? There is a high demand for workers and you can also work in the community.

    1. I think Darren looked into it a while ago. At this point we couldn't afford the fees attached to it

  5. Thank you for your post, and outlook. Sending you light and encouragement. Grace to you.

  6. Congratulations on your daughter's engagement. That is very exciting. The garden fruit and veggies look wonderful. You save so much buy growing it yourself. Great job on the side jobs. We are praying that more work comes your way.

    1. Thankyou Marybeth.

      Yes, growing fruit and veg does save a fair bit and it tastes better.

  7. Hi Wendy! I have been reading your blog for awhile now and continue to learn from you. Personally, I'd be thrilled to receive a jar or two of jam (and maybe some scones) or soap or anything else you make as a gift! You are amazing! Shirley near Seattle USA

    1. You've made my day Shirley. Any time you are in Melbourne, drop in for a cuppa.

  8. So sorry to hear about Darren’s work situation, I hope it improves soon. Wendy I just picked a bucket of tomatoes today from our garden. Could you please share how you prepare them for the freezer?
    Also could I cook some up with onions and herbs and bottle like Tomato Relish?
    If so how long do you think they would keep in the pantry?
    Thanks for your help Wendy and as always your terrific blog,,
    Best wishes

    1. I am not Wendy however the way I prepare tomatoes for the freezer is so simple. Pick tomatoes, wash gently let air dry on a towel or the counter. place on baking sheet in the freezer until frozen. Pop off sheet place in freezer bag or plastic freezer storage. No need to peel or blanch. When ready to use simply run under warm water and skin slips right off and you now can use your beautiful tomatoes. My aunt taught me this. If you like you can save the tomatoes skin in the freezer and blitz later in the blender to add to soup or stew.

    2. Hi Lorraine. I cut up the tomatoes, add a little water and cook them on the stove until it reduces by 1/3. Then I add a few tablespoons of tomato paste to thicken it a little. Once cooled, I weigh it into 410 gram portions in takeaway food containers. Once frozen they are popped out and double wrapped.

      I have tried adding herbs but the flavour seems to get lost once the tomatoes are thawed.

      Thanks for your reply too Patti.

  9. Sorry to hear about Darren’s work hours being cut back but good for you to be proactive and prepared beforehand! So many times people think that preparing and stocking up is something to do only in case of global or national cataclysmic events when in reality, for most people, the benefits will be much more in cases of personal or family events that change our circumstances!
    You’re so smart to have multiple streams of income in place and if you’re like Dave and me, you’re always keeping an eye out for other stream “opportunities”! It’s interesting to me to see how many of our friends think of us when they have materials/supplies that they no longer want (because they “know” that we will be able to make use of them,) as well as when they have something that they need to have made/done (case in point: a friend’s Kitchenaid mixer stopped working- she hired Dave to fix it because she somehow was confident that he would know how!!)
    Our egg sales, quilt making, woodworking, upholstery business streams of income just seem to continue on! Last week we actually took in over $700 in business sales with well over $500 in actual profit!
    We also were able to find bricks for free from someone who was taking down a chimney. They are becoming a nice brick walkway and patio area in our yard for just the time it takes us. We already had a truckload of free sand that we use in the chicken coop and under the bricks!
    A friend gave me 3 big bags of apple peels and trimmings that I chopped up I. The food processor with some stale oatmeal bread and gave to the hens!
    We pay ourselves a commission on everything we sell and that amount we divide in half (after tithing on the income) and put half into savings and half to pay down our credit card. It’s been exciting to see savings balance go up while debt balance go down just from little bits of income here and there!
    I hope your skies will continue to be blue and sunny and that you’ll be inspired and impressed with ideas/ways to provide for yourselves and your daughters!

    1. Thankyou so much for your kind comment Patsy. We don't stockpile for the end of the world but to have peace of mind no matter what happens.

      We too have been blessed beyond measure by kind people who think of us in many ways. A word of encouragement, prayers, as well as practical help is much appreciated. We are blessed that people care.

      I'm always inspired by what you and Dave get up to in your workshop and home. Please feel free to share you blog address so other can be inspired.

  10. Hi Wendy,
    Sorry to hear that you are having such a challenging time at the moment. Your positive attitude is an inspiration. You will be ok. I sincerely hope that Darren's work hours are not decreased. You and your family are in my thoughts. Your garden is producing lots. Well done on the jam sales and the catering work. Take care,Jo

  11. I love to see how well you get on with your hard work and the spirit you show to get by. Most people would just curl up and die. I remember when Hub's would get his lay off notices, I would just cringe.

    1. Gosh, I hope things are better for you these days.

  12. Hi Wendy,
    I am grateful for your positive outlook. I am sorry to hear about Darren's hours. I am praying you you both get more work. Have you thought about having some classes to share your skills? Many people have no clue how to plant a back yard garden. Maybe do a small garden tour. Perhaps with a hand out on what will grow in your area and potting a small plant at the end to take home. Maybe be willing to do consulting over the phone on ? Having a class on raising back yard chickens. I hear of a man teaches back yard chicken raising. He rents them and a little coop to families and if they don't like being chicken keeper's. The chickens are returned and if they like it they they go ahead buy the chickens and coop but it is a fun family project. They pay for the man for his time and experience. It is like they are taking a class. Maybe you could have chicken keeping class. Or bread baking class I did not !earn to bake bread until I was in my forties. The bread would never rise. Then a woman taught me a hands on class. Maybe a canning class. I was terrified to make jam and can tomatoes until I had a hands on person standing with me in the kitchen. How about a yogurt making class? It terrified me until I learned from someone. Maybe a class on your own healthy cleaning products it is cheaper and healthy. Consulting in the town I live in averages about $100 an hour. Oh and soap making. I want to but it scares me. You could teach at women's groups. Maybe cooking classes at church or community groups. Maybe classes in your home.The things you know how to do are becoming lost arts. You know what you love and what brings you joy. I hope this new season brings joy and new streams of income. I only mentioned these things because a women recently asked me to teach there women's group how to make bread.


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