Saturday 30 June 2018

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 30th June 2018

Lots of good home cooking has helped to keep our tummies and souls warm this week.  When the temperature drops I'm more inclined to stay at home and potter around.  Here's how I've filled my week at the Gower Abundant Cottage -

*  Gratefully received some bread bags then used them to line our bathroom bins and to wrap food for the freezer,

*  Made a batch of Miracle Spray to sell to a cleaning client.  Made a batch of double strength to use around my home.  I dilute it when filling up the spray bottles.

*  Made a double batch of scones.  Some were used for morning tea at church and the rest went into the freezer for our use.  Very yummy with homemade jam.

*  Fed lots of weeds and some kitchen scraps to the chickens.  I'm sure it brightened their dreary Winter day.

*  Found lots of brand new dvds in their original wrapping at Savers op shop for $2.99 to $4.99 each.  They have been put aside for Christmas stocking stuffers and birthday presents next year.

*  Dried the washing on clothes horses over the ducted heating vents in the bathrooms.  Only the bed sheets went into the dryer for 40 minutes.

*  Roasted a chicken for dinner one night then used the carcass to make chicken stock overnight in the slow cooker  The next day I made a big pot of chunky chicken and veggie soup for dinner.  We had six single serves left over which went into the freezer.

*  Gratefully received a bag of lemons.  Our lemon tree is not looking well this year.  It has lots of gall wasp in it and we'll have to give it a hard prune just before Spring

*  Found a small cane basket in Savers for $2.99.  This will be painted and used for the flowergirl at Jessica and Eugene's wedding.

*  Kept most of the curtains closed during the day to keep the heat in.  Melbourne's temperature has dropped to 11 - 14 degrees Celsius over the last couple of weeks and we are starting to really feel the cold.  Oh well,  it's much better than the scorching heat of Summer.

*  Cooked all meals from scratch and was mindful to use up bits and pieces in the fridge.

*  Fed the compost bin with veggie peelings and tea leaves.

*  Jessica found lots of Winter clothing bargains online at Target.  The clothes will be put away for next year when she does her teaching rounds again.  Jessica also found a couple of dresses and coats at Savers on Sunday and used her student card to get a 20% discount.

*  Hand washed the dishes most nights and only used the dishwasher when really needed.

*  Saved the shower warm up water for the garden.  Saved the washing machine water for each next load.  I know this frugal task appears often in my list but I REALLY do this every week to save lots of water.

Blessed with lemons

Making Miracle Spray

Scones for morning teas.

How did you fill your week ?

.   .

Wednesday 27 June 2018

Paper Doily Bunting

Recently I hosted an afternoon tea for Jessica's 21st birthday.  She wanted all things girly,  pretty and pink.  Balloons and streamers together wouldn't give us the look we were after so I dug into my card making stash.  I have lots of paper doilies in all sorts of sizes.  Suddenly an idea was forming.  Why not make  doily bunting ?

The bunting is very simple to make.  Here's what you need -

Paper doilies of your choice and color
String or twine
Sticky tape on a dispenser

Cut the doilies in half.  I cut 6 - 8 at a time

Roll out the string on a flat surface.

Work out the pattern you'd like to make.  I used one large,  one small,  one large,  one medium as a pattern.

Fold the flat edge of the doily over approximately 4 - 5 mm.

Place the string in the doily fold and use sticky tape to secure the edge.  Larger doilies required 3 pieces of sticky tape.

Make sure you use sticky tape on the same side of each doily.

Hang the bunting and enjoy.

When taking the bunting down,  be extra careful so you can use it again.

COST -  $2 - $3 for approximately 10 metres.


Saturday 23 June 2018

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 23rd June 2018

This week has been a little challenging to get through. I've been battling a severe headache from last Saturday until Friday ( yesterday ).  Thankfully I didn't work on Monday and Tuesday so it was lovely to slow down a bit  The highlight of the week was celebrating Darren's birthday last Sunday with a lovely family dinner.

Here's what else I've been up to -

*  Cleaned and sorted out all the freezers.  I had to defrost one of the freezers because it's about 25+ years old.  I use bowls of boiling water to defrost it so I saved all the water once it cooled and poured it on the garden.  Thankfully I only had to throw out a few bread crusts.

*  Wrote a menu plan for the next four weeks once I could see what needed using in the freezers.  It kinda feels like a ' Use It Up ' challenge.

*  Cooked up a big roast beef  in the slow cooker for Darren's birthday.  Five serves were eaten that night for tea and another six serves were frozen in gravy..

*  Rang our electricity provider to make sure we are receiving the new discount.  While I was on the phone I found out the off peak times are Monday to Friday 11 pm to 7 am and all day Saturday and Sunday.  Although I won't be doing the washing at midnight,  it's  handy to know the times.  I've been vacuuming and mopping the floors on Saturdays so I'm glad I'm saving a little bit there.

*  Found some amazing bargains at Savers op shop.  2 x large cereal containers for $1.99 each ( almost new RRP $10 + each ).  One is now being used under the kitchen sink for bread bags.  2 x veggie spiralers for $2.99 each,  small storage suitcases set of three for $3.99,  picnic plates and a few other things.  Most will be given as presents over the next year or two.  It really is worth popping in to op shops a couple of times a week to snap up new or near new items people no longer want.

*  Refilled the foaming hand wash pumps in the bathrooms and kitchen.  I also made up two big bottles of the diluted shower gel ready to refill the pumps next time.

*  Popped into Spotlight to purchase some material for a few blog shop projects on the go.  While I was there I overheard the store manager talking to staff about setting up a $5 bargain table. You can bet your bottom dollar I hung around until the table was full and picked up a few gifts for next year.  While I was doing this, a staff member recognised me from tv and asked if I was still blogging.  She then informed the store manager about my tv stories and bargain shopping telling him it's how I save a lot of money.

*  Sorted out the presents cupboard and allocated the latest bargains to particular people.  It feels great to have most of my Christmas shopping done and half of next year's done too.

*  Made pizza from scratch for dinner using bits and pieces from the fridge and freezer.  Darren made the dough from scratch too.

*  Used heat packs and blankets to stay warm at night.  Our ducted heating turns off at 9 pm and we have blankets draped over couches and chairs ready to be used.  It's cheaper than turning the heater back on.

*  Saved the shower and drink bottle water for the washing machine and garden.

*  Sewed some pretty hand towels / baby burp towels for my blog shop.  I mostly used materials I already had on hand.  They will be ready for sale in the next week or so.

Storage containers from the op shop

Rosemary growing wild

I LOVE op shopping

Getting veggies ready to roast

How did you save money this week ?

Did you try to complete two frugal tasks a day ?

Wednesday 20 June 2018

Easy Lo Mein

I first saw this dish doing the rounds on Facebook recently.  It comes from a blog ' The Recipe Critic  '.  My first thought was that it looked so easy to make.  My second thought was "  It needs more veggies and I'll make it my own. " Here my version of this tasty dish -

400 grams of spaghetti pasta
2 cups of broccoli florets
1 cup of cauliflower florets
1 large carrot thinly sliced ( Julienne )
300 - 400 grams of steak thinly sliced against the grain
1 tablespoon of olive oil


1/4 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup of soy sauce ( salt reduced if preferred )
2 tablespoons of Hoi Sin sauce
2 teaspoons of sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon of dried ground ginger
1 teaspoon of dried garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon of crushed chilli flakes ( optional )

Cook the pasta in salted water as per instructions.

While the pasta is cooking,  add the vegetables to a steamer insert and place over the top of the pasta saucepan.  Cook until slightly firm.  Alternatively,  steam them in the microwave.

Place oil in a fry pan and cook the beef until  brown.

In a medium bowl,  combine all the sauce ingredients.

Once the pasta is cooked,  drain well and return to the saucepan.

Add the steamed vegetables,  beef and sauce to the pasta and combine well.

Serve in pre warmed pasta / noodle bowls.

Serves 4 - 5 people


*  Beef is quite expensive at the moment.  I used three sizzle steaks which cost $4.50 to serve 3 people ( I halved the recipe for Darren and I ).

*  Drain the pasta really well.  Adding the sauce gives the dish plenty of moisture.

*  If broccoli and cauliflower are not in season,  use beans and zucchini instead.

*  Make sure you have all the vegetables and sauce  prepped before you start cooking.  This dish is reasonably fast to make so make sure you have everything ready to go.

*  I pre warm pasta bowls with a little boiled water in the bottom.  Be careful to drain the water away before serving your dish.

*  If using fresh garlic,  crush it and add to the beef when cooking.

Saturday 16 June 2018

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 16th June 2018

Have you ever wondered how I get so many frugal tasks completed each week ?  I have a little secret to share.  My personal goal is to complete two frugal tasks each day.  Some are big and save us a good amount of money over a year.  Some are so small it hardly seems worth doing.  But every little bit counts.  I'm a list and goal oriented person and two tasks a day is achievable for me.  Here's my list for the week -

*  We had a family outing to the football on Monday.  To save money we carpooled and pitched in for the parking fees.  We also took all our snacks and bottles of water.  We did purchase lunch as a rare treat.

*  Cleaned the inside of kettle with citric acid.

*  Jessica and I found some great bargains in Kmart.  Seasonal clothes and dvds were being reduced.  We did pick up some dvds for birthday and Christmas presents for well under $10.

*  Gratefully received a $5 voucher from Snickers to replace a share bag that had opened chocolates inside.  Unfortunately Snickers wasn't on sale in Coles so I picked up a bag of Picnics and Crunchies for the $5

*  Sold a few hand towels and soaps to a friend.

*  Found a great recipe book for $3.99 and a bag of craft stamps also for $3.99 in Savers op shop.  The recipe book looks new and will become a present.

*  Put a pump on a newish bottle of detergent and diluted it.  The brand in the photo is quite thick so diluting was needed otherwise it just drops into the water and sits there.

*  Reused and washed a couple of snap lock bags.  I try not to use them too often but sometimes a bag can be a space saver in my handbag.

*  Made a big pot of beef,  veg and tomato stew in the slow cooker with discounted beef.  All leftovers were frozen and the pot yielded 8 serves.

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  I cut Megan's hair a couple of weeks ago.  Since then she has given herself a long side fringe.   Megan doesn't trust hairdressers with her hair.  She's only been twice and didn't like the end result.  Over the years I've saved hundreds of dollars by cutting both girl's hair.

*  I only used the clothes dryer for bed sheets this week.  I've been putting a clothes horse over the ducted heating vent in the bathroom and closing the door.  Jeans and jumpers are put on coat hangers then hung from the shower rail.  With the door closed and the heater on,  it's amazing how quickly things dry.

*  Saved the shower warm up water for the washing machine.  Drink bottle water was saved and put on the mango trees.

*  Fed bread crusts to the chickens.  Fed the compost bin with kitchen scraps.

Bread making

Diluted dish washing liquid

Proofing the bread dough over the ducted heating.

My tin stockpile.

Flowers from Jessica's birthday.

What's on your frugal task list this week ?

Do you set yourself frugal goals ?

Wednesday 13 June 2018

5 Ways To Reuse Glass Jars

Do you look at empty pasta sauce jars,  tomato paste jars and jam jars and wonder if you can use them instead of throwing them in the recycling bin ?  They just seem too good to throw out don't they ?  Here are a few ways to reuse them and save a bit of money -

*  Store your much used herbs and spices in them for freshness.  I use lots of dried onion flakes,  parsley,  basil,  oregano,  chives,  rosemary and garlic.  The larger jars would be awesome.

*  Glass jars of all shapes and sizes make wonderful vases.  Just cut the stems to suit the jar height and arrange them into a stylish posy.  Very posh and very elegant.

*  Select glass jars with the pop button lid to store your homemade jam,  relish and lemon butter in.  Add a cute material hat, ribbon  and label to give it a completed look and you have yourself an inexpensive gift to give for any occasion.

*  Glass jars perfect for storing screws,  nuts,  bolts and nails in the garage.  Many people like to nail the lid to the underneath of a shelf.  Then just screw the jar on.

*  Little tea lights look fantastic in glass jars.  Pop the tea light in by itself or add a little sand,  stones,  shells,  glitter or anything inflammable for a themed look.    


Saturday 9 June 2018

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 9th June 2018

This week I took some time to recover from all the preparations for Jessica's 21st birthday party.  Then it was back to work as usual,  cleaning my own home and stockpiling some great bargains.  Here's my frugal list for the week -

*  Served homemade yummies of slices,  scones with my jam,  sandwiches,  mini quiches and sausage rolls at Jessica's high tea birthday party.

*  Made a paper doily bunting for the party using supplies I already had on hand

*  Ate leftovers from the party for dinner that night.

*  Made This And That Pasta Dish using bits and pieces from the fridge.  An almost free meal for three people.

*  Stocked up on tinned soups to use in casseroles.  I now have enough for the next 2 - 3 years.  They are on sale in Coles for $1 a tin until next Tuesday..

*  Dried all the washing on the line.  We've had some great weather in Melbourne this week.  Considering it's Winter,  I feel blessed to have sunshine on my wash days.

*  Took snacks and lunch with me when I was at cleaning jobs.  When I have food in my tummy I can resist the takeaway option.

*  Used the shower warm up water to water our mango plants.

* Fed lots of weeds,  grass and bread to the chickens.

*  Combined all my errands and supermarket visits when I was travelling home from cleaning jobs.

*  Jessica bought plain vanilla cakes from the supermarket and turned them into a beautiful birthday cake for her party.  I think she did a fabulous job.

*  Used containers for all leftovers instead of using cling wrap.

*  Gratefully received lots of muffins leftover from Jessica's work.  I cut them in half and froze them in recycled bread bags.

Jessica's birthday cake

The birthday girl.

Some of the party food.

My family

This week's stockpile item.

A radio interview I taped last month went to air recently.  If you didn't see the link on my Facebook pages,  here it is

How did you save money this week ?

Wednesday 6 June 2018

Buying Budget Friendly Gifts.

Buying gifts for family and friends should be joyful.  When the budget is tight,  it can be a  real challenge..  Here's how I manage to buy lovely gifts without blowing the budget or taking out a loan.

*  Perfumes are at their cheapest around Mother's Day,  Valentine's Day and Christmas / Boxing Day.  Larger chemists quite often offer the cheapest prices.  Stock up on the favourites and store in a cool dark place until the occasion arrives.

*  Aftershave is in abundance and at rock bottom prices around Father's Day.

*  Pool toys and  beach towels are on clearance towards the end of Summer.  Stock up for the following Christmas or kid's birthday parties.

*  Christmas platters,  plates, table runners and bowls are sold at bargain prices straight after Christmas.  Stock up because they make wonderful presents for the following Christmas or any occasion during December.

*  Football merchandise should be bought towards the end of the finals or after the grand final.  If you are not fussy about the brand,  have a look at stocks in department stores.

*  Power tools and general hardware might be on sale for Father's Day or for Spring renovations.

*  Slippers,  coffee mugs,  blankets,  cushions and chocolate are on sale for Mother's Day,  Father's Day and just after.  Blankets are definitely on clearance after Winter.

*  Baking utensils,  patty cases and  cookie cutters come on sale just after Mother's Day,  Easter and Christmas.

*  Eskys,   cooler bags and electric fans will be heavily discounted after Summer.  Supermarkets generally offer fantastic prices on these items.

If you still can't find a gift to fit your budget,  bake some giant cookies ( for the males and teens ) or fill up a pretty jar for the females.  It really is the thought that counts,  not the price tag.

Saturday 2 June 2018

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 2nd June 2018

This week has been a week of stockpiling.  I'm thankful I had a good amount of money put away in the grocery slush fund for bargains.  Stockpiling is a way of never paying full price and ensuring we don't run out of anything.

Here's my frugal list for the week -

*  Made lemon slice and chocolate truffles  for Jessica's 21st birthday party.

*  Gratefully received lots of bread bags.  They were used for wrapping meat,  lining bathroom bins and for scooping up kitty poop.

*  Kept the heater off as much as possible when the Sun was shining.

*  Stockpiled toothpaste at $2 a tube and teabags 200 for $4.99.  I now have enough toothpaste for 2 years and tea for 2 1/2 years.

*  Dried most of the washing on the line.  Some things were finished in the dryer.  Darren is still painting so clothes horses would get in the way.

*  Cooked all meals from scratch except Jessica's birthday dinner.  We went to a local restaurant to celebrate.

*  Fed the compost bin  and worm farm with kitchen scraps.

*  Started using the door snake at the front door to prevent the cold air coming in.

*  Put the Winter doona on our bed.  With the temperature dropping overnight,  we won't be tempted to turn the heater up.

*  Jessica and I were in Kmart just as a staff member was filling up the discount trolleys.  Jessica picked up a stainless steel kettle for $17 and a couple of jumpers for $8.  I picked up a few makeup / toiletry goodies to go in the girl's Christmas stockings.  I also bought clips to seal chip and biscuit packets for 75 cents a pack.  I bought lots for us to use and some will be put in the present cupboard.

*  Saved water in the shower,  washing machine and kitchen sink.

*  Bought lots of butter from NQR for $3.69 for 500g.  I've put a few blocks in the fridge and the rest went into the freezer.  $3.69 is a bargain price considering butter increases in price just about every week and is now selling for $5.10.

Drying the washing for free

Chocolate truffles

Lemon slice

How did you save money this week ?