Wednesday 28 November 2018

Easy Christmas Cards To Make

Making your own Christmas cards can be quite easy and cheap to make.  No need  for expensive card making supplies or card making kits.  A hand made card is generally well received and can show lots of love.

Here's a simple list of supplies needed and a few ideas to get you started -

*  Blank cards.  Kmart sells 25 blank cards and envelopes in packs for $3.  Alternatively your local discount store will sell colored cards - 8 in a pack for about $2 - $3.50
*  Scissors.
*  Glue Stick
*  Grey led pencil
*  Ruler
*  Stickers or stars or other Christmas themes
*  Colored pens
*  Twine,  ribbon,  embroidery threads or colored string.
*  Round glass to trace around
*  Merry Christmas stamp or stickers
*  Bling ( embellishments )
*  Christmas wrapping paper
*  Paper doilies

The Christmas trees on this card were cut out with a shape punch.  Alternatively you could cut out triangles to get the same effect.  The ' Merry Christmas ' at the bottom is a sticker I bought on Boxing Day at 50% off.

The Christmas tree is made from a paper doily folded on different angles.  The embossed background could be substituted by wrapping paper

These simple cards were made with strips of patterned paper. and a stamped message.  Alternatively you could use scraps of wrapping paper and a small gift tag ( always bought on clearance after Christmas )

This card features baubles cut from Christmas wrapping paper.  Thin silver ribbon was glued to the back of the baubles then attached to the back of the red background.  Little bows were attached with a hot glue gun

Do you make your own Christmas cards ?

What is your favourite design to use ?

Saturday 24 November 2018

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 24th November 2018

Rain,  rain and more rain.  That's how our week looked here in Melbourne.  The weather started of in the 30's early in the week and today it's meant to be 16 degrees Celsius.  Summer dress one day,  jeans and jumpers the next.  We do feel very blessed with the amount of rain Melbourne has received.  It's certainly saved me some time I would usually spend watering the veggie garden as well as the new daisy plants I've been nurturing.

Here's how my week looked -

*  Darren activated a Flybuys offer that gave us an extra 6 cents per litre off petrol.  Combined with the 4 cent discount fuel docket and cheaper petrol at the bowser,  it's been a welcome relief to my budget and we've all made the most of the offer.

*  When doing my monthly grocery shop in Coles on Monday,  I found four trays of mince reduced by 15%.  I needed mince so grabbed all four trays and divided it up into 250 gram portions for the freezer.

*  Donated a couple of bags of unwanted items to Savers and received a couple of discount stamps on my card.

*  Saved water in the washing machine,  shower and kitchen to reuse where possible.

*  Thinned out the lettuce seedlings,   I planted them a few weeks ago but didn't know how many seeds fell into the soil.  Thankfully most of them took and we'll have lettuce by the abundance in about 4 weeks.  Within an hour of thinning the seedlings,  the heavens opened up and rain fell for the next few days.

*  Bought a few pairs of track pants at Savers to wear to my cleaning jobs.  I used a 15% off discount stamp to get them cheaper.

*  Gratefully received some mangoes and craft papers from a friend.  The mangoes
will be cut up to freeze for smoothies.

*  Gratefully received muffins leftover from Jessica's work.  We froze some and also blessed others with the yumminess.

*  Purchased chia seeds,  oat bran,  bay leaves,  parsley,  chives,  sunflower seeds and walnuts from Hindustan Imports.  Their prices are much cheaper than supermarkets.

*  Picked lettuce,  our first strawberry of the season and silverbeet from our garden.

*  Fed weeds,  grass and kitchen scraps to the chickens.

*  Gratefully received extra cleaning hours at two cleaning jobs.

First strawberry of the season

Saving water from the washing machine

Lettuce seedlings

How did you save money this week ?

Have you received rain this week ?

Feel free to join my Facebook page called Aussie Bargain ShoppersMembers love to share their latest bargain finds or sales they see advertised.  Click on the name above,  answer the three questions on the page ( so I know you are not a robot ) and we'll add you to the group.

Wednesday 21 November 2018

Charity Giving This Christmas

Here is a timely post I wrote on this blog two years ago and have shared with the Cheapskates Club for the last 5 - 6 years.  I hope you are inspired to help others have a great Christmas.

Many charities find it very hard to meet the needs of struggling people across the globe. Government funding can be scarce and many charities rely on the goodwill on companies and the everyday person like you and I.  Please take the time to read this post and help where you feel you can.

It's just over seven weeks to Christmas YAY !!! I love Christmas because it's the time of the year we celebrate the birth of Jesus - the greatest gift ever given. I also love to give to others especially those in need.

As you start to think about Christmas presents and food for your own celebrations, please take the time to plan how you'll help others. Here are some ideas that won't blow out your family budget -

* Clean out your pantry and donate excess tinned and dried foods to charities, churches and schools that are collecting.

* Each time you do your grocery shop add a couple of tins of spaghetti, baked beans, tinned fruit and vegetables. You could do this every time you are tempted buy a bottle of soft drink or a packet of chips as a part of your usual shop.

* Next time you feel like takeaway, put the money towards buying food for charity.

* Start looking for specials on boxed cereal, porridge, tinned hams and toiletries to donate.

*  Get together with a few friends,  pick a charity and plan to bless those in need.

*  Feel like a cuppa at the shops ?  Instead,  use your coffee money to buy a jar of pasta sauce and a couple of packets of pasta.

*  Buy a couple of toys for charity when you are Christmas shopping for your own family.  Charities are in real need of presents for children over the age of 10.  A tote bag,  skate board,  basket ball or Nerf gun make fabulous presents that won't break the family budget.

*  Ask your children to buy a present from their pocket money.  This is a great opportunity to teach them about budgeting and giving to others. 

With a little bit of planning ahead of time you'll be able to bless many in need.

Who's up for the challenge to start now ?
Have you already put items aside for charity ?

Saturday 17 November 2018

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 17th November 2018

Since last Saturday's post I've made three trips into the city to see my Dad in hospital.  He's now home and recovering from two eye surgeries.  He's very grateful for the speedy medical attention and that Australia's leading eye surgeon ( in this particular field ) was able to operate on him.

I've managed to keep on top of the washing and housework with Darren's help,  put up the Christmas tree and other decorations,  weed the garden,  complete all my cleaning work,  wrap the last of the Christmas presents and do some shopping for Christmas stockings.

Here's my frugal tasks list for the last two weeks -

*  Cleaned the dishwasher with bi carb and vinegar.  I ran it on the long,  hot cycle to clean it and this time I did it on the weekend when the electricity is cheaper.

*  Fed the compost bin every couple of days with tea bags,  tea leaves and general kitchen scraps..

*  Made a batch of pita chips for snacking.

*  Dried almost all the washing on the line and clothes horses.  We did have one day of humid weather so I dried Darren's work uniform and other dark clothes in the dryer.  If it takes too long for dark clothes to dry naturally they start to smell.

*  Picked beautiful pink roses from the garden.  Their fragrance filled the kitchen.

*  Cleaned the kettle with citric acid.

*  Recycled a few hand towels that were looking a bit old.  They were placed in the laundry for mopping up messes.  Then the laundry towels were put in my cleaning box to take to cleaning jobs.  By the time they are too old for cleaning they are ready for the bin.

*  Took advantage of the Spotlight sale and bought glitter card stock at 30% off.  I even found a cheaper brand that works just as well and worked out to about $1.70 per sheet.  This will be used for card making.

*  Bought a few baby items at the Savers 50% off sale.

*  Took advantage of cheaper electricity on the weekends to charge my lap top,  mobile phone and an electric toothbrush.

*  Made up two bottles of diluted Dynamo laundry liquid.  I dilute it one part Dynamo to 5 parts water.

*  Sold one dozen eggs.

*  Booked a parking bay in the city at a cheaper rate online.  If you are in Australia,  download the Wilson Parking app to get cheaper prices.

*  I made fridge magnets from the Coles Little Shop collectables.  Some are to sell at a craft stall and the rest are for both the girls and myself to use.

*  Made four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  Took water bottles and snacks to all my cleaning jobs.

*  Saved the washing machine water and shower water to reuse on the garden.

My latest fridge magnets

This year's Christmas tree colors

My Nut Cracker collection

Decorations from the op shop.

Roses from our garden.

A rose from my Dad's garden.

Princess playing under the apricot tree.

The Crafty Mums Co  Op ( my card making group ) is holding a Craft Christmas sale on Sunday 18th November 2019  ( tomorrow ).  11am - 3pm at 75 Old Orchard Drive Wantirna South Victoria.   We have lots of fabulous handmade crafts for sale.  Please come along and support some local mums.

What was on your frugal list this week ?

Wednesday 14 November 2018

Pack Holiday Savings In Your Suitcase

Holidays are a fabulous way to unwind,  relax and have a change of scenery.  Darren and I have always made it a priority to have a least one holiday each year.  Sometimes it's just a night or two away and other holidays have been as long as four weeks.  We live frugally,  save all year and get the best deal we possibly can by doing lots of research.

Booking a holiday is just the start of the spending.  Transfers,  activities,  spending money and  souvenirs add to the cost of having a good time.  Then there is the eating.  We all have to eat - right ?  How many people factor in the cost of eating everyday ?  Sure they say they'll eat out every night but that can be unrealistic for budget conscience people.

Depending on where we are holidaying we try to bring as much food as we can to keep  our food bill right down.  Here are some examples of what I pack -


*  Tea bags
*  Coffee sticks ( when Darren was a coffee drinker )
*  Biscuits - a couple of varieties
*  Tinned tuna or salmon for sandwiches or salads
*  Sugar sticks or a small container of sugar
*  Single serves of Vegemite,  peanut butter,  jam,  honey
*  Packet of jelly crystals
*  Custard powder,  milk powder and sugar in a snap lock bag to make custard
*  Seasonings for a variety of main meals each in a labelled snap lock bag.  For example,  all the chop suey seasonings are portioned into one snap lock bag.  All I need to do is cook the meat and veg,  then add the entire contents of the snap lock bag.  Tastes just like what I cook at home.
*  Muesli bars


We take all of the above listed items plus these  -

*  Fruit and veg from our fridge - Whatever needs using.
*  Cheese,  grated and block
*  Potatoes
*  Cereal ( wheat biscuits or porridge )
*  Pasta,  tinned tomatoes and seasonings to make spag bol
*  Spag bol meat sauce from the freezer
*  Tinned fruit
*  Milk
*  Tinned spaghetti and baked beans
*  Tinned chunky soup or homemade from the freezer
*  Homemade meat pie from the freezer.
*  Chips and chocolate ( always bought on sale )
*  Thermos for tea and coffee drinking


*  Take packets of biscuits in your backpack on the plane.  If you are worried about them crushing,  put them in a container.  I use the Tupperware collapsible containers.  When we've eaten the biscuits,  I collapse the containers to save on room.

*  Take some containers as well as foil,  cling wrap,  bread bags and snap lock bags wherever you go.  It saves on wastage or spoilage of food..  Also great for taking snacks on outings instead of buying.

*  I always menu plan before we go away.  Then I pack the food accordingly.  We always allow for a couple of lunches out and one dinner out especially when we travelled with our girls.  It as too expensive to eat many dinners out so we always looked forward to the treat.

*  Write a shopping list for your holiday destination before you arrive.  Then when you've unpacked,  duck up to the shops with your list in hand.  This avoids buying unnecessary food with the family in tow.

*  Pack at least one water bottle each and make sure you fill them up each night ready for the next day..

*  Pack at least one insulated bag and a couple of green bags to buy your groceries.

How do you save on holiday eating ?

Saturday 10 November 2018

The Ups And Downs Of Life

Our week has been crazy busy.  Infact,  the last few weeks have flown by with barely a chance to rest.  Due to this I am unable to post this week's frugal tasks list.  I've been writing my frugal doings down as I go but haven't had the time to write it in a post.

Yesterday my Dad had major eye surgery.  The hospital is in the city about 45 minutes away.  My Mum hasn't been well all year and due to this illness hasn't been able to drive.  She's only just got back on the road but unable to drive long distances.  The family are all pitching in to take Mum each day to see Dad.  We are hoping to have him home mid next week.

Unfortunately Jessica's wedding has been cancelled.  Circumstances beyond ours and Jessica's control changed and it just couldn't happen any more.  We've gone through some tough days together with lots of hugs and God keeping us strong..  Jessica is ok and has kept herself busy with Uni exams.

I would like to ask that no comments about the wedding be posted on Facebook.  

Darren has been super busy finishing up his Bible College studies for the year.  He has an exam coming up shortly.  He's also been organising the community day our church holds on the last Saturday of November.  Yesterday Darren and I were at the church packing 200 hampers with a team of helpers.

Due to all of this  I've plunged myself into Christmas preparations.  I've put out a few Christmas decorations to cheer us all up.  I know it's early but we needed something to brighten our home. The Christmas tree will go up either today or tomorrow.

I finished the Christmas shopping this week except for a few last minute stocking stuffers ( chips and lollies ).  Last night I was up late wrapping and labelling all the presents.  I've made about 15 Christmas cards and will finish making and writing this next week.

Next week's frugal task list should be twice as long ( I hope ).

If you have been busy saving money this week I'd love to hear all about it.

Wednesday 7 November 2018

Planning Ahead For The Christmas Season

Christmas should be a time of fun,  laughter,  togetherness,  relaxation ( to a point ),  good food and  celebrating of the birth of Jesus.  Unfortunately it's easy to feel overwhelmed with all the presents to purchase,  food to prepare and parties to attend in the lead up.

Making November your planning and doing month will give you peace of mind and a chance to put your feet up while others are running around in December.

Here's a list of  tasks to complete in November while you have the free time.

*  If you haven't already done so,  write out your Christmas list and budget for each person.

*  Check your present cupboard to see if you have any presents put aside.  Allocate the presents to your list.

*  If you are planning on a hand made Christmas,  make a list of gifts to make and start making.  Bath bombs,  shortbreads,  tote bags,  aprons ( bbq and kitchen ),  hanging hand towels,  knitted dish cloths and soaps are all fairly easy to make.  If you are going to make soap,  use the hot process so the soaps set in a couple of days, ready to wrap and give.

*  Check your wrapping box.  Do you need sticky tape,  tags,  paper,  card or ribbon ?

*  Write a few Christmas cards each day.  Send overseas cards by the end of November.

*  Make and freeze biscuit / cookie dough ready to bake last minute presents.  The dough is great to have on standby for ' take a plate ' functions.

*  Build up your stockpile of freezer meals or single portions in readiness for those crazy December days.

*  Plan your Christmas Day / Eve meals.  Start buying ingredients when you see them on sale ( especially lollies and chocolates ).

Menu plan to the best of your ability for December allowing for functions on the calendar.  This will help to put your mind at ease.  Remember,  a menu plan is not set in stone.  Swap meals around when things pop up.

*  Fill in your calendar when invitations arrive.  The rule in our house is - " If it's not on the calendar,  it's not happening ".

*  Pull out the Christmas tree and decorations.  Inspect for damage and plan to buy or replace before mid December.  In recent years,  retailers get rid of their Christmas stock well before the big day,.  If you are looking for decos on Christmas Eve,  you might be disappointed.

*  Most importantly,  start present shopping.  The quicker you get it done,  the more time you'll have to relax.

Get supplies ready

Check your decorations

Wrap as you buy

Stockpile meals

Do you use November to plan for Christmas ?

How do you keep the calm in your home ?

Saturday 3 November 2018

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 3rd November 2018

This week Jessica and I made a trip to Chadstone shopping centre to have a look around.  I say that but Jessica was the one keen to do the shopping.  I was the one just wanting to look.  Chadstone is a beautiful shopping centre but it's not my cup of tea.  There are far too many high end stores with overpriced merchandise.

The funny thing is, many years ago I worked there for two years until just before Jessica was born.  I loved Chadstone then,  now my tastes ( and budget ) have changed.  This week my heart was steering me in the direction of Kmart,  The Reject Shop,  Target and Daiso. My kinda stores for my budget.

Here's my frugal list for this week

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.  I used recycled bread bags to store them in the freezer.

*  Refilled the dishwashing liquid bottle and diluted it by 1/3.

*  Refilled all my herb and spice jars with bulk packets I purchased from Hindustan Imports in Dandenong.  By doing this I save a small fortune each year.  I also made a list of what I'm running low on so when I'm near the store next,  I can buy the items

*  Gratefully received a few department store gift bags from a friend.  This weekend I'll be redecorating them so they can be reused.  I think it's been a few years since I bought wrapping paper for birthday presents.

*  Gratefully received lots of muffins leftover from Jessica's work.  We had so many that I took some to a cleaning client's home for them to enjoy too.

*  Picked silverbeet,  rosemary and a couple of bunches of roses to take to Megan's place when we went over for dinner.  She really enjoyed the flowers which I arranged in a couple of jam jars.

*  Baked and sold lots of raspberry and white chocolate muffins to a long time cleaning client.  She's also put in an order for mini quiches and chocolate muffins for next time.

*  Jessica did another declutter of her bedroom.  I was able to take quite a few items to Savers and received a discount stamp.  With that stamp I was able to purchase Christmas decorations and baby clothes for Megan at 15% off.

*  Saved the shower warm up water to pour into the washing machine.  Saved water from our drink bottles into a bucket in the kitchen.  This was used to soak saucepans and rinse out the sink.

*  Jessica and I ate from the freezer ( leftovers ) for dinner  when Darren was out at night.

*  Picked a bunch of roses for Jessica's bedside table.

*  Replenished my dishwashing stockpile with bottles on a half price sale in Coles.

*  Picked lettuce from our garden to make a salad for dinner.  I also picked silverbeet for three meals.

Garden goodies for Megan

Iceberg roses with a hint of pink.

Bargain present buy. $3 a plate

Plate teamed with a candle from Spotlight.

Lightly cooking the silverbeet.

A couple of weeks ago I launched a new Facebook page called Aussie Bargain Shoppers.  This is a page where people can share any bargains they find or sales they see advertised.  If you'd like to join this group,  please pop on over,  answer the three question on the page ( just so I know you are truly a bargain shopper and not a robot ) and we'll approve you for the group.  Here's the link Aussie Bargain Shoppers

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