Saturday 27 July 2019

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 27th July 2019

This week has been a busy one.  I had a cleaning job each day from Monday to Friday.  There's been lots of  baking,  cooking,  menu planning,  budget revising,  thinking of ways to save / earn more money and completing the usual housework tasks.

All the veggie seedlings are still alive and I'm praying it stays that way.  Sometimes too much water can drown baby seedlings.  The silverbeet plants from last season keep providing for us.  We are blessed.

Here's our frugal tasks for the week -

*  I gave Megan a haircut.

*  Baked and sold lots of blueberry and white chocolate muffins to a cleaning client.  She was thrilled to have so many goodies in her freezer for morning teas and for when the grandchildren  come over.

*  Gratefully received lots of bread bags.  These has been de crumbed,  aired out and  put away to use as bathroom bin liners.  I know lots of people are on a plastic free July challenge but I've just prevented these bags from going straight to landfill after one use.

*  Gratefully received a large tub of margarine,  gift bags ( to decorate ),  biscuits and dairy items from a day of card making with my friends.

*  We all topped up our cars with petrol at $1.28 per litre just as it was going up to $1.62 per litre.

*  I've picked up another cleaning job ( starting next week ).

*  Made a big batch of sausage rolls using sausage mince from the freezer bought at $1.99 kg a while ago.  Some sausage rolls were given to Megan,  some were eaten for a lunch and the rest went into the freezer.  I bulked out the sausage mince with dried bread crumbs and a couple of finely grated carrots ( bought a couple of weeks ago on special )

*  Picked silverbeet to use for a couple of dinners.

*  Gratefully received a box of donuts leftover from Jessica's job.  We were able to bless others with donuts too.

*  Received a $20 voucher from The Good Guys store.  I used it to get a hairdryer for free.  I don't need one right now so it will be a backup for when my current one dies.

*  We had two super cheap meals  this week- Last Sunday we all had leftover meals from the freezer.  On Monday I made a potato bake which ended up as the main meal one night and the main side dish to go with sausages the next night .

*  Diluted the dishwashing detergent by 50%.

Blueberry muffins

Sausage rolls

One of the cards I made last Saturday

What meals / snacks do you hide carrots in ?

How did you save money this week ?

Wednesday 24 July 2019

Drying The Washing In Winter

Drying the washing when it's raining and cold outside can be a challenge.  Using the dryer for everything adds huge costs to the power bill.  Here are a few simple ways to get your washing dry fairly quickly and without a dozen clothes horses hanging around.

*  Heavy jumpers and jeans can be hung on coat hangers then hung on the shower door rail  If you have a ducted heating vent in there,  close the door to keep the heat in.

*  Ducted heating vents in the floor are wonderful for drying the washing fairly quickly.  Try to hang the washing on the clothes horse so that there aren't too many gaps on the outside wrungs.  Lay a tea towel or hand towel over the top to create a hot house.  Place the washing directly over the ducted heating vent.  Another alternative  is to wrap an old flannelette sheet around the outside of the clothes horse.

*  Ducted heating vents in bathrooms are very effective.  The bathroom is small compared to the other rooms in a home and the temperature can be higher there.  Make the most of the heat and place a loaded clothes horse in the bath ( out of the way ) or over the ducted heating vent.  I've had towels dry within two hours by placing them over the vent.

*  Frequent washing throughout the week makes it easy to keep on top of the never ending clothes pile.  If you have a family to wash for,  try doing one load a day.  Dealing with one load is better than dealing with three at a time.  This will drastically deduce the urge to throw everything in the dryer.

*  When all else fails and you are desperate for space to hang the washing,  use door frames to hang coat hangers.

*  The obvious way to dry washing is to place a loaded clothes horse in front of a wall heater.  Please be cautious and leave a safe distance.

How do you dry your washing when it's cold and wet ?

Saturday 20 July 2019

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 20th July 2019

This week has seen lots of rain fall in Melbourne.  I'm so glad I dashed outside to plant some veggie seedlings earlier in the week. I haven't had to water them yet.  We've continued to be very mindful of what we use,  buy and cook to help us save money.

I did my first $100 a month grocery shopping on Tuesday.  Many items were crossed off the list before I made the trip to the shops.  Unfortunately butter and cheese took up a huge chunk of the budget.  I'll have to be careful about how we use it.  I have about $26 left for the next 3 1/2 weeks which includes $5 from selling a bottle of Miracle Spray.  Hopefully I can find a few fruit and veg bargains.  I did see that a silverbeet plant in the garden is still producing smallish leaves.  I'll be adding them to a few meals.

Here's what else we got up to -

*  Baked and sold lots of raspberry and white chocolate muffins plus chocolate muffins with extra goodness to a cleaning client.

*  Sold a bottle of Miracle Spray to a friend.

*  Darren emptied a compost bin onto one of our veggie garden beds.  This has topped up the level of the dirt.  We haven't bought  mushroom compost for the veggie garden in over 5 years.

*  Saved more bread crusts and dried them ready to make seasoned bread crumbs when my container gets low.

*  Bulk made salmon patties and froze enough for another 5 meals ( made from 2 tins of salmon ).  I bulked out the meat with mashed potato,  seasoned bread crumbs and finely grated carrots.

*  Wrote another cheap menu plan to help feed us for $100 a month.

*  Planted lettuce, broccoli,  cauliflower and silverbeet seedlings.

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  Cut up a few old socks to use as garden ties.

*  Made mini garlic breads and froze them from a leftover bread stick.

*  Fed the compost bin every few days with kitchen scraps.

*  Jessica did another wardrobe cleanout and gave me a few tops she no longer needed.

*  Saved the washing machine rinse water and shower warm up water to reuse in the washing machine.

*  Made choc / orange biscuits from dough in the freezer.

choc orange biscuits

salmon patties ready to cook

Salmon patties for the freezer

mini garlic breads

Do you have anything growing in your veggie garden at the moment ?

How did you save money this week ?

Wednesday 17 July 2019

3 Ways To Use Bread Crusts

Have you ever wondered what to do with leftover bread crusts ?  Do you throw them out ?  Bread crusts can be used to make many delicious treats with little cost.  Here are three ideas to use bread crust that I personally use in my kitchen -

*  Blitz,  dry and season to make seasoned bread crumbs.  They can be used to coat chicken drumsticks,  salmon patties,  bind ingredients together in hamburger patties,  meatloaves and sausage rolls.  They make a great tasty topping for potato bakes,  tuna mornays and casseroles.  Here's my recipe for Dried seasoned bread crumbs

*  Make a delicious bread pudding in the slow cooker.  Spread the crusts with a jam of choice,  cut into large pieces then place in the slow cooker.  Add the liquid ingredients then cook for three hours.  A very thrifty dessert.  Here's my recipe for Bread Pudding

*  No pastry in the freezer ?  Use flattened out bread crusts instead of pastry in your pie maker.

tearing the crusts ready to blitz

Fine bread crumbs

Drying in the oven

coating salmon patties

Saturday 13 July 2019

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 13th July 2019

This week we made a conscious effort to use up what we have and to make sure we didn't waste a thing in the kitchen.  Next week I'll be doing my first monthly shop with the $100 budget for three people plus our cat.  So far I only have 16 items on the shopping list.  All are ingredients and the cheapest brands available.  I'll be researching cheaper baking recipes especially ones that use less butter ( which is so expensive these days ).

Here's our frugal list -

*  Made 14 bars of coconut oil and olive oil soap.  Most will be used by Darren and I and a few will either be sold or given as presents.  This pays for all of the ingredients.

*  Made pita chips for snacking on.

*  Darren bought a few shirts using gift cards he received through Velocity points ( Midas car services ).  A couple of the shirts were on clearance so the gift cards went further than we thought.

*  Made pumpkin scones using pumpkins bought for 99 cents a kilo.  I've cooked,  drained and frozen the rest of the pumpkin to make more scones later on.

*  Wrote another cheap menu plan and focused on using up bits and pieces in the freezer.

*  Gratefully received more lemons and mandarins from a friend.

*  Cooked up a roast beef in the slow cooker.  The three of us had it for dinner that night.  The leftovers were carefully portioned out for another two meals in gravy and the rest went into a Massaman beef curry.  In total I got 15 portions from the roast beef.

*  Stocked up on choc bits on sale at half price in Coles.  I'll be looking for cheaper biscuit recipes that use less butter.

*  I drove my Dad into the city on Thursday for a doctor's appointment.  Our usual car park has changed it's rates and conditions of entry making it impossible to park there for a couple of hours.  We found a much cheaper option that charges $5 an hour instead of the usual $16 + per hour.

*  This week I only needed to buy milk,  potatoes and carrots.  My local fruit and veg shop had a managers special on brushed potatoes for $2 a 5 kilo bag.  I also purchased a 5 kilo bag of juicing carrots for $5.99 instead of the usual 1 kilo bag for $2.  I guess we are eating more carrots for the next few weeks.  I was quite surprised at the quality of the carrots.  They are just as good as the usual carrots.

*  Jessica bought a roast chicken to help out.  I made a big pot of chunky chicken and veg soup ( 7 portions ).  A container of chicken stock went into the freezer for more soup making later on ( will make 8 portions of soup ).  The rest of the meat was made into a chicken pasta bake and frozen ( 7 portions ).  In total I made the chicken stretch to 22 portions.

*  Froze leftovers of chop suey for 2 people.

*  Topped up our cars with petrol while the price is still reasonable.

*  Turned lights and standby lights off where and when possible.

*  Dried clothes on clothes horses over the vent in the bathroom ( and closed the door )

Do you freeze the leftovers from dinner ?

How did you save money this week ?

Wednesday 10 July 2019

Our Low Budget Menu Plan

Due to a recent cleaning job loss I've taken to writing out super budget friendly menu plans to help keep our grocery costs low.  We are currently living off our stockpile and only spending $100 a month to feed the three of us plus our cat.

We have reasonable amounts of meat in our freezer,  bought at the best possible price and portioned out carefully.  We are not big meat eaters but we do eat meat 5 or 6 nights a week even if it's just soup with little bits of chicken in it.  We DO NOT eat leftover meat in sandwiches the next day or eat dinner leftovers for lunch either.  It's much dearer than an egg on toast,  soup or a crumpet / muffin.

Here is the menu plan we just finished using -

Wed 26th June - Roast lamb in gravy ( already cooked and in freezer ) with roast veg and steamed veg

Thurs 27th June - Chunky chicken and veg soup ( stock with chicken bits from the freezer )

Fri 28th June -   We used some money from our treat fund to eat out before going to the movies ( voucher )

Sat 29th June - Chunky chicken and veg soup with crusty bread

Sun 30th June -  Homemade hamburgers with seasoned wedges.  We didn't have lettuce on hand so we went without.  The wedges were homemade and seasoned with salt,  garlic and rosemary

Mon 1st July -  Silverside ( already cooked and in freezer ) with roast veg and steamed veg

Tues 2nd July -  Lasagne with steamed veg

Wed 3rd July -  Sausages,  mash and steamed veg

Thurs 4th July -   Jessica cooked a gnocchi and chicken dish

Fri 5th July - Lamb chops,  mash and steamed veg

Sat 6th July - Chicken skewers ( on clearance ) with cucumber,  garlic bread and tomato.  We were going out to a party so didn't want to eat too much

Sun 7th July -  Eggs,  bacon,  spinach and mushrooms on toast.


*  The lasagne cost $1.30 per serve.  I used tomatoes from our garden that were cooked and frozen last season..  I get 12 serves from the lasagne and always fill up the plate with veggies.  The leftover portions are frozen for future meals.

*  Roast lamb,  beef and silverside is portioned out to 2 slices each for Jessica and myself and 3 or 4 slices for Darren.

*  1 lamb chop per person and they were bought on clearance for $7.99 kg.  They are put on the menu plan about once a month due to their dearer price.

*  Sausages are portioned to 1 1/2  each for Jessica and I and 3 for Darren.  Sometimes I jazz them up with 1/2 a tin of tomatoes seasoned with Italian herbs.

*  Homemade hamburger patties are 80 grams each.  If tomatoes are too dear I don't buy them to go in the roll.  Tomato sauce is used instead.   We usually include cheese,  cucumber and  lettuce in the roll and Darren sometimes fries an egg to put in his.

Here is June / July's grocery shop.  Milk,  fruit and veg were bought as needed each week.  We were gifted with lemons and mandarins. Because vegetables are so dear,  I've been buying carrots,  cauliflower, frozen beans and corn.

Saturday 6 July 2019

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 6th July 2019

Our week has been a very budget conscious one.  Last week I lost a much needed cleaning job.  I love my cleaning work and it pays quite well.  Unfortunately the work can come and go without much notice.

We are staying positive and being proactive about cutting the budget back to the bare essentials to limit the damage.  I'm hoping to post our current menu plans shortly to give you an idea of what we are eating.

Here's our frugal list for the week    

*  Used downloaded Flybuys offers to get 10 cents a litre off petrol.  We used it a few times to keep our cars topped up just before the price increased by 42 cents per litre.

*  Gratefully received lots of lemons and mandarins from a friend.  This blessing came at a time when really needed.  God is looking after our needs.

*  Sold two bottles of Miracle Spray to my cleaning clients.

*  Saved washing machine water and shower warm up water to pour into the washing machine.  This reduces our washing machine water usage by 50%.

*  Created a cheaper menu plan for two weeks to help feed the three of us for $100 a month.  In the next day or so I'll be writing another cheap menu plan for the next two weeks.

*  Made a pot of soup using chicken stock from the freezer.  This fed the three of us for two dinners and one lunch.

*  Made lemon butter from frozen lemon juice ( last year's supply ) and our chicken's eggs.  I've enjoyed it on my homemade toast for breakfast every morning.

*  Jessica made decorated biscuits using leftover frozen dough from her birthday biscuit cake ( back in May ).

*  Made cranberry hootycreek biscuits from dough in the freezer.  We enjoyed them for morning and afternoon teas.

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  Made two batches of dried seasoned bread crumbs from saved bread crusts.  Salmon patties will be on our menu plan shortly so the bread crumbs will be used then.

*  Made a bottle of room spray for our bathroom using essential oil and cooled boiled water.

*  Used a gift card to buy much needed socks ( on clearance.  Aa surprise at the checkout ).

Jessica's biscuits

Homemade lemon butter

Hamburgers and seasoned wedges for dinner.  

Gifted mandarins

How have you saved money this week ?

Wednesday 3 July 2019

Grocery Blowouts

Do you ever get " I want, I want " in your house ? Do your kids or spouse put an order in  for you to buy a particular grocery item that is out of the ordinary, too expensive or not overly healthy ?  How do you handle the situation ?  Do you automatically write it on the shopping list and just buy it ? 

When the girls were younger they'd ask for Uncle Toby's Sports Plus cereal. This was ( and still is ) a yummy cereal, but I must admit, it cost a lot more than the usual no name Rice Bubbles or Corn Flakes they ate. My trick was to never say yes or no straight up. . I'd always wait to see if it came on sale over the next few weeks. Then I'd look at my grocery slush fund to see if there was enough money to cover the extra cost.

Another way to prevent your grocery bill from blowing out on these unusual requests is to include these treats in their birthday present or Christmas present when possible. For many years I've been putting together Santa sacks for my girls, Darren and I each Christmas.  In the sack was a box of requested cereal ( when the girls were younger )  as well as other yummy treats. The only problem I had was finding room in my pantry for the extra cereal boxes after Christmas.

So, as the requests start coming in,  write a list of items wanted by the family so you'll remember them all for their Christmas stockings. The bonus is, it gives you plenty of time to find things on special. You could use money you've put away for presents, therefore leaving your grocery money just for buying the usual items.

No more grocery blowouts. 

How do you handle grocery requests from the family ?