Saturday 31 August 2019

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 31st August 2019

I don't have a lot of frugal tasks to share this week.  Luka ( bless his little cotton socks ) decided to share his cough and cold with me.  I can't really blame him.  He's just so irresistible that I can't help but kiss him all over.  Right now as I type he's sitting on my lap watching what I'm doing and trying to type something for you all.  Maybe he'll be a blog writer one day like his Nana.

Here's my frugal list -

*  Picked silverbeet from our garden as our green vegetable for a few meals.

*  Picked a bunch of rosemary from the garden to dry.  The last bunch was blitzed in the coffee grinder to make rosemary powder.  I'm hoping the powder will stick better when roasting vegetables.

*  Made a couple of jars of lemon butter to have on my toast each morning. The lemons were gifted and the eggs came from our chickens.   I gave a jar to Megan.  I think she enjoys it just as it is on a spoon.

*  Mended a pair of trousers for Megan and a bath mat that was falling apart at the seam.

*  Saved the shower warm up water and washing machine water to reuse.  We also have a 4 litre icecream container on the kitchen drainer to empty our water bottles into.  Darren uses this to water a few pot plants.

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

*  Pulled my eyeliner apart and pulled up the rest of the eyeliner from it's holder to get another 3 - 4 weeks worth of product.

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  Sold 2 dozen eggs.

Choc chip biscuits

Lemon butter

How did you save money this week ?

Wednesday 28 August 2019

Slow Cooker Chop Casserole

This is a great yet simple recipe for when lamb chops come on sale in Spring.

1 lamb chop per person
1 tin of crushed / diced tomatoes
1 tin of boiling water
4 medium potatoes,  peeled and cut into large pieces
2 cups of frozen / fresh beans
1 large carrot peeled and sliced
1 stick of celery finely diced
1/2 packet of french onion soup mix
1 teaspoon of curry powder
salt, pepper and other seasonings to taste.

Thickening ingredients -

2 tablespoons of corn flour and a little water 

Turn the slow cooker on first.
Place the chops in the bottom of a greased slow cooker. 
Add all other ingredients and stir the top slightly. Add more water if needed until everything is just covered with liquid. 
Cook on high for 6 - 10 hours. 
Thicken with a little corn flour and water mixed together in a cup. 
Serve with mash.

Notes -

Any other vegetables can be added or deleted depending on your taste and budget.

You could use Italian seasonings  of basil and oregano if preferred

Can be frozen.

Saturday 24 August 2019

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 24th August 2019

It's been a busy week since last week's frugal tasks post.  Darren and I had a min trip into the city to see Hugh Jackman in concert ( he was awesome ).  We stayed overnight in Melbourne and enjoyed a trip to the Vic Market.  This was booked and paid for early this year before we trimmed our budget.  Holidays are pretty much our only treat and are hard saved for,  well earned and enjoyed.

During the week I've been taxi for Jessica to get to and from work while she was without a car.  I'm pleased to say she bought a car yesterday and is enjoying her freedom again ( so am I ).  Darren's bible college moved into the city recently so he needed to be dropped off and picked up from the train station.  I've had 4 days of cleaning work and looked after Luka a few times.  There were days when I was on the go for 10+ hours with no time to rest.

So after all of that,  I'm looking forward to a slightly calmer and slower weekend.  Here's what I managed to squeeze in when I had a moment to spare -

*  Used up every last drop of the dishwashing liquid bottle by adding a little water,  shaking it then turning it upside down overnight.

*  Made 1 kilo of yoghurt from scratch by using a couple of tablespoons of natural yoghurt as a starter ( from the freezer ).

*  Made chicken stock in the slow cooker using the carcass from a chicken Jessica bought.

*  Made up two bottles of diluted Dynamo laundry liquid.  The ratio is 1 part Dynamo to 4 or 5 parts water.

*  Made 4 litres of double strength Miracle Spray.

*  Bought 1 kilo of carrots for $1,  broccoli heads $1 each and cauliflower for $2 ( quite large ) from the Vic Market last weekend.

*  Had my flat tyre repaired for free.

*  This week's cheap meals were chunky chicken and veg soup for two nights and a chop casserole that used two chops but gave us 6 serves.  The recipe is coming soon.

*  Dried a couple of loads of  washing on the line just before a cold front came through Melbourne last Sunday.  Throughout the week the only washing that went into the dryer was work uniforms that were needed the next day.

*  Did the monthly grocery shopping and only spent $67 on bare essentials.  The remaining $33 will be used to buy milk,  fruit and veg for the next three weeks.

How did you save money this week ?

Wednesday 21 August 2019

Permanent Markers Save Money

Permanent markers have many uses around the home,  school and office.  Have you thought about their money saving ways ?  Here are a few ways I use them around my home -

*  When leftovers are ready to be frozen  I label the containers with a length of masking tape and use a permanent marker to write the name of the meal,  date and how many serves.  This is  a great way to rotate stock in the freezer to avoid freezer burn or guessing what the mystery package is.

*  I've had a few items of black clothing splashed with a fine spray of bleach.  A permanent marker is fabulous for coloring in the little  bleach spots.

*  The outer layer of shoes can get damaged showing the underlying layer.  I use  a  permanent marker to color in the damage.  No need to buy another pair of shoes.

*  Scruff marks on black hand bags can be colored in with a permanent marker.  Just buff off any excess ink to avoid damaging your clothes and other surfaces.


Saturday 17 August 2019

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 17th August 2019

It's been a shorter week for me this week.  I arrived back from my card making weekend late Monday night.  We had a fantastic time away and made some great cards.  The weather was glorious with lots of sun to warm our souls.  Delicious homemade / baked food was served by Carol our host and her home was cosy and welcoming.

Here's my frugal list from the last few days -

*  Purchased a padded valance for our bed for $4.  I'd been searching for one for our bed for nine months from Target but they always sold out within days of getting new stock.  After contacting head office a few times they located one for me and sent a $20 gift card for my troubles.  The valance scanned at $24 so I only had to pay $4.

*  Filled up my car with petrol and used a fuel discount docket which bought it down to $1.23 per litre which is quite cheap.

*  Cooked all meals from scratch and ate some meals from the freezer.

*  Limited the dryer use to drying uniforms.  The rest of the clothes went on clothes horses.

*  Juiced and froze the last of the gifted lemons.

*  Made potato cakes from a couple of spoonfuls of left over potato / pumpkin mash and enjoyed them for my lunch.

*  While in Tasmania on the card making weekend,  I purchased a few shower squeegees for $1 each from Shiploads ( a discount store ).  The exact same thing costs $2 in The Reject Shop.

*  Gratefully received some donuts leftover from one of Jessica's jobs.

*  Made chicken stock for the freezer from a chicken Jessica bought for our dinner.

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

*  Saved the shower warm up water.  Turned lights off whenever possible..

Some of the cards I made on my weekend away

How did you save time and money this week ?


Wednesday 14 August 2019

Another Low Cost Menu Plan

I thought I'd share another cheaper menu plan we finished using just recently.  While not all meals are cheap,  we've tried to offset the cost by making some super cheap meals or eating leftovers.

Mon 22nd July -  Potato bake using potatoes bought at $1.99 for 5 kilos.  I probably used less than 1 kilo.  Other ingredients were a few eggs,  lots of veg including silverbeet from our garden,  seasonings,  100g of shaved ham and grated cheese on top

Tues 23rd - Sausages,  mash and steamed veg.  The three of us only need 5 sausages making the meat component cheap at under $2

Wed 24th - Honey mustard chicken with rice.  Two small chicken fillets were used.  Sauce made from scratch and bean and carrots were added to make it a complete meal.

Thurs 25th - Roast beef in gravy from the freezer with mash and steamed veg.

Fri 26th -  Tuna casserole.  Not exactly a cheap meal.  It costs about $5,50 plus a side of veg

Sat 27th  -  Chunky chicken and veg soup.  Cost $ 2.50 for 8 - 10 serves over two meals  I don't count the cost of the chicken stock made from scratch.  Using a chicken carcass costs nothing and most people would throw it out.

Sun 28th - Freezer meals of leftovers.  Freezing the leftovers eliminates food wastage and creates a free meal.

Mon 29th - Chunky chicken and veg soup leftovers.  The stock came from the freezer so I didn't want to freeze the soup leftover from Saturday's dinner

Tues 30th -  Meat pie and veg.  This recipe uses 400g of mince costing $4 plus $1 for pastry and the cost of a few potatoes plus steamed veg on the side

Wed 31st -  Lasagne and veg.  The lasagne was made last month,  portioned and frozen. We had four people for dinner that night costing $1.30 per serve plus veg

Thurs 1st Aug -  Freezer meals for Darren and I

Fri 2nd -  Girello roast beef  in slow cooker with roast veg

Sat 3rd -  Massaman beef with rice from the freezer.  Approximate cost for 6 - 8 serves is $5.50 or 80 cents each serve.  We used three serves that night

Sun -  Homemade pizza.  The dough costs about 60 cents for two pizzas.  Topping are shredded chicken $2 pineapple 20 cents,  tomato or tomato sauce and cheese.  Darren uses fancier ingredients which he pays for or he uses what's in the fridge already.

Recipes for most of these meals can be found on the recipe page 

Honey Mustard Chicken 

Homemade Pizza

Tuna Casserole

Have you eaten a really cheap meal lately ?

Saturday 10 August 2019

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 10th August 2019

As you read this post,  I'm away in Tasmania with the card making group I belong to.  Four glorious days of chatting,  eating,  drinking tea,  making cards and relaxing.  One of the ladies from our group moved to Tasmania about 18 months ago and is hosting us for our very long weekend.

While I'm away,  my family members back home will ( hopefully ) be cooking up the meals I've left them in the freezer.

Here's my shorter list of frugal tasks I've completed before heading off on my little getaway -

*  Made up a triple batch of laundry powder.

*  Made two containers of dried bread crumbs from saved bread crusts.  I'll season them when my container gets low.

*  Descaled the kettle using citric acid.

*  Decorated a few department store bags to reuse as gift bags.

*  Ate freezer meals a couple of nights.

*  Saved the washing machine rinse water and shower warm up water to pour into the washing machine.

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.  I wasn't due to bake bread last Monday but with me being away over the weekend I wanted the family to avoid buying from the supermarket.

*  Dried the washing on the line and clothes horses.

*  Gratefully received some lemons from a friend.

*  Froze all leftovers including gravy.

*  Picked silverbeet from the garden to add to the spag bol sauce.  I also picked fresh rosemary to add to the roast veggies one night.

Gifted lemons

Making laundry powder

Our abundant rosemary bush

Are you picking anything from your veggie garden or flower beds ? How did you save money this week ?

Due to my getaway I am unable to post your comments until Tuesday.  

Wednesday 7 August 2019

Choc Chip Bickies ( Cookies )

I love a good biscuit to go with my cup of tea in the afternoon.  Here's the latest recipe I've been baking.

250g of butter
1 1/2 cups of brown sugar
2 eggs
3 1/2 cups of self raising flour
200g packet of choc chips

Cream the butter and sugar with electric beaters  until light and fluffy
Add the eggs and beat until well combined.
Stir in the flour  then the choc chips.
Roll level tablespoonfuls of dough into balls
Place on a greased tray and flatten.
Bake at 150 degrees / 150 degrees Celsius fan forced for 15 minutes.
Cool on trays then transfer to a wire rack
Store in an air tight container

Makes about 50 - 60 biscuits.


*  Choc / orange.  Add grated orange zest from two oranges to the egg,  sugar and butter mix.  Choc chips can be added on top of the dough balls or added with the flour

*  Lemon / pistachio.  Add lemon zest of two lemons to the egg,  butter and sugar mix.  Add the pistachios with the flour

*  Peanuts can be added to the wet mix or pushed into the dough balls then flatten

*  Sugar biscuits.  Roll the dough balls in sugar then flatten on the tray.

*  Dried fruit.  Chop finely and add to the dough when adding the flour


*  You can omit the choc chips and flavour the dough with different ingredients.

*  Dough can be frozen for future baking.  Roll into logs then freeze on a tray.  Place in a clean bread bag or container and return to the freezer.  Can be frozen for 6 - 9 months.

Saturday 3 August 2019

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 2rd August 2019

We've had an interesting week in the Gower house with lots of comings and goings.  At times it feels like Grand Central Station.    Jessica had a car accident on Tuesday and I needed to take her to hospital for xrays and to be checked over.  She's ok but is sore all over and has a bruised nose and a burn under her chin from the airbag.

On Monday we had an extended family member move in with us to get their life back on track.  We will be helping them with a budget and teaching them life skills.

We've had Luka stay with us a couple of times and he continues to bring great joy into our lives.  He's a happy little man unless he's hungry.  We hear lots of baby talk / gurgling from the loungeroom as he discovers his toes and the activity mat.

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

*  Made up two bottles of diluted Dynamo laundry liquid.

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  Mended a top where the seam had come apart

*  Bought 5 x $2 tshirts for Darren from a clearance rack at Kmart.  We cleared the rack of Darren's size.

*  Megan picked up lots of sneakers in different sizes for Luka at $4 a pair from Kmart.  Their original price was $20 a pair.. She'll be putting them away for future needs.  Megan also picked up a few items of clothing for herself at heavily reduced prices.

*  We had two unexpected visitors stay for dinner one night when we were finishing up the last of a pot of chunky chicken and veggie soup.  I added enough water to make it stretch for the visitors.  I find that homemade soup with soup mix in it really thickens up when refrigerated.

*  Used the clothes horses over the ducted heating vents to dry our clothes.

*  Picked rosemary from the garden to dry.  I've placed it in a paper bag for protection from dust and hung it from a nail at the top of a bookcase.  It should be ready to use in a few weeks.  I've run out of rosemary completely and I'm determined to use what I have in the garden instead of buying more.

*  Made potato cakes from leftover potato mash from dinner the night before.  Jessica and I enjoyed the potato cakes for lunch the next day.

*  Gratefully received two Summer dresses from Jessica when she was cleaning out her wardrobe.

*  Tried out a new biscuit recipe.  I doubled the ingredients and tweaked the recipe to make it my own.  I've baked some of the biscuits and froze the rest of the dough.

Rosemary from the garden

Potato cakes from leftover mash

 A new recipe for biscuits

How did you save money this week ?