Saturday 29 May 2021

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 29th May 2021

At this point in time,  Melbourne is in the middle of a 7 day lockdown.  Supermarket shelves were stripped bare yet again as people went into panic mode.  I chose to stay away from the shops and enjoy my very healthy stockpile of food,  toiletries and cleaning ingredients.  

We have a garden that supplies some of our veggie needs as well as last Summer's haul stored in our freezers.  This has been a real source of comfort during times of uncertainty and a huge help for our grocery budget.  Plans are already in place for a bigger veggie garden next Summer and we look forward to warmer days of Spring planting.

Here's how we saved money this week -

*  Replanted 7 self sown snap dragon seedlings Darren found in a garden bed.  They were growing in the oddest places so I've planted them in another bed as a mass planting.  Hopefully we'll get a good showing of flowers in the next couple of months.  Gotta love free plants.

*  Made 15 jars of raspberry jam using fruit I'd picked and frozen over Summer.

*  Made lots of dried bread crumbs using saved bread crusts I'd been storing in the freezer.

*  Fed the compost bin every second day with kitchen scraps.  Darren said he's almost ready to empty one of the bins out into our veggie garden.

*  Fed lots of weeds to the chickens.

*  Saved and washed the snap lock bags I used to store the raspberries in the freezer.  They are now ready to use for next season's raspberry haul.   

*  Baked three loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  Made 8 jars of plum jam using fruit my Dad gave me last Summer that I froze.  With all this jam making I now have a fair bit of room in the freezer in readiness for our Spring / Summer garden haul.

*  Decanted and diluted 8 litres of laundry liquid into saved vinegar bottles. The laundry liquid is from the big bucket I made a few months ago.  As I get vinegar bottles given to me I keep decanting then storing the liquid in my shed.  By the time I'm ready to make my next batch I should have enough vinegar bottles to decant it all at the same time eliminating the need to blitz and stir the liquid getting my hands all soapy in the process.

*  Froze 5 single serves of Massaman beef curry that was leftover from our dinner one night.

*  Picked broccoli,  lemons,  lettuce and silverbeet from our garden.

*  Saved the shower warm up water and  bath water ( from our grandbabies ) to pour into our washing machine.  We also saved lots of kitchen water that was used to water lots of pot plants.

*  Blanched and froze the broccoli from our garden.


Bread and jam making

Princess joining Darren for a workout.

Broccoli ready to flash freeze.

If you live in Melbourne,  were you ready for the lockdown ?

How thrifty have you been this week ?

Wednesday 26 May 2021

Save The Power, Feel The Power - Part 2

 Following on from last week's electricity savings tips,  here are another 5.  Some are so simple and easy you'll wonder why you hadn't thought of it before.

*  Charge your mobile phone in the car while driving to and from work.  If possible, charge it as work too.

*  Try to time your shower during daylight hours ( if possible ).  No need to turn the bathroom light on if there's enough light coming through the bathroom window.

*  Ask for a better deal from your electricity supplier.  This should be done once a year to make the most of the current deal being offered.

*  When possible,  try to squeeze in your housework and hobbies ( like crafting ) during the daytime.  This can avoid lights being turned on.  If you work and others are in the house during the day,  ask them to run the vacuum around or to give the bathroom sinks a wipe.  Another alternative is to do all your housework on your days off.

*  Check that your outside porch lights haven't been left on by accident.  We have quite a few neighbours in our street who have outside lights on ALL night. Usually they get turned off well into the day.  If you are expecting someone to come home at a certain time at night,  turn the porch light on 10 minutes before they arrive.  Even better,  get them to ring you when they are on their way home. 


Stay tuned for Part 3 of Save The Power,  Feel The Power next week.

Saturday 22 May 2021

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 22nd May 2021

 Lots of gardening,  cooking,  baking and blessings has filled our week.   We try to make the most of the blessings and use them as wisely as we can.  Winter is just around the corner and our busyness has kept us warm.  At times we've had to turn the heater off when our frugal tasks keep us active.

Here's what we've been up to -

*  Baked a double batch of chocolate choc chip muffins for a cleaning client who placed an order.  Her grand daughters love to eat them when they visit.

*  Darren picked lettuce to have with his lunches.

*  Gratefully received a big tub of margarine from a friend.

*  Picked up 12 packets of chocolate wafer biscuits on clearance for 50 cents each down from $2.50.  The previous week they were on clearance for 95 cents and I thought that was a bargain.  I don't usually buy packets of biscuits but I can't make any batch of biscuits that cheap.

*  Made a pot of egg custard to use up some milk that was 2 days past its use by date.  We rarely have dessert after our main meal so we really enjoyed this treat.  It saved us throwing the milk out.

*  Made a big pot of soup using chicken stock from the freezer,  our potatoes and broccoli stalks as well as a few other veggies.    We got 6 hearty serves from the saucepan and cost about 20 cents a serve.

*  Made a menu plan for the next 4 weeks.  With meat being so expensive it took some creative thinking to keep variety in our menu with only chicken drumsticks,  sausages,  beef mince,  frozen fish fillets and tinned tuna / salmon on hand.

*  Darren picked a few mandarins and lots of oranges from the fruit trees at Megan's place.  I've already blitzed quite a few and frozen them in portions for future baking.  I also baked lots of little whole orange cakes.  Some will be frozen and the others will be eaten fresh.  With just the two of us,  I try to  bake smaller cakes so we can eat them within a few days without gorging ourselves.

* Made a triple batch of sausage casserole using sausages that were gifted to us.  The sausages had already been frozen then defrosted when we received them so they needed to be used up quickly.  We had some of the casserole that night and the rest was portioned and frozen.

*  Planted lots of broccoli and a few mini cauliflower seeds into little punnets for future planting.  The broccoli seeds came up within 4 days.

*  Bought chrysanthemum plants on clearance at our local fruit and veg shop for $2 a plant.  We'll be planting them out in the front garden for some much needed color.

*  Took a few cuttings from our Hebe plants and daisy plants.  If they all take some with be given as presents and the rest will go into the garden to fill in the gaps.

Oranges from Megan's place

$2 chrysanthemums

Broccoli seedlings

Hebe cuttings

Daisy cuttings and broccoli seedlings

Are you planting more veggie seedlings to fill in the gaps ?

How have you saved time,  money or energy this week ?

Wednesday 19 May 2021

Save The Power, Feel The Power - Part 1

 Are your electricity bills getting higher and higher each year ? Do you feel like you can't do much to reduce your usage ?  

With Winter fast approaching in the Southern Hemisphere,  everyone tends to use more electricity for heating and lighting as the weather cools and daylight hours disappear.

Take back ( some ) control of your electricity bill with these tips.  The POWER is in your hands.

*  Doorbell - If you have a plug in doorbell,  turn if off at the wall overnight.  We do this just before we go to bed and turn it back on again at breakfast time.  This stops us being woken up by other doorbells in the area who are on the same frequency.  We've changed the frequency a few times but it's amazing how many people have visitors in our area at 3am.

*  Landline handsets -  If you have multiple plug in phone handsets,  turn the extra ones off overnight.  They don't need to charge 24 / 7.

*  Alarm clock -  Switch it over for a battery operated one.  You can get travel ones for just a few dollars. They take 1 x AA battery that lasts almost a year.

*  Cooking vegetables - Instead of steaming your vegetables in the microwave,  use a multi level steamer on the stovetop.  I put potato and corn on the cob down the bottom in the water and put beans,  broccoli and carrot in the top to steam. 

*  Power boards - If you have electronics like tvs and dvd players plugged into a power board,  turn it off when not in use or at least overnight.  I purchased a power board that has a switch to turn everything off at once.  

Over the next couple of weeks I'll be sharing another 10 tips on how to save electricity.  

Saturday 15 May 2021

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 15th May 2021

 Being frugal does not mean being stingy.  Both Darren and I try to be wise with what we have and what we use.  Now that the weather is much cooler,  keeping warm without blowing the budget is our priority.  

Here's how we saved money this week -

*  Picked the first of many broccoli heads we have growing in the garden.  I should be picking another one next week.

*  Gratefully received a bag of feijoas from a friend.  She moved to Geelong last year and found strange looking fruit under one of the trees in her backyard.  After messaging Darren to find out what they were and how to eat them,  she dropped of the bag on Mother's Day as a treat.  So delicious.

*  Baked three loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  Enjoyed an afternoon tea at our place for my extended family.  So much nicer,  cheaper and quieter than going to a restaurant.  My antique cups and saucers came out for use and the men were really good sports sipping their tea oh so daintily.

*  Picked white roses and yellow chrysanthemums from our garden to place in vases around our home for Mother's Day prettiness.

*  Fed the compost bin with kitchen scraps and garden clippings.  Darren is so proud of all the compost he makes.  For many years we bought mushroom compost every couple of years to top up our veggie garden beds.  Now that we make our own we save about $40 - $50 a year and it's better quality.

*  Baked ANZAC biscuits and scones for the Mother's Day afternoon tea.  I also used my homemade plum jam on the scones.

*  Ate meals from the freezer a few nights as well as fried rice which fed us two nights.  Fried rice is a super cheap meal to make and doesn't need too much meat ( if at all ).   I add about 100 grams of roast chicken finely chopped and it seems to go a long way.

*  With the cooler weather I've been drying the washing on clotheshorses over the ducted heating vents.  One clotheshorse is in the main bathroom over the vent with the door closed.  The washing dries in less than 24 hours. 

*  Now that we use the ducted heater often,  the two spare bedrooms,  laundry,  toilet and alcove area to the laundry is closed off.  This prevents unused areas being heated and reduces our heating bill.

*  Gratefully received lots of bread bags.  We reuse them as the second layer when freezing meat.  We also use then as bin liners and to cover bowls in the fridge.

*  Stuck to the two light rule at night but mostly only had one light on.

*  Used blankets to keep warm in our chairs when watching tv at night.  Our ducted heating turns off at 9pm.  With blankets close by we are not tempted to turn the heater back on.

Getting out the pretties for Mother's Day

Getting ready for afternoon tea

Almost ready to pick

Sunshine from the garden

Mother's Day flowers

Sleeping over at Nana and Poppy's

How have you saved money this week ?


Saturday 8 May 2021

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 8th May 2021

 We have had beautiful Autumn weather here in Melbourne this week.  Our fruit trees are gradually losing their leaves and I've started feeding them into the compost bin.

Here's what else we've been up to - 

*  Dried all the washing on the line and clothes horses.

*  Made a bottle of double strength Miracle Spray.

*  Decanted a large batch of homemade laundry liquid into 2 litre bottles and diluted it ready for use.  I have a couple of people saving their vinegar bottles for this use.  It makes it so much easier to use the smaller bottles than going outside to the large bucket,  stirring it,  getting my hands all soapy then decanting.  If I get enough bottles I should be able to decant it all the next time I make it.

*  Picked silverbeet for quite a few meals as well as lettuce from our garden.  I also found another 3 feijoas on the ground.  You can bet I really enjoyed eating them and will have to wait another 11 - 12 months to taste them again.

*  Saved the shower warm up water,  washing machine water and drink bottle water to reuse around the house and garden.

*  Mended a pair of rubber gloves I use for my cleaning jobs.  They developed a small hole that was letting water in ( not good for toilet cleaning ).  I turned them inside out and placed a couple of pieces of duct / electrical tape over the hole.  So far it's worked really well.

*  Gratefully received cherry tomatoes and limes from a couple of friends.

*  Turned our landline phone handset off at the power point overnight.  It was fully charged anyway and doesn't need to be plugged 24 / 7 to work.

*  Dug up the last of the potatoes in our veggie garden.  We didn't get as many as expected but are very grateful for the 2.1 kg.  We haven't needed to buy potatoes since December last year and this latest lot will last until the end of the month. We can't wait to plant many more next Spring.

*  Poured the contents of travel sized shampoo and conditioner bottles into our large ones.  These little bottles were from our trip to Tasmania last December.

*  Fed lots of weeds,  old bread and a very deformed pear to the chickens.  They've are a little on the fussy side when it comes to kitchen scraps but they have taken a liking to pears.

*  Cooked a double portion of tuna pasta bake which usually serves 8 people.  The plan was to eat one meal for the 2 of us that night and put 3 meals ( 6 portions ) into the freezer.  I added a couple of finely grated carrots and 3 large silverbeet leaves to make it a more well rounded meal.  When I portioned it all out, I ended up with 11 serves,  9 of which went into the freezer.  I guess I won't need to cook tuna pasta bake for a while.

*  Darren emptied a compost bin into the veggie garden and also placed some around the base of a few fruit trees.

Here are a few photos from our garden

Growing kale for the first time

Broccoli almost ready to pick

Drying the washing one rack at a time

What frugal tasks did you complete this week ?

Wednesday 5 May 2021

Just Add Water

 A very quick and easy way to save lots of money is to add water to many items around your home.  Just because the manufacturer says you need to use X amount,  doesn't mean you have to.  Of course they want you to use more than really needed.  You'll buy the product more often and boost their profits.

Just add water to these items and keep more money in your bank account.

Shampoo -  This can be diluted by up to 50%.  Even better,  add a pump to the bottle for portion control. 

Conditioner -   The better the quality,  the more you can dilute it.  Add up to 50% water  

Shower gel -  Thick shower gel can be hard to spread over the body and many times falls to the bottom of the shower.  Add 25 - 50% water and also add a pump or pour it into a pump bottle.  

Laundry liquid - Adding too much laundry liquid to the wash can leave residue on your clothes.  Not to mention the extremely strong smelling perfume they add to the liquid.  Laundry liquid can be diluted by 80% and still give you clean,  fresh smelling clothes.  Give it a go.  It really works.

Tinned soup - Chunky tinned soups can be diluted up to 50%.  Even better,  add a handful of small pasta shapes to stretch the soup further.  I find these soups to be too rich in flavour and salt.  Diluting them gives you more serves and lessens the salt intake.  Of course homemade is better for you and cheaper. 

 Liquid hand soap - Dilute it by 75 - 80% and use it as foaming hand wash for a fraction of the store bought variety. 

 Fabric softener - We all know fabric softener is not good to use and certainly not good for the washing machine.  If you need to use it to help remove smells,  dilute it by at least 50%.  Maybe the clothes won't smell like perfume when they are dry,  but they will still have a fresh fragrance. For a cheaper alternative to remove bad smells,  spray the offending odours with white vinegar before washing.

 Kitchen detergent -  If you are heavy handed with the kitchen detergent,  dilute it by 50% and add a pump to the bottle.  I've been doing this for years and my dishes are still clean and sparkling. Some of the Aldi kitchen detergents are really thick and can be diluted by 75%.

Is there something you add water to ?

Has your family noticed anything different ?

Saturday 1 May 2021

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 1st May 2021

 To be honest,  I'm not sure where my week has gone.  I worked a few days,  have all my housework up to date and spent some time in the garden.  I know I've been as thrifty as possible but maybe those tasks have become routine without really thinking about it.

Here is my smaller than usual list -

*  Used a saved and recycled spray bottle to replace one I was using around our home for the cleaning spray I make up.  I save all spray bottles we have and collect a few from cleaning jobs when the contents are used up.  I  just never know when I'll need a new one.

*  Refilled my herb and spice jars from big packets I bought at Hindustan Imports at bargain prices.

*  Darren picked one feijoa off the ground.  We have two trees growing  in our backyard. One was pruned last year so no fruit this year.  The other tree gave us lots of little fruit last year.  You can bet I savoured that one feijoa.  I also picked silverbeet,  lettuce,  pears and  raspberries from our garden.

*  Baked three loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.  All crusts are saved in the freezer for when it's time to make dried bread crumbs.

*  Made chunky chicken and veggie soup in the slow cooker while we were at church last Sunday.  The soup was enough for two dinners and one lunch for the two of us.  A super cheap meal.

*  Saved water around the home when possible and used it to fill up the washing machine and watering cans outside.

*  Donated a couple of bags of unwanted items to Savers.  Gratefully received a 20% off discount coupon  which I used straight away to buy some cutlery for Jessica.  She was running low on forks.  They just seem to magically disappear.

*  Ate lots of leftover dinners from the freezer.  This made it an easy week for meal prep.

One of our garden beds

Darren and Luka feeding the chickens

Luka and Bryson - our little sweethearts

Poppy entertaining the boys

How did you spend your week ?

Have you tried any new thrifty ideas ?