Saturday 24 July 2021

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 24th July 2021

 Well,  we are in lockdown again in Melbourne but thankfully we are coping well.  I'm still allowed to work although Darren's hours have been cut.  Our well stocked fridge,  freezers and pantry are keeping us well fed.    Just as lockdown was being rumoured,  Darren ducked into the supermarket to buy a few treats to see us through.  

 I couldn't post anything here last week due to being super busy with work,  a catering job and a sewing job.  By the time the weekend came,  I needed to catch up on the housework,  then rest.

So this frugal list spans two weeks.

*  Darren picked broccoli,  spinach,  kale and lettuce from the garden to have with our meals.

*  I baked choc chip biscuits using dough from the freezer.  Our grandson Luka was over at the time ( before lockdown ) and helped squash the dough on the trays.  He also helped eat the dough too ( sneaky little boy ).

*  Used a $20 voucher from The Good Guys to buy another slow cooker.  The voucher arrived on my phone just hours before lockdown so I raced up to the shops to pick something out.  The slow cooker I bought ended up costing me just $19.95.  

*  Made a bottle of shower cleaner using kitchen detergent.  The ratio is one part detergent to one part water.

*  Hemmed some new curtains for a friend as a paying job.

*  I was in need of some new kitchen cannisters for my tea,  sugar and biscuits.  The ones I'd been using for at least 10 years had become loose around the lids and I needed air tight containers.  I had a few spare Moccona coffee jars on hand and was inspired by Mary from the White Cottage Company to paint them white. Once I painted the jars,  the utensil holder looked out of place so I painted that white as well.   I'm loving the new look and it only cost me about $13 for the can of spray paint.

*  Cooked 31 single serve meals for a friend's grandmother as a paying job and learnt a new soup recipe along the way.

*  Made a batch of pita chips using pita bread from the freezer.

*  Out of an urgent need,  Darren gave me a haircut.  My hair was getting too long and a bit dry on the ends so he cut a couple of inches off.

*  Fed the compost bin with kitchen scraps.  Darren says one bin is now ready to use in the garden.  Just waiting on good weather to empty the bin.

*  Extended the life of my eyeliner by pulling up the contents in the retractable part.  I'll now get another 8 weeks of use.

*  Made a surface spray cleaner for benches,  toilets and sinks etc by diluting kitchen detergent one part detergent to twenty parts cooled boiled water.

*  Made a slow cooker bread pudding using the  saved crusts from my homemade bread. 

*  Sold a set of men's greeting cards.

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

Newly painted ' cannisters '

Newly painted utensil holder

Pita chips for snacks

Freshly baked bread.

Bulk cooking for an order


Father's Day is just around the corner.  If you are looking to buy a card to send to a loved one I have a few sets still available.  Each set of four cards comes with numbers that can be added to customise the cards for other occasions too.  

Here is one of the sets available for sale on my Facebook pages

 My Abundant Life Facebook

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

Wednesday 21 July 2021

Free Alternatives In The Garden

 Reusing,  recycling and upcycling is a wonderful way to save money and help reduce waste.  With more than half of Australians in lockdown right now and many more people around the world,  now is the time to use what you already have on hand at home.

Here are some great ideas for growing a garden without going out to buy things.

*  Dig up the ground you have to make a garden bed.  Raised garden beds are wonderful but not necessary for growing flowers and veggies.

*  Save your own seeds.  Have a look at the veggies you have in your fridge crisper.  Seeds can easily be saved from tomatoes,  cucumbers,  pumpkins and  zucchinis ( if large enough to have seeds ).  Even the wrinkly potatoes in the pantry can be planted if they have sprouted.  If you have flowers in the garden,  wait for them to form seed pods then save the seeds for next season.

*  Take cuttings from your plants,  shrubs and trees in the garden.

*  Cut up  icecream or yoghurt containers to make garden markers for your newly planted seeds and seedlings.

*  Use cut up  old socks to tie up wayward plants.

*  Use pruned,  straight branches as garden stakes for your plants.

*  Use your kitchen scraps to start a compost heap.  If you don't have room for a compost heap then dig the kitchen scraps straight into the garden.

*  Old buckets,  icecream containers, foam boxes,  heavy duty plastic bags / enviro shopping bags ,  milk crates ( lined ) and old plant pots make excellent little gardens.

*  Use toilet rolls to plant your seeds in.  When the seeds have grown tall enough,  plant the toilet roll with the plant to reduce transplant shock.

*  Grass clippings and weeds can be turned into fertiliser.  Place then in a bucket and cover with water.  Let it stand for a week or two and drain the liquid into another container.  Dilute it right down with water before using ( do a Google search for correct ratios ).

*  Need a mini greenhouse to start your seeds ?  Use the plastic cover from a  doona / sheet  set.

*  Poke holes in a water bottle lid to make a seedling watering can ( of sorts ).    

Recycled bricks for the path

Cutting up old socks

Bedding packaging greenhouse.

What items do you recycle for use in the garden ?

Saturday 10 July 2021

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 10th July 2021

 This week I've been keeping busy on a wide variety of tasks.  Life is never dull or mundane when money,  time and energy can be saved in so many ways.

Here's what I've been up to -

*  Bought 2 metal trays from Savers for $5.19 in total.   The plan is to use them on my coffee table and dining table.  They were a creamy color that looked yellow in spots so I spray painted them with white  Rustoleum paint I already had on hand.  For just a few minutes of work they came up looking fabulous.

*  Saved a cereal bag and cut it up into squares to use as go between when freezing crumpets and hamburger patties.

*  Baked lots of ANZAC biscuits for this week's morning / afternoon tea treats.  The dough came from the freezer from when I last made a bulk batch of dough a few months ago.

*  Picked some daisy greenery ( leaves ) from the garden to add to my dining table display.  There are not many flowers in the garden at the moment due to the cold weather.  The greenery is truly appreciated.

*  Turned the heater down to 19 degrees Celsius or turned it off all together when the sun was shining.  It has been a cold Winter so far so a few hours without the heater on feels like a major achievement.

*  I have been watching a YouTube channel called White Cottage Company.  Mary likes to make old,  op shop,  antique and everyday items look like new by painting them ( amongst her many talents ).  I was inspired to do a mini makeover of our home which included a frame with wedding pictures and calligraphy in it.  The frame was a dark timber which now doesn't go with our home colors and the mat and photos were faded.  A quick spray paint of the frame and mat with white Rustoleum and photocopying the photos,  it came up looking fabulous and oh so ' on trend '.

*  Wrote out a menu plan for the next 5 weeks.  I've added soup,  eggs on toast and fried rice as cheap meals to keep our costs down.

*  Dried most of the washing on the line ( in Winter ).  Only a few things were finished off in the dryer.

*  I filled the thermos with boiling water in the morning to use for cuppas during the day.  This saves me boiling the kettle twice.

*  Picked more lemons from our tree and juiced the ones I picked over a week ago.  Leaving them for a couple of weeks relaxes the lemons and you get more juice from them.

*  Pruned the plum tree in the hope we get more fruit next Summer.  I also put snail bait out around the veggie seedlings and fed them all with Seasol.

New tray for the coffee table

New tray and greenery for the dining table

Renovated frame and insert

More lemons from our tree.

How thrifty were you this week ?

Are you finding ways to save on your heating bills this Winter ? Or cooling bills if you are in Summer ?

Wednesday 7 July 2021

Free Alternatives For Around The Home

 We live in a world that likes to replace items on a whim.  If things look a little tired or out of date - just go and buy a new one.  You only have to watch tv ads or look at the latest department store catalogues.

Over the last 18 months or so many incomes have been slashed and having spare cash can be a luxury.

Here are some free alternatives you can easily source with little effort -

*  Need a new kitchen sponge ?  Raid your linen cupboard for unwanted or faded face washers.  They are very durable,  can be washed in the washing machine and are also great for wiping kitchen benches.

*  Need some pantry storage ?  Use glass Moccona coffee jars.  They come in different sizes and can be easily sourced on social media pages.  Any glass jar will do the job including jam,  pasta sauce, tomato paste and pickle jars.

*  Need new cushion covers ?  Tables cloths,  pillow cases and bed sheets can easily be sewn into cushion covers with minimal effort,  skill  and equipment.

*  Need a new vase or don't like the look of the ones you have ?  Use glass jars as is or paint them a neutral color like white for a classic look.

*  Think you need a new rice cooker ?  A saucepan will do the job and did so for hundreds of years before the sudden urge to use one.  Just wash your rice before cooking and put a timer on for accurate cooking.

*  Need to update your old picture frames ?   Paint them with a more modern color.  Check your garage for leftover paint from your last painting project.  If your frame has a matted picture in it,  the mat can be painted too.

*  Need new tea towels ?  Cut and hem old cotton doona covers or pillow cases.

Jam jars for herb storage

Free Moccona coffee jars from Facebook
Painted frame and matting

What free alternatives do you use around the home ?

Saturday 3 July 2021

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 3rd July 2021

 Each week my goal is to complete 2 frugal tasks each day with a total of 14 by the time Saturday comes around.  My week started really well and I was on track for a record amount of frugal tasks.  Then I woke up with a really sore throat and the rest of the week was spent resting when I wasn't at work.  Oh well,  I had good intentions.

Here's what I did complete earlier in the week -

*  Picked,  blanched and froze three heads of broccoli from our garden.

*  We've started using loose leaf tea in our cuppas.  Although we still have about 2 years worth of tea bags,  loose leaf tea works out cheaper than the teabags.

*  Donated a couple of bags of unwanted items to Savers and received 2 x 20% discount vouchers.

*  Refilled the dishwashing liquid pump bottle and diluted it by 30%.

*  Refilled the foaming hand wash pumps with homemade liquid ( diluted shower gel ).  Mostly we are trying to use up our bars of soap stash but the main bathroom ( guest bathroom ) has a pump bottle.

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.  I've found a way to fit all four bread tins into one oven which is saving 1/2 an hour of electricity.  After 12 years of using two ovens,  this was a lightbulb moment.  I guess we never stop learning new ways to do things.

*  Darren desperately needed a new pair of jeans for work and volunteering because he's lost so much weight.  Thankfully he was able to get a decent pair from Savers and used a 20% off discount voucher.

*  Defrosted and iced a small whole orange cake from the freezer when we had a visitor over one night.  Having baking in the freezer is such a time and money saver.

*  Saved water where possible,  kept light off and turned the heater off when the Sun was shining.

Sharing a pot of tea.

Picking bonus broccoli florets

Penstemon flowers in our garden.

One of our potato plants growing.

We still have some flowers in our Winter garden

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