Saturday, 25 June 2022

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 25th June 2022

 Hello friends and faithful readers.  I'm hoping to be back writing again on a regular basis.  Thankyou so much for all the lovely messages,  comments and prayers during the last few months.  They all really helped sustain me during the difficult days following my Dad's passing.

During the last couple of months my days have been super busy with things to organise for the service ( along with other family members ),  helping Mum around the home and Dad's garden,  errands with Mum,  my cleaning work,  running our home,  planting / weeding in the garden and spending time with our daughters and grandchildren.  

Darren and I did manage to get away to Ballarat for a weekend in May and it was much needed.  We enjoyed sunny days of 16 degrees which is glorious for that time of the year.  We visited family and went to places of importance to Mum and Dad ( they met in Ballarat ).  On the way home we met up with Jessica and she took me to see Cinderella the musical.  It was such a lovely evening.

The frugal list below is a summary of what we've done over the last 7 weeks or so.  It was hard at times to keep track of all the ways we saved money.  Some days there was no time to even write on my frugal list.

*  Picked feijoas from below our trees.  The fruit is ready to eat when it drops to the ground.

*  Filled up the foaming hand wash pumps with diluted shower gel.

*  Cut up a few socks that had holes in them and used them as garden ties.

*  Dried the washing on the line until the weather got too cold and wet.  Now it's on the clothes horse over a ducted heating vent .

*  Planted another row of carrots.

*  Planted lots of broccoli seeds.  So far we have 9 heads forming and over 35 plants growing.

*  Baked wholemeal bread with extra goodness every 2 weeks.

*  Picked chrysanthemums from the garden to brighten up our home.

*  Picked spinach from the garden to add to spag bol sauce.

*  Made lots of dried bread crumbs from saved bread crusts ( ends ).

*  I pruned one of our feijoa trees as it was getting too tall.  I placed some of the smaller branches in a couple of vases to decorate our home when there were no flowers to pick.

*  Made raspberry jam and plum jam from fruit we grew and froze during Summer.

*  Started the process of making another bottle of vanilla extract.

Covering the broccoli plants

Feijoa branches


Making dried bread crumbs

How did you save time,  money or energy ?


Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Reduce Food Waste By Doing This

For many households it has never been more important for  the grocery budget to be stretched as far as possible.  Food costs are rising almost on a daily basis and every little tip and trick should be used to get the most out of the food you can afford to buy.

Here are some ways to reduce food waste - 

*  Cream - Any amount of leftover cream getting close to it's use by date can be made into butter  Use the marble in a jar method for a small amount or a stand mixer for a larger amount.

*  Cheese - Don't let it get hard or mouldy.  It should be wrapped it in baking paper and stored in an airtight container.  It can also be grated and frozen.  Just add a little corn flour and shake so it doesn't stick together.

*  Wilted veggies - They make great soup.  Add some soup mix,  stock or a tin of diced tomatoes and no one will ever know.

*  Wrinkly fruit - Stew ( cook ) and make fruit cobbler or  jam  Some of the best jams I've made are from mixed fruit.

*  Stale bread and rolls - Can be made into dried bread crumbs or bread and butter pudding.  Store the stale bread in the freezer until you have enough to make one of these items.

*  Sweet rolls / buns - Make great bread and butter pudding

*  Roasted veggies - Can be made into tasty frittatas,  flans or quiches, or put them in a soup for amazing flavour.

* Cooked veggies - Can be added to frittatas,  pasta bakes,  or blitz and add to spag bol and pasta dishes.  Make a soup,  add to a casserole or make bubble and squeak.

* Cooked rice -Makes delicious rice pudding and creamed rice.  You can freeze leftover rice,  or make fried rice.

*  Yoghurt -  Can be used in smoothies,  made into icypoles or frozen for a sweet treat.

*  Chicken carcass - Place it in a slow cooker with water and make stock.  Strip off the meat and use it with the stock to make a hearty chicken and veggie soup.


Bread and butter pudding

Making mini quiches


Here are the links to some of the recipes I suggested -

Wednesday, 1 June 2022

10 Slightly Unusual Ways To Save On Electricity - Part 2

 Saving money on electricity does take a little time and effort.  Thankfully none of the tips I written about need a huge sacrifice on your part.    Have a look around your home to see what's plugged in.  Do you need it ?

Here are another 10 tips to help lower your electricity bill - 

*  Turn off your Google Nest or other smart home displays.  You know you don't use them too often.  We turn ours on when we want to play music.

*  Turn off your Wii,  xbox and other gaming consoles at the power point when not in use.

*  Defrost food in the fridge over night instead of using the microwave.

*  Close ducted heating vents in Summer and cooling vents in Winter.  If they can't be closed,  see if you can slip in a piece of cardboard.

*  Close heating / cooling vents in rooms not being used.

*  Use blankets,  doonas or sleeping bags over windows to keep heat in a home at night and heat out in Summer.  Before we had evap cooling I pegged all spare blankets and sleeping bags over our lounge and dining room windows during heatwaves in Summer.  It really did make a big difference.

*  Match your saucepan to the right sized cooking element on your stove top.

*  Don't use delay start functions on your washing machine,  dishwasher,  dryer and other appliances like slow cookers and all in one pots.  Fill up the washing machine when you get up and if need be,  turn it on when you get home.  

*  Turn off your pool / spa lighting when not in use.  There's no point in impressing your garden with a light display.

*  In Winter ( especially ) eat dinner at the kitchen bench if you can and utilise the kitchen lighting you have on .  This is instead of turning the dining room lights on too.  

Close vents when not in use

Use the sized right pot and cooking element

Have you used any of these savings tips ?

Here are more electricity savings tips I wrote about in 2016

Cutting The Electricity Bill








Wednesday, 25 May 2022

10 Slightly Unusual Ways To Save On Electricity.

 The cost of living is going up everywhere and it feels like we are being squeezed from all directions.  Residents in the UK are facing electricity increases of 54% with people choosing to heat or eat.

Here are 10 slightly unusual ways you can save a little bit more on your electricity bill

*  Cook with lids on your saucepans.  If you do this you might not need to use the exhaust fan.  I've tried this and it works.

*  Ditch the electric clock radio and use a battery operated one.  If you need an alarm,  use your phone for this function.

*  Use solar garden lights as night lights,  to light a dinner table or to give enough light to safely move around a room.

*  Use a timer to cook rice and pasta.  Don't rely on your memory.  You might get side tracked with other cooking tasks.

*  Wash your clothes on the quick cycle function on the washing machine.  Generally this is only for small loads but sometimes you can't wait until the machine is full ( especially if the clothes are wet or smelly ).  The quick wash on my machine is 20 minutes.  The next quickest cycle is 47 minutes.  Some loads go for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

*  Use the quick wash cycle on your dishwasher.  Mine goes for 30 minutes and washes the dishes really well.  If you do have baked on food then either soak before washing or handwash.

*  Don't leave your front porch light on automatic ( or on at all if you are not expecting anyone ).  It uses power even when it's idle and trees blowing in the wind can also activate it.

*  Unplug the drinks fridge.  Give your regular fridge a good clean out and store your drinks in there.  If you have too many drinks on hand,  only refrigerate a few at a time.

*  Unplug / turn off your doorbell at night.  No one wants to be disturbed when sleeping.

*  When going on holidays,  turn off everything at the wall except the fridge and freezer.  I go around our home and systematically turn everything off in each room.


Old school clocks

Use the quick wash cycle

Have you used any of these tips ?


 Here are links to a few articles I wrote about saving on heating bills. -


Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Bulk Cooking - The Easy Way.

There are plenty of cook books,  YouTube videos and blogs dedicated to cooking lots of meals in one day.  Have you watched / read them ?  Although I love a good bulk cooking video I feel exhausted just watching them.

I have to ask though,  who has time  to set aside a whole day or weekend to cook meal after meal ?  Then there's all the dirty dishes to clean up.

There is lots and lots of planning,  shopping and food prep that goes into a bulk cooking day.  Not forgetting you need to have a decent amount of freezer space available to store all these meals at the same time. . 

Bulk cooking really does sound like a good idea but might not be practical for many people.

I've been bulk cooking for many years but my way is much different to the usual method.  My method takes far less time,  uses less gas / electricity and still provides a dinner to eat that night as well as meals for the freezer.

Here's how I bulk cook -

*  Each night that I'm cooking a meal,  I cook double,  triple or quadruple the amount of food at the same time.

*  We eat some of the food for dinner that night.

*  After eating dinner,  the rest of the food is portioned out into single,  double or family sized portions.

*  The food is cooled for a few hours in the fridge,  the lids are put on and labelled with names,  dates and serves.

*  The food is then frozen.

It's really is that simple.  Yes it takes a few extra minutes to cut more veggies. . It might take an extra 10 minutes to cook the larger meal,   It takes about 5 minutes to portion out the extra food.  That's it.  

REPEAT this process a few times a week and over time you collect a variety of meals in the freezer.

I have a small 120 litre freezer dedicated to prepared meals that are rotated on a regular basis.  Because I have a good stockpile of meals,  there are some weeks I don't need to cook from scratch at all.  Then perhaps the next week I bulk cook one or two meals to keep the supply going.

Here are a list of meals I've successfully bulk cooked / prepared and frozen -

*  Spag bol meat sauce.  I only need to cook the pasta when we eat this.

*  Lasagne - I cook a large lasagne and portion out.  We add steamed veggies to round out the meal when I pull the frozen lasagne portions out of the freezer.

*  Chicken curry - This is cooked in the slow cooker and portioned out into takeaway containers.  If I have too much rice from dinner that night I portion the curry and rice into complete single serve meals.

*  Chop suey -  I portion out the chop suey and freeze.  I cook mashed potato or rice on the night we eat it.

*  Beef stew ( or any stew ) -  Is cooked,   portioned and frozen as is.  I cook mashed potato on the night we eat it.

*  Massaman beef curry - I portion the curry and any leftover rice into individual meals.  If there is no leftover rice the curry is frozen by itself.  Rice and poppadums are served with the curry. 

*  Salmon patties -  These can be quite messy and time consuming to make.  I open 3 - 4 tins of salmon at a time,  add mash and veggies to stretch the salmon out.  This can make about 60 patties at a time.  If I'm making a mess,  I do it once and make many meals.  The patties are frozen into meal sized packages and any odd patties are frozen for lunches or single serves.

*  Hamburger patties -  I season bulk amounts of fresh beef mince and use a hamburger press to portion the patties out.  Some are eaten that night and the rest of the raw patties are frozen with plastic cereal packet squares in between to make them easy to separate.

*  Tuna pasta bake - I cook up all the ingredients and assemble it in casserole dishes.  Add the cheese on top.  One is baked in the oven to eat that night and the others are frozen to be baked at a later date.

*  Sausage casserole - I cook it in bulk in 1 or 2 slow cookers ( at a time ).  It is portioned into casserole dishes and frozen.  When we eat it I cook mash or rice to serve on the side.

*  Soups - This is an easy one to bulk cook.  Just keep adding lots of veggies to the pot.  We eat it for dinner that night and freeze the rest into family and single sized portions.

*  Zucchini slice - Just cook large slabs of it and cut into squares to freeze.  This is great to add to salad in Summer or meat and veg in Winter.

*  Meatloaf -  Prepare the raw mince as per recipe and portion into meal sized tins and cook.  Cool the meatloaf and take out of the tin.  Slice and double wrap in plastic / foil and freeze  

 

Chunky chicken and veg soup

Beef stew and soup

Sausage casserole portioned to freeze

Slabs of zucchini slice

Cooking sausage casserole in bulk

Hamburger patties

Chicken curry meals

What meals do you bulk cook ?


Wednesday, 11 May 2022

20 Groceries We Don't Buy And The Cheap / Free Alternatives - Part 2

 The supermarket is filled with brightly colored packaging,  designed to catch your eye.  Before you know it that grocery item is in your trolley and you wondered how you ever lived without it.   Chances are your parents and grandparents managed just fine without it .

The next time you go shopping,  have a look at what you are buying.  Are you buying mostly whole foods or processed foods ?  Are you working long hours to pay for your expensive grocery bill ?

Here are another 20 grocery items we DON'T buy and how to save money on them -

Microwave rice pouches -  They are so expensive compared to buying a bag of rice.  Some are flavoured but I don't need flavoured rice when the rest of the meal is tasty.  I cook extra rice and freeze.

Creamy pasta packets - I've make my own with pasta,  milk,  butter,  flour and seasonings.

Marinated meat.-  It never tastes as good as it looks. I use ingredients like soy,  honey,  garlic and herbs.

Herbs and spices in little jars - I buy in bulk from a herb and spice wholesaler.  Extremely cheap.

Sweetened condensed milk - I make my own from butter,  sugar,  water and milk powder.  The recipe I use makes 2 tins worth for less than the price of one.

Evaporated milk - I don't have recipes that use it.  If I did I'd make it from milk powder and water.

Fresh herbs in plant form or pastes -  I use dried or grow a few.

Iced tea - If I wanted it I would make it from a teabag,  water,  sugar and a squeeze of fruit.

Porridge sachets - I make porridge from quick oats.  If I need flavour I can add cinnamon,  brown sugar,  maple syrup or dried / tinned fruit.

Avocado / grapeseed / almond / peanut / coconut oil etc etc - I use rice bran oil for cooking and baking.  It's cheap compared to the fancy oils.

Bread flour - I use plain generic flour.

Salad dressings - I only buy balsamic glaze.  A little bit goes a long,  long way.

Tinned veggies - I only buy corn ( for soup ),  tomatoes ( in case my harvest is poor ) and beetroot.  Fresh is cheaper for other veggies

Salad kits -  We grow some of our own salad ingredients and buy the rest as whole foods and make the salad ourselves.    Cheaper and fresher.

Serviettes -  We just don't eat sloppy food to need serviettes ( except for hamburgers with dripping sauce or tacos ).  The rare times we do eat takeaway we are always given too many serviettes.  Those that are not used are brought home for when we do need them.  It seems like a waste to throw them out.

Pancake shakers -  I make pancakes from scratch using milk,  eggs and flour.  How easy and cheap is that?  I think we've only bought them once or twice as a treat when the girls were little and we were on holidays.

Meal kits - They are just too expensive and you still need to add meat and veg.   Just use the herbs and spices you already have and add your own ingredients.

Rice cream in tins - I make creamed rice with rice,  sugar and milk.  My recipe would make four times the amount in a tin for the same price.

Meals in a can -  If we were camping people we might buy them.  I remember doing a tv story years ago where the husband liked spag bol meat sauce in a tin.  I didn't even know you could buy it in a tin.  I showed the family how to make a big pot of meat sauce for the same price.  All you need is mince,  tinned tomatoes,  Italian herbs and tomato paste

Frozen potato chips -  I never understood their appeal.  I think they have an artificial taste about them and I've been served a variety of brands over the years.  I have a Nicer Dicer and a chip machine ( present ) that makes chips in just a minute or two including seasoning.  Since buying an air fryer this is how we cook them.   They are a healthier option too.

 

I buy herbs / spices in bulk and fill my own jars

homemade pancakes

Picking our own lettuce

Do you  make and bake from scratch as much as possible ?

How many of these items do you make cheaper ?


Wednesday, 4 May 2022

20 Groceries We Don't Buy And The Cheap / Free Alternatives - Part 1

 We are all battling rising grocery prices right now.  In recent years it's never been tougher to feed our families and still keep control of the food budget.

Sometimes we buy certain groceries just because we always have.  Maybe we didn't know we could make them from multipurpose ingredients.

Below are 20 groceries we don't buy either because we don't need them or make them from scratch.  This saves us so much money each month yet we still eat well and don't feel like we are missing out.


Brown sugar - I make my own with white sugar and molasses

Castor sugar - I grind white sugar in the food processor

Bread crumbs - I make my own using bread crusts.  FREE.

Jam - I make my own from fruit we grow.

Recipe bases - I make my own from basic ingredients ( I do buy Massaman beef curry base )

Muffin / cake / biscuit packet mixes - I make my own from flour,  sugar,  milk,  butter,  eggs etc.

Ready made cakes / biscuits / muffins -  Same as above

Grated cheese / slices - I grate and slice my own.  I add corn flour to grated cheese to prevent sticking.

Yoghurt - I make my own in an Easiyo maker.  I do buy natural yoghurt as a starter to portion and freeze.

Custard in box / packet / tub - I make my own from eggs,  milk,  corn flour and sugar or use custard powder.

Cordial - I make my own 50 / 50 cordial in Summer from lemons we grow and oranges bought cheap in Winter and froze.

Soft drink - We just don't need it and drink tea or water

Pasta salad / potato salad - I make my own for a fraction of the price.

Chunky tinned soups -  I make my own.  Here's the recipe   SOUP

Liquid stock - I make my own in the slow cooker with bones.  FREE

Fancy meat rubs / salts - I use the herbs and spices I already have.

Freezer meals - I freeze my own leftovers.

Bottled water - Our tap water is one of the best in the world.  We bottle it ourselves pretty much for free.

Pasta sauce - I use a tin of tomatoes ( the cheapest ) and add my own seasonings and tomato paste.

Chicken sauces like honey mustard etc- I make my own from scratch.  Here's the recipe CHICKEN 

.

Blueberry muffins

Homemade hot cross buns

choc chip biscuits

Freezer meals ( leftovers )

Making yoghurt


How many of these groceries can you do without or make yourself ?

Saturday, 30 April 2022

I'm Taking Time Off And Need Prayer

 Just letting you know I'll be taking time off from blog writing for a little while.

We have a family member seriously ill in hospital and for the last week we've been spending time there.   This family member has been a prayer warrior for thousands of people over a lifetime but now they can't pray for them self.  

If you believe in the power of prayer could I please ask that you pray for them ? If you belong to a prayer chain / group or know of one in your church could you please pray ?  . 

We don't know what the future holds, but we do know that God holds the future.  We are hanging on to that.

Over the next 5 weeks you'll see my Wednesday blog post come up here and on Facebook.  I've been busy writing ahead of time but didn't know why I needed to.  Now I do.

PLEASE PRAY


If you already know who is sick could I please ask that you don't put any names here or on Facebook.      My family needs privacy right now.      Thankyou



Wednesday, 27 April 2022

23 Cleaning Products We Don't Buy And The Cheap / Free Alternatives

 As you probably know,  I've been a domestic cleaner for over 23 years and cleaning my own home for 26 years.  I've tried just about every product available in that time with varying results.  Sure,  they might work but I'm not impressed with the fumes,  cost and environmental impact.  

If you came to visit my home you'll find it clean at all times.  I don't use anything fancy and in the list below you'll see a reoccurring product or two that I DO use.  It's super cheap too.  Infact,  it costs me 99 cents per bottle and lasts almost 2 years.  Can you guess what it is ?

Here are 23 cleaning items I DO NOT BUY -

Foaming hand wash / liquid hand soap - I use a bar of soap or make foaming hand wash from cheap shower gel / shampoo.

Kitchen sponges - I knit my own or use old face washers.

Fabric softener - I just don't need it.  Vinegar is a cheap alternative.

Dishwasher air fresheners - I clean the dishwasher once a month with bi carb and vinegar and clean the seals and filters with dishwashing liquid

Bin Liners - I use bread bags and shopping bags FREE

Window cleaner - I use a microfibre cloth ( or any cloth ) and water.  If needed,  I use vinegar

Toilet cleaner -  I use diluted dishwashing liquid in a spray bottle and a cloth ( washed afterwards )

Disinfectant wipes - I use disinfectant sprayed on an old cloth / face washer.

Shower cleaner - I use diluted dishwashing liquid and a scourer.  Mould killer is used once every few months.

Air freshener - I use cooled boiled water and lavender water / essential oils in a spray bottle

Toilet bowl fresheners / blocks - I just keep my toilets clean

Floor cleaner - I use a dash of vinegar and dishwashing liquid in hot water.

Clothes washing disinfectant - I just put a squirt of regular disinfectant into the wash if clothes are smelly.

Surface spray - I use diluted dishwashing liquid in a spray bottle.  ALMOST FREE

Stainless steel cleaner / wipes -  I use diluted dishwashing liquid in a bottle and a cloth.  Buff dry

Oven cleaner - I wipe the ovens out on a regular basis with diluted dishwashing liquid.  I also use a little bi carb and vinegar on spills and a magic eraser on the doors.

Kettle de scaler  - I use citric acid and fill the kettle up then boil. ALMOST FREE

Grout brushes - These damage the grouting over time.  I use old toothbrushes FREE

Vanilla fridge spray - I clean the fridge out with soapy water and remove yucky food.  I put lids on all containers with leftovers.

Carpet spot stain remover - I use dishwashing liquid or Miracle Spray on a microfibre cloth

Laundry powder / liquid - I make my own with laundry soap,  bi carb and washing soda

Dishwasher rinse aid. - I just pour white vinegar into the rinse aid dispenser.  It seems to work fine for me and I've been using it for years.

Washing machine cleaner -  I use Epsom salts and run the machine on a long,  hot wash.  This piece of advice was given to my Mum by a washing machine repair man over 40 years ago.  



What cleaning products do you do without ?

Saturday, 23 April 2022

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 23rd April 2022

 We had a lovely yet busy Easter at the Gower Abundant Cottage.  The girls ( plus a couple of friends ) and grandbabies came to church with us.  Luka and Bryson enjoyed an Easter egg hunt after church on Sunday.  Bryson wasn't sure what to do but Luka knew all about Easter eggs.

Darren worked most days at the hospital but enjoyed Good Friday morning and Easter Sunday off.  On Saturday I had a lovely craft day with Cath and Hannah from The Cheapskates Club.  We made lots of greeting cards,  talked lots and enjoyed lots of good food and cups of tea. 

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

*  Baked pumpkin scones using cooked pumpkin from the freezer.  These scones were eating for morning / afternoon teas,  taken to the card making day and some were given to Jessica as a homemade treat.

*  Fed the compost bin every second day with kitchen scraps.

*  Luka ( our 3 year old grandson ) and I planted more sprouting potatoes into our veggie garden.

*  Made up a bottle of shower cleaner and bench spray using diluted dishwashing liquid.

*  Picked beans,  pears and raspberries from our garden.

*  Baked choc chip biscuits using dough I'd made a month ago and frozen.

*  Made lots of Christmas cards using recycled old Christmas cards.

*   Gratefully received apples and bay leaves from a cleaning client.  I have the leaves hanging up side down to dry.  I don't think I'll need to buy any for years to come.

*  Picked a bunch of Chrysanthemums from the garden to brighten up the kitchen table at my parent's place.  I also picked a bunch for our kitchen bench.  They look so cherry and sunny.

*  Darren and I made 2 dozen hot cross buns from scratch.  We used the pears I grew and dried as one of the dried fruits in the recipe.  Next year I hope to added apples I've dried myself.  Some of the buns were eaten fresh,  a few given to my parents and the rest went into the freezer.

*  Picked spinach from the garden and added it to the spag bol sauce.  By doing this it gave us 3 serves instead of 2.  Bonus lunch for me.  

*  Darren cleaned out the chicken coop and put the old straw into the compost bin.

Chrysanthemums from our garden 

Homemade hot cross buns.




If anyone is interested,  I'm selling hand knitted dishcloths / face washers.  Below are two of the many colors I have available.  Please check out my Facebook pages for more details.



Did you enjoy your Easter break ?

How have you saved money recently ?

Wednesday, 20 April 2022

Reusing Doilies

I must admit,  I'm a fan of doilies and have used them around my home under vases,  lamps and frames for almost 25 years.  With the latest trends being minimalist,  doilies seem to be disappearing from view.  

Here are a few ways you can make the most of doilies in a delightful way - 


*  Doilies make delightful ' hats '  for jars of jam.

*  A doily bunting is a pretty and eco friendly way to decorate a room or table for a party.

*  An old fragile doily can be given a new lease on life mounted in a picture frame.  Make sure the background cardboard / paper has enough color to help the doily stand out.

*  Do you like a display of soap in your bathroom ?  Stand the soap up on end and wrap a doily around the soaps.  Threading ribbon or twine through the doily holes will keep the soaps together.

*  Doilies can be used as the outer layer of a lavender sachet.

*  Made delicate bowls and dishes by mixing PVA glue with a little water.  Turn a glass bowl upside down and rub a little Vaseline or oil over the surface.  Cover the bowl with your chosen doily.  Brush on the glue mixture until completely cover.  Allow a couple of hours to dry then peel the doily off.

Doily bunting for my birthday.


Do you use doilies in your home ?

If so,  how do you use them ?


Wednesday, 13 April 2022

How Much Food Did We Grow In 2021 ?

 Over the years we've relied more and more on what our veggie garden can produce to keep food on the table.  Now with rising grocery prices,  it has never been more important to grow as much as we can.

Our veggie garden consists of  2 main beds that measure  1.5m  x  3.0m.  We also have a raised garden bed that a family member no longer wanted.  It measures  0.9m x 2.7m.  Our backyard is not huge by any stretch of the imagination but we do have a small home on a 617m2  block.

We have fruit trees dotted around our backyard that we planted in 2014.  Our raspberry patch grows up the side of a garden shed and our grape vine grows along our fence. 

The costs for maintaining the garden are very minimal.  Most of the seeds bought cost about $2 - $3  each a packet and some will last us more than two years ( or two growing seasons ).  Some packets of seeds are given to us as presents.  My Dad usually gives us tomato plants each Spring and we give him spinach and zucchini seedlings.

We don't buy compost but make our own with all our kitchen and garden scraps.  The compost bins did cost money but they have lasted us many years.  

Garden stakes are bought every 5 years or so and garden ties are made from old cut up socks.  Occasionally we water the plants with Seasol and sprinkle pet friendly snail bait.  Other than that we don't use any pesticide sprays or powders.

Below is a listing or what we grew last year and the yields.  Some items were hard to keep a track of so estimates were used.

Sweet corn - 10 kg

Raspberries - 5.10 kg

Zucchinis - 3 kg ( we planted too late )

Tomatoes - 5.0 kg

Potatoes - 40.80 kg

Bush Beans - 4.7 kg

Lemons - 9.0 kg

Strawberries - 2.50 kg

Grapes - zero.  Too much rain and the birds had a feed while we were away.

Feijoas - 0.50 kg.  We'd pruned the tree the year before so it's still recovering

Pears - 8.0 kg

Mandarins - zero but the trees are young

Plums - 4.70 kg

Apricots 3.0 kg

Cherries - zero.  Too much rain that the fruit split and tiny insects are a problem

Broccoli - 2.50 kg

Lettuce - zero.  I think the seeds are a little old

Silverbeet - 3.50 kg probably more as we picked it all year

Cauliflower - 1.50 kg.  Will not be growing again

Sugar snap peas - 0.90 kg


The total amount of food we grew in 2021 is  104.5 kg.  Putting a monetary value on the food depends on how much it costs in the supermarket.  Prices generally vary from $3 to $9 a kilo with feijoas topping at $30kg and raspberries topping at about $40 a kilo.  So here are a few costings to give you an idea of how much we saved -

$3 per kg  x  104.5kg  =  $313.50 saved

$4 per kg  x  104.5kg  = $418.00  saved

$5 per kg  x  104.5kg  =  $522.50  saved

$6 per kg  x  104.5kg  =  $627.00 saved

$7 per kg  x  104.5kg  =  $731.50  saved

$8 per kg  x  104.5kg  =  $836.00  saved

$9 per kg  x  104.5kg  =  $940.50  saved

Was it worth growing our own ?  You'd better believe it.  Yes we saved money but most importantly we ate fruit and veggies fresher than any supermarket or green grocer can offer us.  They are also chemical free.

Do you keep track of how much you grow ?

Are you inspired to start growing your own ?


                                                         From Our garden









Our 2 veggie garden beds.


Saturday, 9 April 2022

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 9th April 2022

 Our free time this week has been spent in the garden just pottering around and enjoying the fresh air.  The weather has been lovely and mild with cool mornings.  We've had our doors wide open to let the fresh air into our home.  No need for artificial air fresheners,  just the great outdoors.

Here's what we got up to when we were not busy with work -

*  Planted broccoli seeds and seedlings.

*  Planted a few sprouting potatoes from our pantry into the veggie garden.

*  Picked pears and beans from the garden.

*  Made chunky chicken and veggie soup.  I used stock I'd made and frozen last year and zucchini and potatoes from our garden.  There were other veggies added too.  The soup was enough for 2 dinners for 2 people and a lunch for 1.

*  Used a few leftover Christmas candy canes to make minty Easter chocolates.  Our grandson Luka had fun helping with the eating and sprinkling of the chopped candy canes.

*  Dried another batch of pears from our garden in the dehydrator.

*  Dried the washing on clothes horses outside.  The sky looked like there was rain coming so clothes horses were the best bet.

*  Saved washing machine water,  rinse water and drink bottle water to reuse around our home.

*  We bought potatoes for the first time in 10 months ( we've been growing our own ).  We picked up 2 x 2.25kg bags of potatoes one was reduced to $3.60 ( from memory ) and the other was $1.60.  The $1.60 bag went through the register as $7 so we got it for free.

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

Dehydrating more pears

A few Easter decorations

Our Easter tree

Drying the washing



                 More photos from the Melbourne Flower Show








Have you enjoyed the great outdoors this week ?

How have you saved money this week ?