Saturday 19 March 2022

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 19th March 2022

 It has been a very busy and tiring week in the Gower Abundant Cottage.  Darren started a new job Saturday last week.  His job is in health and he been working at different locations in our area.  At the moment we are walking by faith because Darren doesn't know when the next shift is available until the day before.  Still,  we are blessed he's had over 40 hours of work this week and the pay rate has been exceptional.

While Darren is taking every shift he can,  I've been cleaning some of the homes we usually do together.  I've been keeping our housework up to date and trying to spend a little time in the garden each day.  I'm gradually recovering from the chest infection I caught 3 weeks ago.  Darren has now caught a cough but is soldering on.

We did treat ourselves to a dinner out on Monday night after Darren had worked a long shift and we both hadn't been well.  Other than that treat,  nothing has changed in our tight budget.  I still cook and bake from scratch,  still grow and freeze garden produce and everything is as thrifty as can be.

When we weren't working,  here's how we saved money -

*  We found cheap vegetable and flower seedlings at Bunnings on their clearance table.

*  Baked three loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  Baked shortbreads for our afternoon teas.  I also pulled out a few small whole orange cakes from the freezer to eat.  These were really handy on busy days.

*  Darren took a packed lunch for every day of work except the first day.  He wasn't sure what facilities would be available in a tea / staff room but he knew shops would be available for lunch.  He did take snacks etc on that first day.  His lunches have to be quick and easy to eat / prepare so he's been taking rolls,  a homemade pie,  fruit,  my baking and a bottle of water.

*  I bought 2 x 5 kilo bags of Basmati rice on a half price sale for $10 each.  As soon as I have room in the freezer I'll be freezing it to make sure any bugs that might be in there will not survive.  I usually freeze it for at least 3 - 4 days.

*  Fed the compost bin with kitchen scraps each day.

*  Picked pretty little iceberg roses for our kitchen.

*  Saved the shower warm up water,  washing machine water and kitchen waste water to reuse around our home and garden where we safely can do so.

*  Turned off as many appliances as possible over night.  This includes one of our landline phones,  tv / dvd player and doorbell.

*  Picked raspberries ( they are slowing down ),  green beans,  a few tomatoes,  corn and lots of pears.

Shortbread biscuits

Roses from our garden

Lots of pears from our tree,

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

I'm planning on writing a blog post soon about rising grocery costs.  I'd love to hear how much the price increases has effected you and your family.  Thanks.


  1. Hi Wendy always read your blogs each week and they are so inspiring. I live on my own and can manage financially as I am still working. I noticed this week that you said Darren had been working but “soldiered” on with a cough going in to this a good idea with COViD still circulating? I have tried to tell my daughter to read your blog to get some ideas.She spends so much money on food each week that is not necessary and wonders why she has no savings.i seem to help out a lot now with fuel and food prices so high.

    1. Darren just had a cough and took all safety precautions including medical grade masks, gloves and sanitisation. No one came close to him and he was extra careful.
      Why don't you send her the link to my blog and some of the grocery saving posts I've written over the years. If she is really concerned about rising prices she'll do something about it instead of relying on others to help pay her bills. Sometimes as mums we need to give some tough love for our children to learn.

  2. Like you I am trying to get as much as I can out of the groceries we buy. I am also trying to stock some easier to prepare foods because sometimes I am too tired and mum should be having surgery too. I am very uneasy about food at present. So every week I am buying some more of longer life foods that are on sale. In Australia we are fortunate that we have a huge array of food stuffs available to us but the war in the Ukraine is horrific and the Ukrainian people supply so many materials that are used in farming.

    I went to one of the local discount grocery stores. Some of the foods were an okay price but most were out of date and seriously I could buy better quality at around the same price at the green grocer around the corner.

    I have stayed away from my beloved fabric store. They had a sale and the effort to stay away was huge.

    I am stretching the petrol in the car. I was in an accident and the insurance policy has provided a hire car and I really missing our car because with the hire car I have no idea how much fuel in being used.

    God bless and may you and Darren stay safe.

  3. I love the line of pears along your windowsill, Wendy. Your iceberg roses are beautiful too. I hope both you and Darren get back to full health and energy soon.
    At our place, it's felt like a long and busy week so we are very much enjoying our weekend at home. Here's my list for the week:
    * made all meals except one at home - we hardly ever have takeaway but we did this week and chose pizzas where we got 30% off our order. Total was $25 and leftovers for lunch next day.
    * baked two slices, cut them up and froze them. Easy to take out pieces and put them in lunchbox where they defrost in time for morning tea.
    * made different salads to have for lunch earlier in the week and then sandwiches later in the week.
    * used $20 Rewards Dollars + monthly 10% off our supermarket shop when I did grocery shop this week.
    * got fruit and veg from local greengrocer this week and looked for fruit under $3per kg to buy. Got pears and a bag of small apples.
    * received a craft book through our local Buy Nothing Group. I'm really looking forward to reading it:)
    * dried all our washing out in the sunshine. Tipped shower warm up water into the wash machine.
    * ordered some vanilla pods to make homemade vanilla essence. Some of this will be decanted into empty bottles and given as gifts when it's ready later in the year.
    * combined errands to save on fuel.
    * made up a gift for a friend from items I already had in my present box. I wrapped it in saved tissue paper and tied it with embroidery thread instead of ribbon.

    In terms of rising prices, I am noticing this at the grocery store and the petrol bowser. I have a longer drive to work and back three days a week and so it is costing a lot more to fill my car. I am planning 2-3 meat-free meals each week to try to keep grocery costs reasonable.


  4. hope Darren's job goes well best wishes

  5. Still under the weather with an infected toe drowning in expenses but when the other option is amputation its money well spent to try and save it.

    # Bought 2 marked down cauliflowers for $2 each cooked them with some peas put in white sauce and froze in portions will last us the month.

    # Coles had spuds marked down to $1.40 a 2 kile bag. Pumpkin was marked down So i boiled and mashed a bag of spuds and the pumpkin and froze in portions, turned 1 bag into scalloped potatos and again froze them in portions.

    # bought reduced apples for $1.29 a kilo mum likes them grated, some i cooked and some were juiced.

    # Mum wanted a lamb roast and its one thing i hate buying due to price but i fluked one at coles for $14 still eating it in salads and sandwiches.

    # Watering the 2 litre juices down 500 mls of water honestly if you give it a good shake you cant tell the difference.

    # Finally found some stew meat at a good price the bit of fat i cut off is frozen and when i have enough i will render it for dripping.

    # shopped carefully buying mostly specials bought a few cake and desert mixes on sale as works out cheaper than scratch cooking.

    # one way i'm saving is instead of buying tinned fruit i buy fresh and cook then freeze, I put the scraps and peels into water and get flavored water rather than buying drinks.

    # I am really price watching it was cheaper to get mums tissues at the chemist on special. Her cream was $3 cheaper buying from Chemist Warehouse which was like a 3 minute walk.

    # used tea bags made tea water for my ferns. vegie scraps went into the soil food scraps went to feed my friends dog

    #Lastly bought 6 beautiful new cup and saucers for $6 at savers 3 dinner plates and a skirt cost me 12$ after discount i was so happy.

    Be happy Be healthy and with what is happening in the world today be thankful we are so blessed. Take care enjiy the rest of the weekend Leanne.

  6. Dear Wendy, even a single person living in Sydney (now more expensive than cities around the world) I am struggling. I have no support other than mum who's near me, I can't move back with her as she's 76 and will sell her home soon and downsize . Because of my health professionals I don't want to move cities either
    I'm not able to work because of my health and on disability pension. Wonderful to hear of Darren's new job !!
    It means I have to live on only $250 a week after rent. That's before bills. And running a car. Petrol has gone through the roof. Im not a big meat eater and prefer fish so that's a blessing. I eat a lot of fruit and veg. But even those have risen so much. The price of milk, eggs, bread all up. I always take my lunch anywhere I go. Even hard boiled eggs are a good filling snack for me.
    Dont know how a family would cope in this economy. I suspect very hard. Sonia

  7. Hi Wendy, I was just re-reading your $300 a month grocery challenge post over at the cheapskates club and thinking about the $2 dinners and if I could still make them for that price. I'm looking forward to your post on rising food costs (it's very timely). I feel for my family of 5, food costs have significantly increased - I haven't noticed it so much with meat as I'm able to access reasonable bulk meat prices, but definitely with fresh fruit & veg (that we eat a lot of) so will be planting a winter garden. I noticed my kids bread has increased from $3.40 a loaf to $3.90 so will be making bread from scratch now that I've been able to source bulk flour (I live rurally). Melissa

    1. Hi Melissa. Were the $2 dinners mine or someone else's from the menu archives ? I would suspect they would cost a little more these days.
      Baking your own bread is much cheaper than $3.90 a loaf and you can add lots of goodies that they won't notice.

  8. * DD2 (10) went with a friend and her Mum to a theme park. They had discount tickets. (Saving us 4 going and spending more on 4 full price tickets.) The Mum was happy that she now didn't have to go on all the rides with her daughter (daughter is 8 and really slim, Mum is .. not. No judgment, just an obvervation; it would make it hard for Mum to fit in the rides).
    * DD2 is a new member of a theatre group, which unfortunately had to cancel their performance due to covid. They have restarted their social activities, which included a 'movie day' where they showed their older performances. The entry fee was 'a snack to share', drinks were provided. The snack dd brought was something we were given, but already knew we were not fond of. We hardly ever throw anything away; usually an opportunity to use it up or pass it on comes along.
    * leftover bits of pasta sauce, really small amounts of 2 types of pasta, some leftover fried fennel, a discounted proper-brand veggie stock cube, and water became a tasty not-quite-minestrone soup for me for 2 lunches.
    * any cut-off pieces of veg are fed to the guinea pigs (only the good bits, like the green from carrots, cauliflower leaves, and such. Not nasty bits).
    * husband has been working from the office more and more. He's in IT, and has to help with the merger of 2 banks; he has to visit 3 offices regularly to attach computers, telephones, meeting room set-ups, etc. I have made him a lunchbox most days. He's happy to eat sandwiches every day, and will eat them if I prepare them, otherwise he will go out and buy some at a ridiculous price, because he will just buy what he fancies, not looking at the price.
    * I freeze all leftovers that can be frozen; I have lots of tiny plastic boxes. Once in a while I will cook up a sauce or a soup that contains all of their contents.


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