Saturday 30 July 2022

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 30th July 2022

 Our weather in Melbourne continues to be cold.  I'm just busting to get outside for more than 5 minutes as there's so much to do in the garden.  I also have a few upcycling projects I want to complete that involves spray painting and slightly warmer weather.  The waiting is the hard part.

Here's how we filled our week - 

*  Filled up the thermos with boiling water first thing in the morning when making our breakfast cuppas.  The thermos is used throughout the day and reduces the need to boil the kettle by 2 or 3 times.

*  Grated a 1 kilo block of cheese.  I portioned it into 4 containers,  added a teaspoon of corn flour to prevent sticking and gave them a good shake.  Three containers went into the freezer and one into the fridge.  By doing this I avoid any wastage or spoilage.

*  Baked 3 loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  Darren used homemade biscuit dough from the freezer to bake choc chip biscuits for morning teas.

*  Gratefully received flour,  sugar,  potatoes,  tea bags and bread baking ingredients and tools from various people.  We feel so blessed that people think of us when they have excess.

*  Darren applied for the $250 government energy rebate.  This will greatly reduce our Winter heating bill.

*  Carefully scraped out a peanut butter jar. '  Someone ' thought it was empty but I was able to get enough for another piece of toast. 

*  Used the blank side of photocopy / printer paper to write notes and shopping lists.  I cut the A4 paper in half and this gives me a good sized piece of paper for all sorts of uses.  It's been well over 20 years since I've bought a notepad.

*  I bought a pastry / turnover maker from Woolworths on clearance using Woolworths rewards money I had on my card.  A free present I've put away for someone I have in mind in 2023.

*  Fed bread crusts,  sunflower seeds ( gifted ) and grass to the chickens.  In return I collected 4 eggs this week.

*  Most of my lunches this week were chunky chicken and veg soup I made and froze a week ago.  Each serve costs about 20 cents.  You can get much cheaper or nutritious than that.

*  Darren pruned all our fruit trees.  This encourages new growth and more fruit come Spring and Summer.


 Wholemeal bread with extra goodness

Choc chip bickies ( cookies )

Chunky chicken and veggie soup

                                                        In the back garden

Cutting up old socks for garden ties

Are you waiting patiently for the next season to come ?

What was on your frugal list this week ?


Saturday 23 July 2022

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 23rd July 2022

 Some weeks are not as thrifty as others.  It's not because I'm lazy or can't be bothered,  it's because all the thrifty tasks are up to date and there's nothing left to do.  

I write down all my thrifty tasks as I complete them.  This week I got to Thursday and my list had 4 tasks written down.  Other weeks,  I'm a powerhouse on Saturday,  Sunday and Monday with an impressive list to share.  Oh well,  it all balances out in the end.

I will say that this week I had a few weak moments.  I'll confess that I did use my clothes dryer to dry a few loads of washing.  On those days I was so busy and tired that throwing just about everything into the dryer was the easiest option.  Also,  the really cold weather played havoc with my hands and I couldn't face using clothes pegs on the clothes horses.

Here's my smaller thrifty list for the week -

*  Fed the compost bin with kitchen scraps.  Come Spring time Darren will be emptying the compost bins onto our veggie garden.  We haven't bought compost or garden soil in many,  many years.

*  Fed bread crusts,  grass and weeds to the chickens.

*  Made another batch of soap.  This batch is a men's one that smells like Cool Water Aftershave.  Darren loves the fragrance and even Megan said she'd use it.

*  Gratefully received a bunch of flowers and some lemons from a cleaning client.  She's also a long time blog reader.

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

*  Dried some washing on the line when we had a mild day on Friday.

*  Made up a bottle of surface spray with dishwashing liquid and cooled,  boiled water.  I use this to do most of the cleaning around our home.  That's why I make one every 2 weeks.

*  Froze all meal leftovers.  Nothing goes to waste in our home.  Leftovers are eaten for dinners ( only ) on very busy days.

*  Recharged mobile phones,  battery banks,  shaver,  the cordless stick vacuum and other electronics during the day when the sun was shining on our solar panels.  We are hoping to see a small change in our power bill because of this.   

*  Shredded lots of paper using a paper shredder my Dad gave me early this year. The paper will be used in our chicken coop or compost bins.

/Flowers from a friend

Shredding paper

Beef mince pasta bake

Cool Water ( type ) men's soap.

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

Do you have slow thrifty weeks at times ?

Wednesday 20 July 2022

Beef Mince Pasta Bake

 Here is a very tasty,  simple and most importantly CHEAP main meal recipe that is a family favourite.   Any veggies you have on hand can be used.  We always use what's in season or what needs using up in the fridge. 

This pasta bake also transports well.  Assemble in the casserole dish and bake at your destination or cook before travelling and just reheat.

250 g of beef mince
300g of cooked spiral pasta ( any shape will do, we like spiral )
1 tin of condensed tomato soup 
1/2 tin of water
2 – 3 cups of vegetables -  broccoli, cauliflower, corn, beans, mushrooms, carrots,  celery  etc
seasonings - salt, pepper, garlic, onion, chives or parsley. I use dried herbs
grated cheese

While pasta and beef mince is cooking, cut up vegies into small pieces and cook in microwave for 6 mins.
In a very large bowl, mix soup, water and seasonings.
Add the cooked  pasta, beef mince and vegies to the soup and stir well
Pour into a large oblong casserole dish and top with grated cheese.
Cook in oven at 180c for 40 mins until cheese is starting to brown

Serve with mash or toast. Serves 4 - 6 people

Saturday 16 July 2022

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 16th July 2022

I never know how my thrifty week will look.  There are so many ways to save money that no week is ever the same.  We sure do get variety in the Gower Abundant Cottage.

Here's is my thrifty list -

*  Picked large spinach leaves from the garden to put in a chicken and veggie flan.  The veggies were leftover from dinner the night before.

*  Made a big pot of chunky chicken and veg soup from stock I'd made in the slow cooker.  The chicken used was  1.7kg that I purchased on clearance for $3.40.  So far I've stretched that chicken for 23 serves.

*  Used recycled bread bags as bin liners for our bathroom bin.  

*  Pulled up the last of my eyeliner from the retractable tube to get every last bit.

*  Picked lemons from our tree.

*  Sold an 80's style snow suit / overalls on Marketplace.   They were mine when I was about 15 years old.  

*  Filled the thermos with boiling water each day and used it for our cuppas or dinner preparations.

*  Made a car air freshener with cotton balls and essential oils.

*  Cleaned  / descaled the kettle with citric acid.  It always amazes me how clean it looks afterwards.

*  Baked three loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  Baked two chocolate brownies at the same time by doubling the recipe.  I have two functions I'm helping to cater for over the next couple of weeks so it was easy to get them done this way.  I'll be freezing them until needed.  Once baked I popped the bread in the oven while it was still hot.

*  Picked up a few meat bargains at the supermarket.  The crumbed steaks in the picture below wouldn't scan so a staff member put it through for me.  She accidently put it through for $1 instead of $1.80 and looked at and said " oh well ".

*  Saved washing machine water,  shower warm up water and water from our drink bottles to reuse where possible.

*  Reused saved plastic from bunches of flowers to wrap a birthday present.  The bow in the picture below is made from a cut up sheer curtain purchased from a op shop years ago.

The mandarins are almost ready

The broccoli is growing

We are picking spinach for our meals

Presents with recycled wrapping and bows

Meat bargains

A little bit of color in the garden

Here's the link to my chocolate brownie recipe     Chocolate brownie

Here's the link to my chunky chicken and veg soup    Chunky chicken and veg soup

Here's the link to my bread recipe    Wholemeal bread with extra goodness

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

Wednesday 13 July 2022

10 Inflation Beating Tips

We are all very aware than increasing inflation around the world is making it hard for people to pay for for their basic living needs.  Salary increases ( if you get one ) are not keeping up with the rate of inflation and many people are forced to choose between eating or heating. 

These 10 inflation beating tips could help you to pay the next bill or lesson the impact of rising prices on your family's budget. 

*  Ring around or do an internet search for a better deal on all your insurances.  We've found that it doesn't pay to be loyal to the same company year in,  year out.   Increase your excess to reduce the premium but please make sure you have that excess amount set aside in an emergency account in case you need it. 

*  Visit your local op shop for clothes,  homewares,  bedding,  toys and gifts.  Find out if your local op shop has a concession / seniors / student discount day,  sale day or offers discount vouchers when you donate.  Over the last 5+ years I've helped both my girls fit out their kitchens with casserole dishes,  coffee mugs,  baking items,  cutlery,  tea pots,  pasta bowls,  utensils and containers at bargain prices.  Most items were new or near new and a classic look so they won't date.

*  Grow a veggie garden.  With floods,  wars,  illness and petrol prices increasing food prices and reducing availability,  it has never been more important to grow your own.  Everyone can grow something and if space is an issue,  even a few herbs or lettuce in  a pot on a ledge,  windowsill or balcony will save you money.  

*  Use up what you already have.  We all have wardrobes full of clothes,  bathroom cupboards with half used makeup / toiletries and a pantry with forgotten about food fads.  Resist the urge to buy more until you use these things up.

*  Mend your clothes.  Sewing on a button or mending  a split seam is quite simple and doesn't require any great skill.  You could save big dollars by threading a needle and making a few stitches.

* Repair your furniture if it needs it.  A screw or nail added in the right place could mean the difference between keeping or replacing.  Does your piece of furniture look out of date ?  Then maybe a coat of paint could be the answer.    Have a look on Marketplace or local Zero Waste Freebie Facebook pages if you really need something. 

*  Ditch the takeaways / meal subscriptions /  home deliveries.    They are luxuries that should be eliminated from your budget especially if you are struggling to make ends meet.   If you have trouble getting food on the table at night then dig out your slow cooker in the morning and throw some frozen veggies,  cut up meat ( or not ),  seasonings and a liquid.  Simple.  We all have the same 24 hours in a day and taking 10 minutes in the morning to put the slow cooker on is all you need.

*  Swap excess items for something you do need.  Maybe you are having a bumper crop in your veggie garden.  Swap this for other foods,  household items,  more plants or a service like a simple home repair.  Ask around your friends and family or put an ad on Facebook Buy,  Swap,  Sell.  I did this when I needed glass coffee jars for my pantry.  I swapped them for handmade greeting cards and had many offers.  I even had a return ' customer '.

*  Don't look at what other people have.  Fads come and go and in the end,  op shops will be flooded with unwanted items.   I see bread machines,  waffle makers,  chocolate fountains and Tupperware in abundance at my local op shops on a VERY regular basis.  Be happy with what you have and more importantly,  use that saved money to pay a bill or put extra food in your pantry.

*  Keep a healthy food,  cleaning and toiletry stockpile at all times.  For example,  buying 4 bottles of dishwashing liquid at 99 cents a bottle is far better than paying $1,  $1.10,  $1.20 and $1.30 each time you run out.  Use this trick for every item you buy to save a substantial amount of money.  Also,  when certain items are out of stock on the supermarket shelves,  use your stockpile until the item is available again.   Then replenish what you used.


Op shopping is awesome

Coffee jars received from a swap.

Coffee jars turned into kitchen cannisters

Marketplace find for $40

My makeover

Op shop buys for my girl's kitchens.

What are your best inflation beating tips ?

Saturday 9 July 2022

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 9th July 2022

Melbourne gave us a couple of days of delightful sunshine and milder weather.  I enjoyed some time outside pruning,  weeding,  pulling wayward grass and checking over the broccoli crop for caterpillars ( just a couple were munching away ).  The sun certainly lifts my spirits when we are in the middle of Winter.

Here's what I got up to this week -  

*  Baked three loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  Baked lots of choc chip biscuits for our morning / afternoon teas.  I used dough I'd made and frozen a few months ago.

*  Fed lots of bread crusts,  weeds and grass to the chickens.

*  Made up a bottle of surface spray with diluted dishwashing liquid and cooled boiled water.

*  Used our solar lanterns at night time instead of turning on a lamp.

*  Made soap from scratch.  This is the first time in well over a year.  I went all out and added fragrance and color and  I'm so happy with the end result.  Now I need to wait 4 weeks for them to cure before I try it.

*  Collected 3 eggs this week.  We have one freeloading chicken and the other has been off the lay since Summer.    This is the reason why we have been feeding them more kitchen scraps instead of just chicken feed to help save money..

*  Poured all the little bottles of shampoo and conditioner ( from hotels ) into our big bottles in the shower.

*  Gratefully received lots of cooked bbq sausages leftover from an event.  I turned them into 2 pots of sausage casserole  

*  Dried the washing outside on clothes horses when the sun was shining.  

*  Saved drink bottle water and poured it on pot plants outside on our deck.

*  Megan came over and cooked 2 chicken dinners last night.  All the leftovers were portioned out into takeaway containers.  Megan took some home for herself and the rest went into my freezer.

*  Fed the compost bin with kitchen scraps and cardboard.

Handmade soap with swirls

Using them up.

Sausage casserole

Biscuit dough in the freezer

Choc chip biscuits

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

Wednesday 6 July 2022

A Hand Wash Tip

This savings tip comes from one of my cleaning clients.  Michelle has 2 little girls and showed me how she makes her liquid hand soap last a lot longer.

Michelle added a rubber band to the pump shaft on the bottle to limit how far the handle can be pushed down.   The pump still dispenses enough soap to wash hands,  just not the amount the manufacturers want you to use.

This easy savings tip could save you more than 50%  on the cost of liquid hand soap.

How about giving this a try ?

Saturday 2 July 2022

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 2nd July 2022

 The weather continues to be cold and overcast here in Melbourne.  13 degrees Celsius seems to be the ongoing temperature each day.  When the sun does come out,  I try to get out in the garden to brighten my day.

Here's how we saved money this week -

*  Donated some unwanted items to Savers and received a 20% off discount voucher.  I then used the voucher to buy a Christmas present and a much needed craft paper container.

*  Did lots of weeding in the garden and fed the weeds to the chickens.

*  When I was out shopping with my Mum,  we came across a Lincraft store ( material / craft shop ) that had a 50% everything in it's store.  I picked up a few crafting essentials,  towels for $5 each and a few coloring books for Luka and Bryson for Christmas / birthdays.

*  Took up the hems on 4 pairs of Jessica's trousers.

*  Baked and sold lots of chocolate choc chip muffins to a friend.

*  Diluted the shampoo and conditioner by 50%.

*  Darren combined a discount fuel voucher and an app to get 8 cents a litre off petrol when filling up our cars.  So far we haven't paid over $2 a litre for petrol.

* Made and sold a bottle of Miracle Spray to a friend.

*  Kept the heating vents closed in rooms we are not using on a regular basis.

*  Saved the washing machine rinse water and shower warm up water.  All of this is being poured back into the washing machine.

*  Closed the curtains as soon as the sun gets low in the sky.

*  Darren baked scones for a department meeting at church.  He served them with cream and my homemade raspberry jam.

*  Grated a 1 kilo block of cheese.  I added a little corn flour ( to stop it sticking together ) and gave each container a good  shake.  I stored one container in the fridge and the rest went into the freezer.  This eliminates any wastage.

*  Dried all the washing on clothes horses over a ducted heating vent in the main bathroom.  The only items that went into the dryer was Darren's work uniform ( needed the next morning ).

*  Turned off everything we could overnight to help lower our electricity bill.  We are trying to be more aware of when we use electricity and make the most of our solar panels.  If we notice a drop in our bill I'll let you know.

*  I made a thankyou card for the lovely medical professionals who looked after my Dad during his eye treatments over the last few years.  

Homemade scones

Handmade greeting card

Making Miracle Spray

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