Saturday, 22 July 2023

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 22nd July 2023

 We've had a busy week of work,  helping my Mum with her garden,  rearranging the laundry for a couple of new purchases ( photos below ),  a trip to the football,  food shopping,  church,  hosting an afternoon tea,  general housework  a sleepover for the grandsons and running errands.

Here's how we managed to save money even when we had a crazy busy week - 

*  Dried most of the washing over the ducted heating vents.

*  I 'needed' to get another Lego mat for our grandsons to play with.  Sharing one just wasn't working.  After doing some online research,  Kmart seemed to have the cheapest price.  So I went to my local store but found they were completely out of stock.  As I was looking through the toy section,  I came across Kmart's brand of mats.  They were much cheaper at $13 for a pack of  5 compared to the Lego brand at $10 each.  The boys loved the different colors and they are compatible with the Lego bricks.

*  Darren and I went to the football last Saturday with Luka and his Dad Kurt.  We took all our snacks and water bottles and only bought lunch.  If the weather had been a bit warmer than the 12 degrees Celsius  that day,  we would have packed salad rolls for lunch.

*  I baked ANZAC biscuits and choc chip biscuits using homemade dough from the freezer.  We took some to the football,  some were for a family afternoon tea the next day and the rest were for our lunch boxes during the week.

*  I saved the shower warm up water and drink bottle water and Darren used it for the pot plants outside. 

*  I did my monthly grocery shop on Monday and used the 10% off Everyday Rewards offer to save extra money.

*  Our laying chicken got a bit excited about the sun and slightly warmer weather we've had lately.  Over the last week and a bit she's decided to lay again and we've collected 6 eggs.

*  I turned the heater down to 19 degrees Celsius most days and when the sun was shining through the windows I turned it off completely.

*  We had family over for dinner on Sunday and I cooked a 1/2 leg of lamb.  The next day I made a big pot of veggie soup and used the last of the lamb meat.  This soup gave us 14 serves and the dinner gave us 4 serves.  In total we got 18 serves / meals with the meat costing just over $12.  That's 66 cents for each meal that included meat.

*  Darren fed the compost bin every couple of days with kitchen scraps.

*  I fed bread crusts,  weeds,  leftover watermelon and veggies to the chickens.  No food is wasted in our home.  It all has a purpose.

*  Portioned out and froze any leftover gravy from the roast lamb dinner.

*  Recently we bought a new washer and dryer which we stacked on top of each other.  This means I no longer have the same spot to put the ironing.  I needed a basket to place it in,  then stack it at the very top of the dryer.  I was about to go out and buy a new one,  but remembered I had a wicker basket in my shed that I was trying to sell on Marketplace.  It was our cat's first bed when she came to us as a kitten.  Now it's been repurposed in the laundry.

*  I used a $20 Concierge Rewards voucher from The Good Guys store to get a 4.2 litre of Omo laundry detergent for $17 ( full price is $37 ).  This works out cheaper than any branded laundry liquid even on sale in the supermarkets. 

*  I dug up a few potatoes and the last carrot from our garden.

Our potato patch.

In the garden
In the garden.

Luka and Bryson watching the new washing machine


Bryson is thrilled to 'help' Nanny.

Homemade biscuits.

Luka playing with the new mats

Compatible with Lego

The colors included.

I dug up our last carrot.

Are you on the look out for any great deals / discounts ?

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

Saturday, 15 July 2023

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 15th July 2023

 We've had some lovely mild, sunny days in Melbourne this week.  It was so mild that it felt like Autumn instead of the depths of Winter.  The curtains were flung open and the heater turned off to enjoy the free warmth.

Here's how we saved money this week -

*  I made a big batch of pita chips.

*  Dried almost all our washing on clothes horses over the ducted heating vents.  I did dry one load in the dryer after having a very tiring day at work.  I'd scrubbed and cleaned a home for almost 7 hours and by the time I came home I could barely move my hands.  Throwing the washing in the dryer was easier than pegging it on a clothes horse.

*  Limited our heater usage on the sunny days and turned the thermostat down to 19 degrees Celsius.

*  Made a large amount of chop suey and added TVP to stretch the 250g of beef mince further.  I added in a large carrot,  capsicum and wom bok from our garden ( as well as other veggies ). I carefully portioned it out and got 10 serves.

*  Saved the washing machine rinse water and shower warm up water to pour back into the washing machine.

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

*  Darren baked 10 wholemeal bread rolls for his work lunches.

*  Gratefully received a large whole watermelon and some croissants.  

*  Used the solar lanterns every night after dinner.


Chop Suey - Aussie Style

Wholemeal Bread With Extra Goodness

Pita Chips

Home baked bread

Sewing I did for a baby shower

Bath towel,  hand towel and face washer set

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

Wednesday, 12 July 2023

10 Ways To Turn Power Off In Your Home - Part 2

Darren and I just received our latest electricity bill the other day.  Thankfully we didn't experience bill shock and our provider said we are using 6% less than the same time last year.  Compared to other similar household in our area,  we are using far less than a household of one person.  That's pretty good considering we have 2 people living here and family that visits a couple of times a week.

Following on from last week,  here are another 10 items you can turn off at the power point -

1.  Turn off your electric doorbell.  How likely are you to have someone knocking at your door ?  It's even better if you don't know there's a pesky salesperson is at your door.  I only turn our doorbell on when I'm expecting visitors.

2.  Turn your electric toothbrushes off when not charging.  From memory they only need an hour to  recharge.

3.  Turn off your electric reclining chairs.  That function doesn't need to be available 24 / 7 unless you are sitting in the chair.

4.  Turn off your floor lamps,  table lamps and bedside lamps when not in use.  While they might not have a standby light,  it's just good practice to turn things off at the wall when you don't need them.

5.  Turn off your toaster oven at the wall to eliminate any standby lights.  The reality is,  you'll only use it at meal times.

6.  Turn off your heated towel rail.  Usually towels dry naturally in between uses.  If you have a ducted heating vent in your bathroom,  just close the door and let the vent do all the work.

7.  Turn off your outdoor porch lights / security lights.  They are great for night time use if you really need them especially when navigating steps and locks on the doors.  We have many neighbours who have their outdoor lights turned on during the day for no reason.  It's such a waste of electricity and I'm sure they have no idea they are on.

8.  Turn your gaming consoles off at the wall.  Those little standby lights don't need to be on 24 / 7 when the family might only use them for an hour or so.

9.  Turn your bar fridge / drink fridge / garage fridge off at the wall if they are empty.  If you only have a couple of bottles / cans being chilled,  perhaps move them to the main fridge.

10.  Turn off your robot ( automatic ) vacuum at the wall.  You might only use them once or twice a week for an hour yet I've seen many turned on just waiting for someone to need them.

Has this list been a timely reminder for you ?

Have you tried to decrease your electricity usage ?

Saturday, 8 July 2023

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 8th July 2023

 Our Make,  Bake,  Sew and Grow life is a little slower during the winter months.  The garden doesn't need too much attention but I do try to pull a few weeds on the milder days.  I've been doing some sewing for a new family member coming soon ( photos in a couple of months ).  We've been eating some of our morning / afternoon snacks like muffins and slices from the freezer to make room for the next baking day. 

Here's how we saved money this week - 

*  Megan gave me a haircut.  It was getting a bit long and the ends were dry.

*  Cleaned the kettle with citric acid.  It never ceases to amaze me how clean it looks after doing this.  It's like a new kettle. 

*  Fed bread crusts,  lettuce plants and grass to the chickens.

*  Made 3 loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  Made up 2 bottles of surface spray with cooled,  boiled water and a small dash of kitchen detergent.  One bottle is for the kitchen and the other is kept in the laundry to clean the bathroom sinks and toilets.

*  Filled the thermos with boiling water every morning for our cuppas during the day.

*  Took my lunch and snacks with me when out and about doing my cleaning work.

*  Made sausage rolls and a chocolate brownies for a family gathering.  I made a double batch of the brownie so I could put some in the freezer for us to eat later.

*  I made a bread pudding in the slow cooker using bread crusts ( heels ) I'd been saving and frozen.  It's not very often I make dessert so it was thoroughly enjoyed and warmed us up on a cold night.

*  I cooked a 1/2 leg of lamb in the slow cooker.  Jessica came over for dinner that night.  After slicing it up there was enough for the 3 of us,  another 2 serves put in the freezer and I made a big pot of soup with the leftovers.  The soup gave us 10 serves.  So that was a total of 15 serves from a 1/2 leg that cost about $12 ( bought on sale for $10kg late last year ).

*  I picked up some household bargains in Coles.  They were clearing out nail brushes,  bath sponges,  small buckets  dusters and cleaning equipment as well as other bits and pieces.  Some of the items I'm using straight away and the rest went into the gift cupboard.

*  I dug up a few potatoes and carrots,  picked a capsicum and Wombok from our garden.  The weather has been quite cold so I hadn't been in the garden for a while and the produce was a lovely surprise. 


Bread Pudding In The Slow Cooker

Cleaning Your Kettle

From our garden

Bargains from Coles

Bread pudding in the slow cooker.

Are you picking any produce from your garden ?

How did you save money this week ?

Wednesday, 5 July 2023

10 Ways To Turn Power Off In Your Home.

If you are living in Australia,  your electricity and gas bills are about to go up ( again ).  If you live elsewhere in the world then you've most likely already faced rising power bills.

No one wants to sit in the dark with no heating on.  It's just not right and it's not good for your health.  There might be a way to you to afford your power bills by turning off appliances you haven't thought of before.

Over the next 4 weeks I'll be sharing over 40 items you can turn off at the wall when not in use.  This will eliminate standby / phantom power which is a complete waste of money.  Some of these items you might not have in your home  but your friends and family might.  This could be a timely reminder for them so I'd encourage you to share these posts with everyone you know.  You could be helping someone who is struggling.

1.  Turn off the air freshener plug ins.  These are the ones you plug in to the power point that have a glass bottle with liquid fragrance that heats up ( refills are available ).  Perhaps turn them on when you have visitors coming.

2. Turn off the coffee machine and coffee grinder.  You only use it a couple of times a day for a minute or two.  No need to have it on all day.

3. Turn off the phone charging station.  If there are no phones charging,  don't keep the standby light on.

4.  Turn off your computer / laptop when not in use.  Gone are the days when you need to keep them on for the health of the device.

5.  Turn off the wine cooler fridge.  How often are you really needing the fridge ?  Remember,  there was a time when people stored wine without these appliances.

6.  Turn off your printer.  How many times have you printed a page then walked away without turning it off /  It happens in our home from time to time.

7.  Turn off the dishwasher as soon as the cycle finishes.  Perhaps it needs to be used when you are going to be home for the duration of the cycle.  As a cleaner I've seen many,  many dishwashers left on even though the cycle finished hours ago.

8.  Turn off your sewing machine.  I always sew with the machine's light on as a way to know if the machine is on or off.

9.  Turn off your exercise equipment ( treadmills etc ).   My guess is they are only used for a short period of time,  if at all.

10.  Turn off portable heaters.  If they are not in use then turn them off at the wall.  This is an extra safety step too. 

Do you have any of these appliances you could turn off ?

Saturday, 1 July 2023

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 1st July 2023

 At this time of the year,  it's all about saving gas and electricity.  Power prices will be going up by 25% on average as of today ( 1st July ) and we will be doing our very best to avoid bill shock.

It's been too cold to go outside most days so I've concentrated on decluttering,  tidying and cleaning our home.  I don't need to use any electricity for these tasks,  it keeps me warm and gives me a sense of purpose.  To be honest,  it's too hot in Summer for these jobs.

Here's my frugal list for the week -

*  Emptied the kitchen compost bucket into the outdoor compost bin every couple of days.

*  Turned our heater down to 19 degrees Celsius during the day ( when we ARE home ).  Since we put in the heat / vent deflectors we've noticed the house is much warmer.

*  I've been having trouble finding trackpants in my size at the major department stores.  After searching for weeks I thought I'd look in the girls section instead of the ladies section.  They had more stock there,  it was a little cheaper and I now know I can fit into a girls size 16.

*  Used our thermos every day to store boiling water for our morning tea cuppas.

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

*  Used the dishwasher every second or third day.  When we are eating meals from the freezer,  it doesn't create many dishes and it takes a few days for the dishwasher to get full.  Another bonus of bulk cooking.

*  Used the solar lanterns each night.

*  Made sure everything was turn off at the power point after dinner.  The only exception is our fridge,  freezers and one tv.

*  Used blankets when watching tv at night.  This eliminates the temptation to turn the heater back on after it turns off at 9pm.

*  Darren found petrol for $1.66 and filled up his car.  He then used 2 apps to get another 8 cents a litre off.

*  Darren used various sales offers,  discounts and vouchers to get a  $40 scarf for $4 from Myer.

Charging our solar lanterns

Blankets ready for cold nights.

Do you have a plan to help offset rising power prices ?

How did you save money this week ?

Wednesday, 28 June 2023

It's Time To Look At Your Shopping List Differently. Part 2

If you are struggling to put food on the table with constantly rising grocery prices,  it's time to do things a little differently. When writing out your shopping list,  ask yourself a few questions -

*  Do we need it ?  Can we go without ? Can we make it ourselves ? Is there a cheaper option ?

Last week I shared 6 ways you can save a small fortune on your grocery bill.  This week I have another 6 ways to save and every single one of them I personally use for Darren and I.  Our grocery budget is $120 a month for 2 adults and has been for about 18 months.

*  Make your own.  If you want to stretch your food budget so you can buy more or save money,  then start making things from scratch.  Jam is dirt cheap to make and even cheaper if you grow your own fruit or know someone who does.  Make gravy from scratch instead of buying those little sachets or ready made.  Make your own wedges / chips / fries instead of buying a bag.  Make foaming hand wash,  surface spray,  custard,  desserts,  lasagnes.  Cut you own veggies  bake your own biscuits,  cook your own pasta sauce.

*  Bulk buying.  Buying larger packets / bags is usually the cheaper option but make sure you know your prices.  Also make sure you can use that quantity within a reasonable time frame.  Go halves with friends or family to split the cost.

*  Buy ingredients.  A trolley full of ingredients will cost far less and provide more meals than a trolley full of processed food.  My grocery bill is proof of this.  Don't listen to the so called experts who report that healthy food is dearer than processed.  My pantry,  fridge and freezers are full of ingredients all bought for $120 ( or even less ) a month.  I had a distant family member tell me recently that it's cheaper to buy a box of biscuit mix to make rather than  buying ingredients.  I don't think she understood the concept that buying ingredients might cost more upfront but can make many batches of biscuits.  The box mix she uses only bakes maybe 12 - 18 biscuits in total.

*  Less meat,  more vegetables.  I'm not going to tell anyone to give up meat.  That's a personal choice and should be talked over with your doctor to make sure you get your nutrients elsewhere.  Darren and I quite enjoy meat but you won't find a hunk of meat on our plates.  On the rare occasion I cook a roast,  I get 2 slices of meat and Darren might get 3.  We fill up our plates with veggies and no one goes hungry.  Chop suey,  stews,  soups and casseroles are a great way to have meat and stretch it further.

*  Cut the treats and give as presents.  If you like chocolate, chips and lollies,  consider adding them to gifts within your family.  They make great Christmas stocking stuffers or gift bag fillers for a birthday present and the recipient will be thrilled to get what they love to eat.  This is the only way Darren and I can afford a food treat and not have it impact our grocery budget.

*  Grow your own.  Have a look at your shopping list.  What fresh items do you buy regularly ?  Could you start growing some of these ?  Lettuce is super cheap, easy and quick to grow.  It can be grown all year round in many areas.  You can grow it in a pot or in the ground.  Even if you start with this you could save $2 - $4 a week. 

Are you looking at your shopping list differently ?

How are you cutting your grocery bill ?

Saturday, 24 June 2023

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 24th June 2023

 We are well and truly in the depths of Winter here in Melbourne.  This week the temperature has been between 11 - 15 degrees Celsius each day ( and much colder at night ) with lots of rain and cloud cover.  It's been too cold to be in the garden so I've focused on indoor jobs to keep me warm.

Here's what I've been up to this week - 

*  Emptied the last of a bottle of shower gel into the foaming hand wash pump and added a little extra water.  I had the bottle upside down for a couple of hours to make sure I got every last drop.

*  Baked 3 loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.  I used recycled bread bags to store the bread in the freezer once I sliced it.  I use these bags over and over again for the bread.

*  Mended a coat and a pair of jeans.  The fastener on the jeans had come off so I replaced it with a button.

*  Dried almost everything on a clothes horse over the vent in our main bathroom.  We rarely use this bathroom and keep the door closed so the washing dries within 24 hours.

*  I did my monthly grocery shopping and used our Woolworths rewards card to get 10% off.

*  I bought  'odd bunch ' carrots and potatoes from Woolworths to save a little extra money.  The potatoes looked perfectly fine to me,  nothing odd about them at all.

*  The weather has been quite cold this week.  I've kept the curtains closed except for a couple of inches so I can see where I'm walking.  This has really helped to kept the temperature from dropping too quickly and keeping the heat in.

*  Bought a new zip up hoodie jacket from Savers for $5.40.  I've been on the hunt for a couple of zip up jackets which are great to wear to my cleaning jobs. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find them in the usual retail stores so maybe they are not popular this year.

*  Saved the shower warm up water,  washing machine rinse water and water from our drink bottles and reused it where I could around our home and garden.

*  Used the solar lanterns most nights.  With the weather being so overcast,  there have been some nights when they haven't given much light.

*  I bulk cooked honey mustard chicken ( 6 single serves ),  veggie soup ( 11 single serves ) and cottage pie ( 8 single serves ) on separate nights at dinner time.  We ate the meals as we usually do and the rest were frozen for future meals.  This is much easier and less time consuming than setting aside a whole day to bulk cook.

*  Baked the easy coconut slice I posted here a couple of months ago.  Some was kept for our morning teas and the rest was taken to a family working bee.


Honey mustard chicken serve ready for the freezer

Easy coconut slice.

How have you kept warm ( or cool ) this week ?

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

Wednesday, 21 June 2023

Its Time To Look At Your Shopping List Differently. Part 1

 The cost of living crisis is hitting many people hard.  Prices are going up all the time and when it comes to the grocery bill,  you never know how much it's going to cost from week to week.  I've given up expecting certain items to cost a certain amount.  It seems the prices change constantly.

If you want the cost of living crisis to have a minimal impact on your grocery bill,  things need to change and the change has to come from you. 

My grocery budget for Darren and I is $120 per MONTH and it's been at that amount for about 18 months.  Has it been tough ?  A little. Have we made changes to keep it that low ?  YOU BET WE HAVE !!!  And that's the trick.  CHANGES  !!!

Here are 7 ways to lower your food bill and still eat well.

*  People expect to eat the same food and complain about rising prices.  I don't know how many times I've come across people who insist on buying fancy steaks for their meals and then tell me food costs too much.  Nothing's going to change if nothing changes.   Steak is now a luxury.  Save it for a special occasion.

*  Trying different brands.  Why do people feel the need to fill their pantries,  fridges and freezers with branded products ?  Who are you trying to impress ?  If people are judging you on what brands you consume,  you might want to rethink your friends.  Unless it's curry powder,  chocolate,  tea,  coffee or tomato soup,  it doesn't matter what the brand is.  It will still do the job.  Remember,  flour is flour and sugar is sugar.  I use generic flour to bake all our biscuits,  slices,  cakes and breads and it works perfectly.

*  Going without the extras like lavish sauces / gravies,  gourmet oils ( avocado,  coconut etc ),  fancy cheeses,  deli meats,  recipe bases etc.  You know what I'm talking about.  These items are like icing on a cake.  It's nice to have but not needed.    Save them for special occasions.

*  Portion controlling food.  Have a look at how much you are putting on your plate.  Could you eat a little less ?  If the meal is meant to serve 6,  are you only getting 4 or 5 serves ?    Could you stretch the meal to 7 serves ?

*  Eating whole foods.  I'm not necessarily talking about going to a whole food store and spending a fortune on overpriced nuts and flours.  If you are hungry,  eat an apple or banana.  Think back to when you were a child.  What did you eat in your lunchbox ?  It was most likely whole foods. 

*  Cooking simple meals.  No one can sustain a Master Chef menu.  That tv show doesn't know what a food budget is.  Meat and 3 veg,  casseroles,  stews,  pasta or bakes are comfort foods without the high price tag.  If you'd like some budget friendly,  tasty meals then have a look in the recipe section on this blog.  I personally cook every one of those meals on my tight budget and there are no expensive ingredients.

*  Expensive dinners as a treat.  We all like a good roast don't we ?  Or steak,  or salmon for example.   Salmon is one of my favourite meats but we don't have it just because I like it.  Salmon is saved for my Mother's Day meal or my birthday and you can bet I thoroughly enjoy it.  Best of all,  it doesn't blow our budget because we know it's a treat.

Are you looking at your shopping list differently ?

How are you cutting your grocery bill ?

Saturday, 17 June 2023

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday !7th June 2023

 Welcome back to my frugal tasks post.  It's been a few weeks since I've posted how we've saved money.  During this time both Darren and I have been home sick and  all work cancelled for almost 2 weeks.  We've also had a family member rushed to hospital a couple of times resulting overnight stays. us packing hospital bags and looking after children.  Thankfully we are now well ( or at least getting better ).

During our illness,  I was very glad for my stockpile of everything.  We had plenty of pain relief,  tissues and cough lollies.  I had a small freezer full of all those cooked meals I often talk about.  That really kept us going on the days when I couldn't get out of bed.  By the time I got sick,  Darren was starting to recover so we took it in turns of looking after each other. 

So the following list of frugal tasks is what we managed to get done since the 20th of May.

*  I depilled a scarf using a fabric shaver.  It came up looking almost new again.

*  Made choc chip biscuits for morning teas using dough I'd made and frozen previously.

*  Dried most of the washing on clothes horses over the ducted heating vent in our spare bathroom.  The vent in this room is quite strong so the washing dries within 24 - 36 hours.

*  Sold some kitchen stools / chairs we got dirt cheap a few years ago.  They were secondhand when we purchased them and had planned to use them on our decking area outside as extra seating.  Then the great lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 happened and we just couldn't use them.  So I popped them on Marketplace and sold them for a profit.

*  Made wholemeal bread with extra goodness a couple of times over the last few weeks.  It's great to have ingredients when you are stuck at home unwell.

*  Darren had the opportunity to receive a big bag of chicken feed for free.  The day Darren picked it up was the same day he was planning on buying a bag at the feed store.  This wonderful blessing saved us about $25 - $27.

*  Made up a big bottle of heavily diluted Dynamo laundry liquid.

*  I made 10 wholemeal bread rolls for Darren's work  lunches.

*  We splashed out and bought a piece of roast beef for about $28 to cook up as a treat.  I cooked it in the slow cooker and we had some of it for dinner that night with roast veggies.  I portioned out enough meat for another roast dinner for the two of us.  The next day with the remaining meat I made a beef stew in one slow cooker that gave us 7 portions.  I also made a Massaman beef curry in the other slow cooker that gave us another 11 portions.   So for $28 we got 22 single portions.  This is $1.27 per portion for meat.

*  Gratefully received lemons,  passionfruit and mandarins from a friend.

*  Picked a handful of blackberries and a couple of mandarins from our garden.  

Freezer meals.

Lots of freezer meals.

Homemade choc chip biscuits.

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

Do you have a stockpile of freezer meals for emergencies ?

Wednesday, 14 June 2023

What's Stinking Up Your Home ? Part 2

Following on from last week's post,  here are another 6 areas that can get on the nose and ways to deal with them. 

*  Linen cupboard.  Linens stored for too long end up with a stale smell.  Try adding soaps between linens,  using scented drawer liners or rotating linens often.

*  Kitchen sink.  Rotting food would be the biggest culprit of smelly drains.  Please don't wash your food down the sink.  The bi carb,  vinegar and boiling water trick sort of works but doesn't kill the bacteria.  Pour a little bit of bleach down the plug hole and let it sit there for at least 10 minutes.  Wash away with cold water.

*  Pet bedding.  Wash your pet's bed every week or have a variety of blankets or towels to line the bed with.  Washing the towels might be easier in Winter.  Also,  don't forget to wash your dog often.  I know it's common sense but I've been around many smelly dogs in people's homes and the owners usually can't smell it.

*  Kitty litter.  When we had Princess,  we always kept the kitty litter in the laundry,  out of the way.  We changed the litter once a week and scooped the mess out every day.  Sprinkling a little bi carb helped with odours and putting the litter in the sun also helped to dry it out.  It doesn't matter what kitty litter you use,  they all smell and need to be cleaned out often.

*  Vacuum cleaner.  Household smells are absorbed by the vacuum cleaner and blown out the exhaust / air outlet.  Dog smells would have to be the worst offenders.  If you can,  switch to a bagless vacuum cleaner or empty the cloth / paper bag often.  I have a $79 Kmart bagless vacuum cleaner and the suction is better than what my Dyson was.

*  Stale smelling bedrooms.  This could happen for a variety of reasons.  People spending too much time in the room with the door closed,  not enough ventilation,  consuming food,  dirty plates,  overflowing rubbish bins,  dirty linens,  piles of dirty clothes.  The list could go on.  Keeping the door wide open and a window opened a little will really help the situation.  If the air is not free flowing then mould and bacteria in the soft furnishings will build up.

How do you deal with these smells in your home ?

Saturday, 10 June 2023

Frugal Tasks Will Be Back Next Week.

 My Frugal Tasks post has been missing for the last few weeks for a reason.  Both Darren and I have been sick and are now in the recovery stage.  At one point I was in bed for a few days with the chills.

Just getting very basic tasks done too all our energy.  We were very grateful for a freezer full of cooked meals,  a well stocked pantry and enough fridge items to keep us going.

Hopefully next Saturday I'll be able to share the frugal tasks we have completed as well as the blessings that came our way.

Wednesday, 7 June 2023

What's Stinking Up Your Home ? Part 1

 Have you ever walked into your home after a day out and noticed your home has a smell about it ?  It makes you wonder if visitors can smell something too.  As a cleaner of well over 20 years,  I've developed a very sensitive nose when it comes cleanliness.  Here is a list of guilty culprits and ways to eliminate the odours -

*  Rubbish bin.  If you've put raw meat scraps or fruit in your bin,  this could be the reason for the smell.  Perhaps empty your bin more often or reduce the bin size.  Start a compost bucket for fruit and veggie scraps and empty every day or so.

*  Towels.  Odours can build up for various reasons.  Not washing yourself thoroughly,  not hanging the towel up,  folding the towel over,  old towels,  towels not drying completely,  or not washing the towel often enough can contribute to the smell.  Generally it's good to wash your towel every 3 or 4 days to reduce the chance of smells.  A good airing on the clothesline can greatly help too.  So does spraying your towels with vinegar before placing in the washing machine.

*  Toilet.  Urine splashes around the toilet is the most common cause of toilet smells.  Wiping the toilet,  floor and walls on a very regular basis will help with the smell.  I spray vinegar on the floor once a week and leave it for a few minutes before wiping away.  Keeping your toilet lid closed when flushing will keep the germs in the bowl.

*  Exhaust Fan in kitchen.  Odours from frying food are in the grease trapped in the filters.  If the filters are small enough,  clean them in the dishwasher.  Otherwise,  get out your pressure washer to clean the filters outside.  Even a kettle of boiling water will help.

*  Fridge.  Spills left in the fridge,  rotten food and dairy are usually the guilty culprits.  Clean out your fridge once a week even if it's just a few shelves at a time.  Maybe you are buying too much food and don't use it quick enough.  I use kitchen detergent and water to clean my fridge but I've heard a little bit of vanilla essence on a cloth helps with odours.  So too does bi carb in a bowl.

*  Wet washing in the washing machine,  dryer or basket.  If your washing has accidently been left in the washing machine etc and it smells,  don't dry the washing as it is.  It will need to be rewashed with a bit of disinfectant to kill the germs and odours.  I had a cleaning client who insisted on leaving wet washing in her dryer for days.  Eventually she'd turn the dryer on but it never got rid of the smell.  I know because I made their beds with smelly linens.

How do you deal with these odours in your home ?

Wednesday, 31 May 2023

Chocolate Crazy Cake - Depression Era Cake

 This cake recipe came up on YouTube as a recommended video to watch.  The origin of Crazy Cake ( also known as Wacky Cake ) ,  is unclear but many sources link it to the Depression / WW2.  With the absence of eggs,  milk and butter due to rationing,  it is quite possible this cake came from that era.

There are many variations of this recipe but here's the one I used.  I did reduce the sugar from 1 cup to 3/4 cup and found it still sweet enough.

While I wouldn't call this cake the best cake I've ever made,  it did the job and is quite economical.

1 1/2 cups of Plain Flour

3/4 cup of White Sugar

1/4 cup of unsweetened Cocoa Powder

1 teaspoon of Baking Soda ( Bi Carb Soda )

1/2 teaspoon Salt

1 cup of Water

125ml of Oil.  I used Rice Bran Oil

1 teaspoon of White Vinegar

1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract

Mix all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.

Add all the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until well combined with a whisk or wooden spoon.

Pour into a greased and lined 8 inch round or square baking tin.

Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 35 minutes or until a skewer comes out clear.

Ice or decorate as you like.

Dusted with icing sugar

I do apologise for the quality of the photos.  The day I baked it was gloomy,  dark and rainy.  I had to take the photos outside to get enough light.

Saturday, 20 May 2023

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 20th May 2023

 To all the Mother's,  Grandmothers and Mother figures,  I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day last Sunday.  

Darren spoiled me with some lovely gifts and took me out for lunch.  It was a glorious day in Melbourne with the sun shining and the air slightly warm.   We had a family afternoon tea at my Mum's then the girls and grandchildren came over for dinner.  It was a long day,  but a day full of blessings,  love and laughter.

Here's what else we got up to -

*  Darren and I made blackberry jam using fruit Darren picked all Summer / Autumn.  We made 14 jars in total and blessed a few family members with a jar.

*  I picked up a punnet of slightly sad looking silverbeet seedlings from Bunnings on clearance for $1.  I've planted them in the veggie garden and they are doing well ( so far ).  I did plant seeds a few weeks ago but they didn't come up.  I think it might have been too cold here.

*  Kept the heater off during the middle of the day when the sun was shining.  I did make sure the curtains were fully open to let some heat in.  If I got a little cold I either did some housework or put a coat on. 

*  Made and sold a lemon slice to a cleaning client for a birthday party.

*  Refilled the bathroom foaming hand wash pump with the remains of an almost empty shower gel bottle.

*  Cleaned and washed a pair of Darren's sneakers.  Darren was almost ready to move them on to become garden shoes but they've come up quite clean.

*  Gratefully received a blessing of mushrooms.  We used them in a couple of  meals.

*  Saved a couple of gift bags from Mother's Day.  They will be reused for future gift giving.

*  We had an unexpected situation pop up on Mother's Day and needed to find a gift in a hurry.  Darren picked some chrysanthemums and greenery from our garden and I pulled a lovely hand wash from the gift cupboard and grabbed a jar of the freshly made blackberry jam.  These simple gifts were well received and cheered up the recipient.

*  Darren went to a charity dinner and came home with the table flowers and a door prize of a gourmet hamper.  . 

*  Finely diced a couple of broccoli stalks and froze them for future soup and casserole making.  I do this instead of buying celery.

The hamper Darren won

Flowers from the charity dinner

Cup and tray from Darren, biscuits from church gift

Cutting up broccoli stalks

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

It is with much sadness that we learned of Suzan Warnes sudden passing on Monday.  Suzan was a regular reader and commenter on this blog for a number of years and a contributor to the Cheapskates Chatter FB group and various other groups.  Please uphold her family in prayer through this difficult time. 

Wednesday, 17 May 2023

Super Cheap Foaming Hand Wash.

 If you have foaming hand wash pumps in your home then this savings tip is for you.

Foaming hand wash is a great way to clean your hands in the bathroom and kitchen.  It doesn't leave any mess on the bench and does the job well.  The branded refills are super expensive and very rich in suds.  I've found it's concentration can dry out my hands very quickly.

I've always looked out for 1/2 price shower gel to make foaming hand wash,  but lately supermarket specials have been few and far between.

So for the last couple of years I've been buying up the cheapest shower gel I can find. Usually it costs either $3 or $4 for 1 litre which is an absolute bargain.  The Balnea brand is $3 and I've seen the supermarket generic brand for $4.   As long as it suds and is a clear gel,  it will make lovely foaming wash.  

Photo taken 1 month ago in Woolworths.


Foaming Hand Wash Savings

Have you made your own foaming hand wash ?

Saturday, 13 May 2023

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 13th May 2023

Both Darren and I have spent some time in the garden this week.  Autumn can be quite busy for us as we prune the shrubs and plant our Winter veggie garden.  We try to get the sheds organised and cleaned so that when the cold,  wet weather hits,  we can get things out of our sheds with ease.

Here's how we saved money this week -

*  Baked three loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  Picked feijoas from our garden every couple of days.  The fruit is starting to slow down but I'm still enjoying every single one of them.  Feijoa season is quite short,  lasting generally from April to early May.

*  Saved the washing machine and shower warm up water.

*  Baked a chocolate cake using extremely basic ingredients.  I'll be sharing the recipe shortly.

*  Darren planted more seed potatoes in one of our garden beds.

*  Dried all washing on a clothes horse over a ducted heating vent.

*  Picked up a couple of  ' reduced to clear ' items in the Mother's Day section at Coles.  I'll be putting them in my present cupboard.

*  Made a green chicken curry using a sachet given to us.  From 2 chicken fillets I got 8 serves of the curry.  Most of it went into the freezer.

*  We received blessings of bread,  bread bags,  TVP ( textured vegetable protein ),  mushrooms and cooked rice.

*  Fed the chickens bread crusts,  grass clippings and dinner plate scrapings.   

*  Fed the compost bins with kitchen scraps.

*  Darren picked up a couple of meat bargains in Coles.  He was in the right place at the right time.

*  Picked lots of Chrysanthemums from our garden.

Darren's meat bargain

From our garden

In Mum's garden.

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

Wednesday, 10 May 2023

Free Laundry Bags

 This saving tip came from my friend Bethany quite a few years ago.  I would have shared it earlier but I didn't have a photo to match.  When we were in Tasmania a couple of months ago my in laws had this bag of rice in their pantry.  So I took the opportunity to take a photo.

Some large bags of rice come in a bag with a zipper at the top.  Once the rice has been consumed,  turn the bag inside out to shake out any remaining grains of rice.  If there is a plastic liner,  remove it.  Give the bag a good rinse out with soapy water and dry thoroughly. 

Now you have a free delicates laundry bag to use in your washing machine.  I don't do any hand washing these days but use laundry bags instead.  This saves on water and certainly saves on time. 

 I'm not sure how much this rice costs so wait until it comes on sale.

Saturday, 6 May 2023

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 6th May 2023

As the weather cools down,  I've been concentrating on tasks inside the home.  The last couple of weeks I've been cooking bigger meals at night to fill up one of our freezers.  It only takes me an extra 10 minutes or so to cut up more veggies and a couple of minutes to portion the cooked food into containers to freeze.

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

*  Picked feijoas from under the tree every day this week.  Feijoas would have to be my all time favourite fruit to eat ( and I'm not a big fruit eater ).  My grandparents had a big tree in their front yard for decades and we always enjoyed  getting a big box of the the fruit to take home when I was younger..

*  Made a big pot of lamb and veggie soup using a lamb neck that was given to us last year.  We enjoyed the soup for dinner and the rest went into the freezer.

*  Used our solar lanterns every night after dinner.

*  Cleaned the kettle using citric acid.  It come up looking like new.

*  Last Sunday was the one year anniversary of my Dad's passing.  I picked chrysanthemums from our garden in Dad's favourite color ( deep red / maroon ) and added a few feijoa branches to the bouquet ( Dad loved feijoas too ).  This bouquet was placed at his memorial site.

*  Found a birthday present,  a container to store muffin patty cases and a kids ride on toy at Savers op shop.  I used a 20% discount voucher to get the items cheaper ( a few dollars each ).

*  I defrosted a bag of baked choc chip cookies from the freezer to have for work and morning tea snacks.

*  Donated 2 bags of unwanted items to Savers and received 2 x 20% discount coupons.  As I mentioned above,  I've already redeemed one voucher.

*  Made a big pot of spag bol sauce and used TVP,  grated carrot and the last bit of cauliflower to stretch the sauce out.  From 750g of mince I got 16 single serves of meat sauce.  We had some for dinner that night and the rest went into the freezer as single and double serves.   

*  Gratefully received a bag of glass jars from a friend.  They will b e used for jam making and pantry food storage. 

*  Mended Luka's Paw Patrol soft toy before the hole got too big.


Gifted jars.

Flowers from our garden

Mending a Paw Patrol toy

Feijoas from our tree

Lamb and veg soup for the freezer.


Spaghetti Bolognaise

Choc Chip Bickies ( Cookies )

Cleaning Your Kettle

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