Saturday 25 February 2023

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 25th February 2023

 Tis the season to make the most of whatever our veggie garden is producing.  At the moment it is berries and we are grateful for the blessing.  Berries are quite expensive to buy at the supermarket / fruit shop,  so to grow them for free is such a good feeling.  We also know they haven't had any nasties sprayed on them.

Here's what we got up to this week -

*  Darren made 12 jars of blackberry jam using berries he'd picked from the rouge plants he's growing in our backyard.

*  I made potato cakes using the pumpkin and potato mash leftover from a dinner.  There were enough potato cakes for a lunch for me and to use as a side for dinner for Darren and I.

*  I made 6 jars of raspberry jam using berries I'd picked from our bushes and frozen over time.  The berries have been slow this year so I'm hoping there will be enough berries growing to make another batch of jam this Summer / Autumn.

*  Emptied the last of Darren's shower gel into the foaming hand wash pump and added some extra water.

*  Saved the washing machine rinse water,  shower warm up water and kitchen sink water and reused it in the washing machine for the next load.

*  Dried all washing on the line.  On really hot days I hang the washing on clothes horses while inside then just step outside to put them under our pergola.  The washing is usually dry within an hour or two.  These days I won't stand at the clothesline in the blazing heat to hang washing.

*  Picked lots of beans ( from one plant ),  a handful of small tomatoes and a few raspberries.  Everything is growing and ripening very slowly this Summer.  I'm very grateful I bought about 2 dozen tins of tomatoes as a back up late last year when they were still 60 - 75 cents each a tin.  I think their current price is 95 cents for the cheapest brand.

*  Made a few Christmas cards from recycled cards given to me from a cleaning client.

*  I had our card making group at our place last Saturday.  We all bring a plate to share for morning / afternoon teas.  I was able to provide a plate of chocolate brownies from the freezer that I'd made a week or two earlier.

*  Continued to keep the curtains closed on hot days.  I usually only need to put the cooling on about mid afternoon.  You'd be amazed at the amount of people who have their curtains open ( or no curtains at all ) on really hot days.

*  Fed bread crusts,  leftover cooked veggies ( we forgot about ) and a couple of spoonfuls of cooked rice to the chickens.

*  I made creamed rice to use up some milk that had gone well past it's expiry date ( but was still fine ).  Unfortunately when I bought the milk I could only get milk with 7 days until expiry and we don't use it that quickly.  Still,  the creamed rice was delicious and we enjoyed it for a few days.

*  Made 3 loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

272g of beans picked form one plant in just one day.

More beans over the next couple of days

Recycled greeting cards I made

More recycled cards

Cards made using scraps

Luka my grandson joined us to make cards

Luks loves using my embossing machine

Such a happy boy when he's creating.

How did you save money this week ?

Tuesday 21 February 2023

Grocery Shopping - Buy This... Instead Of That ...

 Food prices have skyrocketed over the last year or two.  Far more than what is being reported in the news bulletins.  Every time I shop it seems there is a price increase in just about everything.

If you are struggling with an ever increasing grocery bill,  try looking at what you are buying.  Can you buy the same item but in a different form ?  Is there something else that will do the job ?

Try using some of these tricks to help lower your bill.  I personally use all these tricks and my grocery budget is still $120 per month for 2 people.

*  Buy a block of cheese instead of grated cheese ( unless it's cheaper ).  Pre grated cheese is thicker than cheese grated at home so you are likely to use more at a time.

*  Make salsa from fresh or tinned tomatoes with herbs,  spices and onion instead of buying jarred salsa.

*  Buy a bread stick to make your own garlic bread instead of buying the premade garlic bread.  Go one step further and just use sliced bread you already have to make herb / garlic bread.  It's much tastier making your own and the texture is not doughy like the store bought.

*  Buy beef mince to make your own hamburger patties instead of buying the pre made.  Add your own seasonings to taste.  Make them in bulk and freeze with cut up cereal packets in between to stop them sticking together.

*  Buy pure laundry soap ( generic is excellent ) ,  grate it and add bi carb and washing soda to make your own laundry powder.  You can even turn it into laundry liquid.  A years worth of powder / liquid can be made for under $10.

*  Buy white vinegar instead of fabric softener.  It's much healthier for your washing machine and clothes and super cheap too.

*  Buy potatoes instead of frozen chips.  Chips are easy to make and better for you than store bought.  If you have an air fryer, use it to make the chips.

*  Buy Chux type cloths ( generic is great ) instead of disinfectant wipes.  Use the cloths with a spray of disinfectant to wipe germs away.  Wash in your washing machine and use over and over again.  I do this for cleaning my toilets and the cloths last at least a couple of years.

*  Buy flour and sugar instead of buying cake,  biscuit or slice mixes.  Just about every home has eggs,  milk,  butter and cocoa powder ( or drinking chocolate ) to add to the flour and sugar to make a wide variety of baking treats.

*  Buy dried herbs and spices instead of buying casserole seasoning packets or fresh herbs.  

*  Buy custard powder instead of buying ready made custard.

*  Buy shower gel instead of buying liquid hand wash.  Shower gel is super cheap especially if it's generic ( $3 for 1 litre ) and will do the job really well.

*  Buy fresh fruit to freeze instead of buying the pre cut frozen fruit.  It's generally far cheaper to freeze it yourself.

*  Buy a tub of natural unsweetened yoghurt instead of buying dips,  sour cream and little tubs of yoghurt.  You can even use the yoghurt as a starter to make your own.

*  Buy pita bread instead of buying pizza bases,  dried crackers and pizza pockets.  Cut the pita bread up and dry in the oven to make pita chips.

*  Buy kitchen detergent instead of buying cleaning products.  I use kitchen detergent to clean everything in my home.  Even the Aldi $1.19 1 litre bottle ( is that the latest price ) works really well.


Pita chips


Ingredients to make brown sugar.

What cheaper alternatives do you buy ?

Saturday 18 February 2023

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 18th February 2023

 It's been a busy week for both Darren and I.  Darren had 2 training days plus his usual work at the hospital.  I've had 3 days of cleaning work,  kept our housework up to date and spent time in the garden weeding,  pruning and planting a few flowers.

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

*  Cleaned both of our large rubbish bins.  I used 1 kettle of boiling water to loosen the gunk down the bottom and a couple of squirts of kitchen detergent.  The outdoor cobweb broom is great to getting into all the corners.  Once I scrubbed all the walls,  I tipped everything out and used 2 large watering cans to rinse them out.  Then I sprayed disinfectant inside and left them to dry in the sun.  Usually I use the hose and much more water.  The watering cans worked so well and no yucky water splashed on me.

*  Picked raspberries,  blackberries,  beans and tomatoes from our garden.

*  I helped cater for a surprise afternoon tea for my Mum.  I baked a chocolate brownie,  ANZACS,  Hoovers Doovers and made up curried egg and lettuce sandwiches.  I had everything already on hand except bread for the Hoovers Doovers.  Store bought bread works better.

*  Collected an egg almost every day.

*  Refilled the shampoo and conditioner bottles in the shower. I also diluted them by about 30% and scraped out the old bottles..  

*  Bought dishwashing liquid in a bulk 3 litre container for $4.99 from Aldi.  It's more concentrated than the cheap Aldi dishwashing liquid I buy so it should last a lot longer.

*  For Valentines Day I cooked a dinner of salmon,  mashed potatoes,  broccoli and and beans.  The veggies came from our garden.  We went to the movies that night to see Titanic in 3D and used a gift voucher for the tickets.  We bought water and snacks from home and just bought an icecream each.

*  Kept the curtains closed all day when it was hot outside.  I didn't need to turn the cooling on until mid to late afternoon.

*  Bought a craft paper roll from Savers for $4.99.  There was a 30m roll of paper included.  I'll be using this as wrapping paper.

*  Watered some of our garden with saved water from the kitchen sink.

*  Framed a rose I kept and dried from Dad's funeral last year.  The green mat in the frame came from my cardmaking supplies.

Kitchen pretties


ANZAC biscuits - a family favourite.

Craft paper and holder bargain

The tomatoes are finally ripening

A flower from Dad's funeral

How did you save money this week ?

Have you found any bargains in the op shops lately ?

Wednesday 15 February 2023

10 Ways To Keep Your Bathroom Cleaner

 Who doesn't like a sparkling clean bathroom ?  I've been cleaning bathrooms of all shapes and sizes for over 23 years with my cleaning job.  I've learnt quite a few tricks and tips along the way that save time and energy.  Yes it can take some effort to get a bathroom clean but these 10 simple steps will help it stay that way.

*  Provide a small bin for used toilet rolls, empty tubes of toothpaste,  tissues and used toiletries.  Having a bin will help corral the rubbish into one location.  I've seen plenty of discarded toilet rolls in bathrooms over the years and the solution is so easy.  Just make sure you empty the bin on a regular basis to help encourage family members and visitors to use it.  If you don't like washing out bins,  use freezer bags or recycled bread bags as bin liners.

*  Remove the clutter from around your sink.  There's no need to display everything you own.  Who has time to wipe dust off a heap of beauty products ?  Having a clear bench and sink makes it super easy to give it a quick wipe over to prevent dust and grime build up. 

*  Dry toothpaste can be a little hard to remove and requires some elbow grease.  Wipe spills from the bench and sink as quickly as you can before it dries.

*  Use a microfibre mirror cloth to clean your mirror like a pro.  Using a damp bath towel will leave streaks and fluff all over the surface resulting in you working harder to remove the residue.

*  Wipe down the shower with a squeegee after each use.  This will help prevent soap scum build up  and mould.  Using shower gel instead of soap helps prevent soap scum too.

*  Use kitchen detergent on all surfaces ( except the mirror ) with a microfibre cloth to cut through grease,  dust and grime.  Using cleaning products and / or disposable wipes can leave a  film that dust loves to stick to.

*  Keep your toilet lid closed when flushing.  Toilet water can spray up to 1.5 metres away from the toilet when flushing,  perhaps even reaching your toothbrush.  Not only does it contain bacteria ( including faeces ) but it also leaves marks on surrounding walls,  floors and shower screen.  If you like to use Blu Loo,  it's splashes will stain your walls.  Take it from someone who cleans these messes on a regular basis.

*  Flush the toilet after each use.  Leaving your deposits to save a bit of water will increase grime build up in the bowl.  If it's a very low flush toilet,  use the full flush every time to make sure you are left with clean water in the bowl.

*  Hang your bath towel up and spread it out.  Leaving it in a heap on the floor with increase bacteria in the fibres as well as encouraging mould to grow in the grouting.

*  Keep the exhaust fan on or open the window for about 30 minutes after each shower  Steam from the hot water contains oils,  dead skin cells and dust.

Do you have an trick to keeping your bathroom cleaner ?

Saturday 11 February 2023

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 11th February 2023

 This week has flown by and I sometimes wonder what I did with my time.  In my spare time I'm tending to our veggie garden as needed.  A little weeding here and there,  tying up plants,  watering and sowing where seeds haven't popped up.  Our Summer has been a mild one and everything is struggling to grow.  Still,  we are grateful for the blessing our garden is to us.

Here's what I got up to -

*  Fed the compost bin with kitchen scraps and ripped up paper.

*  Made a double batch of raspberry and white chocolate muffins to sell to a friend.  The batch made a few extra so they became our morning teas for a few days.

*  Donated a couple of bags of goodies to Savers and received another 2 x 20% off discount vouchers.  I have a few months to use them so I'll be on the lookout for material I can use in my crafts.

*  Saved the shower warm up water and washing machine rinse water and poured it all back into the washing machine.

*  Used a bucket in the sink to save more water and used it to water a few pot plants.

*  Used the solar lanterns each night instead of turning on a lamp in the loungeroom.

*  Made 3 loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  Reused plastic shopping bags ( given to us ) a few times over then they became bin liners.

*  Upcycled a couple of picture frames using paint I already had.

*  Used the coffee grinder to blitz up all the rosemary leaves I've been drying for weeks.  Blitzing it into powder makes it easier to stick to potatoes before roasting.

* Painted a cheap tray from the op shop and lined it with contact paper on clearance in Kmart.

*  Picked raspberries,  beans,  a few tomatoes and cucumbers from our garden.

*  Cooked all meals from scratch using what we had on hand.  Even the tiniest bit of leftovers were eaten  as lunch the next day on toast.

*  I found new to us dessert bowls at Savers op shop.  They were $3.99 for 4 bowls less 20%.  I was able to buy a total of 8 for $6.38 or 79 cents each.  They are current stock in Provincial Home Living ( fancy,  expensive homewares store ) and sell for $13.95 each.  I think I go the bargain of the year.  They look like they've only been used once so maybe someone bought them to use at Christmas and didn't like them afterwards.


Our solar lanterns

Op shop picture frames before painting

Newly painted frames

Painted and decorated tray

My op shop bargain 79 cents each.

How did you save money and energy this week ?

Do you op shop for ' new ' homewares ?

Saturday 4 February 2023

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 4th February 2023

It's been a couple of months since I last blogged.  I've had a wonderful time of rest and relaxation around our home.  I had 3 weeks off from cleaning over Christmas and into 2023 and it was bliss.  Usually we go away during this time to visit family in Tasmania but decided we needed a rest.

Our Christmas Day was a day of presents for Luka and Bryson at 4 different locations.  Jessica and Megan came over for a traditional Christmas lunch.  Luka,  Bryson and Kurt joined us in the afternoon for present opening,  then the boys had a splash around in their little pool.

I was up at the shops early on Boxing Day ( as I have done so for 27 years ) to grab a few bargains.  I made it to Spotlight in time to grab some Christmas tableware at 75% off.

Our veggie garden has struggled due to our mild weather.  The plants have only started to take off in the last few weeks and many seeds did not germinate due to lack of warmth and sunshine.  I've been planting more seeds in the gaps where others didn't pop up.  Our apricot and plum trees have had an abundance of fruit but it's been a battle with the birds and bats even though we netted the trees.

Darren has started a new job at the hospital.  He is now working in admin and his position is permanent part time 3 days a week.  He continues to work at the church 1 day a week doing pastoral care and also works with me on Tuesdays at a few of my cleaning jobs.

I'm continuing to clean people's homes.  Some of the jobs I had last year are now too big for me to do on my own with Darren working more regular hours.  I've had to let a couple of them go but God provided me with new clients and more manageable jobs.

I've been super busy in the craft room making lots of goodies to sell throughout the year as well as giving as presents.  Shortly I'll be starting to make candles for my own use,  to sell and to give as gifts. I've started planning out my year of crafting goals and look forward to trying new things.

Here are some of the frugal things I've done over the last couple of months -

*  Made lots of apricot jam and plum jam using our fruit.  I gave some at Christmas,  some as thankyou presents and sold a few to a cleaning client.

*  Baked 3 loaves of wholemeal bread every 2 weeks.

*  Sold lots of choc chip chocolate muffins,  knitted dish cloths,  Christmas tags and hanging towels to a couple of cleaning clients.

*  Picked raspberries,  zucchinis,  carrots,  potatoes ( 13.2 kg ),  beans and blackberries from our garden.  Shortly we'll be picking tomatoes and cucumbers.

*  Dehydrated zucchini chips and grated zucchini.  I did try dehydrating apricots and although they seemed to be very dry,  they all went mouldy over the next 2 weeks.  Maybe next year I'll try drying apricot pieces instead

*  Bought new dinner plates and side plates from the op shop.  They look really new and I bought a total of 18 pieces for just over $10 ( using a discount voucher ).

*  Our gas bills will be going up as of this month.  We are trying to lower all our utility usage so the first step was to start using our solar garden lanterns at night time.  We use them to give us a little light when watching tv at night.

*  Made a big pot of veg / chicken soup in the pressure cooker  We had it for dinner that night and the other 11 serves went into the freezer.

*  Made up a bottle of surface spray with cooled boiled water and kitchen detergent.  

*  Saved the shower warm up water and poured it into the washing machine.

*  Made pumpkin scones using cooked pumpkin from the freezer.

*  Donated bags of unwanted items to Savers on a few occasions and received 20% off vouchers.  I've used a couple of these vouchers to buy sheets and doona covers to make crafts.

*  Recycled lots of Christmas cards and made them into new cards for next Christmas.  I had a few friends save their cards too so I can make more.

*  I found 1 x lamb shank in the freezer and cooked it in the pressure cooker.  I shredded the meat and made a stew that gave us 3 serves.

*  Collected an egg almost every day.  The chickens were fed lettuce plants that had bolted,  bread crusts,  weeds and grass to help supplement their ever increasing feed costs.

*  Sold a few unwanted items on Marketplace.  The funds have been put aside for gift giving in 2025.  The gift money for 2023 and 2024 is already fully funded.  I was able to do this through selling lots of crafts and unwanted items.

Plums from our tree.

Apricots from our tree.

Gift boxes I made for Christmas treats

Gift bags I decorated and tags I made

Our new dinner plates from the op shop

Getting rid of the 27 year old dinner set.

Christmas crafts I've made.


 How have you saved money of the holiday period ?

Are you growing something in your veggie garden ?