Wednesday 29 March 2023

More Bang For Your Buck At The Supermarket.

 A few weeks ago my friend Maureen posted a few 1/2 price sale items at Woolworths over on the Cheapskates Chatter Facebook page.  One of those items was Lipton teabags 100 pack on a half price sale for $2.90.  My first thought was - bargain.  We love drinking tea and teabags haven't been 1/2 price for quite a long time.

I did need to buy apples and carrots too so I combined it all into one shop.  For 6 boxes of tea bags,  2 x 1 kilo bags of apples and 1 x 1 kilo bag of carrots,  I ended up paying $13.40. That's a really good deal isn't it ?  The receipt did originally say I needed to pay $26.00 but I had a few tricks up my sleeve. 

So how did I get these items so cheap ?

Firstly,  I used my monthly 10% off discount on a total shop through Woolworth Rewards saving $2.60

Secondly,   I had $10 in rewards money on my card.  With these 2 discounts the bill came down to $13.40. 

But the savings didn't end there.

The full price for all those groceries would usually cost

$34.80 for the tea  

$7.00 for the apples

$1.60 for the carrots     for a grand total value of $43.40  which is a saving of $30.00

  I didn't pay full price for the teabags  so that was a saving of $17.40 The bags of apples are for Darren's lunches.  I picked the bags that had the smallest apples for a total of 8 apples per bag.  Some bags only had 6 apples ( same weight ).  Darren doesn't like big apples with his lunch so this was perfect for him.  It's also another way of portion controlling and making the food last longer.

I also weighed the 3 bags ( carrots too ) and they were all about 70grams each over weight which is about 200 grams of food for free.  I'm not going to try and calculate how much that saving was,  but a saving is a saving. 

I also wisely used these savings to buy real food. 

Do you have any tricks for saving at the supermarket ?

Saturday 25 March 2023

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 25th March 2023

 Over the last couple of weeks I've spent some time decluttering bits and pieces from around our home.  As soon as I get a decent sized bag full of thing I donate them to my local Savers Thrift store.  Each time I make one of these donations I receive a 20% off voucher for my next purchase.  These vouchers are saved until I have a few items to purchase to make the most of the voucher.

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

*  Fed the compost bin every few days with kitchen scraps.

*  Baked a double batch of choc chip biscuits for our snacks.  For the first time ever I froze most of the  baked biscuits for future occasions.

*  Gratefully received milk, bread,  bread bags and bread crusts from a few different sources.

*  Dried all the washing on the line or clothes horses outside.

*  Gratefully received 3 x large Moccona coffee jars from a lady on Facebook.  I've already found uses for them in my pantry.

*  Made 5 1/2 jars of pear and apple butter.  The pears came from our tree.

*  Baked 12 rolls using the wholemeal bread with extra goodness recipe.  The rolls are for Darren's lunches to take to work.

*  Sold an item on Facebook Marketplace.

*  Baked 3 loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

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

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

*  Cooked homemade pizzas for dinner one night including making the bases.

*  Saved the shower warm up water and washing machine rinse water and reused it around our home and garden.

*  Used the solar lanterns at night time instead of using a lamp.

*  Made egg custard using excess milk.


Wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

Choc chip biscuits

Homemade pizza

Apple pear butter

Egg custard

Pears from our tree

Apple and pear butter

Free coffee jars

From our garden

Egg custard.

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


Wednesday 22 March 2023

A Candle Saving Trick

Have you ever thought it was a waste to throw out a candle when there is still a little bit of wax down the bottom of the container ?  Here's what I do if  I have another candle of the same fragrance  -

* Pop the glass candle container into a saucepan of very hot water. Just a couple of inches of hot water is all you need

*  Let the wax melt ( about 10 minutes ).

*  Take the glass candle container from the saucepan and carefully pour the melted wax into the top of a new candle.  

*  Let it cool for a few hours before lighting the new candle.

TIP - Make sure there is enough wick above the wax so you can light it.  About 5 - 7 mm is good.

Melting the wax

Adding the melted wax.

Have you tried this candle trick before ?

Saturday 18 March 2023

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 18th March 2023

This week has been a pretty boring one at the Gower Abundant Cottage.  We've gone to work,  watered the garden, eaten, done the housework and rested.  Not much else has happened.  

Not a lot of frugal tasks have been completed either.  I haven't been lazy,  it was just one of those weeks where nothing much that was frugal needed to be done.  So this week I won't be posting my frugal list.  It would be a little embarrassing to write about the 5 ways I saved money.

So I thought this would be your chance to leave a comment and share how you all saved money this week.  I'm happy to learn some new money saving tricks.  

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

Wednesday 15 March 2023

The 365 Declutter Challenge.

 I love a good declutter challenge but find most of them have too many rules or unrealistic goals and tasks.  Life gets in the way doesn't it ?  Then you feel like a failure.

I'm not a hoarder by any stretch of the imagination.  I love order and space in my cupboards and around our home.  It just makes life easier having space and it's certainly easier to clean our floors and do the dusting.

When my Dad passed away last April,  it really got me thinking about how much stuff we have and how much stuff our girls might have to sort out when Darren and I are no longer around.

So last year I set up my own declutter challenge.  Although life did get in the way,  I still managed to get rid of 188 excess items from our home.  

There are only 2 rules to this challenge -

*  Throw out or donate one item every day.

*  Consumable items like toiletries or food do not count.  You'd be throwing out empty packets / bottles anyway. Bits of paper doesn't count either.

It's that simple.  The great thing is,  if you forget a day or two ( or 10 ) you have the rest of the year to make up for it..  You can also start the challenge at any time.

I've roughly ruled a piece of paper with the months down on the left side of the paper.  The total for each month is on the right side and the space in the middle is where you record the amount of items you get rid of.  The plan is to have the same amount of discarded items as there are days in the month.

Here's a photo of my paper for this year's challenge.

My utensil drawer after decluttering

My declutter challenge tally so far.

Will you join me in this simple declutter challenge ?

Saturday 11 March 2023

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 11th March 2023

 It was a week of bits a pieces here at the Gower Abundant Cottage.  A few bargains,  some baking,  gardening and general frugalness.

Here's what we got up to -

*  Gratefully received a small bag of cherry tomatoes from a friend.  We've had such a bad growing season for many things in our veg garden.  The tomatoes were a real blessing.

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

*  Dried all the washing on the line and clothes horses outside.

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

*  Turned our hot water temperature down a little. We haven't noticed a difference when using the shower.  Hopefully we'll see it reflected in our next gas bill.

*  Made a double batch of  ANZAC biscuit dough.  Some was baked for our snacks and the rest of the dough went into the freezer.  I gave Megan a few biscuits for the boys to eat.  She took them as snacks to the movies and I heard that Luka and Bryson were excited to have them.

*  Made 1.5 kilos of brown sugar from scratch.

*  We picked raspberries, pears,  tomatoes,  beans and blackberries from our garden.  I collected 4 eggs this week.

*  Our local $2 shop is closing down due to shopping centre renovations.  I grabbed a few items when they had 25% off.  The next day I wanted Darren to have a look to see if he needed anything.  That day they had 50% off.  We bought a few hardware items,  greeting cards ( for Darren to give me @ 33 cents each ),  craft ribbon,  liquid hand soap ( good brand too ) and a few items for Luka and Bryson's Christmas stockings.

*  We ate leftovers from Bryson's birthday dinner ( the next night ).  

*  Fed bread crusts,  an old cucumber,  grass and weeds to our chickens.

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

*  Most days we didn't need any heating or cooling on.  Usually I have a few doors open to let a breeze through.  One morning was a bit cold so I turned the heater on for 1 hour.  

*  Made leftover mashed potato into potato cakes and cooked it for lunch the next day.

*  Cut open and scraped out a hair conditioner bottle.

Potato cakes for lunch

Making brown sugar

Scraping out a conditioner bottle

From the garden.

How have you saved money this week ?

Wednesday 8 March 2023

Our Garden Failure Became A Blessing

 Around Spring last year I was running low on potatoes in our pantry.  I didn't think we had any more of our homegrown ones left in storage under the house.  Darren didn't think so either but thought he'd check to be sure before I went out to buy some. 

Guess what he found ?  A tray of our potatoes,  sprouting wildly as they searched for some sun and warmth to grow.

I could have kicked myself for forgetting our much loved homegrown potatoes.  It seemed like such a waste.  We try our very best to make the most of what we have but last year was a difficult year.  With my Dad passing away at the end of April,  my life was turned upside down.  Getting through each day,  and helping my Mum and family became the main focus.  Potatoes was the last thing on my mind.

So I did what any frugal person would do.  After pulling off the long sprouts,  I left them regrow just a little before planting in our veg garden

Approximately 3 - 3 1/2 months later I dug up 13.2 kilos of potatoes.

Our failure became a blessing 

Saturday 4 March 2023

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 4th March 2023

 It's been another week of mild weather here in Melbourne.  As my Summer veggie garden winds down,  I'm starting to think of Autumn planting.  Darren is keen to get broccoli seeds planted within the next week in the hope of a bumper harvest.

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

*  Darren emptied a compost bin and spread it out onto one of our veggie garden beds.

*  Dug up 2.4 kilos of potatoes from our garden.  These potatoes were from volunteer plants that just popped up.  So potatoes grown completely free.

*  Baked 13 rolls for Darren's work lunches instead of buying them.  These are the same size as the jumbo rolls selling in Woolworths for $3 a bag of 6.  The total cost of ingredients would be about $1.40 so I've saved $4.60 by baking my own.  Luka was here when I was making the rolls and wanted to help.  That's why there are 2 smaller ones on the tray.

*  Found a couple of plants in the garden that had grown seedlings.  I dug them up and replanted them to fill in holes.

*  I made another batch of pita chips for snacking.  I have one more bag of pita bread in the freezer.  I need to start looking at where to buy more from.  It's gone up a fair bit in price at the supermarket.  A trip to The Dandenong Market might be needed shortly.

*  Darren continued to pick blackberries from the bush he's growing.  The fruit has slowed down but he should get enough for another batch of jam shortly.  

*  We continued to be mindful of using electrical appliances while the sun is shining and the solar panels are working.  When the sun goes down we try to turn as many things off at the power point as possible.

*  I picked beans,  tomatoes, raspberries and collected a few eggs.    

*  Made up 2 bottles of diluted Dynamo laundry liquid.  I dilute it 1 part Dynamo to 10 parts water ( or there abouts ).  I only use this liquid if the washing is a little smelly and needs a boost.

*  Darren pruned our standard roses in our backyard.  He came into the house with a bunch of roses for me from the pruning.

*  Cleaned the kettle with citric acid.  I've also cleaned the kettles of all my cleaning clients too.  One client didn't realise that the bottom of their kettle was silver instead of the mineral build up which made it black.

*  Sold another 2 items on Marketplace.  The extra money was put into the gift fund for 2025.

*  Donated some unwanted items to Savers and collected a 20% off coupon.  I used that coupon and bought 3 pairs of new or almost new jeans for a total of $27.

Rolls for Darren's lunches

Roses Darren bought in for me.

Cleaning the kettle.

@.4 kilos of potatoes from the garden.

Diluting Dynamo laundry liquid.

How did you save money or energy this week ?

Have you started planning your next season's veggie garden ?

Wednesday 1 March 2023

Don't Flush Your Money Down The Toilet.

 Have you ever noticed how many products are available in the supermarket to keep your toilet sparkling and smelling lovely ?  There is a spray for this,  a wipe for that.  Then there are all those fragrant toilet blocks that promise a shiny white toilet bowl.

Have you stopped to think if these products really do what they claim to do ?

As a cleaner I've used just about every  product under the sun at my clients homes.  Not one single one of them makes your toilet clean.  But they make you feel good using them don't they ?  The marketing department of these companies have done their job.  You've parted with your hard earned dollars and made them rich.

The next time you go to clean your toilet,  have a look under the toilet bowl rim.  Is it clean ?  Toilet brushes usually don't reach under the rim so you are likely to find a lot of grime under there.

If you want to save big dollars and still have a clean toilet,  all you need is a pair of rubber gloves,  a washable cloth ( Chux type works great ) and a spray of some sort.  Disinfectant,  diluted kitchen detergent or vinegar in a spray bottle will all clean your toilet well.

Click on the link below to find out how I clean toilets for the best and cheapest results.

Cleaning your toilet