Wednesday 27 March 2024

Cost Of Living Crisis Series - Have Your Say.

 Quite often I get messages from people asking about how the cost of living crisis is affecting us.  I've also had others asking how do we keep our costs so low.

So I thought I'd do a series with a new topic each week.  So far,  here are the topics I thought I could  write about -

*  How to do laundry cheaply.

*  How to make clothes last longer.

*  Cleaning your home for under $1 a year.

*  Buying petrol as cheap as possible.

*  Budget busting gifts.

*  My frugal grocery shopping list.

Are there any areas of your budget you need to tighten ?

What topics would you like me to write about ?

How has the cost of living crisis affected you ?

Saturday 23 March 2024

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 23rd March 2024

 Being frugal doesn't take a lot of time or effort.  Even though I don't work full time,  I still run our home,  tend to the veggie garden ( and flower gardens ),  help my Mum when needed and entertain our grandchildren.  

Making a bottle of surface spray takes a minute,  repurposing plastic bags takes another minute.  Portioning and freezing leftovers takes 5 minutes.  You get the idea.  It's lots of little tasks with the occasional big task thrown in that saves us so much money.  This helps us live well below our means and gives us freedom with our money.

There's no cost of living crisis in our home.  Just a little pressure to find better deals and ways to save money.

Here's how we saved money this week - 

*  I picked all of the corn from our veggie garden.  We didn't get the long hot Summer as promised so the corn didn't grow too well.  Still,  we did get corn.  even if it was small and it's still a blessing.

*  I did my monthly food shop in Monday.  I spent $76 at Woolworths after the 10% discount was applied.  I spent $3.60 at the fruit and veg shop on avocados for Darren.  The remainder of my $140 food budget will be spent on milk and any other fruits and veggies we need over the coming weeks.

*  Gratefully received leftovers from a function we attended.  We made those leftovers stretch for 3 dinners and a couple of lunches.  We are grateful for the blessing.

*  Dried all the washing outside on clothes horses on the decking on rainy days.  On the sunny days,  the washing went on the line.

*  I made a big pot of soup using 250g of beef mince, veggies from our garden,  pasta,  seasonings and 1/2 a tin of diced tomatoes.  It was very tasty and filling.  From the 250g of mince,  we got 13 single serves of soup.

*  All the kitchen scraps,  paper and thin cardboard went into the kitchen compost bucket.  It was emptied every couple of days into the compost bin outside.

*  I picked raspberries every couple of days.  At this time of the year they do slow down.  All the fruit is frozen for jam making and baking muffins throughout the year.

*  Gratefully received lots of supermarket brown paper bags from a friend.  Even though they don't fit in our kitchen bin as bin liners,  we are using them by hanging the bag up on a hook in the space where the bin usually is.  So far,  so good.

*  Used the solar lanterns at night instead of turning lamps on in the loungeroom.

*  I mixed up a quadruple batch of ANZAC biscuit dough.  Some of it was baked and the rest was rolled into logs and frozen for future baking.

*  After making all the ANZAC biscuit dough,  I needed to make more brown sugar.  This is easy to make in the food processor using just white sugar and a good squirt of molasses.

*  I refilled the kitchen spray bottle and laundry spray bottle with cooled boiled water and a few squirts of dish washing liquid.  This costs just a few cents to make and clean our whole home.


ANZAC Biscuits

Brown Sugar

Homemade ANZAC biscuits

Some of our corn

A bits and pieces dinner with some of the leftovers

Luka ( 5 ) and Bryson ( 4 ),  came over during the week and helped me decorate our home.  Both boys put the decorations in the vases and placed everything where they wanted them.  I think they did a pretty good job.  They were certainly happy and proud of their work.

Our Easter tree.

Do you put any Easter decorations up ?

How did you save money this week ?

Saturday 16 March 2024

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 16th March 2024

 Welcome back to another post on frugal living.  I really hope the tasks I list help you to save money,  especially when times are tough and many people are struggling.

Darren and I had a quick trip to Tasmania over the long weekend.  We took our oldest grandson Luka ( almost 5 ) with us on his first plane trip and to meet his Pop ( Darren's Dad ).  We avoided the heatwave here in Melbourne,  but it was unusually humid in Tasmania.  We've learnt to pack clothes for all seasons even if it's just a 4 day trip.

Our Summer veggie garden is coming to an end.  The sweet corn is not growing too well due to the lack of consistent heat.  We still have zucchinis growing and silverbeet to pick.  The potatoes are at least another 8 weeks away from digging up and I'm hoping my second planting of beans will produce.

Here's how we've saved money around our home and garden -

*  I made more raspberry jam using fruit from our garden.

*  I baked wholemeal bread and rolls with extra goodness for our breakfasts ( as toast ) and for Darren to take to work at the hospital.

*  I made a couple of big trays of zucchini slice using zucchinis,  carrots and potatoes from our garden.

*  We saved water in the kitchen from drink bottles,  rinsing dishes and from the thermos.  This was all poured onto the pot plants and strawberries on our deck.

*  Saved the kitchen scraps and paper for our compost bucket.  Every few days Darren emptied it into the compost bin outside.

*   I picked a beautifully scented rose from the garden.  It gave off a beautiful perfume in the kitchen.

*  We filled our thermos each morning with boiled water for cups of tea during the day.

*  I washed and reused ziplock bags for freezing fruit from our garden.

*  I baked choc chip biscuits and cranberry hootycreek biscuit to take to Tasmania with us.

*  We picked raspberries,  lemons,  silverbeet,  corn,  pears,  a few potatoes and zucchinis from our garden.

*  I bought a couple of Winter tops from Savers op shop and used a discount voucher to get 20% off.

*  I made 2 lasagnes ( 1 large and 1 medium ) using 750 grams of beef mince and stretched it out with TVP,  grated carrot and lots of shredded silverbeet.  I portioned it out into 18 hearty serves.  We had some for dinner that night and 16 serves went into the freezer.

*  Dried all the washing on clothes horses outside.  Our weather has either been hot or wet,  so standing outside hanging washing on the line was not a great option.

*  Reused bread bags over and over again for storing bread in the freezer,  double wrapping meat in the freezer and then as bin liners in the bathrooms.


Homemade bread and raspberry jam

From the garden

Beautifully scented from our garden

Using our thermos to save money

Drying and reusing ziplock bags

Luka on the plane with his little buddy

Pears from our tree.

How have you saved money this week ?

Have you bulk cooked any meals lately ?

I've had a few people ask for a picture of the solar lanterns we use.  They were purchased from Bunnings but they are out of stock at the moment.  They are really garden lights but we took the stake off them.

Saturday 2 March 2024

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 2nd March 2024

 It's been a week of surviving hot ( and at times humid ) weather.  Our veggie garden is suffering a little and the tomato plants died off every quickly.  Thankfully they still have fruit on them and I'll be picking any remaining this coming week.

I've done very little baking or cooking due to the heat and some nights our meals were bits and pieces from the fridge with homemade potato salad.  Sometimes these simple meals are appreciated more than a fancy meal.

Here's how we saved money this week -

*  I sold an unwanted item on Marketplace.  The money from this was put into the gift fund.

*  I picked a handful or two of raspberries almost every day.  I have enough berries in the freezer to make another batch of jam shortly.

*  I made up a bottle of surface spray for the kitchen using cooled boiled water and a couple of squirts of dishwashing liquid ( the cheapest Aldi brand ).

*  I used our air fryer to crisp up a homemade garlic bread.  The garlic bread came from the freezer.  I defrosted it in the microwave for 40 seconds,  then placed it back in the foil with the top open.  It only needed 2 minutes in the air fryer.  This is far quicker and cheaper than using the oven.

*  I picked quite a few tomatoes and 2 ears of corn from our garden.  I've frozen 2 x 1.5 kilos of tomatoes to be turned into tomato relish when the weather cools down.  I already have a couple of people lining up to buy some relish.

*  We've had a few super hot, humid days over the last week or two.  On these days we cannot use our evap cooling.  So to make our split system air conditioning work better throughout the house,  we use a couple of electric fans ( pedestal and box ) to push the cold air from one end of the house to the other.  We also close off the 2 spare bedrooms,  spare bathroom and toilet and the laundry. This has been quite effective and saves us from buying and using another $3000 air conditioning system.

*  We fed grass,  weeds,  lettuce and silverbeet to our chicken.

*  We used the solar lanterns at night to light up our loungeroom.  With it being so sunny lately,  the lanterns last all night.  By morning they give off a soft glow.

*  I cleaned the dishwasher filters with kitchen detergent.   I also cleaned the dishwasher with bi carb and vinegar and ran it on a long,  hot cycle.

*  We gratefully received 2 small hams from a friend.  They were 1 day out of their best before date so Darren sliced them up and froze it into 2 and 4 slice packets for lunches and dinners.

*  We charged up a shaver,  handheld fan,  2 in 1 vacuum,  phones,  dust buster hand vacuum and an iPad during the day when the Sun was shining to make the most of our solar panels.   

Ripening tomatoes from our garden.

Drying the washing outside

Pears almost ready to pick.

Part of our back garden.

Cleaning dishwasher filters

Afternoon tea at Jessica's home ( our daughter ).

How do you keep cool in Summer without spending a fortune ?

How did you save money this week ?