Saturday 27 April 2024

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 27th April 2024

It's been another busy week at The Gower Abundant Cottage.  We've started whipping the garden into shape in readiness for Winter.  So far our Autumn has been quite cold and wet so getting into the garden has been challenging.  We still need to pull out old vegetable plants and prune our English Box plants as well as many other shrubs. 

Here's our week of savings and blessings -

*  Darren found a couple of zucchinis hiding in the veg garden.  A few days later I picked another 2.  I'll be using some of them in soups next week.

*  I made a bottle of surface spray for the kitchen using kitchen detergent and cooled boiled water.

*  I made 3 loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.  We eat this as toast for our breakfast every morning with homemade jam.  I also baked wholemeal rolls for Darren's work lunches.

*  I made a big batch of sausage rolls as a special treat.  Oh my goodness  !!!  Hasn't sausage mince gone up in price over the last couple of years ?  I've frozen the sausage rolls and we will be rationing them out over the next couple of months.

*  I filled another 2 bowls of feijoas from our backyard.  One tree is providing very large fruit and the other tree is providing small to medium fruit.

*  I gratefully received 2 ink pads and a few craft supplies from our card making group last Saturday.  I also took my lunch and a morning / afternoon tea to share with the ladies.  We all bring a plate to share and it's wonderful to try everyone's baking.

*  I picked pears,  silverbeet and beans from our garden.  It feels wonderful to pick and cook most of our own veggies for dinner each night. 

*  I gratefully received lemons and passionfruit from a cleaning client.

*  I made 2 meatloaves at the same time to save on our oven use.  Both meatloaves were sliced up and frozen into meal sizes (  2 slices per person ).  There were even a few slices leftover for toasted meatloaf sandwiches.  It's a real treat with lashings of tomato sauce.

*  We used the thermos each day to store boiling water for cuppas.   We charged the solar lanterns on sunny days and used them at night to light up our loungeroom.  We filled the kitchen compost bucket every couple of days and Darren emptied it into the compost bin outside.


Homestyle Meatloaf

Wholemeal Bread With Extra Goodness

Our green harvest day on Wednesday

Homemade sausage rolls

Some of the rolls for Darren

                          The last of the photos from the Melbourne Flower Show

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

Did you receive any blessings ?

Saturday 20 April 2024

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 20th April 2024

 Where has this week gone ?  A nine day week would have been appreciated with all our comings and goings.  We had a family member who's been unwell so some care giving and a couple of trips to the doctor was needed.  We both went to work,  I did the monthly food shop,  went to church and did all the housework ( on time ).

Unfortunately we haven't been able to maintain our veggie garden.  It is still giving us a few zucchinis and silverbeet which is a blessing.  Hopefully next week I'll have time to plant more potatoes.

Here's how we saved money this week -

*  I've been using the air fryer to crisp up all sorts of things like salmon patties,  the top of a cottage pie,  to reheat sausages and zucchini slices.  Usually I start the reheat process in the microwave for a minute or two then finish it off in the air fryer for another couple of minutes.  This is far quicker and cheaper than using the oven or grill part of the oven.  We've seen the savings reflected in our lower electricity bill.

*  I've picked lots of good sized feijoas from our backyard.  This year the fruit has been decently sized.  

*  I made a whole orange cake using an orange from the freezer.   This seems to soften the skin which makes it easier to blitz in the food processor.  I made a loaf cake for us to eat fresh,  6 mini loaf cakes for my Mum's freezer and 6 medium sized loaf cakes for Darren's lunchbox ( also put in the freezer ).

*  We ate a few meals from the freezer that I'd bulked cooked over the last few months.  They are wonderful for a quick,  nutritious meal on a busy day.  Usually I just need to add rice / potato or steamed veg.

*  This week we finished using up the hotel bottles of shampoo,  conditioner and shower gel.  I try to do this every couple of years to make extra room in the bathroom cupboard and to rotate our stocks.

*  We used the thermos every morning to store extra boiling water for cups of tea.

*  I make ANZAC biscuits using dough from the freezer.  Some will be used for lunchboxes,  some for a card making day and the rest will be for morning teas.  If there are any leftover,  Luka and Bryson love a homemade biscuit.

*  On Tuesday I did my monthly grocery shop.  I only spent $66 from a $140 monthly budget.  Over the next few weeks the rest of the budget will be used for milk and fruit / veg top ups as needed. Hopefully there will be money leftover to put in the slush fund.  I'll be buying beef mince in the next couple of months when Megan goes to Costco next time.  It comes in a 4.5 kilo pack so I need to start saving. 

*  Gratefully received a few oranges from a cleaning client.  The skins feel thick so I'll be juicing them.

*  The super cheap meals we ate this week were -  fried rice ( 2 nights ) @ approx. 75 cents per serve  

                                                                              -   chicken/veg soup,  muffins @ 45 cents per serve


Zucchini Slice

Salmon Patties

Whole Orange Cake

ANZAC Biscuits

Chunky Chicken And Veg Soup

Op shopped biscuit jar and homemade ANZACS

                                  More photos from the Melbourne Flower Show - ENJOY  !!!

Our view when we ate lunch

How have you saved money this week ?

Saturday 13 April 2024

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 13th April 2024

This week has been a busy one for both Darren and I.  I've had a few big cleaning jobs and we're in the process of selling a car.  

AND -  I bought a new car. !!!  After 6 years of saving and 22 months of waiting for my car to be made and delivered,  I'm now the proud owner of a brand new Toyota Corolla.  This car is so new that when I test drove a Corolla 22 months ago I was told that I'd be getting the upgraded version.  No photos were available,  no specifics about the new features,  no idea of the NEW price and,  the new model has not been available to test drive since I ordered it in June 2022.  

So on Tuesday I went in to pick up my car and also to test drive it.  It has whiz bang features ( in my eyes ) some of which I'll never understand or work out how to use.  But it does run smoothly and there's nothing like the new car feeling.

I'm now 54 and this is only the third car I've ever owned.  My first car was 28 years old when I traded it in for $100( plus a bonus plasma tv ) and bought a new Camry in 2008.  This car still runs fantastically so Darren will now be driving it.  

I've never had a car loan.  Darren and I just work out when we think we'll need a new car and start saving for it.  It's been a part of our budget every month since 2012.  Next month we'll start saving for when the Camry needs replacing.

Here are the few ways we saved money this week -

*  I picked a handful of feijoas each day that had fallen from our tree.  Feijoas would have to be my all time favourite fruit and a wonderful childhood memory of my grandparents growing them too.

*  I baked wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  I've written a menu plan for the next 5 weeks.  I made sure to use some of the meals already cooked and frozen as well as other meats that need rotating in the freezer.

*  I filled up our compost bucket every couple of days.  Darren empties it into our compost bin outside.

*  Saved water in the kitchen and used it to water our pot plants outside.

*  I picked a handful of beans and lots of pears from our garden.

*  I baked rolls for Darren's work lunches.

*  We've been using up some hotel bottles of shampoo,  conditioner and shower gel.

*  I spent time online looking for the best deal on car insurance.  I saved $100 on the offer Toyota gave me plus another $100 approx in grocery savings by taking out insurance with Woolworths.

A few weeks ago Darren and I went to the Melbourne Flower Show.  I've included a few photos below of some of the gorgeous displays.

                                                                       My new car.

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

Wednesday 10 April 2024

Cost Of Living Crisis Series - How To Do Your Laundry Cheaply.

 The cost of living crisis pretty much affects all areas of our budget.  How much it affects the budget can depend on us.  Darren and I have always been frugal.  For most of our married life ( 28 1/2 years ),  we've had to be frugal due to our extremely low income.

We even do our laundry very cheaply and it's never been a strain on our budget.  When money was super tight,  we bought the cheapest laundry powder we could find.  It did the job,  it cleaned our clothes but we also found there were many other tricks to keep the costs down.

Here's how we do our washing for just a few cents a load -

*  I always have a full load in the washing machine.  If I'm going to turn the machine on,  I may as well make the most of it.  If there isn't enough dirty clothes for a load,  we always wait another day or two.

*  I use the most effective and quickest wash cycle for the clothes I'm putting in.  When I had a top loader,  the quickest full load I could do took 37 minutes.  This was the cycle I used over 90% of the time.  I never used the 1 1/2 hour cycle or the delay start.  Every minute I have the machine on costs money in electricity.  Now that I have a front loader,  I can wash a fair amount of clothes on the 15 minute cycle but mostly I use the 39 minute cycle.

*  For the last 14 years I've been making my own laundry powder for just a few cents per load.  In recent years I've been making laundry liquid that's even cheaper than the powder,  The liquid seems to dissolve better in a front loader.  I'll put links to the recipes below.

*  When I did buy and use store bought powder,  I never used the recommended amount stated on the box.  Of course the manufacturer wants you to use X amount.  They want you to use it up quicker so you buy more.  I always halved the amount stated and our clothes came out clean.

*  I've never bought those washing pods.  Have you seen the price of them ? They are about $1 per pod at full price.  Yes I've used a few of them when they were in a show bag.  Yes our clothes smelled lovely,  but who wants to walk around smelling like laundry liquid ?  I'd much rather use a little perfume to smell nice.  I remember years ago I was outside when our next door neighbour was putting their washing on the line.  I could smell their laundry powder / liquid over 15 metres away.

*  I rarely use fabric softener.  In 28 1/2 years I've probably bought 2 bottles.  They were 1/2 price and I diluted them by 50%.  For some reason,  some of our black clothes smell and heavily diluted fabric softener used on a rare occasion helps a little.  So does soaking that item in boiling water.  Fabric softener used often is not good for the clothes and can do damage to the washing machine.  If it needs to be used,  use it sparingly.

*  I dry as much as I can on clothes horses over ducted heating vents in Winter or placed outside either in the Sun or on the deck if it's raining.  If the weather is clear and sunny for the whole day I'll hang the washing on the clothesline.

*  There are only a few instances when I'll use the dryer.  I use it when the clothes won't dry in humid weather.  I will also use the dryer for urgently needed items like work clothes.  If I'm not feeling well,  then sometimes it's easier to throw the washing in the dryer.  When Darren and I had Covid in May last year,  the dryer was the only way we could keep on top of the washing.  I physically couldn't use a peg on the clothes horse or even fling the washing over the rails. 

*  The washing machine and dryer are turned off at the wall when they are not being used.  When the load has finished,  the machine gets turned off straight away.

*  I don't use sanitising liquids.  If we've been sick,  I put a dash of generic brand,  hospital grade disinfectant into each load.

*  I use Aldi stain removing spray and laundry soaker,  homemade Miracle Spray or a stain removing soap when needed.  They all work really well and cost a fraction of the branded products.

*  I don't use essential oils to make my washing smell nice.  They are just too expensive to wash away.  I'd much rather the smell of sunshine on my clothes.

*  I don't use over priced eco friendly products.  Usually they rate very poorly in the Choice magazine tests.  I've had washing machine repair men tell me they are rubbish too.  Homemade laundry powder / liquid uses less plastic, few chemicals and saves me a small fortune.  It's also easier on my sensitive skin.


Laundry Powder

Homemade Laundry Liquid

Miracle Spray

Dry the washing on clotheshorses.

Ingredients for laundry powder

Watching the washing machine.

How do you keep your laundry costs down ?

Saturday 6 April 2024

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 6th April 2024

 This week's frugal list spans the last two weeks.  We were so busy over Easter I didn't get a chance to post my list.  Instead,  I just kept adding to it.

We spent lots of time with our family over Easter.  We enjoyed a church service on Friday and Sunday,  a picnic in the park,  Easter egg hunts,  baking and the grandchildren had a splash in our kiddie pool.

There's how we saved money over the last couple of weeks -

*  Gratefully received more supermarket paper bags from a friend.  We've been using them to hold our kitchen / household rubbish.  In 28 years of running a home,  I've never bought bin liners.

*  Our feijoa tree is now fruiting.  Each day I check our backyard for fallen fruit on the ground.  I then put the fruit on the kitchen windowsill for a few days to ripen.

*  I picked a small handful of raspberries every couple of days.  The season has now finished but I have a couple of kilos of fruit in the freezer for jam making and baking.

*  I cleaned our kettle with citric acid.

*  I purchased a few pairs of Summer sandals on clearance from Kmart for $6 and $12.

*  I made up a bottle of diluted dishwashing liquid to clean our showers.

*  Darren and I made hot cross buns.  Each year we make 1 dozen each in a bake off to see whose looks and tastes the best.  This I won.  Last year it was a draw.  While they are not cheaper than supermarket buns,  they are cheaper than the bakery and far tastier..

*  I made a big pot of chunky chicken and veg soup using homemade chicken stock and some of our potatoes ( plus other ingredients ).  I portioned the soup out and got 16 serves for less than $2.

*  The washing was dried on the line outside most of the time.  On days when it was raining,  I used clothes horses inside over our ducted heating vents.

*  We've used our ducted heating on a few cold mornings.  I've closed the vents in the two spare bedrooms and the main bathroom.  I also make sure the laundry and spare toilet doors are closed.  We don't heat unused areas of our home and this helps to keep costs down.

*  Darren found trays of lamb offcuts in Coles for $7 a tray.  I cooked the lamb overnight in the slow cooker with water,  onion and rosemary.  The next morning I drained the liquid and pulled the meat off the bones.  This meat was used to make a Massaman curry.   Usually I use beef for this dish but it was good to try the lamb.  We got 8 portions of the curry from the slow cooker.  Two were eaten that night with rice and the other 6 were put into the freezer.  

*  I used recycled gift bags for the grandchildren's Easter gifts.  Megan gets a lot of gift bags from Luka and Bryson's birthdays each year.  When she gets too many to reuse,  she gives me some.  Between the two of us,  we don't need to buy gift bags at all.  The boys Easter gifts this year were a Kmart T-shirt,  a book I found at Savers ( 3 in the pack for $2.99 less 20% discount ),  a bubble wand with solution ( 50c each ) and a chocolate bunny from Aldi.  So I probably spent under $7 each and they got a bag of goodies.


Chunky Chicken and Veggie Soup

Massaman Beef Curry

Cleaning Your Kettle

It's feijoa season

Homemade hot cross buns

Roses from my Mum's garden

How have you saved money lately ?

Did you find ways to save over Easter ?