Saturday 18 May 2024

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 18th May 2024

 We had some beautiful Autumn weather this week in Melbourne.  It was lovely to work in the garden  pruning some bushes,  pulling weeds and planting a few cuttings we've grown.  We opened the doors to let a gentle fresh breeze in and the Sun streamed through our windows.

Here's how our week looked -

*  I dug up about 3 kilos of potatoes from our garden.  It was really good timing because I was down to our last couple of potatoes in the pantry.

*  I made chocolate and raspberry muffins with choc chips for a Mother's Day afternoon tea at our place.  Luka and Bryson were here when I made them so they were happy to help with the stirring.  We made plenty for a gift as well as some for our freezer too ( for work morning teas ).

*  I baked ANZAC biscuits to go with a Mother's Day present for my Mum.  I placed them in a cello bag and put them in a decorative tin.  Mum was thrilled with her gift.

*  I used recycled gift bags for Mother's Day presents and gave handmade cards.  Megan even gave the gift bags back so I could reuse them over and over again.

*  I made up a jar of French onion soup mix.   I used 3 of the store bought packets and added onion powder,  onion granules,  parsley,  paprika and garlic to help them stretch further.   

*  The shower cleaner bottle was almost empty so I refilled it using cooled boiled water and dishwashing liquid.

*  The metal button / stud on a pair of my jeans was falling out from where it had been fastened.  So I pulled it off and sewed up the hole.  Then I sewed on another button.

*  Gratefully received more paper supermarket bags from a friend.  We use these as a bin for rubbish in the kitchen.  I just stand it upright in the cupboard under the sink.

*  On Thursday I planted more potatoes in our raised garden bed.  I've counted 14 weeks ahead on our calendar and marked the date for when they should be ready to dig up.

*  I used the bag from the toilet paper as a bin liner in our kitchen.  Why throw it out when it can be used for rubbish,  then thrown out ?

*  I made scones for the Mother's Day afternoon tea we had here.  I served them with homemade jam and whipped cream.  We had some plain scones leftover so they went into the freezer.

*  We used the solar lanterns,  saved water from drink bottles into a bucket ( used for plants ) and dried the washing on the line. 



ANZAC Biscuits

Lunchbox Chocolate Choc Chip Muffins

Potatoes, beans and feijoas from our garden

Chrysanthemums in our garden

Jessica and I on Mother's Day

The biscuits were from church for the Mums

How did you spend Mother's Day ?

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

Saturday 11 May 2024

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 11th May 2024

 We've had another busy week at The Gower Abundant Cottage.  Our 3 grandchildren were dedicated in church last Sunday.  I must say it was a proud Mumma and Nanny moment to see our family following Jesus and being embraced by our loving church.

Both Darren and I had busy work weeks,  church gatherings to attend and family and personal errands to run.  I'm pleased to say that I also managed to keep up to date with the housework.

Our veggie garden is looking a little unkept but I did manage to pull out the dead tomato plants and stakes.  I also did 30 minutes of weeding.

Here's how we saved money this week -

*  I planted about a dozen sprouting potatoes into our large raised garden bed.  Some of these potatoes are supermarket ones gifted to us and the others came from our last crop.   I'll be digging up another crop in the next day or so.

*  We used solar lantern every night in our loungeroom.  

*  I mended a pair of Darren's favourite socks.

*  I cleaned the kettle using citric acid and water.

*  I baked wholemeal bread with extra goodness.  We use this as toast for breakfast every morning with my homemade jam on top.

*  We had a few last minute visitors come on Sunday afternoon.  I was able to pull out a few logs of ANZAC biscuit dough and bake them to have with a cuppa.

*  I found a medium sized punnet of mushrooms on a clearance trolley in the supermarket for $2.  I weighed the mushrooms when I got home and they were 335g.  That works out to about $6kg which is a bargain.  They looked pretty good too.

*  I picked beans,  pears and feijoas from our garden.

*  I baked wholemeal rolls for Darren's work lunches.

*  Our grandchildren Luka and Bryson had a sleepover last Saturday night.  Darren loves to make pancakes ( with extra goodness ) for their breakfast.  This time he made a double batch and all leftovers were frozen ready for the next couple of sleepovers.

*  On Monday I needed to go to the shops for a milk,  fruit and veg top up.  I always check the prices at the fruit and veg shop before looking in the supermarket.  I used the 10% off discount to get things cheaper at Woolworths and bought a cauliflower and a piece of pumpkin from the fruit and veg shop. I'm not brand or supermarket loyal.  I always try to buy at the cheapest price.  For just under $14 I got all the fruit and veg we need for over 2 weeks plus milk.  

Some of the fruit I bought for the next 2 weeks

Pancakes for Luka and Bryson

Leftovers for the freezer

Our grandchildren being dedicated.

Do you shop around for the cheapest price on food ?

How did you save money this week ?

Saturday 4 May 2024

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 4th May 2024

 This week I've done a little gardening,  lots of baking and cooking.  I've also enjoyed  decluttering a cupboard or two then took some time to rest.

Here is my week of savings -

*  I've been wanting to try to make my own muesli bars with ingredients I like.  I'm not a fan of chocolate or yoghurt drizzled on muesli bars.  So I found a recipe for crunchy muesli bars when I did a Google search.  The ' glue ' in the bars is peanut butter and honey and I must say they are delicious.  Of course I tweaked the recipe to suit the ingredients I had in the pantry.  Darren has been taking them to work and he's super impressed.  I'll share the recipe shortly when I've fine tuned it.

*  We used our thermos each day for breakfast and morning tea cuppas.  If there was any water left at dinnertime,  I used it for cooking potatoes or rice in a saucepan.

*  I dried the washing outside when the weather allowed.  Otherwise it was put on clotheshorses over our ducted heating vents.

*  I cleaned out one of our ovens with kitchen detergent,  water and a cheap version of the magic eraser.  On the oven racks I used  a steel wool pad.  I haven't used oven cleaner on these ovens since they were installed back in 2016.

*  Our curtains were fully open on the sunny days even if it was a little cold outside.  Our family room gets the full morning Sun from about 7.30am.  As soon as I open the curtain,  I'm met with waves of warmth.

*  I donated a few bags of unwanted items to Savers and received 20% off discount vouchers in return.  I always have a quick look on the shelves and this week I picked up a few presents for Christmas ( minus the discount ).

*  I gratefully received about 12 potatoes leftover from a catered dinner.  I've used them to bulk out a soup as well as for a few dinners.

*  I picked feijoas,  beans,  pears and silverbeet from our garden.  With vegetable prices still being too expensive,  we are trying to eat silverbeet 3 times a week.

*  I made a big pot of vegetable soup using zucchinis from our garden,  the blessing of potatoes,  250g of beef mince,  corn,  pasta,  1/2 a tin of tomatoes,  carrots and seasoning.  From that pot I portioned out 15 serves.  We had some for dinner that night and the rest went into the freezer for lunches and dinners.

*  I made up a spray bottle of laundry stain remover.  Years ago I received 8 bottles of an  ' in wash ' stain remover. through a charity.   It's quite thick so I dilute it down with water and pour it into a spray bottle to target stains before I put the washing on.  I still have 3 or 4 bottles left and with the way I dilute it,  they'll last for many more years.

*  I baked choc chip biscuits twice this week for morning teas using dough from the freezer.

Look what's growing in a flower bed

A ray of sunshine

I dilute this down

Using a recycled spray bottle

Muesli bars before baking.

Have you tried making your own muesli bars ?

How have you saved money this week ?

Wednesday 1 May 2024

Cost Of Living Crisis Series - Cleaning Your Home For Under $1 A Year

 Are you spending too much money on cleaning products ?  Do you have a cupboard full of assorted cleaning sprays and potions ?  Do cleaning products give you a headache ?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above then please keep reading.  Keeping your home clean doesn't need to cost a fortune.  It also doesn't need to smell of chemicals either.  Most of you know that I'm a cleaner and have been cleaning other people's homes for over 25 years.  I've used almost every product released during that time including some of the well known,  expensive eco friendly ones.   My experience tells me these cleaning products are not needed and there is a much cheaper way to keep a clean home.

Over 12 months from July 2022 to June 2023,  I thought I'd try cleaning my home only using dishwashing liquid and keep track of how much it cost.  From the windows to the floors and everything in between I used less than $1 of dishwashing liquid to clean everything.  Infact,  that $1 included cleaning my client's homes as well.

Here's a list of a few simple items I used to clean my home that I already had on hand.  You probably have these items in your cupboards too. -

*  1 x bottle of the cheapest Aldi dishwashing liquid.  Originally I paid $1 per bottle ( but used about 1/2 for my home ).  Now the dishwashing liquid costs $1.49.

*  2 x recycled spray bottles saved from when I once used cleaning products.  I never throw out a spray bottle.  I've even used bottles from hairspray ( the pump ones ),  conditioning sprays and body sprays.

*  Discarded toothbrushes.

*  Old face washers,  handtowels,  cloth nappies,  knitted dish cloths,

*  Old non scratch kitchen scourers. 

*  1 x microfibre mirror / glass cloth,  generic branded Chux cloths and 2 x microfibre cloths for general cleaning.  If used correctly,  all these cloths can last for years.

FOR THE WINDOWS -  I wipe down the windows with a wet cloth first and use a spray bottle that contains a dash of dishwashing liquid.  Then I use a clean damp cloth to wipe again and buff the window with a dry rag / towel.

FOR THE SHOWERS -  I clean our shower once or twice a week to avoid soap scum building up.  I use dishwashing liquid and water in a small squirty bottle ( Morning Fresh bottle ) at a ratio of 50 : 50.  A small squirt on a non scratch kitchen scourer ( of any sort ) gets rid of soap scum quite easily.  The old toothbrushes come in handy for grouting,  door seals / joints and the drain.

FOR MIRRORS AND TVs -  I just dampen a  glass / mirror microfibre cloth with water.   No chemicals are needed.  Infact,  chemicals leave a residue that makes glass look slightly cloudy.

FOR THE TOILETS - I spray the toilet inside and out with a spray bottle of dishwashing liquid and water.  The Chux cloths are used to wipe over all surfaces including the bowl on the inside.  They are then soaked in a bucket before being washed with other cleaning cloths.

FOR SINKS - I used a microfibre cloth either dampened with water or use the spray bottle of dishwashing liquid and water.  Toothbrushes are used for around the taps and plughole.

FOR THE KITCHEN -  I use a spray bottle of water and dishwashing liquid with a microfibre cloth on all surfaces including the sink,  cupboards,  benches and a greasy stove .  I also use old knitted dish cloths and face washers to wipe out the oven on a regular basis.

FOR THE WALLS -  I use water and a microfibre cloth.    

FOR DUSTING -  I use a damp microfibre cloth on everything.

FOR CARPET STAINS -  I use a damp microfibre cloth and a little dishwashing liquid.

FOR HARD FLOORS -  I use a small squirt of dishwashing liquid in hot water in the mop bucket.  This works better than any floor cleaning product I've ever used.  It cuts through dirt without leaving a residue.

Aldi dishwashing liquid and a squirty bottle.

Assorted cleaning cloths and a non scratch scrourer.

How do you keep your home clean on the cheap ?

Could you try cleaning your home for $1