Saturday, 17 March 2018

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 17th March 2018

My week has been a little quieter so I've taken the time to potter around my home and straighten things up.  I've also taken some time to rest which is a rarity for me. Engagement party plans are coming along and plates,  serviettes  and decorations have been purchased or sourced from around our home.

Here's my frugal list for the week -

*  Bought a big bottle of Dynamo laundry liquid at 1/2 price then made up a couple of bottles of diluted laundry liquid.  I use two capfuls of liquid to 450 mls of water.

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

*  Diluted a bottle of vinegar with water at a ratio of 1 part vinegar to 1 part water.  This is only good for cleaning purposes.

*  Filled up my car when petrol dropped to $1.23 per litre.  I generally only need to fill up every three weeks.

*  Picked white roses from the garden for the kitchen and bathroom.

*  Due to the mild weather we didn't use the cooling or heating this week.  We just kept the doors open to get a fresh breeze.

*  Picked and froze raspberries from our garden.

*  Megan was able to source for free a wishing well and 67 glass jars with lids.  The glass jars can be used as wedding favours and the wishing well will be used at the wedding.

*  Received a refund in the mail for Listerine pocketpaks that were faulty.  The refund will more than cover replacements.  It's certainly worth letting companies know when their products fail.

*  Dug into my glass jar stash and found enough glass jars of the same style and shape to use as candle holders at Jessica and Eugene's engagement party.

*  Fed the compost bin with tea bags and kitchen scraps.

*  Froze all leftovers for future meals.

*  Put a few little hotel bottles of shampoo,  conditioner and shower gel in the shower to use up as part of the ' Use It Up ' challenge.

*  Gratefully received lots of bread bags.  With Coles phasing out single use plastic bags in a few months,  the bread bags will come in handy for kitchen rubbish as well as lining the bathroom bins.

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

In the garden

Dinner one night

Fresh baked bread.

What was on your frugal list this week ?

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Grated Cheese Tip.

Have you ever grated to much cheese and popped the rest in a container in the fridge ? Does it stick together ?  Here's a great tip from Cath at The Cheapskates Club.

Add one teaspoon of corn flour to a container of grated cheese.  Place the lid on and give it a good shake  The corn flour finely coats the cheese preventing it from sticking together in clumps.

If you have a large amount of grated cheese.  place it in a large freezer bag and add two teaspoons of corn flour.  Twist the top of the bags and give it a good shake.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 10th March 2018

This week just flashed before my eyes.  I worked four days,  hosted an engagement party planning afternoon tea with Eugene's family,  made more invitations,  wrote lists and kept the home tidy.  Here's what else I got up to this week -

*  Gratefully received a big bag of beans.

*  Sold 8 jars of jam and 3 bars of handmade soap to a friend.

*  Gratefully received some tomatoes,  a zucchini,  a cucumber and glass jars from another friend.

*  Saved the shower water for the washing machine.  Saved the washing machine rinse water for the next load.  This week I only needed to do three loads of washing.

*  Picked beans and raspberries from the garden.

*  Found some artificial flowers super cheap in an op shop.  These will be used as part of the decorations for Jessica and Eugene's wedding.

*  Only bought milk,  lettuce and mushrooms from the shops.

*  Cooked all meals from scratch.  Froze leftovers when possible.

*  Cleaned the inside of the kettle with citric acid.

*  Gratefully received lots of bread bags.  Most of them were used to line the bathroom bins.  I put five bread bags in at a time so I don't have to do it each week.

*  Sold two dozen eggs.

*  Picked up more cleaning work to start in a few week's time.  I'll be roping Darren in to help me due to some of the jobs being big ones.

*  Made a deliberate effort to use what we already have in the pantry,  fridge and freezers.  That's why my shopping list had three items on it this week.

* Finished using a lipstick by digging down to the very bottom. By doing this I've doubled the life of the lipstick and saved about $8.

*  Jessica and I picked up about 20 freebie pouches of yoghurt when we were at the shops.  The staff handing them out gave us handfuls at a time.

*  Made a big batch of scones for the planning meeting.

Op shop find for $`1.99

Freebie yoghurt from the shops.

Bread bag bin liners

Scones for the planning meeting.

There was a great response to the ' Use It Up '  Challenge posted on Wednesday.  Will you join the challenge and save some money ?

How did you save money this week ?

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

The 'Use It Up' Challenge.

Blog reader Patti mentioned a couple of  weeks ago that she's on a " Use It Up " challenge to save some extra money.  I thought this was a fabulous idea we could all do together.

 Many of us have too much stuff taking up room around our homes and this could be a great way to declutter as well as save money.  Think about those half used tubes of lipstick in the back of the bathroom cabinet..  Or maybe you've still got the little bottles of shampoo and conditioner from a holiday 5 years ago.  Now is the time to use them up.

Do you have pieces of timber behind a shed that could be made into a tool box or outdoor furniture ?  Does your freezer have too many mystery packages ?  Writing a menu plan could be a wonderful way to make room in your freezer.

Is your craft or material stash getting out of hand ?  Could you make a start on this year's presents and reduce the stash ?

For the month of March,  lets make a big effort to use things up before we throw them out.

My goals for March are -

*  Make room in my freezer.

*  Pour the little bottles of shampoo and conditioner into our bigger bottles in the shower.

*  Making more items to sell by using crafts and supplies I already have on hand.

*  Using up the last of a couple of lipsticks.  

*  Decluttering my pantry and making an effort to use some items we forget to use.

What are your ' Use It Up ' goals ?  At the end of the month we'll post our results 

Saturday, 3 March 2018

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 3rd March 2018

Looking back on my week,  I know I've been quite busy but didn't think I had much of a frugal list.  I spent a fair bit of  time decluttering drawers and the wardrobe,  sorting out the pantry as well as taking stock of our stockpile ( does that make sense ? ).  Working on these tasks always puts my mind at ease in challenging times.  I also washed windows inside and out and pulled weeds.

Here's my frugal list for the week -.

*  Cooked and froze the last of the tomatoes from our garden.  I weighed out another 8 cans worth.

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  Mended a couch that had some loose threads.  I used fishing line so the mending can't be seen.

*  Saved the shower / bath water and poured it into the washing machine.

*  Stuck to the two light rule with most nights only using one at a time.

*  Sold a couple of cards to a friend of a friend.

*  Picked beans,  raspberries, one pear and one lemon from the garden.

*  Made power fruit balls using dried fruit,  nuts,  honey,  chia seeds and cashew meal.

*  Dried all the washing on the line.

* Added water to the last of the hair conditioner to make it easy to pour into the next bottle.

*  Turned off standby lights after using the appliances.

*  Cooked all meals from scratch and froze any leftovers for future meals.

*  Darren cleaned the bathroom fans and I cleaned the rangehood filters.  Keeping these things clean helps them to run more efficiently.

*  Gained another cleaning job which will hopefully start in a fortnight..

*  Donated another bag of goods to the op shop and received a discount stamp.

Power fruit balls


Taking stock of the stockpile

Picking raspberries.

What frugal tasks did you complete this week ?

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Count Your Blessings

Some of you might know of the hymn " Count Your Blessings .  It was a hymn I grew up with and came to mind just recently with the challenges we've been facing.

I thought I'd share a few lines with you as a way of encouraging you if times are tough.  Sometimes it can  feel like there's no hope,  or nothing to be grateful for.  Remembering  our blessings no matter how big or small can be a wonderful way to lift our spirits and give hope to continue on.

Each time I pick food from our garden,  I'm grateful we can eat.
Each time I fill up my car with petrol,  I'm grateful I have the money to do so.
Each time I look in the wardrobe.  I'm grateful I have a choice of what to wear.
Each time I put the heating / cooling on,  I'm grateful I can be comfortable.
Each time I go to work,  I'm grateful for strength to finish the job.
Each time I see Darren,  I'm grateful for love.
Each time I come home,  I'm grateful it's ours.
Each time the girls ring / text / visit,  I'm grateful they are in my life.
Each time I see the sky,  I'm grateful for it's beauty.
Each time I look at my blog,  i'm grateful for the opportunity to share.
Each time I'm blessed,  I'm grateful that God knows our needs.
Each time we need to cut the budget,  I'm grateful for the skills to make it work.

Here are some of the words to the hymn -

Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what God has done.

Will you count your blessings this week ?

From our garden

The love of my life.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 24th February 2018

Over the last seven days I've kept myself busy with work,  keeping up to date with the housework as well as cooking some produce from our garden.  My Mum came over on Wednesday to help make engagement invitations and we spent a lovely three hours crafting away.

We had some news that there could be further cuts to Darren's work hours in the next few weeks. So I went back to the drawing board again to make further cuts to our budget. Our budget now consists of paying bills, buying food and petrol and getting a haircut every now and then.  That's it. Presents,,pocket money ( not that it was much ) and chemist have now been cut from the budget.

Thankfully we already had a little money put aside for these categories but now we'll have to stretch it until things improve. Maybe everyone will get handmade soap and jars of jam for presents,  I also have money put aside for wedding related expenses which is a big relief.

Here's my frugal list for the week -

*  Gratefully received a big bag of organic beans.  These have been cut up and frozen for future meals.

*  Stayed away from the shops as much as possible and only bought wedding related items ( money from the wedding fund ).

*  Sold three dozen eggs.

*  Sold two jars of peach jam with an order for more in a couple of weeks.   This is the cleaning client who buys my baking.  She's also buying a couple of my handmade soaps too.  In a few weeks I'll have a catering order for sausage rolls,  mini quiches,  lemon slice and maybe a few other items.  God knows our needs and he's providing opportunities to earn a little money.

*  Picked lots of tomatoes from the garden and cooked and froze them.  That's another 15 cans worth of tomatoes.

*  Fed the compost bins with kitchen scraps.

*  Saved the shower water and poured it into the washing machine.  It's mostly Darren and I home now and we can get by on 3 loads of washing a week.

*  Gratefully received a bag of groceries from a dear friend who wanted to help us.  Thanks again for your kindness M.

*  Cooked up a leg of lamb I'd been hoarding in the freezer.  Darren and I had a roast that night.  Jessica and Eugene ate some when they got home from their engagement photo shoot.  The rest of the meat was portioned into containers and frozen for another 3 meals for Darren and I..  Lamb is still considered a luxury in our home so we'll ration the treat out until next Spring when hopefully it will come on sale again.

*  The Crafty Mums came over last Saturday for a card making day.  We had lots of afternoon tea leftover so I froze what I could.  We also had a swap table and I received a few craft bits and pieces.

*  Made a bottle of Miracle Spray and sold it.

*  Sold a few items in my blog shop.

*  Picked a bunch of white roses from our garden to put on display in the main bathroom.  I used a small glass juice bottle as a vase.

*  Used the dry mop to sweep the bamboo floors instead of vacuuming.

*  Picked raspberries and froze them.  I also picked cucumbers and beans.

*  Wrote a menu plan for the next three weeks.  I concentrated on using items from our freezer to make space.

*  Made a pot of creamed rice using ingredients given to us.

*  Gratefully received three cans of flavoured mineral water as a freebie promotion in the shopping centre.

From the garden

Roses for the bathroom ( at the end of their life )

Freebies from the shopping centre

Making creamed rice for dessert.

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

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Peach Jam

With peaches in season right now,  grab your cooking pot and have a go at making peach jam.  It tastes like Summer on toast.

2 kg of peaches
1.7 kg of white sugar
juice of 4 lemons ( or to taste )
200 mls of water.

Cut the peaches in half and remove the stone.

Blitz the peaches ( Including the skin ) in a food processor  until it resembles a a fairly smooth pulp.

Add the peaches,  lemon juice and water to a large saucepan.

Turn the stove onto a medium heat and bring the peaches to a slow boil.

As the peaches heat up,  add the sugar in small batches stirring in well after each batch.

Allow the peaches to simmer for 1 1/2 - 2 hours stirring on a very regular basis.

To test if the jam has set,  place a couple of drops of jam on a froze saucer / plate and leave it for a couple of minutes.  It should  wrinkle when you run your finger through the jam.

Pour into hot sterilised glass jars and seal with the lid straight away.

Makes about 10 - 12 small to medium jars of jam.


*  Jars must be made of glass and lids must be metal,  clean and in good condition.

*  To sterilise jars and lids,  wash in hot soapy water and rinse clean.  On an oven tray place a clean tea towel and turn the jars and lids upside down on the tray. Place them in the oven and turn it on to 110 degrees.  When the oven reaches this temperature turn it off and let them sit in the oven for 10 minutes.

*  Always sterilise more jars than what you think you'll need.

*  Sterilise funnels,  tongs,  spoons and any other equipment that comes in contact with the jam when bottling it.  I pour boiling water over them.

*  If I can,  I like to use lids with the pop button.  I know a true seal is made when the button pops down.

*  Always wipe the jars down after you have filled them.  Make sure there is no jam spilled on the top rim of the jar before you seal it.

*  If you have smaller of larger quantities of peaches,  change the recipe accordingly.

*  A jar of jam makes a fabulous,  frugal present and is well received

Saturday, 17 February 2018

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 17th February 2018

Thankyou so much for all your lovely comments throughout the week regarding last week's challenging time for us.  Your kindness and generosity of spirit is very much appreciated by Darren and I.  After much budget revising we can now make ends meet if we are super careful and only spend when really necessary. We are looking at different forms of income including expanding the stock in my blog shop and holding make and take workshops in my home throughout the year.  Stay tuned  !!!

On a much brighter and happier note,  on Valentines Day this week,  Jessica and Eugene announced their engagement. The wedding date is set for 2nd December this year with the reception / wedding venue booked and their engagement hall booked.  There's lots to plan and many lists to write but we are well on the way to making the day special.

Here's what else we got up to this week -

*  Made a couple of slabs of zucchini slice using the zucchinis we were blessed with last week.  I now have 28 single portions in the freezer.

*  Cooked up lots of tomatoes from our garden. I then weighed it into 410 gram portions which is the same as a small can of tomatoes.  From the one big pot I was able to portion out the equivalent of 11 cans.

*  Wrapped up the soaps I made last December using cellophane bags and scraps of ribbon .  I'll be giving some as presents throughout the year.

*  Fed the compost bin with kitchen scraps and Darren added lawn / grass clippings.

*  Saved more bean seeds from our garden.

*  Picked lots of tomatoes and raspberries each day.

*  Made 22 jars of jam with a box of peaches given to us.

*  Jessica found a few decorations in the supermarket for her engagement party .  She went in the day after Valentines Day to find metallic balloons spelling the word " LOVE  for 88 cents each.

*  Saved lots of glass jars from spreads and mustard we'd used up.  These were then reused for the jam making session.

*  Made a quadruple batch of laundry powder.

*  Donated a few bags of bits and pieces to the op shop and received a discount stamp.

*  Wrote out our newly slashed budget to see exactly where we stand.  I 've made a few minor adjustment to save more money.

*  Kept the cooling and fans  off all week which is fabulous considering it's Summer. Saving a few dollars and grateful for the mild weather.

*  Telstra notified us to say we no longer have to pay $2.98 every bill ( 28 day cycle from memory ) to keep our home phone number silent.  It's a small saving but $2.98 will feed Darren and I for 2 or 3 meals.  Very grateful.

*  Kept to the two light rule with most nights only using one light or none at all.

*  Saved lots of water from the shower and poured it into the washing machine.  We've also cut the washing down to 3 maybe 4 loads per week.  We are hoping to see a saving on the next water bill.

Handmade soaps for gifts.

Zucchini slice

The sunset reflecting on a cloud from the other side of the sky

Cooked tomatoes from our garden.

Making laundry powder

Peach jam.

Jessica and Eugene.

Showing the ring.

How frugal was your week ?

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Avoiding Tomato Stains

This nifty little trick was passed on to me from a cleaning client who regularly buys Tupperware containers.

If you are wanting to avoid tomato stains on your plastic containers,  give the container a light spray of canola oil or any oil of choice before you put in any tomato based food in.  The oil acts as a barrier that prevents the plastic from absorbing the tomato color.

Cooked tomatoes ready for the freezer.