Saturday, 19 May 2018

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 19th May 2018

Happy Royal Wedding Day.  As you read this post,  I'm down at Phillip Island with a couple of friends making cards all weekend.  I'm hoping to take some time out to watch the wedding and have a cup of tea and scone - British style.

Here's my frugal list fro the week -

*  Made lots of soap using this recipe.

*  Sold one dozen eggs,  a lemon slice,  mini quiches and sausage rolls for the catering order I spoke about last week.

*  Made raspberry and white chocolate muffins using  raspberries from our garden last season.  Both girls received some for their freezers and for Uni snacks.  Darren and I will enjoy the rest.

*  Baked cranberry hootycreek biscuits for a Mother's Day afternoon tea using biscuit dough I'd frozen.

* Secured a better discount with our electricity and gas provider.  We are now receiving 34% discount on both from Energy Australia.  The old discount was 30% on electricity and 18% on gas.  We will also be receiving a $50 credit on both bills for signing up to the new deal..

*  Saved lots of shower water and poured it into the washing machine.

*  Made up two bottles of room spray.  One was for our use and the other was for a present.  This time I used lemon myrtle essential oil.

*  Received a refund letter from Cole regarding the fish that had been frozen.

*  Placed blankets around our home to use on the cold nights.  No need to turn the heater back on later at night when watching tv.

*  Received our water bill and it's decreased by almost $50 from the same time last year.  If only I could decrease all the service charges.

*  Dug out a saucepan steamer insert and started using it to steam our veggies each night.  I've been putting it over the potatoes or rice when it's cooking.  Cheaper than using the microwave.

*  Closed the curtains earlier each night to help the ducted heating work more efficiently.

*  Gratefully received a few home grown tomatoes from a friend.

*  Gratefully received lots of glass jars from my parents.  They are a great size for jam making.

*  Dried most of the washing on clotheshorses with only the sheets and work tea towels going in the dryer.

Flowers for Mother's Day

Latest batch of soap

Raspberry and white choc muffins

Princess doesn't want me to go away

She'll sleep anywhere

Will you be watching the Royal Wedding tonight ?

What was on your frugal list this week ?

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

This And That Pasta Dish

A couple of months ago I had a little bit of cooked chicken and a few slices of shaved ham in the fridge.  With the ' Use It Up ' challenge in full swing,  I wanted to make the most of those little scraps.  So I made  up this recipe and to be honest,  it was very tasty.

1 cooked chicken fillet,  shredded or pickings from a chicken frame
150 - 200g of shaved ham ( any will do )
1 tin of crushed or diced tomatoes
1/2 a diced onion or dried onion flakes
1 glove of garlic or dried garlic granules or powder
1 1/2 teaspoons of  dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons of dried basil
2 handfuls of fresh spinach
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of tomato paste

350 - 400 grams of spiral pasta
Grated cheese to serve

Cook the pasta as per instructions

Add the tomatoes to a medium saucepan. 

Add all seasonings,  meats and onion. 

Cook for a few minutes then add the tomato paste if it needs a little extra flavour and thickening.

Just before serving add the spinach and stir through

Drain the pasta then serve the meat sauce on top.

Add cheese if desired

Serves 4

Saturday, 12 May 2018

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 12th May 2018

Life as a thrifty mum is never dull.  My weeks are filled with various tasks that help us stretch our hard earned dollars.  Here's my frugal list for the week -

*  Made two batches of double strength Miracle Spray.  I double all the ingredients into a two litre bottle then top up with water.  When it's decanted into a spray bottle I dilute it down to normal strength.

*  Made lots of sausage rolls and mini quiches for a catering order.  While I was at it I made enough for Jessica's 21st birthday party and froze them.

*  Had the heater off for half the week when the weather was mild.  When the cold weather hit,  we kept the curtains closed and closed the doors to unused bedrooms.

*  Redeemed the voucher for a cooked chicken from Coles.

*  Fed the compost bin with lots of kitchen scraps and used tea leaves.

*  Fed lettuce leaves and bread crusts to the chickens.

*  Made a big pot of vegetable soup.  I included broccoli and cauliflower stalks to help thicken it up.  Both Jessica and Megan were given two single serves to freeze.  Darren and I ate some then we froze another six single serves.

*  Picked a handful of feijoas.  Unfortunately we won't be getting a good crop this year.  Still,  I'm very grateful for the few mouthfuls I'll get.

*  Picked white roses from our garden to brighten up the kitchen.

*  Ate freezer meals ( leftovers ) one night.

*  Converted $10 worth of Flybuys points into money.

*  Used $20 worth of vouchers from surveys to buy some groceries.

*  Found lots of great bargains in the op shop to help both girls set up their kitchens.  It's amazing how many new or near new items are donated to op shops.
My small Feijoa haul.

Op shop finds

From the garden

In the kitchen.

How frugal was your week ?

Did you try a new frugal task ?

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

A Disastrous Dinner

About 6 weeks ago I was in a local supermarket just as a staff member was putting reduced stickers on a few packages of meat.  I waited until he had finished before I pounced to grab a few bargains.  One of them was a packet of Barramundi fish. Although it was still a bit on the expensive side ( for us ),  I thought it would be a lovely treat that I knew Darren would certainly enjoy.

Because I already had dinner sorted for that night,  I popped the fish into the freezer to be eaten at a later date.  That later date was last week.  I had the veggies and rice  cooking,.  The zucchini slice was in the oven and it was time to start cooking the Barramundi.  As it was cooking in the pan,  I thought I'd better check the packet to make sure I was doing it right.  In very small print at the bottom of a fair bit of writing was the dreaded words ' Do Not Freeze '. I'm assuming this means the fish was bought into the store frozen and then defrosted on the shelf.

I couldn't believe it.  That very important piece of information was so obscure most people wouldn't notice it.  With the rest of the meal ready to serve,  I panicked.  I didn't have any other meat defrosted or easy to cook within minutes.  So Darren said he'd pop up to the supermarket to get a cooked chicken.

Ten minutes later I get a phone call from Darren.  He informed me there were no cooked chickens available.  I panicked again.  Then I remember another frugal mum saying that Coles offers a free chicken at a later date if none are available between the hours of 9am - 8pm.  Darren was there right on 8pm.  So I passed this piece of info on and suggested he quickly find someone to help him.  He was able to get the voucher but it still didn't help me serve a complete dinner.

I asked Darren to grab any piece of meat that was under $10 a tray but secretly hoping it was much cheaper.  He came home with a tray of beef sizzle steaks for just under $10  There were six on the tray and although they were small,  eating two each  would be a costly meal.  By now I could see money going down the drain and I was trying to stop the flow.  The other elements of the meal had cooled,  gone soggy or over cooked.  NOT MY FINEST HOUR  !!!

There has to be a moral to this sad story.  After all,  I  always try to help you save money.

Don't buy reduced  meat unless you've read the fine print on the packet.


Don't buy reduced bakery items unless you've read the fine print.  Many bakery item are also bought into the store frozen then defrosted on the shelf.

Not all items are suitable for freezing even though they usually would be.

At the time I wrote this post,  I'm waiting for Coles to get back to me regarding a refund.  Of course they want me to return the packaging for a refund.  Of course I threw it out but Darren did take photos and I went them to Coles.

Look how small the warning is.

Saturday, 5 May 2018

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 5th May 2018

After getting through another busy week,  all I can say is,  I'm glad I'm an organised person.  Darren ,  Jessica and I went to a wedding expo on Sunday,  then lunch afterwards.  Bargain shopping followed at a newly discovered store called Bodero ( check them out on Facebook ).  I worked four days this week, cooked,  baked,  kept up with the housework and helped with the painting ( I do the masking tape ).

Here's my frugal list for the week -

*  Used up a sample tube of toothpaste ( from a wedding expo ).

*  Lined the bins with bread bags,

*  Bought two sports hoodies ( $6.99 each ),  two cardigans ( $6.99 each )  and two almost new oven trays ( $1.99 each ) at Savers op shop.  I used a 20% discount card to get them even cheaper.

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.  We were having trouble with the slices sticking together in the freezer ( and sometimes breaking ).  To prevent this from happening I put half a loaf at a time in the fridge to be used over 3 days.

*  Saved lots of bread crusts to eventually be made into dried seasoned bread crumbs or bread and butter pudding.  I'm storing them in the freezer until needed.

*  Made a batch of gravy powder mix.

*  Baked cranberry hootycreek biscuits for snacks.  I used dough from the freezer and only baked what we needed for the week.  This eliminates so much wastage.

*  Bought good brands of shampoo and conditioner for $2 a large bottle from a clearance store.  I've been happy with the products so I've visited the store again to build up a stockpile.

*  Bought petrol for $1.32 per litre when most places are charging about $1.50 per litre.

*  Received our gas bill for the last two months.  Thankfully it's only gone up by 53 cents this year comparing it with the same time last year.  We are happy with this considering gas prices are soaring.

*  Sold three jars of jam and one dozen eggs.

*  Tried to keep most of the lights off after dinner each night.  Some nights we only have light from the tv.

*  Started using tea leaves instead of using teabags when drinking tea.  We keep forgetting we have boxes of tea leaves so it's been good to get the tea pot out.

*  Cut up a cereal bag to use as go between for hamburger patties,  crumpets and chops.

*  Gratefully received a gift voucher for a free muffin and hot drink after experiencing poor service late last year.  When I contacted the company's head office to find out if the issues I raised had been resolved,  they offered the voucher.

*  Gratefully received a voucher for a free cooked chicken from Coles.  It's a bit of a long story so I'll write about it on Wednesday.

*  Gratefully received a few glass jars to use for jam making.

A bargain at $2 a bottle

From the kitchen - spag bol

Cranberry hootycreek biscuits

How did you save money this week ?

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Dusting - Three Ways.

Recently a blog reader asked if there was a quick or easy way to dust her large home.  Unfortunately the answer is " no " but there are ways to reduce the time you spend dusting.

There are three ways to dust your home with varying degrees of success.  Generally,  the quicker you dust your home,  the less dust you pick up.

*  Using a feather duster,  fluffy duster or electrostatic duster is the least effective way to pick up dust.  Yes,  it takes just a couple of minutes to flick the duster around even a large home.  The dusty surfaces might look a little better but you've just moved the dust from a surface to the air.  Then it will either fall to the floor or reappear on the surface again as the air gets stirred up when people move around.

*  Microfibre cloth dusters.  I picked up one recently at a Daiso store for just under $3. It comes with a plastic handle that a microfiber cloth slips over.   Recently I was in a hurry to get lots of dusting done with little time to spare.  I found it quite easy to wipe over window sills,  around tvs and over flat surfaces.  The dry duster picked up quite a bit of dust which I brushed off outside.  The cloth was then washed in the washing machine,  dried and reused.

*  Wet dusting with a microfiber cloth.  This is the method I've been using since microfibre cloths became available in the discount stores.  Wetting the cloth picks up and traps more dust and dirt than any other method I've used.  The only drawback is time.  It takes more time to rinse out the cloth over and over again to keep a clean cloth.  This is my preferred method  of dusting and is especially effective if there are hayfever,  asthma or allergy  sufferers in the house.

How do you dust your home ?

Saturday, 28 April 2018

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 28th April 2018

Life has started to slow down a little at the Gower Abundant Cottage.  All the engagement party leftovers have gone except those that have been put aside for Jessica's 21st birthday next month.  .

I've started making Jessica's invitations using what I already have on hand.  A list of food is forming in my mind and will be put down on paper next week.  Jessica has decided on an afternoon tea with family and close friends.  I can't wait to get out the lace table cloth,  cake stands and vintage plates to pretty up our dining table.

Darren has started painting the timber door trims a lovely alabaster white.  I must say I'm glad to get rid of the timber and go with a fresh look just in time for the party.

Here's my frugal list for this week -

*  Washed and reused a few snap lock bags over and over again.  Although I try not to use disposable plastic,  sometimes the snap lock bags are handy space savers when out and about.

*  Jessica used one of the gift vouchers from her engagement party.  It was for a clothing and homewares clearance store local to us.  She was able to get lots of great things in the discounted section helping her gift card stretch further.

*  Refilled the hand wash pumps around the home with diluted shower gel.

*  Gratefully received a couple of glass jars.  I'm thinking of filling them with homemade hot chocolate drink mix,  decorating them and adding a pretty spoon.  They'll make great presents.

*   Watered the mango plants with water saved In the kitchen ( water bottles etc ).

*  Fed the compost with kitchen scraps.  It's almost time for Darren to empty one of the bins into a veggie garden bed.

*  Made chicken stock in the slow cooker with a carcass.  I then turned it into a delicious chunky chicken and veg soup for dinner the next night.  I then froze four single serves for future dinners.

*  Gratefully received lots of bread bags.

*  Picked a couple of bunches of white roses from the garden.  Used small juice bottles and jam jars as vases.

*  Sorted  out the sauces in the fridge and wrote a list of ones getting low.  I'll now wait until they come on sale before I restock.

*  Saved the washing machine and shower water to help reduce our water usage in the washing machine..

*  Gave the pantry a mini sort out.  Started making notes of items to stockpile over the coming months ready for Jessica and Eugene as well as our family home.  I'll wait until some of the items come on sale like tinned soup ( for casseroles ),  tinned tuna,  savoury biscuits, baking items,  foil and cling wrap and cleaning cloths.

*  Donated a bag of clothes and household goods to Savers and received a discount stamp.

In the garden

Chunky chicken and veg soup

Enjoying the cooler weather and our blankets.
Saving the washing machine water.

How did you save money is week ?

Wednesday, 25 April 2018


This is a very simple recipe that makes fluffy pancakes.  The original recipe said to use plain flour.but I wasn't happy with the results.  Changing to self raising flour gave the pancakes the lift they needed

1 cup of self raising flour
1 cup of milk ( full cream or skim )
1 egg
knob of butter

Whisk the flour,  milk and egg in a medium bowl..
Heat a medium frypan to a medium / hot temperature..
Add the knob of butter and spread over the base with a spatula / lifter..
Pour approximately 1/2 a cup of batter to the centre of the frypan..
Move and tilt  the frypan around so that the batter spreads a little.
When bubbles form and burst in the batter, turn the pancake over and cook the other side
Serve with your choice of butter,  maple syrup,  jam,  icecream,  cream,  lemon,  sugar or a savoury topping.

Makes approximately 6 - 8 pancakes

Saturday, 21 April 2018

This Week's Frugal Tasks Saturday 21st April 2018

This post is a list of my frugal tasks over the last two weeks.  As you can imagine,  we've been super busy all month at the Gower Abundant Cottage.  Jessica and Eugene's engagement party was held last Saturday. Everything went smoothly and the hall looked lovely with the decorations Jessica and I had sourced from op shops,  discount stores,  holiday bargains and from around our home.

We had plenty to eat and Eugene's Mum and extended family provided lots of Russian delights.  The night consisted of fun games,  food,  speeches,  food,  cake cutting,  food,  dancing,  food and present opening.

Here are the frugal tasks I've squeezed into my full days -

*  Jessica found a few as new coats and dress clothes at Savers op shop she can use for her teaching rounds.  Because she was there on a Sunday she received 20% off for being a student.

*  Made lots of sausage rolls and mini quiches for the engagement party.

*  Mended a cardigan.

*  Baked four loaves of wholemeal bread with extra goodness.

*  Gratefully received lots of bread bags that I repurposed into bathroom bin liners.

*  Fed lots of bread crusts to the chickens.

*  Made a double batch of chocolate brownies for the engagement party.  Some was leftover which we enjoyed for afternoon tea.  The brownie was a huge hit at the party with requests for the recipe.

*  Bought bunches of flowers for the engagement party at the Dandenong Market. Baby's breath was half the price of florist's quoted prices.  The flowers were used to decorate the tables.  I arranged them in the Fowler's Vacola glass jars I picked up a couple of months ago at Savers for 60 cents each.  Jessica and Eugene will be keeping them as vases for their home.

*  Packed salad lunchboxes to eat while we were decorating the hall.  Others went out and got takeaway ( which is fine but we enjoyed the fresh salad ).

*  Saved the shower and washing machine water for each next load of washing.

*  Dried all but one load of washing on the line.  I needed to do a load of washing last Friday night ( the night before the engagement party ).  To make life easy and to avoid clothes horses with extra bodies coming in and out of our home,  the dryer was the best option ( for my sanity ).  I don't like using the dryer but that night it really helped me.

*  Ate leftovers form the party for two days.  There were lots of carrot sticks leftover so I diced and placed them in a beef casserole.

*  We received our electricity bill for the last three months.  There was a decrease of just under $20 for the same period last year.  This doesn't seem like much but power costs have increased considerably in twelve months.  Our wise usage has offset all increases.  The little usage table on the bill says we use less than the target amount of one person.  Not bad when there are two,  sometimes three living here.

*  Bought discounted bread at Coles for 38 cents a loaf.  Store bought bread tastes better with bbqs and is handy to have in the freezer.

*  Converted another $10 worth of  Flybuys points into dollars on our card.

Engagement party table flowers

The happy couple

Photo wall

The letters I found for $1 each

At the start of the night.

Table and wall decos by me.


Eugene's little brother making a speech.

The two families together.

Engagement cake ( table flowers from the op shop )

                                Present table with letters and flowers I found at the op shop.

Speeches area.

What frugal tasks were on your list this week ?

Saturday, 14 April 2018

This Week's Frugal Tasks Will Return

Hi everyone.

Due to an extremely busy week with work and engagement party preparations ( today is the day ),  I'm unable to post my frugal tasks.  To be honest,  I haven't had time to do much frugally except cook from scratch and find a few things at the op shop.

I'll post my list next Saturday as per usual.  I hope you'll understand and still post your own lists for others to read and be inspired.

Here are a few photos of our frugal lifestyle.

homemade party food

Raspberry jam using our berries

The girls 

Abundance from the garden

Pretties from our garden

A treat of salmon.

For the cookie jar

Store bags redecorated.

Did you have a frugal week ?

What was on your frugal list ?