07 November 2017

The Week that Was 5th November 2017

I'm running late - again! Life gets in the way sometimes and posting gets pushed further and further back.

This week has been all over the place - as usual in a busy household of five. I think that it's life at it's very best, interesting, fun, loving and happy.

We all saved money, time and energy this week by:

Picking some roses from the garden to take to Mum.

Saving the shower warm-up water for the washing machine.

Drying the washing on the clothesline, using our free solar clothes dryer.

Cooking all meals from scratch, according to the meal plan, using ingredients on hand.

Making a double batch of Whole Orange Cup Cakes, using oranges from the freezer.

Making a double batch of Sweet Potato Chocolate Cup Cakes using sweet potato puree from the freezer.  Our local baker sells larger cupcakes for $2.60 each; four batches of cup- cakes cost $9.60 to make, so I've moved $50 to our savings account. This is a lot less than the cost of buying 48 cup-cakes, but there's no way I'd ever pay $124.80 for cup-cakes so I've shifted what I *might* pay in a pinch for a very special occasion for really spectacular cup-cakes.
Sweet Potato Chocolate Cup-Cakes Click through to Debt Free Cashed Up and Laughing for the recipe
Sweet Potato Chocolate Cup-Cakes
Doing a very small top-up shop at Aldi, stuck to the list and came in under $20 for the week.

Using less than 1/4 tank of petrol so didn't need to top up (thank goodness, petrol is still expensive).

Making labels for Mum's new clothes using a fabric marker and white bias binding I had. I hand stitched them so they're nice and secure and won't come off in the laundry.

Planting out some lavender strikes I've been nursing along in pots. I saw them at the nursery for $8 each, and they were smaller so I've moved $48 to our savings account.

Celebrating Wayne's birthday with his favourite meal (baked beans on toast) and his favourite cake (passionfruit sponge) and dessert (lemon meringue pie and ice-cream) at home. He loved his birthday dinner and we all had a fun night. I made him a special birthday card, and the kids all gave him handmade cards too.

Shopping around for prescriptions and found my regular chemist was the cheapest for them, but Chemist Warehouse was cheaper for the over-the-counter medications needed. They're both in the same area so only one trip was needed.

What did you do to save money, time and energy this week?

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29 October 2017

The Week that Was 29th October 2017

The week that was 29th October 2017 Click through to read more

Not much conscious saving of money, time or energy done this week. I picked up a virus sometime over the weekend and spent most of the week in bed feeling sad and sorry for myself.

But, having a well-trained family, they managed to:

Cook all meals, using either freezer meals or ingredients on hand. Nothing fancy, but take away didn't appear once.

Dry the washing on the clothesline.

Do the weekly grocery top-up and stuck to the list.

Towards the end of the week:

I took advantage of a sale and Hannah's staff discount and ordered hair spray and dry shampoo. The hairspray is for me, the dry shampoo is for the Dignity Bags we're putting together. Saved 60% off RRP.

Didn't drive very far, so no need to get petrol this week (a good thing - it jumped up 32c a litre in the 20 minutes it took to drive past the service station, drop Hannah off and come back the other way!). I've put this week's petrol money into our holiday fund.

Put more fruit to soaking for two more Christmas cakes.

I made a batch of Christmas cupcakes.

I made a double batch of Miracle Spray.

I now own a mobile phone that won't need recharging every 4 hours, with more data, and 650 minutes a month international calls free, plus a $25 discount on my first bill and two movie tickets (I see a date night in my future) and all for $3.71 LESS that what I've been paying.

Wayne cooked our roast on the barbecue (we decided to stick to the meal plan and have a roast), so no need to use the oven - keeping the house cool and saving on electricity.

Downloaded free ebooks for my Kindle.

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27 October 2017

Cath's Meal Plan 29th October - 4th November 2017

Muffin Surprise Cheapskates Club Easy Meals Recipe File Click through for the recipe
Muffin Surprise - a Saturday night favourite in our home
This week we will be eating:

Sunday: Roast Chicken

Monday: Mexican Meatballs

Tuesday: Refrigerator Lasagne

Wednesday: Tandoori chicken, salad, naan bread

Thursday: MOO Pizza

Friday: Hamburgers

Saturday: Muffin Surprise

In the cake tin:  Fruit cakes, shortbread

Muffin Surprise

My kids say the surprise part is that it is always different.

Toast one or two English muffins per person. Top with any combination of the following, depending on what you have in the pantry, fridge and freezer.

  • sliced cheese
  • sliced tomato
  • mushrooms
  • baked beans 
  • tinned spaghetti
  • left over spag bol 
  • egg (boiled, poached, fried or scrambled) 
  • ham 
  • bacon 
  • sliced deli meats
  • hollandaise sauce

 - whatever takes your fancy.

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24 October 2017

The flash sale has finished, but you can still
join the Cheapskates Club for just $36.50 for the first year and learn the secrets to living life debt free, cashed up and laughing!

20 October 2017

Cath's Meal Plan 22nd - 28th October 2017

Baked Honey Mustard Chicken Click through for this quick and easy, tasty and cheap recipe
Baked Honey Mustard Chicken - a quick and easy, tasty and cheap dinner for fussy families and busy nighs

This week we will be eating:

Sunday: Roast Beef

Monday: Schnitzels, vegetables, tomato gravy

Tuesday: Gnocchi in Alfredo Sauce

Wednesday: Spicy baked chicken pieces, potato bake, broccoli

Thursday: MOO Pizza

Friday: Tacos

Saturday: Kebabs with salad, tabouli, hommos

In the fruit bowl: bananas

Baked Honey Chicken

A few weeks back chicken fillets were cheap - very cheap - so I took advantage of both the sale and a healthy slush fund and stocked up. We really like chicken, but it can get boring very quickly if it's just the same old crumbed schnitzels meal after meal. This Baked Honey Chicken solves the problem. It is tasty, quick and a simple one pan dinner that uses just four basic pantry ingredients.

1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup Dijon style mustard*
1 tsp dried basil
4 chicken breast fillets, skin off**

Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Line a baking dish with foil. Whisk together the honey, mustard and basil in a small mixing bowl. Place the chicken fillets into the baking dish. Pour the sauce over the top to evenly cover the chicken. Bake 30 minutes or until the chicken juices run clear when the chicken is poked with a fork.   Serve over steamed rice or steamed vegetables.

*We prefer wholegrain mustard so I substitute it for Dijon. I buy the Aldi wholegrain mustard.
**To make chicken fillets go further, I often dice them. Two large chicken breast fillets, diced, will give six serves - five for dinner and one for the freezer - for my family.
If I don't have chicken fillets, I use drumsticks or maryland pieces.
If it is too hot to use the oven, cook the chicken fillets on the barbecue - they're just as tasty and the kitchen won't heat up.

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17 October 2017

My Cleaning Stockpile

My Cleaning Stockpile - click through to Debt Free Cashed Up and Laughing to see 11 common household products that keep our home sparkling and clean year round
A few common household products can keep the house clean for a year - for around $20!
Not too many prepared cleaning products are used in our home. In fact aside from dishwasher powder and dishwashing detergent, and laundry soaker, everything else is made from ingredients I keep in the cleaning stockpile.

From these ingredients I can keep our whole home clean and fresh, and do all our laundry.

Yesterday I made a double batch of Miracle Spray. Wayne used it to clean some mildew off a tent we were given, with great results. It cleaned the mildew stains and didn't bleach the canvas.

This morning I filled a dishwasher detergent bottle with water and topped it up with full strength detergent - two bottles of dishwashing detergent for the price of one and it works just as well at half-strength as it does at full strength. As an aside, I noticed on Friday that Aldi have dropped the price of their dishwashing concentrate again - it's down to $1.59 a bottle.

Between Christmas and New Year I'll be doing my cleaning stockpile shop to see us through 2018, so a list of what's needed has been started.

So what's in my cleaning stockpile?

  • Bicarbonate Soda
  • Borax
  • Citric acid
  • Dishwasher powder
  • Dishwashing detergent
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Laundry soap 
  • Lavender oil
  • Scrub buds
  • Washing Soda
  • White vinegar

Where do I buy cleaning ingredients?

Borax and dishwashing detergent come from Aldi (the borax is a special buy - keep an eye open in the catalogue for when it comes on sale as it's around half the price of borax from the supermarket and in a reasonably sized tub).

Laundry soap and dishwasher powder come from Coles. They are both generic. You'll find laundry soap in the cleaning aisle, usually on either the very top shelf or the very bottom shelf near the laundry powders.

Dishwasher powder is normally on the bottom shelf with the dishwasher powders.

Eucalyptus oil and lavender oil I buy direct from Bosistos. They have great sales and this year they had a 4 litre bottle that I was able to share with friends that brought the cost down to $23 a litre - the cheapest price at the time for pure eucalyptus oil.

Citric acid and washing soda come in 5kg buckets direct from Aurora Cleaning Supplies.

White vinegar I buy at Aldi.

Bicarbonate soda can be bought in 5kg bags from Costco. If you don't have a Costco membership then you can buy it from pool shops under the name "ph buffer". Just be prepared to have to buy it in bulk - perhaps you could share it with a couple of friends.

What do I make with these ingredients?

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13 October 2017

Meal Plan 15th - 21st October 2017

Snickerdoodles a Christmas favourite at  Debt Free Cashed Up and Laughing Click through for the recipe
Snickerdoodles - the addition of red and green sprinkles turns these ordinary biscuits into yummy Christmas Snickerdoodles
The kitchen has been busy this week, with a head start on Christmas baking. Fruit cakes have been baked, puddings have been steamed and lots and lots of biscuit dough has been added to the freezer.

We love snickerdoodles at any time, but the addition of the coloured sprinkles makes them extra special Christmas Snickerdoodles. As we only have them at Christmastime, we never tire of them.

This week we will be eating:

Sunday: Roast Chicken

Monday: Sausage Wellingtons & veg

Tuesday: Spaghetti pie, tossed green salad

Wednesday: Chicken parmigiana, salad, French fries

Thursday: MOO Pizza

Friday: Stir-fry

Saturday: Enchiladas

Christmas Snickerdoodles

2 tbsp red sprinkles
1 tbsp ground cinnamon, divided
2 tbsp green sprinkles
1-1/2 cups sugar
125g cooking margarine*
125g butter, softened
2 eggs
2-3/4 cups plain flour
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
1/4 tsp salt

Heat oven to 205 degrees Celsius.
Prepare the sprinkles:  Get out 2 shallow bowls. In one put the red sprinkles and 1-1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon, in the other put the green sugar sprinkles and remaining 1-1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Mix the sprinkles and cinnamon together; set aside.
Prepare the dough:  In large bowl, put the sugar, shortening, butter, and eggs and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cream of tartar, bicarb soda, and salt.
With electric mixer running on low, slowly add the flour mixture until incorporated and a dough forms.
Using a melon baller or teaspoon, shape balls out of the dough, about 2 to 3cm in diameter.
Roll the balls of dough through the sugar sprinkle mixtures, some in each combinations of colours, or as you like.
Place the dough balls on an ungreased biscuit tray, keeping about 5cm between each one.
Bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes.
Remove and let cool on biscuit tray for 1 minute, then remove to a cooling rack.
Let cool completely before putting away.

*I use Fairy cooking margarine in this recipe. Don't be tempted to increase the butter, the recipe won't be the same. The cooking margarine helps to make the dough lighter and the finished biscuit crisper.

**You'll find red and green sprinkles with the Christmas baking supplies at your local supermarket, or at any store that sells cake decorating supplies. I bought mine on clearance after Christmas last year and kept them in the freezer until I was ready to use them.

08 October 2017

My Non-Food Stockpiles

My Non-Food Stockpile Click through to see what's in my non-food related stockpiles

Not everything in my stockpile is food related, although food was the reason I started stockpiling.

I stockpile toiletries, cleaning products, garden needs, gifts, clothes and lots of other things to save money, save time when shopping and to ensure that if disaster strikes again we will be able to eat and stay clean, keep the house clean, the garden growing and celebrate, amongst other things.

Right now in my non-food pantry stockpile you'll find:

Oven bags
Freezer bags
Vacuum bags (for the Foodsaver, not the vacuum cleaner!)
Baking paper
Patty pans of various sizes
Freezer paper
Paper bags
Foil trays
Plastic tablecloths

In the cleaning stockpile you'll find:

Laundry soap
Washing Soda
Bicarbonate Soda
Citric Acid
Eucalyptus oil
Lavender oil
Ti Tree oil
Ocedar furniture oil
White vinegar
Dishwashing detergent
Dishwasher powder
Scrub buds
Spare gas lighters (2)
Bug spray

In the toiletries stockpile:

Toothbrush heads (for the electric toothbrushes)
Dental floss
Hair spray
BB cream
Lip balm
Shaving cream
Dove bars
Body cream

In the first aid stockpile:

Bandaids of various shapes and sizes
Burn cream
Burn dressings
Betadine gargle
Antiseptic cream
Antiseptic wipes
Elastic bandages
Eye bath
Water purification tablets

In the garden stockpile you'll find:

Lots of different types of seeds
Icy pole sticks to use as plant markers
Torn sheets to use as ties
Brass hose fittings (2 spare sets)

In the clothing stockpile (these days I only stockpile for Wayne and myself) you'll see:

Long sleeved t-shirts
Track pants (for Wayne)
Warm winter jackets (bought at Aldi on half-price clearance - $9.95 each!)

In the gift stockpile you'll find:

Wrapping paper
Gift bags (new)
Gift bags (recycled)
Cards & envelopes (birthday, thank you, thinking of you etc.)
Gift cards  & envelopes
Gift tags
Sticky tape
Double-sided tape
Curling Ribbon
And lots of things for presents, but because the recipients read my blog, I'm not listing them!

As you can see by my lists, stockpiles aren't just for food, they can be for anything you use.

What non-food items do you stockpile?

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04 October 2017

Mixed Dried Fruit Price Comparison

Christmas Cake - I make at least six each year just for Christmas Debt Free Cashed Up and Laughing Click through for the best deals on ingredients
Christmas Cake - I make at least six each year just for Christmas
Aldi has mixed dried fruit, raisins, currants and glace cherries as special buys starting from today. If you're wondering if they are cheaper than Coles or Woolworths, here are the prices. I've also included Hindustan Imports for the cherries because that's where I buy them from, two kilos at a time (they freeze so they won't crystallise in the pantry).
Mixed Dried Fruit - which one is cheaper and where can you get it?

Mixed Dried Fruit*

Aldi: $4.95/kg
Woolworths:  Sunbeam $8.60/kg
Coles: Sunbeam $9.52/kg
Hindustan: N/A

Glace cherries - red**

Hindustan: $2.76/200g; $3.45/250g; $11.50/kg
Aldi: $2.49/200g; $12.45/kg
Woolworths: Winn Glace Cherries $4.50/200g; $22.40/kg
Coles: Winn Glace Cherries  $5.50/200g; $27.50/kg

*I've compared branded fruit with the Aldi fruit because it is closer to the quality of the branded product than the generic. I've tried both Coles and Woolworths brand dried mixed fruits and found them lacking.

**Hindustan wins on the per kilo price, coming in at $11.50/kg, while Aldi is the cheapest for the 200g packets at $2.49. If you don't use glace cherries often, then buying them from Aldi will be better value for you. I buy them in 2kg lots, portion them into 500g packs and freeze them until they need to go to the pantry. I use glace cherries a lot through the year, not just at Christmas time.

01 October 2017

The Week that Was 1st October 2017

Six Minute Microwave Lemon Butter from the Cheapskates Club Jams and Spreads Recipe File Click through for the recipe
Six Minute Microwave Lemon Butter
Gratefully received a bag of lemons so on Monday I made three lemon meringue pies (two went into the freezer), a batch of Six Minute Lemon Butter and two bottles of lemon cordial.

While I was making pastry I made some small pastry cases and made two dozen fruit mince pies. They're in the shops already so I figured we may as well be enjoying them too - December is still a long way off!

The weather has been iffy - windy enough to dry washing but lots of showers about, so the clotheshorses haven't been put away yet.

It has been warm enough to let the fire go out, so it has been cleaned, the glass cleaned and I used vinegar and hot water to scrub the hearth. Here's hoping we won't need to light it again until next winter.

I was able to buy a box of bananas for $9.99 so some went into the freezer for later. I made banana ice-cream with some. Others were used to make banana bread and choc chip banana muffins, and three of my favourite Banana and Sultana Loaves. Once they were cool they were all sliced and wrapped and put into the freezer.
Fruit and Banana Loaf from the Cheapskates Club Cakes Recipe File Click through for the recipe
Fruit and Banana Loaf
I did a pantry stocktake to make sure I have everything to make the Christmas cakes and puddings. The only thing I need is glace cherries, which I'll get from Hindustan Imports when I'm over that way next (about a fortnight).

Aldi have their mixed dried fruit on as a special buy, starting Wednesday. This fruit is lovely, and at $4.99/kg is amazing value (up to half the price of mixed dried fruit from the supermarket). I have on my list to pick up 12. That's enough for the Christmas cakes and puddings and fruit cakes through the year. I hope there's enough left when I get there, I can't be there when the store opens.

What did you do to save money, time and energy this week?

30 September 2017

It's time to spring forward for 2017!

Don't forget to put your clocks FORWARD one hour before you go to bed tonight.

Daylight Saving starts at 2am, with clocks being put forward one hour to 3am.

29 September 2017

Cath's Meal Plan 1st - 7th October 2017

 Cath's Meal Plan - Slow Cooker Chicken Curry on the menu this week on Debt Free Cashed Up and Laughing Click through for the recipe
Slow Cooker Chicken Curry
This week we will be eating:

Sunday: Roast Chicken

Monday: Fishcakes, gems, coleslaw

Tuesday: Spag bol

Wednesday: Chicken Curry, rice

Thursday: MOO Pizza

Friday: Hamburgers

BBQ Sausage sandwiches

In the fruit bowl:  bananas

In the cake tin:  Banana cake, choc chip muffins

Slow Cooker Chicken Curry

1 medium onion chopped
2 chicken breast fillets, skin removed and cut into cubes
4 large carrots cut into thick slices
2 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 can coconut cream
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup fresh or frozen peas

Place all ingredients except peas into the slow cooker and stir.  Cook on LOW for 8 hours.  Add the peas 30 minutes before serving. Serve over steamed rice.

This is chicken curry is so easy - just toss everything in the slow cooker and let it simmer all day. About 20 minutes before you want to eat, steam some rice and dinner is done.

It's cheap too, costing around $4.60 for six big serves (or 76 cents a serve).

I can get the price down by using chicken fillets bought on sale, onions, carrots and tomatoes all bought on sale, Aldi coconut cream and frozen peas and MOO chicken stock.

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22 September 2017

Cath's Meal Plan 24 - 30 September 2017

Banana muffins Debt Free Cashed Up and Laughing recipe from the Cheapskates Club Cake & Muffins Recipe File
Banana Muffins
This coming week we will be eating:

Sunday: Roast Beef

Monday: Herbed meatballs in tomato sauce

Tuesday: Mushroom & Parmesan Risotto

Wednesday: Chicken & mushroom pie, steamed vegetables

Thursday: MOO Pizza

Friday: Tacos

Saturday: Tomato Vegetable Soup, toasted crumpets

In the fruit bowl:  bananas, strawberries

In the cake tin:  Chocolate coconut slice, muesli bars, banana muffins

Herbed Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

500g mince
1 cup long grain rice
1 onion, grated or finely chopped
1 carrot, grated
1 tsp mixed herbs
1 tsp dried parsley
1 egg beaten
oil for frying
1 can tomato soup
1 cup water
Finely grated rind & juice of 1 lemon

Place meat, rice, onion, carrot, herbs and egg in bowl and mix together. Shape mixture into balls. Heat oil in large pan and fry meatballs until browned turning frequently. Drain well on kitchen towel. Place meatballs in a casserole dish. Mix soup with water, lemon rind and juice. Pour over meatballs. Bake without a lid in mod. oven (350F) for 45minutes.

Herbed Meatballs in Tomato Sauce Debt Free Cashed Up and Laughing recipe from Cheapskates Club Recipe File Easy Meals Click through for the recipe
Herbed Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

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20 September 2017

How and Why I Started Making Washing Powder

How I Started Making Washing Powder click through for the famous Cheapskates Club Washing Powder Recipe on Debt Free, Cashed Up and Laughing
How I stared making Cheapskates washing powder for clean clothes that don't itch
Almost 27 years ago we were blessed with a beautiful baby boy. He was just gorgeous (and still is!), but after a few days he developed a rash, that turned into blisters. His little arms and legs were red, scaly and sore. He cried when we put him in the bath, and he squirmed and wriggled when he had clothes on.

Thankfully he was a summer baby and a singlet and nappy at home was plenty, but dressing him to go out was awful and I'd be crying with him. Our doctor diagnosed eczema and recommended changing our laundry detergent. Unfortunately the detergent he suggested cost almost a week's grocery money - just not viable for us.

And so began my search for a laundry detergent that would clean clothes without irritating.

It took a while, but finally I stumbled upon a recipe for a laundry goop (in the meantime AJ's clothes were washed separately, in just hot water, no detergents or soaps at all). It was a bit of a process to make, but it was cheap and it didn't irritate our skin. I was so happy.

By this time we had two mischievous little boys who loved to play outside. At the time the laundry was outside too, we hadn't renovated yet.

One day I could hear giggles and laughing and the sounds of fun - lots and lots of fun - so you can imagine my joy (not) when I found those two little boys covered from head to toe in laundry goop, as was the washing machine, the laundry door and walls, the floor - even the back verandah had a layer of goop on it. I cleaned it up and made another batch.

And, like they were on a cycle, it was rinse and repeat - they loved the goop so much they played happily in the new bucketful a few days later.

This is why I started making my own washing powder. Cleaning up two large nappy buckets full of goop took ages, although the laundry had never been so clean.

I looked at the recipe, read the ingredients and decided it could be made in powder form. Easy!

Small, experimental batches were made to research effectiveness, cost, ease of making and using until I finally stumbled upon the one I am, along with thousands of other Cheapskates, still making and using in every wash load today.

I still use just 3 level teaspoons to a full load of washing and we are still itch and irritation free and the clothes are clean too.

If you haven't tried it, do. It takes less than 5 minutes to make a batch and costs just 3c a load to use.

This has to be the cheapest and best value laundry detergent around.

Cheapskates Washing Powder

Ingredients for Cheapskates Washing Powder Click through for the recipe and instructions

1 bar soap, grated
1 cup washing soda (Lectric Soda is the most common brand in the laundry aisle, or sodium carbonate if you want to buy in bulk)
1/2 cup borax

Mix together and store in a sealed container.

Use 3 scant teaspoons per load for a top-loader and 1 scant teaspoon per load for a front loader.

You can use up the small slivers of toilet soap you collect if you like, ordinary bath soap or laundry soap. This recipe is ideal for using up all the leftovers you collect in the family bathroom.

This detergent won’t produce masses of suds, but it will get your clothes clean.

Costings (as at 19/09/2017):
1 bar laundry soap - 50 cents
1 cup washing soda $1
1/2 cup borax 60 cents
Total $2.10 for up to 90 washes (3 cents a load - actually a little under, I round up, the fraction is too hard for my addled head).

These prices are based on what I found at Coles, using generic laundry soap, Lectric Soda and Bare Essentials borax. You can get the cost down by using soap slivers and buying the washing soda in bulk. I buy washing soda in 5 kilo buckets from Aurora Cleaning Supplies in Dandenong South

Give the washing powder an extra boost if you wash really dirty or greasy clothes by adding one small box of bi-carb soda to the mix.

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10 September 2017

The Week that Was 10th September 2017

This week I've been busy going through the pantry, stockpile and freezers, updating inventories and making up my shopping list for the remainder of the year. The plan is to have all the shopping finished by 30th November, as usual, so I can relax over the summer.

Started more seeds: lettuce, capsicum, zucchini, cucumber and tomato.

Tom helped me prep another two veggie beds, ready for planting.

Used cardstock and paper I had to make new labels for the containers in the laundry.

Stayed home as much as possible, for a few reasons:
1. It was cold and wet - much nicer to stay by the fire.
2. To save on petrol.
3. No need to go to the shops, I shopped at home and all we needed was milk, which I asked Hannah to pick up for me.

Cooked all our meals from scratch, using ingredients in the pantry, fridge and freezer.

Caught the shower warm-up water and the sink warm-up water and tipped it into the washing machine.

Made a chocolate cake for Tom's birthday.
Homemade chocolate cake from the Cheapskates Club Cake Recipe File Click through for the recipe
Homemade chocolate cake, filled with homemade raspberry jam and whipped cream for the birthday boy!
This week we've been told to expect blackouts here over the summer. This has had me thinking of my freezer stocks. I talked to Wayne about it and we have decided to eat the freezers down as much as we can, focus on other methods of preserving for the time being and save the money we're not spending in the slush fund to top up the freezers later.  We have more than enough to see us through to the end of January between meat and chicken packs, dump packs and prepared freezer meals.

I picked lavender this morning, some to strike for new plants, and some to hang to dry.
Lavender from my garden Debt Free Cashed Up and Laughing
Lavender from my garden in an old jug from Wayne's Granny
Bought a beautiful gift from the op shop for $4 - it's gorgeous and just right for the intended person.

Ask and you shall receive! This has been my blessing for the last couple of months, although I haven't really asked for anything. This week I was again given a lot of craft materials from friends and friends of friends who have either heard about or seen the cards, dishcloths and tea towels I've been making. My craft stash has been boosted with fabric, cotton yarn, stranded cotton, cross-stitch graphs, paper punches and dies and beautiful papers. These are all things that have been on my wish list for ages, and I'm so very grateful to everyone who thought of me when they were doing their spring cleaning.

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08 September 2017

Cath's Meal Plan 10th - 16th September 2017

MOO Butter Chicken from the Cheapskates Club Chicken Recipe File Click through for the recipe
MOO Butter Chicken
This week we will be eating:

Sunday: Roast Lamb

Monday: Sausages, vegetables and onion gravy

Tuesday: Refrigerator Lasagne

Wednesday: MOO Butter chicken, steamed rice, pappadums

Thursday: MOO Pizza

Friday: Haystacks

Saturday: Stuffed potatoes with cheese, coleslaw, pineapple, sour cream

In the cake tin:  Lemon Coconut Slice, Fruity Tea Cake

Am I Australia's most Boring Grocery Shopper?

Am I Australia's most boring shopper? Click through to see how Cath from the Cheapskates Club does her monthly grocery shop for her family of 5 for under $300!
Am I Australia's most boring shopper?
I asked myself that question this afternoon after I wrote up my shopping list, using the IGA, Coles and Woolworths catalogues to round out what I wasn't able to get at Aldi (always my first stop for groceries).

There were lots of things on sale at all three supermarkets, but out of all the grocery items available, and there were hundreds, I put four things on my list.

The problem is I don't buy chips or Cheezels, blocks of chocolate, soft drinks, alcohol, sugary cereals, biscuits, washing powder, bathroom cleaners, deli items (well not regularly anyway), yoghurt, lollies, cakes and muffins or meat. OK, I do buy meat, but I buy it from Tasman Meats or Australian Butcher or Farmer Joe's, where it is half the supermarket prices.

My trolley is usually full of flour, sugar, milk, oil, butter, eggs, wheat biscuits, bran, milk powder, peanut butter, honey, baked beans, tomato soup, tuna, pineapple rings, beetroot, dried beans and soup mix, frozen corn, cheese and dried fruit.

My problem is each week when I look through the catalogues, I don't find very many of those things on sale.

So am I Australia's most boring grocery shopper? I get excited at half price shampoo and toothpaste; I go crazy and stock up on baking paper and foil when it's on sale; I jump for joy when I find mince for $5.99 a kilo and when tea bags are half price you won't get the grin off my face for days.

But cans of Coke for $18? Washing powder? Frozen lasagne? Nothing. Nada. Zilch. I'm not even tempted.

I make my own washing powder - it costs 2-1/2 cents a load, a fraction of even the cheapest commercial powder.
Cheapskates Washing Powder the cheapest laundry powder you'll find does a great job for under 3 cents a load Click through for Cath's recipe from The Cheapskates Club
Cheapskates Washing Powder
There isn't a commercial lasagne that even comes close to my homemade from scratch lasagne, for taste or price, so why would I buy it, especially when it costs less than $5 to make 12 serves?

If we want a fizzy drink I make it, there's nothing as refreshing as homemade gingerbeer or cordial or real lemonade  and there's nothing artificial in any of them.
Overnight Ginger Beer cool refreshing easy to make and cheap Click through for the recipe from the Cheapskates Club Drinks Recipe File
Overnight Ginger Beer
Biscuits? We tried some bought biscuits last week. I was told everyone was raving about how good they were. I didn't mind them, but my family? No, they did not like them at all, and were quite adamant that homemade are much, much nicer. For me, homemade are cheaper too.
Homemade ANZAC Biscuits tasty easy to make and cheap from the Cheapskates Club Biscuits Recipe File
Homemade ANZAC Biscuits
Using the boring ingredients I buy each month I can make biscuits, cakes, breads, scones, pancakes, jams, soups, casseroles, stews, pies (savoury and sweet), sausage rolls, cordial, ginger beer, yoghurt, cheeses, sauces, gravies, dressings, even sweets and lollies that are full of flavour and devoid of rubbish ingredients. And all for much less than buying them.

If I am Australia's most boring shopper, so be it. I probably spend less for those boring ingredients a month than most families spend in a week, and we eat so much better.

I can live, happily, with that.