27 July 2023

Extreme Things I Do To Save Money (and they really work!)

Sometimes I forget that we are living the Cheapskates way, a frugal lifestyle, where nothing is wasted and we watch our money.

We have lived this way for so long, almost 29 years, that it is habit now.

I empty the little complimentary packets of sugar and salt into the canisters if I don't put them in the picnic basket.

I tip sauce bottles upside down and then top up the new bottle, then add a little water, shake and pour into gravy or soup or pasta sauce.

I save the hard ends of cheese to use in sauces (not often but occasionally someone will leave the bag open and then end goes hard). I put them in the freezer until I need to use them.

I use a silicone spatula to scrape every last bit of dough or batter from the bowl.

Add a little milk to mayo bottles to get it all out.

Put cooking oil into a little jar and use a silicone pastry brush to brush oil onto frying pans and grills rather than pouring it in; saves oil and therefore keeps more money in the grocery budget, and keeps unnecessary kilojoules off our waists.

Save soap ends to use in washing powder. It takes 125g of soap to make one batch of Cheapskates Washing Powder.

Use a teaspoon to measure the washing powder into the machine - the washing is clean, the washing machine stays in tip top shape by not overloading it with detergents, and I'm not wasting money by over-using.

Add water to an "empty" shampoo bottle, shake it up and then use it to clean the bath, shower, basin and toilet at least once, often two or three times. 

Dilute dishwashing liquid 50:50 with water.

Trim the bottom off the toothpaste tube and scrape every last blob of toothpaste out.

Turn appliances off at the wall. Exceptions: fridge and freezers. Only turn the power point on when that particular appliance is to be used.

In winter we close the blinds and drapes around 5pm to keep the warmth in the house.

I also wipe foil and reuse it, wipe over baking paper and reuse it until it crumbles.

Boil the kettle and fill the thermos, and use that for hot drinks during the day.

Wash and dry plastic bags - freezer bags, veggie bags, bread bags, ziplocks, sandwich bags etc.

Rinse milk bottles and pour onto the veggie garden to water and fertilise; tomatoes especially love the extra calcium, it helps prevent blossom end rot.

Save brown paper bags to use for draining fried food and lining cake tins.

Trim down the daggy ends of wrapping paper, iron and reuse.

Always take buttons and zippers off clothes before they are turned into rags.

Re-hem towels and hand towels when the edges become frayed.

Cut old towels into bath mats and hand towels, old bath mats into hand towels and face washers, old hand towels into face washers and cleaning cloths.

Save tea bags and reuse them, then dry them and use as firelighters or to add to the compost.

Save coffee grounds to add to pin cushions, the compost or to use as fire lighters.

We eat the leaves as well as the beets on the homegrown beetroot (try them wilted in a little olive oil and garlic, delicious). 

Save the leaves from bunches of celery, dehydrate and powder them to add to soups and stews for extra flavour and nutrition.

We eat the stems as well as the heads of the broccoli we grow. 

Dehydrate the turnip tops, and powder to make green powder to add extra nutrition to soups and casseroles.

Always, always put dry goods into the freezer for at least one week before putting them into the pantry. This kills any weevils or other bugs that may be in the flour or rice or oats or pasta or legumes so my pantry stays weevil free and we don't waste food. 

Save the dividers from the tea bag box to use as bookmarks.

Save jars and lids to reuse for preserving.

Save veggie peelings in the freezer to make stock.

Save the water from the steamer pot and use it to make gravy or add to stock, or to make soup.

23 July 2023

Saving Money, Time and Energy - The Week That Was 23rd July 2023

Well it has been nine months since I posted here. Does that give you a hint as to how life has been in the Armstrong household?

It has been beyond hectic. That's the best description I have and I'll leave it there. On the upside we have managed to stay within our budget! 

Gotta love living the Cheapskates way.

Now it's time to add updating the blog back into my schedule, so here goes.

We are still officially on holiday; I have another week before I go back to work and it has been tempting to zip over to The Cheapskates Club and work. Working makes me happy, it truly does. I love to be busy and always having something to do, but I have resisted and I *think* the break is doing me good.

So to recap last week's money, time and energy savings:

*We still continue to catch the shower warm up water and tip it into the washing machine.

*Boil the kettle once in the morning, have our cups of tea and coffee and then fill the thermos with the leftover boiled water for hot drinks through the day.

*Put three bunches of celery into the dehydrator.

Three bunches of celery for dehydrating

Sliced celery ready for the dehydrator

*Cooked all our meals from scratch using ingredients on hand.

*Picked silverbeet, rosemary and rhubarb from the garden.

*Dried the washing either outside in the sunshine or on the clotheshorse next to the fire.

Towels drying on the clothesline in winter sunshine

 *Only went out one day, and combined all errands to save on fuel.

*Wayne used a locked in price to put diesel in my car for me, saving 38 cents a litre, keeping $16.19 in the fuel budget.

*Shopped around and switched carriers for my phone, saving $23 a month.

*Bought 9 litres of milk marked down to $2.47/3 litre bottle, keeping $6.09 in the grocery budget.

*Used some of the milk to make 2 litres of yoghurt and 2 batches of cottage cheese.

*Gratefully accepted a gift of Moccona jars to use to store bulk herbs and spices.

Moccona jars for storing bulk herbs and spices

 *Used some leftover hot dog buns to make a bread and butter pudding.

*I am so grateful my friend Joy was able to get and bring to our card day two trays of 30 eggs for $8.50 each.

*Thomas brought me home some lemons he picked up off the ground that he found when he took Lace for a walk and told me about all the oranges, lemons and mandarins on the ground along the path so I went with him on the next walk and picked up a grocery bag of fallen fruit.

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

30 October 2022

The Week that Was 30/10/2022

I haven't posted for a few weeks for a number of reasons. Firstly, I've been busy. Secondly, I've been sick. Thirdly, we've had visitors. And there's only 24 hours in a day, and while I do my best to use them wisely, sometimes there is more to do than the hours allow.

This week I am grateful for
*rain, even though we have had a lot of it, the rain barrels are full and with summer coming, we will need the water
*a greengrocer that has had excellent prices on the fruits and veggies that we eat
*the energy this week to process a lot of food for our pantry.

Here's how we saved money, time and energy this week:
*dried the washing on the clotheshorses under the verandah except for Friday, when it came inside because it was just too wet to dry outside
*locked in a fuel price for my car, and used Wayne's phone to lock in another price for his car
*ate from the fridge and freezer
*bought legs of lamb on sale for $10/kg and put them in the freezer
*dehydrated two bunches of celery
*made strawberry jam from strawberries on sale for $4/kg
*bought 6kg broccoli for $2/kg, blanched it and put it in the freezer
*bought lemons for $1/kg. Some were juiced, some were sliced and put into the dehydrator
*bought mushrooms for $4/kg and canned them
*started on the yearly shop. It's early, but there are lots of things on my list that are missing, so I'm hoping that by starting now I'll find them somewhere between now and the end of the year
*bought mince for $9.99/kg and pressure canned it
*bought 25kg potatoes for 40c/kg. Some were pressure canned, some were par cooked and frozen
*started another six lettuce, three zucchini and three cucumbers for succession planting
*noticed one of the lemon trees has gall wasp so I took the veggie peeler and peeled back the two lumps. Hopefully that will solve the problem and save the tree.
*picked rhubarb from the garden and stewed it for desserts
*kept working on Christmas presents
*downloaded some free SVGs to use in crafting
*picked lavender from my garden and hung it to dry.

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

09 October 2022

The Week that Was 9/10/2022

This week I am grateful for
*specials on fruit and vegetables that I could afford to buy to fill the pantry.

Here's how we saved money, time and energy this week:
*Filled the thermos each morning for my cuppas during the day.
*Bought lots of fruit and vegetables for $1/kilo and processed them to help fill the pantry.
*Stuff! I was able to sell some more unneeded items and add $40 to our budget.
*Cooked all our meals from scratch, using ingredients we had on hand.
*Warm days to dry the washing outside.
*Made all the salads for the week at once. One lot of prep, cooking and cleaning up saved a lot of time and energy.
*Used some free cutting files to make some gifts.
*Meal planned for our trip next weekend, using what we have.
*Used materials on hand to make labels for AJ's carry bags.
*Detailed my car myself. I think I did a better job than the detailing place and didn't spend $90!

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

02 October 2022

The Week That Was 2/10/2022

This week I am grateful for
*Spring. The days have been beautiful.
*Food in the pantry. I've been a bit under the weather for a few days and eating, and cooking, have not been high on my list of priorities. Food in the pantry meant no one went hungry.

Here's how we saved money, time and energy this week:

*Switched the meal plan around and we had steak sandwiches with MOO wedges on Monday night. There were bread rolls, a piece of steak, and a tomato that needed to be used. One piece of steak cut in half, then sliced through the middle made four palm sized pieces just the right size for the bread roll. The boys thought I'd won the lottery!

*sried the washing on the clotheshorses on the verandah. The days were quite warm, but it was wet in dribs and drabs. Saved me running in and out to the clothesline.

*Found some free printables to use for transfers. To buy similar files was going to cost $20.99 (they were $6.99 each). Free fits my budget better.

*Shopped my stash to make a baby card and a little gift for a new baby boy. I have some fabric in the stash that will become bibs for him this week.

*Bought mushrooms for $4/kg, then the next day was able to get more for $2/kg! Bargain of the year! Washed, chopped, cooked and pressure canned, we have enough for the year.

*Bought 10kg onions for $5 - 50 cents a kilo is an AMAZING price for onions these days. Some have been diced and frozen in half cup lots for later in the year.

*Caught the shower warm up water and used some in the steam mop to do the hard floors, and put the rest into the washing machine.

*Filled the thermos each morning to make cuppas during the day.

*Filled up my car and the jerry cans using a 4c off voucher combined with a special offer to save 18c per litre off diesel before the price goes up.  $25.67 kept in our budget, and we have the fuel to cover our trip next week!

*Opened up the windows and doors on sunny days to let the breeze blow winter out of the house. So much nicer than using a room spray or air freshener.

*Worked on Christmas gifts; another three crossed off the list.

*Repurposed a small plastic bin to hold vinyl scraps. It's small enough to sit on my table, and I've found if something is in sight, it gets used, so all the vinyl scraps are in the bin and I have been "shopping" the bin before I reach for a roll of vinyl.

*AJ helped me make an overhead boom for the camera to (hopefully) improve my You Tube videos. We used what we had on hand so nothing spent. It's a work in progress, but better than what I was using and I'm learning lots.

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

27 September 2022

Quick Rice Patties

The one expense we have complete and utter control over is groceries. 

We choose how much we spend and what we spend it on. Sometimes we can spend within our budgets, sometimes the budget just isn't enough.

Right now, everyone is searching for cheap, tasty meal ideas. Between shortages, inflation, and rising interest rates, grocery budgets are taking a beating.

This recipe is one my Mum made for us as children. It's one of my very favourite meals, and now my own family loves it too.

Good hot or cold, quick rice patties are tasty and cheap.

I hope you enjoy them as much as we do. 

Quick Rice Patties

1 onion, chopped
1 cup rice
1 tsp Marmite/Vegemite/Promite
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 egg
good pinch mixed herbs

Cook the rice in boiling, salted water. Drain well. While the rice is still hot, add the Marmite, peanut butter, onion and herbs and mix well. Stir in the egg. Take tablespoonfuls of the mixture and shape into patties. Fry in shallow oil until lightly brown and golden on both sides. Drain on absorbent paper.

Alternatively, for a low fat version, spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and bake the patties in a moderate oven for about 30 minutes, turning halfway through.
This recipe is a part of the $2 Dinner Recipe File on the Cheapskates Club website.

25 September 2022

The Week That Was 25/09/2022

This Week I am grateful for:
*Friendship. A dear friend lost her fight with cancer on Sunday afternoon and I will miss her. She was generous to a fault and loved to push me to extremes until I was almost ready to scream. I’ll miss her boston bun for morning tea and her ideas for creating new cards, but most of all I'll miss her and the loving,bossy soul she was. She was a part of my life, and my family's lives, for over 12 years. RIP my friend.

Here's how we saved money, time and energy this week.
*Filled the thermos after the first cuppa each morning to save boiling the kettle through the day.
*Caught the shower and sink warm-up water and tipped it into the washing machine.
*Turned the heater off when the sun was out and opened the curtains wide on the north facing windows to let the sunshine in.
*Cooked a leg of lamb on Sunday and portioned it out to four meals, plus the bones for soup. This made it an affordable meal and kept the price under my $5 per meal meat budget.
*Potatoes were on sale for 50 cents/kg, the cheapest they have been for months here, so I bought 10 kilos and canned up 5kg. The other 5kg we will eat fresh over the next few weeks.
*Dehydrated four bunches of celery and the leaves. This gave enough celery for the next year for soups, stews, pies etc. The leaves get used for seasonings and to make celery salt.
*Made applesauce from cheap pink lady apples. These apples make the best sauce and pie filling, they are so naturally sweet that very little, if any, sugar or honey is needed for sweetening.

*When the water in the canner was cool, I used it to water the pot plants rather than pour it out.
*Used the apple peels to make apple powder for baking.
*Fed the worms with veggie and fruit peels.
*Used the 18c off deal to fill my car and three jerry cans with diesel (to meet the 150 litre limit).
*Mastered a new skill with the SNC and straight away put it to good use. This machine was a big investment but it has paid for itself almost twice over since we've had it.
*Replanted the plants that Lacey dug up - she just loves to dig in my garden!
*Dried the washing outside on nice days and on the clotheshorse on wet days.
*Put some orange slices in the dehydrator to use for Christmas gifts.

18 September 2022

The Week That Was 18/09/2022

This week I am grateful for:
*Wind - even on the dull days the washing dried before it rained.

*Fuel dockets - 4 cents a litre discount adds up to $2.80 per fill up, not much on it's own but over a year it adds up.

*Lemons and rhubarb from the garden - basically free now that we've harvested enough to cover the original cost of the tree and crown.

*Friends who are happy to sit across the table and make cards and chat while we solve the problems of the world and boost each other and share ideas.

Here's how I saved money, time and energy this week:
*Caught the shower warm up water with a tub and poured it into the washing machine.

*Filled the thermos each morning for cuppas during the day. Little things add up - over time this will impact our power bill.

*Pulled the filters out of the air conditioner and washed and dried them on Wednesday when it was warm and windy. Now it's ready to go once the hot weather hits.

*Fed the worm farm with veggie peelings.

*Added chicken skins, bones, onion skins to the bokashi bucket to compost.

*Dried the washing outdoors on Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

*The rainy, cold, foggy, miserable days the washing drying on the clothes horses made me smile. Wet weather isn't a problem when we have clothes horses to dry the laundry.

*Updated the freezer inventory on the fridge so I know exactly what needs to be used up.

*Returned a face cream that I reacted to. By then my usual moisturiser was on half-price sale so I was able to get two for 50 cents less than the one I returned, and with some juggling I was able to buy enough for two years.

*Found two bbq packs marked down to $7.15 each, bought them, and repacked into single meal portions and in the freezer they went.

*Took the hem up on some jeans that were too long.

*Replaced a button on a pair of Tom's shorts.

*Cooked all our meals from the pantry for shelftember.

*Turned Flybuys points into dollars to use for stockpiling.

*Made a double batch of Cheapskates Washing Powder.

*Made a triple batch of Miracle Spray.

*Bought 10 pots of violas on markdown for 50 cents each and planted them in the garden.

*Listed some items we no longer need or use on marketplace for sale (potential return $160).

*Planted more tomato, capsicum, egg plant and zucchini seeds for succession planting.

*Pulled the last of the date loaf from the freezer to use for afternoon tea. Having freezer stocks saves buying anything or using the oven for a single cake or slice.

*Filled my car up using the 18c off offer from Shell, cutting $11.70 off the final total.

21 August 2022

The Week that Was 21/08/2022

Another week over. Looking back, it was busy, although during the week I knew there were things to do and things getting done. It wasn't until it was time to upload this blog post that just how much was done hit me!

We had visitors for five days. 

We had the 50th annual exhibition of the Victorian Branch of the Australian Model Railway Association.

Hannah (and Lacey) came to stay for a few days. 

And of course there was all the usual chores to get done. 

So here's a trimmed down list of what was accomplished last week.

This week I am grateful for:
*Strong walls and roof - the wind blew strong on Wednesday and Thursday and I was praying our house wouldn't blow away. It didn't!
*A friend who knew I was so busy, and dropped off an order rather than me having to find the time to pick it up.
*Happy customers! I sold some of the new style of dishcloths and both customers emailed to say how happy they are with them.
*Sons who understand I am technologically challenged and go out of their way to help me fix glitches with videos and our You Tube Channel, without rolling their eyes or grumbling.

 Here's how I saved money, time and energy this week:
*Called on everyone in the house to help with chores when I was overwhelmed, stressed, tired, upset and just generally enjoying a little pity party.
*Made up the guest room for our visitors.
*Showed Tom how to make a caramel slice from scratch - another recipe to his repertoire.
*Cleaned the showers with Miracle Spray.
*Sprinkled citric acid in the toilet bowls overnight and next morning gave them a quick brush and flush and they were sparkling.
*Used powdered milk in baking and kept the fresh for our cuppas.
*Cheese was back in stock, so I bought six blocks and portioned them out to stretch them to last three months.
*Followed up on a refund that was over a month over-due - $979 was returned to my bank account.
*Filled the thermos each morning and used it to make my tea during the day.
*Dried some bread crusts and whizzed them into crumbs.
*Used frozen bread crusts to make a bread and butter pudding.
*Planted seed potatoes in bags.
*Dried the washing on the clotheshorse on the wet and damp days.
*Caught the shower warm up water and the warm up water in the kitchen and tipped it into the washing machine.
*Made sandwiches for lunch, packed morning and afternoon tea, water bottles and a thermos for Wayne and his father on Friday.
*Packed lunch for Hannah and I on Saturday and Sunday when we were at the AMRA exhibition. When a cold drink is $5, a very small bucket of hot chips is $8 and a salad sandwich is $9, that just makes sense.
*Used the fuel app to lock in the price of diesel for a week.
*Gratefully brought home some leftover cake from the exhibition. Some went into the cake tin for the week, and the rest went into the freezer.

*Received a beautiful kitchen towel as a surprise gift from an aunt. She taught me to crochet the tops of the kitchen towels before we were married, and I'm still following her instructions :)

14 August 2022

The Week that Was 14th August

What a busy week!

Wayne was on call last weekend, so it was a home weekend for us. He worked on things for an exhibition he has coming up, and I fiddle faddled around doing lots of little jobs that needed doing that don't really have a wow! factor.  Things like feeding the fruit trees, harvesting turnips, dehydrating turnip greens. Catching up with ironing and refilling the salt shaker.

They don't have any Wow! at all, but there is a lot of Woe! if these things aren't done.

This week I have been grateful for:
*A washing machine.
*Hot showers at the turn of a tap.
*A comfortable bed.

Here's how I saved money, time and energy this week:
*Joined the Every Little Bit Counts challenge to preserve something every day and use up every little bit of everything.
*Used the meal plan and prepared ahead so we could eat tasty meals on time, using food we had on hand.
*Picked two more lemons off our little lemon tree and zested then juiced them, and used the lemon halves to clean the microwave and dishwasher.
*Pulled my vacuum apart, bit by bit, to find out why it was losing suction. I put a white sheet on the floor and as I took something off I put it on the sheet, in order that they came off, so that I could put it all back together again. I found the tiniest sliver of wood - about 1.5cm long, that had wedged in a hose. It stuck out just enough to cause a dust bunny build-up and so the vacuum was losing suction. Easy fix, and saved at least $200 on a service fee and a six week wait.
*Washed the outside of all the windows using just one bucket of soapy water and a squeegee or broom (to reach the high windows).
*Caught the shower warm up water and tipped it into the washing machine.
*Filled the thermos every morning for cuppas during the day.
*Opened the cereal box liner, washed and dried it and folded it up to use as freezer film.
*Saved the dividers from the new box of tea bags for a friend who uses them to make bookmarks for her students.
*Used some lemon juice from the freezer to make Overnight Ginger Beer that we enjoyed on the sunny days. It was still cold, but a fizzy drink on a sunny day was nice.
*Pulled scones, brownies and biscuits from the freezer to serve for afternoon tea with our visitors, with homemade raspberry jam and whipped cream for the scones.
*Only made two car trips this week. One was grocery shopping, one was for an appointment. Both were within 8km of home.
*Repaired a torn seam on a pair of AJ's jeans.
*Made sure I stuck to the no housework after 7.30pm rule, and caught up on some letter writing and reading.
*Shopped around for a better deal on an insurance and saved $359.40, with better benefits and a cheaper excess!

07 August 2022

The Week That Was 7th August 2022


Here's another week done and dusted, and looking back we accomplished a lot!

Monday is always a big house cleaning day, after the weekend and to get ahead for the rest of the week, and this week was no different. It was a glorious, sun shiny day, with a breeze that would turn you into a frozen moment if you stood still - a good blanket washing day as my mother would say. So I stripped the bed a day early, and washed all the bedding and the towels and bath mats from both bathrooms and then just stood for a few minutes watching them all gently wave in the sunny breeze. Made my heart sing.

Sunny days in winter always motivate me so I tackled the pantry shelves and the big freezer in the laundry too. Sorting, putting things back in the right spot, updating the inventories, scrubbing spots off the wall (how do they get there?). A big job that took almost an hour, but it's done and I stood and stared at the shelves and smiled when I was finished. It seems the oddest things make me smile.

This week I am grateful for:

*Family - I spoke to my aunty on the phone, after playing phone tag for a couple of weeks.

*Electricity! It occurred to me just how hard my life would be if we didn’t have electricity - washing, cleaning the carpets, baking, ironing, even making a cup of tea and reading would be so much harder without electricity. We are blessed to live a very privileged life.

*Books. I love to read, and read every night, so I go through books quickly, and that could cost a lot. Instead I download free ebooks to my Kindle, either from online sources or the library.

Here's how I saved money, time and energy this week.

*Caught the shower warm up water and poured it into the washing machine.

*Boiled the kettle each morning and filled the thermos for cuppas through the day.
*Used the solar charger to charge my phone and laptop.

*Stuck to the one light rule as much as possible.

*Sorted my canning jars, lids and rings ready for canning season.

*Made a double batch of brownies, cut them up and put some in the cake tin and froze the rest for later. This used up some choc chips that had bloomed from the summer heat and the last of the margarine that was gifted to us a while back. Of course I had to sample them to make sure they were good enough, and yes, after two pieces during the day, I could say they were excellent.

*Doubled the fruit cake recipe but only used half the fruit to stretch my dried fruit stores and used applesauce instead of butter. Turned out just as delicious and moist. 

*Cooked all our meals from scratch using pantry ingredients.
*Learned an new dish cloth pattern. These are our Home Among the Gum Trees shop.  

*Only used the car once this week, and that was for a very short 7km round trip. ULP is coming down in price, but diesel has stayed pretty much the same so driving is only done when absolutely necessary.

*Planted tomato, eggplant, capsicum, zucchini and cucumber seeds in starter pots so they'll be ready to plant out at the end of September.

*Pulled the last of the turnips, washed them, diced them, and put into the freezer. The green tops were washed, drained and put into the dehydrator to dry, then powdered to use in soup.

*Fed the garden with worm tea.

*The lavender is starting to bloom so I've been picking it as I see it, and hanging it to dry.

*Added some more handmade items to the Christmas gift box, all made using what was in the craft room.

*Made father's day cards ready for next month. I haven't bought a card in years, but I expect I didn't spend at least $5 on them.

*While I was making cards, I batched a few for the nursing home, ready to send in a couple of weeks.

*Picked lemons from our tree and used them to make coriander rice and lemon tea.

31 July 2022

The Week that Was 31st July 2022

I am not even going to try and catch up with the weeks I've missed. 

Life has been busy. We have been sick. We've had a family reunion and an 80th birthday party interstate. We have worked in our garden. We have worked in our home. 

We've just lived our lives as best we can with the turmoil around us creating havoc.

This week I am grateful for:

*Good health. Wayne went back to work last week after isolation and really the only symptom he had of anything was a drippy nose.

*Wood for the fire. We had three mornings below zero, so banking the fire overnight meant the house didn't get cold at all.
*Sunshine. We had three days of the most glorious sunshine. God is good, He knows that sunny days motivate me to get things done.

*Freezer meals. I shuffled the meal plan around again and we used freezer meals two nights.

*A full pantry. With the cost of just plain food rising daily, knowing there are ingredients in the pantry to feed us is very reassuring. And it gives me wriggle room, or rather time, to wait for the sales to restock what we are using.

*Fuel apps. They made it easy to find the cheapest fuel in our area to fill up my car. I'm keeping it full, so as soon as that needle hits the 3/4 mark, I start looking for cheap fuel.

*Fruit trees. I've been picking a lemon or two a day straight from the tree for our hot lemon and honey drinks. They really do ease scratchy, sore throats, and they just taste good and warm you through too.

Ways we saved money, time and/or energy this week:

*Celebrated a family birthday with a by request homemade dinner of parmas, potato gems and salad (it's tradition in our house for the birthday boy or girl to choose dinner). Consensus by all was it was delicious. I used MOO KFC mix, MOO breadcrumbs and MOO tomato sauce.

*Stalked the woman at Woolworths as she was marking down meat. Scored chicken skewers for $4.40 a packet, bought all four packets. They are now cooked and in meal portions in the freezer. I use these in wraps, or with salad or with fried rice for quick meals.

*Scored marked down premium mince for $4/500g. Another lady and I shared the markdowns and had a laugh as we loaded them into our trolleys.

*Filled the thermos with boiling water every morning for hot drinks during the day.

*Put the washing on the clotheshorse next to the fire to dry. Even the sunny days, our back yard doesn't get enough sun to dry the washing completely.

*Used Hannah's WW rewards to get 12 cents a litre off diesel - brought it down to $1.97/litre.

*Charged my phone and laptop using the solar charger.

*Stuck to the one light rule as much as possible.

*Caught the shower warm up water and poured it into the washing machine.

*Saved the tea bags to dry for firelighters.

*Cooked all our meals from scratch or used freezer meals.

*Made a batch of raspberry jam.

*Planted lettuce, cucumber, tomato and zucchini seeds in seed pods (these are new to me, and I want to try them for starting seeds).

*Fed the garden and fruit trees with worm tea.

*Darned a hole in one of my socks.

*Made a batch of Miracle Spray.

*Cleaned the dishwasher with bicarb and vinegar.

*Cleaned the washing machine with bicarb and vinegar. Cleaning the dishwasher and washing machine are a once a month thing in my cleaning routine.

*Put bread crusts into the freezer to make crumbs when needed.

*Picked rhubarb and used canned apple to make an apple and rhubarb crumble.

*Worked on more gifts for the present box.
*Started to make Christmas cards for the nursing home and book club - I have around 150 to get done.

*Spent an hour every afternoon researching, script writing, making thumbnails and recording videos for upcoming shows. My aim is to get the recorded shows a few weeks ahead for when we are away later in the year.

*Took more lavender cuttings and potted them up. I'll sell these when they are established. The last lot sold in just two days.

05 June 2022

The Week That Was 5/06/2022

This post covers two weeks, life has been busy!

The week that was 29/05/2022
What a week!

Lots of garden work done.

Keren called in for morning tea and it was lovely to sit and chat for an hour, and catch up. She brought me some beautiful silver spoons to make more birds nests, and some pretty crochet cotton in a gorgeous pink that will be perfect for a towel topper. Oh and a big bag of paper shreds that will be very, very handy.

Wayne and AJ were away for the weekend, so it was quiet, and Thomas and I are obviously the ones in the family that don't make a lot of mess ;)

Wayne took Friday off for an appointment that he wanted me to go to; that turned into an all day back and forth to various other appointments and by Friday night I was exhausted.

Really the week was pretty much same old, same old.

Catching shower warm up water for the washing machine.

Filling the thermos for cups of tea during the day.

Sticking to the One Month Pantry Test. We're eating so well that when Joy asked Wayne how we were going he told her he didn't even realise we were on a challenge!

I planted out the last of the garlic, just in time.

Planted more potatoes.

Kept an eye on fuel prices via the 7eleven app, and watching other apps for our area and Woolworths came in cheapest at $2.02/litre. I'm so glad it only took 32 litres - fuel is getting to the point of being a luxury item.

And the week that was 5/06/2022

This week has been crazy cold! I mean we had such a mild autumn and then bang! The cold hit with a vengeance. Mind you it is winter, and so it should be cold.

So we've kept the fire going to heat the house.

Because the fire has been going I've used the heat to dry the washing, on the clotheshorse next to it.

Stale bread crusts have been dried to make breadcrumbs.

I blanched and sliced celery and put it on top of the firebox to dehydrate.

Still boiling the kettle once in the morning and filling the thermos for cups of tea during the day.

Turning every power point off before bed - TVs, computers, microwave. The only powerpoints that are on all the time are the washing machine, fridge, freezer, dishwasher, oven and cooktop and only because they are too hard to get to, or I'd be turning them off when those things aren't being used.

On cold mornings I've been keeping the blinds and drapes closed to keep the house warm, and shutting the house up by about 4.45pm each day. It makes a big difference to how long the house stays warm.

Continue to close doors to rooms we don't use.

Used the 7eleven app to get diesel for 199.9c per litre.

Used the electric fry pan to roast veggies instead of the oven.

I stitched a belt loop back onto Wayne's work pants.

I knitted another dishcloth for the kitchen.

I did a bulk order of TVP and gluten flour and vacuum sealed it for the pantry.

We ate out of the pantry all week.

I made pancakes for morning teas.

I made a loaf of bread for toast.

I made focaccias for lunches.

Hannah came for the weekend and gave us all hair cuts.

I planted broccoli seeds.

I planted catnip between the garden beds. It will bring the bees in spring.

I planted lettuce.

The wind blew some of the covers off the cabbages and cauliflower plants, so I put them back and used soil along the edges to weigh them down.

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

22 May 2022

The Week That Was 22/05/2022

Sunday was glorious, and so warm, a perfect autumn day.

I added three mini cabbage seedlings and three mini cauliflower seedlings to the garden. These were grown from Diggers Club seeds. I like the mini versions of these vegetables as they are just the right size for two meals for our family, and that means I don't need to worry about storing and using them before they go black.

Two loads of washing on the line, dried and put away. Gotta love that solar clothes dryer!

Thomas and I had pizza for tea, made from pantry ingredients. It was just the two of us, so the roast has been put on hold.

Monday was cold and drizzly wet. After doing the Monday cleaning, I spent some time working on Home Among the Gum Trees, and working on a stock plan for the shop.

I made a big pot of tomato and vegetable soup, and used one of the soup packs from last week. I added in some lentils and a tin of diced tomatoes and used chicken stock from the freezer as the base. It was delicious and made lunches for the week.

Monday night we had burgers and chips for dinner. Wayne and AJ arrived home just in time to eat. I opened a jar of caramelised onions to have on the burgers and they were delicious.

Tuesday I woke up, then promptly went back to sleep and slept until 9am! And woke with a headache. No show, not much housework, other than the basics done. Dinner was spag bol using sauce from the freezer. Thomas made garlic rolls to use up some stale hot dog buns and dinner was quick, easy, and really tasty.

I've kept the routine of filling the thermos for hot drinks going. Combined with my thermal mug, my tea has been staying hot until the very last drop.

Still catching the shower warm up water and pouring it into the washing machine.

Picked the last of the capsicums from the garden, chopped and froze them.

Friday was packed with unexpected medical appointments for Wayne. We left home at 9am and didn't get back until after 4pm. It was a long day, with lots of running around and I was grateful for the spinach ravioli and the pasta sauce in the freezer to make an easy, no fuss dinner.

Yesterday was glorious too. The sun shone all day, hardly a breeze. It was cool though, but working in the garden warmed me up quickly. The fruit trees were weeded and fed; the veggie beds were weeded; everything was watered and given a drink of worm tea. We added compost to the empty beds and dug it in so they'll be ready to plant in a few days.

We have two more fruit trees on order (Packham pears), so we prepared the pots for them too with lots of compost and soil. As soon as they arrive they can go into their permanent homes.

Oh, and we dragged out the tunnels to put over the seedlings. They'll keep them warm (we have frosts forecast) and keep the cabbage moths and bugs off them until they are big enough to survive.

The garden is a lot of work, but it is feeding us, and will feed us, for minimal outlay, and with the price of veggies going up and up, I like that.

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