05 January 2007

Water wise habits

With water being so scarce (Melbourne's water supply is under 48% of capacity) and restrictions so tight I have become even more aware of the amount of water we are using in the house and what it is being used for.

Both showers now have permanent buckets in them to catch the overflow. I scrounged a great big, really old kitchen timer from my Mum and each shower is timed to be 5 minutes. I turn the timer as soon as the bathroom door closes, so they'll need to be really fast if they want to get any time under the water.

Instead of mopping the kitchen and bathroom floors every day, I have put some vinegar and water into a spray bottle and pinned a microfibre cloth to the mop head. Now I just squirt the spots and run the cloth over them. The floors are staying surprisingly clean, so maybe I've been working too hard all these years. A once a week mopping with hot, soapy water and the floor mop will do for deep cleaning.

I've cut washing back to absolutely full loads only. Soaking whites and stains is now done in a bucket rather than the laundry sink. This saves on soaker too.

Hannah has made cute signs and we have laminated them for the toilets:
“If it's yellow, let it mellow.
If it's brown, flush it down.”

We have dual flush toilets, but I've also put small bottles of water in the cisterns. I'll let you know if it causes any problems.

I've put a smaller basin in the laundry sink for hand washing. I found that the bigger the basin the more water we seemed to use. I've asked the kids to watch the water level – no deeper than the second knuckle on their index finger. That should give them plenty of water to wash in.

And don't think Wayne has escaped. This weekend he's going to do a “leak check” of all the taps and pipes, inside and out, and the toilets. As far as I know we don't have any leaking taps, but I'd like to be sure about the pipes and outside taps.

I've filled a jug with water and put it in the fridge. This is for drinking, no more running the tap until it's cool or turning the tap on then getting the glass under.

These are all only small savings, but from little things big things grow so add all these little things together and we will save a lot of water.

04 January 2007

Some simple savings this week – January 4, 2007

It has been so hot here this week that we haven't been tempted to go out. Gotta love the savings when you stay at home! Not only do I still have almost a full tank of petrol in the car, but I've been using up all the odds and ends in the fridge and pantry rather than go out.

The kids wanted McD's for lunch yesterday; they were going to use their pocket money to buy it. Instead we did a freezer rummage and came up with bread rolls, frozen fish filets and some sliced cheese that is too strong to eat on it's own. It's perfect when it's cooked though.

Hannah made us all delicious (and hot) McHannah's Fish Burgers for lunch and they were delicious. The rolls were .40c each x 6, the fish filets were $3.90 (I checked my grocery tracker for the price) the lettuce was free from the garden and the dressing was probably no more than 50c at the very most. The cheese was free, given to us by a friend whose family didn't like it. So six huge, delicious fish burgers cost $6.80 – far cheaper than from the Golden Arches and much nicer too.

Dinner was free – we cleaned out the fridge, using up all the leftovers. I just put everything out on the table and everyone helped himself or herself to what they wanted. It was fantastic, cleaned out the fridge and made an easy dinner with no cooking for me.

There was great excitement earlier this week when we realised that the Officeworks sale had started. I love stationery, new notebooks, packets of pens, paper clips, glue sticks, rulers, coloured pencils, dividers and anything else related.

I did a quick stocktake in the filing cabinet and the desk drawers and realised that really apart from maybe a couple of glue sticks, there was nothing I needed. I could even fill the boys' school needs from what we had on hand. The temptation was there though.

I couldn't resist and went for a look. Wow was I disappointed. There was nothing I wanted, nothing to tempt me and nothing I needed. I left empty handed, I even put the catalogue back. Potential savings? At least $20.

I didn't feel like going out in the heat to do the grocery run today, so I called Wayne and asked him to pick up the milk, cheese and eggs on his way home. Not only saved me time and petrol, but I'm sure it saved me some money. He came home with 3 bottles of milk, one block of cheese and 2 dozen eggs. Grand total of $18.49 spent. By sticking to our menu plan and being careful to use what I have on hand I won't need to go back to the supermarket until next Friday!

I'm happy with the money I haven't spent so far this week.