31 December 2009

Tip of the Day 31 December 2009

The January sales

It seems ridiculous to be thinking ahead to next Christmas when last Christmas was only a week ago. But a little forethought and planning ahead can save you hundreds of dollars. The January sales are a great time to buy presents for upcoming birthdays, Mother's and Father's Day and of course next Christmas. Make a list and keep it with you so that when you see a bargain you can buy if the next gift-giving occasion. By doing this you can reduce your spending by at least 50 per cent. Most people these days are reported to spend on average $3,000 at Christmas time alone, so the savings are huge.

30 December 2009

Packing and storing Christmas baubles

Approximate $ Savings: $20

If you save your egg cartons, come Christmas time you can place all your fragile Christmas baubles in the egg spots once you remove them from the tree. Paint or wrap the egg cartons to indicate which baubles they house. Egg cartons are surprisingly strong and stable, especially when stacked for long-term storage.

29 December 2009

Tip of the Day 29 December 2009

Make the switch to a cash only lifestyle

It may not be possible for you to switch entirely to cash only but you can easily switch back to cash for your day to day purchases and many of your bills and ditch the credit card. It is madness to use a credit card for day to day expenses unless you can pay the balance in full every month. Try it for a month. Use cash for every expense and purchase you would normally put on your card. If you don't have the cash don't buy the item. Living with cash will quickly make you realise just what you need and what you think you need.

28 December 2009

Tip of the Day 28 December 2009

Buy your classic clothes in the January sales

Instead of rushing out and buying clothes when you need them, think ahead and plan to do your summer clothes shopping during the January sales. With our temperate climate you can wear summer clothes most of the year, with the addition of a cardigan or lightweight jumper during spring and autumn, leaving heavy woollies and coats for mid-winter. Take advantage of the percentage off sales and stock up on the classics (colour and style), then use trendy accessories to keep them up to date. You'll get better value for your dollar and lower your cost per wear.

27 December 2009

Tip of the Day 27 December 2009

Wonderful wicker

When I was a little girl I had a wicker chair. It was child size and suited me perfectly. Of course as I grew older the chair became too small and I didn't use it. As a teenager I thought it was old fashioned and totally useless. Thank goodness my mother saw the value in it, even if it is only sentimental, and put the chair away for me. When I had my first baby that wicker chair came out of storage to be put to use in the nursery. Storage hadn't done much for the chair, it was dirty and yellowed and needed a good clean. Mum knew just what to do and she showed me. The life of wicker patio furniture, baskets or other wicker items can be extended by using salt to clean and whiten it. To clean and prevent yellowing, dust off with a soft brush and then scrub wicker furniture with a stiff brush moistened with warm saltwater and allow it to dry in the sun. Choose a nice hot day and never, ever soak your wicker furniture or baskets or you run the risk of it drying out of shape. Wipe over with a damp cloth between cleanings to keep it spic'n'span.

26 December 2009

What to do With the Christmas Dinner Leftovers

The big day is over but you wouldn't know it to look at the fridge. It is bursting with leftovers and they all have to be used up. Try some of these ideas and get some time off from kitchen duty.

Freeze them. Freezing means that you can enjoy your Christmas fare at anytime. You can freeze sliced meats in gravy, and have a ready made roast for later on. Dice the vegetables and combine to use as fillings for pies, crepes and casseroles. If you use plastic storage bags, make sure that they are freezer bags and write the contents date of freezing on the outside (masking tape is good for this). Freeze in portion sizes or meal sizes and then you can thaw out only what you need and not the lot.

Make up some doggy bags and send guests home with food. Why keep all the bounty to yourself? Load up on disposable plates and bowls (in festive colours) so that each guest can take home some food for later.

Make a gourmet salad. Green salads can be so boring sometimes. Add a slice or two of turkey, beef, chicken or ham to spice it up. Dice or crumble the meat and use as a salad topper. Cold peas, carrots, corn, broccoli, cauliflower etc can all be added to a green salad for colour and texture.

Breakfast additions. Omelettes are fun to make. Even more fun than making them is adding different ingredients to them to see what kind of combinations you can come up with. Use leftover Christmas dinner fare to decorate your omelette. Ham, chicken or turkey can be diced to use as an omelette add-in. Leftover vegetables can also be cut up to sprinkle inside an omelette.

Turn it into a stir-fry. Cut the leftover chicken, turkey, beef or pork into thin strips. With a few stir-fry vegetables you have created a new dinner meal. If stir fry is not your cup of tea, you can make lo mien, fried rice and other Asian dishes that include meat. Or if you had the traditional turkey and there's still a lot left, go wild with turkey chow mein.

Create a pie. Turkey or chicken and even beef can be placed inside a crust with tons of delicious veggies to make a pot pie your family will love. Use a basic white or cheese sauce as the binder (or even a can of cream of something soup - chicken, mushroom, asparagus etc) and let your imagination run wild with the combinations. If you have a pie maker you can whip up a batch of gourmet pies in no time and freeze them, ready for a grab and heat lunch. Use bought pastry sheets if you're not a pastry maker, or give Elaine's Easy Pastry a try.

It can be overwhelming when faced with all that leftover food, and it's tempting to just ignore it until it goes furry and then you can throw it out, but I'm hoping that some of these ideas will inspire you to use up those leftovers and save your grocery budget.

The Great Restaurant Competition

Dining out is fun but it can be costly. Get together with your friends for regular get-togethers and try different restaurants at the same time. Simply take it in turns to choose the restaurant with these guidelines in mind:
1.It must be cheap
2.It must be good
3.To be fair, everyone pays their own way
3.It must be within a 30 minute drive of home (unless you arrange to carpool)

Keep a record of where you go and how much the total bill costs each time and at the end of the year whoever has chosen the cheapest and best restaurant wins the prize (the group can choose the prize at the first dinner).

25 December 2009

Tip of the Day 25 December 2009

Merry Christmas

On this beautiful Christmas morning I pray that your Christmas day will be blessed with family, friends and loved ones and wish you hope, peace and joy.

Merry Christmas,


Boxing Day Shopping Tips

It's the best day of the year for shopping. Whether you get to line up early on the 26th or you have to wait until the 27th, hitting the Boxing Day sales is great fun and a great opportunity to pick up some fantastic bargains....and get a head start on next Christmas!

Before shopping:

*Check to see what you already have.

*Make a list of the things you want to buy. Prepare your list around what you already have and what's on sale.

*Plan your spending to avoid impulse buys. Don't spend money on things you don't need.

*Wear comfortable shoes and clothes, take a bottle of water and remember to have fun.

24 December 2009

Tip of the Day 24 December 2009

Pairs of Ornaments Make Great Gifts

After each Christmas all the beautiful Christmas decorations (e.g.: glass, china, decoupage etc) go on sale. I buy them in pairs and the following Christmas I wrap them in material and ribbon instead of paper, which makes them even more lovely. Great for the hard to buy for women or office gift. For gift cards I do hand or foot prints (ink pad from $2 shop) of my kids on coloured paper and cut out around the shape. Fun for the kids.

Contributed by Susie, 18th October 2007

23 December 2009

Free Christmas Eve Fun

Christmas activities can be very expensive but there are plenty of things you can do that won't cost a small fortune and many of them are even free so if you've been wondering what you can do with your family tomorrow night here are a couple of totally free ideas.

A great way to tire out excited little ones on Christmas Eve is to wait until dusk and then take them for a walk around your local area to see the Christmas lights. It's much more exciting to be walking in the dark and the lights and displays are just lovely. Children are entranced and grown-ups are thrilled by their excitement. And after an hour or so of walking around they are well and truly ready for bed so Santa can visit.

If you aren't up to fighting the mozzies to see the lights, have your very own carols by candlelight concert at home. You can watch the carols on TV (Channel 9 show the Christmas Eve carol concert from Melbourne) or you can put on a CD and sing along. Turn the lights out and give the kids a torch each (safer than candles for little ones) and have some fun. The singing and the candlelight will relax them and put them off to sleep, but not before they've left a slice of cake and a glass of milk for Santa and a carrot for the reindeer!

And some fun for mum and dad: sprinkle some chocolate coated sultanas around the base of the Christmas tree (not where it can be walked into the floor) or on the front verandah - instant reindeer poop! What better way to prove Santa really did come on Christmas Eve than a little gift from Rudolph!

22 December 2009

Mini Christmas Puddings

If you are looking for a way to use up leftover Christmas cake or pudding (and there's bound to be leftovers after Christmas dinner) or a way to use up a not-so-nice cake or pudding, then these mini Christmas puddings are just the thing. Make them bite size and serve them on a plate with a dish of whipped cream or thick custard for dipping.

Mini Christmas Puddings

A cheap Christmas pudding or fruitcake
icing sugar
lolly snakes

Crumble the pudding or cake in a bowl. Add a small amount of brandy at a time and mix up until you have a playdough consistency. Roll into balls the size of a 10 or 20-cent piece. With a teaspoon dribble some icing on each ball to look like custard. Cut up some red and green snakes to look like holly leaves and berries and place on top of each "pudding". This is so quick and easy and you can even involve the kids. If the kids are too young to help - keep them amused with the leftover orange and yellow snakes.

Contributed by Emmalee, St. Kilda East

21 December 2009

Tip of the Day 21 December 2009

The great family road trip

If you're planning a family road trip these school holidays plan ahead and pack drinks and snacks. Stop at roadside rest areas rather than crowded roadhouses and enjoy a thermos of tea or coffee, some cold drinks and a sandwich or piece of cake in peace and quiet. The kids can have a run around and use up some energy and everyone will get back into the car refreshed and ready for the next leg of the journey. Your pocket will also benefit, packing your food and drinks will save you a fortune.

20 December 2009

Tip of the Day 20 December 2009

A Garden on Wheels

Instead of a hanging basket why not try an old wheelbarrow for planting vegies? I have strawberries in mine. It is up off the ground so slaters can't get to it, you can put it under a basket to catch any water from them, you don't have to bend to far to pick them. Mine is in the front garden in between my roses and other plants. Put a couple of holes in the bottom, fill it with good soil or potting mix and away you go.

Contributed by Kerry, Mandurah

19 December 2009

Create a Calming Bath

There are any number of bath solutions you can buy that claim to be soothing and calming to children (and adults) and of course they are quite pricey. You can easily create a bath solution that really works yourself, for just a few cents per bath. To calm a toddler (or an adult!) buy (from the chemist) Epsom salts. Use the recommended amount in a warm bath. Add 10 drops of lavender essential oil (from chemists or health food shops) and let baby enjoy his bath. It is so calming, great for a before bed bath for a fractious toddler or a grown up with a headache or upset mood. Enjoy and relax!

18 December 2009

Tip of the Day 18 December 2009

Lettuce Storage

Save washing time and have fresh lettuce on hand ready for immediate use.

Rather than storing your lettuce whole, consider washing, cutting it and storing it in a salad spinner. This way it is ready for immediate use and you are more inclined to use it when needing a quick snack. Washing once rather than each time you need lettuce will save you time. Encourage the whole family to grab a salad snack and have a tasty dressing handy.

17 December 2009

Tip of the Day 17 December 2009

Light Bulb Moment Saves Money on Christmas Lights

Approximate $ Savings: $100-150

Instead of buying replacement globes for the fairy lights for the Christmas tree (at any where from $2 - $3 a packet for about 5 light globes) I just buy another box of lights for $12 and that gives me 200 - 250 bulbs that I know will fit. I have been doing this for the last 3 years and am still going on that same box and I have lots of fairy lights. Also if you have wiring problems with a set in use just transfer the bulbs to the replacement set and problem solved.

Contributed by Vickii, Waterford

16 December 2009

Last Minute Gift Ideas

I’ve never been one to leave my Christmas shopping to the last minute, I like to be able to take my time searching for the perfect gift for everyone, even if it does take me the whole year. But statistics show that for all the talking about starting early, most of us don't. We wait until the very last minute and then hit the shops in a frantic rush.

So, if you are one of the many who wait until the very last minute to hit the shopping centres, you’re probably headed for some aggravation and disappointment and possibly some big bills in January (OK, it's almost a surety that there will be some big bills in January).

Use some of my tips for last-minute Christmas shopping and it will be much more pleasurable, possibly a lot cheaper and the recipients of your gifts will probably pretty happy too.

Gift cards. It seems like such a small present, but it is quite a popular gift. Do you know how many people pack the stores the day after Christmas just to return gifted items? A gift card avoids all of that. Have the kids put together some festive wrapping or decorate and envelope for a personal touch.

Charitable gifts. These gifts put others first and help great causes at the same time. Perfect for the person who ALREADY has everything, you can make a donation to various international charities (wildlife foundations, disaster relief, medical missions, peace keeping efforts and more) in the name of your gift recipient. They will receive a letter thanking them for their donation.


Food gifts. Before toys and technology, people gave what they had and that was usually some sort of food item. Sweet breads in decorative loaf pans, cakes, biscuits and cupcakes still make great gifts for teachers, grandparents, neighbours and friends. Give the delectable offerings time to cool sufficiently before wrapping them. If you're stuck for ideas, make up "Cake in a Cup" packages using the Cheapskates Club How To..... sheet. They are really cute, very affordable and take only a few minutes to put together.

Memberships/Subscriptions. Has one of the people on your list been meaning to join a gym? You can gift them a membership for Christmas. When money gets tight, memberships and subscriptions are usually the first to go. Renew a subscription to their favourite magazine or a service like the RACV (or the equivalent for their state).

Gift baskets. Most shops have them on display at Christmas time. You can buy one that is already made if you see one that fits your recipient’s tastes and your budget. For teachers and co-workers, baskets with mugs and coffee or hot chocolate are a safe bet. Or better yet, create your own with a basket and small items that reflect the recipient. Movie tickets and popcorn, pancake mix and a bottle of homemade pancake syrup, a washing powder tin and the ingredients to make their own washing powder (and of course the Cheapskates Club tip sheet with instructions), there are any number of fantastic gift basket ideas that are quick, easy and frugal.

Overall…have fun. Dress your presents up, make your own gift cards and tie them up with a bow or raffia or even strips of wool plaited into lengths. The personal touch will always go a long way.

Tip of the Day 16 December 2009

Santa Gives Vouchers to Save the Budget During the Holidays

I buy entertainment vouchers for the kids during the year e.g. movie vouchers, Hard Rock ice cream, McDonalds etc and Santa gives them in their Christmas stockings. Then during the school holidays paid entertainment is already there waiting to use and it doesn't strain the budget.

Contributed by Liz, Gladstone

15 December 2009

Christmas Truffles

1 heaped dessertspoon cocoa
180g copha, melted
1 egg, beaten
250g pure icing sugar
½ cup coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 tablespoons rum essence
2 pkts chocolate slivers

Mix together dry ingredients. Melt copha, add vanilla essence. Add to dry ingredients and mix. Add beaten egg and mix well. Roll teaspoonfuls into balls and roll in chocolate slivers. Set in fridge for at least 1 hour before serving.

14 December 2009

Tip of the Day 14 December 2009

Permanent Patterns

I do a lot of sewing and make a lot of crafts and as a result I have a lot of money sitting in patterns. As I tend to choose a basic pattern and adapt it to suit whatever I'm making, I like to trace my patterns onto cardboard (if it's a craft pattern) or lightweight interfacing (for dressmaking) for longevity. As most of my craft patterns are for small items empty cereal boxes do the job perfectly. Just slit the sides and open them out flat then draw the pattern onto the inside. Cut them out, label the pieces and they are easy to work with and long lasting. For dressmaking patterns, tracing off the tissue paper pattern onto interfacing keeps the original intact for future use. This is particularly useful for the multi-size patterns. The interfacing makes cutting the pattern off the fabric a breeze as it stays put when it's laid out, helping with cutting accuracy.

13 December 2009

The Beauty of Cleopatra

History tells us that Cleopatra bathed in milk and was the most beautiful woman of her time. You can use milk for your skin too, and it's much easier and cheaper than bathing in it. Keep a small supply of powdered milk in a jar in the bathroom to use as a facial cleanser at night. Just put a small amount in the palm of your hand, add enough water to get the consistency you want, and wash. You won't believe how soft your face feels afterwards.

12 December 2009

Tip of the Day 12 December 2009

A Fun Way to Start a Christmas Party

Approximate $ Savings: $20 is a cheap Christmas present

My children taught me this method of making Christmas cheap and fun. Every guest brings a gift worth $20 which is placed under the tree and then they receive a number. When everybody has arrived, draw the numbers out of a hat. The first person chooses a gift from under the tree and has to open it, then the second person drawn can either choose from under the tree or the one gift that has already been opened. If you lose your gift you get to choose either from under the tree or from one of the other opened gifts. We have played this game for a few years and every body seems to enjoy it especially if you are one of the last numbers drawn. It is fun and only $20 per person it is really quite reasonable.

Contributed by Maggie, Holt

11 December 2009

Tip of the Day 11 December 2009

Nicer Teacher Gifts for Less

I wanted to buy my daughter's childcare teachers something special and individual for Christmas - rather than the boxes of chocolates that usually get eaten too quickly, melt or are given away to someone else. Throughout the year I would check the clearance rack at our local department store, and was able to pick up lovely tops, blouses and candles for between $2-$3. As I had to buy for 9 girls, this saved over a hundred dollars and they were all thrilled with their individual gifts (which I bought over several months, spending just $2 or $3 a month rather than rushing out and having to spend a heap all in one go.

Contributed by Ella, Salamander Bay

10 December 2009

Tip of the Day 10 December 2009

'Merry Christmas' Painted 'Glass' Baubles

These are so easy to make. And they are quick and cheap too. You can buy boxes of twelve baubles in all colours from dollar shops such as GoLo, Reject Shop, The Warehouse, even Spotlight and Lincraft. Depending on the size they range in price from $2 - $6.95 for 12.

To make these decorations you don't need paints - you use stickers and decals! The stickers I used are available in sheets of gold, silver and rainbow colours for $2.95 a sheet. Each sheet makes at least twelve, if not more, ornaments. If you choose a coloured ball, all you need to do is stick on your Merry Christmas decal. If you want to add the year, use glitter glue in a coordinating colour under the 'Merry Christmas'. Instead of $6.95 each, you can make these gorgeous baubles for around 65 cents each!

09 December 2009

Tip of the Day 9 December 2009

Paying Off the Credit Card

If you can only make the minimum payment on your credit cards then pay it on a weekly basis. For example if the minimum payment for the month is $100, make weekly payments of $25, just double check due dates to make sure you will have paid the minimum required on time. One week you may need to make the payment a day early. You could even set it up to be an automatic payment from your account each week. Then ignore the minimum balance on your next statement and keep on paying the $25 (or whatever amount it was) a week and watch the balance disappear.

08 December 2009

Tip of the Day 8 December 2009


It's not a a $2 Dinner but it is a $2 gift and it is spectacular. Done up in a jar with a handmade label it looks fantastic. You can make a batch in around five minutes. One batch is enough to fill at least four large coffee jars so it is economical too. Once you start nibbling on nuts'n'bolts you won't be able to stop!

500g Nutrigrain (generic equivalent works just as well)
375g salted peanuts
375g pretzels (broken into small pieces)
100g pumpkin seeds
1 packet Cream of Chicken soup mix
1 packet French Onion soup mix (generic works just as well)
3 tsp curry powder
Pinch chilli powder
1/2 cup currants (or sultanas)
3/4 cup olive oil, heated

Combine all ingredients except oil in a large bowl. Mix well to make sure everything is coated with the seasonings. Warm the oil and stir through the dry ingredients, making sure they are all coated completely. Store in a large, air tight bowl. If you are going to jar it up for gifts, wait two days. Stir the mix completely each day then on the third day pour into jars and label. This mix looks great in nut dishes on the Christmas table too.

07 December 2009

Tip of the Day 7 December 2009

Christmas Pot-Pourri

This is kind of like cooking but also crafty. Leave bowls of this lovely Australian pot pourri throughout your home and fill it with the scents of Christmas or package it up in cellophane bags or small glass bowls to give to friends and family.

2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 cup of dried cloves
2 cups gum nuts
1 cup mistletoe leaves
A few drops of your favourite essential oil to sprinkle on gum nuts
Dried petals for colour

Gently toss all the ingredients together and package.

06 December 2009

Tip of the Day 6 December 2009

Christmas Gifts for $3.33 each

Yesterday when I received my disability pension I invested $40.00 on seeds, pots, hanging baskets, two bags of potting mix, which I bought from the Reject Shop, potting mix from Safeway (Homebrand). I will plant them now for Christmas. I will have twelve presents for $40.00. I will wrap them in cellophane. For under $3.33 each these will be gifts for mum, family and friends and it will be something they can watch grow and remember me.

Contributed by Cathrene, Melbourne

05 December 2009

Decorating the Christmas tree

Plastic covered paper clips make perfect hangers for your Christmas tree decorations. They are easy to clip onto the tops of the decorations and slip nicely onto the branches. They stay on the branches too, so that little fingers can't accidentally pull precious ornaments off the tree.

04 December 2009

Tip of the Day 4 December 2009

Online Shopping Saves Postage

If you have to send birthday or Christmas presents interstate, check out the prices of online shopping sites. The advantages include:
1) Often lower freight charges than the postage you would pay.
2) Some offer free gift wrapping.
3) They have specials which regular shops can't beat because of the lower online overheads
4) You don't waste petrol and wear and tear on your vehicle driving to the shops and post office
5) You can shop any time of the day or night
6) They usually guarantee delivery before Christmas.
7) They usually have a free newsletter which emails you about their latest specials.

03 December 2009

Tip of the Day 3 December 2009

Lolly Topiary Trees

These are sold in Target and the large ones I looked at were $24.95 each.

I bought a terracotta pot for $1. I hunted round the back yard for a strong, rustic looking twig to use as the stem. I stuck the stem in the pot using 15-minute quick set cement, because we had some in the garage. You could use plaster. When it was set and the stem was firm I sprayed the pot and stem gold. Then I stuck a large foam ball ($2.00 from the market) onto the top of the stem. The most expensive part of this decoration was the lollies. I chose to use Columbines because of the pretty colours. The topiaries I saw in target were covered in silver and green wrapped toffees. I just stuck the toffees to the foam fall with a little blob of blu-tack until it was completely covered. It looks like it has blue and purple flowers all over it.

I’m going to sit this on our lamp table and let visitors pull off a toffee to have with their coffee. I can easily replace the missing sweets until Christmas to keep it looking good. I estimate that it will have cost less than $10 by Christmas, even with replacing the lollies.

02 December 2009

Tip of the Day 2 December 2009

Cath’s Top Tips for a Cash Christmas

1. Make a budget.
2. Start saving now - shop sales and lay-by, time is on your side.
3. Track your Christmas spending, just as you do regular spending. Keep track of how much you spend on presents, decorations, postage, food, clothes, parties etc.
4. Also the track savings i.e if you budget $10 for a gift, and find on sale for $8, that's a $2 saving. Put that money straight into your Emergency Fund.
5. Use cash - make it a priority to use cash for all your Christmas spending. Go to the ATM and make a cash withdrawal, don't use the credit card or eftpos, it's too easy to lose track of what you are spending. Having cash, you see exactly how much you've spent and how much you have left to spend. When it's gone, it's gone.
6. As you collect gifts, wrap and label them immediately. Then make a note on your gift list so you know where you've stashed it and mark it as finished.

01 December 2009

Tip of the Day 1 December 2009

Homemade Ferrero Rocher Style Chocolates

Stuck for something for a secret santa? Anything to eat is always a winning gift and this recipe for homemade Ferro Rochers style truffles from Angie of East Ringwood is very easy and they are so good they may not last until it's time to hand the gift over!

You will need:
375 g melting chocolate
1 tbsp copha
1 jar hazelnut spread
Crushed nuts
1 cup Rice Bubbles
Mini paper or foil chocolate cups

Melt chocolate with copha over low heat. Add Rice Bubbles and mix gently. Put a little of the mixture in the bottom of each chocolate cup. Place half a teaspoon of hazelnut spread on top. Drop a whole hazelnut on top of spread. Cover with melted chocolate mixture to top of cup. Sprinkle with crushed nuts before freezing for at least an hour.

30 November 2009

Tip of the Day 30 November 2009

New jeans that are as easy to wear as old ones

When you buy new jeans, do the first wash on their own in warm water with your regular detergent and half a cup of table salt. The salt softens the new denim to make it as soft and pliable as your older, well-worn threads. Now your jeans feel as fabulous as they look.

29 November 2009

Tip of the Day 29 November 2009

Plant Splitting

When creating a new garden buy plants that you can split which can save you a lot of money - eg agapanthus, dianellas, and clivias. These varieties will also save you a lot of water and time in the long run.

28 November 2009

Get that French Mmanicure Look Free

To clean fingernails and leaves the tips white and shiny, sprinkle a damp nail brush with bicarb soda and scrub your nails. The bicarb lifts stains and leaves the tips of your nails with a natural French manicure look without the hefty price tag.

27 November 2009

Tip of the Day 27 November 2009

Colour co-ordinated shopping

Use highlighters for faster shopping. Highlight or mark fruit and vegetables on your shopping list with green, fridge and freezer items with blue and meats with a red marker. Unmarked items are things found "in the aisles" . Use orange to highlight things on your list that are "not at the supermarket" so you don't forget to pick them up while you are on a shopping trip.

26 November 2009

Tip of the Day 26 November 2009

Easily pick pet hair from carpet

Keeping carpets free of pet hair is a back breaking and seemingly never ending job. Instead of struggling with the vacuum cleaner, run the brush you use to groom your dog or cat lightly over the carpet. It's like magic - the hair is picked up and trapped, no extra sweat or muscle needed.

25 November 2009

Tip of the Day 25 November 2009

Storing receipts for online payments

Rather than printing a receipt after you've made a payment online, save it to an inexpensive thumb drive. Once you have finished the transaction you are given the option to save a copy of the receipt or print a copy of the receipt. If you can save a copy, save it straight to your thumb drive, with a file name such as the bill and month you are paying i.e. Phone/nov09. If you are only offered the option to print, open a word document. Highlight the receipt information, copy and paste it to the word document and save the word document to the thumb drive. You are saving on printing and paper and you still have an electronic copy of the receipt if you need it. Once you no longer need the receipt you can easily delete it from the thumb drive.

23 November 2009

Tip of the day 23 November 2009

Wrapping paper memories

Don't throw away wrapping paper received with special gifts such as engagement, wedding, new baby and special birthday gifts. Instead use it as a background paper to scrapbook a memory page for the special event. The memories will come flooding back each time you look at the page.

22 November 2009

Give the compost a boost with a cola

If you are a cola drinker, a great way to boost your compost pile is to pour a bottle of flat Coke (or other cola) over it. This increases the acidity and the sugar feeds the microorganisms, which in turn, increases the organic matter you get out of it. And it's a great way to use up any flat bottles of Coke if you happen to have any.

21 November 2009

Tip of the Day 21 November 2009

Turning dinnertime into a fun learning experience

If you have young children and use placemats on your dining table turn them into teaching aids. You can print maps, times tables, spelling charts, lists of states, world flags etc, laminate them and use in place of vinyl placemats. Do this with anything your child needs to memorize and dinnertime becomes a fun learning time.

20 November 2009

Tip of the Day 20 November 2009

Shop at home first

When you think you need something for the house, by all means look at the shops to see what's around and how much it costs. Then go home and have a look around the house: is there something you already have that will do the job?

A good example of this is the small dish I needed to hold used tea bags and teaspoons on the bench. I found some at the shops, but didn't like what was on offer or care for the price. Instead, I realized that I already had the ideal dish in the china cabinet - a used once china jam dish. It does the job, looks great, I love it and best of all it cost me nothing.

The same principle can be applied to everything you need: do your research and then look around home. If you don't already have something then go ahead and buy what you need.

19 November 2009

Not just for dishes

The dishwasher may be the most underutilized appliance when it comes to cleaning things other than dishes. One example: the exhaust fans in our bathrooms were dirty, dusty and clogged up with fluff. Into the dishwasher they went, cover, filter and blades, all filthy and in need of a good clean. Out of dishwasher they came, sparkling white, lovely clear filters, almost like new and ready to be put back up. Using the dishwasher to do this dirty job made it very easy and painless.

18 November 2009

Calendar Budgeting

Use a calendar to record your automatic payments, daily expenses, pay days and when irregular bills are due. By listing your income and expenses on a calendar you can see at a glance where your finances are each month. At the start of each year go through the calendar and mark regular payments such as direct debits and pay days so you can see exactly when money is going into and out of your accounts. This is especially helpful in tracking when a direct debit will occur before a regular deposit, running the risk of there not being enough funds to cover it. After a recording for a few months you should be able to see the pattern in your incomings and outgoings, enabling you to make a few phone calls to utility companies to have due dates adjusted to match pay days, eliminating the threat of overdraft.

17 November 2009

Tip of the Day 17 November 2009

$2 Dinner Tuesday

Rice Patties

1 cup of brown rice - cooked and well drained
1 onion finely diced
1 cup of grated cheese
1 egg (beaten)
1 packet Cream of Mushroom Soup Mix (or whatever else you may have lurking in your pantry that could be used for flavour)
Diced parsley
Salt and Pepper

Combine all of the above ingredients in a bowl. Put tablespoon portions onto greaseproof paper and shape to make small rissole sized patties. Cook in a moderate oven (180c) until golden brown. When the egg and cheese melt it holds the mixture together. These can be eaten either hot or cold, served as either a snack or with salad or vegetables as a main meal. Usually makes 24 patties.

Contributed by Kelly, Redlynch

16 November 2009

Tip of the Day 16 November 2009

Make your own whiteboards

Whiteboards are so handy to have around the home. They work in the kitchen for shopping lists, menu plans, messages etc and they are handy in the study for keeping track of bills, appointments etc but a good whiteboard is expensive. You can make your own large (120cm x 120cm) whiteboards for under $30. Buy a piece of laminate from the hardware shop and ask if they will cut it in half for you. To finish the edges glue some narrow moulding around three sides, with a wider piece on the bottom edge to act as a shelf for markers and cloths. Hang with picture wire and hooks. They are lightweight, transportable and very effective.

15 November 2009

Tip of the Day 15 November 2009

More plants in your garden

Try to grow your veggie plants from see whenever possible but if you do have to buy punnets of seedlings, always look for the containers that have an extra plant or two. Look for the punnets that have two or three extra plants in them. These little seedlings usually look scrawny but you can nurse them back to health and end up with extra plants free. Carefully separate the plants and pot them up or put them straight into the garden. With tender care they will grow and produce fruit, giving you a free supply of veggies for just a little extra care at planting time.

14 November 2009

Tip of the Day 14 November 2009

Don't forget the essentials when packing

The most forgotten items when packing for a holiday are towels, swimmers, pyjamas, personal medication, underwear and soap. Even forgetting one of these essentials can put a damper on a great holiday. To make sure you don't leave anything out of the suitcase make a list of what you need to take (for every one you are packing for) at least three days before you need to pack. Cross off each item as it goes into the case and you won't leave anything out.

13 November 2009

Tip of the Day 13 November 2009

Double Chocolate Muffins

1 1/4cups flour
1/4cup cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2cup soft brown sugar
100g butter
2 eggs
1/2cup milk
1 cup chocolate chips

Sift flour, cocoa and baking powder into a bowl. Stir in brown sugar. Melt butter. Beat egg and milk until combined. Make a well in the centre of dry ingredients. Add butter, egg mixture and chocolate chips. Mix to just moisten. Three quarter fill greased, deep muffin tins. Bake at 190°C for 20 minutes or until cooked. Serve warm.

12 November 2009

Hairspray in the Cleaning Cupboard

Keep a can of hairspray in the cleaning cupboard. It will remove ink, marking pen, even the sticky residue left after stickers and labels have been removed. It can be used on clothing, walls, floors and furniture. You don't need to buy the expensive sprays you would use on your hair, the cheapest you can find will do the job. Just remember to do a test in an inconspicuous spot to make sure it won't take the colour or finish off whatever you are trying to clean.

Tip of the Day 11 November 2009

Simple air fresheners for your home

Make your own air fresheners by cutting a small sponge and putting into a container (hint: I use cut off bottoms of 600ml soft drink bottles) put a few drops favourite fragrance oil and top with hot water. Put on or near window sills. The breeze makes the smell go through the house. After a few days top with more water.

Contributed by Sian

10 November 2009

Tip of the Day 10 November 2009

$2 Dinner Tuesday

Try replacing lettuce, which has little nutritional value and a short shelf life, with finely shredded cabbage. It can be used in place of the lettuce on salad sandwiches and tacos for a delicious crunch. Use whole leaves in place of rice paper for Vietnamese rolls or as cups to hold potato or rice salads on a plate.

09 November 2009

Tip of the Day 9 November 2009

Removing stuck photos

To easily and safely remove photos from those older albums with the self adhesive pages, use your hair dryer. On low, gently and carefully warm the pages a little, until the photos will lift off the page. Carefully slide them off the album and let them cool face down. Your photos will come off easily and safely, no tearing and losing precious pictures.

08 November 2009

Tip of the Day 8 November 2009

Solar stain removal

The best solution for removing tomato-based stains (pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce or just chopped tomatoes) from clothing: hang the garment in the sunshine! Simply wash the stained garment as usual. Then hang it wet on your clothesline, in a window with lots of sunlight or over a backyard lawn chair—anywhere it will be in the direct sun for several hours. Wash and dry the garment again, and it will be as good as new and ready to wear.

07 November 2009

Tip of the Day 7 November 2009

Great Chip Clips

To seal open packets of crisps or crackers in the pantry or frozen veggies in the freezer, use a metal binder clip from the office supply store or a $2 shop. You can get packets for around $2. They don't break like plastic chip clips and they grip harder than clothes pegs, can hold onto a narrower edge and don't fall off in the cupboard or freezer.

06 November 2009

Tip of the Day 6 November 2009

Twice as Much Bacon From One Package

When you buy pre-packaged bacon, cut the entire packet in half before cooking. The half-size slices fit into the frying pan better, they cook more evenly and the family will think they are getting twice as much. Always start your bacon in a cold pan and it won't stick. You'll end up with lovely crisp rashers, the right size to top a slice of toast or an English muffin.

05 November 2009

Tip of the Day, 4 November 2009

Hardboiled Eggs

Now summer and salad season is almost here, hard boiled eggs will be appearing in fridges all over the country. When boiling eggs, add a few onion skins to the water. It will stain the eggs a brown colour so that you can tell them from fresh eggs in the fridge. Don't worry it doesn't affect the taste at all, they still taste like eggs, not onions.

04 November 2009

Tip of the Day 4 November 2009

Keep Fresh Spices

When we were married we were given a spice rack full of different spices as a gift. It was sitting on my kitchen bench until a friend suggested that they would last better if they were kept in the freezer (spices have a limited shelf life if subjected to heat and light). I went through the rack and threw out any jars that were older than a year. Then I cleaned out the shelf in the door of the freezer. This shelf is too small to hold anything much and tended to collect odd bread crusts etc but it is the perfect size to hold my jars of spices. Now I can read the names on the tall jars at the back. I have them arranged in two rows, alphabetically. I am storing only the spices I use and they are always fresh. My benchtop is less cluttered and the op shop was blessed with a good wooden spice rack to sell.

Contributed by Ruth, West Pennant Hills

03 November 2009

Tip of the Day 3 November 2009

$2 Dinner Tuesday

Spinach and Egg Slice
500g cooked spinach
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp basil
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1/2 cup cheese

Cook spinach and drain well then put in a pan with fennel seeds, nutmeg and basil. Turn the spinach over so it gets all the spices. Put in a greased baking tray with deep sides. Beat up eggs with milk and add cheese. Pour over the spinach and if you want to put more cheese on top. Bake in moderate oven till set and golden. I save up all the ends of cheese and freeze them so I have it for this recipe or pizzas .

Contributed by Robyne, Goolwa North

02 November 2009

Tip of the Day 2 November 2009

New jeans that are as easy to wear as old ones

When you buy new jeans, do the first wash on their own in warm water with your regular detergent and 1/2 cup of table salt thrown in. The sodium in the coarse crystals softens the new denim to make it as soft and pliable as your older, well-worn threads. Now your jeans feel as fabulous as they look.

01 November 2009

$2 Dinner Tuesday

Mayonnaise Scones

2 cups SR flour
2 heaped tablespoons mayonnaise
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Mix all ingredients together until dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. You may need to add more milk, one tablespoon at a time, to reach this consistency. Using the heel of your hand, press out the dough on a floured surface, to about 2cm thick. Cut with a scone cutter or a glass. Place on a greased scone tray and bake 10 - 15 minutes until cooked. They should be light in colour and flakey on the outside, not doughy inside. Serve with a side salad and spreads.

Grow Your Own Food

Save money growing your own food. Get a jump on the gardening seasons by starting your plants indoors from seed. Put them in potting mix placed in empty egg cartons. Sit them on a tray in a sunny window and keep them damp. Within days your seeds will be sprouting and in just a few weeks you'll have healthy, strong seedlings ready to be planted out in the garden or into pots. When you put them into the garden (or a pot), cover each plant with an empty soft drink bottle "greenhouse". Create these mini greenhouses by cutting the bottom off empty soft drink bottles. Take the caps off and place them over seedlings to protect them from bugs and frosts until they are established.

Vegetables that can be grown in backyard gardens include tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini, squash, cucumbers, capsicums, radishes, egg plant, beans, peas, beetroot, potatoes, onions, spring onions and pumpkins.

Growing your own vegies can save a family of four at least $1,000 a year!

31 October 2009

This Old Wives' Remedy Really Works

If you have a stubborn splinter that you just can't get out, try this old wives' remedy. Make a paste of soap and sugar and put it over the splinter. Cover with a bandaid and leave overnight. Next morning when you take the bandaid off the splinter will lift out with it. Works like a charm and costs practically nothing.

30 October 2009

Tip of the Day 30 October 2009

Plan Ahead

Plan ahead and know what you're going to buy so your grocery shopping trips will be short and sweet -- under 30 minutes if at all possible. If you linger longer, it will cost you. Market surveys indicate shoppers spend an extra 50 cents each minute for every minute over 30 spent in a supermarket.

29 October 2009

Tip of the Day 29 October 2009

Organized Storage Stops Double Up Shopping

If you have a storage problem try installing another shelf in the wardrobe if there is room above the existing shelf. Add a shelf at the bottom or a half shelf. Or put drawer units at the bottom. Or stack see-through boxes. By having things stored properly, you will always be able to find them. If you can find them, you won't double or triple up because you don't know where to put your hand on them!

28 October 2009

Tip of the Day 28 October 2009

Plan Early for the Best Savings

If you would like a summer holiday, start planning early in the year, saving a little towards it each week. Shop a season ahead for basic clothing items. When entertaining, start buying extra goodies a few at a time a few weeks before hand. By doing this, the impact on your budget won't be as sudden and you'll be less inclined to impulsively pull out the plastic!

27 October 2009

Tip of the Day 27 October 2009

$2 Dinner

1 sheet of puff pastry
4 eggs
1 dollop of cream
Shredded cheese
Diced Ham
Spring onion
Salt and Pepper to taste

Line a quiche dish with the pastry and par-bake it for 5 minutes and mix all of the other ingredients together and pour in the pastry. Cook in the oven until the top is golden brown and is firm to the touch.

Contributed by Kathryn

26 October 2009

Tip of the Day 26 October 2009

Making a Magnetic Photo Frame

Recycle promotional magnets by spray painting them, then cutting out the middle to make a picture frame for your refrigerator. They are the ideal size for those little 'extra' pictures that come with school photos - just perfect for Granny to have on her fridge.

25 October 2009

Tip of the Day 25 October 2009

Get the Watering Right

Gardens need 30ml (an inch in imperial measurements) of water a week. But how do you know low long to water to get that amount? Put a can, a pot or a glass under your sprinkler and see how long it takes for the container to collect 30ml of water.

24 October 2009

Tip of the Day 24 October 2009

Car Organizer

It may sound simple but it really works, especially if you have young children. Hand a shoe organizer over the back of the front seats in the car and use it to keep the back of the car tidy and clutter free. The pockets are deep enough to hold drink bottles and pencil cases and wide enough for books and small toys.

23 October 2009

Set a Bargain Budget

Allow a set amount of money each week for 'bargain' buys - extra cheap margarine, soap powder, toilet paper etc. - on top of your grocery budget. This way you will always be able to take advantage of a great buy when you find it, without putting a strain on your budget. If you don't use it each week, save it and you will build up your bargain fund quite quickly.

22 October 2009

Tip of the Day 22 October 2009

Natural Air Freshener

For a natural, non-toxic room deodoriser try this mixture. Place 6 peppermint tea bags in a glass of cold water. Sit it on a sunny window sill to steep until the tea is very strong - about half an hour. Then squeeze the tea bags into the tea, pour it into a spray bottle and top up with cold water. You can now safely spray your cupboard doors, bench tops, sinks even around the pet bowls for a lovely fresh, clean scent. And without poisoning the family or the animals.

21 October 2009

Tip of the Day 21 October 2009

A Personal Loan from Savings

"I borrow from my savings account when I am short rather than use credit cards. I divide the amount by ten, multiply by twelve and start making payments for a year. I pay myself 20% interest and my savings account is growing fast."

Contributed by Gordon, Beecroft

20 October 2009

Tip of the Day 20 October 2009

$2 Dinner Tuesday

Zucchini Slice
400grams grated Zucchini (very cheap when in season).
1 large Onion
250 grams chopped bacon
1 cup grated cheese
1 cup SR flour (lightly packed)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
5 eggs
salt/pepper to taste.

Combine all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Pour mixture into a well greased slice baking dish and bake in a moderate oven for 30 - 40 minutes. Serve with a side salad. Makes 6 good sized slices!

Contributed by Belinda Walker

19 October 2009

An Ideal Pin Cushion

Use a bar of soap. Makes sewing easier and needle just slides through hard material. This is a great idea if you are taking up school pants, tunics, jeans etc as you are able to easily take small stitches without pulling the fabric.

18 October 2009

Tip of the Day 18 October 2009

Putting Used Coffee Grounds to Ground

Composting is the most well known use for old coffee grounds. You can add your grounds, filters and even used tea bags right onto your compost pile. As they decompose, they will add nitrogen to your compost. You can also add your old grounds directly into the soil around your plants, or in your flowerpots. The old coffee grounds will increase the acidity of the soil so you'll want to be careful about the amount that you use.

17 October 2009

Tip of the Day 17 October 2009

Bag the MP3 Player

MP3 players are almost as prevalent as mobile phones and they are just as sensitive to dust, sand and water and often more expensive to replace so when you go to the beach, river or lake pop your MP3 player into a ziplock bag, leaving the cord for the ear buds trailing out and zip it shut. You'll be able to turn it on and the dust, sand and moisture will stay out.

16 October 2009

Tip of the Day 16 October 2009

Alternative Grocery Stores

You can save hundreds of dollars a year by shopping at the lower-priced food stores. Convenience stores often charge the highest prices. Don't be put off grocery and cleaning items at the discount shops, often the quality is equal to or even better than the more expensive regular supermarket items.

15 October 2009

Tip of the Day 15 October 2009

Underbed Storage Keeps Bedrooms Organized

If you want to use the space under the beds for storage, but can't afford the plastic bins, try this. Attach wheels to old drawers and use them instead. Look for old drawers in op shops, or at hard rubbish time. Don't hesitate to knock on the door and ask if you can have the drawers - most people are happy to let them go to a good home. Give them a clean up and line them with scented paper if you are going to store clothing etc. They are great for small toys, Lego, pencils and colouring books etc. And as a bonus, the kids are more likely to tidy up if they can just push the 'mess' under the bed!

14 October 2009

Tip of the Day 14 October 2009

Money Myths & Truths

Myth: Buying things on sale is a great way to save money.

Truth: Buying things on sale is a way to spend less money, but it has absolutely nothing to do with saving money

13 October 2009

Tip of the Day 13 October 2009

$2 Dinner Tuesday

Spanish Rice
1 ½ cups cooked brown rice
1 small onion, chopped
1 tin tomato soup
1 teaspoon curry powder
½ cup grated cheese

Brown onion, add curry powder. Cook 1 minute. Add tomato soup. Stir in cheese. When melted add the rice, heat through and serve immediately.

Leftovers can be rolled into croquettes or patties, dipped in crumbs and fried.

11 October 2009

Soft Scrap Stuffing

If you knit, crochet, or do any type of work with washable yarns, save your little bits and pieces and use them for stuffing in dolls, pillows or stuffed animals. It's free stuffing and makes your projects 100% washable!

Tip of the Day 11 October 2009

Fertilize with Ashes

Spread the ashes from your winter wood fires around your garden beds. The ashes will build the soil up, adding potassium. It's the easiest and cleanest way to get rid of ashes and best of all it's free.

10 October 2009

Tip of the Day 10 October 2009

Camera Stable Table

Fill a small ziplock bag with rice and keep it in your camera bag. It makes a great stable surface to rest your camera on when you want to take time exposure photos or you want to be in the photo and don't have a tripod. Just put the bag on a stable surface and rest the camera on top. Voila, a steady camera and a steady shot!

09 October 2009

Tip of the Day 9 October 2009

Frugal Gourmet

Don't be tempted to scrimp on your favourite foods and brands at the supermarket just to save money if it means you won't enjoy your meals and will be tempted to skip them and eat out instead. You'll be wasting money on the food you don't eat and on eating out. Instead employ some savvy shopping strategies and buy the cheese, meats, dressings and occasional treats that you like when they are on sale and enjoy them at home. You'll save money, time and energy and really enjoy your Cheapskate style meals.

08 October 2009

Tip of the Day 8 October 2009

Laundry Savers

One of the biggest spends on cleaning products is laundry items: washing powder, fabric softener, ironing aids, stain removers and such. You can still have stain free, clean and soft laundry without spending hundreds of dollars a year on these products. Just try our homemade versions and see for yourself.

Cheapskates Washing Powder
1 bar soap, grated
1 cup washing soda (Lectric Soda)
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.

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.

Pre-wash Stain Remover

1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup ammonia
1/2 cup shampoo
1/2 cup water

Mix together and pour into a spray bottle. Spray spots and stains and wash as usual. This is especially good for greasy and food stains.

Ironing Aid

1 tbsp cornflour
1/2 cup water

Mix the cornflour and in a little of the water to make a paste. Stir into the remaining water and slowly bring to the boil. Cook until cornflour has dissolved. Cool and pour into a spray bottle. If using on dark clothes, spray and then gently wipe over with your hands to prevent flaking.

07 October 2009

Tip of the Day 7 October 2009

Keep the Change (and watch your savings grow)

As silly and as simple as it sounds, only spending notes and saving coins can grow your savings by hundreds of dollars each year. Except for the coins needed for parking meters and ticket machines on public transport (and keep these in a separate container in your bag or the car) save every coin you get. Between you and your partner you will save an amazing amount of money over the year. Of course it's not saved until it is safely in a savings account so total it and bank it every month. You'll be saving virtually without even trying.

06 October 2009

Tip of the Day 6 October 2009

$2 Dinner Challenge

With the cost of basic food items rising continually having some tasty, nutritious budget conscious meals that help stretch the grocery budget is a necessity. The Cheapskates Club has a forum thread full of great ideas for $2 meals. These meals cost a total of $2 and serve 4 so they fit in really well with the Bare Bones Grocery Challenge too. If you'd like to join us in the $2 Dinner Challenge, login and go to the forum.

Today's $2 Dinner is Veggie Crisper Fried Rice, a simple dish to get you started on your $2 Dinner Challenge.

2 cups rice @25c
1 onion @20c
1 egg @20c
soy sauce @10c
1tbsp vegetable oil @10c
Veggies from the crisper - old carrots, peas, corn, capsicum, celery, spring onion, etc

Two hours beforehand cook rice in boiling water. Drain and lay on a tray in the fridge to dry. Dice veggies into small pieces. When ready to cook, heat oil in wok or heavy based fry pan. Saute veggies two minutes, being careful not to brown them. Remove from pan. Whisk egg and add to pan. Cook 1 minute without stirring, turn and cook 30 seconds. Remove from pan and shred. Add rice to pan and toss to heat through. Add veggies and shredded egg and toss through rice. Turn heat down to low and warm through. Season with soy sauce before serving.

Contributed by Anne F.

Please share your $2 dinner ideas with us, the more we have the more we save.

05 October 2009

Homemade Soap

Have you ever tried making your own soap? It can be a lot of fun, with the added benefit of you being able to create a soap to suit your skin. Handmade soaps make lovely gifts too. Wrap a bar in cellophane, tie it off with raffia and add a paper label for a lovely present that is useful and decorative. Good soap needs time to harden, 4 - 6 weeks at least, so start your soap making now to have a supply on hand for those unexpected Christmas gifts you need.

Vanilla and Almond Soap
This soap is great for removing dirt and oil from the skin without drying. Vanilla gives it a delicious fragrance and the ground almonds provide a beautifully textured soap.

1/3 cup whole almonds
113.5g castile* bath soap
1/4 cup distilled water
1 tablespoon almond extract
1/8 teaspoon vanilla scented essential oil

1. Grind the almonds to a fine powder in a food processor or coffee grinder and set aside.
2. Shred the soap and set aside.
3. In a heavy saucepan bring the water to the boil; then reduce heat to a simmer. Add bath soap and mix until dissolved.
4. Remove the pan from the heat and add the almond powder, almond oil, and vanilla fragrance oil, stirring until well blended.
5. Spoon the soap into a mould and let set for five hours or until hardened.
6. Use it in the shower!


Contributed by Korina, Woy Woy

Note: Castile these days refers to the type of soap. First made in Spain from olive oil, it gets it's name from the region, Castilla. Castile soap is olive oil based, very soft and gentle and suitable for the most sensitive of skins. You'll find it at your health food shop, good soap shops or online.

04 October 2009

Tip of the Day 4 October 2009

Give the Lawn a Feed

Feed your lawn with this easy to make lawn food and you'll have lush, green grass for the coming summer. This recipe makes a lot of lawn food, you'll need a large container to mix it in. A 20 litre spray pack is ideal for spreading the mixture over your lawn, it's not too heavy to carry and it will cover a reasonable area before you need to refill.
1 can beer
1 cup Epsom salts
1 cup ammonia
1 cup dishwashing liquid
1 cup mouthwash
80 litres water
Combine all the ingredients. Spray generously on lawn, preferably early in the morning.

03 October 2009

Tip of the Day 3 October 2009

Fading Travel Plans

Don't be afraid to use a pen to mark out your travel route in street directories or on maps, your own or those supplied by hire car companies. Go to your local craft or fabric shop and pick up a fabric marking pen, the type used by quilters and dressmakers. These pens contain disappearing ink, so after a few days the marks you've made on your map will simply disappear.

02 October 2009

Tip of the Day 2 October 2009

Use Gift Cards to Stay on Budget

If you have trouble sticking to your grocery budget try this trick. Once a month buy a gift card at your supermarket to the value of your grocery budget for the coming month. Each time you shop, use the gift card to pay for the groceries. As the balance decreases, you'll be aware of how much is left in the grocery budget to do you until the end of the month. Seeing the shrinking balance will help you track your grocery spending for the month and keep you from over-spending the grocery budget. You can apply the same principle to petrol and any other regular fixed budget categories you may have. You'll also be more inclined to stick to your budget because the gift cards can generally only be used at specific stores.

01 October 2009

Tip of the Day 1 October 2009

Personalised Freebies Galore!

Looking for personalised address labels, key rings (for the kid's schoolbags), personalised stationary etc? Then visit www.vistaprint.com.au and check out their free stuff. Sign up to their newsletter to get regular updates on more free stuff as soon as it becomes available! Vistaprint offers lots of free items and only charges you postage on those items that they offer free of charge. They give 3 postal options and although I've always used the slowest (and cheapest) option I've always received my order within in 10-14 days. My first order was for address labels which I personalised using a massive range of designs. I've since ordered address labels for my mum, Christmas address labels, really cool and original personalised key rings for my daughter's schoolbag, business cards (personalised to give to friends and acquaintances as address cards), hats, t-shirts, calendars, fridge magnets and christmas cards and I've only ever paid for the postage. With Christmas not that far away, doing your shopping at Vistaprint can save you money, time and energy.

Website: www.vistaprint.com.au

30 September 2009

Tip of the Day 30 September 2009

Walk or use public transport

Don’t waste money on taxis. Try walking or if it’s a distance you’ll be travelling try public
transport. If you’re in the CBD of major cities, look for free public transport. For example Melbourne has the City Circle tram which is free to travel on. It literally circles the CBD and Docklands , a great time and money saver. You don't need to be a tourist to use these free services.

29 September 2009

Tip of the Day 29 August 2009

A Childhood Favourite

Use stale cake to make jelly cakes. Cut the cake into squares and toss in a strawberry or raspberry jelly, cooled until it is quite thick but not set. Cover each piece of cake with the jelly and then toss in coconut.

28 September 2009

Tip of the Day 28 September 2009

Make a Memory Quilt

Instead of purchasing fabric to make a quilt, why not use your old clothing? My grandmother made me a quilt for my 21st birthday that was created using left over fabric and out grown clothes. My mother's wedding dress, scraps from the bridesmaids, my christening dress, the first dress I wore home from hospital, my old school uniforms, band tee shirts, the seat covers from my first car, my high school formal dress: literally every square tells a story that means more to me than any colour coordinated fashion quilt ever could do- and every piece of it was free.

Contributed by Sandi, Brisbane

27 September 2009

Tip of the Day 27 September 2009

An Easy Way to Grow Carrots
Approximate $ Savings: $200

Since I was young I have always been a keen gardener. Unfortunately the soil where I live is very hard and I have had no success in the past at growing carrots. I needed a way to solve this problem as I spend lots of money throughout the year buying organic carrots. My solution was to get old tyres from my local tyre store (they usually give them away for free or a very small charge) and fill them with soil and compost, and then plant the carrot seeds on top. As the soil has been built up, I now have delicious carrots that are very healthy and big. This year I have tried planting potatoes with great success. The tyres in my garden are a great space and water saver also.

Contributed by Annaleise Mahoney

26 September 2009

Tip of the Day 26 September 2009

Kids Craft Workshops

Having three young children school holidays can be quite exhausting and expensive. This block however we went to our local Bunnings and did 3 kids craft workshops each week plus 2 on the weekends all for free. At the end of the activity the kids also got free face painting. After that off to the indoor play area for free play. We even went there over Easter for the free Easter egg hunt. We go to Bunnings in south Oakleigh but check your local Bunnings for what they may offer. My kids can't wait to get there and get crafty.

Contributed by Margaret, Hughesdale

25 September 2009

Tip of the Day September 25 2009

Thinking Outside the Supermarket

Approximate $ Savings: $5 or more per week

Watch for specials at places other than the regular supermarkets. Toys R Us had Kleenex Cottonelle toilet paper for $6.99 for a pack of 16. Priceline also has good specials for health and beauty products. Your local chemist most likely stocks a range of soap powders and other household supplies, often at much lower prices than supermarkets. Don't go past department stores for cleaning supplies and toiletries at discount prices either. See if your greengrocer stocks canned goods (tomatoes, beetroot, corn etc) at budget friendly prices. Thinking outside the square (or supermarket in this case) can save you hundreds of dollars a year on basic household staples.

24 September 2009

Tip of the Day 24 September 2009

Fix Chipped China and Ceramics and Save $$$$

Approximate $ Savings: $50 - $100

I recently considered throwing away several decorative wall plates and other ceramic items which were chipped until I remembered my favourite tube of glue - Selleys All Fix. This glue has a thick paste-like consistency and dries to a white colour. I was easily able to fill the chips level with the surface of the plate, and smooth off the surface using my fingers. Once dry, I used felt tip pens to add any necessary colour. The repairs were quick and easy to do and the items are now back on display, with the repairs being hardly noticeable. This method is not recommended for items used to serve food as the glue may not be food safe and if your china is antique or very valuable, leave repairs to the experts. A helpful web link with instructions using a similar method is http://www.videojug.com/film/how-to-repair-chipped-china

Contributed by Sharee, Woodville Park

23 September 2009

Tip of the Day 23 September 2009

Borrow magazines from library

How often do you by a magazine and just flick through it out of boredom? Instead of spending your hard earned money on magazines and papers you’ll probably either never really read or just browse and throw away, visit your local library. You’ll find plenty of magazines and papers there, all free to read. Alternatively, find a good quality magazine that you’ll really enjoy and subscribe to it. There are often bonuses and extras that come with magazine subscriptions. And you won’t be tempted by intriguing headlines at the supermarket checkout either.

22 September 2009

Tip of the Day September 22 2009

Biscuit Logs

When making biscuits, make a double recipe and roll one half into a log, slice and then wrap in clingwrap and freeze. These biscuits can then be baked from frozen, and being pre-sliced you can bake one or all of them.

Bargain Bikkies

7 cups SR flour
2 cups sugar
500g margarine
4 eggs, beaten
1 dessertspoon vanilla essence

Cream butter and sugar. Mix vanilla essence with eggs and add to butter/sugar, mixing well. Add the flour. The mixture becomes quite stiff at this stage but make sure all the flour is thoroughly mixed in.

Now comes the fun part – creating different varieties of bikkies.
Divide the dough into portions – 4 is a manageable number – and flavour each portion.


Cornflake: Take spoonfuls (tea- or dessert- depending on how big you want them) of dough, roll into balls and then roll in crushed cornflakes. I have also used the weetbix crumbs from the bottom of the box too.

Choc Chip: Mix ½ cup choc chips through the dough. Then either roll into balls and freeze or bake, or into a log.

Thumb Prints: Roll into balls, flatten out and then poke a dent in the middle of each bikkie with your thumb. Add a dollop of red jam.

Sultana: Mix through a handful of sultanas

Apricot & Almond: Chop a few dried apricots and add with ¼ cup chopped almonds.

Cherryripe: Add a packet of glace cherries, 1/4 cup choc bits and 2 tbsp coconut.

This mixture freezes really well. You can simply flash freeze the individual bikkies and then bag them, ready to bake. Or you can roll the mixture into logs and freeze. Then simply thaw a log, slice and bake.

Bake in a moderate oven for 10 minutes or until golden. Watch with the choc chip variety that they don’t burn on the bottom – the chocolate melts and may catch on the tray.

This biscuit recipe comes from the Cheapskates Club Recipe File.

21 September 2009

Tip of the Day September 21 2009

Old Make-up Make Great Watercolours

Let the kids use the old make up to draw pictures with (using the lipsticks, eyeliners etc). The powders (like eye shadow, blushers etc) can be used like water colours. Just wet a paint brush and dip in.

Contributed by Rachael, Rivervale

20 September 2009

Tip of the Day 20 September 2009

Make Compost Tea

When you are weeding, fill a bucket about half full of weeds and add water until the weeds are covered. Put a lid on the bucket (to stop mozzies) and leave for 3 weeks. You will have a foul smelling but fantastic fertiliser (for free!) for your plants. Use it diluted in a ratio of about 1 part fertiliser to 4 parts water and water your plants on a weekly basis. It gives back nutrients without any chemical additives and you can make as much as you want.

Contributed by Rhonda, Erindale South

19 September 2009

Tip of the Day 19 September 2009

Challenge Your Kids

Set them a goal to work out some ways to earn money themselves so they can either save it or spend it on the things they want to do. They can go through and find things in their rooms they no longer want and learn how to sell them on eBay. Offer their services doing things like babysitting, mowing lawns, ironing etc. Or they could even go out and get a job. What a great way to start the year. It will also help them to learn the value of money. They will be more hesitant to spend their hard earned cash.

Contributed by Melanie, Dapto

18 September 2009

Tip of the Day 18 September 2009

Union Shopper

If you or your partner is a member of a union, check if your union is a member of "Union Shopper". When you buy anything from appliances to cars to chainsaws, these people can get you great deals. You shop around for what product you want and what the best price is you can get. Than you call these people up and they call you back within 48 hours to let you know if they can get you a better price. We have saved thousands of dollars over the years by buying fridge, dishwasher, chainsaw and even 2 cars through this organization. Our fridge saved us $350 for exactly the same fridge, about $2000 on each car. It costs you only 1 phone call to check with them before you buy.

Contributed by Bianca, Advancetown

17 September 2009

Tip of the Day 17 September 2009

Free Scoops

Save the plastic laundry scoops from washing powder and wash them in the dishwasher to thoroughly clean before use with food. Then use them as scoops (they are roughly half a cup) for rice, pasta, any dry foods that you store in Tupperware containers, animal food, anything that you would usually scoop out - esp. handy for Tupperware containers instead of the expensive scoops that you would usually have to buy to go with them, what's more, if you have extra left over that you are not using they take up very little space because they stack on top of each other very neatly in a utensil drawer.

Contributed by Genevieve, Sutherland

16 September 2009

Tip of the Day 16 September 2009

Sponge Clean Clothes

Dry cleaning bills can be outrageous, especially for business suits and formal clothes. You can cut your dry cleaning costs by only purchasing clothing that can be washed either in the machine or by hand or by treating small spots and everyday wear yourself. You can cut your dry cleaning by at least a third if you sponge your suits and coats yourself. Hang them in the bathroom while you’re showering and let the steam take the creases away. Invest in a good pressing cloth (under $10) and learn how to properly press trousers and jackets.

15 September 2009

Tip of the Day 15 August 2009

Butter Wrappers

Approximate $ Savings: A few cents here and there, but is all adds up

When you use packaged butter, keep the whole wrapper in your fridge door instead of throwing it away. You can use them to line cake tins and to grease the inside of tins instead of buying non-stick greaseproof paper or paper towel. I even use the paper on top of the margarine for greasing. My mother always did this; I thought it was something everyone did, until a girlfriend asked why I had a bunch of old butter wrappers in my fridge door.

Contributed by Fay, Broadford

14 September 2009

Tip of the Day 14 September 2009

Re-Invent Second-hand Jewellery and Save on New Beads

The latest craze seems to be making your own jewellery. When buying beads, clips etc it can be very expensive from the bead shops. I now go to second hand clothing stores such as Lifeline, the Salvation Army etc and buy very cheap second hand jewellery. I then dismantle the items and reinvent my own fabulous necklaces, earnings bracelets etc.

Contributed by Robyn, Redland Bay

13 September 2009

Tip of the Day 13 September 2009

Stop Snails in Their Tracks

Rub Vaseline around the base and top edged of plant pots and seedling trays to keep snails at bay. The slimy little critters can't (or won't) crawl over the Vaseline. The snails are defeated and your pot plants are safe.

12 September 2009

Tip of the Day 12 September 2009

Make Flubber

This is great fun to make and even more fun to play with. Because it involves boiling water, for safety an adult will need to supervise young children while the flubber is being made. It looks great made in bright colours such as lime green, purple, hot pink, fire engine red and sunshine yellow. In a container, put some PVA glue and add a small amount of cold water. Mix it well to thin down the PVA. Add some food colouring. Now, carefully add boiling water, mixing well, a little at a time, until it is thick and resembles play dough. Turn it out and knead it well. Then go have some fun with your flubber!

11 September 2009

Tip of the Day 11 September 2009

Setting Soap

Let your new soap breath for awhile before you use it. Unwrap it and leave the cakes of soap to dry and harden for 4 weeks before using. Dry soap has a reputation of lasting longer as it has hardened. Put it in your linen cupboard amongst the towels and sheets to keep your linen smelling fresh and silverfish and moths at bay while it matures.

10 September 2009

Tip of the Day 10 September 2009

Cold Tea

Don't empty the tea pot down the drain. Cold tea makes an excellent cleaner for wood. Wipe over with a cloth dampened with the tea and then polish dry with a soft, clean cloth. This retains the natural patina of the timber without waxing.

09 September 2009

Tip of the Day 9 September 2009

Coffee Just the Way You Like It

A good cup of coffee is not to be passed up, but it soon adds up to big dollars if you are buying
one or more takeaway coffees a day. Instead of paying $3.20 for your latte, why not invest in a
coffee plunger or even an espresso machine and buy your favourite blend ready ground? Then you can make a cup of coffee just the way you like it any time you like and you’ll be saving heaps. I pay $14.30 for a 200g bag of my favourite blend, freshly ground and get approximately 21 cups of coffee from it, a saving of $48.90 for coffee just the way I like it.

08 September 2009

Tip of the Day 8 September 2009

Plain or Self-Raising?

If you get your self raising flour and plain flour mixed up, put a spoonful of flour in a bowl and stir in enough vinegar to make a thin smooth bend. If the mixture foams and thickens, then it is self raising, if not and the mix remains smooth and thin, it is plain flour.

07 September 2009

Tip of the Day 7 September 2009

The advantages of online shopping for Christmas

It's not too early to start thinking about Christmas shopping, especially if your budget is tight and if you have to send Christmas (or birthday) presents interstate, it pays to check out the prices of online shopping sites before you hit the shopping centres.

The advantages include:
1. often lower freight charges than the postage you would pay
2. some offer free gift wrapping
3.they have specials which regular shops can't beat because of the lower online overheads
4.you don't waste petrol and wear and tear on your vehicle driving to the shops and post office
5.you can shop any time of the day or night without having to find a park or stand in a long queue
6.you can bookmark the sites where you find the best deals so you can compare with shops and find them again if you need to
7.if you've left your shopping to the last minute they usually guarantee delivery before Christmas.
8.most have a free newsletter which tells you about their latest specials

06 September 2009

Tip of the Day 6 August 2009

Natural Bug Spray

Add sprigs of Rosemary to boiling water in a spray bottle and let it cool. You can then use this spray to deter to rid ants and other bugs from benchtops, cupboards etc. Spray the item with the rosemary water and wipe over. Keep a pot of Rosemary growing by doors and windows that don't have flyscreens to keep flies out of the house. It works when you're camping too. A little pot of Rosemary outside the tent flap will keep the flies away.

05 September 2009

Tip of the Day 5 September 2009

Make moving house simple

When moving house, save loads of time and money by planning ahead. Gather up anything that hasn't been worn in recent months or any item that you don't absolutely love, sell the things that are in excellent condition on eBay and get rid of the rest by garage sale. What's left might go to someone needy. The money you make will help pay for the move, it's cheaper and easier with less to move and you move into your new place with more space and only items you love. What a great feel! We made $3000 doing this last time we moved and are doing it again now for a future move.

Contributed by Ronnee Russell

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and then check Tip of the Day each day to see if your tip is featured!

04 September 2009

Tip of the Day 4 September 2009

Truly Gentle Scrubbers

For scrubbing around the house, such as bathroom or kitchen, don't throw away used socks and stockings that have holes. Roll the sock up, put into the stocking and tie around to make a ball. Use it to scrub bathroom (or anywhere). It's better than any of the mops or cloths from supermarket. It's particularly good for stubborn stain as the stocking can break down the stain and yet is gentle in texture so it won't scratch delicate surfaces.

03 September 2009

Tip of the Day 3 September 2009

Safe Stain Remover

Besides absorbing odours in refrigerators and freezers, bicarbonate soda makes a good scouring powder because of its mild abrasiveness. It removes light soil and stains on sinks, bench tops and stovetops. A paste of bicarb and water onto stained Tupperware type containers will miraculously remove the stain. Mixed with water it makes an all around, light-duty cleaner.

02 September 2009

Tip of the Day 2 September 2009

Buy treats in bulk

Save a small fortune on your morning and afternoon tea treats and snacks by planning ahead and buying them in bulk from the supermarket. Why pay $1.80 for one chocolate bar from the local milk bar when you can buy a pack of 3 for $3.60 from the supermarket? And you’ll save on multi packs of chips, mints and lollies too. At the same time if you don’t bake, pick up your muffins and cakes from the bakery department and freeze them. You’ll still have your treats and desserts and you’ll be saving money.

01 September 2009

Tip of the Day 1 September 2009

Fresh Muffins in Minutes

Muffin batter can be frozen and baked from frozen at a later date, saving you time and energy if you prepare a double or triple batch. Line the muffin tin with the papers, add the batter and put the tin in the freezer until the batter has frozen. Take the papers out of the tin, store in an airtight container or ziplock bag. Simply place the filled paper cases in the muffin tin to bake.

31 August 2009

Tip of the Day 31 August 2009

Greeting Card Bookmark

Recycle the greeting cards you have received!

You will need:
Used greeting cards , poster board or cardboard
Crayons, markers or paint

Cut a strip from the poster board or thin cardboard, about 8 inches x 2 inches. Cut out the picture on the front of a greeting card. Glue the picture at the top of the strip. Allow the glue to dry. Write a message on the strip if you want. If the bookmark is a gift, you can simply write "to:" and "from:" To make your bookmark more durable, cover it with clear contact paper or laminate it.

From the May 2002 Cheapskates Journal

30 August 2009

Tip of the Day 30 August 2009

Everything's Rosy with Buckets as Budget Pots

I bought 20 bare rooted roses when on special for $5.50 each. I looked at pots and it was going to cost a minimum of $4.80 for each pot to pot them out until we move house. Rather expensive until my husband came up with the idea of buckets. We bought them at 79 cents each drilled 5 holes in the bottom of each one and hey presto they have turned into brilliant pots and saving us at least $80.00
Contributed by Maureen Newman

Do you have a great money, time or energy saving tip? Click here to share your tip with us and then check Tip of the Day each day to see if your tip is featured!

29 August 2009

Tip of the Day 29 August 2009


All kids love playdough, even the big ones. It’s very simple and extremely cheap to make and lasts for ages. This recipe makes a small tub of playdough, you can easily double or triple it for larger batches. Store it in a container with a lid or in ziplock bags to keep it from drying out.

1 cup flour
1/4 cup salt
1 tablespoon oil
few drops of food colouring
1/2 cup boiling water

Mix all together and knead until reaches dough consistency.

Play dough is a great party favour too! It’s easy and cheap to make and kids really love it. Save your take away style containers to store it in. These can be personalised with each child s name and the date of the birthday party, all ready for them to take home.

28 August 2009

Grocery Tracking Spreadsheet

The hardest thing when sticking to a grocery budget is knowing when you’ve reached it! I have a simple spreadsheet with all the usual grocery items I buy listed and how much each costs, and before each shop I mark off each item I need and then check the total. This gives me a good idea of how much my shop will cost before I even get to the store. I also print the list off each shop and this becomes my shopping list. It takes a little time to get it started but is a great help once it’s up and

Contributed by Mirella

Platinum Members can download the Cheapskates Grocery Tracking Spreadsheet from the Member's Centre.

27 August 2009

Tip of the Day 27 August 2009

Ironing Aid

I have found the best ironing spray is to mix 50 - 100ml of fabric softener (I use a sachet that makes up into 2 litres) in a spray bottle. A few squirts on the garments before going into the dryer for a few minutes to simply soften them before ironing saves a lot of time and hard ironing effort. Clothes are much easier to iron if they are still barely damp so that the ironing finishes the drying process.

NOTE: This does not stain or mark any fabrics, nor does it leave that crust that some ironing aids leave.

Contributed by Christine

26 August 2009

Tip of the Day 26 August 2009

Take your lunch to work

Pack your lunch each day. Sounds simple enough, and should just be common sense, but it's one of those money and time saving tips that tends to get ignored for those very reasons. Pack your own lunch and you’ll save time and money and have a much more appetising meal. You can prepare sandwiches, bread rolls, roll-ups, bagels, leftovers, fresh salads (and you’ll know it’s fresh) ready to pull out of the fridge and go. By taking your lunch to work just 3 days a week you can save approximately $700 (or more) a year!