31 March 2009

Tip of the Day March 31, 2009

Recycle, Recycle, Recycle

One of the easiest ways to live greener and save money is by recycling instead of simply throwing everything away. Many councils have recycling programs which make it no more difficult to recycle than to take out the regular garbage. If your council doesn’t offer this service find out where local recycling centres are located (usually at your local tip). For some recyclables, such as aluminium cans, you can actually get money back for the items you recycle. Or find a local Freecycle so that you can recycle locally and save on gas!

30 March 2009

Tip of the Day March 30 2009

Cook ahead

If you find yourself constantly eating out because you don’t have the energy to cook every day after getting home from work, then you could save money and eat healthier by cooking meals ahead of time. Take one day a week and cook several meals for the week ahead and freeze them. That way, you’ll simply have to take dinner out before you leave for work and it will be waiting for you when you get home.

Stuck for ideas? There are over 550 fantastic recipes in the Recipe File and dozens of menu plans to give you ideas in the Menu Plan Archive.

29 March 2009

Tip of the Day March 29 2009

Easy Openings

Sometimes we come across a jar that just won't open, no matter how hard we twist that lid. If you don't have a rubber mat, or an old hot water bottle to cut up, here are some ideas that are frugal and readily available in most homes:

1. A damp dishcloth, like a Chux wipe helps you grip better

2. If that doesn't work, run the jar under hot water and using a blunt knife (e.g. butter knife) insert the tip of the knife under the lid to break the seal. Once air gets in it will open very easily. The hot water will help the lid to expand, loosening it a little.

3. As a last resort take a Phillips head screwdriver or an old sharp knife and stab the top of the jar to make a small hole, which will let air in. Don' t use your expensive kitchen knives for this trick, it will ruin the tip of the knife.

28 March 2009

Tip of the Day March 28, 2009

Stay Organized

If you’ve ever spent several frantic minutes searching for your keys on your way out the door or looked everywhere for that hammer just to hang up a few pictures, you know that being disorganized can eat up a lot of your time. Clean out cupboards, under sinks, and even your garage or garden shed and put items you want to keep in boxes or bins with labels so that you’ll be able to find the items when you need them.

27 March 2009

Tip of the Day March 27, 2009

Cleaning melted plastic off the toaster

Next time a plastic bread wrapper melts onto the toaster or the kettle, try this. Rub some petroleum jelly on the spot, reheat the appliance and use a paper towel to rub off the plastic and the printing.

26 March 2009

Tip of the Day March 26, 2009

How much should you save?

The short answer is as much as you can. What does that mean? It means different things to different people. However, no matter how much money you earn or how many expenses you have, you will always save more if you pay yourself first.

The suggested amount is 10% of your gross salary, but if you can't manage that, save 5% or 2%. Even saving just $5 a week regularly will help you establish a good saving routine and habits. You can make saving automatic by setting up a regular direct debit from your everyday account to your savings account.

25 March 2009

Tip of the Day March 25, 2009

Using lay-by instead of credit to get what you want

Not too long ago lay-by was out of vogue and very few stores offered the service. These days it is coming back into it's own and more and more stores are re-opening their lay-by counters. Lay-by items you want or need rather than buy them on credit. Even big ticket items such as fridges, lounge suites, televisions etc can be put on lay-by. True, you will have to wait until it is paid for before you get the goods, but you will own it straight away, won't be paying for it forever and better still will only pay the actual cost price and a small lay-by fee (usually around $1) - no interest.

Lay-by is a good way to get items you need or want when they are on sale and you don't have the ready cash to buy them then and there. It's also a great way to "hide" Christmas and birthday presents when hiding spots at home are limited.

24 March 2009

Tip of the Day March 24, 2009

De-scaling the kettle

Need to clean the scale from the inside of your electric kettle? Don't spend your money on those expensive products advertised as the only thing to use for this job. Simply put the minimum amount of water in it and add half a cup of white vinegar. Let it sit overnight, boil and rinse, refill with clean water and you'll have a nice clean kettle.

23 March 2009

Tip of the Day March 23, 2009

Using up horrible shampoo

If you ever wind up with shampoo you really don't like (does anyone NOT do that?), don't just throw it out. Most shampoos make good liquid hand soap diluted 50:50 with water, but if you don't like it for that, use it to wash delicates in.

Extra Tip: It will dissolve some greasy stains, too. Mop the floor, or wash the soap ring out of the bathtub with it or use it as a pre-wash on collars and cuffs.

22 March 2009

Tip of the Day March 22, 2009

Budget Freezer Labels

For really cheap freezer container labels, buy a roll of masking tape and just rip off as much as you need and write on it with ballpoint pen. Make sure that you stick the masking tape to a dry lid or base, one that has not been stored in the fridge or freezer. These labels will stick on pretty much everything from freezer bags, containers in the fridge or freezer to containers in pantry. To avoid confusion in the future, write on the label what's inside, how many serves, whether it could stretch to more serves by adding something and the date it was made i.e. "rich tomato sauce 1 serve - add zucchini/capsicum & tinned tomatoes for 2-4 serves 26/2/09". You can also do this for meat that is to be frozen. We all know how hard it is to tell what's in that freezer bag once it's frozen.

21 March 2009

Stretch Your Dollar follow-up

I promised I would report back on how my talk at the library went on Thursday night. All I can say is what a lovely, lovely bunch of people! And some great ideas too. And some great places to pick things up locally.

It was so nice to meet members in person and to meet prospective members too. The thing that struck me most was that everyone there did something to save money, they just didn't realize it. We have a mindset that the one little thing we do isn't worth much. What we don't realize is that it's very rare that any of us do anything huge, especially on a regular basis, to save money, or time or energy. It's all the simple, seemingly insignificant, little things we do over and over that have the biggest effect.

Things like only buying marked-down meat, shopping at the market for fruit and veg, only washing when there's a full load, using lunchboxes instead of clingwrap and paper bags, turning lights off when we leave a room. Not one of these things on it's own would make a significant saving. But when combined and repeated, the savings sure add up.

There were lots of questions and some great discussions on frugality and living the Cheapskates way, how the kids coped with it and if it is really worth it.

Take it from me, the kids cope beautifully (they know which side their bread is buttered) and yes, it is worth it and has been every day for the last fourteen years.

Tip of the Day March 21, 2009

Teaching kids to save

Teach your children the value of saving and investing from as young an age as possible. Let them start with their pocket money - saving 10% to start, then moving to investing as the savings grow. Savings habits learnt young, even with just pocket money, tend to stick for a lifetime.

20 March 2009

Tip of the Day March 20, 2009

Use laundry baskets to save money, time and energy

Buy good quality, heavy duty, plain old oval washing baskets. They'll last almost forever, and they're great for more than just lugging dirty clothes around! For example, if you have a two-story house, keep a washing basket near your stairs to collect items that need to be returned to the other floor. Keep one in the garage and use it to carry things from the car inside. Have one in the family room and fill it with things that need to be put away. Use different colours for each family member and use them as launch pads. Lunches, homework, papers, bags, hats etc can be put in the one spot ready to be used.

19 March 2009

Stretch Your Dollar

If there's one thing I'm good at it's stretching a dollar and I have been invited to share some hints and tips tonight at the Boronia Public Library, Park Crescent, starting at 7pm.

I love libraries, I love talking and I especially love talking about Cheapskating so I'm really looking forward to it. The lovely Lorraine from the library says there are 25 confirmed bookings, so we should have a really good sharing session.

I'll put all the great ideas I pick up here for you tomorrow (or later tonight if I can't sleep).

Every Last Drop of Toothpaste

The easiest way to get the last bit of toothpaste out of a modern tube is to place the tube flat on the bathroom vanity and use your straight toothbrush handle to slide the paste forward. The toothbrush handle slides better than your finger, you can press down on it harder, and it crosses the entire tube so nothing slips backwards.

18 March 2009

Tip of the Day March 18, 2009

Get yourself a good pair of kitchen shears and use them

You can cut pizza, the kids' food at the table, chicken, spring onions, celery, parsley etc. You can use them to trim the rind off bacon and to cut deli meats into strips for pizza and pasta. I even use them to cube stewing steak and cutting stir-fry strips. Shears make slicing and dicing and carving quick and easy, letting you save money by buying in bulk and cutting into portions yourself.

17 March 2009

Tip of the Day March 17, 2009


When you live alone, cooking isn't always fun. Instead of indulging in takeaways or expensive 'single serve' portions at the supermarket, get together with friends, bulk cook and share. Each person should cook enough of a dish to allow one serve for each person in the group. Package, label and freeze each serve then get together with your friends and swap. If you get together with 6 friends you will get a different meal for every night of the week with almost no effort. Plan ahead and you can take advantage of supermarket specials for your ingredients.

16 March 2009

Tip of the Day March 16, 2009

Lots of shoes in your wardrobe?

You can buy clear, plastic shoe boxes but at $2 or more each they can be an expensive way to store shoes. I keep my shoes in the boxes they come in to keep the wardrobe tidy and to protect my shoes. To make them easier to find in the wardrobe I glue a picture of the shoes on the end of the box. This makes finding the right pair of shoes really easy, especially on a busy morning. If you just toss them haphazardly in the bottom of the wardrobe, rather than spend money on shoe boxes, consider using an over the door shoe bag or a rack to keep them together. You can also use plastic shoe bags to store socks and pantyhose.

15 March 2009

Tip of the Day March 15, 2009

For a natural, non-toxic room deodoriser try this

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.

Note: Don't spray on fabric without doing a test for colourfastness and staining first.

14 March 2009

Tip of the Day March 14, 2009

Shop in the men's wear department for teenage basics and save!

Clothing for teenage boys can often be bought more cheaply in the men's wear departments. Basic white t-shirts, socks, underwear, shorts etc can be picked up in men's wear for up to a third less than in the youth's department. And if you are looking for school shirts, consider small men's before you buy 'school' shirts. I picked up three long sleeved, white men's business shirts for $8.00 each. The equivalent 'school' shirt was $11.95 in the teenage boy's dept. of the same shop!

13 March 2009

Tip of the Day March 13, 2009

Saving Money With the Internet

I use the Internet for so many things that save money:
  1. Postage - 55c postage to pay all my bills or 5 minutes using bpay
  2. E-mails instead of STD calls to keep in touch with distant family and friends
  3. Shopping. I was able to source and buy a particular watch for Hannah's birthday last year online, saving $26 on the RRP at a local jewellers
  4. Manage my banking on-line, this not only saves on petrol but no more standing in queues - I can do the banking when I have the time
  5. Research, research, research. Everything from where I can get bulk bi-carb to family holidays, grocery catalogues, maps, markets - just about anything you need to know about you can find online, including how to live the Cheapskates way!

12 March 2009

Tip of the day March 12, 2009

Double the Mayo

To make the mayonnaise go further, mix equal quantities of mayonnaise and milk in a bowl. Be sure to mix well and then let it sit in the fridge for about 20 minutes. At first the mixture is quite thin and runny but as it sits it naturally thickens and doubles the quantity of mayonnaise.

11 March 2009

Tip of the Day March 31, 2009

Recycle, Recycle, Recycle

One of the easiest ways to live greener and save money is by recycling instead of simply throwing everything away. Many councils have recycling programs which make it no more difficult to recycle than to take out the regular garbage. If your council doesn’t offer this service find out where local recycling centres are located (usually at your local tip). For some recyclables, such as aluminium cans, you can actually get money back for the items you recycle. Or find a local Freecycle so that you can recycle locally and save on gas!

Website: www.freecycle.org.au

Tip of the Day March 11, 2009

Short Sheeted

Instead of buying expensive cot sheets for a newborn baby's cradle and cot, use single bed sheets and fold them to fit. They will definitely be used later on when your toddler goes into a big bed. And, instead of buying an expensive mattress protector ($40 or more) for little wet beds, use a cheap shower curtain (about $2.00 from discount shops). The shower curtain is big enough to tuck under the mattress securely, covering the sides too.

10 March 2009

Tip of the Day March 10, 2009

Seed Collecting

When buying flowers, plants or veggies for the garden, buy plants that yield seed, then when they have flowered collect the seed and sow into seedling trays. If you collect empty toilet rolls you can use these as mini pots to get your seedlings started and then plant the whole thing into your garden beds once the seedlings are established. Simply fill the cardboard tubes with potting mix and plant into them. Once the seedlings are ready to be transplanted move them tube and all and plant straight into the ground. The cardboard breaks down over time and you aren't disturbing the seedlings at all. Keep collecting the seeds and you'll have free plants for years to come.

09 March 2009

Tip of the Day March 9, 2009

Two Safe Pest Control Ideas

Another safe solution to keep ants at bay: Add rosemary to boiling water then spray around skirting boards, benchtops, baseboards, doors and window sills to get rid of ants and other bugs.

And to protect your pot plants rub Vaseline around the base and the top (just a thin layer will do) of plant pots to keep snails at bay. They can't climb up the slippery pot so your precious plants will be safe from nighttime raids.

08 March 2009

Tip of the Day March 8, 2009

Egg Substitutes

It's a nuisance to be in the mood for baking only to find you have no eggs. You can buy an egg replacement (health food aisle of your supermarket) which is great for anyone with an egg allergy or intolerance or you can make an egg substitute to use in baking from common pantry ingredients, with no discernible change in the finished cake or biscuits.

Egg Substitutes
Orgran No Egg - follow directions on box. Equivalent to 66 eggs and costs around $4.50 - very economical to use and easy to store
2 tbsp cornflour = 1 egg
2 tbsp arrowroot flour = 1 egg
1 heaped tbsp soy powder + 2 tbsp water = 1 egg
1 tbsp soy milk powder + 1 tbsp cornflour + 2 tbsp water = 1 egg.
1 banana = 1 egg in cakes

You can also reduce the number of eggs you use in cake recipes. One egg and 1 tablespoon white vinegar is the equivalent of two eggs. When substituting like this, use one teaspoon of cornflour with the vinegar for each egg over three.

07 March 2009

Tip of the Day March 7, 2009

Hang 'Em Up

When hanging business shirts, t-shirts or tops out on clothes line to dry. Place item on a wire coat hanger (type you get with your dry cleaning so that you can easily bend handle so it does not fall off) and hang on Hills Hoist clothes line where there is a loop in pipe that runs out from centre top off the line. Tops dry better and it saves on ironing !

06 March 2009

Tip of the Day March 6, 2009

A Great Milk Substitute

Water in which you've cooked potatoes can be used in place of milk in many recipes, especially breads and white gravies and sauces. Be sure to drain it from the potatoes before you add margarine or salt, though. Add chopped vegetables and a teaspoon or two (depending on the quantity) of Marmite and you have a tasty soup. My advice: Don't keep it in the refrigerator for over a week before using for either one. If you do leave it too long use it to water your indoor plants, they'll love it.

05 March 2009

Tip of the Day March 5, 2009

Fruity Tea Cake

This is the quickest and easiest fruit cake you'll ever make and it tastes great! Slice and serve with butter or freeze for a quick grab-n-go snack.

2 cups cold tea
2 cups mixed dried fruit
2 cups SR flour

Soak the fruit in the cold tea for 10 minutes. Beat in the self-raising flour. Pour into a greased and baking paper lined loaf tin. Bake at 180 degrees for 30 - 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Let stand in tin for five minutes before turning out onto a cake rack to cool.

04 March 2009

Tip of the Day March 4, 2009

Give the Garden a Drink

Keep an ordinary household bucket next to the kitchen sink. When you rinse out coffee cups, milk bottles, juice bottles etc, tip the water into the bucket. Then, when it is full, use it to water your pot plants. Don't worry about the dishwashing liquid residue in the water, it's a great bug repellent for your garden. For some reason slugs, snails and caterpillars hate it.Keep a special day (eg, the first Monday of the month) to add Seasol to the water. Not only will your plants be watered and fed on a regular basis but you'll be ridding the garden of pests without using expensive and potentially harmful chemicals - and you'll save water.

03 March 2009

Tip of the Day March 3, 2009

Sweet Reward When the Lights are Out

Getting kids on board when it comes to saving anything takes ingenuity and imagination. Tip of the Day reader Liz has come up with a great plan where she rewards (no, it's not a bribe, we don't approve of bribes) her children with something that appeals to them and at the same time teaches them the value of earning and saving.

"We are trying to teach our two young children to be both energy and money wise. It is a constant battle to get them to turn off lights when leaving the room. I came up with the idea to make a lolly jar (out of an old glass jar) each and bought a large bag of lollies (on special). Each time they turn off a light they get one lolly in their jar and at the end of the week they get to eat them. Amazingly they ended up with 70 odd lollies each, I used Smarties. It will be very interesting to see the difference in our next power account. " - Contributed by Liz, Auckland

02 March 2009

Tip of the Day March 2, 2009

Tracking is Not Just for the Supermarket

There are many everyday household grocery items that are available not just at the supermarket but at pharmacies, department stores, dollar stores and even markets that may not be part of your usual shopping routine. Most of these retailers put out sale brochures so be sure to have a quick look through them to see if any of the items you use are on sale. Then compare the price with the prices in your price book to see if it's worth purchasing from an alternate source. By keeping any eye out for sale prices everywhere you can maximize your savings.

01 March 2009

Tip of the Day March 1 2009

Work Out the Lowest Sale Price and Stock Up

Start watching sales and tracking the prices of grocery items you use regularly or a lot of in a pricebook. You'll soon start to notice sales cycles and when the prices are at their highest and when they're at their lowest. The trick of course is to know when your favourite grocery items are going to be on sale and then buy when items are at their lowest price, stocking up to get you through to the next sale. By stocking up you'll avoid running out and having to buy at full price. This method of buying is called stockpiling. Stockpiling can save you a lot of money, simply because you track the sales cycles and know when your groceries are at their best possible price.