26 June 2009

Tip of the Day June 26, 2009

Beware of packaging changes

When your favourite products change packaging, check carefully to see why. Has it shrunk in size? Is it being made elsewhere? Have the ingredients changed? And most importantly has the unit price changed? Often a change of packaging means a change in size which can be costing you more. While the packaging may give you the impression that the quantity or volume hasn't changed, read the label carefully. If the change has resulted in an increase in price you may choose to look for another cheaper product to replace this one with.

25 June 2009

Tip of the Day June 25, 2009

Seasoning new towels

Often new towels, while looking soft and fluffy, are not as absorbent as we'd like them to be. To remove the seasoning from new towels, soften them and have them ready to dry you properly, always soak them in a bucket of hot water and 2 cups of white vinegar overnight, then wash on a hot cycle with half the quantity of washing powder that you would normally use and 1/2 cup of bi-carb soda, and in the fabric softener compartment add 1/2 cup of vinegar. Line dry them and they are ready to be put into daily use. You'll have soft, fluffy towels that are super absorbent and dry beautifully.

24 June 2009

Tip of the Day June 24, 2009

Out of sight, out of mind

If you have a problem saving, try having an automatic deduction from your wages straight to a separate bank account with limited access. Then have the balance deposited into your everyday account as usual. You can only see what you have left to spend on bills, living etc and you don't have to worry about not spending your savings.

23 June 2009

Tip of the Day June 23, 2009

Apple snacks

Don't waste the apple peelings when you are getting apples ready to make apple sauce or stewed apple. Before you peel them wash them well. Then peel the apples, putting the peelings aside. Toss them in cinnamon sugar and bake on an oiled biscuit tray in a 160 degree oven until they are golden and crisp. They make a delicious treat to nibble on.

22 June 2009

Tip of the Day June 22, 2009

Think outside the craft store

With the scrapbooking craze at the moment, tools can be very expensive but I've found a way to cut costs. I wanted a heat gun so I could give embossing a go, but to buy a heat gun from craft stores, was going to cost me between $60-$80 for the gun, so my hubby told me to try Bunnings (or any other hardware store), and I did. They were only about $30 for a heat gun (a big saving). But it didn't stop there, I ended up purchasing the tool from Kmart when they had 20% off tools, which saved me even more. I also wanted a pair of fine-tipped tweezers and to buy them from the craft store was going to cost $10-$20 a pair. I had a look in the beauty section at Big W and found a pair that would do the job for $4.50. The last saving I made was for paper storage (you end up acquiring a lot of paper) and again, to buy something to store paper in at the craft store was around $120+, way out of my budget. So again I went to Big W and bought a "Desktopper" (a plastic box that hold suspension files, make sure you get the ones without the lids), and it fits all of my paper in neatly, I can buy more suspension files when needed, it doesn't take up much room (it sits neatly on my desk top - hence the name) and it only cost between $11-$18. I hope this helps other crafters out there.
Contributed by Lisa, Nambour

21 June 2009

Tip of the Day June 21, 2009

Whip up a home brew

Here is s a great way to brew up your own plant fertiliser at a cost of about 5 cents per 5 litres: add 2 teaspoons of plain household ammonia to 5 litres of water. Allow the mixture to steep for a full 24 hours. Use this liquid on plants instead of using costly commercial fertiliser.

Caution: If you use more than two teaspoons per 5 litres of water it will be too strong, and you will burn your plants. In this case more is definitely not better.

20 June 2009

Tip of the Day June 20, 2009

Board games for free family fun

Board games are a great investment. If well taken care of, they can easily last a generation. You can often find them at garage sales for a dollar or two, even the new board games. Every family should have some basic games like Scrabble, Monopoly, cards, dominoes, chess, and checkers. You can add to your board game collection as your children grow. Start them of with Hungry Hippos (or similar) and move them up to more challenging and fun games as they grow up. Including a board game as a family present at Christmastime is a great way to build a collection. You can look out for them during the year to get the lowest possible price.

19 June 2009

Tip of the Day June 19, 2009

Have a menu

Prepare your menu for the week around what you already have, and what's on sale. Use your junk mail to plan what you'll eat each week. For example, if chicken fillets are on sale plan to have apricot chicken, chicken cacciatore and fajitas that week. You could even make chicken soup if the weather is cool enough. Then fill out the other meals with whatever you have in the freezer or what's on sale.

17 June 2009

Tip of the Day June 18, 2009

Creative, Chic Cushion Covers

One way to achieve an individual look for your living room is to revamp old cardigans and turn them into stylish cushion covers. Cardigans with an Aran or cabled pattern look classy, or look for plain ones with unusual buttons and/or detailing on the front. All you have to do is cut off the sleeves and sew all four sides up. You already have the button up area for your opening. Simple, and very easy to do! For next to nothing, you get an individual, one-off cushion... much more satisfying than paying $35 upwards for mass-produced ones from Spotlight or Freedom. If you don't have any old cardies, check out your local Op Shop, Garage Sale or Swap Meet. Size doesn't matter either - you can make tiny throw cushions for a bed, or larger ones for the living room; your choice.
Contributed by Chris, Bakers Hill

Tip of the Day June 17, 2009

Savings Incentive: Tuckshop or the Money?

Approximate $ Savings: $40 per year per child

Our school has canteen once per week. As a savings incentive both my daughters are given the option to spend their $1.00 on an ice cream or save it to buy something more important. My eight year old is saving to buy a new pair of jeans. Not only am I saving on dental work, but on my clothing budget for her. Another incentive for her is she gets more time to play as she isn't stuck in the playground eating an ice cream. We both win.
Contributed by Roxanne, Kingsley

16 June 2009

Tip of the Day June 16, 2009


This recipe brings back memories of my childhood and Monday night tea. If we had a corned leg for Sunday lunch Mum would use the leftovers on our sandwiches on Monday and to make stovies for tea on Monday night. I agree with Jenny - very yummy.

1 tin corned beef (diced)
1 large onion (diced)
3 med potatoes each (per person)

Boil potatoes and onion together with a pinch of salt until cooked. Mash all 3 ingredients together to make a hash. Season to taste and add a knob of butter at serving. I eat mine with brown sauce!! Yummy!

Contributed by Jenny Phillips

15 June 2009

Tip of the Day June 15, 2009

Start a Button Jar

Approximate $ Savings: $5

Cut the buttons off old business shirts, polo shirts and pants before you use them as rags. Keep them for use when you sew new items of clothing or to replace missing or broken buttons. This works especially well for quality business shirts as the buttons are usually the first thing to go and they are usually the same few styles of button. If you're feeling lazy and don't want to button the long sleeves of business shirts to the buttons running down the centre (to keep the sleeves getting tangled in wash) try putting them in wash bags (for a load containing a lot of long sleeved shirts) as this keeps from having to sort thru a mass of tangled sleeves.
Contributed by Yun Si, Willoughby

14 June 2009

Tip of the Day June 14, 2009

Extra potent bug spray

To make a terrific bug spray for your garden, mix 2 tablespoons flea and tick powder, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 6 litres water. Pour into spray bottle and label. Shake to mix before each use. Keep out of reach of children. As with any pesticide, this is poisonous so treat it with due respect. Wear gloves and other protective clothing as necessary and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water immediately after use, and definitely before you touch anything else.

13 June 2009

Tip of the Day June 13, 2009

A birthday to remember

All kids love their birthday so make it a day to remember by starting the celebrations as soon as they open their eyes. Start the day off with a surprise for the birthday child (or grown-up). Once the birthday child is asleep the night before the big day, blow up a bunch of balloons and tie them to the end of their bed or to a door handle. Make a “happy birthday” banner and hang this up where they'll see it when they wake up, then give them a special birthday breakfast – try pink pancakes for a girl, blue for a boy. The pancake mixture can be made before you go to bed and left in the fridge overnight, ready to quickly cook in the morning. With such a special start to the day, it's bound to be extra special all day long.

12 June 2009

Tip of the Day June 12, 2009

No mess tacos

To keep taco fillings inside their shells, line the shell with a lettuce leaf before adding the meat and other toppings. The lettuce will hold the filling together, even if the shell starts to break when you're eating it.

11 June 2009

Tip of the Day June 11, 2009

Hot chocolate anyone?

We are hot chocolate lovers in our house and the sudden blast of icy cold weather has had us running for the hot chocolate mix. I've had big mugs of hot chocolate waiting for the kids each afternoon when they've come in from school to warm them up and they've been having a mug each evening before bed.

Instead of paying $5 or more for ten single serve sachets (which are very nice indeed, but way too expensive) I make up a batch of Hot Chocolate Drink Mix for under $3 (using generic ingredients) that makes up around 30 serves of delicious hot chocolate.

Hot Chocolate Drink Mix
2 cups skim milk powder
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup coffee whitener (I use Coles Smartbuy)

In medium bowl, combine milk powder, sugar, coca, and coffee whitener. To serve, place 3 teaspoons cocoa mix in mug. Stir in 3/4 cup boiling water. Store the mix in an airtight container for up to 2 months.

10 June 2009

Tip of the Day June 10, 2009

Keep your tax related stuff together

The end of the financial year is almost here and that means tax season. Soon you'll start to receive tax related information from your job, your bank, Centrelink etc. As they come in, keep all of these tax-related papers together in a labelled file folder. This way, when you're ready to do your tax return, you won't have to search for the papers you need. Once you've filed your tax return you can file this paperwork.

09 June 2009

Tip of the Day June 9, 2009

Lighting up the birthday cake

Getting all the candles lit on a birthday cake can be tricky - matches burn down so fast when you are trying to get all the candles alight at ones. If you don't have extra long matches, try lighting a piece of spaghetti. It will burn for a while and allow you to light multiple candles without burning your fingers.

08 June 2009

Tip of the Day June 8, 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. often for less than the price of one special bead.

Contributed by Robyn, Redland Bay

07 June 2009

Tip of the Day June 7, 2009

A safer substitute for Round-up

Here is a great weed killer you can make for less than $4. Dissolve 2 cups table salt in 5 litres white vinegar (generic is ideal). Add 8 drops of liquid dishwashing detergent (this helps plant material absorb the liquid). Label and keep out of reach of children. Use this solution in an ordinary spray bottle. This non-toxic formulation acts quickly and is very effective, so don't spray near roots of trees, shrubs, or plants you'd like to keep. This is especially effective on edges, driveways, footpaths ... any place you don't want anything to grow.

06 June 2009

Tip of the Day June 6, 2009

A long weekend - the perfect excuse to bake a cake

No matter what you have planned this long weekend, take some time out to relax with a cuppa and a slice of this delicious, chocolate cake.

Boiled Chocolate Cake
1 cup water
2 tbsp cocoa
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
125g butter
1 1/2 cups SR flour
1/2 tsp bicarb soda

Place sugar, water, butter, cocoa and bicarb soda into a medium saucepan and stir over a low heat until butter has melted. Bring to boil and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. When mixture cools stir in beaten eggs and SR flour. Beat well. Turn into a greased and lined 18cm round cake tin. Bake in a moderate oven for 1 hour. Cool in tin 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with icing sugar to serve.

05 June 2009

Tip of the Day June 5, 2009

Easy firelighters

It is officially winter, time to light the fire and get cosy. For a cheap fire starter, save your cardboard egg cartons and fill each compartment with dryer lint (if you use your dryer) or the dried lint from the lint filter in your washing machine or shredded paper (let the kids do this). Carefully melt the stubs from old candles and pour the wax over each section to seal the lint in. Pull the carton apart into individual sections and use one starter with the kindling when lighting a fire. You'll have a cheery blaze going in no time.

04 June 2009

Tip of the Day June 4 2009

Carry a floor plan of your supermarket and save time and money

Do you want to save time and money at the supermarket? Then ask at the service desk of your regular supermarket for a floor plan and laminate it to use as your shopping list. You'll save time and not buy the extra goods you do not really need. This also helps if you have kids with you as they tend to cause distractions-just stick to the list you have marked. Use a whiteboard marker when making your list and crossing your purchases off so it can be used from week to week.

03 June 2009

Tip of the Day June 3, 2009

Balance your bank account regularly

In order for you to have a good idea of how much money is sitting in your bank account, what deposits and payments have cleared, and any errors that you, or your bank, may have made you must balance your bank account. It really doesn't take that long, if you balance your bank account the same day your statement arrives from the bank, each month or quarter. Keep all your banking paperwork (ATM receipts, deposit books, cheque books, statements etc) in the same place so it's easy to find and the job will be done in no time.

02 June 2009

Tip of the Day June 2, 2006

Leftovers? No, they're meal stretchers!

When you are cooking, plan to stretch the ingredients to get at least two meals from them.You don't have to cook and eat big meat and 3 veg meals every night. Try having meat and 3 veg one night followed by stir fry, quiche or noodle soup using the planned for meal stretchers (commonly called leftovers by those who don't know any better!) meat and veggies the next night. Omelettes, poached or scrambled eggs are another great way to use up these meal stretchers. Add diced meat and vegetables to a thick white or cheese sauce and use this as a pie filling or to fill thick, fluffy pancakes that can be sprinkled with cheese and a sprinkle of nutmeg and baked for savoury pancakes. Create gourmet pizzas using meal stretchers - you'll never have the same pizza twice!

01 June 2009

Tip of the Day June 1, 2009

Social stitching

If you like to sew, embroider, quilt, cross-stitch etc start a Stitching Group. Gather a group of friends for a stitching session, you get to have an afternoon or night out for free (or for the cost of a homemade cake and coffee if you are the host for the session). Take turns hosting so it doesn't become a burden on any one member. The host is responsible for supplying a simple supper (a cake,slice or biscuits and tea/coffee) for refreshments. Everyone brings their own projects and supplies and gets on with the stitching. On top of that you can swap patterns plus ideas and get help all for free. You can even swap fabric that you are finished with for some you want. It's a great way to make new friends and get started on those gifts you are always going to make. You may even get some of those UFOs under control, we all have them hiding in the cupboard, just waiting to be finished. On top of all these great benefits, you get to chat and have fun with some friends. Savings all round.

You can expand this idea to other crafts and hobbies: scrapbooking, model making, woodworking, painting etc, it doesn't have to just be stitching crafts.