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

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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!

25 August 2009

Tip of the Day 25 August 2009

Turn an overcooked cake into a gourmet delight

If a cake is over cooked and dry, make a lemon or orange syrup and pour over. Let it soak into the cake, then cut into squares and serve with a dollop of cream. To make the syrup mix 3/4 cup sugar, juice of 3 lemons or oranges and 4 tablespoons water over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and stir constantly for two minutes. Pour over the cooled cake; let it rest about 30 minutes before serving.

This works for any cake, plain or fruit. Try an orange syrup over a fruit cake, sheer bliss. Or lemon over a buttercake, orange over a chocolate cake is delicious too.

24 August 2009

Tip of the Day 24 August 2009

Cheap cards

Save money on greeting cards and postage by sending an e-greeting (electronic greeting) instead. There are several sites on the Internet that provide the service for free! There is a large selection of greeting cards to choose from and you can personalize the card with your very own message too. There are some great websites out there, with absolutely wonderful, free e-cards you can send. There are birthday cards, get well cards, mother’s day cards, bon voyage cards, friendship cards, even condolence cards. These sites have some of the best e-cards I’ve come across:


23 August 2009

Tip of the Day 23 August 2009

The veggie exchange

In my family we have a lot of green thumbs. Every summer in particular, there's a competition going on to see who will grow the biggest tomatoes, best cucumbers, larges watermelons etc., all of them organic. I seem to grow the best tasting pumpkins and lots of potatoes, my sister the most delicious tomatoes. Last year I came up with a solution. One person grows four things only. My sister grew tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and watermelon, my father grew herbs, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower and I grew pumpkin, corn, potatoes and beans. Then we exchanged. So the whole summer (and winter) we all ate free veggies. Now our veggie exchange has grown with other family members and neighbours joining in. We also have a 'saucing day' where we all get together (byo jars) and make sauce for the upcoming months. Everyone helps, including all the children and not only do we have fun, but we all save a bundle!

Contributed by Maria, Kinglake West

22 August 2009

Tip of the Day 22 August 2009

Be entertained for less

*Use your local library to plan your holiday. They have free to use travel guides that can sometimes be pricey.
*Look out for free preview deals and test-runs. Local papers are great for deals during the holidays – everything
from the movies through to local restaurants and cafes and even venues like mini-golf, 10 pin bowling.
*And look for deals from your video library for those rainy days and have a latest run movie marathon at home.
*As the kids like to eat-you-out-of-house-and-home at weekends and during the holidays, stock up on food items in bulk. Initially it costs a little more, but you save in the long run.
*Pay cash and ask for discounts.

21 August 2009

Tip of the Day 21 August 2009

Quality Shopping

When considering the cost of an item, take into account how long it will last and how many uses you will get out of it.
* For example a pair of runners for $60 might last twelve months while another, cheaper pair at $35 will only last nine months. At first glance it would seem that the more expensive shoe is better value because it lasts longer. In reality the cheaper shoe is better value. Here’s how to work it out: calculate the cost per month i.e. divide $60 by 12 = $5 per month, while $35 divided by 9 months = $4 per month. The cheaper shoe is better value per wear.
* Look for quality in construction: zippers, buttons and button holes, seams and hems should be checked in clothing to make sure they item will stand up to being worn.
* Keep track of how long things last and their original prices so you can then compare when it’s time to replace them.

20 August 2009

Tip of the Day 20 August 2009

Washing for 8 Cents Per Load

If you haven't tried Cheapskates Washing Powder yet or are looking for a simpler way to get your washing clean, then give this simple tip a try.

Don't like the chemicals in laundry detergent? Use pure soap instead without breaking the budget. I buy a 6 pack of soap cakes for as little as 95 cents. For a full wash in a 5kg washing machine I grate half a cake in hot water. By the time the machine is filled with water the soap has melted and is ready to be poured in. It also saves on fabric softener as the
soap has a softening effect as opposed to harsh detergents. This means a load of washing can be done for as little as 8 cents.

Contributed by Julieanne, Mansfield

19 August 2009

Tip of the day 19 August 2009

Household cleaning

Just a few basic products will clean almost anything around your home for minimal cost. Bicarb soda, washing soda, cloudy ammonia, borax and white vinegar will not only save you money and the environment but by using these inexpensive
ingredients the potential saving for the average home is $270 a year (based on 1 spray n wipe style cleaner, 1 shower cleaner, 1 bathroom cleaner, 1 toilet cleaner, 1 floor cleaner and 1 all purpose cleaner per month).

Extra Strength Multi-Purpose Cleaner
Cost: $0.62 for 4 litres cleaner

1/4 cup bicarb soda
3/4 cup household ammonia
1/2 cup white vinegar
4 litres warm water
2 drops of food colouring (optional)

Mix all ingredients and store. Label bottle and as with any cleaner, keep it in a safe place away from children and pets. Pour into spray bottle when needed.

18 August 2009

Tip of the Day 18 August 2009

Reduce the Use of Eggs

Reduce the use of eggs in cake making. One egg and one tablespoon of vinegar is equivalent to two eggs. Also, for each egg over three, use one extra teaspoon of baking powder or one teaspoon of cornflour.

Contributed by Lynette, Montrose

17 August 2009

Tip of the Day 17 August 2009

Fleece Warmmy

I have one of these and it is so cosy and warm. And it was so easy to make, no sewing! Just a fold and then a careful trim and the wrap was made. Oh, and my daughter named it warmmy when she was little and wanted it to wrap herself in. It took me a few minutes to figure out what she wanted, and the name has stuck. You will need 2 metres of polar fleece. Polar fleece is readily available at craft shops and fabric stores such as Spotlight and Lincraft. You can usually pick it up for around $7 a metre and it comes in a myriad of colours and patterns. Fold in half lengthways and mark the middle of the length. This will form the neckline of your wrap. Now, carefully with a tape measure and a piece of tailor s chalk, starting at one end of the length, measure in 5 cm from the fold and mark a line with the chalk up to the middle of the length. Using the edge of a saucer, round off the line, drawing towards the fold. You should now have a line drawn from the bottom edge of the length to the middle, curving out towards the fold. It only needs to be a gentle curve. If you are happy with the curve (it forms the neckline of your wrap) you can now carefully cut along the line. And your fleece wrap is complete! And shouldn’t have cost more that $15!

From the May, 2004 Cheapskates Journal

16 August 2009

Tip of the Day 16 August 2009

One $14 Ad Saves Hundreds of Dollars on Plants

We have nearly 4 acres and the house garden is nearly an acre alone. That means a lot of plants to find and you can't always strike or grow enough. I put an ad in the local paper asking for people with overcrowded agapanthus to contact me. I would help them thin them if I could take the thinnings. Four people contacted me and they even offered extra types of plants when they knew I wasn't a landscaper looking for stock. The ad cost me $14 and the first load alone would have cost hundreds to buy.

Contributed by Louise, Willaston

15 August 2009

Tip of the Day 15 August 2009

Great Internet deals for holidaymakers

Before you spend a fortune on holiday accommodation and travel take a few minutes to get online and do some hunting for the best deals. You can save upwards of 50% on your holiday costs if you take advantage of the deals that are offered online.

*Wotif.com.au is perfect for spur of the moment deals. You can pick up fantastic weekend packages and
often great mid-week packages in fabulous hotels for a fraction of the regular room rate.
*Lastminute.com has flights, accommodation , car hire, restaurants, etc. A saving of $237 was made on LA flights

14 August 2009

Tip of the Day 14 August 2009

Unit Pricing – the magic way to find the true cost

Knowing how to work out the unit price of items can save you a lot of money. Carry a small calculator with you or better still the Cheapskates How Much Does It Cost calculator to work out the unit price of goods. To do this divide the cost of each item by the number of grams, kilos, milliliters or litres. This will give you the cost per unit and you can compare them to find the cheapest product. In some cases, bigger is not always cheaper.

13 August 2009

Tip of the Day 13 August 2009

Eliminate laundry pre-treatments

If you add 1/2 cup bicarbonate soda to your load of washing and 3/4 cup white vinegar to in the fabric softener dispenser you'll be able to almost completely eliminate the use of pre-treatments like Preen etc. I've never come across anything that was ever harmed by this baking soda/vinegar treatment, it doesn't make your clothes smell like vinegar, and it also often gets rid of colours that have bled onto other clothes. When I use this treatment on the washing it gets it all clean. In fact, it seems to get all the clothes a lot cleaner for a lot less.

12 August 2009

Tip of the Day 12 August 2009

Save money doing the laundry

Wash in cold water and line dry. Make your own washing powder and for under $10 a year you’ll have clean clothes.
On wet days hang it over the clotheshorse instead of putting a load through the dryer. If you have ducted heating put the clotheshorse over a duct and let the warm air dry the clothes.

If you are drying heavy things such as jeans or bath towels, put them over the clotheshorse, place it over the duct and put a dry sheet over the lot tent fashion. It will create a nice little hot house effect and those wet, heavy things will be dry in no time and your house will still be warm.

To dry clothes when you don't have ducted heating, hang them over a clotheshorse and sit them under a ceiling fan turned to the lowest speed. You can do this even in winter, the fan will not only dry the washing but help circulate the warm air. Some ceiling fans have a reverse switch so they will spin backwards, forcing hot air down.

11 August 2009

Tip of the Day 11 August 2009


Jigglers are popular at tuckshops and canteens around the country. These are a yummy treat, and kids just love them. These wobbly little morsels are very easy to make and extremely cheap.

5 cups water
1 cup lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp gelatine
food colouring (if desired)

Heat the water, add the lemon juice, sugar and gelatine and stir until dissolved. Add food colouring of your choice. Pour into moulds and set in fridge. Egg cups make neat, half-egg shaped jigglers when they are set. You can pour the mixture into a slice tray and set cookie cutters into it. When the jigglers are set, lift out the cookie cutters to have lions, stars, flowers, cars or whatever shape your cookie cutters are. Or you can use ice cube trays. Or set them in icy-pole moulds and give the kids a frozen jiggler! Just be sure to make your jigglers big enough to be bitten a couple of times and not small enough to be swallowed whole and pose a choking hazard. As with any finger food for children, always supervise them while eating.

10 August 2009

Tip of the Day 10 August 2009

Sleep well on a scented pillow

My lavender bushes are stunning at the moment, so many flowers and the scent is just beautiful. I love my lavender pillows and sachets and looking at the bushes the other day reminded me to get out the sewing machine and make some more. They are really easy to do and are a great way of using up scraps of pretty fabric, old doileys and serviettes, even scarves and handkerchiefs.

Take two pieces of fabric measuring 15cm by 22cm each (scarves are lovely). Pick a pretty fabric that’s not too fragile. Sew the pieces together inside out, leaving a 2.5cm opening on one of the sides. Turn the pouch inside out and fill with 1 cup small grain rice. Add scented flowers like lavender and chamomile and a drop of your favourite essential oil or perfume. Sew or glue up the opening. You can vary the size with different sized pieces of cloth, to make it square, really big for a head, round for a seat or back, etc. It’s a great way to relax with your favourite scent.

From the May, 2004 Cheapskates Journal

09 August 2009

Tip of the Day 9 August 2009

Seedling Swap Group

Starting and keeping a veggie going can cost a bit so I have just joined a friends group that swap seedlings/plants. Everyone raises different seedlings that we then swap for other types. It is a great way to try growing different veggies or species while getting to know what grows best in your area by talking to other gardeners. It also means that you don't have to outlay on all different seedlings or seeds.

Contributed by Tracey, Gympie

08 August 2009

Tip of the Day 8 August 2009

Budget Activities

*Look up your theme parks for special offers. Often they have a discount if you print the page and take it when you buy tickets.

*Most people get so used to living in their local area that they take for granted the local attractions available at their doorstep. Botanical Gardens, Museums and specialist galleries and exhibitions can be a great source of entertainment. When enquiring about shows or special activities such as theme parks and cinemas always asks about family or multi-people deals.

*If you have a zoo or museum membership, often there are reciprocal deals with interstate and even overseas museums and zoos.

07 August 2009

Tip of the Day 7 August 2009

At the Supermarket

We all want to get our money’s worth when we buy something, especially now. Some of these ideas may take a little extra time at first but once they become a habit the savings quickly add up.

*Before you leave home, make a list of what you need. Buy only what is on the list.
*Plan meals around what you have on hand and then what is on sale each week. Buy fruit and veggies that are in season and locally grown.
* Know your prices. Keep your price book up to date and jot the prices next to the items on your shopping list. Compare shelf prices to your list price and look for cheaper alternatives if necessary.
* Shop around. Go to more than one store to pick up the best bargains.
* Don’t be afraid to try generics. If it’s a new product, try it once. If it’s good then you can add it to your usual brands, if you don’t like it you can just go back to your regular brand.
* Don’t shop every day. Try to shop at the most once a week, once a fortnight is better. Less temptation = less impulse buys and more savings.

05 August 2009

Tip of the Day 5 August 2009

Tip of the Day 5 August, 2009

Water Saving Showerheads

Switching to low flow showerheads will save money and water and doesn't need to cost a fortune. We updated the showerhead in the bathroom for under $30 and the savings were immediate. Our next water bill was down $9. You can buy water saving showerheads from as little at $14 or you can take advantage of showerhead exchange program. Visit your local water authority website to register and find the locations of exchange locations.

04 August 2009

Tip of the Day 4 August 2009

Homemade Ready-Made Convenience Foods

We love ready-made foods for their convenience. This Shake 'n'Bake coating is one my favourite homemade versions of a ready-made convenience foods. It's perfect for coating chicken pieces, lamb cutlets, sausages, fish cakes, in fact just about anything that requires a coating. You can bake in the oven or fry in a pan sprayed with cooking spray (there is oil in the mix). I’m sure you’ll love the convenience and the price.

Shake’n’Bake Coating
4 cups plain flour
20 weetbix, crushed
2 tbsp salt
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
3 tbsp sweet paprika
1/4 cup olive oil

Process weetbix in a food processor until fine crumbs. Add to other ingredients and using your hands mix thoroughly. Store in container in fridge. This lasts almost indefinitely. To use dip food pieces in beaten egg, milk, yoghurt etc and then dip rissoles, chicken pieces, sausages, cauliflower and broccoli florets etc just as you would use breadcrumbs. Bake in a moderate oven until the food is cooked through or fry in a pan coated with cooking spray.

02 August 2009

Tip of the Day 2 August, 2009

One $14 Ad Saves Hundreds of Dollars on Plants

We have nearly 4 acres and the house garden is nearly an acre alone. That means a lot of plants to find and you can't always strike or grow enough. I put an ad in the local paper asking for people with overcrowded agapanthus to contact me. I would help them thin them if I could take the thinnings. Four people contacted me and they even offered extra types of plants when they knew I wasn't a landscaper looking for stock. The ad cost me $14 and the first load alone would have cost hundreds to buy.

Contributed by Louise, Willaston

01 August 2009

Tip of the Day 1 August 2009

Big blackboards

For some reason little people just love drawing on a giant canvas - even if that canvas is your wall or a door! To save your walls and doors (and sanity) turn a part of a wall or door into a big blackboard. You could even use the back of an island bench. It is so easy to do, simply section off a part of the wall, and frame it with mouldings (you can buy them by the metre from hardware shops). Then paint it with blackboard paint (from any hardware or paint shop). You can make it as big as you want, and your kids will be able to write on the wall...which they will love!