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!