31 May 2010

There is no such thing as a fabric scrap

If you have an overload of fabric, either in lengths or useful scraps from your sewing, quilting and embroidery projects that are too good to throw away, don't despair. Rather than let those piles of lovely fabric gather dust and attract silverfish in your craft cupboard, turn those scraps into cash. Cut the fabric into even sized squares and stack them in co-ordinated sets to sell on eBay, at craft markets or to ladies in your craft or quilting group.  If you don't want to sell your stash, donate it to a shelter, craft group or school where it will be put to good use.

30 May 2010

Be Your Own Greengrocer

Approximate $ Savings:
$30 a month
Growing my own vegies has saved me at least $30 a month. I went to the fruit and veggie market and they gave me some timber crates for free which I lined with a weed matting and filled with a good quality potting mix. Than I got some seedlings for half price from the local nursery as they where nearing there time to be in the punnets. Once I planted them in the good potting mix, they were back on recovery within a day and I have continuing harvests of lettuce, tomatoes, capsicum, mint, oregano, broccoli and this will vary from week to week depending on what was on the half price selection stand. It is fantastic.

Contributed by Tracey, Riverhills

There are hundreds of great tips and ideas for growing your own food in the Tip Store. If you would like to upgrade your membership to Platinum, you can do so here.

29 May 2010

Smaller Centres Save on Swimming Lessons

I found a small swim centre to take my child to swimming lessons rather than an aquatic centre. There was a $5 a week saving in the cost of the lesson. I also save further by paying by the week rather than paying for the whole term. If I can't make the lesson for the week there is an option to pay a lesser fee (1/3 of the price) or I can elect to do a make up lesson. I always just pay the lesser fee as the only reason that I miss a lesson is if my child is sick or if we are doing something else exciting. In both cases he doesn't realise that he has missed swimming for the week although if we are going to do something exciting that may require us not going to swimming (due to time constraints) I always give him the option.

Contributed by Annette, Ringwood

28 May 2010

Checking All the Labels Pays Off

When you are buying meat or chicken at the supermarket, always look further than just the top tray. I was in my local supermarket and looked at some chicken breast fillets in a 'bulk' pack. They were marked at $11.99 a kilo. When I picked this up to look closer, I noticed the tray underneath was exactly the same stock with the same expiry date, only marked at $7.99 a kilo! It pays to notice the little details, as instead of paying $12 for 6 large fillets, I paid only $8, which I can stretch out to 3 meals for the family. Also, never assume that the stock with the SPECIAL sticker is actually cheaper- it pays to read the fine print.

Contributed by Erin, Abernethy

27 May 2010

Micro-fibre Magic

A generic micro-fibre cloth for every room of the house, available at any $2 shop, has saved me thousands. One in the shower for my face saves $60 a year on facial scrubs, with a little drop of hair conditioner on it. People always comment on my soft, clear skin. Add a little soap and you have a body loofah. Then wipe over the shower with another with a little pure soap, e.g. Velvet. I used to clean houses for a living, and people used to ask me how their shower now stayed soap-scum clean for weeks over the holidays, and it was simply by using pure soap instead of Jif etc to clean. One cake of soap has lasted many years. Put a little vinegar or disinfectant on a cloth for the toilet if you want an added freshness, and one for the kitchen sink to cut down on dishwashing liquid. Saves also on bench disinfectants. Wipe down the oven, stove, fridge etc. One as a duster, and tie one onto the mop for a brilliant, hygienic clean. I bought nine, and they have lasted for three years to date, and they are still not wearing out. Windows sparkle, for an added shine, add one drop of dishwashing liquid. Throw them in the washing machine and dryer if you want. I have a generic microfibre mop ($4 at the $2 shop). It is now two years old. Five years ago, I went to an demonstration party, but couldn't afford the whooping $40 for one cloth. I thought that I could save up for one, one day, but I didn't need to, the generic brands started appearing.
Contributed by Fiona, Warrnambool

Editor's note: I love micro-fibre cloths. I use them for just about everything, including the car and the bbq. I know that Shannon Lush (of Spotless fame) says they are too harsh for delicate china, crystal, silver etc so if you have anything of those items it may be best to use another cloth or at least use them with caution. Cath

26 May 2010

Keep the Savings Separate

I have an everyday bank account like most people, but I also have an "online saver" account. I have it set up so just enough money to pay bills is in my everyday account, and all other money is in the online saver account. I can access this account through the Internet and can take as much or as little as I want out of it, so if I need some more money for something like a birthday present, etc I can access it , but it takes two working days. This means that I have to really think about what I am buying and why. This has stopped me from making multiple impulse purchases. For example last month there was a pair of shoes (my weakness) that I wanted and because I had two days to think about the purchase before the money was in my everyday account, when the two days were up, I decided that I didn't even like them anymore, didn't buy them and didn't spend money from my savings.
Contributed by Jessica, Wagga Wagga

25 May 2010

Fresh Mountain Bread Delivered to Your Door

Buy your Mountain Bread direct from the factory and save $1.30 a packet on supermarket prices. The minimum order is only eight packets, so get together with some friends and place an order online if you think that eight is too many for you to use. As you are ordering direct from the factory, your mountain bread will be fresh, with a shelf life of sixty days at room temperature or twelve months if you freeze it. Try the spinach flavour in a lasagne or the oregano flavour as a pizza base - delicious, and the tomato and basil flavour is lovely toasted and used as dipping sticks! Your order will be delivered to your door, postage free, by Australia Post parcel service.

Website:  www.mountainbread.com.au

24 May 2010

Old Makes New

You can reuse old makeup to make new makeup! For a lip gloss of your old lipstick, chop and blend with Vaseline. To reuse old compacts for bronzers and shimmy powders, smash the powder and pop in a small pot (available at discount stores and beauty supply stores). You can also use old makeup in soaps and creams to give a pretty shade and scent. These make great gifts as well!

Contributed by Iana, Heidelberg

23 May 2010

Grow Spuds in a Cage, a Potato Cage That Is!

There is a lot of information around on growing spuds in stacks of tyres and that method really does work. The only problem is getting hold of the number of tyres you need. You can still grow potatoes in your backyard veggie garden, just grow them in a potato cage. All you need is galvanised netting (cut to 150cm wide x 90cm high), galvanised wire (for tying the sides together), some anchors and straw. Just roll the wire together to form a cylinder and tie the ends with wire. Dig a circular trench in your garden bed that's 10cm deep and a little larger than your cage. Place 3-4 seed potatoes in your trench and cover with soil. Place your cage on top and anchor it with wire pegs (you can make your own with wire or use metal weed mat pegs or small tent pegs). Water your tubers and let them grow. As shoots appear, place straw around your plants, leaving just the tops of your potato plants uncovered. Then continue to add straw as your plants grow (pack it in tightly) to prevent the developing potatoes being exposed to light. Each time you add straw, leave just the tops showing. And then it's simply a waiting game until they're ready to harvest!

Contributed by Harry, North Bayswater

22 May 2010

A Daggy Date

This is a little bit daggy, but hey! If you have friends with children that would like a night off as well why not ask them to babysit for the night and you can return he favour when they'd like to have their turn. While the kids are at your friends place you could take a meal down to the beach or park and have an evening picnic together. Or have a meal at home(but set the table up like a romantic restaurant with candles and flowers from your garden) and follow it up with a movie or 'something' ;).

Contributed by Natasha Kelly

21 May 2010

Rewards Points Conversion Equals Cash

I try to use my Fly Buys card as much as possible when shopping  without spending unnecessarily. Once I have received 2,500 points I then redeem the points and get a $20 gift voucher. This then can be used at places like Coles, Target etc.  I use it to help pay for the groceries. Watch for Fly Buys bargains as this will increase the points. Be careful... only buy what you need.  I usually manage to collect three or four a year, just by remembering to get the card swiped when I am buying groceries and petrol.  In effect we get $20 worth of groceries for nothing.   And if you do pick up some bonus points make sure you DO receive them. I had to chase up 2,000 bonus points.

Contributed by Lynelle

20 May 2010

No Spend Challenge

I think it’s time for a No Spend week. Can you live without spending for a week? We haven’t had a No Spend challenge for a while and this is just for one week, seven short days.

The rules are simple: no spending unless it is essential. You can pay your regular bills that fall due this week and buy your groceries (as long as you stick to the list), as long you have the cash to pay for them.

Because this No Spend challenge is going to be a little different. Cash only. No credit cards, no debit cards, just old fashioned cash.

Here are some tips that will make your spending freeze easier:

Register in the comments field below and tell us how much you are hoping to not spend. Then keep us up to date with your progress. This is important, we all want to know how well you are doing and if you post regularly you'll be able to see how we are getting on too. Bookmark this page so you can find it again easily.

Have a Plan
Planning is the key to surviving and thriving during a spending freeze. Planning ensures you cover everything you need to get through: lunches, groceries, drinks, having enough petrol in the car etc. Planning and knowing what's happening will let you prepare ahead of time and find no spend alternatives to those "spend, spend, spend" situations.

Get Your Cash
After you've planned your no spend week go to the bank and get the cash you'll need. Remember, no plastic this week. You might find it easier to actually go into the bank and get your cash in a variety of denominations. Divvy up the cash according to your anticipated expenses (aren't you glad of those smaller denominations now?) and put each amount into a labelled envelope or ziplock bag. Then when you need to spend, you can take the money from the right bag.

Stop Spending
Seriously, stop spending money - no clothes, magazines, toys, makeup, computer bits and bobs, shoes etc. For seven days use your money to pay the essential living expenses (mortgage/rent, utilities, food - bare bones basics, fares/petrol) and see just how much is left over at the end of the week. You must bank the leftover money - it is not saved until it is safely in the bank it is just not spent.

Track Your Spending
If you track your spending already, fantastic. Pat yourself on the back. If you don't, start today. Get a notebook (any notebook or piece of paper will do) and write down every cent you spend for the next seven days. Write down what you bought and how much it cost. Do this so you can see exactly what you are spending your money on.

Good luck. I can't wait to see how you do.

Prevent Hot Air From Rising

Now the cooler weather is upon is, stop  the heat (and your money) going into the ceiling by covering exhaust fans you don't use.  For in-ceiling exhaust fans in spare bathrooms, the laundry etc, make a cover to stop hot air escaping.   The disc can be made from something as cheap and simple as newspaper or cardboard and easily placed inside the fan by removing the plastic cover, inserting newspaper disc and clicking the cover back into place.  This stops hot air escaping, keeping your home warmer and your heating bills down. Remember to remove it when the weather warms up and before you use the fan.

Contributed by Melina, Upper Ferntree Gully

19 May 2010

Keep Receipts Organized

An easy way to keep the hundreds of receipts in order every year is to have a file for each credit card, bank account, cash, etc. File the receipts for purchases, statements, etc., in that particular file. When you need to go back and retrieve receipts to return an item or to claim a repair under warranty you'll be able to find it immediately. You may not always remember what month you purchased an item but you can usually remember how you paid for it. At the end of the year, put all the statements, receipts, etc., for each account in its own manila envelope and label it for the year. Makes retrieving and organizing receipts much easier than keeping them in a box somewhere. It also makes getting ready for taxes a little less stressful.
Contributed by Sharon, Dapto

18 May 2010

What's for Dinner - It's a Surprise!

Approximate $ Savings: $30 a week

We have a weekly "surprise meal day" at our place, which involves creating something out of all the bits and pieces in the fridge and pantry. Food never goes to waste - last nights leftover chicken becomes tonight's chicken pasta or pizza - that way we don't feel like we're eating the same thing, and we're using up our leftovers in the process. Having a surprise meal just once a week has cut our weekly grocery bill by around $30 - hard to believe, but we are not buying as much food, we are not throwing out perfectly good food that hasn't been used and we are not tempted by takeaway. Might I add, our weekly rubbish bin is never full - not buying what you don't need means there's less waste - a great way to help the environment as well as your hip pocket!

Contributed by Glenda, Wonthaggi

17 May 2010

Crafty Workmates Get Together to Share Skills

Approximate $ Savings:   10-$200
At my work there are a few crafty ladies and some that are also renovating or decorating a home, so we have put together a little club. Once a month we meet at someone's house (we take it in turns) and we bring books, ideas and different skills that we can all share. One of the benefits is if someone is stuck for a solution to a decorating problem, or how to finish or start a project then we have the group to help with ideas. The savings are made when we share reference books, patterns and instructions. Most of the time if I want to learn a new craft some one has already done it and they can pass on the information and skills without me having to pay for classes and books. It is also a great time to catch up and have a coffee with friends.
Contributed by Kellie, Gordon

16 May 2010

Fix the drips

Now that summer is over it is time to check all your outdoor taps, hose connections, watering systems and pipes for drips and leaks. A single dripping tap can waste as much as 2000 litres of water a month, adding significantly to your water bill and depleting precious water stores. Check them now, before winter hits and you won't be outside as often to notice drips and leaks.

15 May 2010

Keeping the activity level sane

I am a big fan of keeping kids busy and out of mischief with basketball, hockey, swimming, ballet, music, drama and of course homework, lawn-mowing and bedroom tidying. Unfortunately most of those activities cost a lot of money and time.  If your children have an expensive and time consuming activity every afternoon and on weekends, now is the time to question whether they really need them. Assess each activity, sport and class to see just how much they are really getting out of them. If you cut one activity will it be devastating to your child, limiting their future prospects and crippling their social life? Or will it mean he/she has some quiet time at home with you, folding the washing or peeling veggies, learning from you how to budget their time and money?

14 May 2010

Plan ahead

Buying off season can save you big bucks as anyone who has bought an air conditioner in July can tell you! Businesses are less inclined to discount when demand is high. Instead of shopping for coats in winter and swimming pools in summer, buy when demand is low so you hold the upper hand. Look ahead and plan your purchases and increase your buying (and negotiating) power.  Shopping at the end of the season reaps huge discounts too, store managers are anxious to move last years leftovers to make room for new stock.

13 May 2010

Deliberately Shopping for Discounted Food

This money saver can literally cut your food expense in half. Every food store, especially Woolworths, Coles and IGA, has 'reduced to clear' items that are located all over the store and mostly have to do with items that are nearing their "Use By" or "Best Before" date. Such items are easily spotted by a sticker or a clearance tag. The savings are made when you build your menu around the clearance items. Commonly reduced foods are salads and fresh fruit at half or less than half price, fresh juice (I have purchased five litres of Daily Juice for as little as $1.00), cheese, and fresh and pre-packaged chicken and meats that are often reduced to less than half the marked price. Desserts are often shamefully reduced too. The list is endless and the food quality is not compromised in the slightest, it is just that the food needs to be eaten or frozen before its  expiry date.
Contributed by JT, Sandy Bay

12 May 2010

Keeping a Money Journal

At the end of every month I list in a journal things I have done to save money for that month, it may be something as simple as using cold water for washing, washing the dishes by hand etc. I also list things where I haven't saved money and how I can improve on this the following month. This technique gives me a monthly guide to encourage me to keep going with what I am doing, incorporate new tips  (these can be obtained from the Cheapskates Club website of course) and to reflect on over-spending and learn from it so I don't do it again. As I know myself so well, I can find flaws. For example, I seem to get caught up in the Christmas spending easily and by writing down what I have done I can be prepared not to make the same mistake again. It's like a journal for your spending/saving and it's nice to look back on and see how you grow with wisdom and willpower!

Contributed by Pauline, Clare

11 May 2010

DIY Donuts Are The Best

MasterChef eat your heart - or donuts - out! This Cheapskater's donut recipe is simple, delicious and best of all cheap!

Donuts - jam, cinnamon, glazed - what sort of donuts do you like? Here is a great recipe to try and if you have a bread machine even better! Otherwise you have an added bonus and get a work out while you knead the dough! This recipe makes twelve donuts. Freeze any extra (not likely in our family) and zap in microwave when needed.

Add to breadmaker:
300ml milk
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 x 60g Eggs
3 tablespoons sugar
4 cups white bread flour
2 teaspoons yeast

To complete:
4 tablespoons strawberry jam
Vegetable oil for cooking
4 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Add the first six ingredients to the breadmaker. Set the bread machine onto the setting "dough" and head off for about and 1 and a half hours while it does its magic. If you don't have a bread machine, knead the dough for about 20 minutes, leave for about 10 minutes, then knead for another 20 minutes. Leave to rise.

After dough cycle has finished, tip dough onto a floured bench and divide up into donuts. An easy way to do this is to divide dough in half with a sharp knife, then halve each piece, continuing until you have twelve pieces. Place donuts onto a greased tray and cover them with a damp tea towel.  Leave for about an hour to rise in a warm room. If you want a donut with a hole use a small round cookie cutter to make a round shape or an apple corer and cut out the centre of the donut. Use the cut out pieces to make "donut holes". When donuts have doubled in size (or thereabouts) cook them a few at a time in hot oil until golden brown and cooked through. You need to watch them constantly and turn them when one side is done. Have some paper towel on hand and place the cooked doughnuts before coating them in the cinnamon sugar. The fun bit is putting in the jam! You need to get a plastic sauce bottle with a screw off lid. (the ones with a pointy end) scoop the jam into the bottle, without the lid into the microwave for very short bursts on med until the jam is soft enough to squirt into the middle of each donut. Sit back and enjoy with the kids and hubby the yummiest donuts.

To make the cinnamon sugar mix four tablespoons white sugar with 1 tablespoon cinnamon. Toss hot donuts in this mixture.

Contributed by Andrea, Old Noarlunga

09 May 2010

Start stalking

I have become a supermarket stalker! I regularly follow the meat manager, waiting impatiently until he puts the bright yellow sticker on the tray, and pouncing even before he has taken his hand away. I want that marked down meat and I'm prepared to jump to get it. After all, I'm not the only stalker,  there are others waiting in the shadows, watching, ready to fly across the aisle to get as many mark downs as they possibly can.

I also stalk the produce manager, the bakery staff and the lady who refills and  tidies the dairy cabinet. All in the name of saving up to 60% on my grocery bill.

Buying marked down food is no longer seen as shameful, something to be hidden and stealthily snuck home, all the while hoping no one sees what's hidden under the full price, brand name groceries.

08 May 2010

Weed out Those Weeds

Any gardener knows how quickly and easily weeds can take over, destroying precious plants and ruining hours of work setting out garden beds. Keep weeds under control by setting a time each week just for weeding. For me it's Friday morning. Half an hour wandering through the garden pulling any weeds I see and gently tilling the soil between rows  in beds that aren't mulched easily keeps the weeds under control. Hoeing between the rows once a week doesn't allow weeds to take root in the freshly disturbed soil, keeping the garden weed free.

07 May 2010

Not too hot to handle

I love my cast iron frypan and pots but the handles get hot - very hot. Cookware stores sell cloth and silicone handle holders specifically for these utensils but of course they come at a rather hefty price.
I created the perfect cover for the handle on my cast iron frypan and pots. I took a potholder, folded it in half lengthwise and stitched the long edge and one short edge. I slip it on the handle of my frypan for a reliable grip. It's great because it stays on until I'm finished cooking and I don't have to worry about burning my hand when I grab the handle without thinking. It's also great for taking frypans from the oven too.

06 May 2010

Lemon fresh

A great way to get rid an odour in your house is to leave a couple of lemons that have been cut in half on the kitchen bench overnight.

By morning the odour will be gone and your home will smell fresh and clean again.

05 May 2010

Just say no

One of the best things I learned to do is to say "no".

Being overwhelmed with things to do is not good for your health or your budget. When you are flat out is when you spend without thinking, opt for takeaway because it's easier and go for convenience over price and health.

Of course there are times when that's OK. But being flat out because you didn't want to hurt someone's feelings or appear impolite is a problem.

Learn to say no.

You don't need to offer an explanation; in fact, if you do, you are leaving yourself open to be offered an alternative.

Just say no and then change the subject.

04 May 2010

Poor Mans Lasagne

3 rashers of bacon, diced
250g uncooked spaghetti
3 tomatoes, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
1 tin of condensed tomato soup
11/2 tins of water
 1 cup grated cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

Grease a lasagne dish. Layer spaghetti, tomato, onion and bacon pieces seasoning after each layer. Finish with a spaghetti layer . Mix soup and water and pour over layered ingredients. Sprinkle cheese over top. Cover and cook at 180 degrees Celsius for about 40 minutes until pasta is cooked.  

Contributed by Marcia, Esk

03 May 2010

The Laundry Sorting Game

No matter how carefully you sort the laundry, it’s easy to miss lurking disasters like tissues and pens. Not only that, it takes time for you to sort everyone's laundry. If you have small children you can turn laundry day into a game and teach them to sort their own washing before it gets to the laundry. Hide one coin, or small prize, per child randomly in the dirty laundry. You could tuck one in a pocket and one in a sock. Then set the kids to work finding them. No-one checks nooks and crannies as thoroughly as a kid in search of a prize. After a few days checking pockets will be habit and you can gradually stop the prizes.

02 May 2010

Learn to NOT spend money and feel good about it

For some spending money feels good, it creates a euphoria that hides all the worries and woes they should be dealing with. It may also evoke feelings of control and power.  So why not make NOT spending money have the same affect. Allocate one day a week as a no spend day. Put the money you didn't spend into your Peace of Mind Account to help it grow. When you've mastered one day of not spending you might like to try the challenge of a week and then a whole month of not spending. You'll be amazed at how good you will feel knowing you have regained control over how, when and where your money is spent.

01 May 2010

Is golf your game?

If you love a round of golf but find the membership and green fees a little expensive, skip the member only clubs and play at a public course. With green fees at some under $20 for eighteen holes, you can play a round without breaking the budget. Or, if you just like to swing a club or need to improve your game, go to the driving range.