30 June 2015

Paprika Sausages with Mushrooms

Paprika Sausages with Mushrooms

1 tbsp oil
1 onion, finely sliced
2 - 3 tsp paprika
125g button mushrooms, sliced
425g can chopped peeled tomatoes
salt & pepper to taste
500g pork or beef sausages

Heat oil in a large pan and cook onions for 1 minute or until soft. Stir in paprika. Add mushrooms, tomatoes with juice and season to taste. Cook uncovered over a gentle heat for 10 minutes, stir occasionally. While sauce is cooking, cook sausages under grill until cooked through and browned. Remove sausages from heat and cut into chunks. Mix through sauce and heat. Top each serving with a spoonful of sour cream and sprinkle with paprika. Serve with cooked rice to stretch further, great heated up the next day.

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29 June 2015

DIY Scented Candle Melts

I was given one of those wax burners, with melts included. They have been well and truly used. Once the perfume had dissipated I was left with what appeared to be just plain candle wax. So I simply added a few drops of essential oils, (sweet orange and lemongrass are my two favourites) each time I lit it. This has worked wonderfully well, and when the wax seemed to 'evaporate' I cut off a portion of ordinary candle wax and melted it into the existing wax. This combined with the essential oils, has been going for about two years now. The essential oils are about $4 or $5 dollars, but as you only use a few drops, (get one with a built in dropper) it lasts for ages. The other added benefit is you can mix your own oils to make your own unique aromatherapy.

Contributed by Jill Lancett

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26 June 2015

Have a Chat to Find Other Options Before Buying Anything

Approximate $ Savings: $30-40

I mentioned to my husband that I was going to buy a heavy duty tin crusher so we could crush tins easily to make more space in our garbage bin. He simply said "why don't you just use the can opener to open the other end of the tin and then it can be easily flattened by hand before you put it straight in the bin" ... too simple and why didn't I think of that!! Sometimes it pays to mention intended purchases as there might be a cheaper easier and more logical way to go instead!

Contributed by Samantha

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25 June 2015

Blackboard Feature Wall

What about a feature wall in blackboard paint? These are now available in many bright colours (Porters Paint do great colours, other cheaper brands may too) but black also looks striking on one wall. Friends can write messages on it, kids can doodle graffiti, you can write some inspirational quotes...a lot of changeable fun!

Contributed by Cherie

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24 June 2015

$5 Here, $5 There Really Adds Up

When my daughter was getting married a couple of years ago I didn't know how I was going to afford a really beautiful Mother of the Bride outfit. So I decided that I would try to not spend the $5 notes that came my way as change from breaking a note for another purchase. It worked. Whenever I got $5 as change I would put it in a separate purse and forget about it.

Well they really started to add up pretty quickly. Within a few months I had a few hundred dollars.

When I went shopping for my outfit I ended up finding a truly beautiful outfit for just over $300 dollars and only had to add $25 to what I had saved in $5 notes. It saved me having to put my purchase on credit card and pay back over several months, not to mention the interest that would have been added as well.

So I still save my $5's. It's great for Christmas presents, birthdays, and holidays. Now I never spend my $5's until that special time that I've been saving for.

Contributed by Dianne

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23 June 2015

All-Mixed-Up Tortilla Chips

2 flour tortillas or Mountain Bread*
2 corn tortillas or Mountain Bread*
2 tomato & basil tortillas or Mountain Bread*
2 spinach tortillas or Mountain Bread*
Non-stick cooking spray
garlic salt
onion powder
chili powder

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Put tortillas on a clean surface and spray with cooking spray, then sprinkle with seasonings to your taste. Flip over, spray and season the other side. Pile the tortillas up on a cutting board and cut into quarters using a sharp knife, forming 4 triangles. Put the cut tortillas on baking sheets, being sure not to overlap any. Bake in preheated oven until crisp, about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from oven and slide off onto a cooling rack. They will get crisper as they cool.

*Mountain Bread can be bought at your supermarket or online. You can order online from www.mountainbread.com.au There is a minimum order of 8 packets of Mountain Bread. If 8 packets sounds a lot Mountain Bread can be used for wraps, as lasagne sheets and in place of tortillas as well as making really nice chips. Bear in mind that it has a shelf life of 60 days, and can be frozen for up to 12 months. You can also share an order with a friend, delivery is free.

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22 June 2015

Handcraft Woollen Felted Blankets

Approximate $ Savings: $200-$500  

Do you have old woollen jumpers that are past wearing but still in good condition? Turn them into a luxurious woollen blanket! Simply soak them in warm water to shrink a little and prevent fraying, then cut them into squares and sew them into a patchwork blanket. You can also buy cheap woollen jumpers from the Op Shop to do the same. A quality, warm, woollen blanket would easily cost over $200 and up to $500 for cashmere. (I've found a number of cashmere jumpers for under $10 at the Op Shop.) You also get the joy of using something that you made yourself, and there's no price you can put on that!

Contributed by Susan

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19 June 2015

What is Your Supermarket Stocking Up On?

In a supermarket recently I noticed they were putting large boxes of soft drinks at the end of the aisle where the specials usually are but were charging the regular price. Why would they do this when it wasn't a special? Ah ha, sure enough a week later they were on special for a drastically reduced price having sat there ready. Waiting a week saved me $$ as I was buying soft drink for a large family birthday and it got me thinking! What are they stocking up on in anticipation of the specials a few days before the catalogues come out? If you can delay your purchase, could save you heaps!

Contributed by Anne Howie

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18 June 2015

All Seasons Quilts

I do this too with the kid's doonas. Once the nights start to cool down I pin two summer weight doonas together, using nappy pins (four to a side, so sixteen all round). The nappy pins are large enough to keep a good hold and have the safety cover to prevent them coming open and causing an accident. If the winter is really cold it's a simple matter to add another layer to the doona and washing is easy, they just unpin.

All Seasons Quilts

I have 3 teenagers who have been hounding me for new doona inserts as they say that the ones they have are not fluffy enough. I have looked in my overstuffed linen and come up with 6 old thin doonas. I went to spotlight and got some clips that snap together and sewed them on, allowing two doonas to fit together. This makes it thick and fluffy for winter and clips apart to use as a summer doona. The kids are thrilled with their new doonas and it didn't cost me a thing!!!As i am not the most handy mum the kids thought i had lost the plot, but now realise it was a great idea they got a new doona and mum is happy.

Contributed by Petrena

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17 June 2015

Save Money and the Planet Simultaneously

Approximate $ Savings: $185 per month

We've found that saving money and saving the planet go hand in hand! My household has adopted the following rules that are set to save us (and our planet) a fortune!

1. Avoiding purchase of plastic products: this rules out bottled water (Melbourne tap water is fine!), soft drinks (really add up in price) and sauces etc. (we have had fun and saved money making our own!) not to mention avoiding the negative effect that plastic has on our environment.

2. Everyone showering consecutively: this means you don't waste water and energy whilst the shower heats up and you have to stick to your 4 minute shower or someone else misses out on hot water altogether!

3. Grey water: we catch our shower water in a bucket and as we have a small yard this is all we need to completely water our growing garden.

4. Carpooling with neighbours: my next door neighbour works near where I do, so with a little bit of organisation I can carpool with him and we save on fuel and carbon emissions daily and get to have a good chat on the way which reduces traffic stress!

5. Changing work start time: my neighbour and I have been lucky enough to be allowed to start and finish work later. This means that we avoid lots of traffic and fuel usage caused by 'stop start driving'.

6. Combine trips: we have run all our errands in one go and shopped once a week, this prevents popping out and spending money unnecessarily and fosters an innovative 'make do mentality' which has resulted in some interesting new dishes to add to our repertoire too!

7. Getting rid of our clothes drier: given how bad it is for the environment we decided to sell our drier. We're quite happy to make do with our 2 clotheshorses and remove the temptation (plus our electricity bill is far smaller and we made some money on eBay!)

8. Make use of natural light: minimise the lights on in the house by cooking etc when it's still light outside so that when it's dark everyone can be in the same room and there aren't lights on all over the house. -

9. Installing energy saving light bulbs: speak for themselves

10. Composting: we've started a compost heap that is free and easy to maintain. It's fascinating to see nature and science at work in front of your very eyes. Additionally, you save a fortune on buying soil enriching products and plants that die due to poor nutrients! This is great for us as we are building a garden from scratch and are spending a great deal on it at present.

We are always finding more ways to save money and the planet environmentally. It's great to have that extra motivation to save and feel proud of yourself! So far the savings financially have on average amounted to the following: $100 quarterly energy bill, $30 off weekly fuel bill, $40 month on potting mix and replacement plants.

Contributed by Rachel

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16 June 2015

Chocolate Self-saucing Pudding

Talk about an easy dessert, and decadent too. It's so easy all three of my kids have been making it since they were 10 years old. Serve it with whipped cream or ice-cream and enjoy a winter dessert that won't break the bank.

Chocolate Self-saucing Pudding

1 cup S.R flour
2 tablespoons cocoa
30g butter
½ cup milk
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup cocoa
1-¾ cups hot water

Sift flour, salt and cocoa. Add sugar, mix well. Stir milk, vanilla and melted butter, mix until smooth. Spread evenly into greased ovenproof dish. Combine brown sugar and sifted cocoa, sprinkle over top of pudding. Pour hot water carefully over the top. Bake in moderate oven 50 to 60 minutes.

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15 June 2015

Singlet Shopping Bags

This tip from Cheapskater Linda is a great way to recycle that favourite singlet that's just not fit to be worn any more.

Singlet Shopping Bags

Approximate $ Savings: $1-2 per bag  

Instead of buying environmental bags for shopping just sew together the bottom of old singlets. You get different size bags depending on the singlet size, they take up very little room when folded and you are recycling old clothes.
Contributed by Linda

It's also a good way to use those impulse buy and holiday souvenir t-shirts, the ones you have lurking at the bottom of the drawer or the back of the wardrobe because they're just too embarrassing to wear in public. Click here for the instructions 

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12 June 2015

Full Time Work and Food Planning

On a week night, as you're sitting watching TV, write your menu list for the following month. I do this with my diary in front of me (so I know what nights we'll be out) and with my iPad for cheap meal ideas. You can even engage the kids by asking them for ideas of what they might like to eat (and cook!). Then write a shopping list and you'll find that your shopping time is cut by half. If a month of planning seems too much, start with two weeks or even one.
Contributed by Lorraine Armstrong

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11 June 2015

Emergency Safety Box

Having an emergency kit handy is a good idea for everyone. Your emergency doesn't have to be a bush fire, it can be as simple as a sick child in the middle of the night. Get together a bag with essential information, some coins, a puzzle book (waiting can be boring) and something to eat and drink and keep it somewhere easily accessible. Then when you need to rush out the door in a hurry you don't need to scrabble around gathering things up - just grab the bag and go.

Emergency Safety Box

Like many Cheapskaters, I live in a rural area and the threat of fire this year has been quite significant. I have taken on board the notion of having an emergency fire box filled with things suggested by fire personnel such as spare batteries, portable radio, first aid kit, precious documents etc. However I have a couple of tips to add:

1. Copy all precious photos onto disk or USB - do this well in advance and keep one or two of these in the box. Do this also with all key documentation such as insurance papers, personal identification such as drivers licenses, birth and marriage certificates, qualifications etc.

2. Also important is current medical advice - such as medical conditions, medic alert bracelets etc. You may not lose these in a fire, but even losing a wallet may make you feel relieved that you took copies of personal cards and drivers licenses etc.!

3. ALSO, whilst it is an added cost in setting up an emergency box, I suggest toothbrushes, toothpaste and some clean spare underwear for each member of the family.

4. For the pets, a couple of spare cans of food and WATER BOTTLES. (keep a couple of these frozen and ready to go in your freezer if you have room).

5. A small amount of cash is also likely to be very useful.

If you need to leave in a hurry, flustering about to "grab" things is far from ones mind. So do this well in advance, and put it right near your door. On busy high alert times, I actually carry mine in my car so all I have to worry about is people, pets and RUN!! All of this will fit in a small cardboard box or if funds allow, a plastic one with clip on lid, or a cheap or re-purposed small suitcase.

Contributed by Lisa Jardine

10 June 2015

Small Adjustments Combine for Large Gain

Approximate $ Savings: $2,500 annually  

Becoming a seasoned "Cheapskate" has taught me to always be on the lookout for ways to save $$$. At first glance, many things may not seem to be worth the effort, however the results, when combined and calculated over a years time, are significant. For example:

  • a call to the phone company saved me $5, 
  • a change in cable service -$13, 
  • called the refuse company to discuss rates -$3, 
  • closed our Safety Deposit box -$2.10, 
  • switched from disposable to reusable (dish rags, napkins, plates, etc.) -$6, 
  • eliminated most all junk food purchases -$33 (and 10 lbs.:), 
  • one additional week between hair appointments -$10, 
  • cancelled daily newspaper delivery $8.33, 
  • on-line bill payments -$3.33, 
  • reduced electric -$15.50,
  • natural gas -$8.33, 
  • water-$2.50, 
  • practice ESSENTIAL spending -$86, 
  • use Cheapskates washing powder -$12.50. 

Combined, these small monthly changes save us (at least) $2,500 annually.

Happily, we can add to that another $300, as we are now able to avoid the late penalty on our property taxes!

After getting started, it's become a bit of a game, and the savings just keep coming!
Contributed by Laura Toy

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09 June 2015

Greek Yoghurt Raspberry Muffins

If you love a muffin with flavour and substance, you'll love these muffins. The raspberries give them a lovely tang and a pretty streaky pink colour and the Greek yoghurt keeps them moist and delicious.

Greek Yoghurt Raspberry Muffins

5 tbsp butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup Greek yoghurt
1-1/2 cups SR flour
1/4 tsp bicarb soda
3/4 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and prepare a muffin pan, either with olive oil spray or paper liners. Put the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and beat with electric mixer until just combined.  Add the Greek yoghurt, and beat again until just combined. Sift the flour and bicarb soda. With electric mixer running slowly, carefully add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, mixing until just combined - do not over-mix. With a rubber spatula, fold in the raspberries, being sure to carefully get the berries distributed evenly through the batter, but not over-mixing.  The batter should remain thick and not get runny by over-mixing. Fill the muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until the edges brown a bit and a toothpick poked in the middle comes out dry. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly, then remove from the muffin pan to a cooling rack.

08 June 2015

Permanent Patterns

I do a lot of sewing and make a lot of crafts and as a result I have a lot of money sitting in patterns. As I tend to choose a basic pattern and adapt it to suit whatever I'm making, I like to trace my patterns onto cardboard (if it's a craft pattern) or lightweight interfacing (for dressmaking) for longevity.

As most of my craft patterns are for small items empty cereal boxes do the job perfectly. Just slit the sides and open them out flat then draw the pattern onto the inside. Cut them out, label the pieces and they are easy to work with and long lasting.

For dressmaking patterns, tracing off the tissue paper pattern onto interfacing keeps the original intact for future use. This is particularly useful for the multi-size patterns. The interfacing makes cutting the pattern off the fabric a breeze as it stays put when it's laid out, helping with cutting accuracy.

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05 June 2015

Menu Plan June 7th - 13th 2015

I have schnitzels on the menu this week. We love schnitzel, chicken or beef, it's a family favourite. What makes it so good is the breadcrumbs. I use fresh breadcrumbs, made just before coating the meat.

The bread needs to be a day or two old. Then just grate it or whizz it in a food processor. Dip the schnitzels into an egg wash, into crumbs, egg wash and crumbs (yes, double dip - it's so worth it). If I have time I let them set in the fridge for an hour or so. If I don't have time I heat about 1cm of olive oil in a frying pan and when it's hot I cook the schnitzels.

Don't overload the pan, especially if you've just taken the schnitzels from the fridge. The cold meat will cool the oil and you want it to be nice and hot so it cooks the crumbs quickly without burning. Once the  schnitzels have been browned I take them out of the oil. Let them drain for a second then put them on a baking sheet. When they are all ready, pop them in a 190 degree oven for 20 minutes to finish cooking and crisp up.

While the schnitzels are cooking make your gravy. I use tomato paste, cream, diced onion and a little chicken stock if the sauce is too thick. Whisk it all together and bring to a simmer, don't let it boil, then spoon it over your schnitzels. Delicious!

Sunday 7th: Roast Chicken, baked vegetables, broccoli, carrot, gravy

Monday 8th: Salmon patties with salad and fried potato

Tuesday 9th: Spag bol, salad, garlic bread

Wednesday 10th: Apricot Chicken over steamed rice

Thursday 11th: MOO Pizza

Friday 12th: Schnitzels with tomato gravy, mashed potato, carrots, beans, corn

Saturday 13th: Hamburgers

How to Get Lipstick to Last Longer

This is for those of us who are constantly looking at saving money but still enjoy a good quality lipstick. When your expensive lipstick flattens out and you are no longer able to use it and are constantly pushing a lip brush into the cylinder - stop, it will damage your brush.

Put your used lippy in the fridge so it is firm. Find a container, I use a small screw top container (one used previously for cosmetics that has been washed). Using either a thin, fine letter opener or long metal nail file insert the letter opener down the side and in a circular motion move it around the edge and then underneath. You will find your left over lippy comes out in a little blob that you can drop into your container.

I then use the brush over a couple of uses to get the last remaining traces from the lipstick canister. In my small container I may have up to three different shades and colours that I use, depending on needs and I often mix a couple together. You will be surprised at how much longer your lipstick lasts and the saving over a year.

Contributed by Bridgid Batchelor

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04 June 2015

Space Saving Drying Tips

It's winter and that means wet weather here in southern Australia. It also means fogs and frosts and cold, damp winds. Not at all conducive to line-drying the washing outside.

So what's a Cheapskate to do? Think outside the line of course and find space and tools to get the washing dry indoors.

Well if you have ducted heating you're set. I have 5 clotheshorses, one for each of the kids, one for Wayne and I and one for towels, sheets, dishcloths and so on.

There is a clotheshorse over the heater vent in each of the kids' rooms and in our room and the washing goes onto them. Most things dry overnight and can be put straight into the wardrobe or drawers before the next load goes on. The spare clotheshorse sits over the vent in the kitchen when there are towels or sheets to dry. It's against the window and out of the way.

When we light the fire I surround it with the clotheshorses and there are times when the fire is roaring that the washing is dry in just a couple of hours. If you have a fire or combustion heater they are great for drying washing, just make sure the laundry can't reach any flames or hot surfaces.

If the idea of clotheshorses all over the place doesn't appeal, how about a rod in the laundry doorway? You can get extending tension rods from hardware shops. These don't require any fitting other than extending to fit the space and tensioning off, making them great for temporary jobs. Hang shirts, trousers, dresses, skirts and socks on clothes hangers and hang them over the rod.

The bathroom is full of opportunities to dry washing. Over the towel rail, over the shower screen, on a clotheshorse over the heater vent.

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