30 September 2015

A $75 a Week Meal Plan

We Armstrong's like our food. We eat well, with lots of variety in our meals (unless it's Thursday and then it's always pizza night!). So, when a journalist called me late yesterday afternoon and asked me for a meal plan for the $300 a Month Food Challenge I wasn't fazed at all.

The hard part was choosing which meal plans to send to them. Then they asked for a complete meal plan - breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. And they needed it right away.

Every month I do a meal plan, or rather a dinner plan, for my family (I share it in the Member's Centre). I'm sure I've told you before how Tom loves to look at the fridge and know what he'll be eating for tea (and how he stirs me when I change it on him :) ). We all do.  It's reassuring to me to be able to glance at the fridge and just know what I need to prepare for tonight, tomorrow, next week - the rest of the year actually, because I've done the meal plan right up to 31st December 2015, and it's on the fridge.

What that meal plan also does is help to keep our grocery bill low; really, really low. I budget $320 a month for groceries. Now some months I am on budget, some months I might be under by a few dollars and occasionally I go over. But at the end of the year, when I tally up the grocery tracking sheets, I always average $320 a month for groceries - we don't have the money to go over budget. Right now I'm using my grocery budget to build our grocery stockpile for the changes we're facing next year.

Well it took me 20 minutes to put it together for them, but I was able to come up with a meal plan that included three meals and a snack every day for a week. And bring it in under $75.

That was the tricky part. I'm used to working on a monthly meal plan and a monthly budget. That means I can share ingredients across a few meals, spreading the cost over the month. I couldn't do this for just a week so I had to choose cheap, nutritious meals and not go over the $75.

Here's the meal plan I came up with, it's plain, simple food. No frills or gourmet delights but it fills tummies, is reasonably healthful and very cheap.

Pancakes & Syrup
Weetbix & Milk, 
1/2 sliced banana
Boiled egg, toast,
fruit & yoghurt
Weetbix & Milk, sliced peaches
Boiled egg, toast,
fruit & yoghurt
Weetbix & Milk, 
sliced peaches
Baked beans on toast, fruit & yoghurt
Morning Tea
Muffin, milk
Trail Mix
Carrot & celery sticks, dip
Trail Mix
Carrot & celery sticks, dip
Trail Mix
Muffin, milk
Toasted cheese sandwiches
Chicken salad sandwich,  carrot sticks, dip
Sausage rolls, muffin, apple
salad wrap, mandarin,
Lunchbox Cookie
Cheese & Vegemite sandwiches,
mandarin, muffin
Egg sandwich, apple,  yoghurt
Salad sandwiches
Afternoon Tea
ANZAC slice, milk
Pita chips, dip
Pita chips, dip
Pita chips, dip
Pita chips, dip
Pita chips, dip
Chocolate cupcakes, milk
Roast chicken, baked potato, peas, corn, carrots, gravy 
Rissoles, mash, peas, corn, carrots, gravy, apple
sponge, cream
Spag bol, salad,
Tinned fruit & custard
Grilled sausages, potato bake, peas, corn, carrots
MOO Pizza & garlic bread, Fruit & jelly
Tuna Casserole,
 green salad, wedges

This meal plan will feed a family of four for a week for $75. It will depend of course on:

1. Brands - always choose the cheapest, usually a generic, but not always. And sometimes a special isn't really a special - always check the unit price.

2. Portion control - remember if a recipe serves six, get six serves. Put the two spare into the freezer for freezer meals - they are free dinners and will really help keep your grocery budget low.

3. Cook from scratch - no buying pre-prepared or packaged or convenience meals or parts of meals. MOO yoghurt, muffins, biscuits, pastry for the sausage rolls, dip, pita chips, gravy, wedges, pancakes and pancake syrup. 

4. Making a shopping list, after doing a fridge, freezer and pantry check, only adding the ingredients you need to buy. If you only need 5 apples, buy just 5 apples, don't spend money on food you don't need.

5. Sticking to the list. If it's not on the list, you don't buy it. If you think you'll need it, find a substitute in the ingredients you already have.

6. Shop around - you won't find any one store with the lowest prices on everything. Be prepared to shop at a couple of different food stores/butchers/green grocers.

29 September 2015

Rolled Oats Chocolate Cake

Rolled Oats Chocolate Cake

1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp cocoa
1 tsp baking power
1 tsp bicarb soda

Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius. Mix rolled oats with 1 cup boiling water. Set aside, let cool. Cream together butter and sugar, add eggs, add remaining ingredients and rolled oats mixture. Blend well. Bake for 30 minutes in a greased and lined 20cm square cake tin.  Cool, ice with a chocolate icing. This is a very moist and delicious chocolate cake.

From the September 2010 Cheapskates Journal

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28 September 2015

How to Strike Lavender for Free Plants

My lavender is in full bloom, but I need more plants. I asked my father-in-law to raid the lavender garden and bring me a few cuttings - he brought me half the garden, I'm sure. Then Maureen kindly left some cuttings after the card making afternoon last week - my lavender needs, wants and dreams have been fulfilled!

I love lavender for it's beautiful scent but it also has wonderful medicinal properties and is such a hardy plant for the garden, needing very little water and loving full sun, just perfect for our north facing front garden.

I'm planning on harvesting the flowers to use in lavender water, sachets, soaps and to make flavoured sugar. I can't wait!

How to Strike Lavender Plants

Lavender is very easy to propagate, meaning you may never have to buy another plant if you follow these simple steps.

Step 1. Cut a stem of lavender about 10cm - 15cm (4 - 6 inches) long. Make sure it doesn't have any flowers on it and is still soft and flexible - you don't want any old, woody stems.

Step 2. Remove the leaves from the lower two-thirds of the stem. I do this by gently running my fingers down the stem - it's faster than pulling them off one-by-one.

Step 3. Plant the cutting into seed raising mix or a good quality potting mix or rich garden soil - whatever you have on hand. Make sure the container has good drainage. I use toilet roll planters as these can be put straight into the garden when the cutting is ready to be transplanted.

Step 4. Keep the cutting moist and in a sunny window. It will be ready to go into the garden in about 4 - 6 weeks. You'll see new growth, the sign it is ready to transplant. If you've used the toilet roll planters just dig a hole the depth of the roll and plant. Easy!

Keep the cuttings moist but not drowning in water their first summer in the garden so they establish a good, strong plant.

Expect to be cutting flowers from your free lavender plants next summer.

27 September 2015

The Week that Was

Fruit and veg prices just lately have been rock bottom. This week I was able to buy broccoli for 49 cents a kilo (22 cents a pound for US readers). I can't remember the last time broccoli was that cheap. I don't have any in the garden at the moment and we just love the stuff, so I spent Wednesday morning blanching and packing meal sized portions, then ran them over to Mum's during the afternoon. My freezer is still full to overflowing, and Mum's is getting pretty full, I may need to investigate other methods of preserving for any other great bargains.

Potted up some more flower cuttings for the garden. It will be full and beautiful when they all start growing and blooming.

Some succulent cuttings in a pot of fine soil and seed raising mix - these will be made into gifts by Hannah
The rain was a blessing and I happily  let it water the garden for me.

Let the fire go out and kept the ducted heating off on a couple of days. Lit the fire for a couple of cold days, we're down to the dregs of the firewood so I'm hoping any really cold days are now behind us and we'll have enough wood to see us through the odd cold snap.

Collected the water from the kitchen and showers and used it to top up the washing machine and the floor bucket.

Swapped the meal plan around (again) to use up some chicken that was thawed but not all cooked.  Made Sweet'n'Sour Chicken at Hannah's request. Froze the leftovers for a freezer meal.

Bought four tubs to store bulk rice and flour in the laundry. $7 each, they hold 20 kilos of flour and 15 of rice and stack neatly in the space I had.

Used my piggy bank money to stock up on some card making supplies at a fraction of the RRP. Kaisercraft printed papers for 50 cents  and  58 cents a double-sided sheet,  plain cardstock and papers 12 sheets for $5 (41 cents a sheet) and packs of 12 themed papers for $2.99, making them 24 cents a sheet. One sheet alone will embellish at least 15 cards.

Made a double batch of 5 Minute Choc Chip Cookies, some for us (and they were gone in 3 minutes!) and some as a thank you.

Made Simple Banana Cake for the freezer to use up some squishy bananas in the fruit bowl. Doubled the recipe and made it in my really big loaf tin. Cut into slices, wrapped and frozen for lunches or morning/afternoon tea. Cost: $1.05!

 Simple Banana Cake
Used a MOO cake mix to make 40 cupcakes. Some in the cake tin, the rest in the freezer for lunches or morning/afternoon teas. This cake mix costs around $2 to make, so the cupcakes are 5 cents each (un-iced).

MOO cake mix - cheaper and nicer than anything you can buy
Took an order for three cleaning hampers for Christmas, the money is a welcome boost to the slush fund.

Went to a closing down/clearance sale with Hannah, met PamelaG there. Bought a stamp pad for $1 and a very pretty paper pack for $3. But the bargain of the day, and one I can cross off my wish/Christmas/Birthday list: a Cuttlebug embossing and die cutting machine, with four folders and a pack of dies for the grand total of $25! I'm still smiling, and so is Wayne - he doesn't have to go shopping now :)

My embossing machine bargain!
Naomi, the lovely young woman who ran the sale also gave us a HUGE box of off cuts, ribbons, laces, papers, cardstock to use to make cards for charity. What a blessing! And guess what we'll be doing at our November card day ;)

Made a set of four cards in a folder to add to some embroidered hankies for a birthday gift. Total cost under $4.

Planted out some egg plants and capsicums. The garden is starting to look better now it actually has some plants in it.

Crushed egg shell around a little zucchini plant - hopefully it will stop the pest in their tracks :)
Scattered crushed egg shells around the beans and zucchini - something is eating them. Hopefully this will deter them.

Spent a lot of time working on the new Cheapskates website. It is so close to being finished, I just want it all done NOW!

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25 September 2015

Cath's Meal Plan 27th September - 3rd October 2015

I've been so grateful for a meal plan this week. It has been particularly busy, and some days I haven't had time to even think about dinner, let alone decide what to cook.

The meal plan is on the fridge, and everyone can check it. This week I've been able to leave meal prep to my family, secure in the knowledge that they would know what to cook by checking the meal plan. And that is what happened.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I was flat chat, but we were still able to eat healthy, cheap, home cooked meals thanks to that meal plan.

This week we will be eating:

Sunday: Roast Chicken, baked potato and pumpkin, broccoli, onion, corn

Monday: Steak and veggies

Tuesday: Porcupines, sweet potato mash

Wednesday: Chicken in Plum Sauce, rice

Thursday: MOO Pizza

Friday: Kransky, hot  potato salad

Saturday: Corned beef pie and MOO wedges

How to Build your Stockpile Part 4

I'm going to wind up this series this week (officially, I'll keep writing about our stockpiling journey and how we are living off it) with a summary of things I've covered this month to help you build your stockpile.

Build up a slush fund

A grocery slush fund is the way you can build your stockpile without going over your allocated grocery money or going into debt. Every week, fortnight or month when you draw your grocery money, do your shopping. Then take whatever is left and put it in the grocery slush fund.  You can then use this money to buy up extra of your basic items or to buy up when items you use regularly come on a good sale.

Buy up loss leaders

Supermarkets entice you into the store by offering a few items at ridiculously cheap prices (the Tim Tams on sale for $1.49 a packet at Woolworths a few weeks ago spring to mind). These items are generally on the front page of the brochures and can be seasonal. So when diced tomatoes are on sale two cans for a dollar, use your slush fund to fill your pantry until the next sale.

Figure out your storage possibilities ahead of time

Even if you live in a small flat, you can find unused space for storage. In a box under a bed is a good spot, for example. Throw a cloth over a coffee or end table and use the space under to hide your stockpile.

Invest in a freezer

This is the single best thing a stockpiler can buy. Our first chest freezer cost just $50 secondhand and it lasted us for over 10 years and saved us thousands of dollars before it decided to stop working. Meat, vegetables, fruits, bread, butter, even milk can all be frozen for months. You can also store your dry goods such as flour, pasta, cereals and dried fruit in the freezer if you have room. Make double or triple batches of biscuit dough or an extra casserole to freeze and you won't be running to the fish'n'chip shop for takeaway when you are tired.

Shop in bulk

I have always shopped in bulk. I buy lamb and beef in bulk, chicken pieces and fillets in 20kg lots, whole chickens by the box (usually 6 to a box).  Fresh meat, produce, cases of canned goods, flour,  sugar, cereals, toilet paper, toothbrushes, toiletries and nappies are usually good deals. Watch prices on frozen convenience foods and non-food merchandise. Resist the 12 dozen tins of smoked oysters for 20c a tin if you only use a half a tin once a year on New Years Eve. There is no saving in buying that many of anything, no matter how cheap it is if you aren't going to use it in a timely manner (that means before the best before or use by or it just gets old and stale). It will just become an expensive waste of space.

Be selective 

Don't stockpile a carton of instant coffee if no one in your family will drink it.  See above: expensive waste of space.

Donate any excess

Never has my family ever become bored with something I stockpiled, but we do like to share our bounty with others. Older family members, friends and neighbours will be especially grateful when you show up with a smile and those extra staples and treats for them.

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24 September 2015

Passionfruit Butter

Passionfruit are in season and if you don't have a vine, quite cheap at the moment. I've been buying them for $2 a kilo and eating them fresh and freezing the pulp to use later. I love them on that Australian afternoon tea favourite, Passionfruit Sponge, and they're good made into Passionfruit Butter to have on toast, pancakes, scones, in crepes, as the filling for surprise cupcakes or just to eat by the spoonful from the jar when no one is looking :)

Passionfruit Butter 

pulp of 5 large passionfruit
150g butter
100g caster sugar
juice of half a lemon
5 eggs

Prepare a double boiler with water and bring to the boil or, if you don't have a double boiler, place a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl isn't touching the water. Bring water to the boil over a medium heat. Turn heat down to medium-low.

Add butter and sugar to bowl and melt. Add lemon juice and passionfruit pulp. Mix well.
In a bowl, whisk all 5 eggs lightly. Add to butter mixture, whisking in with a whisk.

Stir continuously with a wooden spoon until mixture thickens and coats the back of the spoon (about the consistency of thickened cream). This takes about 10 minutes over a medium heat.

Remove from heat. Pour into hot, sterilised jars. Seal while hot.

Store in fridge for up to two weeks.

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23 September 2015


A tiny word, just two letters, but so powerful, especially when it comes to money.

Tell your kids, “No.”  

Even if you’re just throwing a Milky Way or a cheap toy into the shopping trolley, at the end of the month it all adds up - to junk in the house, less money in the bank and probably cavities. At the end of the year that $2 or $5 a week adds up to a lot of money you no longer have to spend on things you really want or need.

Just say no.

Tell yourself, “No.”  

Make your own coffee, and take it with you in a reusable mug.  Don’t buy that book. Don’t get those shoes, regardless of how cute they are or how cheap they are on sale. Don't pick up takeaway on the way home - use what you have to prepare a meal (and it doesn't have to be gourmet - breakfast for dinner anyone?). 

 Just say no.

The more you say "no" instead of opening your purse the more you will be able to save, the more you will have to pay down debt, the more you will have to build an emergency fund.

Just say no.

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22 September 2015

5 Minute Choc Chip Cookies

School holidays are here and the kids are not only looking for something to eat, they want something to do. This simple recipe is great for keeping them busy in the kitchen, and they get to make their own afternoon tea for the week as well!

5 Minute Choc Chip Cookies

250g butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
3-3/4 cups SR flour
1 cup choc chips
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Melt butter. Mix the melted butter with the sugar then add eggs one at a time, beating well.  Add flour and choc chips. Mix.  Drop teaspoonfuls onto greased trays and cook for 10-15 minutes.  Makes 40.

21 September 2015

The Week that Was

Bought a big bag of  passionfruit for $2 (I love passionfruit) and made my first ever batch of passionfruit butter - it's beautiful! Will only be a treat though, it takes five eggs!

The rest was squeezed into an ice cube tray and frozen for adding to yoghurt, pavlova at Christmastime and icing for sponges. I have the equivalent of seven tins of passionfruit pulp, a real saving (around $10!).

Spent an hour searching for suitable free Kindle books, downloading then and then sorting them so I'll be able to find them when I'm ready to read. I'm loving my Kindle, it has really helped me get back into the habit of reading a "book" rather than on my laptop, which is quite tiring. Now I can read in bed or in the car while I'm waiting at the station or in waiting rooms etc.  And free books - even better :)

This week I've bottled 15  jars of diced tomatoes (four x 300ml jars, 10 x 600ml jars). No brine or salt, just tomatoes. These will be used to make salsa or I'll  be able to use them in any recipe that calls for diced tomatoes and I've added to our food stockpile. The tomatoes cost $3.94 for 6 kilos and I was given 2 kilos, so 26 cents a jar. Used the microwave for the bottling and the whole process only took 1 hour 12 minutes all up.

Just tomatoes, bottled, processed and ready to go into the pantry
Found a couple of tomato plants on the throw-out trolley at the nursery for $1 each so I bought them, soaked them in the laundry sink overnight and planted them out on Tuesday. They seem to be doing well, hopefully they'll give us lots of tomatoes during the summer.

The beans and peas I planted a couple of weeks ago have come up and are doing well. Planted more bush beans and some zucchini plants. These will provide food for us during the summer and produce enough to be able to preserve them for next winter.

Emptied the worm castings from the worm farm and added them to the empty garden beds.

Caught water in the kitchen and showers and used it to top up the washing machine, water the plants and wash the floors.

Found a beautiful birthday present at a new op-shop, for $10 - saved $5 on our gift limit. Put that $5 into the grocery slush fund where it's needed. The gift budget is OK and doesn't need any help.

Made a card and put together a gift for a friend who has just had a beautiful little boy, using things I already had.

Wayne was able to repair my laptop - such a relief, I use it constantly as you can imagine. I was afraid I'd have to make a rush decision on a new one, and while I've never been entirely satisfied with this one (Hannah says I'm just fussy) and a new one would be lovely, the thought of being rushed and pressured into a new one didn't thrill me at all. Instead a few minutes exploring what the problem was, a few minutes on Google, a phone call to a friend and it was done, good as new. Cost: $0!

Bought Claratyne on sale at Chemist Warehouse for $29.99 (down from $36.99), then filled in the rebate form and sent it off for another $5 off (thanks for the heads up Wendy). Then went back and bought another box as the fine print reads "one per customer" so filled out the rebate in Wayne's name for another $5 off (and it can go into the first aid stockpile). Total cost $59.98 for 140 tablets, saving $27 all up.

Dried the washing either on the clothesline in the sunshine or on clotheshorses inside.

Used a free delivery coupon to get some groceries delivered. Everything was on sale, all but one item was on half-price sale. Total came to $82, saved $79 - I was so happy with that and I've crossed two more items off my stockpile shopping list.

Cooked all our meals from scratch - didn't stick to the meal plan but we still managed to eat from the freezer and pantry.

Enjoyed a free card making afternoon yesterday with lovely friends and learned how to make two pretty dress style cards, a really simple flower embellishment, and a One Sheet Wonder set.

My first attempt at a One Sheet Wonder layout - five cards completed in next to no time
Maureen brought some plants along - lavender, daisies (two of my favourite flowers) and succulents that I gratefully will use in the garden and to make gifts.

Not a whole lot happening in terms of new ways to save money, but it has been a very frugal and productive week and I'm happy and content with what I've accomplished and now I'm off outside to potter in the garden, enjoy the sunshine and contemplate other ways I can look after my family and our home.

How did you save money, time or energy this week?

18 September 2015

Cath's Meal Plan 20th - 26th September 2015

Easy meals this week, I have a lot in my diary and getting dinner on the table each night needs to be quick, easy and "anyone can do it".

Everything is in the freezer: the Sausage Casserole, Cream Cheese Patties, Refrigerator Lasagne, MOO pizza bases, chicken casserole and fillings and pastry for pies. It's just a matter of taking them out of the freezer and putting them into the fridge to thaw the day before they're needed and most of dinner is done.

While the savoury is heating the veggies can be steaming or we can be putting the salad on the plates and any temptation to dial for pizza or send one of the kids for fish'n'chips just disappears, and our money stays in the bank to be used on things we really want and will really enjoy.

This week we'll be eating from the freezer:

Sunday: Roast Beef with Mustard Crust, baked potato, sweet potato, cauliflower, corn, carrots, gravy

Monday: Sausage casserole, sweet potato mash, greens

Tuesday: Cream Cheese patties, salad

Wednesday: Refrigerator Lasagne and salad

Thursday: MOO Pizza

Friday: Chicken casserole

Saturday: MOO Pies

How to Build a Stockpile Part 3

Building a stockpile is a personal thing. It needs to contain items that you use, otherwise it's just wasted money. There are all sorts of lists and suggestions around, and they are great to use as a starting point.

In my dreams I can just make a list, go shopping and buy everything we need for the next twelve months.

In reality I have a grocery budget that I need to stick to, so building the stockpile must fit into my  grocery budget, and if you want to build  your stockpile and save money, rather than go into debt, your buys will need to fit into your budget too.

Here's a list of what is in (or will be in) our stockpile for 2016 to see us through 2016. Remember as you read this that this is for my family of 5, you may or may not use/need/want some/any/all of these things - write your list to suit your needs. And remember, I wasn't starting from scratch, I already had a very good stockpile, at least three months of most things, six months of some others and a one year supply of cleaning supplies.

Baked Beans
Baking Paper
Cereal - Ricies
Cereal - Weet-bix -1.2kg
Cereal -All Bran
Cereal -Rolled Oats
Choc Bits/Melts
Condiments - Coleslaw dressing
Condiments - Herbs

Condiments - Honey
Condiments - Jam

Condiments - Mayo
Condiments - Nutella
Condiments - Peanut butter
Condiments - Peppercorns
Condiments - Salt
Condiments - Spices

Condiments - Stock cubes
Condiments - Vegemite
Cream of Chicken Soup
Custard Powder
Dried Fruit - Cherries
Dried Fruit - Dates
Dried Fruit - Mixed Fruit
Dried Fruit - Sultanas
Drinks - Coffee, Instant
Drinks - Coffee, Pods
Drinks - Cordial
Drinks -  Tea bags - 100pk
Flour - Gluten
Flour - Plain
Flour - SR
Icing Sugar
Legumes - black beans (canned)
Legumes - soup mix
Legumes - split peas
Legumes - kidney beans
Mustard - wholegrain
Nuts: almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts

Oil - Olive
Oil - Vegetable
Pasta - Noodles
Pasta - Spaghetti
Pineapple rings
Popping corn
Powdered Milk
Sauce - BBQ 250ml
Sauce - Soy
Sauce - Sweet Chilli
Sauce - Tomato 2L
Spaghetti - tinned
Tinned fruit
Tomato Soup
Casserole/Stewing Steak
Cheese - Tasty
Chicken - Drumsticks
Chicken - Fillets
Chicken - Wings
Chickens - Whole
Corned Beef
Fruit - oranges, strawberries,

 apples, lemons, peaches

Legs of Lamb
Roasting Beef
Sausage mince
Vegetables - carrots
Vegetables - celery, onion, eggplant,
capsicum, beans, broccoli, cauliflower,
 sweet potato, pumpkin, tomatoes
From garden
Vegetables - corn
Vegetables - Peas
Bicarb soda
Bug Spray
Dishwasher powder
Dishwashing liquid
Eucalyptus oil
Laundry soap
Scrub buds
Washing soda
White vinegar
Shaving foam
Toilet paper - 12pk
Toothbrush Heads
First Aid
Band Aids
Betadine ointment & drops
Ginger tablets
Hydrogen Peroxide
Isopropyl Alcohol
Savlon cream

Boy we eat a lot! And that list doesn't include the produce from the garden that will be dried, bottled, pickled or frozen over the summer. 

When I look at that list I wonder where in our home I'll be able to store it all, but it all fits. So where to do I store all these groceries?

Grocery items are either in the pantry in the kitchen, in other cupboards (tea and coffee are above the kettle, spices and herbs are above the bench) or the shelving. Bulk dry goods are in labelled tubs in the laundry.

Cleaning supplies are under the laundry sink. Dishwashing liquid and dishwasher powder are under the kitchen sink.

Toiletries are in the bathroom cupboards. 

The first aid box lives on a shelf in the linen cupboard.

Frozen food is of course in the freezers, one in the laundry and I've "borrowed" freezer space at my mother's for the overflow.

I've found the hardest thing to store is the toilet paper, mainly because it is so bulky. At the moment it is in the garden shed and I bring in one pack a month as it's needed. 

I don’t have a lot of designated storage space in this house so I make do with what I have and sometimes I need to be a little creative and shuffle things around. 

As long as I remember to update the inventory when I move things nothing will get lost and I won't be tearing my hair out trying to find the peanut butter when I know we have it but it's not on the bottom shelf of the pantry!