27 November 2016

The Week that Was 27th November 2016

It's been such a long while since I posted my frugal accomplishments. We have been frugal, super frugal in fact, as we've had some huge medical bills to pay. But Maree has been asking me to post again, so here is what I've accomplished in the last week to save money, time and energy.

Gratefully accepted some seedlings for the garden. My garden was non-existent, I haven't been able to get out to it so I let it go over winter and spring. Joy's gift inspired not only me but Wayne and the boys to get out and help me prepare for summer and autumn plantings.

I was jumping with joy when Wendy brought us a 5kg bag of potatoes. We've been out of potatoes for about three weeks. I gave in and bought four last week for our roast, otherwise we've been eating rice or pasta. Wayne was grinning from ear to ear when he saw the bag in the kitchen.

We had roast potatoes with our tea on Sunday night. I made potato salad for tea on Monday - 38 degrees is definitely salad weather.

Made a quadruple batch of Miracle Spray. This should last us a year. It takes about two minutes longer to make a bulk batch and I know it's done.

Went to a used stamp sale and brought home a stamp pad ($5, and it's brilliant, they normally sell for around $30 each), two sets of stamps I've been looking for and best of all four free magazines. I've already scanned the mags so I don't lose the images. They'll be great for inspiration for card making.

Made and sold a birthday card to a friend of Hannah's. $8 into my craft kitty.

Made and sold a Christmas card - $15 into my craft kitty.

Wayne used the pressure cleaner to clean the barbecue on Sunday and the job was done in about 20 minutes. So much easier. It's all spiffy now and ready to use again for the summer. We barbecue just about every night during Daylight Saving time, it really helps to keep the house cooler.

Monday was hot - 38 degrees! I was up super early to turn on the fans and close the windows, blinds and drapes and the house stayed cool.

Wednesday was AJ's birthday so he chose dinner - enchiladas. Whew! Chicken has been so cheap we've been eating lots of it, and I was sure he'd ask for a roast or silverside. I used Mountain Bread from the freezer to wrap the enchiladas and made my own sauce. Dinner for six for under $6!

Bought four packs of coffee pods from Aldi on Wednesday - 20% off. I now have enough to last me a year.

Rearranged a flower arrangement that was looking sad. Put a single red rose in our bedroom and some pretty pink dahlias in the loungeroom. Another week of enjoying these beautiful flowers.

Cooked all our meals from scratch using ingredients from the pantry, fridge and freezer.

Redirected the washing water from the rain barrel to the soaker hose on the back grass. Not a lot of grass to water, so the washing water keeps it green.

I've just MOOed a twist'n'pop Christmas card for an order, It was specific in colour and embellishment so I had to get busy with scissors and wrapping paper to create the designs for the panels.

This is the card I made as an order. While I was on a roll I made another one and it's available in my Etsy shop.

Last night I MOOed a marinade for our dinner using up a little honey, some ginger, kecap manis (hence the little honey - kecap manis is very sweet). We decided to switch around the meal plan (again!) and have honey soy chicken. I had onion, capsicum and carrot to add as veggies but it needed more so I added some peas and corn from the freezer - you should've heard the boys! Anyway I used what I had to Make Our Own and it must've been good because all the plates were clean and there wasn't any left.

And as a treat Wayne and I enjoyed lunch out today. We took a trip up into the hills and spent a lovely couple of hours together, without interruptions. It was bliss and now we are both ready for the week ahead.

What did you do to save money, time and energy this week?
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25 November 2016

Cath's Meal Plan 27/11 - 3/12/2016

This week we will be eating:

Sunday: Roast Lamb

Tuesday: Fish, wedges, salad

Wednesday: Honey Mustard Chicken, rice

Monday: Chicken pie, veggies

Thursday: MOO Pizza

Friday: MOO meat pie, chips, gravy

Saturday: Hamburgers

20 November 2016

I'm Raving about Coffee, Again!

I love my coffee, you all know that. And I love my Aldi coffee maker. If you want to be correct, it is an Expressi Coffee Capsule Machine. I buy the Expressi pods and enjoy my daily brew for around 57 cents a mug! Yes, a mug! And it is perfect, strong and hot and plentiful - just the way I love it.

I'm raving about coffee again because the Aldi newsletter popped into my inbox on Friday and low and behold the Express machines are on sale again as a Special Buy from this coming Wednesday, 23rd November. I know I have one, actually I have two, but that's a story for another post.

Aldi's gorgeous Limited Edition Aqua Expressi Coffee Pod Machine

The units on sale on Wednesday are just gorgeous. They really are a special buy, because they're in a stunning bright red and a really pretty aqua. It is beautiful and of course loving blues and greens as I do it really is calling my name! These are both limited editions, and at $79.99 would make a wonderful family Christmas gift (that's how I got mine originally). The pods are $5.99 a box of 16, making them 37c each. They make great Christmas presents too.

But, and this is what you'll see me stocking up on come Wednesday morning, Aldi are having the pod six pack bundles on sale again, for just $27.99 (or 29 cents a capsule). That's 20% off! And making them an even better value Christmas gift, or a super deal for stockpiling.

According the Aldi website the pod bundles  are available in Valetta, Milano, Chai Latte, Calabrese (my all-time fave) and Abruzzo (my second favourite strength).  Making my daily brew with a (bought on sale) pod and milk, in my favourite mug will cost me just 49 cents - beat that *** insert favourite coffee shop***!

These days I have just the one coffee, in the morning, before I start my day, so it needs to be good, full of flavour, strong, easy to make, mess-free and cost effective. And that's what my Expressi machine and pods are.

If you're a coffee devotee and haven't tried them, I recommend you do - and before the Special Buys are sold out.

If you're looking for an amazing gift for a coffee devotee, I can recommend the Expressi range - from the machine to the pods to the coffee syrups to the milk frother. They all make wonderful gifts, on their own or teamed with some yummy homemade biscuits (Cranberry Hootycreeks or Grandma's Shortbread come to mind).

I'll stop here, but I could keep going - I really do love my Expressi Coffee Capsule Machine and the Calabrese pods.

17 November 2016

The Joyco Hamper

I've just watched the segment on Channel 7 news (here in Melbourne) about Christmas hampers.

I was shaking my head - surely no one really believes these hampers are saving them money or even good value?I've spent a lot of time over the years talking about hampers and how to put together one that is customised to suit your tastes and needs and the Tip Store has a whole section devoted just to hampers.

And then I remembered the Joyco Hamper. Joyofquilting is a long time Cheapskates Club member (she's also the inventor of Miracles Spray) and a few years ago she posted her template for her very own Joyco Hamper.

Joy starts her Christmas grocery shopping early in the year, buying and stockpiling non-perishables and baking supplies and she uses her very detailed hamper template.

I usually start my Christmas shopping in September and have it all finished when I do the November the shop. The bonus for me is that I buy enough to keep me out of the supermarket until it's time to do the March grocery shop the next year.  I pretty much buy six months worth of groceries over three months.

Why? Mainly because I loathe shopping in the heat and battling crowds during December and January doesn't appeal either - I want to enjoy our summer holidays.

Having the Joyco Hamper template to work off helps me to remember to include the Christmas treats on my shopping lists. Things like ham, turkey, chocolate almonds, drinks, nuts, extra dried fruits, even the bon bons and candles for the table.

And I can assure you my version of the Joyco Hamper doesn't cost anywhere $800, or even $400 a la the DIY version on the news. No siree!

I budget $120 for our hamper and it includes all of the above, plus the extra veggies, serviettes, cheeses, dips, crackers, olives, pudding and cake ingredients and so on.

Enough of my rambling, the  point of this post is to share the Joyco Hamper template with you - just click here to download your copy..

As we Cheapskaters have been known to say, "make it your own".  Use it as is or add or delete according to your needs.

And smile as you shop for your Joyco Hamper because you'll be saving an absolute bundle.