19 May 2021

Gathering the Fragments Catch Up

It's been a while since I posted here. Not that nothing has happened, but life gets busy and I have other commitments that absorb all, or most all, of my time.

But that doesn't mean I stop Cheapskating. It's when life gets crazy hectic and frantic that I need to stay focused and on track. It is so easy to "just this once" order takeaway for dinner or zip through a drive-through or buy new jeans instead of mending the ones I already have, I'm sure you get the idea.

It's times of crisis that I tend to become even stricter with our spending.

So since I last posted we've had a few trips to Sydney for family. Sadly, Wayne's mother passed away in March. Thankfully we were able to get to see her just a few days before she went to sleep.

Wayne and I finally managed to get a few days away. The only cost for this trip was the petrol, and it's a part of budget. Food came from home, and we free camped in our camper. We did spend a little in Bright for coffees and I had some fun in the op shops in Bright and Myrtleford, but that money came from our mad money, not our household budget.

The summer garden is finished. The last of the capsicums and eggplant are about ready to harvest. Tomatoes didn't do too well this year, but the beans were amazing and so plentiful there were more than enough to dry for seed next spring. 

The orange tree is loaded with fruit and it is starting to turn orange. Marmalade on toast is one of my loves, I can't wait to make more (last year's batch is gone already).

Looking to the future I've been hunting for canning jars, lids and rings. When I see them in op shops or on market place I snap them up. A home preserver can never have too many jars, lids or rings! I found lids and rings at Spotlight, a brand I'm not familiar with so I only bought one box to try. That may have been a mistake, when I go back there may not be any left. It's a risk but better than being stuck with things I can't use.

Hannah has bought a house, so we've been hunting for furniture. We have had fun shopping for furniture and all the other things she will need. Her best find so far has been an almost new Dyson upright vacuum cleaner for $50, and two tallboys and two sets of bedside tables, brand new, for $100.

The preserves shelf is full of jams. I've made raspberry, blackberry, mixed berry and strawberry with either homegrown berries or frozen bought on sale. I've sold 7 jars, that money went into the slush fund. There were enough zucchini to make a double batch of zucchini pickle, so 11 x 500g jars are now on the shelf.

I've dehydrated celery and zucchini, and peas/corn/carrots mix and carrots.

I've been restocking the pantry as things are used, instead of waiting for my yearly shop. I feel the need to keep the pantry stocked, so as we use something it is replaced. If I find something we use on sale, I buy as many as I can. 2020 was a hard year; I believe that 2021 and the years onwards are going to be harder and I like to be prepared.

I found the cotton yarn I use for the dishcloths online. Even buying from overseas, and the exchange rate and paying for delivery, it was $106AUD cheaper than buying it here, without delivery. Sadly, in this instance the cheaper option won.

A local discount store had lots of lovely colours of 4ply crochet cotton for $2, so I used some of the leftover craft budget from last year and stocked up. This is the cotton I use on tea towels, face washers, hand towels to trim them and $2 is a bargain - about a 75% saving over buying it from a wool shop.

Op shopping has been fruitful too. A Corningware baking dish for $3. A bunch of original Moccona jars and doyleys for $11. Large Tupperware lettuce container for $2. A crochet table topper for $3.

For the house I used cushion covers I had in the cupboard to make new seat covers for the kitchen chairs. There was some fabric leftover so I made a couple of new pot holders. Waste not, want not. I bought the cushion covers for $4 a while back, so I think that's a pretty budget friendly reupholstering project.

I've been making bread rolls for lunches. Cheaper than buying them and making them fresh each day keeps everyone happy. This is an old recipe, and uses mashed potato, but the rolls are so light and fluffy and delicious - no complaints about heavy bread with this recipe.

Made a loaf of raisin bread. Wayne likes raisin bread for a snack but a loaf is rather expensive from the bakery. I add extra spices and use mixed dried fruit and a diced apple (when we have apples - they're too expensive at the moment).

Zested and juiced 3kg limes from a neighbour. We like lime juice and zest in the rice for burritos and I use it to make lime butter (same as lemon butter to my taste, just a little paler in colour).

Found some card bases I use for the nursing home cards so we cleared the shelf. They have been out of stock for months and I was down to the last packet, so I'm very happy we could get more. Two packets for a friend and six for the nursing home.

We still catch the shower warm up water.

We still wait till the dishwasher is full before running it.

We still wait till there is a full load of laundry.

We still line dry or use the clotheshorses.

We still prefer to use the slow combustion fire for heating rather than run the ducted heating. Why not use the heat source that is paid for rather than have to pay again?

We still cook from scratch for most meals.

I have been craving roast lamb. Lamb legs are so expensive, way out of our budget, but I splurged for Mother's Day and bought one. It was hard - $44! At least we'll get a few meals from it. We'll get two roast dinners from it, either a shepherd's pie or sweet lamb curry (or both) and soup.

Our local Coles has a clearance section in the dairy cabinet and we always check it. We picked up three chubs of salami and 11 packets of bacon for $1 each - and all have plenty of time before they're out of date. The boys will use the salami on their pizzas, and most of the bacon has gone into the freezer for Muffin Surprise or quiche or pies.

I have started more lavender strikes. Some will be for the garden, some will be to sell in the spring. Lavender plants are around $8 each from the nursery so I'm keeping a lot of money in the garden budget and potentially making some too.

We still wait for cheap petrol day to fill up. Right now I'm keeping all the cars full, not letting them get under 3/4 full unless petrol is ridiculously expensive - I noticed yesterday it has gone up again to $159.9/litre here - ouch! Using the app I was able to find ULP for $129.9, so I filled my car.

I gave in and coloured my hair! I know, it took years to grow out, but I think the last 15 months muddled my brain and I went nuts one day and coloured my hair. Mind you the colour was $1 on the throw out trolley at Coles, so it was a bargain (of sorts!).

I have been wanting more mesh sheets for the dehydrator, but the mesh has been out of stock or too expensive. Last week I finally gave in and looked it up - Spotlight had them and a 30% off sale so off I went. So glad I did - yes, they had the sheets I originally saw, but they also had other sheets, same size mesh but 2-1/2 times the size on clearance for 50 cents each. You can bet I cleared the shelf. When I went to pay for them the lovely lady told me that as they were on clearance they were half marked price so my 10 sheets of mesh cost $2.50. Now there is plenty for the dehydrators and for the craft drawers.

Wow, when I look at the list, it's quite a bit. How have you been gathering the fragments to save money, time and energy?

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