This issue includes:-
I hope you are well and you have skipped the tummy bug and winter flu that are going around.
There are now 1900+ hints in the Savings Vault. Thanks to everyone's help it covers a huge range of topics and continues to grow very quickly.
I hope you have a great month. Stay healthy and happy.
PS. We are looking for subscribers to appear on television or in print. If you want your 15 minutes of fame, click on the link below and fill in the form. If you are under 16, you will need the permission of your parents.
This newsletter is free and supported by our members area, the Savings Vault. Joining the Savings Vault costs $47 for the first year and $21 each year after that. Click here to order your membership.
We have made up two batches of free "I promise to..." Father's Day Vouchers to help people save money this Father's Day. There are ten vouchers, and they say:
"I promise to... walk the dog, be your slave for an hour, be quiet, let you sleep in, mow the lawn, feed the dog, wash the car, run you a nice hot bath, give you a hug and put out the garbage."
The first batch is for your kids to colour in, cut out and give to their dad. To download the vouchers, go to:
http://www.simplesavings.com.au/tipsheet/fathersday-bw.pdf (file size 400k)
The second batch is in full colour. You can print them out, cut them out and sign them. Then you will have an instant, inexpensive present.
http://www.simplesavings.com.au/tipsheet/fathersday-colour.pdf (file size 570k)
A lot of companies claim to save you money. Sometimes it can take a lot of effort to work out if this is actually true. We are trying to speed up the process by introducing a Simple Savings Stamp of Approval.
If you see the Simple Savings Stamp of Approval on a web site or product, it means that we have tested the site or product and we believe that the company can provide products/services that will improve your finances or will give you genuine value on a regular basis.
Five companies have joined ahead of the official launch. (When new companies are given the Seal of Approval we will announce them in the newsletter.)
www.dvdplaza.com.au helps consumers to find the best price online for any DVD. It is the best site in Australia where you can compare the prices of DVDs from several online stores.
www.cleanskins.com sells top-quality cleanskin wine for less than $10 a bottle. They test everything and only sell the best. It is the lazy way of choosing high-quality, cheap cases of wine.
www.perfumes4less.net is an Australian distributor who sell genuine top-brand fragrances for 20-80% below retail. Good Value.
www.simplybudgets.com software that helps families to determine how much money they have and whether or not they can spend it.
www.scb.com.au sells a selection of popular books for 20 to 75 per cent below the retail price. Most online bookshops provide only a 10 per cent discount, which barely covers the postage.
www.thekeeper.com.au sells reusable sanitary products that are one-tenth the price of disposable napkins and tampons (50 cents a month).
For more information about the programme, go to:
New mums are often talked into buying unnecessary products. Buying a $400 stroller may mean that you or your husband has to go back to work a week earlier than planned.
If you obtain a stroller, a high chair, a cot, baby clothes, sheets and a change table second-hand for $300 rather than $1800, you will have saved yourself $1500. That amounts to two or three weeks wages. Be frugal, and you or your partner will be able to stay at home longer.
Every $20 you save by doing without or by buying something cheaper will give you more time with your family.
I have a two-year-old special-needs child who is still eating baby food. As he is getting bigger, he is eating more, meaning that I have to give him two tins of baby food at a time. Instead of buying baby food at 72 cents a tin for 120 grams, or $1.30 a tin for 170 grams, I buy 825 grams of tinned fruit (one fruit, two fruits, or fruit salad) and 655 grams of tinned chunky soup. The tinned fruit costs $1.99 a tin and the chunky soup costs $2.50.
From two tins of fruit, I can make seven lots of 170 gram amounts (the large jars of baby food); from one chunky soup, I can make five lots of 170 gram amounts. I put these amounts in the baby jars that I have saved and then freeze them. The glass doesn't break. This makes for a quick, easy meal when I am rushed and haven't got anything ready for my son.
If you feed your child four times a day with 170 grams of baby food, you could be saving about $1900 a year by using this method. You could save even more money by buying when there are specials on.
When I was in hospital after my son was born, the nurse advised me to throw away the expensive brand of dummy and to go for a cheaper brand. (She said, "Honey, you would cut your nipple off if it looked like that dummy!") How right she was. I have a seven-month-old son who just loves the dummies, which I buy in a set of two from Big W for $1.98. I was given Nuk and Advent dummies, yet my son still prefers the el-cheapo ones. You can get the orthodontic shape (his favourite) or the cherry shape. They are great value and hold up well in the solution every day.
During my pregnancy I suffered indigestion and heartburn. Rennie is an effective relief for these symptoms. On the packet it says to take two tablets as required. I have found that one tablet is usually all that is needed. If the symptoms come back, have another tablet (although this does not usually occur). The symptoms will return in the same time frame as though two tablets had been taken. Therefore, the saving is 50 per cent, and the packet will last twice as long. I have seen a pack of 48 tablets at Bi-Lo for $3.41.
If you have a child who is undergoing toilet training, buy a shower curtain instead of an expensive waterproof mattress protector. A shower curtain ($2.00 to $3.00 from a bargain shop) does a better job. Waterproof mattress protectors can cost up to $60. I just attach the shower curtain with nappy pins in each corner. I have not had a wet mattress since doing this.
You can learn, from other mother's experiences, how to find discounts and reduce the expenses involved in having a baby by becoming a Savings Vault Member. To order go to:
Quick, simple recipes are a great way to avoid buying expensive snacks and take-away food.
Using the following recipe, you can make about 30 to 40 ready-to-eat snow drops in 20 minutes at the fantastic price of about $2.50. The snow drops have got me out of a lot of last-minute troubles such as when visitors have arrived or when kids say 'Mum, what's to eat?' By making snow drops, you can save on both time and money.
3 cups dessicated coconut
1 tin condensed milk
Mix ingredients in a bowl, then place small unshaped drops on to a greased ovenproof tray. (Preparation time is five minutes.) Cook in moderate oven until light golden brown (approximately 10-15 minutes). Remove from oven and cool on rack.
There are heaps of recipes and cooking ideas. It makes me hungry reading through them. To order a Savings Vault membership go to:
Lowering your expenses is a vital part of getting out of debt - as is improving your money skills. Here are two products we have checked out thoroughly.
This is like a big shot of penicillin for your finances. You supply the details about what you spend, what you owe and how much money you earn. They put it all together and suggest ways you can turn things around by refinancing loans or by cutting out on some spending (for example, reducing alcohol expenditure from $200 to $100 a month). They also look for ways to change any expensive habits. The entire Money Make-over process is a combination of email, snail mail and phone conversations. They are set up to help people all over Australia. They used to charge $500 for this service, but last month lowered the price to $99. That's definitely worth a mention.
For more information, go to www.moneycafe.com.au
This is a Christian group that runs brilliant financial seminars through churches. They combine money management with biblical Scripture. The cost is $60 per person or $80 per couple. The course runs for 12 weeks and its success rate is a phenomenal 60 per cent; that is, 60 per cent of people who complete the course get on top of their spending and stay that way. If you are not religious, you will need to be open-minded, and some of the course will need to be translated. For example, Crown Financial Ministries say that the first step towards getting out of debt is "Pray. Ask for the Lord's help and guidance in your journey towards Debtless Day." The non-Christian translation is "The first step to getting out of debt is to ask for help. Find someone who is debt-free and ask them how you can climb out of your hole before it gets any deeper."
For more information, go to www.crown.org.au
Last month's request for help had a great response. Below are some tips from the 12 pages of responses we received. To read the rest, go to the Discussion Forum in the Savings Vault. If you are already a paid member, click this link:
If you want to become a member of the Savings Vault go to:
Most companies will try to sell you new boxes for your move. However, if you ask, they will sell you pre-used ones for much less. You can also sell them back to the company when you have finished with them. The latter applies whether you have bought new or pre-used boxes.
I moved three times in 18 months and the best thing I did was to purchase a plain carbonless copy book. I number each box I fill and write this number at the top of a page in the book. I then list the contents of the box in the book as well as the location (kitchen, study). I tear off the top sheet and stick it firmly to the box. When you are looking for something specific, you then only need to flick through the copy book to see which box the item is in and where that box is located. This method has saved me heaps of time and stress.
If hiring a removalist, make sure that you get a price for the whole job, not an hourly rate. I was stung when I used an hourly rate and the removalists took much longer than they should have.
Sixteen months ago we moved from Brisbane to Melbourne. One month ago we moved back to Brisbane. Both times we used Dial-A-Box. We found them to be about half the price of removalists, and the cheapest container company we could find. It is all do-it-yourself; you just have to work out how to pack it tightly to avoid damage. They supply some blankets and hessian bags.
We moved from Brisbane to Wollongong, New South Wales, and knew of people who were moving to Brisbane. We contacted the removalist and got a back-load from Queensland. It cost them $2500 and we paid $750! We moved back to Brisbane last December (four years later). At this time we decided to sell everything and take only personal items and good household items; we had three weekends of garage sales. I had planned ahead and saved for about 18 months to buy new things when we arrived. This worked very well for us, and our removal bill was $800.
In July's Newsletter we included Adela Redman's request for ideas on how to keep the costs down when giving her six-year-old daughter a birthday party. Here are some of the great tips we received.
I recently gave my daughter a terrific party. Ten children were invited to a "We're going to the movies" party. Each child got a numbered invitation, which they had to bring on the day for a lucky door prize (two inexpensive books that were wrapped in transparent wrapping). My 12-year-old son met each child at the door, took their 'ticket' and ushered them into the darkened lounge room using a torch. The children were all seated on chairs in theatre style and were given popcorn and a drink. They watched the movie (a weekly-hire video that they thoroughly enjoyed) and then they were all moved outside for drinks and snacks (fairy bread, chips, and so on).
It was then time for cake (home made) and a lolly scramble - they put these into their lolly bags, which were brown paper bags decorated by my daughter with heaps of stickers and texta drawings. Their parents then arrived to collect them. They all had a great time and the parents were very impressed by the theme and by the simplicity of the arrangements.
Kids are not as impressed with themes and professional entertainment as adults are - they just want to have fun. I think that games are the key, and one of the all-time favourites from my childhood is the chocolate game. Everyone sits in a circle around a block of milk chocolate on a plate with a knife and fork. Beside the plate should also be some clothing. We used to have an apron and a hat but you could add more or different clothing. The players pass around a dice, which they roll. When a player rolls a six, they go to the middle of the circle, get dressed in the clothing and eat the chocolate one square at a time after cutting it with the knife and fork. When the next player rolls a six, they have to stop and pass everything to that player. Typically, it is really hard to get any chocolate in your mouth before the next six is rolled. The game ends when the chocolate has been eaten. This will use up quite a lot of time and you'll hear a lot of squeals of laughter - all for a couple of dollars. Have fun.
There is a fantastic web site called www.birthdaypartyideas.com The ideas are from parents who have held parties for their own children - some on a budget, some not. You can search the site by age group or by theme. There are also some great ideas for adult parties as well. The site is based in the USA but many of my friends have raved about the site.
We have been getting a lot more requests for help than we can include in this newsletter. So I'm going to start adding one request per week to the bottom of the "Hint of the Week" newsletter.
Quite a few members have been asking where they can buy discount nappies. Do you know of any nappy factory outlets or discount suppliers in your area?
To share your nappy knowledge, click here
"I will be holidaying for one month in the Bright/Wangaratta area of Victoria in November. Does anyone know of budget shopping opportunities - op shops, discount shops, open-to-the-public warehouses, markets, factory outlets, or money-saving oppurtunities?" Wendy Russell
To help Wendy, click here
Jennifer Brennan has asked for some great lunch ideas. What do you take to work or pack in your kid's school lunches? Do you have any simple recipes to help others to avoid the money-gobbling canteen?
To help Jennifer, click here
Joy Dixon is thinking of selling her home and finding somewhere cheaper to live. She is looking for alternative retirement living sites. "I am particularly interested in re-locatable home villages - but I am fearful of them selling the ground from under my home." Do you have any information that may help Joy? Click here
To unsubscribe or alter your subscription, send a blank email to this address
If you have encountered a problem with our newsletter, please email me. I will give your comments immediate attention.
© 2003 AL Consulting Pty Ltd. This publication may be freely redistributed if copied in its entirety. Portions of this newsletter may be reprinted with written permission.