A fountain of information

Posted November 4th, 2005 by Penny Wise

I'm becoming quite a little fountain of frugal information! I had to laugh yesterday when travelling with my friend Maxine in her car and she pointed said 'Look - notice I am driving with the window down instead of using the air conditioner - I read that in your blog!' Mind you, I almost had to head to the Vault for a quick stain remover when she went to lob her little boys' ice cream out the window (it had fallen off its stick with the first bite and got progressively worse) and instead it smashed into the door panel and deposited itself in my lap! Just a few days earlier we had been in my kitchen having an earnest discussion about freezing vegetables the Simple Savings way and now I've got her giving it a go too! Mind you, I didn't realise until the other day that you can actually freeze beansprouts, which is great, because Ali and I love them but they always come in such huge bags that they inevitably go off before we can finish them all - which is 99% of the time as they only ever last a couple of days in the fridge. I'll give it a go and I hope it works, it will be great for adding to stirfries and such!

I was also chatting to Rochelle during our run (well, as much as you can chat when you're running!) and she was telling me about the hassles she was having trying to organise a hire car for her family's upcoming driving holiday - you can imagine the cost of hiring a car or van big enough for a family of six and all their luggage! Anyway, I remembered reading a hint from someone who had managed to hire a campervan for just $1.00 a day - taking care of both their car hire costs and their accommodation for their entire holiday! The company is Standby Cars (www.standbycars.com) and on checking out their informative website, it could be just the thing for Rochelle and her family. On returning from our run, she was complaining about her dishwasher not cleaning things properly, so I told her to put some white vinegar in the bottom of it to give it a good blast out. It's funny how all these little Vault hints just keep cropping up!

The recent newsletter question about how to celebrate on a budget was very timely and thought provoking, as we had a little gathering at the weekend. Charmed by all the American television programmes around Halloween, the boys were keen to go out Trick or Treating, but there was no way I was letting them do that. However, I used to love Halloween myself as a child, so I agreed to meet them halfway and they were allowed to hold a Halloween tea party, for their six special friends. The Warehouse had a wonderful range of spooky accessories for $0.50c or less, so I was able to buy enough to make sure every child had something to wear. We hollowed out a pumpkin (keeping the flesh to make soup of course) and that was our table centre-piece. The rest of the table was festooned with 'spider web' and plastic spiders from the $2.00 shop and nestled in among all the web were bowls and plates containing such delicacies as 'earwax sandwiches' (peanut butter), 'squashed fly cookies' (chocolate chips) and 'flakes of skin' (potato chips). Liam had great fun making scary looking labels for all the dishes. The kids came, dressed up, had great fun swapping costumes (and even body parts as a friend of mine lent me his fake severed hand prop) and played until it got dark and they could be really spooky. Much hilarity was had playing 'apple bobbing' and we had a wonderful frugal celebration, including a barbecue supper. Even the mangled apples were recycled and much appreciated by the donkeys afterwards!

P.S. - I have learned from experience that every year I do not put a bet on the Melbourne Cup, my horse comes in first, but if I do place a bet, the horse comes nowhere, so for the last few years I have declined to part with my money. This year was no different, except if I had put my money where my mouth was this time, I would have won the trifecta! Sigh - if only my willpower was always so resolute when it came to spending on other things!

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