Being resourceful

Posted May 24th, 2006 by Penny Wise

With all the dramas of the last week, I have got well and truly behind. I haven’t even found the time to write up a menu plan (and believe me we have been suffering from the spontaneous meals which have resulted!), my sink hasn’t been shined for several days and I am ashamed to say that I am late paying the bills for the first time in longer than I remember. What with splashing out on new glasses, vet bills and the new TV, I can’t say I’m looking forward to it. I refuse to let it get me down though! If anything it just strengthens my resolve and makes me even more determined to save money wherever I can elsewhere.

Yesterday Ali was exploring the pantry and asked me why we don’t keep much food in the snack box any more. I told him that we don’t need to buy those kind of snacks any more because we always have baking. He went off quite happily with that explanation and I had to laugh to myself, because it has taken six months for him to realise that we are no longer eating out of the snack box – shows how much he misses all those trendy muesli bars and convenience foods if it’s taken him that long to notice! I have found some brilliant recipes lately on the backs of food packets, which cost little to make and taste delicious. For instance, I recently made yummy Peanut Butter biscuits after finding a recipe on the back of a flour packet and a divine Chocoholics Choccie Cake recipe on a butter wrapper! The kids loved both of them and there were enough biscuits to keep their lunchboxes stocked for ages. If you live in NZ, you can find the Peanut Butter biscuit recipe on the Pam’s bags of plain flour, and the choccie cake recipe is on the Anchor butter blocks. Anyone else who would like the recipes can hide('penny')email me

Maxine shook her head recently when I told her I was off to town for some retail therapy. ‘What are you going to buy?’ she asked, and wished she hadn’t when I told her happily I was looking forward to buying some ice cube trays and a new clothes drying rack. ‘That’s not retail therapy! Can’t you find something more exciting to buy?’ she said. I insisted that I was actually buying some very important things. I urgently needed new ice cube trays because I had made so much home made chicken and vegetable stock and lined them up in bottles in the fridge, that Noel asked if I would please do something about them because they looked like urine samples and he didn’t want his colleagues to see them and think he had a problem when they came round for a coffee. I also needed to get another drying rack while they were on special at the Warehouse for $8.00. I have still steadfastly refused to buy a tumble dryer – especially when I can buy a drying rack at that price. The other day it was blowing a treat, which was a welcome sight after days of rain, but I had so much washing to get dry that I couldn’t all fit it all on the line. I was so close to ringing my Mum or Maxine to ask if I could borrow their dryer but I didn’t want to give in. Luckily I had a flash of inspiration! I remembered I had some washing line rope stashed away and I tracked it down and made a makeshift washing line by tying one end to the front porch and the other end to a sturdy tree branch. It worked perfectly, my washing dried and I felt very smug that I hadn’t had to resort to using a dryer. In fact, it worked so well, I’m going to keep it!

While I was in a resourceful mood, I spotted the plastic Spongebob Squarepants tumbler that Ali had broken the straw off of earlier in the morning. I was about to throw it out, but I thought it was too good to chuck away really, though it could no longer hold water. I wondered what other smart Simple Savers would use it for and by the time Ali came home from school he was delighted to see his new trendy pen holder on his desk – nobody would have know to look at it that it wasn’t meant for that all along!

I forgot to tell you about my shampoo test. For a few months now I have been emptying my regular shampoo and conditioner into see-through pump dispensers to see how much longer I could make them last between buying a new bottle. The kids have their own shampoo so it is just Noel and I using these bottles, which used to last us between a week and ten days washing our hair every day. I decided to make a mental note of the last time I filled up the pump bottle and that was on April 28th, so already the 300ml Advanced VO5 shampoo has lasted more than two weeks longer than if I had kept it in it’s supermarket bottle – and there’s still heaps left to go! At almost $5.00 per bottle, that works out to a pretty significant saving over 52 weeks!

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