Recent Hints

An apple a day keeps green potatoes away!

I have solved the problem of green potatoes in our household! I was constantly throwing out potatoes as we never seemed to go through a whole bag of potatoes in time before they turned green. We are only a small family but I didn't want to buy smaller bags, as the larger bags were so much cheaper. Fortunately I discovered a way to extend the life of them and it's so easy! All you need to do is to keep them in an aerated spot in a gunny bag or bowl (basically out of plastic) with a whole apple . The gases from the apple stops the potatoes from going green, doubling the shelf life of the potatoes. Needless to say, make sure you also check the apple each time you use the potatoes to make sure it's not going bad!

By: Harini 7 responses in the members' forum

Treating nails in a positive way keeps biting at bay

I have found the trick to keeping nail biting and picking at bay is to 'fiddle' with them in a positive way. I am 67 and have bitten my nails since I was about three years old. My parents tried bribes, threats, nasty brown stuff painted on my nails - all sorts. I grew my nails when I got married, when my daughter got married - and indeed have grown them since for various special occasions - so determination can help! I now have nails on my fingers, but still bite/pick at my thumbs. My dad said my fingers would become misshapen, and he was right. What helps me is to 'fiddle' with my nails in a positive way - emery boards, manicure tools, nail polish, the nail treatments to stop biting - the taste does stop automatic, thoughtless nibbling. I am not a chewing gum lover, but that can also help. I crochet too, which keeps my hands too busy to nibble at!

By: Christine S


Hottest Hints

An organised family is a happy family

In the spirit of getting organised for May, my tip has to do with letting go of control and coming up with organisational ideas that work with the people you love.

For example, my partner is a wonderful, talented individual who wouldn't know how to put away his clothes even if he was bribed! Clothing was constantly strewn over the floor, on the furniture or stuffed into cupboards and this drove me to distraction on more than one occasion.

Finally it dawned on me that the neatness issue was mine and the organising issue was his, so I discussed what would work best for him. I found out that he would prefer a single place to keep all his clothing, something portable and easy. I went away and, based on what he had told me, set up a system consisting of one large plastic tub on wheels and one small wicker basket. I placed both of these in the bottom of the wardrobe.

Clean clothes now go in the tub and dirty clothes in the basket. When the wicker basket is full, it goes in the wash; I made sure the basket was the same size as a machine load. When washed and dried, the clothes go from the basket back to the tub. Simple!

Now I have a clean bedroom and my partner can always find clean clothes. As a bonus, he's reduced his washing by two-thirds because he is only washing dirty clothes, not a mixture of clean and dirty.

Best of all, there is no longer friction surrounding the tidiness of the bedroom. The idea of working with those you love to create a harmonious living environment, where their needs and ways of doing things are heard and acted on really can have a positive impact, both financially and emotionally.

By: Robbie Cameron 13 responses in the members' forum

Devious savings

Changing circumstances and a growing familly all added up to us paying a whole lot less off our mortgage than we would have liked. Pretty soon we would have started to go backwards. It was crunch time!

Using the Simple Savings calendar I identified our most expensive habits, and was astounded to see the amount of money that could have been saved. Our grocery bill was always around $200 or more per week. This amount did not include meat or bread that we get from the butchers and bakery.The trouble was, my husband loved all the expensive name brands for items such as chocolate biscuits, lollies and savoury snacks and was convinced that the cheaper or no name products would be tastless and boring. Week after week I would just automatically reach for these items, without even glancing at the alternatives. I knew as soon as my husband saw the packaging, the goods would remain in the pantry unopened, and he would then go and buy the brand name items anyway.

One week I kept mentioning to him that I was going to do a big clean up of the pantry and I was finally going to utilise all those assorted Tuppaware containers that I had never used. That week I substituted his expensive brand of snack foods with cheaper versions, emptied them into the assorted airtight containers and threw the plain packaging out before he could see them!

I also applied this technique to several other items; I would fill cheaper dishwashing liquid into Morning Fresh bottles, no-name hand wash into saved Palmolive dispensers, you get the picture. Our grocery bill went down from $200 to $140 per week - a saving of $240 a month!

When I finally fessed up to what I had been doing, my husband admitted that most of the snacks were just as good as the name brands, you just have to try a few out. All it took was some creative (OK, and somewhat deceitful) way to present the changes, but we have never looked back. Why would we, with a saving of $3120 a year? Plus of course, one very neat pantry!

By: Selda Olmez 21 responses in the members' forum