Most Popular Hints

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Here are the ten highest voted hints from the Vault:

'Miracle' moisturising cream

For just $10 I've finally discovered soft skin. I had always suffered from dry skin and, over the years, had spent a fortune on moisturisers in every price range. I never really found anything that I could put on at night which left my skin soft and moist in the morning. It seemed my skin was always thirsty. Then I read in Vogue magazine, about a woman who used Neutrogena Norwegian Hand Cream as a facial mask. She also suffered from dry skin and her dermatologist had advised her to do this. Having nothing to lose, I decided to give it a go myself. It costs well under $10 and is available at Priceline and in most supermarkets. I chose the fragrance-free one and can honestly say it is the best moisturiser I have ever used. I use it every day under make-up and my skin looks 'dewy' all day long. I apply more in the evening before bed and my skin feels lovely in the morning. I even apply it thickly as a mask sometimes, with great results - and it beats a facial in terms of how my skin feels the next day. So if you have dry or mature skin - give it a try. It is also amazing on dry feet - it really is a miracle! It's amazing to think of how many dollars I will save from now on on my new, simple skincare product!

by: Annabel 35 responses in the members' forum

Fill a treasure chest with gold!

One year a friend gave me a money tin and on the side of it was printed, 'If you fill this tin with only gold coins by the time it's full you will have at least $500'. It really didn't look big enough to hold that amount of money, but I love a challenge so I decided to find out if it could!

We started in March and any gold coins we had went into the tin. Our goal was to open the tin at Christmas and use it to pay off lay-bys plus have some spending money over the Christmas break.

November rolled around and the tin wasn't quite full. However, when we opened it up and counted our 'gold' we were very surprised and extremely happy to discover we had collected $700 in our little tin!

Because of that little treasure chest of gold we enjoyed a fantastic stress-free Christmas! I was able to pay for all the presents for our immediate and extended family as well as cater for a great Christmas day feast, AND we had spending money left over for the holidays.

Now it's a family tradition. My sceptical husband happily donates all his gold coins to the tin and my 12-year-old will go hunting for gold coins just to add them to the collection! I know that I don't have to worry about the financial strain of Christmas any more as my tin has got it covered.

by: Nicole 35 responses in the members' forum

Chef's tip keeps avocado from turning brown

I am no longer wasting leftover avocado, thanks to this simple storage tip! I have always loved avocado but could never use a whole one in one go. I would use about a quarter for my lunch but by the time I went to use the rest it would have gone brown and didn't look very appetising! Avocados can be quite pricy so the expense of wasting so much was very annoying. Then my new partner, who is chef told me how to stop the browning! I didn't realise but the longevity of avocado is due to light. He advised me to wrap the avocado in aluminium foil and then wrap it in cling wrap and put it in the fridge. To my surprise it really works! Now I get to enjoy ALL my avocado and save heaps too!

by: Sarah Edwards 27 responses in the members' forum

$25,000 saved in three years

I was renting for nearly three years on a medium salary and really just living day by day. I decided that I wanted to get out of the renting cycle, so thought I would become educated financially. I started reading the 'Rich Dad, Poor Dad' by Robert Kiyosaki series of books and immediately I saw there was no way out unless I changed my psychological views dramatically and acted on them.

I started a savings plan by setting up three bank accounts - one for daily spending (which gave me a small amount of easily accessed money), one for bills (which I used to pay credit cards and so on) and one for long term savings (through ING Direct) which was only to be touched for large goal purchases.

I requested my employer split my pay 30% in the daily and 70% in the bills accounts. Once the 30% ran out, I just sacrificed a bit more and went without the usual luxuries until the next pay. I soon found that I would spread the money out for longer until I hardly ever ran out. At the end of each month (or whenever the deadly credit cards had been paid), whatever balance was left in the bills account was transferred to my savings account.

I am happy to say that after three years, I have managed to save nearly $25,000 for a deposit for my new home, whilst accumulating 5.25% interest!

by: Rosie Bucciarelli 5 responses in the members' forum

Big savings on seeds

We have saved over $150 in seeds alone this past year. Instead of paying up to $5.00 for packets of seeds which may or may not sprout, we have started grabbing packets of seeds from the herb sections of Woolworths, Coles and IGA. Most mustard, coriander, fennel, cardamom or celery whole seeds that you get as a spice for cooking will sprout for you in your garden. These normally cost around $1.05 per packet and you will get a lot more seeds than if you bought them from a gardening shop. We also get the full dried peas (not freeze dried) from the soup section and have planted these successfully for three years now. They give us the sweetest sugar snap peas ever! A packet normally costs $1.53 and you get close to 100 seeds. In comparison to buy 'packet' seeds it would cost you over $12.

We also cut the ends off shallots and replant them, it takes about three weeks before they start to recover, but then you have an endless harvest of shallot leaves to use in salads. We do the same with old onions that have hidden themselves away in our cupboards and have sprouted. Plant them in your garden, let them go to seed and you will have a great seed stock for the next few years. No need to buy more!

Garlic can be done in the same way. Grab a clove and plant it flat end into the ground. After about four months you will get a great bulb of garlic from your original clove. Be aware that garlic from China or Mexico has been treated with Bromide (cancer causing agent) so only use Australian grown garlic.

Old potatoes and sweet potatoes that start sprouting can be replanted and will give a good yield. Just cut a 3cm piece around the sprouting part of the potato and plant it, from one potato alone you could get up to seven new plants.

Pumpkin, cucumber, capsicum and other vegetable seeds can be cleaned, dried and then planted out to give you more seed stock to play with. Try planting two different types of pumpkins near each other and you might get a hybrid created which tastes great. Our family had a butternut mix with a jap pumpkin and it was the sweetest tasting pumpkin we'd ever tried. We also let one or two of each vegetable go to seed so that next years planting will cost us even less. Our goal is to go totally self sufficient in the garden. So far we have an abundance of butter lettuce, silverbeet, rocket, mint, corn, tomatoes and sugar snap peas all from previously saved seeds.

by: Nat 8 responses in the members' forum

$2 dinner nights

I am saving around $100 a month on my grocery bills, thanks to a few simple changes to our family meals. I wanted to reduce our food bill and after some thought came up with the idea of making two nights per week a '$2 Dinner Night'. For example, one night we will have something like toasted baked bean sandwiches or stuffed baked potatoes; the other I use up all the leftover vegetables in the fridge to make a self-crusting quiche. This reduces the amount of food we waste and the kids love it. Even the simplest meals can be delicious and filling and the savings we are making from our twice-weekly $2 dinners are well worth it!

by: Wendy Mckenzie 203 responses in the members' forum

Green thumbs saved me $1000

This Christmas, I have saved myself over $1000 on buying gifts AND was able to afford a holiday for two to Queensland, just by using my green thumbs!

Instead of spending $50 on each Christmas present this year, I decided to use up some of my left over garden pots. I wrote a list of all who would receive presents this year and allocated a pot for each person (I also set aside five extra pots for those last minute gifts).

I thought about each person and what might compliment them, then I set to work! My garden is full of herbs, so I took cuttings from each herb and began growing them in their new pot for their new owner. I gave them plenty of time to settle in by Christmas.

When it comes time to give these lovely potted herbs as gifts, I also attach a recipe, so the recipient knows how they can incorporate their new plant into their cooking, or make up a lovely hand cream or bath bomb.

If you have herbs of your own and pots sitting around it's a great way to put them to good use. These lovely gifts didn't cost me a cent! I already had the herbs in my garden, the pots in my shed and instead of buying extra potting mix, I used soil from the garden that the plant was already used to growing in!

by: Sara-maree Finlay 2 responses in the members' forum

Eucalyptus oil for cleaning

I used to buy a large can of air freshener ($42 per year) plus a can of Glen 20 each month ($71.52 per year) for my home and bathroom. On top of that I would also buy a large spray bottle of Febreeze quarterly ($54 per year). That is a total of $167.52 just for freshening the house each year.

On top of that, there was the additional cost of $9.00 a week on floor washing cleaners and disinfectant ($468 per year). A grand total of $635.52 per year.

Now I buy two large bottles of eucalyptus oil ($22), plus I have bought two very sturdy two litre capacity spray bottles (at a once-off cost of $18).

One bottle is reserved for carpet, bathroom and fabric deoderising and freshening, which now has us enjoying the additional benefits of no fluorocarbons or chemicals being used in our home, and eucalyptus oil is twice as effective when it comes to fighting bacteria. I use two tablespoons of eucalyptus oil per two litres of boiled, spring or filtered water.

The second spray bottle is used as a floor sprayer. I now don't use a bucket and mop. I just sweep the floors, wet the mop, spray the floor as I go with the eucalyptus and, hey presto, clean, deoderised and disinfected floors in one easy go. I use four tablespoons of eucalyptus oil per two litres of boiled, spring or filtered water.

The total cost saving for an entire year has been $448, which is now being spent on music lessons for our children. The house always smells fresh, the floors are cleaner and we've had fewer colds than ever before.

by: Ailsa Cameron 29 responses in the members' forum

Bulk white sauce mix for leftovers

Make all your leftovers taste fantastic with this bulk white sauce mix. Makes enough for 24 servings and you can keep it in the fridge:

2 cups (500g) powdered milk (I use skim)
1 cup (250g) plain flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup (250g) butter or margarine.

Combine dry ingredients, add butter and blend until mix resembles dry breadcrumbs. Put in large air tight container. Store in fridge. Use within two months. I label the container with the date and method.

To make sauce combine, 1/2 cup mix to 1 cup
cool water. Add flavourings to suit, for example, curry, vegetables, onions, cheese, whatever you like!

by: Eileen Newell 88 responses in the members' forum

Aussie Soap Supplies

For an outlay of $65 I purchased chemical-free ingredients to make shampoo, baby bubble bath, moisturiser, hand wash and washing liquid. I made 500ml shampoo, a litre of washing liquid, a litre of hand wash, a litre of beautiful light moisturiser and 500ml baby shampoo and bubble bath. All I added were essential oils and water to the ingredients and I still have enough ingredients to make several more litres of any product.

My next outlay for a further $50 was for packaging; containers and tubes to make shampoos, moisturisers and lip balms for Christmas gifts. I have saved myself a small fortune. There are several good websites offering these products, however, I found 'Aussie Soap Supplies' the best, which offers recipes as well.

by: Robyn Mcintosh 38 responses in the members' forum