Most Popular Hints

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Here are the ten highest voted hints from the Vault:

Hand sanitisers banish foot odour!

We are saving over $600 a year on shoe deodorisers! My husband has terribly smelly feet and is very embarrassed by the problem. It was costing us approximately $12 every week to buy different shoe inserts and powders, all of which were only temporarily effective. Now it only costs us $2.00 every two months! My husband has discovered that just a few drops of waterless hand sanitiser on each foot kills all the bacteria that causes the feet to smell. It takes just a few seconds to apply and evaporates very quickly, meaning no mess on his feet, socks or the carpets. He buys the large bottles of sanitiser for only $2.00 in the bargain stores and they work brilliantly. All his shoes, including his work boots, are now completely odourless!

by: K.L 44 responses in the members' forum

Puzzling our way to a new house

My husband and I have finally found the key to successful saving! The two of us are dreadful savers; while we're good at putting spare change in a jar, we don't know what to do with it once the jar is full! We thought a saving thermometer would be helpful, but wanted something that wouldn't be so obvious when people came over to visit. So we came up with a more subtle brainwave - a jigsaw puzzle!

We bought a jigsaw of what we wanted (a house) and assigned a dollar amount to every piece. Now we 'buy' pieces of the jigsaw puzzle, the money goes in our jar and we bank the money once a month. We even set up challenges for ourselves, such as who 'buys' the most pieces in a month, and we never have to worry about what to buy each other for presents - we buy pieces of the puzzle of course! Once we've completed the puzzle we're going to hang it on the wall - of our new house!

by: Castaway 25 responses in the members' forum

Grandmotherly skill finds new purpose

A novel idea to help my Mum save on new ceiling fans has led to some fantastic and unexpected long-term savings! After being quoted a whopping $160 per unit (pensioner rate) to get ceiling fans installed, we took matters into our own hands and placed an advertisement on local notice boards. It read: 'Experienced licensed electrician required to install three ceiling fans. I would like to trade the costs by doing your washing and ironing for one month.’

Within a few days, Mum had received several enquiries and selected a nice, young single guy who needed a 'mother's touch' to some of his clothes - a lot of stain removal and buttons re-sewn. He installed the fans and dropped and picked the clothes up from her place on a weekly basis. To our surprise we learned he also had connections to plumbers and gardeners and she was soon able to have her bathroom wall retiled in exchange for scrubbing out an oven and re-organising a food pantry for a couple that were having a baby soon.

It didn’t stop there! Before long she was taking up hems, sewing on buttons and doing basic mending in exchange for garden maintenance and mowing lawns. These guys are ripping up old items from homes every day with their trades so these days they even search around to find her the cheapest - or even free - items if she needs them, as well as providing an oven door and dials on her heater for free. They often come across things that others could use but end up in the tip instead.

As a pensioner, Mum has time on her hands and is very experienced in household chores but has a limited income. This trade of skills and services means she can now carry out tasks within her ability and has made some fantastic friends. Her place looks amazing and is she even happy to do babysitting for the families. In turn they really appreciate having a cuddly grandmother figure around. She has a new purpose and a whole new social network too - in fact she looks 10 years younger!

by: Moo Moo 67 responses in the members' forum

Make inexpensive liquid plant food

I can make hundreds of litres of liquid plant food from just $12 worth of Dynamic Lifter pellets! This will buy a 10kg bag. Just add around four handfuls of pellets to a nine litre bucket of water and let steep for a couple of days, mixing occasionally. When you have a nice 'tea', pour a couple of litres of the liquid, into a nine litre watering can, top up with water and give your garden a drink. Repeat until all the 'tea' is gone, then add more water to the residual at the bottom of the bucket and repeat this process. As the mixture gets weaker, you can use on seedlings, vegetables and more delicate plants such as azaleas and gardenias. The 'weak' mixture can be used as a health tonic or sprayed directly onto the foliage of plants (remember not to spray if the weather is over 20 degrees Celsius, as this will burn the foliage). Once you get to the real weak stuff, simply pour the residual under a tree and water in well.

You can also make hundreds of litres of liquid fertiliser from a 10kg bag of Blood and Bone pellets at an initial cost of approxiamtely $1.20 per kilo. Compared to a litre bottle of liquid plant food (such as Seasol) which costs about $10 and will make just over 300 nine litre buckets (going on the manufacturer's average of 30ml per bucket), your bag will make many hundreds of buckets of first grade solution followed by many more second and third grade 'weak' solutions which are ideal for foliar feeding. A huge saving, which will give you enough fertiliser to last you a whole year or more!

by: Laura Aznavorian 6 responses in the members' forum

Bulk liquid hand soap the easy way

I found a way to save almost $50 a year on liquid hand soap with hardly any effort! Just take a bucket filled with four litres of water. Drop a bar of generic soap into it and let it soak for 24 hours. Give it a mix and pour into clean two-litre milk bottles. Just top up pump bottles when needed. For a little added luxury, add half a cup of sorbolene cream and a few drops of glycerine. Works a treat!

by: Rachel Warner 53 responses in the members' forum

Cheap pasta sauce recipe

I make this vegetable pasta sauce for three reasons - it's cheap and healthy and it uses up leftover vegies (cooked and uncooked) so I save three times!

Whenever I serve up a dish of vegies for dinner (usually broccoli, carrots, beans and zucchini in my house) and it isn't all eaten, I put the leftovers in a ziplock bag and throw it in the freezer. Then, when my fresh vegies are starting to get to that 'oh dear' stage, I start cooking!

In a big pot, with a bit of olive oil, I fry onion and garlic and add all the 'oh dear' vegies - sometimes there is a fiddly bit of broccoli that is too small to use in a meal or carrots that are starting to wilt. Other vegies I have added include celery, cauliflower, broad beans, spinach, cabbage and capsicum. I chop and cook all of this - in summer I add fresh tomatoes, in winter I throw in a couple of cans of Home Brand tinned tomatoes. To this I add the frozen leftover vegies, a squeezie stock concentrate or stock cube and some water.

I cook the whole lot until everything is soft, and then I blitz it in a food processor or with a Bamix until it looks like pasta sauce. I then freeze this in meal-size portions and use it for everything - I add it to mince for bolognese, or just use it neat. My kids don't know it's full of vegies - they just think it's another jar of commercial pasta sauce!

by: Clare Mckenzie 19 responses in the members' forum

One dollar saving plan

I have devised a simple savings plan which you can use to fund a holiday, new furniture, Christmas or extra payments on the mortgage.
By saving just one dollar in week one, and adding an extra dollar each week after that, you will save $1378 in one year! It is a really gentle way to start saving, perfect if you feel you don’t have any spare money to save.
In week one, save $1.00. In week two, save $2.00. Week three, save $3.00...and so on! By week 52, when you save $52, you will end up with your grand total.
When the 52 weeks are up, you can start the cycle again with just $1.00, or if you're really ambitious you can continue with your saving plan; if you keep doing it for another 52 weeks, you'll have saved $5046! What a saving! If that’s too much of a stretch, and you start again at only $1.00, you will still have saved $2756 in two years. Happy saving!

by: vicplum 679 responses in the members' forum

Watties microwaved mashed potatoes - the SS way!

When I see the new ads on television for Watties 'NEW HOMESTYLE MASHED POTATOES' for the microwave, I just about laugh myself of the couch. I have used this system for many years, for a fraction of the price! Using an ice cream scoop, put single servings on your baking tray and freeze. To remove, gently twist the baking tray and they will 'pop' off. Place the required number of servings in one of those 'recycled' plastic bags that all us Simple Savers have stashed away and place in freezer. When they are required there's no need to defrost, just put them in the microwave (covered) and 'zap' for one minute per scoop. My kids love them with an egg for breakfast! Quick, very low cost, no nasty preservatives and yummy. Not to mention a lot more convenient than going to the supermarket and spending your hard earned dollars on more prepackaged junk you and your family don't need. Enjoy!

by: Ang Cartwright 9 responses in the members' forum

100 book covers for $1.50 

As school has gone back, and exercise books need covering, I thought I'd share this money and time saving tip.

I bought a box of 100 plastic sleeves, just like the ones you clip into ring binders. These cost me just $1.50. I then cut off the spine and the bottom of each sleeve, leaving me with a piece of plastic that is the perfect size for covering exercise books. The spine of the book fits and holds neatly in the crease, and the overhang is the perfect width for folding over the edge and sticking down. So simple, and at $1.50 to cover 100 books, so economical too.

by: Lorax 25 responses in the members' forum

Stylish storage for virtually nothing

I created a storage system in my home office that cost next to nothing!

I stacked four white planks, one on top of the other, supported in between by two house bricks at either end. The bricks are covered in bright red fabric to stop scratches and to blend in with the office décor. Instead of buying cane baskets from Spotlight at $22 each, my 20 filing baskets are black mushroom boxes, free from the supermarket. These boxes are strong and sturdy and the perfect size for A4 papers; they even have handle slots, so the boxes can be pulled out easily. I stuck large labels on the front of each box indicating what is inside, and my invoices, accounts, bank statements and so on are now readily at hand.

My storage system is a great time saver, the red/white/black colour scheme looks great and it cost nothing except for the MDF planks which Bunnings cut to size to fit my space. I saved over $400 on the baskets alone!

Pleased with how well this worked, I did a similar thing in my craft room, to store and organize all my sewing, patchwork fabrics - immediately visible when the box is pulled out – knitting wools, card making paper and supplies. I covered the boxes in pretty pink wallpaper off cuts bought for a few dollars from a garage sale. Same story in the kids' playroom, where their storage shelves acts as a room divider. The kids have painted crazy designs on the boxes, which hold colouring pens and pencils, card, paper, scissors and toys. The kids are allowed to pull out only one box out at a time, so the toys are always cleaned up and put away before the next one can be pulled out.

Simple, cheap as chips and such a stylish way to stay organized!

by: Shannon Hunter 13 responses in the members' forum