Vault members get access to more than 18,000 hints in the Vault, plus hundreds of recipes, a very friendly forum, heaps of downloadable tools, and thousands of blog posts by hundreds of authors.
Here are the ten latest hints added to the Vault:
Different name, different attitude to saving!
A simple change of tactic can make the world of difference when it comes to getting the family on board with saving! Our family recently did a $21 Challenge. To begin with, I was talking with my daughter, when the children started carrying on about the challenge, (the eldest child in that household in 21!). The other adult in the house said nothing, but his expression said everything. What was I going to do to get them on board? I had a lightbulb moment and told them that I was playing SURVIVOR, with help from my fridge, my freezer and my garden. Did I get any more criticism? No way. What I got was discussions on which family member would be able to survive with what is available at home, and for how long. This discussion went on for a week or more. I heard no more complaints and we spent just $2.99 over a fortnight! Next goal is a $41.00 challenge for a whole month. I just need to set a date, and get my support team going again!
Lock in fuel savings and make them last!
Our household has found a super easy way to make the most of cheap fuel prices. We watch the fuel cycles with the ACCC petrol price cycles website (https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/petrol-diesel-lpg/petrol-price-cycles). When it is getting to the lowest point of the cycle, as well as our vehicle, we also fill up five 20 litre fuel containers. If it is inconvenient to do so, we prepay and lock in the fuel price on both of our phones on the 7/11 app. This guarantees that locked price for seven days. We then use that fuel through the next 3-4 weeks (the length of the fuel cycle generally). It's like having our own petrol station at home!
Fuel containers cost around $20-$25 at BCF and the savings per cycle paid for each container. Now it's pure savings of $30 per cycle. Petrol works out around $520 per year less for us, for very little effort! At first, my husband was concerned that the fuel may not last (he is a qualified mechanic), but I showed him some tests BP had done on this matter, finding that six months later, the values were still the same. We notice zero difference in fuel consumption, km/L, or parts wearing out any faster.
Everyone we tell thinks this is an amazing idea, we find it strange that no one else seems to have thought of it!
Sock it to draughts with cheap 'door snakes'
With every winter, it's important to make our heating systems as efficient as possible. Draughts under doors (both to outside and to rooms not currently being used) let heat escape, driving heating costs up. Door snakes are often advertised at around $10 each. This means for a whole house you may be looking close to $100. Instead, you can use a pair of men's long, knee-high socks! These can be filled with rice (or sand if you have easy access to it). Either tie a knot or see the top to seal. You can purchase ind the socks at cheap shops or ok shops, use the cheapest rice you can buy and you can make a house-full for less than the price of one commercially produced door snake.
My health insurer saved me hundreds on travel cover
I have saved $400 on my travel insurance, thanks to my health insurer! I’m going to Europe for six weeks and know the importance of travel insurance. I have a credit card that offers complimentary health insurance, but the underwriter has changed and now NO pre-existing condition is covered. I’ve had a few accidents and illnesses that their previous underwriter covered previously; but the new underwriter said No to ANY pre-existing injury, even if it was healed and needed no further treatment or medication. So I had to independently take out cover for $620 for the six weeks I’m away. In an attempt to offset the cost, I phoned my existing HEALTH insurance. After talking with them, I have suspended my insurance for the time I’m away, and a few weeks when I’m back in Australia, which is two months in total. This has saved me $400 for two months, therefore reducing the cost of my travel insurance to only $220. My annual credit card fee is $150, so I will be cancelling that as well, as it no longer is worth the money if I am not eligible for cover with their travel insurance. So all up, a saving of $150 plus $400 adds up to $550 in total. No small amount and will certainly help fund my travels!
Tomato paste doubles as cheap puree
Tomato paste saves me valuable dollars on buying puree! Whenever a recipe calls for tomato puree, I just use a sachet of tomato paste and then add water to it to make it up to whatever quantity of puree is required. It works as well and tastes just as good. I like to buy the Delmaine concentrated tomato paste, which comes in four little tubs of 70gm each. It is so versatile, and compared to tomato paste takes up far less room in the pantry!
End ant invasions pronto with Talon gel
I have found a truly fantastic product which gets rid of ants like no other pest treatment I've ever seen. Upon my recent invasion of ants, the faithful old borax and sugar mix was barely making a dent in their numbers. I couldn't use my own kitchen bench, guests were commenting and while I hate killing anything, it was driving the whole family crazy. Thank goodness for Talon Ant killer gel! It works immediately (I saw ants leaving food and running to this gel), they swarmed it and as the product promises, they are gone in 48 hours. I can leave food out on the bench now and there are none to be seen. The gel works for 14 days, but at $8 for 5ml, it is totally worth it!
Lose weight, save money and reduce waste with friends
Our group of friends have learned there are many more benefits to being health conscious than just losing weight! We first started getting together to try and lose weight after Christmas. My friends went with the keto diet and I chose intermittent fasting. Of course, everyone needs to make sure they are medically safe and that whatever you choose suits you, as well as being mindful that children have different needs.
Having company certainly helps with motivation as we meet for coffee most mornings and compare notes. A bonus from this however, aside from losing weight and feeling much better, is that our grocery bills are a fraction of the usual. I am so pleased to see money left in my account on pay day! One friend reported that for her and her husband the usual spend at Harris Farm was over $200. Now it is under $40. I am single so used to spend around $100 a week on groceries and another $100 plus going out. Now I am down to $60 a week all up!
The other issue for me was waste. I would regularly buy whatever took my eye and it would go off in the fridge. Now I make a list (amazing how that works) and only buy enough for my meals. For example, I buy one zucchini instead of a bag full. I find grating some colourful veggies such as carrot, zucchini, yellow squash and red capsicum makes the meal interesting and seems bigger somehow. I get the ALDI salmon OR the chicken thighs - not both like before! - and either of these will last me for over a week.
Buying fresh produce is much cheaper and better than packets. The diet has reduced my appetite, so I can afford to buy smaller pieces of meat of higher quality. It takes some organisation but is so worth it. Training yourself to eat less certainly helps the budget. There are some good resources on intermittent fasting on the Internet and Dr Michael Mosley's book. My friends are using The Power of Protein. I also found a guy who appeared on The Doctors, who has created the Snake Diet, although that's a little extreme for me!
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!
Laundry liquid makes the best handwash soap!
I stumbled upon the best hand soap ever by accident! I had a bottle of laundry liquid I didn't like the smell of. The perfume smell was far too strong but I didn't want to throw it away. Instead, I refilled the liquid soap bottle in the laundry with it. To my surprise, I have found it is the best hand wash ever! In fact, once I finished the laundry liquid, I bought some more, to fill the hand soap bottle with!
Keep the straws from unwanted drink bottles
If you have a drink bottle with an internal straw, when the bottle cracks, leaks or dies, don't throw the straw out! Remove it from the bottle and keep it in your cutlery drawer for whenever you need a straw, or keep a couple in your bag for use when you're out. I keep three in a little cotton bag in my handbag for when we order a drink that would normally come with a disposable straw (milkshakes, iced coffees, spiders, soft drinks). After use, I just give the straw a quick rinse in the restroom sink, or wrap in a serviette, and give a good wash when I get home. A simple way to reduce waste and help the planet!
My level headed method helps me reach my goals
My daily book has been helping me save my goals and achieve all year. At the start of the year I bought an A4 meeting book, with section dividers. This gives me a section for my goals, one for 'major lists' that will go through the whole year and lists of different levels. To give you an example, it's this one here: http://www.createl.com.au/buy/meeting-record-book-purple/2578P
I count general housework as Level 1, things like tidying up/sorting, paper cleaning as Level 2 and Level 3 as big things that need other help, such as tax or renovating/new major organisation of the house and so on.
I work full time at a job that has many night and after hour events, so find myself doing a lot of Level 1 on the weekends. However, unless I make a conscious effort, I do not get much of Level 2 or 3 done. Using this book both at work and home helps me to be really organised!
Priceless personalised gift for teachers
Our end of year teachers' gifts cost nothing and mean more to them than any expensive chocolates or mugs! For each of my young kids' teachers, we print a sheet each year titled "Tell Me About (Teacher's Name)..." It has 8-10 questions on it, with space for the kids' answers to be written in, either by them or dictated to an adult. Questions can be anything. We include things like:
How old is Mr X? What is Mr D's favourite food? Something Miss B always says is.... What does Miss J like to do for fun? Ms P loves it when.... If I had $1000 I would buy Mr H a .... Miss V is a great teacher because.... Mr K gets cranky when... And finish with: A Special Message for Ms A...
Every year it is a massive hit. Teachers love it and when there are multiple teachers, they love to get together and compare answers!
Save 50% on Nespresso pods with other compatible brands
I have reduced my coffee spend by half by switching my brand of pods. I used to spend up to $8.50 for a pack of 10 Nespresso branded pods, but no more! Nespresso compatible Moccona or L'Or pods are available in Woolworths and Coles. They taste great, the pods can be recycled through Terracycle (postage is free, I reuse old envelopes) and the grounds get composted in my garden! Now I spend no more than $4.50 for a compatible brand. That's a huge saving on my love affair with coffee!
Bubble bath has fixed my oily hair!
I have found the easiest and cheapest solution to my oily hair! My existing shampoo wasn't doing a good job at getting my hair clean, even after rinsing and repeating. My hair still felt very greasy and gross and I wasn't happy to say the least, especially considering I bought the shampoo at a beauty supply store! I was wondering what to do when I saw the bottle of bubble bath I normally use as body wash, sitting on the edge of my bathtub. I figured I had nothing to lose, so decided to use it to wash my hair. The moment I put the bubble bath in my hair, it literally felt as though my head was wrapped in silk, and my scalp was actually getting clean. I felt like I was at a high end spa or salon, getting my hair washed by a professional beautician! After rinsing my hair was so soft and actually felt clean. I checked the ingredients before trying it, and bubble bath doesn't have any oil in it, so it didn't make my hair more oily than it already is. In fact, bubble bath has fewer ingredients than shampoo does!
Get the most out of your biscuit recipe
I have finally found a way to get the amount of servings my biscuit recipes actually state! Most recipes say 'roll the mix into walnut size balls, then place on a tray and bake'. My favourite recipe was supposed to make 48. But no matter how I tried, I could never get the amount of biscuits the recipe stated. Obviously I was making them too big!
However, I have found a way which works at last. I simply tip out the mix on a lightly floured board and pat it out into a square shape, then cut the mix into four even pieces. Next, I take each piece and cut that in half, then cut each of those pieces cut into six. Then roll all the pieces into balls and when I finish I have 48 even biscuits, making my mix go further. Even if the recipe you're using only usually makes 12, this method will now give you 16!
RACQ card saves 5% on groceries
My RACQ card saves me 5% on my groceries! By pre-purchasing gift cards for Woolworths or Coles via RACQ you get a 5% discount. You can choose either email or physical (if you wanted to give a gift), and you allow about 48 hours for the email, though I have had it come through in as little two hours or up to 24. I have downloaded the Woolworths 'money' app so I can just stick the gift card in there and use it when I buy groceries.
If you do the bulk of your shopping at Coles or Woolworths, this is well worth it as it means each and every time you shop you save 5%. A 'lifestyle' membership (which entitles you to these discounts) costs $26 a year, which would be quickly recouped this way. There are also a number of other discounted gift cards, such as Kmart, David Jones, Myer, Target & Jetstar. I am trying to make it a habit to look at the discounts before shopping so I can purchase a gift card if it would save me.
It's worth noting that the discounts listed on the website seem to differ slightly from those in my phone app. Perhaps they show up after you log into your account on the website, or it could be a glitch but either way it pays to check both!
Raiz app makes paying off debts easy
My Raiz account is helping me to save money and pay off debt by investing my spare change! Raiz is an app which rounds up your purchases from accounts you nominate and once you hit the limit you have set, it debits your account. Like putting your change in a jar - although for me that’s to easy to access. Raiz however works!
You can also choose to make purchases through the app and get cash back, or nominate it to take a set amount of money on a regular basis to top up - mine is $10 a week. I don’t get much interest paid but I have saved almost $800 in the last six months and don’t notice it coming out. I can access my money within five days and found this is the best debt repayment plan for a girl who struggles to save and spends what she sees.
For more information, visit https://raizinvest.com.au/
Jazz up your pizza with Chilli Pesto sauce
If you're tired of the same old pizza flavours and toppings, here's an easy way to make your home made pizza extra special! For a delicious alternative to the usual tomato type sauces, try mixing pesto and chilli sauce together, spreading it over the prepared base and then topping it as usual. Delicious!
Save your online 'dockets' as well as paper
If you do a lot of online shopping, archive your email receipts, don't delete them! I had to take something I had bought online back to the local shop to get a refund. My printer is out of ink, so I couldn't print the email receipt to take to the shop. However, the sales associate was able to scan the bar code/UPC on my cell phone because I had archived my email receipt instead of deleting it. My refund went right back on my debit card quick and easy, no hassle!
Check apprenticeships are covered in family health policies
When comparing family health insurance with different providers, it definitely pays to check their policies when it comes to covering adult apprentices in your household. I had family health insurance with BUPA. As soon as my son turned 21, he was no longer covered under this policy, as they did not deem him to be a student seeing as he was doing an apprenticeship. Instead I had to pay additional money to cover him ($650 for 6 months).
A friend told me that Australian Unity covers adult apprentices until the age of 25, as long as you could provide evidence that they were full time apprentices living in your household and therefore were covered under the family health insurance policy. As he is currently 22 and has just entered his second year of his apprenticeship after a career change, I will still have just shy of three years to keep him on the family policy! It was a no brainer to change over after reading the policy PDF and ensuring the coverage level was the equivalent.
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