Recent Hints

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Here are the ten latest hints added to the Vault:

Make your own nut butters for a fraction of shop prices

I save a fortune on buying nut butters by making my own. Almond butter, cashew butter and good quality peanut butter can be fairly expensive to buy so instead I buy roasted almonds for about $4 at a bulk supplier (Bin Inn if you're in NZ) and blend it in my Nutribullet with the addition of a smidgeon of olive oil. This gives me twice the quantity of a shop-bought jar which would cost at least $12! You can also add a little honey or chia seeds to add variety. I use the same method to make cashew butter. I simply buy 200g of cashews for $4.80 from an Indian grocer, roast them in the oven and blend them with the addition of a little olive oil to start the process. At around $15 a jar to buy at health food stores, this is a terrific saving!

by: Asoka Basnayake 1 response in the members' forum

Berry nice savings to be had on blueberries!

I have found the answer to enjoying the health benefits of blueberries is in the freezer aisle! Blueberries are so good for you, but very expensive if you buy the punnets of fresh fruit. The regular price of fresh ones works out at well over $30 per kilo and while they look nice on a fruit platter, they don't have a lot of flavour. Instead, I now buy frozen blueberries at around $4 or $5 per 500g pack - less than a third the price! Simply throw a cupful in the microwave with a teaspoon of sugar and zap for a minute or two. Much tastier and are delicious with ice cream, natural yoghurt or just on their own!

by: Judith Lowe 8 responses in the members' forum

Dairy-free oat milk for 26c per litre

I make dairy-free milk for my allergic daughter for just 26c per litre! I make oat milk at home, and it tastes just like the shop-bought version that we used to buy on special for $2 per litre. I also use it in desserts, baking and cereal, even though I’m not dairy-free. It’s even cheaper than prepared powdered cow’s milk, which I recently priced at 80c per litre!

Here is the recipe (costed out using Coles home brand ingredients) -


1 cup rolled oats 120g (22c)

4 cups water

1 tsp brown sugar (2c) - optional

1 tsp sunflower oil (2c)


  1. Blend all the ingredients in a blender for one minute

  2. Strain through a muslin or a nut milk bag (I use old muslin baby swaddles).

  3. Store in the fridge for up to five days.

My husband and I eat other dairy products and my daughter still has two cups of calcium-fortified, shop-bought, non-dairy milk per day as a drink, but we now use at least three litres less of shop-bought milk per week, working out to a saving of over $300 per year!

by: Freedom from the machine 6 responses in the members' forum

Cheap MP3 download helped me quit nail biting for good!

I found the answer to quitting my lifelong nail biting habit in a $15 app! Over the years I had tried everything from bitter aloes to spending a fortune paying for regular manicures, thinking if I paid someone I would be too embarrassed to turn up with bitten nails. I do not like acrylic nails at all, so that was not an option for me. Now in my 50's, I shudder to think how much money I have spent on manicures over the years! The only thing that worked for me and worked immediately was hypnotherapy - but not the 'go-see-a-hypnotherapist-at-$300-an-hour-for-five-to-ten-sessions', no way! I simply purchased a downloadable MP3 for $15 USD. I listened to it each night as I went to sleep. Normally it takes about 21 days to change a habit, but I found that it worked for me completely after five days. I have no desire to bite my nails at all. I continue to listen to it from time to time as a "top-up" to maintain the cessation of nail biting. I bought my download online from He has MP3 hypnosis programs for everything from weight loss to writer's block. They vary in price and often he has flash sales from as little as $1 per MP3 program. I am not affiliated with his company at all, but can highly recommend!

by: Kerry 2 responses in the members' forum

A 'glovely' way to stop nail biting

If you're a nail biter and want to stop, get your gloves on and leave them on. Don't knock it until you've tried it! It's impossible to get past a fleecy woollen layer, no matter how hard you try. If you can leave them on long enough, (maybe get the kind with fingertips so you can still use your phone!) the habit is broken and before long, your nails will be strong and long (er). Give it a go!

by: pat c

Lower price promise saved on a new cistern

I saved an easy $40 recently on a new cistern by price shopping between competitors! I first checked the prices at both Bunnings and Mitre 10 and found the latter to be the dearer option. Seeing as they promise to better the lower price on the same item, I showed them the proof of the cheaper Bunnings price. They did indeed hold true to their promise and charged me another 15% less than the lower Bunnings price!

by: Anna Read

DIY 'mixed vegie bags' makes meals faster and easier

This simple tip saves me money and time every day when preparing meals. Whenever I buy frozen vegetables, I bring them home and immediately divide them into portions, placing them into ziplock bags, then popping them in the freezer. I often divide up broccoli, peas, cabbage, sprouts, carrots into the same bag. This way, they take up less space in the freezer and I know exactly how many meals they will serve. None ever get wasted and they can be either stored together or placed with other food to make it instantly possible to grab a complete meal. The same method works well with fresh food in preparation for things such as school fruit or lunch breaks, when time is at a premium in the mornings!!

by: Ann w

Get every last cent out of your powder foundation

I have found an easy way to use up every last bit of make-up powder foundation. You know when you have almost got to the end of your powder compact, and all that is left is the powder on the rim? It's sad to waste, but so hard to use. Not any more, however! I've discovered it can easily be removed using a small spoon or lolly stick, then transferring it into another container. From there, you can simply apply it with a brush, like a loose powder! From now on, every time I buy a new compact, the left over bits first get mixed together and used. These days I never run out in between buying my more expensive foundation. Better still, I get to use the crushed foundation powder for 'everyday' and keep the new compact for special occasions, making it last even longer!

by: Phran Cassey

Keep nail bitten hands busy doing good

I have found an easy way to stop biting my nails and do a good turn for others at the same time! I have bitten my nails all my life, and especially do so when I sit down to do something like watching TV, when my hands are idle. A couple of years ago however, I began crocheting for charity and gift giving during these times. While being more conscious about what my hands are doing, I am also creating things to bring happiness to others. My nails grow and are stronger than they were, my hands are away from my mouth and I don't have the same urge to bite my nails!

by: Ann Earle

My uni studies STOPPED me biting my nails!

I've been enjoying long, beautiful nails for 30 years, thanks to a method called behaviour modification! I was required to do it as part of a psychology unit at university. It is a method which rewards good behaviour and punishes bad behaviour. This is the method:

  1. You determine what you want to change: I want to stop biting my fingernails.
  2. You determine what would be a good reward. I will give myself $1.00 coin.
  3. You determine what would be a good punishment. I will give $2.00 to charity. Note: It is best that the punishment is worse than the reward, so you can obviously achieve your positive goal ASAP. The simpler your rewards and punishments are, the better. I used the money to purchase a scarf but you could do it for anything.
  4. You work out what you need to motivate yourself to achieve that positive outcome. I used hand cream daily, I used oil to massage the cuticles daily, I painted my nails with nail hardener and once the nails grew past my fingers, I got manicures regularly.
  5. Draw up a table as shown below, to keep track of your progress daily to get to your eventual goal:

Day 1 – Outcome: I put my fingers in my mouth So you put a cross in the negative box and take the punishment. Negative Positive Punishment Reward x $2.00 paid to charity

Day 2 – Outcome: I didn’t put my fingers in my mouth So you put a cross in the positive box and take the reward Negative Positive Punishment Reward x $1.00 paid to myself

From memory I stopped biting my nails after the second week and kept going until I grew my nails to the length I wanted them. I found that it took about 10 weeks to achieve the outcome I wanted. I didn’t think I would get long fingernails, but I did and continue to do so!

by: Heather B 2 responses in the members' forum

You can heal your life - and your nails!

A book by Louise Hay helped me to put an end to 45 long years of nail biting! According to her book, 'You Can Heal Your Life', biting your nails may represent 'frustration, eating away at oneself, or spite of a parent.' It wasn't until I made the conscious connection to my unresolved feelings and nail biting that I stopped. What I found really helped me was downloading some free meditations from YouTube. These cost absolutely nothing to help relax and unwind. I also repeated some daily affirmations such as 'I enjoy having beautiful, long and strong nails'. I have also used homeopathic remedies such as Brauer's Nerve Tonic, which in my opinion is the best thing since sliced bread to calm a stressed nervous system!

by: Natasha Z

Eat your way to lovely, strong nails with blancmange!

If biting your nails is a problem, start growing them from the inside out, with this easy coffee blancmange recipe! All you need is:

One x 400g can coconut milk or cream. 2 tbsp gelatin 2 tsp coffee 1/4 cup hot water Sweetener of your choice, e.g. sugar, stevia or artificial sweetener

Stir the gelatin into the hot water and mix well.
In a separate bowl, put in the coffee and sweetener of your choice and stir, then tip in the can of coconut milk or cream. Pour in the hot gelatin mixture and stir all together well. Refrigerate for one hour.

The result? Delicious, smooth coffee blancmange, with the health benefits of coconut, and gelatin for nail growth!

by: Tony Ransom

Online tips and tricks to stop nail biting

To prevent nail biting, let your fingers do the walking online to find some 'handy' solutions! These nail cover rings are one way -

Or you could even try Thai Dancers tips with a little modification -

Self cast tips would be more costly, unless you know someone in the business; or invest in a set of silicone tips if you can stop the nail biter from peeling them off!

by: Tina Othello

Re-use butcher's paper to save on paper towel

Instead of buying expensive paper towel, which doesn't seem to last in our household, we use the butcher's paper that is wrapped around purchases such as deli products to clean out oily pots and pans. This saves us money, as well as a heap of paper towel, landfill space and our precious trees!

by: Akiko Yoshimoto

Full strength DIY 'Dettol' spray for just 2c a bottle!

A little supermarket research led me to making a huge saving on keeping germs at bay! When my two young children had a gastro bug, I needed anti-bacterial spray to clean up and stop the spread of germs, which vinegar didn't touch. The cheapest anti-bacterial spray I could find was Dettol anti-bacterial spray which cost $4.20 for 500ml. On reading the active ingredients it said it contained Benzalkonium Chloride 0.095%. Then, I saw that a bottle of Coles brand disinfectant was $1.40 for two litres. I read the ingredients and saw Benzalkonium Chloride 1%. The instructions said to dilute it in a ratio of 1:20, or 30ml to 600ml water. So I bought that one, made up the solution and put it in an old spray bottle I already had. It worked just as well and cost just over 2c per spray bottle of prepared solution, compared to $4.20 for the Dettol spray! While Coles brand disinfectant says it can only be used on “floors, walls, bathroom and toilet areas”, not in kitchen areas like the Dettol spray, for me these were the only areas that I needed to disinfect and worked a treat!

by: Freedom from the machine 2 responses in the members' forum

'Gentle reminder' can lead to a lifetime of saving

Often all it takes is the smallest reminder to make a huge difference. Having just turned 65 and now "eligible" to retire, I am not ready to do so either physically, emotionally or socially. I'm also frequently with younger people, who don't necessarily have the same basic foundation of budgeting that I was brought up with. With that in mind, I have taken to carrying around a subtle reminder of the cost of living which not only works for me, but will hopefully rub off on those around me.

My card wallet has a 'sticker' reminder, which says "$20? Is it worth one hour of work?" It's small and discreet, but effective! It also serves as a talking point when I am out and about with some of the younger ones and buying coffee or lunch. It's simple to make the label on the computer or by hand, then clear tape to the card wallet. Here's to some improved lifestyle options as I age further!

by: Helen B

Keep nail biting (and vampires!) away with garlic

My mother put an end to my nail biting using this inexpensive trick. She simply rubbed a freshly cut piece of garlic onto my nail tips. Whenever I would be tempted to nibble my nails I would get a raw garlic taste in my mouth. Gross! It didn't take me long to be cured!


Make-up removal wipes make tough cleaning a breeze

I stumbled across a fantastic household cleaning product quite by accident! While cleaning and decluttering the makeup drawer, I accidentally found myself smearing broken-off eyeliner and other cosmetic dust around. The standard multi-purpose cleaners were not helping and the mess was getting bigger. In desperation, I grabbed out a make-up remover wipe and attacked the mess. Just like that, it removed all the old eyeliner, plus power foundation and everything else from the bottom of the drawer! I'm adding make-up wipes to my regular bathroom cleaning routine from now on!

by: kiwisave 1 response in the members' forum

NLP means great nails for me!

If nail biting or picking is an issue for you or someone you know, you may like to consider Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). I had just one session and it made a fantastic difference for me. I was sceptical throughout the session, until the end of the session when the problem had completely gone away. I was really surprised and completely pleased! Would definitely recommend.

by: Wonder Wife!

A sticky end to nail biting

We found a low cost and easy solution to helping our daughter stop her nail biting habit. We used good quality sticking plasters and stuck them to the ends of each finger, cutting to fit where needed. It's best to use a 'good' brand like Band Aid, which will stay on for a while. These days, Kinesiology tape would probably be my go-to, as I think it sticks best (when heat activated). Sometimes I would paint the bitter tasting polish over the top of the sticking plaster as a reminder if her fingers got to her mouth. She was motivated to stop, and we promised she could have nice nail polish on when her nails grew out, so there was a carrot as well!

by: Tania B