"Secrets to Saving Money in Australia" Free Newsletter - October 2003

This issue includes:-

  1. Saving money with good food
  2. Basic steps for lowering your debt
  3. Bulk cleaning products equal enormous discounts
  4. Saving story - Reduced insurance by $3,000 in one year
  5. Help needed - Tips for Albury/Wodonga area and budget exfoliating scrub
  6. Simple Savings recommends www.lottos.com.au
  7. From September's Newsletter - Tears Natural, Gold Coast Accommodation and Dogs in the Garden
  8. Corrections and additions: Rainchecks
  9. How to change your email address or unsubscribe


Guess what? There are now over 20,000 people subscribing to this newsletter. Wow! And, we have some extra special news. Matt and I are expecting another baby. He/she is due early May next year.

Twenty thousand is a lot of people. It is really nice being able to inspire people to become smarter shoppers and clever consumers. I judge our results by the emails we receive. Here are some from this month:

"I love your website - it's so good to have one website packed with great savings tips from other people. I have utilised many of the ideas and it has saved me $$, which I'm putting aside in the bank. We are currently trying for a baby, and I'm looking into working from home in the next few years if possible instead of working for someone else. So thanks again for designing such a great website. It really is appreciated!" Kathlene Jade Sheen

"Great idea, and superb tips. I was especially fond of the Father's Day ideas." Kris Rhodes

"I am 53 years old and worked full time for 30 of those years. (Unfortunately I no longer do paid work due to my health.) What have I got to show for it? Certainly nothing in the bank! Thank you for your savings site and newsletters. I am now very vigilant about spending and always save where I can. I only wish that I'd had something like this years ago. Still, never too late as they say." Pat Murphy

Making a difference in people's lives is a great feeling.

Many grins


PS. Would you like 15 minutes of fame?

When TV, radio and newspapers call us looking for someone to interview, we search through the '15-minute' responses and all the hints you have donated looking for the right person to match the reporter's story. Everything happens very quickly. If you would like to be in the news go to /15minutes/ so we have all your important details. Then go to /donatehints/ and enter your best hints.

1. Saving money with good food

These hints and recipes come from Shane O'Donnell. You may remember her from our previous newsletters. Shane lowered her debt by $30,000 in one year. (Her full story detailing how she did it is in the Savings Stories section of the Vault.) Shane did several things to reduce her bills. One was changing her eating habits. Here are some of her recipes and eating tips.

Portion control

One secret to saving money with food is to change your portion sizes. We can inhale a huge amount of food at one sitting but in reality if we ate a smaller portion we would feel just as full 20 minutes later. Knowing this, you will find that most people, if offered dessert 20 minutes after even a small meal, will feel too full to eat it.

So, instead of using large dinner plates and filling them to overflowing, why not try the commercial trick and supply breakfast-sized plates (halfway between bread and butter and dinner plates). Hungry people feel full faster if they have cleaned a plate (regardless of size) and 'seconds' (unless they are competitive) may not be necessary.

Mixed cordial in the fridge

There are always two large made-up bottles of lemon cordial in my fridge and I keep fizzy drinks for times when I am expecting guests. I put bottles or cans in an hour before their arrival. If it is not normally there I don't drink it.

For a glass of healthy water-based drink it costs 10 cents, compared with $1 for an unhealthy sugar-based drink. You do the math. One drink per day is $328.50 saved in a year.

Takeaway substitutes

Shane is self employed and works 10 hours a day, 7 days a week, so she cooks the recipes below in bulk and freezes them in individual portions. They work out at about $2 per meal.

Here are three of Shane's recipes. The rest are in the cooking section of the Savings Vault.

Shane's Meatloaf

Serves 10 main meals

This was the basis of the two most popular dishes in a bistro I had years ago. I used to sell at least 30 a day to the same people.


500 g minced beef (hamburger is fine)
500 g sausage mince
3 large carrots, grated
1 large onion, chopped in processor
1 egg
6 slices of bread, processed to crumbs


1 Mix all ingredients together well and form into a loaf.
2 Spray baking dish and cooling rack with oil to prevent sticking.
3 Place meatloaf on the cooling rack in baking dish.
4 Bake in moderate oven until golden to dark brown.
5 Cut into 10 for main meals or slice thinly for sandwiches.
6 Freeze slices in serving portions.
7 Serve with tomato sauce - commercial or home made.


Use fresh breadcrumbs only.
Almost blend the onion to create moisture.


Tons of fat will come out during cooking so prick the top and sides halfway through to encourage release of the fat.

Don't leave it in the fridge or it will be eaten cold - yum! The smell is terrific!

Tomato Sauce

Makes 10-12 individual portions


2 bulk buckets of tomatoes ($1.60 each)
1 large onion
Salt and pepper to taste
Original chilli sauce (I like about a tablespoon but you might prefer more or less)


1 Roughly chop the tomatoes.
2 Finely chop the onion.
3 Throw all ingredients into a pot and bring to the boil.
4 Simmer uncovered until the tomatoes break down completely and the liquid is reduced so that the sauce is thick.
5 Cool and spoon into plastic freezer containers suitable for one meal.

Vegetable Lasagna (low fat)

Serves 8


4 slices Lavosh bread
1 large onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
4 sticks celery, diced
440 g cooked tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Salt and pepper
100 g grated cheese
Add 200 g cooked mince (I grill it and break it up) or a can of tuna to vegetable mixture if you really need meat.

Cheese Sauce

240 g low fat cottage cheese
2 cups milk
2 eggs


1 Microwave onion, carrots and celery for 4 minutes. Mash tomatoes.
2 Mix vegetables and spices together.
3 Line a large baking dish with 2 slices of Lavosh. Layer half the vegetables on top and cover with a layer of Cheese Sauce.
4 Place the other 2 slices of Lavosh on top and layer with the rest of the vegetables and the Cheese Sauce.
5 Sprinkle cheese on top.
6 Cook in a 180°C oven until golden brown and a bit dry.
7 Cool completely. Cut into portions and freeze.
8 Microwave to heat, making sure it is really hot all the way though.

If you ever meet Shane O'Donnell please thank her for generously sharing all her secrets with us. Shane has shared about 12 of the recipes she uses to avoid buying takeaway. They are stored in the cooking section of the Vault.

To order membership to the vault go to: /order/

2. Basic steps for lowering your debt

In the last couple of weeks several members have written in asking for help in reducing their debt. It is a big issue. So we have started a debt reduction section in the Savings Vault. Here are a few tips to get you started.

If in doubt, go without

When shopping, listen for your internal 'um...'. If you pause or hesitate, then you are not sure about buying an item and you don't need it. You can do without it. Keep the money in your wallet till you get home and then put it in a special envelope for repaying your debt. Once the money is in the envelope and put away, reward yourself with a cup of tea, a chocolate or some homemade cake. You deserve it.

Remember, you have to pay it off eventually

People often forget that they have to give borrowed money back and that the longer they leave it the more money it will cost them. So set yourself some goals today and write a plan of how you are going to pay off all your debts as quickly as possible.

Earn more or spend less?

You need more spare cash to repay your debts faster? Then, to get that money you have to earn more and/or spend less. Stop right here and think about what is right for you. How are you going to earn more money? How much time is involved and what effect will it have on your lifestyle and family? How can you reduce your spending? Which option is easier? Decide... and then go for it. The sooner you act the quicker your situation will improve.

More tips, inspirational stories and advice needed

A lot of people are battling very high debts and interests rates will go up eventually. We would like to do everything we can to help people gain control before it is too late. So if you have any tips, inspirational stories or advice for fellow Aussies to lower their debt or avoid getting into debt please go to the donate hints page:


It is your chance to help people before they get into real trouble.

3. Bulk cleaning products equal enormous discounts

The cleaning section in the Vault continues to grow from week to week (there are now 143 hints). Here are some of my favourite tips.

To order membership to the vault go to: /order/

WIK factory direct outlets

We made a great find this month - WIK factory direct outlets for bulk cleaning supplies. They sell high quality, commercial grade cleaning products at a fraction of the supermarket prices. The prices are in fact fantastic. WIK Industries supply detergent to 80 per cent of all dry cleaners in Victoria and are owned by the same people as Cedel, so the quality is excellent.

Here are some examples of their prices:
5 kg Super Blue Detergent Powder $9.90
5 litres Hospital Grade Disinfectant $6.60
5 litres Liquid Hand Soap $8.80

Below is a list of their locations:

Queensland Cairns

Victoria Laverton North (Melbourne), Mildura, Richmond, Newcombe (Geelong), Brighton East, Hughesdale (Melbourne), Watsonia, Bendigo, Yarram, Hawthorn East, Clayton, Dimboola, Reservoir, Hoppers Crossing

New South Wales Rosewood, Kiama, Oak Flats, Broken Hill

For more info go to:


Bunnings Warehouse

Bunnings Warehouses (the huge ones) sell a large range of bulk cleaning products in all their Australian stores. Here is an example of some of their prices:

5 litres Glitz Hand and Body Wash $18.19
5 litres Glitz Spray and Wipe $15.45
4 kg Dampsorb $17.12

For more information, call your nearest Bunnings Warehouse (number in the White Pages).

Bulk detergent from Big W & KMART

I used to buy washing detergent and dishwasher tablets from my local supermarket until I discovered I could buy them in bulk from Big W or KMART. A 5-litre container of Cold Power is between $12.95 and $15.00 ($3 per litre). In comparison I was spending $6 on 1.5 litres ($4 per litre) at the supermarket. Also, a pack of 38 dishwashing tablets costs around $9 from Big W (23 cents per tablet). I used to pay $6 for 20 tablets (30 cents per tablet). Because I wash every day, I now save around $24 every three months or $96 a year on these two items alone!

Contributed by: Loretta Caunt

Laundry and kitchen detergent at Big W

I find that the 'cleaning' section of Big W is much cheaper than the supermarket section. For example, I priced 2 kilograms of Cold Power Advanced at Big W at $6.23 and at Woolworths it was $8.49. I saw 1.25 litres of Morning Fresh at Big W for $5.68 and 1 litre at Woolworths for $5.93. Washing powder and dishwasher powder can also be purchased in bulk at a really good price.

Contributed by: Rebecca Jenkin

Spend only $16 a year on dishwashing liquid

I purchased a 25-litre container of dishwashing liquid from a local 'buy in bulk' supplier who sells direct to the public. The 25-litre container cost $16 and so far it has lasted me six months; as I am halfway through, I think it should last for 12 months! The quality of the liquid is superior to any 'cheap' brand I have tried and, at 64 cents a litre, the detergent is cheaper than the no-name brands. Store the container in your garage or laundry and refill your old detergent bottle if it has a screw-off top.

If you buy it in bulk, dishwashing liquid is one less thing to add to your grocery list.

The 'buy in bulk' suppliers also sell good-quality bulk toilet paper, nappies, laundry detergent, kitchen sponges, and so on. They are definitely worth a visit.

Contributed by: Claudia Ferrieri

We are looking for bulk distributors

There are stores selling high-quality bulk cleaning products hidden all over Australia. If you know any in your area please send us their name, address and telephone number through the donate hints page so we can share them with other people in your area. Go to:


4. Saving Story: Reduced insurance by $3000 in one year

When it came around to getting insurance for the contents and the car, we simply went with what other people had recommended - normally a great way of doing things. However, it wasn't until we realised we were paying combined insurance of over $4,000 a year for a relatively small amount of contents and a 1987 car that we decided there had to be a better way! So we began to shop around.

First, I prepared a list of everything in the house that I wanted insured - that way you know exactly how much you want cover for, rather than guessing! With your car also, make sure that you have all the info - model number, year, engine type, extras, safety features. The more specific you can be, the better - and the cheaper.

Finally, if you're in the market for more than one kind of insurance, do deals! Most companies will give you a combined rate if you move everything into their insurance package.


Back to our story... We went from paying over $4,000 a year to paying just under $1,000 a year by combining the contents and the car, as well as taking up road side assistance. Sure, it cost me a bit in phone calls, but for a $3,000 saving for the year! I was certainly the winner in the end.

Contributed by: Joni Edson

There are now 44 inspirational saving stories in the vault. To read them go to:


5. Help needed

Exfoliating Scrub

Marlene Warena "would like to know how to make homemade exfoliating cream as it can be extremely expensive." If you have any recipes or budget solutions for exfoliating cream please go to:


Hints for Albury/Wodonga area

Rosemary Grose needs help saving money on food items, furniture, free council plants/mulch, etc. in Albury - the north-east region. If you know any great hints specific to Albury/Wodonga, can you please go to:


6. Simple Savings recommends www.lottos.com.au

The fantastic website www.lottos.com.au was added to our "Simple Savings Recommends" program this month.

This site is a brilliant resource for competitions and freebies. All the information is stored in a free forum where people discuss the latest competitions available, their winnings and online freebies. There are over 1,000 competitions listed, ranging from basic CDs and movie passes to cars and houses! Recent freebies have included sample children's toys, 8MB USB disc drives and $5 lotto entries!

If you would like more information about the 'Simple Savings Recommends' program, go to:


7. From September's newsletter - Tears Natural, Gold Coast Accommodation and Dogs in the Garden

Here are some of the responses from last month's help requests. The rest are in the discussion forum in the Vault. In total there were about 140 responses. So there are a few too many to include all of them in this newsletter!

Tears Natural

Last month we were asked if anyone knew a home-made recipe for 'Tears Natural'. The responses are stored in the forum in the Savings Vault. Here is a solution and a warning.

Alternative to Tears Natural

I work for an optometrist who recommends a natural alternative that is free! Try placing a warm washcloth over your eyes for five minutes a day. This stimulates your natural tear ducts and can reduce the symptoms of dry eyes.

Contributed by: Carmel McAndrew

Caution: Homemade Tears Nautral

I am speaking as a pharmacist when I say do NOT attempt to make your own version of Tears Natural or any other eye drops for that matter. Eye drops are sterilised when manufactured and, once opened, given a short expiry date to minimise the chance of eye infection. You cannot reproduce sterile manufacturing conditions in your own home. Using homemade eye drops could result in a potentially serious eye infection.

Contributed by: Jane Smith

Gold Coast Accommodation

Tanya Gavin was looking for budget accommodation on the Gold Coast. There were about 50 responses in total all stored in the Savings Vault forum. Here are two places recommended twice by different members.

Ashmore Palms Holiday Village

We stayed at Ashmore Palms Holiday Village (visit www.ashmorepalms.com.au). Off peak 7 nights in a family villa is really cheap. However, if you're a member of an automobile association, e.g. NRMA, they do really good rates during peak periods for 4 nights minimum.

The cabin style accommodation allows you to self-cater (supermarket is walking distance). They have a pool, playground, tennis court, rainforest walk, holiday activities for kids and beautiful macaws. I thoroughly recommend it.

Also, there is unlimited entry to theme parks prior to 30 September. The Three Park Super Pass, and even individual entry, is cheaper purchased prior to your holiday, again through NRMA, RACV, etc. Other attractions and shuttle bus tickets are also much cheaper purchased in this way.

Ashmore Palms has a sister village in Brisbane - Brisbane Holiday Village - which is one hour from Noosa and 50 minutes from the Gold Coast. Next time we visit relatives, we're going to give it a try.

Contributed by: Kate Easdown

Big Chief Burgers

One of the best 'value for money' feeds on the Gold Coast is at Big Chief Burgers, 1718 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads. They offer a range of fish and burger deals. Their food is superior to Maccas, KFC, etc.

Contributed by: Bob Baker

How to stop large dogs destroying your garden

During the month Lisa asked for help protecting her garden from her two very large dogs and the responses were fantastic. Everyone really chipped in to help. It was wonderful. All the responses are on the forum in the vault.

Build him a run

What we did with our dog was to build him what we call a run. We strung cable from one tree to another (you could hammer two posts into the ground if you don't have trees), then put a long dog chain on it so that he (Jadi) could still have exercise, shade and water. We let him off for a while when we are out in the garden and walk him at least every second day.

Contributed by: Janelle

Most dogs avoid their own poo

When playing with the dog in the backyard, I realised that she wouldn't fetch the ball if it landed somewhere near where she had done a poo and it occurred to me that she didn't like the smell of her own poo. So now when I pick up her poos, I break them up a little and throw them around the parts of the garden where I particularly don't want her to go. It works like a charm and it's a good fertiliser for the garden too!

Contributed by: Sacha Millar

Dogs hate the smell of white pepper

I used this for our dog and it worked - but you need to put down a fair bit of pepper! As dogs are always running around with their noses to the ground, they sniff the pepper and go away. If you find that after a while the dog comes back, use it again. It's available from the supermarket and won't harm the environment or your dog.

Contributed by: Elizabeth Fraser

8. Corrections and additions: Rainchecks

Since Thursday's "Hint of the Week" newsletter we have discovered:-

  • Safeway and Woolworths are very similar in many ways but Safeway do rainchecks and Woolworths do not.
  • BiLo also do rainchecks
  • Some IGA's do rainchecks and others don't so you are best to ask
  • Franklins do rainchecks

Thank you everyone for your feedback. It was really appreciated.

9. How to Change Your Email Address or Unsubscribe

To unsubscribe or alter your subscription, send a blank email to this address

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© 2003 AL Consulting Pty Ltd. This publication may be freely redistributed if copied in its entirety. Portions of this newsletter may be reprinted with written permission.