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My friend reckons you can fix pretty much anything with soy sauce or lemon juice. At first I thought he was quite possibly mad. Many times I would watch aghast as he liberally squeezed fresh lemon into all kinds of dishes I would never have dreamed of shaking one anywhere near! But the thing was, every time he added lemon to something, it turned out good. Better than good; in fact quite often sensational. And as I’ve watched him cook more and more I’ve had to admit to myself that he’s not mad after all; he just ‘gets’ food. As in, he understands its many different flavours and knows exactly what a dish needs to improve it. Eight times out of ten, it’s soy sauce or lemon; the other two it might be sweet chilli sauce or curry paste – but he always gets it right and these days I also find myself shaking the soy sauce bottle over many a saucepan or bowl and running out to the garden to pick a lemon! I have been so grateful for this knowledge over the past 12 months when both money and food have been particularly tight. No matter how little food I have had or how plain, I have learned how to make it taste special, even fantastic, with these few things. Sometimes all you need is one simple tip passed on from one person to another, to make a huge difference.
And it is tips like this and many thousands more I have learned from Simple Savings which have helped me through the toughest year of my life both financially and personally. This wonderful site and community has been my lifeline for almost ten years now – but never more so than this last year. I honestly can’t imagine what life would be like for the boys and I now without all the knowledge, skills, tips and recipes I have gained from the Vault and Forum over the years. The bank balance may not show it yet, but I feel our lives are extremely rich.
I wanted to be able to give something back as a thank you for all the support, advice and encouragement I have received from members during my first year as a solo mum. The following is a collection of recipes which have helped get me through meal times on many an occasion. Most of them I’ve had for years, some even since I was a small child but it’s only really now they are coming into their own and I am thankful for every one of them. Some are completely made up and I’m not sure if I’m doing you a favour by inflicting them on you but if you are brave enough to give them a go, please do, I would love to hear what you think! I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as my boys and I do but most of all, I hope that perhaps one day they may just help someone else the way they’ve helped me.
With much love and gratitude to you all,
Click the attachment below to download the recipe book.
Camping is one way you can get away for a family holiday without paying for expensive accommodation. Our tip sheet will show you how your family can enjoy a cheap getaway.
Alix Clark of Virgin Blue's Inflight magazine, Voyeur is a long time Simple Saver and wrote this great article about us. Thank you Alix :-)
Here is the story the Good Weekend magazine did on the Lippey family and Simple Savings.
I love these labels because they have trained my children into putting away their own clothes. Even tiny Tristan puts his clothes away. I put a label on the front of the drawer and another inside the drawer. This way, even when the drawer is empty he can still follow the system!
Think twice before buying expensive cleaners. There are tips for buying in bulk, home-made recipes, and general cleaning tips for the entire house!
Can you feed YOUR family for a whole week with just $21? The Survival Guide contains tips and recipes to help you beat the $21 Challenge.
Use the Purchasing Planner to resist impulse spending. To find out how it works, check out the December Newsletter.
I love buying them! I love giving them! I love wearing them! I love my kids wearing them!
Then I found I can make funny affordable t-shirts with an inkjet printer, t-shirt transfers and an iron for $5-$10 per shirt.
And, so you can also make cool shirts. We have made you printable transfers to download.
You can find full instructions here on how to use these.
Click on the image to go to the shirt.
If you would like to learn more about how to make your own shirts. Click here
Paying your bills promptly will help you avoid late fees and interest charges. We can show you how to keep your finances in good order with simple steps and equipment. You don't need fancy supplies, spreadsheets or costly pre-programmed packages. With the help of a few standard office supplies, you can have your bill payment system ready to go.
If your bills and receipts are not kept organised, you will end up with unnecessary late fees, or end up paying some bills twice and forgetting to pay others, only finding out about it when the debt collector is at your door.
We can show you how to see at a glance what bills have been paid and what you have left to pay. It is simple and only takes about two minutes each time you receive a bill!
Note: You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read these files. It is a free program and you can download it from: here
If you are having trouble downloading the PDF files, try right-clicking and selecting 'Save link as...', saving it to your Desktop then opening it from the Desktop.
Gather equipment required:
1 x ring binder (we find these work best)
3 x clear document protectors (optional)
15 x pocket dividers.
Next, download and print these forms:
Monthly Bill Summary (265 kb)
Use this to list your bills in the order in which they need to be paid each month. This sheet will help you quickly identify which bills have been paid and which are still to be paid. You will need one of these per month.
Pay Day Planner (75 kb)
This helps you sort your bills out by pay day so you have approximately the same amount of money coming out on each pay day. You will need one of these per month.
Bill Planner (297 kb)
The Bill Planner is a quick and easy way to keep track of when you paid your bills and how much. This form covers a six month period. When this period is over and you total your bills, you will be able to see how much everything is costing you. You will also be able to see how your bills vary from month to month so you can plan ahead for next year.
Place your dividers into your ring binder. Label the first divider Bills to be Paid. Then label the rest of the dividers with the names of your bills, for example:
- Rent/House payment
- Credit Card
- ...(and so on)
Continue this until you have a divider for each bill. If you don't have enough dividers, you can combine similar bills, such as all utilities, car payments or credit cards.
Place your Monthly Bill Summary, Pay Day Planner and Bill Planner in individual clear document protectors (optional) and place at the front of your folder. The Monthly Bill Summary should be the first form you see when you open your binder.
Gather all of your bill statements and place them in the pocket divider labelled 'Bills To Be Paid'. This is where all the bills are to be placed when you receive them. Write your bills in your Monthly Bill Summary sheets as you receive them. It should only take two minutes of your time.
On pay day, look at your Pay Day Planner to determine which bills need to be paid from the current pay day and the next. Write out your cheques for these bills and get them ready to mail, pay via Internet banking or whatever your preferred method of payment may be.
Once paid, file all statements in the pocket divider corresponding to that bill.
On the last day of the month, complete the Bill Planner form, so you can keep track of your monthly expenses over a six month period. Print out a new Monthy Bill Summary and Pay Day Planner for the new month.
Here are the chocolate sauce labels referred to in the December 2015 newsletter.
Detailed views are further down the page, along with the recipe.
First, the PDFs for you to download:
...and here is the full article from the newsletter, with the recipe at the end:
For years I have watched to see which gifts people enjoy the most. These gifts are the ones that appeal to the heart, the mind and/or the senses. They are often:-
- gifts that are hand-made
- gifts that make them laugh or smile
- gifts that taste good.
If you can find a gift that does all three things, then you have a hit! So I've combined all three to make the ultimate frugal gift to use for Christmas and birthday gifts. It is a killer chocolate sauce recipe, stored in easy to buy jars with a great selection of labels to match your friends' tastes.
We have had a ball making the labels and we uploaded them so you can do it too.
First I'll show you all the labels up close and then the all-important recipe.
We have 'Troll blood' for your friends who find internet trolls really frustrating.
For teachers and coaches with a wicked sense of humour, we have 'Essence of Revenge'!
For the friend who likes things simple, we have some basic Christmas labels.
For friends who like coffee, we have altered the recipe (see below), offering to blow their heads off!
Or, help them concentrate :-)
For your friends who love chocolate. We have..
Here is the recipe (and all important labels) to make two delicious jars of 'Troll Blood' (or whatever else you'd like to call it!) to give to loved ones and others who share your dislike for trolls!
Makes 2 x 1 litre jars
- 2 x 1 litre jars ($6)
- 1 box (380g) cocoa ($4)
- 2kg sugar ($2)
- Vanilla essence
Print out chosen labels
- 2kg sugar
- Box of cocoa (380g)
- 1 litre water (or coffee)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbs vanilla essence
Put sugar and cocoa in a really big stock pot. Stir together to remove all the lumps from the cocoa. Add liquid (water or coffee) and salt. Turn stove to high and stir continually. When it is boiling, turn heat to medium. Keep stirring and watching. If it gets too hot it will bubble over. Let syrup simmer until it thickens, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla essence.
Pour into two jars. When cooled add your labels.
And now you have two awe-inspiring, home-made gifts for a tiny $6 each! It is the ultimate frugal gift.
We have prepared a free tip sheet on freezing all kinds of foods, including a quick reference 'shelf life' guide and some great tips from the Vault.
You can give fantastic and cheap gifts to your friends by making them yourself. Here are a couple of great ideas to get you started.
There are two reasons small children are messy. 1) You haven't taught them how to be clean, and 2) They don't know where the toys live.
We have created these labels to help you to teach your child to clean up their toys, as well as teaching your child to read, and building their self esteem and penmanship.
To teach your child how to put their toys away, print out these labels and help your child to colour them in. Then cut out the labels and attach them to the front of the drawer/shelf where you would like your child to store their toys.
Now help your child to put their things away by turning it into a game: Pick up one toy, ask your child, "What is this toy?" and then "Where does it live?" When they point to the correct spot on the shelf, clap and cheer. When they put the toy away clap and cheer even louder. Pretty soon your kids will learn where every toy goes and - more importantly - that putting away their toys makes Mummy very, very happy.
To help you lower your food bills we created a stylish menu planner and ingredients list to inspire you and help you avoid impulse buys. I hope it helps you guard your wallet and save even more money on food!
A great way to lower your power bill is to keep track of how much power you are using each week. This way you will be able to see your progress and find out which minor changes in your habits gave you the biggest power savings.
The Simple Savings 2019 Calendar is here!
It's free to download, so you can print it at your leisure. We really hope you like it.
We want 2019 to be a happy, healthy and wealthy year. To help make this happen we have set monthly challenges for you to follow.
You can download the
2019 calendar here (1.3Mb)
Note: You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read these files. It is a free program and you can download it from: here
If you are having trouble downloading the PDF file, try right-clicking and selecting 'Save link as...', saving it to your Desktop then opening it from the Desktop.
To help you enjoy more time at the table we have put together some game ideas, conversation starters and knock-knock jokes.