- This Month's Challenge: Know Your Area
- Setting Yourself Some Challenges
- May Competition Winners: Isolation Tips
- Hints: Doing Things For Ourselves During COVID
- New Competition: Win $50 Cooks Challenge
How are you going? I hope you are well. We usually start this newsletter with something perky. But as this year wears on it feels like perkiness is 'inappropriate'. Even though the first wave of Covid has been and Australia's death rate was low, other countries are going through hell. Many people are still in immense pain and I'm finding it hard to know how to react or what to put in this newsletter.
But last weekend we went to a restaurant where the owner chirpily greeted us with an enormous smile, a cheery voice and asked, "How was your Covid holiday?". He was super perky, and he made me realise something very important: Smiles are contagious and now is the time to be perky.
That is why in this newsletter we are going to smile, be grateful and do our best to help others have a great life. For this month that means learning the best suppliers in your area, enjoy some great tips and start a new competition.
It is going to be fun.
PS. In case you missed it last month, The $21 Challenge ebook is now on Amazon.
'Knowing the shops' in your area has always been a fantastic way to save time and money. But with the craziness of the last few months, we found it is also a really good way to buy supplies when mainstream shops are bare.
While the places most people shop were running out food and goods there was plenty elsewhere. Here are some examples:-
- When the Woollies shelves were empty of rice, the Indian Supermarket shelves were loaded with rice.
- When Woolies was running out of fruit and vegetables, the shelves in our local fruit shop were full.
- When it was virtually impossible to find toilet paper and there was none at the busy Aldi, the quiet Aldi 10 mins away had toilet paper most mornings.
- When Coles were out of eggs, the fruit shop always had eggs.
- When Woolies was out of mince, the bulk butcher still had plenty and continued selling in bulk.
- When Woolies limited the amount of tomato purchases to two jars, the roadside produce store was selling tomato passata by the crate.
Hopefully, the Covid craziness has been and gone and all the shops will be restocked soon. But, just in case, we have written you a list to help you discover the best places to shop near your home.
The best way to learn your area is to do so one challenge at a time. Below is a list of challenges to help you learn more about the products in your area. What we would like you to do is to read through the challenges and then choose five challenges to tackle this month.
Your challenges don't have to come from this list. Nor do you have to stop at five. This challenges are just the beginning:-
- Investigate seasonal boxes delivered from local producers
- Check out local farmers markets
- Make a list of all the fruit shops near you and visit all of them
- Stop at road side stalls
- Swap produce and/or services with friends
- List and visit your local butchers
- Ask about buying in bulk
- Check out the specials patterns of butchers in your area
- Investigate chest freezers
- Investigate farm gate and/or abattoir sales
- Buy shares in a beast
- Find the freshest and best tasting bakery near you
- Source a factory outlet where you can buy baked goods
- Find the best value bread for your budget
- Hunt down all the places that sell toiletries in your area.
- Check out the value and range of toiletries sold in your area.
- Investigate ingredients to make your own toiletries
- Track down all the places that sell cleaning products
- Compare value of goods
- Find the cheapest service station in your area
- Find the best value service station in your area
- Investigate petrol discounts. Are they economical?
- Investigate fuel price apps
- Work out which stores stock which type of clothes. For example, Target for clothes/bras, Big W for shoes, Kmart for basics
- Make calendar of clothing sales
- Make calendar of product arrivals
- Quiet chain stores have the best discounts. Find the quietest stores in your region.
- Find a source of good local deals.
- Find the best places to buy your food.
- Scout out the best places to shop.
- Evaluate grocery stores in your area. (What sort of goods do they stock? How are they different from other stores? What are their prices like? Are they busy?)
- Find a local Facebook group where you can ask about products in your area
Now it is time to write yourself five challenges.
Once you have chosen your challenges and made your plans it is time to start taking action and knock each challenge off your list one challenge at a time.
As you work your way through your challenges, we would love to hear about your progress. Your successes inspire us to work harder and give more.
Last month Simple Savers sent in some great tips for thriving during Covid19. The best were sent in by Sonja W and Kerry S. Sonja and Kerry each won $50.
Over the last few months of avoiding everything except work and grocery shopping, I have smashed through all those things that we always put off until later. Here's some of my favourites:
- Get all those little sewing projects done, and save a bunch long term! Unpaper towels, family cloth, hankies, napkins, face wipes, cleaning cloths (I used an old flannelette sheet for most of these, just changed the thread colour so I have a code).
- Say goodbye to your mending pile, and do it all now. Darn those socks, sew those buttons, repair those holes (check out visible mending or easy embroidery techniques).
- Be a little crafty and organise those drawers and cupboards. You can do all sorts with cereal boxes and ice cream containers.
- Got some birthdays coming up? Check out book folding for a personalised, cheap gift.
- And of course, do all that spring cleaning. My go to all purpose cleaner is now equal parts vinegar and water, with a tablespoon of dishwashing liquid in a spray bottle. Yeah it smells for a bit, but does the job for a fraction of the price!
Besides staying home as much as possible, the best way to cope and thrive with COVID-19 (in the relative comfort of your own home, food etc) is to do an audit of what is actually already in your house. We were surprised at how much soap (of all things) we owned (in pretty shapes etc were under the bathroom sink). Squashing the toilet roll before putting it on the holder is a good visual reminder to use less.
The potential for many meals in the pantry. Thinking laterally - outside the square, all the cliches. Creating a new mindset - we even found some essential oils we got for Christmas that we had put aside - good for cleaning and refreshing the house.
I lent my $21 Challenge book to a friend to help her and her family. Sharing advice and being willing to receive advice can help us all, at any time.
Sometimes I forget how clever Simple Savers and our lifestyle is. But, then I read your fantastic tips in the Vault and it reminds me that the cheapest way is often the smartest way. Thank you for sharing your tips with us.
Make a romantic date in the comfort of your own backyard! Set up the area with a canopy or similar, for example, a piece of material tied from tree to tree. Take your coffee table outside and decorate it with candles. Scatter large cushions around or take your lounge cushions out. Make your own food or order it if you don't know how to cook!
Take your date outside, maybe place some flower petals for them to follow to make it more interesting. Pour them their favourite drink and then bring out food and feed it to them!
Here are a few tips for gluten-free living.
First of all, grow your own food as much as possible. You'll not only be enjoying fresh, tasty produce, but you'll also be saving money which can be used to buy more expensive products that are gluten-free. Even a flat balcony can be used to grow veggies in pots!
Look at shopping online, but remember to factor in postage. Also, see if you can bulk-buy with other families with the same condition. You can even start a support group by posting a notice up at the local clinics, supermarkets and health food shops.
Finally, make your own food if you can. Bake your own bread, cakes and other delights. It's much cheaper! I recently enjoyed chocolate zucchini cupcakes made by a friend of mine with allergies. They were delicious!
A simple and effective way to keep kids occupied is to drive to another suburb. Ensure it is not more than about 30 minutes away and take a picnic lunch. Find a really nice park with a fence. Have a picnic lunch and a play and then come home. It can take up most of the day and they feel like they have been somewhere fresh and different. A very cheap day out.
I whipped up a beautiful Lebanese feast for my daughter's birthday while barely spending a cent! I wrote up the menu and realised I could use up a lot of ingredients from my pantry, fridge and garden rather than buying everything. A quick stocktake showed I already had yoghurt, lentils, rice, two packets of falafel mix, beetroot, pumpkin, eggplant, Lebanese bread, parsley, silverbeet and mint, filo pastry, mince, lettuce, burghul, chickpeas, pita chips and lemons to make my daughter's favourite Lemon Syrup cake. I was able to create an impressive and delicious meal to remember almost entirely from ingredients I already had on hand! All these years of gathering tips and ideas from Simple Savings has really paid off for me!
As a very social person who loves to go out, saving money has meant making some changes to the way I socialise. I've long been a fan of entertaining at home, but I also love to catch up with friends at a restaurant for lunch. This usually costs around $20 each time, but what can you do? A girl's gotta see her friends during the week!
Solution? Picnic lunch! Instead of going to a cafe or restaurant, my friends and I each bring one food item, get together on the waterfront or in the botanical gardens, and have a fantastic lunch date. Same cost as brown bagging it, and you still get great food and socialising.
Our family lives by my 'fish and chip philosophy' which helps us put our spending priorities into perspective.
Whenever anyone in our family wants to buy something, we check if it's on special and then think about whether or not we really need it. To help us decide, I point out how the money spent on this item could be put toward fish and chips at the beach. We only have fish and chips occasionally, but it puts a concrete thought in our minds about how the money could be spent - on something frivolous now, or saved up and spent on a special treat for the whole family to enjoy.
Also, if someone comes home with something that they could possibly do without, I ask - 'how many fish and chips would that have bought?' This reinforces the point about being careful with money, without having to give a lecture about it!
We think everyone did really well over the past few weeks, discovering that we CAN all cook. What different things did you try to master? Please do write in and tell us or show us!
The two best entries will win $50 each. Submit your entries here by July 2nd.
I hope you enjoyed this newsletter and if you know someone you think could do with a Vault membership, encourage them to apply to our Leg-up Program.
If you have anything you would like to say or ask us please write to firstname.lastname@example.org
All the best,