Recent Hints & Tips

Full access to the Vault of Hints is for members only, but here's a taste! Hints are contributed by both staff and members.

Creative Christmas Wrapping
0 comment
updated 1 min ago
Get creative with wrapping presents and save on paper. I have used tea towels (in football team colours), microfibre cloths and hand towels. I also like plastic food containers (bought on special during the year) or even an esky with present inside. I tie the gift with string or ribbon and add decorations like gum leaves or just simply add a bow. Family and friends love their extra wrapping present that can be used for the whole year.
New Releases at the Library
1 comment
updated 8 min ago
Before paying to rent or buy new release movies/books, check with your local library. There are many new release movies and books that never make it to the shelf as people reserve them. Reserve your copy and keep up to date without paying a thing.
Chopped Onions
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updated 13 min ago
My hubby bought me a food processor to make my cooking life easier. We enjoy a healthy life style with lots of regular cooking at home. My favourite use for the processor is chopping onions. I freeze about 1 cup of onion in zip lock bags. I flatten the bag so I can break bits off if I only need a little bit. This saves me time, money and energy!
Free Food - Yummy Veg
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updated 14 min ago
I grow lots of yummy veges at home and have discovered the amazing concept of food being 'free'. I give new life to supermarket bought veg by replanting the root from things like spring onions, lettuce and celery. I also save seeds and grow cucumbers, pumpkins and awesome tomatoes. Local seed swapping groups and gardening groups (check Facebook) are another way I supplement my free food!
Rubber Spatulas
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updated 17 min ago
Rubber spatulas help me not waste food and make washing up easy. I was making a tray of cupcakes and the last one needed more batter. I scraped around the bowl and easily filled the last paper cup!
Pocket Money
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updated 18 min ago
My 18 year old daughter just bought her first car for $4500 with pocket money she saved from age 8. Initially I started paying her $20 a month for things like making her bed and helping with dishes. The money was deposited straight into a bank account - she loved watching the balance build and didn't like withdrawing any money. What a result with money she had not frittered away.
Salmon Fish Tails
0 comment
updated 18 min ago
I have discovered Salmon Fish Tails for only $12.99kg at our local fish market. Our family loves salmon and it's so good for you, but is so expensive. The fish tails are little triangles that have the skin on and are boneless. I freeze them in portions and pop them in the microwave on high for 1 minute. I finish them off with a quick fry in oil on the stove top and in about 5 minutes you have delicious fish and time for a quick salad ready for the dinner table.
Super Fees Refund... easy!
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updated 19 min ago
I bought a subscription to Money Magazine hoping to gain some financial know how. One article was about saving money on your super or insurance fees. It said to contact, fill in a form and they would check to see if you could get any refunds. Refund Easy gets the fees back on my husbands super fund, keeps approx 50% and sends the rest to our bank account every quarter. It sounds too good to be true, but we get back about $240 yearly - much more than the magazine subscription of $49 a year. Great investment!
Make Your Own Dog Food
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updated 20 min ago
We spend 50c a day on dog food instead of $2 a day by making our own! We buy bulk pet mince from our butcher at $2/kg. We put 1/2kg of mince into a slow cooker along with all our dog friendly scraps and turn it into at least 2 days of dog food. All our veggie peels and plate scrapings are saved and frozen ready for the next cook. We thicken the mix with quick oats or rice or stale bread or pasta. Nothing is wasted, we're saving money, nothing is going to landfill AND the smell from food to fart is way more tolerable!
Perfume shared among friends
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updated 20 min ago
I ran out of perfume and asked a couple of close friends if they had any perfumes they didn't use and wanted to get rid of. I ended up with three bottles and I'm now set for the year and it didn't cost a cent! Scentsational!
Charcoal BBQ multiple meals
0 comment
updated 21 min ago
I bought a $60 charcoal BBQ grill for summer and once I fire it up, I cook for tonight and use all the extra heat to cook up meat for lunches and meals for the rest of the week. Uncooked meat buried in the bottom of the freezer, like chicken legs, hamburgers, hot dogs - now replaces takeaway with fun things like nachos.
Veg & Fruit saving
0 comment
updated 21 min ago
I am saving about $15 a week by buying just enough vegies and fruit to last me. I buy five carrots, five pieces of fruit etc and avoid having produce I will not use. I also leave it loose so I don't use plastic bags. I am cutting down on waste and saving money which goes into my piggy bank for something at a later date.
Take your time reading paperwork
updated 5 hr ago
Ploughing through the paperwork regarding my superannuation scheme is saving me $3.00 a week. It's a chore reading through all the paperwork that comes with your superannuation reports, but I recently found it is well worth it. I was being charged $3.00 a week for death/permanent disability insurance that could never be collected since one of the conditions is that they won't pay if you are covered by another superannuation or insurance. I cancelled this charge and now the $3.00 a week is going to my superannuation, not unclaimable insurance. That's saved me $156 a year for the rest of my working life!
Half price wrapping paper
updated Yesterday
You can easily save half the cost of wrapping paper by stocking up in the post Christmas sales. I choose things like stripes, dots or plain colours that I can use for birthday presents and other things throughout the year. One less thing to add to your shopping list!
'Click and collect' saves on impulse buys AND delivery
updated Yesterday
I have found that since I have been using 'click and collect' for my groceries at Countdown, I have been able to keep within budget with my food shopping. This option costs an extra $5 on top of the groceries but is well worth it as it saves me in so many ways, both with savings in the groceries and savings with my time. I just choose the time to collect it and it is ready when I get there, then straight back home. No more impulsive buys in the supermarket for me!
Free soap
updated Yesterday
I love soft soap, absolutely adore it, but it's expensive. I know a lot of people who use nothing else, so they give me all the soaps they are given as presents that they don't want and I never have to pay for soap. I have scads of the stuff in the cupboard and usually always get given more before I run out!
The secret to professionally cleaned windows
updated 13 Dec 2017
Today I saved at least $100 (and a lot of effort) by doing a 'professional clean' on my very dirty windows!

Clean, streak-free windows are pure delight to look through and also to allow sunlight in to warm the house. The average cost of having windows cleaned for a four-bedroom house is $140 to $240, but mine cost just $40 for the lot… inside and out!

I bought a fantastic Karcher window cleaning tool from Bunnings for $38. It came with a good sized cleaning head, a window squeegee and an extension pole. It's well-made and the heads were very easy to swap. I Googled tips on how to get a good professional DIY window clean and the answer was cold water Palmolive liquid. I followed the tips and for just under $40 I have gleaming, sparkling windows! I cleaned two sets of French doors, two glass doors and a set of windows all inside and out, in the time it took me to do a load of washing.

It was all achieved very easily, with no nasty chemical smells, no newsprint on my hands, no aching elbows, and no streaks or drips. I'm really pleased with my $38 investment and a bottle of detergent!
Tip for reusing baking paper
updated 13 Dec 2017
Baking paper can be quite expensive if you do a lot of baking so I reuse mine. After baking biscuits I shake off any excess crumbs and then fold the baking paper into quarters and pop it in the freezer. This way any fat or oil residue left on the paper doesn't go rank and it can be reused several times.
Our Christmas tree suits us to a 'tea!'
updated 12 Dec 2017
I found the perfect eco-friendly Christmas tree at the right price by thinking outside the square. I wanted to buy an artificial Christmas tree but when I went looking I discovered the only reasonably priced ones left were not very nice. Our lounge is too small for a full size live tree but luckily I had a brain wave! I went to the garden centre and purchased a live manuka tree (tea tree) for just $19.95. It came complete with a free sturdy plant pot so will not fall over easily and a sturdy support stick which is ideal to place a star on. It was even the right shape! Just add ornaments and lights if you wish and you have your very own native Christmas tree which can be added to your garden afterwards.

I saved $10-$20 on the cost of a live tree or moderately mediocre fake tree and $15 on a stand. It was also something that I could add to my garden to increase the native plant and bee attracting segment. Win-win all round!
Try paper for longer-lasting cheese
updated 11 Dec 2017
Here's a great tip to stop your cheese from drying out so it will last longer! My family eats a lot of cheese. But it annoys me that it's more economical to buy larger blocks because I find they tend to dry out which is wasteful, even though I always put them into an air-tight container. For this reason I tend to purchase smaller blocks. Then I started to think about the cheese itself.

The reason it was drying out was because it sweats inside the plastic wrapper. So, after I did my shop, I removed the cheese from the plastic and wrapped it in paper before putting in an air-tight container and into the fridge.

It worked like a charm! The cheese lasts. It doesn't sweat or get mouldy anymore. And this works with all kinds of cheeses! Simple and inexpensive, and a great saving because less waste means I can now purchase the larger blocks!
Recycled clothing ribbons have many uses
updated 11 Dec 2017
For a simple saving which saves me money I cut off the ribbons that are used to hang clothes in the stores. I then re-use them for tying on gift cards, attaching tags/labels to baskets, for scrapbooking embellishments and as ribbons for card-making. It only saves a dollar here and there, but I ask my family and friends to give me their ribbon pieces if they don't use them and now I attach labels and gift tags every time with a piece of fabric ribbon which always looks nice. You would be amazed how quickly they accumulate!
Wait for sales
updated 9 Dec 2017
I saved $44.50 on a lovely dress this week just by waiting. I knew the retailer has regular sales (I get the email updates), so I tried the dress on for size last week and waited. I was able to buy it this week at 50% off.
Recipe from my German parents
updated 8 Dec 2017
This is a recipe that my German parents cooked quite often. I'm not sure what it's called but it's a tasty dish using potato, onion, bacon and eggs.

Pre-cook potatoes in their skins until tender and allow to cool. Scrape off the skins and discard, or mix in with the dog food! Slice the potatoes, then dice some onion and bacon. Fry the onion and bacon in butter, add the potato and break eggs over the top of mixture. Heat gently until the egg has nearly set. Gently stir through to mix all ingredients together. Serve with a garnish of chopped parsley.

You could also add some corn kernels and/or peas to the dish for extra variety and colour. I like this dish with a bit of tomato sauce on top. Yum!
Bulk white sauce mix for leftovers
updated 7 Dec 2017
Make all your leftovers taste fantastic with this bulk white sauce mix. Makes enough for 24 servings and you can keep it in the fridge:

2 cups (500g) powdered milk (I use skim)
1 cup (250g) plain flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup (250g) butter or margarine.

Combine dry ingredients, add butter and blend until mix resembles dry breadcrumbs. Put in large air tight container. Store in fridge. Use within two months. I label the container with the date and method.

To make sauce combine, 1/2 cup mix to 1 cup
cool water. Add flavourings to suit, for example, curry, vegetables, onions, cheese, whatever you like!
Simple grated cheese
updated 6 Dec 2017
For the same money, I now get more than twice the amount of grated cheese by buying block cheese and grating it myself. I use tasty cheese which is easy to grate, easy to store and can be frozen. Simple!

... and thousands more.

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