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.

Storing lint rollers
6 comments
updated 5 hr ago
I found the best way to store my lint roller was wrapped in baking paper. I was using a resealable bag but the roller kept sticking to it and I had to throw it away each time. When I was looking for another bag I saw baking paper and thought 'baking paper is non stick' so I gave it a go. It is great and I've used the roller six times and am still on the same piece of baking paper.
Use 50% less hot water, save 50% more!
5 comments
updated Yesterday
We are saving heaps on hot water thanks to this idea we learned from a frugal friend. All our children have left home, so we are a couple with the same size electric hot water heater we used with three children - in other words, much more than we currently need. My single friend had the idea of turning off her hot water every second day. This of course will save you a little less than half of what you pay for hot water. So we tried it - some days I do every second day, some days I leave it off for three days at a time, depending on what we are doing.
The only down side of this is that occasionally I forget to turn it back on and run out of hot water entirely. That is not the end of the world for two retired people who can wait a day for a shower. And certainly do not mind leaving the dishes! It would be interesting to experiment with how much you could get away with doing this in a household with children. It definitely decreases your electricity bill, and would be even more profitable if you do not have the advantage of night rates as we do. Because we are a bit random with how often and for how long we turn it off, I can't quote you figures, but trust me - we are saving money and will save more as the cost of electricity continues to skyrocket!
Secrets of my stylish, savvy, mortgage busting wife!
6 comments
updated Yesterday
My wife loves clothes shopping! We are both working but are trying to live off one wage so we can pay more off the mortgage. These days when she feels like a shopping spree she is able to curb it by going 'shopping' in her wardrobe, following these simple steps.

1. View clothes in wardrobe.
2. Try on different combinations of shirts/skirts/pants to create new outfits that haven't been worn before.
3. Record these outfits in her phone/on a piece of paper. That way when she is wondering what to wear to work/date night she's got a list of outfits that she knows look good. (This saves time too.)

By doing this my lovely wife is able to stem her need for new clothes and often doesn't buy anything, or just gets one thing she needs instead of the four new dresses that she didn't, while we continue to get ahead on our home loan!
Christmas wishlist saves us all money on the things we love!
3 comments
updated Yesterday
If you and your loved ones are stuck for the perfect gift to get each other at Christmas, make a wishlist! This year my mother, boyfriend and I all made lists for Christmas. It has been so much fun trying to match what would really make my mother's heart sing, rather getting her a "nice" present that she doesn't really need. My boyfriend got to pay for things I wanted to buy anyhow such as clothes, which meant he is hiding packages from me from eBay until Christmas so there is delayed gratification! I bought him mostly car things and an RACQ membership at the highest level which can benefit more than one person and car but because of the extra cost we had been delaying purchasing. I managed to find original handmade items on Etsy.com which cost much less I normally spend but are probably going to be more of a hit because they are unique e.g. Harry Potter pencil case for $12 and a Wonder Woman cosmetic bag for $10. Lastly my good friend mentioned that she didn't like my godchild (actually Buddha child!) to get an overwhelming amount of material presents all at once. So after a conversation about how great literature enriches the spirit and mind, I have hit on the idea of sharing child friendly parts and versions of War and Peace, Shakespeare and other classics for story time as my present to her!
Check out your electricity providers
5 comments
updated 20 Oct 2017
I'm getting one free hour of power per day and saving $8 a month in lowered rates. The supply charge and Kilowatt price have both dropped by about 4 cents and the best thing is one free power hour a day (mine is between 4pm and 5pm). In that hour I heat the bedrooms, charge phones, start the washing machine, cook dinner, bake, hot water goes on, boil and thermos water for hot water bottles and dishes and vacuum. What could you do with your hour?

I also got a $50 credit just for signing up. I'm loving Electric Kiwi.
Free tertiary study websites
10 comments
updated 19 Oct 2017
Tertiary study can be an expensive exercise but it doesn't need to be! Many universities around the world now offer online courses totally free of charge. Courses vary in the commitment required from a couple of hours per week over a month, through to full university style papers. Courses will provide you with a certificate of completion. Many of the courses available are the same as those that universities offer to their on-campus students, just without the price tag or fancy diploma!

Websites worth investigating include:
* edx.org - originally a collaboration between Harvard and MIT that now includes a number of other big-name American universities. Their free 'Circuits and Electronics' course alone had 155,000 participants the last time it ran. A hugely popular and easy way to study!
* coursera.org - courses supplied by providers from all over the world.
* open2study.com - short introductory courses on a wide range of topics including financial literacy and financial planning.
* alison.com - recognised as being the first service to provide this type of free education.
Get fit for free with parkrun
4 comments
updated 19 Oct 2017
Check parkrun.co.nz for your closest 5km timed walk/run held every Saturday across New Zealand. It is a great way to work on your fitness, discover your local area and is open to any age.
Get fit for free with parkrun
0 comment
updated 19 Oct 2017
Check parkrun.com.au for your closest 5km timed walk/run held every Saturday across Australia. It is a great way to work on your fitness, discover your local area and is open to any age.
Ask for a deal on food
0 comment
updated 19 Oct 2017
Save money by negotiating, don't be afraid to ask for a deal when eating out. Our bi-monthly lunch group needed a new venue. I approached a local cafe who offered 10% off meals and $3 coffee anytime. The cafe gets a booking on a quiet day and we get help meeting our budgets. A very elegant solution for all.
Dream your dream wedding
0 comment
updated 19 Oct 2017
Having your dream wedding can save hundreds. My sister and her husband enjoyed a fun, relaxed, low key day by choosing the wedding they wanted. Their simple wedding took place at a local park with a BBQ lunch, where we played totem tennis and enjoyed recorded music. The bride wore a white sundress (on sale at Myer) and the groom was comfortable in good shirt and pants. By not conforming to others expectations they created the perfect day for two fun-loving, frugal people.
'Live simply, so others can simply live'
9 comments
updated 17 Oct 2017
Almost 50 years ago I decided that my 'broke' accounts clerk fiancee should be in charge of our finances. His only possession was a lovely sports car but after an accident, he traded it for a family car with a bank loan. I gave him cash to purchase a suit for our wedding but afterwards, he noticed I only had two good sets of undies. He purchased five more sets. Our first grocery shopping overran the budget he had set and he had to write a cheque.

After two rented flats we purchased a house with a second mortgage and loan from Dad. My wages didn't count in our application to the bank. I managed on the set housekeeping by cooking filling meals, sewing our curtains, recovering furniture, making my clothes, mending his, washing and pressing instead of dry cleaning, growing vegies, planting fruit trees and making do. After a year we bought a TV for cash so he could watch sport. It wasn't long before we paid off the loan and second mortgage.

Two children joined us. When hubby forgot to pay the water bill, I thought his showers would be interesting but a neighbour saw the water being cut off and alerted him. It didn't happen again. After nine years as an at home mum I entered university to retrain and started a new career. This gave the kids a few advantages. My husband retired early and ran a small business. He became a brilliant financial manager, as are our children. We have travelled around Australia and the world using budget transport and accommodation.

Retired, we do not qualify for the pension because we own our home with a flat attached, a rental house, a camper trailer, great super, savings, two sound vehicles and everything we need and could want. We are currently completely renovating our home with professional tradesmen so we can remain here in our low maintenance, peaceful and comfortable cottage we bought 47 years ago. Our motto - 'Live simply so others can simply live'.
Ask first, spend later
4 comments
updated 17 Oct 2017
Our family made a deal between ourselves which has saved us hundreds of dollars.
We agreed not to buy anything new until we had asked around first. It started with my daughter needing a new stove. Her oven was propped shut with the broom until a friend called in for coffee and knew someone who had just renovated their kitchen. A phone call later and the stove was hers for the asking! The same happened when a new wood heater was needed. Next, we advertised for a second hand glasshouse and ended up with three for $300! Now both families have new greenhouses for winter tomatoes. Then, I blew up my Big Oscar food processor and found that they are no longer made to get a replacement. So again we put out our feelers and found one next door for $70 and half a sheep! Nothing was new but nothing was tatty; it was simply given by people who wanted their goods to go to a good home. So, before you are forced to spend money you can't afford, please ASK!
Cooked vegetables in a roll
5 comments
updated 16 Oct 2017
You can make a healthy, cheap and yummy lunch by cooking up chopped bacon, onion, tomato and mushrooms and putting this in a roll. My kids call this 'Army Grub'.
Remove facial hair easily with peel-off masks
7 comments
updated 16 Oct 2017
I have discovered an easy way to remove facial hair which is both painless on the skin and the wallet. Being over 40 I have noticed the facial hair sprouting. Unfortunately I react badly to waxing, coming out in red bumps and acne that take days to heal. Fortunately I have discovered a solution! I have a peel off face mask once a week and I find this takes off the majority of hairs (the remainder I just tweeze away) with no red bumps and keeps my face lovely and smooth!
Free online ad blocker
10 comments
updated 16 Oct 2017
If you're tired of wasting time on pesky pop-up ads, then you may like to try Adblock Plus, a free add-on for Firefox and Chrome internet browsers. It's available at http://adblockplus.org/en/

It will block up to 99 per cent of annoying ads that clog up your screen. We have it on our girls' computer and we were shocked at the amount of advertising they didn't see compared to friends that don't have it installed on their children's computers.
Homes available for rent well below market rates
9 comments
updated 15 Oct 2017
We're saving $151 a week in rent thanks to the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS). This is a scheme that can get you into a home for at least 20% below the market rate. Once we were approved we found a home in Lowood. It is a beautiful big, brand new home with a large yard and a water tank. We have even started a veggie plot and have enjoyed parsley, shallots and lettuce. For more information and to see if you're eligible, visit www.fahcsia.gov.au/sa/housing/progserv/nras/Pages/about_nras.aspx
Re-live that 'brand new' feeling, with the stuff you have!
7 comments
updated 15 Oct 2017
I have accidentally discovered I LOVE living with less stuff! It all started when I packed up my house to move, however the move was delayed. Rather than unpack I just left out enough stuff to last what I thought was a month, including clothes. Doing this soon made me realise that many things I had previously thought necessary were not! Since I began living this way I have so much time on my hands as I don't have stuff around. I'm also not buying anything new as the move could happen soon, so whenever I need something, I go 'shopping' in my boxes! It's made me see how much I already love the clothes I own and has got me thinking, rather than buying new clothes, what if we packed things away instead, so that we 'forgot' about them? That way, when you want something special, you can just go shopping in your stash, without spending a cent! We don't often really appreciate what we have - but when you take it away and then 'find' it again after living without it, it's like having that same good feeling you had when you first got it, all over again! Works great with children's toys too!
Bokashi system for indoor composting
34 comments
updated 15 Oct 2017
A great concept for indoor composting is the 'Bokashi Bin'. This is a practical and convenient alternative for transforming your food waste into a nutrient rich fertiliser. Bokashi is a generic Japanese word for 'fermented organic matter'. Great for homes, even better for those who live in apartments, townhouses or units. There is no smell or unpleastantness associated with putrefaction and decay, plus you get wonderful composting material for your plants and veggie pots and the added bonus of liquid fertiliser. There are several companies who sell this bin, but the one I found was from Todae (www.todae.com.au). This company is especially great if you live in Queensland because you receive a rebate. The usual cost is $99 (plus postage) but QLD residents get a rebate of $49.50! Instead of just throwing away your food scraps, start composting in your own home, reduce general waste and do your bit to help the environment!
20 lunches for less than $7.00!
30 comments
updated 15 Oct 2017
I make a delicious tuna pasta that makes lunches for a family of five for a minimum of four days and costs just $6.81! Here's what you'll need...

2 packets of Home Brand spiral pasta ($2.12)
1 tin of Home Brand corn kernels ($1.00)
1 tin of Home Brand tuna ($2.11)
1/2 bottle of Kraft mayonnaise ($1.58)

Cook the pasta and corn and drain. Add the tuna and mayo, mix well and you're done!

My daughter takes a container for her school lunch, my partner takes some to work, and the two younger kids and I have some at home. We do this for a minimum of four days, but could probably stretch it out further if we had smaller helpings, which is more than possible as it's very filling!
Puzzling our way to a new house
22 comments
updated 14 Oct 2017
My husband and I have finally found the key to successful saving! The two of us are dreadful savers; while we're good at putting spare change in a jar, we don't know what to do with it once the jar is full! We thought a saving thermometer would be helpful, but wanted something that wouldn't be so obvious when people came over to visit. So we came up with a more subtle brainwave - a jigsaw puzzle!

We bought a jigsaw of what we wanted (a house) and assigned a dollar amount to every piece. Now we 'buy' pieces of the jigsaw puzzle, the money goes in our jar and we bank the money once a month. We even set up challenges for ourselves, such as who 'buys' the most pieces in a month, and we never have to worry about what to buy each other for presents - we buy pieces of the puzzle of course! Once we've completed the puzzle we're going to hang it on the wall - of our new house!
'Freezer fritters' make the most of leftovers
4 comments
updated 14 Oct 2017
I never throw out leftovers, thanks to my 'freezer fritters!' Before any leftover food reaches the 'out it goes' stage I turn them into fritters, which I then freeze in meal size containers for a quick and tasty meal. You can use pretty much anything, however my favourite versions are with a little curry powder added or even some baked beans. A yummy way to ensure nothing is ever wasted!
Save $15 with offcuts from deli
2 comments
updated 13 Oct 2017
I will save approximately $15 per fortnight on cold meats by buying offcuts. I was in Foodland's deli shopping for some ham when I noticed a tray with 'offcuts' for $4.99 per kilo. I purchased a kilo thinking I may be able to use it for pizza topping. When I opened it up I discovered a lovely variety of freshly sliced meats. I made and froze two loaves of sandwiches and still had enough for pizzas. It is a great saving.
Slow-cooked roast tips
9 comments
updated 13 Oct 2017
If you're looking to add a little variety to your weekly menu with minimal effort, try using your slow cooker to cook a roast. This can then be used to make a number of meals. I have done this with some success, and I hate cooking meat of any kind! Here are some of the basic guidelines for my Sunbeam 4.5 litre slow cooker:

Beef or lamb: Cut away excess fat from lamb. Place the meat into the slow cooker and cook. Approximate cooking times for well done are:
LOW: 2-2.5 hours per 500g
HIGH: 1-1.5 hours per 500g
There's no need to turn meat during cooking.

Chicken: Wash the chicken and pat dry. Stuff if desired and truss. Place the chicken into the slow cooker, dot with butter and sprinkle with paprika to add extra colour. Approximate cooking times:
LOW: 1.5-2.5 hours per 500g
HIGH: 1-1.5 hours per 500g
Make menu planning easy with www.supercook.com
6 comments
updated 12 Oct 2017
I make my groceries last longer by using everything I have in my fridge and pantry thanks to the amazing web site www.supercook.com. The site lets you enter what ingredients you have and brings up a list of recipes you can make with them, as well as recipes that require another one or two ingredients. You can also search for recipes that exclude certain ingredients, which is great for those on a restricted diet, and it even keeps track of what's in your fridge, freezer and pantry! No more standing in front of my near empty fridge wondering what I'm going to make with what I little I have, and no more searching for recipes with the obscure ingredients I have lurking in my cupboard. This site is a menu-planner's dream!
Cheesy Ham and Corn Muffins
43 comments
updated 6 Oct 2017
I make these Cheesy Ham and Corn muffins, which are delicious and at only $0.44 each to make, give me and my family something tasty, cheap and healthy in our lunchboxes. They are yummy cold, or heated up in the microwave.

Makes 12

Ingredients:
1 x 310g can of corn (reserve can for measuring)
½ cup reduced fat milk (1/2 'can')
2 eggs
2 cups of self raising flour - I use wholemeal (2 'cans')
Pinch of salt
2 cups reduced fat grated Australian cheese (2 'cans')
2 slices ham, cut into strips
2 teaspoons English mustard

Method:

Whisk together corn, milk and eggs in a large bowl until combined. Add remaining ingredients and stir until just combined.
Spoon mixture into non-stick ½ cup muffin tray.
Bake at 200c for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.

... and thousands more.

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