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.

Friendship tree gift
2 comments
updated Yesterday
I gave my friend a lovely and personal birthday gift for just over $5. I made her a 'Friendship Tree'. I bought a gardenia ($4.99) and found some friendship quotes on the Internet. I printed them off onto pretty scrapbooking paper, and attached each to the branches using gold thread (50c for the whole reel from the op-shop). I used some lining satin cut with pinking shears to wrap the plastic pot in and it looks great!
Magic butter
73 comments
updated Yesterday
Double your supply of butter or margarine by making a creamy spread that is great for sandwiches. (But you cannot use this butter in place of butter or margarine in recipes for cakes, biscuits and so on.)

The butter or margarine should be at room temperature. Place 250 grams in a small mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until soft. Have 1/2 cup cold water and 1/2 cup hot water ready. Gradually add about a teaspoon of hot, then a teaspoon of cold water to the butter/margarine while beating and continue in this manner until all the water has been used. Do not add too quickly or the butter/margarine will not absorb the liquid.

Cover and refrigerate. Allow to return to room temperature before beating again to a creamy consistency, otherwise the water will separate from the butter.
Make do
3 comments
updated Yesterday
Once you have done your shopping, try to survive and substitute with what you have at home. Yesterday I made a massive pizza from the garden - it's such a help to have even just a few things growing to help you put a meal together.
Palm fronds as firewood
3 comments
updated 14 Jul 2018
Save hundreds of dollars per year on firewood and cooking costs!

We have a built-in outdoor barbecue. For years we spent heaps on firewood packs for it but then I found a wonderful FREE alternative! We have a number of palm trees which look lovely but have pesky, annoying palm fronds that fall off when they die (as they do). I found that when properly dry and dead and cut up small, these fronds are just as hard as timber and burn wonderfully well. I haven't had to buy any firewood since then, saving over $200 in a year, AND I have ALSO saved a heap of money on my electricity bill as I can now cook a lot more meals on the barbecue since the palm leaf fuel is free!
Cheese scones for a tasty sandwich alternative
211 comments
updated 13 Jul 2018
When I have run out of bread for school sandwiches, I find cheese scones a real lifesaver. Very cheap and easy and fast enough to whip up a batch before school!

Cheese Scones: (makes approximately eight)

1 cup self raising flour
1 cup cheese
2/3 cup milk

Mix ingredients all together, roll and cut out and place in a hot oven for 15 minutes.

The kids love them and it makes a nice change from sandwiches. You can also add a handful of bacon bits and sprinkle some cheese on top. Very tasty and much better value than cheese and bacon rolls from the supermarket!
Free spectacles for pension holders, Qld
2 comments
updated 13 Jul 2018
Queensland residents who have a pension or healthcare card can access a free pair spectacles every two years. The frames and lenses are free. There is a list of participating dispensers online. For information visit https://www.health.qld.gov.au/mass/prescribe/spectacles
Home-made sausage rolls
114 comments
updated 13 Jul 2018
I would like to share with you my treasured home made sausage roll recipe! They are delicious hot or cold. I make a batch of these about once a month and freeze them. I pop them into the kids' lunch boxes in the morning and by lunchtime they have defrosted. They are a perfect standby for unexpected guests or to take to parties and the best bit - the kids don't know about the hidden vegetables! This recipe makes 36 mini sausage rolls. You need:

1 onion
500g sausage mince
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
1 egg
3 sheets puff pastry
Grated vegetables - I have tried any combination of carrot, zucchini, pumpkin, sweet potato, corn, squash, all a big success!

Preheat oven to 200C
Fry onions until soft (don't brown them).
Mix together the other ingredients (the best way to do this is with your hands, the kids love helping!)
Lay the sheets of pastry out and cut each into two rectangles. Divide the mixture between the six rectangles and shape into sausages down the middle. Brush one long edge with egg and roll up, then cut into six mini sausage rolls. Place on a greased baking sheet and brush the tops with egg. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. They can be warmed up in the microwave but are crisper reheated in the oven. Yum!
Immune-boosting chicken soup
174 comments
updated 12 Jul 2018
Because my mum has an auto-immune disease, she is prone to colds, flu and pneumonia and takes an average of 12-18 tablets a day. As I don't want Mum to get sick or have to take more tablets, I needed to think up a way of boosting her immune system. So I started to make ordinary chicken soup, but it wasn't potent enough. That's when I came up with this recipe. I think that it tastes delicious and has plenty of flavour.

Becky's Kill Anything Chicken Soup

8-9 chicken lovely legs, skinless
8-10 chopped cloves of garlic
1 chopped onion
2-3 small red chillies (Remove the seeds if you don't like it too hot as they're the hottest part, or just use one chilli. But you must use small chillis because they loosen mucus.)
2 teaspoons grated ginger
Oil
2 litres Continental chicken stock
2 finely chopped carrots
1-2 handfuls corn
1 cup macaroni pasta
2-3 handfuls baby spinich

Heat the oil in a stock pot and brown the chicken, garlic, onion, chilli and ginger.
Add the chicken stock, carrots and corn.
Bring to the boil, and if needed add water. Simmer for 15-30 minutes. Take out the chicken, pull the meat off the bone, break meat into small pieces and put back in the pot. Add macaroni and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until pasta is cooked. Add baby spinach, taste, add salt and pepper if needed, then serve.

Since I've started to make this recipe, my mother has had fewer colds. When she has been sick it has not been for as long and has meant fewer hospital visits - not to mention fewer doctor's visits. Between the savings on medical bills, doctor's bills and hospital visits, I cannot begin to imagine what our savings have been but I don't doubt that it's been in the thousands of dollars.

Bulk biscuit recipe works
24 comments
updated 12 Jul 2018
I have made my own alternatives to a Simple Savings recipe from the Vault called 'Make biscuit mix in bulk and freeze'. I use this recipe and it is great.

With so many bickies I thought I would divide them up and make different flavours to add some variety, so now I have chocolate chip, walnut, coconut, sultanas, and mixed fruit biscuits.

I wrapped them into wax paper to make smaller rounder bickies and I got heaps out of it. I counted 22 rolls of bickie dough, which I put in the freezer to set and then cut into little sizes. Out of two rolls alone I ended up making 78 bickies and I still have another 20 rolls to use. Fantastic value for as little as $12!

NB: Members can find the recipe mentioned by using the search facility at the top of the Vault index and typing in 'big batch bikkies'
Yummy variation to Ferrero Rocher
20 comments
updated 12 Jul 2018
This variation of the Ferrero Rocher recipe makes about 130 chocolates and is great to give as a nicely packaged gift for birthdays or at Christmas!

Filling for centre:

400g Nutella
375g crunchy peanut paste
4 cups icing sugar
5 cups rice bubbles
1/2 oz melted copha

Mix all of the above in a large bowl, adding the melted copha last of all. Roll into small balls, place on a lightly greased tray and set in fridge.

Topping -

2 x 375g milk cooking chocolate bars or buds
1 x 375g white cooking chocolate bars or buds
1 packet of crushed nuts

Melt chocolate and mix in crushed nuts. Roll the balls into the melted choc mixture and place on lightly greased tray to set in fridge. When set, put into a jar, basket or hamper to give as presents. You could also use a ribbon to attach a copy of the recipe with the choccies - it's so easy and cheap to make compared to the expensive version sold in shops!
Use less mouthwash than instructed
12 comments
updated 11 Jul 2018
I discovered that I only need to use 2.5ml (yes, half a teaspoon!) of mouthwash per gargle. Listerine mentions 20ml on the label, which is almost 10 times as much. In order to do this easily I keep a small plastic medicine measure in the bathroom which I just rinse out afterwards. Even bigger savings and still gets the job done!
Make condensed milk in your food processor
15 comments
updated 10 Jul 2018
With this simple recipe, you'll never need to buy condensed milk again! This uses basic ingredients most people have on hand and is simple to make. The following makes the equivalent of two cans of condensed milk.

Ingredients:

80g butter
3/4 cup boiling water
2 1/3 cups milk powder
1 1/2 cups caster sugar

Method:

Mix butter and boiling water together in a heatproof jug, stirring until the butter has melted.
Transfer to a food processor bowl and add the milk powder and sugar. Process for one minute or until smooth and sugar is dissolved. Use immediately or store in a container in the fridge for up to three days.

I used to hate buying condensed milk because of the price but this has solved the issue!
$13 mince mix makes base for 7 meals
83 comments
updated 7 Jul 2018
This super basic mince recipe saves me up to $100 a month on takeaways, thanks to the convenience of having meals already 'half made'.

All you need are:
2kg minced beef
2 cups of red lentils
2 tbsp of vegetable stock powder, or four vegetable stock cubes
1 tsp dried garlic granules
1 dsp dried onion flakes
4 cups of water.

Place all the ingredients into a crockpot and cook on high for two hours, stirring every 30 minutes. It should be thick, aromatic and an unattractive brown colour (don't let this worry you!).

One batch costs just $13 to make and is enough to serve as a base for seven meals for our family (two children and two adults). This saves heaps of money and time too. I usually freeze the mince in margarine tubs, as that seems to be the right amount for one meal for our family.

The meals I made are:

1. Piemaker pies.
Allow one heaped tablespoon of basic mince per pie. Pour the mince into a small saucepan and add a large spoonful of gravy powder, or a dessertspoon of cornflour and some Vegemite for colour. Heat and stir until thickened. Spoon into pastry cases and cook in the piemaker.

2. Mexican enchiladas.
I use Mountain Bread or make my own crepes. Lay the bread or crepes in u-shapes in a large baking dish. Mix the mince with an equal amount of tinned or home-made refried beans. Spread the mixture in a sausage shape down the middle of each crepe, fold each side of the crepe over, sprinkle with grated cheese and bake at 180C until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve on a bed of rice, topped with natural yoghurt and some salsa.

3. Stuffed capsicums.
Halve enough capsicums for half or one per person. Spoon the mince straight into the capsicums, top with some mashed potato, pumpkin or sweet potato. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 40 mins at 180C. Kids love these as the capsicum sweetens when baked.

4. Baked spuds with topping.
Allow one potato of appropriate size per person. Cook in the microwave according to manufacturer's instructions. Split a cross in the top and pile filling into the opening. Top with natural yoghurt or sour cream and chopped, sauteed bacon. Allow one large tablespoon of filling per potato. Mix the filling with one tin of baked beans and heat in a small saucepan before pouring on to the potatoes.

5. Spring rolls.
Mix about four tablespoons of mince mixture with a packet of cooked and cooled Two Minute Noodles, some shredded carrot, and 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice. Using filo pastry sheets or spring roll wrappers, fold a small handful of filling into each spring roll. Spray liberally with cooking spray and bake at 180C for 20-30 mins.

6. Greek pasta bake (Pastito).
Heat a container of mince mixture with a 400g tin of peeled tomatoes. Cook enough macaroni for your family and drain well. Mix with the meat mixture and spoon into a large baking dish and top with your favourite white sauce or cheese sauce. Sprinkle on some grated cheese and bake for 40 minutes at 200C.

7. Shepherds pie.
Add any vegetables of your choice to the mince mixture. Place into a baking dish and top with mashed potato, pumpkin or sweet potato then bake until heated and the potato browns.
Dry washing for free in winter
1 comment
updated 6 Jul 2018
I dry washing overnight on a rack near the fire. Drying freshens the house with the fragrance of fabric softener. I haven't used a dryer for over 20 years thanks to the firebox.
Giant bickies for kids!
175 comments
updated 4 Jul 2018
My children love the 'Giant Choc Chip Bickies' available through their school canteen but at $2.00 per bickie I couldn't justify the cost so found an alternative to make my own for only 13 cents each! This recipe makes on average 24 giant bickies and they are so delicious. Each bickie is about 10-13cm in diameter, almost a meal on their own. To further increase my savings I only use Home Brand ingredients and have costed the bickies out at 13 cents each. Quite a saving from $2.00!

The best news is that these bickies now make me money. I was having morning tea with some friends who own a takeaway shop and as it was a baking day I took some of the bickies along. They were so impressed by the look and taste of them that they have me baking them to be sold through their shop on a regular basis. On this occasion my money saving idea has become a money making idea!

The recipe is as follows:-

1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
250g margarine
2 eggs
3 1/2 cups SR flour
1 packet choc chips

Method: Cream together white sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and margarine. Add eggs, self raising flour and choc chips and mix well. Leave for about 15 minutes before rolling into palm sized ball and then placing on Glad Bake (on a tray). Cook at 180 degrees Celsius for 20 to 25 minutes.

Hint: After 12 minutes I swap the bottom and top trays around in the oven to avoid the bottom tray of bickies burning.
Our $400 wedding
2 comments
updated 4 Jul 2018
Our wedding was organised in just three weeks and cost less than $500. We had just moved back to Australia after living overseas and with all the costs of settling back in, and a new baby on the scene, once we made the decision to get married, we just went for it!

For our venue we booked the wedding into the local registry in Sydney (cost: $250-$340). By way of invitation, we called (or spoke to friends when they called us) to let them know when the wedding was and offer an 'open invitation' - turn up if you want to and don't be late as the ceremony's only 20 minutes long! Cost to us was only $2.00 for the phone calls.

My wedding outfit and accessories were free! After shopping around in all the specialist shops for a dress, I still couldn't find one I really liked and certainly didn't want to spend the $700 minimum they were asking. I found one for $100 on the sale rack but decided on a modern fitted black suit (jacket and pants) from my wardrobe and a borrowed white shirt from my flatmate teamed with my own black boots and black sunnies! My attendants' outfits, including the best man, were also from their own wardrobe choices and the cost was nothing.

We agreed we would get around to purchasing our official wedding rings later - why spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on an impulse buy? Instead, we ended up at Myer and bought two plain gold plated bands for $10 each - nobody knew the difference.

I did my hair and make-up myself, using a new home colour kit from the chemist and styling it myself. My make-up was natural and minimalistic, just as I wanted it!

Our wedding photographer was free, thanks to my flatmate acting as official photographer. Photos were developed at Kmart - you can get them printed on matte paper with a nice white border and it looks great at no extra cost. It was also 15% off storewide so it cost just $17 for 48 prints. The registry offers a wedding video souvenir, which they film for you and copies are around $90 - it's pretty hilarious and fantastically kitsch. One of our guests paid for the video as a wedding present!

We asked a friend who had a convertible Peugeot to be our 'chaffeur', and got him to pick us up and drive us to the registry. He couldn't stay but was nice enough to just drive us there in style - it was cool! My sister drove us back home after the 'reception' in her car, so all our wedding transport was free!

A friend of ours who owned a florist made up the flowers at cost prices, which were paid for by the best man as a wedding present! For our reception, all those who wanted to joined us at a local café/restaurant for breakfast and coffee and they all chipped in for our meal!

We were happy for everyone to chip in for some of the costs of our wedding, as this served as our wedding gifts. We've been together for years so we pretty much had everything we needed already and didn't want anyone to spend money on useless items.

Overall the wedding was no stress at all, we spent about $400 maximum and everyone agreed it was a relaxed and fun wedding, rightfully quick and fantastically cheap for everyone!
$30,000 saved in one year
128 comments
updated 3 Jul 2018
I had never considered my lifestyle to be particularly excessive, but when I found myself facing large debts and unable to make headway, I had to take control. Using the methods below, I managed to reduce my debts by $30,000 in twelve months.

Bill paying and budgeting:
I began making regular monthly payments into a savings account - which I called my 'debt reduction' fund. At the same time, I started to put weekly amounts in labeled envelopes. These envelopes were to cover all of the regular bills; meaning I no longer came under stress when they were due, and I didn't need to touch any of the savings in my debt reduction fund.

I began a Christmas tin, paying $20 per week into it. While it may not be ideal to keep large sums of money in the home, for me it was preferable to paying more fees to the bank for opening yet another account.

I clear out my wallet every night and put all my coins in a jar. This alone gives me an extra $50 a month to take to the bank.

Food and grocery shopping:
Instead of takeaway food, I began substituting with one of the following:

Spaghetti (five meals per pack for $1.50) with bolognese sauce (two meals per can - $2.50)
Rice (eight meals per pack - $1.50) and canned chilli-con-carne (two meals for $3.50)
Savings approximately $20 per week.

I make sure I eat either frozen broccoli, cauliflower or peas five nights a week, at a cost of $0.60c per meal. I buy all my steak and meat in bulk and freeze in portions.

I get a box of slightly over ripe tomatoes ($3.00 for 5 kg - on special from the local fruit shop) and boil them (skins on) with onion, salt and pepper and a dash of chilli sauce. This sauce makes even the cheapest steak taste delicious, and is great with chicken too. I freeze the sauce in single portions.

Chicken drumsticks are cheap and often on special. All you need to do is roll them in flour and cook on an oven tray until golden. A quick, moist and tasty meal (two drumsticks per person) for less than $1.00.

Potato chips at $3.50 per bag are both expensive and very unhealthy. A cheaper option is to cut a $1.50 loaf of Lavash bread into triangles, dust with paprika or lemon pepper (spraying with a little oil to coat) and cook in oven until golden and crunchy. Add the home-made tomato sauce as a dip and save another $2.00 - $3.00.

I am self employed and work a minimum of 70 hours per week. It would be so easy to succumb to fast food when I am tired, but to curb the temptation I make a large lasagna (without pasta) or a salmon and rice bake; both meals with plenty of vegetables and freeze in portions. All I need to do when I get home is zap in the microwave and eat, and have my own tasty, balanced fast food meal (15 minutes to defrost and cook). Each batch I make gives me eight meals for each recipe, and as they have some of the same ingredients, it is easy to make both at once.

My recipes are delicious and low fat and I am happy to share them if anyone would like them. They cost only around $2.00 per complete meal and all use fresh vegetables.

I make my own burgers by buying mince, making thin patties and grilling, then freeze cooked, in portions. They cook super fast from the freezer with two minutes in the microwave. A quick, low fat hamburger with lettuce tomato and beetroot - $1.50 a hamburger. You can add some zapped frozen home-made tomato sauce for a really tasty treat.

I have my entire shopping list saved on my computer as an Excel spreadsheet and have the prices for each item entered. When I want something, I just enter the quantity (the spreadsheet automatically adds the total each time I input an amount) and know beforehand how much the whole bill will cost. I then look at the total and question whether I really need an item, or just want it!

By doing this, I also know when the supermarket adds a few cents (far more regularly than many people realise - usually 20% - 50% of items weekly, from upwards of $0.03c to $0.40c). I buy regular goods on special (enough for three months supply) and choose generic brands for things like tissues and toilet paper (1,000 sheets of this is the same price as 250 sheets name brand)! I also know when a special is really a special and when it isn't, which is quite often. I take a calculator shopping and work out the best buy in quantity. Bigger is not always cheaper, and it really is good advice to never shop hungry. I have my weekly grocery budget and any savings go into the account.

I used to buy my lunch and a drink for around $8.00 each day. Now I make my own lunch each day - sandwich, fruit and a large bottle of lemon cordial. Otherwise I take a bowl of Country Ladle soup and a roll. One can gives me two meals for just $1.25 each, with my $0.60c roll. It is healthy, fills me up and saves me $6.00 a day - another $30 a week in my savings account.

There are always two large bottles of lemon cordial made up in my fridge. I only keep fizzy drink for times when I am expecting guests. I put bottles or cans in an hour prior to their arrival. If it is not normally there, I don't drink it. It costs $0.10c for a glass of healthy water based drink, as compared to $1.00 for unhealthy sugar based drinks - what would you rather have?

I save $10 a month on washing powder by reducing the amount I use each load by half.
You know by now where that extra $10 saving goes!
I am always organized for birthday and Christmas gift wrapping - I buy one bolt of wide, colourful paper (from Cello paper) for between $50 - $100 every 15 years. Based on usually giving 40 presents each year, instead of having to buy 40 sheets of gift paper at around $2.50 each, my bulk buying gives me an extra $100 a year in my savings account.

Reducing phone bills:
I now save $70 per month on my previous average mobile phone bill, simply by not making calls on impulse, and calling on a land line wherever possible. That extra $70 a month goes in the savings account. I also reduced by home phone bill by $210 per month once I realized where all the charges were going - on checking my email every time I dialed up. Now I only connect to the Internet once a day and that $210 each month goes into the savings account.

Entertainment:
My entertainment habits have also changed. Instead of paying $50 a time on the pokies, whenever I get the urge now, I put $50 into a tin for my next visit to the bank - it saves $100 - $150 from being frittered away each month. To keep control of my alcohol consumption, I would line empty bottles on my kitchen window sill and clear weekly. Doing this, you see it daily and unconsciously count the value - plus, do you want the neighbours to see how much you drink?? This saves me another $50 a month for my account. Instead of opening a can, now when I get home I have a really large lemon cordial. Then if I still feel like a drink, at least I have taken the edge off the need to relax and I will only have one every few days.

One last golden rule - put away $50 per month for 'mad money' - just for you to use for something special.

I paid off $30 000 in one year by using these exact tips and many more. The relief is amazing and now I save the same way.

[Shane's recipes are in the cooking section of the Savings Vault.]

[To view or download Shane's Excel Shopping spreadsheet follow the link below.]

http://www.simplesavings.com.au/resources/shopping_checklist.xls
Useful lace doilies
10 comments
updated 30 Jun 2018
Keep an eye out for old lace doilies which, once soaked in Napisan, can be made into all sorts of things: cushions; pin holders; needle holders; and so on. Or you can use them instead of wine glass coasters at the table while the oblong ones make nice placemats. They usually cost between $0.50c and $1.00.
The first steps after redundancy
2 comments
updated 30 Jun 2018
On being made redundant three years ago, the first thing I did was to ensure I received all my entitlements, such as annual leave, unused RDOs and a lump sum payment. I then contacted Centrelink, and since my earnings were part of a redundancy package, I did not have to wait the standard 13 weeks to start receiving benefits. I also got an interim health care card which provided savings on public transport and utilities bills. This saved me around $200 per month.

I also received free career counselling and access to a job network provider so I was able to use their facilities for free including telephone, fax, Internet and photocopier. I estimated I saved at least $60-$70 per month, as I no longer needed my broadband account.

The next step was to invest my redundancy payment in a high interest savings account while I lived off my Centrelink fortnightly payments. I also learned to budget and received access to free financial counselling. The financial counsellor gave me a list of places in my area which served low-cost or free meals; I saved at least $50 per week as I did not need to buy more than one meal a day.

Finally, as I needed to have my wisdom teeth taken out, I went to the dentist at my community health clinic. I was charged just $88, saving me at least $300. My advice is to look at what free or low-cost services are available. If you look hard enough, and get onto it straight away, you'll be pleasantly surprised!
Sticky sausages
164 comments
updated 29 Jun 2018
Try this recipe! It's cheap to make and all my family enjoy it.

STICKY SAUSAGES

Serves 4

Ingredients

8 thick sausages
4 tblsp tomato sauce
2 tblsp dark brown sugar
1 tblsp mustard powder
2 tblsp soy sauce
Garlic

Method

Set oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
Mix all marinade ingredients in a shallow ovenproof dish. Add the sausages and coat them in the marinade. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes. Serve with mashed potato.
Savings sense for families
95 comments
updated 28 Jun 2018
A figure of $12 per week extra cost in petrol for the average family has been quoted as a result of an increase in the price of oil. Some of us may have to spend more. Anyone remotely interested in the state of their finances will have noticed the hike in the price of oil and the consequent rise in the price of fuel. You don't have to have been following Commodities markets to come to the conclusion that as a resultant rise in fuel prices the price of many other goods will rise. It is a fact of life, world markets and so on, so we will all have to find the money from our other funds. Let us put our heads together to find ways around it.

Think like a Commodities Trader and allocate your money accordingly. No, we can't all sit at our computers trading stocks but what you can do is consider this:
You are getting around 5.3% in your everyday cash savings account if you have been smart enough to shop around for the best rate. HOWEVER the price of goods and services is tipped to rise by about 10% due to rise in oil prices. We are looking at inflation after quite a few years of minor inflationary moves. It therefore makes savings sense to withdraw cash now and stock up on items that you intended to purchase. Of course with all the great advice we get from this site you won't be rushing out and spending on unnecessary items and please, leave yourself your Strategic Reserve (that's economist's talk for a nest egg!).

Even if money is really tight and you are not planning any major purchases, stock up on grocery items as we will see increases across the board over the next months. So look on your family life as a business and make the rational decisions such as business planners would and you will prosper in money, love and laughter.

For example, I went to the movies - only because I had a ticket from my credit card bonus points. Yes, I pay the balance up every month and never incur that ridiculous rate of interest. I noticed that at 10 am in the morning, people were trundling in with the gross size of drinks and snacks. Each of those people was holding the equivalent to $12 worth of snack food - the price of the whole family's increased petrol cost for the week! When my family was at home and we went on an outing, we (without exception) brought the food from home. It did not diminish the kids' enjoyment of the outing and now in adult life they are all healthy.

So get into the BUSINESS of Family Finance Management. I wish all my fellow contributors continued fun financing.
Carry groceries with ease
10 comments
updated 26 Jun 2018
I bought an upright garden trolley and use it to carry all my groceries from the car to the house in one go. As I have aged, carrying the groceries inside was becoming quite an effort until I hit upon the idea of a garden trolley ($16 at Bunnings or Aldi). I now load all my groceries into this trolley and wheel it into the house all in one go with no effort whatsoever.
Free fire starter ideas
13 comments
updated 26 Jun 2018
We use home-dried citrus peels as a toxin-free fire-starter in our firebox. I use the thin paper from phonebooks as a fire starter too. Twigs and branches that are too big to mulch are also used in the fire.
My 'transition to retirement' project
1 comment
updated 26 Jun 2018
The year before retiring I found it useful to put aside $10 a week (generally saved from my grocery budget) to be used for rent or land rates in the months after retiring. This helped considerably while adjusting to a new income and lifestyle. During this period I also purchased (at the sales) bed linen, towels, tea towels and other essentials so that when things wore out I had a replacement. This wasn't a huge change to my Simple Savings lifestyle but was very reassuring when things were needed and the bills rolled in. I considered it my 'transition to retirement' project and it worked very well!
Beautiful hair for a tiny price
13 comments
updated 25 Jun 2018
I get three times the use out of my favourite leave-in hair conditioner and save $65 a year on having to buy it so often! I have thick, curly hair, so to save washing it daily I also use VO5 brand Leave-in Conditioner spray at a cost of $5.29 per 200ml bottle. Each bottle would only last three weeks at the most, adding up to an annual cost of $90+.

This was proving too expensive so I decided to keep all my used bottles until I ended up with three empty ones and one new one. I now divide the contents of the new bottle into four equal portions in each bottle, then fill the remainder of the 200ml bottle with cold water and shake to combine. Any less product ratio than 25% I found doesn't condition my hair as well, but this may vary for other hair types. Instead of buying a new bottle every three weeks, I now only need to buy one every three months! I no longer spend $90 a year but am now spending a maximum of $25 on the same product and I still get the same results for my hair!

... and thousands more.

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