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.

Curb spending with one green bag
2 comments
updated 4 hr ago
I saved more than half of my grocery budget by walking to the shop and taking only one green shopping bag. Once the shopping bag was full, that was it for the week. With less food brought home from the shop I used up food from pantry, freezer and fridge. With one bag, instead of a whole trolley, there is less temptation to buy junk food as there is limited space in my shopping bag.
Scrape dough, save a washcloth
4 comments
updated Today
I use a plastic pancake spatula to clean raw dough from my kitchen bench after making Fig Newton style biscuits and other dough foods. I've always hated to clean the flour and dough with a washcloth as the bits are near impossible to rinse out. The spatula scrapes up the mess easily then goes in the dishwasher. Easy.
Check out $2 shops for bathroom essentials
2 comments
updated Yesterday
My local $2 shops are saving me a bundle on household items. I used to spend a fortune on bathroom essentials and really begrudged the expense. Then I discovered the $2 shops in my neighbourhood stock a great array of products such as soap, shampoo and conditioner, cleaning products, candles and even toilet paper. With the prices so low this saves me at least $5 - $10 every time. Well worth checking out!
Free fire starter ideas
10 comments
updated Yesterday
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.
Beware four cents off petrol
13 comments
updated Yesterday
Don't get sucked into the $0.04c a litre off the price of petrol for buying at Woolworths or Coles!

I have shopped at Woolworths and Coles and have found them to be getting more and more expensive unless the item is on sale.

I have worked out that the savings they offer on petrol amount to a measly $2.00 a week, which is about $104 a year on a 55 litre tank.

I shop at Aldi where I save at least a dollar off all groceries - or more than $1400 a year!

Our local deli/fruit market is also cheaper than Coles or Woolworths - cold meat, for example, is at least $2.00 a kilogram cheaper and fruit and vegetables are cheaper too.

Many people think that the $0.04c a litre off petrol is a great thing but that money spent at Aldi or the local deli/fruit market will fill up your trolley quicker and save you more money in the long run.
A cleaner way to fry
5 comments
updated Yesterday
I've found a great way to enjoy the occasional fried meal without the dreadful clean-up! Because we don't own a deep fryer, and only occasionally want to eat something fried, we just shallow fry in a frying pan. But depending on what you are cooking, this can generate terrible fat spatters over the stove top and stove back, making cleaning up a nightmare! You can't use a lid on the frying pan as this generates steam, which then drips back into the frying pan and makes the situation much worse. We've also tried using a spatter guard on top of the frying pan, but the fat spatters seem to just go straight through the mesh.

What we found to be helpful was to put a piece of paper towel over the top of the mesh spatter guard to soak up the fat that had been previously sailing merrily through the guard. It caught about 95 per cent of the spatters!
This doesn't work just for fried foods, it also works well for when you are pan-frying a steak and the meat juices spatter everywhere!
Save $60 on school photographs
1 comment
updated Yesterday
This year I saved $60 on school photos. In past years I reluctantly paid $70 for two sets of photos because my kids wanted the class photo. I realised I can buy the school magazine at the end of the year for $10. It includes the same class photos plus all the year's events. A much better keepsake.
Saving diary celebrates hard work
2 comments
updated Yesterday
I keep a daily savings diary. I have a column for essential spending and a column for supermarket docket savings. So, on a Coles docket, for example, my essential spending is $36.00. The Coles docket lists my savings as $8.00. I tally this in my diary for a running total of spending and saving. I watch the savings mount up and celebrate my frugal hard work.
Lasting savings with SAXA grinder
5 comments
updated Yesterday
I save loads by reusing my SAXA brand peppercorn/salt crystal grinder. I was fed up with purchasing a new grinder every time the old one got empty. I discovered that if you use a hair-dryer to gently heat the top, it will expand the internal mechanism and you can click the top off. It's best to use gloves for protection. Once opened, I refill the grinder with my more economical pre-purchased bags of peppercorns and salt crystals. The top clicks back on, locks in place and is ready for use.
Flybuys and Everyday Rewards Christmas saving option
2 comments
updated 22 May 2018
In four months I've saved nearly $90 for Christmas. I collect Flybuys and Everyday Rewards. I opt to save my Everyday Rewards points until Christmas where they will reduce the total of my grocery bill. At Christmas I convert my Flybuys to dollars which can be spent in many stores. For both I look out for bonus points when shopping.
Attract abundance, not emergencies
3 comments
updated 22 May 2018
Rather than naming your backup saved money an 'Emergency Fund', call it an 'Abundance Fund'. If what we focus on is what we attract, change your focus to something positive. You don't want to attract emergencies. I have done this and feel better about my finances.
Remove old label glue from jars
2 comments
updated 22 May 2018
Remove the label and glue residue from saved old jars by soaking in equal quantities of baking soda and cooking oil. After rubbing the mixture on the label or glue, leave it for about 10-15 minutes. Rub off, wash with hot soapy water, and use.
Product review: Lacura foundation make-up
3 comments
updated 22 May 2018
You save up to $150 a year by switching to Lacura foundation from Aldi supermarkets. It has excellent coverage and colour. It costs $4.99 per tube. Similar name brand products are $35.00 and above. For total face coverage, you only need small blob as it is a thick cream. Truly good. I will not use anything else!
Saving $260 in gift jars
1 comment
updated 22 May 2018
I have five grandchildren. Each week I put $1.00 in a jar for them. We never notice the $5 gone. At Christmas each jar makes a lovely extra gift.
New York on a budget
17 comments
updated 22 May 2018
I had been saving for another trip to New York, one of my favourite places in the world. Sadly, due to the death of a close friend, I had to rush over there before I had reached my savings target. However, I was able to make big savings, which I'd like to share with all Simple Savers who want visit the Big Apple.

1) Wotif.com saved me over $600 on accommodation in a four star hotel. New York has so much accommodation that you can almost guarantee you'll find a great last minute deal.

2) Taxis from JFK airport to Manhattan run on a fixed fare of $45 plus tips and toll fees. On the way back, however, taxis operate on the normal meter. So, book a town car and ask for a fixed rate; this costs about $70, cheaper than a taxi, where you run the risk of high costs due to invariable traffic jams. Investigate other transport options too, such as shuttles and the JFK Airtrain.

3) In most hotels you'll find a stand containing discount vouchers for museums and other attractions.

4) If you go to Macy's and Bloomingdales, head to the visitor's centre, present your passport and they'll give you a 10% discount voucher to use in store.

5. Rather than spend up big at the major stores on Fifth or Madison Avenues, head to Century 21 downtown. This is a huge department store with factory sale prices, for example, I purchased a beautiful gown which normally retails for $849 for just $129!

6) For the best views, forget the Empire State Building! Go to the Top of the Rock at the Rockefeller Centre. It's about $10 cheaper, the queues are much shorter and the view is just as spectacular.

7) Before you jump in a cab, remember that buses and the subway are $2.00 per trip no matter how far you travel. They run 24 hours a day and are very frequent, so there is minimal waiting time. The bus system and the subway use the same cards so you can load money onto one card and swipe it whenever you enter the station or hop on the bus.

8) In Manhattan, you'll be approached by vendors selling bus tours. While these cost about $30, the open top buses will take you all the way up to Harlem, back through Midtown and then downtown. It is a fantastic way to see most of the sights in just three hours. Some bus tours also offer you a bonus free cruise down the Hudson River and past the Statue of Liberty.

9) The Staten Island ferry cruises right past the Statue of Liberty, and it's free! The trip from Manhattan to Staten Island takes about 15 minutes, then once you get there, hop on the next ferry and come back. A round trip takes about 45 minutes, so you don't lose valuable holiday time standing in queues!

http://www.wotif.com
Dry washing for free in winter
0 comment
updated 22 May 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.
Using penalties to avoid food waste
0 comment
updated 22 May 2018
If I waste money, I fine myself. In trying to keep our grocery bill low I was buying a kilo or two of any fruit and veg that was on sale. By the end of the week some of this food would be thrown out. So I started to set a penalty for whenever I wasted money by fining myself. I deposit the fine in my son's bank account.
Free spectacles for pension holders, Qld
0 comment
updated 22 May 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
A dry skin brush saves on creams
0 comment
updated 22 May 2018
Save on buying body moisturising creams by dry skin brushing. For years I struggled with what I thought was dry powdery skin on my arms and legs. This is actually 'dead' skin, not dry skin. After starting a morning routine of dry skin brushing prior to showering the dry skin was gone within a week. It is enjoyable, assists blood flow, and encourages lymphatic drainage. YouTube has many videos on how to dry skin brush. Give it a go; you have nothing to lose except dead skin.
Shoe decorations can change your look
0 comment
updated 22 May 2018
Rather than buying multiple pairs of shoes, I add clip-on bows, clip-on costume jewels or old-fashioned clip-on earrings to my plain court shoes for special occasions. You can search online for clip-on shoe decoration suppliers.
Save $615 on a gaming console
0 comment
updated 22 May 2018
I saved $615 when my child was obsessed with getting a Nintendo Switch for Christmas. After some research I bought an Xbox360 with lots of extras (including Minecraft) for $100 on Gumtree. I bought four pre-owned games for $25. True gamers might gasp in shock at such an antiquated choice, but remember this is a young child's foray into the gaming world. Before buying, work out what you actually need. Older versions of things will often have accessories and games that are significantly cheaper. Look at buying second hand. The deals out there are amazing. WINNING!
Winter clothes suitcase storage
0 comment
updated 22 May 2018
We store our winter clothing and winter blankets in suitcases. Most of our suitcases were bought from charity stores. These are kept under our beds as we rent an old house with limited storage.
New noticeboard for $5.00
0 comment
updated 22 May 2018
I made a large noticeboard for about $5.00. I needed a thick noticeboard I could stick pins into. Cork-boards are too thin and don't hold the pins. At the hardware store I saw black foam floor mats (four for $9.95). All four squares are 1.27m2 and 12mm thick. I joined two panels together and screwed them to the wall. My kids can have the two remaining panels.
Save on pay parking by planning ahead
0 comment
updated 22 May 2018
With a little pre-planning, I rarely pay for metered parking. I check if the stores I need to visit have customer parking available. They often have a few spaces around the back of the store that aren't obvious. You can park there for a limited time free of charge.
Save $131 on roll-on sunscreen
0 comment
updated 22 May 2018
Save money by transferring sunscreen into portable containers. Make your own roll-on sunscreen. Clean and dry your empty roll-on deodorant bottles by carefully prising out the roller-ball with a butter knife. Refill the container with sunscreen from your bulk supply. Make a note of the expiry date of the sunscreen. One litre of sunscreen costs about $18. The same amount of sunscreen in 75ml roll-on containers is $133 (about $10 each). Make your own and save.

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