Archive for the ‘Saving’ Category

I just got the BEST Christmas gift ever ūüôā

For me, it’s one of the ultimate tiny pleasures…

I’ve mentioned the Simple Savings website that I’m a member of several times in previous blogs… I just LOVE it. I’ve gathered SO many recipes, creative ideas, cleaning tips, savings hints over the last year that I’m a complete addict.

Even Chris has been impressed with the site.

I truly believe my perspectives and outlook on life has done a complete 180 since joining this site.Our new slogan/running joke is “…it’s the SS way!”

Each year they produce a calendar. Each month has a challenge.

I’m always up for a challenge!

And ***excuse me while I do a happy dance*** next year’s calendar is finally released!

I’m so ready for it!

This last year was my first go – I was really good with some challenges, a little slack¬†with others… But next year, it’s all on!

I’m looking forward to sharing my year of monthly tasks with you…

PS – while there is a fee to join the site, this calendar is free and can be found¬†here if you’re interested.

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Because our family are on such a tight budget, keeping our weekly (8 days) shopping bill low is one of my main focuses as a stay at home mum.

One way that I do¬†this is to try and reduce the amount of ‘non-food’ items that we need – so I’ve researched all sorts of ways to reduce ‘cleaning’ costs. In fact it’s been working so well that I can hardly remember the last time I had to push my trolley down that slightly toxic smelling cleaning product aisle.

I’d like to share my findings with you!

Here is my hint for making your dishwashing liquid last twice as long… (as found on Destitute Gourmet)

Mix together:

1 1/2 cups of very hot water
1 heaped tablespoon of washing soda crystals
1 cup of dishwashing liquid

Allow to cool and pour into a spare ‘squeezy’ bottle.

The washing soda crystals  act as a water softener as well as a cleaning agent Рdouble bonus!

Just a little heads up – the liquid is runnier than usual – but just as effective, and I actually only need less.

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Ask and you shall receive…

It definitely pays to ask!

As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, Chris and I are really enjoying our morning walks into his work. I also love the quiet time I get as I walk home again.

Lately, I’ve been noticing the gardens and the blooming flowers now that spring is here. In particular, one house has a tree that is heavily laden with beautiful lemons… and I mean heavily!

Now our family love lemons¬† – I use them in everything… lemon honey, lemon muffins, crumbled sausage and lemon pasta, lemon syrup cake… the list goes on! But my poor small wee lemon tree can’t keep up.

Naturally the abundance of lemons tempted me daily Рthey were gorgeously ripe and the sheer quantity seemed to make the tree almost glimmer in its yellow hue. I eyed them up and pointed them out to Chris religously, until one day Chris just ran up the stairs, knocked on the door and simply asked.

Help yourself – she said.

And we did.

So this weekend, we had cream cheese and homemade smooth and creamy lemon honey on our pancakes. Definitely worth asking!

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Shower time!

Just a quick little savings tip that has worked wonders for us…

Put a timer in the shower. (we use Chris’ stopwatch) – For interest’s sake, just time¬†your¬†shower one morning. You’ll be surprised by how long you actually spend in there.

Next time, try and beat your time.

We managed to get from 10 – 12 minute showers down to maximum 5 mins.¬† But often I can be in and out within 2 – 3 mins. (This is¬†probably because I’m a bit competitive! I would note Chris’ time in the shower and then always tried to beat it)

While this is not as luxurious as long, hot, sudsy showers Рheating water is one of the most expensive components of your electricity bill.  

I know its seems like such common knowledge  Рa no brainer of a savings tip. But I truly believe that more often than not, we are having longer showers than we actually think we are.

Time yourself and see.

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8 days…

Here’s just an easy “hardly need to think about” hint for saving money. It’s worked really well for me and Chris this year – especially in conjunction with menu planning. Currently we have an $80 per week allowance for grocery shopping.

Shop every 8 days. Plan your menu for the next 8 days and schedule your next grocery shop on the eighth day. (I mark this in my diary) After 8 weeks you will have saved one weeks worth of grocery allowance.


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Menu planning…

I never used to menu plan. Hadn’t actually heard of it before. I never really used to cook!!

But when Micah came along and we decided that I was going to be a stay at home mum, I chose to make ‘family dinners’ a new priority.

Problem was – I didn’t have much of a variety of meals up my sleeve. Sometimes I would spend an agonising half the day trying to decide what to cook for dinner that wasn’t the same as the previous night. This detracted from my peace and enjoyment of mothering my tiny new baby – but also from my pocket! I had to keep running down to the supermarket for different ingredients at the last minute.

When I joined my savings website – things changed for me. I learned about menu planning and decided to put it to the test. It helped that at this time, I discovered that a close friend of mine also menu planned.

The change was dramatic. I couldn’t believe the difference. The peace. The budget. The organisation.

I could get parts of my meal prepared in the morning to make it easier when Micah became fractous in the the late afternoon. I knew what I needed for the week and could buy for it appropriately in the weekly shop. I never had to worry about what to have for dinner that night. And best of all – there was variety to our menu.

Now I’m addicted.

Until recently I’ve been using the menu planner from here, but lately it’s been looking scrappy on my fridge, and I’ve been trying to ‘cosify’ my house. So I got crafty and made my own (The idea of making it look lovely came from a blog I enjoy reading – Super Organiser Mum)

I love it! The red fits in perfectly with my kitchen colours and¬†adds just a tad more glamour. I’ve even made another pretty green one for a friends birthday, I think its so cute.

The bulldog clip is from Kikki.K and the pretty paper from Gordon Harris. I just glued it around a piece of plain card that I had trimmed to the desired size.

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The markets…

I’m stewing pears and so my home smells divine. There’s something so warm and cosy and homey in the smell of stewing fruit…

I was lucky today. Whenever we go to the vege markets – I do the weekly vegetable shop ¬†while Chris takes wee Micah around all the stalls and asks the vendors for any bruised fruit that they can’t sell. Today he came home with 18 pears and about 20 apples and one ripe banana.

So I am stewing pears – This is perfect timing too. My sister in law is down from Auckland tomorrow night and coming for dinner. I have some flourishing rhubarb in the yard – so will stew that up tonight and will put pear, apple and rhubarb crumble with whipped cream on the dessert menu for tomorrow. Pretty scrumptious considering the fruit was all free!

This also means that I haven’t had to pay for Micah’s fruit since he’s been on solids. Every morning he has porridge with pureed pear or apple in the winter – in the summer we add nectarines, peaches, mangos and apricots. I also use the pureed fruit to sweeten his yoghurt that he has every evening. This works out cheaper and healthier than buying the pre-sweetened yoghurts and best of all – the child loves it.

So now all I have to do is decide what to make for dinner tomorrow night…

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