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Living Lean on a Pension

January 27th, 2015 at 08:58 am

2015 will be Living Lean year as I can and being on age pension. My goal and challenge is Living Lean on a Pension.

I have no other extra income other than my pension, so I have to be as crafty as possible to make it my dollars s-t-r-e-t- c -h further than before.

I do have a little amount put aside for rainy day. Which I use when I need to and pay this rainy day account back out of my saving I can find in my frugal living challenge and any saving I can make on getting low bills which of late are increasing instead.

I will try cut back on my food, entertainment areas and personal allowance. I do better with challenges by focusing on certain areas than trying to do it over all challenge in all areas at once.

I will try to reduce my spending on what spend in the supermarket and on treats in personal allowance areas to start with.

I still wish to go on holidays this year, that about 4 months way. I will try to keep expenses down to minimum as I will be staying most nights with family.

Supermarket Spend Challenge - Try to spend less than half over the next 15 weeks.

Normal amount allowed = $472.00 - Target $230 over 15 weeks starting on Friday when my next monthly period starts. Note all my budgeting periods are 28 days in length.

Personal allowance and entertainment will try cut by 30% for now and go lower if I can do so.
So my motto will stand for another year or two.

It's real hard to come up with $1000 but it's easy to find 1000 ways to save a dollar or two!
So let's go and find those 1000 ways to save a dollar challenge and see what's amount is at the end of 12 months.

No Spending Year Challenge for 2014

March 3rd, 2014 at 05:51 pm

My goal is to spend as little as possible in the coming year on unnecessary items.

I plan to list my needs that need to buy here before I do so.

So my need list is
One washing machine [if I need to spend money on it.]
Normal monthly bills and services
Dentist bills
Glasses for computer
New anti-virus program in July

It's time to start saving again for other things that I need over next few years so as I have to save for them I better start now!

Car Boot Sale

October 3rd, 2011 at 05:50 pm

I went to local Church Car Boot Sale last weekend, I found some wonderful bargains.

This is what I found.

Mixture of items found

Oil painting and books

Oil Painting

Both oil paintings are by the same artist

Spent about $16.00 all up.

Shopping, my way on Cat & Dog Food

September 13th, 2011 at 09:27 am

This is the seventh in this series

For someone living from pay check to pay check this system may not work for you.
I allow a budget fixed amount to care for my cats each year excluding trips to the vet�s as I have a float for that and the float money from my last trip to the vet�s is back up to $500 again plus the cost of their flea treatments. My goal each year is to come under this amount so far I have won this battle and I have had these cats for almost 15 years.

I buy a clumping cat litter as this what my cats like to use. This is the store brand one, as I don�t like to have to drive my car to the supermarket very week, I try to buy enough to last 3 weeks ,same with the cat food except for the store brand one, that one of my cat likes and it�s the cheapest by far @ 69c! I buy enough this one until I am back into that supermarket chain again or when I get down to the last can. I only buy on special, I check each week the catalogues for good buys in the brand that they will eat. I will drop in and buy if the price is right. As the amount I buy depends on the price and how much I still have in stock from the last buying trip. Normally the price is around RRP $1.59 per can, I will try to buy it around a $1.25 or less the lower the price the more I will buy. If it even comes down 89c again then I will make extra trips to buy as many as I can up to 100 cans.

As for dry cats food I buy three different varieties for them. I will have in stock about 3 packets unopened so that I don�t just go shopping for this item. Lately our supermarkets have lowered their prices on some of their goods and these are just one of those lines that now rarely go on special now! If they do go on special then I buy extras that week.

As for vet supplies the online company I deal with here is

Text is Priceless pets and Link is
Priceless pets I buy enough to last 6 months at a time. This does save on postage again check the sizes and prices before you order. When I went to the vet�s he told me to change brands for a while when ordering online, I have been using Revolution for a few years now, told to change to Advantage for a while different formula but both do the same job as I have 2 cats the same size I buy the 2x 6 packs do check the price of these items at the local pet shop and online.

If things get tough in the future then I will be taking a closer look at some of these websites.

Google -- cat and dog food recipes

I came up with two gems but there are many more there but watch out for ones selling you stuff as you can find a lot of this information for free.
Text is Pet Food Cooking Recipes and Link is
Pet Food Cooking Recipes

Text is this one and Link is
this one looks interesting that I may try some of them at some time.

Shopping for one, my way on Fruit & Vegetables

September 1st, 2011 at 10:42 am

This is the third in this series

I went to the greengrocer last week as they had some specials that would have liked but I was a day early for them. So I was able to buy specials that I would have bought had I went last week. They do have a pensioner discount 10% off Fruit & Vegetables on certain days of the week but not on grocery lines.

Buying what was cheap and in season is my goal. This greengrocer sells fruit in buckets for a much cheaper price than buying by the kilo. If it will last then I will buy it this way. Tangelos are a fruit I have never eaten before; I think it's a cross between mandarin and orange. 2.5kg @99c, Pink Lady Apples 2.2 kg @.99c, broccoli 1kg .99c, punnet of strawberries 500g @$1.99, 1/2 drumhead cabbage $1.49 and on marked down table I got 4 green pepper s 99c, tray of Turnips & Swede $1.49, tray of celery sticks 69c. I bought the other day also 1kg avocados (8)@$1.99 and 1.5kg Mandarin $2.49 plus 2 kg Roma tomatoes @99c kg.

I also gave my friend some of this as she does give me some things too! 1kg Roma tomatoes, 4 avocadoes, 6 tangelos, 4 pink lady apples and head of broccoli. I would never eat this much on my own and I still have 3 kg of navel oranges that I bought 2 weeks ago.

While in the city this week I went to the Farmer's market which is held each Wednesday in front of the casino. I manage to buy 4 cobs of corn $2.00, 2 bags of zucchini $2.00 one which gave to my friend, 1kg of carrot $2.00 along with 3 herbs pot plants for $5.00. All were a lot cheaper than I have seen elsewhere. When I see cobs of corn for around 50c or less then I will keep buying them until they go higher in price.

As for a pumpkin I still have one I bought last time I did large shop. Once I cut it I will need to use it up or make mashed pumpkin puree and freeze it.

Now that my fridge is full and I need to use most of supplies before I will buy anymore so you can see I will be making some vegetable soups in the near future.

I do eat 3-4 pieces of fruit and 4 kinds of vegetable per day. I do like variety in my diet but without a lot of sauces which many people like. I don't use any sauce with fresh cream it at all so my sauces all end up being tomato base ones which in the end all taste the same.

Vegetables & Fruit: Buy in season only. If not buy canned tomatoes and baby corn or frozen vegetables. Check the country of origin on the packs so to buy where you can locally.

Remember Size and the way you buy things does counts.

Rice and Vegetables in a Pot
Serves Four.

2 cups raw rice
8 cups water or stock
3 cups mixed vegetables, diced - see note
Little salt to taste

Put water and all other ingredients into a large stockpot or saucepan.
Bring to the boil.
Cover and simmer on low heat very gently for one hour or until all vegetables are tender.
Do keep a watch on the water and add more if required.

Note: Mixed vegetables, depending on what is in season and the cheapest at the time. Carrots, yellow sweet potato, pumpkin, celery, peas or green beans. You could use best generic 'Mixed Vegetables' from freezer section (that is already diced), this is what I use when vegetables are expensive along with one or two cups of the above.

Do have a glass of milk or fruit juice with this, along with a piece of fruit to add more nutritional value.

Use brown rice, as it's a little healthier than white rice, which is just filler, and gives you very little nutritional value.

Use one cup of rice to two cups of water or stock. From each cup of raw rice you get about three cups cooked rice, enough for 2 - 4 servings depending on the other items that you are serving. Portion serving is 1/2 cup cooked rice.

Text is Pumpkin & Lentil Stew and Link is
Pumpkin & Lentil Stew

Text is Home-made Vegetable Soup and Link is
Home-made Vegetable Soup

For extra reading that I have found

Three PDF downloads on shopping for one.

Sorry here the links

Text is Factors influencing food shopping practices the Baby bloomers and Link is
Factors influencing food shopping practices the Baby bloomer...
Text is Shopping for one or two and Link is
Shopping for one or two
Text is Grocery shopping for one and Link is
Grocery shopping for one

Shopping for One Canned Fish & Seafood

August 31st, 2011 at 11:37 am

This is the second in this series

Can's of Tuna - You can buy small cans 95g, 185g or large 420g tins only buy when on special or at the lowest price you can get. Most tuna now is canned in Thailand in our area. So buy the size that suits your needs.

I use sardines in tomatoes sauce 1/2 can for me & 1/2 can for the cats. I tried to keep it for myself but that is not going to happen. As for smoked salmon that I do not let them even taste it as one will take the food off my plate if she gets the chance.

Same with canned salmon I have be very careful how I make my meals or very quick about putting it away. As for frozen fresh fish and seafood I use these too! Mainly grilled or poached again the cats get one piece between them I get the other. I don't buy fish that much so it's a treat for all of us. Frozen crumbed fish I get to eat as I will not give them any of it. Same with marinara mix I buy when on special then bag it into single serving lots and freeze. If there is a lot of normal fish pieces in it the cats may get a treat if not then I get the lot. Shopping for one can have its perks by having more expensive threats but in small quantity.

Text is Is Canned Tuna Frugal? and Link is
Is Canned Tuna Frugal?

1 quantity Basic tomato sauce
1/2 cup dry red wine (optional)
650g marinara mix (see note)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Cooked spaghetti pasta, to serve
Make Basic tomato sauce
Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes or until liquid has reduced by half then adding wine
Add marinara mixture for the last 5 minutes of cooking time.
Serve with spaghetti.
Top with parsley.
Serves 4 -6
Marinara mixes are available from your local fishmonger, seafood retailers and some supermarkets. Marinara mix here is small pieces of white fish, fresh salmon, mussels, green prawns & calamari mix together. All in bit size pieces. Whatever is the cheapest normally white fish & calamari has the most portions in this mixture at times you will get no salmon at all.

MARINARA PASTA cheat's version

Cooking this for one person this is how I cook it.

Put your pasta to boil. When cooked drain and save small amount of pasta water to pour over pasta. This takes about 10 minutes to cook

In the mean time, I find it's better to cook the marinara mix in a frypan with drop of oil by starting with the thickest piece of seafood then work your way through mixture until get to calamari cook this for a few seconds, heat your pre made basic tomato sauce I do this in a microwave add the marinara stir through and serve over cooked pasta. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Text is Basic Tomato Sauce and Link is
Basic Tomato Sauce

Shopping for one my way on Chicken & Meats

August 27th, 2011 at 09:03 am

This is the first in this series

A little while ago someone ask in comments here.

" I am really struggling to keep my grocery spending down, I always allow $70.00 a fortnight, but I am finding it's not enough, I don't eat Meat, I only buy Chicken Drumstick's, can's of Tuna, lot's of Bean's, and veg, but it is very difficult, I would love some idea's from you, how I can stretch it, also Cat Food is very expensive here! I live off of a very tight Budget as it is, but find I am dipping into my saving's more and more, just to live, very depressing, thank you for sharing with us."

So over next few posts I will try to answer some of these areas.

In the past week I have bought more meat for the freezer.
1/2 kg (1lb) Short cut bacon packed into single serve with layer of freezer bag between each layer of bacon slices. 2-3 slices is enough for one serve.
4 kabanas, which I have sliced up and pack into 50g (2oz) packets.
Gypsy Ham 100g which is already sliced will eating over the week.

2 trays 4 x chicken drumsticks (see notes below)

3.6kg (8lb) 8 breast chicken with skin on. (@$6.99kg skin on and @$10.99 skin off this was a better buy even through I had do an extra 20 minutes work than I normally do when buying skin off breast chicken. I got the tenderloins which is most times missing). I bagged them up into 4 x diced chicken 250g each, 4 x 300g sliced chicken for poaching or frying. 2 x250g tenderloin chicken 3 pieces each

Chicken Drumsticks & Wings - I buy organic ones that marked down to almost half price when I can and come home and freeze them immediately. Thaw to use as needed. I buy normally 4 drumsticks packs and portion size is two per serve. So when I cook these I cook for 2 servings.
Rule of thumb
- Large drumsticks serve one & small drumsticks serve 2 per person
- Chicken wings 4-6 per person

Eating it later in the week again.

Breast or Thighs of Chicken - I do try to buy breast of chicken when on special for the same price as thighs and diced it up before freezing with no more than two breasts per pack. I will get four servings out of these packs and they can be refrozen to use later in the same month.

Some recipes that I found

Text is Asian Style Chicken Drumsticks and Link is
Asian Style Chicken Drumsticks

Text is Lemon and Thyme Marinated Chicken Drumsticks and Link is
Lemon and Thyme Marinated Chicken Drumsticks

Text is Portuguese Style Chicken Drumsticks and Link is
Portuguese Style Chicken Drumsticks

Text is Cheat's Apricot Chicken with Rice and Veggies and Link is
Cheat's Apricot Chicken with Rice and Veggies

Text is Spicy Yoghurt Marinated Chicken Drumsticks
and Link is
Spicy Yoghurt Marinated Chicken Drumsticks

On this site also there is an ebook p240 that you can download that has some very good information and recipes, these recipes above is in the ebook but written differently. P166

Text is Thai Creamy Chicken Satay and Link is
Thai Creamy Chicken Satay

Tomato Vegetable Sauce

2 cups (mixed vegetables, or beans, corn kernels, sweet peppers)
1 bottle of Cacciatore Sauce or any pasta sauce (2 cups)
1 can 400g diced or crushed tomatoes
Few dried herbs
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 tsp chilli powder (optional)

Place the lot in microwave dish, defrost and then cooked for 1.55 minutes (W1100)
or 3 minutes (W700) in microwave.
Serve 4

Cooked drumsticks then cover it with Tomato Vegetables Sauce
Can be served over fish as well!

You must remember that I'm cooking for one.

Size and the way you buy things does counts.

Buy only special or store brands if you can use coupons then use them if it's the best option.

I always think that a good buy in protein is around $1.25 or under per serving.

Frugal Spending Spree Today

January 31st, 2009 at 02:26 am

Today I went for a walk up the street for milk for DF-Maria, and drop in to the Charity Thrift shops on the way, I have to go past them, all five thrift shops to get to the supermarket. They are putting up their prices so I will not spend as much as I normally do but when they have a 50% off sale which two of them did today I stopped to look. I found a nice classic top cream & navy which will go with my basic navy pants in a style that will not go out of style for along while. RRP $19.95 for $4.00, German cookbook $1, like new baby picture frame RRP $20 for $1.50 and on Baby on Board car sign for .50c, this is for a gift in few months I making a baby Gift basket up. Bought the grandma some sewing patterns 4 @ $1, Year 12 text book on Home Economics $1 - RRP 29.95, my treat for the day Silver Plated Art Deco 1930 style milk jug & sugar bowl for $4.00 - (RRP $60) and bag of confectionary at supermarket when I got there on special $2.95 - RRP $4.50. If I had to buy all these things at full price in the thrift shop I most likely only bought the two books. Oh I did remember to buy the milk too!

I love it when I can spend money to keep the economy going and doing some good will at the same time.

I came home with approx. $172.80 worth of stuff costing only $15.95 including the candy bars. I would say its worth it to have these little spending sprees now and then.

30 ways or more to survive the tough times ahead

October 5th, 2008 at 02:22 am

Remember your health and safety and that of your family is the most important at this time with so many people heading into a rough tough times ahead if they not in them already.

Here is my list of what steps that would need to be taken now.

1. Make or Redo your budget to stop any money leaking.

2. Spend only on needs not wants.

3. Learn to track your money- to make sure you know where you are spending your money.

4. Pay Off Debt - ASAP by snowballing if there is no other way.

5. Speak to your bank and get CC interest rates lowered or consolidated or swap to a 0% card. Shop around see what is available. Dont put anything else on your CC if its still got a balance on it. Pay it off ASAP.

6. Cut out or down on unnecessary expenses where possible, like your internet, phone, cable TV, DVD hires, Gym etc.

7. Stop buying little things like candy, magazines, newspapers, coffees and drinks when you're out.

8. Cancel memberships if they are costing you money, or dont renew when due.

9. Find a way of doing the same for FREE in some of the above in No 6, 7, 8.

10. Stop looking at and listening to advertising in any form. Now is not the time to be buying if you are short of cash but stretching your dollars is what counts.

11. Carpool, walk, use public transport or ride a bike instead of taking the car.

12. Multi task when you are out and about, planning the trip to save gas. Do as many tasks as possible dentist & doctors visits, taking children to school, shopping, banking and bill paying etc.

13. Cut back on extra after school activities so that you are not stretched to the limit. Try to limit one activity per child hopefully all the same one, this will save you in time, gas, stress & money.

14. Plan to stay home a bit more often.

15. Make up and plan your menu for the next week.

16. Make an inventory of what food you have in the pantry, fridge & freezer and work your menu around this so there is no need to go shopping.

17. Cook from scratch and get creative with your food.

18. Bulk food up with beans, vegetables, lentils, pasta etc.

19. Eat your leftovers, never waste food now is the time to take lunch to work and school if you are paying for it.

20. Plan to eat a few meatless meals each week.

21. Cut back big time on eating out and buying takeaway food and snacks.

22. Cut back on portions sizes, dont up size but downsize and your waist line will love you so will your pocket book.

23. Start a stockpile food and groceries - this is one the best thing you can do to prepare for tough times ahead. Buy rice, washing powder and toilet rolls and pet food in bulk.

24. Buy clothes at Thrift shops & Consignment stores or start swap group with other families.

25. Cut down and adapt clothes for younger children.

26. Learn to sew and repair clothes.

27 Do minor repairs around the house and any DIY jobs that you are capable of doing yourself.

28. Cut down on your consumption of your electricity and water by learning to read the meters and by turning off everything at the wall.

29. Reduce your heating & cooling costs by having your temperatures set at recommend level and wearing extra clothing if you still are cold.

30. Get your family involved by explaining to them about the current tough times ahead and see if they can work with the other members of family to cut back. Anyone over three years age can do they bit. Make it a game with children.

Cooking up a storm here

September 14th, 2008 at 02:25 am

I have decided to start using my stockpile to make room for fresh stuff next year. So far I found in the back of my pantry 3 kg of sultanas all bought for the same thing, the morning cereal and making chutney. So I opened one kilo which was very sugary put it into water and soaked for few hours then drained. As I needed 2 1/2 kilos of fruit I went looking in the freezer for the mangoes that were past they best. With sultanas, mangoes and 3 granny smiths I had enough for the making chutney along with 2 cups of cider vinegar and 2 cups brown sugar again found in the pantry.

While looking for the mangoes, I pulled out a tray of 16 small sausages and 500g ground beef along with 6 seafood sticks. Then went looking for what I had in the pantry for each meal.

## Seafood sticks diced , can asparagus soup,1/2 can of water or chicken stock, some frozen vegetables and dash of pepper. End up with servings 4 of Seafood Casserole. Serve with streamed potato, rice or pasta as a base.

## Ground beef, onions, 2 packets tomato & pepper sauce, 2 cans whole tomatoes & can of tomato soup, chicken stock. End up with 8 servings Spaghetti Bolognese. Serve with streamed potato, or pasta as a base

## Sausages, 1/2 cup cooked rice, 2 cups of chutney sauce (from making the chutney which I had drained off), 1/2 jar of Teriyaki Sauce, 1/2 cup sultanas, onions, chicken stock, and streamed cauliflower added at the end. End up with 5 servings of my version Devil Sausages. Serve with streamed potato, corn chips, toast or pasta as a base.

I didn't need to go to the supermarket at all as I had enough in my pantry and freezer to make all of the above. All meals now are in the freezer to use over next few weeks and the chutney is in fridge to be used in the coming months, I got 7 jars and 2 cups of chutney sauce from that recipe which is posted here under

Text is Fruit Chutney and Link is
Fruit Chutney.

Weekly Main Meals Menu

Sunday ~ Sweet & Sour Chicken with Rice
Monday ~ Devil Sausages with Streamed potatoes
Tuesday ~ Spaghetti Bolognese
Wednesday ~ Roasted Chicken & Vegetables
Thursday ~ Omelet with Salad
Friday ~ Pasta with Tuna & Tomato Sauce
Saturday ~ Leftover's Night

No Spend Challenge for Whole Month

February 2nd, 2008 at 08:50 pm

As I am doing essentials only, No Spending Month for the whole month of February here, its going to be a little drastic in some ways. I do have a few large bills in the next eight weeks so its a good idea that I join in this challenge too! Two of our money saving sites here are having this challenge in February.

If you got the item already bought you use that and not go out buy it again. Some people do go the supermarket because its they normal shopping day but never write a list nor look in their cupboards pantry, freezer or fridge. Wants needed to this challenge is a full inventory of all non-essentials and essentials items that you use in a month. Looking for alternative ideas and methods to make do for the month, e.g. laundry liquid look for a recipe to make your own or look at over supply a shampoo that you dont use because the family doesnt like it. Run out of soap, how about that fancy cake of soap you have in underwear drawer. Food what is largest item that you have there, go and find recipes to use it up. One person had 24 can baked beans, 12 can of corn kernels plus 48 can whole tomatoes for two people.

Whats essentials like paying bills, medical & vets bill, food if you have not a stockpile, gas for car to work by using your car so that you using it rarely by multi-tasking and tripping.

This challenge is a bit like putting together all the tips and hints you have read using every one of them for whole month and making the frugal ideas work and looking for answers and ways to do them differently if they dont. Thinking outside the box in the way we are doing things.

Weekly Main Meal Menu

Sunday ~ Apricot Chicken with Rice, Vanilla Sago Pudding
Monday ~ Omelet with Shredded Cheese and Salad
Tuesday ~ Kangaroo Steak with Mushroom Sauce & Vegetables
Wednesday ~ Tuna Salad Vanilla Sago Pudding
Thursday ~ Chicken Kebab & Salad
Friday ~ Tuna Pasta with Salad
Saturday ~ Beans & Rice with Vegetables

Update on - Easy Tuna Dish

January 1st, 2008 at 09:37 am

I did try this recipe and modified it a little.
As I cook only for one, I made up only half the recipe

Easy Tuna Dish (Modified)
Serve 2 - Double recipe for 4 servings

1 small (95g) can chunky tuna in spring water or brine, drained
2g Chinese dried mushroom soaked for 5 minutes then drained
or 1/2 can small of sliced mushroom, drained
1/2 can cream of chicken, celery or asparagus soup, undiluted
1/2 can (440g) pineapple pieces in juice. Drained and reserve juice if you need any liquid
Cooked boiled rice (Heated)

Open all cans and measure required amounts.
Just blend the ingredients gently in a saucepan or microwave dish and heat through.
Serve with boiled rice or fried noodles.

I have made the original recipe twice now.
Taste is a little more on pineapple side; it does have a yellow look but tastes ok.

Ideal if you need to just mixed a few cans together and you have no refrigeration.

Other variations:

Add some green beans or peas if you have them.
Instead of pineapple use dried apricots, cropped, soaked and drained.
Instead of can tuna or salmon try chopped spam or ham, all do come in cans!
Instead of rice or fried noodles try 2 minutes without seasoning.
This recipe is becoming a mix 'n' match one. It's a recipe ideal for living off your pantry or camping supplies.

Text is Original Recipe and Link is
Original Recipe

Another No Spending Day

2008 My Year for a Frugal Challenge

December 28th, 2007 at 08:39 am

Im planning a frugal year for 2008 so its to spend wisely and only on needs, planned purchases and emergency replacements, so if I can do without it I will.

So planning a very minimum frugal year using what in the house or can be borrowed. This includes some food items, laundry & toilet paper, toiletries, linen, household goods, cookware, books, clothes & underwear etc, (buying only if I change sizes too much in clothing).

~ No Spending but for planned items. (If I have an item in the house or can borrow it, then Im to use that first.)
~ Have my credit card at Zero balance by end of the each month.
~ Come under budget each month and deposit into the online accounts any leftover amounts.
~ Pay All Due Bills on pension days or ahead of time. (As my budget is now in Excel, I can see a working model of these figures. When due and approx amount needed for each month.)
~ As I have two gift vouchers from Christmas so that I can buy items on my need list or items for next Christmas gifts as one is a store voucher for January only. I do limit myself to extra $10.00 only if buying gifts for others.
~ Chiro visit (one every 4 weeks)
~ Known outings are budgeted for, as social events.
~ Making and setting up emergency survival kit & resources.
~ Saving as much cash I can for a new stove & oven later in the year. (Nothing fancy)

I have only two major projects other than new stove on the calendar next year, one is a must do (I have funding saved), and the other could go one more year. Both cost thousands of dollars and on a pension with limited fund I need to come up with little challenges to make them happen.

Its time for an update!

September 23rd, 2007 at 10:42 am

Well I have been busy looking at my next major project.

Unlike most people living on limited income, I believe in buying the best quality products for my money that I have to spend and not spending to save money by buying the cheapest I can get.

Im updating my computer, printer, & programs this time. After checking out what was available for the price that I wanted to pay! I found one that I had made up to what I wanted. I was able to buy all branded parts just over my total budget $1500 cash only. On Programs Window Office 2007 & anti-virus programs, I saved $220 on top prices quoted. Printer I got one that I could print in black only, and refill the ink. Saved $20 as it went on special the day before I picked up the computer and USB data stick 2GB saved $13
HP Pavilion or Dell had for the same money only, had 512MB Ram and Memory 80G to 200G in $1000 to $1500 range with paying for expended warranty extra.

My computer has Ram 1G, Memory 250G with fast drive, 19 inch LP flat screen monitor including Window XP Home, floppy drive, optical keyboard & mouse,
DVD burner, safety power pack and temperature warning system plus five years labor warranty and including help to exchange data from old to new computer, loading all the programs.

On what I got included in one computer that I bought, saved about $900 on one with same standard components around $2000 mark.

Computer $1044 - saved $900
Programs $305 - saved $220
Printer $69 - saved $20
USB data stick $27- saved $13
Office 2007 book $27 -saved $13
Warranty - Free - saved $248
Safety power board- $149 - top of range
Total spent $1594 Total saved $1414
saving 47%
Over budget by $94

(If I had paid by credit card that would have been extra 3% charge of $37.29)

So now its back to saving for a holiday next.

A Drive to buy Recycle Timber

March 6th, 2007 at 08:25 am

My handyman friend drove me down the coast to a place to buy some recycle timber for my door, he had go down that way today. Its was across the border, he has been working in that area for awhile now. We got five nice pieces of timber with a few nail holes in them but I can live with that. I am not doing any jobs around my house so it can be good for the next person that buy this house but just repairing and doing it up for me to live in. I have one of the few houses in my area that can be pulled down to use the land to rebuild here in this area. I live in Heritage area zone my house was build after the cut off date. I dont wish to overvalue my house as its at the bottom end of the market as it is, I plan to be here along while yet and I dont have the money to do it up for resale. So it will only ever be sold as a fixer upper.

We had a great day and we went visit a lady that his next client to fix up her kitchen next week. After on the way back we drove up to a local land mark here the Yatala Pie Shop for lunch. Meat pie, custard tart and soft drink as it was hot. Then we went on to pick up some supplies that he had to get in that area when on to do some business elsewhere. We got back to my place around 3pm, I tell driving does make you tried. My recycle timber cost $90.00 saving around $144 off buy new, along with a free lunch. Value $9.50*

BREAKFAST Muesli & Milk Coffee
LUNCH Lunch out*
DINNER Bean Patties with Salad Fruit Coffee

Todays Full price Tally $243.50
Todays Savings - $ 153.50
2007 Total $-t-r-e-t-c-h Savings Tally $10,264.47


February 22nd, 2007 at 10:18 am

Over the last few weeks I have been trying different, economical basic items in my quest to fine more ideas to use to keep my budget low if I need too! One of them was using Sago or Tapioca. I did find few recipes in old cookbook 'Off the Beaten Track' printed in 1916 and it's one those very early booklets with those WW1 soldier advertisements in it too!

So here a two of the recipes found.

Raisin Sago

2 tbsp. sago
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. raisin
4 tbsp. stale breadcrumbs
1/2 pint (10oz) milk
pinch salt

Wash sago and put to soak in milk for thirty minutes.
Add raisins, sugar, breadcrumbs and salt.
Mix thoroughly, turn into well-buttered mould and steam on hour.
Serve with cream or boiled custard.

Lemon Sago

2 tbsp. sago
2 tbsp. golden syrup
2 tsp. treacle
1 lemon
1 pint (20oz) water.

Wash sago; place in saucepan and pour over scant pint of water.
Cook till clear, remove from fire. (heat)
Add the grated rind and juice of juice of lemon, golden syrup and treacle; when cool, turn into glass dish.
Serve with cream or boiled custard.

BREAKFAST Muesli & Milk Coffee
LUNCH Salad & light Cream Cheese on Crackers Apple Coffee
DINNER 2 Egg Cheese Omelette and Pasta Sauce & Grilled Peppers

Three projects for today.

December 29th, 2006 at 09:57 am

I had two projects today but got a third one as well. I work better if I think in projects than just job tasks. So I make a goal to do so many projects each week as on some days I am doing too much of other things to do any. At the start of the day my goals were to do the washing & uninstall & reload the Anti-virus program with a new key code.

Finishing my neighbors washing so that its all done before New Year. See Painting Brick Walls in December 2006 archives about this project. Next challenge is to Iron it all before the son arrives back in three weeks. I do get Pin Money for doing it. See Pin Money for odd jobs in April 2006 archives.

Today is the day that I must update my anti-virus on my computer. Its one job do I get very nervous about doing. I will keep putting it off until the last minute. Its due around the New Year but I like to upgrade when I know that the IT help staff are working if I have a problem, they are there to help on the spot. This year I did need them twice before it came good. As I was to use a special programs & files this time. But in the end all is well for another year. Next year in 2007 budget will have in it a NEW Computer and programs figured into it. So I better get saving more money. If I am to pay cash for it or finance it myself with my credit card if have too! Its cheaper for me to pay annual fee with my credit card than to take out a loan. As I do paid it off FAST. My water tank payment is the problem that I cant buy anything for the moment. As it will eat into my emergency fund if I do.

I had to go shopping for my DF-M again. To get Milk & bread and a new mop which was broken. Having said that I was able to take home the broken mop and try to fix it for her. The mop head had come off but being a new Micro-fibre design @ $20.00 too! It was difficult to fix, I was able to work how the mop was put together and as she had all the parts and hammer I was able to fix it for now. Even if she use it just to clean the rubbish bins in the future. I will not try to fix it again.

I did buy something in the way of shopping while shopping for her. I bought three items and saved $4.60 today.

Todays Full price Tally $13.66
Todays Savings - $ 4.60
2006 Total $-t-r-e-t-c-h Savings Tally $8792.15

Just watering

October 23rd, 2006 at 07:18 am

All I did was water the garden, I had some recycle water left from when I last did the washing so I used that today. I do try to use it up as soon as I can, its not wise leave a long time in storage tanks. My friend & handyman called as well! He is trying to fix my front water tap which playing up. Well it didnt get fix this time. I made a lite lunch for both of us. Saving money by using what I have in the house and not going out to buy anything, just because I have a visitor.

BREAKFAST Muesli & Milk Coffee
LUNCH Salad with Blue Vein Cheese Apple Coffee
DINNER Pasta with Pasta Sauce & Tuna

Another gardening chore off the list

October 21st, 2006 at 08:17 am

Today I got out my old Mower and mowed the grass, its not a lawn but mixed grasses with weeds in it but it green. This chore took around hour to do. I have 20 perches of land, so its not that large to do around the house on just three sides. I did get into weeds specially the bindi-eye with a knife. The knife handle broke but being a hoarder and a tightwad, I just went to the can that I keep some wine bottle corks in, got one out then work the knife blade into it. Now I got a few more years out that knife I think. On the subject of hoarding, I have large coffee cans that I put things in when these are full then I stop collecting that item. I find these in the street at times, or I just ask the neighbors for some as I dont drink wine any more.

BREAKFAST Muesli & Milk Coffee
LUNCH Crackers & Blue Vein Cheese Coffee
DINNER Omelette with Cheese Coffee

Went to RNA showground today!

August 18th, 2006 at 09:27 am

Locally this show is called

Text is EKKA and Link is
EKKA today.
This is its 130th year on the same site too! Images are in the media gallery.

The family, have a member & visitor RNA membership passes which I was able to borrow the visitor pass today, saving over $30.00 on gate entry & cloakroom fees alone without spending another cent. I had lunch & dinner at the showground. We bought a Food & Treasure Maps you had to go to 30 places on the showground to get a stamp & a small gift at each. I bought only 3 showbags and I got a number of free ones for the children that rarely go to the show, as theyre live in the country 3 hours west of here. All up I spent around $55.50 this was an inexpensive day as you can spend hundreds on just food, rides & showbags as well the cost of entry fee and fares or parking.

It was great day in that I had quality time with my son as we went together alone and spent a good 10 hours there (This was the only second time since his marriage over 6 years ago that we went together.) Before his wife arrived after work, then we all went and watched the ring events for another 3 hours.

They were The Man From Susan River, riding a horse bare back with no raids doing tricks.
Carlton Clydesdales
Whiptacular An impressive 240 whipcrackers perform in assorted formations in this nightly show,
Buffalo Bill and Bison Show
With many species of bison now extinct, the Buffalo Bill and Bison Show is a rare opportunity to see this magnificent creature up close 20 of them in fact! Humphrey the bison is the star of this show, though he shares the spotlight with three galloping horsemen in a performance thats sure to be a hit with Ekka visitors of all ages. Buffalo Bill riding bison up a ramp with herd of bison and running around the arena and wild horses running around the arena in the same act and some trick riding on horses.
Country Music Performer (Tania Kernaghan),
Freestyle Motorcross bike riding jumping over ramps
Holden Stormriders Precision Driving Team
Human Cannonball
Plus Dairy Farmers Fireworks which is the highlight of the night.
After which we collected our bags from the cloakroom and headed back to the car.
Oh! What a long day!

BREAKFAST Oatmeal with Current & Milk Coffee
LUNCH food out *
DINNER food out*

Todays Full price Tally $205.25*
Todays Savings - $150
2006 Total $-t-r-e-t-c-h Savings Tally $4590.28

Grey Water

June 24th, 2006 at 08:51 am

I had a go at my new system with all my buckets and water holding rubbish bins etc for my grey water.

Some ideas worked but others were not as successful as I hoped! I need to empty my rubbish bins before I washed so I watered the back yard with them.

Saving the soapy water to put back in the washing machine and having enough buckets to do this task. 10 buckets and 2 large rubbish bins were not enough.

As for the recycle water hose that I bought, I need some way to fix it to my washing machine waste hose and be able to remove it also! I used up 2 ideas as far with very little success.

I am still learning on this one so its back to the drawing broad. MMMM!

BREAKFAST Oatmeal & Currants Coffee 2 Toast & Jam, Coffee 60c
LUNCH Crackers with Cheese & Chutney, Mandarin Coffee 65c
DINNER Omelette with Sweet Chilli Sauce Apple Coffee. 65c

Bulk Food Replacement Fund - $100.20

Morning Tea .Clothes

June 4th, 2006 at 09:03 pm

Finding something to wear for the Tuesdays morning tea. I dont want to buy anything, so it will be something out of my wardrobe. As it cool here that you will need something with long sleeve it must be skirt or dress not pants which is what my wardrobe is mainly built around now! Its will be very frugal indeed as most of my wardrobe is very old or 2nd hand.

I have chosen three outfits that may past muster for this event. One is a dark pink 2 piece suit that was my mothers (20 years old)Wink, the mauve suit (I wore this to DS wedding that I now wear it to weddings & formal occasions) (6 years old) and is very out of date this season. Black skirt and long sleeve black plain top that I would wear my long pearl with. Black Shoes and Handbag (15 year old.) for all outfits.

Paying bills on pension day

May 28th, 2006 at 08:43 am

Friday was pension day, so its the day that I allocate to pay any bills that I have what are due in the next fortnight. I keep my bill money in the Pension A/c until I have too much over for next lots of bills. Then I will transfer balance allotted for bills out for future large bills at the end of the year.

Instead of working out how much for each bill for each pay. I use annual totals instead plus 10% system then allot the grand total divide by 26 for bills each pay, its more than half my pension each time. I am not allow to spend this amount on anything other than bills and credit cards if the bill was paid via credit card so that now I pay my credit card out of Bill A/C because that is all that its used for now! I only pay an annual fee on my credit card, which is budgeted for and no interest on CC as it paid in full each month. My Internet has to be paid by direct debit via CC only.

Today bills are Electricity Bill $139.10 saving $16.00 on the last bill.
Car Club Mship $58.00
Personal Accident Insurance $87.45 Annual saving $7.95
Total $284.55 with left $141.43 for bills this pay.

Two of the Bills had to be paid by Cheques so I needed to go to the bank for these. Normally you pay $6.00 each for them, as I am a pensioner they are FREE (see below). Saving $12.00.

Bill still to come is Chiro $421.00 in next this pension pay period.

How do I get around this without taking out of my saving bank A/C?

Simple pay off the credit card first before I put the Chiro on to it, which has been done. Deposit $140 + medical refund in CC when the bank opens. Then pay the balance out of the next two pays amounts for Bill A/c before the interest is due! I am lucky that all the dates are right to do this. I have only one bill due before the end June that I can be pay out of my grocery allotment. If am short. This is how I use my CC to my advantage. But you must have a ($0) zero balance to do it.

I only pay my credit card annual fee to the banks, I have no other fees including interest as I paid off my CC each month. I dont pay account keeping fees even, which is here around $5.00 per month on all banking accounts if you havent found away to get around it. I am lucky that I am on a pension as I have a pensioner fee FREE A/C and free bank Cheques, which are normally $6.00 each. (Saving $120 on bank fees. Allowing $10 each month in saving tally.) I may open another account online in the future so I can keep my EF & saving out of my Bill A/C. But there is so much red tape to do it when you are on a pension.

I did have to go to Westfields Shopping Centre by car to pay one of the bills there. So I did a little shopping and had lunch there too! Lunch, I only saved $4.90 on coffee, as I had no vouchers left. Bought few Sympathy cards for my Bulk Assets box. Saving $8.00 on buying them at a newsagent each time. Had my exercise for the day while there, once around both levels.

Spend more money on groceries on Cereals & Bacon on the way home at Aldi. Saving $3.00.

Went shopping at night DF-D only bought a gift for DS & Coffee in the markdown area saving $4.00 While DF-D spent well over $130.00, I only spent $8.00 mostly of that was not Food.

BREAKFAST Muesli & Milk with LSA Prunes 4 Honey Puffs Coffee 65c
LUNCH Crackers with Hummus & Cheese with Mango Chutney Coffee 40c
DINNER Mini Salmon Loaf with Tomato Sauce & Vegetables, Yogurt & LSA Coffee $1.50

Todays Full price Tally $ 318.65
Todays Savings - $65.85
Bulk Food Replacement Fund - $39.70
2006 Total $-t-r-e-t-c-h Savings Tally $1416.54

Portion Control for Solo Cooking

May 22nd, 2006 at 10:35 pm

Weight Control: Portion Control for Solo Cooking

My Motto:
Portion control of servings is the key to weight control and weight loss plus exercise. No second helpings, Thank you. Eat unflavored popcorn if hungry and to save money.

I have lost 9 kilos in the past year on portion control and with low-fat choices with losing 250-500g at a time. Its the same way that I put on the weight so I am taking it off that way too! Want I was doing was eating the same 4 portions as if it was 2-3 portions.

How to get around this is by serving up the extra portions along with meals then put them straight into the refrigerator or freezer before you eat, is best way of not have extra around when cooking 4 servings in single person household.

Look at the serving size then divide by that or more. If the recipe says 500g meat put in 300g then add more vegetables or filler. You may get an extra serve as well!

If the can of buttered Mushrooms serve 4 then divide it up into 4 then freeze the extra servings. I would have bought the smaller can of mushroom then eat the lot! All 2 servings. Oh these little tricks that we learn.

My Mother once asked, How do you get enough for lunch next day out of roasted chicken. The reply was I serve it up first or as if its another serving!

We once put out 2kg of ham for eight people along with table full food. One person had the lot! He said I like ham off the bone. Guess who didnt bring a plate along?

Thrift Shopping

May 11th, 2006 at 07:15 pm

I walked up to the local shops today and visited a few of our local thrift shops there. I am lucky that I have cluster of them in the one area, six of them in all within walking distances of my home. I visited three plus the Charity Street Stall on Thursdays, that is set up outside the supermarket as well! I got most of my bargain there today.

I bought few items at two of thrift shops but most of it at the street stall.
Here a list the items that I bought today:
Two Cookbooks that are part of a series that I am collecting $3.00 as new value $10.00
Brand Name Glasses Case 50c as new value $12.95
Oral-B Toothbrush Refills Pack of 2 $1.00 as new value $20.00 (Never opened as new)
Old Freezer Cookbook $1.00 (value 2nd bookshop price $5.00)
Costa Moda (up market) Top $1.00 as new value $55.00 as new in my size too!
24 Pottery Mini Novelty - $2.00 (cost around $2- $4 each at pottery store). as new value $56.00
(They are cute, ideal for gifts & some for wrapping novelty ties. Four are for my collection of miniature owls which is why I bought them in the first place.)

98% of items I bought have never been used, only one book which I value at 2nd hand.

If I went and bought each item at its original source new, I would had to find an extra $154 today!

I saw another couple of items @ 10% or less than original price that may make a nice gift fillers too! More items for that suitcase thats under the bed. MMMMM

I went to chemist but found that I had the wrong prescription so I will need to go back again to-morrow. (Mad at myself) I went to Hungry Jacks for Morning Tea, seeing that I was near by and got another 30c cone & more free coffee, two cups cappuccino this time with my senior card that was a saving of $4.90. I bought some pet food on the way home that was on special too! $8.90 for 3 boxes saving $1.20

Todays Full Price Tally $174.75
Todays Savings - $ 154.35
2006 Total $-t-r-e-t-c-h Savings Tally $697.50

Chiro Visit

May 10th, 2006 at 08:56 pm

I did a lot of household chores this morning before I caught the bus to the City to visit my Chiro. This is a regular monthly visit for my birth defect in my hips and now Arthritis that I have. It will never fix the problem but it helps it somewhat. I get treatment at student/pensioner rates. Then a medical fund refund also! Normally its around $45.00 per visit. Because of a survey that I filled out for them some months back. I got $6.00 off my pensioner rate this time, and I paid $33.00 so after the refund I am only out pocket $13.60 this time! On a Full visit saving of $31.40 Next months Chiro Bill will be a WHOOPER, as I will be paying for a whole year in advance. But with bank interest is so low here and getting over 10% discount off per visit off. As I have saved this money in my Bill A/c its worth it. You only get the medical refunds after each visit, which I re-banking for next year bill. More about it next month!

I bought lunch out today, another two for one deal, and free coffee plus a single cone. I like my 30c cones too! Saving $7.70

I went to Lifeline in the city today, which is THE up-market Thrift Shop here. Where all the Antiques and High Price Brands Names goods are sold. Got a book for $2.00 but most was around the $8.00 to $18.00 there. I did see great sets of Ladies & Gents watches in original boxes NEW, for $50.00 the set. Nearly bought a set but I didnt need them. I bought a few items at Chinese markets in the city for $7.00 saved over $4.00 there.

Todays Full Price Tally $ 72.40
Todays Savings - $45.10
2006 Total $-t-r-e-t-c-h Savings Tally $543.15

Going grocery shopping with elderly neighbor.

May 8th, 2006 at 08:54 pm

This DF-M is old enough to be my mother. So I am the driver & trolley pusher etc. Its part of our local block community barter system. (See below.) As we were doing banking, chemist, thrift shop drop off, & grocery shopping in one go, it took over 2 hours. She always gives me her 4c off fuel voucher plus a cooked chicken & little cash for fuel. So I am not out of pocket only thing is time & my energy level and whether I can do anything else for the day.

Did some shopping today also, I was to buy eggs but there were none that at the price, I wish to pay & they price has gone up by 12c per dozen too! I looked at the bargain areas again it had some good buys, so I bought some items that I can use or try! Spent $6.90 full price $20.67. So my meal tonight will be part portions of the free chicken & fresh mushroom and Garlic Focaccia Bread which were all part of the bargain areas markdowns today. I drop off some Avon that I pick-up for someone else and with given of chicken & stuffing, for my trouble. I am well feed in this community.

Our Local Block Community Barter System.
We exchange garden produce, tools, cook meals, ironing, house sitting when tradesmen are coming, water gardens, putting out & returning Trash bins, feeding pets, doing errands for others, shopping, checking on ones living alone each day. As well driving around, (including to airport (50 km trip), which the fuel & parking is paid, doctors visits, shopping, take them visiting friends etc or taking bulk trash to the dump) time in involved is free, over 8 hours each week, I am doing this for others. As my most valuable asset is that I have a car & time. With this barter system, you do something for someone, then they give you something in exchange and pay any the cost involved as you may be paying bills or doing shopping for them.

Todays Full price Tally $32.67*
Todays Savings Tally $25.77
2006 Total $-t-r-e-t-c-h Savings Tally $383.15

*Full price includes items bought & value of free items or bulk assets storage.

Bridget's Petticoat

May 2nd, 2006 at 05:47 am

When I was writing up a piece for the Re-reading Tightwad Gazette in the forum. My mind started to wander to some frugal stories from past generations handed down over time. So I thought that I would now and then, past on a story or two.

There is a story in my mothers family about my great grandmother Bridget petticoat. She was immigrant from Tipperary in Ireland around 1884 to Australia, and pasted away before I was born.

She would tell all & sundry (everyone) My petticoat has lasted me, 65 years it came up out with me on the sailing ship, why do I need new one. The family explained, yes it did last 65 years, but with seven charges of new linen and five charges of new lace in that time. But it still in her eyes, it was the same petticoat. She was lucky that two of her daughters & a grand daughter were dressmakers and also did very fine crochet, I am lucky to have some of they crochet tablecloths still today. That is what I call being Frugally Creative.

Cooking without a Recipe being Frugally Creative.

April 29th, 2006 at 11:10 am

I made a meal out of my bulk storage assets today! I thawed four chicken drumsticks a day or so ago and need to use them today. I took 2 cups (mixed vegetables, beans, corn kernels, sweet peppers), bottle of Cacciatore Sauce that I have a lot of, a can diced tomato that needs using up and 1/2 teaspoon of chilli powder plus a few dried herbs. I place that lot in a microwave dish, defrost and then cooked for 3 minutes; I cooked the drumsticks on a browning tray in the microwave for 2 minute each side. I have cooked the chicken drumsticks and I have frozen the one's I didn't use which I will use soon! As for the Tomato Vegetables Sauce I serve it up with 2 of drumsticks and cover it with Tomato Vegetables Sauce. I got another 3 serves to freeze. I plan to have some over poached fish on Friday. One lot over Pasta lasts one with the chicken drumsticks again! My best meals come from my Creativity when I got to come up with something I got at hand. I will make this again too! No spending today!

Return of Broken TV Antenna.

April 28th, 2006 at 12:17 pm

I had no spending day cash wise. Got my son to return an indoor TV Antenna that was broken when I bought it last week. I am out of pocket there, as it a replacement for the one, I lent someone and they didnt return it that was six months ago. I waited until a K-mart 15 % off Sale then bought it. So I didnt need to drive 28km to exchange it and he was going there.