The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Sunday, 3 April 2016

The Vicky Challenge. Stop buying...

This week I am thinking about things I once bought and no longer do. Things change, we learn new skills, find substitutes and new ways but when we can strike things from the shopping list and stop paying for them it means we can use that money for something else... from paying off debt to pantry building up.

Now my things may not be anything like yours. And I am not suggesting you stop buying the same things as me. I am trying to get us thinking if there are things we buy out of habit and that we could cut them out or do something different for the sake of savings.

Vicky does it in part with samples and free products. She added this about how she is able to not purchase some items at all with a little coupling and collecting...

Don't pay for what you don't have to.
Now I know couponing is not for everybody, but they are very helpful in saving and building a pantry and stockpile. And by stockpile I certainly don't mean anything like on the show about people who extreme coupon and have 1000 boxes of cereal and buy insurance for their hoard. No what I mean is we all know saving means not spending. Not spending and we need to purchase things hmm? Therein lies coupons! If you look at those little slips of paper as money and treat them so that is what they are. When you are trying to pay off debt or stretch the budget why not take some things out of the equation? You can easily build up a plentiful supply that will cost maybe only tax and then take those items out of the grocery budget altogether. 
I know many say there are never any coupons for things I use. Really? So eliminate food coupons, but don't discount the others do you brush your teeth, bathe, use deodorant and toilet paper? So even if you only save a little each year that is money still in your pocket. You could also gift the items or donate them or for example hamburger helper is easy to get free or cheap here you may not eat it, but there is pasta in the box, look at it as free pasta. 
A few free or close to free items here and there add up.  I have enough of a lot of things stockpiled that when my husband lost his job a year ago we didn't have to spend any of his unemployment for anything other than milk and bread and some really good sale items. So the house payment and other bills were paid. Plan ahead! You may not need the items now, but they will really save you later! 
I don't buy newspapers I have friends and family and a neighbor who saves the Sunday papers for me. I get toothpaste and mouthwash coupons at the dentist, I get some from the paper recycling dumpster when we drop off our recycling off, I do print some if they are good ones. 
If you cut coupons, but forget to use them just think you wouldn't go to the store without money, checks debit or credit cards to pay would you? 
And here are some examples of things that I haven't had to pay for I have lots more!

Now in Australia we don't have much in the way of coupons. But we do have samples and they can replace some items as we discussed last week.

Other things I have stopped buying have made a big difference to my budget. Some are things I haven't bought in a long time. Others more recent as I have made new discoveries. A few of them are major in that they save HUNDREDS a year.

So here is my list that I can think of...

I do not buy magazines. Once I had a major magazine habit. Now I will buy 10c ones in op shops on holidays but that is it. This saves a huge amount. With pinterest, blogs, magazine websites I do not need them. Good magazines are $8 or more each. You can do a lot of pantry building with $8.
Nor newspapers.
Lottery tickets,
Soft drinks.
Most cleaning products.
Air freshener.
Fabric softener.
Coffees out.
Scented candles.
Cards or gift tags. (mostly!)
Gift bags.
Packaged food. (rarely)
Bottled water.
Exfoliator. Body scrub.
Carpet sprays or cleaners.
Carpet deodorisers.
Garden chemicals.
Takeaway food. (ok... but once or twice a year)
Any form of pay TV.

Other are services I don't buy:
Dry cleaning,
Window cleaner.

The best things ever are things that by not buying them it means saving money and better health as well.  One example is making Miracle Cleaner. This is wonderful stuff. It replaces so many cleaning products, saves a fortune, reduces chemicals in your home, makes the house smell lovely so you do not need air freshener or scents and saves space as you don't have lots of bottles of products.

When Lucy was pregnant we found out many scented candles are full or toxic chemicals. There are natural ones but the expensive ones I had loved were far from natural and it turns out they smell lovely but are really unhealthy. So they are gone. To get my vanilla fix I put vanilla extract in water in a cup and boil it in the microwave. The scent fills the house and then I wipe out the microwave as it is steam cleaned. Another win win! So that was a money saving plus healthy change. Many scent diffusers are the same, just a bunch of chemicals to add to your house.

I have loved finding things I just do not need to buy. Homemade wool mix and laundry detergent have my washing smell beautiful and feeling soft and I don't need dryer sheets or fabric softener as the sunshine makes things fresh better than anything else anyway.
I am still considering what else can go on the list. One thing that has helped is wondering if my Nan would have bought this or that? She had wonderful meals, a spotless home that smelled like yummy baking. Did she buy laundry scents? Scented candles? Plug in bug killer? Paper towels? No she never needed any of them one bit. Were we worse off without them? Well no!
Advertising has a lot to answer for! Yes there are wonderful things that I am glad we have like automatic washing machines! But lots of things really are not necessities and even maybe are bad for us. They can go.
I hope I find more things I can drop from my list! Even if we find one item we can stop buying and replace it with a pantry item we will get ahead.

So my Vicky Challenge savings...

Andy trimmed the hedge saving $100. (in our last home we paid one time to get the hedge tried and it was $120 so we bought a hedge trimmer and he has done it since.)

I did more painting and got quite a bit done saving at least $200
I made all the work lunches saving $100
Packed the fishing picnic saving $50.
Made three more heat packs saving $75

Andy came home yesterday with fish. After filleting there were 2 kilos of salmon = $50 saving approx.

Dinner tonight.

Being the end of a month I add in my months savings on hair services = $225!
Also nail and pedicure = $100.

Now I am able to total up my week and also the month of March. I'm impressed. My efforts and our combined efforts equal far more than I ever would have thought. If anyone says to me the old "oh, you don't work then??" comment I will be ready for them!

What purchases have you cut out in your savings quest? Are there any new possibilities you can think of?  I hope you had a great week and feel good about your work. Savings, at the end of the day, are tax free earnings.
There are so many ways we can build up our households! I can feel and see a difference here too. I am getting somewhere! xxx


  1. Hi Annabel,
    You know I coupon but pretty much just at one store. And I just did a blogpost about my stockpile. I have about a year's worth of household supplies and personal care items and I spent very little on them over the course of the last year.

    We don't have pay TV and gave it up in 2009.
    We also have very low cost Tracfones with no contracts.

    These may seem like small things but over the course of a few years, with low bills, we were able to pay off our mortgage and my husband retired early at 59.

    And who needs magazines when there are so many wonderful blogs? Yours and Mimi's are better than any magazine :)

    1. Dear Rhonda,
      I loved your post! As soon as you said this I went and read it. And admired the pictures. (for anyone reading go to If you do stuff, stuff gets done... on my side bar)
      I don't know what no pay TV saves us but I think $600 or more a year. When you add up things based on a year it is a lot! A paid off mortgage is a much better thing!
      Truly I was a magazine addict. But once the internet and I became friends it was like one big free endless magazine! Best thing ever. I don't even want to think about what this has saved!
      Your blog is very helpful for the ladies trying to learn to collect free and near free items. You do amazingly at it! Many thanks Rhonda. love

  2. Annabel your post really got me thinking about what we no longer buy. I grow and dry most of the herbs we use in the kitchen. We haven't bought much out of the herb Isle for years. I too make all our laundry and most of our cleaning products. I don't buy scented candles for the same reasons as yourself, but still have a major candle fetish. This gives the family the opportunity to buy presents for me from local artisans who use non toxic products. I make all our soap and am experimenting with shampoo bars. Haven't found one we like more than our basic olive oil soap yet. The fur baby also gets washed with my soap. Have found the pure soap is the best flea killer ever! We do all of our own garden, and produce most of the needs for the garden on site. I make comfrey tea and worm tea fertilisers and hubby sprays these onto the plants for folia fertiliser. I save seeds and haven't bought lettuce or tomato seeds for years. Bak choy and rocket come up like weeds, as does basil. We don't purchase biscuits, cakes or muesli bars as we make our own. Most of our carpentery needs are met by my very skilled husband. He is currently making our son and DIL a cot for the Grandbub, at their request. I make most of the soft furnishings and often from up cycled clothing or household linens. I also make new covers for the microfibre floor mop for both sweeping and mopping. We have 'unpaper towel' that we use in the kitchen(Pinterest pattern). We have paper towel in the camping box only. I haven't purchased wood furniture polish for years. I make my own using olive oil and citronella oil. Great polish and natural bug repellant. I have stopped buying books and magazines. I go to the local Library and get as many books and mags as I can read in a fortnight and go back again. Love it! I have been wondering what samples I am given. I found I have a collection of Avon samples. I have made three small makeup bags and have been adding the samples to these. i also realised we have quite a pen collection and haven't purchased any of them. They have been picked up at caravan and camping shows and various expos we have attended? Haven't bought a pen for at least two years.
    Now to our saving this week. We did very well mostly because hubby went to the tip recycle shop and came home with five pool filters. These are about 44gallon drum size. He's cut the top off and I'm left with the top as a small shallow bowl pot for planting, and the bottom as a large pot. Plan is to fill them with leafy heat tolerant plants and place them along the side of the house that gets the most sun in summer. Happy days. Anyways our savings this week are $913. Life is good.

    1. Dear Jane, You reminded me about herbs! Every rarely have to buy any as we have so many fresh plus Bayleaves from Mums tree. I think overall a big saving I didn't even count!
      I would like to grow comfrey. My Grandpa make that comfrey tea for the garden...
      I hope we will get to see this cot. What an amazing thing to make! It will be an heirloom. From finding an old cot and doing it up I will mention that find out standard mattress sizes as they are hard to get if not the few most common sizes and I had a hard time with that.
      You are right, the library can replace many purchases. I don't buy books either. Many books I see new out are $30 or $40. I think nope I will see that in the op shop next year for $2 then MAYBE but otherwise the library!
      Pens! I didn't think of them! Also writing pads... I just cut up scrap paper and add to my pile for lists etc.
      That was very inventive for the planters! Well done to both of you!
      The cot, the soft furnishings and the covers you make for the floor mop are all things I would especially love to see! Many thanks Jane, Love

    2. Yes, Jane, plain soap is what kills fleas here, too! I learnt that from my husband, and the fleas! You're a smart cookie!! Have you cooked 'comfrey fish'? That's the large comfrey leaves battered and cooked as a nutritious (& mucilaginous) vegetable when there are no lovely salmon trout available!! I would like to do that again!! The camping sounds great! I find that, when stuck for a solution, the answers are found in going more basic.
      Rachel Holt

  3. Dear Annabel,

    Your neck warmers are lovely. Your savings are really adding up; congratulations.

    I love reading how everyone is doing on their Vicky Challenge.

    Have a wonderful day.

    With love and a hug,

    1. Dear Glenda,
      Thank you! These are so good for aches and pains but also just warmth and comfort. If I wake up in the night and can't sleep I find a hot pack will send me back to sleep. I use them so much! With love,

  4. Dear Annabel and Vicky, another great post today Annabel. A brilliant post actually. I love reading about Vickys adventures in savings as well as yours Annabel . I really love how your blog reaches so many people and helps us all in different ways. I don't pay for cuttlefish for my birds, I get given them from a friend who collects them from the beach,I do not pay for hair cuts or treatments at a salon, I have probably 7 or 8 haircuts a year which saves me $$$ . A friend who is a hairdresser cuts my hair. I do not pay for fancy cereals, microwave popcorn ( I buy kernels in a bag and air or microwave pop them) , I do not pay for cards very often or gift tags , herbs or plants or plant pots( my Parents grow herbs so I get some from them plus will be getting plants from them too) , Dad has spare plant pots too, I do not go to the movies often ( twice a year or three times at the most) . I do not buy CDs or DVDs anymore, I don't buy cakes or biscuits very often as I bake when I can. The list goes on and on!. I but very few household cleaners , I buy products that do more than one or two cleaning tasks. I also make some cleaners.
    My Vicky challenge this week is great again but not as good as last week!. :
    I saved $50 on groceries and banked $30 of that , I have $20 in supermarket rewards to use next week or even this week if needed, so $20 saving, I saved $30 on a gift for a friend by using jewellery that was in beading things I got given over 12 months ago, I did not even remember this gift was there, saved a further $25 from these beading supplies because I can gift a friend and my nieces some beads and other jewellery making supplies and still have heaps left for me. It has not been used or looked at by me for months!!.silly!. $15 on 3 magazines I did not buy , $48 saving on muffins I made 12 muffins x $4 each at a muffin shop ( they are as big and as yummy as the shop bought, maybe nicer!) . I saved $60 on 3 return taxi trips, my Dad took me out instead, saved $50 by not going out for dinner one night and not going out for sweets after. I stayed home instead. $30 saving for a plant my parents are giving me $10 on fertiliser they are also giving me, $10 for pumpkin soup made by mum, $35 , meals given to me by my parents in the last week.$5 , herbs given to me by my parents ( they do so so much for me) $10 saving on a bird toy I made for my budgies instead of buying one , $10 saving on bird seed as I bulk bought a month ago, $10 saving on a birthday gift for my niece bought after Easter, $60 saving on doctors fees because my doctor is fitting me in today as he is double booked, otherwise I may have needed to see another doctor. I saved $10 on a meal as I stretched out a meal to make two meals, I saved $20 on wool and crochet needle by buying a starter pack of crochet needle and yarn from the news agency for a special introductory price. I think that is it Annabel!. Total for this week is $558 approx. I am surprised as it was such a wonderful week last week. There could be more too. Take care Annabel , have a great week Annabel and everyone love Barb W.

    1. Dear Barb,
      What a good week you had again. I am thinking now of ideas for beads. One thing I can think of is where you add beads all around the edge of a lace doilie to use to cover food. I will keep thinking since you have so many they might as well become lovely gifts to make.
      I love pumpkin soup and welcome this weather to start soup making again!
      Everything really added up Barb. I hope this week is great for you too. With love

  5. Dear Annabel, Yes to everything in this post! It sounds so simple, but not spending is the biggest way I am able to save. Our lists look almost identical. One other thing we quit buying is movies. We use the library, and youtube even has quite a few available for free.
    I do not use many food coupons, but like Vicky said, there are coupons for toiletries and I use those. Also, there are many coupons for pantry items that I would not normally buy or consume but they would be great to have in case of emergencies. For regular cooking, having basic whole foods on hand eliminates the need to purchase expensive processed food. Like making your own cleaning supplies, you are saving money and reaping the health benefits.
    For my week, I had to think about what I did to save as I did not write things down. I did look up how much it would cost to have someone organize, declutter, downsize, etc. and found that it averages $50 per hour. Since I devote so much time to this at the ranch and it is not something I would normally be doing, I have decided to include it. This is an extra motivator, too! So for this week, I saved by packing and doing laundry at the ranch; cooking breakfasts and packing lunches and coffee on workdays; buying groceries on special; and making my FIL's birthday gift. My total comes to $178.86. This is motivation to keep better track this coming week!
    I look forward to seeing how other ladies have saved this week and their tips for not buying! With love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey,
      I am going to answer two in one here. Thank you for telling me about the farm kitchen! It sounds like a big job but interesting too and at least you know what to do with it all! And yes people charge $$$ to clean out and organise etc.
      I loved your FILs present you made... will be posting that on Wednesday. Well done Kelsey, you have a lot on your plate but you are going along steadily! With love

  6. Dear Annabel,another good week for you lots of savings with Andy's catch, your warming gifts and all that painting and floor work you both did ,you will need a rest this week ;-)
    I have been asked twice in the last week if I work.....and explained to one about my savings diary but I think that fell on deaf ears and to the other I just said my usual family, friends , home and groups and left it at that. Im over explaining lol.
    Anyway not to be a downer,I crocheted a hat for littlest DGS, and finished the 'not so perfect" jersey for the eldest and both wore their handmades proudly , the darlings.Lots of baking done for taking and for home,and 2 lots of chicken stock and then soup as we had very changeable weather and I wanted to make sure our family kept well.Plenty of card writing and sending this month with several I know having their own worries I wanted to let them know I was thinking of them.The last 2 weeks we have had visiting family on and off and today it is back into my everyday routine.Ive still been using up pantry stores which has given us interesting meals of bits and pieces but was mainly enjoyed.
    Last night I had another look at my yarn store which is bothering me and decided I will try making ripple colour zig zag pattern throws for 2 of my DGC that live close.Hopefully that will be a no brainer just take time and I can do in the evenings. We have been very lucky that our DS visiting updated our Tv viewing machines to give more variety without cost , we weren't using one machines smartness,as he called it.(probably wondered why haha)Well we oldies didn't know.That would have cost a few $$ if we'd paid for that service.
    The things I don't buy any more are a almost the same as your list.I am trying to cut down on handy towels and glad wrap at home by usuing old towels and plates.I have made laundry powder and liquid in the past but it is much cheaper and makes less mess for me (in my small laundry)to use a mix of soap nuts and laundry powder. Miracle cleaner is my main household cleaner, and occasionally I buy Janola bleach and jiff, and dish liquid as I haven't had success with the recipes Ive tried.
    Everyone is doing so well in their savings ,love reading about them all and yours of course :-) Thanks Love Maria xxx

    1. Dear Maria,
      You probably make more "profit" than many of the people who ask this question. Actually a free weeks ago a shop keeper asked me this... and in turn I asked her how much better off financially was her family due to her job in the shop? She said she did know she had never worked it out. So I said well I have worked it out and my work makes us about $1000 a week better off! Im quiet proud of myself as normally I don't know what to say!
      I love that your little Grandchildren as so happy and proud of the things you make them! It is so cute. And you can see it means something to them and they feel special and loved.
      I really like a rug to work on in the evening as its automatic and relaxing. They make up quite quickly too. I think they will be appreciated too.
      It is fairly recent I found out my beloved vanilla candles (and creme brûlée!) are terribly full of toxins. Sad day. But they were expensive and although I bought them once a year or so I won't be anymore. Also I don't like using plastic for food. I have 90% stopped that. So we are very similar!
      Have a good weekend Maria, thank you for sharing yours! With love,

  7. Hi Annabel,
    As always, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog. It always brings a smile to my face, especially after a challenging day like today was, and then reading the first paragraph '.....from paying off debt to panty building up'
    It immediately brought back memories of us reading the advertisement for the house we bought 16 years ago.....'and has a walk in panty'. Needless to say we have built up our walk in 'panty' and downstairs storeroom lol.

    1. okay, not meaning to be too picky, but isn't it 'pantry' and not 'panty'? For U.S. ladies, a panty is underwear.

    2. Oh dear lol yes that is a typo! And means the same thing here! Many times I have done this and corrected it but missed this one!
      Sooo I hope everyone knows what I mean! xxx

  8. Hi Annabel,
    Your post today has given me much food for thought. Over the years there are many things we have given up buying which. along with our savings, has allowed us to pay off our mortgage.
    I was a magazine freak too - bought every craft magazine that would come into the newsagents, but I can't remember the last time.
    My list isn't as long as some, but has made a difference. We no longer buy magazines/books, CD's, pens (the retirement shows have gifted us many years supplies), cleaners, biscuits/cakes/snacks, clothes for myself (being short, I find clothes that fit hard to buy so I make all my clothing), take away (very occasionally), home furnishings (I make our curtains and blinds, cushions etc), soft drinks/ bottled water. I should also add that the Gift Challenge also means I won't be purchasing many gifts this year either, as they are being made with resources on hand.
    Thanks for the good read - has saved me buying a magazine :-)

    1. Dear Janine, Thank you! Well, paying off your mortgage is the ultimate result from saving and cutting things out! How fantastic.
      Good point about the Christmas challenge as the more store bought expensive gifts we cut out the bigger the savings too! Especially if, as you say, we use things we have on hand.
      Thanks so much, I did laugh about your last comment! With love

  9. Hi Annabel, very thought provoking post. Things I haven't bought or don't buy anymore are any sort of kitchen spray, laundry spray etc, soap as I have been making my own for about 8 or 9 years. I don't pay to get my nails done anymore. I started that back in 2011 when my ddil had a job in that field and I got shellac as well as eyebrow wax and tinting for $25.00. I had IPL the laser thingy down there as well as underarms so have not had to pay for wax or razors at all for five years. I used to buy a couple of home magazines but now read online, at the library and I agree pinterest etc is way better. They are only a few I can think of for now but will get my brain into gear. Thanks for always challenging us. Fi xxx

    1. Dear Fiona,
      Some sprays used to take my breath away. Not good. And you have reminded me I don't buy ironing sprays either.
      I am using Sally Hansen gel nail polish that removes with normal nail varnish remover. It is great! This basically solved my nail problems that caused me to get them done. Big savings.
      I think another one you don't do much is takeaway as you whip things up. Also tomato sauce/pasta sauce!
      Plus you definitely don't have to buy lemons etc!
      I hope your week is going well. I am loving the autumn weather. Its a relief so I hope it is lovely there too. With love

  10. I have not purchased most cleaners for over 20 years. I clean with microfiber cloths and homemade cleaners. I saw a Swedish proverb last week that said, "He who buys what he does not need steals from himself." I think that sums it all up!

    1. Dear Lana,
      Microfiber is great stuff. It washes up so well too. I watch for it everywhere and our cheap shops often have great ones. I found a car wash mit that is the best duster!
      Well done. You were ahead of me, imagine what you have saved over the years! With love

  11. Hi Annabel,

    "Stop Buying." I love the concept!

    I have some advantages here. Firstly, I married a 'dyed in the wool' bachelor, with whom I shop! Secondly, for years we thought in terms of having to plant a tray of fifty pine trees, each in its own pot, in droughted ground just to earn seven dollars (not taking tax into account). We carried a heavy digging spear in one hand, the tray in the other, and had to step out the required distance between trees. Viewing prices against the work required made many decisions easy. Often, we played the game of "What can we manage without?" For a bachelor, it's more straight forward!

    I think you'd be laughing if you heard some things I've done!! We do pay a pretty penny for quality, more herbal toothpastes, and choose quality foods. However, I combine the need for wholesome ingredients with our need to recycle the rainwater, on which we live, back into the soil. In bachelor fashion, I have not bought shampoo, conditioner (& I have thick hair!) or laundry detergent since we've been married. I run a bush kitchen, and no longer buy dish detergent or dish scrubbing cloths. My new wash cloths are to be made of $1 chenille, as mentioned earlier. I do buy basic soap and washing soda. I use hessian, with the loose ends folded inwards, and all wound quickly with washed produce bag string for my dish scrubbing cloth. It sits in a bowl of dissolved washing soda, is sterilised in boiling water (into which the washing soda is dissolved), & the awful stray fibres are caught in the sink strainer. The washing soda, that is recommended as a water softener in the dish sink, is my lovely cleaner. It is soft, cleans well and neutralises odours effectively. It can smell like cucumber. A rinse in fresh water afterwards is a good idea. My husband says to avoid ongoing costs. I also use plates, & other impromptu lids, instead of cling wrap. I use foil wrappings when visiting a bushie friend whose sink does not drain - to save washing up!!

    My husband said, the other day, that I wouldn't know what to do with the money most women have. I had to stop and think. He is right. I'd have my savings goals met so quickly!! While it is nice to go and buy a new latex pillow, it is also so satisfying to knit up free critter-damaged wool into luxury items!!

    Not buying is a challenge. Each achievement here is cherished. The good thing is that the challenge stretches ever onwards!

    Thanks again, Annabel! I'm learning!

    Rachel Holt

    1. Dear Rachel, I think you could have a tv show and teach us all! And I find myself wanting to know the story of you marrying the long term bachelor too!
      You probably would do very wise things with an influx of cash knowing how well you can do with little. This is an excellent skill. I am very interested that in many places now saving is discouraged and there are negative interest rates. Weird world. And not good.
      As you say each achievement is cherished. It is a step, progress and celebrated. This is a very happy and grateful way to be.
      Your husband is smart about on going costs. All the time in the supermarket I see huge specials on those coffee makers that take pods. That is because then you are stuck buying the pods and they get the money out of you... the on going costs are terrible plus all the litter. I would never buy one as the on going costs are several hundred or more per year. A lot of things are like that!
      Thank you for sharing all of this it is most helpful. With love

    2. Annabel, my husband said to tell you that he had a beard down to his knees, and I was awestruck! He was, of course, joking!!

      I used to tell people that you don't have to leave home to find adventure! How did I meet my husband? ..... By staying at home, and being with my family!!

      I know that's a short story!!

      Rachel Holt

    3. Ahh the beard. That would have done it!

  12. I love the idea of putting vanilla water in the microwave. I'm not inclined to use scented candles or air fresheners, but I love vanilla (and make it myself) so that idea is perfect. Consider it stolen! ;)
    Blessings, Leigh

    1. Dear Leigh, I think vanilla is beautiful too. I use it to wipe around in the fridge as well. Once when I made a big bottle after a few months I dropped the whole thing! It smashed. I had the biggest mess and waste and was upset. But the house smelled amazing for ages! lol
      I must get some boiling away today. It also smells like you have been cooking ... added bonus! With love Annabelxxx

  13. Another great post as always Annabel. My list is the same as yours as I cut most of them out years ago. I will have a go at anything if it saves my money, if you are not sure how to do something there is always YouTube and that will show you how to do it. My pay is better in my pocket then someone elses.
    Great savings this month Annabel as always.
    Have a great productive week. Debbie xx

    1. Dear Debbie,
      I think having a go attitude in itself means big savings. Many things aren't really that hard after all. Some things I have decided to do but put off only to find when I finally do them that they took a few minutes!
      I am basically dying to see what you are making next after the mermaids and everything I have seen so far! With love

  14. Checking in for the Vickie Challenge. I saved lots at the grocery on several sales and at the discount cart. Several home haircuts. A thrifted tablecloth was stained so I sewed up six new napkins -three were smaller so they went into the picnic basket.
    It is such a great time to deep clean and organize. I cleaned and organized my medicine cabinet, my linen closet, and mini van. Wow! Not only are these areas more organized but I have been able to put things to better use. My 4 yr. old son loves his "new" pillowcases that I sewed from an old toddler sheet (as he sleeps in a big bed). Old white sheets went into the sewing room for a summer tie-dye project. So my savings this week was $149.40. And for the month I totaled 565.90!
    I love all the ideas shared here. Thank you! Remember organizing and purging can also save lots of money and stress. Hey, why "pay" to store things you don't need or use? Also, thanks for the idea of giving a cake as a birthday gift, Annabel. I did just that with a gal I do church volunteer work with...she loved it!

    1. Dear Leslie, You have had a lot of great savings. I really love the napkins. Many tablecloths are lovely too and this is an idea for the ones I see and love but have a stain that ruins them. Cut up they would be beautiful.
      I totally agree about organising and sorting things out. I find things! Or find a use of them I hadn't thought of before. Also feel more organised and things look better. Overall a win win.
      Im glad the birthday cake went over well. Really I have found this to be a caring give. Even a gift of appreciation. It makes people feel special.
      Saying that it is time to make some fruit cakes. I make one for my husbands birthday and my Dads and they are best made ahead.
      Have a great week Leslie. With love

  15. Annabel,
    Good fishing day for Andy! I love to fish, but admit I don't care to eat it. My list is similar to yours. I don't buy eggs anymore since we have chickens and perfume is another for me. I get enough samples now or gifts of it that I had to buckle down and take it out of the budget. Also with the home canning there are several things there that I no longer purchase, birthday cakes is another and although not exactly a purchase, but an expense; I have had to say no to rescuing anymore beagles.(sigh) I did not have a very good week this week but we got 2 dozen eggs from our chickens, saved $350 by burning wood(monthly total), made a few more gifts, I cashed out my SavingStar for $15 in paypal money, Bing for $15 in Amazon credits and $125 in gift cards from SB's. Still waiting for Spring!

    1. Dear Vicky,
      I need to find out if you have somewhere to fish near you? It is a good way to feed the family.
      Soon you will not need the fire on? That will make life easier too I think.
      I know things slowed you down this week but you still did very well.
      There are so many things you don't buy, well done! With love

  16. Hello Annabel and Ladies! I had to think about this a bit as so much of what we do NOT buy is now second nature. I guess I have to confess that when I was younger, I had a real thing for lavish beauty products and hair products. I could not pass a Lush or Body Shop without buying something, and a Pharmacy was like a lolly shop to me! Well now I know that many inexpensive supermarket products are just as good. I only recently stopped using Dove shampoo and conditioner as I they've changed the formula...grrrr...and changed to Herbal Essences which I love just as much. I think I have you to thank for the tip on the Dove initially, Annabel. I don't buy spice mixes and make my own which are nicer. I grow herbs and now fruit so buy far less or none of those. I've been teaching my daughter how to make restaurant quality meals with just a few little luxury ingredients, so for someone who used to love eating out, that's got to be in there. As my hubby is a builder we rarely have to outsource renovations or repairs, so I know that YOU know what a saving that is! We never buy convenience food unless it's the occasional sauce-in-a-jar to keep on hand for tired nights, and we can rustle up a pretty gourmet dinner at a moments notice round here. I completely agree with what you said about magazines, although I do miss the sensation of leafing through a Harpers Bazaar or Vogue...all that glossy! A great post. Love, Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi,
      Well I had the same thing about the beauty products, luxury items etc.
      And yes they changed the Dove formula completely! Its runnier too. That was the end for me also as that was excellent stuff. I haven't tried herbal essences so thank you for that. Yes if you find a good one it is just as good as salon $35 shampoo and those are ridiculous prices.
      I also love the glossy mags... but I find a surprising number in op shops and sometimes Mum or the girls have them and I swoop when they re finished! Make good cards too, that thick paper...
      It is an enjoyable challenge to make it ourselves and we are not missing out on anything! Many thanks Mimi, your own insourcing ideas give me new inspiration every week. With love

  17. Annabel and others, I have been reading this post and all the comments ... such good inspiration! We too are on a mission to spend less and are trying to find simpler ways to replace the things we purchase at the store with a less expensive homemade version. Currently, I make our own laundry detergent, cleaners, preserve most of the food we eat, am learning how to make comfrey tea for the garden, nettle tea for the garden and worm casing tea for the garden. Our sandy soil requires quite a bit of fertilizer to grow things and these tea's hopefully will help with that. I repurpose old clothing by saving buttons and the good parts of the garment fabric for future projects. I am teaching myself to crochet! I am always on the lookout for ways to save and this post and comments have given me some doable options! Thanks Everyone!

    1. Dear Patsy,
      You make a lot of things! I am really excited about your crochet too. The more gifts we make the less we buy also!
      Many thanks Patsy, with love

  18. This has been a great week for us as well, Annabel! Your post helped me remember not that many years ago when I was thrilled, through my couponing and sale shopping, to have my pantry filled with Hamburger helper prepackaged convenience foods. Then I started to notice what things I could make from scratch without the long list of ingredients that I can't pronounce. Hubby and I have turned back to our "Mther Earth News" days and loved becoming more "back to nature" and "Eco-friendly"!
    There are fewer commercially made products in our pantries- we make them ourselves from our own ingredients or have eliminated some altogether. Cloth napkins and Kleenex from fabric remnants I have, mixes for taco seasoning and many others as well as DIY dry soup and dressing mixes to even homemade brown sugar ( learned that one when I ran out mid-recipe! Lol) We live to recycle things that we already have- my fabric storage shelves have been reconfigured at least 4 times in 2 different rooms as they were needed! We are to the point that we don't have to go to the store unless there is a sale on something that is at our price point or below! For me, I find I save a lot more by just not even entering the store! (Apparently, my will power or suggestibility needs some work!)
    This week we bought used (but very nice) solid cedar fencing- 9 panels that were 6 foot tall by 8 foot wide along with 18 fence posts that go with them for $200. We looked them up online at Home Depot and Lowe's and it would have cost us a little over $1300 for that amount! We will power wash them and they will be repurposed into the new fence design that we have been planning for!
    We sold an iPod and broken android phone and got $181.50 after expenses! I bought 4 pattern at JoAnns on sale and saved $55.33 over their list price!
    I bought 2- (25 lb) boxes of broccoli crowns for $6/box. My freezer now has a years' supply of broccoli!
    Here in Columbus, Ohio, USA, our public library has been voted the best in the whole U.S. by the national board of librarians. We are so blessed by it! Any time we see a book we are tempted to buy, we check our online catalog from the library and 90% of the time, they have it in their inventory! We did this recently with the book Grow a Little Fruit Tree and discovered that we want to buy it and keep always as a great reference book. So, we ordered it on Amazon and saved $5 over regular price and got a $1 credit for choosing slow shipping!
    All told, this week we saved $1462.10!!! Thank you, Annabel and Vicky for this challenge!!!

    1. Dear Gardenpat,
      I think we progress and go through stages. Each is a step. This makes me wonder what we will be doing in a few years time!
      Your fencing sounds amazing and what huge savings. I hope maybe we will get to see the end result.
      It was great selling the old phone etc. I am amazed what you can get from these and previously they just got thrown in a drawer!
      Your library sounds like a fantastic asset.
      I am so impressed with your savings and can see this is really huge for your year as it must be adding up to be so much! It is fun to see isn't it!?
      With love and thanks,

  19. Dear Annabel,

    Lots of good ideas and encouragement in your post and the comments!

    Quite a few of the things I don't pay for are on your list, as well. Here are the things I came up with so far: magazines, most books, newspapers, having my hair colored, manicures, pedicures, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, tangelos, (Once the season is over, we used what is frozen or choose another fruit that is in season.), basil, aloe vera, some seeds, some office supplies and fabrics that I have a stock of or can repurpose. My tomato plants this year are from seeds I saved and a couple plants that came up on their own.

    I always try to download the "Friday Freebie" one of the grocery stores offers. Sometimes it is a food item or treat. It has even been cat treats. I also use coupons to reduce the cost. This same store often offers coupons such as $2 off $40 which can offset the total. They are also one of the stores that offers a 10% senior discount once a month.

    Your heat packs are lovely! That is another thing I no longer buy. Besides saving money, they make nice, useful gifts and are reasonable enough to have several on hand. Ones I bought years ago had some type of aromatherapy added that bothered both my husband and daughter. That makes me feel even better about mine.

    You are doing great with the Vicky Challenge! I am happy with our results. I haven't totaled since the second week of March. I was able to use some things from my gift closet and free or discounted things in the Easter gifts and egg hunts saving at least $12.58. My daughter bought $20 of additional egg fillers for us. Our other daughter gave us a dozen eggs from their chickens and treated us to a couple meals. Gas points saved us $1 off per gallon for $20.40. I picked more free lemons and grapefruit. Took the grapefruit to donate to church food pantry. I did our taxes using a discounted computer program saving an estimated $290. My husband shopped around for repair companies for necessary repair to our foundation, saving probably at least $1,000. I found Easter candy on sale for 70% off and stocked up on our favorites. I got a free 8x10 photo. Grocery savings with sales and coupons came to more than $50.Along with some other things and adding the first two weeks, brings the total to $2,296.03. I can hardly believe it!

    Hope you are having a wonderful week! Thank you for this lovely blog!

    1. Dear Elaine,
      I am glad you added up your total and got such a surprise! The savings you had on the taxes, foundation work and coupons really added things up fast. Its amazing isn't it! Well I hope you feel wonderful to see this!
      Everyones suggestions have made me realise other things we don't buy plus some more I can adopt. There are many ways to get ahead and its pretty good finding easy new ways too.
      I hope you are having another great week! With love

  20. Hello Annabel (and Vicky). Thank you for another thought provoking post. I have tried hard to cut down costs since having my son. We go without magazines and dvds, cinema tickets, lottery tickets, newspapers, paper towel, cleaners, yogurt, bought flowers (not that we can grow many in our tropical shady spot, however, we love green foliage too) and take away. We really try and made do or buy second hand where we can. I'd like to be able to grow a few herbs and keep trying my crochet to make a few gifts. Having a good look at our finances, gifts is a big area. I thank you for the time you put into this blog Annabel. I thank you for replying to our comments with such thought and care. Love, Bridge

    1. Dear Bridge,
      The library is a big help for magazines and books etc if you would enjoy them. Also if you like yoghurt you can make it very cheaply and it is also useful in many recipes i.e. cakes, muffins, raita, smoothies etc. I will get you a link to an easy way to do it and you can flavour it with fruit, berries etc too.
      Gifts can be an expensive area. This is where I have cut back hugely with making them. Its a bit of a revolution this last few years but boy it has made a difference! With love

  21. golly I wish we had coupons here Annabel. The USA ladies save so much money. Have a great week. Fi xx


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