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, 5 June 2016

The Vicky Challenge. Doing the best with what you have.

I am very happy with the last week! 
For my Vicky challenge I counted:

My cooking including three dozen banana muffins and a huge cake. The muffins alone would have been over $100 in the shops. I am counting $100 as I made so much, filled the freezer and lunch boxes and gave some as gifts.

All work lunches for the week and fishing picnic for the day $150.

My beautiful shoes and necklace plus other op shop buys put me in front by over $500. 

The mushrooms... we picked over $150 with going by the shop prices. Many were given as gifts but some of the savings were still in our house so I will count $20.

Andy had a specialist appointment. Annually he has a series of heart tests. Several years back he found out by asking the right questions he saved a lot at this appointment. This time he asked and it saved over $200. It pays to ask! (that is to ask can this test be bulk billed? Can this test be done anywhere else that it can be bulk billed? etc.)

I don't know what my embroidery and crochet is worth exactly... but in the shops I saw a hand crochet granny square rug for $99 and the baby shops have pretty little tops for over $50 each. I paid $5 each for the ones I embroidered Harper. So for my rug and tops I did last week I will say $200 value generated in gifts.

This is all adding up to almost $1200. Which is mind blowing! Things sure add up especially when there is a whole variety of sources like last week.

Our extra savings ideas and thoughts this week are from Vicky...

Having the best or doing the best with what you have:
I recently had the opportunity to speak to a young couple that are just starting out and seeking advice on how to get ahead early on as both come from families of spenders rather than savers. They have opted to do things differently and really just needed a little nudge in the direction they want to go since both seemed very sincere about wanting to escape the pitfalls they feel their parents have been in.
I told them mindset is the biggest part of anything and there are two big ones:
Having the best
Doing the best with what you have
They come from families where everything had to be the best or most expensive, keeping up with the Jones's if you will. They work umpteen hours of overtime each week and if I understood right, pretty much own nothing. A home that will never be paid for, a vehicle that could get repossessed at anytime and the payment would equal a mortgage payment.  Things, things and more things all high priced all "the best". 
Things that never have tags taken off, never get used still in the box all for the sake of having them. 
So while talking to this couple we talked about doing the best with what you have. Well for most of us this may not be a new concept but for these kiddos it was like a light being turned on. We discussed how it takes discipline to stick to a budget and how doing the best with what we have gets us ahead. Helps us achieve our financial goals. Helps us to be able to save and pay cash for things. Pay off mortgages early, have money in the bank for emergencies, with stand job loss and afford a stay at home parent or partner if we choose. Well they liked that idea since neither one had an at home parent and that was also one of their goals. And they don't want the financial pressures that their families experience even if they don't grasp that they are doing it to themselves. So I told them therein lies doing the best with what you have. Not letting the world tell us that an item that is still good or still works is no longer useful and should be discarded and replaced. And especially starting out this can be a good tool to keep in the toolbox so to speak. 
In terms that younger people understand better it seems I gently explained that if your making $12 an hour and you want the best tv they make and it's $2000 you then have to work a little over 166 hours to pay for it and that is before taxes are taken out. Is it worth it? 
And then I gave them some examples of what I did with doing the best with what I had when I first started out.
I had a 3 legged kitchen table that I screwed a piece of pipe to and covered with a table cloth.
An ancient toaster that belonged to my grandma, but it still made toast just not 4 or 6 slices just 2
None of my dishes matched, but they were all white so it was ok and is actually trendy right now.
And I made do with these because they were the best I had and I did the best with what I had until slowly I was able to replace them when the other legs on the table started breaking and the table would fall over with a little bump. The toaster only made 1 piece of toast instead of 2 and saved me the decision of replacing it when it just quit working. 
If you are in a spot where you are doing the best with what you have most of us have been there and can appreciate your fortitude! 
So whether we are new at the game or an old pro it never hurts to do the best with what have!.

I hope they listened Vicky! How many people have worked hard only to own nothing at the end of it all? I have known people who seem quite wealthy but it is all smoke and mirrors. In truth the car is hired, the contents are all on payment plans and the credit card debt and mortgage are incredible. They actually  own nothing! Now that is their choice. But if hard times strike what will happen to them? 

I love the saying "do what you can with what you have, where you are." we can all do that and our energy and creativity can achieve a lot!

How did you save last week? I hope looking back it was a great week and that we are set for another one!



  1. Hello Annabel, an amazing week for you, those purchases were wonderful and all the baking and crochet and appliqué is lovely.

    Vicky how wonderful that you got the opportunity to speak to these young people. I hope they keep in contact with you because that is what is needed I think, reinforcement along the way, because surely as you only posted a week or so ago, they will come under fire for being frugal, and that is always from the people who have nothing.

    I have a massive mortgage but that is my choosing, for investment properties and my own place is not far off being owned outright, but that is my plan. My plan is to never rely on a pension from anyone else. I've followed this frugal path and that has allowed me to be where i am. I see the whole frugal thing as a game in a way, a game that inspires me to beat this challenge or that one, or just to see how much i can do on a single persons wage.

    Keep up the good work ladies, I am sure that there are many more people who read your blog Annabel who don't post, but who take away your words of wisdom and knowledge and improve themselves.
    Fi xx

    1. Oh Fi I hope I didn't sound offensive?! Please accept my apologies if I have.

    2. Dear Fiona,
      I know how hard you've worked or some of it at least. I think that the Aust government dept rises by $110,000,000 a day. So personally I don't think pensions will even exist in the future or I wouldn't count on it. We don't even count on superannuation as that is all pie in the sky as well if things go up in smoke and they continually raise the age and weather you can actually have to and all or part etc etc. We count on none of it. So your plan is good.
      Thank you for your encouraging words and Im glad if you are encouraged. You and I both love a challenge I think and find that motivating! Have a very good week! With love

    3. Fi,
      They are all over the place here regarding social security so I admire you greatly for being so independent. It will probably not exist here when I reach retirement age so I am not counting on it either. I think you are an amazing woman and I am glad we get to share here!

  2. Dear Annabel and Vicky. This is such an important post, and I bet it changes the mindset of many other young (and older) people who are fortunate enough to read it. Vicky you have such gentle way with words and ideas, and I love that. I think many of us here have seen good times and tough times, and you get to know over a lifetime, that you always manage somehow. But how to impart that to young couples and families who are struggling, and don't seem to know the way out? You are giving people hope Vicky and well done to you.....and Annabel, it goes without saying that that goes for you too. Love, Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi,
      This is an interesting area... I know you had a good upbringing and family of cooking and a wonderful Mother. And so do I. Yet others have the kind of parents Vicky described and have never been taught anything much at all... so how they survive I don't know! Then some like this young couple WANT to learn and that is exciting to hear and others would have a fit at the thought of making do or cooking themselves! We have seen it all in our previous forum life!
      A great thing is there is so much information now ... blogs, you tube etc that anyone wanting to learn can and be encouraged as well. A little bit of encouragement goes a long way and that is what you are doing, encouraging and inspiring! With love

    2. Mimi,
      Thank you so much! It was such a joy to be able to sit with them and help. Here are two young people who have been raised with the best of everything and don't want it. I am guessing financial pressure may have not always made for a happy household. You are right I think we have all struggled at some point and I think hearing testimony that we can get through it is just what some need. have a great week Mimi!

  3. Annabel once again you inspire me to try even harder to find the savings and to be proud of this process.
    Vicky those young people are so very lucky to have you as a mentor on what can be a difficult pathway, at least at first. Sometime ago a friend, a miner on a huge income, had a go at us for paying off our house rather than refurbishing it. We are now in a very comfortable position, on a low income, owning everything. The mine closed and that friend is madly selling off all the toys in an effort to try and keep the house. Being frugal is such a wise decision and a healthy lifestyle to follow.
    Our children have grown up with this as their way of life. Both are serious bargain hunters and both have the mantra of rethink, reuse, recycle before purchasing something new.
    We had moderate savings this week of $279.
    Annabel, I made and used your wool wash this week. I washed my woollen crocheted blankets and they ae so lovely clean and soft. When I first made the wash I was a bit concerned that I had done something wrong. Instead of being a soft white soap it looked like frothy urine. Thank goodness it set beautifully overnight. Life is good.

    1. Dear Jane,
      Thank you so much! You are doing well and on many levels... with greening, produce, craft, gift making, woodwork and gate making that Bluey does... so many things.
      The wool wash is weird now that you mention it... then voila! it sets! I should mention that as a warning. But doesn't it work so well and smell so good? and the softness? I have transformed things with that. And I just did a whole wool filled quilt. It improves things actually.
      It is wonderful your children took notice of how you taught them and carried it on. You are right about the healthy lifestyle too. Your fruit and veggies are a testimony to that also! Have a wonderful week. With love,

    2. Jane,
      I 100% agree! I feel sorry for your friend because for some that have to start selling things it can be such an emotional experience. Instead of looking back fondly on things they may have owned it can easily be turned into resentments. My boys love yard sales and thrift stores and bargains so I hope they continue this in their lives. Thank you Jane!

  4. Dear Annabel, Thankyou for your continuous encouragement , support and inspiration and thank you to Vicky for your thought provoking words.
    as someone on a disability pension I have thought a out about my future and what will happen if their are no pensions. What will I do? .
    I am constantly told I cannot afford to buy gifts for other people but as You say " do what you can with what you have where you are. An example of this is I rebcently won a gift basket ( a wrought iron basket filled with goodies , as a raffle prize. At least two of the items made it to my gift cupboard as I have no Use or what or need for them .
    The cost of one gift is negligible . The gift a beautiful candle which I am going to put on a mini silver cake board ( bought on sale for $1.19 for a pack of 2 ) and I have decorated the cake board with coloured jewel and will use cellophane from the basket packaging or an oven bag . I may put a few chocolates on the board too . Total cost under $2 .
    Vicky your story about the table struck a chord with me as I have a yucky table in my kitchen that needs a good clean or paint but Iwas considering throwing it out . As it is not pretty and not working in my kitchen . I was looking at table cloths the other day for the purpose of making it look beautiful until I can I could afford something else.i also have a dining setting that was given to me that may work in the kitchen , I need to investigate possibilities before I spend money.
    My vicky challenge savings are for two weeks since I missed reporting last week :
    A night at my parents place which I call the B&B , with all the luxuries , my favourite meal with, my favourite sweets ( a special event for state of origin football) Total savings for this experience approx $130 for a nights accomodation, dinner and all the luxuries. Also 10 meals from my parents at $8 per meal ( supermarkets charge at least that for their fresh meals ) $80 , 8 portions of pumpkin soup $40 ( again a small supermarket tub of fresh soup is about $5 or more.
    Apple crumble , 2 serves$10.
    Pressure cleaning of my front ramp done by the housing dept as part of maintenance , I am estimating $50 for an hours work.
    Clothesline repair , that least half an hour and used the governments line as the line I had bought was not suitable , approx $30. Got my front gate fixed , took half an hour , using tools and skills I do not have access to. $30 .
    Made 4 simple cards to send to friends using materials I had here or were given to me $20 saving.
    I only have to buy mince this week as I contributed the meat and veg last week ( my parents are making all my evening meals to make life easier for me at the moment ) . I also need to buy lasagne sheets , total cost for 14 evening meals will be $25 . .
    I have a good stockpile of some things but can use the money I would spend on meat and veg to add to my other areas of my pantry. I will try to keep groceries down to a budget which I can report in more savings next week.

    I had my usual subsidised cleaning $36 saving, social support errands done for me at a cost of $7 hour saving me taxi fare and the energy to go out when I am just not able to physically. $20 saving at least.
    Stayed home at least 7 days in the last 14 days and spent no money , potentially saving $150 approx on taxi fares and the " few things I " needed" .
    Got 2 new dressing gowns for winter at $20 each instead of $60 a saving of $80 total
    My parents gave been on holidays and bought me some farm fresh honey, a Brisbane Broncos football team flag and a few other goodies as gifts from their trip another $50 saving..
    I think there could be more but that is enough for now Annabel!. Total least $725 . Sorry for the long comment Annabel , I am making up for not commenting last week!.
    Thanks again for a great post , you had wonderful savings Annabel. Thanks again to Vicky too have a great week . Love Barb W.

    1. Dear Barb,
      You have been very busy and productive! It was great to hear about your fortnight!
      It was lovely to get presents from your parents trip away. They are always thinking of you, I can see that as they are always doing something nice.
      I am making pumpkin soup tomorrow! It is my favourite. I notice too how the little tubs of fresh soup in the supermarket are so expensive and for one serve! These things are an eye opener. Imagine feeding a family that way. I love having single serves of soup in the freezer and very often that is my lunch.
      I hope you have a great week this week. And also keep warm and dry! Keep up the great work Barb, with much love

    2. Thanks Barb!
      Stenciled tables look gorgeous too if you decide to paint your table to fit your décor. There a lot of faux painting techniques that are easy to do that have gorgeous results. I like table cloths too since they can be changed to suit our moods LOL! Have a great week Barb!

  5. Oh crumbs Vicky, no no no, why would you think that? I'm hoping what I said didn't come across as offensive to you!! No, I was saying how wonderful it was that you got the ear of these young 'uns. They all need the words of the wise. Unfortunately my eldest child has married someone who believes more is best and how much can i buy this week sort of thing. I can't even suggest anything, so I know that it's a waiting game - one day they might hit the floor. Unfortunately her mum is nearing 60 and has just about nothing at all. In fact recently she moved into an investment property of mine that i was letting my child and family live in. She became a free sub tenant. No increase in rent either lol. I always thought that being such a practical person with money and such that it would rub off on my child (who is almost 30). He bought his first home at 21 but since meeting and marrying her, no further increase in savings or wealth as far as I can see. But anyway Vicky, no you did not offend me at all. Quite the contrary. Love your contributions on Annabel's blog. And Annabel, I think you are right, about no pensions in the future. My own super is not great, that is why I have rental property. All that time I took off having my children and being a SAHM. But wouldn't have changed that. Got good news (I think) on the job front this morning, to be confirmed later in the week. Just casual work which is exactly what I want for now. I am very encouraged by you Annabel. You are a bit like a hero to me.
    Fi xx

    1. I just read this and saw about the news re the job! I know you have been going through a bit over this so I am hoping for you! Thank you for your kind words Fiona you make me want to cry sometimes with what you say to me. (in a good way! lol) Thank you so much. I hope to hear more good news soon re this part time

    2. Thsnk you Fi! I am so sorry I was tired and thought I may have sounded offensive about mortgages? I also put a big cucumber and a whole sleeve of celery in the freezer instead of the refrigerator and put a half gallon of milk in the pantry instead of the refrigerator! LOL

  6. great savings Annabel.
    Vicky, hopefully the young couple will listen to you and not their families. I have an old table that we were given about 10 years ago, it is in desperate need of some TLC. Until I have the energy to strip it back and refinish it, I cover it with op shopped tablecloths or runners.
    This week I thought I haven't actually saved much, but then remembered the things I bought in Target at less than half price. I spent $71, and saved over $90. I bought beanie's, scarves, gloves, for the DGC, which they are already wearing,and next years winter
    pj's for the 4 of them.
    Bought a bottle of water before boarding the plane to and from Brisbane, checked the menu carefully before buying any food while there. Even both DD's were very careful with their menu selection when I said I was buying dinner and breakfast.
    Also while in Brisbane, DD#1(who lives there but doesn't drive) wanted to go to KMart, so DD#2 drove the 3 of us, and I bought a $25 pair of runners, here they start at $100 on special, unless I make a special trip outside the area to go to KMart.

    1. Dear Meg,
      Well done on your good buys of warm items for the Grandchildren. And on the bargain runners. This sounds like it would have been a fun trip too with the three of you off shopping together!
      And a nice tablecloth does wonders for a table!
      I hope you have another very good week. Brisbane would be very wet now! I hope you are safe and dry where you are... what a week so far weather wise! With love,

    2. Meg,
      They were every eager to listen and talk so I think they have chosen their path. I hope so anyway. That was a great bargain on the runners! Good savings!

  7. Vicky did an excellent job advising the young couple. That advice is also good for older couples who find themselves in a season of 'doing the best with what you have!' Making do, starting slow or starting over and building a debt free lifestyle is good advice for everyone. Your beautiful handwork is 'eye candy' for sure!

    1. Dear Patsy, I am just following on Fb and saw about the power out question. And just now in Australia a lot of people have no power due to mass storms and rain.. some people had 24 inches of rain in 24 hours! So this is a timely discussion. Thankfully we are fine here but we are told a lot more rain is coming on Wednesday. I have everything ready! With love

  8. Hi Annabel, you've had a great week that is a fabulous amount more than many people make a week.
    Vicky, that young couple are lucky to have your wise words and example to follow.
    sometimes it is just a simple phrase or a different way of saying things that gives that " cha ching" moment and suddenly it falls into place fingers crossed they will have that well before the age it took for me to click :)
    I only have white crockery I learnt long ago it doesn't matter if it doesn't match if it's white no one seem to notice and it always looks good on the table and food looks better on white in my opinion.
    Mr E and I went to look at Costco yesterday OMG what a shock, first they won't let you in just to look unless you come in with a member but you can pay the $60.00 to join photo ID etc and you have 12 months to then decide if it's for you or not - if not you get a refund of the membership,
    Well it's quite scary and overwhelming I think you have to really know your prices and be very disciplined or else it could be a real money pit!!! but I took a few notes and think with the petrol savings and strict planning I think it will save us quite a bit but I will never go on the weekend again it was manic.
    I have Mondays off so we will go once every 6 weeks for bulk goodies and I will try to spend $25.00 for fresh F and V and milk on the other weeks - we can only try
    we purchased some mince divided up 4 portions in the freezer 1 cooked up into a big pot of meat sauce with veg and homemade passata. 1/4 used with rice for stuffed capsicums ( which we had been gifted), chilli later in the week with canned beans and a large Lasagne also for different tastes.
    also today I had to take muffins to my mothers for lunch as she was meeting a couple of cousins to discuss family tree, photos and talk of who's who on Mum's paternal side, so I made 12 Choc Peanut butter and 6 mini muffins from one mix and sticky date pudding cooked in muffin tins with butterscotch sauce yum yum dessert for the week all from the pantry also found a packet of choc melts out of date so instead of tossing out because it will seize if I try to use it I have chopped it in the Oscar and so I have hot choc mix enough for about 20 -25 cups (make it up like the Lindt drinking mix) savings for muffins and drinks approx. $150.00 I also had about one and a half glasses of red wine left over from weekend dinner it was only just okay so made up into Sangria with fruit, honey ice and lemonade made dinner special tonight.
    Last week took lunch everyday to work savings $60.00 +
    we have started a book pool at work only 4 of us but going through our bookcases and it's opened up a whole range of books each of us may not have bothered with before but we are really enjoying them savings there Priceless :)
    thankyou again Annabel and Vicky and everyone else your comments are inspiring.
    Cheers, Bevo xx

    1. Dear Bevo,
      White china is classic and it all looks beautiful together. I have lots and then I have some pale pink that I dot in sometimes.
      I have net launched into Costco. Mainly due tot he membership I think... where as I took to Aldi like a duck to water! Yes you have to know your prices and what you use. Quite possibly the membership could be quickly paid for with the right purchases. I also do not like to shop when its busy. I like to be able to take my time and go along quietly. Do let us know how you go and your discoveries as this kind of information is really helpful.
      Sticky Date puddings cooked in muffin tins is one of the best ideas ever!
      I have a recipe that makes a huge quantity. It is so good but so much that I need to freeze heaps of it and then I freeze the sauce as well. I haven't made it in ages but it is the weather for it! I will do the muffin trays way... I had not thought of that!
      Your savings have been great and your book pool at work is a wonderful idea! New books are very expensive. And I mean very... I was surprised last time I looked. This is really a great idea!
      Thank you so much, you are doing so well and you inspired me with things I hadn't thought of at all! With love,

    2. Thanks Bevo! Oh and for your chocolate melts if you add a teaspoon or two of solid shortening(here it is Crisco) it melts very well. I had some chocolate chips that were expired and I tried to melt them in the microwave and it wasn't smooth at all so I added the Crisco and it did the trick.

    3. Individual sticky date puddings? Fabulous idea, thank you! x

  9. Great job for Vicky with her wise advice. Just think of all the money Vicky will have saved this couple over the years if they follow her wise advice! I 'saved' some money just this morning... I was at the store and noticed patio table umbrellas on sale for $25, $10 less than they were before. I stood and looked and thought, and guess what? I saved $25 as I didn't buy it at all! I asked myself, do I really need it? No. Could I make do without? Yes. It's just like Vicky said, she made do with what she had. When I moved into an apartment years ago, I made do with castoffs and old things. I threw a nice looking blanket over an icky couch, painted the legs of a kitchen table a more attractive color, and hung some decorative plates on the wall above the table to make it feel more like a dining area. One of my friends would tell me that I could make a silk purse out of a sow's (pigs) ear! I think that is funny. Have a great day everyone and thank you so much Annabel for a warm and giving place to share what we have learned about saving money. It is a blessing to so many.

    1. Dear Joy, Sorry for my slow reply, I had several comments that didn't show up in my email and went straight into google blogger.
      Well done on making things nice with what you had! I have heard that saying about the silk purse! Well that is a compliment!
      Thank you so much Joy. I hope you are having a good week. With love,

  10. Annabel,
    Wow your op shop finds have just blown me away! Your craftiness is always so lovely I love to see what you have been doing each week. Such inspiration! I had a good week this week. Since I was still hanging onto the ring money I decided this weekend to use it and see what I could find. I am glad I did because combining what I had with coupons, sales and clearance I saved $551.25! We saved $42 on gas with fuel rewards received $6 worth of samples in the mail a $10 bottle of vitamins in the mail I picked up a really nice big basket from the side of the road $10 and saved $65 at the thrift store on books for winter and kids clothes.That is $734 for last week. I was really happy I found pouches of Godiva and Lindt chocolates on clearance for $1 each and they are not expired so I am putting them in the freezer and will include them as gifts for Christmas. I also had $50 worth of Amazon gift cards and I ordered 2 15 quart enamel dishpans! They will come in handy come canning time. I did have to pay $10 out of pocket, but at one of the stores here they are really expensive! I was very pleased with my week and feel like I'm getting back into the swing of things after hibernating for the winter.

    1. Dear Vicky,
      Brilliant total for the week! And beautiful things like winter clothes and lovely chocolates in the mix!
      Here Godiva chocolates are a fortune! And Lindt is very good we love that.
      The money you got from the ugly ring was great and its lovely to see you putting some of it to such good use!
      Sorry about slow reply this got lost in blogger! With love and thanks,

  11. Hi Annabel!


    These topics that you and Vicky have been raising are very meaningful!

    I recall the talk about old family lounge chairs, and it gave the feeling that we wouldn't want anything else!! Of course, doing the best with what you have is easier when the basics are already in place. Nevertheless, having this notion in even basic situations, I have found, can make life rather beautiful!!

    Let's see ..... I just think of others I have had around me in days gone by - like our old ganger who would travel around with roadside purchased pineapples, pumpkins and so on in the back of his ute, 'camping' at friends' places, according to where the forest contracts were. One pumpkin he acquired came to us. I part roasted-part steamed a portion in a little camping mess kit on the fireplace and baked up the requested pumpkin scones in the oven, at about 4:30am in the morning! We were all doing the best with what we had. Since it was my first attempt at baking pumpkin scones, it enriched us all. These things make our lives so full of goodness, actually, especially when we build upon them!! I like the thought of being able to make simple settings beautiful and enjoyable, and this is exemplified in picnics. They are so relaxing, and I now find it so easy to cook up some hot potato chips on a portable gas burner, to go with a meal (like 'bottle quiche' using home grown chokoes), and add a basic homemade custard tart to make things special! Who'd want anything else?!! Well, not me!!!!!

    As for superannuation, I was raised to believe I would never see it. My tiniest chunks (so small that they have come to me automatically) have been spent on camp cooking gear, and that I use!!

    Yes, encouragement in these ways is wonderful. Those with experience may not realise just how much others can relish such stories. Thank you to Annabel and Vicky!!

    (The wind has dropped, and the sky is blue!! This is good!)

    With warm regards,
    Rachel Holt

    1. Rachel,
      Your always so happy with things you are like a nice summer breeze!

    2. Dear Rachel, I have the crockpot full of pumpkin and you mention pumpkin scones! Before I blend this soup tonight I will remove two cups of pumpkin and make scones tomorrow! Best idea! I had forgotten about doing that and everyone loves pumpkin scones.
      I agree about picnics. And custard tart! I haven't made one of those either in ages and I love all things custard and vanilla as you know.
      I am glad the weather is ok there today. It is reasonable here today too. You know the weather has been rough when you get excited by a halfway reasonable day!
      Have a great week Rachel, thank you so much, love

    3. Rachel and Annabel,
      You both have me drooling. I want to share Bluey's latest taste sensation. He makes sweet potato(the orange one) and ginger soup. I think this would also make some brilliant scones.

  12. This is great advice for the young couple, Vicky. It's nice to have a "mantra" to repeat to yourself, as even the most devoted can sometimes fall into the trap of "But I DESERVE this...Everyone else has it!" (Speaking from experience, seems that every once in a while I get whiny and have to talk myself off that ledge. :) Especially if that proverbial table leg is wonky AGAIN. :)))

    You had a wonderful week, Annabel. I love to see the photos!

    xx Jen in NS

    1. Jen! LOL if the proverbial table leg is wonky AGAIN!! Your too funny! I love it!!!

    2. Dear Jen,
      There is an ad on TV that says "you deserve it" and now I am much more suspicious about ads and marketing when I hear that I just hear "go ahead and buy our product we don't care less how you pay for it!" as really that is what they mean. Mind you that does mean I am immune from temptation!
      Thank you re the photos. There are lots of nice ones from everyone tomorrow in Show and Tell! Have a great week, with love

  13. As Rachel said the wind has dropped and the sky is blue - totally opposite to the past 3 days.

    It was bitterly cold yesterday, the wind was like a knife passing through you - something that I hadn't experienced since we lived in Melbourne and the wind would come from Ballarat way. The houses down south are built for that type of weather, ours is not. We have a kerosine heater but my husband didn't think to decant some kerosine from the drum before he went away so I just kept adding more clothes, ate some pumpkin soup from the freezer then had an early night in bed where it was nice and warm.

    This reminded me of staying at my grandparent's place, that is apart from the soup because my grandfather would have insisted on meat and 3 veg for his dinner.

    Vicky I am so glad that this young couple are open to what you are saying - they can see the proof in our words just from being in contact with you.

    Annabel you had a good week of savings.

    My husband is still away with his contract being extended for another week. I spoke to him last night and he will be glad to get home on Saturday.

    I have been eating out of the freezer, pumpkin soup is now finished so I am on to pea and ham. Soup warms me right through which was welcome last night.

    My savings at IGA continue - while they are not huge every little bit helps is my mantra. Last Tuesday they had fruit cakes for $1- - normally just under $6-. I picked up 2 which I have sliced into portions and popped into the freezer for my husband to eat when he gets back home. I also found some mud cake slices for -50 cents - normally just under $3-.Again in the freezer for when my husband comes home.

    Friday I picked up 2 wedges of Brie for $1- each - just under $6- is the normal price. Both have joined my other Brie and Camambert specials in the freezer.

    Friday's trip to IGA also saw me getting over charged for a couple of items so I 'phoned them and went in after the rain had stopped and received my refund and repayment of one of the items.

    As I said every little bit helps.

    I will be heading into IGA soon to see what I can find in the bargain bin this week.

    The best news was from my sister this morning - we played 'phone tag yesterday but she only received the really good news late last night. My brother's latest test results are indicating that he is in remission - not only that but his lung problem has improved way beyond belief to the point that his voice is just about where it was when he initially got sick.

    I applied for a short term position on Sunday evening - with the census. Have an interview Wednesday week.

    On the down side my mother in law was taken into hospital early Sunday evening - she had symptoms similar to a previous hospitalization so didn't hesitate in pressing her vital call button. We will know in a few days whether the treatment they are trying is working and what is going to happen next.

    My mother in law still lives at home - with her little dog. She is 92 in December and finds her heart problem very restricting. The list of what she is not allowed to do now grows after each hospitalization and she has to wait for others to come and do what she could have done before they are even on their way.

    Nana Chel I have to thank you for your blog post on the ANZAC exhibition that you went to see- it as on my 'to do' list and thanks to you I have booked our tickets for a couple of weeks time.

    I have one family member who was at Gallipoli (twice) so just may come across something to do with him. The others were involved in the various fronts in Europe.

    Have a wonderful week everyone.

    To your readers who live down in south of Brisbane I hope that you are all OK after the wicked weather that you have been dealing with.


    1. Thank you Lynette I have definitely steered them in this direction as everyone always has such good accomplishments and ideas.

    2. Dear Lynette,
      As soon as you mentioned Ballarat cold I knew just what you meant. I was there once in the middle of winter and it was unbelievable. I have never been so cold. Gorgeous place but through that area it is so cold!
      I am glad it is better today. They say we have a lot of rain coming again tomorrow here.
      Fruit cakes for $1! That is amazing and you can't even think about making one for that they are actually quite expensive to make. Well done on those good buys. How handy to have too.
      I am so glad to hear your husband got the extra weeks work. That is great.
      Today I have pumpkin soup on myself. It is simmering away. My big crockpot holds a lot so much of this will be frozen for future lunches also.
      Good luck with your application. I have heard that is quite a good job to get. It would be an influx of funds which I know you would make the most of!
      I hope your MIL is alright. She is doing pretty well to be living home at 92 with health issues. It is a strain though as its a worry. Having the personal alarm system is very good though.
      Have a good week Lynette. I hope the worst of this weather has passed. I feel very sorry for those flooded and the area is so large as in right down to Tasmania as well.
      Many thanks Lynette, With love

  14. Dear Annabel,
    Wow, what an amazing total!
    I really hope the couple takes Vicky's advice. I think the fact that they are even seeking her advice is a good start, as they see the pitfalls of poor spending habits.
    I think one of the dangers facing us young people is that when we get out on our own, we are suddenly faced with freedoms we have never had before such as the ability to purchase a house, a vehicle, have a credit card, etc. Plus if our peers are spending irresponsibly and showing us all of their nice things, it's easy to think "I'm an adult with a job. I can have all that, too." Of course the problem comes when our spending freedom actually becomes bondage in the form of debt from buying things we can't afford. I sincerely hope they take Vicky's advice because it really is all about the mindset one has. My husband and I have had to say no to many things, but we feel we live richly and abundantly.
    Ok, this week I saved money by cutting more unwanted clothes into fabric scraps, mending my husband's shirt, and doing laundry and cleaning at the ranch.
    I also harvested the first blackberries from the bush we planted two years ago. These are expensive at the grocery store, and I picked a pint.
    I bought two books at the thrift store for .99 each. One is a comprehensive how-to book about needlework:)
    A friend gave us some tea and a package of caramel sauce. I made chocolate caramel coffee milkshakes using this and what we had on hand.
    I also finally cancelled our internet service. (We still have internet on our cell phones, just not our home computer.)
    My total for the week comes to 253.97. I am very happy with this as we also have not spent much money. Our pantry has been sustaining us, which has helped the budget tremendously.
    I hope everyone has a lovely and productive week!
    With love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey, Thank you! Yes it is a good sign when people ask questions and want to learn. That can be a big step.
      It is lovely to have blackberries and they are really healthy too.
      Chocolate caramel coffee milkshakes! Yum! they sound really good.
      Well done on your savings and using things up. This will make moving easier too. I hope this week goes really well for you, I know you have heaps to do! With love,

  15. Dear Annabel,

    Well done! You really had a profitable week in every, food, as well as finances. My week was nice, 359.00! Haircut/color saved 160.00, baking saved 50.00, gift card saved 10.00, yard work saved 50.00 (going rate for a biweekly service in our area, our size of yard), morning coffees, 56.00, coupons saved 13.00, lunches 20.00. I think I missed a few things, I need to track better this week.

    This is a really great discussion that I would like to add to. Firstly, I truly value everyone's input. I, too hope that this young couple follows through with their fiscally responsible intentions. I was raised in a home where there was no harmony regarding finances. My father worked hard and earned decent money, my mother was a spender. This caused not only problems for them but total confusion for me and my sister, I can't speak for my brothers but I'm guessing it confused them as well. After listening to arguments the first 20 years of my life I struggled when I got on my own! I tended towards saving, but then would do crazy stuff like agonize over a dress purchase. Then I'd leave it in the bag with the tags and receipt for a week in my closet. After freaking out that I'd spent money on an item I truly needed, I'd return it out of guilt that I shouldn't be spending money. Yes, all at the ripe old age of 20! Obviously, I needed guidance. I could talk on this subject for hours but a few things...children are super smart! They are watching and listening to everything. We have five, they each have differing attitudes about money, what it is, how you get it and what you do with it. I am emphasizing that it is a TOOL and we shouldn't tie emotions to money, be the emotions happy or sad. Money allows us to pay for our necessities and bless others. Money doesn't buy happiness, money buys choices. So we are doing our best to teach them about healthy, responsible saving and spending. At the end of the day I have to let it go and believe I've done my best. Another thought, I think it is important to pray for mentors if we need them. Also, pray for someone that you can bless with your knowledge like Vicky has so freely shared with this couple. We all know the prevailing hobby of bigger better newer faster is rampant and many don't realize there's another way. As far as your own home, if you're not in sync with your partner or housemates or whatever your situation, pray for guidance then get to work! And what I mean is, do what you can and work as if it's up to you to turn your finances around. Keep watch over your home and hearts!

    Thank you Annabel and Vicky for a great post!

    Colette xxx

    1. Dear colette, You had a good week and good savings!
      Thank you for your wonderful comment and thoughts on this. You are right that a good example is powerful. And that a mentor is very helpful or others that have been sensible as they can teach a lot, also by example.
      One thing I was thinking about last night is how powerful advertising is. I mean it gets adults in so what chance do kids and teenagers have? They research, use psychology and all sorts of tricks and then get celebrities to back this up! If I went back a few years with the girls I would now be commenting on the ads.... "do you think that person really uses that product?" "I wonder how much they go paid to say that?" and "they are not being kind and generous saying you can pay nothing now and pay in three years time!" and explain that. I realised this pay nothing now and pay later thing is different for teenagers than us. To use two years time is nothing. To a teenager two years time is an ETERNITY away, so far away that they think it will take YEARS to come. And so buying things this way seems wonderful! So things like that... the tricks of the trade!
      Andy and I pick apart the ads and laugh. Some of the claims are so stupid! But others somehow seem to think its all credible. Interesting subject!

      And I believe in prayer. And that you can pray ahead. I am 100% sure my Great Grandmothers were praying for us well before we were born and prayed over future generations. As well as over their own children of course. That is apart from over current provision and wisdom.
      I love "pray for guidance and get to work" That is wonderful.
      Thanks Colette. And keep up the good work with your family. I always say you are building strong foundations in all you do as a parent.
      With love,

  16. Annabel,
    This is such a lovely post. A lot of my family feels that everything should be the best, but I don't think they really have any idea what the best is? As you say a lot of it is just a scam. I am being more mindful of my P's and Q's. I have made gifts, have ideas for gifts and went to a thrift store for the first time thanks to your blog and all of the inspiration here from everyone. I feel like I am finding myself for the first time all because one woman came to our church to share and introduced us all to you. Thank you for all of the lovely things you do and thank you for sharing Vicky's words she says it's all because of you and many are grateful for both your efforts.

    1. Dear Clara, Hello! Thank you so much and please say hello to the others in your Church.
      Well done on all you are doing and making some gifts! And on going to a thrift store! This is something that I think takes a little getting used to. Many people go to one thrift store and if they find nothing they never go again. Check out a few ones if you have them near by. They vary greatly. If I travel I check out everyone we see. I have found amazing ones this way. If you find one you like and is priced well then be a regular. Many times you will get to know staff and they will even watch out for things for you and help you find things. Also if you have presents you want to make then you might find supplies or materials you can make into presents. And very cheaply!
      Thank you so much Clara. Keep up the good work. Each way you get ahead with savings and the pantry puts you in a better position and more secure. That is good for your whole family! With love,

  17. Thank you Vicky for sharing your encounter with this younger couple. This is my husband's Big have a young couple ask how????
    Well we did well for The Vicky challenge this week. we graduated our eldest from homeschooling all 12 years! The party was inexpensive as we used cloth tablecloths I already own and sewed cloth buntings to hang. My 14 yr. old daughter made pies and a Texas sheet cake to feed about 30 people! We saved $63 on the party alone. Our total for the week was $179.50. This amount included several homemade gifts for other graduating seniors and a thank you gift from the pantry.


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