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, 2 July 2017

Laine's Letter's.

The last two weeks I have been experimenting with travelling in different areas and trying different shops to find better prices and deals on groceries.  It has been working!  I have been pretty surprised by the massive variations from one area to another.  Anyway more about that next week!

The photos in this post are to show you some of the supermarket prices around here as I have had a lot of comments on that!  I find it very interesting how much food costs vary in different countries. Of course it is still relative to earnings and other factors.  But you will see a lot of our prices are pretty high.

There are 2.2 pounds in a kilo, for the overseas ladies... 

This though is an area we can do something about!  In order to build up the pantry and get ahead at all we need to be pretty busy or the food shop is going to cost a lot. If you also add in eating out or takeaway food, bought lunches, coffees etc. then it goes through the roof very quickly.

Jane sent me this one from QLD. The price on the right is higher than I have seen but $30 to in the $40s is pretty much usual. 

I am really pleased to be able to turn the blog over to Laine.  She wrote this just a week ago especially for us!  For anyone who doesn't know Laine there is a whole Laine subject in my index on the right.  She was writing back when the girls were little and I loved her letters so much!  But they mysteriously stopped one day! A couple of years ago I set about finding her!

To introduce, first of all she said that it is wonderful we are all trying to save money.  She said that she is still constantly learning how to save as Art is hoping to retire in about six years time.  Even though they live in a hot climate they don't have air-conditioning as that helps keep costs down.
I asked what did she do now days to manage increased food prices and she said she would love to help and this was what she wrote:

1~ I pray that the LORD will help me save and to develop good habits, because you bring your habits with you wherever you go. I pray while I am shopping for eyes to see the deals.

2~ I try to use meat as a condiment, unless it is a special occasion. I like learning recipes from other countries that already practice this in their cuisine. 

3~ I shop at the Farmer's market and many other stores to stay in my food budget. I shopped four stores this week, but sometimes six stores. I shop the stores that are near each other to save gas, or if I am in that part of town. I shop only with cash and keep a record of what I spend on a small notebook.

4~ I don't buy much packaged goods, rather make most everything from scratch. I make my own spray cleanser from 1 part rubbing alcohol to 1 part water.

5~ I am already Christmas shopping, a little here, a little there. I have my 8 
grandchildren's presents bought, a well as their birthdays. I love being ahead as I can save money that way.

6~ I love to shop at garage sales, the deals are really great. (The next best place is thrift shops.) I was looking for a waffle iron and found one last week at an estate sale, just the one I was looking for! But I did search for months. If I find something really inexpensive and I already have one, but I use that item a lot, I will buy it as a back up. I actually had a back up for a waffle iron, but I like this "new" one better as my back up didn't get as crispy as I would like.

7~ I make three pots of tea from one tea bag. I buy Yorkshire tea and fill the pot dunking the tea bag twice, pull out and do the same with the next pot of tea. The last pot leave the tea bag in. 

8~ Fast food for me is buying a cooked roast chicken and using it for 3 meals, the final meal being a nice soup. 

9~ Cheapest protein is an egg, so I love adding eggs to a dish to stretch the protein. I like to make Cloud Bread out of eggs. Also mayonnaise too.

10~ Flour tortillas are a quick bread that can be filled with so many things, and it's very frugal. Even just celery, onion and bits of meat leftover sautéed together with some leftover beans in so delicious in a hot fresh tortilla.

11~ I hang dry my clothes to save on electricity.

12~ We don't use air conditioning, rather solar screens and solar curtains, a good fan, a $7 kiddie pool ( great to get wet in and put your feet in while the kids have fun), and Frogg Toggs for keeping you body cool, especially at night. 

13~ I use 1/2 of the detergent suggested in my wash, unless it is a really dirty item. If so, I will soak it a bit and use 3/4's the suggested amount that comes with my detergent. One box of detergent lasts me months, and I find our clothes are very clean. 

14~ I love to learn from other women, and one of my favorites is on YouTube called The Fundamental Home. She feeds her family of five on $30 a week! I really enjoy watching her. She also runs a page on Facebook called Frugal Family Food.

15~ I love making fun things with my daughter Lucy who is 7 years old. We make Popsicles, cookies, cake, waffles, pancakes, gummies, and other fun things together. We are making a birthday cake today. Everything we make is very healthy, which really helps us to keep from being ill, which saves us money at the doctor.

16~ We love going to the library and go there twice a week. There is just so much free there!

17~ I shop with cash, this helps to curb any unnecessary spending.

18~ When I bake, I try to fill the oven. Today I made chicken, baked potatoes, and broccoli all in the oven at the same time. Filled the rack! I cooked extra potatoes today that I will use in breakfast tomorrow.

19~ I save stalks of kale, celery, etc and use them in soups and stir fries.

20~ I try new recipes often to increase my skills and repertoire. I am always checking out new cookbooks from our library. I love to try new recipes off the Internet as well.

21~ I stay out of the stores unless I need something and have my list in hand.

22~ I try to buy in the summer for winter, and vice versa when I thrift shop. 

23~ If I want to spruce up my decorating, I will move my own items around. It's those little things that give a room a lift.

24~ I try to make it a game in saving and have my own fiscal year for our budget, which is from May to May. This past fiscal year I was able to save an extra thousand for our upcoming new roof. I love seeing those results. 

25~ I do my best to help keep us debt free by continuing to learn how to save. My husband wants to retire in 6 years, so saving toward that is now my goal. I remember when my goal was paying off our vehicle, then paying off our house, then saving to adopt our little girl from China, and now saving for retirement. There is always savings going on!

I hope this is helpful Annabel. I kept writing things down as I either did them or remembered them. It was fun, just like the old days when I used to write In My Home. Enjoy your lovely grandchildren! It was so, so good to hear from you!

Lots of love,
Laine xxoo

I was so excited to get this!  Life is amazing sometimes!  Thank you so much Laine! 

Laine mentions "keeping a back up" and we had a discussion about this.  With minimalism being a big thing this can be the opposite of keeping back ups.  This is another subject that is coming up and I am happy Laine shared a bit more about this!  But we can only cover so much in one day! 

I took this photo for my Vicky Challenge.  My fruit loaf has bits of apricot in it as I was trying to copy this delicious loaf.  But my loaves are about twice the size! 

What can you do to stay ahead on the food bills?  The last fortnight has shown me that trying some wildly different ideas can produce big results.  I turned my usual shop on its head!  This week will be more of the same I hope!  It resulted in success all round...  plenty of beautiful fruit and veggies, savings overall and extras that I could add to the pantry.  This means getting ahead!  

Lets all have a very good week!  xxx


  1. Dear Annabel
    I have never been able to understand this minimalism thing that has been going on - as you said a few weeks ago, if you had gone down to just a small handful of towels you would never have been able to soak up the gush of water from the dishwasher. I look at my linen cupboard as I do the food pantry - savings for the future.

    We swapped from a double bed to a queen sized one so my mission was to make sure that we had enough linen for the new bed to last us for a number of years. We prefer a well known brand (Sheridan) so when they had great sales on I picked up sheet sets. Saving close to $200- on each set.

    My towels are again Sheridan brand but from the factory outlet shop in Tasmania when we did a trip there. We did tour around Tasmania but the main goal for me was to visit the factory outlet.

    Towels and linen never go off.

    My back up to the toaster is the grill in the oven. I have a kettle that I can use to boil water in on the stove if the electric jug dies. This means that I do not need to rush out and buy the first thing that comes to hand, I can take my time and seek out a good bargain.

    I love recipes but have found that there may only be one or two in a cook book that I would use - now I seek recipes on line - stay at home mum has had some recipes recently that will work with my 'basics' theme for the pantry.

    Yesterday I spotted a place selling some Black Angus grass feed beef - a kilo of mince was $16-00. I don't think they had too many takers.

    We eat expensive cuts of meat but I buy from a wholesaler and only when they are on special. In fact it has been quite some time since I went to a local butcher, cannot afford their prices.

    We have a very smart supermarket that has great door buster specials - tomatoes last week were $4-99 a kilo, red capsicum were 99 cents a kilo as well as pears. They also drop the prices on other items as well this coming week they have nappies and toilet paper on really good specials as well as cauliflowers for $1-49.

    Shopping around and thinking ahead - the slow cooker and freezer are my best friend.


    1. Dear Lynette,
      Time and time again I see blogs and books that say you only need two sets of linen or towels and should throw the rest out. I think they are mental! Linen costs a fortune. Good sheets are really expensive! Spare blankets and pillows could be so valuable in a crisis. I added to my supplies on Friday and I thought of you as I got a beautiful king size Sheridan quilt for $15. I am so pleased with it. Our bed is Queen but King size looks lovely as it drapes down further... and is also warmer really due to that.
      As for back ups... Laine has always said this and I am going to make a subject of it. I am searching her old posts as there is a good story on backups and then we added to this in our emails last week. It is just sensible! Your alternatives are another thing I am going to include and I hadnt thought of that until you mentioned it. Back ups and substitutes! They can amount to the same thing.
      In theory your starter should be able to go on forever if some is always saved and fed. But I haven't tried Gluten free... It is a shame they were not more helpful with information and tips.
      Mince is no longer the cheap alternative that it once was.
      The slow cooker and freezer are big assets! I got some beef marked down by half today. It will be in the slow cooker tomorrow! With love

    2. Dear Annabel
      We are heading off to check out another place tomorrow - told my husband how much bananas were and he said they have got me. It is a good 1/2 drive through traffic but it just may be worth it especially as they have some meat on good specials too. A bulk butcher on the way back has whole legs of lamb for $7-99 a kilo, I am going to see if they will bone one out for me and then I can use my new mincer attachment for the kitchen aid and have some lamb mince - 1/2 a kilo of lamb mince was $10-00 over 12 months ago.

      Hopefully it is going to be worth doing a regular trip down to this place.

      When we were growing up we had a fire in the lounge room - we use to have a long handled fork that we used to make toast on the fire. Only worked well with bread that had to be sliced but it was yum.

      Hope that beef is yum.


  2. I don't know how you are able to afford food at these prices!! I looked up the exchange rate. .77US to 1.00AU In a country that shouldn't have to import beef and eggs and fruits/veg why is it all so expensive?? I will not complain about our cost of living here in the central US again! (Eggs from the whole food coop $3.50 per/doz; greenhouse tomatoes $2.98lb; beef steaks similar to Cattleman's Cutlet $5-7lb; commercial Raisin Bread $3.50 a loaf.
    I'm thankful we raise our own beef. I grow veggies and watch sales on what we don't grow. I make most of our meals here. I recently made my own cinnamon-raisin bread because even on sale for $3.00 I knew I could make it cheaper. I really enjoy your posts when you show us what you baked/cooked. It is an inspiration and reminder to me to continue to do as well.

    1. Dear Kay, Yes you are right, we produce our own beef, eggs etc and lamb... but it is all very expensive. Lamb is in the $30 TO $40 kilo range also. (mostly)
      I visited the US years ago. Even then I was shocked how much better your food was priced, how beautiful it was, and how generous serves were when eating out. At the motel we learned to order one breakfast as it fed four people! (well 2 adults and 2 kids!)
      Keep up the good work Kay, it will make you miles ahead. The cinnamon-raising bread sounds beautiful! With love

  3. Annabel, thank you! I enjoyed this so much! I have printed it out and will disect it to glean as much from it as I can! I surely wish Laine would start writing again. Your food prices are outrageous, by the way!

    1. Dear Patsy, Thank you! Thanks also for helping me get word out that Laine has posted something again!
      Yes I know... re the food! :( With love

  4. Our biggest food bill saver is menu planning. Every week I go through the fridge, pantry and freezer to see what needs used up, then sit down with the sale ads and my calendar and make a plan for all lunches and dinners. If we have a wonky week and I don't have a plan, I feel lost! I like not having to worry every day about figuring out what we are having, and that I can get the older kids started on meal prep if I am busy or out of the house. It also really cuts down on food waste, since everything I buy has a purpose.

    The other big thing I do is to dip my husband's lunch out before I serve the meal. He takes food from home everyday, but as the kids got older I found that we had less leftovers. Now, I just dip out a lunch serving for him first and put in the fridge or freezer, then serve the meal and no one misses it. They eat it all either way, so at least he has something to take in his lunch!

    I hope everyone has a great week!

    1. Dear Sarah,
      I think you're right! There seems to be two ways of meal planning... one saves money and one costs money. the way you do it saves a fortune... using up what is left over, in the garden and on sales or markdowns... then make a plan. Other meal planning is dreaming up what everyone would like to eat regardless of whats on special or seasonal etc and just go buy that... big difference. I do what you do... see what I have around and buy the best deals then the challenge is on to plan lots of meals and see how many you can get! It is wonderful really!
      And you mention another big thing... a lot of people say they have no left overs as if they cook extra it disappears! I used to have that happen to me then I learned to cook extra and set aside or basically hide half or the extra amount. Setting it aside right away means the lunches or another meal is organised! You are clever! I hope a lot of people see this tip! It is a way to stretch the number of serves for sure! Thank you so much! With love

  5. So good to hear from Laine, I still have a folder of her writings from when we first had the internet connected! I agree with her about eggs - they are the cheapest protein and there are thousands of ways to prepare them. People worry about the cost of eggs and yet will pay $30 or more for meat! A dozen eggs is cheaper than a kilo of mince or chicken or a tin of tuna and can be used as the protein portion of a meal or as Laine has said, stretch it. Portion control is another great way to save food, money and stay healthy. If a recipe says six serves, I make sure I get six. Extra serves are frozen for lunches or quick dinners, not spread amongst the plates as I serve up. If a cake or slice makes 12 portions, then I make sure I get twelve. Lunchbox Cookies makes 100 - I make sure I get at least 100 from the recipe. I rarely buy soft drinks but I will be buying six bottles of Bickfords cordial today from NQR - @ 3 for $2 it si 79c a bottle and cheaper than I can make it, plus I get the lovely bottles to reuse. I loved reading this today Annabel, thank you so much for posting your precious letter from Laine. xxx Cath

  6. I use to read Laine's Letters also and wish that she was still writing them. Thank you for sharing the one today! Nancy

  7. Thanks Annabel
    My meal planning is a work in progress!
    I am making a conscious effort every single time I shop and spending and planning is slowly improving each week
    It's so lovely to hear from Laine
    I re read her letters all the time

  8. Hello Annabel and all of the lovely Bluebirds!

    What a wonderful letter from Laine! I am so thankful to her for sharing with us all :) I have read and re-read her letters so many times and am, in fact, re-reading them now. It was nice to have a new one, though I always learn something new when I go back over her letters! And eight grandchildren! How fabulous for her! She is truly blessed.

    It amazes me not only how prices fluctuate in different countries, but also how they fluctuate in states, here in America. I read another blog where the author is in Nevada and she is able to get strawberries for $0.88/lb. The best I can do on the East Coast is usually $1.99/lb. I can usually find good deals on chicken, but our beef is so high and rarely goes on sale for a good price.

    Happy Bargain Hunting!

  9. It's a constant hunt to find the good prices, clearance items that we use and deals plus coupons. I call it my hobby as it is fun and I'm not wasting money on things I won't use.

    I love creamed eggs on toast or rice. Just boil up some eggs then make a milk gravy with butter, flour and milk and add chopped boiled eggs. I crave it when I have surgery or I'm sick. It's so good.

    As for sheets I was searching and searching for California King sheet sets at thrift stores. Finally found one set just at the time I lost my last set - they were thread bare and tore horribly. I waited and waited for a sale and finally when we went to Oregon to visit for two graduations last month found two sets at Rosses (a nice discount store) they were high thread count all cotton sheets and I also found the softest pillow top mattress cover. (mine was in shreds) They were about 1/2 the price of anywhere else -even on line and I used a senior discount to save $10.00 and there was no tax like we have in Nevada. I love having beautiful sheet sets that go on the bed easily and were a great bargain too! I will be looking for more things like that on my next trip to Oregon in Oct.
    Take care everyone.

    1. Thank you for the creamed eggs recipe, Crystal! It sounds good!

    2. oh, I love creamed eggs on toast also! I had forgotten about them. Yes, I do mine just like Crystal does, adding a little pepper to the gravy. I always think it's a nice hot dish during winter time, but really any time is good! I get farm fresh eggs from my sis in law for $2 a dozen. She mixes in large eggs with smaller ones to balance it out. We were getting 18 eggs for $1 from another person, but stopped cause we began to worry about the quality and freshness of the eggs.

    3. Crystal, thank you for the reminder of creamed eggs! It's a favorite but one I haven't made for awhile. We usually serve it over toast but over rice sounds wonderful! Teri S

  10. Hi Annabel and Beautiful Bluebirds,
    Bluey and I were completely gob smacked by the cost of the beef. I had to take a photo as I didn't think anyone would believe me. This was also not at a Butcher but at the local woolworths supermarket. Needless to say Bluey and I didn't have this beef on our menu.
    We get our beef and lamb from a friends grandson. The grandson raises and butchers his own meat. It arrives cut up in a box. We then package it as we want. We pay $10/kg which is just wonderful. Bluey also chases the specials and seems to find amazing quality meats for good prices.
    As we are travelling we are noticing the amount of people who arrive in a caravan park, set up and then head off to the local club or pub for a meal. Our caravan is a house on wheels and we are eating what we make. We haven't been doing our usual free camping as it has been so cold we are wanting the power to run the heater. This means we need to be careful on how else we spend our money.
    I like the advice Laine gives, of only going to the stores when you need something, and with a list in hand. I like how she talked of having spares of items used often. It's lovely to hear from her. I plan on looking up the you tube site she mentioned.
    Life is very cold, we saw frost for the first time in 26 years, but good.

    1. Dear Jane, That was why I took photos also! I thought I am sure some people think I am making these prices up! You are getting a great deal on your meat and thats good way to do it.
      Keep warm and enjoy your trip! The meals you make I know are beautiful! With love,

  11. I agree that having back ups is a great things. Especially if it's an item that you love. My hot rollers recently stopped working. (they were from the early 1980's) I purchased a new set and hated them. I took them back as soon as I took them out of the package. I find that many things made today are of poor quality. I ended up buying the same set that had broken off of ebay.

    I do my monthly shopping at several different stores. Shopping from the sales ads and knowing which store has the rock bottom price on certain items helps my budget. Thankfully the stores are all close to one another. Many area can't be reduced (like mortgages and such) but if you are careful you can pinch a few pennies from the grocery budget.

    It was nice to hear from Laine. I printed out her letters and am still reading them. They are a gem of practical information and certainly encouraging!

    1. Dear Wendi,
      I think a lot of older appliances and things are better! the new ones are a sad disappointment!
      It is really handy you have stores close together... that would make them compete wit each other also and be handy to get to or go one to the other.
      Printing Laines Letters was a good idea. I wished I did years ago. I always meant to and never did! But now we have them all printed. I am so glad as each stage of life they teach me new things I didnt see or understand before! With love,

  12. Annabel,
    It is so wonderful to read Laine's letter, wishing she would return.
    So many great ideas on saving.
    I am blessed to have a pantry, with it I can limit my shopping to loss leaders (low priced items to draw you into store) and very affordable or free items I purchase using coupons. We also have smart phone loaded apps for rebates and mail-in rebates. Making pre-shopping trip a bit more work but well worth it. I usually save between 50% to 75% off prices. We only buy meat if it has reduced stickers on it, and if they are a good deal, also only when we have additional coupons like $5 or $10 off a $50 store purchase.

    Back-ups I consider a must. When I married my husband I told him that if my Kitchen-aid mixer died, that day sale or no sale we were going out and replacing it. (They never die.) Well next sale he went out and bought me a new and bigger one, so I now have 2. The 35yrs old one is still running well and yes there are times both are working at the same time.

    We bought the pot for our coffee machine at a thrift store for $2, luckily because 6 months later I broke the original and $2 is better than $100. Darn machine doubled in price since I bought it.

    We save all towels, they sort of start in bath, move to laundry room shelf for cleaning and when totally useless there end up in garage for rags. When they make it to the garage after use they still soak in a bucket of oxi-clean to get them clean.
    Like you they came in handy one year when our basement was flooding, water was pouring out of our sump pump pipe from road sewer line, yes they hooked it up wrong when development was built. We now have it to where we can seal the end of the pipe.

    Linen is always purchased at Op Shops, I just recently purchased very thick luxurious flannel sheets for the winter for $2 each, they looked and felt brand new and acted new in dryer (Lots of lint in catch screen). I use king sheets on my queen bed and just hospital fold the bottom sheet. I refuse to spend $100+ per set. The sheets I have on bed now originally ran $160 each, that's $320 + pillow cases at $70 each. No way would I imagine spending that, for the full set at thrift store I spent $5.99

    But I also pray for guidance to find what I need before walking into a store and I look intently for good deals, not just buying to have.

    May you be blessed with more correspondence from Laine. Prayers her husband's retirement is enjoyable and affordable.

    With Love,

  13. How lovely to read a new letter from Laine. I've enjoyed reading her archived letters so much since you introduced them to us on your blog. You, Annabel, are continuing the work she started! You rightfully praise Laine, but you deserve recognition as well for bringing inspiration and meaning into a whole new group of homes. Thank you.

    1. Dear Amy, Thank you that is a lovely thing to say! I would love a whole new generation to be reading Laines Letters, they are needed more than ever! And I got a letter from her this morning and she has agreed to write some more for us! I am so excited!
      Thank you so much for your encouragement! With love

  14. Dear Annabel

    I really enjoyed reading Laine's letter to us. I'm very encouraged by her wisdom. Learning new and more effective ways to do things is such a gift.

    It was shocking to see the prices in Jane's pictures. We're those prices for a pound or a kilo?

    Aside from only shopping once a month, I use Green Bags and boxes to store produce which keeps it fresh for extended periods of time. It's our growing season here so what isn't in my garden I can get directly from the farm markets, as well as meat, poultry and eggs.

    I've just started wading into actual menu planning and so far it seems to be working out. Blessings Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie, The prices are for a kilo, 2.2 lbs.
      anything that keeps fresh produce longer is a really good thing! I am menu planning too. I get what I can at the best prices and freshest etc then with what I write up a plan. I really love it as I know what I need to do and there is no wondering what to make! Also I seem to waste less by not over doing it.
      I hope you have a good week! It is pouring with rain here! With love

  15. Dear Annabel, Thank you for a wonderful post, for sharing pictures of prices, and for Laines sound advice! I constantly learn. I thought $8/lb for steak was awful! Well... not so!

    A couple weeks ago, our 15 year old toaster quit. I went downstairs and brought up a toaster that was gifted to us two years ago! It was such a blessing to have it plus we were in the middle of making a meal when the old one sparked and died. We also do the same with all linens. We use flannel sheets year round, and have several sets. I even found a set at the thrift store not too long ago. Washed and into the closet it goes!

    Sorry for not commenting lately. I love all the pictures, food and gifts! I even tried Naan bread with some leftover dough (I made pizza) and this was Cookies recipe! Things are just a bit hard right now but I am reading each post and the comments!
    Have a great week, everyone! Love, Teri

    1. Dear Teri,
      Thank you for commenting! I am sorry things are not so good for you at the moment. I hope they get much better.
      You are wise to save linen! Linen is a big expense and of course we go through it as it is used and washed so constantly! Spares are great! And when its worn it has so many new uses!
      Naan bread is so yummy! It is lovely with any curry or stew type dish or even with dips etc. I love it!
      It was good about the spare toaster! I am trying to find Laines original letter about keeping spares. When I find that I will add it to what she said recently on this subject and make a post of it. It is such wise advice! Spares and backups!
      I am so glad to know you are reading! Many thanks Teri, with love

  16. Hi Annabel and beautiful Bluebirds :) and thank you Laine for your money saving tips too.

    I agree with Laine that eggs are a good cheap protein source compared to meat. I would add there that peas, beans and mushrooms are also a good vegetable protein source along with cheese that you can add to meals to help minimise the meat content in your meals and save costs.

    Since we buy our beef in bulk @$9.99 a kilo and we buy whole chickens currently on special at $3kg and whole lambs farm gate from friends properties this is not so much an issue for us, but we still do eat meat sparingly anyway and as we grow our own vegetables with saved seeds from our gardens the cost of vegetables does not impact us either as we have been eating all our own vegetables and berries for 2.5yrs without buying any. Fruit costs however do impact us as we don't grow any fruit trees yet.

    Things we work on for backups in general -

    - At least 3 - 12 months worth of all household expenses in the bank to cover job losses and other life hiccups.

    - At least 3- 12 months worth of groceries and raw ingredients in advance in the home and we buy most things on special and stock up items when the sales are on. We cook from scratch also and keep bulk raw ingredients in food grade storage containers. Thought for everyone here your food storage earns you more interest than the banks when food costs go up :) , recent butter price rises earned me 39% interest in a month.

    - Backup water supplies both bottled and tank water.

    - 12 months advanced medications and medical kits supplies, we cut our own firewood and I am an ex nurse and DH is field military trained. We found this helps us and also helps friends in need around us. We purchase our medical kit supplies at wholesale or good prices from and from Ebay. Our medications, vitamins etc from Pharmacy online or search for half price specials in our supermarkets.

    - 3 - 12 months of firewood cut by us for free, fuels, oils, chainsaw chains, hand tools, machinery parts and tyres in advance for the garden equipment and car. We buy fuel on the low price fuel cycles and keep it in jerry cans in the garage to refill equipment and vehicles with. We are in the country and travel to some remote areas too and carry fuel with us usually.

    - 3 - 12 months worth of garden seeds (most saved from our own crops and some purchased), fertilisers, manures, dried leaves and composted grass clippings for mulches.

    We continue to stock backups of most things and build things up gradually and as we can afford it in the budget.

    Our main tips for saving money are -

    - look, investigate, price check and source bulk items and cheaper alternatives in shops and on the internet around you in your general area to save costs.

    - Grow your own vegetables where space and time allow. Even growing a small amount saves you a lot over the course of a year in your budget.

    - Reduce your shopping trips as we have proven this saves us money as you are not tempted to buy extra items. We shop only once every 6 weeks for the two of us. When we shopped fortnightly and moved to monthly shopping it saved us $220 a month.

    - We shop for clothing at the end of each season and pick up specials then, or in regular sales cycles. We buy advanced clothing so we have backups in things like underwear, socks etc too.

    - Keep chickens for both eggs and meat if space allows.

    - When you see specials stock up on things you regularly use to get you through to the next sales cycle. We set up stocking up money each 6 weeks in our grocery money and also put an amount away each shopping cycle to cover bulk meats too.

    I hope this helps a few and hope everyone has a wonderful frugal month ahead.

    Like everyone we are trying to reduce expenses each and every week and also treat it as a game. Any money saved by doing this either goes into the bank for house savings or buys needed items in our home and are a great bonus and blessing to us :).


    1. Dear Sewingcreations, Thank you for such an excellent comment! This was so helpful!
      I replied last night to you re sending in photos... incase you missed it my email is and I would love to see what you have been making and I would love to her from you!
      The way you are saving, shopping, gardening, considering all your needs and being ahead is wonderful! And your point on investments... my bank currently will pay 2.8% on term deposits. Your butter earned you 39%. EXACTLY! What completely beats me is that when there is a crisis (from a storm,financial collapse, civil unrest, power outage, computer failure, I could go on and on...) the bank is the first thing to close. Money in the bank is of no help at all in those times where as your supplies would see you through a lot! I don't mean to discourage anyone from saving... just to think about ways to save that you are guaranteed to have access to!
      Thank you so much for sharing what you do, it is excellent! With love

    2. Annabel that is also an excellent point you bring up on money only being in the bank (ohh what pitiful interest here too). We diversify by keeping some money in our home as well as money in our car too.

      Along with our stocks of food in cupboards, backups, and emergency cash stashes you are right we would and have got through many of life's hiccups.

      Thank you for your kind words :) . I will work on some photos and articles to email to you and may start with feathering our nest home sewn items and some craft items.


  17. Loved hearing from Laine again! Great suggestions.

    1. Thank you Brenda! I just heard from Laine and she will be writing more for us! So happy! xxx

    2. This is very nice news !

  18. Dear Annabel,

    How wonderful it is to hear from Laine!! She has mentioned how they keep cool in hot summers, and I will be researching her ideas in preparation for likely power cuts next summer.(Sigh)

    I love Amanda from "The Fundamental home" on youtube! She has a blog, but mainly it is her youtube channel now has taken over. There is a good menu planning series she did that should still be on there. I take a lot of inspiration from her super frugal ways! 😉

    Recently I had a reward for $40 from Woolworths to spend. The checkout operator was stunned when she asked me for $5.40 and looked in disbelief at the docket as she handed it to me! (They tell you how much you save on them) I had spend $5.40 and saved $83.10! Yes, every little purchase apart from bread at shelf price was half priced or better on clearance 😂 A great way to restock my stockpile. Poor lady nearly fell over in disbelief! What we now feel is normal bargain chasing behaviours shocks others. In saying that, it is a skill we hone over many years. I love, love, love learning from others in this area and am so grateful for my many teachers over the years like Laine, Amanda, Cath and Wendy (from cheapskates club and their own respective blogs) and many others like you Annabel, Mimi and all the lovely blue birders. (Sorry if I do not mention you all by name but believe me, you are all truly inspiring and write such helpful advice)

    I must also mention Tawra and Jill from "Living on a dime". They have so much free stuff on their website and youtube channel also. Jill has a great series on her "Penny pinching mumma" days on youtube.

    We all also seem to love reading Brandy from "prudent homemaker" We live in a time where wonderful help and encouragement in this area is a mere click away.

    Keep up the encouragement everyone! Much appreciated! Xo

    Love, Kaye xoxo

    1. Dear Kaye, Thank you so much! I am so happy for your comment!
      Your grocery shop was fantastic! No wonder that lady was in shock! Well done! Yes you are right... this is all learned and practised and this is the kind of different putting the effort in can make. It amounts to a lot!
      Thank you also for the Fundamental Home link (below) and the Living on a Dime recommendation.
      I have liked blogs mostly but I am going to watch one you tube clip from Fundamental Home every day and see if I can get into that habit and see what tips I can pick up! While I have a cup of tea and a rest this can be my reward!
      Thank you for contributing such good tips and encouragement it means a lot to me! With love,

    2. Kaye! Thank you so much for your kind words! I am glad you enjoy the blog and the YouTube channel. You are so right about how video making has taken over :) The other ladies you mentioned are great, too! It is true that our money saving ways are a shock to others, but in a good way. SO glad you are finding deals where you are! Blessings! Amanda from The Fundamental Home

  19. Adding a link to Amanda's blog on her $100 a month (food only) series. She spends $30 a week now, but her ideas and strategies are the same.

  20. Dear Annabel,
    Those food prices are unbelievable!! I think the pictures make the necessity of searching better prices a real graphic for us in the U.S. Can you even imagine the high cost of food should there be shortages!?
    We are experiencing a severe drought in the Dakotas and Montana, this year. It is already affecting the ranchers and the wheat production.
    Although, prices vary a lot here, also, I can honestly say I have never seen Sirloin Steak for $34.08 per pound here. Do people buy it for such a cost?
    Very nice tips, Laine. Thank you for sharing them.
    Love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda,
      Any kind of shortage or threat would see these prices soar. In this years cyclone in Queensland there was four packs of small bottles of plain water for $77. it made the news.
      As it turns out I am shopping today, just for a few things. Each time now I think of Laine and put into practice all her tips... plus take my time as decisions cost money! Thank you Glenda! With love

  21. Dear Annabel and the wonderful ladies in the Bluebird Nation, it's been a while since I have posted but wanted to chime in on this wonderful post. I too discovered Laines Letters through your blog Annabel. And it has been such a blessing! What a thrill it was to hear she was writing to you and again sharing her wisdom with us all! Thank you thank you both for the wisdom and inspiration you have imparted to us all. Love Gaila in Washington state USA

    1. Thank you Gaila! I am so glad to know you are reading Laines Letters and enjoyed this one! I think for anyone who hasn't read the letters they are a wonderful discovery and for those who read them at the time reading them again is just as good! And more letters are coming! With love

  22. Soooooo wonderful to hear from Laine!!!! What a blessing for all of us!!!!

  23. Thanks Annabel for your blog, and thank you to Laine for mentioning our channel (and blog). I am shocked liked everyone else at those food prices, but there are some amazing tips here. This will be such a help to others. Keep up the good work! ((HUGS)) Amanda from The Fundamental Home!

    1. Dear Amanda, Thank you! I am a subscriber now and have been watching your channel. One I watched last night was about if you see a really good deal act on it NOW as it will go fast! This is so true. He who hesitates is lost they say! Also I am so impressed with your family. Thank you so much! Love

  24. Thank you for getting Laine to write again! Could she be talked into doing this weekly?
    I loved your post, also. I am from America- is the average wage higher there? That would make a difference in the effect of the pricing.

    1. Dear Megs, I think the average wage is officially $80,000 but this includes billionaires! So in reality I think it is more like $50 to $60,000 pa. Thats my best guess. I certainly know plenty of people on much less though.
      I would love Laine to post weekly! We will see what she feels up to doing as she is homeschooling and many other things! But it is the best news! I am so excited! The letter from this post has been a great start! With love

  25. Dear Annabel,

    Thank you for sharing Laine's letters with us as you get them. I really miss her letters, as I have no one in my life who counsels as she does. I reread her letters regularly to keep my head on straight, and I miss her as I would miss a dear friend in real life who went away. I, too, found your blog when I was desperately searching 'Laine's Letters' a few years ago, and I enjoy your posts and encouragement.

    If Laine is reading these comments, Thank you. Thank you a thousand times for saying the hard thing, holding fast in God's Word, and modelling a better way for me. If you're ever interested in getting your letters up and running again, I'm more than happy to help in any way I can.

    May the good God bless you both, Laine and Annabel, in your encouragement to others to follow His Word.

    1. Dear Shani,
      I understand how you feel I think. My life would not have been the same without Laines Letters. Well done on sticking with the letters as each one is a Bible study of sorts apart from encouragement.
      I am glad to have you here! It is harder and harder now to live life in a Godly way as the world moves further away in so many ways. But never waver just get stronger! Thanks so much Shani, with love

  26. Hi Annabel,

    Thank you for sharing this awesome wisdom from your self as well as Laine. I am glad you are able to get in touch with Laine, and was hoping you could convince her to put her past letters and blogs into a book form. Perhaps she could sell it on Amazon. I know I would buy several copies to share with friends. Who knows maybe it would help with her retirement savings. Please let me know if she gets back to you on this idea, for I would love to read those inspiring letters again.

    God bless ❤️,


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