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.

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Sunday, 30 July 2017

Pantries and Preparedness. Savings tips from Laine.

The past few weeks we have looked at all kinds of ways to beat rising food costs.  If we can't do this we have no hope of keeping our pantries built up.  What seems to happen is as the budget is more and more stretched we need to be using everything on hand. This is great for rotating our supplies but I want to be seeing my pantry grow not shrink!

This week we are going to put our heads together for all kinds of small ways to save and they can be in any area since saving in one area can help another! This is one of my favourite ways to save!  Originally I started the Christmas Challenge with the idea that if I could save hundreds in the present department I could use some of the savings to stock my cellar. And I did!  We got a lot of food and supplies in the after Christmas sales.

Working all year to make my gifts has been a huge saving! 

Many times I think of things to just NOT do and use the money instead to build up emergency savings or add to my pantry!  We recently saved thousands by declining an overseas wedding.  Not that we would spend that kind of money when Andy has been out of work and when work is now intermittent.  But there are times when we just need to stay home,  spend carefully and get ahead as opposed to the opposite!

Laine has written us a list of little ways she saves in lots of different areas. Over to Laine!

1- Cabbage and onion sautéed together is a lovely, inexpensive side vegetable dish. I love to get them both nicely brown.

2- We have gotten to know some of the vendors at our Farmer's Market, and a few weeks ago I got a free pound of grass fed hamburger from one of the vendors. That was a helpful item for my food budget.

3- My doctor wants me to have 1/4 protein, 1/4 carb, and 1/2 vegetables on each plate for each meal. This advice over five years has helped me to save money and help my health and that of my family.

4- I love making N'Ice Cream, which is basically two chopped frozen bananas and any added frozen fruit we like, such as a couple handfuls of frozen raspberries or cherries. Put all in a food processor and process, scraping down when necessary until smooth. So delicious and nutritious. A scoop of this is a delicious ending to a meal.

5- A lovely quick frozen treat is to peel and thinly slice kiwis on a plate with parchment paper on top, then freeze. A delicious ending to a meal is a couple of slices.

6- We don't eat snacks during the day usually, rather three full meals a day. So I make breakfast, then nothing until lunch, then again nothing until dinner. My husband and daughter might have a piece of fruit, some nuts, or some popcorn in the evening. I really do save a lot by not buying snacks. 

7- I love to make my own Popsicles for the kids. There are so many recipes on the Internet. And if my grandkids visit, and they are used to having a snack, I have one ready for them in the freezer. My youngest loves to have one after her lunch.

8- This is one of my favorite soups : I sauté half an onion chopped, 2-3 sticks of celery chopped,  1- 2 zucchini chopped, and a bag of frozen broccoli for 5-10min. Cover with water, and salt to taste with a couple dollops of olive oil, and a teaspoon each of thyme, basil, and oregano. Cover, bring to boil, then lower and simmer for 20 min. Purée with stick blender when done. I love this soup!

9- Birthday parties can be expensive with our large family, but we have found a breakfast birthday party to be good on our budget. (Another way is to have a dessert birthday party. ) What we are doing tonight is having four of the grandkids overnight for our 8 year old's birthday party. My 8 year old made invitations for each of them, hats for each of them, and several games for the event. We got 2 children's shows from the library to watch with popcorn, and I made them some mango gummies. I am also making a stir fry for dinner, a special cake, and then in the morning scrambled eggs, hash browns, and some granola bars. I got colored pencils for .50 a box for prizes to our games. Each child will get a box. We have a small kid pool, very small, but I told them to bring their swimsuits for a fun game I have planned. I can't wait for the festivities to start!

10- Almost once a week instead of shampooing my whole head in the shower, I will put my hair up in a high bun and shampoo my bangs and the side of my head. Often that is the part that gets oily the first. I learned this trick from my friend in high school. 

11- I find hand washing dishes to be the best for my budget and our drought here in CA. I handle them once for washing and use a dab of dish detergent on my sponge.  We take fast showers as well to save water. 

12- I keep a gift drawer. This is an area where I put gifts that I find for a great price, even though I don't need them at that time. Then when I need a gift I look here first. It has helped me time and time again.

13- I cut my hair and my 8 year old's hair. I just followed someone on YouTube, wrote down the directions, and then follow them when needed.

14- If I want a bit of greenery in the house, I go outside and clip a bush or a plant and pop it in a vase. I loved one of my daughter's green plants, so she gave me some clippings to start my own plant. 

15- I love buying things at garage sales or thrift shops for fun surprises. I found a brand new dress with a $46 price tag on it for my daughter-in-law last week. It cost $3. She loved it! I found a beautiful clock for $1 at a garage sale for my other daughter-in-law. She put it up on the wall right away. I found a Farm To Table sign for $1.50 for my oldest daughter, she loves to garden so that was a fun surprise.

16- When I am working around the house in the summer I have on the most comfortable clothes I can wear. But before I leave to go shopping or run errands, I quickly put on a dress and a pair of sandals. I love to buy dresses at the thrift shop or garage sales for $3 and under, and keep them lined up ready to go. 

If I think of any others I will jot them down.

Love to you,

It is amazing to me to have Laine contribute to my blog! 
Thank you so much!

Keeping baking basics on hand saves so much. 
Another saving for me is I have never spent much money on food storage.  I have saved jars most of my life and also tins. 

Lets get our heads together and share our savings tips.  Some things we routinely do are not known by others! Sometimes one tip that we can use saves us so much! 

Making cards and gift tags must have saved me many hundreds over recent years.

Over a year ago I read a tip on The Cheapskates Club which was to forget your usual chemist and get prescriptions from a discount chemist. For some reason in my mind discount chemists were where you go cheap perfumes but I had no idea prescriptions were a fraction of the cost.  So I investigated and wrote down the prices of each of Andy's prescriptions.  He has a stainless steel heart valve so he is on medication forever...   I went into a nearby discount chemist and gave them my list and asked what are their prices?  The chemist was so nice about it.  He looked up each price and wrote down their prices next to what I was currently paying.   I took this home and most of his prices were less than half price.  On some this was $15 saving per item.  Then I did the maths.... this would amount to over $660 a year in savings.
Since then that chemist has continued to save us.  Antibiotics, over the counter medicines, toothpaste, cleaning products.... all massive savings.   That was ONE good tip! 

Filling lunch boxes and baking... this has been a huge saving.

Another one was to get prescription glasses online.  This one saves HUNDREDS.  I have an eye test today!  I will be getting the prescription and bring it home to order online.  Last time I did this it saved me around $300. 

So there can be a lot of power in one tip that we can use!  Last week I started making yoghurt.  I am only just realising how much this is going to save me since with plenty of yoghurt I can make so many things. And as a sour cream substitute I can make so many other things!  I am going to do a post on this as it is incredible what you can make! 

Making cleaning products isn't on a saver but also there are no nasty chemicals in your house!

I will keep adding savings tips in the comments as I think of them!

Do you have a tip that could help others?    Sometimes it is a small thing... it may seem insignificant until you work out the yearly savings.  This is how people get into trouble too... two cups of coffee at work a day might not sound like much.... but this could be costing over $2000 a year.   Well, savings work the same way!  Over a year they really add up!

I hope we all have a really good week!  I am off to have my eye test and run some errands.  Before that I have soup to put on! xxx


  1. it's amazing how much you can save when you investigate your bills. We have saved a lot in the last two years by looking for another car/home insurance company. Then just a couple of months ago we switch t.v. providers. The companies we switched to were suggestions made by friends. it's great to ask around. The savings are significant and leaves us money to be able to buy what we need.

    For the grandchildren we buy ice cream novelties at the store. The ice cream truck comes our house everyday. For the price of one ice cream from the truck I'm able to buy them a carton full at the store. That one carton lasts them a week (with us helping)! It seems to taste better too! Have a great day!

    1. Dear Vickie,
      You are right! Sometimes one phone call to change companies can be a huge saver!
      What a savings on the ice-cream! Good job! Many thanks! With love

  2. Hello Annabel and Bluebirds!

    What a wonderful post from you, Annabel, and Laine. So lovely to hear from her again.

    My tip is to utilize your library. So many different things there and they are free!

    1. Dear Jenn, Libraries are amazing these days! They are also kind of an outing in themselves. This is a great tip thank you! Love

  3. Thank you Annabel and Laine, what delightful inspiration for us all to save money while still being creative with our cooking, dressing, celebrating, giving, crafting, parenting (and grandparenting!), health, and shopping! It's such a small world as I used to read Laine's Letters back in the day and boy, Laine, did you help me while I was raising my 3 kids, in so many ways, so thank you!!

    A tip for USA readers: when you have to get a prescription filled, go online first before heading out to the pharmacy to check out these to sites: and, even if you have health insurance that supposedly covers some prescription medications. Type in your medication, and see if there is a discount code or coupon available. I have used each of these sites at different times this year for an expensive antibiotic for a family member and the savings each time were great, something to the tune of $30 or more off the listed price each time. Well worth a few minutes on the computer to check.

    Another tip is gift giving: check out the used dvd section at your favorite thrift stores. Sometimes you can find brand new movies still in their plastic wrappers, like I did last week when I found a blockbuster for a whopping $1.59. My grow son will love this for his birthday, and that leaves me with extra money to spoil him more with addition gifts as I'm not near to using up my birthday budget. Lavish gifts for less!

    Annabel, your tags and cardmaking inspire me to no end, and your crochet is so lovely. Plus your pantry and cooking plus food photos makes me want to go out to my kitchen and bake something delicious right now.

    Have a happy week everyone, can't wait to read all your tips!!

    Love to all Bluebirds, Teresa

    1. Dear Teresa, Thank you very much for the tips and especially for the websites. What big savings on the antibiotics!
      I am amazed how many people far and wide read Laines Letters. She must have had hundreds of thousands of followers! I never even knew where she lived although I assumed USA. Many ladies I have become friends with all say they read Laines Letters... so we all know and understand what we are talking about! Teresa if you re read them now they will speak to you in a whole new way as we are in different stages of life.
      Thank you for all these tips and also kind words! With love

  4. I found a huge grocery money saver was learning to substitute if I didn't have a particular ingredient i.e. plain MOO yoghurt instead of sour cream or to make cream cheese - two things crossed off the shopping list and $5 a week saved already. Using my basic taco seasoning mix and adding the extra spices to make burrito or enchilada seasoning instead of buying them especially - another $2.50 a week saved. Powdered milk in sauces and custards instead of using fresh saved $2 a week. Basic scone dough to make scones, pizza bases, scrolls (sweet and savoury) saves around $15 a week. Knowing which herbs and spices act as substitutes helps too. Lots of savings to be made when you learn to substitute. Every cent I can save on groceries is one that we have to spend on something we really want or need so I'm always looking for ways to stretch our grocery budget :

    1. I love to use this idea, too. In fact, I like it so much that I had a group of kids over to my house last month to teach them to do this with a recipe. We then made the recipe, and the kids got to eat it.

    2. Dear Cath, Substitutions are a great way to save. And I am finding out on the yoghurt! This whole experiment has taught me a heap of things. Fist of all the yoghurt i was eating contained cultures. But guess what? They were not live cultures! So the whole purpose of eating it was lost. So in Aust. if the label doesnt say LIVE cultures then they are a waste of time. So then I got greek yoghurt to start making my own and its going good ever since! And now I am realising the enormous list of things I can make with either yoghurt or sour cream. ow Im going g back to look at what you do re cream cheese!
      Enchilada sauce is next on my list! That is over $4 for a really small jar. I used to have a very easy mix to make up butter chicken and cant find it... I think I better come back to the recipe file and see if I can find that.
      Each week I am trying something new. Most of them are thanks to you! With love

  5. My pantry has been moving in the wrong direction, I need to stock up again!
    Wow the tea sets are beautiful!
    And I've been wondering how to shop around on prescription prices as I found that one of our prescriptions is $10 cheaper in the next suburb but only because I happened to get it there one time. Money to be saved like this for sure.
    Thanks Annabel and Laine for the enjoyable and motivational reading,

    1. Dear Amanda,
      If you have a regular prescription to fill I would ring around the nearest chemists/pharmacies and ask their price for this. If they are much cheaper they are likely to be cheaper on others too. It certainly pays to compare... I think you can check prices online too.
      I hope you get lots of opportunities to build up your pantry! Sometimes this can happen in all kinds of ways and we just have to grab them! Many thanks Amanda, with love,

    2. Thanks Annabel, I've managed to make 3 bottles of citrus cordial and am making sauerkraut this weekend, so that should help. Cucumbers are very cheap too so might try some bread and butter cucumbers. Have a good weekend xx

  6. One of my favourite tips, is to make sure you factor some fun food into even the tightest budget. When money is scarce, our first instinct seems to be to cut the luxuries, and granted, that's an easy place to trim the dollars. But this just leads to impulse spending when we feel deprived of all the little treats in life. I've used the example of Meal Deals at the well known takeaway outlets. These sound so attractive. $5.95 for a burger, fries, a fizzy drink and a treat! But that's for one person. If there's a Mum and a Dad and even one child, it's not $5.95 any more. It's $17.85. And for $17.85, I can buy the following items. Hamburger buns x 3 ($1.95), 250 gms mince ($2.50), 250gms cheese ($4), tub of generic ice cream ($3), ice cream cones ($3), and 2 litres of fizzy drink ($2). That's $16.50, so I still have $1.35 to buy three small candy bars or a handful of sweets purchased by weight, or a chocolate bar to cut into three pieces. Sure I have to make the burgers. But I have enough cheese, fizzy drink, ice cream and cones, for several more little treats for my family. Some would argue that the time saving factor is their motivation, but I've said so often, that the time saving factor of takeaway food is a myth. There's driving there and back, using expensive fuel in the process, and waiting in the queue, which is often lengthy and quite ridiculous. In the time it would take me to drive to the Golden Arches near me, I could have cooked the fresh burger patties, made the burgers, poured the fizzy drinks, made the ice cream cones and treats, and eaten them! Lol! It's a great strategy once you make the connection. Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi, Thank you! Yes we can create really good treats and luxuries at home... this is worth thinking about. I loved your DIY takeaway posts back a while ago... and you are right... what sounds cheap soon is not when you times it by a few people. We nearly fell over last time we ordered takeaway... it would be over three years ago now. It was really expensive... and as you say something can be whipped up just as fast.
      A thought is to identify the love/weaknesses of loved ones and come up with a home alternative... maybe they will LOVE it and feel very special. Andy's thing is a steak. I can do a good steak home much cheaper than a god steak out at least! Many thanks Mimi! With love

    2. This is a great tip, Mimi! xx Jen in NS

    3. This is a great tip, and it works just as well for those more expensive restaurants that used to trip me up so badly. I discovered that I could google around and try several recipes, and I would always come away with that simply wonderful taste that I had always had at whatever restaurant. Now if I taste a simply fabulous meal at a restaurant, I think, "Now to learn to make it myself."

  7. What an inspiring blog! I write this wrapped in a blanket still recovering from flu (I got the flu shot but i got a strain not covered by the vaccine).
    My tips include always taking lunch to work. A sandwich and coffee alone can be over $10 a day. That's $50 a week or $200 a month or $2,400 a year ! And I know people who say they can't "be bothered" making a sandwich. I like to get creative and take soup or sandwiches or make something really yummy that nourishes mind and body !
    I also am on a lot of medications for conditions. As well as going to a chemist warehouse if there isn't one near you , many places will offer a price match. Being on a government benefit I utilise my card and get low cost medications, and ensure I always get the generic brand. In Australia the ingredients by law have to be the same. Also, make sure you keep record of your scripts to count towards the safety net. For pensioners this is 52 scripts then for the rest of the year medication is free. For full price payers your medication is then significantly reduced.
    My other tips would include utilising your health insurance if you have it. I got free dental work and glasses this year. I'm paying for it any way so might as well utilise my companies benefits !
    That's all I can think of now. With love, sonia

    1. Dear Sonia, I hope you are much better! I agree that over two thousand dollars a year is too much for work lunches! Its ridiculous! Thank you for reminding me about the safety net. I only use two chemists so I should easily be able to check where we are up to. Because I was sick earlier in the year we might actually benefit from the safety net this year. Thank you!
      You are right on the insurance as well... I did just get my free glasses. I will have a look and see what else we might use/take advantage of. Thanks for these tips!
      I hope you are really getting better and being very careful! With lots of love

  8. Lots of great tips! Annabel, your baking, tags and crochet work are beautiful, as usual!

    Knowing that many of us like to read, I have a site to recommend: She features books for the Kindle from Amazon---Christian fiction, non-fiction, recipe books and sometimes children's books. There are often free books, as well as discounted. (I am not sure how the pricing works outside the U.S.) Along with that, you don't have to have a Kindle to read them. You can download Kindle for PC, I-pad, phone, etc., to read on a variety of devices. I have built quite an extensive library with mostly free books.

    Another tip is to glance over your receipt before leaving the store when shopping. I check to be sure that the prices are accurate, quantities are accurate and any discounts or coupons have been included. I would say at least once a month there is an error on my receipt and it is almost never in the benefit of the store.

    We like to bring souvenirs to family from trips. We try to give items that are useful and not dust collectors---jars of jam, honey, fudge, cookies, spices, jewelry, fabric and so on, preferably something unique to the area. Our daughter and family just returned from the British Isles. They brought lovely wool scarves and shortbread cookies.

    That's all that comes to mind right now. I am looking forward to reading the comments from other Bluebirds!

    Have a lovely week!
    Elaine from Arizona

    1. It's amazing how often my husband or I find a mistake on the receipt afterwards, Elaine...we always check! Here, if the mistake is on an item for under $10, you then receive the item for free. This has saved us A LOT of money...I am always amazed at the frequency of the price difference on the shelf tag vs. what comes up on the computer at the till. Great tip! Jen in NS

    2. Thank you for the ereader link!

    3. Thank you Elaine this was so helpful!
      Little House Living blog has a great free list on Fridays as well. I have some fantastic ebooks and all were free.
      I also agree on useful souvenirs! Thank you so much! xxx

  9. I save seeds from The heirloom plants that I grow in my veg garden. It's not a huge saving but it does help. I save the bits of veg that usually get chopped off and thrown out, for or example the stalk of broccoli, and freeze them. These, the tops of celery, carrot peelings are all frozen. When I have enough these become veg stock for soup making. I do the same with chicken, beef and lamb bones. Bluey set up an outdoor kitchen on the veranda. This saves on the house heating up in summer, keeping cooling costs down. All the cooking is done using gas, saving on expensive electricity costs. Not being too pried is a huge money saver. We accept gifts off friends that may have gone to a charity/op shop. We are able to acces a good bank as our income is very low.
    I am so looking forward to seeing all the ideas fo saving dollars so we can build our pantries.

    1. Dear Jane,
      I think your outdoor kitchen is fantastic! And the gardening and cooking is amazing. All your bartering too. And the sourdough! I am finding after the sour dough the yoghurt is saving me heaps. Thanks so much Jane! with love

  10. Dear Annabel and beautiful bluebirds,
    Thank you for another excellent post Annabel and thank you to Laine for more wise and wonderful advice.
    My tip would be to look for other purposes / uses for things you have in your home that you no longer use and also if you need something think " outside of the box" so to speak and don't just buy something fancy just for one purpose if you can buy something cheaper that will suffices r better still have something at home you can use .For example I bought a pretty pencil case for $2 and I wasn't using it but I needed a case for my new phone , the phone fits into the pencil case perfectly and even though I have to get my phone out of the case to use it , at least the phone won't be loose in my handbag . I saved myself at least $20 while using something I wasn't using .
    Another tip is to shop around for items you need ( like Vickie said about bills , I recently saved myself $400 per year just by changing insurance companies) but this shopping around can apply to all aspects of buying , I needed a new mobile phone as I recently reported, just by walking a few steps from the phone shop to the supermarket I saved myself at least $40 on the same phone and because I have a plan/ account with the phone company they gave me a free sim and activated the sim that came with my phone so if I want to change sims to use the free $10 credit my phone came with I if you need a new fridge, washing machine , kettle , toaster or anything really , it pays to shop around.i think we all have used that tip !.
    And one more tip : shop for things you need on discount days for example Kmart Australia have a pensioner discount day once a month ( the first Wednesday of the month, which this month is on Wednesday this week!) all pensioners get 5% discount on that day . I try to save up my purchases for that day if I can which also gives me time to think about if I need the items or not.
    I apologise for another long comment Annabel. I love these posts from you and Laine. Thank you both again.
    Love Barb W.

    1. Very good tip, Barb, about taking advantage of discount days. We have Senior Discount days in the U.S. Many stores give senior citizens a special discount; some do it once a week and, others, once a month. Some stores consider seniors as 55 and up.
      Albertsons, here, gives a 10% off savings to senior citizens the first Thursday of each month. Using the discount, when combined with sale items, can help extend the budget.

  11. So much wonderful and helpful information as usual. Your blog would make a great book, especially with all the comments added. It would be amazing to be able to flick through pages, mind you, you'd be almost up to the size of an encyclopaedia by now. 😁
    It is interesting Laine, that you don't eat snacks. We seem to be all about speeding up our metabolisms by having frequent meals but not everyone agrees with this. I had an interesting conversation with the husband of a dietitian who believed it is important to eat 3 normal meals a day and by slowing our metabolism we actually extract more nutrients and require less food for the same energy and nutritional benefit. Now, that's a way to save money!!!! I'm a bit of an emotional eater though so haven't managed to achieve it yet 😉
    I can't think of anything I do that would be new to you all. I did just make up another batch of my water kefir, a good substitute for anyone who likes soft drink (soda). You can flavour it and it is full of probiotics and so cheap to make.

    1. Hi Garden Del- for that info re: eating 3 good meals a day slowing one's metabolism down, I hadn't thought of that. Ive lent towards eating small frequent meals as being better for one's blood sugar levels but your info has got me thinking.
      Ps IM an emotional eater too.Love Maria X

    2. Hi Maria :-)
      I agree, frequent meals must be better for stabilizing blood sugar levels, I can get quite dizzy and spacey between meals. I suspect though, our bodies would adjust if we changed our eating style slowly. Anyway, it is interesting to think about. People seemed to get all they needed years ago when people ate so much less but that was related to lots of different factors also, better quality food and not so much sugar in the diet to name just two. Sugar is such a nutrient robber, but it's just so tasty ;-) Haha, anyway, I sit here typing of virtuous eating while having a hot chocolate and vanilla muffin after tea!

  12. Hi Annabel,
    This is a great savings post. I'm loving the ideas.

    My suggestion is to check out the facilities that your local council is providing (after all we're paying rates so we might as well take advantage).

    Apart from the library resources, as someone else already mentioned, we found quite by accident, that our council runs a free 2hr playvan for pre-schoolers during the school term. This costs nothing to attend and our 2 grandchildren love the "new" toys, plus the interaction with other children and story time - last Christmas, each child was gifted a story book from Santa (very generous on Council's part I thought).

    Council has installed gym equipment (free for anyone to use) in some of parks - weights, static bikes, cross-trainers. There are also numerous free gas BBQ facilities in many of the parks where play equipment has been installed.

    All up, I can entertain my grandchildren, take them for an outing to include a BBQ lunch (as long as I remember the sausages) and get myself fit free of charge thanks to the local council. I know this is going to depend on individual councils, but certainly worth checking out.

    Have a great week,

  13. Dear Annabel, Laine, and Bluebirds,
    Very good information, as always. Thank you.
    Growing as much of one's own food as possible, buying items in bulk in their longest storage form, and using sales, along with coupons/discounts, are big savers for us. Even apartment dwellers can grow a bit of their food in containers.
    Multiple uses for items, as Barb mentioned, saves money, time, and space.
    For instance, whole grains bought in large quantity for savings, can be used for sprouting, grinding for flours, and cooked as side dishes and cereals. Herbs can be easily grown at home and used for culinary purposes and traditional medical purposes (know the interactions first).
    Blessings to all of you,

  14. Love all the ideas!!! Thanks so much for the inspiration, Annabel and Laine and other fellow Bluebirds!!
    While raising 11 kids, I realized that I loved and needed to make our money stretch as much as possible! That being said, I DO love convenience and saving TIME was also a major need!
    So I started making my own convenience items- dry baking mixes, spice, seasoning and dressing mixes, home canned sauces BBQ, Teriyaki, Sweet & Sour, etc) . I pre cooked ground beef and packaged into 2 cup amounts and froze in ziplocs to pull out and use in any recipe that called for cooked ground beef. Saved me time and money that way! Did the same with chicken and pork- cut some into chunks and pre cooked and froze for later!
    The quilts I make for us and others as gifts are all scrappy quilts. This way I don't run out of a fabric at 1 AM with no way of continuing until the next day! Because I am known for this, my friends and even friends of friends give me their. "Leftover" fabrics and as a result, I rarely buy fabric any more! I use thrift store 100% cotton flat sheets (I buy them for no more than $2/King size) or my quilt backings and even the trimming of those will find it's way into quilt tops! I take my batting trimmings and sew them together to make new battings for my quilts! And the patterns I use are either free on-line or I look at a photo of a finished quilt that I like and "deconstruct " it on scrap paper! Giving the finished quilts (100s of them by now) as gifts has literally saved me thousands of dollars over buying a comparable gift in the store!
    Our landscaping outside almost always uses salvaged or gifted to us materials! We feel great recycling materials and giving them new life and we can have some great looking things-fire pit, brick walkway, benches, cabinets for just the cost of our time to construct!! Thousands saved there!! Plus it gives us a good (free!) workout!!
    We use vintage sheets from leftover quilt backings to make Kleenex. We cut up old t shirts and Jammie's for shop rags. I make cloth napkins from scrap fabrics.
    Ours really is a "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without" household and yet we have fun and take joy in what can be accomplished and so we rarely feel deprived!!

    1. Dear Pat, After eleven children I think I am going to listen to you as you know what you are talking about! I also admire the ways you save and generate incomes as well each week. And I love your quilts!
      I really am using more and more of this home mixers recipes. Each one eliminates something else from the shopping list. I have a post coming up about this!
      You have done so much with your yard, I like the chook house best! Thank you Pat, I really appreciate your tips. There is so much we can do with resources around us and a bit of hard work! With love

  15. Great ideas! I'm surprised how hard it has been to change the way we are eating. I've been a Type 1 diabetic for a long time and had to learn quickly to watch the carbs. However, it has been hard to change from having meat as the center of our menu. We had to for our budget and our health. It has been good to learn new ways of cooking, even if it is so different. Laine's use of cabbage made me smile. Before Mom married my dad, she was a widow with seven kids. Cabbage was her "go to" veggie.

    1. Dear Brenda, Andy is a diabetic although type 2. We are also reducing meat probably for the same reasons... but still keeping protein high.
      It sounds like cabbage is pretty famous in your family!
      Changes can be really hard but they can make such a difference it is ok if you treat them as a challenge... also your health comes first! With love

  16. Annabel and Laine thank you so much for yet another wonderful post and I think we are all feeling the pinch with general inflation on everything.

    We have been working a lot on reducing our expenses to save a 50% deposit for our home, increase pantry stocks or buy needed items.

    - Wait for sales to purchase anything new and note the sale cycles.
    - Pay cash for everything and ask for the best price and then barter some more as the shops are charged 3 - 5% on their credit card purchases if you pay by card so there is more room for them to discount the prices because of this.
    - Wait for the currency exchange rate to be high against the U.S dollar to buy larger machinery and appliances for cheaper prices.
    - Investigate & use any discounts you may have with clubs or organisations you have joined.
    - When buying prescription medications in Australia on benefits ask your doctor to do a bulk script for a months worth of medication on the one script. The doctor then rings through to the chemist to get a Medicare code to put on it. Then say if you have 2 medications of 10 boxes each it only costs you the $6.30 per medication for 10 boxes of each. This saves us a huge amount on our medication over the course of the year.
    - We purchase our medications and vitamins online at pharmacy online found here - or wait for 50% off specials at our local supermarket for vitamins and minerals which are usually cheaper. You can also get your scripts filled online much cheaper on here too.
    - We buy our medical supplies from an online first aid supply shop that supplies hospitals which is so much cheaper than the local pharmacy. It can be found here and they sell to the general public too - .
    - Compare prices on all of your utility, car and machinery servicing and general household needs. Today we investigated a new garage in town for our car servicing and found out they are $281 cheaper to service our car. Be careful with this however as most dealerships will not honour your car warranty if you go elsewhere for a service during the warranty period. Our car however is out of warranty so we can save hugely.
    - Save your grey water from your washing machine and showers if you use biodegradable cleaning products to water the lawns and plants that don't have fruits touching the ground. 1lt of grey water waters 1 square metre of lawn. This saves hugely on water bills.
    - Have navy showers. Put the plug in if you have a shower over a bath and wet yourself down with water, turn off shower, soap up, and then rinse off. We then use the water for the next person in the bath where they soap up with the water in the bath and then rinse off with clean running water afterwards. This saves a huge amount of water in a household. By the way we are on permanent water restrictions or varying degrees and severity here in the country :) .
    - Collect rainwater in tanks to water vegetable gardens, wash vegetables, wash cars and newly planted seedlings in the gardens or in pots.
    - When buying fuel wait for the lowest price cycle to stock up and or fill your car. We keep jerry cans in the garage and fill our car up from that.
    - Grow your own vegetables if you can and have the space this as we have worked out saves us over $4000 a year in our budget as our local produce prices are hugely expensive.
    - Learn to preserve your excess produce for other seasons. We blanch and freeze all of our excess vegetables and make our berries into jams or chop them up and put them in the freezer.
    - Cook from scratch, I know this sounds basic but you would be amazed at what it saves you over the course of a year.
    - Reuse and upcycle everything you can in your home. For example using old pillows and turning them into new ones by putting more stuffing in, using old towels for bath mats or cleaning rags, old doona covers for curtains, pillowcases, tablecloths and table napkins, cutlery pouches and napkin rings.

    All I can think of at the moment but I do hope this helps someone.


    1. Dear Sewingcreations, Thank you for your awesome list! Also for the websites as this is so helpful. You are practising a lot of really good habits with big savings here.
      I have a post coming up on making things from scratch. I am trying to keep expanding in this area. Also it has spin offs i.e. now I am making yoghurt I am finding so many things I can make with yoghurt! (like tatziki!) and it goes on and on. Each thing you can make takes something else off the shopping list.
      I will be so excited for you when you get your deposit saved up! You are doing a wonderful job with all you do and I thank you for being prepared to write it up and share with us all, With love

  17. Thank you for the post-One of the ways I save -Is to stay home more-less gas and wear and tear on vehicle and less tempted to spend. I am canning like a madwoman right now-I have 60 tomato plants -so canning salsa, tomato soup and spaghetti sauce right now. I wonder if Laine may be willing to give us an update on her family and how there lives are going? I have read her since the beginning and she was my inspiration! Thanks again.

    1. Dear becky, Your garden sounds lovely! Well done on working so hard on your harvest.
      Laine has Lucy the youngest who is 8 and Laine homeschools her. Abbie is married with small children and the boys are married with children also. Art is hoping to retire in six years.
      becky I know how you feel... I read from the beginning and Laine was part of my life and thinking! With love

  18. Using a bit of oil on a pastry brush works wonders for greasing baking pans, and saves a lot if you are used to buying baking sprays. Silicone pastry brushes are inexpensive and easy to clean.

    Freezing leftover meats can be a frugal lifesaver for a quick lunch or dinner. I chop these into stir-fry sized pieces, which makes it very easy to whip up a quick stiry fry or rice bowl. Some can also be used for soup. Also freeze small amounts of leftover veggies - great for soup or stirfry!

    Make broth with your roasted meat bones in the crockpot. This is so easy and has given us lots of tasty stock for homemade soups and to use to cook grains.

    Save seeds from herbs to plant next year.

    Learning is free! The local library is one of my favorite places. It has helped me become a better gardener, cook, and knitter, and provides hours of entertainment. Ours also has wonderful public programming (music, lectures, etc.)

    Save buttons from worn-out items of clothing.

    Frugal is not the same as cheap - it took me a while to learn this. It's worth waiting to save up to buy something of good quality that will really last.

    Excited to read everyone's suggestions!

    1. Dear Kathy,
      Thank you for your great contribution. I only started making my own broth/stock a couple of years ago. It is fantastic as if you think about it we show away so much that still has nutrition in it...I also use my crockpot to make mine. This On the weekend I used a lamb shank to cook up for hours with veggies to make baby food. At the end it all set due to the bone marrow. There is so much goodness in this and it all cost a fraction of jars of baby food. I have been making chicken stock and then stock from the lamb bone as well.
      The library is amazing. We can study and learn endlessly for nothing!
      Thanks so much Kathy! With love

    2. I love these tips! That oil on a pastry brush thing is something I finally found earlier this year. I had been desperately trying to find a reliable substitute for those "baking sprays, as I had heard they had bad things in them (bad for our bodies and bad for the environment.) I had tried lots of more complicated things and stumbled on the silicone brush by accident. I felt like an idiot, because it took me YEARS to figure it out.

      I agree: learning is free. But it saves so much after the initial learning curve. (It's not always cheaper for me when I am still learning. I sometimes ruin the item completely. Sigh.)

      Thanks for the great tips!

  19. So happy to hear from Laine too. I live in So. California so I felt like your advice was relevant, since we had some of the challenges. You were the one that was responsible for me to have a morning quiet time. I hope you keep sharing. Blessings to you both.

    1. Dear Lynn, It seems no matter where we live the issues are the same. Here I am in South Australia and Laines advice is just right for me! Thats the beauty of it. Laine will be pleased about your morning quiet time what a good way dos tart the day! Thank you Lynn! Love

  20. Dear Annabel and Bluebird friends
    Great post, as usual and something that has been tugging at my heartstrings for some time.

    My couple of hints would be 'why buy when you can make' and to check out Pinterest for ideas and recipes.

    I came across the Pioneer Woman by pure accident - she has some wonderful recipes but I especially love her pancake recipe that uses yoghurt. It even works with gluten free flour.

    Also lots of herb and spice mixes on there for various ethnic foods. My most recent search has been for french onion soup - I am going to try a recipe out and it requires a packet of french onion soup mix - if it is a keeper I am not going to buy packets each and every time I want to make it because I will stock the ingredients to make my own.

    There was an article on A Current Affair last night about the cost of food - wages have not gone up but everything else has including food. Also during the weekend it was pointed out that there are a lot of families here in Queensland who have had their power disconnected because they haven't been able to pay their bills.

    Also the places that hand out food parcels are under massive pressure from the huge numbers seeking help.

    Being ahead of the game (so to speak) we can go about doing what we do without the sense of urgency that so many now have.

    Have a great week everyone. I am still waiting for all of my 'liked' pages to arrive in my FB feed to work out the weeks shopping. I know that I will most probably be heading down to where Mimi did her wonderful shop. I also know that it will no doubt be at the busy time because the trip is being tied in with a visit to my mother in law and picking up some medication that I need.


    1. Dear Lynette, I saw this morning on fb a discussion about so many people now with electricity, struggling with food costs and all the politicians are talking about is whether we should be a republic, endlessly on about marriage and other things and NOTHING about what people are actually going through. This is so true! With the recent 20% rise (again) I think in SA there will be so many with power cut off.
      Today is my usual day to find out most of the specials too... all my junk mail usually comes Tues afternoon as well.
      I also like The Pioneer Woman! And now Im making yoghurt I will try those pancakes!
      I totally agree on make it ourselves. Each week I am trying to add something to that list. Learning curve! So far the results have been really good though! Each thing we can eliminate from the shopping list is a big help and over time these have to add up to a lot! Many thanks Lynette, with love

  21. Hi Annabel,
    Another great post to get us all thinking. Ways I have saved recently is by purchasing my ink cartridges for the printer online. I bought a mixed colour 10 pack for $13.00 and they work beautifully. That is a huge saving compared to the shops. Also, heads for electric toothbrushes, scholl exfoliating heads (I got mine for $2.00 each free postage). K-mart Auto have saved me heaps of money on tyres by just checking out the specials elsewhere then they will beat it. I have got Goodyear tyres for $105.00 each for my sedan. The bearings seized on my Nutri-Bullet and I was able to source a new blender base for it for $18 online. I also bought spare seals for a few dollars each. These are things that a lot of us already do, but I thought I'd mention them in case they help someone. I also buy chicken frames for 30cents each from the local butcher and add sweet potato ($1 per kg) and rice to make a nutritious stew for my dogs. It's surprising how far that goes. Meanwhile, I will keep thinking. Have a great week
    Del x

    1. Dear Del, These are great tips! Ink cartridges are an enormous cost! Also when I need new tyres I will try K mart now!
      I am increasingly finding shopping online and comparing online a huge help. This is a really good tip! Some of the savings are huge!
      Many thanks! With love,

  22. Great post!

    Snacks are important here with my husband's brain injury. He does much better if we keep his blood sugar level and fuel going to the brain. That said, I do not buy snack food. We rely on yogurt, popcorn, nuts, muffins, leftovers and other inexpensive regular foods.

    I save a lot by freezer cooking since we are empty nesters. Before that I found it easy to waste food. Now I know exactly what amount we need for one meal and foods are frozen in that quantity. I bake most of our bread and baked goods. Pizzas are homemade and almost never from out. Bacon grease is full of wonderful flavor. I keep it in a jar in the fridge. I saute my cabbage in it and add it to other foods. The easiest and cheapest way to fill out a meal that is not quite enough is with a basket of hot biscuits. Here in the southern USA we love grits and they are so inexpensive. To make them special I sometimes clear out the bits and ends of cheese for cheese grits. Mashed potatoes and gravy are a real comfort food and also so inexpensive. Gravy is so easy to make homemade and costs only pennies. I find that so many recipes these day call for broth when it is not needed. My Mom never had a carton of broth in her house. And isn't it crazy that casseroles call for a half pound of cheese as a topping? A few crackers or potato chips crushed make a great topping and have more flavor and don't forget those bread crusts for crumbs. Many foods seem special and are really just simple ingredients. Scalloped potatoes are a good example and are so easy to make. Add some diced leftover ham and you have a main dish. I culture my own buttermilk and it just keeps going and going. I used to do the vinegar and milk trick but I find that the real thing makes baked goods so moist and delicious that it is worth keeping my buttermilk going. When I am down to a few slices of somewhat stale homemade bread I butter it and toast it in a skillet to go with meals. My husband loves it. Cabbage sliced thin is a great filler in stir fry. I like it better than more expensive things like bean sprouts. When we make homemade ice cream I portion the leftover out into 4 ounce containers for the freezer. They are easy to take out and eat and seem like a special treat in there small size. When I have some milk go past it's date I pour it into a green glass bottle that indicates to me that it is for cooking.

    We use cloth napkins and cloth rags. For spills we have old towels on hand. I am seeing that microfiber cloths are getting a bad rap these days but I do have many of them and they only require water to effectively clean. We purchased a stainless steal trash can with a lid for the kitchen because it contains odors so well. This has cut our garbage bag usage down to 3 a week instead of 7-8. Our garbage hauler requires plastic liners. I restock on bags when they are on sale for low prices. The can has paid for itself in savings.

    Another way we can save here in the USA is to have bills on auto payment. Many companies give discounts for not having to send out a paper bill or manage checks coming in the mail. We save $10 per quarter on the garbage bill and $80 on our car insurance every six months. I also save $1 on our cell phone bill each month. We run all of our purchases through a credit card that pays us back 2% in cash. We just received a $319 check for the last years' rewards. We pay it in full every month and costs us nothing to just use the charge card. All if these things really add up!

  23. Continues comment. The first one was too long. :)

    Our grandchildren don't require taking to places that cost money. We have plenty of woods to play in and swings and slide in the back yard. While they were here a few weeks ago we spent an evening toasting marshmallows and then watching a movie that we rented for $1.60. They enjoy a washtub filled with water outside to play with cups and boats. They love to play with balls and riding toys on our long driveway. A paintbrush and little pail of water is a fun way to 'paint' on a sunny day.

    We maintain and repair our old and paid for cars and both of them have well over 200K miles on them. We make a payment into savings for replacing them every month so that we can pay cash and get better deals. I find that I feel much better about our old vehicles if we keep them washed! Years ago I read that if you feel like you need to replace something just clean it and see if it has more use in it. I am always amazed that when we go somewhere with our coolers that so many have the newest and latest. They hardly ever wear out but just need a good cleaning.

    I save money on gardening by making my own compost for nearly 20 years. That pile is black gold. I propogate my own plants and overwinter about 35 pots of flowers in my garage. I fertilize my tomatoes with coffee grounds and egg shells and they need nothing else.

    1. Dear Lana, Thanks for so many tips! I think all the outdoor activities and play are wonderful for children. Reused to have forts and cubby houses, camping and tents, there were animals at the farm and it was just so much fun. Now I have Granddaughters... it will be more of the same and cooking, crafts etc. And I love what you say about keeping things clean and in good shape! That is so true! And you know... at the end of the day a lot of older things are in fact much better quality. New isn't necessarily better at all! Thank you very much for a great contribution! With love

    2. Oh, I totally love the clean it first before replacing it idea!! I have saved 2 big items recently by doing this--my vacuum and my pressure cooker.

  24. Dear Annabel,thankyou again for all your encouragement, and for including Laine's and all the Bluebirds tips too.
    I was recently visiting our youngest in Surfers,and we talked about the discount chemist you have in Australia which I first came across 2 years ago in Tamworth. Our son needs a lot of prescribed antihistamines and started going to the discount chemist until he saw a sign at the chemist near where he lives that said 'we will match prices' and sure enough they now match the discount chemists prices , which saves him travelling , as this chemist is across the walkway from his place.
    Love Maria xxx

    1. That is a really good tip Maria, we may only have to go out of our way one time if our local chemist price matches! Really good idea. It can amount to a huge amount per year as I found out. There are online chemists too but I haven't tired them... this might be good for people living a long way from town. Thanks Maria! xxx

  25. Good morning Annabel,
    It is so sweet to see home tips from Laine. I'm glad you connected with her and are sharing them.
    I'm so glad you're saving money on your medicines. My husband takes a handful of medicines and his are free through his military service. Mine are also covered by his military medical and are free if I get mail order ones. If I pick them up locally, I pay just 1/4 the cost. I'm so thankful for this. Some people have huge Medicine costs.

    I enjoy your sweet blog so much ❤️

    1. Dear Rhonda,
      Thank you so much! This is very good about the medicines. I am so pleased to hear that. I have also heard some people having medicine costs I cant even imagine.
      I hope you are having a good week! With love

  26. Wow, there are so many wonderful tips, here! I don't know that I have anything new to add...staying off the computer for awhile keeps our costs down, as we are on a limited data plan. :) Trading skills/goods with neighbors is a good one. Yes, gardening is a good one, and then the preserving afterwards. I have to watch my thrift shopping, as it is easy to buy things because they are so cheap, and then not really have a planned use for them. A dollar spent is still a dollar spent, and if it something you don't need (even for the gift cupboard), then it is just the same as buying things brand new that you don't need. I find I can really piddle away a healthy amount of money on things that don't seem like a lot individually, but sure are all together! When I'm not at the thrift shop, I don't want what I don't see! Ha, Ha! It's a fine line between scooping up great deals on things that will improve life, and wasting money on more clutter. :) I think what you do, batch cooking, is an excellent use of power and time...why heat up the oven for one or two loaves of bread or a single casserole, when more can be cooked all at once? I can't think of any other tips right now...

    Love, Jen in NS

    1. Dear Jen, Your gardening, cooking, sewing, knitting and many more are enormous savers. I agree with thrift stores! I try and work from a list but then there are luxury items like good linen I will break my list for. I figure with these I am not buying linen new and overall I just saved even if it is in the future. I have one thing that helps me and it is I don't like knick knacks and things like that as that kind of clutter bugs me.
      Batch cooking really works. Even if its only doing double, that is still night off cooking! I hope your garden will produce tones this year... this means you will be busy with preserving etc but a full pantry is lovely! Many thanks Jen, with love

  27. I love this topic and I love the comments, too! I find this really helpful. Could you do a post about how to continue to say "no" to things your family really can't afford? That is an area that I struggle in. I have successfully done it over the years, but as we keep having to do this year after year, I get worn out by it and start saying yes, even though I shouldn't. Fun things for the kids to do, friends asking us to join them on an event that is "only $5" (or $15 or $25), stuff like that. It's hard. And I fail at it regularly to the detriment of my family's budget.

    Thanks for all you do.

    1. Dear Cristy, Thank you this is a great idea for a blog post or even several. I want to find out how old your children are... Ill come over to your blog and see if I can find out.
      I have to say off the top of my head it was Laine who helped me on this subject. I will try to find the letter in particular but I have always remembered her saying that it is more important to stay on budget than spending on gifts and she had a $3 budget for a gift and she was ticking to it. Through the years I have remembered this so often... it helped me so many times! I will work on this! With love

    2. I haven't updated that blog in ages, lol. My son is 12, and I have a 10 year old and a 7 year old daughter. Expenses keep getting more and more expensive. I can do all the at home tips, but trip up all the time on the go out with friends, attend events type things where I have to tell other adults and/or my kids "no." I get so tired of money being so tight for so many years. I guess that is part of it. It gets embarrassing to me that money never seems to get better for us. Also, we have a great group of friends now (whereas previously we did more things as only our family.) This is good, but it puts many more opportunities out there for us. And they all cost money.

  28. Count me in as another Laine Fan! I read her website years ago. Her boys are the age of my boys and mine also were interested in worship ministry. In fact they all still play in worship bands at church.

    I printed off bunches of Laine's letters years ago. Sadly, I cannot find them now after two moves. However I frequently make her Uncle Raymond's Bread and her flour tortillas!

    I do so many of the above things. I had my two toddler grandkids here the last two days. We went for walks and put a under the bed storage container full of water out on the deck. That, a few rocks, sticks and toys - fun for hours! And no whining!

    I just stocked up on peanut butter for the year last week. It often goes on sale before school begins. I check the serving suggested size on the label. DH and I now have 196+ servings of peanut butter for the year. That should do. I'll stock up again next August.

    I make my clothes last by line drying them, inside out so they don't fade. I practice patching so the problem areas don't show.

    We don't have satellite tv, but watch borrowed DVDs instead - my brother-in-law has about 600!!!

    We combine trips. Rarely do we go into town for just one thing.

    We stay home. Cook from scratch.

    We live on a golf course. Every night after supper we go out golf ball hunting. It is like an
    Easter egg hunt! We sell the golf balls to the golf course for $.20. We are ready to go cash in another $20.

    Love all the ideas and love your blog Annabel. Thank you Laine for all your inspiration to us!

    1. Dear Cheri, Another Laine reader! Welcome! I love your golf ball hunting evenings! That would be really fun!
      Your BIL is like a free DVD library! This is very handy!
      I have all Laines Letters printed now, it is a good idea. They all added up to a huge volume of work! Laine also wrote on another blog at one time and I am trying to get my hands on this writing... if I do I am hoping I can re publish it! These are writings I have not read as I didnt know about them back then.
      thank you for your tips! With love

  29. My husband's Dr. wrote his prescriptions for twice a day but he only needs it for 1 a day. He prescribed a larger of dose of his other medication and told him he could split it and that way he gets two months for the price of one.

    1. What a helpful doctor. This shows there are ways to save and get ahead if the doctor is willing to help out. I guess it could pay to just ask. Thank you Lynn! xxx

  30. Thank you Annabel for this wonderful post! And to Laine for her extremely helpful methods. So thankful to all the ladies who shared. I finally took the time to read through each one. What a blessing you all are!

    While reading this post and comments I've been making tarn. That is t-shirt yarn. With 10 of us, we go through lots of t-shirts. Most of these were thrifted, so there is savings there. So to make tarn, I cut up t-shirts with my rotary cutter. Then I join the strips while watching a movie or reading a post on the pc. With the tarn I crochet rugs and baskets.
    We have saved alot on using our local library. But our biggest savings has been through the summer reading programs that U.S. libraries offer. As a family we have won: toys, coupons to local restaurants, free pizza, free pool time, free books, candy, and other treats. Plus the reading program offers free events such as Celtic music, zoo animals, and many educational presentations. Also as a homeschooler, I build upon some of the info. that the kids are presented with in our studies throughout the school year.
    Well, blessings to all,

    1. Dear Leslie, I love t shirt yarn! There is a girl I follow on FB who makes floor rugs with this and they are just gorgeous. They kind of look like large lacy doilies. Just amazing. So I see this t shirt yarn sold online and its expensive! This is a great idea!
      It is amazing you have won prizes from the library! That is fantastic! Thank you for sharing these tips Leslie! With love

  31. Thanks Annabel and Laine! I love this topic, and have just trawled through everyone's replies and have more tips and websites to add to my collection. Yay! After a couple of years of following Cath's Cheapskates and the Bluebirds and other lovely blogs, our lifestyle has completely changed and we are saving so much more money. I also love the environmental aspect of this lifestyle: so much less waste, including packaging.
    Anyway, here is my list.
    We make our own....
    Bread & rolls, pizza, scrolls, etc.
    Cakes, biscuits, muffins, slices, pies, crackers, etc.
    Vinegars (apple cider, wine)
    Jams, chutneys, pickles, sauces
    Brown sugar
    Golden syrup

    Cleaning products:
    Laundry powder
    Spray cleaners
    Stain remover
    Toilet cleaner
    Air freshener

    Make own deodorant
    Coconut oil for hair, face & body

    What else I am doing:
    Buying meat in bulk from farm and/or local restaurant supplier and/or on special
    Buying other essentials in bulk, ie. Castille soap, rice, mountain bread, toilet paper.
    Beans in bulk from co-op
    1-2 monthly shop at Aldi
    Shopping the weekly supermarket specials
    Cooking all meals from scratch
    Not eating takeaway - having variety of meals in freezer
    Bulking out meat dishes with lots of veggies
    Eating vegetarian about half the time, red meat about once a week
    Meal planning
    Growing own veggies (brassicas, leafy greens, celery, spring onions, and herbs at the very least)
    Adding fruit trees and berries to garden
    Keeping chooks
    Composting, making own fertilisers
    Not using clothes dryer
    Check op shops first for appliances, etc (have got breadmaker, rice cooker, slowcooker, electric frypan afor a couple dollars each)
    Buying kids clothes a couple of years in advance on special and secondhand
    Using cloth nappies
    Watching out for low petrol prices and topping up
    Diluting soaps, shampoo & conditioner
    Lots of bushwalking for free exercise and entertainment for the kids!

    Apologies for the length! But it was fun to write it all out. And quite eye-opening.

    All the best,

    1. Dear Peach, Thank you so much for the really nice words and I am so glad the encouragement from The Cheapskates and Bluebirds have helped your family so much! That is just amazing.
      Now I love your list! Can you tell me.... do you think homemade golden syrup is close to the original and if so can you share the recipe? All my recipes with Golden Syrup are problematic as the US ladies don't really know it. And it is hard to make a replacement if you have never tasted the original!
      As well as reducing waste and saving a fortune you are doing a lot for your health and self reliance. The more we know how to do the better! And it is so much fun learning so many new things! I am sure you have noticed that! Thank you for sharing your savings here, they are really inspiring! With love

    2. It really is so much fun to learn new things and so satisfying to have a degree of self-sufficiency. My first step was learning to make no-knead bread and everything sort of snowballed from there. And when I run out of bread it is much easier to put some in the oven or bread maker than bundling three kids in the car and driving to the shops!
      Golden syrup: homemade is an acceptable substitute, but not quite as good as commercial brands. Especially Lyle's which I could just eat by the spoonful! Not good for me or my wallet. I haven't managed to get the homemade to go as thick as I would like, maybe I don't boil it for long enough. The recipe is on Cath's blog:
      Peach x

  32. Hi Annabel, thank you again to both you and Laine for sharing your ideas and being a great source of encouragement and inspiration to us all. I have been trying to think of some saving ideas that others wouldn't already do... an idea struck when I was having a shower this morning. Something I do that is working for me - in saving time (less time scrubbing the shower) and saving money (use less cleaning products) is that after every shower, I use a window squeegee on the tiled walls and then the glass shower screen. This gets so much water off, therefore helping prevent mould and keeps the glass looking very clean without much effort at all. Another idea to save on hair colouring is to use a hair colour crayon or spray product to touch up roots between your colour. Helps cover the greys so that you can extend the time between your full colour. Anyway, hope these ideas help in some way. Cheers, Kelly

    1. Dear Kelly, Thank you they are great tips! Many jobs are easier when we do a bit towards them each day like you do with the shower. Thank you for your kind words also! With love

  33. Dear Annabel, I'm just getting a chance to catch up on my reading. Thank you Annabel, Laine, and all the Bluebird ladies for sharing all these wonderful tips. I got my notebook out and wrote several things down. I'm always learning new ways to save plus by making my own "everything", I continue to cross off things I used to buy!! :)

    Over the last few days, I have soaked, then cooked in my slow cooker 4 cups of black beans. I didn't add anything when cooking, divided them into freezer containers, and will have then ready to pull out and use. We make Brandy's black bean burgers and love them! With the extras, I made patties (wrapped in wax paper from cereal bags) and stored them in the freezer. This will be quick and easy meals for us. I also make my own "French fries" and freeze those. So much better than take away! I will also be making burritos with some of the black beans for weekend lunches, and today I'm making the white bean dip on Brandy's blog.
    We harvested all our cabbages last night, so I will dehydrate some, saute some as veggies with dinner, and make coleslaw. For coleslaw dressing, I will use half mayo and half plain yogurt. I'm using plain yogurt more often these days and will try your way of making it a quart at a time. I really like this idea!! :)
    We are picking lots of green beans from our small patch, so I'm blanching and freezing them. (I will can them when I have enough to process). Our zucchini and summer squash are starting big time. We love to saute some onion in bacon grease, add chopped zucchini and a pint of canned tomatoes (or our canned tomato sauce), add a bit of garlic, salt and pepper and serve as a veggie. We also do this with fresh green beans. Good and so easy!
    Also today, I pulled a package from the freezer of my naan bread and will be frying that in a bit! So yummy! Thank you for showing me how to do this! :)
    I know making our own lunches, coffees, teas, flavored water, etc. helps save a ton. I'm out of SOS mix, so a new batch will be made, as well as my biscuit quick mix. I love having all these ready to use at dinner time. And I also freeze leftover chopped meats for stir-fry meals. I too add cabbage instead of bean sprouts and whatever other veggies we have.

    Thank you again and have a wonderful weekend! Love, Teri :)

    1. Dear Teri,
      You have been busy! And the cabbages sound great! Thank you for this tip on using half mayo and half yoghurt. Now I am making yoghurt this is another thing I can do thank you! (I am writing a list!) I am really happy you have so much harvest! This is fantastic.
      I am a bit pleased you are doing Naan bread on account of me! We love it! I always thaw and re fry to serve as well and you'd never know it was frozen!
      Teri today (Friday) I got some supplies so I can make up all my mixes over the weekend. My original mixes post was your post... so Ill link to that and do another mixes post coming up. I have found this a big saver but also much healthier as it eliminates all the additives in packets. You really got me started on this thank you!
      Thanks also for telling me you like Brandy's recipes... I think I better get cooking some! Have a lovely weekend! With lots of love,


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