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, 10 December 2017

Pantries and Preparedness, The Seasons and the Sales.

Yesterday I was planning my week.  It dawned on me that my much different way of grocery shopping could make the post Christmas sales very interesting!

One of the best times of year for my pantry has been after Christmas (and sometimes after New Years Day) the supermarkets put the turkeys on a half price sale.  Sometimes less!  Last year I had no luck. But previous years I got turkey for under $4 a kilo which is great for us here!  I would get several and we would have roast turkey in actual winter!  This would lead to pies, soup and many beautiful meals.

The pictures in this post are from everyone showing their recent cooking and finds! 
Kelsey had a windfall of produce all free! 
Her husband attended a truck accident. The driver was ok but a whole load of fruit and veggies were all over the road. 
The helpers were all allowed to take anything home so Kelsey's husband loaded up boxes! 
She was blessed with so much produce! 
Also if anyone asked her she could truthfully say it came off the back of a truck haha! 

After Christmas sales also have supplied my present cupboard with all sorts of little gifts, it is the time to stock up on gift wrap. Actually my current Christmas tree was $5 in an after Christmas sale!
I have stashed chocolate for cooking, cards, decorations etc as well all for amazing prices!
One year recently I had seem beautiful gift wrap that was embossed.  It was $8 a roll so I admired it and that was all!  After Christmas this was 50c a roll and I needed up with five rolls of it!   It was beautiful in crafts to cover journals and in card making and many things!

One of the things Kelsey made was make zucchini bread.  
She also dried Jalapeños, made salsa, froze peppers...

I do not like crowds and avoid them. So I am not talking about waiting in front of department stores in a human crush to be trampled.  No not at all. I am talking about going in regular hours to the supermarkets and little shops and seeing what they are getting rid of after Christmas.   Usually it is a lot!  This applies to all holidays like Mothers Day, Valentines Day, Easter etc.  The next day a vast amount of stuff is marked down and it will be a mix of foods and small gifts, wrap, cards etc.   It can be a great way to build up your pantry and gift cupboard for very little.

Bluey came home with free capsicums! 
Jane wasted no time getting these cooked up!

This will be the first year of having an Aldi before and after Christmas so this will be interesting!  But it will be the first year where I routinely check many stores far and wide.  Last year I felt defeated on the turkeys and disappointed. But now I realise I only checked a couple of supermarkets!  That was a poor effort!  This year I will check many more and go much further!
And this Wednesday I will start with some research...

Janes preserves ready to go!

On Wednesday I am going to see Hilde for Christmas.  First of all she will know the sales that happen in the supermarkets near her.   We go into a discount food store called Rite Price.  Other states have similar ones too.   I will ask them if they get much Christmas clearance stock, do they get hams? Do they get turkeys?  When would be the best time to take a trip down there?
The giant fruit and veggie market next door sells all kinds of things other than fruit and vegetables.  I will ask there,  when is the best time to come and do they sell boxes of almost past it tomatoes, apricots, cherries etc?  And when is the best time to come?   I will make a plan!

Tanya having a Christmas Cake baking day. They look beautiful.

Christmas is by far our biggest celebration so usually this is when I have found the most amazing things.  It can start the new year off brilliantly to have a freezer full, the gift cupboard started and fruit to cook with.  

I have also seen amazing mark downs more at the last minute BEFORE the event however I am less likely to go then as it can still be rushed and crowded.  Although this year I might even give that a try!

Sue started with some fresh sour dough starter as she also lives in Adelaide!  
This was her first attempt at baking with it so she is going to do very well!

The craft store I usually go to is Spotlight.  They carry a huge Christmas range, fabrics,  decorations etc.  I think I will be making a trip there too.  This is where I would normally buy sheets and most fabrics too...

This is the sight of Jane's Christmas pudding cooking outdoors.  LOVE!

An important part of the plan is having funds after Christmas to invest in some of these great deals.  I am doing pretty well there as Christmas really isn't costing us a lot.  I also keep my "slush fund" which is specifically to spend on amazing sales and good finds.  Just now I am working on setting aside extra so that if I am really lucky I can buy at least several turkeys.

The next is freezer space.  Luckily I can use Mums freezer when I run out of room.  This is really helpful as it is not like you can stuff a turkey into a tiny space!

My next job is to study store closures and public holidays.  Very often going in to a store in the evening before a public holiday is a way to find amazing prices.  It takes a special mission but can be an ideal time to strike.   It takes an extra effort but if you are there at the right time it can be massive!

People ask me all the time how do you know what time does your store do mark downs?  The answer to that is to ask the staff.  Each store will vary.  One time in Woolworths I asked the butcher and he was happy to tell me to try about 2pm or 5pm.  From then on I went at 2 pm and there was someone marking the meat down almost every time.  I got some amazing bargains just changing my shopping time to 2 pm.

Most of us are noticing rising food prices. Some dramatically.  There are lots of ways to beat this and seasonal sales are just one!

Have you found any great deals in after the celebration sales?  If you have any tips on this please share!
Next week we will be talking about Christmas left overs.  I love leftovers!   The possibilities are endless for building up your pantry after Christmas.  The bone broth alone is a whole subject!

Have a wonderful week.  It is going to be busy! xxx


  1. Many of those items are best buys here in the USA around Thanksgiving and leading up to Christmas. Turkeys were 39 cents a pound here for Thanksgiving and it is not likely that a price like that can be found until next Thanksgiving. Everything for baking is on sale before Christmas. My shelves are stuffed with baking mixes and many were free or just pennies. This week I will pick up 4 more free cake mixes. I have enough for the entire year now. After Christmas is a good time to buy seasonal foods like canned pumpkin and candied fruit.

    I have purchased 10 rolls of wrapping paper for 50 cents a roll already on sale with coupons. But, I find that after Christmas when wrapping is marked down to 75 to 90% off is the time to really take a look at what is left and consider it for wrapping other than Christmas. Often the leftovers are leftover because they do not look like Christmas wrap. I have bought many rolls that look more like birthday wrap in recent years. One was a huge roll with pink packages all over it with pink bows. Perfect for birthdays for females. So think outside of Christmas! At my Aldi the produce that is on sale is often over ordered and then they need to get rid of it and will either carry the sale on after the end date or mark it down to get rid of it.

    I agree about food prices. Here it seems to be packaged foods and convenience that is going up. I find that ingredients are staying about the same which is good for those of us who cook from scratch. Perhaps an indicator that less are cooking and are buying precooked instead. I am always just astounded at what people will pay for convenience since that food is just terrible!

    1. Dear Lana, Your prices are just amazing! $4 a kilo is the lowest I ever saw Turkey... (2.2 lbs= 1 kilo)
      Having well stocked shelves from sales and free items is wonderful, it puts you miles ahead.
      I also love wrap that could be used for any occasion, much more useful.
      We do not buy packaged foods. I hope this encourages people to cook from basic ingredients and save the money and avoid the chemicals etc. Plus then it is versatile as you can make so many different things from regular ingredients!
      Also many things are not food. If its not food don't eat it I say! haha!
      Health is number one. With these sales we can stock up on good ingredients to see us through many meals then soup and bone broth! With love

  2. Dear Annabel,
    There are so many good sales after the holidays! My plan for next year is to write down in my homemaking binder all of the holidays each month, even small ones like Columbus Day, President's Day, etc. This way I will know when to save up for sales and that can be worked into the budget. A lot of times the craft store will run sales for any and every holiday and even appliance stores will have good sales. I want to be prepared! Like Lana said, now is a good time for the American ladies to stock up on food, right between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
    Thank you for sharing my photos! I enjoyed seeing the other ladies' work too!
    Love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey, This is a great chance to stock up and get ahead! You are right we need to have the funds ready to take advantage of these things. It takes a little thought and planning. I am going to be more organised and plan to go into our stores the evening before a public holiday. If I plan ahead I will do it! Especially for meat this seems to make a big difference.
      I loved hearing about your boxes of fruit and veggies and that your husband knew to bring them home! What a blessing this all was! With love

  3. Dear Annabel and !lovely B!uebirds,
    We got great news today. The lilac fire is 60 percent contained and evacuation orders have been lifted. They said we can unpack our suit cases. We are very happy to get back to holiday preparations. We found some great deals Friday at the 99 cent store. A giant head of organic cauliflower 99 cents,3 head of organic lettuce, beautiful biscotti and lots of other wonderful produce and dairy. We went Friday night that is when they get a shipment in. We are ready for the holidays just wrapping up the food gifts and delivering them.Kelsy what beautiful produce. You can freeze avocados just cut in half or mash a and freeze. Thank you again for the prayers bluebirds.
    Much love

  4. The same thing here, in Hungary. Just after Christmas you can buy any fish half-price, and near the NewYear - poultry and grains. MOreover, on the 5th of December we have a St.Nikolas Day. He brings sweets to children. After that date, you usually can buy chocolate much cheaper.

  5. Great advice about shopping for specials Annabel.

    Kelsey really did score from that truck accident. We had similar happen here last year when a truck rolled over and the food was donated to the Salvos and different places around town. I got a phone call, and I was there!

    Even though we live in the country with not as much opportunity as you, the local shops still reduce their stock after Christmas etc. I picked up some crafty things marked down the other day, so was very pleased about that :)

    I shop for the reduced stock too, but mostly on Christmas Eve just before the shops shut. The turkeys, ducks, chickens, hams etc get reduced down. The bread isle is really cheap on Christmas eve! One year at Woolies we bought a turkey and a couple of ducks and used the turkey for the following Christmas. It froze really well and no problem with the quality.

    I am going to make more of an effort this year to get down to the after Christmas sales, it can be a bit of a hard thing to do with visitors being here, but I will try. I might have to drag them along too lol :)

    Hope you have a lovely week,


    1. Dear Tania,
      I am trying pre Christmas too this year as already I am seeing some Christmas things half price! So I am hopeful!
      This is a great time to fill the freezer! I am checking another shop today and then doing some baking... it has cooled off so nicely I figure this is the time to do it! With love

  6. Dear Annabel,
    Everyone's cooking looks so yummy. I wish I could see under the lid of Jane's pot to get a look at her Christmas pudding:)! My husband's grandfather was from Scotland and when we were first married he gave me the family recipe for Christmas pudding. I didn't realize that it would expand in the pot. What a mess I made in the kitchen. We still laugh about that one.

    As the ladies in the USA have said, our food sales are going on right now. Today I'm off far afield for an appointment and will stop at several of the stores away from our very small town. I've found that on Monday's and Wednesday's in the mornings are the markdowns in the meat departments, and this week canned veggies are on sale for 48 cents a can as well as frozen organic for 99 cents a bag. The frozen will be dehydrated. Pretty much what we've found here is that the price of fresh produce has gone up greatly.

    One of the things I'm doing this year is making better use of 50 percent off coupons at the craft store as well as their 25 percent ones off the total bill. I will stop in again today and get several pounds of melt and pour goats milk soap to which I'll add honey, oatmeal and rose petals from my garden and some essential oils, and some will get coffee grounds for gardener's soaps.

    One of the things we do is have a large change jar. Whenever we've made a purchase and get back change the loose change goes into the jar. Over a year's time there's always been enough in the jar to cover any postage for gifts sent out at Christmas or other occasions and more. Blessings, Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie,
      Your soap sounds just lovely. We do the change jar thing, too :)
      One thing I recently started doing in addition to sales and coupons at the craft store, is I signed up for a cash back rebate app on my phone. It's called ibotta and you just scan your receipt. Right now they have 20% cash back at Joann Fabrics (not sure if you shop there?), so that is extra savings on top of what you save at the store. I use it every time I go and it adds up quickly. If you sign up with the referral code ayorbeb I would appreciate it (I'm so sorry if I sound like a salesperson here, NOT my intention!), but even if you don't, the app is really helpful!
      Love, Kelsey

  7. We are planning and preparing to do some after the holidays sale shopping too! I don't like shopping in crowds either so I'll gladly think and plan ahead so I don't have to and then enjoy shopping the after holiday sales when it's less crowded.

    1. Dear Patsi, I love to strike in the quiet times! Lets hope we have success and amazing bargains! I saw some yesterday on my trip! I have found new places to look too. Lets hope this year we will both do well! With love

  8. Hi Annabel and beautiful bluebirds :).

    I noticed that our Big W store here has some good January sales where they mark most things down by 40% and usually their Christmas stock of decorations and wrappings down by 50% or more on regular prices. Also at that time they usually have fantastic shoe sales where I usually buy most of my shoes discounted down to $5 a pair for sandals and high heeled shoes as well if I need some.

    I will keep an eye out for sales on sheets and Egyptian cotton towels as some of ours are starting to wear rather thin and will need replacing shortly at Big W and Spotlight too.

    The thing we will most be looking for is good bargains on meat to fill our freezer with. I will take your advice too Annabel on asking the butchers at Woolworths when they usually mark down their meat in the meat section as well as ask at Aldi too.

    eBay sellers usually have some good sales too in January I noticed so I have got a few things in my watched items list and will see if the prices come down then. Usually a lot of sellers mark their products down as it is very slow on the sales front at that time of the year.

    Have a wonderful week ahead everyone :) .


    1. Dear Sewingcreations, Yes it is meat for the freezer that I want most too. This is the expensive part of the grocery budget. So its the biggest area I can save. Yesterday on my trip I got some great meat deals! And at this discount place I asked a whole heap of questions about when is best to go back after Christmas! And my friend does the same thing and has big freezers and she said if she sees turkey or ham she will ring me, buy them on the spot if I want them and freeze for me until I get there! This will be great as her area seems to have much better specials than mine.
      These are all potential big money savers and would start the new year off well! So heres hoping! With love

    2. Dear Annabel I am so glad you got some great meat dels that is fabulous :) and gained valuable information by asking questions.

      Wow what a wonderful friend Hilde is to do that for you and store the meat for you when you come in her freezer. It is truly amazing what networking amongst friends does.

      I have also picked up some meat bargains today as well but will tell you more tomorrow.


  9. The primary grocery store where I shop just put their hams on sale for Christmas. I bought one for this year but I've already decided to buy one for the freezer when I go back. I have to return tomorrow since my pharmacy is also in that store and I have a prescription ready, then.

    I wrote about getting the Christmas washi tape half price. I bought two tubes that hold a variety of washi tapes and about half of them can be used all year round as they are just the colors of Christmas and not images.

    I have an eye doctor's appointment later in the week that takes me into town again. Since I will be alone this time, I plan on going early to check a couple favorite stores to see what they have on clearance already. I have family members that love receiving Christmas decorations for their gifts since they haven't been married long and are just beginning to collect them.

    1. Dear Brenda, I love the idea of giving Christmas decorations to the newly married and ones with first homes! Brilliant!
      I saw your wash tape. I have never seen anything like these. I only see a few here and not nice. Now I am a convert as I would love these!
      I find ham so useful as there are so many things you can make even with little bits i.e. fried rice, quiche etc.
      Many thanks Brenda, with love

  10. Dear Annabel, an inspiring post as usual. I've been so distracted and out of sorts this year, that I feel really behind. Of course, I'm not compared to some people, but for ME, I'm disorganised. It's lovely to come here and soak up some preparedness and planning, and go 'yes, next year will be different'. Thankyou for all you do to inspire us all. Love, Mimi xxx

    1. Mimi I spoke to so many people yesterday who had not even made a start on Christmas. These were older than me people too.


  11. Annabel,
    You have done so well with getting bargains this year! It is sad because I know so many people who just don't get that it's really not hard to stock a pantry and keep it well stocked. A few years ago we were at Home Depot and they had a certain brand of toilet paper on clearance for a certain price and I had read online that another Home Depot had it for less so I asked if I bought it all if they would give it to me for the other store's clearance price they said yes and I had coupons as well so I walked away with 20 packs of toilet paper for .10 a pack. Now here the after holiday sales are not that great and most things only get marked down to 30% off. It isn't until everything is almost gone that they really reduce the prices. I will find things here and there though. I am definitely going to be looking for marked down turkeys and hams. I like to can ham and when the garden is in full swing that is the ham I put in with fresh green beans and potatoes. I always like to poke around in stores wherever I'm at to scope things out a bit because you just never know what you'll find.
    Kelsey- what a fabulous haul you got! And your putting it to such good use, great job!

    1. Dear Vicky, I agree it is possible to have a well stocked pantry for not too much. If I see a 30% off sale I am not even vaguely interested! pfft! I only start to take notice at 50%
      Yesterday really paid off for me plus my friend agreed to buy me turkeys is she sees them for under $4 a kilo which is my magic price here. So this is great as we can cover more ground between us!
      Lets hope for lots of good opportunities over the next few weeks! With love


I really appreciate your comments thank you! The aim of my blog is the be a place of encouragement and happiness. Very rarely is anyone rude. Actually only twice so far! If you post a rude or aggressive comment I will read it but not publish it, thanks for

Spam is never published... if you are advertising a product or selling website your comment wont be published. I am inundated with stuff about drugs, horses and weird things! I am not going to publish this stuff! Thank you.