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 January 2016

The Vicky Challenge Week 2.

This was the first full week of the challenge! As I expected it was very interesting!
The long and short of it is just thinking about what things actually cost in the shops and what various services cost is quite an education!
I have had a few shocks!

During the week I sailed along and noted obvious savings. Mostly small.

I put some turkish bread in the freezer that I found on special saving $4 each on two packs = $8.

In Woolworths I found massive marked downs on white china. I got three cake stands for my gift cupboard. They were marked down to $5 each.  It was a saving of $75. I am so pleased.

My idea is that when there is a Birthday to bake a cake or cup cakes and present them on the stands. It will look really nice and make a great gift! I almost wish I got some more of these!

I worked out some other savings and came up with a figure I can add each time instead of needing to re calculate endlessly. This one is for Andy's fortnightly fishing trip. I pack a days worth of food and drinks for two. I send plenty! I checked the bakery, Subway and around to come up with the price of four meat and salad rolls (which is sometimes pizza or other things) two large bottles of drink and four snacks ie muffins. Surprisingly I hit between $60 and $70 each time. I have decided to say $50 saved to be safe and cover my costs.

Assembling pizzas, added our own cherry tomatoes.

This week one of the things I sent was pizzas. I made four large individual pizzas while I made ours for dinner. I made an extra for Andy's Monday lunch box while I was at it.  I had two bowls of dough rising all Saturday.

Next I counted doing my nails and toes. I use Sally Hansen Gel nails that comes off with ordinary nail varnish remover. The reason I used to pay for this is I always bit my nails! I sort myself out and stop but then go back to messing them up. Awful. So for many years I had my nails done every fortnight. This kind of led to having my toenails done too.
Once I discovered easy gel nails without the lamp etc I practiced doing them myself.
So doing my nails myself saves $38 each fortnight.
My toes and feet saves $80 every couple of months.
Eek thats a lot. I did them both this week.

As the week wore on I thought my savings were pretty good but nothing to write home about. Then this happened...
As you know I am painting the house. I went tot he hardware store to look at paint and prices, get charts etc.
I took some photos on my phone. A big tin of exterior paint (10L) was $204. I was shocked by that. Paint has gone crazy since I painted my last house.
I noted some prices and started comparing around and comparing brands etc.

I decided before I start anything to go through the paint in the shed. I have paint left over from this house that the previous owners left behind. Paint left over from the last house, from when we did up the kitchen and various projects as I am always painting something. I had forgotten that a few months ago when the neighbors were cleaning up they put out a 10L tin of white paint and I put it in the shed incase I want to paint something. We lifted the lid and I honestly think they had only used a teaspoon. It was the same brand that was $204 a tin!
After going through it all and throwing out what was no good, bad colours etc I was left with plenty of what I want... white for walls, semi gloss for skirting boards. I added it up and it is over $600 worth!
All from picking up and saving left overs. In our laundry I want to have lemon walls. I will get a sample pot of yellow and tint up one tin of white myself.
So I am counting $600 saved right there! I am so glad I picked up that tin my neighbors were tossing out!

I am counting $6 for about two punnets of home grown tomatoes.
Also $3 for a bunch of parsley I used over a salad but picked from the garden.

So from the things I can see I saved on my total is $979 good old tax fee money!

Most things I always do like housework I didn't count. It is totally up to you what you do and don't count.

I have figured out quite a few new savings. Postage is going up here. It is getting quite expensive full stop. I have made a rule that all overseas parcels must fit in an A4 envelope. This itself will be a big challenge as I don't want to give less gift wise I just want to beat the postage. Over all if I do this is will save me a few hundred dollars a year though.

When Andy cleaned up the yard it made me wonder how much the neighbours pay for this, plus mowing the lawn and trimming the hedge which he does a few times a year. A lot would be my guess! But he always does these things. Dilemma....will I count these savings or not? (I didn't)

I have learned that when you consider if a saving is worthwhile looking at it as a yearly cost rather than a weekly cost is more convincing!

I have found it really motivating and when I told Andy what I counted and what it added up to last night he was very impressed! He said I earn more than him and pay no tax on it!
He also said how if we paid for all those things we couldn't do them.  And as yesterday was the fishing day he said how beautiful their lunch was and how greatly this adds to the fun of the day.

Now I am getting interested to see what a months total will be!

For anyone joining in I really hope this has been a revealing and motivating week!
Feel free to report in anyway, you do not need to disclose financial details if you don't want to. Any helpful discoveries and savings tips might really help someone else (and me!)
Also encouragement is a big thing! It is easy to feel like the only person in the world trying to save money and doing things yourself. But as a team we know that we are all trying to build up our homes and savings and we are not alone at all.

Have a wonderful new week.

Today I have to take a trip into the hills. Two of our chickens are roosters! We had an arrangement that we can swap roosters back. These are the two hens we are keeping...

It is a bit sad as we love them all and they all have lovely personalities. We even hoped to have non verbal roosters or quiet crowers. But no they have started up and there is nothing quiet about them! I hope I will return with two more hens or order two at least.



  1. Annabel I am sorry that you have to take back two of your friends - we do get attached to the animals that come into our lives.

    I have just added up my savings for the week and they are huge - even without including what it would cost to have a painter come in and do the front hallway ($2500-) and how much money my husband saved our daughter doing a few essential things to her car (another $400-).

    My savings went like this - new BBQ saved $400-
    cover 40-
    gift soaps 192-
    suitcase refund
    6 charger plates
    kitchen scales 30-
    jar of new buttons
    change in mobile plan

    TOTAL SAVINGS $1756-

    Most of the savings are 'one of' items. The mobile savings is a month (adds up to $120- a year). The buttons are brand new and were in a 600gram jam jar (full to the brim)- all of the same size and lots of colours so will be useful for a number of years not just with my knitting but also card making as well.

    I didn't add the paper supplies because I have no idea of the costs - found lots of velum in the supplies as well which I would think is more expensive than paper and card.

    Like you there is the regular 'stuff' that we do - if we added those jobs into our totals then it would be massive.

    This week is my getting organised week - I also need to head out and start buying items for the bathroom redo in the rental. We are foreccast for a hot week so am breaking my jobs up in to stages - one side of the house gets the sun in the morning (and it is hot in those rooms) and the other gets it in the afternoon, still warm but usually a breeze is coming in then so bearable.

    Have a great week everyone.


    1. Dear Lynette, Wow! What wonderful savings! Next time I am in Spotlight I will look at the vellum so I can tell you. I bought some not long ago but can't remember. It is lovely. I know its quite expensive. I will have some uses for it coming up!
      I just realised you would know the costs of painters and I should ask you this... The cost to do the hallway means I have under imagined what a whole house would cost! (by a lot!)
      Your paper supplies could be worth a huge amount once made into gifts etc.
      That really is a fantastic week. Thank you so much for sharing the way you did it. With love

    2. Annabel I will get my husband to take a photo of the entry tomorrow and email it to you - it is all VJ's (timber) and everything needs no more gapping now that the sanding has been done. This is what the whole house is made of and some rooms were far worse than others so lots of time spent preping them.

      Our daughter estimated for the whole house to be done (internally) it would have been something like $25,000-. For a house with flat walls it would be cheaper because there is no need to fill as much as we have to.

      Of course the other thing is that the painter would not have been able to fix any of the VJ's that need replacing due to damage, that would be an extra cost of having a builder in.

      Paint is so expensive and unless you know the right products to use when doing up a house like ours then you are just wasting your money.

      I must tell you about an experience with a painting firm when I was growing up - the house we lived in needed painting through so my parents hired a firm called 'take a holiday' - well mum arrived home from shopping earlier than the painter expected, here he was laying back on their bed reading the paper and no paint on the walls. I don't think he lasted too much longer after that.


    3. Dear Lynette, I am way out of date with painting prices! Thank you for that.
      I think "take a holiday" was the motto of the painting firm and they took it seriously! Your poor Mum!
      I am learning a lot about painting, thank you. Love

  2. What a great week you had, Annabel! I love the idea of the cake stands. What a great gift/treat!

    I think I would count the yard work because if Andy didn't do it, then you would be paying someone else to. So yes, I think it counts!

    I did not do much this week, so not much to report savings wise. I did find chicken thighs for .99/lb and saved almost $40 on my stock up!

    1. Dear Jenn,
      That is an amazing saving on the chicken. Good job stocking up.
      You are right, I would have to pay for much of what Andy does as many things I couldn't do on my own.
      Have a good week. I am on the look out for savings so I have something decent to report next week! With love

  3. Dear Annabel,

    Your savings was amazing!! It is very interesting to see how you are tracking the savings. I, too, wouldn't count housework, as I have always done that myself and never paid to have it done. I appreciated you explaining how and what you are counting.

    No savings here this week; mostly spending (LOL). We are continuing in a big way to stock up and we purchased an expensive gift for our grandson who turned 13. We view 13 as the path to adulthood and 18 as the legal age, so both those birthdays elicit nice gifts from us.

    I hope to save going forward.

    Love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda,
      I think it is a very wise time to stock up. Its part of being watchful. There are many indicators that have me doing the same.
      I think its wonderful you gave your Grandson a very special gift that will last him many years too.
      Many thanks, love

  4. What a wonderful idea for using the cake stands. They might also make great wedding gifts. What amazing savings you had this week! I have recently started to read your post and find them very encouraging. What fun it was to say, "Thankfully received a quart of almonds and enough persimmons for 10 cups pulp." Looking forward to the year ahead. Marylee from north Idaho, USA

    1. Dear Marylee, Thank you very much! It is wonderful when useful things come our way and we can make the most of them. A big help! Thanks so much for your kind comment, with love,

  5. Dear Annabel, That is great you were able to get that paint. It amazes me sometimes what people will just throw out! But I guess it helps us when they throw it our way lol. I love the cake stands, too. Cream/white dishes are my favorite since they go with any color table linens or decor. I understand about your chickens. My husband bought me nine ducks for my birthday, and seven of them were drakes! That was a disappointment, but thankfully we met a lady with a huge pond that wanted to buy them all.
    Ok, here are my savings for the week: I used a free printable and a frame I already had to make artwork for my kitchen ($15); did my own eyebrows following a youtube tutorial and gave myself a facial ($50); dehydrated orange slices ($20); ate from the freezer and pantry while my husband was away, as well as two meals at a friend's house ($60); gratefully received four boxes of chocolate, a bag of chips, and a bag of coffee ($8.25); bought two magazines for 5 cents each (11.88); and I checked out a DVD from the library (receipt said I saved $20). On Feather Your Nest Friday I reported that I only spent ten cents. I think how much we save also depends on how much we spend so I was happy about that. However, I did a little shopping on Saturday, bringing my total up ;) One of my goals this year is to build up my wardrobe with some nice, higher quality pieces. Most of my clothes come from the thrift store, and while that's good for lots of things, sometimes I focus on price instead of value and end up with things that are just ok but not great. So I'm taking your beauty advice and paying more attention to color, quality, and how things look on me instead of the hanger. It's worth it to me to spend extra on a few things that look nice and will last instead of having a bunch of stuff that just works. Anyway, I spent $75 (from my personal allowance part of the budget) on a nice pair of shoes, a jacket, a dressy black skirt (will go with a lot of things), and a scarf in a flattering color. I bought them from a site that sells used name brand clothes in good/almost new condition at a discount. (Ok, so it's just a higher class thrift store lol.) My savings from that was $213! So this week my savings was about $398. So far this challenge has been very motivating, and I look forward to writing down all my savings throughout the week. Love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey,
      What a great birthday present.. ducks! It seems there are always more boys than girls and then we have to make these decisions.
      Well done re your eyebrows. This is a beauty service a lot of ladies pay a lot for. It can be very helpful to have them professionally done initially and at some stage but overall its very easy to maintain them. Bug saving right there.
      It sounds good to me how you are investing in good clothes and the amount you spend and what you got sounds fantastic!
      I usually buy good shoes. Also good jeans. I make a lot of savings, buy in the sales etc but some things are your staples and it is worth it.
      Well done on excellent savings! Have a really good week! With love

  6. I have been so busy that I never got started tallying up my savings but on the lawn care, I would guess about $50 for a very small yard and up depending on the lot size for mowing here in the US and my sister owns a lawn service that maintains hedges and flower beds and such and she charges $20 an hour. You are saving a ton of money doing your own yard.

    Love the cake stands! And good for you on the paint! It is crazy expensive here too and the exterior we used in the summer was $48 a gallon.

    1. Dear Lana, I seem to constantly underestimate what things cost especially services! Thank you!
      I am very thrilled with this paint it really helps me get started and then I can add the savings of not hiring a painter. It turns out to be very expensive! Many thanks. Love

  7. Annabel,
    The cake stands are fabulous and will make beautiful gifts. You got a great deal with those. The cost of paint is high so you did really well getting free paint.
    I added up my savings for this week and it comes to $3,314.00. I am shocked. This comes from a variety of things such as raising and butchering a hog and a lamb, making a banner for my kitchen from scraps given to me, grocery and after Christmas sales, lunches for hubby and children, and copycat versions of special coffees and smoothies.
    I didn't count everyday meals, laundry, housework etc.
    Thank you for leading this challenge. Have a great week.

    1. Dear Ginger,
      How wonderful! I thought with the butchering you would have a big total. It is probably amazing to add it up and see this! That makes it a good exercise. All that work DOES really pay big time! Well done. I know it is a lot of work. But your household has benefitted hugely!
      I hope you feel really proud of that! Thank you so much. Love

  8. Annabel, I saved $108.90 this week! It was a really slow week so I was surprised at how well I did. One thing I did learn though is that I need to journal my savings daily or else I might forget what I did!!!

    1. Dear Patsy, I am thinking heaps of stuff you do as a matter of course is big savings. So well done on the extra hundred dollars plus!
      If I dont write things down I would be struggling! I keep a list in the kitchen and add it all in once a day or so. With love

  9. You did really well on the paint savings and I love those cake stands. What a special gift they will make!

    1. Thanks Debbie, The boxes they came in were not wonderful so I got rid of those and will use cellophane. The stands themselves are beautiful! xxx

  10. Dear Annabel, wow what a week you have had, you made some amazing savings. The savings really add up don't they?. My week hasn't been quite as exciting as yours Annabel but here is how I have saved.
    I had 4 no spend days this week , I estimate that this has saved me $50 per day due to the fact that the day's out would include taxi travel for me and I don't yet have a taxi subsidy card so $20 approx in taxi fares per day plus lunch out because I sometimes like to eat out when I go out so $15 for lunch and a drink. Plus $15 for " the few things I needed " which I probably don't really need. So that is the $50 a day for 4 days or $200.
    The next saving was $5 for a card and 2 gift tags I made
    Also $12 savings on 2 gifts that I bought on sale ( a set of vintage style ceramic measuring cups they cost me $5and a colouring book for an adult cost me $5 instead of $12) that is two gifts for Christmas time
    Saved $10 by finding two gifts in my gift cupboard that I didn't use at Christmas time.
    I saved $28 on 4 meals given to me by my parents ( my estimate is $7 per Neal saving)
    I saved $5 on vegetables that were given to me by my parents
    I saved $15 approximately on a calendars by getting one free from the pharmacy and one my parents gave me they were given by the RACQ ( motor insurance people)
    I saved $20 approx by finding some craft items in my stash that were still in their packaging with prices on.
    I think that might be all for this week Annabel, so my total for the week is approximately $ 295 .00
    I look forward to adding up my savings this coming week and writing them in my special Vicky challenge notebook . By the way Annabel , what a great saving tinting your own paint great job!.. Thank you Annabel and Vicky for this challenge love Barb

    1. You did fantastic Barb!

    2. Dear Barb,
      Well done. I love no spend days and having plenty to do at home and things like card making we can get on with that very happily if we have time. I know taxis are pretty expensive.
      I used to paint dressing tables (old ones) and sell them in a Shabby Chic shop. Many I painted very very pale pink. Think strawberry milkshake. To get it right I used to mix it myself. In the end I sold jars of it and it was called Annabel Pink! I was very happy having a pink named after me! That shop is shut now but it was wonderful! So I am happy to mix my own colours.
      You had a really good week and I hope the new week will be great for you also! Your savings were excellent! With love,

  11. Wow, people are really saving money! I am so impressed. This challenge is so motivating. Love the cake stands and the huge savings on paint, Annabel! Ginger, your total is amazing too! Way to go, ladies! I have a modest amount of savings to share this week, and this is how I did it: cooked two more dinners at home than I usually do, took tea to work vs. buying it, and made five thank you cards instead of buying them. All total: a modest $30. Sounds sooo small, but multiply it by 52 weeks per year and it's not so small anymore. I am encouraged to keep looking to see how I can save even more next week. Cheers!

    1. Dear Teresa, What you say is true... if you see this over a year its really a big difference. Its the small things that add up and usually we can repeat weekly.
      I am trying to find new things this week also! With love,

  12. Annabel,
    Wow on the cake stands! Those are gorgeous and a great deal. I like to think outside of the box for gift giving too. That was fabulous on the paint! Someone else's trash is our treasure. I love when that happens. Ginger raising her own much that saves so hopefully I will still be getting a cow this year. I don't count things that I do on a normal basis unless it is something like I almost caved on ordering pizza. Or I quit doing something that I used to do eh hem smoking. I mostly stayed at home and worked on busy work so here is my savings:
    75.00 sold a load of wood
    70.00 took in scrap
    31.00 coupons
    125.00 was gifted a heap of linens it is pillowcases and sheets flannel pajamas new pillows blankets tons of stuff!
    15.00 saved on pizza he wanted to order out I made it at home
    400.00 Rick is known for fixing things so a store bartered him 4 new tires for my truck for him to fix they're equipment.
    8.00 was gifted some crochet thread
    10.00 we sold 5 dozen eggs
    10.00 we were gifted a plastic barrel that we will use for more water storage

    Some things I will add in monthly like saving on fuel oil and some weeks I will have very small numbers if I am mostly at home. I am loving seeing everyone's savings and want to say great job to everyone!

    1. Dear Vicky, (Queen of the challenge!)
      You have given me a lot of ideas. What a great week you had.
      Your husbands skills are great for trading!
      I am thinking of all that linen. I will look for ideas for pillowcases especially as I have something in mind you might like!
      Also flannel is lovely material.
      I hope you have another great week this week! With love

  13. Hi Annabel, Hope yesterday was a wonderful birthday for you. You have made lots of savings.
    One of the savings made here was the purchase of a pressure canner. We hope to be able to store our abundant summer veggie store here, we've got tomatoes that are as tall as me now, the best crop ever and coming up behind them, the second crop are about thigh high. So there will be loads of tomatoes to start with. My partner bought me two dozen ball jars from USA. They are gorgeous. Then a book that I was almost ready to buy last week "the blue book, guide to preserving by Ball, it just came to me, was given to me by his mum. She doesn't even preserve, so i think it was a case of the universe providing for me. I've got plenty to organise here with jars and knowledge. He wanted to buy pizza for dinner the other night, i said hang on a tick, and within five minutes i had pizza dough on the board for him to roll out and decorate. Big saving there and fresh yummy home cooked food. He took me to the physio today and after that we went to the cheap butcher and got four kilo's of chicken breasts at 6.99 a kilo. that is a good saving, the cheapest we can get here is about 9 dollar ish. Hope this week pans out well. I've got to be honest it is your Christmas Challenge that has me fired up the most. Fi xx

    1. Thanks Fiona, it really was!
      You bought a canner! That will be fantastic. I know you have wonderful fruit. I love Ball jars. They are heavenly to me!
      Ball canning has a great website. You can watch videos and demos and learn everything. While you cant actually be doing all this you would probably have fun watching these and learning. I would love to be doing this with you!
      You have loads to be excited about I think! Truly it is exciting to hear this.... also canning can produce gifts ie a gift basket of preserves is lovely.
      What a good week. Love it! xxx

  14. Oops I meant to say Ginger raising her own meat saves so much! And hopefully I will be getting a cow this year.

  15. Annabel I am loving this challenge. I am loving reading what everyone is doing and what everyone is noting as a saving. This week I was gifted another two bags of mangoes. Given they are $1 each at the markets that's a saving of $50. I then turned those not eaten into 5 jars of chutney, $15 and 6 jars of mango passionfruit jam, $18. I spread several loads of homemade compost on the garden $10 and used worm wee from the worm farm as fertiliser, $10. I made two bottles of passionfruit cordial from the passionfruit in our vine, $8. Have already started noting savings for this upcoming week.

    1. Dear Jane,
      You are speaking my language. I love that you have made the most of the mangoes and counted their value. Then you dont have to spend on fruit and you also get preserves plus gifts. I have found a few new savings today. Mine was picking peaches. About 6 kilos so far. I need to see the price in the shops to work it out. Peach crumble coming up!
      Thanks so much for reporting such lovely things as they are a joy to hear! With love

  16. The cake stands ae gorgeous Annabel and you are very organised to have lunches made and they are really delicious looking lunches as well. I have been counting up my savings and here they are:

    Firstly I got rid of three habits that cost me money every week. I stopped buying soft drink out of the vending machine at work. I would buy a drink three or so times a week at $3 each time. This past week I replaced it with Pepsi Max cans that I had at home but from now on I am cutting out buying soft drink so saving me $9 per week.

    Second Habit to break was stopping on the way home from work to buy a snack. I would do this once or twice a week but now on I pack a lunch from home and saved myself $16 at least this week.

    We stopped having the dog groomed by some one else and started grooming him ourselves. This saved us $80 this week.

    I picked at least $12 worth of produce out of the garden

    I bought a Craft Kit brand new from the op-shop. It is a Cross Stitch Tote bag with all the threads and a pattern included. I saved $8 and will make it as a gift for someone for Christmas.

    I bought 11 brand new, mostly still in the original plastic wrap, Cross Stitch Magazines. They still had the "free Gifts" attached to the front of them. I got them for $1 each and they normally retail for at least $12.99 and up to $14.95. So a saving of $150.

    I worked two additional shifts at work $310 in hand

    I bought a brand new sewing pattern for 50 cents saving me at least $5 (another op-shop find)

    I took my lunch to work every shift and drinks and snacks. Saving me at least $8 per shift so that is $40 this week as a very conservative figure

    Opened up a new foot spa which was given to me free. I had a lovely foot scrub and then DD used the creams and the included foot file to pamper my feet and then she painted my nails. I saved at least $25 on a pedicure.

    I made two cards for friends for their birthdays $8
    I accepted a gift of meat with a use by date of that day Saved $10
    I ran out of cocoa but instead of racing to the store I replaced it in a recipe with drinking chocolate that no one liked. Saved me $4
    Instead of buying my friend a cake on her birthday I made her a chocolate slice using ingredients I had on hand, $20 saving.
    We spent a day out at the beach with family and took all our drinks and meals with us. A saving of $60 for the day. We also did this when I went to a wildlife park with the girls earlier in the week. It was a hot day and I took an esky with drinks and rolls for lunch I saved $60 that day as well.

    I sold a book $20

    I traded excess empty jars for two jars of fig jam $8.

    My hot water system stopped working so I asked a friend to look at it for me. He fixed it at no cost on the weekend saving me $100 on a call out and service fee.

    Best saving ever though was when my friend built me "built in" pantry in the old fridge alcove. It was made using wood he had and I cannot begin to think what it would have cost to have had it made but at least $500. It is very handy and has given me a lot more storage space. So this week savings amount to..... $1452.... GO ME

    1. Dear Mel,
      What a wonderful start to they year. I am so excited about your pantry! I know you will put this to very good use. The fridge alcove is a brilliant place to build it. That is a custom build pantry!
      Your changes are good ones. Change can be hard! But I am sure if you work out the savings its a lot of money you can do good things with.
      I love your craft finds too as I know you will put them to good use.
      Mel that was a fantastic week. I hope now great things come your way so you can fill up that pantry!
      Can you believe your total at the end! I hope you feel really good and proud. Hard work paying off! With love

  17. Dear Annabel,hope the new girls make up for the boys going x
    Ive added up our savings for this first week or so and like you have also done manicure ,pedicure and eyebrow ting and fringe trim.Saved on meat at supermarket, cleaned my laptop, removed stains from 2dresses i thought I might need to dryclean.Made a trial batch of bath salts,eczema cream, and foot powder.Cooked 2 dinners instead of going out ,and 2 suppers,(we would have gone out in these instances for summer treats),and I bought 2 exercise dvds instead of a gym membership.DH did a lot with waterblasting deck repair and paint.Mowed lawns, washed his van.Also saved on flowers I bought to take to aunt.Total savings for us both $1,380.
    But Im not counting the usual daily meals ,housework and decluttering.Have a good week everyone,and thankyou ,love Maria xxx

    1. Dear Maria, Oh yes! On boys fishing trip days I have lunch with the girls or an outing. This is good. I like to have one on one times as the conversation is different. It is lovely.
      Your total is amazing! For one, beauty services really add up and so many are really easy to DIY. Then the waterblasting and painting, also big $$$ to pay out. Actually I am finding surprisingly big dollars! Andy did pressure cleaning a couple of weeks back. He even did Mums yard as well. I am increasingly grateful he can do these things!
      That was a really good week! I hope you are proud! With love

  18. Annabel, my girl and her family have arrived back home after their holiday down south and I think she mentioned the challenge so hopefully she is taking part. That cake stand is gorgeous. I must have a look in Woolies. What a great gift that would be.

    1. Dear Nanna Chel,
      I have seen a few good specials. I missed out on one which was pink baking trays and spring form pans for $2! I could have used them for baking gifts also but they had sold out! It can be a right place, right time thing for sure.
      I hope your daughter joins in too! She must be busy with the children but it is all so valuable and good.
      Many thanks, Love

  19. Annabel, those cake stands are gorgeous and what a great idea !!! I'll have to start writing things down to so i dont forget if i've saved anything. We were gifted 2 x 1/2kilo legs of lamb today( we have friends moving interstate and cleaning out their freezer) at around $18 per kilo thats quite a big savings and we wouldnt normally buy lamb as its to expensive so were very happy right now lol Im also still picking our own vegies so more savings. Im definitely going to find a notebook. Thankyou Annabel its amazing how much everyone is saving xo

    1. Dear Karen, I have to write things down everyday or I would totally forget! I keep notes in the kitchen then add them to my book about once a day. If I am out and I need to remember a price I take a photo on my phone and that reminds me to add it in.
      The lamb is a wonderful thing to be given! You will get many meals too. I love lamb. Mimi does a Greek Lamb in the crockpot with garlic and I love doing that. Also roast of course!
      Thanks so much! With love

  20. Thanks so much Annabel for showing the tiered cake plate. I headed to our local Woolies and they had heaps, but with a shelf sign of $25 each! They did scan at the register for $6.25 (same as online price) so I bought a couple.

    My first week is not as spectacular in savings as others, but getting ideas of what to count etc is so helpful. Thanks everyone for ideas! I will get a notebook organised so that everything can be better noted. Sometimes I forget things, little things like free dvd's and books from the library, I also bought books online saving $39 on my purchases. We changed phone and internet providers, and it has been a headache getting rid of the old company! It has cost us extra just in the changeover. Should we deduct some of these unexpected additional expenses from our "savings"? My conservative estimate is around $300 for my first week (net). Hair colouring, dog washing, grocery savings by what I did buy and also not buy (using up lots of pantry stocks) bonus points earned another $10 in Flybuys, savings on fuel, gift savings for GD gift. It seems to be only a few dollars here and there, but it is a shock to see how it all really adds up! I would have thought I'd only managed to save $100 at best if I'd not recorded it! (and that very loosely) A real eye opener this challenge is! Thanks Vicky and Annabel. xoxo

    1. Dear Kaye, Sorry for a slow reply!
      You always have excellent grocery savings. You will notice it is a lot when you keep track even for one week. What you estimate for the week is really good. Many things we just do as we do always yet they are massive savings or expenses I guess if we did not do them!
      I hope this is a great year of savings and getting ahead, that is the whole aim anyway! With love and thanks,

  21. Oh my goodness! What a deal on those cake-stands!! I love the idea of presenting them as a gift with goodies included! I also wanted to let you know I had to include your blog on our "Frugal Living the Fanciful Way" post. It is such an inspiration! :)

    Have a lovely week,

    1. Dear Jess, Thank you very much! I love what you have written and Im thrilled you think I celebrate living frugally in a happy way. There are not enough hours in the day is the problem. There are so many good things to be doing! With love and thanks,

  22. I think I recall seeing those cake stands in Woolies before Christmas, I might have to go and see if there are any left tomorrow. They are quite pretty, and I don't own any, so maybe a gift to myself lol!

    Some great savings there for sure Annabel, it is amazing when you put the monetary costs down on paper. Imagine if you work out how much you are worth with all you do around the house! I know what I am worth as a cleaner now...Our men save us a lot by being handy, this is definitely an asset. We would have had to fork out thousands for some of the jobs Phil does. He will have a go at anything, usually successfully :)

    I am enjoying these posts.


    1. Dear Tania, I am amazed by some of the things Phil makes, invents and does! They are all massive helps and savers. I like that you show them on your blog. If he ever had time he could sell those veggie collecting and washing baskets and the drying racks amongst many other things for sure.
      I was so glad to see your post about what you have been doing. A lot is the answer to that! With love,

  23. We had a rooster that had to go live elsewhere ~ he was very loud and very territorial ~ to the point of attacking me when I went into the coop to feed all the chickens. When he drew was time. He was a gorgeous bird but had no manners! donna

    1. Dear Donna, He helped you make that decision! Today (the day after) I am good about it. Then hens are much quieter! I have ordered two more hens too.
      I was once attacked by a turkey and Ive been chased by geese so I can relate to being pecked by a rooster! lol I can laugh now...!
      With love

  24. I am amazed and astounded at the Vicky Challenge as I've been keeping a daily diary of savings! There are so many things I do automatically without realizing their impact on our quality of life!
    This week was our oldest granddaughter's wedding and since her mom is divorced and going to college full time + working a full time job AND raising 3 other teenage children in addition to her oldest, hubby and I pitched in with some wedding and reception DIY!
    Our savings this week were as follows:
    Cooked up another 30 pounds BLSL chicken breast on sale - saved $12.30

    Mailed book to a friend via media mail- saved $8.23 over flat rate box

    Completed queen size quilt ( using all stash materials/supplies)as wedding gift for granddaughter- saved $200

    Hemmed 2 pair of suit pants for grandsons- saved $20

    Paid 3 bills online- saved $1.47

    Altered suit jacket- saved $25

    Hubby and I watched 1 movie rental at home- saved $15

    Watched 2 tv shows without cable - $30

    DIY purchase supplies for reception decorating/ dinnerware- saved $600

    Made 42 breakfast burritos- saved $57.70

    Made 6 packages of breakfast sausage and added to freezer- saved $13

    Bought 16 packages of flour tortillas marked down to 49 cents each- saved $12.80

    Bought mark down package of 60 bar towels- saved $5

    Bought 3 mark down food storage canisters- saved $4

    Washed out to reuse ziplock baggies- saved 85 cents

    Bought my dress for wedding with coupons, ebates and sale- saved $125

    Altered my dress for wedding- $50

    All, in all, my total savings came to $1180.35!!!

    Zowee!!!!!!! I never would have imagined that!!! Can't wait for year end to see what the total will be!!!!

    1. Dear Gardenpat,
      Wow! This is what I wanted to happen... total amazement at the actual amount all we do would cost! This is our savings and its still only the things we think of to add up. I know we all dont even count heaps of things and there would be people who pay for them.
      How lovely to have a wedding and I think the quilt you made is a wonderful wedding present.
      You had a very big week but look at the savings. It is very helpful writing down things as you go and I need to or I would lose track and give up! But this makes it easy and adding it up is quite exciting!
      Thank you for sharing this and well done! Have another great week! with love,

  25. Your cake stands are beautiful and what a great price! I had the same idea as you, bake the cakes/sweets and put them on the stands as a complete gift. I can just see it all wrapped up in pretty cello with a luxurious looking bow! You mentioned painting your house. I always have done my own painting inside, but last year my husband and I painted the outside of our house. This took months, as he first cut off nail ends sticking out of the underside of the eaves, then, we had plenty of scraping, priming, and then painting. He even used caulking between each siding board for insulating properties and stopping any insects from coming inside. He also cut new pieces of wood trim and special designs where the others had rotted or were missing. It was a huge project overall, and my hands became cramped in the pose of holding a scraper and paint brush! Neighbors stopped to admire and give compliments. My brother, who is a carpenter, said it would have cost us at least $5,000 to have paid to have the work done. I am thinking with the carpentry repairs, it would have been even more.

    1. Dear Joy,
      I am finding out how expensive painting is! Its a lot! You can count that all as savings! It is hard work too! I can imagine your hands. I am approaching my place in bits i.e. the laundry, the front gate and gradually progress I hope!
      Thank you re the cake stands. Some things make great "props" for a handmade gift and at $5 thats how I thought of these!
      With love

  26. Dear Annabel, Great week! I love the cake stands and to use them with treats for gifts is a wonderful idea! Hope you were able to get two more hens! Also, great savings on paint!!

    Way to go everyone! Daily things sure add up! Have a great week. Love, Teri

    1. Thank you Teri. They sure do. I hope you are having a good week. I am think of you very much as I have free peaches to deal with! xxx

  27. What a find on those beautiful cake stands! They'd be a marvelous gift all by themselves, but with home baked goodies on top...spectacular!

    We're still in home improvement mode here and I'd estimate we've saved at least $4500 in labor cost by doing many hours of work ourselves. (Painting the fireplace was an "all by myself" project and I felt very brave for doing it.) I had some other small savings by shopping sales, using online cash-back rebate sites, and that sort of thing.

    We also saved ourselves the cost of several carry out (take-away) meals on our heaviest work days because I loaded up the slow cookers and had food ready when we could take a break to eat it. Then we had leftovers for other days rather than ordering pizza.

    I'm keeping a list of Vicky Challenge savings but am being more casual about the actual dollars. It's enough for me to see the benefit.

    Challenge on, everyone, and keep up the good work! Have a lovely week!

    Blessings, Leigh

    1. Dear Leigh,
      Well done on the fireplace I saw the photos and of the wall as well. Looks fantastic. Yes this would cost a fortune if you hired people.
      Also I love that you put the crockpot on so there was good food ready by the time you are too tired to think about it. That is smart. And a relief at the end of the day.
      That was a great week. I cant wait to see what next! Well done anyway for taking on these jobs and I hope you are loving the transformations! With love

  28. Thank you for all the inspiring posts! It has been awhile since I was able to chime in and add an encouraging word. My husband wanted to save on internet costs. Since we are not in the city and have no land-line, these costs can be very high.
    Loving those cake stands!
    I wanted to share my savings- Jan. 1 & 2 I did some sewing and mending that saved my family $15. Also I gave one son and my husband haircuts. Saving $20. This totals $35.
    For this past week, I saved my family $85. This included: one more haircut, 6 quarts of homemade veg. broth, a good buy on some meat, cooking pumpkins to make puree (4 gallons worth), 2 large homemade pizzas, and picking up 3 loaves of artisan bread for $1.49 a piece.
    I didn't count the money I would save on repainting my stairwell or laying vinyl flooring. My grandfather was a house-painter, so I learned from watching him and my dad. I love to paint! Also the flooring really is a job my husband could have done, as he had a 15 year career as a handyman. I guess the victory is not in the money saved, but in the skill acquired . Thanks again for the inspiration!

    1. Dear Leslie,
      I am already learning that such things as painting, flooring etc are worth a huge amount and are massive savings. Well done on doing these things. I quite like painting too. It is sort of miraculous how something dull will come up so beautifully. Everything looks fresh.
      You saved a lot and imagine what your years savings will be and as you say it is also skills learned. Skills are always valuable.
      Thanks for your savings list! It was excellent! with love

  29. Hello Annabel,my savings this week.. went to spotlight and saved almost 50% off which totalled $70. Bought 4 handtowels at Aldi $4 each. Seen them elsewhere $12 each so saved $32. Bought a new Breadmaker so will be making massive savings on making gluten free bread. A tiny loaf in Coles is $5.(I am coeliac). The breadmaker makes double the size. My old breadmaker died abt 6 months ago. Overall I had 4 days staying home and still saved $102 plus what I might have spent had I ventured out. Sorry to hear about your chickens turning into Roosters. U can get so attached to animals. Love Christine

    1. Dear Christine. My Mum is gluten free so I see the cost of bread and treats etc. It is a lot! This will be a huge saver!
      I ordered two more hens and this time will wait until the are old enough to know for sure! So I will be back to four again.
      We have an Aldi coming soon. The more I hear about Aldi the more excited I am!
      Well done on your savings. You will have lots to come with that bread maker! With love

  30. I saved about $5 on afternoon snacks over the week, the tomatoes were home grown, the cheese was leftover from my few days away, wine was diluted with soda water. Some of our meals when away were prepared in the apartment, possibly saving us all at least $50 each on breakfast alone.
    Not a big start to the challenge but better than I first thought.

    1. Dear Meg, That is really good. When away it is a bit different so I think you did really well with your savings! With love

  31. Hi Annabel!!

    These long summer days have been great for the Vicky Challenge; I had so many unexpected interruptions two days ago, yet I almost achieved all my goals for the day. First, I had to check on windfall (or bird fall!) fruit out of season. Although a painful task, cutting the good sections of fruit up and stewing them provided fruit that is normally not there. One session provides, I estimate, $10 equivalent of store bought canned fruit. There is more to do. Even the passion fruit that looked destroyed by dry weather followed by rain & high humidity is turning out lovely pulp. That'll come to some dollars, & passion fruit ice cream - our favourite!!

    I have set my own parameters for the challenge. Since my husband & I already combine spending habits from my parents' home with those of his longterm bachelor lifestyle, we are already pretty careful, & new savings will be dependant on what we do at home from now on. My husband said that if I wasn't here, he wouldn't be working on these projects (& that would include our weekend work if I was out working, & needed time to catch up on things, or recover, on the weekend). This means that his work really counts in my savings! Indeed, many of our current savings are owed to his efforts.

    So, I will be noting the things that add value/productivity to our life & place - eg getting chooks & saving on eggs, in the near future. I will include the value of baking; special foods made at home; haircuts; massage that relieves the need for a chiropractor for my husband's back; future kitchen garden savings & extra value; house renovation; op-shop savings for useful/valued purchases; value of results from new skills; possibly mending/alterations, if significant wear left; savings by using Internet services (like Australia Post Visa card instead of money order!).

    Some old money savers applied in the last week include refilling printer cartridges (ink bought from Woolworths a few years ago, some bought from op shop for $1; Coles stopped selling this ink). A favourite practice of mine is making my own laundry detergent with simple white soap (IGA's is good; Coles now puts too much fragrance in theirs) & wonderful washing soda. This makes many litres, stored in reusable milk bottles. It means I can recycle the rain water that we live on for use on the ground; is gentle on the hands; cleans beautifully; & doesn't give me a headache from the fragrance most have! So there!!

    New savings included saving on wire for our fence; the discovery of at least a dozen passionfruit plants for transplanting; labour to complete first section of fence; using old fence posts for firewood ( in the height of summer!); bought, for $4, some work trousers for my husband, & a mini doughnut tray for $1 (worth about $14); printed calendar pages (since our usual calendars have had errors, & is useful); solving ipad connectivity problems; & making homemade, outdoor (on a gas bottle) potato chips in olive oil - dipped in a cream-gherkin relish sauce instead of salt (using what needed using).

    Oh yes, yesterday we had an unexpected welcome visitor (our old ganger) & he delivered two jars of fresh honey as a gift!

    I am having fun!

    Rachel Holt

    Sent from my iPad

    1. Dear Rachel, What a big week! Well done as I can see you did a lot and also have great plans. Like getting chickens! I have to say that chooks and a few dozen eggs a week expand into all the things you can do with those eggs. They can also be bartered etc. They are a real asset. And fun!
      Old fence posts are great firewood. This is getting ahead for winter too!
      I think passionfruit plants would be very nice gifts. I am trying to do the same with pots of parsley as I have heaps gone to seed and last year I grew hundreds of babies from this!
      That was a very impressive week! love

  32. I have a question as to what other people are doing on this challenge. On Saturday, I ran to the store for a couple things, and happened to find shredded cheese - an 8 oz. package for 99¢ each. The regular price on these is $3.29. So technically, I saved $2.50 per bag. I bought 16 bags and tossed all but three in my freezer. Here is the question, I would never pay more than $2.00 for an 8 oz. bag of cheese. What would you say - that you saved $40 - the amount marked down from the regular price, or that you saved $20, the amount marked down from what I would normally willingly pay? Just curious how others are doing this. I am an accountant, so numbers make a lot of sense to me, but I also know that I can get numbers to say, really, whatever I want. However, I did save $100 on co-pays, as my Dr. gave me enough samples of the medication I take for a one month supply, and my co-pay is $100 per month.

    1. Dear Nancy,
      Personally I would probably count the extra amount you saved if $2 is your normal price, even though it sounds like maybe you always save on cheese by the way you shop. Its a personal thing. It is awesome that you really bought up at that great price and a great saving!
      Samples of medication for a month is a very big help and that $100 is a bonus for sure!
      You are right that numbers can be manipulated thats for sure but I think if I count the genuine savings we make through our efforts and see the numbers this is so motivating to me and I know my work = an income. The motivation seeing this makes my competitive side kick in as I love beating past numbers. Win win as it is good for me and good for the household! I hope that helps. With love

    2. Nancy,
      If they were $3.29 a bag marked down to.99 then you did save $2.50 a bag. If they had been your target price of $2 marked down to .99 you would have saved $1.01 a bag. The numbers will fluctuate, but the basis of it is that we are not paying that retail price when we very well could. But have less to show for money at the end of the year. The same with a clearance item. Yes we could pick something up at full price, but if we opt to get a better deal you in effect double or triple the product you get for the same amount of money you would have spent on an item. Let's say we base it on your price of $2 for cheese. You found a better price of .99 for the cheese you buy you basically just doubled the amount of cheese and if cheese is higher than $2 on sale you just saved yourself later of having to pay a higher price even if it's.50 or so? I hope this makes sense?

  33. Great week, Annabel! Thank you for the tip about the nail polish.

    My biggest savings this week were at the grocery store. I am trying to make a monthly grocery shopping trip on the day our stores have their senior discounts. I combined printed coupons, e-coupons, Friday Freebies, contest winnings and sale prices. My receipt showed I spent $66.54 and saved $119.56, plus $4 in coupons on my next purchase. My husband and I also enjoyed free donut holes and coffee provided at the store. When I checked my receipt at home, there were two errors. I took my receipt to customer service the next time I went to the store and received $8.48 back, $5 of which was because they guarantee price accuracy. I purchased a few other things on that trip. Spent $16.99 and saved $16.84, plus $3 to spend on the next trip.

    I ordered some discounted spice cookies from Sam's Club online. They were $2.81 each for lovely metal tins 42.3 ounces each with 6 individually wrapped packages in each. No shipping cost. No tax. They are delicious! I think they were originally $19.99 each.

    My husband and I picked at least $50 pounds of citrus. I am estimating $50, but it may be more since they are organic. My neighbors said to come back and get all we want, so we may get more. I shared a couple bags with some friends.

    A company wanted $40 to come take our Christmas lights down. We did it ourselves except for a bit of help with the roof from our neighbors.

    Other savings include free samples in the mail, Kindle books downloaded, firewood for the fireplace that we gleaned from downed trees, survey completion to go toward gas discounts, free photo prints. I also made most of our meals, cleaning, laundry, mending, etc., that I didn't count. My grand total for the week is $376.37, so I feel I am off to a good start.

    Have a lovely rest of the week! Thank you for hosting the challenge. Love, Elaine

    1. Dear Elaine,
      That is very good shopping! Also the free citrus is great. If I have oranges I make my Sunshine cake (its in the recipes) and freeze slabs of it. If its lemons beyond what I can use I juice them and freeze in ice cube trays and it is so useful. Another is recently on Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth Jes had all these lovely things to do with dried orange slices! Just amazing. Previously she had a whole section on things to do with lemons which include cleaning. I thought to tell you incase you can pick more!
      What a great week you had! With love

  34. Hi Annabel,
    I did some things to save this week I am going from memory
    next week I will write it down. Cleared all drains with a Zip it tool, looks like a zip tie with slits in it savings $100.00 plummer service call.Hung all laundry to dry saved $10. Kept heat off it is winter here, we wore sweaters socks and used blankets.We are all electric so power
    cost a lot saved $50.00 Did all wash on cold saved some money. Bought 28 pairs of socks on clearance for 25 cents each saved $50.00 bought a dish towel drying mat and dish cloth on clearance saved $6.00 Bought Christmas chocolate on clearance will be separated by color. Red and white will be used for valentines day. Green will be used for St Patricks day saved 14.00. Got 45 dollars worth of free toilet paper using Sears Kmart bonus points. Got 2 free pairs be of Chritmas socks using bonus points from Sears Kmart. Frozen berries Dollar Tree saved 4.00 Bought 12 cans of chicken noodle soup from Dollar Tree saved 12.00 nothing is more than a dollar at Dollar tree. Bought Gatorade at Vons saved 16.00 Bought potatoes at 99 cents only saved 4.00 bought
    bacon at 99 cents only saved 3.00 Bought Advil at 99 cents only saved 30.00 This will last along time , this is the best price in my area 40 tabs 99 cents. 2 packs of cookies for for 99 cents saved 4.00 2 bags lg chips @ 99 cents each saved 4.00 3 pack organic spinach 99 cents each saved 9.00
    1 pack of sausage saved 1.00 1 pack turkey bacon 99 cents saved 2.00 1 pack of batteries 99 cents only saved 3.00 1 pair sunglasses 99 cents saved 10.00 2 dozen eggs saved 4.00
    2 shelf stable milk dollar tree saved 6.00. Cut my own hair saved 30.00 saved about $ 432.00 for the week. Have a blessed week everyone.

    1. Dear Patti, That is a wonderful week! Also you had big and small savings and they all add up don't they!
      I wish we had a Dollar Tree. I have heard so much about them!
      Well done. I hope you feel proud of all of that! Have a wonderful weekend! With love


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