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 24 January 2016

The Vicky Challenge, Week 3.

This week I was walking past my local grocery store that sells a lot of homemade meals such as pies, individual serves of lasagne or whole trays, pavlovas, cakes, biscuits etc. It is all lovely and sells like hot cakes. You have to place orders to ensure you can pick up most things. So I went and noted some prices. Interesting! Very interesting!

I also did this in a gourmet cheese shop/deil near us. They have "hand crafted" jams, chutneys etc. so I noted the price of those too. Basically it all costs a fortune! I am going to gather a bit more information and do a post on this. I would say most of us way underestimate what we just saved when we bake a birthday cake, a quiche or whatever it is we just made!

It is really interesting to note these things and an eye opener. I remember last year Chloe and I saw hand knitted scarves in a boutique and they were almost $300! We both fired up on knitting scarves after that!

Looking in the shops gives me so many ideas ... what to make, presentation ideas, what is popular and "in fashion" and the apparent retail value. For both gift making and saving money all this is helpful.

So this last week my savings for The Vicky Challenge include:

We picked about 5 more kilos of peaches = $17.50

I made a double sized Use it up Fruit Cake to use some of the last peaches.

We used some for desert, it went in a packed picnic and I froze over twenty portions for lunch boxes. I am counting $20 for this.

I froze eight Peach Crumbles and we ate one.

Given one small crumble in the supermarket is $8 I am going to say this is worth $60.

Also I froze eight batches of stewed peaches. 

One of these will act as a cold pack in the eski when we go on holidays and also be a desert to take. 

If these were canned they would cost me about $30.

I gave myself two hair conditioning treatments. Summer got to my hair it seems! These are $30 each locally so I am counting $60.

This week I had purchases at IKEA. We are adding some shelving to the kitchen. Before I left I printed out a voucher I get emailed to me as I joined an IKEA promotion. This saved me $50!

Andy rang the insurance company and queried so increases to our bill. This call took him 15 minutes or so. This saved $246. Good money for 15 minutes! I notice most of these kinds of calls pay off. They are just painful to make but usually they are big money savers!

I packed the fishing trip picnic including ham and salad rolls, the cake and other goodies. I count $50 each time I sent them a days worth of food and treats.

Also I packed all work lunches for the week and that is $100 saving.

And I did some more painting. Not a whole room or anything but doors, door frames and some skirting boards... I will count $100. (Also it is looking really nice and fresh!)

So actually the week is better than I thought! That is funny as even though I wrote most of this down I thought it was a bit boring. But now I look at it and think it was a pretty good week and it added up to $731..50. That is way more than I thought. Actually each week has been way more than I would have guess if you had asked me last year.

I haven't counted cleaning, using house water on the garden (too hard to calculate) and many other usual things we just do!
I did spend a fair bit of time in the kitchen and every evening peeled and chopped peaches. But it is worth it. I have a lot of food put away and I got some more painting done!
And I still have about twenty fresh peaches in the fridge. 

Next week we will be into February! We can tally up our first months savings! mmm the mere thought of this makes me want to make this week a good one! Maybe I will do a lot of painting!? 

How did your week go? I hope you are amazed at the savings and encouraged to see them. Proverbs says that the wise woman looks "well to the ways of her household" and other translations says "she carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness".  This is similar to the verses about building up your home. Both mean all kinds of things from atmosphere to meals on the table but how we spend our money and how far we make it go are all part of it. You are looking well to the ways of your household when you consider your savings and efforts! 

Have a great week! See you on Wednesday for the Christmas Challenge and start getting photos ready! xxx


  1. I am totally amazed by the results of the Vicky Challenge for you and for me too!
    This week I saved:
    Made 9 Rev wraps for brown bag lunches- $13.50. Made Ranch dressing from scratch- $1. Got gas in car while running errands- $2.65. Sold some small appliances- $20. Got some things at a Target on clearance- $12. Bought 7.5 dozen eggs @Sam's club for 99 cents/dozen- $4.84.
    Was given a dozen FREE eggs from friend- $2.59. Paid property taxes online- $.98.
    Paid cell phone bill from new company- $149/month less!!!. Sent birthday card instead of cash- $24.
    Bought cake mixes on clearance- $7.12, Made 3 dozen funeral sandwiches- $144. Made a 20 serving cake for funeral- $28. Used coupons for dog food- $2.20.
    Was given 2 gallons of chicken noodle soup- $24. Was given 12 sandwiches-$18. Donated (2) eight serving dinners- $30. Was paid back on money loaned to son for cell phone purchase- $250.47.
    Quilted a baby quilt for a friend- $30. Hubby & I watched free Amazon prime movie- $22. Downloaded free quilt pattern- $7.50. Put gas in van while running errands- $3.36. Hubby purchased for business casual at work: 5 shirts, 2 pairs of pant,1 pair of jeans and 1 dress coat for outerwear over his suit- Saved 316.08! At same thrift store, bought an almost new Michael Kors down jacket for $7.49 (had a 50% off tag) that I found online retailing for $395!!!! So the jacket was a $357 savings!!!!
    WhooHooo!!!!!! Total savings for week- $1470.02!!!!!!!!! I used $350 of my savings to pay down hubby's pacemaker bill and put another $400 into our savings account!!!
    I had no idea that it could add up like this!!! Thank you, Annabel and Vicky!!!!

    1. Dear Gardenpat, That is fantastic! The clothes for your husband and the jacket for you are amazing. Also the saving on your cellphone bill, that was a good change for sure!
      Prices vary a lot between different places but here I can tell you your cake and quilt prices I would times by three at least!
      And all those eggs! There are so many things to make with eggs. I would love an egg cook up ours are around $5 a doz normally or more! Soon my chickens will be laying though!
      You did a lot of work and put in a lot of effort, made great choices (i.e. the thrift store for all those business clothes etc) and look at your week! Now wonder you are pleased!
      Well done! Wait until you add up the months totals! Whoever said we don't contribute financially if we stay at home and perpetuated that lie? No truth in it! This shows what a lie it is. Who makes $1470 after tax per week?
      I am very pleased for you and feel your excitement! Thank you for sharing how your week went. I hope you have another great week now! With love

    2. Great job GardenPat!

  2. Annabel, I had a good week with the Vicky Challenge too, not as good as you and Gardenpat, but never the less good. I am thinking about a couple of extra things I can do this week to boost my savings, that's one thing this challenge has done for me ... increased my savings awareness! I saved/earned $204.07 and break it down in this post ...

    1. Personally, Patsy, I thank you as well as Annabel and Vicky for helping me become more aware of those things that I do to save money and your encouragement has inspired me to find more ways to not only save but uplift the quality of our food, our pantries and become a wiser steward over all the resources we've been blessed with! Thank you both!!!

  3. Annabel,
    Wow the savings I am seeing is amazing! Good job ladies! For this week I have:
    $50 saved using coupons
    $94 saved buying specials
    $45 saved on 2 hams that were marked way down
    $9 on clearance items + these items added to my Savingstar account for buying them so I actually made $1.30 for buying them.
    $3 I got a nice lot of samples in the mail
    $25 I was given a box of steaks as a thank you for catching a stray dog
    $1.50 I was given a complete Sunday paper
    $15 I made Emma a wreath with silk flowers given to me years ago
    And from my ventures I added for free to the pantry and my emergency supplies: 4 cups of yogurt, 2 loaves of bread, 4 toothbrushes and 4 tubes of toothpaste.
    I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

    1. Dear Vicky, That was a great savings on the hams! I love ham. Its so useful. Left over ham always is treated like bacon here and fried with eggs etc or into quiche or fried rice... and so on!
      Great savings and creativity with Emmas lovely present. She will LOVE it and her room is going to look lovely! Many thanks! Lots of love

  4. Dear Annabel, I hope you had a great Weekend?, you have had an excellent savings week. I thought I would not save as much this week but yes it is amazing how little things add up to big savings . I accepted 4 more meals from my parents saving $30
    Made 5 more cards using materials I have here a saving of $15 approx.
    Got given some craft items $30 saving approx.
    Researched ideas on you tube and in magazines and will teach myself some new skills $40 savings approx. I had 3 no spend days and 2 low spend days $ 150 savings in taxi fares, food and unnecessary purchases.
    Made takeaway at home , saving $40 on 2 meals approx. saved my coins for a month $40 . Saved money on groceries $85 , banked $130 ( so $215 saving sort of) .
    Made Rocky Road at home using baking ingredients from my stockpile, used some for afternoon at my Grans place , the rest is being used for my morning and afternoon teas, saving approx $50. Took advantage of my 2 hours a week subsidised cleaning from centa care $85 saving over 2 weeks ( based on $25 an hour for professional cleaners) .saved $30 a month by changing my phone plan ,saved $10 by using a gift from my gift cupboard and making a card.i made blueberry and yoghurt ice blocks saving $7 approx. saved $5 on ribbon by using sone off gifts .i bought 4 cheese and bacon rolls for under $3 saving $9 on what I would have spent at a bakery. I can save more if I make them too, that will be my next project!. Saved $10 by using chemist reward points. I used some clothing I barely wear to create some new outfits, saving me $85 approximately. And I saved $75 on a new fry pan by using one I already have that I did not think was suitable. Finally, I saved $50 on my mums birthday gift by making a set of 10 cards and gift tags ( still making them but I counted it today as I am half done and I might forget!. Total for the week is Over $1000 I think. and I have not counted some things that I did not write down so did not remember .
    Thank you for another great post Annabel. Love Barb

    1. Dear Barb,
      I think you could count at least $5 per card as there isn't a card under $5 in our newsagent. Many are $8 to $9. Even mini cards are a few dollars and so are tags! Expensive! So all big savings there.
      I love that you created fresh outfits from things you have! That is what I will do in autumn as I go through what I have. This is a great thought! And a great way to save. I think you just inspired a blog post!
      Well done on all your efforts. It adds up amazingly and is so exciting to see! With lots of love

  5. Great savings everyone! I am still drooling over those peach crumbles-they look delicious. With the Vicky challenge, is it mostly about adding up how much you have saved?

    1. Dear Mel, In the side bar there is The Vicky Challenge link... here is the first one to get you started...
      Vicky explains it better than me and it is named after her as she keeps track of hers savings in all the ways she saves and makes money by treating her home as her job. She adds up weeks, months and the whole year. So she knows her annual "income" from her work... and this inspired the Vicky Challenge. I am doing it as I thought it would make me much more aware of my won savings and be really motivating. Also I just hate when I hear some young Mum is pressured to return to work to "contribute financially" as that is terrible I think of course she is contributing already! It does matter if you work at home, full time, part time... the things we do add up to save a huge amount of money. I hope that explains it ok! With love

    2. Thanks so much, I'll take a look x

  6. Dear Annabel,
    You have had another great week! Those peaches look so yummy! They are a favorite around our house. We have been without a peach tree for a long time, but are hopeful it will be time for our little tree to produce this year.

    One of the ways I saved was making a triple batch of chicken spaghetti which made a couple meals, plus at least 15 portions for the freezer. I estimated the portions at $8 each. The recipe came to me from a friend who brought us chicken spaghetti when I was ill, and I think of her when I make it.

    We got a lovely stock of fresh produce from an organization which provides up to 60 pounds of fresh produce for a $10 donation. This is what I got---
    37 Roma tomatoes. 10 pounds@$1.49 per pound=$15
    4 eggplants $1x4= $4
    12 large yellow bell peppers $12
    Huge bag of shredded cabbage and carrots for slaw mix. $8.50
    6 spaghetti squash 6x$4.50=$27
    Large bunch of bananas $2

    One of our grocery stores had a week of Free items to load on our cards, plus some good sales and other coupons including $3 off $15 of meat and $2 off $40 purchase before coupons, so I ended up saving at least $48 while spending $25.33. The recept showed I saved more, but I didn't count it since I wouldn't have paid the regular price of some things.

    We went out to lunch one day using a buy one/get one free coupon plus a free dish of ice cream.

    I didn't count all of my free Kindle books, but know I saved at least $16.98.

    Like your peaches, I am still working on citrus. I froze 5 small packs of lemon juice, 2 larger packs and a pack of grated rind. My neighbor brought me 8 more lemons and told me I was welcome to come pick as much more citrus as I wanted. I was pleased to be able to share a couple spaghetti squash and some of the cabbage mix with her.

    There were a few other things bringing my total to $350.29 for this week. Some things like gas surveys done this week won't be counted until next week. I am enjoying tallying my savings and also reading your savings and other comments.

    Have a lovely week!

    1. Dear Elaine,
      Yes and I am still working on peaches. I am down to the last ones though. But this is our chance and it won't be back for another year. Lemons are so useful. I think I mentioned to you already about the citrus section on Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth. Also lemon essence is a possibility. Anyway lemons are wonderful and I love the scent.
      I think I will have to ask you for the chicken spaghetti recipe? That sounds really good.
      Your fresh produce in that amount for that price is just amazing. That is a huge saving with so many possibilities! What a wonderful week! I am so pleased for you! With love, Annabelxxx

  7. It is so encouraging to see your savings, ladies.
    I saved: cut my eldest son's hair ($10), 2 lg. homemade pizzas ($20), 2 loaves homemade French Bread ($5), Lg. batch of granola ($6), 2 loaves of granola bread ($4), recovered chair cushion with fabric given to me ($3), purchased 10 lbs. bananas at 25 cents lb. ($4.22),5 quarts homemade chicken broth ($10), sewed a rock climber's chalk bag for daughter's gift ($20), baked a birthday cake ($13), sewed 2 cloth napkins from stained tablecloth($3). total: $96
    And I also canned 5 quarts and 1 pt. of pumpkin bread! This counts more for feathering my nest.
    I only share the savings of things at the prices I would pay.
    Lovin' the Vicky Challenge!

    1. Dear Leslie,
      What a good week! I love your cooking. I think if you had time and want to post your Granola recipe that would be popular. I have seen this in big jars given as a gift with a nice label. I think that would be lovely.
      I loved your idea to use the table cloth and save the good bits to make napkins. My niece is into rock climbing... that is a really good gift!
      Well done on your week. Thank you for sharing it! Love

  8. Hello Annabel,
    This is the first week I have documented everything and its quite an eye opener!
    I felt it was just a regular week with the children on holiday still but it just goes to show you...
    This week I did my own manicure and pedicure (I have always gone to a salon up till now) so $40; saved at Woolies on some marked down meat $5.50; converted my flybuy points into dollars and then made a list of items that were on sale at 50% off so saved $118.00; renegotiated my building and contents insurance premium and saved $90; finally, coloured my hair at home thereby saving $210.
    So, approximately $450 worth of saving just be doing what I consider the usual stuff. Also, when I did my nails my four daughters also did theirs (a couple of them in random rainbow colours!) We had a lovely evening in front of the TV doing them. Then when I was working out what to get with the flybuys dollars one of them took it on herself to work out the best items and quantities to get. Things like that - priceless.
    Kind regards, Angela

    1. Dear Angela,
      Welcome to the challenge! It is an eye opener that is for sure!
      Well done. I really love that you did your manicure and pedicure and that your daughters joined in and enjoyed it too. This is lovely time to spend and four girls! I would have loved four girls! That all was a win win I think!
      I am doing my hair at home. I am very happy with it and it saves me heaps of time as well as money. My daughter with the baby also does hers. Apart from not needing a baby sitter etc it is saving her a couple of thousand dollars a year at least. That is such a lot. If you are happy with the results hopefully you can keep going with that. I do lots of conditioning treatments as that helps with colour looking good.
      I think you had a great week and I am glad you are pleasantly surprised with what you saved! thanks so much for joining it is lovely to "meet" you! Love

  9. Everyone is doing really well! I loved reading through all the "earnings" everyone is finding! This challenge has made a difference to how I view my contribution at home. I think there are things I don't count or miss too! :-)

    This week I had to restock some grocery items, but found some amazing discounts and markdowns! I saved more than I spent according to the dockets at Coles and Woolies! Aldi is hard to determine, and NQR and our greengrocer I always get some fabulous buys at. We were gifted with some yogurt (4 kilos of it!) and my DD gave me some boxes of Christmas cards and gift bags she was tossing out! Grocery savings tallied $121! I fuelled up at a lower price, saving $11 over last months. Sourcing an American magazine to read through our library will save around $60. I just have to wait in the queue! I borrowed books and dvd's also saving $44 on buying or renting. My husband saved at least $50 using a different idea for fencing to prevent our dog accessing a part of the garden. I obtained a $30 fee discount for schooling and made homemade burgers instead of relenting and buying a takeaway. $20 in that. A total of around $346 this week.

    1. Dear Kaye,
      I love hearing about your week! FOUR kilos of yoghurt! I don't know how you ended up with that but wow and there are many things you can do with it. Depending if it is plain or flavoured you can make pizza bases, muffins, my Use it Up cake (or muffins) smoothies, lucky it freezes well too!
      I also would have been happy to take cards and gift bags! Gift bags are really expensive and useful. I re use them constantly and if needed stick on a picture or whatever so good score!
      Well done on using the library too. Big savings.
      I love homemade burgers! I will tell you a really fast alternative... I keep bacon in the freezer and burger buns. In about five minutes flat I can make cheese and bacon burgers. They are yum and Andy is mad on them. Then I don't even have to make up hamburgers with ground meat etc (although I do sometimes!) Sometimes super fast and super easy is a life saver and as you say stops the need to buy takeaway!
      You had a great week! And a great total! I hope you feel good as it is a lot! With love and thanks,

    2. Dear Annabel,

      Sometimes we also have meatless but with bacon and egg! We add bacon, egg, lettuce, tomato and cheese or avocado too sometimes. They are known as BELTA's or BELTAC's at our house. A bit extra ingredients than a BLT. ;-) I like bbq sauce or a chutney with mine. Avocado has been far too expensive and off the menu here lately. I usually have the ingredients on hand for these and they stop takeaways, it is true! If I have no rolls frozen, we have used bread toasted instead. They prefer meat (burgers) here, but I enjoy either! Will have to try your suggestion sometime too. Thanks! xoxo

  10. I feel a kinship to you and your painting, Annabel, since I also spent a good bit of last week and the weekend with a paint brush or roller in my hand. We started doing some of the trim work, which can be tedious, but it looks so fresh and clean when it's done!

    I estimate my father, my husband, and I spent about 50 hours last week on home improvement projects. My mother brought easy-to-reheat food and I put a couple of things in the crock pot so we continued to cook (on my desk and the end table in the family room, of all places!) rather than get carry out food. I found marked down take & bake pizzas that we used for a meal and a marked down ham that was easily cooked in the crock pot. The ham provided several meals and was quite possibly one of the best we've eaten, a nice surprise coming from the clearance rack!

    My hands-on work on the house will slow down this week since we need to source a couple of items and get the tile professional in to do the back splash in the kitchen before we can continue. My personal goal is to finish the touch-ups on the cabinet doors so I can have some of my kitchen counters back. Then I want to do some baking (I'm so jealous of you ladies who have beautiful homemade cakes and such!) and will hopefully have more savings to report that are not related to a hardware store!

    I'm deliberately not trying to assign specific prices but am confident the hours of work alone represent a four-figure savings. Next week we won't have as many of those hours but I hope to have more "fun" savings to share. Thanks to Annabel, Vicky, and all of you for continuing to report your savings and keeping me inspired! Have a lovely week!

    Blessings, Leigh

    1. Dear Leigh,
      Here tradesmen are $40 to $50 an hour usually so times that by 50! It is mind-blowing how much DIY saves. I know your cupboards are going to look lovely. I can't wait to see before and after photos. I love light colours and paint everything! To me things look brighter, fresher, roomier, cleaner and lighter as if the sunshine has come in. Love it! It changes the atmosphere totally.
      While the tiler is there hopefully it will be a little bit easier and you can catch up on a few other things!
      It will all pay off and what a start to the year for you! Straight into the hard work!
      I am so glad you have your husband and Dad that are working on this! How awesome! With love

  11. Lovely post as always, Annabel. Wow, everyone, great work! Inspires me to try harder, plus gives me tips to try myself.
    This past week I saved $25 on avoiding a certain fee for opening my own business, thanks to a knowledgeable city official whom I bombarded with questions! I saved money on making my own cards as well as purchasing some new papers for card making at 50% off! Plus saved money on cooking and baking at home. All told, it added up to a modest $109 or so, but it's progress. If I continue (or improve my savings), that's over $5600 in one year. Wow! Loving this challenge. Cheers, Teresa from USA

    1. Teresa,
      Just so you know my first year's savings was only around $4,ooo, but any kind of savings is better than no savings at all. I always say I don't care if you go to the store and only save 50 cents that is still 50 cents in your pocket!

    2. Dear Teresa,
      You are doing great. It is very motivating when we see what things amount to in a year. There would be a lot you could do with a savings over $5000 ... it is like having a $5000 pay rise!
      Well done on the cooking too! With love

  12. Hi Annabelle, Loving the Vicky Challenge. Keeping a record is such a great way to really see what you save- not just guessing. I am amazed at how quickly the savings tally up. Quite enjoy reading my recording book! About the water from the house that you reuse, I do the same and I just keep a tally of the number of litres rather than trying to work out the cost. We have moved and gone from being totally on tank water to being on mains water....we do have one tank and more are planned very, very, soon. Like the savings it is amazing how quickly the litres add up. Cheers

    1. Thank you!
      That is a really great suggestion. As I used mainly buckets I can easily track the amount that way! Many thanks! Love

    2. I use buckets too.... makes it easy to put the water just where it is needed. Cheers Jo

  13. Dear Annabel, You have really been working hard on those peaches! Everything looks fantastic.
    As usual, I start my week thinking I won't have much to report but I always end up amazed at what I saved, this week in particular. We saved over fifty percent on our groceries by shopping the clearance rack ($56.92). I came home with several types of gluten free mixes, coffee, tea, and condiments so that adds to the pantry as well. I made lemon bars from a mix I already had in the pantry instead of going out for ice-cream like we originally wanted (mild winters in Texas) saving us about $4. I harvested two grocery bags full of lettuce from our garden ($6), and I bought a set of classical records at the thrift store ($6). But my biggest savings came from my trip to the junk pile on the ranch, as I reported on Friday. Here is what I found: bricks ($90), white subway tiles ($300), two terracotta planters ($20), about 60 pounds of river rock ($36), a large stone paver ($5), an attic wind turbine ($75), and probably the best of all, I salvaged seven solid wood ceiling beams! They are 8in square and almost seven feet long. They are HUGE and are worth a total of $504! My husband is going to use a few to make some raised garden beds for me. Do any of you have any other ideas? I had so much fun and would have loved for y'all to have been there. Annabel, a bus tour sounds great lol! Ok, so we spent two mornings doing that and my in-laws took us out for lunch both days and supper one night ($64). We were so blessed by this, and they will be getting cookies as a thank-you. Then, as if that wasn't enough, when we left one of the restaurants, there were two (empty) wooden vegetable crates sitting right next to their dumpster. Those came home with me too ($20). So my total this week ended up being $1186.92. I just can't believe that! That is definitely not a normal week, but I'm counting everything I found because I think it's those types of things that add to the quality of life, and if I was working outside the home, I would not have had the opportunity to get all of it.
    This challenge is very exciting! I really enjoy seeing what everyone has been doing to save. Like the other ladies have said, it is very motivating and gives me ideas of other ways to save. Love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey,
      I am amazed what you found that day! I was thinking about those beams. I think the raised beds are a good idea. They will also look great. You must have had a work out just loading them up as they would have been heavy!
      Putting your finds to good use is wonderful. What an asset they all are!
      Being take out to lunches and dinner was also lovely!
      I also would have grabbed the wooden crates. There are so many things you can make from them!
      All of this has really built up your home that is for sure. I am so glad you got such a great total. I think if you would take photos of anything i.e. the raised garden when you make it etc I would love to see them. So would everyone as already so many comments on your good finds!
      I can't wait to see what the next week holds! With lots of love

  14. I think I had a really good week. I cut DH's hair. since it is just a buzz cut - $10. Both brought lunch to work, 5 days, and I brought breakfast and snack - estimate $100. We received a free lobster and crab dinner one night - yum - $60. I like to swim for my exercise. I have belonged to one health club for so long I now pay $50. a year. I asked what the normal price was and calculated a savings of $465. Purchased body lotions, body wash and body creams for gifts in the upcoming year at a 75% discount - per the receipt I saved $189. Received two free pillows - $65. Purchased split peas in bulk, rather than by the bag saved $3.77. Used a reward card to get 10¢ off each gallon of gas - save $1.20. Had a coupon for a haircut for myself - saved $10. that comes up to a total of $903.97 - WOW! My DH also had a day off work - and he cleaned and vacuumed the house. Mopped the kitchen floors and just in general, helped a great bit around the house.

    1. Dear Nancy,
      Swimming is my exercise too. That is a wonderful bargain!
      Your savings are fantastic! Amazing deal on the gifts of body lotion etc and the free pillows!
      When you see the total I am sure its a good surprise! It is a lot!
      How lovely to have DH help that way. What a good week! Thanks for sharing it Nancy, I hope next week is just as good! With love

  15. Dear Annabel,

    I'm one little person making my way through, essentially, a man's world, & it's really nice to be encouraged along with other women on the same track!! I have had one boot in my husband's work, I usually do some outdoors work each day (but not since I've seen a brown snake!) & then there's my own work!! There's not much to report in this area right now.

    One cool summer's day, we lit up the fire & cooked a chook in cast iron ware - giving chicken, chicken soup & then gelatinous gravy to eat with home made hot potato chips. (I've been taking an interest in gelatine since last winter, & appreciate that you are doing bone broths for Harper!) We buy potatoes & onions in bulk bags, & store them outdoors in an old boat seat/storage box. This time, the spuds have beaten me, & I'll be wasting some, but we're using some up with silver beet (great for high blood pressure, along with beetroot) & other greens in mashed potato. I found a small fabric stash at my parents' place, have checked patterns & am forming ideas for sewing & gifts. I also bought second hand sheeting. I'm thinking of using some as sheets, & some for nightie fabric. One was even new!

    To encourage others, I can testify that sometimes we don't really discover something until we really have a need, or really try to achieve a goal. That is how I came up with my own technique for cooking hot chips, for example. One other example, in saving electricity, is using the fireplace, itself, as an oven. I invested in a spun steel camp oven (lighter & less fragile than cast iron) & it fits inside the fire box, on top of the coals. Using a trivet, I can bake pumpkin scones (they can be smelt from the flu, outdoors) or a whole lot of cut chokos, in a little water, to feed to the animals. (I am curious to know if chokos are grown in the US.) I can imagine Barb becoming a wonderful baker!!

    I haven't yet responded, Annabel, to you about my "marathon project". It is nothing exciting. It's bitter sweet. I'll tell you what it is &, necessarily, why I am doing it.

    Simply, my marathon project involves hand stitching onto fabric the Song of Moses as written in Deuteronomy chapter 32. Why? This was always meant to be passed down the generations of all Israel (not just the tribe of Judah/the Jews). This, & the law, is meant to be life to us, while also embracing the atonement Christ made for us. The Song of Moses is the story of my people, the Anglo-Saxon nation of Israel. It is truly bitter sweet. It is sweet in describing the Eternal as the God of justice. It is sweet in telling how He always wanted to provide the best of produce for us, in a life where there is nothing beside Him. It is also bitter in the description of how a simply beautiful life has been lost to idolatry, unfaithfulness & the strange modern religions that break His laws, showing me the failings of the churchy ways I embraced as I grew up. It shows the younger generations, & the older, the knowledge of God lost through history & how, (even if we should make amends - other scripture) our people will be sent into slavery in a foreign land for taking on the ways of worshipping foreign gods/idols/demons. It sweetens at the end. Hosea 11:11 & Isaiah 11:11 are the easy portions to remember. They speak about a future second exodus when Christ will be our Rescuer. When we are struggling, this knowledge can bring comfort of knowing that the Eternal, in His justice, is in control. To me, it needs stitching. What paper may not survive, & what a weary mind may not hold, perhaps this will. I intend it to hang up in our house within a year.

    Feeling grateful,
    Rachel Holt

    1. Dear Rachel,
      That IS a marathon project. I really hope you will show me the end result. You will know it by heart by the end I would think. It will be an heirloom.
      I am very interested in gelatine also. Bone broth went kind of out of fashion but now it is understood the enormous nutritional benefits of it and also that gelatine is good for you and also very good for our skin. to top it off making bone broth is so cheap. We can make up lots of things into broth/stock and add in this nutritional value very inexpensively.
      I think being able to cook with cast iron and on a fire is a very good skill. I am coming over next time you do pumpkin scones! thank you for explaining your project. With love,

  16. This past week saw a huge chunk come out of our emergency fund. Our fur baby had to have a tumor removed and associated vetinary care. The bill was enormous! Anyways our fur baby is much happier and the prognosis s good, so hubby and I are happy campers. I was back a work taking my lunches and my own coffee. We have a mobile coffee van pulls into work and many staff members happily purchase coffee from the man. A regular coffee is $5! I have three coffees a day so this would cost $15/day which equates to $75/week. I'm counting this as a saving. I'm counting my packed lunches as saving $50. I used worm wee from the worm farm on the seedlings $10. Downloaded 5 free kindle books $50. Made 10L laundry liquid $80. Hubby got 4kg rice 50c/kg $5, free bag of tomatoes$4, 20L plastic drum spray painted with paint from the shed for one of my plants $30, 2 free loaves of bread $5. Our savings of $309 did not counteract the over $500 vet bill but went a long way to take the sting out of the cost. Wouldn't have been thinking about countering the cost this way without the Vicky Challenge. Thank you. Life is good.

    1. Well done Jane. really that savings in a week does help get past the emergency expense you had. In a couple of weeks you will bounce back and have the emergency fund topped up again!
      The coffee sure adds up. People don't think about $5 here and there but they would fall over in shock if they worked out the cost per month or year. It is too much. There are other things we could do with that amount.
      Thank you for sharing your week and Im so glad it is helpful to you! With love

  17. Annabel
    This has been a great week for everyone it seems.
    I saved in a variety of ways. As usual I made meals at home and packed lunches. Instead of buying new clothes at the thrift store I just matched up the clothes I have in new ways. I did buy a lovely thick winter nightgown for $1.75. It is very warm and cozy. I did a good bit of baking of cakes, brownies, muffins, and a pie. Daughter helped me and we mixed up brownie mix and a huge (18 cups of flour!!) muffin mix. This will save us time and money for snacks and breakfasts.
    Daughter and I made some more Valentine decorations using what we have on hand. I made a simple banner for a summer birthday gift. I've started work on a pillow top for Daughter's birthday. Added two dish towels to gift closet that were purchased on clearance.
    I have two fun finds I'm particularly pleased about. The first is a quilt hoop and stand in new condition in the original box. I bought it at the thrift shop for $3.50!!! The second is a Gingerbread Barn (not house) from the feed store. It was a Christmas clearance item. It has pigs, chicks, and cows in front of a barn. The only thing "Christmassy" is the wreath on the barn. It's one of those complete decorate your own sets. It was marked down from $12.99 to $4.99. The candy alone is worth that price. I thought it would make a fun project for daughter and I to do together one afternoon
    All totalled my savings and in sourcing this week comes to $458.00.

    1. Dear Ginger, I love your week! I think the Gingerbread Barn would be a lovely project to to with your daughter.
      Also I thin your nightgown was a great buy.
      The other day I made a cake with 12 eggs and I thought that was big but 18 cups of flour is much bigger! Well done. You got well ahead with that cooking. What great savings and a great effort! Many thanks for sharing it here with us. Love

  18. Annabel
    Would you mind sharing the recipe that used 12 eggs please? We have chicks and sometimes I am overwhelmed with eggs. I am always looking for recipes that use an abundance of eggs.

    1. Dear Ginger it is my Use it Up Fruit cake which I covered in peaches as I had so many! I doubled it so it was a really big cake. This is best made in the biggest tray you have as it is meant to be about the topping. It freezes well and can be served warm with cream or ice cream as a desert...
      When I have lots of eggs I make quiches and zucchini slice, baked egg custard and creme caramel. I love eggs they are so useful. I hope you like the recipe Im sorry you will just have to convert the butter to oz as it is in grams but online calculators do it in seconds. xxx

  19. It was a slow week at our house we weren't feeling well.
    Packed all lunches and snacks for work and car trips. $100.00 Cooked from scratch $100.00 Saved at the grocery store $50.00 Washed in cold water and used drying racks, Did not use heat $50.00. Did some mending. Sorted more things out to make it easier to find craft supplies. I think around
    Have a blessed weekend. Thank you for hosting. I was not going to post because I did not think it would be much but just things we do as second nature add up.

    1. Dear Patti,
      I hope you are all feeling much better! You still had wonderful savings!
      It really does add up and its encouraging to see how much. Sometimes we can wonder if we are getting anywhere and I think its good to consider how much we did. I hope you are all well and have a good new week! With love,


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