The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

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Sunday 30 October 2016

The Vicky Challenge. Big bills.

My Vicky Challenge was good due to a couple of great road side finds!
I counted the lunches all week plus the fishing day picnic as $150.
The IKEA shelves would have been $180 to buy.
I took in a top for myself and repaired another. They were both good tops so I am counting $100 there as they do not need replacing.
Then there was painting $300
And all the succulents I potted up. Chloe valued those by what she thinks are bargain prices she sees at the market. She said $120.
So I wrote $850 in my savings book! Very happy!

The photos in this post are ones I wanted to include somewhere! 
This one is from Rachel, it is glorious! 

My savings subject this week comes from the news and discussions that resulted from this over the last week. I saw for many of our US friends their medical insurance costs are going to rise incredibly.  One of my friends faced massive increases in costs last year.   I was dumbfounded that the monthly cost for medical insurance was going to be something like $1400.  I could not even fathom this.
I came to understand that not paying this was also expensive as then medication would be a massive cost and it was a no win situation.
When I heard it is going up by a lot again I asked how would this be for them? My friend said now they expect it to go up to around $2000 a month.  I felt quite heartbroken about that as I knew some of what they went through to manage to pay the bills this year. Without even asking I pretty much knew they won't be able to meet this new amount.

I do not want to get political and that is hard as I have strong opinions!  I know not everyone will be affected by these increases but many will.
This is also a tricky subject. I do not want to make it sound that everyone can cut back on things and afford such huge increases. There are times and circumstances when there is nothing left to cut.
What I do want to do is see if we can look at what can we do when facing big bills. The kind of increases or even one off bills that make you feel sick just thinking about.

I asked Vicky what she thought of this. She already knows someone impacted by these rising bills and she wrote:

I just had a discussion with a friend of mine who said at the first of the year their insurance cost was going up again and that after everything household wise was paid they would only have $25 left to last the week. She flat out said it will be like The Great Depression at my house! She said she is not sure how they will be able to live on this small amount and is having anxiety and frustration from it already. 
Many of us will be facing massive increases of some sort in the next year. More month than money and for some more week than money. So let's have a look at this situation and see if there is anything we can do. First of all don't wait! Plan ahead now so that when the time comes we can be somewhat prepared and not at a loss as to what we can do or be a help to someone else if we are fine. Let's not wait for a financial crisis to hit us hard if we can do some things now to stay ahead of it.
If anyone is participating in the savings challenge we know there are so many ways to save and have a little bit more and a little bit more money. I visited a nursing home recently and talked to women who lived through all that we have talked about and oh the knowledge and experience they have! Such inspiration from ladies who had to make a home and live in drafty chicken coops or move around to follow the work taking the woodstove with them and living in a tent. One lady cried and said that if she could have fed her children until they were actually full instead of having only spoonful's to give them at each meal she would have felt like a better mother. I cried with her and told her I am sure she did her best. Let's do our best to make sure that we can try to stay ahead of things if we can. So let's:

Revisit the household budget! What bills do we have and how do we pay them? How can we reduce them again to help with new rising costs?  
Revisit our eating habits and menus! We need to continue stocking up, but what are the most economical meals we make that require the least ingredients? Make a list!
How is your pantry? How long can you make it last if you had to? Do you need to stock things? Make a list! 
How are the utilities? Can they be reduced again and how? 
Are you making the most of the gas or petrol you put in your vehicle? Can you reduce it?
And really let's ask ourselves now if it would come to it can we live in the extreme ways that others have and how? How will we do it? 
What kind of extreme can we really do? Let's think about the possibilities and should it arise have the mindset that we can and will do what we have to until the situation is better. If anyone is interested I can write more about my chats with these special ladies. 

This is my photo of a young Kookaburra in our yard recently.

Where ever we live most of us have faced large unexpected expenses or bills that are seemingly out of control. In our state I would put electricity bills in that category.   So this discussion can apply to anyone anywhere. A one off big bill is still not as terrible probably as the prospect of a massive bill monthly! But most of us will have faced one or the other at some time.

Vicky makes the point that the sooner we act the better.
This is a crisis for many people. We can hope it is temporary.  Some families will find the extra money and some simply will not be able to and then what I don't know!

What can we do to prepare for big price rises?  If you are facing giant increasing costs or have survived them before and have any encouraging words and ideas then please share them.
The neighbours behind our house this year turned a room at the end of their house into a flat and rented it out.  Other neighbours over the road are looking at doing the same thing as international students in our city pay a really good amount to rent a room.
Some people in the city rent out their driveway for someone to park in all day.
I have heard of families with big yards or sheds earning an income from allowing someone to use the shed for storage or even park a boat or caravan in their yard.
Another friend has started an Easy shop to see the lovely things she makes at home.
Lets get our heads together on this!

This is a photo of a Galah from Rachel's Dad! 
These are one of my favourite birds. 

How did you save or do with your Vicky Challenge last week? I hope it was a really good week.

My niece was here most of the weekend and we painted and painted! The Garage is almost complete and the high sections of the back of the house are all finished too.  Over the next fortnight I have quite a few bits and pieces to finish off but this will not be hard and then I am done!  The finish line is close!
And today is the last day of the month! Tomorrow I am getting things out of the present cupboard and surveying everything I made all year! I can't wait!
Keeping at things all year long really adds up. It is amazing.  If there is a really big job that is daunting for you think of it as a few minutes a day or what ever time you think you have available per week. Over a year you will be shocked at how much this achieves. The decision to do it is the hardest part!

Have a great day! We have Show and Tell on Wednesday and it is going to be good! xxx


  1. This is really disturbing!... But, God gives wisdom to those that ask (James 1:5). In our own home, here are some ways we cut our expenses drastically. We got rid of our second vehicle (less car insurance, less gas is spent as I find I don't do those un-necessary outings anymore). Our electricity is less-expensive during the hours of 11PM to 5AM so I stay up later and start up all my appliances that I am able at that time such as the washing machine, filling up our water tank (we need to pump water in each night) and things like our dehydrator when I have produce to dry.... We sold our dryer years ago and exclusively line dry. We do not go on vacations but enjoy our back yard and family/friend fellowship on our own property. We sweat during the summer and shiver a bit in the winter... :) I think you have gone over the other major money-saving ideas in the past (such as gardening, thrifting, etc., ) so I thought to add some other odds and ends that maybe haven't been discussed yet.... Great topic! Thank you for this post ladies!

    1. Dear Jes, Thank you for sharing what you have done. We share some of these savings ways with you too.
      I agree about asking for guidance and prayer as well.
      Thanks so much Jes, with love

  2. Oh Annabel we are so blessed to have our public health system here in Aus. Bluey has spent eight weeks in hospital over the past three months. He received wonderful care from some very hard working Doctors and truly overworked wonderful nurses. This was all without cost to us. If we had to pay for all the treatment he received we would have nothing left.
    The main cost to us, through all of this, is that I have not worked at all and we have been completely dependent on Bluey's part pension. we live a very simple life so have managed quite well. The emergency fund came into operation once more as I have had to have some major dental work done. I will be putting any leftover dollars into this fund to build it up yet again.
    I have started writing down my savings once more. We were gifted a small chest of drawers and a desk lamp by my parents neighbour. Katie has the painting bug and she and her father are collaborating on doing the drawers up. The half shell handles will be gold and the drawers white. These paints can be found in the shed.
    I'm having bake up, using the hooded barbecue as it's too hot to have the oven on inside. We've got banana cake in my new to me, vintage cake tin, as well as another individually sliced and wrapped and in the freezer. A leg of lamb is now done for cold meat for dinner and I have a zuchinni slice baking away.
    It's my Birthday today and I have been blessed with the best present ever! My Bluey is home and getting better with every passing day.
    Life is good.

    1. Dear Jane,
      Yes we sure are. A medical crisis is bad enough without having to worry how to pay for it.
      Katie and her Dad will make a great team! I love doing finds up as you have probably guessed!
      Actually right there is a tip. I know not everyone does have road side finds but I do know someone who found very good furniture and sold it for a great price on Ebay. This included lovely bed heads and bases. She made a great profit. So this could help someone. Or possibly doing up thrift store finds. I used to get old style girls dressing tables and paint them "Annabel pink" and I would get about $300 a set for them. I had a store that sold them for me as it was a Shabby Chic store and she loved displaying her wares on them. I did this for several years. Many were road side finds, some from thrift stores...
      Your cooking sounds beautiful. Its great to do it outside in the warm weather... we do the same.
      Happy Birthday Jane. I hope you have a wonderful day. I can see you already got what you really wanted! With love

    2. Dear Jane,
      Great news about Bluey. Our prayers continue. Happy, Happy, Birthday. Cookie

    3. Happy Birthday, Jane!


    4. Jane, so happy Bluey is home!! And Happy Birthday!! Teri

    5. Happy Birthday Jane! That is wonderful news.
      Much love Patti

  3. I will be following the comments for this post closely! Very timely subject! Thanks Vicky and Annabel!

    1. Dear Patsy, I was hoping it would be timely and useful and that we can come up with some new things for all of us. Times change and new ways to make and save come up. i.e. I mentioned about about people renting their driveways! I never thought of that but its a thing in the city now. And I love ETSY shops, I am even thinking of having one...
      Have a very good week! With love

  4. Dear Annabel and Vicky,
    What a pertinent subject for this time in the U.S. A lot of people are opting out to pay the penalty simply because they cannot afford the insurance. This erects another set of problems for individuals and families that need some health care.
    You have some very interesting and beautiful birds in Australia. The Galah is a gorgeously colored bird!!
    Thanks for this post. Vicky's suggestions were excellent. I will be interested to see what other's post concerning this subject.
    Love and hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda, I used to have a pet Galah years ago! They are very smart!
      I think between us all we might come up with some new ideas. I hope so!
      Have a good new week Glenda. With love

    2. Ask the galah, then!

  5. Hi Annabel, This is a great topic and very close to my heart. My blog post for today is about cutting the price of electricity. Great minds think alike.

    We are facing another financial challenge in our home. I have very little cleaning work now and we'll be loosing all government assistance next year.

    I've already started cutting our budget yet again. Trips in the car will be limited, no going out unless we pay for it out of our pocket money ( which Darren and I guard fiercely ). We'll have to grow more food and our girls will need to buy more of their snacks and toiletries etc. Their board will be going up too.

    I'm doing more op shop shopping for presents and using their discount cards to get better deals.

    I've opened up an Etsy shop in the hope I can make some money from my handmade cards and crafts using things I already have. I've already had my first sale.

    We'll get through this new challenge. We always do. Future planning is the key.

    1. For anyone wanting to see Wendy's electricity post this is at My Abundant Life and there is a link on my page on the right hand side.

      Dear Wendy, Oh wow you have a double whammy then. On Wednesday I will add a link to your Etsy shop as well.
      I am thinking... you are a very good thrift shopper. I wonder if selling some good finds on EBAY would be a possibility. Of course it is something we have to know what are big sellers, collectable items etc. Also I notice in some ETSY shops people sell vintage things and craft supplies. So some finds could end up in your ETSY shop. Items I have seen do well are vintage embroidered doilies and laces. I hope we can find some possibilities here! (and also I have seen vintage embroidery threads and sewing box items...) I hope your shop goes really well.
      Thank you for your words. I agree planning is a key factor and having a warning to be able to plan is also good. Thanks Wendy, Love

    2. Dear Annabel and Wendy,

      You could try mystery shopping. Some of the assignments are really easy and can be done from home (phone, e-mail). It doesn't pay much but everything helps. I prefer Gumtree to Ebay. I seem to sell more on Gumtree maybe due to the fact that people can have a look before buying. I have sold kid's clothing in bundles, toys, boardgames etc. I am also currently painting some dated furniture. I bought chalked paint and I am painting the furniture in a shabby chic/ hampton style look. My neighbour tried to dispose of a table and 6 chairs all very good quality (heavy wood not flimsy like some table chair combos sold these days). I am hoping to sell on Gumtree , takes effort and time but could make some good money.
      Tricia (fom Wendys blog)

  6. Dear Annabel. This is worrying stuff. And it's everywhere. I'll add that the government here is in the process of reviewing all Disability Support Payments. This means that our son, who has Cerebral Palsy, is in a wheelchair, and requires round the clock assistance for the simplest of daily living tasks from toileting to eating, has had a 'please provide proof of your disability' letter! He responded in a timely fashion, with a few choice words from his doctor included, and returned it in time, but has still received a letter this morning informing him that his payment has been suspended. We are beyond livid, as you can imagine. It's just another lesson in how much we are at the whims and mercies of others. We are 100% confident that his payment will be reinstated, but it's a case of when. Fortunately, because we live carefully, we can give him money to tide him over, but many, many families will not be in this position. How many others with disabilities they've had since birth, will be in a terrible position due to the inadequacies of public servants and the government of the day? It's infuriating. Anyway, I'm sorry to steal your thunder, Annabel and Vicky. My point is that an emergency fund and a well stocked pantry, serve you well, not only in natural disasters, or loss of employment, but when you are subjected to decisions beyond your control for whatever reason. Now, this is a great total for you this week Annabel, and it really helps you appreciate that a job outside the home, could not possibly provide you with the standard of living that you enjoy, without enormous financial investment. The little succulents alone are something that others turn into a well paid hobby income, and your painting of your home and the treasures you find in your own neighbourhood, are to be admired. Thankyou as always for your gentle inspiration. I think for those of us who are keen to generate additional income from home, the heirloom skills really come into their own. You've shown me how improving on my embroidery skills, presents an opportunity to beautify the mundane and neglected, turning them into something beautiful and treasured, that yes, could make me extra money if the mood takes me. Cake decorating, sewing and mending, gardening and growing plants and generating food that can be gifted or traded, are perennial for any clever family. Finding like minded groups in your area, who may be willing to trade your skills for theirs is another good one. Last week, a friend offered me some of her home brewed ginger beer, in exchange for my sewing skills. I accepted her lovely ginger beer, and stitched a pair of shorts for her daughter, and we were both happy. Certainly a return to the ways of our grandparents in this respect, can only be a good thing. Love, Mimi xxx

    1. Mimi, Bluey is looking at having his part pension reduced even further. This is due to working hard all his life and we own our own home. Too much in the way of assets apparently.
      I have a regular trade happening with a neighbour. He gets me to take up his long pants and boiler suits in exchange for lovely fresh caught fish.

    2. Dear Mimi and Jane,
      We are so thankful Bluey is doing so well, Jane. Prayers will continue for all of you who have requests on here.
      Mimi, you are absolutely right, a return to our grandparents ways, will benefit us in these times. I hope all works out quickly for your son.
      Blessings to both of you,

    3. Dear Mimi,
      This is beyond belief! What worries me is that someone will just be cut off like your son has but someone who has not wonderful family to get them through and fight for them! Many people just wouldn't even know where to start or how to fight. Just terrible.
      Your story also hits me... this is loss of income for no actual reason except a massive mistake /injustice... with no warning really.In reality we all rely on simple things like payments going through, transactions taking place and then bam they don't happen!As you say then over night the world changes!
      I am confident also that this will be fixed but only thanks to your immediate actions!
      Your next pint about skills being both a potential income but also tradeable thing is really good! trading can have many applications... and our skills or services are potentially really valuable.
      I am sorry you have had such a shock and no wonder you are mad! Whoever makes dumb decisions like this really needs to lose their position of such power!
      Thank you for sharing this and your ideas as they are great.
      With love

    4. Would you believe that as sick as my brother is the Government have decided that he can only get new start so has to apply for jobs. His GP keeps writing certificates for my brother so that he doesn't have to apply for jobs - he has leukemia and contact with anyone other than those he knows well is not allowed.


    5. Dear Lynette, Good grief that is awful. I understand about he must have low immunity and have to avoid infection and bugs... so how ridiculous is that! Just an added stress. They are sure picking on the wrong people! Love

    6. Mimi,
      I hope the reinstatement goes quickly for your son. It is amazing that when they do these things that everyone is grouped together. We do a lot of trading and bartering and have found it to be a great way to help keep things going on the home front.

    7. That is beyond belief Mimi. I feel very much for you and your family, I hope the DSS sorts itself out soon in relation to your son's payments.

  7. Many people are feeling uncertain here. The insurance going up and the election with no obvious good option is a concern for many of us in the USA.
    I enjoy your blog and the ideas you share. I would be interested in hearing about Vicky's visit and the chats she had with those special ladies. They have so much to share.
    I scrubbed down my kitchen cabinets and got out the touch up paint. Looks pretty good and I have talked myself of new cabinets yet again. Maybe new hardware as a Christmas gift for me. :)
    Sheila - USA

    1. Dear Sheila,
      All the way over here in Australia the US election is making many people feel anxious and so I can barely imagine what it is like there!
      I will see if Vicky will add a bit more on her discussions with those ladies as I would love to hear it too!
      Well done on your kitchen cabinets! I hope you get the hardware you want for Christmas ... you better drop some good hints!
      Thanks so much Sheila, Love

  8. So many great suggestions on how to earn and more money! Hopefully this will help some. All hope is not lost. Today I ran across a suggestion to unplug everything in the house and this would save a substantial amount on electricity. I'm going to give it a try and unplug as much as I can. IT certainly couldn't hurt.

    1. Dear Vickie,
      We've kept things unplugged unless it is in use for years and you will see savings from it, although it won't be very apparent at first. The only things that stay plugged in is. the refrigerator and freezer. Cookie

    2. Dear Vickie, Thank you. I think all the little stand by lights on everything really add up and this is a good idea. I am doing this as a walk around at night and you see the little lights! they can go off! Thanks Vickie, love

    3. Dear Annabel & Vickie,

      I'm with you with unplugging unwanted electrical items. Sometimes my hubby laughs at me saying, "We should have millions of dollars saved by now at the rate you switch off and unplug things". It's a family joke but I'm pretty sure I've saved a lot only by this one task.

      I hope the following tips would help someone to save more on electricity. Once my brother asked me to try reducing the cooling on fridge and freezer during winter and reversing during the summer. I've been doing this for a few years now. I personally think this works well. It's the same with ceiling fans too. We had ceiling fans in our home and my hubby reversed the blades during winter and summer. This helps getting more cooling during summer and circulating warm air during winter.

      My mom always used only a little extra water than she wanted when she boiled water in the kettle, let it be electric kettle or stove top. This helps saving a lot on unwanted water boiling. Once I had to ask one of our residential visitor only to use a little water. She was a sweetheart but she boils a full kettle just to make a cuppa for herself. What a waste? I made sure my request was worded nicely and she didn't get hurt or upset, but had to make the request as she stayed with us for one month.

      We don't watch TV that much but I hardly let it keep going without an audience unless we have visitors who wants the TV on all the time. Some of my friends and relatives let the TV go on while cooking, answering telephones with the TV on mute, playing board games etc. What I think is, if you don't watch TV, it doesn't have to be on. Switch it off from the wall. Save money and electricity while you concentrate on what you are currently doing. Simple theory.

      Unless it is urgent, I always try to dry clothes at least partially dry them in the clothes line or under ducted heating before putting them in the dryer. Though very helpful on rainy days an emergencies, dryer is a monstrous electricity consumer. Again, I hardly run both washers (washing machine and dishwasher) unless they are fully loaded.

      I hope some of these tips will help at least one person to save more on electricity.

      Love you a lot for what you share with us, Annabel. Thank you so much for such an angel.

      Best regards,

    4. Dear Millie,
      Thank you for your great tips. I agree on the TV. I know people who have it on all day and all the time and I don't like it. But it must eat up electricity! Some things become habits but we need to look at our habits and think if they are really costing us.
      The kettle is another. I noted that they use a lot of electricity and have been much more careful since. You can even pour excess boiling water into a thermo and use it later rather than reboil.
      Thanks so much for your help, love

  9. Great post! Many of us here in the USA are facing huge rises in both our health care premiums and our deductibles. I think that our rates on our policy that we get through my husband's work is locked in until August. His premium is paid for by his employer, but we pay for mine ourselves. Just in case though, my husband and I are getting all of our medical stuff that we can done by the end of the year. We both either have or will be getting physicals, he has an appointment with a specialist for something that we hope will turn out to be something minor, I have a mammogram on Tuesday and if anything else is needed, we will try to squeeze it in before January 1st. If our rates go up any more than they already are, I don't think we will be able to afford health insurance for me.

    1. Dear Debbie,
      You are being really smart to be up to date on everything medical that you can. Good idea.
      I have heard many people are getting letters about now to inform them of the new rates. I hope you don't get one of these!
      You have made a great point for everyone... if insurance may discontinue please get everything you can done now! Thank you Debbie. with love

  10. Hi Annabel,
    WOW! $2000 per month!! I knew medical cover was expensive in the US, but never realised how so. Having had Three major surgeries in the past few years, I know I would never have afforded them had I not been in Australia - this just makes me want to cry.
    To get a little political here, I wish the utility companies and local government would stagger the timing with there bills. We get quarterly gas, water, electricity and rates notices all at the same time and all needing to be paid at the same time. While we know this is the case and plan accordingly, it's quite distressing to see these piled one on top of the other.
    I look forward to everyone's suggestions regarding this post, and also looking forward to Show'n'tell.
    Have a great week,

    1. Dear Janine,
      I am like you and never knew what big expenses many face. It was a shock for me too.
      I agree with you! It happens in our house that water and electricity come at the same time... we also get insurances around Christmas just to make it worse!
      I better get working on Show and Tell but there are a lot of good photos to share! Much love

    2. Janine, I live in Victoria and managed to find an electricity and gas supplier that will bill monthly which is easier to budget for and afford. I receive the bills online and pay online on due date as they also offer a substantial discount ($20 to $40 per month)for timely payment. Well worth shopping around. I don't imagine that rates will ever be offering monthly billing but I am hopeful that perhaps water will some day!. Glennis

  11. Hi Annabel,Great topic,i adore kookaburra;s we have them here too and they always come down for a fed lol,remember when i had no power for 4 days,well if you ring your electricity provider you can get a discount but you have to ask,we were lucky we had gas hot water or it would of been a lot harder, iam also thinking of investing in a camping fridge as the power is always going off here.
    Have a great week x

    1. Thank you for mentioning this discount. One time years ago I got a payment for all the frozen food I lost in a long power outage but I had to apply for it and fill out a lot of paper work. But I got it!
      A lot of camping items are very good. A way to make do in a crisis and excellent! Many thanks love

  12. Mimi - the same process is happening in the UK. My brother who has been completely deaf since birth along with special needs has now got to make a new claim as they have changed the name of the benefit. I am his carer and feel so ashamed that this is happening for thousands of people. Once again we have to jump through hoops! Sorry for the rant but how about people with no-one to care for them! Ronnie xx

    1. Dear Ronnie, Thank goodness your brother has you as his carer. As in Mimi's case he has an advocate that will help and it really worries me that many people have no such person to help them sort all this out and help them in the meantime! That is so sad. Thank goodness for families and watching out for each other.
      I totally understand what you are saying. It isn't a rant it is such a good point! Thank you. Love

  13. Dear Annabel,
    Thank you for your very timely post and for Vicky's input. I would be extremely interested in hearing more regarding the ladies she's been visiting and talking with. I believe the sharing of their experiences and history is invaluable and should not be lost.

    As for the health insurance crisis here in the states, and it is a huge crisis, there are some avenues of that people may not be aware of. For instance, if man or woman is an armed forces veteran they are entitled to health care from the VA as well as any medications they may need at an extremely nominal fee or free, depending on their actual income (that means income after expenses). One does not have to have served in a war. It does take time to get into the system and the individual will be prioritized as to need , but they will get care and medications.
    Having your physician help you by writing to a company that manufactures critical medications that are needed to lower the cost individually to you is another route I've know people have taken with huge success. It bears checking out.
    If school age children are involved most states have the CHIP program, which is medical insurance that covers the child until graduation, at a minimal cost. Having children on CHIP should greatly reduce adult insurance fees.
    Investigating available resources does take doing a lot of footwork, patience and prayer. I hope that someone out there can benefit.
    Most states have healthfairs or days where screening tests are done for about $30 rather than the 100s of dollars at the lab or doctor's office.
    Investigating different avenues takes a lot of footwork, patience and prayer to be sure.

    The landscape and wildlife in Australia is so beautiful, thanks for sharing them. And what a find on the shelves. I love finding little gems at the curbside.

    A few things we've done and continue to do is to re-evaluate our needs. Like JES, we are a one car family, and our electric rates go down first at 7 pm and then further at 11 pm. until 6 am. All electrical appliances are unplugged after use, and the only ones that are continually plugged in are the freezer and refrigerator.
    Technology was something we re-evaluate some time ago and decided that one computer in the house and simple cell phones would work just fine for us. If we need to print something a short trip to the library and 5 cents a page for printing works out well.
    Years ago we read some books by Larry Burkett, who was a forerunner of Dave Ramsey. The books were "Debt Free Living" and "The Coming Economic Earthquake". We also read a book called "Your Money or Your Life" by Joe Domingas. All excellent reads, and very informative. I've also found there were many websites and blogs that are devoted to recipes from WWI and WWII and the Great Depression. Wishing everyone a beautiful week. Blessings. Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie, Thank you for so many really helpful suggestions and the book recommendations as well. I will be checking those out. The beauty of books is we can ask for them from the library and no cost there either but great resources.
      Next week I will point everyone back to these comments as we are collectively gathering a lot of information and I am going to post some "outside the box" ideas that come out of all of this.
      I am thinking of you and hoping everything is going well. With lots of love, Annabel.xxxx

  14. I am so thankful for this timely and helpful post. Our cost for insurance didn't go up, but only because our out of pocket (what we have to pay before insurance kicks in) has gone up to $10,000!!! It's a little of a concern for our family, but thank God we are healthy and don't have daily medications.

    In past times of belt-tightening, we learned that big problems can really be made smaller by these small savings. Don't throw them out too soon. Try it. It will help, even if it doesn't cover the whole thing. A dollar savings here and there sets your mind to look for bigger savings.

    The book I always go back to, especially to try things I previously thought I couldn't do, is the Complete Tightwad Gazette. Over 600 pages of great and sometimes radical ideas for saving money. It's available at most libraries here in the states.

    Blessings to you, Annabelle, for what you are doing. You are helping more people than you know.

    1. Yes ! The Tightwad Gazette is a must read! Do try and get it ladies.
      Thank you all for the input!

    2. Dear Cristy, Thank you for explaining this! Wow that is a lot to have to cover. That gap would surely wipe many people out!
      Thank you also re the Tightwad Gazette. I took it out of the library a few years ago. I think maybe I should get my own copy.
      Your encouragement really was lovely Cristy thank you so much. With love Annabel.xx

  15. Hi Annabel (& Annabel's mob, of course!),

    First, I'll give credit to my Dad for the stunning waratah photo! This was taken in the state of New South Wales.

    Next, I want to thank the courageous two - Annabel and Vicky - for the Depression Era topics that tug so hard at the heart strings. I would really appreciate your stories, Vicky! They make me feel so grateful, so sober and so thoughtful about how to go about living less on unreliable things.

    I appreciate that people are being confronted with significant financial challenges. We have been there, and know what it feels like. As well as the financial burden, there is the wear and tear on your bodies and the feeling of humiliation. All I can really suggest is to stick to your own priorities and values. It takes time. Answers can turn up! .. and do!

    As for those looking to set up a little hobby business, I tend to think of creating your own niche market and meeting a basic need that might still be relevant when spending slows down.

    How have we saved in the week to Vicky Day? Well, yesterday, our generator belt finally broke, and was replaced. Everything works so much better with a good belt! That's an efficiency saving for us - hotter water; running the toaster with the skillet instead of separately; and so on! Funnily, my husband just replaced the fan belt in the car, too. It broke, and we had a fun time getting home! It was easier, though, than the time when our thirty year old car (at the time) received a huge jolt on a forestry road, resulting in a broken belt and bolt. That time, we travelled home up a range using baling twine as a belt. Each time it broke, we had to cut another piece with a screwdriver blade! Fun!! (I love true stories, Vicky!)

    With warm regards,
    Rachel Holt

    1. Dear Rachel, Thank you to your Dad! He can send me photos any time please!
      Vicky is already on writing some more of these stories down. Rachel I agree they are sobering and bring us into reality.
      You touched on something no one else has. The feeling of humiliation people can feel when struggling financially. Truly awful. Living to your own values can free us from the whole keeping up with the Jones' thing that I do not subscribe to at all but many people compare themselves to others. It is no help! We need to maybe compare ourselves to the world in which case dos too us are better off than in many other countries.
      Your next point is spot on too! If the economy goes down further many businesses will only go down with it. Some things will remain or even grow and this takes thinking about. From here I see anything that saves electricity will be popular. Anything that is a money saver and necessity...
      You had the week of the fan belt! This sounds like it gave you a bit of an adventure!
      I hope this is a great week for you Rachel! With love

  16. I will be following along on this. I had unexpected heart surgery December 2015. It totaled something like $72,000! Even with insurance we ended up with a large chunk to pay. It has been a struggle for us to make the payments on this and keep our heads above water. We are trying hard to pay it off and be debt free (except our mortgage) once again. The policy we had is being dropped by hubbies employer due to the rising cost. The new plans being offered come with super high deductibles and an increase in monthly premiums. The deductable is so high that unless we have a major medical event I don't think we would meet it. Our plan is to go to the doctor once a year (which is covered at no cost) and other then that we will have to be extremely ill to go in. Sad that it has come to this.

    We have cut and cut and there isn't much left to cut. The electric bill needs to come down some and hubby said I should cut the grocery budget again. I am thankful that I have a well stocked pantry!

    1. Dear Wendi,
      Firstly I really hope that you have recovered from surgery and all is well with your heart.
      The expenses are mind blowing. I am really sorry you are also hit hard by this system. It must have been a hard year for you.
      Good luck with reducing the electricity bill... a lot of tips have come in on that subject so I hope some might be helpful to you.
      Groceries are one that I find new ways to cut and I really only buy great specials. And no soft drinks, no take away etc. These double as savings and health tips so I look at them as a win/win.
      Thank you for sharing your story. I really hope next ear is better for you and that this whole system gets scrapped and you will again have fair and good medical access. With love Annabelxxx

    2. Dear Annabel,

      I have a word for Wendi and others at the end of my comment about uncovered medical expenses...

      My Vicky challenge was great. I'm happy to report $425.00 for the week! I'm really happy about that.

      All of this is so distressing about big bills, but such a good topic to cover.

      Everything you've mentioned, ie., Etsy, renting space to someone, etc. Is really the way to go. What I mean is, anything you can do to bring in something extra is excellent. Have a plan. If you don't use the extra to stock your pantry or freezer, or to pay down a debt, just use it wisely and don't let it get absorbed frivolously. Keep track somewhere so when you're discouraged you can reflect on your progress.

      As far as uncovered medical expenses, I had something to share that could potentially help people in the USA so I appreciate you posting our comments. Several years ago, my dad had a massive heart attack. He was not insured. He was aged 64 years and 2 months...significant here in the USA because he knew that when he was aged 65 he would qualify for medicare. Anyway, it was staggering. He lived alone in Kansas, and I live in AZ. I flew to his bedside and stayed with him for several days after quintuple bypass surgery. As he was on the mend, the medical bills started pouring in. Well over $130,000.00. Bottom line: I made lots of phone calls, called every single doctor, the hospital, the imaging (X-ray) techs, labs, etc. It became a job in itself to try to get him some assistance. Due to all of the financial documentation we provided, we were able to get nearly all of these expenses covered through charity. I still have the official letter telling us that amazing news! The only creditor that refused to work with my dad's balance due was the helicopter (airlift). $13,000.00 was his only outstanding bill at the end. Now I know that his was an extreme case, but my point is do NOT be afraid to call, write, email, etc. and ask for help. When you are told "no", do not be afraid to ask again, or ask differently, or ask "who else is available that could possibly help me with this bill?" It will take time and effort, but you can get some help. Some is better than none. Pray and work. Financial blessings and miracles can and do happen so I hope this can encourage someone.

      Excellent post Annabel and Vicky! So many good ideas, we need to do what we can with what we have for sure.

      Colette xxx

    3. Dear Colette,
      Well done on your Vicky Challenge last week!
      Thank you for sharing your story about your Dad. You did an amazing job to help your Dad sort out a bill of that size! And with such good results! Thank you for saying how this worked out and I hope it helps someone reading this. I would think a bill this big would be the end of most families... I don't know how people are meant to pay that. Its incredible.
      I agree about praying and working and that miracles do happen! With much love Annabel.xxxx

  17. Thank you for this post Annabelle. I also will be watching to see where others have found ways to cut costs. It seems everything is going up but fortunately no as drastic as health insurance. I am fortune that my employer pays 100% of my insurance but my husband had medicare and a supplement. His supplement made another jump this year.

    I too would like to hear more from Vicky on the ladies she has talked with. If my mother were still alive, she would be so full of knowledge. I did learn a lot from her but could have learned a lot more.

    You are really doing great with your Vicky Challenge. It is amazing how it adds up.
    Paula in Kansas

    1. Dear Paula,
      Thank you! There are a lot of requests for more information on the ladies Vicky spoke to. I will ask her to write more on this.
      Chloe has a neighbour who is in her 90s. She is a really bright and smart lady and I thought I should go ask her what she remembers of the depression years etc here in Australia. She could be a great source of information!
      I wish I still had my Nana's as they would be wonderful on this subject!
      Thank you Paula, love

    2. Dear Annabel and lovely ladies,
      Go to "You Tube" type in Great Depression Cooking - Poor Mans Meal. Great Depression cooking with Clara. There are many wonderful videos, Her Grandson filmed and posted many videos of her. She was
      in her 90's when he filmed her. The videos are amazing and a wealth of information. Sorry I do not know how to leave a link.
      Much Love,

  18. We are in the same boat as Cristy; our monthly insurance ,cost subsidized by DH's workplace, didn't go up but out of pocket increased to $8000. Basically what we have, then, is catastrophic insurance; we pay out of pocket for everything unless something really bad happens and we end up in the hospital. We try to live a healthy lifestyle in hopes that our health will hold out.
    I very much appreciate Vicky's comment about planning ahead now so that when the increases hit we will be prepared or be a help to someone else if we are okay. We really do need to stick together and help when we see a need.

    1. Dear Chipmunk,
      That is a lot to need in a medical crisis. This has been so interesting to find out so much. Many of us have similar issues if not with healthcare then in other ways.
      This makes supporting each other really helpful and so far in the comments there have been a lot of ideas and some really good information. Thank you so much. Love

  19. Another avenue to consider in the US is Christian medical sharing. Pre-existing conditions are not covered but for many it is a way to satisfy Obamacare and reduce insurance costs. Even if you have to pay out of pocket for meds it could still be much cheaper and you could possibly switch to cheaper options of medications.

    We are very fortunate to have excellent, inexpensive coverage through my husband's employer although we have a very high deductible but I just feel sick for those of you who are facing this increase.

    We have cut medical bills by learning to take care of ourselves as much as possible with essential oils. Oils never go bad and once purchased can be used for every common illness.

    1. Dear Lana, Thank you for this information. Also I am interested in essential oils and many alternative medical treatments some are excellent. i.e. Lucy has had good results with acupuncture and we would never even have thought to try it but the neurologist suggested it. This is surely good incentive to be as healthy as we can and to think about that. I know it doesnt help int he case of an accident etc but still it can't hurt! With love

  20. Annabel,
    It will be a sad state of affairs for some I am afraid. I am hoping this fiasco will get fixed quickly! We had a good week of $750 I just love all of the pictures you post it is so lovely there and Rachel's beautiful flower and pink bird made me happy! And I would be so delighted to see your Kookaburra in my yard!
    I am having a revisit and have found some things we can cut or reduce we still plan on paying off the second half of the house so that will be a bill off of the table.
    I bartered some small things like yogurt and some spices for yarn!
    I got another gift card for a survey. And got free diapers in the mail. I also got 5 freebies at the store this week and some really cheap tomato paste after coupons.
    And I have a little tip! for anyone who is thinking about water consumption well I for one use a lot of water when I clean the shower so today I got a garden sprayer that we never used filled it with water and rinsed the shower down that way. It was perfect and saved a lot of water!
    I have so many thoughts in my head right now that I am just in a real tizzy and can't seem to get the words out at the moment.
    I hope everyone has a great week!

    1. Dear Vicky, Thank you so much for what you wrote in this post and everyone wants to hear more from the old ladies!
      I like Kookaburras as they will eat snakes! Maybe not huge snakes but small ones... which saves them from growing into huge ones!
      Well done on your savings and trading for yarn! A yarn stash is important!
      Thanks so much Vicky, with love

  21. I also love the bird pictures. So different than ours.

    Yep, the annual health insurance time is stressful. Again, nothing political but when Obamacare started, we had huge increases in our employer insurance. So, naturally I had two surgeries afterward! We JUST finished paying off the one from 2014. In a year's time, we had several things happen that cost a lot. Major home repair, my surgeries, my mom (moving her from California, a major illness, & sadly, a funeral), in the middle of my mom's hospital stay in ICU, my car literally died. That's a whole other story. Let's just say that the grand total was over $20k out of pocket and a stinkin' car payment. So, we're going on about 2 yrs. of Depression-era living and praying very hard! We have no wiggle room at all so there's no cutting back. Nothing left! However, we have been blessed to make it this long and we'll keep powering through and keep praying! We're keeping a good attitude and I think that helps a lot.

    Sorry I yapped so long.

    1. Dear Debby, I am sorry you have had such a rough time and series of events. Especially the loss of your Mother.
      Well done on managing and keeping going as you have. You have a great attitude too. I hope 2017 will be easier and better. Thank you for sharing this and as I have read the comments I can see that a lot of ladies have already had finances stretched to the max. Next week I hope to print a list of the best ideas we have come up with, or new ones at least. With love

  22. Dear Annabel, what a wonderful post. I think that at different times of our lives we have all been in the position of facing financial hardship. I recently have found new ways to save money or to reuse something that I would have formally thrown out. The first was egg shells. I have been drying these out since I had a big bake up day recently and have plenty of egg shells left over. These have been drying and tonight I will crush them and use them to fertilise the tomato and capsicum seedlings I am planting, might even put them in with the cucumber seedlings, no harm I am sure in trying. I also have the beautiful e-book teaching me how to use citrus left overs and that is something so eye opening. I have been receiving free lemons and making use of them in many different ways, not just baking.
    Another tip is that I have been putting aside food that I buy during grocery day and just putting it out in little amounts making it last. My daughters would gobble down a box of ten ice creams but if when I buy them I put out two at a time for them to eat these treats last more than a fortnight. Same with other foods. If I only take out of the freezer exactly what I need then none is wasted and just becomes a snack. So when a meal is over I immediately freeze what is left and bring it out as another meal.
    So many things that are simple to do but if we don't know about them we never put these money saving acts into place.
    I have been asking for practical gifts when someone asks as I was able to buy two fruit trees and numerous seedlings from gift cards I received for my birthday which is a much more practical gift than say chocolates or clothing I don't need. In reality the trees will not fruit for another two years but if I don't plant them they will never reach maturity....I am going to start looking for new ways to cut back and reuse what I would normally waste.

    Praying you have a great week ahead
    Love Mel xxxxx

    1. Dear Mel,
      I know when you had your earlier surgery that this must have been a really hard time for you being unable to work. You are very resourceful and have great tips thank you!
      I saw lemons at $1.75 each this week. So free lemons are wonderful! I hope to get some soon when I visit my friend in McLaren Vale. Then I can start drying my lemon peels!
      The quiet rationing of things is a good idea. Freezing things works for me as somehow I forget about things once they are frozen. Treats go much further this way!
      I hope you have a great week too. I think fruit trees are a fantastic investment. With lots of love

  23. Hi again,
    This post has really rattled me. It occurred to me today when I was picking up prescriptions for DH and myself, that there savings to be had here by asking if there is a generic for the branded med (this is not always the case). Also prices vary between chemists - we have 3 C****** W******** stores in town and one is cheaper by $1/script. I pay $6 for my generic meds, DH pays $24 for the branded (no generic available). For something we must take, the savings soon mount up.
    Anyway, I just thought I would mention. Not sure if the same would apply outside of Australia.

    1. Dear Janine, I hope we didn't rattle you in a bad way. Saying that it rattled me too as I found it quite distressing that some friends are really doing it so tough and facing great uncertainty.
      I agree so much about the generic brands! I found this out and also swapped to a discount Chemist (Chemist King) and this one change saved us over $600 per year. Somehow I did not know prescription prices vary so much... I thought they were consistent and the discounts were on perfumes and so on. But I was so wrong! Now we know this we save so much. Plus this is also where I buy toothpaste, dish liquid and many other items as they are much cheaper than the supermarket.
      For those who do not have a discount chemist nearby check online and compare as they will dispense prescriptions from a faxed script and many times postage isn't much and the savings still massive! Thanks Janine, love

    2. Here are some hints for folks in the United States for saving on prescription meds. has a list of any discount coupons that are available from manufacturers. Another helpful website is; you can enter your zip code and the medication, and it will list the price of your med at different pharmacies. Also, keep in mind that some pharmacies, like Walmart and Publix, have a list of meds they offer for $4 or $10. Publix even offers metformin for free. In some cases, it might be less expensive to just pay out of pocket instead of running it through your insurance (go figure...). A good pharmacist and doctor will work with you to make your meds more affordable.
      I know this stuff because I recently retired from working for a family doctor.

  24. I have been trying to add to the bird photos on Annabel's blog - we have lots of birds where we live but the one I want to get a photo of is a yellow tail black cockatoo. We have a gang of 16 (that was what I counted on Saturday) hanging around but they have split up in the past couple of days and I am only seeing 1 in the trees out the back unless they are flying by.

    We also have wild budgies but they hide in the trees, you can hear them though and can spend hours looking for them.

    We have had times when things have been really tight, I have cleaned, done child minding and of course also fallen back onto my knitting and sewing. What ever you do on top of searching for the best bargains all helps.

    Currently I have searched for face book pages for my favourite stores - the bulk butchers that I like to buy from, the fabric shop and any where else that I buy from that doesn't send out a catalogue. I plan my trips and always have a list. Some things may be on the list for a few weeks until I am going near a particular store.

    While most people would say that it is cheaper to use the local chemist we have found that he either doesn't stock the size of the product that you need or doesn't stock it at all.He generally has a small sized package at a much dearer price. Chemist Warehouse is getting busier and busier, getting into and out of the parking area is a nightmare so I think a lot of people have made the switch.

    Our electricity and water bills come with a graph showing how much we have used - it is always the same - less than 1 person. Not bad considering that there are two of us here.

    We are heading away for a few days this weekend - I managed to find a place with a kitchenette for $135- a night. It is just down the road from the hospital that Bluey was in - sorry that I won't get to meet you both Jane and Bluey.

    One thing I did last week was apply for the Seniors Card - I believe that every little bit helps so if I can use it I will.

    A better night for sleeping tonight - we have had rain and storms.


    1. Dear Lynette, You are doing well on your power and water bills!
      Comparing around wth Chemists shows an amazing difference. For any regular medications this is a big one as they really add up.
      I hope the mess with your brother is quickly sorted out!
      Have a lovely weekend away. That will be really good. A little kitchen is so handy and you can whip up just about anything you need! With lots of love

  25. We are very fortunate in our home as my husband is a Veteran, having served in the military for 21 years, so our health insurance is low cost, especially in comparison to what other families are paying. As we have become empty nesters, we have cut way back on many of our expenses, simply because it is just the two of us, but lately we've been trying save even more. One of my goals is no food waste. I usually cook enough at one meal to have leftovers or lunch for both of us for at least one more meal. I'm filling my freezer with pre-cooked foods to prevent us from being tempted to stop by a local fast food restaurant on our way home from work. We are combining errands on a weekend and making a circle route to save on both gas and time. We recently installed new thermostats that are supposed to cut consumption by "memorizing" the movement in the home and creating a high/low range. Christmas this year is going to be much leaner than in years past when we've gone all out. We're finding that all of the little things are most definitely adding up and we're enjoying the savings. I love reading everyone's contributions.

    I drove to work this morning with my music playing instead of the news on the radio and it was so nice to ignore all the political fluff! I haven't even been watching the news in the evening because I'm just tired of hearing it all. I don't like confrontation and don't enjoy hearing people bad mouth others; it's nauseating how mean they can be to each other.

    Kelsey, my waterfall is not natural, it is man-made and there is no pond at the bottom, just a barrel that is underground that catches the water and sends it back up to the top again!

    I hope everyone has a wonderful Tuesday!

    Fond Regards, Jeanette

    1. Dear Jeanette,
      I am glad you do not have this stress to go through.
      All the little savings do add up enormously. The way you are managing meals is really good. Not wasting food is a big one! I have finally learned to review the contents of the fridge a couple of times a week and get things used up and not buy more of something I already have!
      Music over news would have been good... with only days to the election now and so much happening probably a good idea!
      Thank you for your thoughts on this, with love,

  26. Dear Annabel, Thank you so much for this post. I've read all the comments, gleaning more ways to save. You had a wonderful week! I'm so glad you are seeing the end of your painting. That was a ginormous job! Well done!! And I'm grateful Allie was able to help!

    Vicky, you always have great ideas. I, too, would love to hear more about the ladies you talked to. I recently asked my mom about the Depression and she said she was 2 or so by the time it ended. So, doesn't remember much. I do know that my grandparents (her mom and dad) lost their farm. I now wish I would have talked to grandma more about this.

    Mimi, I so understand your frustrations. I'm hoping this issue will be resolved soon. You are a great advocate!!

    Thank you so much for continuing to pray for our son. He will be getting a second opinion about the other medical issues he is having. We are so grateful for the insurance we have for him, and grateful to be so blessed!!

    Many prayers are being offered for each of you, and so thankful for having this wonderful group of ladies! Thank you Annabel, for making this possible! I've learned so much. Love, Teri

    1. Thank you Teri and I hope things go well with the second opinion!

    2. Dear Teri,
      Thanks for keeping us posted that is good too as everyone knows how to pray for the situation.
      I also wish I could ask my Grandparents more about the war and depression years. Now I know more I understand why there were always so frugal right throughout their lives.
      I hope your week is going well Teri, with love

  27. Hi Annabel
    There are certainly some tough times ahead and not just for the foreseeable future - a lot of stay at home Mom's don't realise that times are going to be even harder when they reach retirement age because in this country (the UK) and I understand in many other countries state pensions are being cut to the bone and here if you've been a stay at home Mom and not worked and paid a National Insurance stamp then you just won't receive a state pension and I worry that women are just not aware of what the governments are doing to them.
    I understand that you and Vicki like to be prepared for all that life can throw at you - perhaps it would be good to do a post on being prepared long term - the thing is, when you are young, retirement is something you just don't think about - it's something that is so far off in the future that it's not as important as what you are coping with at that moment in time, but it so is.
    I also feel for the ladies in America with health care costs - I have moaned about our national health service and having to wait for a doctor's appointment but dear me, that's nothing compared to the worry and upset those poor ladies are going through
    Please tell your readers especially the younger ones to give some thought to their pension provision because they need to be saving every last penny for their retirement - they are really going to need it.
    Thank you

    1. Dear Trudie, Thank you very much for your comment and you make some really good points. Firstly I think it it terrible of a government to less value the work of a stay home Mother. Here in Australia there are still pensions but means tested and the tests are getting tighter.... we personally do not expect pensions to still exist in years to come. Ultimately in UK, US and here I think populations are waging and it is just not going to be possible. The have tried to have us save for ourselves via Superannuation which we don't trust either as it is mostly enforced gambling in the stock market and at the end of the day a mere piece of paper that could be utterly worthless. So we don't count on ever seeing that either! Many people do believe in it and then got very upset when their savings were suddenly with half or less in the 2008 crash. I hear UK health care is still a world leader and our system has mainly copied yours and works fairly well. It was a real wake up call for me to realise what our US friends are going through.
      Thank you Trudie I appreciate what you have said, love

  28. Dear Annabel and lovely Ladies,
    This is a great area to study. Thank you to everyone that posted. I am a little late to the party. I have a few ideas, I am guessing many of you know these already.
    I have an extra shower curtain rod that hangs down the middle of my bathtub over the shower. It is a tension rod so it should fit all tubs or showers. After I wash my clothes I put shirts and pants on plastic hangers and they
    dry nicely in the shower/tub. I also have clothes horse drying racks and a nice banister for the stairs that I dry
    blankets and sheets on. I have not used the dryer in years and I do not even mind.
    You can make brown sugar by adding a little black strap molasses to white sugar. You can also make powdered sugar
    by putting white sugar in the the blender and grinding it,I like to add a little corn starch if I have it. Also making your own yogurt is easy and saves so much money. I do it similar to Lili at Creative Savv you will need temps for heating and incubating. I think if you Google Creative savv
    yogurt making you should find it. Lili at Creative savv also has what to sub if you do not have eggs and what to sub if you do not have baking powder. I hope it is ok to share that here Annabel.
    Finally my brother Billy hurt his back. He can hardly get up
    and down. If you ladies would please pray for him. He is in a city far from me. I cannot go and help him. So the lord just needs to heal him. He is a disabled Veteran and uses the bus to get around as they do not give him any financial
    Much Love,
    And many Thanks for the prayers for Billy and his Back.

    1. God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, even in these times, the best we can do is call out to you. Please be the lift Billy needs, through the power of Christ's atonement for us all. May we, the needy, praise your name!

    2. Dear Patti,
      Many things that say dry clean only are perfectly well hand washed and I do something similar to you! Plus drip drying things on hangers usually eliminates ironing as well! I love that you use your stair bannister for big things to dry!
      This is a great tip for brown sugar as for reasons I can't understand it is miles more expensive than ordinary sugar so that is a big savings.
      Thank you for telling us about that Website... I will go check it out. Yes that is fine as it all helps and we are all learning. Plus I love to have a new website or blog to read.
      I will pray for Billy. It is terrible that a veteran let alone a disabled one does not have help. Another example of some of the things we are talking about here. I hope he is able to rest and his back improves.
      Thank you for sharing so many great tips Patti! With love

  29. Oh I have one more. Use a draft dodger for leaks under the door and windows. You can roll up and old towel or blanket and
    tie it with pretty ribbon or you can sew a long tube and stuff it with batting old clothes even sand works. I also forgot in America we have a site for selling called Craigslist. Always be safe when selling on these sites meet the people some place that is not your house. It is good to have an extra person with you and meet in a well lit area.

    1. Thanks Patti, I agree on the safety tips too. xxx

  30. Hello Annabel, I loved this post and the comments too. I think this is one, I need to revisit. There are so many good ideas here. We too have been slogged with bills the just keep rising and we often ask ourselves, how can they get these prices? It is like they make them up, how can it not be illegal?! So I have noticed by making small changes, they really add up to big savings. My great grandmother didn't work as such, but used to look after a couple of boys after school. Kind of like a Nanny/Au-pair these days. Except this was wonderful, because she was like a grandmother to these boys. She also went to their house, so they were at home, made them afternoon tea, etc. So it was just like having mum/grandma at home and she loved them like they were her own. She used to get paid, but she loved doing it. I think having someone like her, or a 'grandmother' figure would be nice for some kids, instead of going to after school care. Much nicer to be in your home, plus my great-grandmother had love and time to give and these boys needed it. I love the idea of you having an Easy shop, you make beautiful things! Lots of love, Bridge. I am with a previous poster- you really do help people, more than you will ever know. It's a gift you have.

    1. Dear Bridge, I love what your Grandmother did! I bet those children really thought of her as a Nana. I also agree that is so nice and more like family than anything else.
      thank you so much Bridge. I think we have heard a lot of hard stories and the news is pretty much all bad. It can really get you down. But most people are actually wonderful and all of this teaches us what we can do and also that we are still very lucky i.e. with our healthcare etc here in Australia. I am much more grateful now I know what some of the ladies are going through!
      It seems though that big bills are universal and many make no sense. Like you say I think they think of a price then double it.
      It takes re thinking many things! Much love to you Bridge,

  31. Annabel I have been following in the background i love your blog. The topic is close to my heart.i have been there and am sure in the fuure i will be again.
    I hear lots of people say change to chemist warehouse. Before doing so please ask if your local chemist can match their prices first, most will but are unable to advertise this fact.

    Also check what the fastest way to get to your safety net is.this year the government introduced the $1 co payment discount essentially you have to pay the same $ but about 11 more scripts until you get on the free list. Many folk have not had this explained properly to them and have missed out on atleast one months worth of medications which to me is heart A high service model You should find that you will get better service and access to a pharmacist. I am a pharmacist in a high service model pharmacy.I have worked in both types and in the discount model I could not do special orders, I didnt get to know my customers personly and long interactions were discouraged. My boss needs to pay his hard working staff too.things are very tough in pharmacy at the moment due to government reforms . in time the small pharmacies will be gone and we will have a system very similar to the USA if the Australian gov has their way. By not supporting the local pharmacies there will be people losing jobs. Yes saving costs is important but so is keeping people in their jobs. My dedicated staff and I also have families to provide for too


    1. Dear Di, Thank you for writing and it is very interesting to hear from you as a pharmacist.
      My chemist will price match if I take in receipts. So I have to have gone to a cheaper chemist first to do it. The chemist I am going to is Chemist King. The service is absolutely wonderful and the chemists talk to you and advise etc more than at the expensive chemist...
      But I think what you have said is true as the information and advice of the chemist is wonderful and very valuable and we need to be getting that. Over the years I have asked chemists advice for so many things! This is a fantastic service and has saved me many trips to the doctor also.
      It must pay to look around for a chemist who will do the good prices on prescriptions and also personal service.
      The chemist I go to is also local and his staff are local etc. They are friendlier than the expensive chemist as well.
      I think shopping around and having someone you can trust is very important. Chemists do a great service and know so much. I am glad to meet you Di! With love

  32. My heart goes out to many of you recovering from surgeries or the financial burdens they caused.
    One way I have saved vast amounts of money is homebirths. I found a midwife's care vastly superior to modern health care and even nurse mid-wives at clinics.
    Also we have saved a lot in health care by using herbal remedies. Of course, check with your pharmacist (not doctor, as most are not trained in herbal knowledge) to see if the herbs conflict with any prescribed meds. Check out an herbal book at the library. Once you find one you like, buy it. Herbs cost pennies on the dollar.
    Finally, eat well and teach your children to do so to. Husbands can be re-trained too. ;) Lots of fresh veggies, beans, whole grains (not the "whole wheat" sliced bread, no, no, no). Proteins at every meal. My husband was pre-diabetic and we were able to bring down his numbers through diet. Most health concerns can be decreased and even eliminated thru diet, but you got to be ruthless! Also allow one treat a day or the person will feel deprived. And that treat can be fruit! An apple drizzled with a small amount of dark chocolate can be decadent.


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