Scrounge, Stretch and Slow

Christmas morning breakfast 

Hi folks

We had a lovely Christmas in every way this year, loads of homemade food, no credit card debt, quality presents instead of loads of stupid plastic rubbish.....what a change from our previous life - gosh!

Home made glazed shortbread
in a re-purposed tin

So, many of us are probably having some vague thoughts about revisiting the budget and money matters next year. January goes like a flash of lightening and it will probably be February before those vague thoughts about revamping the budget become a reality....and then we have missed a whole month - so let's start NOW.

Carpe Debudget!

Home made monogrammed
Christmas bags for each of us.

I have some previous posts of budgeting and finances in general Here, Here, Here, Here and Here ...oh! and not to forget this one Here that you may want to revisit to rekindle the fires of thrift.

Some of the hens seeking shade....and perhaps a tid-bit.

Here is a great way to start or restart - using the principle of  Scrounge - Stretch - Slow

Scrounging is simply shopping around to buy what we need at the best price.  That's everything from coffee to cars, or honey to houses.

Stretching is making things last longer. That can entail fixing and repairing, diluting and re-purposing.

Slow means slowing our use of consumables. We can do this by driving less or being a producer (rather than a consumer). It can be as simple as making our coffee instead of buying it or learning to repair things instead of replacing them.

Home baked bourbon and clove glazed
ham - delicious much.

Some Examples of Scrounge, Stretch and Slow

Food: An excellent example of scrounging would be only buying specials at 1/2 price and stockpiling them. Stretching food would mean perhaps learning the cost of each ingredient and it's relative food value - you might want to replace red meat with eggs for some meals, eggs being a wonderful source of cheap protein compared to say a T-bone steak. Slowing food would be watching consumption and how much gets thrown out at the end of a meal. Can left-overs be kept and re-used? Can the chickens eat the scraps? Do I really need that sized meal? Do I need meat every meal?

Home made cookies (thanks Ellie) and left over pudding cakes in
lovely glass jars.

Transport:  Scrounging with transport is easier than we often think - cars being the top hitting item. Paying $40K for a brand new car plus interest on a loan is just criminal...instead, search for low mileage cars for $5K. Stretching the life of a car is always around regular servicing and knowing that it is almost always cheaper to fix the old one than buy a brand new one (despite what we feel). When it comes to transport and cars, one of the simplest ways to slow is to amalgamate trips. Instead of going out five times for different things, plan our trips in the car to be as efficient as possible. Whilst we are out at the shops, let also visit grandma, get petrol, drop off that thing at Kate's and pick up that mulch at Bob's.  Slowing can also mean taking the bus and train instead of driving.

Home made chocolate balls.....
what's left of them anyway!

Accommodation:  It goes without saying that most people would be happy to scrounge when buying a house.....driving some type of  deal.  However, sometimes the most important scrounging needs to happen before we even start looking to buy a home....scrounging with our ideals and asking pertinent questions like; Do we need to live in a house this size? What can we get in a different suburb? What is the best value for money? What could I do without all this debt? Do we need to wait and save for longer? etc. Same goes for renting - could we live in a different suburb or state and get better value for the rent we are paying?  Stretching sometimes takes the shape of adding that extra bedroom instead of moving house or even converting the garage to a rumpus instead of moving house. Stretching could be painting the house ourselves instead of paying someone or learning how to do our own home maintenance. It could even be fixing a single roof sheet instead of completely re-roofing. Slowing is rather unique when it comes to housing and might look like this: Staying put and making the very best of what we have instead of 'moving up' to a bigger and better home. It might mean down sizing. It might mean renting out rooms so your home earns a little income instead of being a black hole of expense. Slowing in the housing/accommodation area might mean being happy with that perfectly functional bathroom or kitchen and not remodelling for tens of thousands of dollars - Sometimes a coat of Antique American White paint over the 1970's orange kitchen cupboard doors can utterly transform a kitchen. Sometimes leveraging the existing retro look is truly a wonderful option.

A wonderful gift from our friend
Gail - I have had my nose in this
ever since Christmas morning
only to emerge when yelled at!

Anyhow, I am sure you all get the drift of applying Scrounge, Stretch and Slow to any topic to realise a diverse list of savings and economies.

Take care folks and stay nice.


I think I enjoy Christmas
breakfast more than Christmas dinner.
Chocolate croissants and freshly
brewed coffee - aaahh.


  1. Good ideas there as usual Mr.HM. Your girls are so fortunate to have such guidance at their age. I am sure it will pay off for them in the future.

  2. Getting on with our new year goals is wise advice indeed. I'm planning a year of decluttering and deep cleaning, and I started today, I didn't even wait for the New Year to start!

    I'm doing one cupboard or small area a week, because when I think of the huge job of tacking the whole house it is rather overwhelming, I hope I can stick with it as it is long overdue!

  3. Fair bit of stretching going on here today, Mr. HM. Earlier today I spent some time playing around with an online budgeting tool. Now, I'm sitting here with a tape measure over one shoulder just having read a tutorial on how to make lots of my own bias binding from a 14inch square of fabric for a dress I'm making. Saves me going to the shop to buy some and I can use fabric I've already got here. And later, I'll be stretching out some leftovers from Christmas lunch to make a ham and egg pie for dinner. Lot to be said for stretching! Meg

  4. We have been doing some repainting this month. I have also been doing some scrounging to find the best price for things we need. Some curtains needed replacing in the spare bedroom and I looked around town, but without going out of the house, I did my price checking on line. Then knowing exactly what I wanted to purchase I ducked out to the shop and was back within half an hour with the new curtains. I saved over $100 by scrounging round for the best price.

  5. I've had my copy of The Complete Tightwad for years and still find something new whenever I dip into it.

  6. Great post, very much along our line of living, my biggest pet hate is food waste, we are now very good and try and eat meat free meals twice a week. We do not use Shopping List any more, we wonder around the shop looking for the bargains and offers, we then plan our meals on what we buy. We stockpile items on offer and hopefully get enough to last until the next offer. It's not rocket science, just an opening of your eyes and mind.

  7. Ahh, I thought you might enjoy the Tightwad Gazette! Always a good read :)


  8. Good post Phil, your Christmas sounded divine, we are only 2 days past Christmas and my money saving head for next year is well screwed on. I will do a post again in a few days.

  9. Such good reminder and encouragement for all of us...there's always hope for a new start... simple and common sense, nothing too complicated. Thank you Mr. Homemaker:) Wishing you the best of the new year 2017. May you and your family have a successful and healthy good year ahead of you!

  10. Hello Phil, would you know where your friend purchased The Tightwad Gazette from? I have wanted that book for years. Many thanks for your great blog, Lorraine

    1. Yes, they ordered it online. In Australia you can order it online new from Dymocks, Angus and Robertson, Booktopia and the book depository. You can also try Fishpond books online or even go for a secondhand copy on eBay or local gumtree or craigslist too.

  11. Thanks Phil. You're a great help.


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