A Handful Of Tricks

A winter delight - violets.

Hi folks

Here are some little tips and tricks we use here to help stretch the dollar:

  •   Put an extra container out when serving dinner - freeze this serve.  At the end of the week you'll have seven individual dinners in the freezer, or alternatively,  used them to take to lunch the next day.
  •   Sweep instead of vacuum and only vacuum weekly.  This saves on electricity, vacuum bags and noise.

Chook pellets - adding scraps will reduce this cost even more.

  •   Feeding hens is still cheaper than buying organic eggs (I checked the math last night).
  •   Line the bottom of the oven with aluminium foil - saves a heck of a lot of cleaning product.
  •   Stretch your laundry detergent, hair conditioner and hair shampoo with water - mostly an undetectable difference if you get the ratios right.

Frying up vegetables that are a little past their prime
makes the best hot pot.

  •   Know that anything with a heating element in it is an electricity sucker i.e: Clothes dryers, fan heaters, electric blankets, electric ovens, most electric stove tops, electric kettle, urns, hot-wash on your washing machine, dishwashers, hair dryers to name a few. Obviously we use many of these at our place, but it is a case of how much and when. 
  •   Know your electricity plan - we have different charge rates for 4 different time periods in the day and week. 

......even a little stockpile cupboard is worth aiming for.

  •   Be mindful of your driving techniques - practice surge-and-roll to improve your mileage.
  •   Practice ONLY shopping specials - admittedly this takes some serious levels of organisation.
  •   Cut our sugar (seriously!). Your food bill will certainly drop, your weight will certainly drop, your health will improve and you'll feel much better after the first two weeks of hellish detox symptoms.
  •   Change your mobile phone plan.  I recently defected to OVO and now only spend $9.95 per month for unlimited texts, $200 worth of calls and a 1GB of data - it truly is all I need.

Fans.....our favourite appliance.

  •   Use a fan before you reach for the air conditioner. Also experiment with which setting on your fan actually moves the most air...it isn't always 'high' strangely.
  •   Small frugal changes year on year are more effective than big scary changes.....lean into it.

Saving money is not an aim in itself. Saving money is so we can have it for things that are truly important and meaningful to us. 

We can have anything we want if we stop expecting to have everything.

Take care ....and stay nice folks.



  1. Some great tips thank you Phil.

  2. I'll be lining my oven with foil from now on. Thanks for the tip.

    Every little bit here adds up, it all counts.


    1. If you have a fan forced oven, pop something small onto the foil to weight it down in case the airflow blows it up.

  3. We can have anything we want if we stop expecting to have everything.- This is very true. Folk need to stop and think.

  4. When MiL was alive, I would plate her a meal up every day and freeze them. Delivered each week (far nicer than meals on wheels delivered food). Her carer would thaw and reheat them each day.

  5. Stretching the dollar to pay for the things that really fulfil us is the secret to a happy, rewarding life in my opinion.

    I save up my flybuy points at Coles, and when I have a decent amount I shop the specials for a couple of weeks, ONLY buying those nonperishable items that we always use, it help a lot to keep the stockpile full, and I feel like I'm getting a total bargain, the items are not only "free" (lets face it I buy at Coles anyway, so I may as well use the points, what I don't do is buy ONLY for the points) but they are also on special...that equates to one very stretched dollar in my books!

  6. Mr HM,

    Thanks for the tips.
    Quick question - what do you do with the chicken poop? Do you compost it or add it straight into the garden.
    I am thinking of getting chickens this year.

    - Jade

    1. Hi Jade - add it to the compost...it is powerful stuff! My back yard is bright green as we let the hens out daily and their poop on the lawn washes in and the grass is tough and handles it OK. For growing veg you need a better broken down version that will balance with other elements.

  7. Lovely post, when I bang on about changes, I often get the answer, what can we do at our level. Your post makes the point perfectly, if we all do our bit, we can save energy, water, and change our food and cleaning products. The individual has so much power, everything starts with one person, and what ever your reasons, go for it, as the results will help yourself and our world.

  8. welcome back!
    just caught up, haven't been reading my blogs lately either, neat trick with the mind eating. it is a lot easier to lose weight (or gain it) when everyone in the house is eating the same foods. your home baked biscuits & bread should be okay, they don't have all those other additives in them like the shop bought ones, just don't eat them too often, i gave up sugar too but have introduced it again with some lovely homemade chutneys & jams.
    great reading as always & lookoing forward to seeing what Kate gets up to next!
    thanx for sharing

    1. Kate is certainly ready for another episode real soon.

  9. Thanks for alerting me to OVO!
    I've been on prepaid with Virgin for a few years now but find it quite expensive at $30/month... which can sometimes be $60/month if the kids are using my phone when it's not connected to the wifi :/
    The $9.95 OVO plan is way more affordable and has even more benefits! Thanks heaps.

  10. I am going to try to remember that first tip. You may need to repeat it for me once or ten times so that I remember :-)

    By shopping the specials I have roughly a years supply of shampoo and conditioner, about 6 months supply of toilet paper, and several months of soap just to name a few. I also buy some items like bi-carb soda in bulk amounts. I store non-food items in the garage.

    1. I am rather addicted to stockpiling - it makes me feel very safe.

  11. I wish I had done the tip of putting aluminum foil on the bottom of the oven. I baked a big pumpkin from the garden and the liquid from it overflowed and burnt to the bottom.. sigh.

  12. Thanks for lots of great tips:) I have a bathroom stockpile (for stuff like toothpaste)and small pantry & freezer stockpiles. I like knowing that I have a stockpile too, makes me feel comfortable if something were to go wrong. When I shop, I look for the specials as I go through the store and I will buy up big if it's something I know we use often. I am going to have to read up on surge and roll though. Meg


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