Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Aftermath

3 more sleeps 'til Santa comes!
I'm really excited, mostly because I know that, this year, my little boy will have a better understanding of the whole thing and I just can't wait to see him opening his pressies on Christmas morning.  

That's where the excitement turns to a tiny pang of guilt... this is one spoilt little boy.  At this age it's so easy to over buy, and we certainly have.  I imagine all parents - especially those with only children, like us - tend to want to buy all those toys that we loved and all those toys that we always wanted too and that is how we ended up with a trolley load in ToysRUs... we managed to cull a little and shelled out a well earned and slightly under-budget $120 for our spoils.  
The problem is, our little man already has soooooo many toys (even after cleaning out before we moved) and will be further showered with pressies and attention all Christmas day, and every other day.  When we get back from visiting family and finally get to unpack our new home, some serious culling will occur in the econo-family household, all excess items will be sold or donated and the proceeds will be returned to savings where they belong.
There is tip #1 for surviving the new year - clear out all the old stuff that is no longer needed and sell, donate or toss it.  This will not only earn you some pocket money but I've found that a good clean-up always leaves me feeling lighter.

The new year is a great time to get the finances in order, like most people, money always appears somewhere in my list of new years resolutions.  I recommend, spending some time browsing around your favourite budget sites (if this is a new idea for you check out my previous posts and favourite websites) and working out your needs and wants, getting it all out on paper and then start enjoying a life free of financial stress!

Check out: 
Simple Savings (particularly the free 2011 'war on debt' calendar in the downloads section)
One Womans Trash

Monday, November 22, 2010

check out this FANTASTIC blog

I'm so glad that I stumbled upon this blog.
Beth's 'slogan' is "ON A MISSION TO SAVE MONEY AND EAT WELL!", love it.

I think this blogger is in America, but the principles still apply anywhere, the numbers wont be the same but with these recipes you're sure to enjoy cooking and eating well AND saving money.

What more can I say? - just go and check it out.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Christmas Shopping at home

No, I don't mean online or from catalogues... I mean from your home!

In the last post I told you about my Garage Sale, well, before I opened up the sale, I walked around myself as a shopper and picked up a few items that were in perfect condition that will now be wrapped up and used as Christmas gifts!

You don't have to have a garage sale to find presents in your own home, how about the garden?  If you've a green thumb (lucky you) what about re-potting some herbs or a decorative plant for someone from cut-offs.  This is especially nice if the plant is not yet at it's peak, as the receiver will enjoy your gift for longer and then for years after will be reminded of your thoughtful (thought secretly frugal) gift.

Do some web surfing for DIY gifts such as gift hampers (can often use boxes or baskets from home etc.)  you'll be surprised how cheap you can be!

One woman's trash...

By the end of this year we hope to be in a new home.  Well, new to us.  The building is actually quite old.  We've managed to find a place to save us a bit of rent.  The only problem?... its much smaller.

Every cloud has it's silver lining, in this case, an opportunity to de-clutter our lives and maybe earn a little moving money in the process.

So, this past weekend, we hauled all the trash we could find out of our wardrobe, bookshelves and cupboards and into the garage... GARAGE SALE!

After a few hours of standing around pointing out all the uses for my useless stuff we came out $400 over richer! 

There are several websites to help you organise or advertise your garage sale, I liked:
Simple Savings (Tipsheet download - "How to Host a Garage Sale")

Here's how we did it: 
  • place adds in local paper, listing some of the item you'll be selling, for the week leading up to the sale
  • price everything, either with tags or coloured dots (each colour representing a standard price)
  • write a sign for the coloured dot price list
  • put a few signs out on the street
  • lay out all the items in a logical and appealing manner (toys with toys, books with books, kitchenware ... etc.)
  • have plenty of change and at least one helper to do the coffee run!

We also had some friends with stuff to get rid off so they went haves on the cost of the add and brought their things over and helped out with the sale too.  A great day was had by all!

However, the garage is still FULL! ... I know, I know we have A LOT of trash!  ... but we're going to give it one more shot at a local trash and treasure day in a few weeks time.

We it comes down to it we just want all this excess stuff gone so we'll be having each item at just $1 and anything that doesn't sell will be donated to a charity thrift store and books to the library or local book drive.

So if you're finding yourself a little over crowded and would like a little extra pocket money - dig out your trash and sell it to someone to treasure!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cheap as ... muesli bars

This recipe was originally from the failsafe diet - cookbook or website.

I have to share this as it is so quick and easy, even if you don't follow a specific diet you could make them and add some chocolate or dried fruit or nuts to taste (though you might want to take out some of the dry ingredients if you do add anything as they're likely to crumble).  Best of all they are CHEAP!!!!!!

2 cups rolled oats (or quick oats)
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar

150g butter

1 Tbs golden syrup (honey could be used if you're not going failsafe) into the melted butter

wet with dry

into slice try

in 200 degrees C for approx 15min

into bars WHILE HOT then allow to cool before removing from tray - this will prevent crumbling.


As a side note for the budget conscious (and who here isn't?) - store in an air tight container and don't discard any of the crumbly bits, they're great for sprinkling on top of canned fruit (soft pears if you're following failsafe) and maybe some ice-cream for a quick, cheap and yummy dessert!