Stock Up

Today I went to ALDI ( about a 40 minute drive from home) and did my stock up with a friend of mine who is also looking at saving money through smart buying.

Sometimes it is good to pair up because you can go halves in larger quantities so that you get the bulk discount without the storage problems, or having the product go off before you use it all.

So far we have shared rice and peeled garlic cloves ( we got a big bag when we were at the Sydney markets together). Soon we plan on sharing potatoes and a large quantity of meat.

It's nice to have like minded friends. I had to laugh tonight because I got a text message from her which said " cat food a hit", meaning that her previously fussy cat had taken to the cheaper ALDI cat food. It's great having someone who enjoys extreme shopping as much as I do !


Happy Snaps

Extreme Shopping

You've heard of extreme sports, well I am into Extreme Shopping. Now don't misunderstand me, I don't spend hours clothes shopping and wandering the malls. In fact I hate that sort of shopping. I am into extreme shopping for things I have to buy - and let me tell you I LOVE it!

It started quite a few years ago when I was expecting number one son. I spent a lot of time obsessing over our budget working out how I could afford to not go back to work once the baby was born. I soon worked out that saving 20 cents here or there could really make a difference and I have been totally obsessed with the concept ever since.

Now I am sure many of you are thinking that you can't be bothered shopping around, or that the extra time involved is not worth it, but take a look at this little equation.

Lemonade: I usually buy two bottles for a week. It comes on sale and I can save $1.25. Multiply this by two and then by 52 weeks for the year and the saving is $130. Not much you reckon ? Do this across your grocery list and you 'make' enough savings to take your family to a resort for 10 days every Christmas. (well that's what I choose to do - you may choose something else like pay your credit card off or use it for birthdays etc )

So.... the question remains. Is it worth the time and hassle ? Only you can answer that question. The actual question is.... how much time are you willing to invest to have a holiday/ pay off credit card etc ? ... one hour..... three hours ......5 hours......

Here's how I do it.

Firstly I went to the supermarket I usually frequent. As I did my normal round I took a calculator and worked out the best buy by using the unit price method. I divide the price grams/ litres etc and multiply by a common unit to get the price into a usable quantity. Clear as Mud ? Let's do an example. In the supermarket you see two bags of sugar.

The first is 2kg for 2.49 and the second is 3kg for 3.79. Here are the steps

2.49 divide by 2 = 1.245 per kg
3.79 divide by 3 = 1.263 per kg

so the 2kg is the better buy. Don't be fooled though, the answer is not always the biggest quantity and this example doesn't really show a clear saving.

Here's another: Toothpaste 110g for 1.29 or 175g for 1.89

1.29 divide by 110 X 1000 = 11.72 per kg
1.89 divide by 175g x 1000 = 10.80 per kg

I convert the smaller numbers to kilos or litres to make it easier.

It tool me about an extra 40 minutes to do the shopping that day and I recorded the prices in my price book. The next week I shopped at the other supermarket and did the same. Then when I came home I compared it with a docket I had from a trip to ALDI.

I then made a master list of what to buy from which shop. All up I think it would have taken me about 3 hours to do the whole thing over a number of days. Now when it comes to shopping day I don't run around to every shop and waste my time. Because I used the stockpiling principle, that is I buy enough of something when it is on sale to not buy it again until it comes on sale again , that I simply buy what I need depending on which shop I go to.

The extreme shopping starts (oh I crack myself up - this is so sad ! ) when I see catalogues and can do a quick calculation as to whether or not the shampoo is a good buy and how much I will save.

Every time I laugh at myself and think I have REALLY become obsessive compulsive about my grocery shopping I just think of that holiday.

We have been going there for 9 years now. Who'd a thought it ! Most people can't be bothered. But I'm sure if you stood on the street corner and handed out $2000 they'd jump at the opportunity.

Well, people, your opportunity is already under your nose. You just have to ask yourself whether you are willing to invest the time. After all, in this world we either spend money or we spend time.

Are you an extreme shopper ? I'd love to hear your story !


Warning: Soap Box Moment

Tomorrow is number one son's 9th birthday and tonight I dropped by our locally owned independent toy store 'Mal's'.

 Mal showed me the Lego catalogue and told me that anything with a star next to it means that he is unable to order it in because they only supply it to the two large department stores in my area.

Well............. I was horrified.

Those Goliaths are going to put my little  David out of business if they keep going this way.

 All I can say and I shout it from the roof tops, is SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL BUSINESSES.

 I have seen it in a town I used to live in where the only fuel is distributed by those companies who are associated with a food store.

Once the independents are gone, the market is owned by the Goliaths and there is no competition and they set the prices.

Fuel in this town was 12 c a litre more expensive than the nearest town.

So... I am even more passionate now about keeping local people in business, whether you buy your eggs off the lady down the road, or attend your local farmers market or barter with friends.



It May Not Look Like Much........

Finished !

This is my dishcloth wish I have to put in the post by Friday. For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, refer to Down to Earth on the link bar at right. Rhonda had such an interest in her use of home made cotton dishcloths rather than disposable wipes that she put up a swap for anyone that was interested. The idea is that you pair up and make a dishcloth then swap it. Sounds great in theory and I signed up without too much thought. After she posted the due date it suddenly occurred to me that I can't knit !!! Well, actually, I can knit but only whilst chanting " in around through off". I let Rhonda know that I was a little worried but she assured me

that if we wanted something that was perfect we would go and buy it from a store. Tonight I wanted to finish but didn't know how to so I had to Google " knitting- casting off". All I can say is 'Thank you Google, where would I be without you. ' Google sat me down on his lap and gave me a photograph tutorial of how to cast off and DAH DAH ( said with expression) FINISHED ! ( after many hours of chanting) The most hilarious thing is that my swap buddy is Chris from the US who has a website called " crafty angels". This woman is obviously VERY talented and will probably laugh at my effort, but to me, it is beautiful and is the first knitting project I have ever finished.


Eating Local - Farmers Market.

I finally made it to the local Farmer's Market. It is not on every weekend yet as it is a relatively new idea for the town.

It was terrific to see local producers and growers selling their own wares. There was everything from eggs to moisturising creams.

I was really impressed by a local group who are doing whiting fillets in the form of rissoles and sausages.

They had some cooking to try and they were beautiful!

What a brilliant idea to help families eat more fish. The fish are caught locally and they even handle the manufacturing about 30 minutes from my home.

Considering the aversion my husband has to imported seafoods, I think he will be impressed not only by the taste but by the fact that it is all local.

So, looks like there are more local foods that what I first thought. It's just a matter of doing your homework.


The 6P Principle

6Ps = Prior Preparation and Planning Prevents Poor Performance.

I have written before about my Grandmother's ' one up' principle, that is, you have a spare of everything in the cupboard and as you finish one off you get another one to replace the spare so that you never run out of anything. 

This week I have made a list to fully prepare my stores cupboard.

I have worked out my usage, for example, I know that at all times I want a container ( 3kg) full of flour as well as 4 1kg bags in the cupboard.
This will take me some time to finish because I will only stock up when the products are on sale. The overall aim is to never pay full price for anything again.
If you watch the sales you will see, for example, that Vegemite may come on sale every 6 weeks and you may know that you go through 3 jars in that time, so I would buy 3 when they are on special.

If you let your items run out or run low, you will have to buy them when you need them rather than when they are on sale.

If you use the store cupboard idea of stockpiling, you will eventually get to the position where you only buy sale items each week.

This will cut your grocery bill dramatically. If anything unforeseen happens you always have your insurance policy.
 We all think that a ' disaster' will not happen to us, but sometimes it is the simplest thing that can cause problems, like blackouts from storms or floods.

 If there is no power, the doors of Coles can't open ! I wonder how many people were caught by the flooding around Newcastle - not caught by flood waters but caught by the shut down of services.

 The moral of the story always comes back to the 6P's.

The 6 P principles is the answer to how can you get ahead and work towards never paying full price for anything ?

A Frugal Subversive Award

Kez http://kezs-blog.blogspot.com/ has nominated me for an award ! - Thank you very much, I am honoured. As she has stated on her blog it was started by Rhonda to recognise "bloggers who consistently turn their backs on consumerism to live frugally in a creative and authentic way. These bloggers have made me think in innovative ways about my own life and how I can make a difference making, reusing, and just saying "no" to mindless spending."
So, my nominations ( an apologies for any double ups ) are to:

Cindy's Porch ( http://www.cindysporch.com/)

Hillbilly housewife ( http://www.hillbillyhousewife.com/ )

I particularly like Natalija's website because she is a mother to five children in Serbia who really makes the most of what some of us may call adversity. She documents her every day living which I find to be inspiring because of her skills - sewing, cooking etc. She has a very simple way of life.


1. When you are tagged, write a post with links to three blogs who have inspired you with their frugal creativity or innovation.
2. In your post, please link back to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme and save the award graphic.
3. Leave a comment or message for the bloggers you’re tagging, so they they know they're received the award.
4. Display the Frugal Subversive Award badge to identify your blog as part of the movement that is turning its back on consumerism at any cost.


Vintage Kitchen

These kitchen items are from my Grandmothers kitchen - dirty because I am in the middle of using them !

 I LOVE the old things that she used.

They are far more sturdier than what I can buy today and the fact that they are still in existence after up to 80 years shows that they are well made.

The spoon that I use to cook with is completely worn down on one side from my Great Grandmother and my Grandmother using it.

When I cook with it I always think of these women doing it so hard, yet not knowing any different. It makes me want to work that little bit harder.

Cooking From Scratch

As you have probably noticed, I REALLY enjoy cooking from scratch.

It brings me joy to put the effort in and be rewarded with tastes that far surpass that of the bought alternative. There are health benefits, in that I don't add any 621, 379, 202 or any of the other ingredients I see on packet foods and there are financial benefits, meaning it is so cheap to cook.

Over the weekend I made the following:

- chicken and sweet corn soup

- special garlic bread ( as No 1 son calls it. Th picture is of him helping to make it. )

- chocolate self saucing pudding

-orange cordial

- coriander and cashew dip for a dinner we went to.

and thoroughly enjoyed it.

In keeping with the local food challenge, something we really struggle with, I can say that the only local food was the oranges. Sad, but true.

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