"Secrets to Saving Money in Australia" Free Newsletter - July 2003
This issue includes:-
- Beautiful Gardens for Less
- Time to Relax and Enjoy
- Cheap Fun with the Kids
- Savings Story: Saved $13,000 in a year on a Single Income
- Help Needed: Moving Home and Birthday Parties
- New Free Tip Sheet: How to Run a Garage Sale
- Site Improvements: Search Engine for Savings Vault, and Seal of Approval
- How to Unsubscribe
How are things? I hope that you have had a really good month. Life has been busy and I have been living off compliments and ice cream. I truly have the best job in the world. How many people receive letters like these?
"Since subscribing, I have been addicted to your site. The most useful so far have been the baby wipes recipe and using zinc cream instead of Johnson nappy rash cream. I have been addicted to the computer ever since!!!" Anne-maree Cooper
"Your site is ideal for a young man like myself who has just moved out of home. Saving money has got to be a top priority for me and now I'm confident that I can put a fair bit of $$ away by the year's end. Keep up the good work." Matthew Granlund, Canberra
Ahh... :-) It is a wonderful world.
PS. Would you like to have a stickybeak through the Savings Vault without paying? You can look at the preview page. It has a list of the all the hints and categories. Click here to view the preview page.
PPS. ALDI has changed the formula for the 'Havana Lane' vanilla icecream. It now costs $2.69 for two litres and tastes a lot like Sara Lee French Vanilla ice-cream, which costs $6.19 for one litre.
1. Beautiful Gardens for Less
There are now 39 gardening hints in the vault, covering compost, plants, lawns and weeding.
Click here to go to the vault.
Growing plants from compost
A lot of my tomatoes, sweet potatoes and paw paw trees are grown from my compost. I throw all my vegetable scraps into the compost, along with lawn clippings and leaves. Then, when I use the compost on the garden, the plants just grow. I only transplant the paw paw - the rest I just leave where they are and off they go.
Compost for small gardens
This tip is for those whose garden is too small for a compost bin. Cut a square from a net bag (the ones you buy oranges in) and place it over the hole of an empty garden pot. Put in a layer of old potting soil (such as from a pot where the plants have had their day). Each day save your fruit and vegetable scraps in a container. Insert a layer of scraps into the pot then cover the scraps with another layer of old soil. Repeat layer by layer until the pot is nearly full, ending with a layer of soil (water as you go). While the compost is breaking down and baking, plant some seasonal seedlings on top and in no time you will have potted colour above and compost underneath. The compost is not only feeding your seedlings but will be ready for the garden when the flowers are spent at the end of the season.
I sometimes benefit from crops of vegetables germinated from the seeds in the compost such as tomatoes, cucumbers, capsicums and butternut pumpkins.
This method recycles unwanted orange bags, unused pots, old soil, and fruit and vegetable scraps and is, of course, a great home for the latest seedlings. Instead of planting flowers on top while the compost is baking, you could plant your favourite herbs.
When taking water from the fish tank, throw it on the garden as it is full of nutrients.
Delay lawn-mowing service
A few years ago I organised for Jim's Mowing to do my lawns and edging on a regular basis due to time constraints. It was suggested that I have my lawns mowed once a month.
In 2003 I noticed that the grass didn't grow as fast as expected. During summer, autumn and winter, I now get the lawns mowed once every six weeks; in spring I get it done once a month instead of once a fortnight as suggested by the mower man. This keeps my grass looking good - not too short in winter and summer, saving on mud and burnt grass. Each visit costs $33. By extending the visits by two weeks each time, it saves me a fortune - $33 per quarter in summer, autumn and winter; $99 in spring. This is a saving of $198 a year.
How to grow plants from cuttings
I never buy expensive plants from shops, always growing my plants from cuttings. Ask your friends to let you know when they prune their plants, shrubs, and so on. Indoor plants are very easy to propagate. I stick a little cutting (about three to four inches long) in a small amount of potting mix (which you can prepare with a bit of compost and sand) in a small pot, then I put the lot in a clear polythene bag and seal it (you can tie it with a rubber band). You do not have to buy pots. Just use margarine containers, take-away containers, plastic soft -drink bottles (cut in half) or anything like that but don't forget to make a hole in the bottom of the container for drainage. Do not buy polythene bags. Use any clear bag you can find around the house. Keep the cutting in a relatively shady place (but not too dark) for three to four weeks and you will have a new plant. Note: do not touch the cutting or open the bag to check it, or move the pot during this time. Some plants may take longer than others. New growth is a sign that it is now time to open the bag and put the cutting in a bigger pot. You do not need expensive hormone powders or anything like that. Growing plants from cuttings takes time, but think about the money you will save and the enjoyment you will get from striking all your garden plants yourself. It also teaches you to be patient. You can do this with a lot of plants, including roses, crotons, daisies, ferns, impatiens, hydrangeas and begonias, and you can experiment with the plants you have.
Kill weeds with boiling water
After years of buying expensive weed killers such as Roundup, I've discovered a better way to kill the weeds in my lawn. I just pour boiling water over the weeds - it kills them within a couple of days. This solution is both free and environmentally sound.
2. Time to Relax and Enjoy
There are now 55 entertaining hints in the vault that cover the following topics: Free things, events, movies, music, Tafe Restaurants and some websites. There is also a separate section on Eating Out which contains another 57 hints.
Click here to go to the vault.
Watch movies at home
In my quest to save money, I gave up the fortnightly-to-monthly outing to the cinema at $26 for two. Instead, on a week night I go to our local video store where all weekly videos are only $1.00 each for the week. This means that we have movies to watch over the weekend and that we can use the money we have saved on something more substantial such as a weekend away.
Cheaper movies at independent cinemas
Save money by viewing a movie you want to see at an independent cinema instead of at a mainstream cinema. For instance, in Campbelltown, NSW, the local independent cinema shows the same films as the local Greater Union cinema. The only difference is that the independent cinema charges $5.50 and the Greater Union cinema charges about $12! Also, the food counter is about half the price.
Hoyts Web site
Visit the Hoyts web site and become a Hoyts Movie Club member for free. Each week members are emailed different offers. It may be discounted movie tickets for $8.00 for a selected film, or a two-for-one voucher. Just print off the vouchers and take them to the ticket office.
If you have a lot of CDs, go through your collection every 12 months or so for discs that you no longer like or listen to. I recently culled 20 CD albums that I really don't listen to anymore. Get in touch with Revolution CD. They buy CDs that are in good condition from all over Australia. Go to their website for a free quote. Last year I made over $300 from CDs that I no longer wanted. Additionally, you can forfeit the money for store credits, which have a higher monetary value, and buy CDs that you really do want.
Visit web site to check if a DVD is on sale
The distributors of DVDs sometimes have discount sales during which the prices of DVDs are reduced quite substantially from the usual RRPs. An example is the current Columbia 2 on special for $50. Web sites such as www.ezydvd.com.au sell DVDs. If you visit one of these sites, you can check if the DVD you want is on sale. If you decide to buy a copy at the local Kmart or Big W, you'll know what you should be paying. Sometimes the retailers do not pass on the distributor savings to customers.
3. Cheap Fun with the Kids
There are now 115 children's hints in the vault that include things to do, clothing, toys, school supplies and toys. This is also a separate babies section of the vault with another 93 tips.
Click here to go to the vault.
A great morning for 70cents
Take your kids to Hungry Jacks. I know this sounds expensive but it is not. We take our five year old son there for a 35 cent icecream in the mornings and he knows that he can't have anything else. He gets to have an ice cream (and I do too); he also gets to play on the great playground equipment - all for 70 cents. A great morning out, especially when you go with friends.
Cooking for entertainment
Let the kids loose in the kitchen! I picked up some cheap kids' cookbooks at book clearance sales. Cooking not only keeps the kids amused but creates cheap munchies for the kids as well! It is best to supervise the kids if they are little; however, the recipes are very safe for children 12 and over.
Fun with computers
Kids on holidays can get bored pretty easily on rainy days. For my two year old, I have discovered free programs that have been written for children to play on the keyboard or mouse without affecting your computer. These programs have pictures, sounds and actions that will keep your child entertained for a while and give you a breather - all while they learn! You can also print off many pictures and so on for them to colour in and play with.
There are wonderful web sites for older children such as ones where they can do science experiments at home, and find out how things work (www.howstuffworks.com).These sites cover almost anything you can think of - my son spent ages looking things up and was fascinated.
Australian-based sites such as www.cybersmartkids.com.au have puzzles, games and exercises that are educational the kids can have fun and not even know they're learning!
Of course, the sites are too numerous to mention, but you can use your computer and the Internet to save money - just as you're doing with this wonderful site.
There is one more idea that may seem boring, but is actually fascinating. Kids of all ages love to learn about how things are done and how they work. A brilliant way of taking them out to see something interesting is to organise a factory tour. Manufacturers of bread, ice cream, biscuits, cakes , and so on - and many other food factories - will allow you to join a tour; sometimes at the end you get to test the goodies! The kids will be overawed by the amazing machines and what they can do, and will look at their food in a whole new way!
Batteries from $2 shop
I save more than $150 a year by buying batteries from cheap/discount shops. The packets of batteries there are only $2.00 compared to up to $8.00 at supermarkets. At first I thought that the batteries from the discount shops must be inferior but then I gave them a try. The batteries last just as long and work just as well. One brand I always get is Kodak, all sizes cost $2.00. I have two teenagers with Walkmans, and so on. Normally I would buy two or three packets of batteries a month. It's a big saving.
4. Savings Story
There are 27 inspirational Savings Stories in the Vault. They now have their own category and you can find them at the top of the main index page.
Click here to go to the vault.
Saved $13,000 in a year on a Single Income
We keep a docket book and write everything down that we spend because we get paid monthly and have had big medical bills. On a single income I have managed to save $13,000 dollars in one year and we still manage to have a holiday (we stay in caravan parks). Every time we see a tourist office we ask about freebies. It is amazing how we still get to have a good time.
5. Help Needed: Moving Home and Birthday Parties
"I am moving from Melbourne to Perth and would like to know the most inexpensive way to ship across the contents of a three-bedroom home. What is the cheapest form of transport containers, trucks?"
"We are in the process of moving house, and wondered if there were any special hints readers had to help save time/money when moving house. We would also appreciate ideas that will help to sell a home. Thank you, love the site."
To help Maresa or Jacinta, click here.
Hosting children's birthday parties
"I am giving my six year old daughter a birthday party at home in a couple of weeks and I am interested in any ideas to keep the cost down."
Click here to help Adela.
6. New Free Tip Sheet: How to Run a Great Garage Sale
Your responses to Helen's question last month were so fantastic we have turned them into a free tip sheet called 'How to Run a Great Garage Sale' so that everyone can benefit.
Click the link below to read it:
7. Site Improvements
Search engine for savings vault
Yippee! This month we added a search engine to the Savings Vault. With the amazing growth of the Vault, navigation has become a problem much sooner than we thought it would. The search engine is the first step in the vault's overhaul. For now, text searches are possible. We will soon be adding the ability to search by date (to find, for example, all new hints) and by geographical area.
Simple Savings Seal of Approval
A lot of companies claim to save you money and it can take a lot of effort to work out if you will be better off for buying a product. We are introducing a Simple Savings Seal of Approval so you can spot a good buy in a second. If you see the symbol, it means that we have checked out the site/company/product and consider it good value, a genuine bargain, a long-term saving, or that it will improve your money skills.
To apply for a Seal, click here.
8. How to Unsubscribe
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© 2003 AL Consulting Pty Ltd. This publication may be freely redistributed if copied in its entirety. Portions of this newsletter may be reprinted with written permission.