"Secrets to Saving Money in Australia" Free Newsletter - November 2003
This issue includes:-
- Christmas budget saviours
- Great gifts for next to nothing
- Check out a Farmers Market
- Simple Savings Recommends
- Help needed:-
Gluten-free Flour, Budget Holidays to Fraser Island and Outdoor fence on a budget
- From October's Newsletter:-
Debt Reduction, Bulk Cleaning Supplies, Exfoliating Scrub and Albury/Wodonga
- More Savings in the Savings Vault
- How to change your email address or unsubscribe
Life has been pretty busy. This month we received one of our coolest compliments ever:
"Thanks for the free newsletters. I have found them quite useful despite being out here in Africa." Rose Maringe, Zimbabwe
Can you believe it? People read this newsletter in Africa! We have also had quite a few Americans sign up. It is really nice being able to help people improve their lives:
"Thanks for that Fiona. I'm enjoying being a member of Simple Savings and have already saved heaps in various ways, but particularly on bulk ink from Easyrefills (a "Hint of the Week" some time ago)." Win Brown
It is so nice to be appreciated. *big grin*
Have a great month!
PS. Woohoo! I just bought 80 per cent of my Christmas presents from one online store in under an hour - 17 presents for $212, including postage ($12.47 each). The recommended retail price was $382 ($22.47 each). Almost half price. How cool is that? I was able to be lazy and still get a good deal! *grin* I didn't have to leave the house, or drag Sam from one end of the shopping centre to the other. I'm impressed.
The store is Social Club Books (www.scb.com.au). They sell a cool range of books, stationery and some toys. Similar discounts are available from Lifetime Distributors (www.lifetimedistributors.com.au) and Clouston Hall (www.pcug.org.au/~clouhall/), but I haven't tried them yet. So far, these three are the only true discount online bookstores we have found for Australians. They are great if you have a stack of presents to buy.
I'm going to use the time I saved to make some cool "gifts of love" and answer emails. *cheeky grin*
IMPORTANT: Remember, before you buy anything write yourself a list. See hint below.
1. Christmas budget saviours
Christmas can cause huge budget blow-outs, but there are all sorts of ways you can have a stunning Christmas without paying a fortune. We have included a couple of hints here. The rest are in the Christmas section of the Savings Vault.
Write a list immediately
Sit down and work out everyone you have to buy for - immediate family, friends, work colleagues, neighbours, relatives and pets. This will protect you from impulse shopping, which can add several hundred dollars to your Christmas spending. Add two or three extra items for surprise visitors and gift givers. Then write gift ideas next to each name and estimate the price of each gift or guess how much you expect to spend on each person. Add up the total. Do you have enough money? Is it in the budget?
Now start working backwards - Try to replace the more expensive presents on the list with gifts of love. Gifts of love are presents for which the materials cost next to nothing and they take a little bit of time to make. There are some ideas for gifts of love below in "Great gifts for next to nothing". The rest are in the Gifts section of the Savings Vault.
Once you have done this, the total cost of your gift list will start to come down very quickly. When you have finished, reward yourself with a cup of tea!
Take your list and a pen with you everywhere. This list is your wallet's protective armour. The moment you have bought something for someone on the list, write down the gift next to their name and cross them off the list. Do not buy that person any more unplanned or extra presents. This will prevent major budget blow-outs.
Freeze your credit cards
Christmas debt is an easy trap. To protect yourself, go to the kitchen right now and three-quarter fill a bowl with water. Drop all your credit cards in the bowl and place the bowl in the freezer. This is a way of protecting your family from impulse buys. (Your credit cards will not be damaged.) If you really need something, you will have to go home and thaw out your credit cards, then go back to the shop the next day. This will give you plenty of time to evaluate whether the items are really necessary. (Don't use the microwave oven to thaw out your card, as that may destroy it!)
Names from a hat
We have a very large family (and still growing). A couple of months before our Christmas gathering we each draw the name of a family member out of the hat. We spend $20 on that person. It has worked well for many years.
If you are looking for ways to save on food and decorations, there are 31 hints in the Christmas section of the Savings Vault. To order, go to www.simplesavings.com.au/order/
2. Great gifts for next to nothing
There are 187 great ideas in the Gifts Section of the Savings Vault. So you can save stacks of money this Christmas. There are 73 gift ideas under $5, 30 gift ideas under $10, 21 gifts under $20, 13 ways to save money on wrapping paper, 10 ways to save money on greeting cards and loads of hints for other times of the year.
The gift ideas below are gifts of love. They require a little bit of time and show how much you really care about the person.
Buy plain baubles and decorate them
An attractive simple gift for your work colleagues is to buy a box of plain Christmas baubles (16 for $4 from Aldi) and some glass paints. (Red and green glass paints and a brush cost $6 from Go-Lo or $4 for a pack of red, blue, yellow and dark grey glass paints from The Reject Shop). Then paint your friend's name on the bauble and draw a little picture. Wait for it to dry and wrap in tissue paper (50 cents per packet from The Reject Shop). Throw in one or two pieces of Christmas candy ($2 for 30 candy canes). The total cost for 16 presents is $12.50 (78 cents each). I have seen painted baubles using the same technique selling like hot cakes for $16 each.
NOTE: Grandparents also love this as a gift - especially, if their grandchildren have helped decorate the baubles. They become family heirlooms.
Glasses from Op Shops
You can buy five nice drinking glasses for $1 from most Op Shops. To snazz up the present, fill the glasses with a $2 bag of lollies or candy canes and wrap them in cellophane. Or, if you have glass paints, print an image of holly, Santa or the recipient's favourite thing on them. Sticky tape the required image to the inside of the glass and then trace it with your glass paints. This will give a very good looking result and should only take about 20 minutes per glass.
If you buy glasses from a retail outlet they cost between $2 and $6 a glass.
Remember to wash and polish the glasses before painting them or giving them as a present.
Words of love
My hint is to help make Christmas VERY special and memorable without a huge expense. Instead of going out and buying expensive, often useless gifts, why not write each person a box of things you are grateful to them for or why you love them or what they mean to you - or just write a whole lot of funny things and put them in a small container or decorative box.
Write messages such as "I love it when you wake me with a coffee in your hand" or "I love when you help me put away the dishes" or "Thanks for the night we spent in the B&B alone" or whatever is a small heart-felt memory or message. When the recipient is feeling down, they can open the box and read one of the messages. It will make their day and also be a sweet reminder of your friendship or love for them.
I used old wrapping paper with white on one side cut into small pieces. Once written, I folded them and put them into the box or jar.
It doesn't cost an arm or a leg, but trust me it is worthy of being VERY SPECIAL.
Fill your own Christmas stockings
Instead of purchasing ready-made Christmas stockings of chocolate treats, purchase multi-packets of various chocolates when they are on special, e.g. Mars Bars, Milky Ways, Freddo Frogs, etc. You can then make up bags and decorate them however you like. This way you can ensure that the child/person only gets the treats they prefer (if they don't like Cherry Ripes, they won't get Cherry Ripes).
For Christmas I have made a large amount of Egg Nog, which I've put in several glass bottles. I used simple paint pens, which I bought from Crazy Clarks for about $3, to write the name of the person the gift was for on the outside of the bottle. I then wrapped each bottle in brightly coloured paper. It is a great idea for those who seem impossible to buy for and should suit everyone over the age of 18.
Egg Nog recipe featured by Anne Fitzgerald on "Mornings"
Degree of difficulty: Low
Preparation time: 10 minutes
1 dozen eggs
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup sugar
½ cup brandy or rum
1. Take eggs and crack them into a bowl.
2. Beat eggs until they are frothy.
3. Add ½ cup heavy cream.
4. Add ½ cup sugar, ½ cup brandy or rum and nutmeg.
The total cost is about $5.
A box of kisses
Decorate a box beautifully, and then label it "A Million Kisses for My Mum". When you give it to your Mum, let her know that it's full of kisses which she can ask for whenever she would like them.
Freshly baked muffins
Buy a packet of banana, blueberry or chocolate muffin mix from Aldi, Franklins or Woolworths, which usually costs from $4.00, and bake them. This will make 12 big muffins, 15 medium-sized muffins or 24 mini-muffins for children. That is enough muffins for three presents. Wrap them in transparent plastic gift wrap from Roni's (discount store) for 50 cents and place a Christmas chocolate on top (30 cents each). Then you'll have the freshest and yummiest Christmas gift around. The total cost per present is about $1.80.
Jars of home-cooked biscuits
If you are in doubt for a present for Christmas, try home cooking. Most of the discount shops sell tin canisters for around $4 to $5 and they can be filled with homemade biscuits for around $2 a tin. Everyone will think that you have spent a fortune. If you make three different types of biscuits, it can be quite exciting for the recipients to open the tins. You can also buy authentic-looking old canisters from local markets.
I did this one year when we had newborn twins and it was the cheapest - and best - Christmas present to give.
3. Check out a Farmers Market
Farmers Markets are great value. The produce is extremely high quality and usually picked the morning of the market. It is often cheaper than supermarkets, but this depends on the season, the produce and the individual market. For example, North Sydney runs a gourmet market - the produce is impeccable quality but I found the prices pretty scary. The Albury/Wodonga market is more down to earth, reasonably priced and extremely popular. One of the best parts is that the money actually goes to the farmers rather than to all the middle men.
So, if you live near any of the areas below, go to the Farmers Markets website and find out the exact location and times of a market near you. Make the effort. Go to the next Farmers Market and see if you can pick up some tasty deals.
Albury, Camden, Castle Hill, Banora, Bathurst, Byron Bay, Coffs Harbour, Cowra, Dubbo, Forster, Grafton, Lismore, Liverpool, Maclean, Moore Park, Mudgee, Nabiac, North Sydney, Orange, Pyrmont, Tamworth, Wauchope and Wollundry Lagoon.
Avenel, East Hawthorn, Boronia, Pakenham, Echuca, Harcourt, Phillip Island, Abbotsford, West Gippsland, Bairnsdale, Geelong, Wodonga, Lancefield, Port Fairy, Koonwarra, Tatong, Tyers, Warrnambool, Chateau Yering and Yeodene
New Farm, The Spit, West End, Mudgeeraba, Noosaville, Windsor, Mt Cotton, South Bank and Stanthorpe
Burnie, Wynyard and Deloraine
Albany, Boyanup, Carnarvon, Manjimup, Margaret River and Wanneroo
Angaston, Macclesfield, Limestone Coast and Willunga
There are now 67 markets in six states.
4. Simple Savings Recommends
We have had many applications this month, but unfortunately none have met our strict criteria. To be included in our list, the website must provide genuine, foolproof savings, 24 hours a day, a secure order process, help people save money and relieve long-term pressure on the family budget. We also prefer sites that are useful to all Australians.
To learn more about the Simple Savings Recommends program go to:
5. Help needed
Sarah De Bellis asks: "I have coeliac disease, which means I must avoid gluten. Gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye and their various by-products, with a question mark over oats. Gluten free flours, particularly the bread mix, plain and self-raising flours, seem to be really expensive. For example, today I paid over $6 for 1 kilogram of gluten-free self-raising flour, and that was a bargain price as the local health food shop had sourced that quantity for me (usually I can only find it in smaller amounts). I do most of my own baking (cheaper than buying ready-made products) and also make gluten-free snacks for my toddler daughters, so I'm finding it rather expensive.
"I would like to know if anyone knows of places where I can get gluten-free flours and mixes in bulk, particularly in the Brisbane area. I know there would be a lot of other interested coeliacs (and those with wheat allergies) who would benefit from this information. If anyone has a more economical way of making up your own gluten-free flours, I would be interested in learning about this as well."
If you can help Sarah please go to: www.simplesavings.com.au/donatehints/
Budget holidays to Fraser Island
Pete Driscoll asks: "I am a single Dad who would like to take his two kids (aged six and eight) to Fraser Island for a holiday in January. If you are able to help in any way this would be appreciated."
If you can help Pete please go to: www.simplesavings.com.au/donatehints/
Outdoor fence on a budget
"I live in Brisbane and we are looking to put a fence up in the front yard for my 14month old. We would like it to look nice but want to do it the cheapest way possible. If anyone can help with information on materials or helpful hints it would be great. We were thinking coppers logs and black chain wire, but are open to suggestions. Thank You." Raeanne Ederle
If you can help Raeanne please go to: www.simplesavings.com.au/donatehints/
6. From October's Newsletter - Debt Reduction, Bulk Cleaning Supplies, Exfoliating Scrub and Albury/Wodonga
All the hints to help people get in control of their debt are included in the new 'Finance' section of the Savings Vault.
To order a membership go to:-
Allocate a repayment amount and stick to it
If you are paying off several debts, and you have fully paid out one of them, don't start spending the money you used to pay each month on that debt. Make it work for you instead. You couldn't spend it before so you won't miss it now! Add that amount to the usual payment of the next debt with the least time to run. With the extra amount you're paying off each month, that one will soon be gone too and you'll feel great when you see how well you are doing. When that one's finished, add all the additional monthly payments to repaying the next debt on your list, and keep going. You'll be out of debt in no time because you'll be paying off much more than the minimum each month.
Don't spend money intended for household expenses
The only tip I have for managing debt - and one that has had to be learned - is if you can't pay for it in cash without dipping into money you have for household expenses, don't buy it!
Record income and outgoings
For a number of years I have been keeping a day book in which I enter my income (what I earned that day) on the left-hand side of the page, and on the right-hand side of the page I write down what I spend each day. After a few weeks, a spending pattern begins to emerge.
You then need to ask yourself if you really need some of the items that you're buying. By gradually cutting out the unnecessary items, you will find that you have more left over for those important things in life (like wine, from Cleanskins). Try it - you will be amazed by what you actually spend your hard-earned money on.
Bulk cleaning supplies
Thanks to everyone's help there are now lots of bulk cleaning distributors stored in the Cleaning section of the Savings Vault. Here are a few:
Carpet shampoo from Jasol in WA
Western Australian residents wanting bulk cleaning products should try:
Jasol, 131 Garling Street, O'Connor WA
phone 09 9337 4844
Jasol makes everything from dishwashing liquid to room deodorisers - nothing unusual, I know, other than the price!
One of my favourite products is the dry foam carpet shampoo (5 litres for about $18), which is suitable for my Kirby vacuum cleaner. In comparison, Kirby carpet cleaner costs approximately $16 for a 750 ml bottle.
My other favourite product is called "Brutus" which, as the name suggests, shifts dirt and grime from just about any surface. It is suggested that this product be watered down for general cleaning, and be used sparingly for an initial good clean of kitchen benches or bathroom grout - it is extremely cost effective. It costs approximately $22 for 5 litres.
Jasol will give you 250 ml sample bottles free if you wish to try other products in their range. I no longer buy any of my cleaning products from the supermarket and have rid my cupboards of all those so-called wonder cleaners that claimed to work but didn't.
AUSVAC in Adelaide
For great bulk buys of detergent, disinfectant, carpet cleaner and so on, check out AUSVAC on Main North Road in Adelaide. Their products are good quality and cheap!
Bulk buys in Western Sydney
To buy cleaning products in bulk in Western Sydney, contact:
Jamac Cleaning Supply and Manufacturing, 66 Loftus Street, Riverstone NSW 2765
Phone 02 9838 1220, Fax 02 9838 3098
GHC Wholesale in Queensland
GHC Wholesale has a large range of bulk cleaning products, as well as shampoos and body wash. They are also distributors for Elmore Oil and Aloe Vera products - all at excellent prices. They can deliver to most areas.
GHC Wholesale, PO Box 3586, Loganholme QLD 4129
Phone 0407 747 850, Fax 07 3801 4464
The local Whitsundays, Bowen and Mackay representative can be contacted on 0408 843 244
We had a fantastic response to last month's request for an exfoliating scrub recipe. Over 20 different easy to make recipes. They are stored in the Beauty section of the Savings Vault. Here are two of my favourites.
Add caster sugar to cleanser
I happily exfoliate my face using normal face cleanser with a teaspoon of added sugar - caster sugar is good as it's very fine.
I put a generous amount of non-soap face wash in my hands, add the sugar, rub my hands together a bit just to soften it, and away I go.
Don't scrub too hard. Just a few minutes of gentle cleansing and your skin will be fresh and renewed. It's good for the rest of your body too.
Olive oil, sea salt and essential oils
Having been a beauty editor, I've been lucky enough to try many body exfoliators. The best I have ever tried was at a day spa and, amazingly, the esthetician told me how to make it at home!
Take a cup of olive oil (cheap is fine) and add a little less than the same amount of sea salt (adjust depending on how coarsely it's ground). Then add a few drops of essential oils. The esthetician used rosemary, but it's not suitable for pregnant women. You can use a citrus oil instead.
Put the mixture in a wide-mouthed container (you need to be able to get your hand in) and keep it near the shower. While the salt exfoliates, the olive oil gives you really soft skin. If you exfoliate about once a week, this should be enough to do your whole body for a month - for a cost of about $2. Some of the exfoliators I've tried before have been $30 for the same amount - and this one is much better!
Last month Rosemary Grose asked for some more hints for Albury. Here are some of the results.
Cherry picking in north-east Victoria
In November and December, you can go pick you own cherries at Hotson's Cherries, 143 Old Cemetery Road, Chiltern, in north-east Victoria. Phone 03 5726 1358.
The Albury/Wodonga Farmers Market is supposed to be one of the best Farmers Markets in the state. The produce comes direct from the surrounding farms, is extremely high quality and well priced. For more information, see "Check out a Farmers Market" above.
7. More Savings in the Savings Vault
The Savings Vault is enormous. There are now over 2500 hints in the vault and another 50-100 are being added every week. Below is a link to the contents page of the Savings Vault so you can have a good sticky beak. Read it thoroughly and think about how much money you are currently losing. How much money is vanishing out of your pocket or slipping out of your fingers that you could be saving instead? What have you spent on gifts? What have you spent on cleaning products? How much is your power bill? Is there information you are missing out on? Work out how much money you can make/save by becoming a member.
If you only use 20-30 hints you will probably save $1500. Heck, if you only use the hints in the Groceries section you will pocket $1500 in twelve months. Yes, it really will make that much of a difference to your life. I'm certain of it, so certain that we have a 365 day, 100% no questions asked guarantee. The truth is, if you take several hours to read and apply the hints in the vault you will easily save $3000 in a year.
To read through the preview page go to:-
To order a membership go to:-
8. How to change your email address or unsubscribe
To unsubscribe or alter your subscription, send a blank email to this address
If you have encountered a problem with our newsletter, please email me. I will give your comments immediate attention.
© 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.