Saving money through Productive Home Making

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Oh, it’s been a good couple of days for me here. The jobs on my ‘to do’ are dropping like flies, which is awesome because I have felt pretty over run this last week.
Yesterday was a day for paper work. We finally got our car registration and drivers licenses changed to Queensland – thank goodness that paperwork is out of the way. After that I was on a bit of a roll and knocked off a heap of other paper work jobs – woohoo!
Today was a stay at home day and I have got so much done. One of my plans when moving to Brisbane was to give myself time to try and make my artwork into a business. This of course means that I am not bringing in any income at the moment, so to compensate for this I have been looking for ways to cut our budget and to live on less.
One of the ways I am doing this is by thinking about my weekly grocery shopping and especially looking at the items which are more costly and trying to think of cheaper ways to get these things.
Hair and skin products, ice cream, yoghurt, coffee, washing powder and breakfast cereal are some of the higher priced items in my trolley each week.
I started looking on the internet for different ways of making or getting these items. I have been hugely influenced by Rhonda Hetzel’s Down to Earth Blog, she has so many great ideas and also is very inspirational with her words about the value of home making.
I have been making bread and yoghurt. I am working on my yoghurt recipe trying to make some nice thick yoghurt like the type we love to buy at the markets. I haven’t got it quite right yet, It is fairly thick, but hasn’t got the same texture as the market yoghurt. I think I will add some powdered milk next time and see how that goes. It is looking pretty good though, especially when it is pot set in these gorgeous little jars that I picked up at the cheap shop for $1.

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I have tried a few different bread recipes, looking for one that’s easy to become my everyday bread. I tried a recipe for no knead overnight bread that looked really cool because I made it in my tagine, but I wasn’t really happy with the bread.
Since then I have made Moroccan Bread and this Pumpernickel (note to Mum – click on the bread names to see the recipes xxx)
These were both great. The Moroccan bread was really easy, only one rise, and I actually made my dough in the morning and put it in the fridge for most of the day before rising it and it still came out great. I love the Pumpernickel too. Apparently this is a North American Pumpernickel which is not as dense as the German style Pumpernickel that you buy in supermarkets. It has coffee and cocoa and caraway seeds in it which makes it quite strongly flavoured. I am never quite sure what to have with my Pumpernickel, but I like it with cheese and with honey. My husband hasn’t tasted this one yet and I’ll be interested to see what he thinks.

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I have just started making a sourdoug starter which is bubbling away nicely, so hopefully we’ll have some home made sourdough bread later in the week.

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Not so tasty for us, but a huge money saver for me is making my own dog food. I have only just started doing this and I actually find it really gross, but it costs me about $2 for a weeks worth of dog food, plus I can put my vegetable scraps to a good use, so it is a great thing to do.
Here is my dog food recipe…
In a saucepan, put any fruit or vegetables that you find dying in the bottom of your fridge, chopped up a bit, into a large saucepan (important note: no onions, leeks or grapes for dogs!)
If it doesn’t look like much you can add some carrot peelings, an egg or some frozen veg, also any leftover dinners that have been in the fridge a few days too long.
Add to the saucepan about 1 cup of rice or pasta and enough water to come half way up the pan.
Bring to the boil and simmer until really soft, maybe 40 minutes to 1 hour.
Leave to cool, then puree this all up with a stick blender.
Mix in about 2 kg pet mince from the butcher (most butchers have this but you have to ask for it).
When it is all mixed together well, divide the mixture into serving size containers. I started off using ziplock bags, but am now using plastic take away food containers because Fergus can eat straight out of them so it’s less handling of gross dog food for me.
My dog is pretty fussy, but he seems to love this as long as I keep a ratio of about 2/3 meat to 1/3 veg mix. Keep a couple in the fridge and freeze the rest.

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Now, with everyone fed, I started to look at cleaning and body products. These recipes were all so easy. I made this home made deodorant from Amy’s Homestead Revival Blog. Then I made some hair gel using linseeds (which are basically the same as Flax seeds I think), following the instructions that I found at The Hairpin, you need to scroll down to the bottom for the gel instructions.
Next I made some orange cleaner thanks to NellyMary at Just Like My Nan Made.

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Finally, I whipped up a batch of Rhonda’s home made laundry liquid which you can use for lots of different cleaning needs. Here is a link to the Down to Earth Blog, you just need to scroll down a little until you get to the recipe for the laundry liquid and there are lots of other cleaning tips too.

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This recipe makes a LOT of liquid, so make sure you have plenty of containers handy to pour it into, and also a funnel. As you can see, I did not have these things handy, so my floor got an impromptu mop as well!

After all of that productivity, I think tomorrow is going to be a day devoted to Art – yay!

I’ll let you know how I go with using all my homemade products in future posts.

All the best,
Sharee

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