Monday, October 29, 2018 I saved money in October 2018...

I love reflecting on what we've achieved in the last month. Sometimes it's staggering how much we insource, and almost every month, we learn a new skill. You can too!
This month, we ate well from our pantry, refrigerator and garden. The weather is about to warm up considerably here in the Sub-Tropics, so we made the most of enjoying cool weather food for the fading days of late Spring.
Gluten free pizzas are a favourite here since I mastered gluten free pizza dough as seen above. You can find that recipe here.
Likewise, gluten free pastry is a new favourite. I used my Nannas old faithful recipe, and found that lard makes all the difference. That one is here.

Fried rice has been a go-to easy meal in this household since...well...forever.
Here's that recipe in a couple of sentences Nanna style.
To four cups of cooked rice that you've steamed the day before (or these days, 1-2 family sized packet of precooked rice), add two crumbled chicken stock cubes, a handful of diced bacon, and a cup of mixed frozen vegetables. Stir fry until heated through, and add a teaspoon of Sesame Oil, a tablespoon of soy sauce, 1/2 a teaspoon each of dried garlic granules and dried onion flakes, and any diced leftover meat such as chicken or roast that you might have in the fridge. Done. Just as good as any takeaway...better even.

Of course, now that we are moving into hot and humid weather here (when it's not thunderstorming!), sometimes a platter of chilled things is the only way to go when friends come around. Likewise chilled water is the order of the day over cups of tea and coffee.

The apples have been so sweet, juicy and delicious lately, that it's almost criminal to do anything to them, but we do love a good baked apple with greek yoghurt and honey now and again. So when the aforementioned thunderstorms reduced the temperatures for a nanosecond, these little pretties went into the oven.

Nobody can resist those new yummylicious home made gluten free pizzas. They're a new Saturday night treat. Sometimes more often. We load them up with roast pumpkin cubes, baby spinach, diced capsicum, fresh herbs and semi dried tomatoes, and go easy on the fatty deli meats, so they're lighter and healthier.

And...okay...not the healthiest, but so yummy and retro, home made gluten free sausage rolls. Again, I load the meat with grated carrot, zucchini, cubed eggplant and capsicum and handfulls of baby spinach, wrap it in purchased cheaty gluten free puff pastry, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. In 15 minutes I'd made 18, which is enough for two hearty meals for the three of us for around $10.
One tray went straight into the oven, and one went into the freezer for another day.

Of course you remember that I love fridge cleanout day and I was proud to only have to discard half a tin of coconut cream that had been decanted, but not labelled, and thus forgotten at the back of the fridge.
Here's my fridge all ready for the grocery delivery, which was mercifully small this week, and mostly consisted of pantry items. Here you see all my veges ready prepared for the week ahead. These include julienned carrots, diced green capsicum, halved cherry tomatoes, cubed pumpkin (for those pizzas!), sliced cabbage for coleslaw for burgers and stir fry, and more. This saves us so much time, energy and effort. It's an odd reality, that one hour of preparation, once a week, potentially saves you several hours when you're busy. Truth!

Here's some of my Chinoiserie cushions and pillow slips, either ready to stitch or already stitched. A bit different, but I LOVE them.

And here's a bit of faux tortoishell for you. This one hand painted by me. This is all but finished except for the glass top, which is on its way. I can't wait to share it with all of my pretties back in place.
Here it was before. Not awful, but just in need of a glamor makeover, like many of!

Going back 20 or so years ago, I'd stained everything this cherry colour.

That included the chess/coffee table, which I neglected to photograph in it's 'before' condition when overcome by a painting and gilding frenzy.
This is it actually upside down so I could paint it more comfortably. That carved detail really POPS when highlighted with a bit of gold leaf Rub 'n' Buff!

And once painted and gilded, Husband laid some faux tortoise shell of a different kind. This is the acrylic that pick guards on guitars are made from. It's found a new life as a coffee table surface.

We love it!
I can't begin to tell you how much money this saved us in October. But professional Faux Finishers are not cheap, and of course, you know that making your own Fake-Away and preparing meals saves a bomb.
I'm going to say $1200 saved on either a professional painter or a new desk.
About $300 on the coffee table.
Minimum $300 on preparing and avoiding takeaways.
And stitching new linens and cushions myself...I'm not kidding when I tell you that has saved at LEAST $500-$750 for the kind of designs I was admiring. That's a whole other story!
I'm calling October a $2300 month of savings, and that's conservative.
You CAN have Champagne taste on a sparkling water budget.
You've just got to be prepared to get your hands dirty.
Tutorial for that Tortoiseshell finish coming up later in the week.
How was your October?
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  1. The coffee table looks great - so much grander than I imagined in the work in progress photos. I do lack the ability to picture things as a finished piece (especially fabric into clothes).

    Your advice to prepare food ahead of time really does make the difference between a healthy dinner and takeaway most nights.

    Well done! And on top of the new job, how's it going?

    1. Hi Angela...yes grand is the look we were after, so I'm pleased as punch to see you use that in admiration of our coffee table! I think our imaginations work in different ways. I can't always 'see' things either, but Pinterest helps with the visualisation! I start the new job next Monday. Wish me luck! Mimi xxx

  2. Your faux painting skills are quite wonderful Miss Mimi. Your desk has gone from aged and lovely to quite a regal piece of furniture. I am loving what you have done with your cushions and can see them looking very luxe indeed.
    There have been a number of babies born into the daughters circle of friends. I have taught two of them when they were small people, so consider them to be pretty special. I have made a few little gifts for the babes saving quite a bit of money, as all the fabrics have been gifted to me. I've baked cakes for a couple of neighbours who have been feeling low. Visiting with cake and having a coffee with them was my way of assisting them.
    I love the term 'fake-a-way' for meals based on take away items. Here it has been Bluey Fried Chicken, Bluey Burgers and Bluey wraps. The burgers were in bought buns but the wraps in my homemade Naan Bread.
    A number of items have been sewn and put into the gift cupboard for Christmas. I am in the middle of a redwork embroidery project for a stocking for the youngest Granddaughter. I checked out the cost of purchasing a similar stocking online and was quite amazed at the cost. So a big saving there.
    Earlier in the month I hired a carpet shampoo machine with an upholstery attachment. It ended up costing me $65. I did my carpet squares, four recliners, one tub chair, the velvet dining chairs and three cars upholstery for this cost. Last year I got a company in and for the four recliners and carpet squares it cost me over $400. It was a bit of hard work but I will take that amount of saving any day.
    The month of October has been a pretty good one savings wise in this household.

    1. Dear Jane, thankyou for your flattering comment on my faux finishing skills. I do love a challenge and I wasn't going to let this particular challenge get the better of me. It's a testament to perseverance I tell you! You've been everyones Angel this month, I can tell. You're right that a visit and a bit of home baking seems to cheer everyone up. I'm salivating at the thought of Bluey Fried Chicken. You are going to have to share that recipe now you know. Embroidery...buying anything embroidered is insanely expensive. And as with anything, it's a skill that improves with use. I'll be taking embroidery in my bag to my new job for sure. I imagine I'll get a bit done here and there in lunch hours. No doubt I'll be considered the Office Oddity, but who cares. Doing your own carpets and lounge cleaning is an enormous saving, I know. You did well! A great month for you too. Pat thyself on the back Mrs Allan ;-) Mimi xxx

  3. You.Inspire.Me.
    More than you can imagine!
    Thank you so much for your generous heart in sharing your life with your readers.

    1. Veronica what a lovely thing to say. Thankyou. Mimi xxx

  4. Goodness me, have achieved so much in October while I have just been packing up lots of old 'stuff' in our kitchen before the tradies move in. I procrastinated enough with doing that but it is nearly all finished and thankfully the builders are running behind time with their work so I wasn't caught out. Once the renos are finished I hope to become more productive and have time to do something 'crafty' once again. Well done on your October savings.

    1. Chel, renovations....aaaargh! I think pat yourself on the back for simply staying put while they occur! Fingers crossed for a quick build and swift resumption of normal life! Mimi xxx

  5. You are on fire! I've been pretty hot too. I've been given lots of oranges and have lots of juice, frozen juice, marmalade and orange cakes made up and frozen. When you consider the cost of fresh juice, morning tea and real fruit jam, I've been doing pretty well in the savings department too on a box of oranges alone. I have also picked up some great bargains at the opportunity store lately to keep my budget healthy and me happy. All the best for your first day on the new job. Knock them out! cheers Janiebabe

    1. Jane you're always 'hot'! Well done on the orange conjuring AND the thrift store bargains. Honestly where would we all be with our love of recycling in all it's forms. Thankyou, and ask me how I am on Monday evening! Love, Mimi xxx

  6. You're just like a little busy squirrel getting this and that ready and saving and making. It's awesome!
    Glad I dropped by tonight.
    Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage

    1. Thankyou Laura. I'm so happy to see you. I hope you are

  7. Dear Mimi, That was a very good month! I think fried rice is so useful and a use it up meal... and such a budget stretcher. Actually pizza too... so many things can go on top of a pizza. Your pastry looks exceptional. I think you started work Monday? I hope the week is going very well! With love

    1. Dear Annabel, yes and yes and! I'm happy to say that not much has changed grocery wise, and that's with Husband taking charge. What can I say? I've trained him well. Work is good, thankyou! Love, Mimi xxx


I love hearing from you! I always respond to comments, so don't be shy! Mimi xxx