Thursday, February 11, 2016

Insourcing value in the home...

Sometimes the value of insourcing, is not just what we are able to save for our own family, but what we are able to give back to the community.

In the last seven days, I've been able to give two small hampers to families in need, in my own social circle. I was able to disguise these as a gift, so that they did not know I was aware of their financial crisis. Consequently, it was a bit like being a Secret Santa, and just being able to enjoy the smiles my gift generated, rather than feeling like it was a charitable donation. Having a 'shop', as I call my stash of food items and hand crafted gifts, is a great benefit, not only to us, but to others. When I assemble these gift hampers, I make sure there is a good balance of useful pantry items, and little luxuries. I think many times we imagine that families who are in need, only need essentials. Of course, that is exactly when a little luxury can make the difference between feeling desperately that life has thrown you a curve ball, and feeling that this is just a little hiccup that you will overcome.

I don't know how to put a dollar value on that. I think the feel good factor is, as the well known advertisement says, 'priceless'.

I have already generated five Easter gifts...Easter is early this year you know...from Valentines Bath Fizzies. Fizzies are miniature bath bombs. At $8 for 25, they were a bargain anyway, but by Monday, they'll probably be $2 for the same thing, so I'm poised to swoop after the school drop off! You can read about my Valentine to Easter gift Flip here. Those savings are yet to be generated, but planning is half the battle. And who says Easter has to be about chocolate? The little foil wrapped bath fizzie above, is the result of yesterdays efforts. I took the plain shrink wrapped fizzies, and wrapped them in confectionery foil, available inexpensively on eBay. But you'll need to order quickly to have it in time for Easter. Remember too, that the foil is always coloured one side, and silver the other, so you in fact get two colours for the price of one. I think in terms of paying full price for a similar Easter gift for The Divas friends, I've probably saved about $15 per gift. So I'll call that $65 saved after paying for the materials.

It's really worth looking out for the Clearance specials after a designated retail 'event'. Even if the items are not ideal, they're often worth purchasing for the pretty containers, or the re-workable contents for another occasion. You couldn't buy the container OR the contents for the going prices after The Day, be it Valentines, Easter, or Christmas!

We're back to school, so I've saved at least $100 in making lunches, over giving my daughter money to spend at the school canteen.

I saved another $95 by remodelling an existing ill fitting dance uniform to give her a second one now that she has several Dance classes in her week at school. Many uniform items can be given a new lease of life with bleaching, altering, or reworking. She didn't like this one because the straps on the cami top sat oddly, and the legs on the pants were too flared. Both of those were easily remedied with minor alterations.

Fuel was saved by topping up when it's at the lowest prices. Some days I was only purchasing $12 worth, but with fuel prices fluctuating as they are at the moment, todays $1.08c a litre, could be tomorrows $1.38c a litre! Probably a $30 saving there.

I've baked two birthday cakes which I'm about to decorate for my four year old granddaughter, saving about $400 in similar purchased cakes from a professional cake decorator, even after buying materials and ingredients. Birthday cakes are big business!

We've eaten healthfully and well, thanks to shopping from a list and menu planning last week. I baked a beautiful butter cake using my Sunset Peaches preserved while on holidays which has provided morning teas and dessert for those who eat it (not me!). You can see those here. We've been busy, and I just know without that pre-planning, and a well stocked refrigerator and pantry, the local Thai takeaway would have been a familiar haunt. Savings there of easily $100.

I've enjoyed a Chai Latte` from a premix with my disabled son. I visit him each afternoon, as his little apartment is on the way to my daughters school. Often we'd meet at the local cafe', but the Chai Latte`s there, are $6. I like them, but I don't necessarily like them any better than the one out of a packet quite frankly! Saving there of $30.

I cleaned the house, washed the dog and gave him his flea treatment, trimmed my own hair and did my own manicure and pedicure. I'm going to call that $120 for the cleaning, $45 for the dog wash and treatment, $50 for the trim, condition, and straighten of hair, and $60 for the mani-pedi. Impressive savings there, on things I would outsource if I worked outside the home, of $255.

So without really trying, and just by being focused on treating my role in the home as my job, I've generated the equivalent of a take home pay of $1095 at the very least, and that isn't counting the 'gift baskets'.  To earn that, after tax, I'd have to be on a $65,000+ salary, and that would be a full time job with all kinds of pressures.

How did treating your role in the home like a job, save you, or generate you potential savings this week? Tell me all!



  1. I really enjoy these posts you do and I am amazed at all you save! My daughter gets a cold lunch most days, but my son a hot lunch everyday. I need to see if I can save some money by having him get hot lunch less. And, I didn't realize Easter was early this year... ugh, guess I better start thinking about Easter baskets! You are on top of it!


  2. Mimi you are right to include something special in your hampers. Over the years I have been involved with collections of items at schools to go out to drought affected areas and one thing I was mindful of when talking to the school principal when setting the collections up was to include 'fun' things for the children or pretty personal items for mum (as she is the one who generally goes without).

    One of the IGA's that isn't too far from me has the Nescafe cappucino (and I suppose other items) for $2-99 a packet of 10 this week. I am thinking they would be perfect to go into hampers as a 'little something special' or for a small Christmas gift along with some homemade biscuits.

    My husband is away for work at the moment (comes home tomorrow evening) so I have spent the time sorting out things so that they work a lot better, decluttering as I go - not sure what the going rate for people who do this job is but I think it is quite pricey.

    Usual housework is getting done and today I had a brainwave when I realised that the plant that was pulled out a couple of weeks ago would be perfect to be planted along the side of the driveway so tomorrow while I am out I am going to pick up some cheap plastic pots and some potting mix and pot the bulbs up until we get the driveway in.

    Love that you pop in and spend some time in the afternoon with your son.


  3. Mimi, I made valentine treats for the children in a Bible class that I teach using what I had on hand ... scrapbooking paper, ribbon, tags, etc. I estimated I saved $30 on them. You can see a picture of them here ...

  4. I'm all about saving money too since we live on a retirement budget. I've been declutttering an donating the most I ever had to charity. Hate to say it but my hubs loves to do housework and laundry so i don't do any and he's free!

  5. This is terrific. My husband and I have always been frugal, even as individuals before we were a couple. we use coupons whenever we eat out. I've done my own tax preparations (and 4 family members'), which saves a ridiculous sum, as the big box preparers charge by the page. I do my own manis/pedis too. I've done all my own cleaning, and am now organizing/decluttering as my lenten project (40 bags in 40 days).

  6. This is terrific. My husband and I have always been frugal, even as individuals before we were a couple. we use coupons whenever we eat out. I've done my own tax preparations (and 4 family members'), which saves a ridiculous sum, as the big box preparers charge by the page. I do my own manis/pedis too. I've done all my own cleaning, and am now organizing/decluttering as my lenten project (40 bags in 40 days).

  7. Great post. I don't work except for a very very part time job for myself, and my husband and I often have talked about all the things that we would have to let go to if I worked full time. We would have very little down time or have to pay someone to do it or not do it at all.

    It is amazing when you look at it how much you save by doing things yourself and being mostly at home I can do even more. I also think of running the house and our finances as a business.

    Most things I think are just second nature to do and some ideas are like lightbulb moments.

    Though for a lot of things I do I don't think "oh, I just saved $x by doing this" it is just the way we do it here, but when you look at how others live, you realise how much you don't spend in comparison.

  8. I love this! Even though hubby and I don't really need to watch our pennies right now, we have always been thrifty and good savers. I'm sure when he retires next year that we will be glad for that! I love that you gave things that weren't just necessities. We all need a little something special now and then. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  9. What a great post!

    I guess the way I saved money this week was to "shop my house". I like to change up my decor, but I don't want to bring more stuff in the house so I just rotate things through the attic.

    Thanks for Sharing Your Cup!


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