We hope you find these timely savings tips helpful.


It is an absolute necessity for working carers to find clever ways to balance the budget so we hope you find these timely savings tips helpful. They come from our savings partner website http://www.simplesavings.com.au/


I make my bolognaise go a long way. Start with 500 grams of mince (it doesn’t have to be high quality) – this should feed up to six people. Or, freeze some for another day. Use your usual bolognaise recipe (large can crushed/chopped tomatoes, garlic/onion/basil or whatever you like). Now, a great way to extend your bolognaise sauce is by grating a cup of raw pumpkin, choko or zucchini into it; or adding a cup of dried red lentils; or a cup of rice; or a cup of oats. Add any of these while it is cooking (you will need to add more water – say one-and-a-half cups per cup of lentils/rice/oats). You won’t taste the extender as it will take on the tomato/onion/meat flavour of the sauce (red lentils work best of all).


Peeling, boiling and mashing potatoes is a lot of work for just two people. Instead, I leave the skin on a potato and bake it in the microwave. I then cut it in half and put through a ricer. The skin stays in the ricer and out comes instant mashed potato! It is much easier and quicker to prepare, and as it helps with portion control, my waistline is happy too.


I try very hard to keep biscuits and cereals in sealed containers to keep them as fresh as possible. However, living in a humid climate, and having a husband and kids who don't necessarily re-seal containers, I get very annoyed at the waste when I have to throw stale things out. Faced with both stale cereal and half a box of stale savoury biscuits, I remembered a tip I heard about putting them in the oven for a few minutes to 'cook' away the moisture, which is what makes them go stale. Well, I did some experiments and found that around 170 degrees for about four minutes brought the cereal back to life and made the biscuits as good as new! I think this will save us about $5 a week as I seem to throw out stale remnants of two or three items each week. So, my oven is now saving me BIG bickies each week!


We are saving an easy $75 a year keeping pesky mozzies away! Mosquitoes love our garden and we would routinely burn a whole mosquito coil each evening during summer while we enjoyed some time sitting outside. However, I realised one night that we were actually wasting most of the coil every night, as we would head inside and just leave it burning. On reading the pack I saw each coil lasted eight hours - this meant we were probably wasting around three quarters each night! So the next night, I just broke a piece off and lit it and forgot about it. We are now going through just one coil a week rather than seven! This is a saving of about $1.50 every week, or $75 a year, simply by looking at our habit and doing things a bit differently.


I have found a super cheap and effective secret to keeping my family AND their clothes smelling fresh every day! I have a family of teenagers and during summer it is a constant battle of the pits – smelly armpits that is! It doesn't matter how strong the deodorant, the drive home from school at the end of the day is a smelly one. And then there is the extra soaking I have to do with their shirts after every wear, to get rid of the stains and the smell. I was complaining about this to a friend when she told me her trick. She uses cheap hand sanitiser from the $2 shop to keep the pong at bay! Just rub a little first on armpits to kill the germs that cause the actual body odour, and then use deodorant as normal. Before now we have tried vinegar ('Mum, I smell like a fish and chip shop!') and we have tried bicarb soda ('No, Mum, noooooo!') so I didn't like my chances but they all tried this – and it worked! No more smelly teenagers and no more yellow stains to soak so I save both money and time on that nightly expense. Now we can all breathe easy!


A really simple way to save money on expensive laundry products is to read the labels and find a similar, cheaper product. It can be very hard to compare which items contain what but almost all items such as laundry powder, cleaners and so on contain 'active ingredients' which are the most important in the cleaning process. By discovering these, you can try out similar, cheaper items that have the same ingredients.

For example, Vanish Napisan Oxi Action costs $9.25 for 1kg and its active ingredient is sodium percarbonate 320g/kg (or 32%). A similar product, Woolworths Homebrand Laundry Soaker and Inwash Booster, also has sodium percarbonate at 280g/kg (28%) for $2.49. For a small variation in concentration, I got the same active ingredient in the product, for around a quarter of the price.

You don't need a degree in chemistry – just check the active ingredient and try the cheaper product first for some great savings.


Many years ago I saw an interview with Suzy Orman about honouring ourselves and our money. One of the things she suggested was to have an attractive wallet that is kept in good order and 'house kept' each day. After a lifetime of wallets stuffed to the gills with receipts, I decided to give it a go. With my Christmas money in hand, I went wallet shopping. I now have a good looking, well-designed wallet. It fits everything I need in it, notes lie flat, my budget booklet fits in and I am maintaining it every day. Suzy was right. It helps me save. I am more aware of my money, all silver straight to the money tin, golds for car wash or extra groceries and notes rarely come out because they look so content in there!


Cruises are a great way to have a relaxing and reasonably priced family holiday - and we've found a way to enjoy them for even less! Despite their expensive, glamorous image, you can find some fantastic bargains on cruises. Because the vessel has to depart regardless of how many empty cabins it has, you can find some brilliant last-minute deals. You can get three 'all you can eat' meals, accommodation and tons of entertainment for $78 per person per day. You just have to be flexible and happy to grab your tickets at the last minute.

Check out these websites for starters:

P&O Cruises


Carnival Cruises