Monday, July 17, 2017

Frugal Fun No. 4

My kids are on their mid-year break from school so we're spending the holidays at the beach in my brother and sister-in-law's beautiful bach. It has sea views out of most of the windows and I've been loving cooking and doing dishes with views of the ocean.

Friends came up with us last week and stayed in our family bach just down the hill. My kids loved having friends to play and adventure with. Our friends left on Thursday and my mother-in-law joined us on Friday. Then Paul caught a ferry across from Auckland on Saturday morning and is spending the second week of the school holidays at the beach with us.

Last week was pretty frugal for a holiday week. Usually we do a big grocery shop on our way up to the beach, spending far more than normal, but this time I brought a lot of pre-made meals and ingredients from home and only needed to spend $50 at the supermarket on things I didn't already have. We shared meals with our friends and that helped stretch the food I'd brought further. Here's a breakdown of how I saved money last week.

1. I kept my eye out on petrol prices as we travelled and filled up when I found a station selling petrol for ten cents less a litre than anywhere else.

2. For one meal I served a pre-made lasagne for dinner and a pre-made apple crumble for dessert. My friends supplied garlic bread to go with the lasagne and whipped cream to go with the apple crumble.

3. We ate soup for several lunches: pumpkin soup on two separate occasions, since I had brought a batch from home and so had my friend; silverbeet soup I made using silverbeet and herbs from the bach gardens along with a base of lamb stock I made with lamb bones discarded from a previous meal; a chicken and vegetable soup that used a leftover rotisserie chicken for stock and meat, and lots of vegetables from my mother-in-law's garden. I served the soup with homemade buns on two occasions - I'd pre-made the bun dough in my breadmaker back in Auckland, frozen it and brought it to the beach for this purpose.

4. I brought chocolate cake and chocolate chip cookies from Auckland to share with our friends for morning and afternoon tea last week. When we'd eaten all of those, I baked a batch of chocolate afghans.

5. We've been making use of the Kent fireplace at the bach to heat the main living room each night. For the fire we've been collecting driftwood, pine cones and twigs and also using logs from a tree my brother-in-law felled in the summer. The only expense was store-bought matches, firelighters and kindling, which I found necessary to get the fire going as I'm no fire-lighting expert. It's been fun experimenting with the fire each night and figuring out how to get it roaring.

6. My eldest daughter caught nits/head-lice from our friends' kids last week. It was our first experience with nits, but we were able to get rid of them quickly with a nit comb and a mixture of olive oil and tea tree oil. I'll do a separate post explaining how we killed the nits. It was mostly down to my friend's meticulous care, combing the eggs out of L's long hair.

7. I read three library books, Goose Girl and Princess Academy by Shannon Hale and Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh. All three were excellent. I also emailed the library and asked them to extend the holds on a couple of books that I had reserved but am unable to pick up until I return to Auckland. Contacting the library saved me a $2 fine on each book. (I reserved the books a long time ago, but they finally came available now.)

8. I bought a pintuck duvet cover for my master bedroom from Bed Bath and Beyond that was heavily discounted. I've been looking for one just like it for a long time and was excited to find a 100% cotton one marked down to $50 (originally $250).

9. I bought an oil fin heater from The Warehouse for the master bedroom of my brother and sister-in-law's bach. The heater was discounted by 50%. Because the bach is so big, the heat from the fire doesn't reach the master bedroom and I kept on waking up cold in the night. The heater has made a big difference. I'll leave it at the bach for future winter guests as a thank you to my brother and sister-in-law for letting us stay.

10. I collected tangelos from a tree at the family bach and used them to make tangelo juice.

11. I gratefully accepted several bags of fruit from my mother-in-law when she arrived. The apples she brought were floury so I used them to make apple crumble (and apple tea for me). The oranges were a bit sour, so I squeezed them to make orange juice and added Natvia and water to sweeten the juice. The kiwifruit and mandarins were beautiful for straight eating.

12. I also accepted buns and bread from my mother-in-law which we've been eating with soup for lunches.
13. My children enjoyed the best free playground there is - the beach. Yesterday they made huts out of driftwood and spent an hour pretending to be blacksmiths.

14. As we are a one-car family and I had the car here at the beach, Paul had to catch a bus to the train, a train to the ferry and a ferry to us waiting for him with the car in Coromandel. We prayed for good weather for his ferry crossing and it was a beautiful, still morning. All would have been well if his ferry hadn't sprung a leak and started taking on water. The staff on board managed to bail the water out with buckets and them pump it off and seal the leak, but it added an extra hour to Paul's trip and he was glad to finally reach shore. My children played happily on the beach by the wharf while we waited for him. They clambered over rocks and found sea glass and other treasures in the sand.

What have you done to save money lately?


  1. Not exactly saving, but I have been selling (and giving) stuff that we don't need as we still haven't quite moved everything out of our old house. Today I got $80 for a trailer for the mower that we had never used!

    1. That totally counts! Well done. I'm not so good at selling stuff. Wish I was.


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