Monday, July 31, 2017

Not so frugal fun

When we got back from our holiday, I was itching to get into the garden. I missed it so much while we were away.

Top of my list was to take all the plants and trees out of the citrus garden and top up the soil, since it had sunk to below halfway. You may remember I filled this garden mostly using a layering methods of free gathered materials like dried leaves, grass clippings, homemade compost, wood mulch and coffee grounds. When I planted everything, the bed was almost full, but the materials lost a lot of their volume as they decomposed, which is why I decided to bite the bullet and buy garden mix to refill the garden.

J and I went to Bunnings and bought 11 x 40 litre bags of garden vegetable mix (two different kinds). I also bought a Raspberry Ivory cane that had been marked down to half price and a few flowers to add a bit of colour to my winter garden.
New flowers for a pop of prettiness.

I thought 11 bags of garden mix would be plenty, but by the time I had used half the bags, I had not even filled a quarter of the long citrus garden. Help!

Back to Bunnings I went and bought another 17 bags of garden mix. It was just enough. I got everything planted back in and I'm hoping the trees survive the shock to their system of being moved around. We got lots of rain in the days following their replanting, so that should help them settle into their new soil.

Replanted citrus garden.

After replanting everything, I was left with lots of strawberry runners, which I've been slowly planting in new spots around my yard, as I've had energy. (Shifting 28 bags of garden mix took its toll!)
Strawberry runners.

Anyway, the garden refill ended up being a lot more expensive than I was anticipating, but it was one of those things that, once started, needed to be finished. It meant I was already feeling like a frugal failure when I noticed an ominous hissing sound coming from our toilet last Tuesday morning. I went outside and saw water running out from the cladding behind our toilet. My expensive week got more expensive when I had to call a plumber in to fix a burst pipe. I decided to make the most of his call-out fee and get a few other things fixed at the same time.

New outdoor tap.

One of the things he did while he was here was put in an outside tap that we can access from the backyard. He connected it to the same bit of pipe he had to replace behind the toilet, since there was already a hole in the wall from repairing that. My main desire for this outside tap is to be able to waterblast our fences, which are in desperate need of cleaning as you can see from the photo above. Once they're clean, I'll stain them the same Rustic Oak as our deck, although I'm thinking I'll use an oil-based stain this time as the water-based stain on our deck is already starting to chip. (So annoying!)

I brought our dehumidifier into the toilet room to dry out the wall where the leak had been, but when I went to empty it, I some how broke the connection that tells the dehumidifier whether it's full. Now it thinks it's full all the time, which means it won't work. Argh.

To add insult to injury, our vacuum cleaner handle snapped the same day as the dehumidifier broke. I went back to the store we had purchased it from and found out the warranty had expired at the start of this year, which meant I needed to pay for the replacement parts myself. The store assistant I spoke to wanted to charge me a $110 fee just to assess how it broke. I said, "I know how it broke. It snapped while I was vacuuming. Just tell me how much the replacement parts will be." So she sorted that out and the parts have been ordered - another $118 I wasn't planning to spend last week.

While I was in the shop, I had a look at dehumidifiers and was stunned by how expensive they were. I was expecting them to be around $200, but the cheapest was $600 and the one I wanted to get was closer to $900. Whaaat? I've put that purchase on hold for now, but I'm really noticing how wet the windows are in the morning without a working dehumidifer so I will save up to replace it. Fortunately we have a window vacuum cleaner I bought last winter, so I'm using that to suck up the moisture off the windows in the mornings until I can replace the dehumidifier.

Last week I also needed to do some printing work, so I popped into Warehouse Stationary which was next door to the vacuum cleaner store and asked about prices. It turned out the job I wanted printed was going to cost $90. It wasn't a complicated job, just a large black and white document so I was shocked at the $90 price tag. I decided to buy a printer instead from the shop I was getting my vacuum cleaner parts from. The sales assistant gave me a good deal and I chose a simple black and white laser printer for $209. The toner cartridge in it will print 10,000 pages before it needs replacing, and I anticipate I will need to do quite a bit of printing in the coming months so this seems like a lot better value for money than printing through Warehouse Stationary.

Anyway, I was feeling disheartened by all the unexpected expenses last week until I changed my focus to the fact we do have money saved to deal with these things. It's one of the reasons I've been trying to be frugal and build an emergency fund - so that when emergencies happen, we can deal with them without breaking the bank. Sure, I would rather have let those savings grow and accumulate for better things (like a glass door to replace our garage door), but at least they were there.

Here's hoping nothing breaks this week.

What have you done to save money lately?


  1. Weeks like this are not much fun are they :(. Thanks for keeping it real though! you can get a secondhand dehumidifier from trade me or op shops,my one cost $20. I'm sure it's not as efficient as a $900 one, but it does the job :)

    1. Thanks Jessica. $20 for one is a score!I've been thinking second hand is the way to go. That, or maybe I'll be able to find someone to repair our existing one. I'll keep you posted. :)

  2. I would be saving up for a HRV or DVS system if you have condensation problems. Fixes them over night and much cheaper to run than a dehumidifier.

    1. Thanks Margo. I actually want to save up for double-glazed PVCU windows as our current single-glazed aluminium windows are the problem. Till then, the dehumidifier is doing the trick.


Thank you for visiting Craving Fresh, and for taking the time to comment. Your feedback is so important to me.