May 25, 2008


We're saving for a house. We're sticking to a tight budget. We're tightening our belts, watching our pennies etc. We're being Thrifty.
I like being Thrifty. I like seeing what bargains I can squeeze value out of, like seeing things that might be thrown out have extra life. It's also Environmentally Friendly. It's all the rage. Everyone should do it.
I've noticed that Campbell Live has been doing a lot of features on ways to save money in these expensive economic times, but none of them have really helped us as we're already doing them. We don't have a vege garden yet, but I am going to get around to doing something about that. Soon, I hope.
Anyway, here's what we do to make every little help:
  • Breastfeeding - far cheaper than lining the pockets of formula producers.
  • Learning to sew - so that I can alter or make my own clothes, bought second hand usually. Will come in handy as Harper grows and will be able to make own sheets, duvet covers etc, take up trousers, make blankets go a second round.
  • Saving on baby consumables - breasts pads in particular cost a fortune. Now I have a sewing machine I am going to make my own washable ones. Even though they are *so handy*, I may start phasing out the baby wipes too. If we didn't have at least 140,967 bibs then I would probably make my own of those too.
  • Turning things off at the wall - I don't know how much this saves a year, but apparently it makes a difference, and makes me happy.
  • Making cards and presents - At over $5 a pop, who has the cash to buy cards? And who wouldn't want a pair of slightly wonky mittens for their birthday?
  • Buying up large on veges and fruit to preserve - this is coming back in style I reckon. I'm a big fan of beetroot, so am going to get them cheap at the markets and pickle them myself. And when tomatoes are back in season I may make vats of passata and my favourite tomato and red pepper soup a la Jamie Oliver. Yum.
  • The Library - getting DVDs from the library is way cheaper than from a video shop, especially if you have a community services card.
  • Health services - we are members of the Newtown Union Health Service because we're *poor* and it only costs a tenner to see a doctor there.

I read a book last year called The Good Life, in which a family living in Queensland attempted to live off their land for a year. They made pot scrubbers out of loofahs that they grew themselves. They are my Thrifty heroes.

I will occasionally allow myself a wee luxury - I'm currently on the hunt for some winter boots but I rarely get to town to look at such things, so that will probably wait till next year. When I am back on the dairy I am going to have a blue cheese orgy, and I have a continuing love affair with Saturday brunch...


Mel or Phil said...

Hi I'd really recommend Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" for inspiration on the vege growing front! My OH and I have been attempting a lot of the thrifty stuff in the past year, helped by advice we received at a Sustainable Living course we did at the local high school (cost was koha so very thrifty). It has certainly made a difference to our power bill, and eating your own veg is great (though this has been derailed by recent baby incubating. All the best - I must get myself sorted on the sewing front....

Julie said...

Hi there, just wante to say good for you trying to be thrifty, we are on a similar mission in our home. Thought you may be interested in hearing about my recent discovery. I have just had my 3rd child and was becoming annoyed by how much I was spending on baby wipes. Luckily for me I found 'Cheeky Wipes' at my local baby store (can also be purchsed on internet NZ company). They are brilliant, you get a small container with a lid, 20 flannel squares and a bottle of organic tea tree oil (think it costs around 30 dollars). The idea is to fill the container half full of water then add a few drops of tea tree, then add some wipes. They wash up well and they are so much softer and a better clean of baby's bottom. You just keep re-adding wipes and I refill the water every couple of days. Sorry to go on, but I love them and you are the first person I have been able to tell. Another favourite money saving purchase are my Avent cotton washable breast pads. Anyway love you blog, looking forward to reading more, especially about how your learning to sew is going. This is also on my list of things to learn this year, good luck...X

lisa said...

And of course you are using cloth nappies? That would save you a couple of thousand over the next few years...

Need any tips on worm farms, I'm your girl!

emily said...

Re: baby wipes - you could just get the really cheap pkts of 6 facecloths from spotlight to use as babywipes. They wash up lovely and fluffy.

And if you do decide to go the cloth nappy route, I have some (used but scrupulously clean) nappies I was going to put on trademe but could probably donate to the cause if you're interested??

And can I have your tomato and red pepper soup recipe? Sounds great!

Kimberley said...

Emily, email me at and I'll give you the recipe and those knitting patterns you asked about. We are already doing the cloth nappy thing - to me disposables are for emergencies only! They are soooooooo expensive I don't understand how anyone can use them full time! Special K

Anonymous said...

Loads of links to frugal ideas. Quite Americo-centric but try wading through.

Thrift is chic!