Shopping Lists - Your New Best Friend
Grandma never left home without hers. Even our mothers probably had one of some kind. And today's women are turning back to them in droves to save not only money and time but their sanity. Shopping lists, once considered old fashioned and a nuisance are making a comeback and in a big way.
It's a fact that most of us buy the same items each time we shop with the occasional new foodstuff or cleaning product to try. But how often have you gone to the supermarket, picked up what you thought you needed, only to discover when you arrived home that you had doubled up on some things and totally forgotten others? You will be wasting money and time if you shop like this.
“I've always used a shopping list. It's usually scribbled on the back of an envelope or a small piece of paper but if I don't have it I can guarantee that I'll forget something vital or go way over my budget and these days especially I can't afford to do that,” says Catherine Allan, a young mother of four from Melbourne's outer east.
“Knowing that I will get what we need and not have to go back to the shops for another week saves us hundreds of dollars a year. I can ignore the urge to impulse buy when I only have 45 minutes without the kids on a Saturday morning to do the shopping. Getting what's on that list is my focus, if it's not on the list I just don't have the time or the money to buy it.”
As prices have gone up (inflation officially hit 4% last month) saving money, especially at the supermarket has become essential for families on a budget. Just as in Grandma's day people are feeling the pressure to spend less time shopping for groceries and save more time and money.
It's easy to set up a perpetual shopping list so you never forget what you need. Having a perpetual list makes shopping a breeze. You simply tick the items you need and then cross them off as you put them in the trolley.
Whether you use a notebook, the sample shopping list template or a spreadsheet on your computer or a shopping list program (and there are lots of free programs available) the steps are the same:
1. Rule up your master sheet with seven columns. They will be: item, brand, quantity, price last month, price this month, total.
2. Now list every item you buy, from peanut butter to toothpaste. If you want to be super organized, list the items in the order you find them in the supermarket. You’ll save time by not having to go back and forth and you will be able to mark off your list in order. Most supermarkets have a free store layout brochure available. If you can't find one in the aisles, ask at the service counter.
3. Once you've finished, run off some copies. Stick one to the front of the fridge or the pantry door. This will become your next shopping list. During the week as you run out of things or as you notice you’ll need an item, circle it on the list.
Each shopping day, you just have to grab the list and hit the supermarket. Before you leave home, in the price column put the price for each item when you last bought it. You’ll get this information from your pricebook (a pricebook will save you an absolute fortune, if you don't have one seriously consider setting one up).
When you are shopping just put the current price in the appropriate column and you have a record of how much each item has cost you. This helps you to keep track of how much items have gone up or down and will help you decide whether you need to reconsider the purchase.
If you carry a small calculator and tally as you go, you’ll easily pick up checkout errors and notice immediately if you go over budget.
Good Old Fashioned Laundry Tips
Laundry. We all have to do it, at least every now and then, although if you have a family you probably spend more time than you'd like in the laundry.
While there are many products on the market for getting your laundry in tip-top shape, there are also many old fashioned ideas that still work just as well.
As with any laundry advice, it is also important to check the label and the colorfastness of the garment itself, perhaps in an indiscreet area before trying anything new or even anything old.
Some good old-fashioned laundry tidbits have been around for quite some time and some individuals swear by these remedies.
Here are a few:
One of the toughest and most annoying stains is the bloodstain; however just as tough is the old-fashioned remedy of hydrogen peroxide to remove that stain. It is important to get the stain as soon as possible after it happens. Removing the stain when it is fresh will help remove it more thoroughly.
Grab a clean sponge or clean cloth and place the hydrogen peroxide on the cloth and then immediately onto the bloodstain. This will loosen the original stain from the fibers. Then, you can apply the hydrogen peroxide directly to the stain and let the foam do the work. Follow the directions on the garment and wash in the appropriate cycle using the appropriate bleach product. You can get a small bottle of peroxide from the chemist, I keep one on the windowsill in the laundry (between sport, working on cars and power tools I seem to have a lot of bloodstains to shift).
You can either spot treat the stains directly with white vinegar on a cloth or you can soak the underarm area for a longer period in the vinegar. You can add bicarb soda for an extra added scrubbing bonus as well as some dishwashing detergent. Follow label directions for washing.
Or you can reach for the hydrogen peroxide again. Soak the stain with a mixture of one part peroxide, two parts full strength dishwashing liquid and rub in. Let it sit for 30 minutes and then wash it as usual.
Gum on Clothing
One of the worst laundry disasters is gum on clothing. If you spot the gum before washing, that is great as it makes it easier to remove. One method is to try to freeze the garment, if possible, thereby freezing the gum. If not, you can rub the gum with an ice cube in an effort to harden the gum, which makes it easier to remove. Then using a butter knife, you can scrape the gum off.
Another method that has been around forever is that of using peanut butter. Rub peanut butter onto the gum softens it, making it easier to remove. Using an old toothbrush or a butter knife after makes gum removal faster and easier.
Or better still, ban chewing and bubble gum completely!
Ink Pen Stains
Rubbing alcohol placed on a cotton ball and then placed directly on the ink stain works magic on the stain as does hairspray. Soak the stain, let it sit a few minutes then into a normal wash.
While these stains are certainly nuisances, these old-fashioned tidbits should do the trick in alleviating them quickly and efficiently and save you buying any expensive stain treatments.
From Debt Free, Cashed Up and Laughing
MOO Soy Yoghurt
I have 2 young boys with milk allergies. As they eat at least 1 litre of soy yoghurt a week, I found a website that sells probiotic cultures for non-dairy yoghurt (Green Living Australia). I make one batch with the culture (with directions given) then use some of the batch of yoghurt as a starter made to make one more batch of soy yoghurt (using the cheapskates instructions). I make it using a vacuum pot and candy thermometer, and the long life soy milk.
Contributed by Cynthia Tay