Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Cheapskate Tuesday

An exercise in extreme budgeting
 (like extreme sports, but without the trophies...)

We are poor. Not "on a budget", "watching our spending", or "feeling the 0.25% interest rate rise a little". If we run out of milk before payday we have to decide if we want to auction a body part or go without.

It doesn't help that WonderMan gets paid fortnightly and you just CANNOT cover all the things that may crop up in those fourteen days, without having to take it from somewhere else.

Hence why I am desperately searching for a job - but I will not regale you with my "PHD in cover letter creation" (I'm onto around about the 247th). 

I'm likely to be found randomly swearing at tv's, magazines, newspapers and radios whenever the subject of budgeting comes up. 

Before having Frog, WonderMan and I were starting to plan and research our wedding - so I bought a book called "How To Create the Wedding of Your Dreams on a Budget" or something equally gag-inducing. This has taught me rule No 1 of extreme budgeting - Always read page one before spending $8.50 on a book that thinks a cheapskate wedding costs $25,000...

I also can't watch lifestyle shows that present "DIY projects that look fab and save you money", because they most likely show a viewer in a house that cost upwards of half a million, remaking a perfectly good antique chair (because we ALL own one of those...) into what looks like an antique chair that has been thrown into the Nile to be sat on by hippos and chewed up by crocodiles, for the SMALL price of $2,000. Yeah.... that's decorating on a budget... mhmmm.... now just find me a jar so I can put 50 cents in a week, so by the time my children move out of home I will be able to afford a new tv.

So I'm starting Cheapskate Tuesday. Here I will post ideas to get away with spending almost nothing on presents, entertainment, homemaking and meals, while making it look *FABULOUS* 

It works, and it has kept me sane - most people I know who are on a serious budget eat the same boring food every night, feel bad giving cheap presents, and give up all the other things you just can't afford and it gets you down. I was like that, and it was the most depressed I have ever been in my entire life. 

Now I can throw dinner for our close friends and they all rave about my cooking. But it doesn't add more than $10 to my weekly shopping, because if it does I have to give up something else. 

So here's today's recipe - which costs so little but can feed 4 adults.

Chicken Noodle Salad

200g 2 minute noodles
1/2 cooked bbq chicken, shredded
1 lebanese cucumber (cut into matchsticks)
1/2 small red capsicum (cut into matchsticks)
1 small carrot (cut into matchsticks.... are you sensing a theme here?)
1 1/2 Tablespoons of kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)

Cook noodles. Drain. Mix with other ingredients.

So there you go. Cheap, YUMMY and super fast.

I make this for picnics, and those really hot days when I just couldn't be stuffed. I usually buy a whole cooked chicken (because it works out cheaper) and keep the remaining shredded meat in the fridge for sandwiches, so it adds a bit of variety to the "vegemite and cheese" parade.

I had a minor *freak* this morning when I discovered Frog and Tiger had been invited to a friends birthday party on Friday (note to self... if you are going to write things in your diary you should CHECK IT more than once a fortnight...)

My budget for this week was out of whack last Tuesday so I'm going to have to pull out my creative best for this one. My #1 saving? Wrapping paper. (And no, I don't mean being all wondermum and getting hold of butchers paper which we stencil with the latest art deco designs.... because my kids AND my butcher would look at me funny) 

My local supermarket uses paper bags. And because I'm a stressed out mum looking for my next caffiene hit and trying not to forget to put my pants on or leave the baby in the supermarket... I forget my green bags on a regular basis and end up paying 5c or so to take a paper one home. So I have bags of bags sitting in my house.

I gave Frog and Tiger a bag each (well I gave Frog several because she's not even two and doesn't have the longest attention span yet...) along with crayons, stickers, textas, glue and random bits of stuff like foil, patty pans and wool - then I let them go. Present wrapping 1-0-1.

Have a go - kids can create. And it's so much more fun than making sure you have the right coloured bow to go with your organic free trade bamboo wrapping paper that costs more than it would to save a panda. 


  1. When down about $$$, it always helps to look at pretty things! Thanks for following me over at DressologyHQ.blogspot.com! I've returned the kindness!! And ps. my husband gets paid MONTHLY!! ARGHHHH!! There is nothing worse than a 5 week month, I feel your pain!! xoxo Sada

  2. OMG MONTHLY! I feel for you! Thanks for your support - love your blog and have already shared numerous links to your posts.... all labelled "Buy me for Nat for Christmas" LOL :D


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