Recent Hints & Tips

Full access to the Vault of Hints is for members only, but here's a taste! Hints are contributed by both staff and members.

Toothpaste for only $0.83c
updated 48 min ago
Many chemists stock AIM toothpaste, which is not available in most supermarkets. It is sold in a three-pack for $2.49. That's only $0.83c per tube!
Keep avocado fresh with paper towel
updated 5 hr ago
When you cut an avocado and only use part or half of it, instead of brushing it with lemon juice, thoroughly wet a paper towel, scrunch it up and place it over the avocado flesh. Put the two halves together and wrap in cling wrap. Your avocado will last for up to a week without going brown. Remember to check the paper towel each day so that it does not dry out.
Amazing two-ingredient pizza base
updated Yesterday
Making your own pizzas is a brilliant way to save money on buying them - but I bet you haven't tried this! You can save even more money on takeaway pizzas by making your own bases using just TWO ingredients!

This recipe makes two medium sized pizza bases:

2 cups self raising flour
1 x 200g tub natural yoghurt

Simply combine your two ingredients in a bowl and mix together until well combined. Turn out onto a floured board or surface. Knead together as usual, then divide into two equal parts. Roll out your pizza bases, add your chosen toppings and pop into the oven for 15 minutes at 220 degrees.

The results are so delicious. Simply use up whatever you have in the fridge to top your pizza and you've got a super cheap and filling meal. I've converted all my family and friends too! I dare you to give it a go, you'll be amazed!
Save money and learn new skills at the Repair Cafe
updated 8 Aug 2018
I have discovered a great way to save money, learn new skills and meet wonderful people at my local Repair Café!
My nearest is Lane Cove North, Sydney but there are lots of others around the country and more than 1300 worldwide. It's wonderful to be able to learn how to fix things for myself and be sustainable - my shoes, clothes, knife sharpening, jewellery and gadget fixing too, all for a donation. They also have a swap table so I can leave things I no longer use there and they find a new home! Repair Cafes have prevented over 250,000 kilos of waste in the last year alone! For more information, visit
Cheese scones for a tasty sandwich alternative
updated 7 Aug 2018
When I have run out of bread for school sandwiches, I find cheese scones a real lifesaver. Very cheap and easy and fast enough to whip up a batch before school!

Cheese Scones: (makes approximately eight)

1 cup self raising flour
1 cup cheese
2/3 cup milk

Mix ingredients all together, roll and cut out and place in a hot oven for 15 minutes.

The kids love them and it makes a nice change from sandwiches. You can also add a handful of bacon bits and sprinkle some cheese on top. Very tasty and much better value than cheese and bacon rolls from the supermarket!
Save hundreds on your weights program
updated 5 Aug 2018
I wanted to add a weights program to my exercise routine but $500 for an annual gym membership or $200 to buy my own weights was way beyond my budget. After a little research on the internet, I bought an exercise resistance band from my local physio for $8.00 and downloaded a full body workout from the internet. I have added to my exercise routine without having to pay for expensive equipment or a gym membership, not to mention paying for a babysitter while I went to the gym!
Lovely lemon honey
updated 4 Aug 2018
My lemon honey is great for lemon meringue pie, and jars of it also go into Christmas gift boxes for Meals on Wheels recipients. This recipe uses no eggs, so it keeps very well too.


125g butter
1 cup of sugar
2 large lemons
1tbsp cornflour or custard powder


Melt butter and sugar in the juice from the lemons. Add grated rind. Remove from heat. Moisten the cornflour with water so it can be mixed smooth. Stir this into the mixture and return to heat. Stir while cooking until the mixture is lovely and smooth. Remove from heat and cool a little before bottling in small jars and labelling. This lemon honey can be stored in or out of the fridge.
Cook with in-season vegetables
updated 4 Aug 2018
I save heaps on the grocery bill by taking notice of what vegetables are in season. During June, for example, I can pick up a huge pumpkin and an enormous cauliflower for only $2.00 each.

Before buying the vegetables, I plan a dish to add to the weekly meal plan and one to freeze for later. This week we ate a delicious curried pumpkin for dinner and I froze a generous serve of pumpkin soup and pumpkin scones. The cauliflower made cauliflower cheese and cauliflower au gratin with ample left over for frozen cauliflower soup. The soup is great for during the week when there isn't as much time for cooking. With this method, I save both money and time.
Gourmet freezer sandwiches
updated 4 Aug 2018
If you want to save money by making your own sandwiches for lunch in advance, here are some gourmet recipes you can make in bulk and freeze. My girlfriend shared these with me and I guarantee you will look forward to your lunch every day with this variety! Each recipe makes six sandwiches using twelve slices of bread.

Chicken & Celery:
3/4 cup (180ml) packaged light cream cheese
1 1/4 cups (250g) finely chopped cooked chicken
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1/4 teaspoon celery salt

Ham & Corn Relish:
250g thinly sliced ham
1/2 cup (125ml) corn relish
1 cup (120g) grated smoked or tasty cheddar cheese

1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 green shallots, chopped
50g button mushrooms, sliced
1 small (150g) green pepper, chopped
180g sliced ham, chopped
1 1/2 cups (180g) grated tasty cheddar cheese.
(You can do this without the mushrooms if you like)

Carrot & Sultana:
1 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup (60g) chopped walnuts
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1/3 cup (55g) sultanas
(I don't use the walnuts but add cream cheese)

Peanut Chutney Chicken:
1/4 cup (65g) crunchy peanut butter
1/3 cup (80ml) mango chutney
1 1/4 cups (250g) finely chopped chicken

Deli Delight:
2 tablespoons pesto
1 cup (200g) ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped seedless black olives
1/4 cup (25g) finely chopped drained sun-dried capsicum
12 slices (100g) deli meat / ham
(Friend makes it without the olives)

Curried Tuna:
2 x 185g cans tuna, drained
1 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup (60ml) coleslaw dressing
1 tablespoon curry paste
Combine all ingredients in bowl before making sandwiches.

Turkey & Cranberry:
1/3 cup (80ml) cranberry sauce
250g sliced turkey breast roll
150g camembert cheese, sliced

Cottage Cheese and Date:
2 bacon rashers, chopped and cooked
250g carton cottage cheese, drained
3/4 cup (125g) chopped dates
3/4 cup (110g) chopped dried apricots
Home-made sausage rolls
updated 3 Aug 2018
I would like to share with you my treasured home made sausage roll recipe! They are delicious hot or cold. I make a batch of these about once a month and freeze them. I pop them into the kids' lunch boxes in the morning and by lunchtime they have defrosted. They are a perfect standby for unexpected guests or to take to parties and the best bit - the kids don't know about the hidden vegetables! This recipe makes 36 mini sausage rolls. You need:

1 onion
500g sausage mince
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
1 egg
3 sheets puff pastry
Grated vegetables - I have tried any combination of carrot, zucchini, pumpkin, sweet potato, corn, squash, all a big success!

Preheat oven to 200C
Fry onions until soft (don't brown them).
Mix together the other ingredients (the best way to do this is with your hands, the kids love helping!)
Lay the sheets of pastry out and cut each into two rectangles. Divide the mixture between the six rectangles and shape into sausages down the middle. Brush one long edge with egg and roll up, then cut into six mini sausage rolls. Place on a greased baking sheet and brush the tops with egg. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. They can be warmed up in the microwave but are crisper reheated in the oven. Yum!
Earth Choice saves $5 a week on soaps
updated 1 Aug 2018
I am saving around $5 with Earth Choice laundry and dishwash liquids which you can get from any Coles or Woolworths. The one litre size containers are just $2.00, much cheaper than other brands. What's more the products are grey water safe, phosphate free and Australian made. The packaging is recycled and they are not tested on animals.

30 minutes a week = 7 days of 'instant' meals!
updated 30 Jul 2018
Just 30 minutes extra in the kitchen each week is saving me a fortune in takeaways and hours of time in the long run! I often buy my meat in bulk (and on sale) and freeze for later use. A wonderful time saving and money saving tip is to pre-prepare the meat BEFORE you freeze it. For example, you can:

* Chop up chicken breast into large pieces and marinade with curry paste, then freeze. When defrosted, simply fry up and add coconut milk and frozen Asian vegetables for a quick curry.
* Slice steak or pork into stir fry strips and marinade, then freeze. When defrosted, simply add vegetables and fresh egg noodles.
* Mince can be made into rissoles or smaller meatballs and frozen. Quick and easy for spaghetti and meatballs when you add a jar of tomato pasta sauce.
* Chicken breast can be sliced and marinaded in teriyaki sauce, then frozen. Simply defrost and it's ready for the frypan.
* Cut up lamb and marinade, then freeze for when you want to make souvlaki wraps. Simply add fresh salad greens and wraps.
* Lamb mince can be mixed up with spices and shaped into 'koftas', then frozen.
* You can pre-slice salmon and marinade it in sweet chilli and lime, then freeze. Just defrost and it's ready for the oven.
* You can even freeze mince that has been pre-browned, so it's ready for slow cooker meals such as chilli-con-carne or bolognese.

I keep a list of whatever 'pre-prepared meals' are in my freezer at any time, so I can incorporate them into my menu plan every week. I find that by spending those 30 minutes before I put my meat in the freezer, I am much more organised and have saved a lot of money, when I would have otherwise been tempted to get takeaways after a busy day. Now thanks to my frozen meal selections, I can even get my hubby to start on dinner when I'm running late from work!
Change flat sheets into fitted
1 comment
updated 28 Jul 2018
Fitted sheets are so much more convenient than flat sheets, but this tip makes use of all the flat sheets we doona lovers keep in the cupboard and will save you having to buy more fitted sheets!

This applies to single foam mattresses that you can bend easily and is an old trick I learnt from nursing many years ago.

Use a flat sheet to cover the mattress and one end at a time - tuck in over the end of the mattress (not the sides), fold the mattress back on itself so you have access to underneath. Grab both corners of the sheet and tie it in a knot in the middle (underneath). Do the other end.

If you tie too tight you will end up with a banana bed (you'll see what I mean if it happens). If you do it too loose, your sheet will be wrinkled. If you do it just right, a coin will bounce off the sheet and it will repel wrinkles better than any fitted sheet! You can even wash it with the knots in place.

To take the sheet off, just fold it back and pull the ends off. When it is time to put the sheet back on, it just slips over each end again. The tying can be used with double sheets on a single bed as well.

Single flat sheets can be tied onto a cot mattress, but this hint won't work with an innerspring single sized mattress.
Be beautiful at any age and save
updated 27 Jul 2018
I save hundreds a year on expensive products by growing old gracefully!

After years of dyeing my hair, using anti-ageing creams and generally succumbing to the youth culture, I have rebelled! I think you can be beautiful at any age and I have jolly well earned each and every one of my grey hairs! After a year of not using wrinkle creams and other such products I have not noticed any discernable disintegration. (In fact, my skin has improved - possibly due to less pore blocking glug!). I save at least $60 per year on dyeing my hair and more than $50 a year on eye and face creams alone!
$1.00 a thousand times over
updated 24 Jul 2018
We had the chance to travel overseas several years ago but had to save $1000 to make it happen. On one income with two small children it seemed impossible. Then I had the brainwave - I didn't have to save $1000, I had to save $1.00 a thousand times! This was so much easier - a generic brand product at the grocery store, a chocolate bar at the petrol station and so on, soon added up and the savings contributed to a great family holiday.
Being proactive pays off in tough times
updated 24 Jul 2018
Just a little time and effort has given me an extra $500 in my pocket! I have had just eight weeks work this year and am cutting back where I can. My yearly house insurance was due. I dropped the value of my house by $45,000 and increased the excess to $1500, saving $170 per year. I also closed a bank account I hadn't used regularly, and a small life insurance policy, saving $15 a month in debit fees. I transferred the money to a progress saver account with no fees. In just a few changes I saved $350 and will be earning approximately $150 interest per year in the savings account. I felt pleased with myself to be $500 better off and by being proactive with my finances!
Make condensed milk in your food processor
updated 23 Jul 2018
With this simple recipe, you'll never need to buy condensed milk again! This uses basic ingredients most people have on hand and is simple to make. The following makes the equivalent of two cans of condensed milk.


80g butter
3/4 cup boiling water
2 1/3 cups milk powder
1 1/2 cups caster sugar


Mix butter and boiling water together in a heatproof jug, stirring until the butter has melted.
Transfer to a food processor bowl and add the milk powder and sugar. Process for one minute or until smooth and sugar is dissolved. Use immediately or store in a container in the fridge for up to three days.

I used to hate buying condensed milk because of the price but this has solved the issue!
Superb Chicken Loaf
updated 23 Jul 2018
This is a simple recipe for Chicken Loaf but the end result is wonderful!


500g chicken mince
1 packet chicken vegetable soup
1 egg
1 onion, finely chopped
250g frozen chopped spinach (thawed and drained)


Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Spoon into a greased loaf tin and bake for 40 - 50 minutes until juices run clear.

NB. You can use grated zucchini instead of spinach.
Hundreds of free documentaries online
updated 19 Jul 2018
If you enjoy documentary programmes you can watch them whenever you like for free from your computer! Top Documentary Films is a website where you can access hundreds of documentaries and watch them online. While this will eat into your download quota, we have never gone over our quota using this site and it saves on movie hire when there's nothing on TV! Check them out!
Save hundreds on hot water
1 comment
updated 19 Jul 2018
I saved about $900 a year on my gas bill. By turning my water heater off after warming the water for a shower, my gas bottle lasted for about 100 days rather than the 25 days I could expect when constantly heating the water. At $116 for a 45kg bottle, that's a saving of between $900 and $1000 every year. I have since moved and now have an electric water heater but I still only turn the system on at the fuse switch when I need more hot water. As the water stays warm for a day or two, I save about 50% on hot water costs.
Hundreds more pages from 'empty' cartridges
updated 19 Jul 2018
I have discovered how I can get an extra 220 pages printed from an 'empty' printer cartridge! We upgraded our printer to a black and white laser to try and cut ink costs and found the new printer extremely fast compared to the old one. I have found that when the 'low toner' warning comes up and the printer will no longer print, I can simply take out the cartridge, give it a gentle shake, replace it and continue printing. The cartridge finally runs out a couple of hundred pages later! That is a lot of pages to print and a lot of new cartridges to save!
Revamping cricket bat saves hundreds
1 comment
updated 19 Jul 2018
We saved hundreds on a great looking new cricket bat! My partner broke his previous bat last year and while he has been happy borrowing from other players, it can be difficult to practice and master your skills without a bat of your own. So we went to our local cricket shop to price a new bat but I was horrified to discover that this piece of wood would cost anywhere between $200 and $500! Being a couple of Simple Savers, we instead bought a second hand bat on eBay for $30 and my partner sanded it down and re-oiled it himself. I then purchased some new brand name stickers from a sports shop ($20) and had a new grip put on the handle ($2). It looks just like a brand new bat but only cost us $52! His team mates haven't noticed, he feels confident with his snazzy looking bat and I am very happy with the savings!
Creative study area saves hundreds
updated 19 Jul 2018
I saved almost $600 on creating a new study area! The reorganisation of my study required a new desk and filing cabinets for storage. I searched the usual reputable stores and came up with a total cost of about $800 for a suitable desk ($340) and two two-drawer filing cabinets ($460). This was over my budget, so I headed for the second hand stores instead and purchased two good quality two-drawer filing cabinets for $140 ($70 each). I then purchased some wet sandpaper and White Knight Rust guard spray paint from Bunnings at $30 total to paint the cabinets. I also purchased a new door for $30 and some varnish ($20) to stain the door. Once dry, I placed the door on top of the filing cabinets - one at each end - to make a very functional two-metre long desk. I now have the most wonderful office space, for a total cost of $220!
Save hundreds on car paintwork repairs
1 comment
updated 19 Jul 2018
Prevention is better than the cure when it comes to car paintwork.

My three year old opened our car door, which hit the car parked alongside us. This caused a slight paint chip in the door of the other car.

The chip was smaller than a grain of rice but it cost me $231 to repair! This prompted me to look for ways to prevent this happening again. I found and bought a strip of clear plastic film specifically designed to stop this sort of damage occurring. It goes onto the edge of car doors and the bumper.
Total cost, $17. Better than a $231 bill anyway.
Saving hundreds of litres in water
updated 19 Jul 2018
Despite a lengthy drought in Brisbane, I have saved over 35,000 litres of water in our pool and haven't had to use any tap water to water the garden in two years! Two years ago I attached a hose to the spouting of our house, so that I could fill the pool with rainwater as it fell and I could capture water for our pot plants and herb garden.

This has saved us hundreds of dollars. Even a light sprinkle fills my 48 litre container, giving me two weeks of free water for the pot plants!

Also, during the summer months I encourage my family to take 'Norwegian showers', which involves wetting yourself all over, then turning off the shower, lathering your body, and washing your hair, then turning the shower back on to rinse off. We have dropped our water consumption from one kilolitre per day to .65 kilolitres per day!

... and thousands more.

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