Pig Tits and Parsley Sauce

Slash your grocery bill by living sustainably

What’s Really In Our face Cream?

I am thoroughly enjoying Petra Bagust & ‘What Really In Our…??? TV3 Tuesday night at 8pm. Petra looked at moisturisers and face creams last night and let’s be honest – they are a great big con. It’s not fair that manufacturers take advantage of our vanity and fears of ageing yet we spend millions of dollars collectively on the false hope that we can put something on our faces and end up looking younger.

Try sweet almond oil as a night moisturiser.  you can get a 500ml from www.amoraromatherapy.co.nz (see link on this page) for about $16 – it will last you forever, great savings and great results. I have a great home made moisturiser recipe on my cosmetics pamphlet ($10). Only 4 ingredients, you make it in the microwave in minutes,  let it set over night and you’re laughing. The quality is vastly superior to over the counter and you know exactly what’s in it. A little bit goes a long way and if you have sensitive skin… just don’t add any colourant or fragrance to it.

It is great feeling to know you can make something so easily that does a great job and costs way, way less than anything you would buy over the counter.

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Baking Soda Scrub

Just got in from milking – covered in cow shite (YUK!!).  Have been using a scrub made with Baking Soda (Bi-Carbonate Soda) and sweet almond oil from Amor Aromatherapy (see web link on this page) – mix these together into a smooth paste and use to gently cleanse grime off hands and body.  Fantastic as a gentle foot scrub and way more effective than any similar product I have paid over $12 for.  I’m pleased with my new product and thought I’d better share. I’m going to try it as a facial cleanser too and see how that goes.

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PIG TITS & PARSLEY SAUCE SHOW US HOW TO SAVE

Mid-June the Hutt City Council treated anyone who could make it to a free talk by          Lyn Webster of pigtitsandparsleysauce.co.nz & MAKE franchise fame. What a wonderful night out. I made a meal of it (literally) and went out for tea first with my girlfriends and then off to the free show.

Basically, Lyn is a solo mum of 2 girls and a share-milker in Taranaki. Getting into a bit of financial strife she needed to cut back her budget and she discovered that most spending was at the supermarket and the likes – no surprise to most of us! So she set a weekly shopping budget of $100.00 a week and they all had to stick to it – otherwise she risked losing her share-milking business.

Looking at ways to lessen her weekly shop costs she discovered she could actually make a lot of what was on offer at the supermarket. A bit of research on the Internet and she started to make her own homemade cleaning products, cosmetics (shampoo, moisturiser etc) and milking shed cleaner – buying the ingredients in bulk –  and the change proved to be a better choice for the environment. She has fine tuned the recipes and they are now available in a pamphlet form.

Needing to boost her income she offered paid lessons in her home demonstrating the making of various products to show how easy it was. Campbell Live ended up filming one of her  lessons! She also started writing a column for the local newspaper -Taranaki Daily News – about how she was cutting back her weekly budget. Oh, and she has been on Good Morning too. Bearing in mind, this was all while she was working a dairy farm, running a home and bringing up 2 girls as well! This is probably the reason she doesn’t subscribe to the excuse that people just “don’t have time” to make their own stuff.

Lyn has now cut her budget to $75.00 a week and admits that she often doesn’t pay for milk and they very seldom eat meat BUT the message is that you can make you own stuff, you can save money, make a better choice for the environment, not be a SLAVE to the supermarket and no longer be sucked in by clever advertising! She gets a smug sense of satisfaction as she by-passes the cleaning aisles each time she shops. The lack of need to go to the supermarket means she can often source fresh fruit and vegetables from small locally owned stores. Great for local businesses!

Lyn Webster is an absolute treat to listen to and her simple homemade recipes have  inspired me to actually get on and make some of my own products. The washing powder is brilliant and cheap – if you buy in bulk.

If you ever get a chance to go and see her live … I can thoroughly recommend it!

For those who didn’t see her – check out her website at www.pigtitsandparsleysauce.co.nz or Google “Lyn Webster”.

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Ch-ch-changes…

I can’t get over how my approach to grocery shopping has changed in 18-months. Yesterday I got a fortnights worth of groceries for less than $150. We’ve got an extra person at our place at the moment so it will be interesting to see if I can make the food last… I got heaps though, including salmon steaks which were marked down for a quick sale. I baked them for tea last night with homemade chips, lemon juice (using some lemons we have been given from Talia’s tree) and water cress which grows freely at the runoff where my young stock graze. Sally pointed out the water cress to me a couple of months ago. I had never really been familiar with cress so I have given it a go and used it in salads and boiled a’la spinach. I’ve also ground it up and added it to breadcrumbs and pasta etc. It has a pleasant peppery flavour mindful of rocket lettuce – yum. And the best thing about the cress is that it is free and growing abundantly in the stream where I can help myself. We have basically cut packaged items right out of our grocery basket. That includes things like biscuits, chips, pizza, drinks, cereals, all cleaning products, deodorant and shampoos etc. I still get loo paper (obviously)but 40 rolls is on special at the Warehouse for $8-95 and it is usually only $9-95. I buy fresh fruit and veges and go for the cheapest seasonal ones. I also get few cans of stuff like baked beans, tuna, corn and fruit. My mindset is now – if its packaged and branded it’s probably a rip-off so don’t buy it. Surprisingly if you really want something that badly you can probably make it or something similar yourself. On the other hand many of the treats are not that good for you anyway and you are better off without. There are piles of packaged stuff that used to be a must have on my list that I don’t miss and certainly won’t be buying again. This attitude doesn’t happen overnight but if you are strict about sticking to your low budgeting limit, you will be surprised have fast your attitude changes. Our grocery buying habits are deeply ingrained and hard to change but it is definitely worth it for you and your family. I am appalled at what I used to spend on groceries and the terrible things I used to give my kids as time savers or treats and I am just so glad I have changed my ways.

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Wash Your Hair With… BAKING SODA…

My hairdresser commented on how nicely my colour was lasting and how shiny and healthy my hair looked.  This cracks me up as she had a fit when I told her (18-months ago) I was washing my hair with baking soda and using a spray of white vinegar as conditioner.

I can tell that Baking Soda and White Vinegar are good for my hair because my hair has never been so healthy and easy to manage.  I have cut out all other hair-products as well and haven’t missed them at all, my hair is that good. I’ve had positive feedback from all sorts of people that have purchased my recipe pamphlet and tried this suggestion.  They love it.

These are the sort of ideas you get from the Baking Soda and White Vinegar books (available on this web site for $20 each).  As a money saver simply using Baking Soda and White Vinegar as substitutes for shampoo and conditioner is a great idea… just imagine how much you save if you are not buying expensive branded shampoo and conditioner and how much more chemical free your life will be (not to mention no more plastic bottles down the dolphins blow-hole… Oh, I’ve mentioned it!)

I do not miss shampoo and conditioner and would dearly love to have my money back that I’ve wasted on these products over the years.  Petra Bagust’s program on Tuesday night.. WHAT’S IN OUR???? …was an eye opener that just showed how over rated shampoo and conditioner and deodorant really are… the claims the manufacturers make are practically lies. http://www.tv3.co.nz/Shows/Reality/WhatsReallyInOur/WebLinks/tabid/1121/Default.aspx It made me so happy that I have found cheap, effective, healthy and environmentally friendly alternatives to these products that we are brainwashed into believing are beneficial.  Surprise, surprise… they are NOT!!

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Super Saver Lyn Webster Brings Her Budgeting Tips to Lower Hutt

She’s appeared on Country Calendar, had a regular column in the Taranaki Daily News and inspired thousands of people trying to cut down on their grocery bill while being kinder to the environment.

On the way, share milker Lyn Webster has become a star, clocking up tens of thousands of hits on her website, running classes, selling books, recipes and ingredients and adding to her income through an increasing round of public speaking.

Webster will share her knowledge with Hutt residents at a free talk at the Lower Hutt Town Hall on Wednesday, June 16 at 7.30pm.

Last year, Webster set about restricting her family grocery budget to $100 a week.

“The $100 a week budget was inspired by necessity … I ran out of funds,” she said.

Once into the swing of things she found $100 a week too easy  so cut it to $75. She also had a savings goal of $12,000 to reach her dream of buying a house.

She was so successful she nearly tripled that amount.

“It’s now a matter of when, rather than if I buy.”

Her website pigtitsandparsleysauce.co.nz has snowballed, attracting hits from throughout the world.

“Sometimes I wish I had thought of a different name  too late now.”

Not content with spending less, Webster discovered she could create her own cleaning and laundry products as well as cosmetics.

Since the start of her savings experiment she has become a phenomenon, appearing on several TV shows, magazines and newspapers.

The budgeting wizard is being brought to town by Hutt City Council to share her tips on spending less and making greener choices.

Council’s environmental sustainability officer Nicolette West says Webster’s philosophy of choosing homemade over store-brought products is also a great way of reducing our impact on the environment.

“Cleaning products you buy at the supermarket often contain harsh chemicals which, if we’re not careful can find their way into our waterways … there’s also usually a plastic container to get rid of,” she says.

The evening is the first of a future series of free sustainability demonstration evenings where residents can gain practical skills and information on gardening, electricity savings, shopping and travel choices, warmer houses and reducing waste.

Come along to hear Lyn speak and learn how to make your own laundry powder.

* Lyn Webster at the Lower Hutt Town Hall, Wednesday, June 16, 7.30pm, free entry. Goodie bags and spot prizes will be on offer.

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VOTING NOW OPEN

Voting is now open for the AMP Scholarship Peoples Choice Award.  You can see my entry by going to the web site below (or direct link see page right) and searching under Taranaki /Wanganui region and Environmental Category. It would be great if you could give me your vote and encourage others to support me too.  doyourthing.co.nz

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AMP Scholarship – People’s Choice Award

I (this website/business/lifestyle concept) am in the running for an AMP Scholarship.  There is a people’s choice award.  If you’d like to support me with your vote, check out the link to their website on the right. Voting opens on June 15th.

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Cutting costs key for frugal farmer

In six months last year, Taranaki farmer Lyn Webster saved $16,000 by slashing her weekly shopping budget to just $100.

 

She explained how she did it, and why, during a talk this week as part of Positively Clutha Women’s Week for Women activities. About 100 people heard Ms Webster talk about her life as a 50:50 share-milker.

When Fonterra made its record payout for milk solids in the 2007-08 season, her farming partner wanted to sell the herd, and Ms Webster did not have the finances to buy it.

Up to that point, she said, she had thought: “I work hard, I don’t need to budget for myself.”

Being faced with losing everything she had worked for forced her to find an alternative, cheaper way of living.

Her concept could be summed up simply: “Put a limit on it.”

“I was gobsmacked when I added up my grocery bills,” she said.

“I put a $100 limit on my week’s groceries. If I spent that $100 by Wednesday, I couldn’t spend any more till the next Monday.”

Ms Webster said going from unlimited spending to $100 was hard at first.

“Once you crack it and change your habits, you are away laughing.”

The thought of running out of shampoo, laundry powder and toothpaste all in the same week motivated her to find ways of making her own products, for a fraction of what she had been paying for “branded products”.

To demonstrate, Ms Webster made 1kg of washing powder from two cheap and easily obtained ingredients – a bar of yellow laundry soap and washing crystals – which she blended in front of the crowd.

Through buying in bulk and making her own products, Ms Webster was able to sort out her farm finances.

“I call on all my resources to get it for nothing,” she said.

rachel.taylor@odt.co.nz

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Beat The Poxy Budget

Well this is it.  The way to beat inflation and 15% GST.  Forget John’s cheap tax cuts and jump off the money-merry-go-round. Make your own cleaning products and cosmetics, avoid the supermarket like the plague by shopping at Bin Inn and reap the rewards. We have done it since Jan 2009 – that is a year-and-a-half living on less than $100 a week and we couldn’t be happier.  Life is so much less stressful with $30,000+ in the bank, shopping is no longer an expensive time consuming chore and yet we are still eating well and getting all the jobs done around the house. The money invested in my two pamphlets and the Baking Soda and Vinegar books will be the best money you ever spent.  To walk through the cleaning products and cosmetics aisles in the supermarket week after week and buy nothing is the best feeling ever (well right up there anyway.)

Click on the buy books and recipes toolbar now or send me an e-mail pigtitsandparsleysauce@gmail.com  – you won’t regret it.

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Food For Thought

Half of the food currently produced in the world is wasted, added to the ever increasing piles of rubbish made by mankind. That’s all very well and good if, like us, you live in a land of plenty but literally life threatening for those less fortunate. I remember refusing to eat my Brussels sprouts and Mum saying ‘ the children starving in Africa would love those Brussels sprouts.’ I know it is hard to believe but I was a little smart arse back then and used to say something along the lines of …’well wrap them up and post it to them then!’… which probably earned me a boot up the bum and not be allowed to watch The Muppet Show, but that was back in the 70’s.

My family has been living under a $75 a week grocery cap for the past 16 months and I cannot get over the positive changes we have made in three key areas; Money saving, health benefits and environmental benefits, namely less waste and less chemicals used. The stingy budget has really opened my eyes to our previously wasteful ways.

Our household rubbish had diminished from a bag a day to about a bag a week.  The rubbish used to be quite smelly as it contained food scraps.  Nowadays I only make as much food as we can eat at one sitting and any leftovers are usually snapped up for school lunches or the next meal.  When there is a limit on how much food there is in the house it is amazing how you can suddenly stretch it to meet your needs.  In the past we used to be eating cake as bread literally went mouldy in the cupboard, these days we are grateful for whatever there is in the fridge. When your food choice is limited you have no idea how much you appreciate munching away on a carrot or an apple when that is all you have left in the fridge.  Needless to say there are very few food scraps rotting in our rubbish anymore.

We have also become more discerning by avoiding pre-packaged food items, mainly because we can’t afford them, and the amount of packaging bought in to our home has been shrinking as our budgeting skills have sharpened up.  This has had a huge impact on the amount of rubbish we have to dispose of. We are also recycling but that is another story.

The changes to our lifestyle have been easy to implement.  It was as simple as setting a budget limit and then sticking to it like glue. The other decisions you need to make all come naturally as they are just means to an end – feeding the family without exceeding the budget limit.  You call on all available resources to do this and if you involve the whole family it is actually really positive and fun.  Your whole attitude towards eating changes as you suddenly begin viewing food as a source of protein and nutrition rather than an expression of wealth, or cooking prowess or comfort or love or whatever the Women’s Weekly has been telling us lately. 

My friend pointed out water cress growing in a creek at the run-off recently and I have been collecting it and adding it to salads, stews and casseroles. In the past I would have scorned this possibility but the cress is a healthy, flavoursome addition to our meals and its free – I would be a fool to overlook it. It’s also fun to collect and a good example to show the kids that food does not have to come from the supermarket shelves alone.

Over the course of our lifestyle changes I have gained a high level of popularity as a public speaker, sharing my family’s experiences with a wide variety of audiences in Taranaki and beyond. There has been a minority of people in the audiences stunned by the changes we have made and really struggling with the concept. They actually feel so sorry for us as they think our lives must be compromised by the scrooginess of our grocery budget. Not so.  It really warms my heart to see Stevie (12) adding the ingredients of Russian Fudge to the grocery list and then making up a batch for Mothers Day.  The resulting fudge was yummier, cheaper and much better than just grabbing a sweet treat off the supermarkets shelf. Stevie learnt a lot by going through the making process – getting the ingredients, reading the recipe, measuring it out and working the oven (and I had a great time cleaning up the kitchen.) After I refused to buy chocolate flavoured milk at the supermarket the other day, Danni (17) has been forced to start adding sugar and cocoa to a glass of milk at home.  The result – chocolate flavoured milk.  It’s amazing what you can do if you have to.

It is so easy to get carried away by marketing and in doing so believe that you need to consume way more that is necessary.  It doesn’t stop at food.  In my opinion we have gone mad, spending way too much money on consuming unnecessary unsustainable products. Consumables such as cleaning products have got way out of hand.  Why do we believe we need a separate cleaner for the windows, kitchen, bathroom, car, barbeque, tiles, floors, etc.  It is ridiculous. Why do we think we need a different toothpaste for all ages, plus mouthwash, whitener, and a new toothbrush every five minutes? Because the TV tells us so. As long as we demand these goods – someone will produce them and charge us the earth for them.

Women in particular have a lot of control over household consumption and expenditure.  Because we are lucky enough to have plenty we do not have to think about the consequences of half the food produced in the world wasted, but if you stopped to spare a thought for others less fortunate, made a few easy changes to your lifestyle, you might suddenly find yourselves reaping the rewards financially, health wise, environmentally and morally.  That is literally – food for thought.

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What A Load of Rubbish

Sixteen months ago my family made a pact to slash the weekly grocery bill to less than $100 a week. Amongst the many joys that we have discovered within our changed shopping habits is a massive reduction in our household waste.  Saving cash was the original sole motivation behind the ‘$100 a week grocery budget’, but we have also become much more environmentally responsible by default. 

Our determination to spend no more that $100 a week on groceries has forced us to chose alterative solutions to common household problems including making our own cleaning products and cosmetics.  As a result we are no longer purchasing such pre-packaged items as spray cleaner, tampons, toothpaste, shampoo/conditioner and laundry powder.  Instead we are purchasing a narrow range of ingredients which includes bi-carbonate soda (baking soda), sodium carbonate (washing soda), salt and citric acid. These can be purchased cheaply at a bulk store (ie: Bin Inn) and we are able to recycle our own containers for this.

By making products quickly and simply at home we are not only saving thousands of dollars in cash but we are significantly reducing the pile of rubbish generated by our day to day activities.  Another spin off is that we have reduced the range of chemicals going down our drain via cleaning products from an unknown chemical cocktail to just  7 known substances, 5 of which you would bake with and one of them is water.  That makes me feel good.

Amongst the containers we no longer have to dispose of annually are 26 laundry powder cartons which include 26 little plastic scoops. 12 toothpaste containers, 12 deodorant bottles, 24 plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles and 12 spray cleaner bottles. Some of the chemicals we are no longer putting into the environment via the drain include sodium monoflourophosphate, solvents, sodium laurel sulphate, ammonium chloride, bleach, aluminum chlorohydrate and tricalcium phosphate to name just a few out of hundreds. In itself the environmental impact of our changed, lifestyle are minute but if those benefits were multiplied by every household in Taranaki/New Zealand, the positive impact would be immense.

I am not green enough to believe that all households would voluntarily make the changes necessary to make an impact but as a living example of how easy it actually is to implement positive changes around the home certainly want to promote the concept. We are mostly caught up in a rat race, striving to make some headway in a rapidly changing modern world. We might be trying to climb the corporate ladder, trying to juggle a family and cling on to a career or trying to get on top of the mortgage as well as the massive pile of bills that accompanies modern lifestyles.  We might be rushing around the supermarket before picking the kids up from school and thoughtlessly filling our trolleys with all sorts of packaged food and overpriced cleaning products that are supposed to save us time, handing over in exchange a sizeable chunk of the wages from the job that ate up all the time in the first place. Take a moment to reassess the situation –there is a better way.

Putting a cap on the grocery spend was what enabled my family to see the light. Now our supermarket shopping is limited by the monetary resources we are prepared to put into it. We have been forced to trim off all the fat and only purchase the bare necessities.  Once the initial shock wore off we were pleasantly surprised that we can still fill ourselves up quite nicely thank you very much by buying more generic products and avoiding value added, heavily advertised, pre-packaged items.  Surprisingly we are now eating more healthily than before.  If a grocery item has packaging, I would even go as far as to say don’t buy it, you could probably make it from ingredients, find a cheaper healthier alternative or do without. Why would we buy veges with packaging.  I’m not sure why bananas sometimes come wrapped in plastic, they already come with natures wrapping.  I have been guilty, in the past, of buying lettuce leaves in plastic bags, why I don’t know.  They cost more and you throw the plastic bag away – it makes no sense of you think about it. Pre-packaged fruit and veges are off my shopping list. I prefer my fresh stuff to come au naturel.  Better still grow your own… make the time or get the kids to do it.

So if pre-packaged items are off the list, what have we been doing without?  Here is an idea of what my family has been doing without for the last 14months.  We are not missing; packets of biscuits, cakes, boxed breakfast cereal, muesli bars, drinks in cans, cartons, glass and plastic bottles, yogurt, fancy cheeses, processed meat (luncheon, salami, bacon etc), fancy breads, dips, spreads, sauces, pre-grated cheese, washed potatoes,  fruit strings, pies, fancy desserts… I have actually forgotten many of the products we used to love buying, which says it all. (I am actually appalled at the way I used to shop and at the unhealthy sugar laden treats we used to indulge ourselves in.)

Of course the supermarkets are set up to encourage us to splurge unwittingly on strategically placed specials and unnecessary treats.  It is up to us whether we want to give our hard earned cash away to them.  Nutritionally speaking many of the things we no longer buy were major threats to our long term health anyway, being sugar, salt and preservative laden, better to make your own treats – at least you can use healthy ingredients.

New Zealanders put at least 3.156 million tonnes of waste into landfills annually. This is not sustainable.  I have stumbled across a positive solution to minimise my family’s contribution to this waste and it’s something we could all do if we cared.

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Recent Shopping Trip

Stevie and I did a fortnightly grocery run the other day.  On a $75 a week grocery budget that meant an upper limit of $150.  We were shopping locally (New World) so not necessarily the cheapest supermarket in the world, however they did have the coupon special on… not that we had any coupons as I reckon through temptation they actually cost more than you save.

Our list is never particularly exciting these days and doesn’t vary much.  So we zoomed around the tinned fruit, creamed corn ,tuna, cheap-as bread, seasonal veges etc, etc until we got to the dairy cabinet.  I needed butter and cheese, the two items I have vowed not to buy if they exceed a certain price. The cheapest butter was $5!!!…  so that was out of reach (my limit is $3-99) and actually drove me to making some butter when I got home, which was surprisingly successful.  There was cheese on special, $8-99 if you had the coupon, a whopping $14-99 without.  I put 3 in my trolley as that is a good special and right on my cheese price limit, an opportunity to stock up before diary prices get out of hand again which I think is currently on the cards.

We have (in our own minds) got so good at cheap shopping that we don’t  normally need a running tally to come in under budget, but I had bought some meat and chocolate, so was concerned reaching check-out that we may have over spent. I asked Stevie what she thought and she reckoned we might be just over.  Sure enough the total came to over $160. Luckily the courteous check-out operator scanned her key coupon card for us and took the total down to around $145. We were really happy as we had got all that cheese, a few treats and still came in under budget.  The trick now is to make all those groceries last a fortnight.

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MAKE Cleaning Products Demonstration

 If you are up North here is an opportunity for you.  MAKE Cleaning Products demonstration.  Get started on the road to supersavings. Monday 3rd May 7pm. Bin Inn Kamo, 386 Kamo Road, Kamo, Whangarei. To register email achesaway@xtra.co.nz or ph Kamo Bin Inn on 4354494. $25  or $20 each if you prebook with a friend.

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