Pig Tits and Parsley Sauce

Slash your grocery bill by living sustainably

These Products are Saving More Than Mere Money

Posted by on Dec 12, 2009

By using the 10 recipes for commonly used home cleaning products I have saved thousands of dollars but I have also saved myself from exposure to harmful substances and protected the environment too.  I can’t believe how positive the feedback that I get is. People are noticing the benefits of limiting the range of ingredients they are exposing themselves to.  Allergies and asthma are improving, skin complaints are disappearing, families are healthier…. it is just so fantastic and I love hearing about it.

This is the first post that hasn’t been under the censorship of a newspaper column, so I will talk about how successful the 10 home made cleaning recipes have shaped up to be. I have sold over 2000 copies of these ideas and recipes to people all over New Zealand and while that has been a huge success there are still thousands of families out there that could be benefitting from changing their habit slightly, MAKE-ing instead of buying. Tell your friends about this website and try the recipes…. if enough people do this it will have a huge positive effect on the environment as well as befitting individuals.

The money you save is phenomenal but nothing compared to the sense of empowerment when all you are buying is about 5 natural ingredients instead of expensive, packaged rubbish that doesn’t even work that well anyway. Now when I go supermarket shopping I walk past shelves and shelves of cleaning products that I no longer have any need for and will never purchase again.  Sometimes I laugh out loud but soon stop… (Cos people are staring at me funny!!!!… ha ha) … when I think of all the money I have wasted in my life before I clicked on that there was another way.  I wish I had been living this way for thirty years instead of 11 months.

When I do my speaking engagements some audience members get quite pissed off with me forcing them out of their comfort zone. But I just love my fabric softener they say…I just love the smell.

Well, consider why is that strong smell there? What chemical smell is it masking? And are you sure your husband’s unsightly rash isn’t caused by that fragrance? Try using 1 T of baking soda in the final rinse instead of fabric softener – you will love the result and you will love the cost saving.  Forget the smell…. that smell is part of a marketing trap that we don’t even realise we are caught in.

Just think – whatever we wash out laundry in is around us constantly… clothing, bed sheets, it is next to our skin 24/7.  So if you are allergic to something in the laundry powder or fabric softener there is no escape.  When you MAKE it yourself using my recipe pamphlet you know what is in everything.  The ingredients list is small:  water, soap, glycerine, washing soda, baking soda, citric acid, white vinegar, fragrance and colour optional.  The MAKE range is having a positive effect on people’s allergies and skin complaints not because of what’s in the products but more because of what is NOT in them. MAKE means you can walk away from thousands of unknown substances and you can eliminate these unknowns from your home and from the environment – and that is exciting.

Keep sending me your feedback – I love hearing it.

Next week:  Getting out of your comfort zone


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New Idea Article Dec 2009

Posted by on Dec 3, 2009


Lyn Webster has slashed her food bill and saved a fortune

Recession busting queen Lyn Webster has managed to save $30,000 this year by simply reducing the amount she spends on groceries.

“I now spend in one month what I used to spend in a week on groceries and my family is better off in so many ways.”

When Lyn, a Taranaki share-milker and single mother to daughters, Danni, 17 and Stevie, 12 was faced with losing her business earlier this year she knew it was time to take stock.

“I had a look back through my bank statements and realised that I was frittering my money away on groceries. The worst thing was that we were throwing a lot of the food out. We’d buy the best of everything, pick the eyes out of it and give the rest to the chickens. It was glaringly obvious that we had an opportunity to save at least $200 a week if we were more careful.”

After talking with Danni and Stevie, who agreed to give up treats such as ice cream and chocolate biscuits, Lyn set herself a challenge to limit her spending on groceries to just $100 a week for a year. Her goal was to save $12,000 towards a deposit for a rental property. After six months she had not only surpassed her savings goal, she had doubled it.

When she first started to budget, Lyn visited the Taranaki Daily News to see if they would publish a column about her money saving experiences.

“I knew how slack I could be so I thought that writing a column would be a way to shame myself into sticking with the budget.”

The paper has now published around 40 of Lyn’s columns.

One of her top tips for bringing down the grocery bill is to avoid supermarkets where possible, she says.

“There’s no doubt that supermarkets are convenient, but they should still be approached with caution. How many times do we go in for just two things but end up spending $100?”

She recommends shopping around and investigating cheaper alternatives such as bulk buying outlets, butchers, and fruit and vegetable markets.

Lyn says that her family still eats tasty, nutritious meals despite slashing their food budget. While they may have spaghetti on toast occasionally, their staple diet consists of meat, fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese, eggs, bread and butter. And yes, they do have the occasional treat.

“We appreciate that block of chocolate or tub of ice cream so much more because we don’t have it all the time.”

One of Lyn’s most successful money-saving initiatives has been to make commonly used cleaning and personal hygiene products herself, such as laundry powder, dishwashing liquid, all purpose cleaner, window cleaner, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, moisturiser and toothpaste.

The hardworking mum has since developed her own brand of products called MAKE and through classes and public speaking engagements, she shows others how they can do it too.

“Making our own cleaning products has been the key to us saving literally thousands of dollars. They work so well – that’s why I decided to offer the classes.”

Another key money-saving product used by Lyn and Danni is the Diva menstrual cup.

“It really is New Zealand’s worst kept secret. It is so easy to use and has saved us a fortune in tampons. We’re not clogging up the landfill so it’s environmentally friendly too.”

Lyn has started a company and website, both irreverently named Pig Tits and Parsley Sauce to pass on her top tips, information about her cleaning and personal hygiene products and money-saving advice. She also sells recipe pamphlets, books and the Diva menstrual cup from the website.

Lyn’s newspaper column and website have gained her a national profile with television appearances on TV3’s Campbell Live and TV1’s Good Morning show.

“The response has been amazing. After my first appearance on Campbell Live there were 400 emails in my inbox the next day which made me realise that people are hanging out for this sort of information and advice. It’s all been so positive.”

She has already started to franchise the Pig Tits concept throughout Australasia with 12 people here and one in Australia signing up for the right to teach Lyn’s recipes in classes and to advertise their classes on her website.

“I never planned to lead from the front like I’m doing. In the beginning it was simply my goal to save some money but it is very exciting how things have worked out.”

Budgeting has now become a way of life for Lyn and her daughters, in fact they have reduced their grocery budget further still to just $75 a week.

“I’m not saying that everyone should go to the extremes that we have, but I do believe that if people take stock and look carefully at what they are spending, there will definitely be leeway to save at least $50 or $100 a week.”

Lyn says if there is one thing that budgeting has taught her family, it is what they don’t need.

“And that really is most of it.”

Lyn’s Top Money Saving Tips

* Work out how much you currently spend on groceries – be honest.

* Set a sensible new limit.

* Aim to save the difference.

* Set a savings goal and the time limit in which it will be achieved.

* Avoid the supermarket where possible and investigate cheaper alternatives.

* If you have to go to the supermarket write a list of exactly what you need and stick to it.

* Take cash.  If you only have $100 in your pocket you can’t overspend.

* Buy the bargains. Look on the lower shelves, the tempting, more expensive luxury items are at eye-level.

* Grow your own vegetables.

* Make your own cleaning and personal hygiene products.

* Gratefully accept all offers of free food from family, friends and neighbours.

* If you can’t afford it – go without!

By Jo Bailey

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Final Column in Daily News

Posted by on Dec 2, 2009

Pure and simple: Lyn Webster stocks up on peanut butter at Bin Inn.

What a year it has been. All I wanted to do was save some money and I have ended up so much richer in all areas.

Pig Tits  started as an idea in my head. I  thought I could save at least $200  a week if only I didn’t spend so  much at the supermarket. The  Taranaki Daily News thought  this positive savings project was  worthy and the weekly column  Pig Tits and Parsley Sauce was  born.

I’ve chronicled our weekly budgeting endeavours and the column was devoured by recession-conscious readers in Taranaki and beyond. When I discovered how to make a really good homemade laundry powder at a fraction of the cost of the bought stuff, everybody started to get excited.

I started up weekly workshops teaching the skills I had learnt and they really caught on. Then I was featured on Campbell Live on TV3 and the rest of the country wanted in on it, too. Overwhelmed by the demands on my time, I quickly organised a website – www.pigtitsand parsleysauce.co.nz – and started selling books and recipes. To date, I have sold over 2000 cleaning and cosmetic recipe pamphlets and the baking soda and vinegar book sales are approaching 1300. The website has had over 130,000 page downloads.

I’ve been on the Good Morning show on TV1 six times now and who knows what the New Year will bring?

Women’s magazines are into us, too: watch out for Lucky Break Magazine and New Idea , both of which have upcoming features about my family’s exploits.

Lynn Putt was keen to offer classes to the Coastal Taranaki people unable to attend my Waitara workshops and Niki Perrett picked up a franchise for South Taranaki, teaching people how to save heaps by making their own household cleaning products and cosmetics cheaply at home. Eleven other franchises have now been sold all over New Zealand and recently across the Tasman.

Closer to home, I have been in demand as a paid public speaker and fund-raiser for businesses, clubs, schools and kindergartens around Taranaki and was even flown to Invercargill to do a presentation. There’s another one booked in Lower Hutt for February.

Best of all, I have nearly tripled my savings goal of $12,000 and my dream of buying a rental property is now a matter of when, rather than if. In fact, I am looking at a house right now and that is a great feeling. I’ve come into contact with positive people from Riverlea to Uruti, Tuatapere to Tikorangi, all of them supporting my money- saving ideas and keen to jump on the bandwagon and make some savings of their own. It all looks set to continue well into the future.

I have turned my shopping habits around, not only saving money but also making healthier and more environmentally friendly choices. Who knew you could make your own peanut butter at Bin Inn? And it’s cheaper, healthier, you can recycle packaging and you know exactly what is in it. People ask me now that the column is finished, will we be relaxing the budget and treating ourselves a bit more? My answer is: no way! We love our new lifestyle and will definitely be sticking to it. I’m going to continue writing Pig Tits, too, and posting it weekly on my website to keep you all up to date.

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What Stevie Said

Posted by on Nov 23, 2009

Most of the excuses I have heard from people trying to justify their high grocery spend have involved their children.

“We admire what you have achieved,” they say, “but I could never do it. I have teenage sons!”

I appreciate that all families are different and that $75 a week for groceries is an extremely low budget, but if you look at the big picture, we are not starving.

I run a farm and work long hours – I have to keep my motor running. My younger daughter, Stevie, is a gymnast, so needs her strength. And my other daughter, Danni, is not a bird-like eater, either. We are just choosing the mince and spuds instead of the fillet steak and mushrooms. We also go for carrots instead of cake and fruit instead of chocolate biscuits and potato chips.

Last week, I interviewed 17-year-old Danni about her honest thoughts after living for nearly a year on the lowest of low grocery budgets. Not to be outdone, 12-year old Stevie also got to share her views.

What do you think of the $75 Budget? I like it.

What do you really think? I don’t mind it . . . you don’t even realise you are doing it.

What changes have you made? It doesn’t feel like any changes . . . but we have started using not-bought stuff [toothpaste and shampoo]. There’s still heaps of food in the cupboard.

What’s the best thing about it? Um . . . it is sort of different. I like home-made products now because they are fun to make. Another thing I like is that we spend less than other people and we are saving money.

What’s the worst thing about it? When you really, really want something . . . if there is no money left in the budget, then you can’t have it – usually lollies.

What did we do before? Had lollies whenever we wanted and spent lots, lots more on silly things that you don’t need.

Do you want to change back? No. I’m used to this and I think it’s better to stay on this one – on the budget.

Would you recommend this lifestyle/budget to others? Yes. It is a good way of saving money.

stevie stand



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What Danni Said

Posted by on Nov 16, 2009

I have to credit my daughters for the success of our stringent grocery budget.

pig stand

There is no way I could have stuck to  spending just $75 a week if there had  been constant moaning, groaning and  bickering at home.

Happily, the girls seem to have adapted easily to the limited choice and staple ingredients that now largely feature in our pantry. I sat down and asked Danni, 17, for her honest thoughts about our changed spending habits. I must say, I was impressed when she recently went to Outward Bound and whipped up a pottle of home-made clove and orange flavoured toothpaste to take.

Danni also had no qualms taking home-made moisturiser to use. So much for brand-conscious teenagers – she really likes the environmental advantages offered by products made at home. I am also proud to see the girls making healthy lunch choices, like scroggin, using cheaply sourced ingredients, rather than relying on expensive packaged products.

So here’s how our conversation went:

What do you think of the $75 budget? I like it.

What do you really think? I do like it, honestly. I don’t even care about it. I don’t even notice it.

What changes have you made? I don’t drink juice anymore, just water and milk. I make do with what is there and make something out of it, not go and buy something new.

What’s the best thing about it? We don’t have mountain-loads of rubbish anymore.

What’s the worst thing about it? I can’t make school lunch fast. You actually have to think about what is going in it.

We used to grab a bar of this and a bar of that. Now we have to make something. That’s annoying – you should make our lunch for us!

What did we do before? We were just like little pigs that ate all the cake and pies, going around in all the rubbish that we made.

Do you want to change back? No. I like saving money and the planet. I’m going to save money when I grow up.

Would you recommend this lifestyle/budget to others? Yes. It will open their eyes.

Next week: What 12-year-old Stevie said.

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Washing Soda Crisis Hits NZ

Posted by on Nov 9, 2009

I took myself to Bin Inn, Fitzroy, to find out from the owner, Kath Williams, what people have been saying about my MAKE homemade cleaning products behind my back.

So much for digging the dirt… apparently it’s all been very positive and popular.  In fact one of the core ingredients, washing soda, is becoming increasingly difficult to source.  This crisis is not limited to Taranaki. Due to the unheralded popularity of my recipes, washing soda is becoming a scarce commodity in towns all over New Zealand.  The poor bloke in Otago who manufactures the stuff is run ragged and two weeks behind in his orders.  I gave him a call to see how he was faring and it’s all been a bit of a shock for him.  He’s tossing up whether to invest capital to cope with the burgeoning demand or just do the best he can and hope it all goes away soon.  I suggested he strongly consider the former option as I for one will not be buying laundry powder off the shelf any time soon.  The homemade stuff is just too good. I have personally sold over 1000 recipe pamphlets since July and the demand for them is growing every day. If those 1000 people each tell three friends then look out – better stock up on bulk washing soda.

‘We used to sell 25kgs of washing soda in two months,’ Kath from Bin Inn tells me. ‘Recently this has increased to 250kg a week!!

Kath and daughter Victoria have got to the point when they can recognise shoppers who have purchased my recipe sheet or been to one of my Tuesday night classes.  They have christened them ‘Lyn’s lot’.  ‘When people come in looking for washing soda, citric acid and white vinegar, we say you are obviously one of Lyn’s girls.  They have either been to a workshop or know someone that has. We can steer them in the right direction for baking soda, washing soap and glycerine as well. They are excited about the money they will save and about making effective cleaning products themselves at home.’

‘People love the environmental advantages of the MAKE household cleaning product range,’ continues Kath. ‘No chemical ingredients have seen people with sensitive skins and allergies coming back for more and more.  They can adapt the laundry powder recipe to utilise their own sensitive soaps and mixed with the washing soda the water is soft.’

It is not just people benefitting from the economical range.  Washing machines and dishwashers are being cleaned of residues just by using the powders and people are loving that as well. ‘As a new business owner who stocks all the core ingredient, the success of Lyn’s products has been massive,’ concludes Kath. ‘All the feedback is positive.  A lot of people read that column.’

Next Week;  What the kids really think

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Spoilt For Choice – NOT!!

Posted by on Nov 2, 2009

‘Hobson’s Choice’, or taking what is on offer or having nothing is a fundamental key to the success of the $75 weekly grocery budget. Back in the 14th century Hobson used to lease horses out to (mainly) university students.  The lessor was not allowed to choose the horse he wanted but was obliged to take the horse standing nearest to the stable door on the day.

Back in the modern age Hobson’s Choice is the order of the day on our menu and you would be surprised, it is nowhere near as bad as it sounds.  Having no choice or limited choices actually makes decision making a quick and simple process. Take spreads for example: In the bad old days, pre-budget- my cupboard was stacked full of jams and spreads.  From memory there would have at least been honey, three different flavours of jam, peanut butter and two marmites, one bought by mistake because I thought the first one was finished. Then we would go shopping and I’d buy Stevie Nutella as well. I don’t know why we needed all those spreads because we were busy eating cake at the time and throwing all the bread away…

Now that things are tight, we have eaten our way through all those spreads even though some were past the expiry date they had been there that long. Now I refuse to buy a new spread until the old one is finished. Now we don’t umm and ahh over what we are going to have on our bread or toast because the current choice is apricot jam or nothing. So you have apricot jam and you really really enjoy it because it is a whole lot better than nothing.

How many spreads are in your cupboard?

Another big money saver has been the rule that water and milk are the only drinks available in our house, not strictly Hobson’s choice but pretty darn close. This rule has been a breakthrough in that we don’t even care anymore.  At the beginning we craved sugar laced fruit juices but this wore off in a few short weeks. Now water is definitely our preferred drink (although you can probably pick my kids out at the party – they are the ones standing by the table throwing as much coke down their throats as they can!!) No I am joking – we are no longer addicted to those sugary drinks and when we are thirsty we go for the cheaper healthier option.

The strict grocery budget and associated benefits are not for poor people – this is for everybody.  Limit your choices and enjoy having more spare cash for the other things you love in life … like rental properties and haircuts.


Next week:  The amazing things people have been saying about the homemade products.

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For Women Only

Posted by on Oct 31, 2009

If you would like to enquire about or purchase the menstrual cup featured in this story and save thousands of $$$$ on pads and tampons AND be kind to the environment please e-mail [email protected]

The same question has been raised several times over the course of the $100/$75 grocery budget. Women sidle over to me and whisper, “How can you afford pads and tampons on such a strict grocery budget?”

Initially, we just continued buying sanitary items at great cost and went without other things to balance it out. I was not aware there was a practical alternative.

That all changed when I went to Wellington to tape Good Morning in July. I got into a conversation with a TVNZ employee and it went something like this:

“Cost-saving aside, I think the environmental benefits of making your own cleaning products are huge.”

“Yes – I agree. Think of all the unnecessary packaging you avoid.”

“Imagine if all the packaging you threw away in a lifetime was on your own backyard.”

“Ooooh – it would be gross. Imagine if everything you flushed down the loo was in your own backyard.”

“Ooooh – that really would be gross.”

“Did you know I don’t need to buy tampons or pads anymore?”

“Really – how do you manage that?”

“Well, it is a little bit of a sensitive subject, but I will tell you – I use a Diva Cup.”

“What is a Diva Cup?”

“It is a menstrual cup made of silicone. You use it just like a tampon but empty it out and reuse it again and again.”

“Wow – how much are they?”

“It costs just over $100, but once you have bought one, you never spend any more money on that again.”

“Think of all the money you would save.”

Well, I did think of all the money I could save and promptly tracked down the Australasian distributor and purchased Diva cups for Danni and me. The product is easy to use, comfortable and effective, and an environmentally responsible way to deal with an ongoing monthly fixed cost that can potentially save you over $10,000 in a lifetime.

 Next week: A key secret to saving.

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Supermarket Survival

Posted by on Oct 24, 2009

There should be classes taught on how to resist marketing. Every day, we are bombarded with messages in print, on TV, billboards, radio, telephone and junk mail. Nearly everywhere we turn, there is another advertisement. Many of the goods advertised are expensive, packaged, overrated rubbish. I think I have become good at resisting temptation, but only recently. I am embarrassed now at the amount I used to spend and the unnecessary luxury items I threw all my money away on. I almost feel like I had been brainwashed.

Things are different now.

So, if a (reasonably) intelligent 40-year-old woman can’t get around a supermarket and escape with money left in her pocket, what chance have our kids got? Are we bringing up a generation of children who believe that everything we need to survive comes in a plastic bottle or pretty packet off a supermarket shelf? Until I stumbled across the home-made cleaning products, I believed I had to buy whatever was on the supermarket shelf to get the job done. And my kids wouldn’t have stood a chance. Now they are in a good position of being able to start off on the right foot. Whether they have a high income or not won’t matter, because Danni and Stevie know how to shop.

This was us at the supermarket this week. I wanted coffee. Danni and Stevie wouldn’t let me have it because there were tea and Milo at home. Fair enough – forget the coffee. Danni wanted feta cheese for the pizza she was going to make. Stevie and I wouldn’t let her have it because we had normal cheese in the freezer and the feta was about $5. Forget the feta. Stevie wanted caramel creams. The decision was unanimous – definitely get the caramel creams. It’s not all dry bread and water on $75 a week.

News flash: the chickens have started laying eggs again after a very long break. That is great news for the budget.

Next week: Webster’s website.

* If you want to get in touch with Lyn, you can email her on [email protected] or phone 754-8600, or see the website, www.pigtitsandparsleysauce.co.nz.

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Webster’s Web Site

Posted by on Oct 24, 2009

TV and the internet are powerful mediums. Effective on their own, combine the two and the results can be spectacular.

In the space of 10 months, Pig Tits and Parsley Sauce has metamorphosed from a weekly column in a provincial newspaper to a national media event. I say this because I have been on TV nine times this year and my website has received over 100,000 page downloads since being launched in early July. A recent appearance on Campbell Live resulted in 14,000 hits in about two minutes. My Tuesday and Thursday night classes are booked in advance, I have eight franchisees teaching my recipes in communities across the country and have delivered nearly 50 presentations/demonstrations/ fundraisers, mainly in Taranaki, and have about the same number booked in.

This is how it happened. The Taranaki Daily News is featured on the Fairfax media website, www.stuff.co.nz, and so my column is available to people far beyond the regional readership. It somehow drew the attention of Campbell Live and my class, recipes, book, budget and subsequent super savings were shown on TV3 for five minutes in early July. That resulted in around 800 emails directed to me, requesting more information – books, recipes, etc.

That show attracted the producer of TV1’s Good Morning, who flew me to Wellington and taped two segments. These were so popular with viewers that I was flown in again to make three further segments, this time demonstrating the cost-effective cleaning and cosmetic products I have leaned to make. These have just been to air over the last three weeks.

Fearing another deluge of electronic mail, I quickly had a website built that people can refer to – www.pigtits andparsleysauce.co.nz. That way, people can find out all about it and only contact me if they wish to purchase books and recipes, or book in a class or presentation. In less than four months, the website has been visited by nearly 30,000 people, 3000 of whom return to the site again and again. They mainly come from New Zealand, but also from Malaysia, Australia, United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Most visitors look at the site for 5 minutes to 20 minutes and 30 per cent of hits are from returning visitors who have looked at the site five to 10 times before.

People ask me how I manage this business as well as run a 170 cow farm singlehandedly . . . rest assured, the power of the internet with email and electronic banking, makes Make quickly and easily manageable. If it weren’t for the world wide web, this would be impossible.

Next week: For women only.

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Can We Survive on $eventyFive?

Posted by on Oct 4, 2009

 Is someone sitting on a cloud with a calculator, adding up how much we have all saved? Then when the dollars start mounting up, do they order a disaster to befall and take all your hard earned cash away? This disaster could be in the form of an unexpected tax bill, major car repairs, job loss, an uninsured accident, forced expensive travel or a major appliance melt-down. Anyway it has just happened to me in the form of $11,000. Am I gutted? Yes, a little BUT on a positive note, I am also grateful to the budgeting skills I have developed over the last 9 months because I know they will see us right.


It is amazing to me that I can even contemplate paying a bill of that magnitude.  Last year it would have spelt certain financial ruin, mainly because my money was all slipping through my fingers.  Tight fistedness at the supermarket has certainly seen my bank account swell amazingly since January and it is a wonderful feeling to know you have got something to fall back on in hard times. We are managing just fine on the $75 a week grocery budget. Our meals are simple and the basic shopping list doesn’t vary much from week to week.  Staple items are bread, cheese, eggs, spuds, tinned fruit, creamed corn, tuna, fresh fruit and veges, pasta and butter.  Danni, Stevie and I argue our way around the supermarket trying to buy as little as possible – more on that next week.

 Another unexpected occurrence in my life is that I now have seven franchisees teaching MAKE cleaning products and cosmetics classes around the country. Colleen (Levin/Horowhenua ), Lynn (Coastal Taranaki 7524033), Niki (Hawera 06 2786715), Maria (Wanganui 06 343 2784), Janice (Palmerston North 06 35807222), Suzanne (Whangarei 09 438 5385) and Danni (Waitara 754 8600). Who would have thought my quest to save some money would result in a popular brand. One thing is for sure in life – you never know what is around the corner!


Next week:  Do we buy the caramel creams or not?

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Tips Can Be Annoying!

Posted by on Sep 29, 2009

One of the few rules of the $75 budget is: keep it simple. My main budgeting tip is purely and simply to stick to your budget limit.

This is mainly because it is  easy to get bogged down  and confused by too many  self-imposed rules and  regulations and that  quickly morphs into an  excuse or reason to dip out  of the whole budgeting  thing altogether.

I find tips actually quite annoying, although some are surprisingly useful. Since the inception of Pig Tits, I have been told countless tips by well- meaning people. Some went in one ear and out the other, some are on hold until the situation arises and a couple were so good I immediately put them into action. One of my own best tips is to put a price limit on cheese and butter. I refuse to buy these items over a certain price, which is an example of a dairy farmer cutting off his nose to spite his face. When I see cheese and butter on special, I stock up and put the excess in the freezer. Butter freezes perfectly well and once defrosted, you would never know. Cheese doesn’t freeze quite as well, as it goes a bit crumbly, but tastes the same.

A woman told me to freeze speciality cheeses – you know, the ones you get especially for a one-off dish and leave in the fridge until the smell becomes unbearable and you throw them away. That wasn’t rocket science, but I’d never thought of it before and have wasted plenty of expensive feta, etc, in my time. Mind you, feta is no longer featured on our frugal shopping list.

This is a great tip: butter extender. Mix half a block of butter with half a cup of olive oil and half a cup of warm water. Stir it all together and let it reharden. The butter goes twice as far and is really easy to spread.

Finally, here is one for dairy farmers: Gently clean shed walls and cups with 2 cups of washing soda mixed with warm water and a little detergent. It’s heaps cheaper than using chlorine and doesn’t hurt if it touches your skin or splashes in your eyes. Add white vinegar for an even easier clean. This recipe works just as well on concrete in town. Next week: How the $75 budget is treating us.

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Where Have All the Recipes Gone?

Posted by on Sep 29, 2009

pigs tits standOn a normal weekday, my website receives 300 to 400 hits. On Wednesday, I received 298 . . . that is, until I appeared on Campbell Live. By 10 that night, the website had received 14,000 hits and my inbox was filling up fast. It just goes to show that New Zealanders are fed up with supermarket rip-offs and being victimised (in the wallet department) by the mass- marketing of grossly overpriced packages of not much.

The $75 budget has forced us to live simply. There are advantages: weight loss, healthier choices, less sugar, more water drunk, no alcohol, less packaging, less waste, big savings and fast, straightforward meals – so, less fuss. It’s great. In the bad old days (pre-budget), I probably spent money to impress family and visitors with food and culinary delight. I would prepare far too much lavish food and supplement it all with fancy dips and spreads to garnish dainty crackers. Now when people come around, they just have to have what we are having, which is generally not much. In the beginning, I was a bit embarrassed, as I liked to express my generosity with food and drink, but I am over it now because, much to my surprise, no one cares. They are just as happy to drink water, eat fruit and be offered toasted sandwiches as they were before to get wine, crackers and Lisa’s Tzatziki. After all, they still get to see us, which is, I presume, why they came around.

People are amazed at the savings I have achieved in such a short time. How do you do it, they ask me. Well, take porridge for an example. You can get 10 sachets of Uncle Toby’s Oat temptation for about $7. Or you can go to Bin Inn and buy rolled oats in bulk for about $2. Uncle Toby’s lasts for five breakfasts (because I am greedy/hungry and had two sachets in one bowl) and the bulk porridge lasts for 20 or more breakfasts. You do the maths.

If you are waiting for recipes to appear in this column, don’t hold your breath. I did not know what direction Pig Tits would take and there was earlier potential for this column to feature some money-saving meal recipes. However, I have discovered that true money-saving meals do not need recipes: they are too basic. Unfortunately, recipes require ingredients and my tight budget cannot afford anything much above flour, salt, sugar. Next week: I hate tips, but here are some tips.

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Make it yourself !

Posted by on Sep 15, 2009

Our strict grocery budget is certainly teaching us value for money. When you have limited funds, the last thing you want to do is blow it all on a big-ticket item that isn’t worth it.

I shouted the girls out for tea to say thanks for being such good sorts about our changed lifestyle. A local restaurant enticed us in with an advertising discount voucher that promised the chance of a free meal.

We missed out on the ultimate reward, but still received a sizeable discount. The meal cost us $62, which we didn’t count in that week’s budget, as it would have only left us with $13 to spend. We are getting good at living on next to nothing, but we are not that good. It was a great night out – we had a laugh (or we may have gone a bit hysterical in the presence of all that food), but my point is, was it worth it?

I’d have to say no. When you have been living reasonably well on $75 a week, it becomes too hard to justify spending $62 on one meal, regardless of how enjoyable. So that may be a rare downside to our budgeting challenge – it is hard not to be analytical about value for money, which leads to an overdose of cynicism when faced with buying decisions. It doesn’t end with food and groceries, either. You start analysing every spending decision and questioning the value – not that that is always a bad thing.

Nowadays when we grocery shop, it is not a matter of what we need to buy, but more like what we can avoid buying. We walk past aisles and aisles of expensive, attractively packaged products basically thumbing our noses at all of them. At the checkout, it is a great feeling to hear $75, please, instead of $475. You see, we are not missing out on anything. At home, all our food and hygiene requirements are met, not only at a much lower cost but, in most cases, at a higher level of quality with the stuff we have learnt to make ourselves.

Our quest to make our own house-cleaning products has opened our eyes to opportunities to make other stuff ourselves. Danni has discovered that quality moisturiser, lip balm, shampoo bars and other cosmetic items can be made cheaply and easily at home. The products are so good that she is sharing them in a pamphlet and is running classes from home (Thursdays at 7pm). Join us – it’s a great way to save money.

pigtits stand

 Next week: Where are all the recipes?

* If you want to get in touch with Lyn, you can email her on [email protected] or phone 754-8600, or see the website, www.pigtitsandparsleysauce.co.nz.

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What’s Happening Down South

Posted by on Sep 7, 2009

Here are some examples of the postal correspondence I receive every day since appearing on TV and in the Taranaki Daily News:

 Hi Lyn, Good on you for letting everyone know your secret to success.  It is always great to see when people share the secrets around.  I have enclosed $10 for the recipes to some home cleaning products, especially washing powder.  I thank you again.

Hi Lyn, Can you please send me your fab recipes.

Hi Lyn, Please find enclosed a  $50 cheque and SSAE for the two books re:  Baking Soda and White Vinegar and recipes. I am excited about this new opportunity to save $$$$.  Thank you so much.

I have sent out over 500 recipe pamphlets and sold 300+ books.   There has been 7pm class nearly every Tuesday night at my place since I started running them in early June. I’ve done 24 demonstrations and have about the same number coming up.  Lynn Putt (7524033) has started MAKE homemade cleaning products classes in Coastal Taranaki and Colleen Hall (06 3670031) is teaching people in Levin/Horowhenua  the MAKE money saving skills.

 I have had the odd query from people using the home made cleaning products, mainly asking if the laundry powder is OK for front loaders? And what does it do to the septic tank? The respective answers being , yes fine for front loaders  and, no problem the products are beneficial for septic tanks… but I have had no complaints, not one!! And I think that says a lot for these inexpensive simple concoctions of washing soda, baking soda, water and white vinegar, that with the right instruction can literally save thousands of dollars off your grocery bill.

Money saving aside, the planet will also benefit from less packaging and your life will have a lot less chemicals in it if you make your own toothpaste, hair wash, laundry powder, dishwashing stuff, deodorant, all purpose/window cleaner, oven cleaner, carpet cleaner, kitty litter, odor eater etc.

I recently flew to Invercargill to demonstrate these products at a Community Care fundraiser, sponsored by Farmers.  A big crowd of Southlanders turned up (there was even a bus full of ladies)from Tuatapare) and were delighted to be in on the recipes. They were gutted there were no classes running down there (yet), so if you are near me or Lynn Putt, capitalise on these classes being in your back yard and book in.  I will leave you with some positive feedback from Southland:  Dear Lyn.  I saw you on Campbell Live and since then have been dying to learn how you make all your household products, so I was delighted to attend your talk last night in Invercargill. Thank you for all your lovely information and recipes – I am going to start making everything this weekend. Best regards and once again – thanks.

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