stress free money management workshop

20 uses for lavender essential oil

uses for lavender oilEssential oils are an important part of your natural cleaning and personal care kit.

Lavender is a particularly good oil to keep on hand (along with tea tree oil): it has many uses, it’s inexpensive and readily available and it’s one of the most studied essential oils.

Lavender, with it’s distinct purple flowers and smell, is native to southern Europe, the Mediterranean, northern and eastern Africa, southwest Asia and southeast India.

The name lavender comes from the Latin root lavare, “to wash” probably because it was used in baths to purify the body and spirit. 1

Lavender is commonly used as a dried herb or distilled into an essential oil.

The essential oil can be used in aromatherapy or topically.

Lavender oil has many benefits, apart from just smelling great. According to this CSIRO report there is evidence that lavender oil is an effective anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent, helps improve sleep, anxiety, and low mood and is effective for relaxation and pain relief.

Lavender oil is generally considered safe, although there is some research to suggest it is toxic to human skin cells in vitro (although other sources say it’s safe), so lavender oil should be used with caution when pregnant.2 3

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creating a household binder {free insurance details printable}

creating a household binder with free printablesThe circumstances in which you have to make a claim on your insurance are stressful enough without having to search for insurance provider numbers or policy documents.

That’s where the next contact printable in the series comes in: insurance details.

Have the phone numbers and policy numbers of all your insurance policies instantly on hand by using this printable to write them out.

Then place the insurance contact list in your household binder along with your emergency contacts and household contacts for easy access.

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can’t afford organic? how to reduce the pesticide load of your fruit and vegies

simply washing fruit and vegetables under running water will reduce surface pesticide levels by up to 80% | Frugal and ThrivingI’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that pesticides aren’t totally bad.

After all, pesticides have helped farmers increase yields and reliably deliver to consumers an abundance of quality produce all year long.

Being able to step inside a store and choose whatever takes our fancy from a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, no matter what the season and with little effort on our part is a luxury our ancestors never experienced.

We no longer fear famine that is caused by pests and disease like the Irish potato famine.

However, just as pesticides aren’t all bad, they’re not all good either.

They’re not good for the environment, degrading the soil and poisoning water supply.

And they’re not so good for our health either.

“Laboratory studies show that pesticides can cause health problems, such as birth defects, nerve damage, cancer, and other effects that might occur over a long period of time.  However, these effects depend on how toxic the pesticide is and how much of it is consumed. Some pesticides also pose unique health risks to children.” 1

We can avoid consuming pesticides in our food by eating organic produce.

The problem is that going organic can be expensive and impractical for many people.

One alternative is to only buy organic produce from the Environmental Working Group’s  Dirty Dozen list. 

The Dirty Dozen list includes the 12 most heavily sprayed fruits and vegetables, so if your budget allows it, buy these 12 items organic and ‘conventional’ produce for everything else.

The EWG also includes a Clean Fifteen list, which are the least sprayed fruits and vegetables.

If all organic produce is well out of your price range (it usually is for us), the alternative is to wash conventional produce well to remove as much of the pesticide residue off as you can.

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Category: cooking · Tags: ,

frugal ways to keep kitty out of the garden

Beautiful Unusual White Grey Brown Tabby Cat Sitting in YardI’m not against cats – we had our own feline fur-child until a local friendly animal-lover baited it – I just don’t like it when the neighbourhood moggies use our garden as their personal kitty litter.

All the seedlings I planted have been dug up.

And the spare bit of dirt I leave for the kids to dig in…

They’re not allowed to dig in it at the moment.

So I’ve been looking for frugal, natural and non-nasty ways to keep the cats out of the garden.

Here are some ideas that have worked for us as well as a few that have worked for others.

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Category: gardening · Tags: ,

pear almond and yoghurt cake

Pear and Almond CakeThis deliciously moreish cake is perfect for a winter’s morning tea and showcases one of my favourite winter fruits: pears.

The pears and the yoghurt make this a dense cake but the almond meal makes sure it’s not overly heavy.

Almond meal can be quite expensive when you buy it, but it’s easy to make and much cheaper. Just grind up a batch and keep it in the fridge or freezer for whenever you want to use it in baking. It’s a great addition to any baking, just switch out some flour for almond meal.

To make this cake gluten free, simply substitute wholemeal flour with gluten-free flour. I’ve made it both ways and they both the gluten and non-gluten version taste equally as good. If you use self-raising flour, leave out the baking powder.

Rapadura sugar is essentially dehydrated sugar cane juice. It is now sold in the supermarket as ‘Panela’. Because it’s dehydrated, it retains the natural vitamins and minerals of the sugar cane plant. It’s still sugar, so it’s no health food, but it’s a little healthier than white sugar. It also has a caramel flavour, which gives this cake an extra depth of flavour. Use raw sugar to get that caramel flavour if you don’t have rapadura. If you just have white sugar, that’s fine too.

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Category: baking · Tags:

12 ways to revamp your home without spending a fortune

painting coupleIs your home looking a bit tired?

Time for a new look and a little TLC?

Not only does regular maintenance save you money in the long run by helping to avoid major repairs, the way your home looks impacts your mood and mental wellbeing, so it pays to give it a spruce up every now and then.

Major renovations can cost thousands and aren’t guaranteed to add to the value of your home.

But that doesn’t have to stop you from updating your home.

Small, inexpensive adjustments can improve the look and feel of your home without breaking the budget.

Here are 12 tips to give your home a fresh new look on a budget.

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Category: decor · Tags: ,

a novel way to use bread crusts

Crust French stick chipsDo your kids eat their bread crusts?


If I cut the crusts off sandwiches and tell my two year old that she’s not allowed to eat her crusts, then she will insist on eating them and with gusto.

The old reverse psychology trick however, does not work on my four year old.

While we hate the waste that goes with throwing out crusts, there’s only so many crusts you can collect in the freezer to blitz into breadcrumbs.

So the other day, hubby came up with a novel way to use bread the bread crusts and get the kids to eat them: he made crust ‘chips’.

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8 ways to recycle yoghurt containers

reusing yoghurt containersAs much as I’d like to say I make all our own yoghurt, the truth is that I haven’t had the time or the energy lately, so we buy it more often than not.

I buy yoghurt in 1kg tubs – the Greek style yoghurt that I can use either in cooking or mix it with a little vanilla and molasses and a bit of fruit for the kid’s morning tea.

I get whatever brand is on special and cheapest – there’s usually one brand or another on sale each fortnight.

The other great thing about buying yoghurt in 1kg tubs (besides the price) is that the tubs come in handy for all sorts of things once the yoghurt is gone.

Here are a few ideas for how to reuse yoghurt containers, no matter what size you buy.

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Category: recycling · Tags:

save more on electricity–saving on heating costs

Saving more on electricity around the homeYou may be thinking she lives in Queensland, what does she know about cold weather and saving on heating?

Well, fair question.

After all, it’s the middle of July and we’re still running around in t-shirt and shorts.

Ok, I’m being a little bit boastful because…

I grew up in Bathurst, NSW where it snows on occasion during the winter. While we’re frolicking in the sun, my mother is complaining of wind chills of –11°C.

And she has a broken heater.

I really, really don’t like the cold.

But I miss all the cold weather comforts like knitting and scarves and snuggling up under a blanket with hot chocolate.

Which brings me to ways to save on heating costs: finding ways to stay warm without overdoing the heater.

Heating, along with cooling, makes up the largest portion of energy usage in the average home.

So reducing heating costs will have a big impact on your overall energy bill.

Today’s post covers just some of the ways to reduce the cost of heating your home.

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how to eat well on an extremely tight grocery budget

eat well on a tight grocery budgetEating on a budget is one thing, but is it possible to eat healthy food on an ‘instant noodle’ budget?

Well it takes some careful planning, a bit of extra time cooking and a few weeks to build up staples, but the answer is yes.

When you only have a few dollars a day to feed the family, packaged foods can seem cheaper, especially in the short term.

But buying packaged foods for each and every meal adds up over time and ends up costing you more in the long term, not to mention the fact it’s not good for your health.

Porterhouse steak might be off the menu when you’re on a very tight budget, but that doesn’t mean you can’t eat good healthy food.

Here’s how.

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Category: grocery savings · Tags: