I have been studying Lightening’s tips for budget busting. Whilst I am not making huge advances at a rapid rate, I am beginning to apply her techniques in teeny-tiny stages. This is in the hope that I won’t notice what’s happening, and suddenly find myself with more money at the end of the week without making any huge sacrifices!!
With this in mind, and having a looooong history of over-spending in a MASSIVE way around the time of the child’s birthday, I began to plan ahead! Yay me! I decided in advance to limit the purchase of presents to a manageable size. There was no specific cash limit, just a vague idea of not impulse-buying 15 or 20 ‘cheaper’ items at the last minute.
Over a month ago, I spotted a nice little gold ring with her birthstone in it. I ordered it online, and got a really good price. I know this, because I checked out similar items in the shops! I’m so proud of myself.
Then, I determined the type of MP3 player she particularly coveted, found out what the ‘must have’ items needed to be part of the package, then went out and found a generic brand, again, online. Thank God for the internet. Including postage, I saved myself around $50 on a similar item from a store, and $150 on the brand name item.
She collects Beanie Kids. Delta the Diva Bear shares the same birthday as the child (did you know Beanie Kids had dates of birth? Me either). I ordered from an online supplier and got two for the price of one.
The hardest part for me was coming to terms with the fact that there would only be a small pile of presents. I was really worried that she would be disappointed, because in other years there have been a larger number of individually wrapped items (think Dudley Dursley out of Harry Potter: ‘But last year, last year there were 35!!’).
Judging from the photos, I did ok!
At this point, I’ve probably saved about $150-$200. But wait, there’s more!
Instead of having a party, Mollie was allowed to invite a friend for a sleepover. For the picnic that we were going to have (but has now been cancelled), she requested home made sausage rolls and honey joys. We decided to have the honey joys for an afternoon snack, and the sausage rolls for dinner. I bought a kilo of sausage mince (there will be four of us eating these!), a packet of no-name frozen pastry, one carrot, one zucchini, a packet of cornflakes (for the honey joys) and some lollies and Cheezels (for later!). The whole lot cost about $15.
After dinner, we are going to the ice-skating rink for the Friday night Teen Disco. Hence the junk food. If I pack drink bottles, they shouldn’t need to spend a cent, beyond the entry fee ($17 each for a 3-hour, supervised session). I don’t even want to think about what a party would have cost! Food, drinks, birthday cake, party bags, games, prizes…the mind boggles. I reckon I’ve probably saved myself at least another $50-$100.
Let’s face it, I ROCK! And none of this would have been conceivable without having read all of Lightening’s tips. So, thanks hun!
Now, who wants recipes?
One kilo of sausage mince
One packet of frozen puff pastry sheets (six sheets)
one carrot, grated
one zucchini, grated
2 eggs, beaten
one onion, finely chopped
a handful of breadcrumbs for smooshing it all together (smooshing is a technical term)
a splotch of tomato sauce if you feel the need (I do!)
Lay out the sheets of pastry so they can thaw. Heat the oven to about 200C. Put everything except the breadcrumbs in a big bowl and get into it with your bare hands (it’s disgusting, but effective). If it seems too goopy (another technical term), throw some breadcrumbs in to bind it together a bit. Once it’s all mixed together, it’s up to you how you proceed. I don’t cut the pastry at all at this stage. I place the mixture onto the pastry, roll it up, then cut them into about 5 pieces. This seems to work quite well. Place the sausage rolls into the oven. I haven’t cooked this lot yet, but from memory, I think they take around 45 minutes all up. Put them in for 20, see how they look, then go again! It’s a very precise science you know. When they are ready, the pastry will be all golden and puffy (hence the name ‘puff pastry’). The meat will be all brown and sizzling and they will smell to die for. WARNING: For God’s sake, give them a few minutes to cool slightly, or you will burn your mouth. Happens to me every. single. time.
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon honey
4 cups cornflakes
Heat the oven to 150C. Place the first three ingredients in a saucepan and stir over low heat until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves and it goes all frothy and smells divine. Then chuck the cornflakes in and stir it all together. Place the mixture into little patty pan thingys (technical term- you know, the little paper cases) then bake for 10 minutes. The same warning about burning your gob applies to these. They are very, very good if you have them with a glass of cold, full-cream milk. Skim milk will not cut it here, I’m afraid. It’s often a good idea to cook a double batch, because they don’t seem to last long.