Anzac biscuits

Anzac biscuits are the recipe that every good Aussie or Kiwi should have. In honor of our lost soldiers I love to make them at this time of year. Every year I vow they are that good I will make more often and I should! They last for ages because of the lack of eggs, and because they are egg free a super easy bring a plate for people with allergies!


Ingredients

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup raw sugar
¾ cup dessicated coconut
1 cup plain flour
125 g butter
2 tablespoons Golden Syrup
½ tsp bicarb soda
3 tablespoons boiling water

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
In a bowl put the oats, coconut, flour and sugar, stir to combine.

Melt the butter and golden syrup in a bowl. (I did it in the microwave).    Add the bicarb and boiling, it will  foam up.

Add the butter mix into the dry mix and stir until combined.
Roll into golfball sized balls, or, using a spoon, drop mixture onto trays, spacing them about 6cm apart.
Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy! These are full of buttery oaty goodness. In an airtight container these biscuits will last weeks! (If they last that long)

Chocolate Flake Cheesecake

I love this Chocolate Flake Cheesecake is THE BEST.  Perfect to use up all the left over Easter Chocolate (if that’s a thing?) It’s a no bake dessert so it’s quick and easy to prepare.  And delicious!


This is normally our Easter dessert and we had it for dinner this Easter Sunday but really this is a great dessert for many occasions!

Ingredients

2 pks of chocolate ripple biscuits (or see note)
200 g butter
1 large lemon
500 g cream cheese
400 ml condensed milk
250 ml thickened cream                                                                                    1 teaspoon of chocolate essence or vanilla essence
5 flake chocolate bars

Method

1 Crush biscuits in a food processor or blender until fine crumbs
2. Melt butter, and mix into the crushed biscuits, press into spring form tin.  Fill bottom first and around the edges of tin as well
3. Put into fridge to set while making filling
4. Beat the cream until forms soft peaks
5. In a separate bowl beat together cream cheese and condensed milk until it becomes thick and smooth
6. Juice lemon and stir through the mixture
7. Carefully fold through the cream and essence into the cream cheese
8. Carefully crumble 4 flake bars into the mixture and stir to even distribute
9. Pour over crust, sprinkle last flake on top and allow to set for 3-4 hours.

 

NOTE

If you don’t have chocolate ripple biscuits on hand or like our family have allergies.  This is a great substitute. 1 cup plain flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup coconut & 1/4 cup cocoa.  Mix together and add 125 g melted butter.  Prepare base as above. (This mix will only cover base not sides).

I hope you love this recipe as much as we do.  It’s an impressive dessert that is cost effective.

Budget Mum Blog - Living the good life for less

Basic Brownie Recipe

This is a great basic brownie recipe, but do not misunderstand there is nothing basic about the taste of this recipe!  It’s just a great stand by recipe – easy to make and easy to mix up flavours.  It’s a great recipe to have for all occasions easy for school lunches but fancy enough for a bring a plate.  Even better there is no need to ice the brownie – it’s that good all by itself.

the best brownie you will ever eat
the only brownie recipe you will ever need.
Recipe

4 eggs
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups plain flour
250 grams melted butter
3/4 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp bi-carb soda

Method
  1. Pre-heat oven to 160 c
  2. In a large bowl or saucepan melt butter,
  3. Mix in sugar, flour, cocoa and bi carb soda.
  4. Add eggs and mix all ingredients.
  5. Pour into lined 20 x 20 cm tin. (I use a pyrex dish)
  6. Bake 50-60 mins at 160 c
  7. Dust with icing sugar! EAT quickly before someone else does!

In step 4 your imagination can run wild, you can add nuts, seeds, chunks of chocolate, a trickle of peanut butter! Honestly I have tried a lot of different flavours and with this basic recipe there is so many different options and they always taste great.

the best brownie recipe EVER

the only brownie recipe you will ever need

I hope you love this recipe as much as my family does.

How to make a budget.

One of my most asked question is can you show me how to make a budget? Making a budget and following it is the first step in taking control of your finances.  

how to make a budget
Making a working budget

To make a budget you need to first understand your spending patterns. Look through old banking statements and tally up how much you spend on everything extra groceries, entertainment, clothing/extras. Generally these are the easiest areas to cut back on.
Once you understand your spending habits and hopefully have found the areas you are overspending in. I find the easiest way to run a budget is to end up with no money at the end of the week. This is called a zero budget – zero money left at the end of your pay cycle. I have my money set up so that my savings comes out first then I have enough money for all my expenses left in my account (or taken out in cash). I have two accounts for everything else one for yearly/ quarterly bills and the other is my savings. If there is any money left over at the end of a pay cycle this means I have spent less money on petrol/food etc I then roll that also into my savings account.
If budgeting is new to you – then paying yourself first is an important lesson. Paying yourself first means you have taken out your savings as your first transaction of your pay cycle. That way you are forced to stick to your budget more rigidly. And you’re taking growing your savings (and bettering your financial situation) seriously.
Setting up your budget is as easy as grabbing a pen and paper. Write down in one column all your expenses and in the other write down all you income. If they don’t match you have two options
1. Work out how to make more money (side hustles here.) OR
2. Spend less.

Budgeting is really that easy. You should always include in your expenses your savings goals. Otherwise you will never better your financial situation you will only be treading water. If you would like further help in sorting out your budget I have a three step series here, here and here. to help. But the most important lesson is to know that you need to be honest about all your expenses. Digging deep through your bank details, items such as pet insurance, netflix, tuck-shop for your child all little things can throw a budget out.
Good luck in budgeting and please if I haven’t covered everything you want to know in my 3 part series please ask!

Mum’s returning to Full Time Work

Returning to full time work after having my son was probably the most daunting experience (after becoming a mother) in my life.  I had returned to work part time previously for a couple of months before stepping up to full time.  I have found preparation isn’t just key but it is also imperative.  The calmer you are at home the easier the transition will be – hopefully.

 

Menu planning – the only way to survive the dinner rush.  Know what you are cooking so you can get meat out of your freezer or prep your veggies early if you have time.  This saves the dreaded afternoon – what are we having for dinner and also cuts back on the chances of take away.  I have it on the fridge so EVERYONE knows what’s for dinner.

Recipe book – I have a daggy display folder that I trundle out most days.  It has all my favourite recipes that I use regularly printed out in there.  It’s like my bible.  You may not thinking that this is very important, but not having to look them up every night is a massive stress saver for me.   It’s all there, no worrying about the i-pad battery or the internet connection.

Schedule  – I have a hand written schedule on the fridge.  This doesn’t change, it’s where the baby is going that day.  What events/exercises are on at night.  What washing/cleaning needs to be done.  It’s simple I made it with coloured textas but it does the job.   It also encourages my husband to help, if he knows what needs to be done.  I am not great with communication so it helps with me asking for help instead of doing it all on my own.

Outsourcing – If you can afford it – get help.  The whole reason I am at work is to save money, but I am not Wonder Woman.  My husband does big days so he isn’t a lot of help (no fault of his own).  This means I also have the baby with me if I am not at work.  Groceries at 5 pm with a baby that has been at day care since 8am isn’t ideal (trust me I tried it.)  So most weeks I order my groceries online.  It isn’t the cheapest way to do the groceries (although it’s great for stopping impulse buying and sticking to a budget) but it saves my sanity.  I do it in my pyjamas on a Wednesday night and get it delivered on a Friday night.  If I could I would have a cleaner and an ironing lady but at this point it just isn’t in the budget.

These things have helped me immensely.  I still however haven’t figured out the mum guilt and cry most days between day care drop off and work – but no body is perfect!

Do you have any tips for surviving back to work?

Budget Mum Blog

 

 

Refresh your New Year’s Resolutions

It’s the end of February, which means either you have embraced your new years resolution and are striving towards them or you have forgotten about them already.  If you’re the later read on –  you need to refresh your resolutions.

How to make refresh your New Years Resolutions to actually succeed

According to Forbes only 8% of people reach their New Years Resolution! That means 92% GIVE UP! Give up on their goals and dreams, that is a very depressing statistic.  Have a look at how you can be in the 8% this year and refresh your resolutions.

Revisit your resolutions and think about why you haven’t stuck to them like you had hoped.  Maybe you set a goal too high and instead of trying you have just given up.  Or maybe you have had a rough couple of months, I know I have, but now more than ever I also know it isn’t time to give up.

Remember why you wanted to reach your resolution.  If you haven’t made a list of how this resolution was going to make your life better you need to do that now.  If it is financial – do the sums.  Break it down for yourself to see.  Do a mood board of how amazing your life will be once this resolution is reality.  I made a mood board using canva.  I have saved it as my screen saver on my phone and printed it out and put it on my desk at work and on my fridge.  Motivation is key.

Tweak your goal or set a new goal.  If the reason you gave up is because the goal was too big you need to tweak your goal or make a plan.

Make a plan to succeed, break it down week to week and stick to the plan.  After a month if the plan hasn’t worked, change the plan – tweak your resolutions.  Make it work and stick it out until you are in the 8 %.

How are your resolutions going, I would love to know.

Budget Mum Blog

9 ways to afford a holiday this year

I have just returned to work and am already looking forward to taking a holiday.  Sometimes you can’t squeeze a holiday into your budget, but here are 7 easy ways to cut out daily things to afford a holiday this year.

saving for a holiday
how to save for your next vacation

Here are 7 easy changes to your daily life to save up and take a holiday! Just like that, small changes = awesome holiday.

7 easy changes

  • No daily coffee.  If you have a coffee 5 days a week at $4.50 = $1170
  • Take a packed lunch.  If you eat lunch out even at $10 a day a 5 days a week = $2600
  • Cancel pay TV, on average around $50 a month = $600
  • Sell your old clothes/DVD/Furniture = $1500
  • Mow 1 lawn a week, $40 a week = $2080
  • Do the $5 note challenge.  Save every $5 note that comes in your possession.  4 notes a week = $1040
  • Don’t use toll roads.  If toll roads are optional to use, consider not using them and going the long way. $3 toll a day is = $780.  If you skip it going both ways save = $1560

I hope you can now afford a holiday this year!

Budget Mum Blog

 

10 questions with Sarah Moore Wellness

One of the questions I get asked most is – How can I eat healthy but still keep my food budget down.  It’s a tough question because for many of us. Healthy means something different and we value something different in our diet!  This week I have asked the amazing Sarah Moore to answer some of the tough nutrition and budget questions in 10 questions with Sarah Moore Wellness! Sarah is a qualified nutritionist and has some awesome ideas on eating better on a budget. I first connected with Sarah on instagram where she always has awesome tips!

sarah moore wellness - eating better on a budget
Eating better on a budget



Who is Sarah Moore?

I am a mum, wife and dog loving Nutritionist from Perth. I specialise in women’s and family health, working with clients on weight loss, prenatal and postnatal nutrition and early childhood habits.

 

10 questions with Sarah Moore Wellness
10 QUESTIONS with Sarah Moore Wellness

How did you get interested in nutrition?

I enrolled in Health Sciences degree at uni knowing that I wanted a career that helped people, but it wasn’t until my first nutrition unit in second semester that made me realise I wanted to be a Nutritionist. I was interested in psychology and marketing too so I worked on campaigns and programs to help communities eat a little better. My job involved teaching group edification, producing resources and working on media campaigns. So many of my program participants would say “I wish I could take you home for an hour to sort out my family’s health” which set a little fire in my belly for something more. After my little girl was born in 2015, I decided that I would pursue one-on-one nutrition consulting and start my own practice.

What is the favourite thing about your job?

I am so grateful every day that I was given the opportunity to get an education in a field that I truly love. I get a real buzz from talking to people about nutrition and my favourite part is leaving a clients home and seeing them so relieved about their health and positive about their ability to make changes because of the simple strategies we’ve come up with to achieve their goals.

If you could spread one message from the mountain tops, what would it be?

Just eat real food. It’s human nature to be attracted to shortcuts, boosters and the latest and greatest products. But nothing is better for you than simply eating and enjoying a wide and varied diet of fruit, vegetables wholegrain, good fats and some lean meat and diary. Expensive potions, powders and superfood boosters rarely achieve the result they promote and are are waste of time if you’re not eating very well to start with.

Can you share some of your best tips to stretch the dollar but still eat healthy?

Shop seasonally, buy whatever fruit and vegetables is cheap – they are going to be the most nutritious. Frozen vegetables are a great option when fresh vegetables are expensive. They’re sometimes even better than fresh as they are picked, packed and frozen very quickly to minimise nutrient loss.Meat is often the most expensive part of the weekly shop, but we need to try and eat less. 100g of raw meat per adult is more than enough, so reducing the meat in a meal and adding more wholegrains and vegetables will make your meals healthier and cheaper.Legumes are a great way to add filling carbs and protein to your meals cheaply. Dried varieties are cheaper but canned are convenient and just as nutritious. Add them to meat dishes and reduce the amount of meat used or try out a vegetarian dish once a week.

Once in the supermarket what tips do you have to spend less?

Always compare the cost of foods by the unit price, per 100g or per kg not the packet price. Those kids lunchbox biscuits might seem like a good deal on special but $35 a kilo of biscuits is more expensive than $8 a kilo fruit bread, which is also more nutritious.

Check out the meat and dairy markdowns, if you’ve got room in your freezer then you can freeze meat, yoghurt, cheese, milk etc.

Evaluate your need for those non essentials (soft drinks, cordials, chips, biscuits etc), not only are they unhealthy but they are expensive and they attract GST. Choose one or two treats that your family enjoys the most, buy the best quality and enjoy them less often.

What are you favourite healthy lunch for busy mums?

When I come home with the shopping each week I turn the oven on. As I unpack I keep out some vegetables (eg. sweet potato, carrot, zucchini, brussles sprouts, leek, onion, capsicum), chop them up, toss them in olive oil and some dried herbs and roast them for 30minutes will I put everything else away. Then I’ve got a container in the fridge full of vegetables that’s good for a few days to throw on top of some salad leaves with a splash of EVO and balsamic for a quick salad, or inside some grainy bread spread with hummus for a quick sandwich.

Healthy eating doesn’t need to be complicated, just try to put together some good grains, fats and protein. A simple nut butter or cheese and tomato sandwich on good grainy bread is filling and nutritious.

What is the biggest splurge food that you love it eat?


I’m a big fan of quality of quantity. It is so much more satisfying to enjoy a tiny bowl of gourmet ice-cream rather than having a huge serve of something not quite up to scratch. It’s a favourite treat in our house but I only buy it once a fortnight. Having it less often means I can afford better quality and I appreciate it more. You’re more likely to be satisfied with a smaller serve of something you love.

What is your favourite cuisine?


Being a nutritionist I’m a real foodie so there is not much I don’t like! If I had to pick, I think Italian – I love the focus on using just a few fresh, good quality ingredients in pasta and pizza.

Do you think that it is important to spend extra and buy organic vegetables and fruits?


The benefits of eating an organic diet aren’t as clear as we’d like them to be. The definition of organic and the labeling of organic produce relates to a few synthetic pesticides and antibiotics in livestock – it doesn’t mean pesticide or chemical free. The health benefits of eating lots of conventional fruit and vegetables outweigh the potential risk from pesticide residues.For most families, the investment in organic produce or animal products is only going to be effective if the rest of your lifestyle is optimal. It’s much more important to focus on getting 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables every day, reducing meat and alcohol consumption and exercising more.

Sarah Moore in a Registered Nutritionist. Visit her website http://www.sarahmoorewellness.com.au. You can also find her on facebook and instagram.

I hope you loved the interview with Sarah, and I hope that you got some great tips.

Budget Mum Blog

Budget Mum Blog’s First Birthday!

Today is Budget Mum Blog’s first birthday! That’s right, this time last year I decided to go ahead with my little idea!

Budget Mum Blog's First Birthday
My Birthday Celebration
I was a stay at home mum to a 4 month old baby boy.  I was on paid maternity leave but knew it was going to run out soon.  And I was eager to stay at home for a least a year so I wanted to squeeze every cent out of our money.  I searched and searched online and what I found was a ton of great websites, most of which were in USA.

So I had an idea… Maybe I could start a blog.  A blog about getting the most out of your money.  A blog that would help me stay on track and inspire me to try harder.  A blog that might help others…

So I started writing, then I published a couple, and people started reading. I was excited!  What I didn’t count on is the Australian community that was building on Social Media.  #Budgetmum & #frugalliving are rabbit holes for people like me (and maybe you?) Instagram is wonderful for people who love saving money and love sharing tips!  So as a Thank You to everyone who visits my little blog, chats with me on Instagram and follows me on Facebook I appreciate every comment and like, I am having a little giveaway to celebrate!

GIVEAWAY

To celebrate Budget Mum Blog’s first birthday Budget Mum Blog is giving away 2 prizes!

On Facebook I will be giving away a $50 Coles Myer voucher to one follower.  All you need to do is follow us on Facebook and comment on the competition post! 

   

On Instagram I will be giving away a copy of Scott Pape’s Barefoot Investor book!  To be in the running you need to follow Budget Mum Blog on Instagram and comment on the competition post!

budget mum blog birthday
COMMENT ON THIS POST ON INSTAGRAM
Neither of these giveaways are sponsored by Instagram or Facebook.  Both prizes have been provided by Budget Mum Blog and have no affiliation with the prize creators.

The competition posts will run from Today 26/1/2017 to 8 PM (AEST/ QLD TIME) Sunday 29/1/2017.  Both competitions are only open to Australian Residents, with postal addresses in Australia. You can enter both or one competition.  Thank you and good luck!  Here’s to many more birthdays and friendships…

Budget Mum Blog

 

 

 

 

PS – if you follow me on Instagram I have decided, or succumbed to peer pressure that I will reveal my face if I ever reach 10,000 followers!

Why Dave Ramsey’s baby steps aren’t for us

Let me just explain first up that I LOVE Dave Ramsey and think is financial advice is amazing for so many people! But his Baby Steps’s aren’t wasn’t for us, for a few different reasons.  Why Dave Ramsey’s baby steps aren’t for us!

Why we don't follow Dave Ramsey
Why we don’t use Dave Ramsey

On Budget Mum Blog, I try very hard to explain how I stretch my money and help other’s do the same.  What I try not to do is offer financial advice. I am a teacher NOT a financial advisor so I try to stay away from providing any financial help.  So this post is a little different than my normal.  But this is why Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps aren’t for US. Please make your own decisions based on your situation and your families needs.

  1. When we found out about Dave Ramsey consequently we were already on our financial path.  We had gotten ourselves out of MOST of our consumer debt and were focused on paying off our car.  We also had a fairly healthy emergency fund already in place.  So we were feeling pretty happy with our financial plan and happy to do it our way.
  2. “Our Way” was a variation of the Baby Steps.  That was what we had already put in place and were following.  Many of Dave Ramsey’s steps are common sense and we had followed without knowing!  Some we didn’t think suited our situation.  What ever your situation or plan is (either Dave Ramsey or your own – write them down so you have a visual.)
  3. He isn’t Australian.  We are Australian and our finances are in Australia.  It didn’t make sense for us to follow ALL his baby steps.  My husband and I both agree in Australia for us, Step 4 wasn’t superannuation important.  We wanted to turn our efforts to our mortgage.  We both work in government departments that have compulsory employee contributions to our super.  At this point that is enough with the government contributions – this is above the Australian average of super contributions.  Based on our projections for retirement this will be more than enough for our retirement.  Once our mortgage we will OF COURSE add to our superannuation to make it as healthy as possible for our retirement.

I would love to hear your opinions about Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps and if you are following them.  Or have you tweaked them to suit your needs more?  I would love to know!

Budget Mum Blog