$1,000 in 10 days! Fast money challenge update

I set a 10 day fast money challenge with the aim to make as much money as possible through things like unclaimed money, new account bonuses, online surveys, selling stuff, gift cards etc. I didn’t go as hard as I planned nor did I try all I could have to make extra money.

Make $1,000 in 10 days!

Here’s how I went:

1.) Sell used items

I put some things on eBay and made $127 plus I put some jewellery on consignment at a local store. This has not sold yet though so I am not including it, it’s likely to be a few thousand dollars though. I didn’t have a whole lot to sell so $127 was good. Right at the end of the challenge I came across a $2 sale at a local op shop and they had dresses in the rack that I know go for $40 to $110 on eBay so I bought some to resell and have them listed. I’m not including those amounts in my total here, but it is a great way to keep the side hustle continuing past the original 10 day challenge.

2.) Search for unclaimed money

I finalised the paperwork for a claim worth $205 plus found out about another claim which will be worth thousands but takes at least 6 months to process. I have started the paperwork on it, but it is quite draining so have scheduled it in for next week when I have time and am not busy.

Check each state’s revenue office for unclaimed money. I originally used MoneySmart which has an option that is meant to check all of Australia, however it showed nothing. When I went to each individual state, my $205 of unclaimed money came up and I was able to confirm what it was from plus lodge the paper work.

On top of general unclaimed money, do a search for lost super. Think about it, how many jobs have you had in your life and how many times have you changed superannuation accounts, not consolidated them or signed up for a new one at your new work? If you have lots of super accounts then you are probably paying multiple admin fees and insurance costs unnecessarily which are eroding your super balance. Rate Detective has an option where they find and consolidate all your super plus invest it according to your preferences.

Also, Rate Detective have other services such as life or income protection insurances, car or home and contents insurance as well as mortgages. Doing a comparison can help you save more money. One month, I focused on a different area of my budget each day, compared providers and how I was spending my money. I saved thousands that month by comparing and switching. On top of checking for unclaimed money, compare all the services you currently use and see if you can save yourself some money.

At this time, I have $904 in unclaimed super I need to process the paperwork for. Not bad for a quick check, not good that I have had it sitting there for so long though!

3.) Gift cards

I didn’t end up using the gift cards we have nor did I sell them. I checked the amounts I have in my Vip clubs, how much I have earned with various points accruing and it totals $104.

So at the end of the 10 days, the total I have from these things with minimal effort is $1,008 if you include the gift cards. Not too bad. I could do better next time though!

Have you ever done a fast money challenge? What is the most you have made in a short period?

You might also like:
50 ways to live for free
10 ways to make $1,000 in a month
Best Australian online survey sites, earn $1,000

Complete list of Australian VIP and discount reward clubs

Most Australians know of FlyBuys, Everyday Rewards, Qantas Frequent Flyers and Velocity, but did you know there are so many more VIP clubs you can get freebies and discounts from? There are also apps like StampMe which collect your points for you. Ask every shop you go to, every cafe, restaurant or anywhere you spend money if they have a loyalty or member program. While many have cards to carry in your wallet, others have moved to apps and if they haven’t there are apps you can download to store all your loyalty cards in instead of carrying all the cards.

Loyalty and VIP programs aren’t the only way to live for free or improve your finances, we have loads of options on this site including 50 ways to live for free, we share the best Australian online survey sites to make over $1,000, we are doing a 6 month no spend challenge and have 10 ways to make $1,000 a month you might want to check out as well as the complete list below of Australian VIP, loyalty and reward programs.

Get Freebies in Australia! Complete list of Australian VIP and discount reward clubs (1)

Complete list of Australian VIP, loyalty and reward clubs/programs

Groceries/Major Stores
FlyBuys – collect points to convert into cash or shop with their catalogue. You also get coupons mailed to you and special offers emailed. You can collect points from shopping, special offers and certain credit cards (we will post about them later).
EveryDay Rewards – earn money on certain purchases to use on future shopping trips.
IGA –  exclusive email offers.
MyerOne – earn points when you shop to convert to cash to use on your shopping later.
IKEA – exclusive offers, events and discounts in store.
Howards Storage World – free $10 when you join plus for every $200 spent.

Toys’R’Us – Exclusive events, discounts and even a birthday freebie!

The Coffee Club – It costs $25 a year. The perks are buy one get one free hot drink every day, 10% off Monday to Wednesday plus a free drink when you sign up and on your birthday.
Muffin Break – every 5th coffee is free.
Sumo Salad – free birthday salad and other exclusive discounts plus you accrue money with each purchase you can use for free meals.
Boost Juice – 11th juice is free, free juice on your birthday, exclusive offers.
Med Mex – accrue money each time you shop to use on future purchases.
Zambrero – loyalty card you pick up in store and get your 10th bowl, burrito or nachos free.

– their “Sister Club” earn points and get vouchers, a gift on your birthday and some exclusive discounts.
Essential Beauty – regular discounts, free services after 5 visits, a birthday freebie and more.
StrawberryNet has a cash bonus when you sign up too.

SpotLight – $40 off is a common discount you get with Spotlight when you spend over $100. It is a coupon sent to VIP members. 10% off on your birthday and other discounts are sent to you.
LimeLight Cinemas – discounted movies and other rewards.
Hoyts – costs $12 for a free movie ticket instantly, discounts each week, earn free movies and more.
Events Cinemas – see 6 movies, get one free!

Just Jeans – costs $5 to join then you earn money each time you shop.
Country Road – depending on how much you spend you get birthday vouchers, anniversary vouchers, discounts and more.
Jeans West – get 5% to 15% off depending on how much you spend in a 12 month period.
BrasNThings – special discounts.
Bonds – 20% off all purchases.
Review – $15 to $100 reward vouchers, exclusives discounts and a $20 birthday voucher.

Velocity – earn points through travel, petrol and certain bills.
Qantas frequent flyer – earn points through travel and other spending
Accor – hotel loyalty rewarded with points to use later.
Hotels.com – collect 10 nights, get one free.

SuperCheap Auto – costs $5 but you get $10 store credit instantly plus other discounts and receipt free warranty which is great for tools, car batteries etc.
Dusk – costs $10 to join for 2 years and gives you 10% off full priced items and 5% off discounted items, 50% off shipping and exclusive rewards.
Kikki.K – $10 off when you join, $10 off for your birthday and other exclusive discounts.

Credit Card rewards we will address in another post.

Do you know of any more VIP or loyalty programs for Australians?

6 tips for planning a kids birthday party on a budget

Meet Jenny from Eckles Invites! She is a business owner and mum from Noosa who is ready to create the perfect personalised birthday invitations for your little one’s special day! We love Jenny’s style and were so excited to get to know the mum behind this beautiful business. From being involved with many mums who are planning parties, she has seen it all but knows you can definitely plan a kid’s party on a budget – and still make it amazing!

Sometime between when I was a little girl and when my children were born, kids birthday parties have evolved massively! I was content with a small group of friends, our cabbage patch dolls and a birthday cake that mum let me choose from the Australian Women’s Weekly Cake Book! I certainly don’t remember going to any parties that were styled, themed, structured & meticulously planned out. But, cut to now and wow! The potential to spend your monthly mortgage payment on one child’s birthday is so very real –and no, I’m not joking!

So I am here, as someone who is involved with kids’ birthday parties quite a lot, to tell you that you don’t need to save up for 3 months ahead of the party or ditch your daily coffee to save the coins. You can plan and host an amazing birthday party that you, your child and their guests will remember and love for a long time! Let me give you some tips!

Money saving tip #1:

My biggest money saving tip is all about buying in advance. The actual date of the birthday is not a surprise! We know it’s coming around each year – it doesn’t try to sneak up on us – so 6 months before the birthday month, start thinking. Throw one or two things in your shopping trolley each week. Even if you don’t get it from the supermarket, grab some straws & plastic plates from the discount store, buy a bag of balloons and streamers from the small department store, chuck in a roll of wrapping paper…whatever you think you’ll need, start buying bits and pieces ahead of time. 

I promise you that this will definitely save you money in the long run. Tell me you haven’t been in my shoes where you’ve left everything to the last minute, have next to nothing ready for the party, you dash to the shop and basically fill a trolley with bunting, streamers, table cloths, plates, bowls, cutlery, serving platters, fancy silver plastic tongs, 500 red plastic cups when really you wanted green …. and then get to the checkout and nearly fall into the trolley when you hear the total price. Yep, let’s try not to do that again! Buying in advance also means you’ve given yourself enough time to check prices online as well which can be an extra saving!

When it comes to colours, decorating and themes, one of my money saving tips is to buy mostly white and then accent with your colours or theme. So, buy white plates, white cutlery, clear plastic cups and then add a coloured table cloth, bright balloons and some special decorations that co-ordinate perfectly. This means that at the end of the party you can put any left over ‘neutral’ party accessories in a bag all ready for the next party that you are throwing – probably only in a few months time!!

6 tips for a budget friendly kids birthday party

Money saving tip #2:

Where you can, try to avoid having your party at meal times! Before lunch at 10 o’clock is a great time, or even after lunch at 2.00 o’clock. By planning your party at these times, you are not expected to provide a whole meal for your guests, your guests’ siblings and your guests’ parents. This can really cut costs dramatically. One table of snack foods, plus the birthday cake is then all you need…and if you keep the children busy with party games, they won’t even have enough time to eat, so a total win win there!

If you do happen to have your party around lunch time a good ‘ol sausage sizzle is a great way to feed a bunch of people. I’d probably keep in mind though, if you do provide lunch, it is also ‘expected’ to still have your snack table and cake – so if you can, perhaps try to avoid lunchtime.

Also when it comes to planning what you are going to provide your guests to eat accept those offers of help. I can’t think of one party that I have had for my 2 boys where at least 1 person hasn’t offered to bring a plate of food. This year I said yes to my neighbour who bought a plate to both parties! People don’t usually offer if they’re not willing to help so a simple, ‘yes that would be lovely’ is all you need to say.

6 tips for a budget friendly birthday party

Money saving tip #3:

If you’re really serious about saving money or planning this party on a budget, then consider hosting the party at your house. It truly saves money in more ways than one. Firstly, you are not paying for venue hire of anywhere. Secondly, you probably already have ‘entertainment’ in the form of a trampoline, sandpit or even Duplo for the little ones. Having your party at home also means you don’t have to think about access to water & toilets and this can be a good thing if you do decide to bring in someone like a face painter who needs taps.

You may also find that many party venues that you enquire at also have a fixed party price that includes food and drinks for the children. However, with a bit of planning (yep sorry, that word again),you would probably be able to provide more food that is actually what you want them to eat for a much cheaper price – and having it at home means you can keep the leftovers if there are any and keep partying for days!

6 tips for a budget friendly kids birthday party!

Money saving tip #4:

I don’t actually remember the price of stamps going up to $1.00 but I was so shocked recently to see that they had! By either giving out invitations personally (school, day care, kindy etc) you can potentially save yourself up to $20 (depending on guest numbers). Digital invitations are also a very budget savvy technique and a lot of my customers as using this digital file as is – not actually printing it out. All it requires you to do is purchase the digital invitation file (which can still be personalised and suit your theme) and email it to your guests. It can then be up to them if they print it out and put it on the fridge.

I’ve mentioned in one of my previous blog posts, that we have even been invited to a kid’s party through a social media event. This is totally doable and totally cheap! Use that digital invitation we just talked about, post it as a photo on your event page, include a profile picture of your little birthday person and voila! All done! There are not many mums who are not on Facebook these days, so this is a great alternative.


Money saving tip #5:

Do you remember those brown paper lunch bags that you may have ordered your school lunch in? They work out to be .26c each and are a perfect bag for your party favours! Party bags or lolly bags can work out to be such a big expense for your party – the cost just sneaks up on you as you think you are doing it cheaply by buying little things that are under $1.00 each, but once you add 2 or 3 items, some lollies, a fancy bag and times that by the number of guests you have invited (sometimes plus siblings!),it can get soooo costly.

I love having my boys decorate the bags a little bit. A large sheet of stickers (which could match your theme or colours),a few texta squiggles on it and a thank you tag that matches your invitations tied to it make it look gorgeous and personalised.
The other alternative with filling party bags to the brim with lollies and toys is to have a little craft activity as an activity at your party and that, with a piece of cake is what your guests take home. You can get around this very inexpensively by choosing activities such as threading pasta on a string to make a necklace, having a small painting/colouring in table (source your pics on line for free) or even giving out homemade playdoh – which was a hit this year for our 5 year old party. Obviously these activities need to be age appropriate, but jump on Google and see what you can find.

Money saving tip #6:

My best friend is a cake decorator and because of her I have a completely newfound, enormous amount of respect for what these talented people do! I’ll admit, I have totally taken for granted the work that is required to decorate a cake in a given theme. The fondant, the figurines, the lettering…let alone actually baking a delicious cake! So my point here is that they are expensive for a reason!
If you can follow the direction on a packet mix, double it and go for it! Let Google Images be your friend and find one that you love or do what I ‘ve done for the past 3 or 4 years. Head to eBay, find some little figurines that match your theme, bake and ice the cake and stick them on top! So easy, so effective and so cheap!
If you do want to go to that extra little bit of effort, then did you know you can actually hire cake tins? They get posted to you, you use it for your cake and then post it back! This is a great way to save money with the cake as well. Oh, and the BEST way to save money on the cake? Ask Grandma to make it 😉

 Make your own cake      

My main message that I hope you take away is that you don’t actually need to spend an exorbitant amount of money to plan and pull off a fantastic birthday party that your little person will love! Try not to feel the pressure and just stick to the basics – invitation, cake, a few balloons and a couple of party games. Plan what you think your little one will love and stick to that!

I can just about guarantee you, that with all of your efforts, your planning and your budget savvy ways, your birthday girl or boy will have a huge smile on their face throughout the whole party – and now you have extra money to spend on a bottle of wine to recover from it all!

Jen x

Eckles Invites


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All images supplied by Jenny. 

What tips do you have for a budget friendly kids birthday party?

This entry was posted in Kids.

How to etch glass

Easy Glass Etching The Thrifty Issue

I’ve been wanting to try glass etching for a while now. I love the frosted look and liked the idea of doing it at home. I finally got some etching cream at a reasonable price and decided to start small with a jar. It was very easy and took 20min total. The more complicated your design the longer it would take. Etching creams are a bit pricey generally going for $40 or more but you only use a little bit at a time so the bottle lasts a while. The bottle I got came with an application brush too as it is a pretty caustic chemical. Its not something I recommend you do with kids.

What you need:
Etching cream and brush
Glass jar, bottle, dish etc
Stick on stencils or painters tape.

I used painters tape to try it out and if your design is all straight lines I think its a great way to go. It pulls off easily and leaves no residue.

Start by cleaning your glass well. You don’t want any oils left on so its recommended you use rubbing alcohol although I just used dish washing liquid and hot water then gave it a dry with a microfiber cloth.

How to etch glass

Tape off the area you want etched. I went for 2 thin lines the whole way around the jar.

Apply the cream evenly and reasonably thick. You don’t need to cake it on but you don’t want to be seeing the glass underneath or it wont etch. Do this in a well ventilated area.

How to etch glass

Wait 15-20 min then rinse off with water. Don’t rub with your hands use a cloth or gloves. Either air dry or use a cloth and you’re all done. Its that easy.

I used this jar to make a recipe in a jar and gave it away the next day for Christmas with a bit of ribbon around the top.

What would you like etch? Is it for yourself or would you give it as a special gift?

Tutorial by Rachael Puric
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DIY Fathers Day Trophy

Fathers Day is only a few weeks away so now is a great time to start getting the kids to make a few presents. This year my husband is getting a couple of ‘Best Dad’ trophies. The kids had such a good time making them and they don’t cost much at all.

What you need:
Plastic Trophy
Super Glue
Permanent Marker

DIY Fathers day trophy step 1

Start by taping off the ‘plaque’ section on the canvas. This can be as big or small as you want. We were using mini square canvas’ so only one small line of tape was enough.

DIY Fathers Day Trophy step 2

Next let the kids go crazy painting. My 6yr old wanted to draw around the trophy so he would know where not to paint. My 3 year old on the other hand just wanted more paint.

Painted Canvas for DIY Fathers Day Trophy

DIY Fathers Day Trophy step 4

Once they are painted let them dry before pulling off the tape.


Glue the trophy in place and fill in the details on your plaque. Outline the plaque so that it stands out from the painting.

DIY Fathers Day Trophy

Write what ever message you like “#1 Dad” or “Worlds Greatest Tickler” or “Best Dad in the World!”

All up these 2 trophy’s cost me $3 and I still have supplies to make 2 more if I wanted.

What gifts do you make for Fathers Day?

Written by Rachael Puric
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Fast money challenge – how to get money fast

Do you need more money fast?

Along with our post on 10 ways to make $1,000 in a month plus our 6 month no spend challenge we are throwing in a fast money challenge. How much money can we make in 10 days?

How to get money fast - 10 day money making challenge (1)

Here is what we will be doing to make money fast, I’ll provide a final total after we complete it:

1.) Check unclaimed money

Superannuation is the first one people think of when checking for unclaimed money, it is not the only unclaimed money you can have. Definitely, check your superannuation, consolidate it and review how it is doing, plus consider doing a co-contribution to boost it. Also:
– Check your wallet and paperwork for any Medicare receipts or health insurance receipts then process them.
– Use a service like your state’s revenue office to check for unclaimed money. I did a quick search for unclaimed money through each state instead of just the one and discovered I had $200 sitting there from my lawyer a few years back I was unaware of which didn’t show up in the ‘Australia wide” search. I made the claim, filled in the forms and sent it off.

2.) Sell off anything you can

Go through every room in the house, remove anything not in use and sell it. We have clothing, toys and some kitchen items. We only moved here in December so don’t have a huge assortment of things to get rid of. Every bit helps though!

List it on eBay, Gumtree or buy/sell/swap sites. Check out ways to sell your stuff or space here.

3.) Utilise gift cards

How many gift cards do you have lying around? How many reward programs are you signed up to with points waiting to be cashed in? How many online surveys have you done which could be cashed in? Check everything, use the gift cards that are ones you will use, sell the others and cash in your survey points. If you are looking for survey sites to try, check out our recommendations here.

4.) Bank sign up bonuses

Right now ING is offering $75 for new accounts if you use the code CNW116 at this link. ING is the bank I first joined when I started blogging and making money online. They had a sign up bonus at the time and it meant I could do easily do banking at the post office, have ATM fees waived and get a percentage back on my shopping if I used paywave for purchases under $100. Last year alone, without using ING for all my every day banking I still secured $100 cash back from them. If you use my code and link we both get $75 because it is a refer a friend special offer until October 31st, 2016.
Look into sign up bonuses and cash in on them.

There will be more I do to make money in a fast money challenge over 10 days, this is the starting point and 4 things I thought you might be able to do too.

Have you done any of these to get money fast?

How to make a Draculaura Cushion

I have a niece who loves Monster High. I didn’t even know what it was until she told me about it and it was quite an eye opener! Her birthday was last month and so I wanted to make her a Monster High something. She already has a lot of the merchandise and a costume of her favourite character, Draculaura, so I was stumped for a while then my son started making cushions again and it hit me, a Draculaura cushion for her room.

Monster High Draculaura Cushion Tutorial

To make your own you will need:
Cushion insert
Fabric: Black, pink and white
Sparkly pink button
2 grey buttons

I broke down her outfit which came to a black shirt, white skirt, pink vest with a couple of details such as buttons.

Back fabric for Draculaura cushion

I started by cutting the lining to be 2.5 times longer than my cushion and the width of my cushion. Then I cut the base layer for the front side. I needed a 2x black/pink back and a black/white for the front to represent the top she wears. I then sewed them together black-white-black. I didn’t add the black/pink back at this point as I needed to added the details first.

Sew vest on Draculaura cushion

Next I cut out 2 vest shapes from the bright pink plus 2 extra triangles in pink to make the back of the bottom of the vest. I sewed the triangles to the vest with right sides together and then turned it right way out. I sewed the vest onto the black/white fabric leaving the bottom triangle frees to flap.

Add skirt ruffle for DIY Draculaura cushion

I then cut a long strip of white and hemmed it to be the collar ruffle. And another white strip hemmed to be the skirt. For the skirt I cut it 3 times the width of the pillow to make the ruffles. I added the skirt and made ruffles in the same way I did for the Ariel Apron. I then added a white ‘belt’ on top of the skirt but under the vest flaps.

DIY Draculaura cushion tutorial - ready to line

To add the collar I sewed it between the black/white fabric and the top black/pink fabric to give it a good hold. I then added the buttons on the vest and the pink sparkly one for her necklace.

DIY Draculaura cushion - Monster High - sew lining in

I sewed the bottom black/pink fabric on before attaching it all to the lining in the same method as the basic cushion.

DIY Draculaura cushion - the shape of the cushion

Once the lining was one I turned it right side out, top stitched the edges and folded it ready to sew into a cushion. This was the end result.

DIY Draculaura cushion tutorial - Monster High

My niece loved it but I have a suspicion her mum like it more 🙂

Are your kids into Monster High?

Tutorial by Rachael Puric
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5 tips to help deal with temptation – 6 Month No Spend Challenge update 2

What do you do when you can’t stop thinking about something you want to buy?

The first month of our 6 month no spend challenge threw a few curveballs, the biggest one to me was the temptation of a dress in my favourite store. It looked fantastic on, the fabric was beautiful and the dress was high quality. Fortunately, they didn’t have my size, it was on sale and sold out online so there was no chance of getting it. I have not stopped thinking about it though. We had some preplanned travel for some family events and I was so fixated on this dress that on this trip, I popped into the shops to see if the dress was there, but alas, it wasn’t. I am lucky though because as much as I wanted this dress I didn’t want to break my no spend challenge and I did not want to have to confess a major blowout.

Clearly, my behaviour showed I was doing the opposite of what I truly wanted. We all get tempted and if we slip up, it’s ok. Accept it, stop the behaviour that is not in line with your goals and get back to what you set out to do. I’m sharing this, because no one is perfect all the time and while I live by my 10 tips to help you stop spending, it doesn’t mean I don’t get tempted!

5 tips to help deal with temptation

5 tips to help deal with temptation
1.) Have a goal
Whatever it is that tempts you, have a goal in mind with a solid plan to work around it. In my case I’m on a no spend challenge, so spending money can be the temptation. Your temptation might be food, or alcohol or bingeing on NetFlix that you want to stop.

My goal is a 6 month no spend challenge. I have outlined my plan in this post, however on top of that I need to include other measures to reduce the temptation to shop such as avoiding the shopping, choosing to shop at the markets with a strict shopping list cash only and leaving my cards at home, having someone I am accountable to (this includes all you lovely readers),having planned treats at designated times during my challenge e.g I have a restaurant giftcard we can use for a family dinner one night and a few similar options I am spacing out in my challenge to reduce the feeling of deprivation.

A clear plan of action with a specific goal makes it easier to handle temptation when it arises.

2.) Avoid temptation
With my no spend challenge to avoid temptation I avoid the shops, I plan out our groceries as mentioned and have made meetings be in offices instead of local cafes. It is not entirely possible to avoid temptation of every sort. For example, if you are trying to have a healthier lifestyle and avoid cake or other junk food, when an office birthday happens and there is cake in the lunch room or a friend insists on a chocolate cafe to meet at or there is a fundraiser involving food you feel pressured to participate in, it can be hard to avoid it without coming off as rude or damaging relationships.

With the office party, if there are healthy food options stick to them or offer to bring a platter of vegetable sticks and crackers. Eat well before you go ensuring you’ve had breakfast and/or lunch depending on the time the party is and focus on your goal. If you cannot avoid having any of the cake, take the smallest piece possible.

If you cannot avoid the temptation completely find ways to work around it.

3.) Occupy yourself
Distraction is sometimes all you need to take your mind off whatever it is you want. Take up a new hobby, call a friend or join in a conversation on social media. Do something other than shop or eat or whatever it is that is tempting you.

4.) Set a time limit
Commit to not doing whatever it is you are tempted to do for 20 minutes. Try to change your focus, then at the end of the 20 minuted the temptation may have passed, you might have distracted yourself or the opportunity might have gone. If not, push for another 20 minutes. Try to remind yourself the temptation will pass, focus on your goal and control your urges.

5.) Accept we all make mistakes
Don’t beat yourself up if you do give in to temptation. Rectify whatever it is you need to as best you can, be responsible for your actions and do what you need to do to fix the situation and reduce your temptation in the future.

The dress was not my only curveball this month. On top of my dress temptation, I have been offered a good opportunity in September, part way through my challenge and it is going to cost me around $638!

What would you do?
The opportunity itself is an invite only 3day conference in Canberra. All expenses are covered except travel to and from the conference. On top of flights, I need to arrange childcare and transport to and from the airport. Canberra doesn’t have a train or bus option from the airport to the city like Sydney and Melbourne leaving the only option of a taxi.

I was invited and unable to attend last year so am pleased to be invited again. It is an incredible event for networking and collaborations.

My flights and the taxi are a business expense, the childcare is not. So while it is technically excluded as it is a business expense, it is still an unexpected expense and as I am committed to this challenge, I wanted to get creative with how I would manage it.

At this stage, I plan to go. The event happens to coincide with another event I had bought tickets for (also a business expense). I chose to sell these tickets for the amount I paid – $185USD each which resulted in $247AUD for each ticket, a total of $494AUD.

Current expenses:
Flights $300
Airport transfers $138 (return ticket for Skybus from Melbourne to the airport and taxi from Canberra airport to my hotel, return.)
Childcare while away $200

I can reduce them by:
– Bus instead of fly. The bus would cost $150 to $180 return compared to $300 on flights, plus the bus eliminates the airport transfers and drops me right near the conference. However, it takes 8 to 9 hours each way on the bus vs 6 hours total with flying (travel to and from the airport, waiting before my flights and flight time.) That is around 10 to 12 hours longer. Potential savings up to $288.
– Arranging a lift from a family member from Canberra airport to my hotel and vice versa in Canberra, if they are available if I chose to fly. Potential savings of $100.
– Do a childcare swap with another parent at my daughters school. Potential savings $200.

If I catch the bus and do a childcare swap it will cost only $150 to $180 depending on which ticket I select. This means, after selling my tickets for $494 I will be in front $314 to $344, although that is money that both goes into and comes out of my business not my personal accounts.

Other notes from our challenge.
Overall, I feel we have done well with our no spend challenge. I have sold the tickets I mentioned in the post but am yet to make the purchase for the September conference. We had a preplanned trip to our family this month as well. I forgot to mention it in my original no spend challenge post. We drove from Melbourne to Canberra, spent the weekend there, attended a ball and a few other events, picked up stuff from my parents garage I had stored there then travelled on to Bathurst to my partners family where we stayed a few days then drove home.

The ball and events were prepaid, I wore a ball dress I already had and did my own hair and makeup. The petrol expense was preplanned and we stayed within our regular grocery budget for other food.

Getting items out of storage from my parents place prompted a review of what we have in our home here. It is incredible how quickly you can accumulate things, not always through purchases but through people giving you stuff, your kids collecting things etc. I listed a few things on eBay and made $125. I have more to list next month.

I’m pretty happy with how the challenge is going. Not only are we spending less, we have made money in a few little areas. I’ll be starting a money making challenge to go alongside my no spend challenge soon.

Have you done a no spend challenge? How long for? What temptation came up for you?

You might also like:
No Spend Challenge Update #1
50 ways to live for free
10 ways to make $1,000 this month!

All Mum Said

Best Australian online survey sites – earn over $1,000

When I first started looking for ways to make and save money at home, online surveys appealed to me as they could be done from home around my kids. They won’t make you rich, they do bring in extra money here and there plus some now have mobile apps so you can make money while waiting for the jug to boil, sitting in the doctors office or waiting to get your kids from school.

The Best Australian Online Survey Sites

All of the following sites have personally been used by myself, friend and family. If you know of anymore, feel free to let us know so we can check them out. Either email them through to thethriftyissue@outlook.com or leave them in the comments. By the way, some of these are affiliate links, which is one of the ways I earn money from this site. I will use 50% of my income from affiliates to do cash giveaways through this site and our Facebook page as a thank you to all of you! Our first giveaway will happen next month.

1.) SwagBucks – average $10 a week or $520 a year
SwagBucks has been one of my favourites and now they launched an app with games and TV to make it even easier to earn points in a short period of time. You earn “SwagBucks” which you can convert to cash or gift cards on the site. I have been using them for a few years and while not a huge money maker, I use them for things I already do so the points add up.

For example, you can earn points by:
– Using SwagBucks instead of Google to search
– Shop your favourite stores through SwagBucks
– Download games/apps or surveys in their discover section
– Answer the daily poll
– Earn referral points when referring others
– Bonus SwagCodes – get notified when there are bonus codes and earn even more

You can make money doing a survey while waiting for your coffee, answer the daily poll in an ad break while watching TV, do a quick shop while waiting for your kids to finish school or search for anything while waiting for dinner to cook.

You can redeem your SwagBucks instantly online too which makes it easy plus you can redeem small amounts like $5 instead of having to wait until you accrue $100 or more like other sites. 500 SwagBucks is $5.

2.) Pureprofile – up to $50 every 60 days or $300 per year
Pureprofile is an online survey platform which also now has an app. You can redeem up to $50 every 60days either as cash, gift cards or Hoyts vouchers.

You earn cash doing surveys. You are matched to survey’s based on your profile (which does take some time to fill out). Surveys can be as little as $2 or the most I have seen is $25 for one survey. Some take a few minutes, others take an hour (rare and those are the ones that pay $25). I mostly see between $3 and $10 for surveys. You will have to answer a few questions at the start of each survey to see if you definitely fit what they need for that survey and to ensure they fill their quotas for different ages, genders, locations etc. If you fill this out and don’t get through to the survey for any reason you usually get paid 5cents or 10cents anyway.

3.) WDYT – $20 per month or $240 per year
I have averaged about $20 a month when doing it consistently through clicking on emails mainly. You can earn more depending on what you are willing to sign up to, how many surveys you answer and if you want to shop through them to earn a percentage of your shop. You also earn cash every 6 months for updating your profile.

4.) YourVoice
I haven’t used it for a while and found it to be rather slow. Others I know have had better luck with it. I can’t give an approximate earning for it any more though.

Other sites
I have come across a few other online survey sites I will test out and add here if they are ok. I have tried RewardsCentral and MyOpinions in the past but it took over a year to earn enough to cash out and no one I know has made much with them. The points are slow to accrue, not as many opportunities as other survey sites and overall it wasn’t a great experience.

Bonus tips
– Be aware you are not going to make a full-time income filling out surveys. The hourly rate is typically pretty low and it can be slow. Most people I know use it as a way to reduce the pressure of Christmas or as a way to save for a holiday/other extras.
– Get a separate email address for survey sites. They can send a lot of mail which feels like it is cluttering your inbox plus some companies (not the ones we have listed) are unethical and sell your email address or spam you.

If you know of other survey sites, let us know! Do you do online surveys? What is your experience?

We will post about mystery shopping companies we have used soon. 

DIY Ariel (aka The Little Mermaid) inspired ruffle apron

My daughter was invited to a Little Mermaid party a few weeks ago and the birthday girl loves to cook so we decided to make her a special apron inspired by Ariel. It was fairly simple to make and looked stunning when finished. I want to make one for myself!

What you need:
Purple fabric
Green fabric
Matching thread
DIY Ariel inspired ruffle apron #disney #princess #craft

I use this tutorial I posted earlier for the apron. Make sure you read though the tutorial for making an apron so you know what is happening. This apron just has a few modifications which I will go through here.

Cut pieces for an Ariel inspired apron

For the front I only cut the top section of the apron from purple, the bit to cover the chest as the bottom half needs to be green for the ‘mermaid tail’

I cut the top of the apron in a curve to get the heart shaped neckline. If you are cutting while the fabric is folded in half then you only need to cut one circular shape as when you open it up it gives the double bump. Make sure you do that for both the backing and topside.

I cut one really long (entire width of the fabric)  and 3″ wide purple strap as it will go over the whole apron and hang on either side for a tie. Also cut a shorter strap for around the neck.


From the green I cut 5 strips the entire width of the fabric about 5″ or so wide. These strips need to be at least twice the width of the apron or more depending on how big you are making your ruffle folds.

Once everything is cut hem 3 sides (2 short one long) on each of your green strips. Sew the short purple strap into a tube and turn in the right way then top stitch.

Long tie for Ariel inspired apron

Sew the long purple strap into a tube but leave a gap in the middle where you will be able to turn it because you also need to sew both ends closed, as shown above. Then turn the tube right side out. Do not top stitch this one yet.

Sew neckline of Ariel inspired apron

Sew the top part of the apron to the backing making sure to include the neck strap and turn right side out.

Cut v's into the top for the Ariel inspired apron

To help get a curve when you turn the neckline cut small ‘V’s in the edge all around and poke with a chopstick or similar after its turned. Iron flat to help it maintain the shape. Top stitch the whole way round, Hemming the backing as you go.

First ruffle on DIY Ariel inspired Apron

Next you are going to line up the ruffles. Starting with the bottom ruffle pin the raw (unhemmed) edge to the backing but place it so that the long hemmed edge faces toward the neck line instead of the ground. Make your ruffles by folding the fabric back over on itself an inch or so. Do this the entire width of the apron. You may need to adjust as you go to make it fit nicely and not have massive ruffles ones side and small ones on the other. Once you are happy with your ruffle size straight sew it onto the apron.

First ruffle on Ariel inspired apron

Now fold it down from the top and top stitch the same line.

Finished ruffles on Ariel inspired apron

Repeat for the remaining ruffles and space them so that the last one is level with the top of your purple front section.

Place the ties for the Ariel inspired apron

Once all ruffles are on sew the long tie in place by top stitching it to the whole apron around the middle. This will also hide the join between ruffles and top.

The Little Mermaid, Ariel, Inspired Apron tutorial

And there you have it, an Ariel mermaid apron. This would also look good in all yellow as Belles dress from Beauty and the Beast too.


What are your kids favourite movies? Have you made anything inspired by them?

Tutorial by Rachael Puric.
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