• Unearthing rough diamonds: 6 tips for antiques shopping

    Vintage Japanese Oriental Barbie ZoeAtHome.com

    Japanese Barbie was a difficult model to work with! ($15)

    My mother has an uncanny ability to walk into a junk shop and pick out the one beautiful item amongst a sea of ‘bric-à-brac‘. How does she do it? Does she just have an eye for it, or is this something you can learn?

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  • How I save money on grocery shopping…without buying in bulk

    Save money on grocery shopping without buying in bulk ZoeAtHome.com

    We spent a year living off an extremely limited income. It was tough: we had to trim our grocery budget in order to pay our rent and bills. That year I learned a valuable skill. I learned how to feed our family good food for much less than what I’d been accustomed to: I was saving $50-$100 per week.

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  • How I learned to be thrifty: some thoughts on The Envelope System

    How I learned to be thrifty ZoeAtHome.com

    Could you live off $35 a day? It’s a topical question here. Our family spent a year living off an income that was little more than this so I know I could, but feeding the family and paying our bills on this tiny amount tested our marriage, and drained our resources both financial and psychological. It was one of the most stressful years of my life. But it did teach me to be thrifty. Continue reading

  • Planning for bills

    Some bills come every month, and are manageable. Some bills are one-offs, and temporarily make life difficult. But some bills, like electricity, rates or car registration come once are year or once a quarter and can really hit the family’s finances. So how do you keep on top of them? By planning ahead! I have a page like this in my diary where I record all my bills, when they come and how much they are. Then I can project ahead to see when the big bills are coming and how much they are likely to be. So when the annual and quarterly bills come it isn’t such a big shock, and I can start putting money aside for them. You can also tell at a glance if your electricity or water consumption is rising, and if you need to reduce your consumption before the next bill. Easy!!