DIY Cereal Mix

Our little man is a foodie. He loves his food, there are not many things that he doesn’t like. We are not sure whether it is all in the genes (we’re really into our food), or it was because we started him on “adult food” pretty young. We also gave him the opportunity to choose what he would like to have as often as possible. Most of the times, he chooses good healthy food, though obviously, just like any other 2 year olds, he’d ask for pizzas and “chippies” for breakfast too 🙂

Img src: Woolworth’s Online

One of his favourite fun times is choosing his cereal at the grocery shop. His favourite of all cereals is the Uncle Toby’s Plus cereal “with blueberries!!!”. We have been getting these for a couple of months now, until I realised that we go through the box within a week or so (with Mr E’s help). At $4 a pop, weekly, it certainly does add up. We’re madly saving up for upcoming house renovations and holidays at the moment, so I am trying my best to get the best bang for our buck, without affecting our lifestyle too much 🙂

So here’s what I did recently:


I made my own “Uncle Toby’s Plus Cereal” as what they really are, are just pre-mixed bits of cereal and dried fruit. Super easy and does not take all that much time for me to do 🙂 I already had the dried fruit in the pantry, so our current “box” of cereal only cost us AUD1. If I had to buy the fruit, it would be about AUD2 max with lots and lots of fruit leftover. If I want to be even more cost-savvy, I could also buy Homebrand “Corn Flakes” and Homebrand dried fruit. However, I prefer Sunbeam dried fruit as they’re still nice and plump and juicy (and Australian grown too) 🙂 There are some things I’d rather “splurge” on but the options are there.

Mr E said that it isn’t the same as the Uncle Toby’s cereal, but still yummy nevertheless. We are already half-way through my premix, so I think the boys really do like it 🙂

What do you guys do to save up that is easy to do? Please share, I want new a bathroom pronto!

Cloth Nappies

Ever since Little E was born, I had been going to/fro-ing between disposable and cloth nappies. I won’t go into the pros/cons as there are many pages and forums discussing them. We had a trial one that we liked from Hippybottomus but as he had eczema which was mostly triggered by washing detergents, we decided not to go ahead with it. Without proper washing detergent, I found that the nappy didn’t get clean properly. Even with the help from the sun.

Now that Miss V seemed to be free of eczema (thank God!), I am seriously looking into cloth nappies again. I tried using it again the other day and I actually liked it. It isn’t any harder to use, and because I do the washing almost everyday, cleaning and drying the nappy was not a problem.

Little E is on his way to daytime toilet trained now, and we use disposable overnight. A dear friend of mine suggested that when his night disposable nappies are dry almost everyday, I can use the cloth nappy on him too! How smart are my friends?! 🙂

Hippybottomus has a trial pack for AUD99 and you can actually email them to request which patterns you would like (most brands don’t allow this from my quick research online). I chosen unisex patterns/colours as I will put them on Little E at nap times as well.


I received my order within a week, couriered straight to me. I washed them as soon as I got them at around 4pm. Though it was a cloudy day, the nappies dried before I needed them the next day. Hooray!

I asked for cloth nappies recommendation on Facebook, and from my friends who did recommend a particular brand that they’re happy with, Hippybottomus was what they recommended. Another friend said that Hippybottomus nappies are made in China and not Australian made (recommended by hardcore cloth nappies lovers). For me, as I am only starting (whose husband isn’t all for it), I didn’t want to spend the money for Australian made ones (they’re a little more expensive unfortunately). So Hippybottomus nappies were the obvious choice for me 🙂

I am pretty excited about using them 🙂

Disclaimer: As mentioned, Hippybottomus kindly sent me one nappy to try and I am affiliated with them 🙂

Toddler room on a budget: Animal-themed

Like I have mentioned in my previous post, I never did have a nursery room. Little E has been in his cot in the guest room. With the thought of him having to move to a big boy bed in the future, I have decided to finally do up his own room. I didn’t have a big budget, so I had to mostly “make do” with what I have. A dear friend said that she thinks I did it the right way around because at least now, I know what Little E likes, which is “animals” 🙂 So that is the theme of the room!

I worked together with Nuff Nang and eBay to create an inspiration board, using the new Collection feature on eBay. It worked really well actually, because the Collection also works like a “wish list” 🙂 Here is what my board looked like:

eBay Collection

1. Bed | 2. Rug | 3. Duck Bookends| 4. Large Wooden Alphabets | 5. Glider Chair | 6. Woollen Throw | 7. Toy Trolley | 8. Bedside Table | 9. Bed Sheets | 10. Horse Lamp (I really want this one!!!) | 11. Tallboy | 12. Framed Prints

Below are the “after” photos 🙂 I am happy with the result, all up I only spent a maximum of $200 plus hours of painting 😉 Mr E is so happy that he has given me the go-ahead to do up the rest of the house! Hooorah! 🙂


Originally, we had a double bed, which took up almost the entire room. To remedy that, I sold the bed and for the same amount of money, I bought a single bed that comes with a trundle from Gumtree. For a little bit of money, I got a foam mattress for the trundle and a proper spring one for the actual bed. I decided to keep the doona that we had (it was a double) and bought a new cover for it that goes with the theme of the room. I was afraid that it would look too big, but I think it actually hangs nicely over the single bed, I am happy with how it looks. I bought the zebra picture from Kmart for $12 🙂

Bird Cushion

I had a left-over material that I bought from IKEA years ago, and since it goes with the theme of the room, I made a cushion cover with it.

I scoured a few op-shops and bought cheap frames, which I painted over with whatever paint we have at home. I framed one of his paintings that I love, it looks like a jumping elephant. One of the pictures is a decoration that my mum inlaw printed for my baby shower. I also had an old map that I bought from a recent book fair and made a few projects out of it. One of them is the framed “E” – on it, we have Australia, Indonesia and China. The exact combo that my little man is 🙂 The leopard-bird is the first ever print we bought from a proper gallery!


I repainted an old bedside table and wanted the drawer pulls, but have yet to find ones I like in my budget. I bought this small lamp from Kmart as well for $12! I was going to decorate it, but have decided to keep it as is, so that I can reuse it when Little E isn’t as obsessed with animals anymore 🙂 In fact, this is the reason why I kept most of the big things (bed, chair, bedside table, etc) pretty neutral, so when he’s bigger, I can just change the decoration to suit his interest at the time. This cat ball is a present from my little friend, T, given to me at my baby shower (she was the co-organiser) 🙂


I really want these shelves bracket and drawer pulls, but I cannot justify spending that much money 😦 I have been on Pinterest trying to find ways to DIY, but I have yet to find them. If you happen to come across something similar, please please please let me know 🙂

What do you guys think of my little man’s big boy room? 🙂


A Baby on a Budget: Grated Cheese

I haven’t done this series for awhile, so I thought I would post about this in case some of you could find it useful 🙂

We go through a lot of grated cheese. About a 500g bag a month, as most baby friendly food seem to call for them. At around $15-17/kg for a bag of plain grated cheddar cheese, it sure does add up and take out a chunk off our weekly budget money.

I had an idea recently to grate my own, when I saw large 1kg block for only $6! That is more than 50% “saving” for not much effort.

This works perfectly for us as not only we’re saving money, we also can choose the quality of the cheese. Some frozen grated cheese taste like plastic, especially the cheaper ones. I’m planning to do my own three-cheese pizza concoction soon 🙂

I won’t claim the idea as my own as I’m sure many people have done it already, and obviously, only if you have a food processor with grating ability. Unless, of course, you fancy grating it manually 😉

Now, if only I can find an idea on how to pay less for more/same amount of full cream milk! We go through around 3L a week currently, and Mr E prefers to support non-large-supermaket-giants brands.

Newborn Essentials

A few soon-to-be mums have asked this question recently in some forums I am in, so I thought I would post about what I think are essential items for a newborn. Other than clothing, nappies and wipes, these are the items that I found were most used in the first few months after Little E’s arrival. I would suggest to start with the basics, and if need be, you could always get some more things as you go.


  1. A cot with mattress, a mattress protector and a fitted sheet. Depending on the season (and so, temperature) you will also need a blanket.
  2. A vibrating bouncer chair – this was a godsend for us, as Little E suffered a little bit of gas. Just the way he was lying down on it, he got relief and he would fall asleep comfortably on this. When he was a little fussy at night and wouldn’t sleep, we would just put the vibrate on, and that soothed him.
  3. As I have mentioned in my post about this. we didn’t use a bassinet for when we’re downstairs. Instead,  we tucked Little E on one of these.
  4. A baby bath – more comfortable than bathing your little one in the sink or big people’s bath 🙂
  5. A glider chair – I love my glider chair, I still use it now, as it allows me to sit comfortably while breastfeeding. It is important, as it used to take Little E almost 1 hour to feed!
  6. Muslim swaddling wraps – I love using thin muslim wraps as I found they’re easier to use (not as stiff and bulky). Since they’re thin, they also don’t take long to dry after I wash them. This is important if you don’t want to buy too many and you have a blurpy baby 🙂
  7. A towel and a washcloth – this is pretty self-explanatory?
  8. A change table – I didn’t actually like to use this for the first few months, I prefer to do all nappy/clothes changing on the floor, as I didn’t need to then be confined to one spot (wherever the table is) to change him
  9. A pram/stroller – another self-explanatory item?
  10. A carseat – make sure that it is fitted correctly. If you’re in Australia, you can actually get the store you buy it from to fit them, or ring Kidsafe to help for a small fee
  11. A nappy bag – most standard nappy bags comes with a changing mat. I still use the mat that came with my nappy bag, even though I don’t use the bag as often
  12. Sudocream or any other anti nappy rash solution

Financially, I suggest not to buy everything new nor buy the items marketed specifically for babies. Like towels, for example, I personally have no qualms just using one of our normal towels. Little E wouldn’t care if his towels have cute patterns or if it’s pink 😛 I do prefer to buy bedding and the car seat new, however, most other items, if weren’t already gifted by family and friends, I bought second-hand.

In regards to clothes, it all depends on the season that your newborn arrives. Mine came in summer, so he either just had nappies on then swaddled, or he would have a singlet. I was given about 2 dozens of them, plus loads of onesies. If yours is coming in winter, I would also suggest warmer clothes plus some mittens, socks and beanies.

If you know of any expecting parents, please do refer them to this post. I hope that it is helpful to them in preparing for the little one’s arrival 🙂 I also wouldn’t mind if you would comment on what things were essential for you when you first brought home your newborn.

Image Sources: 1. King Parrot Cots | 2. Amazon | 3. Kmart | 4. Ikea | 5. My Baby Warehouse | 6. The Little Linen Company | 7. Natural Little One | 8. Babyhood | 9. Pram Fix | 10. Baby Kingdom | 11. Baby Bunting | 12. Guardian Pharmacy

A Baby on a Budget: DIY Ball Pit

I am not really into toys or have much interest in them. Sometimes I feel like maybe I am even depriving Little E of them. So, I am surprised at myself when I agree to spend the money on this.

DIY Ball Pit

Admittedly, it is awesome. Not only does the pool comes with the castle, the catapult, and a water cannon you can plug into a hose, it also comes with two shields and matching swords! Also, one of my childhood memories is having so much fun playing in a ball pit. I can’t really remember where I went exactly and how often, but seeing ball pits makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. So it has always been my dream to have one for my children.

My reasoning for spending so much money on it is that, in summer, it will also be used as a paddling pool to keep my little one cool. So really, I am getting two activities out of one purchase! Spending justified!

Unfortunately, Little E isn’t so keen on his new toy area, maybe our overzealous enthusiasm is scaring him haha But we are having his little buddies over this week, hopefully he likes it better when he has company 🙂

A Baby on a Budget: a “Bassinet”

We live in a two-story house, so before Little E came along, we were searching for some sort of bedding that he can sleep on while downstairs. We didn’t want to fork the money on a bassinet as we didn’t really like the idea of spending money on something that will only be used for 6 months or so, we’re just THAT cheap. Also, bedding is something that we personally prefer to buy new, so getting it second-hand wasn’t an option for us.

When I saw dog beds on special at a nearby pet shop, I almost got one. It was perfect! I could buy the large ones so it’s spacious (not that he needs it), and it was nicely padded, almost like a mattress. It was also cheap, so I could throw it out and get a new one if it becomes too dirty to clean. The ones I saw even had nice hounds-tooth patterns, which I love! Unfortunately, Mr E vetoed that idea. Apparently it is not socially acceptable, or something.

Kmart Fold-out Sofa (img src)

So I was super happy when an awesome fellow mum (Hi, Ness!) suggested we buy one of those fold out mini couches. As Little E will be swaddled, he won’t be able to roll off it. It is easily moved and packed away when not in use. For the next few months we made sure that his head was between the arms of the sofa, so he felt secure, like he would have in a bassinet. It worked like a charm and only $19 (AUD) new from Kmart! Genius!

What’s even more awesome, once he grew out of it (ie. He could roll off), I washed it clean, sunned it and is now waiting for him in the cupboard for when he’s big enough to sit on it! We really are getting the most of it – double genius! 🙂

A Baby on a Budget: Nappy Disposal

What to do with a smelly nappy but don’t want to spend the money on one of those “sausages” maker bins or want to save some money on these scented nappy sacks (like this or this)?

Here’s our system at the moment:

Cheap, no/minimum smell, no spill, nappy disposal system

Cheap, no/minimum smell, no spill, nappy disposal system

1. Push-top bin from Kmart | 2. Small freezer bags | 3. any Car Freshener (img src)

Those freezer bags work out about half a cent (AUD) each. If you want to be quite generous in your calculations, each nappy disposal would still cost less than 1 cent. That is way less than the cost of the “sausage” makers and the scented nappy sacks.

Admittedly, we have to empty the bin more often, however, the garbage collectors come weekly anyway, so that is not a problem for us. If you don’t have such big bin like ours, and buy half the size (20L bins), you will have to empty it maybe once every 3 days (depending on how often your baby needs changing). This will further eliminate any smells coming from it.

The whole nappy disposal system is all new to me since, where I grew up in Indonesia, we still have piles of rubbish on open air for your neighbors to see. We don’t even line our bins inside the house with bags! To think that I have to spend more money just to rid of already-expensive nappy is just not for me, so this was our way of saving more on baby costs 🙂

Edited on 12 Jan 2014: A few months on, this system proven to be only good up until Little E starts eating more solids, and less BM. See my most recent post on this subject here 🙂

A Baby on a Budget: Preloved clothes and toys and homegoods and random stuff

I am all for buying preloved goods, most especially clothes and toys for little E. Just like you would recycle your milk bottles and drinks cans, second hand things are pretty much of the same idea. When I was around 8 months pregnant, we got giant piles of clothes from a person at work. There were literally hundreds of cute mini shirts and pants and onesies and PJs, I had great fun sorting through them. Sure, some I did just binned because they were stained (eewww), some I re-donated as they weren’t my style, most I had kept. I washed them probably two, three times, just so that I know they really are clean. Then hang them in the sun, for good measure 🙂


Among them, is this cute Ralph Lauren onesies. It is just adorable! Now, had I bought this new, it would’ve cost me $50-100! This is what I loved about buying second-hand stuff, when you get good stuff, it’s like hitting the jackpot! And, you’re helping those more needy! Double WIN! 🙂

Actually, I was told a few years ago (about the time I started op-shopping), the clothes that you buy from Department stores aren’t all that new either. Most would resell returned items, some are already worn and even stained. Even if you go and try clothes these days, most white clothing items have foundation marks on the neckline, or some deodorant marks on dark clothes! That really grosses me out. Yet, you would pay full price on these items!

Besides, little E is at a stage where he insists on feeding himself, so he has an outfit change after every meal. That’s a LOT of washing! So what I do now, is when the clothes he’s wearing look ultra dirty, and I know that I didn’t spend too much on them, I just put them straight into the bin! lol

I went to Vinnies this morning, while waiting for my clothes to finish being washed at a nearby motel (our washing machine had died and the 4 loads of washing is really stressing me out, so the kind receptionist let me use theirs – bless him!), and I went a little cray cray buying toys for little E. They’re so cheap! And as I was buying plastic ones, I can just wipe them off with warm soapy water, and hey presto, new toys!

So what is the point of this blog post?

The point is, having a baby doesn’t have to be expensive. They don’t care if they have the most expensive branded clothes (though I do wish I have the heart to blow our savings at the Burberry baby department! They have the most amazingly cute stuff!), or the latest toys. As long as they’re warm, entertained, and get loads of cuddles, our minions will be happy. I didn’t grow up with proper toys, my most cherish memories of my childhood was my auntie making me a carriage made out of Pomelo skin! It was amazing 🙂