Tuesday, February 11, 2014

$30 Weekly Grocery Challenge - Week 4

This is the last week of my $30 grocery challenge. I will still continue to shop within a thirty dollar budget, but my reason for documenting my purchases these past few weeks was to give an idea of how I manage to do it. I actually began to keep a record of my daily menus to show how I was using my purchases in meals, but due to a glitch (on my behalf) I lost the first couple of weeks. I have still posted below a sample of what a typical week of eating is for me, and in my next post I will elaborate a bit more on it.
This week I didn't need to purchase meat. I still had several serves in my freezer as well as a can of tuna, a can of tomato soup, lots of baked beans, four eggs, spaghetti, lots of tomatoes and other vegetables that include peas, corn, pumpkin, carrots and a couple of mushrooms. I was given a free loaf of bread and a pack of crumpets. I didn't need much fruit because I've been lucky enough to pick a few ripe nectarines, pears and apples from my garden.
I could have come in well under budget, but this week I shopped at my local (country) grocer, so prices were a bit higher on most things.

Here's what I spent:

Baking powder $2.42
Sugar $2.99

Butter $3.79
Cheese $5.99
2 litres milk $2.36
1 greek yoghurt $2.20 (Have a new yoghurt maker so bought this as a starter.)

Onions .50c
Potatoes $2.99
Watermelon $4.17
Grapes $2.47
= $29.88

Here's a sample weekly menu from a couple of weeks ago:

Breakfast: Porridge with stewed apple.
Lunch: Ham, cheese and tomato sandwich.
Dinner: Stir-fried vegetables with rice.
Snacks: 2 strawberry smoothie ice pops, ½ tub yoghurt.

Breakfast: Porridge with a spoonful of home-made strawberry jam, orange.
Lunch: Vegemite sandwich, banana.

Dinner: Spaghetti Bolognese with salad (I reserve a couple of tablespoons of sauce)
Snacks: grapes, 2 home-made cookies

Breakfast: Toast, egg, banana.
Lunch: ham & salad wrap.
Dinner: Hot potato with vegetables and bolognese topping.
Snacks: 1/2 tub yoghurt, stewed apple, 2 home-made cookies

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

$30 Weekly Grocery Challenge - Week 3

Heading into week three of my $30 grocery budget challenge and it's getting easier.

This  week when I shopped, I didn't need quite as much food, but I still spent the full amount. I bought extra baked beans while they were cheap, washing powder on special, even though I didn't need it quite yet, and I couldn't resist the cheap tomatoes, bananas and cucumbers.
I was lucky to stay at my daughter's house last weekend to babysit and was provided with dinner and breakfast the next morning, so I saved a couple of meals. I still had plenty of meat portions in the freezer, pumpkin, corn, peas, carrots, lettuce, 2 oranges, a chunk of watermelon, eggs, cheese, pasta and lots of other things.

So here is what I purchased today:

Loaf of bread  $1.15

2 litres milk  $1.98
Pk 4 yoghurts  $1.99
Beef mince (enough for 3 meals)  $2.70

Pk instant noodles  .39c
Can sliced pineapple  $1.45
Can tuna  $1.99
Can tomato soup  $1.29
4 cans baked beans  $3.16

Broccoli  $1.43
2 cucumbers  $1.00
6 large mushrooms  $1.64
Bag of grapes  $2.13
1/2 rockmelon $1.31
Large bag tomatoes  .99c
12 bananas  .99c

Washing powder  $2.99
Bleach  $1.80

= $30.38

The beef mince and some tomatoes will form the basis of a pasta dish and chilli con carne (with some of the beans). Maybe also a stir-fry or a  patty for a home-made hamburger.

Some of the tomatoes will be the basis of a tomato and vegetable soup and the rest will be used in salad.

The instant noodles will be used for my famous noodle omlette with a couple of eggs and some veg & cheese.

Some of the pineapple will be used for a home-made pizza and the rest will go into a fruit salad or Ice pops.

The mushrooms will probably be used like this: 1 or 2 on the pizza, 1 or 2 in the pasta dish, 2 for salad,  1 on the omlette.

The tuna will make a tuna mornay / tuna salad.

The best of the bananas will be eaten as they are, some will go into smoothies or ice pops and some will be frozen to make banana cake/cookies/pancakes.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

$30 Weekly Grocery Challenge - Week 2

Last week I began posting about my $30 weekly budget for grocery shopping (See here.)  For me this is ample to spend on not only food, but most other essentials as well.

I learned a long time ago to scope out bargains and ensure the best value for money. I enjoy simple but healthy meals and rarely eat dessert, but after a concern expressed by a work colleague, I wanted to show that, not only am I eating more than enough, I am certainly eating a nutritionally balanced diet, so I decided to document my weekly grocery shopping for the next few weeks and post it here.

All this for a smidge over $30. Lots of good eats!
This is my list for this week:

*3 Kg bag of dog kibble  $6.39
Pk Aspirin  .95c

2 Lt milk  $1.98
Twin pack yoghurt $1.49
Butter  $1.41

Can tomato soup  .93c
Pk Spaghetti  .66c
2 cans baked beans  (79c each on special) $1.58
Loaf bread (reduced) .99c

2 onions  .73c
3 corn on the cob (reduced) $1.50
1Kilo carrots  $1.19
Beef, ham, chicken loaf, deli meats and even a chunk of
smiley fritz for the grandchildren. All fresh and all for $2.74!

2 kg watermelon  $1.38
4 oranges (reduced) .99c
Punnet strawberries $1.50

Pk 2 schnitzels (enough for 3 serves)  $2.31
4 chicken drumsticks $1.70
Bag assorted meat ends  $2.74

=  $30.42

I still have 1/2 lettuce, 1/2 cucumber, cabbage, a few potatoes, a few tomatoes and some silverbeet (plus frozen peas and corn) from last week. I was fortunate to be given a bag of apples for free.
I also have cheese, eggs, 2 sausages, a chunk of ham, porridge oats, home-made cookies and all the staples.

This is plenty of food for (at least) a week. Check out this post to see a couple of fairly typical weekly menus.

*(As a matter of interest, I usually add other things to the dog's kibble including meat juices, olive oil, left over vegetables, rice or egg. I also make home-made dog treats.The vet says she's amazingly healthy for her age!)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Creating a 'Not To Do' List

We’re all so busy creating ‘To Do’ lists, trying to fit as many meaningful tasks as we can into each day. But have you ever considered creating a ‘not to do’ list?

While it’s a nice feeling to be able to cross things off your list once you’ve accomplished them, imagine how great it would be to cross off all the stuff you really don’t need to do – Hmm?

This is a subject I've visited several times e.g. here and here.

Below are some examples of what you might include in your ‘not to do’ list:

-         Visit your parents every weekend.

-          Feed your kids’ friends, partner’s friends and other sundry visitors every time they come over. (They might just come to expect it every time.)

-      Cook a ‘meat & three veg’ meal every day. (Sometimes it’s ok to have beans on toast.)

-      Spend time and money on getting your hair coloured/permed/straightened. (Consider choosing a short style and learn to like your natural colour.)

-      Feel guilty about sleeping in on your day off or spending it curled up with a book. (Everyone needs down-time to re-charge their batteries.)

-      Buy gifts for people just because they bought you one. (A sincere thank you should be enough. If they don’t like it they won’t buy you one next year, and those who truly matter will understand.)

-      Send birthday cards. (A quick call, text or e-mail is more personalized and much cheaper than  a mass-produced square of cardboard expressing someone else’s sentiments.)

-      Allow yourself to be influenced by advertising - any kind of advertising, whether it’s for the latest diet (you already know what you should and shouldn’t eat,) exercise machine (walking is free,) fast food (beans on toast is faster – and cheaper,) or cartoon character disposable nappies that tell you when they need to be changed (seriously?) Advertising exists to benefit the seller – not the buyer. You already know without turning on the TV what you need or want to purchase with your hard earned money.

Today’s activity: Start your list. For some inspiration check out this article from ‘Real Simple’ to see what other people have added to their ‘not to do’ lists.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

5 ways to Keep Cool on the Cheap

This is from an interesting article that was posted by Lifehacker.com a while back.
Some good ideas for keeping cool without spending big bucks.


DIY Air Conditioner
We've talked about a number of different DIY air conditioners that you can make, but they all rely on one principle: using ice from the freezer and a fan to spray cool mist through the air while you're sleeping to keep you cool. 

You can do this a number of ways, but the tried and true method is a simple desk or standing fan with a shallow bowl full of ice in front of it. As the fan blows and the ice melts, you'll get a fine mist of cool water in the air that will help keep you cool.

Another way to get a similar effect is to spray a sheet with cold water and put it in front of an open window. If there's a breeze, let nature do the work and blow a cool mist through your room or home. Just don't wet the sheets too much.

Create a Through-Breeze
If you have a breeze or at least a window, instead of just blowing the hot air around your home, set up a through-breeze by putting a pair of box fans at opposite sides of the room, preferably with one in the window, to either draw cooler air in and push hot air out of your room, or push the hot air out of your house entirely. Either way, the through-breeze in your room will make it easier to sleep.

Get a Cooling Pillow
Lifehacker's own Jason Chen swears by his Chillow, a cooling pillow that can help cool your brain and make it easier to fall asleep, even in otherwise hot environments. The Chillow isn't the only kind of cooling pillow on the market: there are others you can find online or in department stores, but all of them work by cooling your brain – it's the same reason we all flip over to the cool side of the pillow during the night when it gets warm.

Put Your Sheets in the Fridge
This old trick won't relieve the heat all through the night, but it may help you fall asleep faster. Put your sheets into a plastic sealed bag and pop them in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes. Make sure the bag is sealed tight so you don't get any moisture in the sheets. If you leave them in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes, they'll cool down, and when it's time for bed, put the now-chilled sheets on the bed and enjoy the quality cold. Granted, your body heat will warm them after even a few minutes, so it's momentary relief at best, but it's still relief.

Use the "Egyptian Method"
This old technique calls back to legends of how ancient Egyptians used to stay cool on hot nights. Simply soak a sheet or blanket large enough to cover you in cold water, then wring it dry so it's damp and cool, but not dripping wet. Then just use it as a blanket. As the water evaporates, you get the benefit of staying cool but not wet.

There are a few more common variations on this theme, like the cold washcloth or ice pack on your head or wrists while you sleep, or going to bed with cool, damp (but again, not wet) socks on to keep your feet cool and you comfortable enough to fall asleep.

These are just a few ways you can try to stay comfortable enough to sleep if you don't have a lot of control over where you sleep or the building you're sleeping in. If you have a vented attic or skylight, open that up to let the hot air that's risen to the top of the room out. If you have a downstairs or basement you can sleep in, it might be cooler down there and worth moving for a night or two.

Hopefully these suggestions help you stay cool while you ride out the heat wave. It's important to get a good night's sleep, so make sure to prepare for it ahead of time so you don't spend hours prepping your new, cooler bed that you could have spent sleeping in it. Stay cool!

Today's activity:
Check out the net for more ideas (I just tried typing in 'cheap ways to keep cool.') There are lots more.

$30 Weekly Grocery Challenge - Week 1

 I was having a conversation recently with a work colleague and happened to mention that I spend around thirty dollars a week on groceries. She appeared to be a little skeptical and questioned what I was buying and whether I was eating a balanced diet on such a low budget.

Being a person who is always up for a challenge I decided that I would provide evidence by recording my shopping purchases for the next few weeks - starting this week.

Let me begin by saying that I don't always do a full weekly 'shop'. I purchase needs when they are on special and if they're not on special I will usually wait, depending on what the item is. Having said that, though, I rarely run out of anything.

Today is Wednesday. I shopped on Monday and purchased the following:
A nice haul for $28

Deodorant $2.49
Hair spray $3.29
This is the selection of meat I got in my 'surprise' bag of meat ends,
ham, beef, chicken and various deli-meats.

French dressing $1.99
Mixed dried herbs .85c
Can baked beans  .98c
Can tomato soup .93c
2 ltr milk $2.00

1 large cucumber .99c
1 lettuce (reduced) .99c
1 bunch silverbeet (reduced) .99c
1/4 cabbage $1.29
Whole rockmelon $2.64
1/4 watermelon $3.00
Punnet strawberries (reduced) $1.50

Flatbread pk 6 (reduced) $1.79
Bag of mixed meat ends $2.24

= $27.96

Food-wise I already had potatoes, pumpkin, onion, cheese, can of tuna, breakfast porridge, frozen peas, corn and carrots, 2 tomatoes, 4 sausages and 2 portion sizes of mince in stock from previous weeks.

I also have basic staples.

Today I spent another $2.00 on a tray of eggs (yep, I know that's really cheap. Sorry, can't reveal my source.) So that makes $29.96 - right on budget.

This is more than enough food for me to eat well. This week I've made my own dog treats, cookies, bread and lemonade.

Today for lunch I had a tuna and salad sandwich and tonight I'm having a big bowl of veges with a nice chunk of ham,  followed by fruit salad. Yum!

I will most likely do a chicken stir-fry, chicken salad, beef casserole, hot potato and a pasta dish as main meals. Usually one night a week I'll have toasties with beans, egg or leftovers.

*** Update on this list.
Found out I was looking after two grandchildren for the weekend so added a couple more items 2 days later:
1 loaf bread $1.99
3 bananas $1.15
block of cheese $3.50
Litre milk $1.00
Cherry tomatoes .99c (reduced)
= $8.63

Monday, January 20, 2014

Space to Create

Just finished reading this post:

Being a writer myself this lovely little space appealed to me.

I know that, for me to write anything noteworthy, I need to have a serene, quiet space to work. I also like comforting background noise, whether it be music, birdsong (I get a lot of that where I live) or the crackling sound of bamboo-wick candles.

This is my writing space...

... and this is the view from the window...

This space instantly relaxes me and settles my mind to allow the creative process to flow.

The same is true for most aspects of our lives. In order to express ourselves creatively - whether it be through our work, in the kitchen, or enjoying everyday activities - we need the space, freedom and support to do so. If we are constantly surrounded by noise, clutter or chaos, we are not operating at our peak and creativity is stifled.

Today's activity: Think about the ways in which you express your creativity, and what may be hindering your ability to do so. Make the most of your space by only keeping what you really need or really love there.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Happy Thoughts

I haven't been posting as regularly these days, but it isn't because I've run out of things to write about, or because I've lost my enthusiasm. Quite the opposite! It's because my life has been filling up with lots of great things and I'm sharing my time more equally now.

I particularly wanted to fire up this blog today to record some thoughts I've been having lately - Good thoughts.

Do you know that feeling you get when everything seems to be in balance? When every area of your life is going well? I hope you do, because it's a great feeling, and one to be savoured, because who knows how long it will last. Life can take a sudden detour or hit a  wall  at any given moment, so while I'm feeling such a sense of harmony, I'm going to revel in it.

My work is going well - I am fortunate to love what I do.

My family are well and settled and I'm enjoying 'Grannyhood'.

I am re-kindling my passion for creative writing - Studying at TAFE and joining writing groups - Making some lovely contacts through this. (Have become hooked on Facebook....)

I've also found a renewed interest in my art. I am now a member of my local gallery and am being encouraged to pursue this. I've met some wonderful people here, too.

Since my children have left home, I'm learning to be a little more self-indulgent. When you are a single mum raising young children, you live each day in survival mode. You live for and through your children, striving to give them your best and enrich their lives as much as possible.

But it's too easy to forget yourself in the equation, and to put your own needs and passions on hold.
I have never regretted or resented for a moment doing this for my children, but now the time has come for me to live a little more for myself.

Looking through my old yellowing art books and scribblings has drawn me back into my love of sketching and short story writing  and I'm only now finding the courage to share it with others. Turns out I'm not too bad at it! Who knew?

It's not often I get this personal when writing blog posts, but I just felt the need to share my thoughts today. I hope you, too, know the feeling of a balanced life, and squeeze every drop of joy from it to sustain you through the not-so-well-balanced times.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

100 Reasons to Lose Weight

So...here in Aus it's the beginning of Spring, and the time of year when we begin to think more about our health and fitness. In Winter we have this clever way of blocking out any damage being done by gobs of  'comfort' food and inactivity - we hide it all under layers of Winter clothing. 

But with the approach of warmer weather, it's time to start peeling off the layers, and exposing to the world our guilty secrets. This is also the time of year when membership to weight-loss programs, gyms, and sporting activities soar. 

We would all like to think there are quick-fix solutions, but alas there are none. The best we can do is find the motivation and willpower within ourselves to do the right thing, take it slow and steady, and not beat ourselves up when we falter. 

There are plenty of ways to lose weight and get fit that don't cost a cent, and many good reasons to do so (see here and here).

To start us off here is a list of 100 Reasons to Lose Weight. I found it somewhere on the net (can't remember the source, but thank you) - and modified it for my own needs. You may like to add or change bits, but we can't argue that they're bloody good reasons.


1.   To increase my feelings of self-worth.
2.   To be able to jump rope without worrying about hurting      myself.
3.   To look good in a fitted dress.
4.   To be able to wear shorts in the summer.
5.   To be able to go swimming without being self-conscious.
6.   To be able to wear white or light colours and not just black or dark because ‘they’re more slimming’.
7.   To be able to keep up with my grandchildren
8.   To not have fear going to the doctors, because he'll make me get on a scale.
9.   To be able to wear a bra that actually fits everything in.
10. To not worry about lawn chairs breaking.
11. To not worry about the size of the seats at the theatre or on an airplane.
12. To not get "those looks" at a restaurant, even when eating normal food.
13. So my ankles don't puff up and look like there's half a tennis ball on each side.
14. To be able to sit more comfortably on toilet seats.
15. To be able to go into any store, and buy the clothes I like, not just the ones that fit.
16. To not feel awkward about going clothes shopping, or shoe shopping.
17. To be able to order clothes from a catalogue without worrying if they will fit.
18. To be able to wear something that doesn’t say PLUS on it.
19. To reduce my blood pressure.
20. So I can cross my legs comfortably.
21. So I can walk fast or run without everything jiggling.
22. So taking a bath is a luxurious thing, instead of taking a shower so I won't risk overflowing the tub.
23. So my pants won't wear out between my legs while the rest of them are still in good shape.
24. To be able to read the scale by just looking down, straight down.
25. So I can look in the mirror from the neck down and like what I see.
26. So I can show off my muscles, instead of just feeling fat.
27. So I can play with my dog again!
28. So I can feel comfortable driving my car.
29. So I don't feel like I'm always leaning back while sitting in a chair.
30. So I can walk up a flight of stairs and not feel winded.
31. So I can look good from behind in tight jeans.
32. So I can get up and dance and not feel weird.
33. So I can go on rides at amusement parks again, without stuffing myself into the seat shamefully.
34. So I don't have to worry about the maximum weight an exercise machine can take before I use it.
35. So my cat stops seeing my chest as a ‘sleeping shelf’
36. So I don't get that pitying look when I go to a gym to work out.
37. So I don’t get angry red marks from my bra straps cutting into my shoulders.
38. So I can wear underwear that looks cute and dainty, not something industrial.
39. So I can buy lingerie without getting weird looks from store clerks or other customers.
40. So I can at least consider entering a walkathon and have it be a possibility.
41. So getting dressed every morning is a joy and not a dreaded chore.
42. So I can pick the haircut I really want and not just one that is for ‘round’ faces.
43. So that when people start talking about weight loss, I don't feel they mean me.
44. So no one ever calls me "a big girl" ever again.
45. So I can walk in heels without fear.
46. So I will have a lap again for babies to sit on
47. So I don’t need to add a hook ‘extender’ to my bra
48. So I can crawl around on the floor hooking up computer cables without wondering how bad I look.
49. So I can look in a full-length mirror with pride, instead of despair.
50. So I can get up from the floor or a low chair in one smooth move and not have to grab hold of something (or someone).
51. So those stupid gowns at the doctors or chiropractors not only fit, but also are too big.
52. So I can look good in a business suit or a short skirt, instead of always wearing loose clothing.
53. So my back doesn't hurt so much.
54. So I can lie in bed, look down and see my toes without lifting my head off the pillow.
55. So I don't have to worry about which clothes in the closet fit and which don't.
56. So I don't have to worry about the seasons changing, and will my summer/winter clothes still fit.
57. So I don't have to have a ‘wishful thinking’ outfit put away.
58. So I don't crave wintertime, just so I can hide under big jackets and sweaters.
59. So I don't think mean thoughts when I see skinny women.
60. So my doctor will never say, "you really need to lose some weight" to me ever again, but instead says nothing more than "see you next year".
61. So no one will ever again ask me "when is your baby due", and I'm not pregnant.
62. So people in the supermarket don't look in my cart when they think I'm not looking, to see what a "fat person" eats.
63. So I can say how much I weigh out loud with pride.
64. So I don’t have to have fat photos or warnings on my fridge as an incentive not to open the door.
65. So I can say to other people who are overweight, hey, I was there once too, and maybe help them get to where they want to be.
66. So I don’t have to worry that people will wonder what my partner sees in me.
67. So that I don't have to wonder what my partner sees in me.
68. So I am in control of what exercise or activity I choose and not just choose what I am able to do.
69. So I can shave my legs in the shower without gashing myself because I can't see around my fat.
70. So I can ride a horse again!
71. So I can go out fishing with friends, and not be scared to move in the boat in case I tip it.
72. So my children and grandchildren never remember me as fat.
73. No more "beached whale" comments, anywhere.
74. So I can sit on a bar stool and I'm actually sitting ON it, not around it too.
75. So a regular towel goes all the way around me, and maybe even looks cute.
76. So my socks pull all the way up.
77. So I can hug my knees to my chest again, and it’s comfortable.
78. So I can sit cross-legged on the floor.
79. So I can wear a low cut sweater and my collarbones show.
80. So I can wear a semi-transparent blouse and know that my silhouette looks good – no bulges.
81. So I don't have to worry about arthritis or joint replacement when I get older.
82. So I never have to look at someone else with envy again, thinking, "Wow, I wish I was that thin".
83. So that my breasts stick out more than my stomach and not the other way around.
84. So I can trim/ paint my toe nails easily
85. So my wedding rings will fit again.
86. So I can sit at a booth in the restaurant.
87. So I can tie my shoes.
88. So I can stand out in a crowd for good reasons.
89. To lesson my risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other related illnesses.
90. So I can actually enjoy posing for photographs.
91. So I can enjoy running into people from my past.
92. So that when I do eat the occasional treat I can actually enjoy it unreservedly and not get an attack of the guilts after it.
93. So I don’t have those extra ‘back boobs’ or ‘under arm boobs (or extra chins...etc)
94. So I can start wearing my ankle bracelets again.
95. So I can wear tucked in shirts
96. So I can wear clothes that don’t have a stretch waist
97. So I can wear belts
98. So I can save money on my grocery bill.
99. So I sweat less.
100. So I can move around in confined spaces more easily.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Kids and Money

How much do your children know about the family finances? Have you ever included them in discussions about where your money comes from and where it goes?

It’s important that children gain an understanding about money from an early age and there’s nothing wrong with discussing the budget with them providing you keep it to a level that they can understand and don’t cause them to feel concerned about money issues.

Children are surprisingly savvy when it comes to picking up on their parent’s feelings and attitudes, and a healthy approach toward spending and saving is something that will benefit them in the future.

By the age of 5 or 6 they are able to understand the concept of earning, saving and paying. Encourage children to undertake simple chores in exchange for pocket money. It doesn’t have to be much. Children also need to learn about budgeting and saving and there is nothing wrong with teaching them the challenges of a low income. This can actually be a positive lesson for them for later in life.

Try to present money management in a positive light:

Don’t grumble about lack of money or show anger when they ask for something.

Turn it into a lesson. Discuss with them ways of obtaining things that they want. Talk to them about how you budget and save.

If you take them with you to the supermarket, talk about specials. Let them help you find the best value products. This is great for their math skills.

Let them see you using cash as well as your ATM card or credit card.

Explain to them where the money comes from (that it’s not ‘free’ money from a hole in the wall), how a bank works, etc.

Find out whether their school has a student banking facility and encourage them to use this. They can deposit very small amounts and do not incur fees.

Let them see you depositing money in a savings account or dropping coins into a moneybox. Encourage them to do the same.

Some banks will issue ATM cards to children as young as 12 years of age with parental consent. Think carefully before doing this. Perhaps you could keep the card in a safe place and monitor its use.

Explain the concept of lay-by and involve them in the process.

Provide them with an incentive to reach their goals. If , for example, your child wants a particular toy, cut out or draw a picture of the toy and stick it onto a glass jar. Explain that this is specifically to save for that toy. This establishes a visual connection to the goal. Each day or week you or your child deposits money in the jar and you keep a running total. (You may agree to match the savings dollar for dollar). Let your child take the jar to the shop to pay for the toy. This will serve to complete that visual connection.