A frugal single mum who made herself a millionaire by being thrifty has shared the household hacks she swears by – and the DIY recipe for a cleaning spray that she uses all over her home.
Serina Bird, 47, from Canberra, has always been frugal, revealing that she got her first job at a discount supermarket at age 15, upon which point she started saving money.
‘On the outside, I don’t look like a millionaire, but real millionaires don’t always look like millionaires,’ Serina told FEMAIL.
A frugal single mum who made herself a millionaire by being thrifty has shared the household hacks she swears by (Serina Bird pictured)
Serina Bird (pictured), 47, from Canberra, has always been frugal, revealing that she got her first job at a discount supermarket at age 15 and started saving
1. Clean mirrors with newspaper
The 47-year-old’s first budget trick is that you should always clean your mirrors in your house with newspaper.
‘You might think that since you get black ink all over your hands when you touch newspapers that it would leave streaks on mirrors – not so,’ Serina wrote on her website.
‘It is actually amazingly effective at getting off grubby marks and leaving mirrors sparkling clean.’
To try this trick, the expert recommends you scrunch up your newspaper and wipe it over the surface of the mirror, wetting it gently if you need to get rid of any stubborn stains.
Serina (pictured) recommends cleaning mirrors with old newspapers and making your own ‘Miracle Spray’ for cleaning around the house
2. Make your own Miracle Spray
What do you need to make Miracle Spray?
* Lectric soda
* 1.5 litres of water, one cup of which is boiling
* Three spoons of lectric soda
* 300mL of white vinegar
* 60mL of dishwashing liquid
* One tablespoon of eucalyptus oil
Secondly, the frugal mum said she always has a container of ‘Miracle Spray’ on hand.
Serina uses this to wipe down oily surfaces, clean her showers and areas around the home.
Serina said she found the recipe on the back of a packet of lectric soda.
All you need for it is 1.5 litres of water (one cup of which is boiling), three spoons of lectric soda, 300mL of white vinegar, 60mL of dishwashing liquid and one tablespoon of eucalyptus oil.
To make the spray, dissolve the lectric soda with boiling water and combine all of the remaining ingredients in a two litre bottle, shaking until combined.
Then, pour it all into a spray bottle, and Serina said you’ll ‘never use a commercial cleaner again’.
3. Get chewing gum off with your freezer
If you’ve ever found a piece of clothing only to find it has become stuck to a piece of chewing gum, Serina said you shouldn’t fear.
While chewing gum does adhere easily to surfaces, it can be removed if you are careful – and it’s much easier when it’s cold.
‘I put my son’s shorts covered in chewing gum in the freezer for an hour, and then I pulled most of it out in one lump,’ Serina said.
If you can’t fit that item in the freezer, then use ice cubes to cool the temperature and pull the gum off gradually.
The 47-year-old (pictured) makes her own laundry powder and re-uses cling wrap in order to save money at home
What are Serina’s money saving secrets?
* Pack your own lunch for work
* Reuse cling wrap
* Make your own laundry powder and wool mix
* Freeze black bananas for smoothies
* List your savings on a spreadsheet each month, and document outgoings
* Invest in your superannuation
* Give yourself a clothing budget
* Cut habits that don’t bring you joy – like buying coffee out, and replace with tea or homemade coffee
4. Make your own laundry powder
Laundry powder is expensive, but it needn’t set you back hundreds of dollars a year.
Serina said she has always made her own with either a good quality food processor or a thermo cooker.
To do this, simply find one bar of pure soap (grated), one cup of lectric soda, two cups of bicarbonate of soda and up to 20 drops of eucalyptus or lavender oil.
‘Grate the soap,’ Serina said is the first step.
‘Combine all ingredients together in the food processor, and blitz until really fine. Store in an airtight container. Use one tablespoon for most loads of washing unless it is really dirty or large.’
5. Clean shower screens with shampoo and toothpaste
Serina said you don’t need to spend big bucks on shower cleaner; instead you can just use some shampoo and toothpaste to do the job.
‘Pour around half a teaspoon of shampoo onto a soft cloth, add around half a centimetre worth of toothpaste, and then clean the shower screen using circular motions,’ Serina said.
Then, just wash the mixture off with water and run a squeegee over the top of it, if you want to.
Serina (pictured) has famously cut her grocery bill to just $50 per week by doing an inventory, writing a meal plan and always having a cash kitty
Serina previously told FEMAIL some of her most frugal habits, including re-using cling wrap and freezing old bananas.
‘When I was 15, I got a part-time job at the discount supermarket, Franklins,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Through working at the checkouts, I observed a lot about people’s spending habits, and realised that it is possible to eat well on a budget – provided you stick to basics and eat what’s in season.
‘Frugal living quickly became a way of life for me from there, and these days I do all sorts of things that might seem extremely cheapskate now but were a way of life several generations ago.
‘I reuse my cling wrap (when I use it at all, I prefer Tupperware and glass containers), I make my own laundry powder and wool mix, freeze black bananas whole and blend them to make smoothies and cycle or walk wherever possible.’
It’s not only this that has helped the now single mum and public servant make millions.
After reading Noel Whittaker’s book Making Money Made Simple when she was a teenager, Serina decided she would throw herself into being ‘wildly wealthy’.
‘Before I was old enough to get a part-time job of my own, I would do odd jobs at my mother’s clothing factory to earn extra money. Even in my early teenage years, I committed to saving at least 10 per cent of my income,’ she said.
How did Serina cut her grocery bill to just $50 per week?
* She did an inventory: Start by using up what you have before you start buying new items. Serina found when she added up all of the items in her pantry she had $100 worth of food. Make meals from this and quit overbuying.
* She wrote a meal plan: Many budget-savvy people swear by meal plans for their success. Serina wrote out what she planned to eat each evening, factoring in whenever she might have to eat out.
* Always use a shopping list: In the same way, the 46-year-old said she always used a list so she knew what she was buying and wasn’t sidetracked.
* Have a cash kitty: Serina said she finds she spends less when she spends in cash instead of with a credit or debit card. If she underspent, she would add the leftover cash to the following week’s $50. If she overspent, that would get compensated.
* Buy less meat (and cheaper cuts): Buy less meat for both your wallet and your health, and use cuts of meat that are cheaper, like tough cuts of red meat, which work well if slow cooked or marinated. Chicken drumsticks and wings are a good choice.
* Choose your supermarket carefully: Choose which supermarket will give you the best value. Serina loves ALDI and Asian supermarkets for value.
* Ditch the shopping trolley: The shopping trolley is dangerous because you can lose track of how much you’re spending and how much you have. Using a basket is far better.
And over the years, she has slowly chipped away at making herself and her family rich.
‘On the outside, I don’t look like a millionaire,’ she said.
‘When one of my good friends saw the title of my book, she was curious as she didn’t think my net worth was that high.
‘But when I listed my assets, she said she realised you can’t ascertain true wealth based on outward appearances.
‘Someone might drive an expensive car, live in a big house and tote an expensive handbag – but can they afford it or was it bought on credit?
‘Real wealth is different to this.’
The Joyful Frugalista by Serina Bird is published by Murdoch Books and costs $29.99. Available now.