The way to go to the gym is not to have to go to one at all

Step outside and smell the roses and proceed to run, jump, skip, bend, jiggle, pull, push, swim, cycle, climb, finally… slow down and take in the sights mother nature has on offer. Infinitely more fun, practical and cheaper then going to an indoor gym. Exercise your soul, not your ego. Better yet go build yourself a house, a tiny one at that and you’ll discover muscles you never thought you had.

Save Time. Save Money. Save Space


Escape rooms – an idea…

I played my first escape room in a Penang Market 1 week ago at Flee 60 Room, two days later I played again in Singapore at a place called Exitplan and what I originally thought is a fad, I’m beginning to think will lave legs and probably evolve in the same way where one goes to enjoy the movies, frequents the gym, seek thrills at a theme park, kill time, catch up with mates at a cafe.

With a bit of googling, I learnt the idea basically came from a Japanese TV game show called Dero, you can youtube it. Since then I’ve read anecdotally that the popularity of escape rooms has increased leaps and bounds and literally sweeping the nation. One only needs to search ‘Escape rooms in Australia’ to read it has also caught on in basically all major cities.

Now, booking an escape room for an hour of thrills is not cheap, but looked at differently it does appeal on the basis of an hour of bonding with good mates or with family – think granddad with grandson. In Penang and Singapore we paid roughly $20 AUD each for an hour, over here in Australia expect to pay anywhere from $30 upwards. From a frugalman perspective I definitely would not be advocating frequenting escape rooms on any regular basis, unless the cost comes down considerably, however, if I put my entrepreneur lenses over my frugal ones, I see an opportunity.

I’ll describe it briefly, hopefully someone can take the baton and run with it. As the saying goes the way to get things done is not to mind who takes credit for it. Escape rooms really lends itself to basically any environment you can think of. The rooms can be as small or as big as you need it to be, what makes all the difference is how creative the game play is. Thus, you could install an old school phone booth, be creative with game play and start soliciting players. It could also be as big as the planet itself – think “The Amazing Race”, throw in a few geo-cache elements and as many actors as you want and you could potentially create the annual escape room championships. From the escape rooms I have seen myself, most are not much bigger than a bedroom.

The idea that I have is simply to apply the tiny house logic and have escape rooms built on the back of a truck, a school bus or on the trailer and drive it to where the party or corporate event is. Since it’s mobile you could build a following where you outsource the game play and design to your followers and once ready – deliver it to them. Alternatively you can apply the sharing economy logic and convert your unused garage or bedroom and attach it as a side business to compliment your airbnb business.  I think this business idea can work. Our number one business advantage when compared to other escape room businesses is low overhead costs (i.e. no rent). Being mobile also means no rent and the ability to scale up and down and be hired out to corporate events. I think the creative potential is endless, just like the movies.

What do you think?

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Forgot to mention, we failed to escape this one… 😛

Frugal Breakfasts

This is not everyone’s cup of tea, but for me the cheapest, most practical and time efficient breakfast is to simply not have one. I should qualify that though. Breakfast to me is almost a leisure activity, there is nothing I enjoy more than to chow down a big ploughman’s breakfast with the baldest bacon you can find and the slickest coffee to chase it down, granted, I skip breakfast Mon-Friday and only indulge myself on the weekends. So I guess you could say that rather than have (7×3) = 21 meals a week like everyone else, I have (5×2) + (2×3) = 16 meals a week instead.

There are many reasons why you would want to skip breakfast, for me and this was in the beginning, I did it out of laziness and it’s become a habit ever since. Nowadays, when I skip breakfast I’m also doing it for health reasons. I won’t go into the pro’s and cons of it, but needless to say if you do a quick Google search on “skipping breakfast” or “intermittent fasting” you can acquaint yourself as much as you like with both sides of the argument. Bottom line, it’s not for everyone, but it just might be for you.

Ok so I will go into the pros for why I do it, first, I’ve been skipping breakfast for so long now and I have become so use to it, that I do it because my body simply does not cry hunger in the mornings. As a side note, a motto I follow is to just eat when hungry, but because I don’t get hungry in the mornings I simply don’t eat. I also find that it’s the quality of the food that influences the amount I eat. When I eat nutrient rich foods I eat less, when I eat garbage I tend to eat more because I find that my body is still telling me I need to eat the right stuff.

Secondly, we’ve all heard that saying “who has time to make breakfast” well I certainly don’t and because I value sleep more than I do breakfast, I simply use the time I would have been using to make breakfast to sleep instead. It really is that simple and logical J. When I wake up, I’m out the door to work in less than 15 minutes. In comparison to my partner she has to wake up an hour before she’s out the door just so she can fit breakfast in. I simply just don’t bother.

Finally, and this is the least important consideration, 5 less meals a week to pay for can come to quite a nice saving. You do the math.

Apple CarPlay…why bother.

Not sure why Apple is going into the car space with the Apple Carplay. If you have a smartphone you already have Apple CarPlay. Get a nice dash mount, like the exomount and hook it up to bluetooth and your sorted. I travel close to 700km in my car as a building inspector everyweek and my phone practically replaces my car dash. I use Google Maps for navigation; Pocketcast for podcasts; MyCarTracks for logging my distance; Google Music Play for all my musical needs; and Tunein for radio for whenever I want to switch to talkback. If you wanted to take it a step further I’m sure you can find apps designed specifically for the bean counters such as Dash.

Apple appears to be joining forces with automakers to include CarPlay into their systems, The car makers should just concede defeat and concentrate on providing the best value sound system they can and just allow the driver to incorporate their own smart phone into the dash.

I’ve finally made the switch musically to Google Play

I’ve been buying music since my early teens, I think my first CD was Groove Theory’s Debut Album, you know the one with the hit single Tell Me. Anyway, As I look back on my musical tastes, there’s been a definite progression from the pop candy I use to consume to what I can only call a more grown up sound and a fondness for the rare, hard to find and slept on gems. Soul/Funk/Jazz is still where it’s at for me, but I’m digging all kinds of music these days. As someone told me, “there’s only good and bad music, listen to the former”.

Back in the day you either had to fork over $30, sometimes up to $50 dollars for an album, when Napster came on the scene, I hate to admit it, but I was the first to jump on the bandwagon. The problem for me unfortunately was that I was never able to back up all the songs I had downloaded, and don’t forget this was back when dial up was all the rage – yeah it took like a couple of hours to download an album. I still bought albums, but by and large, Napster was the new medium. That all stopped when the FEDS closed it down and threaten all and sundry with illegal downloading. So for awhile, I went back to buying the odd album rummaging through old crates at flea markets and what not. Finally one day I stopped buying music all together and instead discovered music blogs and YouTube. That was great for discovering new music but crap at being able to play it in the car, at your friend’s house and on the home stereo. For some reason I never got onto the iPod/iTunes thing… As a frugler I guess it came down to cost. Fast forward to today and I’ve finally been roped into the marketing genius of Google. What I’m talking about is Google Play Music. If you love music like I do, have a good internet connection, there is no reason not to subscribe to something like Google Play Music or the equivalent of something like Spotify. Both charge a monthly fee of $12 for all you can listen and download music. I was skeptical at first, but dang! I can’t believe it’s taken me this long. In one ‘crate diggin’ session on Google Play Music I downloaded the whole Betty Davis (The original Beyonce); Nick Drake; Shuggie Ottis; Sixto Rodriquez; Tuomo (Finnish soul singer); Van Hunt; Remy Shand; and Lewis Taylor (easily the most underrated soul artist of all time) disography!

With the benefit of being able to sync my playlist across all my devices, this is a no brainer, now when I’m in the car I can listen to what I discovered the night before.

I’m a real late comer to this, but hey better late than never, if you were like me here’s your Call to Action – Subscribe to Google Play and donate all your CD’s to charity. Except for the rare ones you still can’t find on Google Music of course… hehe

A hammock for glamping…

Hammocks seem to be all the rage these days. A lot of the interest seems to have been generated from the light weight backpacking community trying to come up with innovative ways to find a better night’s sleep in the woods with the least amount of weight. Most lightweight components involve the use of nylon for the hammock and the tarp, lightweight but heavy duty cord (e.g. amsteel or dyneema) and various clever suspension systems that range from simple use of carabineers to whoopee slings. A brand name hammock system can be cost prohibitive for the fruglar, but if weight is not your concern like it is for me or perhaps you are more of a car camper, there is a smarter way.


Here is what you’ll need – A large thrifty shop in town (it will basically have everything you need at bargain basement prices, well almost everything; I had to buy rope from eBay… )


Once inside the shop look for the following –


  1. Belts made from webbing x 4 ($2 each)

  1. Heavy Duty Curtains (I got 2 for $25)


  1. Rope (You want something with a breaking strength of at least half a ton – In my case I bought 50m of Telstra rope on ebay for about $15)


  2. Add all the above together and here is what you want to achieve –



Don’t worry about the clamps, just pretend it’s two trees J

You will need to know how to make a bowline… if you don’t know how, just google it.

Cut 2 pieces of rope about 50cm and make a bow line at each end.

Scrunch each end of the curtain and with the bowline you have made, wrap it around the curtain twice and take one bowline through the other bowline.

At the tree end, wrap your webbing around the tree and through the buckle and find a stick somewhere on the ground and make a marlin hitch.


Now get another piece of rope and wrap a bowline around the marlin hitch and with the free end, thread it through the bowline on the hammock and tie it off! You’ll need to adjust it a bit, but the right hammock position is about 30 degrees to the horizontal. See . As a rough guide you can just make a right angle with your thumb and index and sight it against the hammock in the background.

The simplest way to store your bikes off the ground

If you ride a push bike frequently, you’d probably have more than one bike. If you keep your bike indoors, you’d also know they take up a lot of space. One way to save on this space they take up is to keep them off the ground. There are a number of hooks, handles and mounting hardware you can buy that will allow you to do this. A google search will show you just how many variations there are.

If you are thinking of storing your bike off the ground, but aren’t keen to spend the dollars to buy a mount or hook and then take the time to install one. I have an alternative solution for you that I simply haven’t seen elsewhere do on the web. It’s very simple; however it does require that you have a suitable ledge above head height. I present to you the frugalman-makeshift-do-without version of hanging your bike –

IMG_20140529_190848 IMG_20140529_190900 IMG_20140529_190914 IMG_20140529_190920

The great thing about this method is how easy it is to put on and take off. Simply rotate your seat 90 degrees and hang… voila!

You’ll have to excuse the mess in the storage room… still a work in progress…

How to make coffee the frugal way in your Tiny Home

If you are a habitual coffee drinker, there’s no way around it, you need your hit. I know how you feel, I drink two cups a day myself and that’s a requirement.

Here are the ways you can get your hit –

  1. Instant coffee
  2. Drip coffee
  3. Percolator
  4. French Press
  5. Espresso

I think most people will be familiar with instant coffee and buying their espresso from the local coffee shop. Nothing wrong with these methods, but if you champion the frugal lifestyle like we do – you can’t help but think about how these mundane processes can be improved upon so that it aligns with our frugal sensibilities.

All the above methods have one thing in common; they all require the additional input of heat energy in the form of boiling water to achieve the drop that you want. I should also add that some of the above methods also require specialised equipment such as an espresso machine or a percolator. However there is one method I haven’t mentioned that does not require any specialise equipment or the need for boiling water… and that is the Cold Press or Cold Brew method. If you not familiar with this method it is exactly as it sounds. All you do is pour cold water onto your coffee grounds and let it steep, and voila, Cold Press coffee! Well… like all things in life there is a catch and the catch is simple to state, it requires time, 12 hours to be exact. On first thought, it’s not exactly in line with the frugal motto of saving time, but on second thoughts, it all depends on how we prepare it and organise ourselves around it.

Frugalites are not ones to watch paint dry, so if you make the brew the night before, you can go to sleep and by morning it will be ready to drink. Problem solved, and it’s exactly how I choose to make my drop.

There are several other benefits to cold brewing –

  1. Boiling water not required, therefore kettle not required and energy input also not required
  2. No need for bulky machines or specialised equipment
  3. The taste is smoother and less bitter as described by coffee connoisseurs
  4. It’s hip
  5. Perfect for Tiny Homes – In fact, because of all the above benefits, it truly is the only method you should be using to make your coffee in your Tiny Home.

I haven’t included any pictures in this post, because it really is that simple. Just pour cold water onto your grounds and let steep. In the morning the grounds will settle and you can drink it straight out of the cup without filtering just like Turkish coffee. If you want to be a bit fancy you can cold brew it in a French press, this is also quite popular and it’s how I choose to cold press my cup every day.

How to carry your bike on your car frugal style!

Ok first up, this is for folks who already have roof racks.

Now, there are basically 4 ways to carry your bike on your car, you can put it on a –

  1. Tow bar mounted rear bike carrier;
  2. Boot mounted clip on/strap on rear bike carrier;
  3. Roof mounted bike carrier; or
  4. If you have a hatch or wagon, take the front wheel off and shove it in the rear

The problem I had with the above was –

  1. I didn’t have a tow bar and did not want to pay $1000 for one just to carry my bike;
  2. Was not prepared to pay $100 for a rear strap-on/clip-on rear bike carrier in order to test whether or not they were sturdy and strong enough for my liking.
  3. I actually bought a roof mounted bike carrier thinking they would be easy to put on, but I found it extremely difficult to first of all install the bloody thing and second of all it was a strain to put the bike on it because I was constantly trying to balance the bike while clumsily trying to attach the arm to it for stability.
  4. There’s actually no problem with this method, it’s my go to method all the time. It’s very easy these days if you have front wheels that come off easily to shove it in the back of your hatch if you have space. I use to own a 3 door Daihatsu Charade hatchback, it was tiny, but I could still fit a bike in the back no problems (rear seats folded down of course). The problem arises when you need to fit two bikes, or you are not able to fold the rear seat down because you have friends to pick up in the back.

What to do?…

Well to tell you the truth, the solution only came to me while I was servicing my bike. When I service my bike, I lay it upside down where the seat and handle bars thus become the 3 points of ground contact to keep the bike steady, and as I stared at it, it slowly but surely became apparent to me that I could tie it onto my roof racks in the same position without the need for any special mounts.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen it tied on like this before and I was sure that as soon as I tried to I would encounter the reason why it couldn’t be done like this, so I gave it a shot.

I lifted my bike in the upside down position and proceeded to plonk it on top of my roof racks. I laid the seat on one of the rails and the handle bars on the other rail. There was a bit of adjusting to get both rails at the right distance apart, but once I got that right the bike was now able sit there by itself – that’s actually the easy part. Without a dedicated mount with clamps/straps/ratchets you need to rely on something else to tie it down. That something else was obviously going to be rope, because that’s all I had. Unfortunately, tying things down with rope is actually not that easy. I was able to tie down the rear section of the bike down with a simple truckies knot, but the front of the bike where the handle bars sat required a bit more forethought. After a bit of research I came to the conclusion that lashing the handlebars to the rails was going to be the most secure.

I found this neat technique for lashing things together called zigzag turns on this site –

This type of lashing with zig zag turns essentially has a ratcheting effect. The more zig zags turns the tighter the lashing.

Once you have it all tied down, it looks something like this below –

God I love rope… one of the most useful things invented by us humans…

As I rode around town with the bike strapped on, every single cyclist I drove past gave me the same look, as in “hmmm interesting way of tying on a bike” look…


Frugal DIY Door Stopper

When we first moved into our rental, a number of our door stops were broken. I was able to replace all but the front door with the standard plastic door catchers you can get at Bunnings. The front entry had an old style door stop that proved to be a problem because it was installed quite close to the door edge, and because I didn’t want to drill new holes (a rental no no) if I installed the new plastic door catcher using the existing holes it would completely miss catching the door!

What to do…

Well after thinking about this for a moment I conjured up a lo-fi crafty and nifty solution, I introduce you to the monkey fist door stop –




Ta da!

All up it took me a couple a couple of hours to make it, but that was because I had never made a monkey fist before, now that I’ve made one, I reckon I can knock one up in a matter of minutes. Normally you would wrap the monkey fist with a small round object, like a golf ball or tennis ball, but I had none of those on hand so I simply crumbled up some junk mail catalogues into a ball and used that instead… (another lo-fi solution).

Now you could when looking at this ingenious solution decide that a tennis ball and some stocking could work just as well and you are right, but I love me some rope… I have a knot addiction and my motto has always been ‘you can never have enough rope around the house’. The rope I used was probably about 1 metre long and from memory it was 6mm rope. I bought mine at supercheap auto for 3 dollars and I still have ~9 metres of it left… great value if you ask me.

I followed the following youtube video to learn how to make a monkey fist –