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Sandy
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Posts: 2739

Hey, Kia, that's a great idea about a reusable coffee filter! I wonder if my hubby would use one if I bought one ... he's usually the one making coffee in the morning. I do like the idea, though.


I have a few cloth napkins. The kids don't seem to mind using them, again, not so sure about my hubby!  :)  I do kind of recycle my paper napkins and paper towels. If they aren't too bad, I tuck them away for wiping up the floor after spills and the animals.


Love the idea about using a pinking shears, too. 

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December 29, 2010 at 9:44 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 2739

The 7 Habits of Highly Frugal People (from moneyning.com)


The book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has sold over 15 million copies since it was first published in 1989, teaching people all over the world how to live a happier, more successful and more satisfying life. One of the prevailing themes of the book is the fact that to change your life you need to change your attitude because no one else is responsible for what happens to you but you, so you can either complain about the things you don’t like in your life or you can set about changing them. Not surprisingly, this directly relates to the state of your finances.


If you are tired of living week to week, of having your phone regularly cut off or having to make excuses to skip dinners with your friends if the money has run out before the end of the month then you can use the seven habits of highly effective people to take control of your money situation and live a more frugal lifestyle, and a happier one.


Habit One: Be Proactive


The first habits of highly effective people is to take responsibility for your life, there is no one else to blame but yourself. Regardless of how you were raised or how you were treated at school you are able to choose your behavior now. Being proactive means understanding that you are in control of the direction your life takes and in control of your day to day interactions. Whereas a reactive person is often affected by their environment and will find external sources to blame for their behavior, for example if the weather is good they are in a good mood but if the weather is bad it affects their attitude and so the weather is to blame for their bad mood.


However what most people forget is that between the stimulus and your response is your freedom to choose your response, and one of the most important things you choose are your words. The language you use is an effective indication of how you see yourself and if you use proactive language such as ‘I can’ or ‘I will’ you are starting with a more positive attitude than a reactive person who uses language like ‘I can’t’ or ‘I have to’ or ‘if only…’


How to be proactive for effective frugality:


Take the first step. You cannot take control of your finances until you make the commitment to do so because the more you ignore the situation the worse it will get. Instead take a long hard look at your finances and your budget, your debts, income and expenses and understand where your money is going and where you can budget better.

Tell people. Using proactive language to vocalize your goal of being more frugal and more financially responsible not only helps you crystallize your goal but can also help you avoid the peer pressure which can make budgeting and frugality hard. If you explain to your friends and family how you are trying to live a more frugal lifestyle then they are less likely to pressure you into one more round of drinks at the pub or dinner out, again.

Listen. Listen to yourself and listen to the reasons you give each time you make a purchase outside of your budget or decide not to put those spare funds into your savings account. Taking the time to stop and listen to the reasons you give yourself for spending more than you earn will give you the opportunity to hear just how shallow many of those reasons are, and can stop you from making purchases which can impede your goal of effective frugality.


Habit Two: Begin with the End in Mind


Those who are effective in achieving their goals are able to envisage their end result despite the obstacles. Highly effective people adhere to this habit based on the principle that all things are created twice, there is the first mental creation and then the second physical creation, and the physical creation follows the mental creation in the same way as the building follows its blueprints.


If you don’t visualize what you want out of life then you are at risk of other people and external circumstances influencing your life because you are not influencing it yourself. Instead begin every day and every task with a clear vision of where you want to go and how you’re going to get there and make that vision a reality with your proactive skills from habit one.


How to visualize effective frugality:


Define your goal. There are many ways to live a frugal lifestyle and you need to decide on how frugal you want to be. Do you want to be debt free, do you want to build a savings account balance of a certain value or do you want to be able to live on one income in a two income household?

Decide how you’re going to get there. This will again draw on your budget, but you also need to be aware of the obstacles which are standing in your way. These may be literal obstacles such as credit card debts, or they may be obstacles you have identified in your behavior; for example are you spending $10 every day on junk food on your way home from work because you’re starving when you could be packing a two dollar muesli bar or a low GI lunch to keep you going until dinner. Or do you find that when you go shopping with your sister she always helps you justify a frivolous purchase when you could leave your credit card at home.


Habit Three: Put First Things First


Knowing why you are doing something is an effective motivator in helping you take the mental creation and transform that into an actual physical creation of your goal. Therefore ask yourself which are the things you find most valuable and worthy to you. When you put these things first you will be organizing and managing your time around your personal priorities to make them a reality.


However for many people it is hard to say no but this is exactly the skill you have to learn to be able to keep your goals as your first priority. While we have all of these time-saving devices and we are told we can have it all if we just achieve that elusive work-life balance in reality having it all is really about prioritizing which it is most important to you to have, and then doing that properly.


How to put effective frugality first:


Recognize the effects of your finances. You may not dedicate as much time as you should to managing your finances and practicing frugal principles because you feel there is always something more important to be doing, whether it is work, taking the kids to soccer practice or getting ready for dinner with the girls. However if your finances are not under control and you are regularly spending more than you earn then this is having a negative impact on every other aspect of your life from your work to your family to your friends. Therefore you need to recognize that being frugal is your first priority.

Just say no. It is easy to spend more than your budgeted amount each month when you are worried about missing out on a dinner with friends, feel as though you have to cater a birthday party for your son and 50 of his closest friends or you can’t possibly wear the same suit you wore last year to a work conference. However if you recognize that you don’t have to take on everything and that it is all right to say no then you will find you are more in control of your spending and your budget.


Habit Four: Think Win-Win


Growing up most of us are taught to base our self-worth on comparisons to others and competition against our peers. We think we can only succeed if someone else has failed and if you win then that must mean I lose, and that there is only so much pie to go around and if you get a big piece then I’m going to be missing out. When you think like this you are always going to feel like you’re missing out on something and that’s not fair is it? As a result many of us retaliate and take the pie before someone else can take it from us.


Thinking in a win-win mindset allows you to see mutual benefits from all of your interactions and as a result you will see that when you share the pie it tastes even better. If you are able to approach conflicts and problems with a win-win attitude then by showing integrity and standing up for your true feelings and values allows you to express your ideas and feelings with courage while having consideration for the feelings and ideas of others. When you focus on an abundance mentality you are able to see that there is enough for everyone and you can see that balancing your confidence with empathy you can achieve your goals while helping others achieve theirs.


How to create frugal win-win situations:


Recognize that you don’t always know the full story. As you aim to implement frugal principles and stick to a budget you may often find yourself thinking ‘it’s not fair’. It’s not fair that they get to go out to dinner it’s not fair that they get a new car it’s not fair that they get to go on holiday and I don’t. However take the time to realize that you are only seeing a small part of the finances of your friends and family who seem to ‘have it all’ and that even though your best friend is taking the European holiday which was your dream or your brother is buying a sports car before you are, if you manage your finances frugally you will get there too and there will still be plenty of holiday destinations and plenty of fast cars when you do.

Understand the difference between possessions and net worth. While your friends and family may seem to have a fuller lifestyle because their house is bigger or their car is newer you need to consider how much debt they are hiding behind those possessions. True wealth is not measured in possessions but in assets and when the value of your assets is greater than the amount you owe in mortgages, car loans and credit card debts then you have a strong net worth and are truly wealthy and in aiming to live a more effectively frugal lifestyle you will be able to achieve true wealth rather than just a life full of stuff.


Habit Five: Communication


Communication is often the desire to be heard and understood and most people will listen with the intention to reply to what you’re saying rather than to understand what you have said. However to effectively communicate you need to first understand and then be understood because if you communicate with the sole intention of being understood you can find that you ignore what others are saying and miss their meaning entirely.


How listening can help you be effectively frugal:


You are not the only person in your life. Chances are you are married, in a relationship, have children or all of the above. As a result you are not the only person being affected by your decision to live a more frugal lifestyle and to be effective in your goal of frugality you need to be able to listen to and understand the goals and behaviors of the other people in your life. For example consider how effective your frugality would be if you were taking packed lunches to work and avoiding the afternoon coffee run but your partner was still going shopping in their lunch break; instead of living a more frugal lifestyle you are just ending up with more stuff.

Understand the goals and needs of others. While it is important to explain your desire to live more frugal lifestyle, it is also important that you understand the goals and needs of your family so that you can find a way to be more frugal without them having to give up all of the things which are most important to them and you can’t know what those things are unless you listen.


Habit Six: Synergize


Interactions and teamwork are some of the most important ways you can learn new skills and more effective behaviors. To synergize is the habit of creative cooperation where you work as a team to find new solutions to existing problems. Synergy is not something which just happens but is a process where you need to bring all of your personal experiences and expertise to the table to enable more effective results than you would have been able to achieve individually – the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.


When you have genuine interactions with people you are able to gain new insights and see new approaches to your problems which you would not have otherwise thought of.


How to synergize for effective frugality:


Look for new ways. In a society which has become so good at consumerism you have probably already realized that you need to find new ways of doing just about everything to be frugal. It is easy to buy your lunch every day but it is more frugal to take a packed lunch. It is easy to drive to work but it is more frugal to catch the train. It is easy to buy a new cocktail dress but it is more frugal to make one.

Surround yourself with other frugal people. To be successful surround yourself with people who are where you want to be and whether you join online forums on frugal living websites or strike up a friendship with the woman who runs your local op shop you will be able to share ideas and learn from others to be successful.


Habit Seven: Sharpen the Saw


You are the greatest asset you have on your journey to achieving the lifestyle you want and so you need to look after yourself physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. When you take time to renew yourself in all four areas of your life you are creating growth and change which allow you to continue with the previous six habits you have mastered, which still need to be maintained to achieve success.


How to frugally renew yourself:


Physically. By eating better you will feel better and if you start your own vegetable patch for example you will be able to save at the supermarket and will be eating better at the same time. Exercising keeps you fit and healthy and it doesn’t cost you anything to go for a walk or bike ride or even skip rope in the backyard. To rest your body you don’t need to go to a day spa you can simply slide into the tub at home and relax.

Emotionally. Interacting socially with others allows you to make meaningful connections and this can come back to a conversation with the woman at the op shop or even scheduling in coffee and a chat with your mum once a week.

Mentally. Exercising and expanding your mind through learning, reading, writing and teaching can be done frugally at your local library or even by volunteering at a school or retirement home to teach others a skill you may be taking for granted.

Spiritually. Spending time close to nature to expand your spiritual self through meditation, music, art or prayer can be done frugally by taking a quiet moment to center yourself and empty your mind before you go to bed or going for a bush walk and being grateful for the beauty of nature surrounding you.

Frugality does not mean having to give up all the luxuries and things which make you happy because if you go through developing habits 1 to 6 without spending the time to renew yourself this is how you burn out, and frugality is something you want to develop and maintain for the long-term and with these seven habits you can be a highly frugal person.

January 24, 2011 at 8:43 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 2739

Take a look at this video:  Extreme Couponing


There are a number of things that bother me ... I wonder if food goes to waste and I know that in my quest to simplify my life by clearing out excess things in the house, I could never hoard that amount of food and household items.


But mostly, it just seems excessive in so many ways.


One gal decided to clear a shelf of mustard (over 60 bottles, I think) and her husband was right there saying he didn't even like mustard. Why would a person do that? I personally think that people should only take what they need. Seems so rude to hog things!


And now it appears that this woman is being investigated for coupon fraud, in that she knowingly used coupons for items that they were not intended for.  Kind of ruins things for the folks who are being honest in their coupon usage.


What do you think? 

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April 20, 2011 at 5:29 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 2739

From Fugal Hacks ...Encouraging Each Other In Contentment

Turning thoughts over in my mind while reading a book on contentment, I realized these musings could also be applied to the frugal life. How often had I thought that adding money, possessions, or time, would bring me satisfaction and assure contentment? Now I was realizing that sometimes subtracting from desires might actually provide the most fulfillment.


In other words, learning to bring my life “down” to my circumstances instead of always wishing I could raise circumstances up to my desires, could provide contentment. With thought and “practice,” a steak lover seeking to live within their means, might find a steak salad and living on budget to bring more satisfaction than the juicy steak dinner purchased on credit. A fancy coffee lover could actually find more pleasure brewing coffee at home and using the money saved to meet financial goals.


Sometimes even when life makes it seem that more money is needed than what is on hand, a willingness to simplify or do without something enjoyed or desired can provide us with the feelings of the accomplishment of making do. Husband and I recently took some time to rework our budget. Husband drives 32 miles to work each day. Our church is also a distance from our home. The closest stores are about 20 minutes away. We live in Texas where traveling to a friend’s house an hour away is commonplace. Making our gas budget work means doing some subtracting.


A boost to the gas budget will be necessary just to accomplish our basic responsibilities. I ask myself if the food budget can take another hit? With some thought I decide yes, beans and rice are healthy and finding some new and different ways to cook and enjoy these staples will bring a sense of frugal accomplishment. However, because this boost will not be enough to do all of our usual side trips, contentment will need to come from having more time at home. Maybe I will be able to finally get some long term projects accomplished!


I challenge myself to assess these circumstances carefully. The “balance sheet” can be deceiving. How often do we see with hindsight how much better life has been by learning to subtract from what we think we need and learning to enjoy and be grateful for what we have? In this economy, the effort it takes to live on one income (or even two) can seem overwhelming. Yet how many times have you read of a couple finding a walk in the park, a quiet evening at home instead of seeking after more costly entertainment to bring as much satisfaction as the life of always more?


This concept I think is one of the “secrets” of the frugal life. The growing awareness that learning to find pleasure in what has been given brings far more satisfaction than that gnawing edge of desire for just a bit more. How many times do we lose our contentment by craving something just a bit beyond our grasp?


My heart is full as I again drink in this concept of being willing to subtract from my desires and be content with my blessings. How about you? How can we encourage each other to find contentment?

 

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May 20, 2011 at 8:22 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 2739

How about saving all of your loose change in a jar and then using it for something big? It's amazing how fast it can add up!  I've decided to dedicate our loose change jar for an official Bed and Breakfast Fund ...

 

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May 21, 2011 at 10:37 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 2739

Ten Biggest Money Wasters ... from CNN ...

http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2011/pf/1105/gallery.money_wasters/index.html

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May 23, 2011 at 2:59 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 2739

In a discussion of how to make one's own body wash for the shower, someone mentioned that they just use a cheap hair conditioner (such as Suave). It's frequently under a dollar and has mositurizers in it that make your skin feel nice and soft. What a great idea!


Maybe you are someone who enjoys the challenge of grating soap and creating your own body wash creation, and that is cool, too. But, I think I might just give this conditioner idea a try ...

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June 3, 2011 at 9:01 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 2739

Do you find yourself  feeling at odds with yourself? Feel frugal some of the time, then feel like the complete opposite in your efforts? Article by Frugal Dad.


Frugal Dad:Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Frugal: Battling My Anti-Frugal Personality

The following post may read as sort of an admission. In a way, it is. A couple weeks ago we took a short family vacation, and for once, I had some time to slow down and do some thinking. Naturally, I thought a lot about my past, specifically where we have come from, financially. After all, it was just a couple years ago that we were skipping vacations to get out of debt.


I acknowledged to myself during one early morning sunrise viewing that even though I had persevered through those tough couple years, in many ways, I am the same person, with many of the same tendencies (good and bad) as I was in my spendthrift days.


The aforementioned brilliant sunrise that inspired my reflective mood, and ultimately, this post.


Sure, I had successfully managed to suppress that side of my personality, but it was still there, waiting to rise up like a dormant virus looking for a weakened immune system.


After getting out of debt, my immediate mission was clear – building emergency savings. However, over time I’ve given into more frivolous spending than I care to admit. We have not accumulated new debt, but the opportunity cost of higher spending has been a slower savings rate the first half of this year than I would like.


Living Frugal is a Way of Life, Not a Short-term Diet Plan


All this brought me to a realization – I need more frugal outlets, more ways to spend my time that don’t cost a lot of money (or in fact, save money). On the surface, I enjoy frugal activities as much as the next person. The problem is, I don’t make them a regular part of my daily routine.


For instance,

I’ll get on a reading “kick,” check out a small pile of books from the library, and never finish them.

I’ll build a coupon binder and start collecting the weekly coupon booklets, but never use them.

I planted a square foot garden this year, but have neglected it.

It’s not that I necessarily dislike doing any of these frugal activities (well, I do admit, I don’t enjoy organizing the coupons – there, I said it!), it’s just that I can’t seem to find a groove and engage in these types of things day in and day out.


Instead, I often resort to watching mindless television, or browsing Amazon.com for “deals” on things I don’t really need, or wanting just to grab lunch out rather than brown-bagging it.


It’s almost as if I have two personalities – frugal and anti-frugal. Remember the old cartoons with the angel on one side and the devil on the other, tempting someone to do something wrong? That’s me. Only the devil is holding a credit card instead of a pitchfork!


So, I’ve decided that some people are just born frugal, while others have to acquire a taste for it. Much like some people are “born leaders,” but others develop leadership skills over the years.


Our upbringing, and a variety of external factors mold us into who we are today. I’ve had great role models, but they spanned the frugal scale. It seems I inherited much of the good, and some of the bad.


New Beginnings: Finding Contentment in Frugal Hobbies


Certain frugal activities just seem to come easy to certain people. Quite often, the common thread running through these naturally-frugal folks is contentment – they are just plain happy with what they have.


That isn’t to say the less frugal are necessarily ungrateful, but we often struggle to find balance between being content with what we have while giving into the temptations for newer shiny toys.


I plan to start adding in new frugal activities that I find enjoyable, and making them part of my routine. For instance, I need to get back to walking 10,000 steps a day, for the many health benefits, and because I generally like being outside. Other than a good pair of shoes, I need no fancy equipment to walk.


I’d like to start reading again, but maybe I’ll try a new genre and avoid the heavy, non-fiction material I’ve tried to work through in the past. Anyone read a good book lately?


My coupon strategy has to adapt, too. I’ll still look through the paper for coupons, and will use them when available for something I already planned to buy, but I won’t plan our entire meals around only items for which I have a coupon. That often requires us to eat things we don’t particularly like, or aren’t the healthiest choice.


Now, I have to run – time to clean up that garden!



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July 19, 2011 at 8:54 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 2739

I just remembered a great way to clean diamond and cubic zirconia rings ... use denture cleaning tablets! Put your rings in a cup of warm water and a denture cleaning tablet and let it bubble away. The denture tablets are not expensive and a box will last you a long time. Plus, the stones really sparkle when done.

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October 16, 2011 at 11:16 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 2739

12 ways to eat healthy for $1

 

By Kerri-Ann Jennings, M.S., R.D. | EatingWell – Fri, 14 Oct, 2011 1:49 PM

 

Every few months, it seems, there’s hype about the latest, hottest superfood—chia seeds and acai berries spring to mind. And while I’m always interested in trying new foods (especially ones that are healthy for me), as a registered dietitian and associate nutrition editor of EatingWell Magazine, I have to remember that LOTS of foods, many of which are stocked in nearly every grocery store in America, are “superfoods.”

The added bonus to eating more of these easy-to-find super-healthy foods? They won’t break the bank. In fact, I’ve rounded up 12 of my favorite healthy foods that each clock in at under a dollar per serving.

1. Lentils

Cost Per Serving (1 cup): 15¢

Why lentils are so good for you: Like beans, lentils are high in fiber and protein (8 grams and 9 grams per half cup, respectively), which makes them great for your heart. They have the edge over beans, though, when it comes to preparation. Lentils cook up in only 15 to 30 minutes and don’t need to be presoaked.

2. Oats

Cost Per Serving (1/3 cup, uncooked): 10¢

Why oats are so good for you: Oats are a great way to get soluble fiber in your diet (they deliver 3 grams per serving). Research suggests that increasing your intake of soluble fiber by 5 to 10 grams each day could result in a 5 percent drop in “bad” LDL cholesterol. Plus, the quick-cooking oats are just as healthy as steel-cut—just steer clear of oatmeal packets that are loaded with added sugars.

3. Kale

Cost Per Serving (1 cup): 60¢

Why kale is so good for you: Kale is an undisputed superfood. A single serving (1 cup cooked) has 10 times the daily value of bone-healthy vitamin K. It also has 3 times the daily value of vitamin A and is high in lutein and zeaxanthin, which all help your vision. Plus, it’s pretty darn tasty. 18 Kale Recipes to Try Now, Including a Green Smoothie

4. Almonds

Cost Per Serving (1 oz.): 63¢

Why almonds are so good for you: A 1-ounce serving (23 nuts, 162 calories) has 37 percent of your daily value for vitamin E—a nutrient many Americans fall short on. Almonds also deliver some calcium, fiber and folate. Not only that, a serving of almonds has as many flavonoids as a cup of green tea, according to a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

5. Tea

Cost Per Serving (1 tea bag): 10¢

Why tea is so good for you: While we’re on the subject of tea, there’s no doubt it’s a super-healthy, budget-friendly addition to your diet. Tea, especially green tea, has lots of health boons. Both green and black tea are loaded with antioxidants, which may boost your immune system and promote heart health. In fact, scientists have found that those who drink 12 ounces or more of tea a day were about half as likely to have a heart attack as non-tea drinkers.

6. Oranges

Cost Per Serving (1 orange): 34¢

Why oranges are so good for you: You can get your entire day’s worth of vitamin C in a single orange. Plus, oranges deliver fiber (3 grams in one orange) and water to keep you full for only 70 calories. Not only that, the orange color means it delivers vision-boosting beta carotene.

7. Tuna

Cost Per Serving (3 oz.): 48-77¢

Why tuna is so good for you: Sure, salmon gets a glowing (and well-deserved) rep for being a megasource of omega-3s. But did you know that lowly canned tuna also delivers omega-3s? Plus, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend cutting back on meat—eating tuna up to twice a week is one way to do that. Look for chunk light tuna, which comes from smaller tuna fish and is lower in mercury than white albacore tuna.

8. Peanut Butter

Cost Per Serving (2 tbsp.): 21¢

Why peanut butter is so good for you: Don’t knock peanut butter. Not only is it delicious and versatile, it delivers many of the same benefits as more expensive tree nuts, such as improving cholesterol and lowering risk of heart disease. Peanut butter delivers heart-healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats, vitamin E and zinc. Look for natural peanut butter (a brand that has just peanuts—and salt, if you insist—as the ingredients) to avoid partially hydrogenated oils and sugar.

9. Apples

Cost Per Serving (1 apple): 28¢

Why apples are so good for you: Apples don’t have megadoses of any one vitamin or mineral to boast about (although they have some vitamin C), but several research studies suggest that apples have tangible benefits for your heart. The latest one, out of Florida State University, showed that people who ate the equivalent of 2 apples daily for a year improved these markers. Researchers think it’s a combination of the pectin (a type of fiber)and polyphenols that makes apples so good for you.

10. Eggs

Cost Per Serving (1 egg): 17¢

Why eggs are so good for you: For such a small and inexpensive food, eggs pack in a lot of nutrition. The whites are brimming with protein (4 grams per egg), while the yolks deliver some vitamin D plus a lutein and xeanthanin, which lowers the risk of age-related macular degeneration—a disease that affects one in eight Americans with vision loss and sometimes blindness. All that for 80 calories. (There’s a reason they’re touted as the “incredible, edible egg”.)

11. Carrots

Cost Per Serving (1 cup): 32¢

Why carrots are so good for you: Sweet potatoes get a lot of love for being a superfood, but so should the carrot. After all, they’re both orange, which means they both deliver beta-carotene (a type of vitamin A). A cup of carrots actually delivers 4 times the DV of vitamin A, which helps build bone and contributes to immune function.

12. Cabbage

Cost per serving (1 cup): 27¢

Why cabbage is so good for you: Like kale, cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable and diets rich in cruciferous vegetables are linked to lower rates of cancer. It’s also is an excellent source of vitamins C and K, and delivers fiber and detoxifying sulfur compounds. Red cabbage also boasts anthocyanins, an antioxidant thought to keep your heart healthy and brain sharp. Plus it’s very low in calories (22 per cup).

Kerri-Ann, a registered dietitian, is the associate editor of nutrition for EatingWell magazine, where she puts her master’s degree in nutrition from Columbia University to work writing and editing news about nutrition, health and food trends. In her free time, Kerri-Ann likes to practice yoga, hike, bake and paint.

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October 21, 2011 at 9:06 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 2739

As Dave Ramsey says, Christmas is not an emergency – it falls on  December 25 every year, so you know it’s coming.  :)

Some folks say it's a good idea to start planning for next Christmas as soon as the holidays are winding down the year before. Write out your list of all possible expenses for gifts, food, decorations, cards and stamps, etc. then realistically decide on the costs of each. Divide by 12 (months of the year) and that's what you need to put aside every month to save for the Holidays.

Wouldn't it be nice to not have a huge credit card bill from the Holidays waiting for you come January?

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November 3, 2011 at 8:34 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 2739

Here's a video on saving money on your Thanksgiving dinner ...suggestions include using frozen turkey, boxed wine, and making your own pie ...

Five Ways to Save Money


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November 18, 2011 at 3:14 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 2739

It never hurts to ask if a store will give an additional discount on something.

Today I bought a couple of dress clothes on clearance at TJMAX Homestore. The skirt had a button missing, but did have an extra one included that could be sewed on. Since there was another identical skirt there for the same price (which I would have bought, but the back just didn't seem to hang right), I brought both up to the service counter and asked. They took another $2 off (price was then $8 for the skirt), which I think was a pretty good deal!

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January 19, 2012 at 5:19 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 2739

I'm not sure at this point what the end result will be, but I decided to order some prescription eyeglasses online! Glasses are so expensive, plus I find the whole process of trying to decide which ones look okay while under pressure in the store stressful ... 


Of course you need a current prescription, and it's helpful if you already have an older pair of glasses that fit you so you can try to match up the size. Another thing you need to know is your PD (pupillary distance measurement), which is probably the trickiest thing to obtain as the optical stores don't always want to give you this reading. The online stores will give you advice on how to measure your own, which I had my husband do for me. 


This particular online store even had a way to upload your picture so you could "try out" the different frames to see how they might look on you. Not always a perfect fit, but I found it quite helpful for colors and shapes.


Anyway, I haven't received my glasses yet. I'm excited to see if they work, and if they're not perfect, it won't be a great loss of money. I bought two pairs for about $25, including shipping and handling. The last pair of prescription glasses I bought were progressive lenses that cost over $400, and I never liked them.


I'll let you know how this little experiment plays out.  :P

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January 22, 2012 at 10:17 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 2739

Is Extreme Couponing really worth your time and energy? From Wisebread.

Extreme Couponing? 5 Reasons Why I’ll Pass.

It’s the latest, greatest (although that’s debatable) topic around the water cooler. A show called "Extreme Couponing" highlights people who buy hundreds of dollars worth of produce from the grocery store and pay for 95% of it with free coupons.

 

I hear this all the time:

 

“It was amazing! The bill came to $894, and they paid like $12 after coupons!”

 

“Really? No way!!!”

 

“Yeah, I’m so doing this now!”

 

Now, is that true? Yes, it is. I have seen people walk to the counter with shopping carts full of stuff, and they only have $50 in their purse. They come out with change.

 

But here’s another truth. Your average shopper is not going to walk into a store with a bag full of coupons and walk out with their week's worth of groceries for a fraction of the price. Extreme couponing, like anything else that seems too good to be true, has a few catches involved. And they’re not small catches either.

 

1. It’s a Full-Time Commitment

You can’t clip a few coupons on Sunday and expect your next shopping bill to be 90% less. If that were the case, everyone would do it and most manufacturers would go out of business very quickly.

 

This takes a lot of time, patience, organization, research, and dedication. You have to stockpile hundreds of copies of the weekly coupon circulars. You need to know when things are going on sale and when the stores are doubling coupons. You need to know more about the products in the grocery stores than the managers of those stores. And even then, when you are that buttoned up, it’s not what you’d expect.

 

2. You Have to Stockpile a LOT of Stuff

All of these extreme couponing people, without exception, have filled their homes with mountains of products.

 

I saw a lady buying 77 bottles of mustard because she had 77 coupons for them. My family uses maybe two bottles a year. Yours may use four per year. They may use one every month. It will still takes years to get through them all. But every time they are featured in a coupon, the bottles come home. Does anyone need hundreds of bottles of mustard? I know I don’t.

 

One woman has a grocery store in her basement, stocked with hundreds of bottles of laundry detergent, ketchup, mouthwash, toothbrushes, and all sorts of other stuff. The rest of her family comes to shop in the basement for free. Great for them. But are you prepared to devote all of your storage space to products you never have a hope of using, just to save money?

 

3. You Become a Slave to Coupons

Imagine waking in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. You realize, to your horror, that you didn’t use a coupon. It’s double coupon day too! That means the store is actually paying you to take a bottle of Aspirin. So you drive to the store in your PJs and pick it up. Yes! A free bottle of Aspirin and 12 cents in change.

 

I, for one, am not prepared to give up my life to coupons. But this is what happens. It’s sad to say that extreme couponers are addicts. You just have to look at what they put into it and what they get out of it, plus the stress they go through if they don’t get a coupon or spend it.

 

Like any other addiction, that, to me, is not healthy. People who spend most of their time at the gym may look healthy, but they’re addicted to the rush of the workout. And that’s unhealthy, too. So just because they’re saving money, it doesn’t mean it’s a good addiction to have. The rush they feel when they see the register start chalking up the discounts is the same rush you see on the faces of people at slot machines. They’re hooked on savings, regardless of what it is they’re actually saving money on.

 

4. You Spend Hours at the Grocery Store

Hours and hours. Way more than an average shopper. And when the time comes to check out, you’re about to become very unpopular, because everything has to be checked out in the right order to get the maximum discounts. You may even have to split your order into separate loads to make it work. Life is short. Don’t spend it all in the grocery buying 58 bottles of shampoo.

 

5. You Are Taking Much More Than You Need

Here’s something that really got to me. On a recent episode, a woman discovered that she was basically being paid to take product out of the store. The double coupon meant that she’d get credit back to spend on other things. That part is smart.

 

But here’s the selfish part. She cleared the store of ibuprofen. Boxes and boxes of it went into her cart. Thanks to her, no one else was getting it that day, or that week depending on when the shelves are restocked. And that happens a lot with these extreme couponers. They clear out the shelves to take advantage of coupons.

 

What happens to all the stuff they take? Does it get used? Does it expire and get thrown away? Does it get given away? It’s just consumerism gone awry. By all means, get the stuff you need for cheap or free. But 77 bottles of mustard? 100 bottles of medicine? All the canned dog food in the aisle? It’s greed. Pure greed.

 

Yes, I know I will get naysayers on this one, but this is sickening in so many ways. Watching these people devote their lives to coupons, buying more than they need, and losing sleep over a few bucks, it’s madness.

 

I’m all for saving money and using coupons, but you can take things too far. This is just depressing.


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April 28, 2012 at 9:24 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 2739

It's been estimated that by just brown bagging your lunch on a daily basis instead of eating lunch out, can save you approximately $2000 a year!  :P

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May 20, 2012 at 9:22 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 2739

From Forbes.com ...

How to cut your food budget in half

Lowering your grocery bills and becoming healthier can go hand in hand if you follow these 8 steps for food shopping and meal planning.


 

We all lead busy lives. And it's too easy to throw money at "quick" food solutions because we're too tired to figure out a better way to function. But the food budget is the single easiest way to reduce expenses and derive more satisfaction out of everything you eat.

 

I don't particularly like to cook. But I have seen the results both in my health and finances by making an effort in this budget area. Here are the eight easiest ways I have found to cut your food budget in half:

 

Become vegetarian. There are a lot of reasons to eat a plant-based diet, and I like Leo Babauta's post "A Guide to Eating a Plant-Based Diet" for laying out the reasons. Meat is expensive, and although I like a good pot roast every now and then, I am equally happy eating rice and beans and other vegetarian options as the main staples of my weekly routine. You need only four to five recipes to alternate.

 

Limit alcohol. I dated an alcoholic for a few years and after that time quit drinking almost completely. I rarely keep any alcohol in my home unless I am having friends over or planning a special occasion. No one "needs" alcohol in the home all of the time, and if you do, you might have bigger problems than budgeting.

 

Quit buying ready-made solutions. I have a friend who is maintaining a gluten-free household, so I know how expensive a gluten-free loaf of bread can be. But if she makes it herself, it costs only a fraction of the retail price. This is true for almost anything you can buy premade (although you won't catch me baking my own bread anytime soon). If you use a lot of something, try to figure out how you can make it yourself in volume. It's cheaper for me to buy bulk steel-cut oats and cook a pot of it for the week than to buy instant oats.

 

 

Plan menus two weeks out before grocery shopping. Carve out time in your schedule (about 30 minutes) to plan your breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks for the next 10 to 14 days. Start by checking your kitchen cabinets for what you already have on hand, and build your menu to use up cans of soup and other staples. Consider keeping a folder of recipes you want to try. Once you have a completed menu, build your grocery list. Remember to check on toothpaste and other sundries so you don't come back and suddenly notice that one thing you absolutely need.

 

 

Grocery-shop three times a month, and stick to your list. People who eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables always hate this tip. I eat lots of vegetables and fruits too, and I have found that if I bring them home, prep them immediately and keep them in airtight containers, most stuff easily lasts 10 days.

 

 

Designate a "meal prep" day. Every 10 days or so, I spend three to four hours cooking big batches of stuff -- rice and beans, morning gruel, root vegetables, a casserole to freeze, etc. I know that if it takes me longer than 45 minutes to prepare a weekday meal, I'll go rogue and order takeout. So I precook lots of stuff to throw into salads or stir-fry, or just so I have something I can pull from the freezer the day before.

 

Keep a list of what's in the freezer. I might have something really delicious in my freezer but totally forget I have it. So I keep a list on the fridge that I update every 10 to 14 days when I am planning my next round of meals.

 

 

Keep comfort food ready to go. There are times when I just don't want to eat as healthfully as I usually do. When I am driving home after a long day, nothing sounds better than takeout. So I keep fixings on hand for things that sound better to me than takeout, like a grilled cheese sandwich or Beecher's Mac & Cheese.

 

 

How to make this work for you

To implement lasting change, I recommend keeping the following in mind:

 

Don't go 100% on anything at first. You can't just flip a switch and make all of these changes instantly; I see many people make huge strides forward, then fall off the wagon because they tried to take on too much change at once. Strive for small steps at first, then build on those initial victories.

 

Focus on health, not dollars. It's actually more motivating for me to maintain these practices as a foundation for healthy eating than to think of it as cutting back. So I don't focus on the specifics of the money I am saving; I just know that I am.

 

Reduce the frequency of an expense instead of dollar amount. Instead of saying that you'll cut takeout from $200 a month to $100 a month, commit to getting food to go less often. If you usually get takeout four times a week, cut back to two to three times a week. If you go out to restaurants three times a week, cut back to one to two times a week. When you’re trying to change, it's easier to focus on the behavior than the dollars.

 

Shoot for compliance nine out of 12 months a year. I give myself permission to cut loose and enjoy myself more during the summer months and at the end of the year. These times tend to be more social, so if I get off track, I don't beat myself up for it. There will always be times of expansion in your budget; just set a date with yourself to get back on track.

For me, the key to maintaining these practices has been celebrating incremental improvement, being consistent and avoiding self-criticism if I get off track. With even a few of these tactics, you can see a large reduction in your monthly food bill and a significant increase in your health.

 

 


--
 
January 22, 2013 at 5:44 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 2739

Cut Your Food Budget in Half ... from Forbes.com


We all lead busy lives. And it's too easy to throw money at "quick" food solutions because we're too tired to figure out a better way to function. But the food budget is the single easiest way to reduce expenses and derive more satisfaction out of everything you eat.

 

I don't particularly like to cook. But I have seen the results both in my health and finances by making an effort in this budget area. Here are the eight easiest ways I have found to cut your food budget in half:

 

Become vegetarian. There are a lot of reasons to eat a plant-based diet, and I like Leo Babauta's post "A Guide to Eating a Plant-Based Diet" for laying out the reasons. Meat is expensive, and although I like a good pot roast every now and then, I am equally happy eating rice and beans and other vegetarian options as the main staples of my weekly routine. You need only four to five recipes to alternate.

 

 


 

Limit alcohol. I dated an alcoholic for a few years and after that time quit drinking almost completely. I rarely keep any alcohol in my home unless I am having friends over or planning a special occasion. No one "needs" alcohol in the home all of the time, and if you do, you might have bigger problems than budgeting.

 

Quit buying ready-made solutions. I have a friend who is maintaining a gluten-free household, so I know how expensive a gluten-free loaf of bread can be. But if she makes it herself, it costs only a fraction of the retail price. This is true for almost anything you can buy premade (although you won't catch me baking my own bread anytime soon). If you use a lot of something, try to figure out how you can make it yourself in volume. It's cheaper for me to buy bulk steel-cut oats and cook a pot of it for the week than to buy instant oats.

 

 

Plan menus two weeks out before grocery shopping. Carve out time in your schedule (about 30 minutes) to plan your breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks for the next 10 to 14 days. Start by checking your kitchen cabinets for what you already have on hand, and build your menu to use up cans of soup and other staples. Consider keeping a folder of recipes you want to try. Once you have a completed menu, build your grocery list. Remember to check on toothpaste and other sundries so you don't come back and suddenly notice that one thing you absolutely need.

 

 

Grocery-shop three times a month, and stick to your list. People who eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables always hate this tip. I eat lots of vegetables and fruits too, and I have found that if I bring them home, prep them immediately and keep them in airtight containers, most stuff easily lasts 10 days.

 

 

Designate a "meal prep" day. Every 10 days or so, I spend three to four hours cooking big batches of stuff -- rice and beans, morning gruel, root vegetables, a casserole to freeze, etc. I know that if it takes me longer than 45 minutes to prepare a weekday meal, I'll go rogue and order takeout. So I precook lots of stuff to throw into salads or stir-fry, or just so I have something I can pull from the freezer the day before.

 

Keep a list of what's in the freezer. I might have something really delicious in my freezer but totally forget I have it. So I keep a list on the fridge that I update every 10 to 14 days when I am planning my next round of meals.

 

 

Keep comfort food ready to go. There are times when I just don't want to eat as healthfully as I usually do. When I am driving home after a long day, nothing sounds better than takeout. So I keep fixings on hand for things that sound better to me than takeout, like a grilled cheese sandwich or Beecher's Mac & Cheese.

 

 

How to make this work for you

To implement lasting change, I recommend keeping the following in mind:

 

Don't go 100% on anything at first. You can't just flip a switch and make all of these changes instantly; I see many people make huge strides forward, then fall off the wagon because they tried to take on too much change at once. Strive for small steps at first, then build on those initial victories.

 

Focus on health, not dollars. It's actually more motivating for me to maintain these practices as a foundation for healthy eating than to think of it as cutting back. So I don't focus on the specifics of the money I am saving; I just know that I am.

 

Reduce the frequency of an expense instead of dollar amount. Instead of saying that you'll cut takeout from $200 a month to $100 a month, commit to getting food to go less often. If you usually get takeout four times a week, cut back to two to three times a week. If you go out to restaurants three times a week, cut back to one to two times a week. When you’re trying to change, it's easier to focus on the behavior than the dollars.

 

Shoot for compliance nine out of 12 months a year. I give myself permission to cut loose and enjoy myself more during the summer months and at the end of the year. These times tend to be more social, so if I get off track, I don't beat myself up for it. There will always be times of expansion in your budget; just set a date with yourself to get back on track.

For me, the key to maintaining these practices has been celebrating incremental improvement, being consistent and avoiding self-criticism if I get off track. With even a few of these tactics, you can see a large reduction in your monthly food bill and a significant increase in your health.


--
 
February 28, 2013 at 8:58 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 2739

This is a neat idea, grow your own celery using some you already have!

http://inspirewildideas.com/2012/10/08/recycle-your-celery-to-grow-more-celery-never-buy-it-again/

--
 
August 9, 2014 at 11:41 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Sandy
Site Owner
Posts: 2739

I found this today, and it spoke to me. So true, and most of the things are not hard to incorporate into a typical day. From The Simple Dollar (by Trent Hamm) 

22 Frugal Things I Did Today

A couple of days ago, I decided to simply go through my day and make a list of everything that I did that was “frugal.” By “frugal,” I simply mean that it’s a more inexpensive version of something that I used to do. Whenever I noticed myself doing something “frugal,” I wrote it down in my pocket notebook. I’m sure that I missed lots of little things.

By the end of the day, I counted twenty two distinct “frugal” choices that I made. I thought I’d share that list with you so you can get an idea of how a typical person uses frugality to lower the cost of ordinary life while still enjoying a very nice lifestyle, and perhaps get some money-saving “everyday living” strategies along the way.

Let’s dig in!

I made scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast for my family of five. I did this early in the morning. I simply cracked a dozen eggs together into a bowl, added a bit of salt, beat them thoroughly, and let them sit for fifteen minutes while I went out back and cut some chives to mince into the eggs. I heated a skillet, added just a bit of butter and melted it, then added the eggs and scrambled them. I cooked a few pieces of toast along with it and everyone had an easy breakfast together. The total cost was about 50 cents per person, as we went through about six pieces of toast, a little bit of butter, and a dozen eggs. That’s a pretty cheap breakfast, and a pretty tasty one, too. Make simple, tasty meals at home from basic ingredients.

I turned the leftover eggs and a tortilla into a breakfast burrito for the next morning, stored in a container in the fridge. There were about two heaping tablespoons of eggs left over from the scrambled eggs, so rather than tossing them, I looked in the cupboard and found a tortilla. I tossed in a bit of shredded cheese, spooned the eggs onto the tortilla, and wrapped it up. That tortilla will make for a quick breakfast for someone in the next day or two. Save leftovers, and find ways to remix them.

I watched our neighbor’s children for an hour or so; later that day, my own children went to the neighbors for an hour while I ran errands. Our neighbor needed to run some errands, so she sent her children over to our house for a couple of hours while she did her thing. Our children played together in the basement while I took care of a few tasks around the house. Later in the day, I’ll send our children over there so I can take care of a few errands. The total cost of all of that child care is nothing. Share child care duties with friends so that you all save money.

I turned off the air conditioning and opened the windows when I learned that the forecasted high was just below 80 F. The weather outside was within fifteen degrees of our ideal indoor temperature, so the energy saving solution here is to simply turn off the indoor climate control and open the windows to allow our home to adjust to the natural climate. We typically do this when the outdoor temperature is between about 55 and 85 or so, give or take a few degrees due to variations in humidity and our activity levels. Within that outdoor temperature range, there’s really no reason to spend the money running the air conditioning or furnace, especially at daytime costs. Don’t run the air conditioning or the furnace on a nice day.

I cleaned up a pretty big spill in the kitchen with several reusable cloths. Most of a gallon of milk spilled across the dinner table. I was on it like a flash, but not with paper towels; instead, I grabbed some cheap microfiber rags from our rag drawer to mop all of it up. I wrung these out in the sink and tossed them into the laundry to reuse later. It doesn’t take many washings for the cost of such a rag to get lower than the cost of a few paper towels. Don’t use paper towels when rags will do the trick just fine.

I listened to several podcasts while doing housework. Podcasts have become my preferred form of audio entertainment. I subscribe to a couple dozen podcasts and I listen to them when I’m doing things like housework tasks or driving to and from errands. It took me a long time to find a healthy roster of shows that I enjoy; many of them are actually just rebroadcasts of NPR and American Public Media programs such as On Being with Krista Tippett. Here’s my earlier introduction to podcasts, for those interested. Find quality free entertainment so you can be more selective in terms of what you actually pay for.

I made a lunch entirely of leftovers from the previous day’s meals. When lunchtime came around, I simply looked in the fridge for leftovers before doing anything else and I found enough leftovers to cover everyone in the family for lunch. We had leftover pizza slices, leftover grilled potato slices, and leftover bean burritos. Everyone simply made a plate from the offerings that I sat out on the counter. It was incredibly easy and incredibly cheap. Leftovers make for a practically free meal.

While doing laundry, I used a spoonful of homemade laundry soap. I use a really simple mix for my own homemade laundry soap. I simply have a big sealed container in the laundry room with equal amounts borax, washing soda, and soap flakes in there. When it runs low, I just add a cup of each to the container and shake it. When I need to do a load of laundry, I add a tablespoon of the mix to the washer – I just leave the spoon right in the container. It takes about thirty seconds to add to a batch of soap and I only need to do it every fifty loads or so. The best part is that this powdered laundry soap is about 10% of the cost of Tide or other name brands – it costs me between two and three cents per load, whereas they cost twenty to thirty cents per load. Over the course of a year, that adds up to a lot. Homemade laundry soap is simple to make and incredibly cheap to use.

I hung up most of a load of laundry to dry in our laundry room. Rather than running the dryer for a small load, I simply hung up most of the items on a line stretching across the laundry room. If I don’t need the items very soon, allowing them to dry on a line will save a dryer load, which not only reduces electricity usage directly, but also doesn’t add any heat to the house on a summer day. Hang up some of your laundry so you can give your dryer a break and save on electricity and cooling, too.

I read a library book. In the early afternoon, I spent an hour or so reading a book I checked out from the library. The direct cost of that book for me was nothing at all, yet it provided an hour of thoughtful entertainment (paired with several hours on earlier days and a few more hours on later days). Libraries have an abundance of free resources for people to borrow, from books of all kinds to audiobooks, DVDs, CDs, magazines, and sometimes many other offerings depending on the programs of the local library. It’s worth your while to check out your local library. Library books are a spectacular free form of entertainment.

I took a nap. I felt a little tired and I knew that I’d be going to the store later, so I took a nap for an hour or so. The reason is simple: a rested mind is better able to make good buying decisions. If you go shopping when you’re tired (or hungry), you’re more likely to buy things you don’t need. Taking a nap before you’re going to make spending decisions is almost always a good choice. A rested mind makes better financial decisions.

I made a meal plan that tapped a bunch of items we already had in the cupboard. After I woke up, I wrote up a meal plan for the coming week. While doing so, I looked extensively at the items we had on hand already, as well as the grocery store flyer. My goal was to use lots of items already on hand, so the meal plan ended up being largely based on what was already in the pantry along with a few fresh items from our garden and from the produce section at the grocery store. Using up items you have on hand means they won’t go bad and it means that your grocery bill will be lower this week.

I made a grocery list from that meal plan. Once the meal plan was set, I wrote down a grocery list consisting of all of the additional items we needed to pull off that meal plan. Mostly, it revolved around fresh vegetables and a few fruits, so the list happened to be pretty short. Making the list straight from the meal plan ensured that I was only writing down things we needed for our planned meals and not a lot of extra stuff. Having the actual list in the store gives me something to focus on so that I’m not buying extra things that aren’t on the list. My list is efficient, and I’m efficient in the store – both save me money. Making and using a grocery list keeps you from buying unnecessary items at the grocery store.

I rode my bicycle to the grocery store and to the post office for errands. After I had my grocery list in hand, I grabbed my backpack and hopped on my bicycle for a two mile ride that took me to the post office to mail a package and to the grocery store to pick up the items on the list (which easily fit in my backpack). Doing this provided some nice exercise while also getting the errands completed without firing up our car, using gas, and putting miles on it. Riding your bike for nearby errands saves gas and wear on your car while also providing free exercise.

I traded for a board game rather than buying it. One of the packages I mailed was a board game, which cost just a few dollars to mail. This was done to fulfill a trade by mail with another board game player. He had a game I wanted and I had a game he wanted that I didn’t think I would play again, so we organized a trade. This effectively brought a new game I was excited to play into my possession for just a few dollars while also getting rid of a game I was doubtful I would play again. Bartering and trading is a great way to refresh your hobby collection at a very low price. Trade and barter items rather than buying them.

I poured the remaining ounce or two of a bottle of liquid soap into the new bottle. Whenever I finish a bottle of soap, I turn it upside down and leave it in the bathroom closet for several days while the new one is being used. Once the new bottle has been emptied a little (and I happen to notice it), I’ll pour the contents of the old bottle into the new one (since it’s been upside down for several days, I can usually get a surprising amount out of it). This helps to stretch out the use of liquid soap and it takes only a few seconds to do it – you just take the lid off of both containers and pour the remnants of the mostly empty one into the other one. Easy as can be! Don’t throw away the last little bit in a container; pass it forward instead.

I made an amazing potato salad using preserved lemons I made myself, six leftover potatoes, and a bit of mayonnaise and mustard and salt. About a month ago, I made a batch of preserved lemons when lemons were on sale at the store. It was easy – I just coated several quartered lemons in salt, let them sit in the fridge overnight, then pushed them tightly into a jar. Now, when I want to add a great flavor to a marinade or to a potato salad, I just take a couple of preserved lemon quarters, chop them finely, and mix them right in. By using those lemons, chives from our garden, a few potatoes on hand, and some condiments, I made a killer potato salad for very little cost that served as a side dish for dinner and will serve as a side for meals going forward. Making simple foodstuffs and even ingredients can save money and vastly increase your meal variety.

I grilled hamburgers and veggie burgers purchased on sale and frozen until ready to use. The main course of our dinner was cooked on the grill and it consisted of hamburgers and veggie burgers made earlier and frozen, pulled from the freezer for a final grilling. The beef and beans were purchased at the store when they were on sale; the patties were stored in freezer bags and separated by wax paper for easy separation. Thus, the burgers were very inexpensive because they were originally heavily discounted and saved by us until we were ready to eat. Stock up on sale items that you’re sure to use later.

I played checkers with my son using an old checkers set. After dinner, my son and I played a game of checkers using an old inexpensive checkers set picked up for a few bucks at some point in the past. We played a few games, so it provided most of an hour of entertainment and thinking and conversation for the two of us. Games are a great way to pass the time and use some parts of your brain that you might not always exercise. Find entertainment in what you have on hand already.

I made a small campfire using broken wood pieces from another project. We have a fire pit in our back yard. Whenever I find some scrap wood from almost anything that isn’t pre-treated wood, I’ll save it with the intent of using it in our fire pit for a backyard campfire on a nice summer or fall evening. This night was no different – the fire mostly consisted of extra broken boards from our children’s taekwondo classes along with some discarded wood I found several days earlier. Don’t throw away items that have a clear use later on.

I used junk mail to get that campfire going. Rather than using purchased fire starters or even my own homemade ones, I actually just used some junk mail to get the fire going. We had some junk mail that had accumulated over several days which I separated out when sorting the mail and held onto because I knew we would have a campfire that evening. Junk mail – especially newspapers and flyers – catches fire easily and burns hot enough to get small pieces of wood burning, which is all you really need for a backyard fire pit. Junk mail is great for kindling.

I turned off a bunch of lights and electronic devices before bed during a final walkthrough of the house. Just before bed, I walked through the house and turned off any electronic devices and lights that I found still running. The family computer was turned off. A handheld video game console was turned off. At least a dozen lights were turned off. All of those moves save us on electricity usage during the nighttime hours, which cuts down on our energy bill. Turning off unused energy eaters saves money on your energy bill.

What’s the point of this story? The point is that frugality isn’t something “special” that you do; instead, it integrates naturally into your life so that you spend less money in the course of doing the normal things you’d normally do. Frugality isn’t about devoting hours to scrubbing Ziploc bags for a second use or diving into dumpsters for moldy bread. It’s about finding more cost-efficient ways of doing the things you’re already doing and integrating them into your normal day-to-day life so that you have more money left over at the end of the month. If trying to be “frugal” is causing you frustration and angst, you’re going about it the wrong way – let go of the things that are causing negative feelings and instead find new ways to just do the things you normally do, except with less spending.

Good luck!

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August 14, 2017 at 12:38 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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