Monday, June 30, 2008

Cheaper popcorn

Popped on top of the stove, popcorn is a lot cheaper than microwave servings. Learn how to do it if you don't know, then grind regular salt in a coffee or pepper mill to use on it. Keep the "old maids" (kernels that don't pop) to feed to the birds (separate them out before salting or flavoring the popcorn) or mill them into corn meal.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Cheaper than canned salmon

Make a fish loaf or patties from canned jack mackerel or tuna instead of more expensive salmon.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Free rope

When you cut up old clothes for rags (you do, don't you??), cut alongside the seams and keep a few on hand for lightweight rope. Depending on the material and type of seam, these can be sturdier than you might think. Tie them together for a longer rope.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Free rubber spatula

Why buy one? Trim a plastic coffee can or margarine tub lid to shape, leaving a wide "handle" to get a good grip. Make it a little wider than commercial spatulas for stability, since the plastic is thinner. Bonus: When it gets stained, throw it out and make a new one!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Homemade plaster

If you need just a little plaster to fill nail holes or a small crack in a wall, toothpaste has often been offered as a solution. However, toothpaste shrinks over time. Instead, mix baking soda into white glue until it's the consistency of plaster and use that.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Homemade furniture polish

Most of the time you don't need it, (use a damp cloth) but if you want to polish your furniture, mix equal parts of white vinegar and vegetable oil and rub on the furniture. Buff with soft cloth until it shines. Olive oil can be substituted for the vegetable oil and lemon juice can be substituted for the vinegar.

Friday, June 20, 2008

More "free" freezer bags

Do you ever eat potato chips that come in air tight bags? (Almost all do.) Reuse them as freezer bags. Smooth as much air out of them as you can, then fold each corner inwards, then fold the triangle point down a couple of times. They keep food as fresh as plastic freezer bags.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Leftover salad

Got just a few leftover, cut up vegetables? Put them in your blender, add some liquid if needed (tomato sauce, grapefruit juice, etc., whatever is appropriate) and make a cold soup or vegetable drink.

Or cook them (even lettuce!) and puree for soup stock. If you don't want to use it at that moment, you can freeze it for for later.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Saving more water

When you shower, besides setting a bucket under the faucet to catch what runs out before it warms up, plug the drain and use the shower water to flush the toilet. Flushing takes a lot of water, even if you have one of those new low water toilets.

Homemade ice pack

Mix one part rubbing alcohol and two parts water in a ziplock type of plastic bag and freeze. The rubbing alcohol keeps it from freezing solid so the pack will conform to any part of your body. Wrap in a cloth to use.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Counting comments

Sorry, no frugal tip this time. I just wanted to tell you that blogger isn't counting comments right. If you've commented on a post, but it's still showing as "no comments," go ahead and click on it and you'll see it. Hopefully it will straighten up soon...

Monday, June 9, 2008

Sweet iced tea

First, never buy iced tea. It's a LOT cheaper to make at home. Secondly, this is for those of you who like sweet tea: Tea tastes sweeter after being stored in a refrigerator 24 hours, so take advantage of that. Make your tea not quite as sweet as you'd like it, then let it set refrigerated until the next day. It will be sweeter than you made it and you'll have saved sugar.

Minimize bacon shrinkage and curling

I read this once in an old fashioned recipe book and it really works. Simply dredge slices of bacon in flour before frying and the bacon won't shrink so much and won't curl as it fries. The drippings make excellent milk gravy, too.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Milk gone bad

If it's just a little off, put a pinch of baking soda in it and stir. No need to throw it out. If you have milk that you can't use up, put it in the freezer until you need it.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Use less; save money

Never use more than you need. Just because it says on the box that you need a full cup, doesn't mean that you really do need it. Half a measure of laundry detergent, a quarter of an inch of toothpaste and a half teaspoon of dish detergent are examples of what is usually enough, rather than what the manufacturer says is enough.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Don't waste cleaning solutions in spray bottles

If you buy cleaning solutions in spray bottles, you know there is always some left in the bottom that the tube can't reach. The way to save that solution is to save the bottle and pour the leftover into the new bottle. Another method that helps, but doesn't save all of it, is to put marbles, rice or small stones in the bottle. That raises the liquid level so the tube can reach it better.