Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gifts for the gardener

Got a gardener on your list? How about a stash of seeds? Maybe you have some saved from your own garden, or can get some from friends or family. Be sure to label them well.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Still walking?

If the weather isn't keeping you indoors, take a walk! Tuck a few plastic bags in your pocket first and keep a sharp eye out. You never know what you may find. I've found things like hand tools, aluminum cans, coins, socks (a pair!) and lots of other treasures.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Grow your own salad

You can grow fresh radishes and lettuce, etc, inside during these cold winter months and save on salad, if nothing else. Make sure you have good dirt, deep pots and enough light. On warm sunny days, set the pots out doors in the sun. (Don't forget to bring them in if your nights are freezing temperatures!)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Gum wrapper note pad

It may seem kind of silly, but gum wrappers - those plain white ones that wrap a stick of gum over the foil wrapper (from the large packages) - are just about the right size to jot a note or short list. Save them and staple them together (or just keep a stack of them). Paper is paper is paper, no matter where it comes from.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Reuse gift wrap

If you try to save and reuse wrapping paper, but find that it looks used, try ironing it with a warm iron to remove wrinkles. Save wrapping paper, foil or wax paper tubes and roll the paper around it, secure with a rubber band or a bit of string or yarn to store. A few minutes invested can save several dollars worth of paper.

Keep this in mind through the holidays!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Save steel wool pads

Save steel wool pads, including the presoaped kind (although they're not very frugal!) in a container in the freezer to prevent them from rusting. You can use them several times that way.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

It costs to preheat the oven

Most things you bake don't really need a preheated oven. Save money and time by putting the food into a cold oven, then turning it on. Allow a little extra time, as the food cooks more slowly during the warming up period. (Not recommended for cookies or angel food cakes.)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Keep your drink hot for free

If you like to drink coffee or tea over a period of a few hours, make a pot of either and put it in a thermos. You won't have to pay for electricity to keep it hot (as in a coffee pot) or keep going back to make more (as in cups of tea.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

You don't have to wash your clothes...

Sometimes clothes can get by with a good airing out instead of being washed. This will save wear and tear on the clothes as well as water, detergent and electricity to wash them.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Convenience food: Chicken

When you come across a good buy on chicken, buy as much as you can, then boil it and take the meat from the bones and package and freeze it in cup sized portions. It's much cheaper than buying canned chicken for those quick recipes.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Free bread crumbs

Every bread sack has a few crumbs in it when it's "empty". Shake these crumbs into a container and freeze them until you need bread crumbs for a meatloaf, stuffing or topping. It's like getting them for free.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Highghts for your hair

Want to try a highlighter in your hair, but don't want to spring for the expense? Try a highlight pen - the kind you use on paper. Yellow for blondes, orange for brunettes or darker.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Be kind to your clothes

Sometimes clothes can get by with a good airing out instead of being washed. This will save wear and tear on the clothes as well as water, detergent and electricity to wash them.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Make your own dish scrubber

You've heard of making dish scrubbers from those plastic mesh bags that produce, etc. sometimes comes in. They work best and last forever if you crochet or knit them into a square or rectangle. Sew them together with floss or fishing line to make one long strip. If you're into macrame or knotting, try that, too.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Toy boxes... or box toys?

If your little ones, like most, enjoy playing with the box as much or more than the toy that came in it, why not make the box an official toy? You can cover it with contact paper or use markers to decorate it. A box full of fancied up boxes would make a great gift.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Don't throw out that newspaper!

We've probably all got a stack of newspaper around somewhere that needs to go to the recyclers. Before you dump them off, use what you can to dry windows and polish chrome anywhere. Newspaper will even make your car shine. Use it on any metal or glass surface.

More uses for newspaper

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Free food for the picking

See an apple tree no one has tended to? Ask if you can pick the apples. It's too late for plums, but there may be pears available still. Go for a walk around your neighborhood and keep your eyes open. There's free food out there. Go get it.

Free citrus simmering potpourri

Freeze orange, lemon and other citrus fruit leftover pieces and peelings. Use them just like simmering potpourri to freshen the air.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Old cookbooks save money

Watch for old cookbooks at garage sales, thrift stores and second hand book stores. They have "from scratch" recipes, usually with money saving tips included.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Get the best price on a new or used car

If you're looking for a new (used) car, go near the end of the month. Salesmen try to fill a certain quota before the end of the month, and if they haven't filled it, they'll make better deals.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Buy a full bottle

When you buy dish detergent, syrup or oil, etc, in a clear bottle, get the bottle that's filled the highest. There can sometimes be as much as a half cup difference. You're paying for it; why not?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Make your lotion last longer

All lotions and creams are emulsions - that is, they are oil and water together in one product. Creams and thick lotions, although they might be more expensive to buy, are much more frugal to use if you do it this way: Put a tiny dab in the palm of your hand, then mix it with a drop of water. It will break down into lotion. Only do as much as you use at one time.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

More decorating for Independence Day

Dig out the reds from Christmas or Valentine's Day. Blue anything goes - flowers, baskets, vases, napkins, rugs... Use white (sheet, paper, dinnerware, tablecloth, etc.) to set it off.

Stars are part of it all. Make stars of all sizes from aluminum foil or colored paper and hang or tape everywhere.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Decorate for Independence Day

Tie several 18 inch pieces of red, blue and white yarn or crochet thread together at one end, then attach them to your radio antenna or gateposts, or hang them around your patio or from tree branches where a breeze will catch them. Instead of yarn or thread, cut narrow strips of cloth or plastic grocery bags.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Make your own Easter basket

Make your own Easter basket from rag strips if you have a little time. You can crochet, knit or braid them into long strips then lace them together in the form of a basket. Start at the bottom and lay them in a circle or oval, then stitch them together. When the bottom is as big as you want it, start the sides by stacking the strip and sewing it down. Try it; it's easier than it sounds.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Frugal Easter baskets

Baskets are easy to make, but if you have a bread basket or some other kind of basket, repurpose it for Easter. Add some artificial flowers or leaves or bows or yarn doodles to the outside and fill with artificial grass and Easter goodies.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Never buy a bucket

Coffee cans, large juice cans, or gallon food cans or containers can be used for small buckets. Use a hammer and nail to punch holes exactly opposite each other, then insert wire, rope or heavy twine for a bail (handle). You might get lucky and find a larger container; otherwise, ask at restaurants or grocery stores for any large plastic buckets or containers. You may have to wait awhile before they are ready to throw one out, and not all stores do, so ask around. Don't forget the large ice cream buckets! They're a little flimsy, but will work for some things.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Clean gunk with ammonia

Ammonia isn't as popular as a cleaning agent as it should be because many people don't like the fumes. It's cheap and efficient when you have a tough cleaning job involving grease or unknown gunk, though, and since manufacturer's have added scents, it's not even quite as smelly.

Those famous fumes are the real gunk-loosening power of ammonia. To use them, put a small amount of ammonia in a container that can be closed - like your oven or a plastic bag. To minimize the use even more (and maximize your savings), put it in a shallow container like a pie pan (glass only) in the bottom rack of your oven, then put drip pans, electric skillets or anything else that's coated with grease or baked on gunk. Close the oven door and leave it all there overnight. The gunk will be loosened by morning so a quick scrub will have everything, including the oven, shining.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Knitting or crochet needle container

Use a round oatmeal, cornmeal or grits box and cover with your choice: Contact paper, pictures cut from catalogs or magazines, wrapping paper covered with white glue, glued on glitter covered with shellac or more glue or yarn wrapped around and around and glued or taped at each end.

Choose the container to suit the needle height. This is especially good for knitting needles with the size on the end because it's easy to find the right size.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tortilla chip crumbs

Save tortilla chip crumbs from the bottom of the bag until you have enough to make chili pie or to top casseroles. They give an excellent flavor and if you're going to throw them away anyway... they're free. For a chili pie, butter a casserole dish and put a layer of chip crumbs on the bottom, then a layer of chili, a layer of shredded cheese and another layer of chip crumbs. Make as many layers as you want, then top with cheese and another layer of chip crumbs and bake until it's heated through.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Newspaper pots

If you're gardening this year, you might want to start some plants inside. Instead of buying containers of any kind or using plastic which you will have to remove the seedling from, make newspaper pots. You don't need the special tool to do it. Use two containers, one of which will fit into the other. Put the newspaper in the larger container and crunch it in with the smaller one. Tie cotton string around the pot when it's finished to keep it from coming apart when it gets wet. When it's time to plant the seedling, dig a hole and put the pot and all into the ground. It will degrade in time for the plants roots to grow.