Monday, December 31, 2012

Make a free calendar

Got your 2013 calendar? No? They can be expensive! Print your own for free from web sources. Some come in HTML, but some are plain graphic files. A simple graphic program will be able to add images you have on your computer to make it very personally your own.

Here's a place to start, but look up "printable calendars" through a search engine for lots more:

Printable 2013 Calendar

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Saving money in the new year

Don't like resolutions? How about goals for the New Year? Promise yourself to save a dollar every time you ________. Or five dollars whenever you ________.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Removing jar labels

Reusing jars and other containers is frugal, but if you don't think a label stating pickles or spaghetti sauce is stylish, you'll want to remove them. Soaking some labels in plain water will help remove them, but others use a different type of glue that just won't come off with water. These will come off with lamp oil. Lamp oil is refined kerosene (you can use kerosene, since it's cheaper). Either one will dissolve gummy glues. Put it on with a small cloth, then leave the cloth on it until you can rub the label off.

Edited to add: You can also use nail polish remover. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Frost free windsheld

Use a solution of three parts white distilled vinegar to one part water to wash your windshield. This will help keep frost from covering it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Yes, you can decorate windows with paint

If you add a teaspoon of dish soap to acrylic paint, you can decorate your windows and mirrors for the holidays. Draw big snowmen or other decorations. It will wash right off when you're ready for it to. No greasy smears like the snow in a can leaves.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Make your own picture frames

It's easy to make custom sized picture frames. Measure the picture and add 1 1/2 inches all the way around. Cut two pieces of this size from a cereal or detergent box. Cut the center from one piece 1/4 to 1/2 inches smaller than the picture, then glue three sides together, patterned side in. Slip the picture in through the fourth side, position and use a dab of glue to hold it in place. Decorate the frame by painting, gluing on buttons or other small objects or even decoupaging it. Let your imagination be your guide.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Gift presentation is everything!

Are you thinking about making candy and cookies for gifts? Don't just put them in a box or Christmas tin, though. Wrap them individually with plastic wrap or wax paper, put some tissue in the container, add a few sprigs of greenery or a hand made Christmas ornament. Write a fancy note that says "Hand made especially for you" or something similar. Make it special.

45 day candle

A pound of lard or shortening can be made into an emergency candle
that will last days and days. Take a heavy cotton string, crochet thread or a twist of several strands of cotton sewing thread to make a wick. Melt just a little bit of the fat and soak the wick in it. Using an ice pick, knitting needle or anything long and sharp, poke a hole in the center of the container of fat, then insert the wick into it, pushing it down to the bottom.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Witch Hazel

Don't spend more than you need to for facial astringents and toners. Witch hazel is pretty cheap and a little goes a long way. It's fine for sensitive skin, too and non drying while ridding the skin of excess oil. What more could you want?

Monday, December 3, 2012

Frugal gift that's special

Gather up special family photos and create small photo albums.
Make (or buy) a calendar and add extended family birthdays, anniversaries and other family celebrations.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dry Skin? Don't Pay to Relieve It

Frugal ways to cope with dry skin are often more natural and better for you than expensive chemical solutions. The fact is that no lotion or cream has any "secret ingredient" that is good for your skin. Oil or fat, plus water, plus stabilizers, plus fragrance is about all it takes, whether it costs you a dollar or a hundred dollars. Or a dime.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Aluminum Foil

First, don't use much of it. When it goes to the landfill, it's a "nonrenewable resource." (How easy is it to find all those crumpled sheets in a landfill and reuse them?)

If you do use it, use it for all its worth. After the original use, wash it of course. But wash it again if it's still in good enough shape. Grease and baked on stuff will come off with hot water and a good soak.

When it's too far gone to use again for covering things, wad it up and use it as a scouring pad. You'll be surprised how well it works.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

...and save all that food! I'm thankful that the biggest problem I have with Thanksgiving is how to use up or store all the leftovers. Yes, I feel guilty about it when I stop to think. There are people who will be glad to have anything at all to eat and there are those who won't have even that.

Click to donate to the hungry.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Free (Almost) Holiday Chain

You know all those brightly colored Christmas catalogs that you look through and then never order from? Put them to use. Cut strips 4 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide from the brightest colors. Fold a third of each edge in on each strip. This will help make the chain sturdier, but if you have lots of heavier paper you can just cut the strips a half inch wide instead. Make a chain from these strips by making circles of each one and inserting... you know how to do that. Fasten with tacky glue or staples.

Tip: Cut the strips from pages that have the best colors, but don't worry so much what the pictures are of. You won't notice that once the chain is made.

You can adjust the size to suit yourself and your tree, windows or other decorations.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Knitted stocking stuffers for babies

Just a few ideas: Soft ball (There are patterns for this on the internet.) Pair of socks (Lots of free patterns for baby socks on the internet) Pair of mittens (Simple shape with no thumbs. Cast on enough stitches to go around baby's wrist, rib for an inch or so, then work even until you're within a half inch of the length of the hand. Decrease 4 stitches evenly over the next few rows, then draw the yarn through remaining stitches and fasten securely. Hat (Again, lots of free patterns for this.) Small sock monkey or other small toy (There are lots of free patterns on the 'net.) Bib (Basically a square with strings on two corners). Blocks (knit 6 blocks the same size and sew them together, stuffing them as you go.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


It's frugal in a lot of ways. First, it doesn't cost much to walk. Certainly a lot less than buying gas, insurance, maintenance and tags for a car. Secondly, it lowers your doctor bills. Walking is healthy for anyone who can walk. It will lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, increase muscle strength and lung capacity and help digestion, to mention a few things. Most of us live in places where we can walk to something. To stores or to work or to the park. Even if you can't walk there, walk around a few blocks. You'll be money and health ahead.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Free Food Safe Containers

Plastic two liter soda or sparkling water bottles are the perfect size for storing many things. They're almost ideal, as a matter of fact. The lids are airtight, you can see what's in them and you can store them either upright or stack them on their sides. You can store liquids (as in water) or solids (as in rice, flour, oats, pastas, grains, salt, sugar...) Even if you don't buy soft drinks in these containers, they're so common that someone you know will surely save a few for you.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Cheaper thread for hand sewing

If you're hand sewing and need a certain color, buy embroidery thread instead of spooled thread. It's cheaper and the colors are easier to match your project. You can separate the threads and there's actually quite a bit of single ply thread on a skein of embroidery yarn!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Containers for your garden

Need containers to plant things in? Unless you want them all to match (and maybe even then!) you might already have containers. Got a coffee can or two? Take off the label and there you go. Or how about an old wheelbarrow? Or a big vase? Or a child's sandbox bucket? Anything that can contain something is fair game. Look around the house and see what you can find before buying pots and containers.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Dehydrating food

Do it without spending extra money. That's the only way it makes sense. Why buy "survival" dried food, when you can dehydrate food for yourself? It doesn't even take an electric dehydrator. Look into solar dehydrator. Or do it the old fashioned way and just put food out on trays in the sun, covered with a light cloth to keep the bugs out!

Friday, February 10, 2012

How to Really Save Money on Lighting

First, you don't save a lot right off the bat if you buy CFS bulbs for four or five times the cost of four incandescent bulbs. Let's be real.

Secondly, unless you turn the lights on and leave them for hours, you're not going to save as much in electricity as the ads would have you believe.

Thirdly, no matter what bulb you use, it costs less to use a lower wattage and it costs even less to not use them at all. Do you really need a night light burning all night in the bathroom? Do you need a light every time you go into the kitchen, even though the refrigerator (where you're headed) has a light of its own?

Think about it.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Pennies and aluminum cans

They're both the same, you know. A lot of people won't bother to bend down to pick up either a penny or an aluminum can. I do.


A penny times ten is a dime and a dime times ten is a dollar. I'd stop to pick up a dollar any time. Wouldn't you?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Make the Basics

Are you still buying paper napkins?? Why not take some of those old clothes you set aside for rags or donating to make some cloth napkins? It won't cost a thing except a little thread and some of your time. Just cut out squares (size isn't critical) and hem them. Handkerchiefs are the exact same. Just designate which one for which use.

There. You've saved money, storage and even gone a little green.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Are Salvage Grocery Stores Extreme?

Is it extremely frugal to shop at salvage grocery stores? I got into a conversation with someone who thought so. She thought the food there was out of date, crunched cans and ripped packages. I tried to tell her that the government didn't allow food like that to be sold for human consumption.

So... do you shop at salvage grocery stores? I do. And I don't think it's extreme, but I think it's smart.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Whiten clothes for free

Here's one that might gross you out, but I'm told it works (no, I haven't tried it).

To get white clothes really white, soak them in human urine.

That may not even strike some as extreme, but it will cause a few "ewwws" out there. I can hear it.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Dibs and dabs

Do you save the salt from the pretzel bag? How about the sugar from a package of candied ginger? Cookie crumbs? Bread crumbs? Those things add up faster than you might think if you have a special place to put them. And USE them. There's no sense in keeping dibs and dabs if you don't use them.

The last package of candied ginger I used yielded enough sugar to sweeten a cup of tea. Why not? I paid for it.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Hang laundry wherever...

If you can't hang the laundry outside, hang it inside. Okay, so that's not so extreme. But if you don't have a place for it inside, put it on wire hangers and hang those from doorways, from dresser knobs, from the backs of chairs, from lamp shades... wherever a hanger will fit. Of course you don't want to weight a lamp so it turns over or cause damage to anything. Put heavier items in the doorways.