Sunday, December 29, 2013

Cheaper pipe insulation

If you need insulation for your water pipes, check the difference in specially formed pipe insulation and regular sheet insulation. You can cut strips of sheet insulation and wrap around pipes, holding with duct tape and it works just as well.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Free ice melter

If you have a wood stove or fireplace or ashes left in an outdoor burner, save some of them to sprinkle on icy sidewalks. Ashes melt ice almost as quickly as salt - and they're free. AND they're better for the ground.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Make the most of sales

If you find a sale on a nonperishable item that you normally buy, try to get enough to last about three months because that's the normal sales cycle. It will be on sale again by then and you'll never have to pay full price for it.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Dry out that soap

If the shelves in your shower stay too wet and make the soap 'melt', put it in a net produce bag and hang it over the shower head or faucet. It will dry out between showers and last longer.  

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Think yourself warm

Did you know that psychology can help keep you warm? Warm colors, soft and/or fuzzy fabrics and low lighting will make a room - and you - feel warmer.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Fix those snaps!

If the snaps on your clothing or baby's won't stay snapped, you can sometimes flatten the 'ball' part slightly to fit more snugly into the other half. Just tap it gently with a hammer, but don't over do it!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

How to use those soap slivers

Put those small soap slivers in a bath mitt or simply put them in the center of a washcloth and bring two opposite corners together and tie; do the same with the other two corners. When you're through, untie the washcloth and put the soap bits back for the next time.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Dry your shoes

If you get your shoes or boots wet inside, stuff them full of crumpled newspaper. Change the newspaper a few times to absorb it all. This is also good treatment for shoes in hot weather, to absorb perspiration and odors.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Quick, warm and easy bed socks

Wear socks to bed! There's nothing more snuggly than having warm feet on a cold winter's night. If you don't want to use your regular socks, make 'bed socks' by cutting a triangle of flannel or warm knit cloth big enough to fit over your foot with one point at the toe. Sew a seam along both edges, leaving a hole big enough to fit your foot through, turn down the edges and put elastic in it.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Free funnels

Need a funnel? Cut the top from any plastic bottle and turn it upside down. You can have a variety of sizes! In a pinch, put a sheet of wax paper over a newspaper and roll the whole thing up starting from one corner. Pull it snugly into a small end and use it for a funnel for almost anything.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Never throw away a bone....

Boil all the goodness out of bones, no matter what they are. Bone marrow and all the tiny bits of meat clinging to the bone make excellent soup starter. Boil them, cool the broth and pick through it to remove gristle and most of the fat. Break up the marrow. Package it for the freezer or make a soup right away.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Powdered sugar

Make powdered sugar in your blender by whirling granulated sugar with a tiny bit of corn starch added to keep it smooth. That's what commercial powdered sugar is.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Quick and Frugal Gift for Kids

Gather several cardboard boxes of different sizes and shapes and paint or cover them with paper or cloth. Kids love these. They can build things or use them for imaginary cars or houses or whatever.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

No canned beans

Do you buy canned beans for recipes? Don't. Instead, buy dry beans, cook them in your slow cooker or on the stove, then package them in two cup portions or whatever your recipes call for, then freeze them. Thaw them in the refrigerator or microwave when you need them.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Cleaning a microwave

You don't need anything special. No lemon juice or vinegar or anything but water. Put your wet dishcloth or sponge in the microwave and turn it on long enough to sanitize it, then use a rag to wipe the microwave clean while it's still moist.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fireplace or stove "wood"

Who doesn't have toilet paper tubes? Seal one end then stuff them with crumpled paper, sticks, nutshells, whatever will burn cleanly, seal the other end and use them to keep a fire going. Bigger tubes, like the kind that aluminum foil and wax paper come on, work better and burn longer.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Use your sour milk anyway

Still out of milk? If you have sour milk or buttermilk, and want to bake something, just add baking soda to the recipe. A teaspoon is the usual amount. Substitute half of the baking powder for baking soda or just add baking soda to yeast recipes.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Got milk? No?

Any dairy or dairy like product can be used in deserts. Non dairy coffee creamer, mixed with water (try one part creamer and 3 parts water), ice cream (thaw first and cut back on sugar), cream or half and half (add three times as much water as cream).

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Cheap liquid hand soap

If you're not satisfied with other methods, try this: Buy one of those foaming liquid soaps in a container, then when you run out, replace it with dish detergent. Mix cheap detergent half and half with water, or go for the more expensive kind that promises to be kind to your skin and mix it three or four parts of water to one part detergent. It has to be thin for the foaming dispenser to work.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Emergency acid neutralizer

Dump baking soda onto acid spills to quickly neutralize them. It works on everything from battery acid to baby spit up (stomach acid).

Friday, October 4, 2013

Eating out

Just got to get out for a meal? Make a picnic lunch and go to the park or eat in your back yard.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Heat just enough water

Would you bake a cake, eat a slice of it, then throw it away? No? Then don't heat a full kettle of water, then use just a cup of it. Only heat the exact amount of water that you need. It uses much less energy.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Burning candles for their heat

Burning candles can raise the temperature of a room, so keep them for those frosty days and nights and stretch your heating fuel a little!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Lemon cleaner from scratch

As in, peel a lemon. (Use the lemon, of course!) Stuff a jar with lemon peels and cover with apple cider vinegar. Let it stand for up to a week, then strain. The resulting liquid will smell good and clean glass, counters, fixtures and more to a perfect shine!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Foam insulation for electric outlets

You don't need to buy precut foam to put behind the electrical outlets to keep the cold air out. Save a few of those foam meat trays, cut them to size and insert like you would the kind you have to buy.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Ramen Noodles

They're not nutritious, but they can help create a meal or a snack cheaply. Use them in egg drop soup to make it more filling, add meat and vegetables for soup, or use them as a cracker substitute (uncooked!). Ramen noodles can double as spaghetti in a pinch or, crushed, stretch a meatloaf or casserole. Keep a few packages on hand, just in case. If you don't use the flavor packages, save them for soup.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Extending real butter

If you prefer real butter to margarine, you can make it stretch and keep it healthy and tasting good by adding olive oil to it. Warm a quarter pound of butter and add two or three tablespoons of olive oil and mix well. Added bonus: The butter will stay soft in the refrigerator.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Got an earache?

Olive oil, warmed and dropped into your ear works just like the old fashioned sweet oil that used to be sold for earaches.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Coffee grounds for a fresh smell

Got a bad smell somewhere? Just set out a small bowl of coffee grounds and the smell will be gone soon. When you're through with them, put them in the garden or on house plants.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Beat "ring around the collar"!

Rub a piece of plain white chalk over the offending area and let it set overnight before laundering. It's amazing.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Greasy soup? Fix it!

A lettuce leaf will soak up excess grease from a pot of soup. Leave it in for little while, then remove and discard. If the soup is very greasy, use two or more leaves.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Look for the bargains this way

Grocery and other stores put lower priced items at the very bottom or sometimes at the very top, in hopes that you won't notice them and you'll buy the higher priced items at more comfortable levels. Fool them. Check the prices in that hard to see and reach areas!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Don't waste limp celery

Put celery in a glass of cold water and add a slice of raw potato. It will crisp right up in just a little while!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Reusing ribbon

You can iron ribbon of all kinds. Use a low or very low setting for most of them and wind them on cardboard tubes from toilet tissue. It will look like new. Some quality ribbon made of cloth can even be washed and then ironed. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Most popular post

By far the most popular post is "You can wash suede clothing." Who knew? Along those same lines is this: Don't wash your clothes every time you wear them. Really. Hang them so they can air out and unless they have visible dirt of some kind, wear them again. And maybe again. Dare I say four times? It's up to you.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Quit buying food

Interesting concept, right? Try it for a week or two weeks. Now, in the summertime, it's easier because you can forage and/or be the recipient of OPGs (other people's gardens). You might be able to barter for meat or eggs. Think hard about ways to get food without buying it (no stealing or begging!).

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Old apples

Got apples going soft? Don't toss them or feed them to the wild life! Peel, core and put them in a pan to cook for applesauce. That's all you have to do. It's so simple and such a good way to save money. You save the apples and you save money by not buying apple sauce at the store. And, yes, old apples will make good apple sauce.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Take advantage of back to school sales

Even if you don't have children going back to school, back to school sales make it a great time to stock up on pens, pencils, notebooks and so on for personal use. Look for stocking stuffers, too, like nice pens, unique pencil sharpeners and small calculators on sale.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Take care of what you have.

A simple idea, right? How many of us polish our shoes, repair damaged clothing or rewire lamps? They're simple things for the most part and they can save a lot of money.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Water from your freezer

If you have a freezer that isn't frost free, now is a good time to defrost it. Save the water as the ice melts and put it in a bucket. It's clean and it's free. Water the garden, mop the floor, wash the car.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Use up scented candles

What to do with the leftover bits of scented candles? Get the most out of them by melting them in a small container, just like those small scented wax tarts. The scent will last through two or three heatings.

If you don't have a tart warmer, put the candle ends in a small pan inside a double boiler, or set it in a pan with a little water and heat.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Save that envelope

Make a mistake with the address on an envelope? Don't toss it. Steam the seams until they come apart (with a little help from you), then turn the envelope inside out following the fold marks exactly. Reglue the seams. Use a good glue stick or clear tape to close the envelope.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Cheap wood floor polish

Use three parts pf olive oil with one part white vinegar for wood floor polish. Rub it in with a cloth over your mop or do it by hand.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Forget the lip balm

Use petroleum jelly instead. It works great overnight to soften chapped lips. Works great during the day, too, and if you want a little color, mix in a tiny bit of lipstick.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Barley, rice and other flours

Ever wish you had barley flour? Or rice flour? Those things are expensive to buy, but if you have a good blender or a grain mill, you can make your own easily. They're grains, just like wheat. Get it? You can even make bean flour from dry beans (uncooked!).

Monday, April 1, 2013

Leftover Easter eggs

Got leftover Easter eggs? Make egg salad sandwiches, add to soup or meatloaf, make a potato and egg casserole with cheese and milk, cream a few of them with cream cheese and add bits of bacon or chives for a chip dip. Don't just let them rot away in the refrigerator!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Make your own colored sugar

Don't spend money on colored sugar to decorate cakes and cookies! A drop or two of food coloring added to a quarter up of plain granulated sugar, then shaken vigorously, is exactly the same... and a lot cheaper. Experiment with beet juice or strong tea. If two drops won't do it, try three.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Another use for mateless socks

Keep one in the glove compartment of the car to quickly wipe fog or dust from the windows or check the oil. Keep a plastic grocery bag with it to store it in if it becomes gunky.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Uses for mateless socks

Got a sock without a mate? (Don't we all?) Don't get rid of it. Cotton socks make great dust cloths, but if your sock isn't cotton? Use it to launder small items or items that tangle and twist. Put the items in the sock, tie the top and drop it into the washer with the rest of the laundry.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Clean up with dish soap bottles

Keep a few of those squirt dish soap bottles filled with water. If your water supply is cut off for any reason, they're excellent for washing hands or other clean ups. They're great also for camping or other outside activity where you need to wash up.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Uses for fabric softener sheets

If you're still using fabric softener sheets, don't toss the used ones. They're antistatic and can be successfully used to dust TV screens or other electronics. Or... use them as facing when sewing small things.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Free laundry detergent

Do you use a laundromat or other public laundry facility? You might want to wait until you're the only one there for this one.

Go through the trash and pick out discarded detergent containers, both liquid and powder. Rinse a couple of "empty" liquid detergent bottles into your laundry and that should be enough. For the powder, bang the boxes on their corners a few times and pour the powder out into one box. Do it on all four corners. You'll be surprised how much is left in there.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Tea bags from panty hose

They're perfectly clean if you wash them well... the toes make excellent tea bags for loose leaf tea with just a little effort. Cut them off a little bigger than you think you'll need, then hem them by hand and run embroidery thread or light twine around the edge to use as a pull string.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Double Zero

We've been doubling sales every 18 months. However, when you start from zero, it takes a long while."
- Stephen Yeo, a marketing director at Windows-terminal manufacturer Wyse, explaining his company's slow growth.

I guess you gotta start somewhere, but do the math before you commit.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Never Buy Lettuce

Even if you have nothing but a table with a lamp on it, you can grow lettuce for your salads and sandwiches.

This time of year, I'm all about growing things in the garden, but most of it is daydreaming right now. Instead of planting things in the snow, I plant them for the windowsills. Lettuce and radishes are easy to grow indoors, so I have to get the jump on the season.

Really, though, it's easy to grow those things year 'round indoors, so why pay between one and two dollars for a head of lettuce? Or almost as much for a small bunch of radishes? Why not have your salad and eat it, too??

A pot of eight inches or deeper, a few seeds and some water is all it takes. Both radishes and lettuce like cooler temperatures so a windowsill is ideal. Don't overwater, but don't let them dry out.

Use good soil. Potting soil is okay to start them, but you'll need to supplement with fertilizer or add compost to begin with. Fertilize the plants every month or so. 

Harvest lettuce when the leaves are at least 4 inches tall. Cut  off a few and let the plant grow again - that's why you need more than one plant.

Radishes are ready when they're as big as you want them.

If you want to save seeds from your lettuce and radishes, you'll need to set them outdoors when the weather settles. They'll be ready to go to seed in a couple of months, so plan accordingly.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Cheap Easter Treat

Cut home made sugar, peanut butter or oatmeal cookies in the shape of eggs, bake and decorate with frosting, then wrap individually for Easter basket treats. You can make some huge ones or tiny ones just for fun.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Quick Candles

Save the wax drippings from candles as well as candle stubs. Melt it down and pour it into small containers. Let it cool until it forms a skim over the top, then insert a birthday candle in the center (for the wick).

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Leftover Beans

Got leftover cooked beans? Rinse, drain, mash and add them to meatloaf. No one will ever know they're in there. It extends the meat and adds fiber, too.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Make Your Own "Corn Syrup"

If you want to make something but you're out of corn syrup, or if you're like me and want to avoid as many GMO corn products as possible, you can make a good substitute by adding a quarter cup of water to a cup of sugar. Mix it well and cook until it's syrupy when you put a drop into cold water. Don't overcook it because it will become like hard candy. Store and use just like corn syrup.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Duct Tape

The use of duct tape suddenly took off a few years ago and wound up to be a sort of art - or craft, if you will. Not to lose out on an opportunity, companies started making it with colors and designs. Thank heavens we can still find plain old gray duct tape that works. Keep some handy to make repairs or for more creative projects. Hem a pair of jeans, cover a splintery rake handle... or close a leaky duct.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Easter Baskets

Still saving plastic grocery bags? Good! Make plarn from them then knit, braid or crochet Easter baskets. Use spring or basket-y colors and they look great. Start with a circle then create straight sides. Add a handle and you're done.

How to Knit a Rug (circle) Without a Pattern
How to Knit an Easter Basket
How to Crochet a Basket

If you've ever braided a rug, the concept is the same. Sew the braid into a circle then sew it into the sides.

Cheap? More than that. They're free. And cool!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Egg whites

Leftover egg whites? Use them for a facial mask, or put them in a meatloaf. They break down the 'gum' in chewing gum so that it's easily removed from fabrics and hair, too.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Keep your car battery in good shape

Car Tip: To prevent corrosion on your battery posts, apply some petroleum jelly  to them. Make sure that your car engine is cold before attempting this.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Go prepared

When you're in the market for a major purchase, don't go to the store until you know what you want. Research the product and decide what size, color and so on, will be the best for you. Going armed with your exact requirements is defense against a salesman trying to unload a 'great buy' that wouldn't suit your needs.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Freeze leftovers for convenient use

Put leftovers in serving sized containers and freeze. Individual yogurt cups are great for this. Seal the lids with tape and mark the contents. When you're busy or tired, dinner is already cooked and everyone can mix and match to their heart's desire! Just run water over the containers to release the food, put on a plate and microwave. (Or put on an oven proof dish and warm in the oven.)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Close vents in unused rooms this way

Instead of buying magnetic sheets to cover vents in unused rooms, buy narrow rolls of that magnetic stuff (or cut strips from a sheet of it) and put them around the edges of (free) cardboard sheets. It's just as effective and costs a lot less.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Plastic bag ropes

It's surprising how strong a strip of plastic bag can be. Cut it several inches wide and twist to make a rope or cord shape for tying almost anything. It won't stretch out once it's twisted and tied.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Free shower cap

Need a shower cap? Use a plastic grocery bag. Just put it on your head, twist the excess and tuck it in.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Cleaning glass fireplace doors

Got hazy glass fireplace or wood stove doors? Make a paste of baking soda paste mixed with the same amount of ashes and a little water. Apply with a cloth, then wipe off with newspapers.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Manual Grain Mill: A Practical Appliance

A hand operated grain mill is a practical kitchen appliance. In a pinch, you can grind popcorn for corn meal; grind peppercorns more easily than a pepper mill, grind coffee beans, wheat, barley and even make bread crumbs if your bread is dry.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Thawing Food Cheaper

The microwave is a great time saver, and cooks food with less energy and heat waste than a conventional oven, but don't put off thawing foods just because you can do it faster in the microwave. It's still cheaper to thaw meats in the refrigerator (or, in some instances, in water)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Shower Time!

Try to take your shower between sunup and sundown to avoid having to use the bathroom light. Light bulbs in a bathroom should last years, even if they're not the long lasting kind.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Dish Cloths from Old Socks

Cotton or cotton blend socks, when they're worn out, make excellent dish cloths. Sew a couple together if they're too thin otherwise. And, no, it's not gross. Unless you don't wash them first.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Soup stock from garbage

Save onion skins, potato peelings, carrot trimmings and everything else from your vegetables when you prepare them. Wash the vegetables first, then trim and put the trimmings in a bag in the freezer until you have a gallon or so. Plop them into a pot of boiling water and boil a half hour to an hour, until everything is tender, then strain the broth and freeze it, drink it hot or use it to make soup. The taste is excellent and it's loaded with vitamins and minerals.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Free guitar picks

Lost your guitar pick? Any old credit card will work. Cut it to shape and file the edge with a nail file until it's smooth and uniform.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Separators for hamburger patties

Lids to plastic containers are perfect for making hamburger patties for the freezer. Just insert one lid between each patty and freeze. All you have to do is bend the lids slightly and each patty will pop loose.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Free rubber spatulas

Got a supply of mismatched plastic containers? Don't toss them. Cut them with a pair of sturdy scissors to make "rubber" spatulas. Shape them however you want, making them large enough to handle comfortably. Make a few for yucky things so you can toss them instead of washing them.