Getting started, need some help....

peanutmomSeptember 5, 2009

I have been lurking here for a while. (Thinking peeping-tom, and chuckling to myself.) I normally hang out in the old house forum, but love to learn, so here I am....

I have learned a LOT. I am hanging my clothes out more, using fabric softener a lot less, canned my own garden veggies(glad I knew how to do that before), started composting and want to start recycling.

I already used cfl bulbs. And shop yardsales and thrift shops. I use freecycle and donate regularly to charities. I love to make crafts so sewing and crocheting are not unheard of.

If anyone has any new ideas for saving money or making it go further, I would love to hear them. I also would like to know if anyone has a good recipe for homemade biscuit mix, and pizza dough, and bread that never(or almost never) fails. LOL. If there is one that never fails, I'm sure there would be a great market for it.

BTW: I want to add that I have loved listening (watching?) some of the posters here. ole joyful, grainlady, budster, and cynic are some of my favorites despite the differences of approach to our common goal. Keeping as much of our money working for us as possible.

Thanks for the ear(eye?) everyone.


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Do you have a bread machine? If so I'll give you a couple of easy bread recipes.

Home-Made Biscuit Mix
There are a lot of versions out there. This is the one I prefer, a little lower in fat than the others. I have used it for almost 40 years. Makes about 13 C, the extra will keep on the shelf for a little while, but almost indefinitely in the freezer. When I make biscuits with this, I just add club soda, nothing more, but you can also mix it with water for biscuits or dumplings. For pancakes, add egg and water. Use in any recipe that calls for Bisquik.

9 C all-purpose flour
1/3 C baking powder
1 3/4 C shortening
1 T salt
3 T. sugar
1 1/2 C instant nonfat dry milk

Combine all dry ingredients in large bowl. Cut in shortening with pastry blender until evenly distributed. Mixture will resemble cornmeal in texture. Put in large airtight container, store in a cool dry place. Stored this way, use within 12 weeks. If frozen, will last indefinitely. Use in any recipe that calls for Bisquik.

Shake n Bake
I can't claim authorship of this one and don't remember where I found it, but it's good.

3-1/2 cups corn flake crumbs
1/4 C all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder

Combine all ingredients and stir to combine. Prepare chicken following the same technique as described on the box of the original mix using 2 1/2 lb. of bone-in chicken (6 to 8 pieces, with or without skin) or 2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast halves Preheat your oven to 400º, then moisten the chicken with water. Use a large plastic bag for the coating and use the same steps as described on the original package:

Shake moistened chicken, 1 to 2 pieces at a time, in shaker bag with coating mixture. Discard any remaining mixture and bag. Bake at 400º in ungreased or foil-lined 15x10x1-inch baking pan until cooked through --BONE-IN: 45 minutes/BONELESS: 20 minutes"

These are worth making even if there are no kids in the house. ItÂs a good way to get milk into a kid without them knowing it. This recipe came from a lady whose taxes I used to do in Indiana.

1 3-oz pkg chocolate pudding mix, prepared as directed on package
1 C. canned condensed milk (not sweetened condensed milk)

After the pudding has been prepared, stir in the canned milk until well blended. Pour into ice-cube trays, paper C or popsickle forms. Freeze.

Home-Made Play-Dough
DS and DD spent hours making things with their play dough. You wonÂt catch the kids eating this, because the salt makes it nasty, but if they did, itÂs not toxic. If they make something you want to keep, bake at 300 º. Then they can be painted, and you can preserve by dipping in polyurethane. I have some wonderful Christmas ornaments DS made 30 years ago that still look good, although they have just recently started to get a bit fragile. I'm told, if you want color, you can stir in some unsweetened koolaid drink mix.

4 C. flour
1 C. salt
1 1/ 4 C. water

Mix flour and salt with fork in a medium sized mixing bowl. Add 1 C. of water and continue mixing until crumbly. Add 1/ 4C. water and knead till dough is smooth and leathery. Take time to mix thoroughly. Add extra water sparingly only if dough remains extremely dry. You can add food coloring, but I donÂt think kids care one way or the other about that. Store in airtight container in refrigerator. May be a little stiff at first, teach the kids how to knead it and it will be pliable in no time.

Jello Popsickles
From a woman whose taxes I did in Indiana, 30 years ago. These donÂt get as "drippy". IÂve had good results with substituting 1 C frozen juice concentrate for the sugar, Kool-Aid and half the cold water. I just canÂt justify putting that much artificial coloring and sugar into a kid.

1 3oz. Pkg Jello
1 C sugar
2 C cold water
1 envelope Kool-Aid
2 C boiling water

Dissolve Jell-O, Kool-Aid and sugar in boiling water. Add cold water, pour into ice-cube trays, paper C or popsicle molds. Freeze till firm. Makes 20-24.

IleneÂs Corn Dogs
Made these for my kids a lot when they were little. I liked them dipped in mustard. Awfully high in fat, though. Need a deep fat thermometer for this one. If the fatÂs too hot, the coating will not cook all the way thru. If the fatÂs too cool, the coating will absorb so much of the fat they will be nasty.

1 C. flour
1 T. dry mustard
1 C. milk
3/4 C. cornmeal
2 T. sugar
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 beaten egg
2 T. oil
12 franks on skewers

Combine all ingredients well. Pour into tall glass. Dip franks one at a time into the glass, then immediately immerse in the hot fat (375º) till golden brown.

Impossible Breakfast Casserole
This is a favorite at our Church breakfasts. Kids love it if you leave out the veggies. I had a version at a Church brunch where the cook had covered the bottom of the casserole with diced potatoes and it was quite tasty and resulted in several more servings.

1 # sausage, browned and drained well,
or 2 C. coarsely chopped ham
1/3 C. chopped green onion
1 C. shredded cheddar or swiss cheese (I have used sliced Velveeta in a pinch)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
3 C. milk
6 eggs
2 C. Bisquik
chopped red or green pepper (opt.)

Heat oven to 350º. Grease 9x11" cake pan. Sprinkle meat, cheese, onions and peppers into pan. Beat milk, eggs, salt, pepper and baking mix till smooth. Stir in cheese. Pour into pan. Bake 30-40 minutes or till knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Calico Beans
This is a good with Bread Machine Cornbread. Serves 8 to 10. A double recipe fills a large crock pot. If you double the recipe, drain one of the cans of butter beans. I think I got this recipe from I usually cut back on the sugar, but DS likes it best just as written.

1/2 C. bacon, chopped
1/2# lean ground beef
1 (15 oz.) can pork and beans
1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans, drained
1 (15 oz.) can butter beans
1 (15 oz.) can lima beans, drained
1/2 to 1# fresh green beans
3/4 C. ketchup
3/4 C. packed brown sugar
1 C. chopped onion
3 Tbsp. vinegar
1 tsp. mustard powder
1/2 C. chopped celery

Cook the bacon and the ground beef until brown. Drain well. Place green beans in the bottom of the crock pot. Blend the meat with all other ingredients and pour on top of the green beans. Cook for about 4 hours on high.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2009 at 9:23AM
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1. A trip to the library should give you a wealth of resources for any new "frugalite". So don't forget to take advantage of them. You'll find how-to DVDs/tapes, books, cookbooks, on any number of frugal subjects.

2. For that pizza crust, you will find pizza crust mixes at the store that cost well under a $1 that are perfect for making your own dough. Especially if you are new to yeast products and making yeast breads. Yeast is fairly expensive unless you purchase it in bulk amounts, so the pizza dough packets are cheap and easy because they contain everything other than the water and a little oil.

For the sauce, I make my own using tomato powder. I have eliminated not only pizza sauce, but tomato sauce and tomato paste by using tomato powder instead. I order it from The Spice House ( It takes up less space than all those cans of tomato products, and is less expensive to use. I store it in the refrigerator (a very dry environment) to keep it free-flowing. There aren't any preservatives in it, so don't leave it open any longer than you need to take out the amount you require. I added one of those silicon "pillows" from a bottle of dietary supplements we take, and I haven't had any problem with the tomato powder "clumping". There are recipes for using tomato powder at The Spice House web site.

Pizza Sauce
3 t. tomato powder
3 T. water (add more water if you want a thinner sauce)
tiny bit of agave nectar (or honey)
1/4-1/2 t. vinegar
Italian Spices or Pizza Spices

3. Use bubble wrap as inexpensive window insulation:

4. The first way to save on groceries is to have a set (cash) amount (for our family of 2 adults - $50/week), and stay within your set budget amount for all food purchases. I purchase all our food on that budget, and that includes hundreds of pounds of wheat and other grains/seeds, bulk amounts of beans, and a year's supply of a whey-based milk substitute we use instead of milk from the store.

5. Learn how to use whole grains.

6. Make your own convenience foods, such baking mix and the recipe ilene in neok shared. I make a wholegrain version for better nutrition and fiber, and I also use this same mixture as a base for one of my recipes for homemade pizza dough. You can also make Gifts-in-a-Jar mixes for your OWN home pantry, as a way to make your own convenience foods.

7. Save your $1 bills and place the money in a bank savings account each month. We use the $1 account as a mini-emergency account and also to fund Christmas. I've saved as much as $1,000 in a year this way, but never less than $700. I also budget $20/month and pay myself to cut my own hair. This money is also added to the savings account, for another $240. This way it's TRULY saved, and not just spent elsewhere.

8. Meal planning. Wasted food is the most expensive food we purchase!!! If you plan meals, then that head of lettuce or cabbage will be incorporated in several meals throughout the week, rather than dieing of loneliness in the crisper drawer. I also dehydrate foods so they don't go to waste. A box of marked down mushrooms are quickly dehydrated. Marked down fruit makes great fruit leather (aka fruit roll-ups). I consider the two best kitchen tools for saving on food dollars are my dehydrator and my FoodSaver vacuum sealer.

9. Where possible, use LED lights (several types are now available at a reasonable price from Sam's Club) because they use even LESS electricity than CFL - and NO mercury. They aren't appropriate for every use, but I've managed to use them in about 50% of our lights.

10. From Amy Dacyczyn's book, The Tightwad Gazette (#1 of 3), a MUST read for anyone wishing to become a frugal zealot...

- Buy it cheaper
- Make it last longer
- Use it less


    Bookmark   September 6, 2009 at 10:26AM
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Thank you ilene in neok. I sat down at the computer and immediately added the recipes to my recipe box. I have read many of your posts and you have some great ideas.

Grainlady, I have canned some spaghetti sauce that seems to make a fine pizza sauce as well. I made a batch of spaghetti last night and a friend of mine who recently had a baby requested a bowl, as she hadn't eaten yet all day. (Oh thank heavens I didn't have all of my little ones all little at the same time.) She called me this afternoon to tell me that she would love to have some of my home canned sauce if I thought I had canned to much. That has yet to be seen. I haven't canned that much of my own garden produce in 10 years, and don't know how that will last with a new family.

I actually grew up mostly with my grandmother teaching me to cook and sew. I also learned my love of crafts(read crocheting) from her. I have started to use a lot of whole grain flour in my cooking. I mix it half and half with all purpose and my family has yet to notice. I actually have a pretty good knack for making bread and such, but for some reason my last batches of bread have turned out a bit grainy and I'm not sure that they were not just a waste of time a ingredients. Oh well, maybe just out of practice. I think the last batch is about to become bread pudding. I just need to pick up some raisins.

I have seen the new light bulbs with the led's in Sam's club and haven't tried them as none of my cfl's have died yet. I have read the hot and heavy debate on warehouse clubs and have a membership and use it well. We don't buy everything there. I make note of the things that I can buy there at a significant savings of over even sales and coupons at my local stores and stock up about every other month. Examples are shredded cheese, diapers, wipes, laundry detergent, milk, walnuts, bacon bits, toilet paper, Nesquik(an absolute must for DH), and then there is our favorite take out- the rotisserie chicken. We do get other items there and I comparison shop before we buy, but these are our regulars.

I have been noticing that many of the common sense practices that I see listed on the forum are things I have always done out of habit. I look at one of the smartest things I have done is sign up for online banking to easily transfer money from my checking to my savings. I can't even imagine what a mess I was before. Savings was a word that I only used in reference to the grocery store. I have tried very hard to dig myself out of a hole and get on top of my money instead of it being on top of me.

Thank you for the ideas and the advice. I would love to hear more if anyone has them.


    Bookmark   September 6, 2009 at 5:49PM
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Hi Peanutmom,
I don't post here very often but like you I read what all of these lovely people have to say! This place is a font of useful information. The best part is it is usually given with well wishes and a giggle or two along the way.
The only advice I can give other than to keep reading here is to just keep trying. You will be amazed how all of this seeps in to other areas of your life. And amazingly it does rub off on those around you if done with a joyful manner.
It sounds as if you will have a lot to share here with the rest of us!
Welcome- I look forward to reading what you have to contribute!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2009 at 6:15PM
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My tried and true method for saving money is to set myself a weekly limit and record every penny spent. When I reach the limit, I stop spending until the seven days are done and then it "resets." I've also found that limiting my weekly shopping to two days (max) only--the other days I don't enter stores at all--helps. It forces me to make a list, prepare coupons, etc. and eliminates spontaneous spending.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2009 at 7:24PM
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Back again. My husband is going to think I'm never getting off of the computer. LOL. I agree with the "font" of knowledge. I never even thought of some of the things I have read in here. I have tried many and had some real success. I absolutely love the new attitude. My husband has told me often in the last weeks that he is proud of me. Because for pennies on the dollar, I have canned a lot of what we normally use. Oh he might have thought I went a little overboard on the sweet corn freezing(26 dozen ears), but he sure enjoys eating it. I love the fact that our food is here and not "there" so now I just go to the basement(my new hangout) and look for all the trimmings.

One thing I forgot to mention is the fact that we also butcher our own pork and beef. By our own I mean one of the local farmers. I can't stand eating all of the supermarket stuff after having the "real thing". I know killing helpless animals is not everyone's idea of good food, but they sure taste good. (Evil cackle) Sorry, couldn't help myself.

I still have tomatoes in the garden, but my MIL is begging for some of ours because hers didn't do so well this year. I have been laid off since January and trying to keep it all moving along here. I was shocked at how much money was wasted when I was working. (Very red face) I would have felt rich if I had been able to save what I wasted. Alas, I know of no one who can turn back time. I fully intend to keep a tight hold on my money so I don't have to wake up sweating in the middle of the night.

I have decided to give homemade gifts this year. I started crocheting dishcloths just today. I also think it would be great to mix up a few things and put them in jars for a few of my friends who still haven't learned that not all food comes out of boxes or cans. With the full recipe included on a very nice recipe card to inspire them to someday try the whole thing on their own.(Big smile) I would very much appreciate some other ideas especially for kids. Anyone? I'm overloaded on the neice and nephew department. Love 'em. Hate shopping.

As for budgets, still working on that one. I have yet to figure out a workable amount for my family. I basically have been trying to pay the bills and buy the absolute basics, trying to save the rest. The only problem is- there is no "rest" with vehicle problems popping up nilly-willy. I am so proud of the fact that DH can fix nearly everything(with some minor help from me and my pal google doing some of the trouble shooting). He has been a great help on saving money. We have been remodeling our home on a shoestring budget(ok, maybe dental floss budget), and have learned there are a lot of ways to save money there without killing quality.

Okay, gotta shower and crash. Night all.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2009 at 11:59PM
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I have recently started a food blog where I share in addition to the recipes and step by step instructions also the cost of the dish and the calories in it. I make a bread that has yet to fail and costs me $ 0.23 a loaf to make. If you want a link, drop me an e-mail. It is listed on my profile page.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2009 at 7:44PM
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There are a few small kitchen appliances that I wouldn't be without. I've bought most of them in thrift shops and at yard sales. These items are:

1. bread machine. Can most often be picked up for about $5 at yard sales. Get one that makes a 2 pound loaf and that has an instruction book, although once you know how to work one of them, the rest are pretty much the same. My bread machine kneads bread better than I do, and I use it a lot just for the kneading function but also to save time. I can throw my ingredients all into the bread pan and start it, then do other things till the machine is done kneading. I don't usually let it rise inside the dough pan unless I unplug the machine immediately after the kneading is over, because I feel like it's too warm. But now and then, in the winter when the kitchen is a little on the cold side, I vary from that.

2. Crock Pot. I just bought a brand new 6-quart oval crock pot for $10 at a yard sale. You can get ones that have been used for less. The one I had before, I got for free from a thrift shop, because it was missing the knob on the lid. It's now developed some cracks around the handles and I don't feel safe carrying it around by the handles any more. I use my crock pot a lot, year round. In the summer when I'm air-conditioning, I'll cook a meal in the crock pot out on the porch, where it won't add heat to the kitchen. In the winter, I bring it inside to add heat while it cooks. I make beans, soups, roast (a beef roast and a can of beer is easy and delicious. You can add onion soup mix to it if you like but I don't usually. Served with mashed potatoes and corn, maybe some biscuits... yum!) I use my crockpot to make apple butter. Just fill it full of cored, peeled, quartered apples, (remove any bad spots) add about a cup of brown sugar and one-half to one cup of cider vinegar, depending on how tart you like your apple butter, and enough water to fill the crock pot about half full. Run it on high at first, after it gets good and hot you'll want to check it fairly often and give it a stir as it will begin to stick. The sugar carmelizes and this is what gives you that nice dark apple-buttery color and flavor. I also use my crock pot to boil chicken or turkey bones. When I cook a chicken or a turkey, I always boil the bones and skin, drain the broth from that, add more water and boil again. You'd be surprised how rich and flavorful that second broth is! I mix all the broth together, remove the fat from the top and freeze it for soups and recipes that call for chicken stock. Some people save their chicken fat, it is called schmaltz, I think, and is a delicacy for some people, but I'm not one of them. Sometimes I will keep the chicken fat in a container in the freezer and use it to fry chicken. There are some folks that are horrified by this practice because of all the bad stuff we hear about cooking with animal fat, but my cholesterol isn't any higher as a result of it and I've seen "the experts" back-pedal on so many things that I don't believe half of what I hear any more. We all went through that "aspirin is bad... aspirin is good... aspirin is bad... aspirin is good...", and it was the same for eggs and lots of other things. You just have to follow what you feel comfortable with and what you believe to be true. It's one of God's true miracles that we live as long as we do when we get inoculated with stuff that hasn't been well enough tested, or prescribed a drug that turns out to put us at risk for something that is worse than what we were being medicated for. Oh, but that's another soap-box so I'll step down off that now.

3. Food processor. I have a Cuisinart, one of the bigger ones, and it was expensive because you almost never see these at garage sales unless they're broken, so I had to pay full price. And I like it well enough. But I've had to send it in twice because the blade bounced up during processing and then got torqued onto the stem. Both times, it took them FOREVER to fix it. I've had this one for probably 30 years though. If I ever have to buy another food processor, I'll probably just buy one at Walmart for less money. I do like the larger bowl though and I don't know if you can get that in the cheaper models. I use it to grate cheese, to cut carrots and zucchini into match-sticks, to slice vegetables uniformly for canning or dehydrating, to cream butter and sugar for cakes and cookies, to chop onions, and to puree things. It does everything I need a blender to do and everything I need a stand-mixer to do.

4. Dehydrator. Mine is one of those rectangular ones that has 12 slide-out trays. When I find bananas marked 'way down, I buy them and make dehydrated banana slices. I also dehydrate sliced fruit from my fruit trees. Home-dehydrated fruit is different from that sugar-laden stuff you buy. I think it is Grainlady who makes dehydrated zucchini chips that she eats instead of potato chips. I'm going to try that next year. I didn't grow zucchini this year because I still have a lot in the freezer. You can also remove all the trays and use the dehydrator to incubate your home-made yogurt, which is easy enough to make using plain unflavored yogurt from the store (the kind that says it has active cultures in it) as the starter. Or you can incubate buttermilk, using buttermilk you bought at the store for the starter. We've also made jerky. If you have a family member that buys jerky, you know how expensive it is. I've seen those round dehydrators at garage sales, and for the money, they would be good to start with till you see how much you'll use it. I bought mine new because I wanted the extra features that the larger size have.

I have a lot of other small appliances that I use sometimes but these are the ones I use the most.

It's wonderful that you have locally raised meat. It's getting to be such a problem finding meat that hasn't been shot full of water to make it weigh more. You can invest in a grinder and make your own sausage. Many people go all-out, buying casings and the like, but I'm told that just making sausage patties and freezing them for use later is a good start. All you need are some spices. If I had access to locally raised meat, I think I'd get a smoker.

I hope this helps. Here again, what's most useful to me might not be most useful to you, depending on the differences in our lifestyles and all, so if you buy these things, try to get a really good deal.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2009 at 10:16AM
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I'd add a pressure cooker to the lists of must-have kitchen appliances. I prefer the PC for some things and the crock pot for others. Both save time and money.

And if your family isn't too big, double the size of the meals you cook; save the extras for another meal later in the week or freeze it for next month. Makes preparing dinner much quicker the second time.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2009 at 12:21PM
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That's a really good point Sherrmann! Which is related to something you jogged my memory about. I never, unless I'm baking something special that requires that it be the only item in the oven, bake only one thing at a time. I try to have cookie dough, or a pie made up and stowed away in the freezer so that while I'm baking a casserole, I can bake something on the other rack.

I have a small pressure cooker and then of course my big one for canning, but I don't use the small PC as much as I probably should. I'm told they cook beans really fast. I guess a person just has things they get comfortable with and things they don't. I'm kind of A.D.D.-ish so I have to be sure and set a timer when I use the PC.

Many times I will make an extra meatloaf for the freezer. I make meatballs in bulk for when I'm in a pinch for time. And then of course there's always the "gettin' creative with what you find in the freezer". LOL

When I cook a chicken in the crockpot, I can usually get three meals out of it. The dark meat goes into a casserole of some kind. The white meat is used in sandwiches or salads. The scraps go into a freezer container for when I make chicken-noodle soup with some of the broth. And then I have extra broth for other uses. Oh, by the way, if when you make chicken noodle soup, you use spaghetti noodles, broken up in short pieces, the kids like that.

Here's a hot-roll recipe that I've used for a long time. I've made it with 100% whole wheat and it's turned out just as good:

From Grit Magazine, 7/7-13/91. Makes outstanding light rolls. According to the recipe, the dough can be rolled out and cut into doughnuts also, and fried in hot fat. Of course also makes good cinnamon rolls. For plain rolls, the egg can be left out with very little change in taste or texture.

1/3 C. sugar
1/2 C. mashed potatoes
1 C. potato water or water
1 t. salt
1/4 C. melted margarine
1 egg
1pkg. dry yeast
4 1/2 C. flour

Combine all ingredients, adding more water if necessary. Knead well. Let rise in greased bowl or plastic bag in warm place till double in bulk. Punch down and form into rolls. Let rise about 20 min. Bake at 350 for about 45 min or till golden. Makes 1 doz. huge rolls or 2 dozen small.

You can make this easy enough in the bread machine by using the dough cycle and just dumping everything into the bread pan.

Oh, another thing is that I buy several things in bulk. Oatmeal. Cocoa. Yeast for sure. Baking powder, corn starch, baking soda, cinnamon and other spices. These are things that can be quite expensive when purchased at the store in tiny packages. Most things can be kept in airtight containers in the average kitchen for quite a long while. The yeast can be kept in the freezer. Or you can get several of your friends together and split an order. There are lots of places online, but I use Sometimes I buy things at my local health food store, if they can come in under what I'd pay if I ordered.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2009 at 1:35PM
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I think one of the most important things about being frugal is to have fun with it. If it's a chore and you *HAVE* to do it, it isn't any fun. If you can make it into a game to see how you can beat the system, it can be quite entertaining. For instance, I love to shop from the loss leaders and sales in the weekly sales paper. I try to buy meat at under $2/lb and whatever fruits, veggies, etc., are on sale. I like to make menus from what's on sale and see exactly how much it costs to cook a meal for my family. It's fun to see if I can feed the family for $4. I could spend more than for one person at McDonalds. If I can get coupons on items I normally buy and also get it on sale, it's almost like hitting a jackpot.

Different people on here have different methods of saving money. What works for one person doesn't necessarily work for someone else. Part of being frugal is deciding not necessarily what is the cheapest, but what provides the most value. For instance, I own a crock pot, but never use it. I'm usually home during the day so I use my oven. If I don't want to heat up the house, we grill outside or I use the toaster oven. I don't know what the cost to cost comparison is for using an oven or crockpot. Like the others on here who do use the crockpot, when all is said and done, I have a healthy, homecooked meal that my family will enjoy. It may cost a little more, but it's worth it for my family.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2009 at 1:44PM
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Another thing is to shop with a list, but to be flexible when you find bargains in the store. Like adellabedella, I think it's fun to be creative, so when I find green beans on sale in the produce dept, we eat a lot of green beans (or whatever) for a few days.

I don't have much of a freezer, just the one on the fridge, so I'm at a big disadvantage there. I buy most of our groceries at Aldi before I go to the regular grocery to avoid temptations, my meal plans are flexible for bargains, but I use very few coupons because of Aldi and because I almost never buy prepared and boxed foods that coupons are so abundant for. Bulk is also great and usually, but not always, cheaper than packaged.

Use rags instead of paper towels. Buy a dozen cheap washcloths to use instead of swiffer sheets. Borrow books and movies and music from the library. Skip the laundry softener except in winter to help with static cling.

You'll find all kinds of ways to cut the fat when you start to look hard.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2009 at 10:20PM
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I have tried twice to post a reply and the first time my computer did an automatic restart because of a windows upgrade, and the second time during the preview I ended up with a blank page. I will try again later when my fingers aren't tired. LOL.

Thanks for the ideas and help.


    Bookmark   September 10, 2009 at 2:26PM
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tishtoshnm Zone 6/NM

In our household we have had to learn to roll with the punches and accept that sometimes we are wrong. When we were in the process of having our house built, I thought that I would save myself the $40 and pick up the tile myself. Afterall, who needs delivery when you own a truck, right? Well, a pallet of tile is quite heavy, even for a truck and I had to make 2 trips into the big city for my tile. I did not save much money.

In our household I also have to remember to make sure that people can stand to live with me. Dh is not on the same page of the frugality book so I look for the proper time to inform him of my discoveries (i.e., going out the back door of the garage uses no electricity, why open the garage door when you don't have to?) I try to take care of those things that are within my realm and look for compromise whenever possible. Dh hated jeans not dried in the drier, they were too stiff. He has also thus far balked at a clothesline (dust, etc.) So jeans are dried for 30 minutes and hung over doors and whatever else I can find and quickly taken down before he gets home. I get to accomplish my goal of lowering utilities without being an eternal nag (you should see the scars on my tongue!).

    Bookmark   September 10, 2009 at 9:28PM
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That IS a problem when you're married to someone who doesn't want to be as frugal as you do. I have that, too. For a man who was raised poor, he sure does have some expensive tastes, and maybe it is BECAUSE he was raised poor that he does. His family puts a lot of store in "looking" wealthy by dressing well and driving expensive cars. When they get together they brag about what they "have". I really hate the way they act.

DH and I have been married since 1967 and it has been a long, hard process, re-educating him. He has cooperated enough that he has no debt. He has a home and a vehicle every bit as nice as those of his siblings. His home and his nice pick-up are paid for. Some of his siblings have lived maybe one or two month's worth of paychecks away from homelessness, for all their lives.

There are still things he does, though, that drives me crazy. He prefers store-bought salad dressing, $3 for a little bottle, over anything I can make. He prefers store bread, though he will at least buy it at the day-old store, over my home made, freshly ground 100% whole wheat bread. He cannot seem to survive without his daily Pepsi, although he does watch for it to go on sale. At least he isn't drinking several of them a day and at least it's soft drinks he's addicted to and not alcoholic beverages, as a couple of his brothers are. And he smokes. If I could change just one thing about him, I would have him quit smoking. It is the most expensive habit he has. Not only do they cost a lot, even when bought at the Indian smoke-shop, but because of them he has to take extra medication for his high blood pressure and because his good cholesterol is too low. He wastes a lot of time sitting out there on the porch smoking, but at least he doesn't smoke in the house. It has aged him, though. After we adopted our grandsons, people who didn't know us well thought I was their mother and he was their grandfather.

My sister, on the other hand, is not frugal. She married a man who is. She tells everyone he's a tight-wad and he has been the object of ridicule often in our family because he doesn't like to spend money. But, they have a nice home and the vehicle they drive, while never brand new and never fancy, gets them where they need to go. They sent both their sons to college. I think if my sister had married someone less frugal she would've been a "shopaholic".

    Bookmark   September 11, 2009 at 9:57AM
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Back again. I hope this goes better than the last time. LOL.

I agree about having to have certain equipment for the kitchen. I have a food processor that comes in handy for a lot of chopping. I use it for chopping zucchini for the freezer, and onions of course. It will grate cheese, but I can buy the shredded cheese cheaper. It doesn't slice evenly enough to suit me, but I have a mandolin slicer for that. I also wouldn't be without my kitchenaid stand mixer. I love it. I can use the bread hook to save a pile of time and work. It gets a lot of work. I am going to find a bread machine somewhere soon. I miss mine. I lost mine in my divorce, but I get a little thrill from the fact that I have the book for it and the ex hasn't been able to figure it out yet. Forgive me the evil laugh. I had to borrow a pressure canner from my mom to do my canning. She has 3 or 4 so I don't think she missed it. I have seen her using 2 or 3 at the same time. You should see her garden! It could feed half the state. But I can't complain, she shares the goodies. I want a dehydrator, but I will find one sooner or later.

I agree 110% on the problems of having a spouse that isn't on the same page. My husband is great about somethings, like fixing the cars and doing stuff around the house(at least once I get him moving). So I don't gripe too much about the rest of it. He wouldn't have enough money to buy a soda come Monday morning if I didn't control the money. He is slowly learning. Very slowly. He doesn't mind eating whatever I cook, but he has a chocolate milk thing that would cost us a fortune if I didn't buy nesquick in bulk. I'm starting to think we should buy a dairy farm. Okay, maybe not quite THAT bad, but you get the point.

My kids don't mind hand me downs and clearance rack stuff. They know they get more that way. We do our own haircuts. Okay I do them. It is awesome to see my son looking at the clearance rack when he gets to pick something he needs. I think I have trained him well. We also shop places like Gabe's that sell last years styles for sneakers. The cheap ones don't last 6 weeks for him. He is 9 and learning how to handle money pretty well. He knows if he packs his lunch, we have extra money to do things on the weekends. He also had no problem with the fact that we packed all of our snacks and drinks when we took a trip to DC to see the Smithsonian Museums. His cousin that went along, however, would refuse to eat our snacks and wanted something similar from the vending machine. I'm proud of my kids. They don't want something everytime we go to a store. My 2 yr old likes the fact that she gets to check out the powerwheels at walmart, but doesn't expect to take one home.

I taught my husband, who loves to hunt, to buy on sale, off the clearance rack, or at a sportsman's clearing house store. It has been great and he has more now than he ever did, and spent a lot less.

Sorry, not bragging,(maybe just a little) but considering where we stared, it is a huge improvement. We also buy last years items for remodeling our home. I don't care if it's last years' style as long as I like it and it doesn't break the bank. I will do a lot of things like buying damaged drywall. Most of the time it is just dented or the face is scratched. I can fix it so you would never know and it doesn't hurt the quality of the house. I also buy goof up paints of similar colors to get one I like. I like shopping for damaged or returned items at the big stores and I will buy stuff at yardsales, auctions and estate sales. I have saved thousands of dollars. I could almost build a house. ALMOST. I haven't conquered laying block yet. I will. One of my favorites is our salvaged cabinets. Handmade ones from an old farmhouse. FREE. That is one of my favorite words. Oh, and we use freecylce a lot. To help others out and for stuff we need. Got really nice furniture from one of the other members.

Ilene in neok, I would love some bread machine recipes. I want some to start with as soon as I get one.

I will check in later and thanks everyone!!!

    Bookmark   September 11, 2009 at 11:39AM
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Peanut, you ARE an evil one! LOL

It sounds like you are doing a really good job. DD, when she was a teenager, was a real hard-nose about wanting name-brand stuff. I worked, couldn't afford the "good stuff", and didn't have time to shop around. There were less opportunities for discounts in those days, too. I remember in particular when she wanted a pair of shoes that cost $100, when I could get good-quality ones for $25. So I told her if she wanted the more expensive shoes she could help her brother in his little lawn-mowing business until she had the difference, and I would give her what I would've paid to round it out. Well, she did that. She had to mow three or four lawns to earn the money and since she had to sweat, she really hated it all the way. But she got her shoes. Now she is an expert at getting the most bang for her buck. She still likes the expensive stuff, but she can often shop around and find it for less, and there are many things that she agrees are just as good off-brand as on.

My standard bread-machine recipe is:

4 cups 100% whole wheat flour plus 1 Tbsp. gluten
2 tbsp. honey or sugar
2 tbsp. oil
2-3 tsp. yeast
1 and 1/4 C. water
1 tsp. salt

I put all this in the dough pan and start it up. I hold off on that 1/4 c. water and add it gradually. Depending on conditions, it might call for an extra tablespoon, and then it might need less than the 1/4 cup. You get so you can tell by the feel of the dough and by the sound the bread machine makes as it mixes. Sometimes I just run the mixing cycle, then unplug the machine and let the dough rise in the machine until it comes to the top of the pan, then turn it out, shape it and put it in a loaf pan, let it rise and then bake. I don't like to bake the bread in the bread machine because I feel like it bakes too long, and I don't like that hole in the bottom. I have two bread machines and I usually run them both at the same time so I'm baking two loaves instead of one. Sometimes I'll make hamburger or hotdog buns. 3 oz. of dough is enough for a hamburger bun, a little less for a hot-dog bun.

If you don't have whole wheat flour you can use white but since I grind my own that's what I use. Of the white flour, bread flour makes a better loaf of bread than all-purpose, but you can add gluten to the all-purpose and it will be lighter than if you don't. But you can get a decent loaf from All purpose flour. I buy gluten in a gallon-sized can, it lasts forever. I buy yeast in bulk and keep the extra in the freezer. Those little individual foil packets of yeast are terribly expensive in comparison. If you want to add other kinds of grain, just substitute it for some of the flour. A favorite of mine is to add 1 C. oatmeal, 1/2 C. sunflower seed and 1/2 C. wheat germ for about a cup of the flour. That's if I'm using white flour. If I'm using whole wheat, I don't need to add the wheat germ cause it's already in there. In that case I might add another 1/2 cup oatmeal. This is for a machine that makes a 2# loaf.

Here's the link for the bread machine corn bread. It's really good with vegetable soup or beans.

DH and I differ on beans. I like them with chopped onion and very little else, unless they're brown beans and then I like to add a little vinegar. (German ancestors) DH thinks he has to have big chunks of meat swimming around with the beans. To me that defeats the purpose. I have found serving the meat "on the side" results in the beans getting treated as a "side", rather than the main course. So usually I will put in, maybe 1/4 as much as DH would really like, ham or cooked sausage or sliced smoked sausage, and then I can pick it out of my serving. Served with fried potatoes and corn bread on the side, it makes a good satisfying meal. When I was growing up, we had beans, "fried taters" and corn bread every Friday night. I live in Oklahoma, and this is big "milk gravy" country. I don't serve it often now because it's so fattening, but when I was growing up we had it with mashed potatoes or fried potatoes at nearly every meal as a side with some kind of meat -- and, very often, for breakfast with biscuits and orange juice.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2009 at 11:59AM
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Hi Peanut,
Sounds to me like you are not really getting started. Sounds like you have been practicing frugality for quite a while! I too am now staying at home since about April. I started a square foot garden this year that didn't do very well. But we have a lot of friends that garden and each had something that they grew too much of. Sweet!
I now make a lot of my own cleaners and laundry soap as well. I started doing that because I was trying to go Green and help the environment and have a less toxic home. The bonus is it is saving me $$$.

I agree, the Tightwad Gazette is great reading also. I joined the new America's Cheapest Family newsletter. (money I thought I could justify.)

Keep up the efforts and keep that great attitude. It is not living with less.

I am starting a new website to try to get all of this information in one location, or at least a good variety. Does anyone know if I can add a link back to this forum? Please stop by and check it out. I saw a lot of good information here that I would like to add!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2009 at 4:22PM
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Ilene, I have to admit, when it comes to my ex- I have a little nasty streak(rightly justified, I might add). I agree with you on the "making kids earn extras" process. My son does extra household chores to earn a few dollars for things I just won't buy for him. He does work his little heart out. It does him some good in the long run. I think the idea of working to get the things he wants won't be such a foreign idea to him when he needs a real job, and he won't be surprised that not all of the jobs aren't fun either. My DSD has a name brand fixation, too. I just shop for her when she isn't with me. She sees the name and a style she likes and has no idea of where it came from. If she doesn't ask, I don't mention it. If she does, I will just say I picked it up while out shopping in whatever town I was shopping in that day. I never mention a store. I have started to show her what it's like to check out yardsales and her father and I have started taking her to auctions. She seems to love them and is willing to pick things out at those places. I think we are winning her over.

I added the bread recipe to my box and can't wait to try it. I liked some of the ideas for mixing things up with the recipes. I love to see what things can be made with just a basic recipe. I will have to let you know what the results are. Thanks again.

As far a practicing frugality, I have to say I get a lot of inspiration from this forum, but I have learned more from my mom and SD than anywhere else. It isn't just about saving money with them, it is also about making their money work for them. They have rentals and do all of their own maintanance. I can't believe what I have seen them do. They have taken some very ugly kitchens and made them functional and beautiful. And the best part is- they do it so simply, they don't have to up the rent like some of the other locals do to the tenants. They are an inspiration.

I love the new ideas I find here and on other websites and listening to people who have a "new" idea. I learn something new everyday. I have to admit to being a recovering auction addict. I love them. I have learned to look at things and say,"if I can buy it for x$ or less I will get it, if not it will go home with someone else."
That is a lesson hard learned. Even going a couple of dollars over your "goal" can get you bad in a couple of items. Buy the way(pun intended), we got some shrubs at auction for 1$ and 2$ this weekend, and made a few bucks on some we thought our neighbor would like. We also bought a very nice used garden tub for 20$ for the bathroom we are remodeling . I splurged on the baby and bought her a Radio Flyer brand bouncing horse for 16$. She just kept riding it and hugging it and saying "my horsey". I had to do it. I don't think anyone else had the heart to bid against us because she wouldn't even get off the horse while they were auctioning it off.

That is one way to save money. Sometimes you have to be willing to spend some to save it in the long run. My husband has learned how to buy smart, too. I'm really happy, but I'm sweating with only a few dollars "allowance" to run on this week. I hope that I'm not the only one who doesn't wonder if I run too close to the edge sometimes when I think it will benefit the long term goals.

If anyone has a simple idea on how to get the DH to clean up the garage, I'd LOVE to hear that. I think, if we could just find all of the stuff he has out there, we could save at least two trips to the hardware store everymonth. I can't seem to find the right motivation.

Oh, and how do you handle it when your kids come home from school with all of the "fundraisers". That one kills us. Our family will buy a little, but usually only once a year. The school is now setting limits on how many items must be sold to not have to make a "donation" to whatever fund they are raising funds for. Is that even legal? They have even held report cards on children. That is similar to what they do when a child owes library fines or lunch money. I'm disgusted.

I'm hoping to keep the motivation going and not back-track. Thanks to everyone for the ideas. I like being able to come here and here the new ideas and maybe hear some I can now use. It's like frugalites anonymous support group. LOL.


    Bookmark   September 13, 2009 at 10:06PM
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Peanut, I went through H^ll with my kids and grandkids and those fundraisers. Mostly because there's A.D.D. in my family.

DD was a mess. One time she was given candles to sell. They were tall glass things, and they were assembled in a cardboard 6-pack. Wouldn't you know, she dropped and broke several before she even got home. I had to pay for those, but I made her do extra chores. I knew it was an accident, but I felt she needed the lesson in responsibility. Apparently it was not very well learned because when she got a box of chocolate bars to sell, she and DS sat around in the house and ate them all. I had to pay for those too, and let's just say so did she. Then she had oranges to sell and she only turned in the checks and spent the cash she took in. I could've just knocked her in the head! Plus those dang boxes were heavy and had to be delivered with the car and that used up my time. It didn't help that these teachers would give her things to sell and not even say anything to me about it so I didn't even know she had them! I figure if the parents are going to have to volunteer their time to help with this fundraising process, the least the teacher could do is place a phone call to give us a head's up. After that I took a letter down to the school that said I would not be responsible for anything they gave my kid to sell. They got all upset and talked about how I was robbing my kid of the "growth experience". Give me a break! DS was not a problem with selling stuff, he would just refuse to do it and though it caused him to lose a grade and made the teacher mad, he didn't care. He felt he had better things to do than sell stuff door to door.

Years later, while raising DGS, the practice again reared it's ugly head. He sold "Butter Braids". All went well until the order came in and then he lost his list of who ordered what. He remembered everyone he sold to but didn't remember what they ordered. The elderly lady across the street knew an opportunity when she saw one and said she paid for three when I knew I was the only one that had ordered more than one. So she got two of mine for free because I couldn't prove it. Grrrr.

Then I started just writing a check. I figure it all comes out in the wash. When your neighbor buys from you, they then send their kids and grandkids over to your house and you have to buy from them. It just saves a lot of time and aggravation in the end and it doesn't really cost any more. Who makes the most from these transactions? The company that provides that overpriced junk, that's who! Apparently even my $100 donation to the Band Boosters wasn't satisfactory to the band teacher because she punished DGS for not selling by giving him an F. Even though I complained about it, I'm sure there were other things that happened because he dropped out of band the next semester and never wanted to do it again. She should've been a lot more appreciative of my $100 since the band got all of that rather than a percentage. I guess the band teacher didn't have math skills. Or social skills.

These days, sending your kids around the neighborhood to sell stuff is just lunacy. You can't always know what lurks behind every front door. And parents who take the order card to work doesn't teach the kid anything about selling. The parents might as well just write a check.

I just don't know what's in these teachers' minds with these fundraisers. There. That's off my chest.

I have never liked auctions. I don't like to have to compete for what I want. I like yard sales. You can take your time looking at stuff, pick something up right then if you want it. If the price marked seems too high, you can sometimes deal it down. Plus I like to visit with people.

I never took DS and DD with me when I went because I didn't want them to be embarrassed, and I didn't buy things for them in our neighborhood because I didn't want someone walking up to them and saying, "Oh, that used to be mine!" But as they got older and saw some of the neat things I brought home, they'd ask to go along. I was a little concerned when DGS went with us and up walked a kid he went to school with. DGS had a pair of those satin-looking athletic shorts in his hand and the kid walked up to him and said, "Oh, I hate you!" and asked where he found it so he could see if there were any more. Phew! DD and DS love to go to garage sales now. DS buys lawn mowers and trimmers, fixes them and resells them as a hobby. Sometimes I will buy something and then resell it at my garage sale. I bought a 1930s doll buggy for $5 that I think I can make some money on. I bought a loom one time for $25 and sold it for $100. I don't have space to store very many things like this, but it pays for the gas we burn. There are a lot of people who only buy for resale and it gets hard to find something that can be resold because of them. But they can't beat me to EVERY sale so now and then it works out. A lot of the things I buy are things I don't really need, but it's fun and it keeps me out of the mall, where it would be a lot more expensive! I buy jeans, t-shirts, kitchen gadgets and canning equipment, candles, garden seed and equipment, plants, home improvement things, etc., etc. A few weeks ago I bought a stack of quilting magazines for a quarter each. Sure beats the $3.50 price tag at the newsrack. Even if you have a subscription, that's at least a dollar per magazine. When someone has cotton shirts for a quarter apiece, I buy the ones that are made of interesting prints for the fabric in them. Sure beats the price of "fat quarters" at the quilt shop! But I do have to be careful that I don't buy too much. My sewing room looks like your DH's garage, I bet!

As to how to get DH to clean the garage, I've no idea. My dad had his garage so full of stuff like that he couldn't get the car in. LOL!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2009 at 9:58AM
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Ilene, I can follow your story on the ADD issues. I have a mild form of it. I was just diagnosed recently and all along I just thought I was terribly unorganized. DS also has ADD. His is slightly more of a problem than mine was in school. I am going to order something online to help with his focus. He jumps around mentally like a frog on a hot grill.

I have to say I really like auctions. I think anyone could figure that out from the last post. I can find things there a lot more often than I can at yardsales. I find, in my area, people tend to overprice the items. IMHO. I can't see spending 5$ on jeans that look worse than the ones I can get at the Goodwill Store for 2$. I just won't pay the prices. I also find things there I wouldn't often find at yardsales. I can get building supplies like carpet and vinyl or stairs or windows... The list goes on. I have found appliances there as well. I like the challenge. I like getting things well below what I would pay for them anywhere else. And that's the only way I will get them.

As far as the garage goes, it is about 1/2 roofing materials for the house and 1/2 various and sundry items DH has accumulated and mostly can't keep track of. He got the old cupboard out of the kitchen(the single one that was in it) and it just gets jammed full. We bought bins and they are thrown all over the place. When I go out and clean he gets uptight and says he will do it. He then cleans a 4x4 square. That's it! I can't stand it. I won't even go out there unless I HAVE to. It stresses me out so bad I get totally crazy. I can't live like that. I have to have at least controlled chaos, not total chaos. DH doesn't understand how badly it upsets me. I would rather stay inside all day than look at his mess outside. He never puts ANYTHING away unless I tell him to. It makes me crazy.(Can you tell?)

Okay- gotta let that settle or I will be really nuts!

I just can't handle messes. Even the ones I make myself. The older I get the harder it is on me to deal with messes that just never go away. My kids do a pretty good job of keeping their rooms respectable. Even the baby will help pick her toys up. I just hate doing the same things everyday. Don't we all?

Okay, that sounds just a tad OCD. LOL. I wonder if that is how I sound to DH.

Thanks for all of the help. The ideas have been interesting. I plan on sticking around the forum to hear any new ones that pop up.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2009 at 5:13PM
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I hate the PTA fundraisers. I know they need money and I don't mind giving them some. This past couple of years I've been sending in a check for each child with "in lieu of this fundraiser, I am donating x amount to the PTA." That seems to have been positively received. My kids received the same cheesy little prizes as the children who participated. In fact, at the end of the year, the PTA sent out a letter asking for donations rather than doing another fundraiser.

We belonged to another kid organization that sold Blue and Gold sausage. People around here actually request to buy it so it's an easy sell. The problem was that this organization we were selling for was an extracurricular organization. The committee running the organization was not managing their money well or spending it to further the organization's needs and important activities. Instead, the money was being used to fund pizza parties and catering to the the adults instead of the kids. The committee justified this by saying that the sausage was an easy sell and the kids could just go out and sell more. This particular product has to remain frozen. You basically have to jump through hoops to get it delivered to the customer. It's a lot of work for the parents. After trying to do our part for the organization and buying around $200-300 of product per sale, the committee decided upon another sale piggy-backing the two fundraisers we had just had. I refused to participate so I became the bad guy. I look at it as misplaced priorities on the part of the adults. This was an extracurricular activity. It's my responsibility as a parent to fund that activity. Depending upon the organization, I may try to further the cause, but that organization has an obligation to act in a responsible manner. I'm not pimping my kids so some greedy adult can get a free meal.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2009 at 12:25PM
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The primary thing to keep in mind is what works for one will not work for another so stay flexible. I really push people to read the Tightwad Gazette series. Get it at the library but I can justify buying it as a reference manual. No, don't buy it for an instruction book nor as a cookbook or as a manual of how to live your life. Use it as an inspiration to think differently. Instead of I need to go buy a new dresser, you'll think how can I repair, reuse, recycle or otherwise make use of this, sell, give away or whatever It's light reading. The recipes can give you an idea for things if you don't like it. There's a good simple sounding recipe for pizza crust in there too. I found it entertaining reading and occasionally pull it out and read it again.

Here's a bread recipe I enjoy. It's a smaller loaf and something I can handle. Very tasty. One warning, it might give a strong beer smell as it's cooking so you might want to make it when you can open a window and vent a bit. I didn't notice it the first time or two I made it but did the last couple times. Might be it was holiday time and windows closed.


3 cups flour
1-tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1-teaspoon salt
1 (12 oz) beer @ room temp.
1/4 C melted unsalted butter,

Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Add the beer all at once, mixing as little as possible; the batter should be lumpy.

Pour the batter into a 9"x5"x3" loaf pan and brush with the melted butter. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool on a rack.
Makes 1 loaf.

I've tried to cut down on paper products but still use them for convenience. I can't find anything that compares to the price of the 1000 sheet rolls of bath tissue. When you compare the generics and everything nothing compares in price. For instance, I bought 1000 sheet rolls for 33¢ per roll. Do the math, that's 33¢ for the equivalent of a 5-6 roll package! I can even buy Scott on sale for 40¢-55¢ per roll, again far cheaper. Couple that with concentrating on how much I use and there can be a noticeable savings.

Another thing I try to do is look at the per-use cost. Buying huge quantities of perishables that won't get used is not cost effective. Sometimes it's better to throw some away than to buy the small size though. Canned veggies are a perfect example. However there too you can freeze leftovers too.

TV, phone and long distance are areas many people can economize substantially. Many people would be far better off dumping their contract cell phones. Often it's a good idea to have a cell but I use a prepaid cell. I use a phone card and bought a digital converter box so I have no cable or satellite and don't miss it in the least.

I did splurge and get DSL so I use that a lot for entertainment. I can use it for business too but mostly it was a splurge. I watch programs and videos online.

If you do a lot of bread baking that is one item that the warehouse store can save you some money. I understand they sell it for a couple dollars a pound or so rather than the little packets or a couple ounces for $5. Again, it depends on how much you use and if you share it with someone it's a better deal. Yeast will keep almost indefinitely in the freezer if kept dry.

Sounds like you're definitely on the right track. Try to look for waste. Cut down on or use leftovers. Turn off appliances when not being used. Close off rooms that aren't being used to save a/c and heat. Use the shades to your advantage. Open shades on cold days, close them on hot days.

Again what works for some doesn't work for others. Sometimes I find the "fooling yourself into saving" methods backfire. For instance some will dilute shampoo to fool themselves into using less. But it's easier to measure a small dot when it's thick than when it's runny so that can backfire. The saving change thing works for some but I prefer to save the bigger bills and avoid the trap of the more I spend the more I save. But it works for some so do what works for you.

Definitely having a grocery list is helpful and I agree that you need to be flexible on specials. Don't be too strict on a budget either. You might find massive specials so you don't have to go to the store for months.

Use a price book of some sort. I log the things I always get a certain stores. When I see something quite cheap, I add it to the list and then when I'm making a trip to the X store I can look at the list and see what I need from there that is usually cheaper.

The usual combine trips is a big saver. If you don't go somewhere, you don't spend gas money and don't spend money in the stores and no problem with impulse purchases.

If you're in a colder climate, turn down the thermostat 1°. You won't notice it. Then a few weeks later, turn down one more degree and so on. Keep a sweater, sweatshirt or an afghan or blanket handy to cuddle up with when you watch TV. Hang quilts over doorways to zone heat/cool areas. You'll spend less and be more comfortable. Why heat and air condition your closets and unused rooms?

There's a lot of people out there that will criticize, harass and insult you. Thicken up your skin. When people criticize me I ask them what their utility bills are and we compare them. Then I laugh at them.

Something will motivate you. Perhaps it's the satisfaction of lowering bills, seeing your savings grow, compliments from a SO or whatever, but learn to appreciate those pleasures. An out of town (also frugal) friend was in town the other day and we splurged. Went to a fast food joint and had stuff from the $1 menu, came home and sat outside watching the stars and airplanes. A runway was closed so traffic was directed over me and that's unusual so we watched planes and talked, then it got late and we watched the stars and a planet and the moon and caught up on our chat. Had a thoroughly great time.

Be flexible. Maybe something won't work for you but maybe you can gleen something out of it. For instance perhaps you don't want to use 1000 sheet bath tissue but learn to use less at a time. That's progress in itself.

Compare notes. Share ideas. Have fun with it, don't try to make yourself feel deprived.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2009 at 8:06PM
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Cynic, I am with you on being flexible. I have tried to stick to a firm shopping list before and tried to ignore stuff that was on sale so I wouldn't overspend. I found myself running out of things and having to buy them at regular price. Ouch. Now, I go in with a list and if they have a great bargain on something I know I will use I will at least consider getting it. I may not if I have plenty at home, but I won't tune them out anymore.

Being female, I find that I am picky about TP. I don't use a lot, but I do like good TP. I have found if I buy the sam's club version of the name brand, it works well enough that I only need 3 or 4 sheets as opposed to what I will use with some of the other brands. I also prefer a brand that leaves nothing behind. LOL. No pun intended.

I like the club prices on some things, but I have found that the mennonite store that is about 35 mins away has great deals, too. I love buying lunchmeat there on the rare occasions we buy it at all. The prices are less than half what I would pay at the grocery store. The quality is awesome, probably because they sell so much of it. They also sell flour, sugar, yeast, rice, etc. at such great prices in bulk, I usually stock up when I go there. They don't have great prices on stuff like peanut butter and cooking spray and the like, but that is what sales and coupons are for. They also carry every kind of canning gadget you can imagine. (Kind of makes sense.)

I love to try new things. I liked the entertainment choice you mentioned. When friends come over, we usually sit on the porch or in the backyard(depends on the # of kids in the group). We take out drinks, maybe pitch together our resources, and have cook out. We have also been known to take our tree prunings and enjoy a campfire. Kills 2 birds with one stone.

As far as spending money to save it- It only seems to work when I have a clear cut "idea" of what I am looking for. I keep and open mind, but have ideas for what will do the job I am trying to accomplish. The hedges I bought at auction, for example, are going in in place of the fence in the front yard we had been looking for. They do just as well for boundry markers for the children. It seems to pay to have an open mind about what you are working on when trying to make big changes. We work on projects as we get the supplies. I rarely pay retail for anything. If I needed it bad enough, I might consider it.

Winter heating here in PA is always an adventure. I have a programmable thermostat. I have to remind the kids to wear sweats to bed for pj's when it gets really cold here. I used to work on the other side of the mountains that surround our local area. The bosses used to joke about us keeping all of the nasty weather on our side, making it possible for them to keep their business open. We keep our daytime temp at about 68 degrees and night time just above 60. We have radiator style heaters in the childrens rooms for when the temps dip into the single digits. (There is no heat directly supplied to the upstairs in our old house.) We all own a lot of sweaters and fleece jackets to keep warm. I do more baking in the winter. I feel if I am going to make extra heat, I am going to get more than a single use out of that too. LOL.

I guess you can make each day an adventure, it just depends on your choice of venue.


    Bookmark   September 16, 2009 at 1:10PM
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One of the best money saving things you can have is a notebook.
I have one for the house. It has all the color swatches for each room as well as all the dimensions for door, windows and bedding.
It helps if I run into a sale and can't remember what size the windows are in a room I just pull out my notebook and can find the size and color swatches easily. Saves time and money by allowing me to make the right choices the first time.
I have a similar notebook for the people in the house. It has everyones sizes, current likes and dislikes, favorite colors,for the grandkids I even write in which characters they are currently into. Then if I find a deal on something out comes the notebook. I look up the person have all their info. Makes buying for someone else easier.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2009 at 8:14PM
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What an interesting thread!

I agree that one needs to make it into a game - some fun ... and use some ingenuity to find new ways ... then pat one's self on the back for having been so smart!

Even better if one can find a buddy and compare notes, encouragement, etc.

When it's a chore - it soon gets to be a drag. Then it'll be a race to get rid of the drag!

Hi tish tosh NM,

As for those marks on the tongue - you're sure they're scars?

Calluses, possibly?

Hope you're all having a great week.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   September 17, 2009 at 2:48PM
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tishtoshnm -
If the jeans are too stiff, line dry them, then run them through the dryer on "fluff" for 5 minutes. They soften up with no heat.

Same with towels and sheets - use the sun for the dry and a couple minutes of (inexpensive) dryer time to whap them soft.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2009 at 3:55PM
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Peanutmom -
Bread machine tips! It adds a couple of minutes to the work time, but the results are really better.

And it uses 1/4 the yeast, so it's frugal.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2009 at 4:06PM
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I too would recommend the tightwad gazette, obviously its dated but most ideas you can see translated in the modern world, such as e-mail and social networking has replaced letters, instead of using the phone skype is free to another computer set up with it, or very cheap to land lines and oh! what do you call them!! er... mobile know what I mean? just remember you can't make emergency calls from it, but phones can be purchased but the computer has to be on all the time.
my neighbour has just lent me the tightwad gazette, which she lent to me, as she has spent the last year, amazed at my tightwad ways!, I have to say I found, I used a majority of her ideas my whole life and the few I haven't, is because for me, it just wouldn't work with my family, but she makes it clear that being tight isn't about deigning all life's pleasures.
My mantra in life is reuse, recycle, reduce, repair, remodel, reinvent, reject, research.
My mum was the same and when I was 13 my mum sent me off to write a monthly budget, of my expenditure, spread throughout the year, so for instance school shoes where a twice of year expenditure, but I had to work it into my monthly budget, as was the one of year purchase of School Uniform, she said she would provide my breakfast, evening meals, weekend and vacation food, but the budget had to include my meals at school, she would also buy my personal toiletries but she would continue to buy the budget brands she always had, if I wanted different I had to work my budget round them but wasn't able to include them as a part of the budget and she would veto any stupid amounts she felt I had put, after 2 weeks work I came up with the amount of 48 pounds something pence about $65 (1983) the budget had to be itemized and she passed it first time but rounded it up to 50 pound a month...Oh my I felt rich! I blow the whole amount in 2 weeks! the first month and went hungry at school! she would not give in, the next month, blown in 3 weeks, the month after I made it to the end of the month but missed out on a school trip, because I didn't have the money, after that... I brought a car as a student nurse, but never went on vacations with my friends, debt free,(in the UK the NHS paid for my tuition, a small wage and subsidized shared housing of the most basic level!) my mum only bailed me out once in 3 years about $225 dollars, when someone crashed into my car and fled the scene and I didn't get a birthday or Christmas present that year!
this may sound tough but I brought a house on my own at 26, all my furniture was, was begged and borrowed, I took in a lodger and every month I invested his money in the gaps of my home, (for instance I only had 1 bed, and obviously a lodger is not going to pay for a room without a bed, so I slept on top of a couple of comforters that had been given to me. until his first rent) I married someone who was older and had nothing but a stereo! although he brought it second hand so I knew he more or less not on the same page but maybe the same book! hehe!
I have never been accused as being cheap, because people saw my mums and dad house, my granddads house and mine and my husbands homes, at 1 point we had 3! nice but not new cars, and people just assume that we are well paid and in debt like them, fortunately in the affluent years before children, I started overpaying our mortgages and plowing money into savings, which have saved our neck this year when we took a hit of approx $100,000 on our UK house due to the crash, we walked away debt free and $37000 in our pocket! I am 39, now, so this is not the work of a whole life time (at least I hope it isn't!)
on and the reject...never ever, turn anything down, take it even if you don't think you want it, as people will never offer again! if you don't, take it hid it away review it and if after 6 months you still can't find a use send it to goodwill or sell it.
apart from shoes and coats my 4 yr old twin, I have never brought them any clothes! although this year I may have to, boys seem to start wearing them out? all their furniture and needs have been second hand for free and all sold on for the same or more than brought for, toys all second hand, except for last week, when I asked my husband to buy a proper Lego model kit for one of them, meaning one of those little $7 ones, he came back with lego city police, cost $50 but my husband explained he did a price per piece comparison and this was cheaper?? anyway we spent an wonderful afternoon with our children, while one built them following the "structions" with minimal help and the other played with them 2 weeks later, the fun continues.
and before you worry about our housing situation, we live in a beautiful house much bigger than our UK home and on less of a mortgage, and lower payment, frugality works.
So I give thanks to my mum and my first great lesson in life, she repeated the experiment with my brother who is the the British Army, also married, with 2 adult step- children living at home, he's 35 and mortgage free. they own out right his and his wives cars, and have a vacation home in the UK also paid for.
good luck, my frugality also allowed me Children, I had one lot of IVF on the NHS next private and my boys are the result and are better than any material goods in the world, memories are hard wired, won't break or get lost, unless the worst happens such as illness, but for most people the best investment.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2009 at 9:15PM
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Hello everyone! Just wanted to say this is an interesting and inspiring thread to read it once and will sit down and enjoy again later on. Some old ideas with a new twist and some repeats but sometimes we need to be reminded or at least I do! I continue to work away down my own road to frugality and enjoying the journey, stopping to look at the flowers and sunsets along the way. Welcome to Peanutmom and everyone new, keep us posted on your latest ways to save and reuse. Happy saving everyone.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2009 at 1:10PM
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I haven't been around for a few days. I have been pretty busy. One of my favorite things to save money is to borrow and lend things. I have a carpet shampooer and my friends man has a skid loader. My husband has a utility trailer and my sister has a camper. We all help each other out. I try to help out anyone, but I try not turn down help if someone offers either. It is nice to have choices and if it saves money and space, that is a bonus. I get a lot of movies off the internet (used). My friend came over the other night and was shocked at my movie collection (we don't have "tv"). She asked how much money I spent and I told her maybe a couple hundred. She told me she had more than that in her collection and that is about half of what I have. It pays to buy used. We also take turns borrowing movies. I don't like to use the library ones here. They charge a dollar a week and are frequently scratched. If we borrow a movie I know the kids will watch over and over, we buy it used. I will check and monitor the net until I can find it for less than 5$ used. It makes it worth the effort to save the money. I also buy movies at yardsales. I got some new ones this year for 3$ each. I just wish I could copy my vhs onto dvd, but copywrite laws forbid it. Dang. I'm going to need more space soon.

I used to hang out in the old house forum. I found this to be my new "home". I can make more sense out of the ideas on this forum ,day to day, than any of the others. I have found some great ideas on other forums, but none of them have made as big a difference as what I have learned here. Thanks everyone.

By the way, a great big THANK YOU to whomever got the idea to use vinegar in place of fabric softner. It saved my DD "blankie". I couldn't replace it and I thought it was on its last leg. Thank you, thank you, thank you. And also to those who mentioned it. Without that I would have had many tear stained nights with a little girl.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2009 at 10:25PM
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