Frugal Friday- April 4, 2014

Ahhh, another day, another dollar fifty cents-and my two cents worth. I hope you’ll share with me in the comments section at the end of this post how you’ve managed to save  your precious time, money or energy recently. And speaking of saving time, this’ll be relatively short because I’ve got a busy afternoon and evening planned-playing music with a friend and then going downtown for the monthly First Friday celebration-both frugal and fun choices!

Monday: We had our annual income tax returns prepared for free by AARP volunteers. This is the 5th year for doing so, and they’re always pleasant, well-trained and helpful. Savings: I just called a well-known national tax service to see what the basic charge is for a simple joint return and was quoted roughly $125-$250! So, I saved a lot going with AARP. You must be over 55 to qualify for this service. Um, let’s just say I qualify.


 Tuesday: I’ve mentioned this several times before, but since it’s such an easy savings and I can make it basically from what would otherwise be food waste, I keep making  fresh  vegetable stock when I run out. This week I canned 7 quarts plus an extra 2 quarts for the freezer. Cost of a good quart of store-bought broth is $1.89. Savings: $17.10 plus tax and all those metal cans or tetrapaks!


Wednesday: Because it was such a beautiful spring day, and because I knew I’d be hard pressed to get supper on the table with all I had to do that day, I decided to make a ‘Solar Stew’ of pinto beans, tomatoes and butternut squash. I put all the ingredients in the cooker about 9:30 AM, and when we were ready to eat at 6 PM it was perfectly done! Savings? Well, we’re often tempted to eat out at the end of a busy day when neither of us wants to cook so there’s that. And of course, the peace of mind that comes from knowing that I didn’t have to leave my crockpot plugged in all day while I was away is priceless.


Thursday: I try really hard not to take advantage of this freebie because I don’t want to abuse it and lose the privilege for everyone: at my local library, no late fees are due if  you are 60 or older. (Yet another reason to enjoy being a senior) I had borrowed a book a few weeks ago that I needed as a reference for a presentation I was giving and was late returning it. Fines forgiven: $1.60!

Friday: We don’t make many new purchases but when we do, we always do our homework first and that’s how we managed to save big bucks at the register when we bought our new gas grill today. A completely unadvertised fact is that Lowe’s gives a 10% discount if  you present your Veteran’s ID card at checkout. Tonight: Grilled Portobello sandwiches on Onion Faccocias, with the mushrooms bought from Kroger on Tuesday with a 5% senior discount, and the buns bought from the day-old bread store at 75% off regular price. We’d been using charcoal for the last two summers, but I like the additional security that a gas grill offers me in case of an extended power outage. But listen up: new gas grills don’t come with a propane tank. That’s an extra $49.95, which you lose when you exchange it for your next filled tank anyway. So, I drove over to my local recycling center where I picked  up what looked to be an almost new (empty) one for free. We took that with us when we went to buy the grill and exchanged it for a filled tank for $19.95. Savings: With the veteran’s discount, we saved a cool $25 on our total purchases, plus I saved $30 on a the tank. A total of $55 saved just by practicing a bit of mindful consumerism!


This girl loves saving money, but I also love reusing, repurposing, reducing and recycling resources. I find it more than coincidence that these activities often seem to be interrelated. I also find it pretty cool that choosing what’s best in terms of money or the environment often turns out to be best for my health as well. That concept is called ‘The Green Triangle’ and is a useful tool when you’re trying to live lightly. We’ll talk more about it next week, ok?


4 Comments so far
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Thanks for the info about the veterans card and Lowe’s. I will definitely take advantage of that when I go for my seedlings.

Comment by Louis Payton

I’m happy ask for the 5% senior citizen discount on Tuesdays at one of my favorite grocery stores. They can’t offer it up any more, in case they might insult somebody. I also shopped at our local bent and dent this week, and always save money there. It’s 6 miles away, so I try to go just once a month and stock up on some things that would cost probably 2x as much at regular stores. Then it’s definitely worth the trip! Thanks for more of your good ideas!

Comment by sarasinart

I’m interested in your solar cooker. Where did you get it? Or, did you make it? If you bought it, where can I find it on line? If you made it, do you have instructions to share?

Comment by Sandy Aldridge

Hi Sandy, I bought my Hot Pot solar cooker from SCI (Solar Cookers International) years ago. Here’s their weblink: http://shop.solarcookers.org/?pn=The+Hot+Pot+Solar+Cooker&cn=Solar+Cookers&p=664&c=27 I’m not sure if they are still made the exact same as mine since mine has a black galvanized bowl that sits inside a clear glass bowl and has a clear glass lid, with an aluminum fold up panel around it. The picture there looks exactly like mine but the description doesn’t mention the clear glass bowl. But I paid about the same price for it, and I remember one of the reasons I chose the HotPot was because proceeds went to provide hotpots for women in third world countries. It’s met my needs and I have no intention of ever replacing it except that I’d LOVE to have a solar oven too. Even though its bowl shape suggests soups and stews, I have piled sweet and white potatoes in it for steam/baking, as well as used it for meats, oatmeal, hot water, and so forth. Hope this helps.

Comment by simpleintn

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