Filed under: Frugality, Uncategorized | Tags: cloth napkins, Consumerism, frugal, reusing, Waste reduction
What a lucrative week it’s been for me! I haven’t felt too well so I’ve stayed pretty close to home, just working in the garden, playing music and napping mostly. Even without going out anywhere, the money came to me this week!
Monday: I appealed a bill for my recent teeth cleaning…I had chosen the dental insurance company because their website claimed my chosen dentist was in their network but it turns out the website was incorrect…that’s not my dentist’s fault nor was it mine and by golly, they agreed and said they’d pay this claim! Savings: $129.00!
Tuesday: The Community Garden held a potluck this evening. I always wash and save my plastic flatware (it seems to breed like rabbits in their designated bag even though I always try to keep a set of the environmentally UNfriendly stuff in my purse and car so I won’t create any more inbreeding.) I had more than enough for everyone at the table…
I had bought a package of paper napkins on sale for 22 cents many moons ago and I had a stash of those ubiquitous red plastic cups from many many dinners, picnics, etc that get the clean and save treatment as well. So I offered to bring tableware for everyone, including paper plates. NO, I haven’t figured out a way yet to clean paper plates and reuse them so I bought a package of sturdy ones for this event for $3.00 and should have enough left to see me through the summer. There were about a dozen or so of us gardeners in attendance and you can see from the photo no one looks unhappy about the reused cups and forks, do they? I feel good that I saved a bunch of money AND avoided a bunch of stuff going to the landFULL because I brought the plastics home, washed them up again, and they’re waiting for the next event that requires them. The paper napkins went into the compost pile, but sadly, the plates had to be thrown away. Savings? priceless, because the gardeners are getting the message that it’s okay to reuse ‘disposables’.
By the way, Michael and I attended a great outdoor party last Saturday night and the hostess provided a basketful of cloth napkins made with pinking shears from scraps of mismatched fabrics. It was charming and I’ll start using my own scrap fabrics for a project like this. We always use cloth napkins for our home use but I’d never thought of doing that for a party or potluck. duh.
Wednesday: Today I ordered some badly needed beekeeping supplies and used my $50 gift card I’d gotten for Mother’s Day, leaving me with only $11.56 balance to pay out of pocket! Su-weet!
Thursday: An unbelievable offer came our way today…a couple of months ago I’d applied, and was accepted, to serve as a congregational delegate to attend my church’s annual general assembly next week. The agenda is so jam packed with fun activities, workshops and sessions that Michael decided to go with me, making it affordable since we only had to pay for his registration of $350.00. The church had voted to send 3 delegates in all but one of the other two has decided NOT to attend so now the funds will go to reimburse Michael for his serving in her place. A cool fact: the assembly is being held in Columbus, Ohio this year, which is only 30 miles from where two of my daughters and my grandkids live so we’ll attend the sessions during the day and then drive to their place to stay at night saving us a bundle in hotel fees and giving us some good ‘face time’ with our loved ones. For a week. Priceless, priceless, priceless!
Friday: I received a check in the mail today for my portion of a class action lawsuit brought against Vibram Five Fingers shoes. They weren’t as advertised and the company was found guilty. My non-guilty pleasure was for $20.21!
As always, I want to remind you that frugality is NOT the same as being cheap. It’s simply a matter of watching where all of our money goes, sticking to our long term, big-picture goals, which then allows us to live life to the fullest on very little money. Cheapness doesn’t give one that feeling of satisfaction that frugality does: Cheap and frugal people both love to save money, but frugal people will not do so at the expense of others.
One other huge component of frugality for me is knowing that buying less stuff results in a healthier environment too. I’m happy knowing that my plastic forks and red cups aren’t going to end up floating in an ocean of trash somewhere.
Filed under: Frugality, Uncategorized | Tags: allergies, disposable plasticware, homemade fruit roll ups, neti pot, recycling, reusing, rooibos tea, wood chip mulch
This week has been one of odd May weather and neither of us feeling well so more time than usual was spent right here at home. We tried to get in our daily walks while completing errands and we did manage to mulch the ‘taters and pick some fresh peas. Freshly laundered clothes were hung out to dry one day and lots of healthy meals were cooked from scratch. In other words, nothing out of the ordinary…
Monday: Although I’m quite tired of the cool, gray weather we’ve put up with lately, it has given us an opportunity to work our plot in the community garden in the comfort of those cooler temperatures this week. We weeded our paths and then covered them with a thick layer of wood chips that were delivered to us by a local tree trimming company- for FREE. I bet since landfull fees are so high, that these types of companies would have free chips no matter where you live. Check it out in your area! Our chip pile has already gone down quite a lot…
Tuesday: My strawberries continue to sweeten and ripen in spite of the cool weather. When life gives you strawberries (and ripe bananas) make fruit roll ups! I’ve never made them before and for a first time effort, they came out really well. Wish I could share their goodness with each of you. But we’re planning a camping trip soon, so these will be a really nice addition to the supplies. Here’s the directions: wash and core 2 qts of berries, puree in blender, add 1 1/2 very ripe bananas if desired (and it helps thicken the leather). As an aside, I also added 1/2 tsp powdered Vitamin C to make them even healthier and to prevent oxidation and unwanted browning.
I suspect two things with this delicious snack:
1.) You can use any kind of fruits you like best or have the most of, but you’d have to remove seeds of course
2.) You won’t really save any money because I just looked online and saw that a box of 10 FAKE fruit roll ups costs only $2.10. Those made with 100% organic fruit are simple unaffordable! My recipe made a couple dozen but I had to pay for the bananas, the electric energy used to dry them in my Excalibur dehydrator and the Vitamin powder (which I had on hand, but still…) So these aren’t particularly ‘frugal’ but it is a great way to enjoy fresh fruit next winter when you couldn’t buy a ripe LOCAL strawberry if your life depended on it! There’s no box to recycle, however I wasn’t pleased with my choice of plastic wrap for packaging them. I suspect I might’ve been able to dust the outside of the dried fruit with a bit of confectionary sugar before rolling to prevent sticking and then put them in a single ziplock bag that I could rewash for storage. Live and learn. Let me know if you make roll ups with some other fruits, will you?
Wednesday: This didn’t really happen on Wednesday of this week but I just had to gloat a little over this windfall. A friend ordered a certain kind of tea online but was shipped a POUND of the wrong type. When she called the company to let them know, they told her to keep it and they would reship the correct tea. Guess what? She doesn’t like ORGANIC Red Rooibos tea and we do very much. And guess what? She gave us the tea. And guess what? The tea was $42 a pound.
Thursday: My seasonal allergies have really bothered me this spring so I started using my Netie Pot again as my choice of drugs. (I’m very careful in how I use it because it’s been said you know that ‘netie pot is a gateway drug’.)
Here’s my easy recipe… I read somewhere that using it at bedtime seems to be most effective then.,in that it washes away the days’ accumulation of pollens that are in your nose: Mix 3 tsps of iodine-free salt with 1 tsp of baking soda and mix well. Add 1 tsp of that to 8 ozs of lukewarm distilled or boiled water, then use the Netie pot to irrigate nostrils. If you have trouble picturing this absolutely harmless but effective natural practice, watch this 15 second You Tube video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9i6x6uGm2k. Savings: Prepackaged saline solutions average 15 cents each. Box of 100 is $14.69 PLUS one hundred little non recyclable foil envelopes. Just sayin’…
Friday: Since our environmentally disastrous trip to California last month I’ve tried to make peace with Mother by being super vigilant about my resource and energy uses. Today I knew that I’d partake of the free pre-made lunch salad they always give me as part of my noon-time chemo treatment so I made sure I carried a plastic fork with me to eat it with and I refused the straw in paper for the canned juice drink, brought the can home for recycling, as well as the nice plastic container with lid for a future “leftovers” trip in the car. Hardly cause for vindication but I felt better about it. Please remember to keep some plastic forks and spoons in your car, purse or laptop case. It won’t save you any cents but it sure makes sense!
Hope your weekend is healthy, fun and frugal too!
Filed under: Frugality | Tags: beekeeping, clotheslines, compost bins, Electric Pressure Cooker, frugal, growing food, recycling, repurposing, walkability, Waste reduction
I’ve made the transition from country living to city living rather seamlessly. Four years ago we moved to a house “in town” that’s got a walkability score of 76, according to walkscore.com. I beg to differ, because I feel like it’s more like a 97, but I guess that’s just because I’ve tried to center my life around what’s close by: the library, coffee house, the park and our bank, to name a few things. We no longer eat at national chain restaurants that are all located in areas that aren’t walkable anyway, switching to smaller, locally-owned places that are close by (and are also willing to make substitutions when we request them, as well as having generally healthier choices.) So, if you have a good cuppa joe, a great book, and a dollar or two in your pocket, what else do you need? Bees, it turns out. I sold my hives and all my equipment to the buyer of our ‘country’ house but now that my city has passed an ordinance that allows beekeeping within the city limits, I can “have my cake and eat it too”.
I set up my swarm trap on April 1st hoping to catch a swarm. It didn’t take long-I’ve eagerly watched my small swarm grow into a seemingly robust colony. This morning I hitched a ride with a friend to the beekeeping store (that’s out in the county-not walkable!) and noticed a sign there that said a new package of bees with a queen is selling for $135.00. I don’t have 3 pounds of bees yet but I will by summers’ end, so I figure I’ve saved about $100 already. Michael says keeping bees is akin to any expensive hobby like golfing or boating. Yes we could much more easily and economically buy honey than take care of our own hive, but my focus is really more on helping our pollinators, and that’s another story for another day.
Coming back to this week:
Monday: I’ve recently become aware of a new recycling center on the campus of ETSU that takes metals, including aluminum, as well as #1-7 plastics, plastic bags, cardboard and glass! It’s in a location that’s quite easy for me to get to (there’s that walkability again) and I wanted to share this especially with my local peeps. I’ve been taking my metal cans to church, where a friend takes them home with her for recycling in her community. This isn’t necessarily a money saver for me, but it DOES offer me an alternative to taking my #5 plastics to Asheville. What’s that old saw? “Time is Money?” That may be true too, but saving plastic from landfulls (my new word) is priceless! It ain’t much to look at but here it is. All the receptacles are well labeled, making it easy. *Local Friends-message me for directions
Tuesday: I had an old tote bag whose straps had broken so I stuffed it with an even older pillow and made it into a NEW pillow for my front porch!
It’s made of a waterproof nylon, had a zipper opening AND matched the seat cushion. Repurposing is so much better than recycling. And funner too.
Wednesday: Went into a nearby thrift store and found something that I’m always looking for in such places, yet never find. OK not ever, because I DID find pyrex containers with tight lids. Retro for real. 99 cents each. No BPA.
Thursday: Both of the free Japanese Maple tree seedlings that I scored at last year’s annual tree giveaway made it through their first winter and seem to be thriving this spring! I went back to this year’s giveaway and picked up another Japanese Maple sapling as well as a Redbud. Now both of them seem to have made it through their transitions after being planted and hopefully will thrive too. Potted Japanese Maples sell for about $50-$75 each and will soon be beautiful additions to my landscape. Savings for all four? About $175 I’d say!
Friday: About 5 years ago I donated my Troybilt tiller to the community garden. It seems as though it needs constant repairs to keep it running smoothly and with little to no operating funds, those repair bills have been a challenge. If I’d only known that all I had to do was to formally donate the tiller by writing a handwritten letter stating that the tiller is now the property of the Parks and Rec Department, I could’ve saved our money and sanity in having ‘volunteers’ (that’s a misnomer if there ever was one!) conduct the repairs. Some changes in the department have put me in direct contact with the person in the know. As I write this, the tiller is being repaired at no cost to the gardeners by the city’s repair shop guys. I also went to pick up my personal Mantis tiller from the repair shop a few weeks ago and willingly paid the bill for having the carburetor rebuilt. After starting once, it wouldn’t start again so I took it back to the shop where they then told me it needed a new carburetor-another $59.95. I complained and they agreed to replace it for free. Savings: $59.95!
Just as a matter of course, I did a number of things this week that although none were spectacular or special, all helped me to keep more money in my bank account. I hung out clothes to dry instead of using the dryer, dried fresh herbs from my garden, added my shredded documents to my compost bin rather than bagging them and sending to the landfull, used my electric pressure cooker to make oatmeal for breakfast (3 minutes) and Katmandu Stew for supper (15 minutes), took a free yoga class at the park, and planted Roma beans that were given to me by a friend. Lowering my carbon footprint on the earth, saving energy, helping honeybees, eating and living a healthy lifestyle, growing my own food-PRICELESS!!!!
Remember: “Thrift is liberation rather than deprivation”.
Have a great weekend friends!
Filed under: Frugality, Uncategorized | Tags: Buy Local, carousel, homemade laundry detergent, honeybee swarms, shop locally
There’s been a lot of self-talk today with me trying to decide whether to write a real post or use this space as an opportunity to play a great April Fool’s joke on my readers. I decided on the former, even though I had great fun imagining all the creative and funny things I could write. With that, let’s get down to the subject of frugality. I consider thrift as liberation rather than deprivation. It also connects me more meaningfully to the earth because I know that non-consumption is one of the keys to helping turn the temperatures down on our heated planet.
Every day is Earth Day in my mind, but I will use this opportunity to remind you that April 22nd is THE date this year for celebrating. I enjoy knowing that the choices I make in my life are interconnected choices. When I choose to eat healthy vegetarian meals it benefits the environment in countless ways. When I choose to recycle, repurpose and reuse everything I possibly can, or to walk rather than drive somewhere, I know those choices are also protecting the earth’s resources as well as my bank account. Buying as little as possible every single day leads to a simple lifestyle that feels right for me and my Earth. To that end, nothing is too small to make a difference…
Monday: I used an uncancelled stamp that had come on a piece of mail to send a sick friend a card…
I not only saved 49c cents on the stamp, I will reuse the manila envelope too the next time I need to mail something large. PLUS I’ve still got that extra stamp for my next card!
Tuesday: I mixed up a fresh batch of laundry detergent, using borax, washing soda and grated laundry soap. The whole process takes maybe 10 minutes, I store the gel in a freely-given repurposed bakery bucket, I save LOTS of money over store bought detergents, and there’s no container to recycle when it’s gone. This choice is a lot healthier for the Earth, in my opinion. I’ve only bought ONE container of store bought stuff in over 15 years, and that was this past winter when I was too sick to make my own.
Wednesday: My daughter was here visiting from Ohio for a few days so we enjoyed our time together going to the nearby thrift store where she snagged three tags-still-on Calvin Klein dresses for $22 (I thought he only made underwear!) and we managed to snag five packages of free bread…
Evidently a local bread store had just donated a whole pallet of bread to the thrift store just a few minutes earlier, but the recipients don’t have to pay for the bread since it’s a corporate tax write off for the bread company. I don’t get it, the bread wasn’t even out of date. Some days the magic just happens.
Later downtown we were drawn in by this sign…
…where we enjoyed lunch at a local eatery and then drove over to a newly-opened Carousel. This beauty has hand-carved, hand-painted animals and is only $1 per rider! The ride was my treat. Never let it be said I’m a cheapo 😉
Thursday: I planted some Iris bulbs given to me by a friend who had thinned her bed. I tucked them among some fading daffodils that were given to me by another friend…
Yeah, I had to weed all that out, but will now mulch it thickly with the free shredded leaves the city provides me each fall…
Friday: The best for last…my neighbor called at almost dusk last night telling me her hive of honeybees had swarmed, but were under a nearby landscape timber. She wanted to know if I had an extra ‘hive body’ to put them in. I had a swarm trap that I had readied with drawn comb and bee pheremone just the day before, so I took that over to her. As soon as the sun got up good this morning, the swarm walked right into the trap and as soon as she gets them transferred to their new permanent ‘hive body’ I’ll set the trap again for perhaps a swarm to go in the community garden. Saving the bees? Priceless!
Now it’s Friday evening and we plan to walk downtown to attend the annual free Corazon Latino Festival where there will be ‘the running of the bulls’ (aka Little City Roller Girls), along with food trucks selling authentic tamales, tacos and beers. There will be free salsa lessons, live music on the outdoor stage, vendors, and my favorite…Pasaporte A Las Americas- where visitors can travel across Latin America without leaving home; cultural ambassadors answer questions and share traditions from their countries of origin. Cultural understanding? Priceless!
Have a frugal weekend friends!
Filed under: Frugality, Uncategorized | Tags: compost bins, food, frugal, growing food, plants, reusing, rosemary, seed saving, seed starting, taxes
I can hardly believe another week has gone by since I wrote last Friday but I’m hoping to pick up my own slack next week…I’ve already got several (hopefully) good ideas for posts percolating. This week has been a steady round of doctor visits and tests, along with 3x a week physical therapy on my wrist (which is responding very well!) Time away from home almost always involves spending more money, whether it be on fuel for the car or meals out and this week proved it.
Monday: We got the first round of cool season things planted. These things transplant well and I’ll replant them every week to 10 days until it’s too warm for them. We didn’t have to buy any seeds at all because we had plenty left from last year and had stored them in jars in the freezer. Some were our own saved seeds from prior crops so the food produced from them will be absolutely free, and because the seeds saved were from our own ‘best of the best’ we can expect them to produce well in the same microclimate that they were produced in last year!
I also direct seeded 2 more kinds of lettuce and spinach as well as cilantro in the greenhouse bed. I’m betting they sprout in a few more days. Nothing picture-worthy there until they’re up! I’m already dreaming of the fresh green stuff soon to come. Savings to come: priceless
Tuesday: The spray bottle that I use to mist the top of the soil while seeds are sprouting quit spraying so I soaked the sprayer part in hot, soapy water and that cleared it up! Savings: About $2, a trip to the store AND one less thing in the landfill.
Wednesday: Multiple back to back doctor appointments meant carrying ‘lunch’ with us. It needed to be something that didn’t create a mess, was filling and a decent substitute for a ‘real’ meal. We packed up our standard bagels, nuts, apples and water bottles and it was healthy and didn’t cost us any out of pocket money. Savings for 2 lunches from the hospital cafe? $8-$10
Thursday: We ate out this night after a long day of appointments and errands. We walked 2 blocks to the locally owned “Wok and Habachi” restaurant and had a splendid meal with enough leftovers for our lunches the next day. I considered it money well spent since we were both tired and out of sorts, but to compensate a bit, I used two uncanceled stamps peeled off of mail I’ve received, shredded old documents and added the shreds to our too-wet compost pile, and planted a newly rooted start of a very hardy variety of Rosemary that had made it through our coldest weather back in December…
Friday: We got our income taxes done today at the local community center for FREE. This is the one of the few benefits of being a ‘senior’ and by golly, I’m going to take advantage of it! Friends tell us they pay $75-150 to have their tax returns completed!
Michael is having more surgery on Monday and will be in the hospital for a few days but I’ll find ways to continue to save money, lower my ecological footprint and live well on less regardless of the circumstances. It’s just how we roll…
Have a great weekend!
Filed under: Frugality, Uncategorized | Tags: books, cauliflower, Consumerism, elderberries, frugal, growing food, Radon, reusing, Waste reduction
This will be a quick post, just a ‘gentle reminder’ that it’s Friday again. If you’re new to this blog, I like to reflect on the week just passed and then share some of the ways that I have found to keep money in my wallet.
Monday: It’s seed-starting time so I bleached a bunch of our 4 pack cups saved over many years. Sterilizing them like this before each new use eliminates soil-borne bacteria or other disease transmitters to my new seedlings. Remnants remain of labels reminding me how old some of these carefully preserved cups are. Reusing over and over? Priceless!
Tuesday: I caught a sale and was able to buy three beautiful heads of cauliflower for 99 cents each. When life gives you cauliflower, USE IT! We enjoyed it once in Wild Rice Risotto with Butternut Squash and Cauliflower, and Red Pepper Kale from the garden on the side. We ate the second head in a Cheezy Cauliflower Soup that was delicious. I still have one head left that I plan to make a curry with tomorrow. Normal price: About $3.00 per head. Savings: about $6.00!
Wednesday: I bought a book from Amazon that I’d read some time ago. The library didn’t have it but it was one I wanted to keep to refer back to so I put it on my ‘wish list’ and waited for the price to drop. Did you know that if you put things there they’ll also let you know when the price has changed? It’s a hard back without a mark in it and with a nice dust cover for one cent plus $3.99 shipping, and the seller was in Tennessee, hopefully creating less of an environmental foot print than say, shipping from California or someplace ‘off’. I love buying used books but I won’t pay over $4 for them so sometimes I just have to be patient. Patience has rewarded me many times and is one of the key tenants to frugal living. Savings over original price: $9.00!
Thursday: Got the results back from my Radon test… the ‘safe limit’ is 4, our readings were only 1.7 so not having to pay for mitigation methods to remedy it saved us about $1,000. The test kit was Free.
Friday: With today’s warm sunny weather I felt compelled to ‘get outside’ so I pruned my elderberry bushes before they break dormancy. I’m going to have to work harder at protecting the fruits from the birds this summer, and plan to try a reflective tape but would appreciate any other tips you know that work. Elderberry Wine and Syrup? Priceless!