Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Another Handy Use for Vinegar - Vinegar for Cats Scratching Furniture

A great tip for cat owners...and fellow vinegar lovers! If your cat likes to scratch, try using a little full-strength white vinegar on the area where they've been scratching. They really won't appreciate that strong acidic smell, and likely won't scratch there anymore!

(And, the frugalite in you will appreciate that vinegar costs WAY less than pricey 'Cat Scratch' Furniture sprays!)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Grocery Budgeting - Save Money on Groceries - Make Meat Stretch Farther

Meat is one of the priciest items on your weekly grocery shopping list. So, make it stretch farther by using smaller amounts of it - or having at least a few meals a week without meat at all! You can substitute lentils or beans instead, which are a healthy source of protein without saturated fats.

To stretch your meat further, try these options:

  • Buy one piece of meat, and cut it into small pieces for use in casserole, stir fries or other dishes
  • Have smaller portions of meat, and make sure to fill your plate up with healthy veggies and whole grains such as whole grain pastas or brown rice
  • Ground meats such as chicken or beef are excellent in soups, stews, casseroles and other main dishes.
  • Add substance to a smaller amount of ground meat by adding cooked lentils. They're really tasty, and when added to beef they just seem 'meaty'!

Make Extra Income - Finding a Part-time Job to Fit Your Life

Sometimes a frugal life just isn't enough, and you need to find a part-time job to supplement the family's income. Here are a few ideas to get you motivated to try!

  1. Look around your neighborhood. Make a list of shops, offices, etc where you would like to work. I think it always helps to hit THESE places first - the types of spots where you'd really like to work.
  2. Once armed with a list of possibilities, make some phone calls from home. You might end up with a couple of options - and talking to someone and making a good first impression (even over the phone!) can really help you off to a right start.
  3. Do up a professional looking resume. Look online for examples of good resumes, and make sure yours is up to par. A poor resume really does leave a bad first impression. Take that resume in to the places you've contacted!
  4. If there's nothing near home (and for frugalites - a job near home just makes sense - you can save LOADS of money on transportation costs) widen out your search and follow the same tips as above.
  5. If you still haven't found anything ideal, be sure to ask your friends and family members if they've seen any Help Wanted signs and then contact those places.

Sometimes it helps to start with a list of your interests, and see if you can find a part-time job you'd really enjoy. One you love is one you'll stick with! And, of course the extra paycheck will be a huge help in these economically-crunched times.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Vinegar - a Healthier, Cheaper Alternative to Fabric Softener

Plain old white vinegar - I love the stuff! It is useful dozens of ways around the home to clean, disinfect...and today's use is to soften clothes.

Use about 1/2 cup of plain white vinegar in the washer - just the regular wash cycle. Works great, and is a more natural and frugal option for softer clothes with less static cling.

More healthy, frugal cleaning tips - and easy to make homemade cleaning formulas all at:

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Frugal Food of the Day - Oatmeal - Rolled Oats

I love a good, steaming bowl of homemade oatmeal. And I'm not talking about those silly (and pricey!) little packets of oats that have been stripped of much of their natural nutrional value. No, I love old fashioned oatmeal - with some milk, drippings of honey, sprinles of cinnamon and raisins - it tastes like dessert for breakfast!

Oatmeal is a fantastic staple food to keep always on hand in your Frugal Pantry. Here are just a few ways to use it:

1. As a hot cereal. Delicious, nutritious.
2. As a replacement for bread crumbs in recipes like meatloaf. I far prefer uncooked oats in my meatloaf.
3. Ground up and added as a delicious, nutty-tasting flour for muffins, quick breads, pancakes, etc.
4. As a foundation for homemade granola, which is basically just oats, a bit of oil, honey, cinnamon (or other spices) dried fruit, and nuts. SO much healthier and cheaper to make it yourself than buy it pre-made!

Do you have other favorite uses for this fabulous, frugal food? Please post your ideas!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Grocery Budgeting - Paying with Cash

When you're sticking to a grocery budget, paying with cash REALLY helps. Why? When you hand over your hard earned physical money, it just feels more painful! (LOL It really does, though!) It makes you more aware of what you're really spending, as opposed to just grabbing one of many debit or credit cards.

Every week, take out your allotted grocery money in cash, and put it in a grocery money jar just for that use. Put receipts in as your money is depleted, and keep careful track of where the money is going. Once the cash is gone, you need to get creative to use the groceries you already have in new, fun ways!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Have a Great Summer Vacation on a Short Budget - Guest Post by Heather P. Johnson

Have a Great Summer Vacation on a Short Budget

If you're always worried that you'll return from a summer vacation with the whole family penniless then you're not alone. It's getting increasingly more difficult to take a trip with the family these days. Maybe you just spent a fortune fixing up the house or the bills seem never ending, don't let these complaints keep you from having a great getaway this summer. Here are a few tips to follow to have a great trip this summer:

- Cut the trip shorter than usual. If you're used to going away for a full week then it may sound blasphemous to shorten your traditional summer trip. But if you're serious about enjoying your getaway and not counting pennies the whole time then you should go for a long weekend. A lot of hotels and resorts will have cheaper rates if you stay longer but you still save money for a four day weekend.

- Make an itinerary on a budget. Everyone in the family will have their different ideas as to what they want to do and see on a particular trip, but you have to realize that getting them all done costs serious money. Reach a family compromise and select just a few of the long list of things on your to-do lists. What you don't do this summer can be on next year's list!

- Make it a true family trip. As much as you want to stay in the nicest resort you have to be honest with your pocketbook. Go visit friends or family and stay with them. You'll have to be sure you don't go to the same ones each summer as you don't want to wear out your welcome but this is a great way to connect with out-of-state relatives and you'll save a few bucks in the process.

- Go in the off-season. Everyone goes away for the Fourth of July so try another weekend earlier in the summer or later in August when rates aren't as crazy. Chances are you'll find a more peaceful vacation spot this way as you can avoid the droves of city slickers during the prime time. Many hotels offer deals to attract visitors during the less crowded times of the season.

- Take a train. Keep the car at home and don't spend a ton on airfare. Take a train and travel the way we used to back in the day. It will be a great experience for the whole family and probably more comfortable than a cramped mini-van or riding coach on a packed airplane.


Heather P. Johnson is a freelance writer, as well as a contributor for Credit Card Lowdown, a site for finding credit card reviews. Heather invites your comments and freelancing job opportunities at her email address:

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Save Electricity - Dry Clothes indoors (or outdoors)

An electric dryer is a fast and efficient way to get your clothes dry after washing. can also get very expensive, especially if you have a large family! In good weather, opt to hang out those clothes on a clothesline and let the lovely fresh breezes naturally dry your clothing.

But...if you live in a small space (such as an apartment) and don't have a clothesline available (or it's not allowed on your balcony) - try an indoors clothes drying rack, such as:

A folding one like this is easy to store, even in tight spaces. You can hang a lot of clothes on this, and after a few hours your clothes will be ready to hang, fold or otherwise put away.

Save your money and let your clothes dry naturally!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Developing a Frugal Attitude - Having Frugal Friends Really Helps!

Some of my dearest friends (and many of my family members, thankfully!) are frugally minded. Do you have frugal friends? If not, you'll find that there are many frugality-type websites and message boards online where you can share frugal tips and ideas on how to make your money stretch further.

I find that when I'm spending time with my frugal friends, it just makes my adventures in frugality WAY more fun! Frugality really is a lifestyle choice, and it really is a lot of fun - especially when you have dear friends who help you live responsibly and within your means.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Frugal Fun and Frugal Gift Giving - Frugal Gift Wrapping Idea

Here's a simple and frugal gift giving idea - or rather, how to wrap up that gift in a frugal way! Try wrapping the gift with fabric. You might have some leftover fabric or material from a project you've finished...or, check the bargain bin at the fabric store near you. It can be an incredibly cheap way to beautifully wrap a gift!

Frugal Food - You Can Eat Rice for Breakfast, Lunch and Supper

Rice is a natural, delicious and of course - frugal - food that you'll want to stock in your pantry regularly! I like whole grain brown rice - it's a bit more expensive, but far better for you nutritionally. Here are a few ways to incorporate rice into every meal of the day - even dessert at the end of your dinner!

1. Rice for Breakfast - Rice is a delicious breakfast cereal. Reheat leftover rice and serve with milk or cream, and additions such as raisins (or other dried fruit such as dried cranberries or chopped dried apricots), spices such as nutmeg or cinnamon and of course brown sugar or a drizzle of honey! It's absolutely delicious.

2. Rice for Lunch - Rice is a great base for any lunch - you can reheat leftover rice and serve with a bit of butter, parmesan cheese and steamed veggies. Add a little protein and lunch is complete.

3. Rice for Dinner - Search online for rice casseroles for an easy and frugal meal. Or, fried rice is a great way to use up leftover rice - waste not, want not after all!

Rice is delicious for dessert - as rice pudding! Again, do a basic search online for rice pudding recipes and you'll find (literally) thousands of them! Enjoy, rice lovers. Your wallet will appreciate your efforts too.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Frugal Shopping - Find Great Bargains in Bargain Bins

An even BETTER way to save money shopping than using coupons? Keep an eye open in your local supermarkets for bargain bins! They might be items stacked in a grocery cart, or maybe there's a clearance section. Some of these items can have their prices slashed by up to 80% or even more! Definitely worth the effort to find these goodies...

And as always, remember: It's only a bargain if you really NEEDED the item in the first place!

Frugal Tips - Track Every Penny You Spend

Frugal tip of the day:

Tracking what you spend gives you a starting point to work with when developing a new budget. If you don't know how you spend your money, how will you possibly know where to improve?

At the local dollar store you can get a packet of mini notebooks for a buck - I just got a package of five of them. I keep one in my purse at all times and write down whenever I spend (literally) a penny! Then, at the end of the week, see where your money went, and how you can improve.

Also, knowing that you have to write down your purchases in a book makes you more aware AND more accountable. That $5.00 latte looked delish when you saw it at the coffee shop, but you might feel sort of silly about it later on when you spent a fiver and have nothing to show for it.