Monday, October 17, 2011
What could become a simpler meal than a delicious, steaming plate of pancakes? Basically just a batter created from flour, eggs, milk and maybe sugar and some leavening (baking powder or baking soda) can create a meal for any time of the day - breakfast, lunch or supper. Pancakes are not just for breakfast anymore! (Although, I sometimes crave pancakes for breakfast, I cannot deny this...)
Pancakes for Breakfast
Pancakes for breakfast are delicious when topped with fresh or thawed frozen fruit, such as strawberries, blueberries or a mixed fruit blend. Make a plate of pancakes delicious with a pat of butter and some real maple syrup. (Sure, the frugalite's choice of syrup might be those corn syrup laced concoctions, but try to buy a larger jug of real maple syrup when it's on sale or in big box stores like Costco...I think it's one of those ingredients that it's worth splurging on.)
Pancakes for Lunch or Dinner
Pancakes of any sort - the typical fluffy type, or buckwheat pancakes - make a great starchy choice for lunch or dinner too. Top with savoury fillings you would use to fill crepes, or use thin pancakes to make alternative tacos or burritos.
Whenever you make pancakes, make a large batch with the intention of freezing extras. Freeze with sheets of waxed paper in between so that you can just pull out as many flapjacks as you need. You can quickly re-heat frozen pancakes for a quick and delicious meal anytime!
Thursday, July 21, 2011
- Make Money with Online Surveys - There are some scammy survey companies out there that really won't pan out for any extra money for you in the long run. BUT, I've had very good success with these Canadian online survey companies: Ipsos I-Reid and MySurvey.ca. You earn points for each completed survey (which I, in fact, find fun to fill out!) and gather those points up for free gift cards, or even cheques in the mail. Lovely! Fill out some fun surveys and then get gift cards to treat yourself to a nice new book, or at least that's how I spend mine...
- Save Money on Travel - Oh man, how did we ever travel cheaply back in the days before the Internet? Travel research is a breeze online, and you can quickly compare prices with different companies and sites. Everything from airline tickets, to hotel rooms are marked down and revealed on the Internet - all you have to do is find the bargains and snag the deal quickly, before it's gone.
- Make Money with Blogs - Blogs and websites are an incredible way for anyone who loves to put pen to paper (urm...fingers to keys, rather) and express themselves. Blogger.com makes setting up a blog a breeze even for those of us who feel technologically inept. Google Adsense and other types of advertisers make it easy to monetize your blogs. And it's a fun hobby - instead of shopping online, blog online and make a few extra dollars. (It was my websites and blogs that landed me a book deal...so very interesting things can happen when you set your mind to it. That little blog of yours might very well turn into your full-time job.)
- Save Money on Groceries - I believe every major supermarket in Canada and the US has a major online presence. So, even if you don't get all the flyers delivered to you, you have no excuse but to check the grocery store's websites and create a list of all the deals to stock up on when you head into the store. And, by joining frugal forums and websites, you can network with other Frugalites and find even more best deals.
- Make Money with Articles - Again, this is a way that writers can earn some more moola - you can find newspapers, magazines or major websites that are looking for fresh content, and email them a query letter. It's easy - in another post another day, I'll share some tips on how to write a simple yet effective query.
- Save Money on Furniture and Home Stuff - I adore Kijiji. I used to be a lover of Craigslist, but I've had great success recently with Kijiji. I've gotten a $700-value solid wooden armoire (in which we hide away our TV and stereo) for only $180. And recently, a solid wooden table and chairs set (and lovely striped tablecloth to boot! In all my favorite colors...) for only $180 as well. Hey, that seems to be a good number for me. lol You can save incredible amounts of money by purchasing good quality second hand furniture items through Kijiji or other local classified ads sites. * Note: Please be careful when purchasing items this way. If you have a 'funny feeling', just let the so-called deal go. There are con artists out there, and weirdos. *
- Make Money on eBay - Getting rid of clutter and junk in your home will make YOU feel great, will make your home look great, and will help your bank account bulge greatly! It's unbelievable how one man's junk is truly another man's treasure.
- Save Money with Coupons - Certain retailers have online printable coupons you can use in-store or online when purchasing. Plus, coupon groups are a handy way to stock up on a few extra coupons, while getting rid of coupons you don't need. eBay is another source of coupons, surprisingly.
- Make Money by selling your crafts - Whether you're a painter or create beautiful paper crafts, you can create a simple website to sell your handmade items, or else use Etsy or eBay to sell on.
- Save Money by going online...and not relying on RETAIL THERAPY. Remember, you can get carried away spending online, too! Instead, use the Internet as a way to stick to your frugalite goals, whether that be reducing debt or saving money, or possibly paying off a mortgage early. By using the Internet for financial prudence and motivation, you can prevent shopping as a form of therapy. Retail therapy, huh? More like retail scare-apy! Oh, wow, that was bad...
But, even natural aloe squeezed directly from an aloe plant is another natural skin toner. You can just squeeze out a bit onto a cotton ball or on clean fingers, and rub along skin. It makes your skin feel lovely, and it's SUPER natural as it came right from the plant. Aloe plants are great to have around, anyway -- as the aloe vera is very soothing to irritated or slightly burnt skin. I received one plant from a lady about a year ago and it's growing like crazy!
* Remember, especially if you have sensitive skin - always test a small inconspicuous area with the skin treatment first - ideally on the inside of your elbow. Even if something is relatively natural, it doesn't mean that you might not be allergic or sensitive to it.
- Rice - in all its forms! Brown rice, white rice, short grain rice. I love the nutritional value of brown rice, even though it does cost more per serving. You can use rice to create countless main dishes, including casseroles, or use plain rice as a base and different sauces - think sweet and sour chicken, or mushroom meatballs - over top. Also, rice is a handy substitute hot cereal, or can be made into deliciously creamy rice pudding.
- Beans - beans, beans, a musical fruit...does anyone else remember that silly little bean song? :) Beans may make your belly more 'musical', but they're downright healthy and good for you! Combine rice and beans for an ultra frugal meal, or try using cooked black beans in brownies - no kidding! Search the 'net for black bean brownies recipes -- they're healthier, and they taste amazingly good.
- Oats - I love oatmeal for breakfast, and I even whir up some oats in the blender to create oat flour, which has more nutrition than plain white flour. Add oats to ground meats to make them go farther, without alterting the taste, but meanwhile upping the nutritional value and the fiber.
- Frozen fruit - Sometimes buying bags of pre-frozen fruit can be expensive, so buy when on sale or freeze your own fruit. Bananas gone bad? Cut into thick chunks and store in a plastic baggie and freeze - it's perfect to go into a smoothie! Or, when berries are on sale, freeze strawberries, blueberries, blackberries or whatever type you found and use in cakes, muffins, pancakes or more smoothies. (Can you TELL that I enjoy a smoothie or two? :) )
- Frozen veggies - again, stock up when they're on sale. I love that they won't go bad, unlike the fresh vegetables that will go funny if you don't use them quickly enough. Good in stirfries, or in soups, or on the side of any dinner entree.
- Buckwheat flour - I can't eat regular wheat flour, but did you know that buckwheat flour is gluten free? It's delicious, regardless, and if you buy it in a big sack you can get a much better bargain. It is absolutely scrumptious in homemade pancakes, and works well in just about any cake or muffin recipe - there's fiber and protein in it, so it's good for you.
- Eggs - oh, how I love a dozen eggs! They're one food, however, that I don't mind paying a little more for to get a nicer quality. For instance - you can get free range or free run eggs, or the type enriched with Omega 3 oils - usually that just means that the chickens were fed flax seeds. Eggs are delicious whipped up into fluffy omelets filled with fresh veggies and cheese, or as a dip for French Toast- a wonderful Sunday morning breakfast.
- Ground beef, or veggie 'ground beef' - either way, this is a great way to make your meat (or 'meat' in the case of veggie ground round) stretch further. Terriffic in pasta sauces, casseroles, soups and stews. Again, buy on sale and freeze. Also, obviously wonderful as burgers. Veggie ground round, if you haven't tried it, is surprisingly yummy - oh, and a good substitute for vegetarians in Mexican foods like tacos. Yummm...now I'm craving a good taco.
- Chicken - but only if you aren't hooked on skinless, boneless chicken breasts alone! Nothing wrong with stocking up on those when they're on sale and freezing (since they are quick and easy to add to stir fries and other quick meals) but...in general chicken parts with the skin and bone are much cheaper. Chicken legs, for instance, tend to be a very good deal - a chicken leg includes the thigh and drumstick.
- Breakfast for Supper - Pancakes, homemade waffles (or frozen), scrambled eggs and toast, bacon and eggs - all of these are not exactly a specific food, but rather a type of food we think of for breakfast. This makes a far cheaper dinner than usual, since the emphasis isn't on meat.
There, with a little creativity you can make your food budget stretch a little further, while eating like (frugalite) kings and queens. Good on you!
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Think it's crazy? Just try it...I'll bet you'll prove yourself wrong, by having more leftovers remaining. Don't waste them - leftovers are a frugalite's best friend! Just freeze them if you can't use them up in the next day or two.
Try it: use smaller plates to cut down on how much you consume.
1. Stop spending now. That's right, it's an obvious one, and yet so many of us just don't apply it to ourselves. If debt has you worried to death (worried to DEBT, I sometimes like to refer to it), then you need to take drastic action. Don't make those cards easily accessible anymore. Some people keep their cards with a trusted family member, like a parent or spouse. (Not to a shopaholic please!) Plus, remember that credit card charges also include those automatic payments, so if you have a bunch of those on your card -- change to another type of payment, so that your debt doesn't continue to grow.
2. Ask for a reduced interest rate on the credit card. I've done this successfully in the past - simply called the credit card company and asked them to reduce my interest rate. Granted, this is only a doable option if you have a good standing and have been making regular payments. But, it's surprisingly easy to do. If you've received lower interest credit card offers in the mail, KEEP those and quote from them. The credit card company doesn't want to lose your business, and may lower the rate to keep you from transferring your balance to another card.
3. Add it up. Add up the actual debt that you have on all of your credit cards, including major cards and store credit cards. This sometimes shocking number can be a great motivator to keep you from spending needlessly. Keep this number posted in your wallet - possibly on a Post It note right on the card itself - it'll be like a warning to you whenever you see it!
4. Multiply the payments. Whenever you get an unexpected sum of money - from a family member as a gift, from a bit of overtime you worked, from an unexpected freelance job - be determined to use some of that money to pay down your credit card. Even an extra ten bucks here and there will add up greatly.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
There's absolutely nothing that smells as delicious as freshly baked bread! Slathered with butter and jam, it's a simple, old-fashioned treat that really satisfies. Here are some bread baking tips to make yummy homemade loaves that are frugal and fantastic all at the same time:
- Research to find the most frugal ingredients: basics like flour and yeast might seem cheap already and they are when compared to prepared commercial bread. But, make a comparison search of the prices of bread ingredients like all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, and yeast. Buy in bulk for those ingredients and really reduce the overall cost of each loaf of homebaked bread.
- Freeze it: Running your bread machine or oven too often won't help with the electricity bills! Instead, bake a few loaves at a time, and then freeze the loaves, or switch things up by also baking a batch of rolls or cinnamon buns with basic bread dough.
- Add Interest: Basic bread can be turned into some decadent gourmet treats - add herbs, spices, cheese, or sweet ingredients like dried fruit, sugar and cinnamon to create all sorts of wonderful treats from one basic bread recipe.
- Make Mine a Pizza: Remember that yeast bread dough also makes amazing pizza dough. Just spread fresh dough in a pizza pan, making sure to grease the pan first and add a sprinkle of cornmeal to make the pizza pie just slip right out when you're ready to eat it. Pizza is a frugal meal that can be made healthful - just add more fresh veggies, less processed meats, and lower fat cheeses for a yummy meal that the family won't even realize is good for them.
Always looking for new frugal tips? Please check out my NEW book: Living Large On Less: A Guide to Saving without Sacrifice for inspiration to get you started on your reasonable new frugal lifestyle.