Thursday, July 1, 2010

Bits of Frugal, Part 2

I was thinking some more about different things I've done to make our money stretch and came across this post from a few years ago: 20 Ways to be Frugal.

Here are some other things I've done the past few days to pinch pennies:

► When making my own ice cream, rather than purchase crushed ice I just make sure I make a few bags of my own ice. It is a way to cut down on the cost and it's easy with no hassle. I use a few ice cube trays and as the water freezes into cubes I throw them into a gallon freezer bag. When I have three bags full I make the ice cream.

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► I make my own whipped cream, using whipping cream that I purchase at Aldi for a LOT cheaper than I can get in the supermarket.

► We have a little outdoor patio with a flower bed around it. In the spring, tulips and daffodils come up there but so far I haven't planted any other flowers there to carry us through the summer. It doesn't get a lot of sun once the tree is in full bloom and most flowers need a lot of sunshine. So what I did was clear out the dead leaves and planted lettuce, spinach, and kale which are generally colder weather vegetables. Since it is shady for much of the day it stays cooler in those beds and so far the plants are coming up well. This way we can have those vegetables that generally don't last in the heat of the summer, and we are using wasted space.

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► One of the things I planted in this bed was kohlrabi. I've never grown it before and wanted to see what it was like. I put the little plants in the ground and by the next night noticed that something was chomping at the leaves. So I stirred a teaspoon of cayenne pepper into a glass of water and sprinkled it over the leaves. Viola! No more half eaten leaves, no bad chemicals, and no cost as I already had the pepper.

► I had a cupful of corn and a cupful of peas left over from two separate meals so I put them in a container and put it in the freezer to add to soup at a later date.

► Leftover waffles go into a bag in the freezer so that the kids can take one out and pop it into the toaster oven anytime they want.

► Rather than purchase cans of pinto, black or kidney beans where you are pretty much paying for the can and packaging, I purchase bags of dried beans. Then I cook them up and put them into freezer bags or canning jars and freeze them. When I'm making something that requires beans I just pull them out of the freezer and defrost and I'm good to go.

► Chicken breast was on sale and I bought a large package of it. I marinated it and had half for chicken fajitas last night and the other half went into a Southwestern salad tonight. For a package of chicken that was $6, I fed seven people two meals with some having seconds and thirds and there was even a bit leftover after tonight's dinner.

► When one crop is finished in the garden, I try to put something else in it's place so that it's not wasted space.

► I save water bottles and fill them from the tap (we have pretty good water) and store them in the refrigerator. This way anyone can grab a bottle of water for an outing and it doesn't cost me anything.

► I use cloth napkins for almost every meal.

► This week alone I made French baguettes, Italian bread, Italian rolls, focaccia bread and whole wheat bread. I find it's cheaper to make my own and a whole lot tastier.

► This week I made my own salad dressing, taco seasoning mix, and marinade.

Again, even though any one of these things may not amount to much, but when done over the course of a year and all together can really add up into big savings.