Everyday Compost Materials:
Human & Pet Hair
Coffee & Tea (bags/filters too)
Iron Crib on it's side?
Wire CD Racks
Broken Billiard Sticks
Shower / Curtain Rods
Shelves/File Cabinets Horizontally
Old Bathtubs / Sink
Wine Boxes / Storage
Archive for August, 2006
Everyday Compost Materials:
I read a post on the "ThriftyFun Tips" newsletter I subscribe to about using those rooftop cargo carriers for cars for coldframes for winterproof gardening.
Well- my idea is to use an old, even rusted, barbecue gril. The "paint" should be nontoxic since we used it to cook what we eat. It already has heat trapping ability and a hinge top. Most barbecues have smoke vents on top which we could use to control the trapped heat/temperature inside. And for warmer nonfreezing weather, you could open the coldframe grill and just cover your plants with a modified/small plastic "rowcover". Plus- it's on wheels so it's easily moveable to where the sun is or isn't and it would be elevated off the freezing ground with snowcover.
The more I think of this idea (it's my original idea as far as I know)- the more I like it! We already have a spare grill that we hardly use even during the summer (only to incubate my homemade yogurt); I think winter use would be appropriate. All I have to do is check the depth allowed. I wonder if there are any more "junk" BBQs that I can pick up. LOL
Okay- I'm not sure how many of you out there realize that ground turkey is usually only 99cents, compared to ground beef which is nromally over $2 a pound. That's why I usually only buy the ground *beef* when it's on sale for the same price as the turkey.
In my tightwad zeal, I realize that there is a big difference in taste between the meats. We enjoy the "real thing" more. So- the last time I browned meat for tacos, I combined both of them and cooked 2 pounds of meat.
Taste test proved: the combination of both 99cent ground meat was much tastier than eating only ground turkey and was almost as good as our preference of ground beef.
Try it! =)
Last night I went to the local King Soopers to pick up a few things for dinner after my interview.
I was very good. I stuck to what I needed and whatever I "had" to pick up (because of sale prices). I bought bologna (99cents) and wheat bread (89cents) for dh's lunches. (Why do people prefer junky bologna over honey ham?) LOL
I noticed that the 73/27 ground meat was on sale for 99cents a pound- I bought three. Each time I see this sale, I buy three because the regular price is about $2.25 for one, and I figure if I "spend" as much as I would have w/o the sale, I'll go longer on sale priced meat w/o going over my normal budget. Plus, I've been cutting down our red meat consumption. ($2.97)
I also found some cut beef for half off way off in a different area than the "non-sale" meat. I spent $1.57 for meat I used to make Korean beef & lettuce "presents" for dinner.
(Marinate the beef & cut in bite size pieces. Serve wrapped in romaine lettuce leaves with scrambled egg slivers, asian hotsauce, "sushi" style rice and cucumber slices. It's a hit every time! Last night I made my cucumber salad w/melon- it was sweet and tangy and crunchy. Yum!)
I bought a pound of sourcream (by hubby request as homemade yogurt is a suffice substitute) for 99cents and 33% off.
Here's the revelation: as with ground beef sales, the fat content does not constitute a better buy. It turns out that you spend nearly twice as much for two ounces more meat. WELL- same with the eggs! It was the first time that I realized the price discrepancy. Choose between a dozen medium eggs (22oz @ 66cents) vs. a dozen large eggs (24oz @ $1.21). Again, you would be paying double for only 2 more ounces! So I did what any frugal/tightwad/cheapskate would do- I bought the mediums! (66cents!)
All together I spent under $8 including sale ground meat that I had not "planned" on buying.
Next time, try the medium eggs, alright? (wink)
I was repelled from making a purchase today because I realized that I couldn't even use my bank card. At first I was mad, but then I realized that they did me a favor. It didn't matter that I wasn't going to spend more than $10, or that the prices were so good. The store was saying to me "Don't buy me without cash or else my deals are no longer deals!"
OMG! What a mental...break...through... hahaha
If I can program my mind to say they only accept cash and go to places that only accept cash- how much less would I spend?! Friends only take cash, right? They want you have money to enjoy their friendship and life. They don't want to put more debt on you.
So make your favorite stores, your "cash friends"! =)
I don't know how you have so many seeds (lentils, peas, beans, radish, sunflower, broccoli). Let's assume you bought a boat load of seeds for your garden and didn't get to plant most of them. Have you considered growing sprouts; like "alfalfa sprouts"? They would be a good substitution or addition to lettuce in your salads. And cheap!
Here's a link to some information, you don't neccessarily have to *buy* their supplies.
I think the Devil played a cruel trick on us the day he gave us "credit", or abstract money that you'll pay dearly for in the future.
We know in our mind that we have access to money through credit, but fail to register ownership of spending unless we use tangable cash money.
Credit is a financial anesthetic that tricks our brain into spending our paychecks years into the future.
Electronic funds are almost as bad. As long as we can't physically hold and surrender the money- it does not trigger caution or responsible consumerism.
Cash is the way to go to stay on financial track. But, it seems to be the passe trend for today's consumer.
For me, this is my ultimate goal. I will gradually develop my own technique for transitioning back to the dinosaur practice of handling/managing cash. I owe it to Jasmin, my child, not to the credit companies.
I read this on another website and thought I'd share...
"For those of you who have not been watching the news lately, Northwest Airlines handed out a booklet to their employees who were going to be laid off including a section called “101 Ways To Save Money” - the airline employees responded by protesting the list as offensive..."
1. Set your thermostat to 64 and turn it down to 60 at night.
2. Use the phone book instead of directory assistance.
3. Use coupons at the grocery store.
5. Ask for generic prescriptions instead of brand name.
6. Do your own nails.
7. Rent out a room or garage.
8. Replace 100 watt bulbs with 60 watt.
9. Make long distance calls at night and on weekends, instead of mid-day, mid-week.
10. Throw pocket change in a jar and take it to the bank when it’s full.
11. Always grocery shop with a list.
12. Buy spare parts for your car at a junkyard.
13. Go to museums on free days.
14. Quit smoking.
15. Get hand-me-down clothes and toys for your kids from family and friends.
16. Meet friends for coffee instead of dinner.
17. Request to get interest on a security deposit for your apartment.
18. Take a shorter shower.
19. Write letters instead of calling.
20. Brown bag your lunch.
21. Make your own baby food.
22. Use public transportation.
23. Drop duplicate medical insurance.
24. Buy old furniture at yard sales and refinish it yourself.
25. Apply for scholarships and financial aid.
26. Exercise for free-walk, jog, bike, or get exercise videos from the library.
27. Form a baby-sitting cooperative with friends and neighbors.
28. Buy your clothes off season.
29. Go to a matinee instead of an evening show.
30. Share housing with a friend or family member.
31. Hang clothes out to dry.
32. Do not use your calling card.
33. Volunteer two hours a month for reduced cost food through the Share Program.
34. Change the oil in your car yourself regularly.
35. Get pre-approval from your medical insurance company before undergoing any procedures or tests.
36. But ‘no frills’ vitamins.
37. Take a date for a walk along the beach or in the woods.
38. Make cards and gifts for friends.
39. Shop in thrift stores.
40. Have your water company do an audit so you are not charged sewage fees for water used in your garden.
41. Refinance your mortgage.
42. Grocery shop on double coupon days.
43. Trade down your car for a less expensive, lower maintenance one.
44. Convert your cash value life insurance to term.
45. Shop around for eyeglasses.
46. Don’t be shy about pulling something you like out of the trash.
48. Move to a less expensive place to live.
49. Use low flush toilets or water saving devices in the tank.
50. Drop unneeded telephone services like call forwarding or caller ID.
51. Buy fruits and vegetables in season.
52. Avoid using your ATM card at machines that charge a fee.
53. Bicycle to work.
54. Shop around for auto insurance discounts for multiple drivers, seniors, good driving records, etc.
55. Ask your doctor for samples of prescriptions.
56. Borrow a dress for a big night out. or go to a consignment shop.
57. When you buy a home negotiate the sales price and closing costs.
58. Turn the hot water heater down and wrap it with insulation.
59. Never grocery shop hungry.
60. If you qualify, file for Earned Income Credit.
61. Shop around for prescriptions including mail order companies (Medi-Mail 800-331-1458, Action Mail Order Drugs 800-452-1976, and AARP 800-456-2277).
62. If you pay for childcare, make use of the dependent care tax credit or your employer’s dependent care flexible spending account.
63. Buy, sell, and trade clothes at consignment shops.
64. Shop around for the lowest banking fees.
65. Caulk windows and doors.
66. Iron your own shirts.
67. Plan your weekly food menu before shopping.
68. Buy a good used car instead of a new model car.
69. Purchase all of your insurance from the same company to get a discount.
70. Cut your cable television down to basic.
71. Go to an optometrist for routine vision tests or to change an eyeglass prescription.
72. Buy pre-owned toys and children’s books at garage sales.
73. Have potluck dinners with friends and family instead of going out.
74. Use the library for books, video tapes, and music.
75. Inspect clothing carefully before purchasing it.
76. Don’t use your dishwasher dry cycle; open the door and let them air dry all night.
77. At the grocery store, comparison shop by looking at the unit price.
78. Make your own coffee.
79. Use old newspapers for cat litter.
80. Shop at discount clothing stores.
81. Skip annual full mouth x-rays unless there is a problem; the ADA recommends x-rays every 3 years.
82. Water your garden at night or early in the morning.
83. Shop around for long distance rates.
84. Hand wash instead of dry cleaning.
85. Grow your own vegetables and herbs.
86. Shop around for auto financing.
87. Donate time instead of money to religious organizations and charities.
88. If you are leaving a room for more than five minutes, turn off the light.
89. Shop at auctions or pawn shops for jewelry and antiques.
90. Keep your car properly tuned.
91. Request lower interest rates from your creditors.
92. Trade in old books, records, and CDs at book and record exchanges.
93. Pay bills the day they arrive; many credit card companies charge interest based on your average daily balance.
94. Buy software at computer fares.
95. Search the Internet for freebies.
96. Compost to make your own fertilizer.
97.If your car has very little value, you probably only need liability insurance.
98. Cut the kids hair yourself.
99. Increase your insurance deductible.
100. Buy in bulk food warehouses.
101. If your income is low, contact utility companies about reduced rates.
I killed our other cell phone account since the contract is over and there were overages. So then, I decided (rather than dump my Cingular and swallow the early cancellation fee) to let him us that primarily and at home to use Skpe which is almost free.
I looked at our balance and it was $170!!!!! Mind you, I don't talk on the cell phone much, especially since all of our money fiascos. I might have well paid the cancellation fee! I thoughtI was saving us money...
Anyways- still waiting for PERA check so I had to put it on the Citicard. It feels like involuntary self sabotage!! Skype (free calls) was working the whole time!.
I got this off an email group I subscribe
1. Soak stained hankies in salt water before washing.
2. Sprinkle salt on your shelves to keep ants away.
3. Soak fish in salt water before descaling; the scales will come
4. Put a few grains of rice in your salt shaker for easier pouring.
5. Add salt to green salads to prevent wilting.
6. Test the freshness of eggs in a cup of salt water; fresh eggs
sink; bad ones float.
7. Add a little salt to your boiling water when cooking eggs; a
cracked egg will stay in its shell this way.
8. A tiny pinch of salt with egg whites makes them beat up fluffier.
9. Soak wrinkled apples in a mildly salted water solution to perk
10. Rub salt on your pancake griddle and your flapjacks won't stick.
11. Soak toothbrushes in salt water before you first use them; they
will last longer.
12. Use salt to clean your discolored coffee pot.
13. Mix salt with turpentine to whiten you bathtub and toilet bowl.
14. Soak your nuts in salt brine overnight and they will crack out
of their shells whole. Just tap the end of the shell with a hammer
to break it open easily.
15. Boil clothespins in salt water before using them and they will
16. Clean brass, copper and pewter with paste made of salt and
vinegar, thickened with flour
17. Add a little salt to the water your cut flowers will stand in
for a longer life.
18. Pour a mound of salt on an ink spot on your carpet; let the salt
soak up the stain.
19. Clean your iron by rubbing some salt on the damp cloth on the
20. Adding a little salt to the water when cooking foods in a double
boiler will make the food cook faster.
21. Use a mixture of salt and lemon juice to clean piano keys.
22. To fill plaster holes in your walls, use equal parts of salt and
starch, with just enough water to make a stiff putty.
23. Rinse a sore eye with a little salt water.
24. Mildly salted water makes an effective mouthwash. Use it hot for
a sore throat gargle.
25. Dry salt sprinkled on your toothbrush makes a good tooth
26. Use salt for killing weeds in your lawn.
27. Eliminate excess suds with a sprinkle of salt.
28. A dash of salt in warm milk makes a more relaxing beverage.
29. Before using new glasses, soak them in warm salty water for
30. A dash of salt enhances the taste of tea.
31. Salt improves the taste of cooking apples.
32. Soak your clothes line in salt water to prevent your clothes
from freezing to the line; likewise, use salt in your final rinse to
prevent the clothes from freezing.
33. Rub any wicker furniture you may have with salt water to prevent
34. Freshen sponges by soaking them in salt water.
35. Add raw potatoes to stews and soups that are too salty.
36. Soak enamel pans in salt water overnight and boil salt water in
them next day to remove burned-on stains.
37. Clean your greens in salt water for easier removal of dirt.
38. Gelatin sets more quickly when a dash of salt is added.
39. Fruits put in mildly salted water after peeling will not
40. Fabric colors hold fast in salty water wash.
41. Milk stays fresh longer when a little salt is added.
42. Use equal parts of salt and soda for brushing your teeth.
43. Sprinkle salt in your oven before scrubbing clean.
44. Soaked discolored glass in a salt and vinegar solution to remove
45. Clean greasy pans with a paper towel and salt.
46. Salty water boils faster when cooking eggs.
47. Add a pinch of salt to whipping cream to make it whip more
48. Sprinkle salt in milk-scorched pans to remove odor.
49. A dash of salt improves the taste of coffee.
50. Boil mismatched hose in salty water and they will come out
51. Salt and soda will sweeten the odor of your refrigerator.
52. Cover wine-stained fabric with salt; rinse in cool water later.
53. Remove offensive odors from stove with salt and cinnamon.
54. A pinch of salt improves the flavor of cocoa.
55. To remove grease stains in clothing, mix one part salt to four
parts rubbing alcohol.
56. Salt and lemon juice removes mildew.
57. Sprinkle salt between sidewalk bricks where you don't want grass
58. Polish your old kerosene lamp with salt for a brighter look.
59. Remove odors from sink drainpipes with a strong, hot solution of
60. If a pie bubbles over in your oven, put a handful of salt on top
of the spilled juice. The mess won't smell and will bake into a dry,
light crust which will wipe off easily when the oven has cooled.
See, debt affects all corners of your life. You're in denial if you don't see it.
It makes me feel powerless sometimes. Defeated- but only temporarily. Do children hate their parents for being low income?
I've had such bad luck this year. I've tried many things to make money. I've invested money in places to make money but nothing's worked out.
I have yet to set this up. I'm already in the black for this. I owe Jasmin upwards of $150. But, realistically I would pour money into this. I tried to plan her arrival financially. I've disappointed myself. =(
I'm making minimum payment this month. Then, I'm paying it off with the PERA check and sending it to the credit grave!
Balance $4313 Limit: $4900
Min payment: $125 fin. chg:$39 16%APR
Final balance: $4227
Another nightmare: I ate up those transfer balance offers like Godiva Chocolate! Small purchases add up fast! And now I'm mostly paying their profits. ARGH.
This is going to be a *itch to play out. It will be a long, strained relationship with this baby.
$989.19 balance $1000 limit 19.8%APR
Minimum payment: $29 - Finance Charge: $10.38 = net payment $18.62!
ending balance: $970.57 =(
I maxed this out to pay the bank the vacation fees. It's hard to swallow. =(
I've learned that moving balances around is not always a sure bet. You have to stop stop stop using credit cards!
$383.76 OUCH! I have about $120 worth of unplanned or overspending on it. I have about $200 budgeted for this card. I only use it because it's a loan on a monthly basis which I always pay off. But as time goes by, with all the mistakes we've made, I'm thinking I should banish this card for good- over time. My reasoning to use it was for the rewards. See! The powerful marketing/advertising tools! I have to spend money to get rewards (just like coupons).
The Amex has been gradually decreasing on the whole. So each month I'll post our balance and you can help cheer me on to get this off my back!
I have new resolve as the ripples die down (from my U.F.Os post). I have decided to bare all (post my financial progress) and to give plasma for an extra $200 a month toward our financial goals. That is why I've added the catergories: Amex, Capital One, Citi Card, Target, Savings and Jasmin's 529.
Each week I'll put my $25 plasma earned dollars toward paying down the debt and saving for the future, not forgetting to plan for the "unplanned".
I am waiting for my PERA refund check to come in the mail. I'm guessing that it will be $1000. I'm going to pay back my BIL his $200, pay off SearsCard $445 for the tires for the "new" car, and pay down the Capital One with the rest. DH thinks we're going to pocket a portion. NOT!
Okay, I swear I'm as cautious of our finances as possible but sometimes UFOs come from nowhere. "Unfortunate Financial Occurances" should be planned for, yes, but I'm still in denial that I ever should have happened in the first place- planned or not.
Since I've been staying home with Jasmin, the money has be tight- but we were doing fine for about 7 months. Come on- my DH is a teacher, I'm sure you can imagine. LOL
Anyways, we went back to visit our family for the first time in two years because our baby niece was born. My initial impression was that "visiting family" equals "a frugal getaway". I spent a total of $40 during two weeks of "vacation".
My DH went bonkers! As though just because we were back in Chicago, we had our original incomes back. He went over his minutes on the cell phone (costing an extra $100) and overwithdrew the bank ($200). This is personal, please hold your criticism.
You remember we were on vacation, right? So we couldn't fix our bank problems for 10x days out. Over that ten day span we were charged $500 in bank fees, my credit card percentage went up 4% and we had to scrounge for the rest of the month and borrow $200 from his rich brother. On top of that, we're only paid monthly. OUCH!
I should have talked with DH about vacation purchases should be discussed (since I'm the one who handles the bills and he chooses to have a blind eye to the income he works so hard for). I figured we'd be together most of the trip (ie. the discussion would be easy since I'd be there to temper spending binges and I could put a few purchases on credit). I know- I'm totally against using credit- especially with my goals- but during vacation, I figured I'd have more control!
Well, if I had been there for the binges- I could have decreased his spending and used a little credit and avoided $500 of bank fees! The ripple effect has been enormous on our bills and marriage.
On top of that, when we got back we had to get plates and registration for the new car (gift from parents).
What a nightmare. Let this example kill any temptation to do things without communication with your spouse and planning ahead. Learn from our mistakes, please!
I doubt we'll have many happy memories left of our vacation because it was a financial nightmare!
(1) Deodorizers for shoes, drawers, suitcases
(2) Anti Static
(1) Refill Swiffer Dusters, or dust alone
(2) Stuffing for pillows, etc
*Money Saving Tip* You don't have to used the whole sheet for a load...split it up in half, thirds, fourths. Or reuse a whole sheet. Or, make your own with paper towels/washcloths with liquid softener.
More ideas in your comments section...
(1) FREECYCLE.ORG : Freecycle in Your Area
(2) Budget101 : Click here
* Check out the Freebie Toolbar & Grocery Guide! SCORE! *
(3) Finally Love Yourself : FLY Lady
Now spending.... yeah, that's a team effort! Wahoo!!
I'm not saying that it's only the wives/women that head the debt busting crusade, or that it's just the men/husbands either. What's most common is that either or tend to be gung-ho and with varying success, get their mates to join the fight...even if just in theory.
Now fess up, how do you get your other half to pitch in? Do you have any tricks up your sleeves?
I'll go first...
* I doing my brand name to generic switches on the down low... mix the dry milk or water down the whole milk while he's not looking
* I hide money
* I hide the cell phone (since we downsized to one cell due to our uneven usage) so that we don't go over minutes
* I try to go grocery shopping w/o dh as he makes it more difficult to stay on "track".
* If he balks at not buying something or makes fun of me for doing something frugally gunghoe: I tell him how much I'm saving him in terms of cigarette packs...etc. whatever he desires most frequently
Now your turn to comment... what are you're tricks?
I think this must be a socio-economic issue perhaps. I think some people stop dreaming/pursuing better financial situations because they think that they are meant to be in a rut. They grew up poor and will die poor. They don't know any better.
But- Should that matter? Don't you want to be in a better financial situation? Not to say that you should try to "keep up with the Jones's" if it doesn't fit within your means.
Don't let your financial dreams die just because of what you're *used* to.
Positive thinking begets better opportunities & fortune. Motivation will take it to the next level- and hopefully to success.
My husband is an art teacher. Art is not the most funded subject in most schools.
Since it's the beginning of the school year for most, including my dh, I suggest that if you have potential usable (art) supplies to call your school to see if the art teacher needs it.
Paper (construction etc)
From our house, I save:
Cardboard rolls from T.P. & P.T.
Baby food jars (containers for paints)
Other than free bags for household things, let's explore what else we can use them for.
(1) Packing material
(2) Dog Poo Bags
Here's a Link of other ideas @ about.com
The Plastic Bag Pages
Do you have any other ideas you can comment on?
I used to work in a Flower shop and we used to throw away a lot of batting type material, shredded paper, etc. from our flower shipments. Ask your local flowershop if they have any they can spare.
Otherwise, use your mountains of plastic grocery bags for moving your breakables.
(2) Potato starch
(3) Rice Flour
*5* Potato Flakes!
*6* Rice cereal / Baby cereal!
I've tried it and it works! Any others to comment on?
Acid content! So add lemon or vinegar to your milk so you don't have to rush to the store to get "buttermilk"! I saved you gas too. ^^
In cooking and cleaning, these are interchangeable in providing their acidic taste.
Tip: Vinegar or lemon added to milk would give you buttermilk in a pinch
Can be a pinch hitter when you're out of milk. I think it provides a creamier taste and texture in sauces.
Yogurt can pinch hit for sour cream and milk in the right situations/recipes. Generally you're safe.
Bonus: Yogurt is easy to make and you can chain batches so that you're not "reinvesting" in making more yogurt.
Did you know that you can make a ricotta textured cheese from drained yogurt? Maybe ricotta & yogurt could pinch hit for each other too!
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