Frugality Information | Craft x Stew
Category name:Frugality Information

20 Ways To Use The Library To Save Money

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source: runmonty

I adore the library. It’s a fabulous resource for saving money. It’s full of free information,  entertainment, and programs that would otherwise cost big bucks if you had to pay for them yourself.

Here are 20 of my favorite ways to take advantage of the library:

 

Read

Borrow novels instead of buying them. Just be careful not to rack up overdue fines.

Read the library’s newspaper. Cancel your home subscription.

Skip the newsstand and instead read magazines for free. Most libraries have an enormous selection to choose from.

Check out the library’s used book section.  Bring home several books for a dollar or less.

 

Learn

Dip into a sewing book. Begin doing your own hems, zippers and other minor repairs.

Gather information on investments. Make some changes to your portfolio.

Study a car repair manual. Try your hand at fixing your car.

Copy down some money saving recipes for pantry basics. Learn to make your own jellies, cheese, cured meats and condiments.

Flip through some frugal books and learn some new tips. My personal favorite is the Tightwad Gazette.

Borrow a home repair manual. Use it to do your own painting, plumbing and gardening.

Use a book to learn a new craft. Save big bucks during the holidays by making your own gifts.

 

Play

Have your kids participate in the library’s reading program. They’ll get free prizes, tickets to the zoo and other treats.

If your not a big internet junkie, use the library’s account. It’s free and accessible whenever the library is open.

Use the library to relax. Skip the coffee shop and make the library your  new, favorite “de-stress spot.”

Take your kids to one of the library’s summer programs. These include story hour, puppet shows, animal programs and more.

Borrow developmental toys for your children to enjoy. Not every library has this service, but if your does, it’s a tremendous money saver.

Skip the music store and get your dvds from the library instead. Explore some new styles of music.

Watch the library’s selection of movies. It’s cheaper than cable and quality is generally very high.

 

 Save

Peruse the library’s coupon box.  Not every library has this service.

Read the library’s copy of Consumer Reports. Be sure your next big purchase is a smart one.

 

Please let me know if you have any ideas to add to the list. I always enjoy getting input from readers.

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Stocking Up

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Stocking Upsource: jjkbach

Our apartment is about the size of a bird cage, and yet we’re meticulous about stocking up on bargains. Why? Because running out and paying full price the minute you need something is a tremendous time and money waster.

Instead, we buy in quantity as we come across a bargain.

For instance, when cat food was on sale, we bought ten big bags.  I kept them in our basement storage room and we used them up over a period of 8 months. Yes, it was a large initial outlay of cash, but it was also a large savings.

We buy clothes the same way.  Because we live in the Middle East, local clothes are both expensive and poorly made.  Therefore, when I went to the US this summer, I came home with boxes full shirts, pants, night gowns, underwear and socks…enough to last till my next visit.

What are some other ways we stock up?

  • When we make a trip to the local farmer’s market, we don’t just buy fruits and vegetables.  We also check out the prices for less perishable items and take those home too.
  • When the library had novels on sale for 4/$1, stacks of new books showed up on our shelves. We knew that even if we didn’t read the books for a year, it’s was still worth it to buy them.
  • When the grocery store has cases of tuna on sale, we buy enough to last close to a year. My husband only likes expensive white tuna, so good sale prices are vital to us.
  • When I found a source of inexpensive scrapbooking supplies, I bought a complete selection of papers and embellishments. Years later, I don’t do much scrapbooking, but I still use the supplies for packages, greeting cards and art journaling.
  • When a neighborhood store was running a 50% off sale last month, I bought small boxes for food gifts at rock bottom prices. I bought enough for several years, because I use these boxes a lot, and I knew I would never find prices like that again.

Here’s a story about what happens when we don’t stock up!

Years ago, we purchased a dozen Staples brand mouse pads for a buck each. We had so many stored up, we didn’t think to keep an eye out for other bargains. Today, when my last mouse pad was ruined, my husband had to make an emergency run to the office supply store.  Instead of costing $1.00, the new mouse pad cost $7.50, because we didn’t shop ahead. So much for careful planning!

7627955892_65033c60f0_zsource: Travis Juntara

Tips for stocking up

  • Don’t buy a lot of something you’ve never tried. 12 boxes of cereal, that your family decides they hate, is a complete waste of money no matter how cheap they were.
  • Make sure the last of the purchase will be used up before the expiration date. A friend once offered me a fantastic deal on potatoes, but most of them spoiled before we were able to use them.
  • Remember, quality does matter. The enormous case of tissues at the warehouse store isn’t such a bargain, if the rolls are only one ply instead of your usual two ply.
  • Do your math to make sure the super cheap price is actually a bargain. I once bought a half dozen large boxes of Mike and Ike for what I thought was an amazing price, and then found them cheaper at the dollar store.
  • Designate storage space before making a large purchase. Under the bed, inside the sleep sofa, down in the basement and up in the attic are all good if at first you don’t appear to have room.
  • Review your budget. Be sure stocking up isn’t going to stop you from having enough money for the rest of your expenses. Unless you know you will have enough money for food and bills, consider passing even on a great bargain.
  • Don’t limit your bulk purchases to just food and clothes. When my kids were young, I bought birthday gifts at great prices throughout the year. I stored them in my car trunk till they were needed.

A Word Of Warning

Though stocking up can save you loads of money, do be careful. I have made some major. I’m going to share three, so you don’t repeat my bad experiences.

1) I once bought enough discounted price printer ink to last for 5-6 years. The sale was amazing, so I figured, why not? Six months later, the printer broke and was impossible to repair. We wound up giving the ink away.

2) Last year I stocked up on enough cheap frozen broccoli to last for years. I figured if it was kept in the freezer, it would be fine even if it passed the expiration date. I was very, very wrong. Now, only a year later, the broccoli is freezer burnt and unusable.

3) When my daughter was twelve, I once stocked up on about $60 worth of good quality used clothes at the thrift store. The clothes was beautiful and identical to the styles I always bought her. However, when I got the clothes home, she decided she hated every piece and for now on wanted to pick out her own clothes.

Did I leave anything out? Please hare your best tips, mistakes, or stories by adding a comment below!

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16 Favorite Sources For Recipes

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source: Dana McMahan

I look everywhere for recipes.

I search my collection of 100+ cookbooks. I  spend tons of time (too much time) surfing cooking sites. And I constantly beg friends for their tastiest secrets.

As a result, I consider myself an expert on finding good recipes.

Here are 15 of my favorite sources for recipes

Allrecipes – Obviously, this has to be my first choice. I’ve found recipes for the perfect butter/margarine free cookies, cole slaw my sister-in-law drools over, and several very nice rice mixes. Plus, I adore skimming the variations and changes the readers write in about.

Friends – I share a lot of meals with family and friends so I frequently get to taste a variety of dishes. When I taste a recipe I like, I always call the next day and ask for it.

Quickies Cookbooks – I own both Quickies and Quickies 2, both by Monda Rosenberg. I also plan on purchasing Quickies Pasta. I’ve been using these super simple cookbooks for years and I love them.

Packaging – I’ve gotten some of my best recipes from the sides of packages. That’s how I first learned to make egg rolls, no-boil lasagne, and chocolate chip cheesecake.

Google – I love to put a random search term in Google and see what I come up with. One month I did nothing but enter in the names of countries plus the phrase “vegetarian appetizers”. Fun!

Joy Of Cooking (1975 version) – I use this mostly for baking. I really enjoy the pancakes, cakes and fruit breads and have made them many times. I consider these my “go-to recipes” for baking.

Recipe Notebooks – I have been keeping recipe notebooks since my early teens. Their stuffed full of handwritten recipes, copies of library cookbook recipes, online favorites and magazine clippings. By now, I have over a dozen recipe notebooks.

Kosher By DesignI own several of Susie Fishbein’s cookbooks and I wind up using them a lot. I’ve made her smoothie recipe, vegetarian cholent, and her Hasselback Potatoes.

Restaurant Menus – This is one of my stranger sources of recipes. I frequently look at online menus for unusual sandwich concepts or new potato bar ideas. Sometimes I use them for new smoothie combinations or pizza or ice cream toppings.

Quick and Easy CookbookThis is by the American Heart Society and I have a complete review here, along with my opinion on many of the specific recipes.

The Complete Passover Cookbook – Yes, I know, this book is meant only for Passover. I don’t care. We use it all year long and love it.

Experiments – I experiment a lot. I’ll read the title of a recipe just for inspiration and then I’ll make my own version of it, using my own ingredients and instructions. Or, after I pick out an interesting sounding recipe, I’ll read 5-6 versions of it, to get the basic ingredients and technical aspects down, but then make my own totally unique version.

The Complete Tightwad Gazette – Tightwad Gazette doesn’t have a lot of recipes, but every recipe  is special. My favorites are the Universal Recipes for muffins, casseroles, pilafs, etc. I’ve used these many times and they really work.

Youtube – I’ve gotten a few good recipes from Youtube cooking demonstrations. One, which I posted several years ago, is for a vegetarian bacon made from frying shredded cheese. I use this recipe at least one a week for lunch.

The 5 in 10 Pasta Cookbook – It amazes me that this book doesn’t have better rating on Amazon. It’s fabulous. I’ve made at least half of the non-meat dishes in the book,  and I loved them all but one (I don’t like sage!).

Miscellaneous cookbooks – I have also found one or two excellent recipes in Betty Crocker, The Great American Vegetarian, Saved By Soup and other assorted cookbooks, to numerous to mention.

11742257435_767e74b97f_zsource: Scott Akerman

Here are two recipes sources I’d like to try

Cooking Magazines – I actually have quite a few cooking magazines, including the special issues and annuals. For some reason, though, I almost never use them. I’m not even sure why, since the food looks very appealing.

Cooking Shows – I love to watch cooking shows but I never make anything from them. Maybe the stuff Emeril makes is too complicated for me, but I should be able to duplicate a Barefoot Contessa dish.

Please tell me your favorite source for recipes. I’d love to hear from you.

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Double Duty Your Expenses = Double Your Savings

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source: MzScarlett / A.K.A. Michelle

Several weeks ago, a friend without a stove asked if she could make a pound of black-eyed peas in my kitchen.

Not knowing that they take 2-4 hours to cook if not soaked first, we started at 10pm. By 1:30 am we were exhausted but the peas were tender.

As my friend started to move the peas into storage containers, she looked at the small amount and said, “You know, for this much trouble, we should have made two or three bags.”

Her simple comment got me started thinking. How much money could we save if we were more efficient?

I quickly realized that by making our expenditures do double duty, we can double (or triple) the benefit we get from them.

Housewifesource: Garry Knight

Here are some things I already do:

I already wait to buy highly perishable foods till I have several uses planned for them.  I like light cream but I hate when I have to throw out leftovers. To avoid this I use light cream on baked potatoes, burritos and vegetables until the container is completed.

I already buy unusual spices only if I have several recipes lined up.  I wanted to purchase an Indian spice called garam masala but I was afraid it would only be used once. To make sure this didn’t happen, I didn’t buy it till I had several Indian recipes I wanted to try.

I already wait to go to the pet store till I have enough money to stock up on everything I need. The pet store is an hour away by bus, so it doesn’t pay to go just for one thing. I make sure I purchase least 2-3 months worth of food, kitty litter, and flea collars every time I go.

I already cut up worn out clothes for rags or to make small objects from. I have cut up old skirts to make scarves, old nightgowns for rags and old t-shirts for pillowcases.

I already wait to call a plumber till I have several problems for him to look out. We had a very small leak in our hallway sink, so we simply turned off its’ valve till we needed to have more serious plumbing done. We knew we would have to pay a minimum charge, no matter how short the plumber’s visit,  so waited with the minor repair till we had a major repair to be taken care of.

I already lend out every book that I buy. I feel that as many people as possible ought to benefit from the cost of the book. And, in return, friends are happy to lend me their books.

8142124235_f5ece74126_zsource: Garry Knight

Here are some things I need to start to do:

I need to start thinking far enough ahead to combine grocery shopping with other errands. I frequently go to the grocery store one day and the doctor the next. I want to start combining my errands more carefully.

I need to start making large quantities of food when I cook. Gas costs almost the same if you cook one casserole at a time or four. The extra food can be frozen till it’s needed.

I need to start to only sign up for memberships when I am certain I will use the facilities (library, gym, museum) frequently. I have signed up for three different library memberships since I have lived in Israel. I have never used any of the libraries more than once.

I need to start saving food containers. I give out a lot of gifts of food each year and many used jelly bean jars, oatmeal containers and pickle bottle would be perfect to recycle.

I need to start sharing office supplies with my husband. There is no reason that we need two pairs of scissors, two tape dispensers, two white board markers and two hole punchers. If we shared we would get double the benefit from out purchases.

I need to start looking at the coupon and sale ads from every magazine or newspaper I purchase. That way, I’ll get the enjoyment of a good read, plus a financial savings.

Can you think of any other situations where you can get two uses from one expenditure? Please let me know and I will be happy to add it to my list.

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Mutual Mooching

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mutual-moochingsource: Pete Zarria

So, why aren’t I ashamed of myself?

Because I’m also a giver. As much as I mooch off of others, I also give plenty. And in my mind, that makes everything even.

For example: When someone was offering free books on our newsgroup a few months ago, I was the first to grab them. On the other hand, when I heard the local library was looking for book donations, I showed up with several boxes of goodies in tow.

For example: When my mom offered me a free trip to the US, I was happy to take her up on it.  But, when I got there, I helped her to empty four storage rooms that she had paid over $40,000.00 to rent for ten years.

For example: When I was in the US, a friend of my daughter spent a lot of time driving me around. To pay her back, I agreed to send her merchandise from the Middle East to sell in her store.

It’s all a matter of give and take.

If you’re interested in increasing you mooching etiquette, here are eight tips:

1) Don’t take from others if you’re not willing to reciprocate.

It’s fine to borrow a lawn mower from your neighbor, but that means that when he wants to borrow your drill, you have to let him use it. After all, fair is fair.

2) Look for opportunities to do things for other people.

The next time a relative gives birth, be the first to show up at the door with dinner and an offer to babysit. Don’t wait to be asked.

3) When making a request of someone, always make it easy for them to turn you down.

Pressuring and begging is not only rude, it’s playing dirty. Instead, ask for a favor like you would like to be asked.

4) Be as gracious when receiving a “no”, as when receiving a “yes”.

Remember, friends and relatives have the right to tell you no. You might not like it, but it is their right.

5) Try to not only give as much as you receive, but more, whenever possible.

Never do favors “tit for tat”.  To be a good moocher (and a good friend) try to give at least 1.5 times as much as you request.

6) Act in good faith.

This means when you borrow a chair, bring it back on time and in perfect condition. When you offer to do carpool for a friend, show up on time. Don’t act badly just because money isn’t changing hands.

7) Know when mutual mooching is a no-no.

All because your excited by the idea of sharing tools, trading old clothes and taking turns running out for milk, it doesn’t mean everyone else will be. If you see one friend doesn’t want to participate, give up and try out another friend.

8. Always go first.

This may be the most important tip of all. Never ask assistance from anyone, till you have first shown a willingness to do them a good turn. Mutual mooching is one of the rare situations when an insistence on always going first is actually good manners.

Follow these rules, and you can feel completely comfortable asking for favors. You’ll never have to fear that you’re stepping over the line of what is polite. Plus, you’ll wind up saving a lot of money, making new friends, and racking up good deeds all at the same time.

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