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.
source: 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.
source: 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.
source: Rebecca Siegel
Healthy versions of dishes are rarely more delicious than the originals. In fact, it almost never happens.
This lower-fat recipe for Matzoh Brei is one of the very few exceptions.
Traditional matzoh brei, made from matzoh and multiple eggs, is a heavy dish. Take out the extra eggs and you are left with a lower-fat, crisper, more flavorful variation. I think it tastes even better than its’ higher calorie counterpart.
This recipe, with a couple small changes, came from The Complete Passover Cookbook, by Frances R. AvRutick.
4 matzohs, broken into small pieces
3 cups water
1/2 cup chicken broth, made from power or bouillon
1 egg, beaten
3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
Soak the broken matzoh in the water till soft, but not mushy. Drain well.
Stir in the egg and chicken broth.
Melt the butter or olive oil in a large, heavy pan, over medium heat.
Pour in the matzoh and egg mixture.
Using a spatula, turn mixture over (from bottom to top) when needed. Cook till excess liquid has disappeared and pieces are golden and slightly crispy. This should take from 3-5 minutes.
If done correctly, the completed Matzoh Brei should appear lightly browned, and end up in large, scrambled pieces.
Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed.
Serve immediately or refrigerate and reheat with 24 hours.
Piet Mondrian was a Dutch born painter (1872-1944) who is know for his minimal style. According to Wikipedia he created a non-representational style which he call neoplasticism. To read more about this famous artist click here.
I enjoy the bold colors and strong geometric shapes of Piet Mondrian’s work.
Because his work is so distinctive, yet simple, it’s easy to duplicate in a wide variety of medium. Try it in paper, fabric, paint and even knitting. Any medium which allows for straight lines and multiple color changes will work.
Here are ten of my favorite Mondrian themed projects. Please keep in mind that the directions for some of these projects will need to be run through Google Translate.
source: Gioconda Beekman
My doctor is always telling me to walk more. He says I should be doing 10,000 steps, spread out through the day.
Easier said than done.
What he fails to understand, is that even short walks hurt. After just a few minutes my back burns, my hips flare up and my feet start to ache. Even the slightest exercise is quite difficult for me.
This used to make me very depressed. I felt like I could never get healthy.
However, I have come up with an effective solution that really fits my needs. It isn’t a long term exercise plan, but it works great as a way to ease into exercise.
What makes my method so useful?
- I can do it indoors. There is no need to leave the house in bad weather.
- I can walk when it’s convenient for me.
- I can start off very slowly and gradually increase the length of time I work out.
If this sounds good, read on, because this may be the perfect exercise plan for you too.
Here’s What I Do:
1) I don’t schedule a specific time to exercise. Instead, every time I get up for any reason, that action “triggers” a walking session. In that way, I wind up with many irregularly timed walks, spread out throughout the day.
For instance, when I get up to get a drink of water, I immediately walk in place before resuming my seat.
Since I get up often (bathroom break, snack break, door bell, phone call, etc) I automatically get at least 10-15 mini walks daily without any planning involved.
If on occasion, I find I’m not getting up enough naturally, I do things to purposely increase my walking sessions. I may only eat half a snack at a time so hunger forces me up again in another hour. Or, I might make sure that tools I’ll need later in the day are in another room, instead of sitting on my desk.
2) To make it easy to get motivated, I only require myself to do 10 steps. That is such a quick and easy amount of exercise, that I am rarely reluctant to go through with it. However, I find that once I get started I’m usually willing to do a lot more.
I generally do between 100 and 300 steps. This is about 1-3 minutes worth of walking, which is the perfect amount to stretch out my back and hip muscles and refresh me.
However, as long as I do even the minimum 10 steps, I thank myself and congratulate myself for doing a good job.
3) My usual choice of activity is to walk in place. I don’t try to power walk or to race. I just do a simple, leisurely walk.
However, to avoid boredom, I sometimes vary my routine.
- Every four steps do a small kick
- Every four steps do a short grapevine routine
- Incorporate some salsa steps
- Every ten steps add four quick claps
- Every ten steps add a right side step and then a left side step
4) When the walk is over, I then go back to my original activity and wait for the next naturally occurring break to arise. I continue to do this until I have done at least ten walking sessions throughout the course of the day.
Using this method I can do as many as 3,000 steps in a day.
This isn’t as much as my doctor is requesting, but through practice, I hope to get to the point that I can do a full walk around the neighborhood.
Already, I can walk from my apartment to the bus stop without much difficulty. This is a massive improvement for me.
Disclaimer: It’s important to check with your doctor before starting this, or any other, exercise routine.
source: anna carol
It’s been close to two years since I last did a Favorite Reads post.
My online time has changed dramatically during that time. I used to read a lot of specialty blogs, like Crafty Pod, Meggie Cat and How About Orange. Since my last update, many of these sites have stopped publishing.
Now, instead, I read mostly websites, with a few blogs sprinkled in.
Here are the websites at which I spend 80% of my (non-working) online time.
- Pinterest – Why? Constant flood of ideas for every kind of craft and recycling project.
- Make Something 365 – Why? I purchased the 365 book and I love to read the website for inspiration.
- Keri Smith – Why? I own almost everything Keri Smith has written. She is my guru.
- Procrastination Research Group – Why? This site, plus the accompanying book, has helped me to overcome my procrastination problems.
- Class Central – Why? List of almost 2000 free classes each month. Most are given by well respected colleges and universities.
- Ted – Why? Short, high quality talks on a variety of subjects.
- Talks At Google – Why? Longish talks, often on best selling books.
- Allrecipes – Why? Most recipes have been tested and rated, and include comments and changes.
- Chowhound – Why? Great group discussions on many food related topics. I especially enjoy cookbook posts.
- reddit – Why? When I have a question, I love to get multiple opinions on the subject. I also love to read answers to others folks questions.
- MetaFilter – Why? See above.
- ProBlogger – Why? Perpetual favorite of mine. Lots of guest bloggers.
- Moz – Why? Quality information, backed by research.
- KeyWord Tool – Why? My favorite keyword tool. Free and very easy to use.
- flickr – Why? Practically unlimited supply of free photos.
- PicMonkey – Why? Online photo editor. I usually use the free version but there is a paid version with more options.
- Houzz – Why? I get their newsletter. Every time I open it there is always something new to peruse.
- LibriVox – Why? Who wouldn’t love hundreds of free audiobooks?
- goodreads – Why? I enjoy the entire site but I especially love to browse Listopia.
- Better World Books – Why? Good place to purchase used books for readers living outside the US. Free shipping.
- Amazon – Why? Great resource for book reviews.
- Book Depository – Why? Thousands of new books for sale for readers outside the US. Free shipping.
I’ve been a fan of the Tightwad Gazette, by Amy Dacyczyn, for ten years.
Over the last decade, this book has helped me to save thousands of dollars on our housing, transportation, food and clothes. Almost every sentence, in the massive 788 page tome, is a gem.
Recently, I’ve started rereading tightwad gazette with an eye to crafting and cooking. Though these aren’t the main topics of the book, Amy has included some surprisingly good ideas on saving money in these areas. To varying degrees, the Tightwad Gazette touches on sewing, quilting, decorating, woodworking, baking and creating gifts of food. Though these sections are short, they are packed with great ideas.
My favorite story is a detailed accounting of how Amy made a $1.00 quilt for her daughter’s room. Amy designed her own pattern, gathered coordinating fabrics from free or inexpensive sources and set about making a simple but lovely quilt. All done, in her usual frugal way.
Here are 50 takeaways from Tightwad Gazette……
« 1 »
If you own a set of tools, consider building twig furniture for your porch. Rustic furniture is both free and attractive. Use the library to find a book of how-tos.
« 2 »
Try to avoid purchasing wood. Wood can be recycled from curbside throwaways. Use it to create smaller items like wall shelves, children’s chairs, etc.
« 3 »
Sew with the fabrics you already have on hand. Rather than running to the store for new fabrics, use what you already have in your stash. Nothing in your stash? See what your mom has in hers.
« 4 »
Cut down adult size clothing to make clothes for kids. Skirts generally provide the most yardage, but dresses and oversize tops can also be recycled. Cut apart as close to the seams as possible, to insure the maximum fabric.
« 5 »
« 6 »
Make your own patterns from ready made clothing or locate some freebies online. To start, try simple items of clothing like skirts. Eventually work your way up to vests and more complicated garments.
« 7 »
Refurbish clothes the easy way. Just remove dated, damaged and garish elements such as broken beading or yellowed lace. Other things to take off are out of style collars, appliques and buttons.
« 8 »
Skip the eggs for baking. Instead, substitute one tablespoon of water and a heaping tablespoon of soy flour. Stir together to make an egg substitute for cakes, cookies and breads.
« 9 »
Use lightly toasted breadcrumbs as a cheap substitute for Parmesan cheese. Toss them in olive oil and toast in a pan till golden brown.
« 10 »
Make up your own tv dinner trays to deal with leftovers. Fill each tray with one main course and several side dishes. Freeze till needed. Tv dinner trays can be bought at camping stores or online.
« 11 »
Have what Amy calls Smorgasbord Night as another way of getting rid of leftovers. Heat up a bunch of leftovers, place them on the table, and have everyone take what they want.
« 12 »
To get a used “something” for a cheap price, let friends and family know you are searching. Eventually, someone will hear of a “something” going for a great price, or even for free.
« 13 »
Get into the habit of buying items used and then reselling them on Craig’s List when their no longer needed. Just make sure your initial purchase is a great bargain.
« 14 »
Buy fluorescent lights. Fluorescent light fixtures and bulbs may be more expensive in the short run, but you will remake your money back fast, fast, fast.
« 15 »
Buy yeast from bakeries or warehouse stores in bulk. It will cost a fraction of the grocery store price. Just be sure to use it fast so it doesn’t lose it’s effectiveness. Or alternatively, split with a friend.
« 16 »
Don’t use soda or sticky soft drinks to make pops. Yogurt, ice tea mix and leftover jello can all be used for making popsicles. Fruit juice and pureed fruit can also be used.
« 17 »
If you’re sick of spending money on new socks when you have tons of mateless ones in your drawer, start buying identical socks only. You will always be able to match up your socks.
« 18 »
To save burnt cookies, scrape off their bottoms with a course grater. The cookies will taste as good as if they hadn’t burnt.
« 19 »
Never automatically follow the manufacturer’s instructions when deciding how much laundry detergent, shampoo, or dish detergent to use. Experiment. You often need much less than they say.
« 20 »
Don’t always assume warehouse stores are the cheapest source for groceries. Sale foods, coupon foods and loss-leaders can often be found cheaper at the supermarket.
« 21 »
If you don’t feel like paying to have your bulky item hauled away to the trash, place it front of your house with a sign saying “Free. Please take.” Often someone will come by and relieve you of your burden.
« 22 »
If you want your child to have encyclopedias, buy a slightly used edition. Most of the information will still be up to date, but you will save at least 90%.
« 23 »
Use coupons carefully. Coupons aren’t always money savers. They are often offered for items that were over-priced to begin with. You may be able to find another brand of the same item for less than the coupon price. Be sure to take a look.
« 24 »
Collect gifts all year round. When you see an exceptional bargain, purchase it for birthdays and holidays. If you wait to buy gifts till you need them, you may not find them on sale.
« 25 »
Make a new quilt for just a couple dollars. Reuse an old comforter or blanket for batting and used clothing for fabric. If you don’t have a machine, just sew the quilt by hand.
« 26 »
Lose weight and save money by walking to nearby errands instead of taking the car. This works best if you live within a mile from a large commercial area.
« 27 »
Don’t always assume fresh vegetables are the cheapest. Also check out the prices on canned and frozen vegetables before making a purchase.
« 28 »
Next time you want a vacation, consider borrowing a tent and going camping. You’ll save almost a $100.00 a night on motel fees. Look the site up online to make sure it has all the amenities you’ll need.
« 29 »
To refurbish an old sofa, cover the cushions as you would wrap a gift box. Use heavy duty safety pins to secure their backs.
« 30 »
Make a price book. Use a notebook to keep track of the prices of all the groceries you purchase on a regular basis. Note the prices at each of the stores your frequent.
« 31 »
If you are really poor, ditch the cable TV. Get a money saving hobby instead. Some good ideas or sewing, gardening and baking.
« 32 »
Always check out the scratch and dent section of your grocery store. You can find some big bargains. Not all stores have scratch and dent sections so you may have to do some research first.
« 33 »
Pick up craft supplies like yarn and embroidery floss very cheaply at yard sales. Also keep an eye out for sports equipment, books, clothes, cookware, small appliances and kids toys. In general, the nicer the neighborhood, the nicer the sale.
« 34 »
Ask your local bakery if they have a “day old” section. Or, better yet, learn to bake your own bread and save even more.
« 35 »
Purchase used tvs at repair shops. Repair shops sometimes sell abandoned televisions for no more than the cost of the repair.
« 36 »
Make two banana desserts. For banana ice cream, blend frozen bananas with just a little orange juice. Top with granola. Or, make banana pops by inserting a popsicle stick into a peeled and halved banana. Spread with yogurt, roll in cookie crumbs and freeze.
« 37 »
Purchase aluminum foil, plastic wrap and other kitchen items in restaurant supply stores. You’ll save a lot of money, but you may need to buy in large quantities.
« 38 »
Simmer fruit peels and cinnamon in a little water. Your house will smell great and you’ll avoid the cost and chemicals of commercial sprays.
« 39 »
Have your kids make gifts for friends and relatives using the newspaper. Collections of comics, crossword puzzles, word games or chess problems cut out from newspapers over several months make a fun and thoughtful gift.
« 40 »
Go ahead and garden, even if you live in the city. If you live in an apartment or house with a small lot, call your local city hall and find out if there are any lots available for gardens.
« 41 »
Buy used furniture from auctions. Inspect the furniture before the auction begins. Also, make sure you set an upper bidding limit before you attend.
« 42 »
Use the food pyramid as a guide for eating. Not only is the food pyramid a healthy way to eat, it is also a cheap way to eat. Emphasize the grains and produce, and go lightly on the meats, dairy and sweets.
« 43 »
Consider renting rarely used tools instead of purchasing them. Tools like floor sanders and hoists come under this category.
« 44 »
If you don’t have good prescription insurance, ask your doctor for free samples. Most doctors have an abundance of them.
« 45 »
Make your own cheap versions of Snapple. Just mix homemade ice tea with fruit juice. Try out grape juice, mango, apple and orange flavors.
« 46 »
Consider purchasing a used ten-speed bike as an alternate form of transportation. Even if you only use it occasionally, you will save money on gas while improving your health at the same time.
« 47 »
If you own an inexpensive used car, purchase a second car of the exact same model for parts. Most older cars need a lot of repairs, and a second car is a much cheaper source for parts than the car dealership or your mechanic.
« 48 »
When furnishing a new home, put out the word that you will take anything, as long as it is free. Then sit back and wait for the avalanche of furniture coming your way, as everyone gets rid of their “clutter”.
« 49 »
Give homemade candies as birthday and holiday gifts. Package in Chinese takeout containers, decorated with markers and stickers.
« 50 »
When purchasing groceries on sale, try to stock up sufficiently so that you can avoid buying the item again till the next sale occurs. For instance, if peanut butter only goes on sale twice a year, get six months worth at a time.
These tips, plus plenty more, make Tightwad Gazette a very worthwhile read.
Note: There are several versions of the Tightwad Gazette. Be sure to pick up the last and most comprehensive volume, The Complete Tightwad Gazette.