Entries Tagged 'Frugal Living' ↓
September 16th, 2013 — Frugal Living
The Daily Connoisseur
I’ve seen something like this before but it was from an environmentally friendly site that wasn’t particularly style conscious. It was fun to think about though.
I was surprised to see this list on a site discussing “French Chic”. I watched the video and enjoyed it very much.
I lived in southern Europe for 7 years during my twenties. I did notice that women had fewer outfits but the ones they wore were amazing!! I got to live with a family in Spain for a while. They were careful to take off their street clothes when they got home. The mom and her beautiful teen daughter wore ratty bathrobes in the house much in the way we’re learning to wear aprons. Some of the women wore “house dresses” that were rather baggy and plain.
I’ve been sewing nicer t shirts and I noticed they get grease spots on them when I’m making stir fries. I started wearing an apron like this any time I’m working in the house now. It has deep pockets and honestly – it’s convenient. I feel like I’m in work mode.
So now I’m starting to think about why my 10 piece wardrobe would be. I know it has to have a great pair of jeans and a pair of black pants that are quality and fit right. Ann Taylor pants fit me well but I’m not sure where I would buy jeans if I could have one pair. Remember – her philosophy is if you buy fewer clothes, you can buy nicer things!
Thankfully her list didn’t include shoes!
I don’t have a budget to go out and buy 10 clothing items for fall right now. I wanted to implement her ideas though so I started by picking the things I do enjoy wearing from my closet. (This is a reverse of “throw out the things that are worn, don’t fit or out of style” advice we often read.) I came up with about a dozen pieces and they do work well together. The other items are hanging out in the background while I wait for colder weather to get here.
(This post contains an affiliate link.)
Do any of you have ideas on stretching your clothing dollars as we transition from summer to fall weather?
July 17th, 2013 — Frugal Living
Is it just me or does it seem like owning your own home is really “renting” from the mortgage company?
But here’s the difference – You pay “extra” (interest) for the privilege. Meanwhile your “landlord” (the bank) doesn’t have to fix the broken toilet or maintain the property.
We’re getting to the end of ours and what we have now is a 40 year old home with a ton of things that will need fixing, replacing and updating as soon as that monthly payment has been freed up.
Things that make you go hmmmmmmmmmmm.
(I’m not knocking home ownership but I don’t think it’s quite what it’s cracked up to be!)
July 11th, 2013 — Frugal Living
I read this post on line about someone finding great bedroom furniture on Craig’s List for $115.
I checked rock bottom IKEA (cute stuff at low prices) and a bed and dresser will still set you back at least $200.
Price and quality win.
July 5th, 2013 — Frugal Living
(image from fashionpasion.com)
Some people are a little nervous about using a beauty school for deeply discounted hair cuts.
But did you know some offer other services too? Regency is a school in Chattanooga and a friend at church told me they do pedicures.
The total cost is only $15 (and that includes a brand new full size bottle of OPI polish you take home with you.)
It’s worth checking out in your area if you want to save money. In the south, pedicures are pretty much required. I’d love to do my own but mine look terrible!
I’ve used Regency several times and have been pleased. The only downside is that they don’t offer many colors of polish. I asked the instructor if I could just bring my own and she said it was fine as long as it was OPI. She said I’ll still get a free bottle so I’ll keep them for stocking stuffers at Christmas.
July 3rd, 2013 — Frugal Living, Homemaking
Cleaning products give me headaches. Really bad headaches.
Am I the last person to know that you can clean with steam, microfiber and NO products?
Wagner 915 1,500-Watt On-Demand Power Steamer and Cleaner
Oh baby – this product even has a payback. No more Tilex for the bathroom! No more Murphy’s soap for the hardwood floors.
It cleans floors, walls, counters, the stove top. It does windows! It steams wallpaper off. I’m wondering if it could steam a wrinkled suit (but I’m a little afraid to try it on a good suit). George cleaned our barbeque grill with it (there’s a stiff metal brush attachment for jobs like that).
I bought it about six months ago (a friend let me try hers first). It works well. The only thing I’ve found is I have to shoot a little steam in the sink first. The first squeeze of the trigger seems to let out way too much. After that, it settles down and cleans wonderfully.
It only came with one “mop” cover but I was able to fold microfiber towels and clip them in place for extras. I go through about three when I do our kitchen floors.
I have often cleaned around our kitchen sink’s faucet using a toothbrush and some heavy duty cleaner. The stainless seemed a bit grungy but our home is at least 40 years old. I just thought it was old. I blasted it with the steam cleaner and now it gleams.
The steam also sanitizes. I love not using bleach in the kitchen any longer (no matter how careful I tried to be, it seemed like I always got it on my clothes).
I’d say it saves time but every time I plug it in, I can’t seem to stop finding more ways to use it.
Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link.
June 27th, 2013 — Frugal Living
Do you want a fun, free summer project for your kids? Do you cringe when they come indoors during the hottest part of the day because you know they’ll veg on video games for a few hours?
Turn it around and have them write the game. Yes, you heard me!! Teaching kids how to program in Python steps you through teaching a child to write a computer program that will play “hangman”.
I used these slides on a volunteer project teaching a small group of 4th grade boys. They were identified as needing extra help because they were slow readers. They all told me they hated to read but loved video games. I challenged them that they would be better gamers if they were good readers and promised them programming time if they would read to me. They were all churning out good code that ran in just a few sessions. They also started scoring A’s on the reading tests they did for the books we read together.
Later, they modified it so it would use their spelling words as hangman words. They also figured out how to write a program that would get them to practice their multiplication facts.
This is a win-win and one more example of how frugal is often better. (Oh and if you don’t have kids and you’re bored, grownups are allowed to play too.)
More on teaching kids to code:
How and why to teach your kids to code
If you decide to use David Bau’s slides and need a little help, leave your question in the comments below and I’ll be glad to lend a hand.
June 20th, 2013 — Frugal Living
I gave up my gym membership when my job was eliminated in 2010. I started pushing mowing our 1.4 acre yard calling it good.
Lately I’ve been interested in fitness as I’m losing weight again and eating tons of veggies. I saw a video demonstrating a Crossfit exercise where one jumps onto a sturdy 18″ wooden box. I tried jumping from our patio onto our porch (a whopping 4 inches) and was stunned to find it extremely difficult.
(I know I’m middle aged but FOUR INCHES??)
I knew it was time for some serious action if I wanted to age with a little dignity intact.
George came in and shared an app some of the guys at church are using. It’s called Alpha Trainer and I’m in love with it.
- It’s free
- It doesn’t require special equipment
- The moderator’s voice is pleasant (it’s voice coached)
- It paces you through a workout
- It’s customizable
- It challenges you in a fun way inviting social interaction and giving rewards
- It’s mobile (it’s on my phone!) I’m not tied to a room with a TV
It’s also uber challenging. Just get it and start using it. If you are out of shape, customize it for the easiest workout. You’ll see a button that says “See My Workout”. After you click it, don’t stop there.
There’s another button that says “Start Workout”. Press it and you’ll be stepped through a 30 minute routine with plenty of breaks for rest.
If you don’t know how to do the exercise that was named, press “Pause” and you can see exactly how to do it. The instructions are clear, photographed well and easy to follow.
I’m woefully out of shape but am enjoying making progress. If you can just manage one modified pushup, it’s more than you were doing yesterday! I actually managed more than that and that’s making me feel pretty good about myself.
Does anyone have experience with any other good fitness apps?
April 24th, 2013 — Frugal Living
When yesterday’s post went live, I saw I had done another similar post in January, 2012.
Just for fun, I looked up our mortgage balance that month.
Today, it’s half that.
Does this stuff work?
You bet it does.
* The reduction hasn’t been just from refrigerator savings. We send any extra money we find to the mortgage period. This has been money from refunds, rebates, forgoing Starbucks on road trips, etc. We save it – we claim it!
April 20th, 2013 — Frugal Living
(Photo by George Cavanaugh)
I’m going to start giving examples of how we find more money in our refrigerator!
Don’t think of this as cleaning. Think of this as finding free food and diverting the saved money where you wish. For us, any extra money goes to our mortgage.
I clean one shelf every day. While I’m in there, I check out the rest of the fridge to see if there are leftovers we can use for a free meal.
To get started, all you need is something to wipe the shelf. I use Clorox or Lysol wipes from Costco. I also like vinegar and water used with a paper towel.
Now start on the top shelf. Take everything off the shelf discarding anything that’s obviously too old or out of date. Wipe the shelf and put the contents back. Check out the other shelves quickly and try to find food you can use today! When you are done, put something distinctive on the cleaned shelf. Tomorrow work down to the next shelf.
That’s it! Do it every single day, and you’ll never have a disgusting job on your hands. It gets faster and easier every time. It also helps to keep you from buying food you don’t need. When we started the Dave Ramsey baby steps, we found that food was just under housing as our biggest expense.
I take it a step further. If I find dinner lurking on the shelves (there’s half a chicken leftover along with veggies on our third shelf right now), I move $5 from our food category to the mortgage category. We keep getting closer and closer to 0 on that mortgage and it’s getting exciting!!
To take this one step further, keep a roll of masking tape and a Sharpie in your kitchen. Use them to label any leftovers with the day’s date. It will make your job of deciding what to toss as you clean a shelf each day (3 days is a good rule of thumb for leftover cooked food).
March 18th, 2013 — Frugal Living
I couldn’t spend less and stay on a budget if it wasn’t fun. I also couldn’t do it if it meant living in a dreary environment wearing dumpy clothes while eating beans out of a can every day.
I look at the whole thing as a game. The opponents are the advertisers who want to lure us in to get our money. The object of the game is to (legally) get great stuff that adds value to our lives while keeping as much of our money as possible. A great standard of life is one of the main objectives.
I keep finding new strategies but one of the first is (in the spirit of the game) to think “what do we already have that could meet this need?”
Here are a few more:
- Cull your list of wants carefully. There’s nothing worse than to fork over some hard earned cash only to find out that new shiny thing didn’t live up to the hype.
- Make sure you aren’t substituting shopping for something more important. I used to buy all kinds of crafty stuff instead of cleaning and organizing our home. The craft books showed me gorgeous photography of pretty homes. A cute new spring arrangement doesn’t look quite right in a cluttered mess. Now I realize that shopping took me out of the mess into a beautiful mall. It was temporary. My family needed me to be home leading the charge to make our own home nice.
- How can you be more efficient with day to day use of services and products? Keep learning. Right now I’m working on reducing the total number of cleaning supplies I buy as I learn the power of baking soda and vinegar. I also keep experimenting on using less of these daily products. If I get the same results using half as much, the savings add up. Spending money on cleaning supplies just isn’t as much fun as shopping for new shoes so I’m after it!
- Shop “gently used” for huge savings on more things than you’d imagine. Before buying anything, check out the used market. You don’t have to go that route but it’s worth investigating. My daughter just showed me how she gets to wear designer clothes for about 10% of retail on eBay. She’s petite and only looks for things that fit her measurements. This means she’s also saving on the cost of alterations.
- Review previous purchases and get better at shopping. Were any of your purchases wasteful (for example, we buy organic produce and have to be less more often or it spoils). Notice what you bought that quickly lost its shine. Where does it pay to spend more for value? Where does it not pay? This answer won’t always be the same for everyone so you’ll need to figure this out for yourself. For me, an expensive handbag is a better purchase than an expensive article of clothing. I’m messy and could stain an expensive dress. I’m a lot easier on purses. (I can hear Carmen saying “Mom, buy those purses on eBay!”) For the record, my last purse cost less than $15 at TJ Maxx.
- It goes without saying. No new debt. Pay cash and get great deals.
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My dad has just been admitted to ICU. I’m leaving town to be with him and so posting may not be regular until he gets better.