Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Make Your Own Bread

It's hard to find bread in some places right now, so it makes sense to make your own. Flour seems a little easier to come by and you can use white or whole wheat, spelt or other wheat types of flour to make loaf bread.

There are ways to make gluten free bread with other grain flours but you'll have to go looking for recipes there because I have never made that.

However, if you're short of wheat type of flour or want to stretch what you have, you can substitute a fourth to a third of other grain flour and still make a decent loaf of "light bread." Oat flour, rice flour and barley flour are commonly used. Be aware that they will impart a slightly different flavor to your bread.

No sugar? No milk? No oil? No problem. Bread: Frugal Staff of Life shows you what to substitute and how to do it. And if you don't have yeast, you can get sourdough started. Making sourdough bread is pretty much the same as making yeast bread, it just takes a little longer to raise.

Even if the shelves are empty you can still have bread - and better bread than you can buy anyway! 



Sunday, March 22, 2020

All things in moderation

Were you stocked up before this virus hit? Have you bought more than one product when a good sale was on? Kept a few weeks' worth of meals in your pantry and/or freezer? Used coupons to add to your stock?

I hope you have been doing this all along and not rushing to the store now and panic buying in multiples like so many are. It's cheating and very selfish to grab more food and paper goods than you need right now. That puts an incredible strain on the delivery system and it hurts others who need products, too.

I'm not saying you shouldn't get a little extra of things that may be hard to find. Maybe an extra dozen eggs or a box of tissue, but not an entire cart load! Leave some for someone else, for heaven's sake.

If we would all do that and quit panicking, there would be enough for all, just like there always have been. I'm not naive enough to believe that people will actually come to their sense any time soon, so for those of you reading this, please do your part.

Don't panic. Be careful but don't live in fear. This isn't the only pandemic the world has seen and it won't be the last. "All things in moderation" is a very good thought to go by all the time and times like these remind us why.



Wednesday, March 18, 2020

What to do if you run out of toilet paper

First of all, don't call 911. Really. Some people have done that.
Secondly, take stock of what you do have.

Things you can use include:

Paper napkins
Facial tissue
Paper towels
Baby wipes
Adult wipes
Face wipes
Any other soft paper product you might have

Except - don't use cleaning wipes! And never, never flush these other paper products. Only real toilet paper should be flushed. We are having local problems because people are flushing other things down the toilet.

Put container with a lid near the stool and put used paper products in that. 

Now is the time to bring out those old t-shirts or rag material. You don't have to use them for your bum if you use them instead of paper napkins, facial tissue, etc. You can wash and reuse after using as a substitute for those things while you may not want to wash "toilet paper." (That's another post and if you do it, more power to you.)


Thursday, January 9, 2020

Newspaper Hacks

I have never used that word before. A "hack" sounds to me like suspicious behavior, but it's trendy now!

Newspaper isn't as common as it once was when everyone subscribed to the local paper. There always seemed to be piles of newspaper to be recycled or got rid of somehow. Even if you don't subscribe to a newspaper, there are flyers and sales sheets printed on it. Get your hands on some and try some of these.

Papier mache. Remember? You tear newspaper into strips and soak in water, then add white paste and use it as a sort of modeling clay. When it dries, it hardens and holds its shape.

Fire starter. It's basic. Just crumple a few sheets of newspaper tightly, put some kindling over the top and touch the paper with a lit match. Add wood as needed.

Insulation. Newspaper is an excellent insulation, although not approved for housing because of its flammability. Use it in your shoes, under your mattress in a cold bedroom, under throw rugs or anywhere a little warmth will be appreciated. 8 to 10 layers will make a big difference.

Keep your feet warm. Not only by using newspaper as insoles. You can make toasty warm houseshoes by starting with several layers of newspaper. Put them on the floor, then put your toe toward one corner with your heel toward the opposite one. Push your foot closer to the heel corner, then bring up both side corners over the top of your foot and secure with tape or string or yarn. Bring the front corner up over your toes and the back corner up over your heel. Gather the newspaper together at the ankle and tape or tie. You can cover this with cloth or burlap or whatever you have and you will never have such warm houseshoes.

Use newspaper to create or copy patterns. Whether you're sewing, knitting or doing other crafts, newspaper is perfect for making patterns. If it doesn't work out, toss it and grab another sheet. Use a marker to write without the words getting lost in the print.

Use newspaper to make a template before attempting to cut flooring to fit around door jams or other uneven areas like pipes and fancy work.

Newspaper makes a great, disposable mat for muddy, wet boots and shoes. Keep one by the door when the weather is bad. It's a good mat for the kids' craft projects, too (adults', too!).

Newspaper is a good mulch for between rows of vegetables. You can sprinkle a little dirt over it if you don't like the looks. It will keep a lot of weeds from growing.

Of course, you can dry windows and mirrors with it. You can also use it to polish bathroom fixtures and the trim on your vehicle.

What else? Do you use it for other things? Let us know!

Monday, January 6, 2020

New Year musings

I was just looking through some Pinterest posts, vintage, antiques, retro... and I found many things that I have and still use. What does that make me? Old fashioned? An oddball? Or... maybe frugal?

I don't know. I saw a manual clamp on meat grinder. I have one downstairs that hasn't been used for awhile but if I need it, I know where it is. I saw a coffee grinder - manual, of course. I have one and use it regularly. I don't drink coffee, but I make a coffee like drink from dandelion roots and sometimes grains.

I saw a Cosco red step stool/chair. I have one, thanks to my son and daughter in law.
Old fashioned Christmas candy, of course. I have some left from Christmas and some stashed away for next year.
Tinsel "icycles" for the tree. I have a box and used some last year.
Hot water bottle - I gave one away recently, preferring to use 2 liter plastic bottles because you don't have to get the water as hot and they last a long time. Good for cold feet, in bed or out.

I have an old fashioned egg beater, where you turn the handle and it turns the beaters. I have a pencil sharpener mounted on the corner of a bookshelf, where you turn the handle and it turns the blades. I even own a wringer washer.

"Time saving" appliances can cut us off from the real world. What's the satisfaction of sharpening a pencil if it's done so fast and with so little effort than you can ruin a pencil in just a moment? Or beating eggs in a mixer where you don't even have to pay attention.

I know... our grandparents and great grandparents probably thought the same thing when horseless carriages were introduced. And they were right. We ride the skies and have no idea what's beneath us. We ride in air conditioned or heated vehicles at ridiculous speeds and know nothing of what goes past us in seconds.

I'm not trying to guilt anyone into giving up anything - that's the way the world runs now - but this year, why not take the time to do something with your hands? See how it feels to turn an old fashioned ice cream maker this summer. Sew something by hand instead of a sewing machine.

I think that's what is meant by the phrase "smell the roses." 

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

After Christmas Savings

I don't mean from the store.

You might have already thrown out the wrapping paper and the bags and the tissue that stuffed them. I haven't yet and I hope you haven't! If you had big gifts that were covered with wrapping paper, you can cut out the ragged and taped edges and save the best parts to wrap gifts in next year. Some papers can be ironed but others will melt. Some paper hardly wrinkles.

Wrap the salvaged paper around an empty tube or over an existing tube of paper.

Bags, of course you saved them, didn't you? Make sure to remove all tags. Most tags can be pulled or cut off.

Tissue paper! Why would you buy it again next year? Tissue paper can be ironed and used again and again. A steam iron works best, on a medium setting. If there are a few wrinkles left, they won't be noticeable when they're crinkled up in gift bag.

Lay them flat, then fold gently and store for next year. Why not?

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Dish Detergent and Frugal Living

I got a sample of Dawn dish detergent awhile back but I hadn't used it yet - guess I was waiting for hard times or trying a new method of being frugal. Just for fun, I tried to see how long I could make it last. Wow.

I've washed dishes three times with it now and there looks to be at least enough for twice more, maybe three times. That's from a "one use" sample. How much do they want us to waste, anyway??

I wash dishes by hand in a large stainless steel bowl that's still smaller than a standard dishpan (if there is such a thing), so it doesn't take as much dish detergent as a sink full of water would. Even with a full sink of water and detergent, it wouldn't take the whole sample's worth.

So, who's the odd one out? The frugal soul who refuses to waste even a freebie, or the generous soul who swishes it downstream without a second thought?

Monday, October 14, 2019

A Little Extra

Every year about this time I start thinking of ways to increase the "little extra" income to help cover holiday expenses without having to dip too far into savings or ordinary income.

That means I am a little more serious about making pocket money to cover Thanksgiving and Christmas expenses.

Over the years, I have done some "rewards programs" like Swagbucks and MyPoints and it really helps. This year, I discovered another one that seems easy to make a few dollars now and then, and they pay fast, like within a couple of days, if not faster.

It's called Grabpoints and I really like it. If you're looking for a way, or another way to earn a few dollars, check it out. Let me know what you think.

Friday, October 11, 2019

The real cost of canning food

I watched a video where a woman set out to prove that canning your own beans is cheaper than buying them already canned. She was careful with her dollars and cents, buying a bag of beans from a dollar store, then showing the price of one can of Great Value brand beans at 58 cents.

I don't know if this is the going price for canned beans. It seemed a little low to me, but I don't ever look at them, so I don't know.

She measured out a half cup of beans to a pint jar 9 times with a few beans left over, then she filled her jars with hot water and canned them. (This is not the USDA recommended way, but many people do it like this.)

All good, right? So she was happy that she wound up with 9 pints of canned beans for a dollar, while it would have cost her $5.22 to buy them. She only spent a half hour of work and the rest was up to the canner. It all sounds very good, and, yes, she did save money. Just not as much as she thought she did.

Let's do the math.

Pinto beans at one dollar plus tax, depending on where you are, anywhere from 0 to 12 cents.
Cost ot rinsing and processing water may be tiny, but it's there.
Cost of pressure cooker can be spread over many times, but it depends on how often and how much you can.
Cost of jars, the same
Cost of lids and rings are around $3,00
Cost of fuel, either electricity or gas, to bring a pressure cooker up to pressure and keep it there 75 minutes, which is how long it takes to can beans. That depends on the fuel and your local rates.

Even at that, she saved money and I do recommend that you try canning beans if you'd like them for recipes or to season quickly for a meal, but remember to think of everything else, too, and not just the cost of the food itself.

Spending pennies adds up, just like saving pennies does.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Frugal Dry Skin Remedies


If you have trouble with dry skin and it seems like lotion only makes it worse, it might very well be. Lotions have so many ingredients that it's not uncommon for some of them to irritate skin. Stick to natural or simple products when it's possible and you might find your dry skin improves quite a bit.

Here are a few ideas that could help.

Use Vicks for extra dry areas like knuckles and elbows. It just takes a little bit. Rub it in thoroughly. This is especially effective at night when you won't be washing your hands for awhile.

Use Vicks on rough, dry feet after a shower or after soaking your feet in warm water. Rub it onto your feet and put socks on to keep it from getting in your shoes or on your floor. This is a treat on a cold winter's night.

Coconut oil is a good, lightweight moisturizer, but it won't last if you're using your hands much. Save it for when you're relaxing. It smells good and it's goodness soaks into your skin.

Use olive oil immediately after a shower while your skin is damp. It takes very little, so don't use too much. If you do, wipe off the excess with a cloth.

When you're cooking, don't wash your hands every time you turn around, unless, of course, it's to remove meat or something you don't want to mix with other foods. Keep a cloth handy and wipe them instead.

Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated will make a difference. There are so many choices when it comes to drinks (coffee, tea, sodas, juices, milks) that we forget that plain old water is the best. Water without anything added is the best hydration.

Protect your skin when you are going to be in the sun, wind or cold for very long. Use any natural oil or fat.

If your lips are dry , try Vicks, olive oil, lard or shortening, butter or vegetable oil. Experiment to see which one you like best. Commercial lip balms often make your lips worse over time.

All of these things are very frugal, since it takes a very small amount to treat your skin and quite often, they are things you already have so you don't have to buy anything extra. What little you use on your skn will never be noticed.