Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Learn Through Your Imagination, Scene Three: Toughing It Out

You can't survive this without being extremely frugal

This one is for those with pioneer blood! Let your imagination carry you away from the city streets (or the barnyard) to this place where you can learn by dreaming up frugal methods. Your imagination is the only way to experience such an adventure, so let it roll!

Scene 3: Toughing It Out

It's late summer, fall is coming on quickly. You're about five miles from town and have one acre of land in farming country with a snug, but empty, one room structure on it. It has cold running water only and two single pane glass windows. You have no electricity, therefore, no lights or refrigeration. You do have a small wood stove already set up, a pickup truck, a hand saw and a hammer. You can choose three more hand tools. You also have a tank of gas for the truck and you have a supply of canned and dry food as well as soap, but nothing fresh or that would keep without refrigeration.

You don't have any bedding, dishes, pans or other household things, including a mop, broom, etc. You don't have any wood for burning, although there are three trees on the property and a few bushes, but you can't strip the land because it's yours and you don't want to destroy it. You have no money except for five dollars. How would you make yourself comfortable and wash clothes, cook meals, etc?

This could be fun. Imagination makes you a pioneer in a new age. Remember that you live in the most affluent and least frugal society in the world. Think of what is thrown away every day of the year and how to use other people's trash for your treasure.

Keep an imaginary journal to show how you obtained what you needed to meet the cool nights and cooking and cleanliness needs. Your imagination will probably show you other things you'll need, too.

In all of these scenes, use your imagination and frugal creativity. Be as realistic as you can. Live it in your imagination so you'll realize what you need to survive.

You should come away from these exercises with a better sense of how you can apply yourself to your own, real, circumstances and get away from the consumerist mindset. Living frugally is an attitude and a way of life that, up until the last century, was the only way to survive for the common folk. Because we can't live the way our ancestors did, going there in our imaginations will help us see what we can do in the here and now.

You can learn through using your imagination. Creativity is within each of us and once it starts flowing, it's there to meet needs in ways you might never have thought about before.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Use Your Imagination, Scene Two: Homeless With No Help

Don't we all have a little Robinson Crusoe in us? It's fun to think of meeting our basic needs with only our wits and our own two hands - as long as it stays in our imaginations. It's the ultimate frugal test when you use your imagination to learn to survive the next scene.

Scene Two: Homeless With No Help

You have no transportation but your own two feet. You're in a place near or within a city where no one will care what you do. There are a few trees around, a grassy area and a small paved parking lot which is always empty.

There is a restroom/bathing facility nearby that you can use (you can't sleep or stay there), but otherwise you're on your own. It's winter and you need shelter, heat and light. You have a supply of food but you need a way to cook it.  Use your imagination to discover what materials you would use and how you would obtain them to create a shelter, stay warm and cook food.

You may work for cash two days only, at a going rate for unskilled labor in your area. Let's also assume that you possess a few things: Clothing, hammer, saw, scissors, knife, pencils and paper, ordinary utensils, dishes, etc., for one person so you don't have to deal with those - just a shelter, heat, light and a way to cook food over a month.

Write it all down - what you did and how you did it and how long it took, if you can. In your imagination, learn by trial how to build a shelter and stay warm and dry. Create or find a source of light in it. Figure out how to cook your food. Walk us through the things you would do and how you would do them. Try to stay realistic and meet your needs frugally - no unusual finds or rich uncles on the scene.

Did you learn anything about yourself?

Next week, it's summertime! But you have a problem that can only be solved if you're creative and very frugal.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Prepare for Higher Prices

I hope you have a garden. If not a garden in the ground, a container garden. If neither of those, a few plants on a windowsill. Whatever you have, increase it.


Because the cost of all kinds of food is going to go higher and higher. Some of it may unavailable at any price, due to the extreme weather the entire globe is having. Between floods, drought, fires and heat waves, fewer crops have been planted and part of what has been planted, has given minimal yields.

Watch out for an influx of beef and pork, especially, as farmers sell off butcher animals because they can't feed them. After that, the prices will skyrocket because of a shortage of animals as well as higher cost of feeding out what they have due to higher grain prices. Keep your eye on prices and buy while there is still a glut.

Vegetables may go high, too, due to tariffs as well as weather. Even home gardens are behind planting this year and truck farmers are having it just as hard as grain farmers.

I keep wanting to say "Be prepared!" but that's what frugal living is all about. This is just a heads up that you may want to be more focused than ever.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Use Your Imagination, Scene One: Hungry Spring

When we daydream, we allow our minds the freedom to solve problems in unusual ways. That imagination is essential to learning new and better ways for our real lives. On the premise that the human mind is an extraordinary thing when given a chance, I daydreamed up three different scenes in which we must be ultra frugal to learn to meet real needs. We can then use that frugal creativity in our real lives.

Besides all of that, it's fun to try.

Let your frugal imagination out of the box and see what you can come up with in the following scenarios. In all scenes, in your imagination you're alone with no children or family. (It's temporary!) You only have to fend for yourself and you only have yourself to rely on. You will have to be frugal and creative to survive.

Ready? Pay attention to all of the details.

Scene One: Hungry Spring

It's early spring and you have a home with all the amenities: Hot and cold running water, a stove to cook on, electricity, and a good bed to sleep in. You have a car with a full tank of gas. You're comfortable. There's only one problem: You have NO food, not even a smidgen of salt. Nothing edible, nothing to drink except water. Your mission: feed yourself for four weeks on fifty dollars.

The first week, you'll have twenty dollars to stock up, then you'll receive ten dollars for each of the remaining three weeks. Anything goes, whether it's unique to your situation or common to everyone, but please be honest about what you could and would do. You can be as frugal as you like, even if it seems drastic, as long as it's something you're really able and willing to do.

Write down what you buy or obtain in other ways, then write down your menus for each day. Don't forget to think about things such as needing oil or shortening to fry eggs, etc. Think about how you would go about making each dish or meal and write down methods if it makes sense to do so.

I realize that ten dollars will go farther in some places than others, but there's no way to adjust it. Considering that some of you will have had more experience or live in an area where there is more opportunity, hopefully it will even out somewhat.

Let us know what you come up with!

Next week: Extreme creativity is required for a little foray into the city.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Cool thoughts

This was published almost 11 years ago, and guess what? It's exactly what is happening today! For those of you so lucky, here are some tips on how to keep your house cool .

Keep your home cooler this summer

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

How to Make a Reuseable "swiffer" Pad

I finally gave up and bought a Swiffer mop thing. I love my old rag mop but there are times when I just don't have the energy to mop like that. So, I bought one of those units that you can put the disposable mop pads on. It made cleaning the floor easier and faster. I bought a box of generic pads at Big Lots and cringed a little but thought I wouldn't use it all the time, so maybe,..

Nah. My frugal nature won't let me. I have one pad left and I just can't  make myself buy more pads to be thrown out after one use.

I made a washable Swiffer mop pad from an old hand towel that was pretty much see-through on the ends, but the middle was still good. I cut the pad generously and it worked out very well. I will make several more to have on hand.

Here are the exact direcetion.

Materials needed:

  • Terry cloth or other soft, thick and absorbant material
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine or hand sewing needle and thread

Cut a piece of material 10 by 9 1/2 inches, then cut another piece 4 1/2 by 9 inches. Put the smaller piece in the center of the larger one and sew it down on all four sides. With a machine, run a zigzag stitch around the entire outer edge of the larger piece.

If you're sewing by hand, you can turn a narrow hem or you can blanket stitch around it.

That's all there is to it.

The piece you added to the middle is on the wrong side, so use it inside the pad when you put it on just like the disposable pads. When you're though, take it off and toss it in the wash.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Frugal ways to keep your feet warm and dry

If your feet get cold in your shoes, make insoles to help hold in the heat. A woolen sweater that's been shrunk in the dryer makes excellent material for insoles. Measure around your foot on newspaper, cut it out and use that for an insole pattern.

Alternatively, you can make insoles from newspaper. Use several layers and cut them to shape, then punch holes about an inch apart around them and lace them together with yarn or soft string. Don't punch the holes too close to the edge so they won't tear out.

To keep your feet dry inside leaky snowboots or rainboots or just your shoes, put a bread sack over your foot or shoe before putting on the boot or shoe.

Got cold feet at night? If wearing socks to bed isn't enough, fill a 2 liter soft drink bottle with hot tap water and close the lid firmly. Put it in your bed and it will stay warm for quite some time.

If you're lucky enough to have a wood stove, heat a rock or brick on it. Cover it with a cloth and put that in your bed.

Make a quick hot sock with rice or other grains. Pour them into an old sock without holes, then micowave or heat in a slow oven. You can use this on the floor when you're sitting as well as in bed.

What did I miss? How do you keep your feet warm when it's cold?

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Those Coupons...

I was browsing through the coupons my local grocery store listed and, as usual, didn't find much that I could use. There are so many products that I don't use or use so seldom that a sale three years ago still has me stocked up.

What don't I use? First, let's get the things that are unique to me out of the way. I don't use pet food of any kind because I don't have pets, I don't buy bacon or pork of any kind because I don't/can't eat it and I avoid commercial cookies and most candy because the HFCS gives me hives. Also, I don't have any babies or kids so those things are out.

Now... here is what I could buy but I don't (taken from the coupon list).

Whipped cream cheese spread
Liquid eggs
Fancy crackers (Try plain inexpensive saltines with a little butter, toasted under a broiler)
Name brand frozen vegetables (store brand is just as good)
Cornbread squares (I make my own!)
Cashew butter
Almond butter
Paper towels
Paper napkins
Wet wipes
Cleaning wipes
Fabric softener
Sandwich slims (whatever that is)
Cold cereal
Margarine (including fake butter)
Coffee K Cups
Tide Pods
Canned tomato products (I usually grow my own)
Granola bars
Pop Tarts
Refrigerated biscuits
Cookie dough
Bread dough
Frozen waffles

And the list goes on. Convenience foods are not necessarily convenient and they're usually more expensive than what you make yourself.

That's why those coupon deals never work for me. I simply don't use the products they are good for. They're not worth it.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Did you see this??

I have three other blogs, none of them well kept up, I'm afraid, but I'd like to introduce you to them if you're not familiar with them.

The first was started as a way to throw up some quick ideas in between "real" blog posts. It kind of took on a life of its own. It's called Extremely Frugal 
It's chock full of frugal tidbits that some even call wierd.

Another one is Basic Food Saving Ideas which I started to separate only the food and recipe posts. Not a good idea, I decided, since it took so much away from this one. Nevertheless, it's still there and I still post to it now and then.

The last one is a special one and one that will grow in time, with no stress for me. It's called As I Grow in God and that's pretty much what it is. Now and then I get an urge to share what God is showing me.

There's another one, but I couldn't keep up with it at all because I couldn't separate the focus of the articles from the other blogs. It's called Country Living in a City Home. I love it and I would like to expand it but most of what I do and write about can be covered with the other blogs.

So there you have it. Let me know what you think, please.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Pumpkins Yet Again

Pumpkins, to me anyway, are one of the greatest things about fall. Not only do I like to grow them, I like to look at them and I like to eat them. What porch or step doesn't look better in the fall with a pumpkin sitting on it??

(Disclaimer: The squirrels eat them if I put them out, so I don't. I woulr rather eat them myself!)

Anyway, I like pumpkins so much that I've written about them - a lot. Here are some links to what I have to say:

Time for Pumpkin!

It's Almost Pumpkin Time Again

Fresh Pumpkin Soup

Updated 2018