Friday, June 27, 2008

Using it up

"Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without," is an old saying that fits very well with the frugal lifestyle. That's what most of us try to do, at least to an extent. Sometimes we have to stretch it a little to use up what we have in a way that makes sense and/or saves money.

Some of the things I've tackled before: plastic bags, coffee grounds, newspapers... and now? How about old panty hose? (Do you have something to add to that list for old panty hose?)

I'm also contemplating those poor socks that get orphaned in the laundry. I'll let you know when I get it figured out. (Not where they go, but how to "use them up"!)

Throwing anything into the trash just because it's served its original purpose is not a frugal attitude. Think twice, think three times, wait a bit and think again...

Monday, June 23, 2008

What it all boils down to... how much money you want to save. Whether you're paying down debt, building a retirement fund, saving for a new car or house or whatever other goal you have, how fast you do it depends on how frugal you get.

My other blog, Extremely Frugal, is nothing but frugal tips. Some people call them extreme, so that's what I called it, but for some, they're just every day common sense. If you put even part of them into practice, you will save money.

Not everyone wants to make their own napkins or wash out plastic bags and that's fine. We must all find our own level of frugality.

BUT... if you want to meet a goal sooner rather than later, you may have to give up some things. You may have to make do or do without.

It all depends on you. There's only one rule: If you refuse to give up something that's costing you unnecessarily, you can't complain that you're not getting anywhere.

How hard you tackle it is in direct proportion to how quickly you meet your goal.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Gloves in a Bottle

OK, so when I saw a request for bloggers to review this product, I bit.

Most women have their hands in water a lot around the house. Some of us have them in water more than others... I'm one of those. I wash dishes by hand, garden without gloves which requires serious washing up, mop with an old fashioned rag mop which requires me to wring it out by hand, and sometimes wash clothes by hand, among other things.

My hands really do take a beating and I keep hand lotion around all the time. Add to that the fact that I am NOT impressed with much of today's products that encourage over consumption... so when this opportunity came along, I couldn't resist. Another lotion? Another product spin? Cool, do I get to bash another useless product? Another marketing ploy I didn't believe would pan out.

The first and second day, I thought I was right. It didn't seem to be doing anything much, although I used it faithfully as per directions. The third morning, though (and you might think this is silly, but it happened just this way) I woke up and started to get out of bed when I noticed that the skin on my hands seemed... smooth and not dry at all. Even silky.

I was honestly surprised and now I can honestly recommend Gloves in a Bottle to you.

You can get a sample at the web site, but it may not be enough to realize the full benefit. Try it and see, though.

OK, now do I get to make a commercial and make a lot of money from this?

I'm kidding. I really do like this stuff. I'm no shill, as you know if you've read my blog very long - I'm not even into consumerism.

Frugal note: The price is in line with or a little less than some top of the line lotions, but it doesn't take nearly as much of it, so it's a good buy. A bottle will last a good long time.

(Disclaimer: I did not get paid to say this!)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Free gift certificates

Yes, some of them are scams. Yes, some of them take a lot of work. But, yes... free gift cards are worth a few minutes now and then. They're legitimate ways to get free merchandise or food or... whatever. You can usually choose which store you want them for and you can usually stockpile them for greater savings. They're great for gifts or to round out your own shopping budget. They can take the edge off higher prices of groceries, gas and clothing.

Free gift certificates are one of the better things that has happened to the internet.

How do you get them?

Shopping, clicking, reading, doing surveys... even playing games or writing short reviews.

There are sites that give you "points," or measure your credit in real dollars and cents (mostly cents) until you rack up enough, then you ask, and they issue a gift card (usually a reloadable shopping card) in whatever amount you qualify for.

You can rack up these points or pennies by shopping through special links to favorite shopping sites on the internet, or by clicking links in emails sent to you and visiting advertised sites. Some sites give you points for playing games and visiting sites.

One of my favorites is MyPoints (no, that's not a referral link), but there are many others.

You can also buy gift certificates for less than the face value at eBay, which isn't as good as free, but better than paying retail!

Whether you use them yourself or give them as gifts, you'll be saving money - and that's the name of the game.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Other ways to save gas

Don't park your car on the street if you can help it, unless you have a locking gas cap! That's one way to save gasoline. No, I didn't learn the hard way, but with prices the way they are, gas thievery is a potential problem no matter where you live, city or country.

A locking gas cap is money well spent, but even then, if you can possibly park in a garage or enclosed area, don't leave your car on the street. You may never know how much gas you saved that way.

On Lehman's blog: About those gas prices...

What did I miss? Let me know here or there, so we can all benefit from it. With gas prices the way they are, we need to use every trick there is to lengthen the time between fill ups.

Monday, June 9, 2008

More about saving on food, again

Haven't seen the price of food coming down yet, have you? Even with summertime coming on and produce being more available, those prices just keep creeping up.

I don't know about you, but summertime means more activity around here. Working outside, doing things and going places that are reserved for warm weather wears me out sometimes. Cooking is the last thing I want to do when I'm tired, and I'm tempted to run to the closest hamburger joint, but with the price of food going up even there, staying home is a frugal (and cool!) option.

So, thinking about that, I wrote an article for Associated Content about making your own fast food:

Beat the High Cost of Food: Do it Yourself Fast Food

When I started researching, it was surprising to me how simple their tricks are. Maybe you knew that (and I feel as if I should have known it!) or maybe you know more about the tricks they use, but it was enough to make me stay home.

Other articles in the series are

Beat the High Cost of Food: Shop the Sales

Beat the High Cost of Food: Get it Free

Beat the High Cost of Food: Eat the Leftovers!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Keep your home cooler this summer

At least some of you are having warm weather! It's cold and rainy here today, with a high of 59 predicted. We'll be in the upper 80's by the weekend, though. Good ol' Colorado.

If you're blessed with high temperatures, you might be looking for some ways to keep your home cooler this summer. Think about these things:

Awnings may look old fashioned, but they do help keep the direct sun out.

If you live where it cools off more than just a few degrees at night, turn off the AC, open the windows wide and put some fans to work. This can cool the house thoroughly. If you live where you can, leave the house open overnight then shut everything tight before the temperature rises in the morning.

Use window film where it's appropriate, but remember that it will cut daylight, so if you're using it to keep the hot sun out then have to use artificial lighting, you're defeating yourself. Also, house plants won't thrive when you have window film.

Plant trees and bushes so they shade the house. That can lower the temperature as much as 10 degrees. If you can't plant permanently, use annual vines like morning glories in front of a window to shade it.

Use cool lighting. Incandescent bulbs give off quite a bit of heat. The new energy saving cool bulbs are good, but any kind of fluorescent lighting is cooler than incandescent.

Eat lightly. Avoid heavy meats and go for the salads. For protein, opt for fish, peanut butter, eggs or cheese. Fruit is abundant, so serve it cold. Drink lots of liquids, but avoid caffeine as it can dehydrate you.

Concentrate on keeping yourself and your children, etc., cool, by wearing light weight clothing, avoiding heavy activity during the hottest part of the day, and spritzing your face and neck with water (not cold water, just cool). If you do get overheated, run cool water over the inside of your wrists and ankles, or use a cloth soaked in cool water. This will cool you quickly.

You probably won't be able to use all of them, but use what you can and it will help save on your cooling bill and keep your home cooler this summer.