Thursday, February 26, 2015

Cheap February Projects

So I started off this month with a determination to "do something" about my office/craft room. I had thought about it for months, but it never seemed like the right time.

Yeah... it wasn't. Did you know that February is a short month? I still had taxes to do. And then I started a new online project. And then... well, it's gone by.

The room has been painted and the chest of drawers looks pretty good, too. What else? Hm. Oh, I did buy a cute little... um.. thing. I set it on a speaker. And I hung a bulletin board.

Oh, well. There's always next month, right?

There's that "thing" on the speaker, but you can hardly see it. Click on the image if you just have to. And, yeah, that's the barest my desk has been in a long time. I couldn't find the rest of my "stuff" when I tried to put everything back, and I didn't clean off the things I was working with, but it looks better than it usually does!

The best part about it is that when I'm all done with it, I will have spent about $150. I'll post an updated picture of it then and explain what I did. IF I ever get to that point!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Time to Think About Vegetable Seeds for Your Garden

Frugally speaking, it's time to start looking for free seed starting containers and sort through the seeds you saved last year. If you didn't save any, it's time to plan on what you have to buy, add up the cost and make a decision to save them next year. Packets of seed each year is an expense that can easily be eliminated.

Some seeds are easier to save than others, but all seeds can be saved. For instance, if you let one or two radishes go to seed, you will have enough radish seed to last a few years. Nature is generous! Kale, lettuce, spinach and similar leafy vegetables will set enough seed from a very few plants (or even one plant) to save for the next year with seed left over.

Beans and peas of all kinds produce plenty of seed if you choose a couple of plants and mark them when you are harvesting. Tomatoes, peppers and squashes take a little more care, but not much and one vegetable will have more than enough seeds to save.

Saving seeds from year to year not only saves you money, it ensures the best harvest you can get because each year the seed gets more comfortable in the specific climate of your garden and can produce better and bigger vegetables.

Make it a point this year to save more seeds of your own and pay less for someone else to do it for you.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Creative With Cardboard

Still got cardboard boxes hanging around after the holidays? Put them to good use! Cardboard is a surprisingly sturdy material that's also easy to cut, fold and otherwise manipulate. The only downsides are that water will destroy it and it burns quickly.

You can cut it with sturdy scissors or a sharp knife, paint it, decorate it with contact paper or colored tape or decoupage it. As a matter of fact, it will do a lot of things that wood will, and it's a lot cheaper (free!).

I just came across a really cool shoe rack you can make of cardboard here, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. You can make anything from emergency tables for kids to "paper" chains that will last holiday after holiday.

One of the easiest things to make from small cardboard boxes is storage boxes and bins. Sure, you can use them just like they are, but what's the fun in that? Go dig up some leftover paint and/or a leftover strip of contact paper, or yesterday's newspaper and decoupage glue. Have fun decorating a few boxes that you can leave out in plain sight instead of shoving them to the back corner of the closet. You can make them a lot prettier than any storage box you can buy and you can customize them to exactly suit your room!

Never get rid of a cardboard box without asking yourself if it will fill a need in your home. There are lots and lots of pages on the internet with so many projects made from cardboard that I couldn't even list them here.

Let us know what you find and what you decide to make! 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Save on Groceries by Using Less Meat

Buy by the serving instead of by the pound. How many servings will you get from a whole chicken?

Most people in the developed nations eat too much protein. With higher costs for meat, it's one thing we can learn to save money on without feeling guilty or as if our diets are lacking in nutrition. It may very well be better for us health-wise as well as budget-wise, when we cut back on using meat.

You can make a lot of dishes with a minimum of meat. Use whatever recipe you like for meat casseroles, but cut back on the meat and add extra of the other ingredients.

Use all of the meat you buy, by using the pan drippings to flavor soup or rice or noodles (and calling it meat), or boiling all bones after they've been cooked, to get all the little bits of meat from them. The water they're boiled in makes good broth for flavoring other dishes, or as a base for soup or stew. Freeze the bits of meat until you have enough for a main dish.

Instead of hamburger gravy, use bits of any leftover meat to put in milk gravy and serve over toast, potatoes, noodles or rice.

There are many ways to save on meat, but it mostly boils down to using less in recipes and/or per serving and not wasting any leftovers.

Image courtesy of

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


Ammonia isn't as popular as a cleaning agent as it could be because many people don't like the fumes. It's cheap and efficient when you have a tough cleaning job involving grease or unknown gunk, though, and since manufacturer's have added scents, ammonia isn't even quite as smelly.

Those famous fumes are the real gunk-loosening power of ammonia. To use them, put a small amount of ammonia in a container that can be closed - like your oven or a plastic bag. To minimize the use even more (and maximize your savings), put it in a shallow container like a pie pan (glass only) in the bottom rack of your oven, then put drip pans, electric skillets or anything else that's coated with grease or baked on gunk, in the oven. Close the oven door and leave it all there overnight. The gunk will be loosened by morning so a quick scrub will have everything, including the oven, shining.

It will also remove wax on floors, clean windows (very much diluted), woodwork and almost anything else.

At the price, you can't beat it's cleaning power, but it isn't as friendly as vinegar or baking soda, so keep it away from kids and pets and don't breathe any more fumes than you have to.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Fiscal Fasting

You can do it however you want to, from staying away from the grocery store to not buying anything except necessities, like toilet paper and coffee.  Some people do it for a full year while some go on a fiscal fast for a week or a month.

Even if you do it for one day now and then, you will save money.

The key is to not spend anything at all unless it's absolutely necessary for a certain period of time.

Don't think you can? Think again. Instead of having a pizza delivered, cook something you already have. Instead of new clothing for a special event, wear something you already have in a different way. Instead of buying a magazine off the rack, go online and read or read a book you already have.

It's not a matter of "can you do it," it's a matter of "will you do it." If you're serious about saving money, you'll do it.