Tightwad Tips and Frugal Things Done Lately- February 2013

Discussion in 'Tightwad Tips and Frugal Living Archive' started by Melissa, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. Melissa

    Melissa member

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    Feburary, the shortest month of the year and then it will be almost spring. I am looking forward to that!

    Post your frugal meal ideas, ideas for saving on heating costs and other utility bills. Any frugal Valentine's ideas? Are you getting ready for gardening season? Post your thoughts here.

    Do you have any questions you would like answered? Need advice on taxes or investing? Someone might know the answer or can point you in the right direction.

    Any ideas about saving money are welcome. I noticed we had over 12000 views on this thread last month. Many people need the ideas that are posted here.
     
  2. Melissa

    Melissa member

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    ~The Super Bowl is coming up. We aren't huge football fans, but we always like an excuse to eat and hang out. Everyone makes some homemade snacks and we all get together and watch the game (mostly the commercials!) and the half-time show. It is pretty fun and doesn't cost much since we all pitch in with the food. Ever since my kids were little I always tried to have special events throughout the year, just makes life more fun that way.

    ~Valentine's Day, I make a big lasagna dinner. I think I will have to make two pans this year the way our family is growing. I also make homemade chocolates for everyone. I bought really cute cards at Dollar General- I think there were 20 in the package for $1, so cheap enough. Even when my kids started dating they never went out on Valentine's Day, they would rather have my lasagna!

    ~Remember when you were a kid and came home from school and had to change out of your good clothes? I try to never wear anything too good around the house. Jeans are expensive, so I will often wear sweat pants or leggings if I am doing anything where I will really get dirty. I also wear a lot of black and dark blue- doesn't show dirt or stains.

    ~We have several big bills due in February. I have set aside only $100 to spend this month on groceries, gas, feed and other misc. expenditures. I think I can do it if I am careful. I have a lot of food on hand so should not have to buy many groceries and since it is cold I don't leave home much. It is going to be a challenge.

    ~A local grocery store had 8 ounce packages of shredded cheese on sale for $1. I bought 10 and put them in the freezer. Shredded cheese freezes well.

    ~February is when I start my sweet potatoes. Just suspend a sweet potato in a jar of water and place in a warm spot. Change the water as needed. Eventually some roots will appear, then some sprouts. Once the sprouts turn to vines about 4-6 inches long, break them off carefully and place them in a jar of water. Roots will grow on these. When the garden is warm and you know a good rain is coming, plant them in hills about 2 feet apart. After the first frost dig up your sweet potatoes- cheap and easy!
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
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  3. PATRICE IN IL

    PATRICE IN IL Well-Known Member Supporter

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    One of our grocery chains have been running "$5 Fridays", specials only available on Friday each week. I've been getting some good deals on things like 2lbs.of block or shredded cheese, frozen wild caught salmon fillets, and some convenience foods. I've bought some fully cooked slabs of baby back ribs for the freezer for quick meals as well as fully cooked buffalo chicken bites for DS to take for lunch. These are cheaper than running out for takeout or buying hot lunch for when I just don't have time to cook/don't feel good. ;)

    I've been giving my homemade brownie or pancake mix as birthday gifts to adults as well as teenagers. Cookie mixes make good gifts for teenagers as well. These are cheaper and have been very well liked, many times requested, gifts.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
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  4. bama

    bama Well-Known Member Supporter

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    i had a few extra minutes today, so i rolled about $4.50 worth of pennies. i DID buy one of those column things that holds exactly the right amount of money to roll up, but it resulted in such a time savings that i think it has already paid for itself today.

    for my kids valentines - i got some cheap craft unfinished frames at walmart with a heart cut out for the picture. i am painting them (light purple with a dark purple zebra for the oldest, hot pink with hearts for the youngest). for just over $2 (figuring in the cost of the pictures here + paint already on hand), they will have a valentines gift that will be used for a while.
     
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  5. Grandmotherbear

    Grandmotherbear Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Winter things are on sale already in Florida, clearing them out of the stores for spring/summer merchandise. I found a quilted jacket for DD for $8.99 while I was looking for a Goth outfit for Dgd.
    When the children were young we had red meal for valentines day, green meal for St Pat's. Red was usually spaghetti or chili, fruit punch, and strawberry or cherry something for dessert. We didn't have red lettuce or atomic red carrot or red bell peppers then, I think we'de have a red salad too if I was doing it in this day and age. Also for valentines they got new t shirts- red for ds, pink or purple for dd. Green meals I'll save for the March thread. Yes, green tshirts also. No slogans or anything that would tie the tshirts too closely to a partcular holiday, they were intended for all year long wear.
     
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  6. Mid Tn Mama

    Mid Tn Mama Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Saw DIY swiffer pad made from fuzzy slipper socks! Seems like there are always unmatched slipper socks around for doing that!
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    Rather than follow recipes, I look in the fridge and see what needs to be used up before I make a soup or casserole. Today I'm chucking in some iceberg lettuce to the soup I'm making. Leftover sweet potatoes will become pasta for the soup.I'm using up chicken bones so I'll put a glug of apple cider vinegar in the soup to bring out the calcium from the bones.
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    How to make boxed cake mixes taste homemade:
    http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2012/12/how-to-make-boxed-cake-mixes-taste-homemade.html
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    50 things to make from old dishes
    http://savedbylovecreations.com/2013/01/50-things-to-make-from-old-dishes.html
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    Forest garden: turkish rocket, nasturtium, szechuan pepper?
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    How to make a non-electric solar light from garden path solar lamps:
    http://blog.freepeople.com/2012/08/sun-jar-diy/
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    Save your plastic recyclable lids to put under sticky things like molasses, syrup and honey so your pantry shelves stay clean.
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    Stretch your wardrobe and make it do double duty. I Like how some at work are taking summer dresses and wearing them in the winter with leggings and long sleeved shirts under sundresses. Here is a link to some ideas that involve boots and scarves.
    http://blog.freepeople.com/2013/01/style-pretty-summer-dresses-winter-months/
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    For valentines, I like to freeze red wrappered hersheys kisses from after-Christmas sales to use for valentines. I have heart shaped muffin and cake pans to make special treats at this holiday. The best gifts are to do nice things for your family that they like/want and surprise them. I try to take care of the chores that drive my DH nuts and surprise him.
     
  7. Marilyn

    Marilyn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    When I was catching up on Jan posts that I had missed, I noticed bama's request for rice dishes and thought I would share one from my ever-so-new at homemaking years.

    I got three meals from one chicken for a family of two adults and 1 baby (baby just turned 43).

    1 - roast chicken - normally Sunday dinner since we both worked
    2 - bone chicken, every last bit. Have cold chicken sandwiches.
    3 - dice remaining bits of chicken, make chicken gravy. At that time, I had no idea how to make stock, so I just used any drippings I may have saved from roasting, added chicken boullion and cornstarch. When gravy has thickened, add a box of frozen mixed vegetables. Cook til veggies were done, serve over rice.

    Now, with the wisdom I have gained about how good stock is for us, I use the carcass to make a little stock and then make the gravy.
     
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  8. Jan in CO

    Jan in CO Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Nothing exciting or fancy going on here, just helped with bountiful baskets distribution even tho I didn't purchase anything this week. Got a head of cabbage for volunteering, so we'll have cole slaw with dinner, and save the rest for another meal.

    Sorted out gloves from two boxes in the coat closet. I can't believe how many right handed gloves there are without mates! Hubby is right handed, but wears out the fingers on the left gloves. They are mostly leather. GoodWill didn't want them, said they would be tossed out. I thought ok for a person with only one hand, but they were not interested. Here's my delimna..toss them or use them for something? I can only come up with one thing. Nail them to the barn wall, and plant something in each glove? Not sure if they dye used in the gloves or tanning material would be harmful for plants meant for food, like lettuce.
    Any thoughts on another use?

    At least I've narrowed down the gloves and found hubs some workable gloves! I need to can some apples today and put some in the dehydrator. The cores will go to the pigs, and maybe another jar or two of apple cider vinegar started. I'm freezing any blackberries we get for 90 days to stratify the seeds, then will plant them in April. Might not work, but free berry bushes if they do.

    Thanks for the reminder about starting sweet potato slips, Melissa! I'm going to the basement and find oen that will fit a jar and start one now.
    I have my celery bottoms all snuggled down in pots of dirt and some are sending up shoots.
     
  9. kentuckyhippie

    kentuckyhippie Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Jan, can you turn part of the gloves inside out? the inside out ones will then be left handed
     
  10. Prov31Wife

    Prov31Wife Well-Known Member

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    I do a lot of couponning and canning. This month, I've decided to write down exactly how much I spend/save at the grocery store and what I bought. I also want to write down everything we ate, and maybe make a note of where I got the ingredients (did I buy it at the grocery store for the month, was it from the coupon stockpile, or something I canned from the garden).

    I thought it would be interesting at the end of the month to see what I saved and how much canning and couponning has really affected our grocery bill. I'm trying to recruit friends and family into doing this more.

    As far as cool deals...

    I "like" several coupon/thrift blogs on fb, and get updates on deals to my newsfeed. My favorite is Krazy Coupon Lady. Last week I scored an 11x14 poster print for a quarter by using a coupon code for Walgreens! If it is still current, the code is 25cents if you would like to use it. I'm trying to redecorate the house some, so that was an exciting score.

    I wanted a small table in the living room, and was going to buy one, but then remembered I had a nightstand we weren't using in stepdaughter's room. It fits perfectly. I think I am going to paint it and modge podge some pretty scrapbook paper on the back of the shelves
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
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  11. Jan in CO

    Jan in CO Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Prov31wife, good luck with charting your savings and use of canning/etc. I started doing that last year with the freebie/left over veggies we got from a vendor who gives them to us for animal feed. Much of it is just overstock or over ripe, and we use a lot of it. Soon the task became overwhelming as far as time goes, and I quit doing it, but for a while, it was an eye opener! When it got to be either can/dehydrate the fruits and veggies, or keep a record, I had to give up the records. I think you'll be surprised at how much you actually save!
     
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  12. Melissa

    Melissa member

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    A friend brought by five nice sized boxes of baby clothes today. There must be hundreds of sleepers and outfits in there. Those will come in really handy for the grandchildren. I always loved getting clothes for my kids and also passing them on to others who need them.
     
  13. notbutanapron

    notbutanapron Ned Kelly's Trainer

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    Gloves: Cut off all the fingers and sew eight fingers together with a thumb on top and stuff with some bead eyes - octopus cat/dog toy! Make fishies out of the palms/backs. This is probably way better in my head than in reality.

    My local shop has local fruit and veg on sale in bulk and does free goat scraps if you ask them if they have any. I've gotten FOUR boxes of cabbage leaves. I've stolen bits out of there because, really? I can eat that! I know... but just give it a rinse and I have a free meal. Hahaha. The goats get the rest. But there's been whole heads of broccoli or lettuce that just had wilted outer leaves or one flowering bud or something. Hokay then.
     
  14. Prov31Wife

    Prov31Wife Well-Known Member

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    I recently learned of the miracle of homemade myself! I have started saving a bag in the freezer with chicken and veggie scraps and make it. It's SO good and makes such delicious soup.

    I am trying to convert my girlfriends to canning and doing these things. When I was singing to praises of stock: "but it is FREE! You make it from TRASH. and it is so GOOD!"

    They laughed at me.
     
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  15. Prov31Wife

    Prov31Wife Well-Known Member

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    I can't remember if I posted this in January, but it is an ongoing thing:

    Christmas kicked our butts this year. Part of it was very much my fault, as I like giving nice gifts at Christmas and I went overboard on the babies in the family. DH and I decided not again, and made a pledge to buy presents all year round when we saw clearance items. Maybe it wouldn't be something "on their list," but it would be something we knew they would like. I scored BIL a really nice camo hunting jacket for twenty dollars, and it had been much, much more.

    I already have like half my gifts for next year, and we've also pledged to not buy Stepdaughter so very much. She has a room FULL of toys here and at home, and her favorite things to play with are my old toys that were bought and paid for years ago.
     
  16. Mid Tn Mama

    Mid Tn Mama Well-Known Member Supporter

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    What WHAT?????? Why have I never thought of that???? I'll bet that won't help Jan because in CO they don't wear sissy gloves like we do here in the south. They wear big honking THICK gloves. But thanks! I can definately do this with my thin gardening gloves.
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    I always keep a jar of bacon grease in the frig. Just saw something about making an emergency candle out of that. Have to remember in an emergency.
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    Gosh! Just counted six new lemon buds on my Meyer lemon tree. I mean, the tree is only 2 /5 feet tall. Wonder how many I'd get if it were five feet tall! Very worthwhile investment. I'm saving every seed to start new meyer lemon trees.
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    I've been doing leg muscle "squeezes" and leg lifts at the computer, riding in the car (not driving and can't do the lifts there) at meetings where my legs are not noticable. I really see a difference in the tone! I consider this like a trip to the gym! I read about this when researching Pilates. The guy who started that exercised in a war prison cell as a way of keeping fit. My friend has started exercising each time she visits the bathroom. Gets a little funny at work. She does a set of squats or pushups against the wall or cabinet.
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    Every so often I like to watch Depression cooking with clara. Lots of good ideas for making homemade, healthy food for less.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/DepressionCooking
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    Prov31 wife: that is a great idea about the Christmas presents. I keep a log on the computer of what I have bought. I use large shopping bags for each person in the family that I store in a closet. This way I can see what is lacking....
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    HOMEMADE GRAHAM CRACKERS

    1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

    2 cups graham flour (whole wheat is fine)

    1/4 cup evaporated cane juice sugar (regular sugar is fine)

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1 teaspoon baking powder

    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    1/2 cup cold butter, cut into pieces

    2 tablespoons honey

    1 tablespoon molasses

    1/4 cup water (may need a little more--I used another tablespoonful)

    In bowl of food processor, combine flours, sugar, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Pulse a few times. Add the cold butter and pulse until texture is dry and crumbly.

    In a separate bowl, mix together the honey, molasses and water. Add to food processor and blend together until it forms a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for one hour.

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll the dough out on a well floured surface (I used all purpose). Roll the dough out pretty thin and cut with cookie cutters or cut into rectangles. Make fork marks in the dough. Transfer to baking sheets lined with parchment paper (that's what I use, just a baking sheet would work fine). You could sprinkle these with sugar or cinnamon/sugar before baking.

    Bake for 11-14 minutes until golden and crisp. This recipe made 19 3 1/2 inch hearts.
    from:
    http://www.bakingandboys.com/2009/02/homemade-graham-crackers.html
     
  17. Jan in CO

    Jan in CO Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You are so right about the gloves, however there are a couple thinner ones in there! I might try the octopus. Our dogs were never taught to play with toys, and just won't, but our son's dogs do, and will be moving in with us as soon as they file for divorce, so I'll try some for them!

    Thanks for the graham cracker recipe! Mom and I were just commenting on how expensive commercial crackers are, and you don't want all the unknown ingredients in them!
     
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  18. strawberrygirl

    strawberrygirl Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone have a recipe for homemade leather cleaner? We have leather furniture and I would like to try and spiffy it up. I've tried saddle soap and a bunch of other store brand leather cleaners that just don't seem to work. I've tried using ivory soap, and that didn't really work either. We have tan colored leather, and our bullmastiff has claimed pretty much all it. I am not looking for it to be perfect looking, just clean.

    `On another note, dh got our seed order. I can't wait to get planting. In addition to what we normally plant, we are planting kidney beans, northern beans, lima beans, stevia, and a few other things that we don't normally plant. We are planting tons of flowers, more fruit trees, and possibly some bee trees. We are hoping to get bees in 2014. Dh and I are trying to work out a plan to utilize most of our property. We have 2 acres, and dh wants to see most of it being used for a purpose. `

    Can you tell I have garden fever? :happy2:
     
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  19. starlady

    starlady Well-Known Member

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    MTM - Meyers root really well from cuttings. I've given away lots of baby trees this way.
     
  20. pinfeather

    pinfeather Well-Known Member

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    I'm beginning a rag quilt out of old jeans. My Mother-in-Law volunteers at a thrift shop and I asked her if they ever have to throw away jeans because of holes or whatever. She said, "All the time", and gave me a BUNCH of adult-sized jeans that aren't suitable for resale. Love that lady! Only 40 more squares to go. Wish me luck on my almost free quilt.