Tag Archives: saving money

More Frugality

Because the thing I want to save the $ for is a heating/energy unit, I went looking at our electric company’s website. So they kept referencing apparently an old, Obama-era site, which of course is no longer active, but there’s no other referral.

I am, can you tell, really impressed with our local electric company. Wonder why? See here for more info.

In their defense, I will say that the 3rd time they sent us the “You’re using more energy than your more energy efficient neighbors” letter, they did at least make some reference to what they were comparing us to, a typical home in our zip code. Of course, they never actually said what that was, so it was still meaningless, but less so than previously.

DH is set on getting at least one minisplit  this year and maybe another next year. Okay. The chimney cap we’re replacing this year is the last piece of the chimney/wood stove replacement project. The only piece other than that on the chimney which hasn’t been replaced is the veneer over the pipe, a box around it. I’d love to replace the box, but it’s mostly cosmetic, not structural.

If I win the lottery, we’re going to get the minisplits, solar panels AND a new fake riverrock box around the chimney pipe with a mantel to match. Just sayin’!

Barring that? We’re getting a new chimney cap and at least one minisplit.

My husband said to me, empathically emphatically this morning, that he didn’t want to haul wood or load it into the stove another year.

Okay!

I just have to find a way to make this happen! Squeeze those dollars!


Plant and landscaping frugality: A 1 gallon potted perennial is $35 at Lowes, about $32 with a discount. If you buy them at garden club sales, they’re around $10-$20. Cheaper yet? Layer a 2nd one from one you’ve got, or plant the seeds, or divide it? — Free!

Mulch frugality: Garden centers at big box stores typically sell opened bags of mulch, etc. for 1/2 price. Cheaper yet? Use the pine needles, pine bark, leaves, what have you that you have in your yard already as mulch. Free!

The Celery Thing: I’ve run into this a couple of times, people talking about planting celery plants in their yard. I did this last fall, and the plants are gone this spring, again.

sole-d-alessandro-516633-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Sole D’Alessandro on Unsplash

I went looking for more information. The best I found is a woman who’s been using the same 7 celery plants for years. She lifts them in the fall and makes them houseplants during the winter (and uses them). You can find her write up about this here. (The site is full of interesting ideas too: choosingvoluntarysimplicity.com .)


Gawd I love spring.

And I hate it; I’m always overwhelmed with things to do, ideas to explore, etc. Too much!


Despite still being sick, I managed to spread one of the remaining bags of mulch this morning on the bulb bed. I also transplanted two daffs AND moved some rock, sand, etc. I was wiped out after about an hour, which is typical these days.


On Saturday: the plant sales were a success and not as cheap as I’d hoped. The library/town sale where I’d bought a 1 gallon pot for $10 last year, they were $15. (I got 2.)

The other plant sale where I stopped I got 2 6″ perennials for $5 each.

Sunday? Our next door neighbor took out 90% of a forsythia bush (what the 1 gallon pots held)  and gave me a branch which should get us the last two plants I think I need, for free. I wish I’d known the neighbor was going to whack up his 15 year old plant 1 day earlier, could have saved us $30!

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What’s New?

A few things. DH decided that he couldn’t “make due” even with all the work he’d done on the wallboard in the niche, so he’s in the process of tearing out the not-square, straight, or supported correctly wallboard, and replacing it, so it’s square and adequately supported.

This house is a weird mix. The guy who built it bought top-notch materials, like solid-wood doors, then did really bad workmanship, if there was any, with them. Why bother? This means every time we try to upgrade or just replace something, it becomes a demo/replace because the apparent, initial problem is only an indicator of what’s lurking under the surface. This place looked great ….

The other thing is that I finally decided I had to make the living room rug. I won’t spend the $500+ for a rug I like. I can find cheaper rugs, but they’re plastic and we’ve spent a lot of time/money taking plastic out of here because I’m allergic or sensitive to much of it. So, I’m knitting (that’s a shock, remember this and that?) a rug in 5′ long panels from old tshirts. I’ve made rugs from tshirts before (see pics below). The biggest one, in the laundry was 4 x 6 . I never took a pic.

The little one (the colorful one below) which had been in the bathroom got taken apart when I discovered I couldn’t get it the stains out of it. I dismantled it, then washed the strips, still couldn’t get them clean; they were trashed. The black and white one was made for someone and given away. The laundry room rug got mildewed when our old washer developed a leak, and I couldn’t remove the stench from the pieces, so most of it went to the dump too.

I’ve started other rugs, but the strips got mixed with the mildewed strips, before I realized how bad the mildew was (I’d washed them of course!) and 95% of the tarn I had prepared got trashed.

This was so discouraging I quit working with tarn completely.

The new living room rug, will be 5 x 8 feet, knitted from tarn. If all  the pieces are the same size as the piece I’ve been working on, I need to 17 strips,5′ long. I don’t think it will take that many as I intend to do something in between the knitted pieces. If it works? I won’t have to make 17. I hope!

The first piece has 15 tshirts worth of material in it.  I need to make the 2nd piece (or part of it) and try my joining idea. If the joining works, then I’ll refigure how many knitted strips, and tshirts needed.

Conservatively? If I just make the 17 pieces, at a shirt rate of 15 per 5′ strip? It’s 204 shirts, that’s all! Making the tarn actually takes longer than the knitting, no surprise.

Rug #1

1st rug

Rug #2

sarah's rug.JPG

January Sales

For years, I’ve been compiling calendars of what’s on sale/when. I’m always looking for ways to save a buck too. Here’s a few of those.

JANUARY NONFOOD SALES

It’s time for January white sales of course, so linens are on sale. Also there’s the post-Christmas season sales (find candles, party goods, etc.) and pre-inventory sales (usually begins in the middle of the month). You can find many filing/office supplies, organizers and other organization or storage items and purses on sale this month too.

JANUARY MONEY-SAVING TIPS

Below are two tips for saving money in chain restaurants, got one to add? If you go to STARBUCKS and get a “tall” coffee, think you’re saving money by getting the smallest cup they sell, right? No. You’re getting the smallest size on the menu. Order a “short” instead! At FIVE GUYS hamburgers, if you order a regular hamburger, you get 2 patties. Order a “junior” and get only one patty, for about $1 less.

JANUARY FOOD SALES

Avocado, eggs, spinach. And these are the cheapest they’ll be for a bit: chicken, lemon, and iceburg lettuce.

Seasonal food list links and How to Save Money (minor rant)

This blog has become actually two or three. One about de-hoarding and another about food, storage, saving money, etc. It occurred to me that I might want to split it into more than one blog. (Comments?)

I’ve been doing more work on the long-term food storage, seasonal cooking plan, etc. I found a USDA site that has a seasonal food list and updated mine yesterday. There’s also a links page to regional lists. The regional links page is below, the links haven’t been working and I’ve tried to fix it. Sorry, just copy/paste these in.

http://www.fieldtoplate.com/guide.php

These links are broken. In at least one case the thing I linked to has been removed. SORRY

The sort of generic seasonal lists are here.

http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/whats-in-season

I also went through my Yahoo groups, I belong to around 12 of them, mostly frugal oriented. People keep asking the same questions: how to save $ on coffee, how to use less disposable or single-use stuff, recipes that use less meat, etc. [This stuff isn’t new, Mrs. Child in the American Frugal Housewife (1833) talked about techniques for using less meat if I remember correctly!]

I find this frustrating because I rarely, if ever find something NEW. I’ve been reading housewifery books since the late 1960s, when I was a young mother-less gal trying to figure out what to do and how? Mostly, I see the same things recycled again and again. Irritating! So irritating that years ago I wrote an article and posted it on my website. A shortened version of it is below.

There is one way and only one way to save money on purchased goods, that is spend less.

This can be accomplished using any of three basic strategies: find a cheaper substitute, pay less for the product, or do without the product altogether.

The first strategy, finding a cheaper substitute, includes:

  • Buying used,rather than new goods, when appropriate
  • Back to basics, do it yourself (DIY), once a month cooking, etc.
  • Using whatever form of a product can be used that’s cheapest (using thighs instead of chicken breast meat, for example.)

The second strategy, paying less for the same product, includes:

  • Coupons, refunds, and sale shopping
  • Alternate sources, dumpster diving, free cycle, ethnic shops, etc.
  • Diluting/reusing more product

The last strategy, doing without, is usually presented as a form of the other two.

For example, many authors tell you to avoid buying a daily coffee at Starbucks. Usually, they point out that if you brew your own coffee, it’s significantly cheaper, which is both a cheaper substitute (#1) and paying less for the same product (#2). However, it also fits #3, as you are giving up something, that is, the trip to Starbucks.

If you brew your own coffee and use 1/2 the old grounds for the 2nd pot along with 1/2 new grounds, it’s a cheaper substitute (#1). So again the same three basic principles apply. There’s nothing wrong with these principles, it just irritates me to see them recycled again and again as something new, they aren’t.

I have been reading money-saving guides for over 30 years. I have books about saving money dating back to before the Civil War. The strategies are the same, whether you’re talking about lamp black (something not in high demand in modern households) or microwave pizza. It irritates me to see the same information recycled again and again, as if it were new, when indeed the specifics may be, but the fundamentals behind it, the strategies above, are not.

If you keep these strategies in mind, saving money becomes an attitude rather than specific practices. With the right attitude and knowing the principles, you’ll find your own ways to save.

J

[Reminder: All original written material here is (c) Jenny Little. Please list authorship if you reblog/repost this or anything that is my writing. Thanks! Obviously, material from other websites are not (c) by me!]