Tag Archives: frugal tips

My husband and I are always trying to think of ways to save money, especially on our food budget. This is the one area we tend to over spend on. There are numerous blogs dedicated to frugal meals, one of my favorites is Premeditated Leftovers. Don’t you just love the name! Alea has a wonderful cookbook out called Prep Ahead Meals From Scratch. CookbookYou may already know that the best way to save money on your meals is to cook from scratch. I cook from scratch the majority of the time and over the years have come up with many frugal ideas for our dinners.frugal meals

We have many frugal meals that are so tasty they have become favorites. As the weather cools, this is one of my favorites. I love macaroni and cheese and the additional of  tunafish and vegetables makes this dish even more delicious. It’s a great way to sneak a few vegetables into your  dinner. This Tuna Veggie Macaroni is perfect for my husband and I. There is usually a little left over and that is perfect for lunch the next day. If we have company this recipe is easily doubled.frugal meals

 

Tuna Veggie Macaroni

 

Ingredients:

1 ¼ cups uncooked elbow macaroni
5 oz Cheddar Cheese
½ cup milk
2 cups of frozen peas and carrots, thawed
1 can (6 ounces) of solid white tuna, drained
¼ tsp dill weed

Directions:

Cook the macaroni according to the package directions; drain. Add the cheese and milk and stir until the cheese is melted. Stir in the vegetables, tuna and dill. Heat the mixture through.

Makes three servings.

As the weather cools what are your favorite frugal meals? Usually soup is the number one favorite in our house, but I have to say this Tuna Veggie Macaroni is an all time favorite. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!frugal meals

Several months ago I wrote a post about safe stripping in regards to refinishing your wooden antiques. So called “safe” strippers are a good place to turn for refinishing your wooden antiques. Safe Strippers don’t irritate your skin, their fumes aren’t damaging to your health, and their contents aren’t flammable or explosive – though, of course, rags and residue must be disposed of safely.

At the time we had two projects in the works. One was an antique fireplace mantle that we still plan the turn into a headboard for our queen-size bed and the other was a set of antique wooden twin beds that had been once been painted pink then painted red. The beds were maple and in dire need of refinishing. The twin beds were our first project.

To be safe the entire project was completed in the garage, we had an empty bay where we set up and workstation to complete the project. To read more about the beginning stages of the safe stripping project click here.Tools assembled. ready to start!

It took awhile to get all the paint removed especially on the spindles.cleaning the spindlesWhen the paint was all removed a final cleanup was done using fine sandpaper. Finally the beds were ready for stain.bed frames

My husband used a cloth to rob a stain into the wood.safe stripping, staining To match the other bedroom furniture we used a dark stain, which would cover up the tiny imperfections, while at the same time reveal the grain of the wood.safe stripping The finish coat was a satin polyurethane to protect the wood. The end result was perfection! The beds look great in the bedroom. You would never have a clue that they were once painted pink and then red!safe stripping This top coat of polyurethane should last for many years. Any future projects on these beds will not be done by us, we’re going to enjoy them just as they are!safe stripping

Next project for this winter will be to turn the antique fireplace mantle into a queen size headboard!

The house is on the market or perhaps you are downsizing and you’re wondering about yard sales and how to be successful?house for salePricing:

The first thing to do to is to label everything you are selling with a price. Most people aren’t comfortable with haggling and would like to see what the price of an item is. They still might try to make a deal, but at least they know what you are hoping to sell an item for. Many people shopping at yard sales expect you to know what your items are worth.

You can also have tables where everything is one price, for example rather than labeling each book you could say, “all hard cover books are $2.00”. The items you are selling should be displayed nicely so people can see clearly what you have to offer.

If you have collectables the best place to sell them is on eBay not in a yard sale. If you live in a rural area and don’t expect to have a lot of people show up at your yard sale them you might want to try selling the higher priced items in the local paper or on Craig’s List.

There are many useful sites that will help you to price your items. Here are a few I found:

Salvation Army Value Guide

Garage Sale Pricing Guide

Garage Sale Price Searches

eBay Listings

Check these sites to make sure your items are priced correctly. Price your items 50-75 cents higher than you would like, this will give you a little room in case people want to bargain with you. Be reasonable when you mark prices, shoppers are expecting bargains and you don’t want to have anything left at the end of the day.

If you don’t think you have enough “stuff” for a successful yard sale team up with another family or two. You can then advertise as a “multi family” yard sale and expect more traffic.

Advertising:

A week or two before your sale advertise in the local paper, in any online town forums or even on Facebook if your town has a Facebook page. The evening before the sale or early that morning put signs out, you want to make sure people can find you sale!yard sales

At the end of the day put up a sign that says everything must go and mark things down ½ price. Have these signs made in advance to you can put them out before the yard sale is over. Hopefully these tips will help you to have a successful yard sale.

We held our first yard sale over Labor Day weekend. Due to the holiday there was increased traffic and we had more people stop by than we might have on any other weekend. It was a fun day and we meet many nice people! We’re planning a second yard sale over Columbus Day weekend, any tips you’d like to pass along for holding successful yard sales?

I love making Homemade Crackers. I’ve tried several recipes before but this recipe is a real winner. My daughter shared this  recipe for homemade goldfish crackers over a year ago. She is very good about cooking from scratch and making sure she knows exactly what her children are eating. These crackers are perfect for snacking or enjoying with a glass of wine. No matter how you enjoy them I can guarantee they won’t last long! They also are easy to make and you can whip up a batch in no time.Homemade Cheese Crackers Now I don’t have a little fish cookie cutter so instead used a little heart cookie cutter to make my crackers. The heart cookie cutter worked out perfectly. They are delicious and store well if they don’t get eaten quickly! You could also use a small round cookie cutter or any other small shape would work.Homemade Cheese Crackers

Homemade Cheese Crackers

2 cups finely grated sharp cheddar cheese.
¾ cups whole wheat pasty flour (worked fine with just whole wheat flour)
¼ tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp salt
2 Tbsp light flavored oil

In a food processor blend everything but the oil together. When the ingredients are well blended add the oil and blend until the mixture becomes crumbly. Place the dough in a large bowl and knead into a ball. If it is too dry you can add an extra Tbsp of oil

Roll the dough to ¼ inch thickness and cut with your cookie cutter. I found it worked really well to just roll out a small portion of dough at a time.Homemade Cheese Crackers

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-17 minutes.Homemade Cheese CrackersLet cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container. I imagine these would freeze well but they were consumed so quickly I didn’t have a chance to find out!Homemade Cheese Crackers Enjoy!Homemade Cheese Crackers

I mentioned several weeks ago that one of my favorite cleaning products was Castile soap. Two items you’ll always find in my cupboard are Castile soap and vinegar! Both are great cleaning products.Castile Soap

There are just simply so many ways to use Castile soap in your household cleaning. Trusty Castile soap and distilled vinegar are all you need to clean and soften your linens. Just use ¼ cup of soap per load and ½ cup of vinegar with the rinse cycle.

Make an herbal dishwashing blend.

Essential oils in this blend have antibacterial, as well as aroma-therapeutic qualities. Plus it just smells so good!

Liquid Castile soap
10 drops lavender essential oil
8 drops rosemary essential oil
4 drops eucalyptus essential oil

Fill a clean 22 oz plastic squirt bottle with Castile soap. Add the essential oils. Shake the bottle before each use. Add 1-2 Tbsp of the liquid to the dishwater and wash as usual. Do note: this blend is not suitable for use in dishwashers.

 

microfiber mopPine Fresh Floor Cleaner

Do you use a microfiber mop? If so try this natural formula for cleaning your floors. It works just as well as commercial pine solvent cleaners, but leaves a light scent more reminiscent of a pine forest than a bucket of chemicals. You can adjust the scent to your preference by increasing or reducing the amount of essential oil used.

1 gallon hot water
2 Tbsp liquid Castile soap
10 drops pine essential oil
5 drops cypress essential oil

Combine all ingredients in a large bucket. Dip a mop into the bucket and squeeze our the excess liquid. Clean the floor by working the sections, using short strokes and dipping the mop as needed. Rinsing is not necessary.

What are your favorite cleaning products? Would I find Castile soap in your pantry?

I grew up in a very frugal home, my mom saved everything! My mother would never have thought to throw out food. It was repurposed into soup or used for lunch, but never thrown out. As a result of my upbringing I have always used leftovers. I also wash out plastic baggies and plastic cutlery for repeated use and when I get a chance I shop in thrift stores and garage sales!

Even before pita bread was a common grocery staple my mother was buying it. If we didn’t eat it up the leftovers were used to make pita chips. I often enjoy the pita chips more than the pita bread!

You will find endless possibilities for these simple chips, which are a great substitute for greasy potato chips and a thrifty use of stale pita bread!Start with some pitas.

Pita Chips

Pitas, cut in half crosswise and then split open
Butter or olive oil, at room temperature
Garlic salt
Dried parsley
(Other dried herbs of your choice)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spread each pita lightly with butter or olive oil and transfer to a baking sheet. Sprinkle them lightly with garlic salt and parsley.Cut pitas in half and spread with butter or olive oil.

Bake the pitas for about 15 minutes or until browned. Watch carefully so they don’t burn!

Cool the pitas completely on the baking sheet and then break apart into tortilla chip size pieces. Store in an airtight container for up to five days.Homemade pita chips.

 

 

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