Tag Archives: frugal tips

The basic principles of efficient heating are simple: keep warm air in, cold air out, and your heater or furnace in tip-top shape. There are a few other steps you can take to ensure a cozy winter without resorting to wearing a parka indoors.efficient-heating


  1. When the heat is on, set your thermostat as low as possible. Lower the thermostat to 55 degrees at night. Even a few degrees difference will lead to considerable savings. Remember, warm clothing provides an excellent source of insulation, as does adding another blanket to your bed. There are also smart thermostats that you can get where you can pre-program the temperature. Turn the heat down when no one is at home.heat control, frugal tip, prudent living
  2. Keep windows next to the thermostat closed tightly so the rest of the house is not several degrees warmer than the area around the thermostat.
  3. Make sure your heating system is operating efficiently. If you have a furnace or heat pump, check the filter at least every other month during the winter. Clean the filter as needed and replace it when it appears to be worn out. Have a professional tune an oil-fired system once a year. Gas-fired systems and heat pumps need to be tuned only once every two years.
  4. If you use an electric furnace for heating, consider a heat pump. These pumps are expensive, but they can reduce your total use of electricity for both heating and cooling by 30-40 percent.
  5. Close off unoccupied rooms or rooms not currently in use. This means shutting the heat or air conditioning vents, unless you have a heat pump. Shutting vents in this case could harm the heat pump.
  6. Keep your fireplace damper closed when not in use. It also helps to install a glass front to keep warm air from going up the chimney.
  7. Use insulating shades on the windows, this will help keep the cold out out and the warm air in!Close the windows and blinds during the day.


By following these basic principals of efficient heating this winter you will save money and stay warm.Winter

As we continue to de-clutter and get rid of things it’s time for an end of the year pantry challenge! My goal is to clean out our chest freezer so that I can sell it. When the house eventually sells we are not planning to move our beloved chest freezer. The freezer is almost empty so what better time to do an end of the year pantry challenge.pantry challenge


For the next two weeks I am going to only purchase items from the grocery store that are absolutely necessary such as fresh vegetables and possibly some dairy. I will give myself a budget of $50 for the two weeks. I will be utilizing food from our pantry and freezer. Hopefully by the end of the two weeks our chest freezer will be empty and I can list it for sale.


There is actually not a lot in the chest freezer at the moment other than some frozen peas and some frozen spinach, a few chicken breasts, some ground beef and a package of sesame seeds. I will work on eating out of the refrigerator freezer as well so any items still left in the chest freezer can be moved. At the end of the two weeks the chest freezer just needs to be empty!


This is what there is to work with for the next two weeks: in the upstairs freezer thare are two containers of applesauce, some cooked chicken meat, two small containers of mushrooms soup, a container of spaghetti sauce with meatballs and a hambone. Plenty to work with!pantry challenge


This challenge begins today! First up on the list is making some homemade split pea soup. Who doesn’t enjoy a nice bowl of soup for dinner? I will use the applesauce to make some applesauce bread. Hopefully I can make a couple of small loaves to give away over the holidays. That is if I have enough room in our upstairs freezer!


Pantry Challenge Menu


Monday: Split Pea Soup

Tuesday: Spaghetti and Meatballs.

Wednesday: Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Thursday: Turkey Meatloaf

Friday: Baked Chicken breasts

Saturday: Meatball grinders

Sunday: Mushroom Soup and a salad


For breakfast we alternate between oatmeal, homemade granola and eggs. If inspired I might even make pancakes or waffles (much to my husband’s delight, he claims they are an excellent excuse to enjoy our local maple syrup!). Lunch will be leftovers or sandwiches from what is on hand. I’m hoping this will inspire me to make better use of the food we do have in stock. I usually cook meals from scratch but don’t always do a good job with using things already in the pantry! Next week I’ll give an update on our progress! If you’re a local reader let me know if you’re interested in a chest freezer! It is still under warranty!pantry challenge


If you’d like any of the recipes I’m going to be making please comment below and let me know, I’d be glad to share them! This challenge is something we’re taking on personally, would any of my faithful readers like to join us in our end of the year pantry challenge?

Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop
We are so excited you have stopped by for a visit! We encourage you to look through some of the great posts shared by our readers and then take the time to read some of the ones that interest you.  The possibilities are endless! If you are adding to the list we thank you for sharing your homesteading, homemaking, and homeschooling posts with us! It’s so much fun to read your hints, tips, and happenings! Each week we will feature our most visited post from the week before, which also linked back to the hop, and my weekly favorite. We hope you have fun exploring all the great ideas everyone has shared with us!


Please take a few minutes and visit each of our great Our Simple Homestead Co-hosts.

Tracy Tracy at Our Simple Homestead


Sandra Sandra at Clearwater Farm


Nancy Nancy at On The Home Front


Kathi Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead


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Most clicked on post from last week.

10 Things You Should Never Throw Away10-things-dont-throw-away-768x847

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Only four weeks till Thanksgiving! Does the thought of the approaching holidays leave you breathless? Is it your turn to host the thanksgiving meal this year? Do you feel like there is just not enough time to get ready? What can you do to be ready for the day?prudent living


Years ago I read an article that had several steps that would help you to be ready for Thanksgiving. I wrote a few notes down on an index card, placed it in with my recipes and have used the advice every year since then. Even though you only have four weeks till Thanksgiving with these ten simple steps you too can be ready for the big day.4 weeks till Thanksgiving, preparation, holidays


  1. About a month before Thanksgiving compile a guest list. Figure out who’s coming for dinner and if anyone has any sort of food allergy.
  2. Have your guests help out by contributing a dish or a dessert. Be specific, ask your aunt to bring her wonderful creamed onions or your sister to bring her delicious cherry pie for example. Tell everyone you’ll do the turkey and let your guests bring the sides. Once everyone has decided what they are going to bring you can fill in the missing items.dessert, pie, cherries, Recipe Box
  3. Purchase your turkey at least 3-4 weeks ahead of the big day. If you’re ordering a fresh bird you can do that 2-3 weeks in advance.
  4. Prepare and assemble any dishes ahead of time. Baked goods and pie crusts can be prepared ahead of time and placed in the freezer.
  5. The Saturday before Thanksgiving shop for your perishable food. Get out your china, serving dishes and serving utensils.
  6. The Monday before Thanksgiving put the frozen turkey in the refrigerator to thaw. If making your stuffing from scratch cut bread into cubes and put in a plastic bag.
  7. The Tuesday before Thanksgiving cook, peel and mash sweet potatoes, cover and refrigerate. Chop your onions and celery for the stuffing and refrigerate.onions, chutney
  8. The day before Thanksgiving prepare your stuffing and refrigerate. Cook the giblet broth for the gravy. Prepare your cranberry molds and refrigerate. Make your creamed onions. If you can, set the table and arrange the centerpiece. Bake your pies.
  9. On the big day add your liquid to the stuffing and stuff your turkey. Start roasting the turkey so it will be done 30 minutes before you plan to eat. Make sure you have a few light appetizers set out for your guests. Having a few nibbles will help tide everyone over until dinner is ready.
  10. Remember what Thanksgiving is all about. It’s not about the turkey or the special dessert, but who is gathered around your table. Be thankful for your family and friends and enjoy the day!Thanksgiving


It can be unpleasant to have dark circles as they not only have an impact on your appearance but can also affect your confidence. They are nothing but discoloration present around your eyes, either due to bruising or heredity reasons. They often make you look dull and tired.


Various other reasons cause dark circles like lack of sleep, age, bad diet, poor lifestyle, fatigue, anemia, liver issues, medications, and even periorbital hyperpigmentation. You can try natural, home remedies to get rid of dark circles. Not only are they safe, but the ingredients are easily available in your household and kitchen.

English: Example of dark circles

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Curing Dark Circles Through Home Remedies


1) Cucumber Juice

Considered one of the best astringents, cucumber juice is an excellent way to make your skin soft and glowing. Also, it is a commonly used home remedy that is used for getting rid of dark circles.  


Take two cucumbers and grate them. You can either use a food processor or your hand to squeeze out the juice and place it in a small bowl. Now take two cotton balls, dip them into the cucumber solution and apply on the dark circles present under the eyes. For the best results, you need to keep the cotton balls on for about 15- 20 minutes.


Besides removing dark circles, it helps in relieving your eyes from burning sensations. Along with the mixture of refrigerated cucumber, just add lemon juice and lanolin cream to the affected area. Then leave it for about 20 minutes and rinse off with water.


2) Almond Oil

One of the best and most commonly used natural ingredients beneficial for the delicate skin under your eyes is almond oil. With regular usage, your dark circles will fade away. Furthermore, along with almond oil, use vitamin E to reduce the appearance of dark circles.


Just before you hit the sack, take some almond oil and apply it on the dark circles and softly massage it into the skin. Allow it to remain for the entire night, and wash off with cold water in the morning. By following this remedy every day, your dark circles will instantly disappear.


3) Rose Water

Rose water contains incredible ingredients that are beneficial for skin. Not only does it rejuvenate the skin but has a soothing effect on your tired eyes. Because there is a mild astringent property, it is an excellent skin toner.  


First, you need to take some rose water in a bowl and soak cotton eye pads in it for few minutes. Now take the soaked pads and place them on your closed eyelids and leave them on for about 15-20 minutes. Make sure to follow this remedy two times a day.


4) Raw Potato

The natural bleaching agents in potatoes help in lightening dark circles and removing the puffiness around the eyes. Grate two or three raw potatoes and extract their juice. Take two cotton ball, soak them in the juice and place them on your closed eyes. Try to make sure that the juice is covering the dark circles present under your eyes and even the eyelids.


Allow it to remain on your eyes for 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse with cold water. Try to repeat this procedure once or twice every day for a few weeks. Instead of potato juice, you can also use thick potato slices to get rid of dark circles.


5) Vitamin-rich Diet

A vitamin-rich diet is necessary for healthy skin as well as to avoid dark circles under your eyes. Foods rich in vitamin C assist in combating dark circles present under the eyes. Tomatoes, citrus fruits, berries, papayas, green leafy vegetables, and melons are rich in vitamin C and consuming them every day can reduce dark circles.


Furthermore, vitamin E rich foods like carrots, spinach, apples, sunflower seeds, beef, avocado, celery, whole grains and asparagus help in removing dark circles and making the skin more glowing and soft.


Check out the infographic below, to know more about the benefits of Vitamins.
14 Potent Vitamins for Younger and Healthier Skin





There are various natural remedies available to reduce dark circles. The ingredients given above are the common ones and are easy to use. To know more about the other beauty tips like the best primer for acne prone skin, check out the Fix Your Skin website.


So, go ahead and try these remedies and also provide your feedback in the comments.


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



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


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

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