Category: Frugal Living

Use Your Skills To Make A High Quality, Low Cost Gift

  Babies: 50% adorable, 50% splatter machines.   Recently, I was invited to a baby shower.  Wanting to give a gift that was personal and useful, I scanned Etsy to see the trending baby gifts. So many lovely custom diaper bags, cloth diaper covers, and burp cloths in the shops. Taking my time and skills into account, I decided to make burp cloths.  Burp cloths on Esty start at $5.00/cloth, topping out around $12.00 for a highly customized product.  I am in total agreement with paying a fair price for any product/service, but I knew that I could make my own for much less. There is a strong “maker” movement right now in our country. Micro-breweries, artisan food, thrift store up-cycling have all paved the way for “Makers to make”.  Handmade items are now preferred and totally respectable. Don’t be afraid to use the skills you possess to make a unique gift, and save yourself some dollars in the process. My only requirement is that you make something that is high quality and will bless the person that is receiving your efforts. If in doubt, go out and buy something off the registry! Doing a quick search for baby burp cloth patterns, I found a quick, efficient and cute free pattern.  Here is the one that I used. I made a dozen baby burp cloths, gender neutral because Mom...

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How To Make Cold Brew Coffee At Home

    Mid-life.  It can kick pretty hard. I think the mid life years are best defined as: “The years when everything you used to be able to do, eat and conquer is no longer true.” For women this also includes the wonderful experience of having a “system” die and become obsolete inside your body. The only constant in this season is change.  And maybe occasional irrational flaming anger at your spouse/children/AT&T customer service. So, my mid-life body has decided that I can no longer drink regular heat brewed coffee without igniting my esophagus with harsh heartburn. Awesome. I have suffered from food allergies for years, and felt justified in enjoying coffee daily, in reasonable amounts. Nope. There is a new Sherriff in town and that simple pleasure is now outlawed. I confess that I have had a level of resentment over things changing in my body chemistry. Resentment=Tears. For me, one of the bonuses of having a mid-life body is having millennial adult children.  Former Starbucks baristas, who possess the knowledge of Cold Brew Coffee creation. Cold Brew Coffee basically eliminates the acid that is created when the coffee beans are heated in normal heat based brewing.  For me, drinking Cold Brew Coffee also eliminates my heartburn. Here is the process my daughter taught me to cold brew coffee. Once the coffee is ready, you can prepare it...

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Are You Cheap and Mean?

Question: Have you ever been around someone who is cheap and mean? Most of us in the frugal community strive to save money. It can be enjoyable to stretch our paychecks, seeing how long we can say “no” to impulse purchases or needless spending. Sometimes we often plan a “no spend” month, focusing our energy and emotions on using up what we already own. Money can be like playing a game. Have you ever played a game with someone that cheated or had character issues? The fun factor really bottoms out doesn’t it? Mr. Money Tree and I were out for breakfast a little while ago. Our sweet waitress was crazy busy, serving on both sides of the eatery.  I asked her how her morning was going; she was slammed because she was also serving a large group of men from a local church. They meet monthly at this restaurant for breakfast and visiting. I looked at her directly and said “I bet they barely tip you, right?” She slightly smiled and said “its okay, it happens.” My sweet waitress friend is wrong. It is not okay to be cheap and mean, people. Upfront disclaimer, I am a Christian. So, I get to call out crappy behavior from other people who say they are Christians. Cheap Christians Suck. Jesus was the most generous person that ever lived. He died...

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Frugality And The Environment

      Men, they fascinate me. Mr. Money Tree has developed a new habit. He wears his socks two days in a row. Takes them off, folds them together and sets them on the dresser. Thankfully, he doesn’t have stinky feet, so this pattern is working well. I was unaware of this until he pointed out to me that there was a reduction of his socks in the laundry. His supporting argument? Better for the environment, less water to wash, less detergent to buy, less plastic to recycle from detergent bottles. Is his theory valid? After that conversation, I began to think of some of the things that I do to stretch our dollars. Some are environmentally friendly, some might be considered environmentally wrong.  Most are just basic thrift practices,  just common sense in most examples. Friendly: Wash in cold water Buy/ flip stuff from the Thrift Store Hang dry most laundry Use local library voraciously Recycle anything /everything possible Keep house cooler to conserve fuel All light bulbs in our home are LED   Not Friendly: Burn wood to heat house periodically Letting water run while brushing teeth Drive full size truck Let truck run to warm up in winter Buy produce that has been trucked in from long distances Throw out food scraps instead of composting   I am not concerned about the environment.  Not in...

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Kitchen Secrets To Saving Time And Money

Kitchen Life: Crush it like a Grandma Every generation searches for new ways to improve quality of life. Sometimes it works (the internet, no more long distance phone charges, heated car seats). Other times, we make it more complicated. A typical family kitchen is full of one- use appliances, half used seasonings, and pointless holiday serving dishes.  Many of our Grandmothers fed a crew of people with limited cookware, simple supplies and a heap of imagination. Four ways we can  be the Kitchen Boss, Granny Style!   Aprons- Have you ever gotten an oil stain on your favorite hoodie? How about that awesome black shirt that goes with everything? I have, and it’s pretty much the worst. Full aprons are the answer to life’s most messy questions. Before you begin in the kitchen, put on your apron. Make sure to buy them from the Thrift store. Cause they are going to be trashed. Countertop fermenting- Eat like a hipster, live to be a Great Grandma. Do some research on home fermenting. The benefits to “gut” health are amazing, and you can join the popular craft food movement. I have been fermenting sauerkraut for the past 3 months. The Money Tree’s are on point! Cast iron skillets– A must have for every home. Safe, almost indestructible and a valuable source of the mineral iron, these skillets are worth every penny....

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