Archive for the ‘frugal living’ Category

If you shop the resale stores like we do, here’s a heads up.  Our government has seen fit to intervene in yet another area of our lives.

New laws passed by the gov’t will go into effect Feb 10th which will BAN all resale/thrift shops from reselling children’s clothes for kids ages 12 and under. If you plan on buying anything for your kids, get it now. Buy extra for years to come – they’ll grow into them. These clothes will have to be thrown into landfills if they are not sold by Feb 9th.

Ironically, thrift shops are doing a brisk business because the economy is so bad. This new law will force many of them out of business.

If you’d like more information, here’s a link:  http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-thrift2-2009jan02,0,02083247.story


UPDATE 1/09/09  The Consumer Product Safety Commission has reversed a decision to force consignment/resale/thrift stores to stop selling used children’s clothes as of Feb 10th.  http://wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=85638

The new law will still force many small businesses to close.  The  cost of testing each item for sale is outrageously high.


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I just got back from a trek to Sam’s Club.  It’s been a few weeks since my last visit, and I noticed prices have gone up on several items.  The bulk pack of Ramen Noodles is over $1.00 more than it was in November.  I also noticed some of the canned goods are higher than they were previously.

As I’ve stated in other posts, I believe we are in for some very hard times economically.  I don’t think we’ve “hit bottom” by a long shot.  We are seeing companies that survived the Great Depression in the ’30s which are now going belly-up.  Companies are steadily laying off or reducing benefits.  I believe inflation is going to be higher than most of us have seen in our lifetimes.  The government is throwing money down a gaping hole trying to fix our economic problems, and all it is doing is devaluing our dollar.  In light of that, I believe it is prudent to store what you can NOW while your money will go further.  In another year, prices will just be higher.  If you can afford to add $10 or $20 here and there to increase the amount of food you have onhand, the better you’ll be down the road.

“A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.” – Proverbs 22:3 (KJV)

Good buys this week:  50 pounds popcorn kernals at Sam’s for just over $16.  Also 4 pound boxes of iodized salt for .88 cents (that is dirt cheap when you compare .50 cents for a one pound box at most stores).  25# bags of flour at Sam’s are just over $7/bag.  It can be broken down into smaller sizes and vacuum sealed (which is what I plan on doing with the popcorn also).  Be sure to stock up on spices while you’re at it – bulk spices at Sam’s are MUCH cheaper than the little bottles at the grocery store.  Rice and beans in bulk are very cheap and will store almost forever (be sure to stick any grains in the freezer for a few days to kill off any eggs before you repackage for storage).

Also consider  having powdered milk onhand.  We currently use 1/2 whole milk with 1/2 powdered milk and have been doing this for months.  It has saved quite a bit on our milk costs.  (See our Frugal Milk post.)

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Our local Fred’s Discount Store has Spam for $1.99/can this week.  That is a .50 cent savings over regular price.  (You could buy 10 cans for $19.90 plus tax – that’s a great way to add to your food storage!)

I’ve also been told that Piggy Wiggly has their store brand of veggies on sale at 3 for $1.00. They also have Van Camps Chili at 10 for $10.00, and corn bread mix at 3 for $1.00.

Our local grocery store carries “Best Choice” store brands, and their veggies are 2/$1.00 this week.  Also on sale here:

5# bag Gold Medal flour – $1.48

Grands Biscuits – 10/$10

7oz Flaked Coconut – 10/$10

5# bag red potatoes – $2.48

fresh cabbage – .38 cents/lb

Hunts Spaghetti Sauce – 5/$5

Bryan Vienna Sausages – 4/$2

Best Choice Chicken Broth – 2/$1

Cook’s Full Shank Half Ham $1.08/lb (Butt Portion is $1.38/lb)

Be sure to check out your local grocery store flyer for sales.  Local stores offer better value on their sale prices (normally) than Walmart.  Not to mention if we don’t patronize our local stores, eventually there will ONLY be Walmart and we will have no choice on what we pay.  I love Wally World, don’t get me wrong, but a little healthy competition is good for them.  Since our SuperCenter opened, we have lost one grocery store already.  I used to shop Walmart exclusively until I learned I could save more money shopping the sales at the other stores.  There are some things I still save more on at Walmart, but I try to be more conscientious overall of where our dollars are spent.

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Store this excellent taco seasoning in a mason jar or other container with a tight-fitting lid.  Making it from scratch is much cheaper than buying the little packages at the store.   I usually make a bunch of this at a time.  Buy your spices in bulk at discount clubs such as Sam’s and you’ll save even more.

6 teaspoons chili powder
4 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
5 teaspoons paprika
3 teaspoons onion powder
3 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dehydrated onion
1/4 teaspoon ground oregano

Combine everything in a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake/mix well. Store for 6 months to 1 year at least.  Makes about 1/2 cup.

7 teaspoons = (1) 1.25oz package of taco seasoning.   I also use a couple shakes of hot sauce. You could add some cayenne pepper also (1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon), but we haven’t missed it in this recipe.

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I am going to try to post money-saving deals each week as I find them.

For this week (Dec 1st), at our local Wal-Mart I found Green Giant cut green beans and also sweet corn for .50 cents a can (regularly $1.43/can at our grocery store).  Needless to say, we bought several cases!

Wally World also had Kraft boxed macaroni and cheese for .50 cents a box.

To break that down for a variety of budgets:

For $34.00, you could add 20 boxes of mac & cheese plus 48 cans of food to your storage.

For $20.00, you could do 10 boxes of mac & cheese plus 30 cans of vegetables.

For $10.00, you could do 5 boxes of mac & cheese plus 15 cans of vegetables.

Having peace of mind knowing you have something put back to feed your family – priceless!

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I have a few tips for things people don’t normally think of to use for food storage, plus you’re recycling items that would normally be thrown away.

Save #10 cans, wash and dry them very well, and either reuse the plastic lid that comes on some, or buy extra lids to use for this purpose (www.beprepared.com has them very cheaply).  It makes a great container to put either ziploc bags of food or vacuum sealed bags.  I label the outside of the can with masking tape for easy identification of the contents.

Save cardboard flats that cans come in or cut cardboard boxes to fit.  You can reuse the cardboard to stack #10 cans, or the canned food you buy at the store.  That way there is no wasted space on your shelves since you’re storing “upward”.  (Example:  cardboard, layer of canned food, cardboard, layer of canned food, etc.)  Utilize every inch of storage space you have.

Save 2 liter soda bottles,  wash and dry completely, then fill with rice, beans, sugar, etc. (use a funnel).  Add a bay leaf or two and seal the top with tape.  The only problem is the 2 liters don’t stack, but you can stick them almost anywhere (in a closet, under the bed, behind the couch – get creative!).

Save old peanut butter jars, spaghetti sauce jars, grape jelly jars, juice containers, etc. and use for food storage.  Look at every container before you throw it in the trash and try to think of another use for it.  You’ll be surprised how quickly your storage collection will grow.

Two-liter bottles and juice containers are large enough to store water extremely well.  Tap water will stay safe for use for literally years.  If safety is in question, you can always boil it first.  It does go “flat” after a while, so pour it back and forth between two containers to oxygenate it again – it will taste fresher.

Ice cream buckets are super for reuse and they stack very well.  I would seal whatever you’re going to put in them first just as an extra precaution, and throw in a few bay leaves.

5 or 6 gallon buckets are outstanding for storing flour, sugar, oats, rice, beans, etc.  For added protection, you can buy mylar liners for $2.50 each (again from beprepared.com), fill with food, then seal the top with a hot iron (use a piece of 2×4, scrap wood, or even a wooden ruler laid across the top of the bucket to have a firm surface on which to seal the mylar).  The mylar gets a bit sticky when it’s hot, but it will seal and firm up when it cools.  Fold the top of the mylar down and pound the lid on with a rubber mallet.

Be sure to label the outside of all containers with the contents and date.  You’ll be glad you did.  🙂

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I heard about this a few days ago, and thought it was an awesome idea.

What you need:

a Rubbermaid tote with a lid (or a 5/6 gallon bucket with lid)
toilet plunger with red rubber suction cup on end
laundry soap
dirty clothes

Cut a hole in the top of the lid big enough for the wooden handle of the plunger to go through.  A friend of mine suggested also drilling a few holes in the rubber part of the plunger to make the washing more efficient (haven’t tried this yet though).   Add water, detergent, and clothes.  “Plunge” the handle around 200 times (you don’t have to do this at a fast pace, and could even sit in a chair and plunge away!). Rinse the clothes, wring, and hang on a clothes line.

Be sure to stock up on extra clothes pins and clothes line. Also, something to use as a wringer (such as a mop bucket with wringer attached) would be helpful.

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