Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Frugal Habits That I have Slowly Learned

Sometimes I think I must not be the sharpest knife in the drawer.  There are many hints and ideas that it has taken me years to learn.  Some days I am doing something, and BOOM I get this brainstorm!  LOL
I then stand there and shake my head and wonder why did that not come to me years ago.

I am always learning.  Here are a few ideas I have come across over the years that seems to make my life a little more frugal, or so it seems.

NOW is the time to ASK for those special gadgets you have been wanting.  Crockpots, Instant Pots, bread makers, vacuum sealers, canners, etc..  Maybe just maybe - Santa will bring it to you! 
Also check thrift stores and-or yard sales for those gadgets.  So many people HAVE to have the latest greatest new craze in gadgets and then they don't use them.  You can often find them for pennies on the dollar.  The biggest non-used item people sell cheaply and buy expensively is exercise equipment.  You tend to see it every where.

Get your FREE items whenever possible.  Check out Bath and Body Works - they often have coupons for FREE items.  Keep for yourself or gift.  Victoria Secret has a FREE panty program.  Crazy Kroger days (and maybe affiliates) have FREE downloads for Fridays.  Items can be received for nothing!  Sign up for WalMart freebies - I used to get lots of free samples from them.
Along these lines - REMEMBER if you love an item or hate an item - let the company know! 
They may send you coupons or free products.  They want your feedback.  There is generally a website address or toll free number on most products.

I hate being cold.  I also hate shoes!  I wear socks in the winter, but I still get cold.  NO I don't want to turn the heat up.  We all know to layer clothing and bedding to help.  I have finally learned that house shoes warm my feet in no time and then the rest of me stays warm.
We lose much heat from heads and feet.  Hats keep your head (thus you) warm outside and slippers keeps you warmer inside.

I found these memory foam slippers on a pre Christmas sale for $10 quite a while back.  They warm me up in no time.  They also have rubberized bottoms - so I can go get the mail or feed the kitties outside with them on (NO I don't wear to shop!).

We all get to the end of condiments in bottle and there is such a bit in the bottom - it doesn't seem to come out.  Things like ketchup, BBQ sauce, spicy mustard, etc. - add some water to the bottom of the jar.  Swish.  It is great to use in jazzing up your cooking.  No it probably won't work over fries or on a sandwich - but it extends the product  and makes great seasoning. NO waste.

Make sure you STOCK UP when you find great deals on seasonal sales.  Odds are you won't find the same prices for 'at least' another year (and then who knows) - so if at all possible with finances and space - stock up for a year.
Figure out how many pasta, canned good, etc. you use a week or month and multiply to have enough of a cheaply priced item for the year.  Prices are bound to go up and this is just like money in the bank.

I used to use a Tea Pot (brand name) to make my tea for iced tea.  It quit after years, so I went back to brewing tea on the stove.  We neither one was happy with it.  One day a light bulb went off - use the coffee pot!
I place my tea bags in the 'coffee' holder and fill the pot with water and run through a total of three pots - then add plain water to my jug. (I make a gallon at a time).  It is quick and works like a charm.
The coffee pot is also a great way to make 'quick' hot water for a cup of hot tea or for anything else - like hot chocolate.  Quick and easy. 
The coffee pot is for more than coffee!

Many times sponges, scrubbers (store bought) or even Magic Erasers are kind of big for most hands.  Cut them into the perfect size pieces.  I like to cut into fourths and they work great.  I tend to have to purchase less often.  It seems any time I have used a Magic Eraser, most of it is actually wasted and melts away.  No sense is just throwing money/product away.
I have many loofas that my Dad actually grew many, many years ago. (He passed in 1984).  I cut them into 3"-4" lengths and they last forever.  You can buy them at a lot of places - cut them and have more than one.  These are great for bath and kitchen chores.

Think about getting inexpensive wash cloths (same color so different from others) and use as  every day napkins or purchase cheap bandanas for napkins.  You can get different color sets for different occasions.  Darker colors are great as they don't show stains!!!

Lastly - utilize, utilize, utilize the library.  Books, movies, music - it's entertainment and educational items all for FREE!!  I realize computers offer a world of information - but there is just something about going to the library and wondering the aisles.  You find things you didn't even know you might be interested in.
Not everyone gets cable or Netflix (or other services) as they do cost.  You can get movies/videos at the library, video games, and so much more.  ALL FOR FREE
No better deal any where!

I hope this gives you something to think about.  What are some of your "DUH" ideas that hit you like a bucket of bricks?????  LOL
We all need new tricks!


  1. I love this post as I cut my makeup remover clothe in 1/2 and I reuse everything.

    1. Good idea. I don't use much full strength or full size.
      I love reusing things as well.
      Good job!

  2. My mother prefers to drink bottled water and was having trouble opening the bottles as the lids are so small. She figured out that a pair of pliers really does the trick and the pliers now reside in her crock of kitchen tools along with the spatulas and spoons!

    1. Good example of when there is a will there is a way! I keep a screw driver in my kitchen tools as well as a 'kitchen' pair of scissors. I would think pliers would fir right in!
      Great idea. Thanks

    2. I have always kept pliers in my kitchen drawer. My mother always did too. Very useful on a daily basis. So nice not to have to search for them when needed

    3. Good idea. You just never know when you might need them. I love getting good ideas from everyone.

  3. I cut my sponges in halves and quarters too. It's a great money saver. And I so agree about the slippers. I can put my feet in them for just a bit and warm them right up. Great post!

    1. I never wore slippers till this winter! I guess the older I get the colder I get. They sure do warm you up.
      Glad to hear others are doing these things too.
      Thank you!!!!

  4. Hi Cheryl, I agree about slippers. The other is dressing gowns. Here we do not have the cold like you do but lots of people turn up the heat and walk around in summer clothes rather than get dressed appropriately and wear dressing gowns. We also have lounge rugs for evening and knee rugs! A knee rug in the car is a good thing too. Layers work... several thinner layers are much warmer than one thick layer. If the neck is warm this helps too I wear scarves. Being busy and content at home is the biggest saver of all I think. People shop as a kind of sport. I jus think they have too much time on their hands! Next maybe is cooking from scratch! I agree to think and ask for the gifts you need rather than say nothing... my family are going to buy for me anyway so I might as well say what I really want and need! Some items will make a world of difference! My yoghurt maker... how much did that save me in one year? Probably several hundred dollars! Think carefully and some small appliances and gadgets can be a huge helper! With love Annabel.xxx

    1. Annabel great suggestions and ideas. Call me crazy, but it never occurred to me to have a small blanket/throw to cover my lap in the car. That is a great idea.
      You are so correct , that just keeping busy around the home keeps you warm as well.

      I know some ladies would be insulted to get "working" gifts, but I am like you - give me something that makes my life easier.
      That is great on the yogurt maker saving you so much.
      Have a blessed week.

  5. Hi Cheryl, great post. Where we are just doesnt get that cold. A light weight cardigan is all we need most of the time. We have snuggle crochet blankets that sit on the back of the chairs. If you feel the need you pull one over you. No need for heating here. For us, keeping cool in summer is the challenge. We dont have air con in our house. We do have ceiling fans and pedestal fans. I have an inflatable wading pool I put on the veranda. If I feel I am overheating I stip down to undies and jump in this. I can then get out, towel off and get on with jobs.
    We have palms and small fruit trees in pots. These are along the side of the house that has the morning summer sun on it. This helps shade the house and stop the bricks from heating up too much.
    All our summer cooking is done on the veranda. The house does not heat up with cooking. We live our summer lives on the veranda and have it set up as an outdoor room. I also have strings of outdoor party lighting that is solar powered. The bugs dont see to buzz around these soft lights.
    By living this way we dont need heating or cooling in the house. It saves us a lot of money and helps to keep us sane in the heat and humidity of summer.

    1. How wonderful it is that you don't have to have heating or cooling in your home. We have ceiling fans as well, for days that aren't too bad - they keep the air circulated. I guess humidity is what we hate the worst in summer. It gets very cold here unfortunately.

      I would love to have an outdoor kitchen. It sounds lovely on your veranda. I like the wading pool idea.

  6. I remember reading the Tightwad Gazette the first time and having one big "OH, DUH!" moment! So much seems so obvious now.
    I cut my dryer sheets in thirds. I cut my lotion bottles and get another week's worth of lotion, and I change the coffee grounds every other day so I can use less on the second day. My husband and I always tag team the morning shower as both the room and the water are all hot for the second person. This is especially good in winter when it takes so long for both.

    I completely second Cheryl's library suggestion. Best building in the whole town for saving money!

    1. I do most of those same things and remember learning many from reading Tightwad Gazette as well. That was my first reading matter on the subject of living frugal. My Mom did a ton of things to save - but I learned a lot from reading as well.

      Think how much money we save by using the library! No buying books or movies!
      Have a good one

  7. I have been studying frugality for a long time. I always get excited when I learn something new. I don't think it's a case of not being "the sharpest knife in the drawer." I think it's more you didn't need that tip when you were younger but now it's like "YES! THANK YOU!" moments! :)

    I use so many of these tips. Don't side eye. No side eyeing, lol. I got my DH a Keurig, thrift store jewel. He's a coffee lover. I don't like coffee. He was making these big pots of coffee and it's going to waste. He's super frugal too. He was not happy about the price of the pods. I told him he can have a luxury. Frugal people can have luxuries too. He's such a good person and never splurges on himself. The first time he bought a box of pods it was like the best day ever for him, lol. He loves his Keurig and collects varieties of frugal pods now. He buys his ponds very inexpensively. I think he only pays like ten cents per pod. He also has the pods you can fill up. He also has a French Press too. That is super frugal.

    Why I brought up this long story about Keurig's. We use that Keurig for everything. We make hot water in it, I use it for hot water for my tea bags & hot chocolate. We use it for cup or soups we occasionally have. I agree about the coffee pot being a frugal heat warmer. :)

    If you find a frugal Keurig at the thrift store, seriously pick it up. You don't have to use pods. It has so many lovely uses and is great for a one to two person family. You could also buy a single brew coffee maker too.

    1. great ideas and glad you found that as a deal. I have heard they have washable/reusable pods that you can fill yourself. That might be an idea as well.
      A coffee machine is very versatile for sure.
      I like that I don't heat the stove up for hot water nor do I NUKE it!

      You are so correct - we all need luxuries in our lives at times. We are frugal for a reason.
      Thanks for the reminder!

  8. So true about the sos pads -I love to cut them in half. They rust before I can use them otherwise and it saves me money. Love your idea about making tea in the coffee pot. It's good to cook in too I've heard.
    Looks like you'll keep warm in those slippers!
    Have a great week.

    1. SOS pads always rust before you can finish them - cutting is a good idea.
      I think the coffee pot is good for a lot of things!

      Have a good one

    2. The girls in my dorm used to make Top Ramen in their coffee pots!!

    3. Well that would be perfect. I would think any instant or condensed soups would work perfectly!