Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Frugal tips

Every so often I go on a frugality bender in which I become quietly obsessed with spending less money than before.

The trigger for this latest bender is the end of our busy season. Sales at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival weren’t as high as we'd hoped (the weather wasn’t cooperative) and since we depend on those sales to get us through the winter, we’ll be tightening our collective belts for the next several months. This is nothing unusual; it’s happened before.

Over the years of self-employment, we were forced into becoming students of thrift. When we started our home woodcraft business nineteen years ago, we had no choice: we could either be thrifty and work at home, or we could spend money and find a 9-to-5 job. We chose to be thrifty.  We've remained so ever since.

Recently I came across a frugality-related blog with an entry dating to 2006 in which the blogger listed 25 ways she saves money. She then linked to other bloggers who formed their own lists as well. It was wonderful to read through dozens of frugal lists. Frustratingly I didn’t save the link and can’t find it again, but I thought it might be interesting to recreate that concept.

Below are 25 ways we save money (well okay, the list came out to more than 25, and I’ll probably add to it as I think of more things, but you get the picture). Since we're rural, not everything we do will apply to everyone, but these are some of the ways we stay thrifty.

• We buy staples in bulk, usually from a wholesale grocery store but sometimes from Costco. This includes things like sugar, brown sugar, beans, rice, brown rice, flour, whole wheat flour, cornmeal, etc. I buy tea in bulk (Uptontea.com) as well as coffee beans (in large amounts at Costco, where I also get them ground). Other things we buy in bulk include over-the-counter medicines (aspirin, ibuprofen, allergy pills, etc.), dog food, toilet paper, even dish towels (a bale of 60 “shop rags” at Costco will last me through several years of hard use in the kitchen).

• We don’t use a clothes dryer. Years ago when we lived in Oregon and our girls were babies, Don installed a clothesline for me and I was astounded by how much money it saved on our electric bill. During appropriate weather, I dried everything on that clothesline, including cloth diapers. When we moved to Idaho, he installed a clothesline and I used it until it broke. Then my dear husband made me a hanging clothes rack which suspends from the upstairs ceiling, and it works so well that I never bothered asking if he could re-install an outdoor clothesline. Line-drying our clothes has literally cut our propane usage in half.

• We use as few disposables as possible. When we became preppers, we quickly realized that we were too dependent on disposable items – paper towels, Kleenex, feminine hygiene, disposable razors, paper plates, etc. We began phasing most disposables out of our lives. The above-mentioned shop rags have largely replaced paper towels. The girls and I use Enola Gay’s washable feminine hygiene products. We use cloth napkins and never buy paper plates or plastic cutlery. I use aluminum foil sparingly, and re-use it whenever possible. I have never bought plastic wrap; instead we use plastic containers with fitting lids, or those “shower cap” gizmos that fit over anything.

• When we choose to indulge ourselves, we keep the indulgence as low-cost as possible. For example, I enjoy a glass of wine in the evenings. But I’ll buy wine in five-liter boxes rather than expensive bottles.

• Our entertainment is home-focused. This isn’t hard to do, since the nearest movie theater or coffee house is an hour’s drive away. This means we rent movies, or read books, or go for walks, or visit neighbors, or otherwise come up with low-cost methods to keep ourselves entertained.

• Public transportation isn’t an option where we live, but working from home allows us to eliminate a commute. We combine trips to the city with other errands, and we map out our routes to make travel efficient and use less gas.

• We’re not married to labels. We buy generic or second-hand whenever possible. The few “name brand” items we’re devoted to are usually because it was originally the cheapest option and we’ve just gotten used to using that brand (such as Suave shampoo).

• We don’t watch TV. We don’t get reception and don’t want to pay for any of the expensive options to bring that trash into our house. This also serves to cut down on commercials and the lust for junk that commercials cleverly inspire (especially in children).

• I use our Crockpot (slow cooker) and bread machine constantly. Crockpots are the world’s greatest invention for busy people. If you throw the ingredients in for a stew or soup or roast before you go to work, your meal is finished by the time you get home. And I’ve hardly bought a loaf of bread in the last fifteen years thanks to my hard-working bread machine. Crockpots and bread machines can be bought for pennies on the dollar in thrift stores.

• We don’t have smart phones and we keep our cell phone plan (and usage) to a bare-bones minimum (none of us are fond of talking on the phone anyway). This way we can take advantage of the cheapest cell phone packages since we don’t want any of the extra bells and whistles. A couple years ago, we canceled our long-distance coverage for our house phone, so we can only make local calls from our landline.

• We keep our electricity usage low. We’re fortunate enough to live in a climate where we don’t have to use air conditioning in the summer, and since we use a wood stove exclusively in the winter, we don’t have heating or cooling bills. We’ve switched to CFLs in certain light fixtures (namely, lamps which are unlikely to get knocked over) which helps reduce our kilowatts. Our electricity bill averages $45/month to run a farm, woodshop, and home. (A little higher in the winter since we use a stock tank heater so the cattle can drink ice-free water; and a little lower in the summer when the days are longer.)

• I try to keep staples on hand for making our favorite meals, and try to cook from scratch whenever possible. We also make nearly all our baked goods: bread, English muffins, biscuits, cookies, etc.

• We’re a low-maintenance family. The girls and I don’t cut our hair (or if we do, we do it ourselves). I trim Don’s hair every couple of months, but since I’m admittedly bad at this, he goes in for a proper haircut about twice a year. We don’t buy clothes that require dry-cleaning. We don’t dress fashionably or go to salons or get our nails done or other unnecessary stuff (we live on a farm, remember!).

• We drink mostly water – and I don't mean bottled water. Soda is a rarity (though Don does enjoy diet Coke sometimes, blech). So is juice. We drink tap water, or milk. Fortunately our water is delicious, but if it wasn’t, we’d get one of those sink filters in order to avoid buying water.

• We have cheap friends, and I mean this as the highest compliment. Our friends don’t delight in shopping or otherwise spending money. Instead they enjoy the same home-centered things we do: a cozy cup of tea, a nice walk, a potluck dinner. Having cheap friends helps a lot.

• We buy used. It would never, ever dawn on us to buy a new car (even if we could afford it). Nearly everything we buy (except socks and underwear) comes from thrift stores. God bless thrift stores, they’re wonderful.

• Don is remarkably “handy.” When necessary, he can turn his hand to plumbing, wiring, repairs, construction, etc. It’s astounding how much money this saves us.

• Along the lines of being handy, we have tools to do necessary jobs. For example, our bathtub is highly susceptible to clogging, no matter how diligently we empty the hair trap over the drain. So we have a “snake” which can unclog a drain plug up to 25 feet down a pipe. Don has lots of tools like this and – even better – he know how to use them.

• I’ve rediscovered some of the domestic arts that save us a lot of money, such as canning, gardening, cooking from scratch, baking, etc. If I sewed, we could save even more. We try to avoid hobbies or pastimes that cost money.

•We heavily use our local library. Unfortunately this small rural facility is extremely limited in what it stocks (it has no magazines and only a couple dozen movies, for example), but we can always request books of interest. If nothing else, this allows us to “test drive” a book and see if it’s a worthwhile volume to purchase. (Ahem. Books are our weakness.)

• Our mortgage is low. When we were house-hunting in 2003, we knew we couldn’t saddle ourselves with a mortgage higher than we could afford. For Pete’s sake, we make our living selling crafts – because of the constant possibility that our business could experience a downturn, the last thing we needed was a high mortgage. It took us three years of diligent searching across four states to find property cheap enough that also fit our requirements – land for cattle and a garden, woods for firewood, an outbuilding (for use as a workshop as well as a barn), and a fixer-upper home. This careful shopping allowed us to keep our mortgage payments (including insurance) under $700/month. By keeping our credit rating high (paying our bills on time, minimal debt, etc.), we were able to qualify for a low fixed-interest rate.

• We use leftovers. Leftovers are some of our favorite meals. Often I’ll cook way more than we can eat in one meal solely to have leftovers for the next few days. If you don’t like using leftovers by themselves as a meal, consider combining them into soups, “leftover pie,” quiches, stir-fries, stews, etc.

• As self-employed entrepreneurs, we were priced out of conventional health insurance. We had little choice but to give it up. Even the highest-deductible catastrophic insurance was costing us a bloody fortune – nearly $10,000/year – and when we received notice that our premiums were increasing yet further, we simply couldn’t afford it. Since we’re blessed with good health, we dropped the insurance and instead got Aflac coverage for hospital, cancer, and accidents for about $150/month. We also took some of the money we were pouring down the rat-hole of useless health insurance and started our own medical emergency fund.

• We have a hot-water-on-demand propane water heater. We can’t take any credit for this since it was in the house when we bought it, but oh my goodness we love it. We have endless hot water when we need it, and we aren’t wasting propane or electricity by keeping a huge water tank hot all the time. Great money saver.

• Our appliances are the most basic we can find. Our refrigerator is small and doesn’t dispense ice or water. Our washing machine is very plain. We have no dishwasher. Our range is unsophisticated and inexpensive.

• We don’t upgrade. We use our items until they break beyond repair or are worn out. This includes computers, telephones, clothing, footwear, tools, etc.

• An idea I got years ago from The Tightwad Gazette is to keep a price book. This allows me to cross-compare prices of items across different stores. At this point I pretty much have things memorized so I don’t use one any more, but I remember an interesting incident that happened when Older Daughter was a baby. Our finances were so tight that disposable diapers were out of the question, though I did keep a few on hand for traveling. Another new mother tried to tell me she couldn’t afford a washing machine, which is why she used disposable diapers. I whipped out my price book in which I had recorded the cost of disposable diapers across numerous regional stores and convinced her that if she used cloth diapers, she could purchase a washer and dryer within a couple months. (I don’t know if the argument worked.)

• We keep our vices to a minimum. While we indulge in an occasional beer or glass of wine, we don’t gamble, use drugs, smoke, recreationally shop, etc.

Anyway, these are some of the ideas that came to mind on how we save money. I’ll add more as they come to me.

And here’s what I’d like to do: If you keep a blog or website, write your own list of money-saving tips, post it on your blog (cross-referencing this blog post as well), and send me the link. I’ll put up a post linking everyone else’s tips. That way we can generate a huge amount of cross-traffic AND get a lot of spiffy new ideas by reading everyone else's money-saving tips into the bargain!

Frugality Tips from Other Bloggers


  1. Great post! Looking forward to links to read as well. Congrats on living your life out your way.

  2. That top picture tells me that you use terry shop towels to wipe down your red Ferarri.

    Yeah, me too. :)

    - Charlie

  3. Patrice,

    This is incredibly timely! I have literally just been brainstorming a list of ways to save money. Off to type it out and post it on my blog. I'll link to here when I'm done.

    1. Alright, here's my post. I'm not sure how helpful it will be to most people because I am learning to be frugal, but here it is.

    2. I'm sooo glad you posted. I enjoyed reading your blog, but my hard drive crashed and there went all of my bookmarks. You are now back on the list!

  4. We recently decided to sell our 2004 Chevy diesel pickup privately (non trade in) and bought a 1992 Ford F250 and paid cash for it. My husband made a good point when he said he just gave himself a $6,000 a year raise when he sold that truck...no more payments and he is so handy he can fix most anything that may go wrong with it! Just one of many ways we are living more frugally. Thankfully, we are still both employed.

  5. I found thriftbooks.com and have found that if I wait, I can usually get the book I want for $3.95 plus free shipping. I love lists on how to save money just to make sure I am already doing them all.

  6. Dang Patrice my entire blog is about not spending money. I think my $125.00 shopping list is one of the best out on the Web. Not perfect, I just have not found one better than what I have done to steal, sorry share with folks. It will provide a family of 4, a breakfast, lunch and dinner for 62.5 days depending on the age of the children.
    I make beer and bread but because of my disibility the garden work can be bit iffy. This stuff self-reliance stuff is not easy. Get 3 months of your every day items stored. When you get to 6 months of most of the basics on hand, your mindset can change because you need nothing this month!
    Who is peeved about telephone books tossed against the door. That is back up toilet paper,a brown compost and you get it for free.
    I'm on disability(nothing else) and in the last 3 years. I have learned to brew beer, do a square foot garden, grow herbs in my kitchen sill. Make and all grain beer as well as make a LME Ale and Lager.
    I have a killer setup for camping/tail gateing with a propane and burners. I can cook a turkey on my grill.
    Suck it up buttercup, things are about to get interesting.If you don't have basic staples, a generator, or kerosene/fireplace or a propane heater. I'm ready, and I have a choice. Pick out who you want to sacrifice because it might get ugly.

    1. I was interested to see your $125 list for 1 month, but I am having trouble finding it on your blog. Can you post a direct link, or put it up on your blog as a separate document?

    2. His blog address is here:


      - Patrice

    3. Thanks, the hotlink on his handle is working - I was just looking for the specific list he's referring to, he has a lot of lists mixed in with a lot of commentary. This is a great topic you started, lots of good info!

    4. http://myadventuresinselfreliance.wordpress.com/start-here/
      Has the $125.00 shopping list. I'm glad you all like it. By the way I'm female

    5. There is a link to the list at the top of his blog. It says something like "start here"

    6. Thanks, my eyes deceived me! Sorry for the gender bend.

    7. No worries Ellen, I got a great page veiws on that page.I'll do some other basic pages on sanitation, storing water, some first aid stuff and shelter.
      I had no idea the $125.00 shopping list had a following. Beans did get a bit expensive but other than that the cost for basics has stayed the same or close in price.

  7. The purpose of my blog is frugal tips. One thing I do is use washcloths instead of tp. How many trees do you flush down the commode and how much money do you flush?

    Some people just cut up any cloth available. For #2, you might prefer to use tp for that. I buy used washcloths at yard sales and thrift stores. I buy white ones mostly, and usually new, never ratty. Hanging them in the sun sterilizes them beyond the washer's job. Use vinegar in the wash with detergent and in the rinse.

    Just click on my name and maybe you will find something useful. The last few posts are not directly about parsimony.

    I do get my hair cut because I have no one to cut it for me.

    1. I'm sorry but that is gross.

    2. Once you have cloth-diapered children, it's not that different. I have 2 preschoolers and the amount of TP we go through for wiping six drops of pee fifteen times a day is probably singlehandedly deforesting South America. If I could get my husband on board I would do this, but he is currently in charge of laundry. I would keep my TP for #2 though.

    3. Anonymous,
      That was exactly my first reaction. It took me two years to come to where I am. Actually, there is less poop on a washcloth than on a diaper because I don't sit on poop after doing it on the washcloth.

      When IBS starts, I do switch to paper.

      Let me tell you, I have less irritation on my tender lady bits!

      I hide the stack of washcloths on the back of the commode when company comes. When my son visited from another state, I had to borrow a roll of tp from bf and told him to take it home with him.

      Maybe someday!

    4. "Family cloth" as it is so lovingly coined by many eco-friendly folks is actually becoming quite popular. I am a cloth diaperer and many of the other cloth diapering mamas I know also use cloth sanitary napkins and cloth for toilet use. I haven't ventured into family cloth yet, but the thought is really not as gross as so many consider it. It really hasn't been all that long that we've had the luxury of using disposable toilet paper. Hey, back in the day everyone had their own little rag hanging on a nail in the outhouse and you were in charge of washing out your own rag after each use.

    5. Tara,
      Where do we think we get the privilege to plunder the earth's resources for our shit? Plus, the book HUMANURE talks about our using potable water for flushing our shit. I cannot do much about the water except flush less often. I did use tub water and dehumidifier water for flushing, but I am now disabled and cannot lift that much that often.

      When I think about people in the world with NO potable water or who have to walk five miles to obtain safe water, I am in awe of what we in developed countries take for granted.

      I hope never again to have to use an outhouse! A compost toilet indoors would be bearable.

      The name "family cloth" turns me off, and I don't know why. But, it is all the same.

  8. I'm not sure where to send my link, so I'll leave it here. I think this is such a great idea! http://cookesfrontier.blogspot.com/2012/10/our-frugal-tips.html

  9. I especially liked the one about not having TV or cable. We only have free TV.

    When people find out I actually choose not to have cable or one of those stupid dishes, their mouths usually drop open. (Sorry if someone else here likes those dish things. I don't mean to be disrespectful.)

    My favoite thing to say to them is, "I refuse to pay someone else for the privilege of wasting my own time."

    I have internet, though!

    Just Me

    1. I know just what you mean!! Same here!! We have rabit ears and a converter box and say it isnt so an "old" tv that isnt HD or flat!! People cant understand it but thats the way we like it!! We get all the major networks and our favorite ME TV so we are happy!!

      Florida Mom

  10. My wife and I discovered Amy Dacyczyn and her Tightwad Gazette in 1993. I subscribed to every issue she published and still have them. They are now carefully kept in a dark closet next to the family silver- I think they are just as valuable.

    Over the years we have used so many of her ideas. When our children were babies and toddlers twenty years ago, we used cloth diapers. Our friends were aghast that we would touch poopie diapers. We didn't care and today still have a few of those diapers for dustcloths!

    I think Amy should be enshrined in the Smithsonian!
    Jeff in Oklahoma

  11. Wow! I believe there will be so many different tips by the time this is done. You can find my Top 25 tips at http://wokokon.com/being-frugal/

  12. I proudly indulge in box wines. The 5 liter boxes they come in are quite sturdy and can be adapted to many uses once they are empty and the plastic bag inside is removed. For instance,layed on their narrow side they can become quite serviceable shelf supports. Or, you can cut out one of the large sides and use the now open box for storage of many things in the house or in the shop. And there are other useful things you can make from them - especially if you are handy with a glue gun and document binder clips to hold things in place while the hot glue hardens.I even used one to make a bird house for placement in a rain protected location.

    Hangtown Frank

  13. Thanks! Great idea! See posted at: http://frugalprep.blogspot.com/2012/10/frugal-tips.html

    A couple of my own tips were added. One is for military, veterans and family members to check out USAA for quotes to see if you can lower car or home insurance (we saved a bunch and so did my neighbor.) The other is that if taking advantage of the $5 gift card incentive items at Target, buy in two purchases with the gift card incentive items first. Then immediately apply those gift cards in a second purchase for the rest of your cart items.

  14. Years ago I got tired of the effort required to get a haircut - finding a good barber, fitting it into my schedule, getting there, paying for it ($12 for a cheap place!), etc. I bought an electric trimmer with adjustable combs for $13 and now have 6 years of use from it.
    I use a simple buzz cut year round that I do myself when I need it, about every 2 months. Sometimes I'll have help with trimming, other times I do it all myself.

    1. We do the same here!! I do my husbands hair and he does mine and always does a beautiful job too!!

      Florida Mom

  15. Patrice,
    One thing I do is make my own soaps ( laundry, dish , liquid hand and bath bars) . I also make my own non toxic cleaning supplies ( gotta love baking soda and vinegar ). In addition to this I make my own lotions , lip balms and creams. I am currently taking a home study course on Herbalism so that I can make my own simple "curatives" .....ie: cough syrups and such.

    There is plenty of free info online you can research on herbs , so the only "cost " involved is either purchasing plants or seeds so you can incorporate the herbs into your garden for use.


  16. I get my hair cut at a chain that offers $9.95 cuts on Tuesdays.

    The husband always seems to need a haircut for some important business thing at an inconvenient time. The last time he needed one, they simply took the clippers to him and it looked so much better. I said, "Well, if all they are going to do it that, I can do that!!" I bought a $25 set of clippers and just did the first haircut, offsetting my outlay by $20. Cheaper and no time constraints!!

    I working on the dish tv thing now. . . I'd cut it, but I'm getting some pushback. In a couple of months, I can switch carriers and bundle with my internet saving a little bit anyway.

    I also don't have a smart phone. We share one plan for four phones (us and my parents). Cute gadgets, but I am really gritting my teeth at the extra charges given that I already pay for internet at home.

    In case some of you have not seen her, this is Amy Dacyczyn of the Tightwad Gazette.


  17. Patrice- thanks so much for this post! As a mom of a toddler, I'm staying home and considering homeschool, so frugality is of prime importance in our house!
    I've learned so much from reading your blog and I appreciate your willingness to share all the information you've learned. Thank you so much! :)
    Jill S

  18. Is this the blog which you mentioned, Patrice?


  19. Great idea! I love reading what has been posted so far! This one is from my blog: http://livinglifeinruraliowa.blogspot.com/2012/10/25-frugal-ideas-tips.html


  20. About wine. We also enjoy a glass. We now make our own and drinking store bought wine is expensive and horrible. Check out winemakersdepot.com and after you buy the initial supplies it's fun, easy and oh so good. You can "tweek" the kits too, for example on the batch we have going now we put fresh vanilla in the process YUM. Store wine tastes like chemicals (because it's loaded you have no idea), and prune juice! In the meantime save the store bottles for making your own wine.

    We also have to live thrifty because our business is homebased. http://www.sharpsaddles.com

  21. I'm in. I've posted mine at:
    There are so many good ideas out there.
    From Glory Farm

  22. Thank you so much for posting the link to FrugalPrep. I forgot one thing that really works for me. I updated the blog, but here it is for convenience:

    One $ saving tip that I use everyday: rubberbands. I keep a bag of USA-made size 64 rubber bands that allow me to reuse bags and containers that fruits, nuts, etc. are packaged in. They reduce the need for plastic zipper bags, 'tupperware-like' containers, etc. by a significant amount. These cost a fraction of a cent and until they break or youjust plain wear them out, they last a long time. I wash and reuse them. I got the idea from saving and reusing the grocery store rubber bands on brocolli.

  23. I'm sorry to hear that your sales weren't as high as hoped. :( Glad that you have lots of ways to be more frugal, and hopefully you'll be able to make up those lesser sales with direct sales for the season!

  24. Frugal things we do at our house: Toilet paper and paper towel rolls can be used to tightly roll up newspapers to use as fire starters for non-catalytic wood stoves. We also save all the dryer lint for this purpose & shredded paper (ONLY paper w/ no cellophane).

    We bake potatoes in our microwave until they are almost done, then switch them to alum foil and put them into the toaster oven to get that "baked" flavor. We wash the barely touched alum foil in hot soapy water and hang over our wood stove to dry. We can use the foil about 3 more times depending on what food it is wrapped around. We also wash all Ziploc type bags UNLESS they have had raw meat or animal fat in them. We hang them to dry on 3-pronged towel dryers over our wood stove.

    We also don't buy plastic garbage bags (except the big black ones for outside). We use the ones we get from Wal-Mart or other stores in our bathroom and bedroom trash containers. Yes, we sometimes use cloth shopping bags when we shop, but since we have to buy plastic bags to collect house trash anyway, why pay to buy these? Also you can just grab some of these from the recycling bins the stores have by their front doors for people returning the bags.

    We save the middle section of tissue boxes to use as book marks. If we want to get fancy, we might cover one with fabric or wrapping paper, hole punch the top, and run a pretty ribbon through. We never run out of bookmarks! The kids alwasy have a gift idea and craft project when an older family member needs a gift. And back to those plastic shopping bags, use an empty family sized tissue box to hold those bags. I have never bought one of those plastic bag holders/dispensers. You can take many different containers and come up with something to hold them. Tissue boxes work well and hold at least a hundred wadded up bags.

    I don't wear much make-up, but usually put a base powder on after putting face cream on in the morning. I buy a good brand of loose face powder and then mix it about 1/2 and 1/2 with plain white talc powder. There is very little change in color, and I literally can get a couple of YEARS of foundation powder out of one little container of L' Oreal or Cover Girl or whatever brand of loose foundation powder and one little small, travel-sized talc bottle.

    When our soap slivers get small, we let them dry out and save them in a container until we get about 2 cups worth, then we heat them to boiling in a pot on the stove, let the mixture cool down, and pour it into shampoo or old rubbing alcohol containers and use it either for body wash or pour into hand soap dispensers. No, it is not icky nor does it get moldy although it can be a little slimy. I use my Dove soap slivers to make hand soaps and body wash for my child who has eczema, and it works great for him.

    We mend our clothes. Get creative with small holes in sweathers, sweatshirts, etc. by embroidering on a small flower, insect, etc. You can embroider little bees and flowers on the small holes in shirts or sweaters. Everybody will think they were MADE that way and so cute.

    Lots of creative ways to save money when people put their minds to it. There is more to being frugal than just cutting the daily expenses of life like cable tv, Internet, multiple phones, electricity, etc. True frugality is not just cutting back on or cutting out the niceties we "want" in life, but cutting back or finding ways to make those things we actually NEED last longer and be more cost-efficient.

  25. This is such a great idea I am always looking for more ways to save where ever I can. I love your site get so many great ideas from it.wasn't sure how to link ( I am pretty new to this)but here is my link to my blog with my frugal tips http://frugallivingonthewatkinsranch.blogspot.com/2012/10/frugal-tips.html

  26. Here is a simple question for you... When you make bread how do get it to slice to be normal size for making sandwiches toast and the such.


    1. The bread machine load is about sandwich-size, and so it's just a matter of cutting the bread however thick we like it. We've found it's easier to cut cool bread rather than fresh-hot bread, as hot bread tends to fall apart while cutting.

      - Patrice

  27. This is not my blog but one that I frequent often. I consider her an authority on frugal living and have implemented and learned a lot. http://www.theprudenthomemaker.com/

  28. Good for you. Frugal is the way to go in this economy. And its' the American way to be self reliant and not rely on the Gov't.

  29. I have mine up here is my blog address. This was a really great idea... http://flamingphoenixfamilyfarm.blogspot.com/2012/10/being-thrifty-101.html

  30. It's been a while since I've updated this post though... tend to update it every two years or so and repost, that's why it's a bit of a random mish-mash. :)


  31. This is a 4 post series I did on "Black Belt Frugality". http://frugalmavensdailyrave.blogspot.com/2011/10/black-belt-grocery-savings-part-1.html

  32. Hey I really like your ideas. except maybe on the
    washer/dryer?? I do use both. But I wash a load every
    night and then hang them up all night to dry. My husband does have to have clean clothes for work every
    day. And I do through the clothes in the dryer every
    morning before breakfast to make sure that they are dry. I would if I could afford one I would afford a
    more expensive washer/dryer because they are suppose to have a better enery rating??
    Well take care and God bless.

  33. Hi Patrice,
    Here is my list at ozmer@webs.com

    1. Judy, this link didn't go anywhere -- can you try again? Feel free to email me at patrice @ patricelewis dot com if need be.

      - Patrice

  34. This is pretty neat. Great idea. Lots of info to take in.

    A/C is a necessity where I live, but rather than give up baking in the summer, I park an old microwave cart outside the back door under the covered part of the patio. I bake in a large electric turkey roaster with a temperature control, keeping the cooking heat outdoors. No sense in running the air conditioner any more than needed. Also, I move the crock pot out there for summer cooking.

    Here's a favorite winter heat assist trick. Hang a length of black woven fabric between your curtains and the window on sun-facing windows, allowing for cool air to enter at the bottom and warm air to exit at the top. I've gotten a 17 degree rise with a strong enough flow to almost float a feather. I also mist the glass and stick bubblewrap to it for the insulation it provides, and can still get a 13 degree rise in temp.

    brenda from ar

  35. I also mist the glass and stick bubblewrap to it for the insulation it provides, and can still get a 13 degree rise in temp. glendora plumbing

  36. I think you disposable equipments using idea is brilliant, because we can reduce spreading pathogens.

    1. I agree with that, it is a good way to keep our health from harmful pathogens.

  37. Great post! Looking forward to links to read as well. Congrats on living your life out your way.