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    Favorite budget ideas

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    Tue Apr 14, 2009 5:13 pm Groupie
    My bulbs are all 26Watts. But they are all equivalent to 100watt light bulbs. They are so nice I get twice the light for half the watts.
    Wed Apr 15, 2009 9:31 am Groupie
    Use old pillowcases to cover clothing not frequently worn; cut a hole in the center seamed area for hanger to fit. Use old sheets for drop cloths and to cover off-season clothing, bedding, and seasonal items. Cut up worn out clothing, tea towels, and dish cloths to use as cleaning rags, washing the car, etc.

    When grocery shopping check the reduced fruit and vegetable rack.
    Apples can be made into applesauce or apple crisp Apple Crisp, cauliflower can be made into cauliflower or cauliflower/potato soup or chopped or sliced for a vegetable casserole with potatoes, onions, carrots.
    Use peelings and vegetable trimmings to make vegetable broth, Potato Peel Stock. Freeze homemade vegetable or broth in ice cube trays or quantities as desired. Save potato water from boiling potatoes.
    Use potato liquid as a base for vegetables soups, sauces, gravies. Freeze some in ice cube trays, pop into plastic bags, label and date. Use the cubes to deglaze pans when making gravy or sauces.

    When you only need a little tomato paste and have part of can leftover, freeze it in dollops in an old ice cube tray or place tablespoonfuls on wax paper. Freeze, bag, label, and date. link to money saving ideas…see page 5 for my pantry and freezer inventory ideas
    Homemade mixes and seasonings
    Make your own shake-n-bake; All-Purpose Shake and Bake and Flour Shake and Bake for Chicken. Leftovers
    A couple favorite leftover recipes: Marvelous Leftover Hash and Breaded Turkey or Chicken Parmesan.
    Substitutions and Homemade
    Household cleaners and tips

    Love all the ideas here. Thanks everyone.
    icon_smile.gif Burnice
    Chef #998585
    Wed Apr 15, 2009 9:33 am
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    Several months ago, I started really applying an effort to grocery savings, curbing retail spending and recycling (the initiatives go hand-in-hand.) I do NOT clip coupons because our family reads online news sources and get books and magazines from our local library, so I don't have the coupon sources, but that is not important! Here is how I started saving between $300 and $500 a month (probably more)and helping our environment:
    Shop at inexpensive grocery stores (Aldi's and Sav a Lot are my favorites; you have to take your own bags, which helps with our recycling effort)
    Build menus around sale items
    Buy fruit and veggies that are on special, wash them, cut them up and make them available for easy snacking
    Buy a minimum of inventory to prevent throwing anything away
    Keep snack purchases (chips, candy, ice cream) to a bare minimum
    Buy 99% of our clothes from resale shops - my husband and our thirteen year old initially balked, but now they love the stuff we find at Salvation Army, a local church resale and a local Jewish community thrift store); we get furniture, shoes, formal dresses, jeans, shirts, even bathing suits at thrift stores that are in great shape and not outdated in style
    Never buy books or magazinses (even when we go on vacation, we stock up on magazines and books from the library instead of buying them; this saves a lot of money and helps save the earth icon_smile.gif
    When I do shop at my bargain grocery stores and thrift stores, I plan my trips to save miles and gas
    When my planned acquisitions are small enough, I throw on back pack and ride my bike to the library and to stores
    Wed Apr 15, 2009 11:23 am Groupie
    You have some good ideas unfortunatly we have no Aldi's nor Trader Joes. Live in Colorado and the closest T.J. is about a 5 hr drive. We do have Costco and Sams but you have to buy in bulk and thats ok for non disposable items but with just the 2 of us its hard to use up all the fresh produce.

    One thing I like to do even though its just us 2 is when I make a casserole, or soup etc I make it like I was making it for a family. I alternate nights and use leftovers (which we like) then whats left I will freeze for a meal on the nights you don't feel like or have time to cook. If I make a large pot roast dinner then a couple nights later I will make it into a soup or pot pie. The same ingredients but yet a different meal. Stuffed peppers freeze well for another meal also. Make a 9 x 13 full of them, two meals, freeze for another meal another day.
    Wed Apr 15, 2009 2:29 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    I have found that one place to not scrimp on your food budget is with your spices. Many cheap cuts of meat can be enhanced with seasoning. Also, the last time I was in the supermarket, the manager announced on the PA system that chicken breast halves were on sale for .99 per pound. I headed right for the fresh poultry section and stocked up. Another market that I use has an excellent selection of fresh fruits and vegetables marked down for quick sale. Usually there are also some fresh herbs here. So I guess my advice is to go to the store with your list, but be prepared to improvise once you're there. You'll also notice that larger quantities generally cost less per pound. If you have a friend or neighbor who is willing to split quantities and cost, that's another way of saving. If not, just buy the quantity you can use before it spoils.
    Chef #961333
    Wed Apr 15, 2009 3:12 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    1. Liquidation stores, such as Big Lots, Stupid Prices and Liquidation World usually have name brand food, toys, clothes, linens, toiletries, kitchen accessories and seasonal products for much lower prices than generics at other stores.

    2. Educate yourself and family on the "reasonable" price for items so you don't get pulled in by "on sale" signs; cake mix on sale for $1.29 is not "reasonable" if I usually buy it for 89 cents.

    3. If you are a small household or only use a small amount of something, share the cost of a large package with friends. One easy example: some super-size packages of toilet paper are actually inner-wrapped in 4-roll packages.

    4. Bigger isn't always better. Sometimes, the unit price of the gigantic package of cereal from Costco is higher than the smaller package at your regular grocery store.... and, if you use only part of the gigantic package before it spoils, you're throwing even more money away.

    5. Sometimes bigger IS better, even if you have to throw away some of the product. If I buy yeast in a jar, I have paid less per unit than if I'd bought the pre-measured packets even if use only 1/2 of the jar before it expires.

    6. Cheat on the measurements in some recipes. If the casserole calls for 1 lb. of meat, use 12 or 14 oz. instead. If the chocolate chip cookie recipe calls for 1/2 cup of choc chips, put 4 or 5 chips on each cookie instead of mixing the chips into the dough.

    7. Some grocery stores (such as our local Top Foods) will slice meat and cheese for free. I buy a hunk of ham for $1.39 - 1.89/lb and have it sliced while I look at the identical ham in the deli case selling for $4 or $5/lb.

    8. Buy on e-Bay. Look for sellers with 98% - 100% approval ratings, add the cost of shipping to your acceptable total cost and bid away. I buy matching sox 2 dozen at a time, vacuum cleaner bags, my last vacuum cleaner, replacements for my mixer and blender... There are a lot of people out there who got too much of something for their wedding, have merchandise they need to get out of their store, got a gift they didn't need (or like) or have homes full of "stuff" they need to liquidate before they sell their home. Here's where you get the thrift store prices for never-been-used stuff.
    Wed Apr 15, 2009 3:25 pm Groupie
    Hey chef # 96?????
    Did you know that you can freeze yeast and it will keep for a long long time or even putting it in the refrigerator. The only difference is you either need to let the yeast warm up or use about 5 degrees hotter water.
    On another note
    If you click on My Account at the top of the page you can change your chef# to a real name/nickname
    Chef #961333
    Wed Apr 15, 2009 3:32 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    Thanks for the advise on extending the life of yeast. As a matter of fact, I do save the jar in the freezer so only had to throw it out once .... when the power went out and some very unpleasant goop oozed over the jar icon_confused.gif
    Nancy Frye-Swope "Biker Housewife"
    Wed Apr 15, 2009 5:51 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    I'm so frugal as to be called cheap but I've survived more than one economic crisis in my lifetime with ease. I drive a 7-year-old paid for Hyundai and live in a cabin in a rural town in Northern Arizona. I buy family packs of meat and separate it into 2-person portions for the freezer. I never peel a potato or any other veggie without dropping the clean peelings into a zip lock baggie in the freezer for cooking into a soup base once the bag is full of scraps, including onion skins and carrot tops. Speaking of zip lock freezer bags, I turn them inside out after using and wash them and reuse them until they either won't "zip" anymore or they get a hole in them. I don't buy prepared food and have it down to a science as to which generic items are o.k. and which aren't. I started baking my own bread when a loaf of good whole grain bread reached $2. I use vinegar instead of fabric softener, I substitute baking soda for bleach and I hang my clothes on the line to dry. I'm growing my own tomatoes and will preserve them all this year since canned tomatoes are now about $1/per can. I could write endlessly on my frugality and I'm quite proud of the fact that because I live within (or under) my means I was able to semi-retire and quit my corporate job to start my home-based business, fulfilling a long time dream of mine.
    Nancy Frye-Swope "Biker Housewife"
    Wed Apr 15, 2009 6:09 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    I know what you mean about being careful of electrical appliance use in an older house. I live in a 1918 Railroad Section house and our circuits are very touchy. I use my crock pot religiously. I like to cook cheap pork stew meat in it with a generic can of Kroger green chili sauce, generic Kroger green chiles, cumin and chopped onions. I add some of my pre-cooked thawed pinto beans that I keep in the freezer in generic zip lock freezer baggies, once the meat's tender, and it is delicious. The beans really stretch it out. I can usually get a minimum of 3 meals out of 1 pound of pork. We eat it out of bowls the first night, served with warm tortillas (my DIL just taught me how to make them homemade) and then I thicken them the next night, add a bit of cheese and roll burritos. I usually still have enough to freeze for another burrito meal or to eat for lunch the next day.
    Paula Williams
    Wed Apr 15, 2009 7:02 pm
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    Instead of cooking large pieces of chicken these days (we like chicken breasts), I slice the breast into three or four pieces - to fry or bake.
    Two chicken breasts will feed a family or four.
    My husband and I make a meal out of one chicken breast and it is filling!!
    For a dinner of two, one chicken breast will make chicken salad, open faced chicken sandwiches, fried or BBQ chicken. We used to use a pack of chicken for one meal! Now I buy a pack of breasts and have five meals.

    Great reciepe for one chicken breast (for two):

    Open Faced Chicken Sandwiches

    Boil one chicken breast and chop into bit sized pieces
    Add 1/2 cup chopped celery, salt and pepper
    Enough Mayo to mix
    Spread on 4 toasted slices of bread
    Beat two egg whites until stiff. Slowly stir in 1/2 cup shredded cheese (or more, to taste)
    Spread egg white/cheese mixture over chicken on toast
    Bake @350 for 15-20 minutes or until is puffed and golden.
    *You can also add dried cranberries to the chicken mixture.
    Chef #937870
    Thu Apr 16, 2009 2:35 am
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    A great way to increase your amount of bolognaise without compromising on taste is to add 1 tablespoon of Jungle oats (per 250g of mince) just before the simmering stage of preparing your mince and then leaving it to simmer for at least 20 minutes. It is simple, inexpensive and makes the bolognaise a lot more.
    Hungry Momma
    Fri Apr 17, 2009 2:52 am
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    Shoot, I posted this to the wrong place originally. icon_rolleyes.gif

    Yogurt--I bought a milk thermometer ($15) and yogurt cultures online in bulk for $36/year (or use store bought w/live cultures. I buy 2 gallons of milk at a discount and make a gallon at a time, using a 1 gallon Rubbermaid drink cooler (>$10) for incubation. 1 gallon of mine approx $3, 1 gallon from Safeway approx $13. Flavor with homemade syrups and jams; make yogurt cheese--line a colander with overlapping coffee filters/strain yogurt overnight: add chives, salt, roasted garlic; substitute for sour cream; and add to smoothies.

    Vanilla--1 gallon of Smirnoff vodka at Costco ($15), extract grade vanilla beans from Vanilla Products USA on ebay ($10.95 + ship/half pound--about 70 beans!--cut 40 beans into 1" pcs into quart canning jar, cover with vodka, cap and four days later, vanilla extract. Throw a bean into the sugar jar for vanilla sugar, or boil simple syrup 2 c sugar/1 c water pour over 2 split beans in a heat proof container, cover 8-10 hours. The remaining vodka makes liquer for gifts using fresh summer fruits. The extract makes a great gift too.
    Hungry Momma
    Fri Apr 17, 2009 3:00 am
    Newbie "Fry Cook" Poster
    I also buy a half gallon of heavy cream at Costco for about 5 bucks and with it I make the really fabulous whipped cream cake recipe from the back of the carton, butter with my speedy hand mixer which takes less than 20 minutes total, and as a result I get fresh buttermilk for pancakes or whatever.

    Most people are intimidated when they hear that I make this or that and often say, oh she makes everything, I could never do that! A lot of what I do doesn't take much time at all and the results are soooo worth it!

    I'm going to go put vinegar in my diswasher rinse thingee right now as I was just noticing spots yesterday and refuse to buy more of the packaged stuff.

    Thanks for all the ideas!
    School cooker
    Fri Apr 24, 2009 11:11 am
    Experienced "Head Chef" Poster
    I just discovered this blog and I really have learned alot.
    My biggest savings is my FoodSaver and my counter top convection oven.
    My foodsaver is a blessing,I never have to throw away cheese,lettuce or any frozen foods because of freezer burn.So I can buy in bulk without worry.
    My counter top convection oven heats up quick ,uses less electricity,bakes as well as my regular oven and does not heat up my kitchen.
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