Category Archives: frugal

What to Buy When

Frugal Friday

Frugal Friday

I haven’t done a Frugal Friday in a while so I thought it was time. One of the great blogs I follow—Faithful Provisions—has a wonderful calendar called What to Buy When. This is a terrific resource to keep track of which months have the best buys on certain items.

For example, here is a sample from her March section:

At the Grocery

March has been deemed National Frozen Food Month by the National Frozen and Refrigerated Foods Association. You’ll find sales on:

So swing on over and check out this What to Buy When calendar, and while you’re there, don’t forget to browse other useful information that help us all save money. And especially these days, that’s a good thing, right?

AnnaSmile

Frugal Jar and Bottle Decorating

Today’s Frugal Friday is brought to you via Katherine’s Corner, one of my favorite blogs. One of her recent blog posts was called “That’s Jarring,” and really got my attention.

You see, Rick recently surprised me with a blue glass bottle he found at a yard sale. I decided to use it for olive oil and display it next to my stove so I immediately put it in the dishwasher to clean it out properly. Sadly, the dishwasher destroyed the shiny finish but I didn’t want to trash it. I’ve been looking for a frugal way to fix it up so I can still use it and I found the perfect way when I read “That’s Jarring.”

Here’s the before of my sad blue bottle:

As you can hopefully see, the stopper was not affected because I did not put it in the dishwasher too. Here’s a glimpse from Katie’s blog post that gave me the idea of how to make this bottle look much better:

Now all I need to do is buy some twine, which is on my shopping list. When I finish this project, I’ll update this post with my “after” pics. Here is another sweet and frugal idea from Katie’s post:

So, please stop by Katherine’s Corner to see and read more of her “Jarring” post, including great pics and links to other sites with ideas about repurposing jars and bottles. Oh, stick around there awhile and you’ll also find other craft projects, recipes, giveaways and lots more.

Thanks, Katie, for the great idea!

DIY Mason Jar Frog Lids

FRUGAL FRIDAY

On this Frugal Friday, I want to share a really easy, frugal and great DIY crafty thingy project with you. Can you tell my brain doesn’t want to work well right now?

I came across a great site, Smashed Peas and Carrots, and found the tutorial for this cool and easy project for mason jar frog lids. Maggie from SPandC shows in great detail everything you’ll need to make these lids plus step-by-step instructions for assembling them.

So, go check this easy and frugal DIY project for yourself!

Fun Tips

DIY Frugal

FRUGAL FRIDAY

At Creature Comforts, one of the cutest blogs I’ve seen yet, I found a great and easy way to display photos. Check out these great frugal photo frames using chalkboards and binder clips:

Ez (pronounced Ee-zee) came up these 5 Minute Chalkboard Frames: a cute, quick and frugal way to show off photos, awards, or even drawings that your little darlings made and colored just for you. I really like the way you can easily change whatever is on display. You’ll find complete directions for making this easy project here.

While you’re at Ez’s blog, check out some of her other cute and frugal DIY projects such as these DIY Festive Candle Wraps:

How cute are they? There is a lot to look at and appreciate at Creature Comforts. I love her tagline: The Simple Things That Make Life Sweet. Thanks, Ez, for allowing me to share!

Bandanarama!

FRUGAL FRIDAY

On this Frugal Friday I’d like to talk about bandanas.

I own a lot of bandanas, in just about any color or design you can imagine. I used to wear them under my motorcycle helmet, but since they started making more and more cute do-rags (aka skullcaps) for women, those are now my head covering of choice under my helmet.

I still use a couple of pink bandanas (a must for this pink girl!) to tie around my neck or to cover my nose and mouth during high-pollen seasons, but this still left me with a whole lotta unused bandanas!

My daughter, Kathy, and I were shopping a month or two ago and noticed what cute bandana patterns are available now. Our first thought was how cute these would be as dinner napkins:

  • They don’t cost much.
  • They’re the right size.
  • They wash and dry easily.
  • And—if you’re actually into it and you absolutely think they need it—they can easily be ironed.
  • And you can find them in so many stores now.
  • Oh, and how much more recyclable/reusable can you get?

So let me ask you: what’s not to love about all that?

(Almost) Free Soda, Part 2

FRUGAL FRIDAY

[Update #3: Once again, saved by my friend Donna. She was shopping in Walmart recently and noticed that they are now selling the Sodastream plus lots of the flavors you can add to turn plain seltzer into flavored sodas. Their price for the unit, which includes a CO2 cartridge plus 6 flavor packets, is $79. I don't know if all Walmarts are carrying this yet, but I wanted you to know about it. Below are the photos Donna took (again, THANK YOU Donna!). As you can see, they carry the extra empty bottles for dispensing the soda as well as tons of flavor packs.]

 

[Update #2: I knew there must be other, similar products out there but until a dear friend sent me this link, I didn't know. The product is called Twist 'n Sparkle Beverage Carbonating System, which appears to be much less expensive than the Sodastream. Here's the link to it on QVC and you can read more about it there:  http://tinyurl.com/7b8dtom]

[Update #1: I'm sorry I didn't include this yesterday but I just thought of it a little while ago: I am in no way affiliated with the manufacturer of Sodastream and have not been paid to write about the product or endorse it. I simply like it and it is a great way to save money.]

I don’t really like soda (or pop, as it is known in the Midwest and various other areas) because there is either too much sugar or I can’t tolerate the artificial sweeteners that are used. One of my migraine symptoms is nausea so carbonated drinks really help that. We used to buy the 1 liter size bottles of club soda because the 2 liter size fizzled out before I could drink it all. And then we realized how much sodium club soda contains, so I switched to plain old seltzer water, which is really just carbonated water.

After a while, I was really miffed at how much stores charge for a simple bottle of carbonated water so I started researching drink carbonating gadgets. Enter the Sodastream.

Sodastream ready to go!

I found our Sodastream at Bed Bath & Beyond but other retailers also sell it. The way it works is that a CO2 canister is stored in the long upright section of this appliance. The white plastic piece you see coming out of the top unit is what injects the CO2 into the bottle (which came with my unit) that is simply filled with tap water.

Here’s our Sodastream with a bottle of water attached.

Once the bottle of water is in place—and it just screws in—you press down on the large button on top (looks grey in this photo but is actually black, just like the entire top of the unit). You can hear a rush of air and then a few louder spurts as the unit injects the CO2. The typical CO2 amount = about 3 spurts but I like a heavily carbonated drink so I let it go about 6 spurts and then release the button.

I should have taken a photo with the bottle in place while injecting the CO2 into it, but picture the bottle at a 45° angle during this process.

When I finish the CO2 injection process, I release the bottle back to an upright position. While doing so I can hear what I can only describe as a mild version of a “Jake Brake”— that special sound semis make when slowing down (officially known as a Jacobs Engine Brake ™). In the photo above you can see the bottle being held in place until I unscrew it from the top.

All done and our Sodastream has done its job well!

Here’s the bottle filled with carbonated water, although you can’t see the carbonation in the photo.

So, what’s the frugal part of this whole thing? Well, I have used this every day for over a year and haven’t had to purchase a refill canister yet. When my hubby drinks soda at all, he likes certain brands so I’m the only one who uses the Sodastream.

I think we paid around $100 for the unit over a year ago and I drink about 1 bottle (1 liter) per day. If I’ve done my math correctly, here’s how much money we’ve saved on seltzer water over a year’s time:

  • Seltzer, 1 liter = approx. $0.75 each, so 365 days per year x $0.75 = $273.75/year
  • Sodastream unit = approx. $100, so $100 / 365 days per year = $0.27 per bottle =  $27/year

Hmm … spending only $27 versus almost $275 per year? It’s easy to see how we quickly paid for our Sodastream within less than 6 months of use and continue to save every day that I use it!

Conclusion: sometimes it is worth it to spend a little extra to save a lot in the long run!

The replacement cartridges cost about $16 each, but I am on Bed Bath & Beyond‘s mailing list and receive a $5 coupon every month which we can use to reduce the cost. I also regularly earn gift cards by clicking on daily emails from MyPoints, and I usually redeem those points for a BB&B gift card.

[And by the way, the retailers which sell Sodastream also sell the CO2 units plus extra empty bottles. And for people who like flavored soda, they also sell flavors to add to the plain soda.]

So … that’s my Frugal Friday story, and I’m stickin’ with it!

Frugally yours,

Repurposed Eyeglass Case

It’s Frugal Friday again!

I don’t remember where I read this tip but I can’t believe I didn’t think of it myself. I’ve had to wear eyeglasses since I was about 12 or 13 years old. Which means I’ve accumulated many eyeglass cases over the years. So I was excited when I read about using one to store my iPod in and knew I had to share this frugal tip with all the frugalistas out there.

This eyeglass case works well to store my iPod and its accessories because it’s rather large. I really like the idea that it is sturdy so that it protects everything inside very well.

In case you didn’t know (and I did not until now), the word frugalista is in the Wiktionary:

Frugalista: A person who is fashionable while being thrifty.

Not too sure about the “fashionable” part, but thrifty? Yep, that’s me!

Frugal Pillow Trim

FRUGAL FRIDAY

On this Frugal Friday I want to share something sweet and easy to make.

As I was browsing the pattern section on Red Heart’s site, I came across this super-easy and cute idea for adding some flair to pillows. This is very easy to crochet from Red Heart’s pattern but I’m thinking this could also be knit. Or how about sewing it with some pretty fabric?

How easy peasy it would be to take a neutral color pillow and change up the heart trim to reflect different seasons or holidays!

Jewelry as Art

FRUGAL FRIDAY

I absolutely love this fun and frugal way to store and display earrings. If you don’t have an embroidery hoop, they are fairly inexpensive to purchase.

I would love to make the doily myself but thanks to carpal tunnel problems, I cannot do filet crochet. The hooks needed to do this type of crochet are too narrow and that makes it painful for me to hold one for any length of time (even with padding on it, believe me I’ve tried). So I am going to check thrift shops for doilies such as the one pictured below.

If you can’t find or make doilies like this one, I’m sure some pretty tulle or nylon netting fabric would work just as well.

This could definitely be a piece of wall art as well as practical storage for your earrings, don’t you think? For more ideas on pretty and frugal ways to store your jewelry, check out the Quick and Easy page at These Are a Few of my Favorite Things blog.

[By the way, if you're into using hankies, thrift and antique shops are great places to find them. Vintage hankies not only have pretty designs, they are made of tightly woven cotton that lasts through lots of washes. My allergies cause my eyes to water a lot, especially first thing in the morning and many times when I'm crocheting (I think it's the yarn "dust.") I love my hankies and keep them in my purse as well as in different locations in my home where they're easy to grab when needed.]

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