Monday, November 28, 2011

Publix Gas Card Coupon Deal

In the Publix weekly ad there is a coupon for $10 off of a $50 gas gift card.  You must spend $25 on groceries in order to use the coupon, but with todays prices that's not hard to do.

Any time I can get $50 worth of gas for $40 I am there.  An easy way to save money.

God bless,

A Frugal Christmas: Gift Wrapping With Furoshiki

Last year I shared my home made, Christmas fabric, gift bags with you.  This year I am going even simpler:  Christmas fabric furoshiki.

Furoshiki are Japanese gift wrappings made from a square of fabric.  They were traditionally removed by the giver when presenting the gift to the recipient.  The fabric square was then taken back home to be reused by the gift giver.  This may not work in our western countries, but I am sure that any sewer, green/recycler and quilters would be glad to receive this extra gift of fabric.

There are many ways to fold furoshiki. has a page showing many of the folds.  If you Google furoshiki folding you will find many pages offering instruction.  The two photos above show the most basic fold for square packages.

Joann Fabrics has their cotton Christmas fabrics on sale this time of year.  Try saving yourself from a wasteful pile of wrapping paper that will just end up in the trash by wrapping with furoshiki this year.

God bless,

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Frugal Thanksgiving

I wish you all a happy, family filled (whether twenty or two) Thanksgiving.   My brother in law, who is an incredible cook, has invited us over for Thanksgiving dinner.  We are bringing home made cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie with real whipped cream and dear husband's key lime pie.  I plan on taking a nap and thanking God for his kindness (not in that order).

God bless you all,

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

For Academic Achievement Kids Need Better Parents, Not Better Teachers

Since Reagan was in office the focus this country has had on education has been centered on improving teacher performance.  But the statistics have shown that grading teacher performance by testing students has had little positive impact on student performance.  I have always believed that this is because teaching to the test doesn't allow teachers to use their observation skills to tailor their teaching to reach their students' individual needs.

I have also observed over the years that the involved students that work hard at school and perform at a high level have involved parents.  This means being nosey and not accepting a response of "good" when you ask your children about their school day, helping with school work, being sure assignments are done and making sure your child gets to school on time, well rested and well fed.

Read this article on student performance and think about whether we should start holding parents accountable for their children's school performance and stop bashing the teachers when a child is failing.  I'm not saying that there aren't poor teachers that should be removed from schools, but we must recognize that there are poor parents that should be pushed and taught to support their children.

So, support your teachers by reinforcing their teaching at home.  I am one of those old fashioned parents that punishes my daughter at home if she has been punished at school.  This tells her that school is not a remote part of her life, but an active part of our family life.

God bless,

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Frugal Kitchen: Cranberry Sauce

When I was growing up my mom would serve a sad version of cranberry sauce that retained the shape of the can.  Fresh cranberries weren't available in many of the areas where we lived and in the 1950's - 1960's convenience food was considered fashionable.


Then, fresh cranberries became available and I was served a bitter, raw, ground cranberry hash that was not pleasant at all.  I was beginning to despair until I started hunting through old recipe books and found a recipe for a cranberry sauce that was more like a jam than a relish.

I played with the recipe and came up with a cranberry sauce that my family loves and it is amazingly easy.  It can be canned following the instructions on a jam recipe.  It is frugal because cranberries are BOGO at my grocery store this time of year, so I stock up.  If you don't like canning, fresh cranberries freeze well.

Easy Cranberry Sauce:

1 bag cranberries
1 orange
1 cup white sugar

Place the orange juice and cranberries into a pot.  Heat on low medium, covered until the berries burst.  Add 1 tablespoon, finely grated orange peel and sugar, then lower heat.  Simmer, uncovered, until the sauce reaches a jam consistency.

This sauce nicely complements any rich meal and is great on all kinds of sandwiches, not just turkey.  Once you have made your own cranberry sauce you won't want to eat the canned variety.

God bless,

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Frugal Pantry: Four Legged Pests

The first thing you will notice about this post is the lack of photos. I refuse to sneak around taking photos of pests or their signs. Yuchi!

But a foul reality of maintaing a stocked pantry is fighting off pests and this is the time of the year when our four legged friends are looking to find a nice, warm place to live with lots of available food.

Hopefully, you thought preventatively and have you food stored in tightly sealed metal containers. After the holidays is a good time to look for old Christmas tins at your thrift store. The big popcorn tins are great for storing large quantities.

But, despite your efforts you hear the pitter patter of little rodent feet over head or see signs of mouse droppings inside your house. Welcome to real life. It doesn't matter how clean you are, everyone deals with these creatures occasionally.

The first thing to do is find their entry points. Rodents can compress their bodies to enter the tiniest spaces, so look for small cracks, chewed holes in wood or screens. The big Norway rats can even chew through concrete. Then seal these places with metal. There is a brass or copper mesh that can be mixed with sealant to plug up small spaces. Sheet metal or welded hardware cloth can be used for larger holes. Look in areas where wires or pipes enter the home. Holes are often found behind appliances.

After you've sealed the house up it is time to trap. Good old fashioned snap traps are the best. They are much more effective and human than sticky traps and poison. With poison you can end up going on a frustrating hunt for a smelly dead critter. You can leave snap traps set all the time to catch the problem before you know you have them. If you have pets or small children, use the snap traps that are contained in a secure plastic box. Invest in a box of disposable rubber gloves from the drugstore to use for rodent removal and wash your hands very well.

Place the traps perpendicular to and touching the walls. Make sure the working end is closest to the wall. As for bait try cheese or peanut butter. You want the bait to be hard to remove without tripping the trap.

We sometimes have problems with roof rats when the citrus trees in the neighborhood are bearing ripe fruit. It is important to harvest immediately and not leave ripe fruit laying on the ground. Another problem is pet food that is not picked up after feeding. It can be frustrating because sloppy neighbors can undo all of your efforts.

The battle to protect food stuffs from pests is ages old, and one that we all fight. Paying attention to prevention and reacting at the first sign of a problem will help you avoid an infestation.

God bless,

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Frugal Home Remedies: Earache Oil

For many years (hundreds or thousands) warm olive oil has been used to soothe earaches.  In recent years the routine use of antibiotics to cure earaches has been frowned upon.  There are several reasons for this: the prevalence of antibiotic resistant bacteria and studies that have found that earaches generally resolves themselves without medication.

To use olive oil for an earache first you need to warm it gently in a bowl of warm water.  Please be sure that it is comfortably warm, not hot.  Have your patient lay down with the bad ear facing up.  Use an eye dropper to place several drops of the warm oil in the ear.  Now lay a warm compress on the ear area for a few minutes.  Repeat several times a day to soothe discomfort.

If earaches are frequent in your family you may want to buy some dark glass dropper bottles to keep some oil in.  These will be easy to warm quickly when a treatment is needed.

This treatment also works well for anyone that suffers from excess ear wax buildup.  Use in the same manner described above, at night before bed, and the wax will naturally work itself loose.  It may take a week of treatment, but it will work.

God bless,

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Frugal Home Remedies: Vicks Vapor Rub As Anti-Fungal

This is one that I just recently read:  a study was done testing different home remedies used to get rid of toe nail fungus.  They found that applying Vicks Vapor Rub to your toe nails several times a day was an effective treatment for fungus and that it worked better than some medicines sold as fungicides.

They recommended wiping the nails with vinegar, drying them, and then applying the Vicks.  I would suggest wearing some socks as the Vicks is very greasy.

It's nice to know that these affordable treatments are available to us and that they are actually very effective.

God bless,

Monday, November 7, 2011

What's On Sale In November?

I have been stocking up on baking goods for the last week.  Walgreens has an excellent sale going on for flour, sugar, shortening and chocolate chips.  I need all of these for my holiday baking, so I bought several of each.  Most of them require the store ad coupon, plus you may find some manufacturers coupons out there.  Check on the True Couponing coupon database.

My local natural food store, Nature's Food Patch, has a great sale for the entire month of November for canned pumpkin, canned sweet potato puree and other baking goods.  Their organic pumpkin puree is less expensive than the Libbys at Publix.  Blind Pig And The Acorn has a great recipe for pumpkin bread on her site today.  I love pumpkin bread; it is one of our Fall favorites.

Do you remember that last year at this time there was a pumpkin shortage?  The prices got very high and it seems to me that they just stayed high rather than going back down to normal.  Of course, I am shocked at all of the prices I see nowdays.

Christmas items are going on sale already.  Using a Walgreens store coupon I bought Hallmark wrapping paper for 99 cents a roll.  Not bad at all and the selection is still good.  I need to get our box of wrapping supplies down and see what else we will need for this year.  I bought our Christmas cards at Hallmark after the first of the year, so we are well stocked on those.

At midnight, just as black Friday is starting (day after Thanksgiving), the Apple store puts one item on sale at a deep discount.  Keep an eye out; it might be that big ticket item you can't normally afford.

The holidays can be a stressful time of the year, especially if you are strapped financially.  Remember that the things your family will remember for years are the traditions you celebrate together, not what gifts they received.

God bless,

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Frugal Home Remedies: Aspirin Mask for Acne

This is a simple mask for acne that can quickly be made at home using products most of us keep in our kitchen.  You can use it as an allover mask or as a spot treatment for troubled areas.  If you have sensitive skin I would test it on the inside of your elbow before applying it to your face. * If you are allergic to aspirin do not use this mask.*


Some people recommend using up to 7 or 8 aspirin and thickly covering your face with the mask, but I would prefer that you only use as many aspirin as you would ingest orally.  The reason for this is that your skin absorbs some of the aspirin into it's capillaries and, therefore, into your entire circulatory system.

To make the mask put one or two aspirin in the palm of your hand.  Add a few drops of water to completely dissolve the aspirin into a mush, then add a tablespoon of honey.  Mix thoroughly, then apply to your face.  I would only leave it on for five minutes at first.  If you tolerate the mask well, you can increase the amount of time at a later application.

The main ingredient in many over the counter (OTC) acne treatments is salicylic acid.  Aspirin contains salicylic acid's close cousin acetylsalicylic acid and will unclog pores in the same way.  Honey is a natural antibiotic and is soothing to the skin.  Some people like to add yogurt or oil to the mix.

Please be careful when removing this mask to avoid getting any in your eyes.  Acid in eyes equals trouble.  This is mask will also work well to exfoliate dead skin cells to give your skin a fresh, smooth look.  When you apply this mask take a few minutes just for yourself to lay down and rest.  That way you will be rejuvenating more than your skin.

God bless,

Friday, November 4, 2011

Sell Your House The Frugal Way: Price

Of all the areas I have discussed when selling your house price is the most important.  You can have the most inviting, attractive home available in your area, but if the price isn't right it will not sell.  If you feel that you must set a high price because you bought your home prior to 2006, then it is time to contact your lender and discuss a short sale (selling house for less than you owe).

You have already done some preliminary research on comparable home sales in your area.  Now is the time for your realtor to do in depth research for you.  Decide what your bottom line price is, then set your asking price above that.  Give yourself negotiating space.

Ask the realtor how the search engines group home prices.  You may be better pricing your home at $249,000 rather than $250,000 in order to be listed on more search results.

Be flexible when you receive offers.  Some buyers will make stupidly low offers.  Don't take it personally, just counter with a more reasonable price.  There is no bad offer, just offers you won't accept.
I have seen negotiations get stuck on the last $1000.  Are you willing to lose a buyer over such a small amount of money?

Good luck on your home sales journey.

God bless,