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Blog Posts on My Frugal Life:

Bombshell!
Monday, June 14, 2010 | By Karaoke Mama

It's Monday morning after the busiest weekend I have had in my entire adult life. We had 5 gigs in 4 days and both fell asleep on the couch watching Shutter Island last night. (How do you fall asleep during Shutter Island?)

I wake up this morning, realizing school is out and my 7 year old is sleeping on the floor beside my bed, and decide it's not time to get up yet. When I finally crawl out of bed and look for my phone, it's no where in sight. My husband took the wrong vehicle to work, taking my phone with him! I wake up the kids, get us all dressed and medicated (thyroid, adhd, anxiety, pick one!), and out the door we go to get my phone from Daddy's work. I'm driving down the road and I see my husband in his work truck stopped at a gas station. Thankfully, he has my phone with him. THEN, he dropped the bomb on me.

We're moving! His mother is moving out of state in a couple months and, rather than trying to sell her house, we are going to rent it, indefinately. We moved into THIS house in September of 2009. I LOVE it. I have painted the walls in the living and dining rooms. I have organized and rearranged to make it exactly the space I want. I have just spent an entire week working on just my bedroom and the kitchen. Now he tells me we are going to uproot and move (for the 11th time since we met) to a house that is MUCH smaller.

There are really great things about this situation. It will be cheaper; we will be able to quit a weekly gig that we really don't want anymore anyway; we will be closer to my mother's house; well, you get the idea. I guess I am just a little shocked. We planned on staying in this house for years. We even thought about asking to purchase it from the landlord. It's just hard to change course with so little warning.

Man, I go one morning without my phone and my whole world gets turned upside down!

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Safety Tip: Safe Way to Store Matches
Thursday, May 20, 2010 | By begonia

I save the glass jars with glass tops that some brands of scented candles come in when I have finished burning the candle. After cleaning out any wax residue with boiling water and wiping with a piece of newspaper or a paper towel, I refill it with boxes and books of matches, pop on the lid, and store it on a high shelf out of reach of children: high and dry!

Any glass jar with a glass or metal lid will do. The idea is that the matches are stored in such a way that they cannot become  a fire hazard.  I like the candle jars because they come in interesting shapes, look nice, and fit well in my cupboards. I got the idea years ago from a friend who had a matchbook collection that he stored in a glass aquarium with a glass lid! Begonia

 

   

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A place for everything...
Wednesday, April 14, 2010 | By moonseekerjade

Okay so now that I am in one room with hubby and two younger kids,finding space was no fun,but I did it-not by choice :)  First I hung some clothe shoe organizers,one for hair gel,brushes,toothpaste,deorderant,perfumes,etc...the I hung one with less but bigger pockets for misc toys,diary's,etc..Then I hung a canvas organizer,I think it was for sweaters or something,there I keep towels,pj's- sweatshirts,slippers,etc. I made mini hanging organizers out of  a shower curtain for school supplies for two younger ones,and one for socks,boxers,undies,etc-It's starting to look more like a storage room than bedroom,but hey-if it works,don't fix it!

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Another 24 hours
Saturday, March 27, 2010 | By M

I know that there is only 24 hours in one day, but if I could squeeze out a few more minutes,  It would make my life complete.  I feel like I have been multitasking all my life, but now I feel like I have it down to science, I think.   I remember, on the Oprah show about how it was rude to talk to someone on the phone while completing another task.   That move is my bread and butter.   My world would fall apart if I did not attempt two or three things, all at the same time(right now while baking chicken, starting a load of wash and typing out this wonderful message(I am cheeky).  Here are some of the ways I try to attempt - Another 24 hours

1. I have a special basket for mending, repairing clothes and such.  Whenever I am watching TV, or my favorite HGTV, I can sit there and sew on missing buttons, mend rips and tears.

2. Cooking chicken, pork, beef at the same time(Yes I know this tip is old, but it works)

3. I have this 5 rule.  I must at least complete 5 things in every area of my life( making jewelry, braiding my hair, making cards, taking care of business, returning phone, mailings, etc)

4. I set a time limit on how long I stay on a particular task.  Each task is given a specific for me to complete.

5. I enlist the aid of my grandchildren on certain projects.  We make a game out of help MaMa.  They also learn, organization, responsibility and teamwork.

6. I send myself, voice mails.  This is my list of things to do on my lunch and breaks.

7. I prepare for the next day, the night before.  Everything is ready, set, go.

8.  I iron all my clothes and I will usually iron 6 outfits for the week, in case of an emergency.

9. Whenever I buy envelopes, I will sit, while watching TV or listening to music I address each one.   It take a little time, but saves on the back end.  If you can afford the ink, buy address labels(I found a pack at the dollar store for 250 labels) I still use snail mail. For extra bonus, just write on the address labels.

10. Last, but not least, I put away all my work before going to bed at night.   Everything goes back in its place, not matter how tire I am.  Its depressing to wake up to a mess.

This works for me. I sometimes get bogged down, but for the most part,  things are running smoothly.  Now my next assignment, how to get all the ketchup out of the bottle,  Until next time.

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It's About Time
Sunday, January 31, 2010 | By M

Time is definitely not on my side.  I try to beat the clock everyday. Sometimes, I win and sometimes I lose. I used beat myself up if I did not get all the things done on my to do list finished.  Now I am lucky if I can find my to do list.  My weekends seem to fly by, so I have to use my breaks at work and lunch time.  Multitasking s now my middle name.  Here are some ways I use to beat the clock.

1. I call my cell phone and leave myself messages on what  I have to do.  I just listen to the voice mail. 

2. I keep envelopes and extra paper and stamps at my desk for quick mailings.  I also keep an calendar at my desk of my daily routine.

3.  My bag is always packed the night before, so I wont forget anything.

4.  I have a specific day of the week for certain tasks.  Monday(phone calls) Tuesday(mail and mailings) Wednesday(Coupon clipping /Shopping) Thursday(My side business) Friday( House business)  Saturday(I write several different Logs) Sunday (prepare for the next week, look at weekly store ads)

5. I use the free bill pay from my bank.  It saves a lot of time and money.

6. For bills that require a check, I send money orders.  49 cents and I don't have to check to see if the a check has cleared.

7. I usually have mailing labels for my mail.  I will usually stick them to envelopes on one of my breaks at work.  Since most of my bills come with a payment slip and envelope, there is nothing to write out.   I will also print out mailing labels for mail that I use monthly.   Some printing companies will print these for your for the same amount as a regular  copy.   Savings on ink and labels.

8. My grocery store has money orders, ATM, Red box movies, and mini post office.   I use all there services that are afforded to me. One stop shopping.

9. In one of my earlier tips, On Sundays, I will usually get the email  ads for the stores that I frequent to cut down on paper.  I then check to see if there are coupons that I need.

10.If things get to hectic, I trade off with friends.   I will barter for services that I cannot complete or needs adjustments.   You will be surprised what you can get, by just asking.

 

Being frugal, doesn't always mean money savings.    I try to save myself at least an hour a week just for myself.   It might not seem like a lot to some people, but to me it is like heaven.  It's about time. 

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Recycled Birdseed or Pet Food Bag Wrapping Paper Organizer Shoe Bag etc...
Monday, January 25, 2010 | By hoptownracer1

I made another project from some recyled bags.  These came from empty bird seed bags that a friend gave me.  They are colorful and the pretty birds made them nice and bright.  In fact, I had so much paper, that I had to make two.  Helped free up some space in my closet.

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On the one side, I put lots of spots for rolled paper, and on the other side, I put exculsively pockets for gift bags and boxes.  I did not have to worry about putting any cardboard or supporting materials in the inside or the pockets, as the weight of the boxes and paper kept it very supported.  So the only materials I needed were two bags for each project, some thread and a hanger for each.    I plan for my next projects to be a much longer organizer for a door and more bags.  I might possibly use some to cover a cat litter box to use for a trash receptacle in my craft room.  I am also going to be working on covering some more cardboard boxes with leftover calendar pages to make more paper storage for my scrapbooking.  I am going to see if the spray adhesive will work for the thinner calendar pages.

I like that this is virtually a free project, and that it keeps these bags from going in the land fill.  While it is impossible to use all of them, I like that I save a few.  I cannot believe that these companies do not find a way to reuse these bags.  There are a lot of containers that can be reused.  I know one company, Terracylce (not endorsing, just mentioning) reuses containers, and I wish more companies would do the same.  For one, plastic kitty litter containers could be reused indefinately (the heavy Tidy Cat ones).  I know they make great buckets.

   

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Recycled Cat Food Bag Scrapbook Punch Organizer
Monday, January 18, 2010 | By hoptownracer1

Today I used the Duraweave Bag from the Purina Cat Chow to make a recycled organizer.  I love reusing things!  The tools I needed was a bag or two, plastic placemats or cardboard, a small child's clothing hanger, sewing machine and thread.  I also had to hand sew a small piece with a large plastic canvas needle, as my sewing machine did not like sewing through so many layers and threw a hissy!  I used the plastic placemats in the back of the bag to insert into large pockets I had made.  This was to add some stability to the bag, and so it would'nt bow inward from the weight of the punches.  I did make a few of my pockets on the small side, so I had to just slip a couple of my punches over the edge of the pocket, but it worked.  So I am happy. 

Here is a pic:

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how to clean in in a fun way
Saturday, December 12, 2009 | By loveisthekey

 1st turn on some kewl music like lady gaga or what ever your in to. then star cleaning your room go form corner to corner

 

   

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Homework/Craft station
Tuesday, September 22, 2009 | By moonseekerjade

Now that my little ankle-biters are in school,it is time to get organized,Again, It is taking me sooo long this year to get it together,I just started our"homework" area,it is serving as a craft area also. I have a dry erase board(my kids HATE the board, I use it for the star chart-the each earn a star for doing certain things,my 7yr old has a hard time getting up and going to school-so,if he does it,without me having to fight with him..he gets a star,same for bedtime,chores,homework,etc...They each have to earn AT LEAST 15 stars to get a "prize" on Friday,I always try to put stuff they like/want in the prize box,the more stars,the better the prize. They have 3 chances before the "Mega Bitch comes"out and grounds them,three checks= day grounded. This is a true and tried method i my house,I stopped the board for one month and my kids were little monsters-alot of it is because (shame on me) I am so one of those moms who make empty threats"Your grounded" etc,with the board,I say once more you get a check-if I say "your not going out after school-I write it in their block and am more likely to stick to it.This is the third year with the board,It works.  I have magnatized paint on a small sectio og wall and magnet strips for chores this year,this wa I can just move the chores around. I am working o the actual work desk/area,ther are three of them so the little space I have-has to have some privacy for each,I am trying to make it comfy,their own spot to do homework,we'll see what happens,when and if it ever gets completly done,I will put up a picture.

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Purging The Plastic
Tuesday, July 21, 2009 | By Jess

Last week, I decided to get rid of the majority of the plastic in my house, mostly gladware containers.  I know that they are cheap and reusable but I had way too many and never could seem to find the right shaped lid or the right size when I needed it.  Too much of a good thing, I guess.  Plus, there are more and more studies about plastics, especially when heating it in the microwave. As this is the main reason for those plastic storage containers, I had second thoughts.

What I did was buy a set of glass storage containers at Costco, called Glasslock.  They have a heavy duty plastic top that locks around all four sides of the glass container. They are beautiful, very sturdy and look great in the fridge.  I packed up all the old gladware and random other "tupperware" type containers.  I also got glass juice containers to replace the plastic ones.  They are smaller, just one can of frozen concentrate, but I figure this will keep my boys from drinking juice so fast.  I also have one full of water in the fridge, as our local tap water is very high quality (Western Oregon).  I already have some glass cannisters, with the rubber gasket and the old fashioned flip lock. I keep my dry goods in those. I have a very old canning jar that I use for my popcorn.  My oils and vinegar all have their own colored glass bottles from Ikea. I was going to use them as vases or for other decorative purposes but I'd rather give them a real purpose in my home.  If I need more containers, I always have canning jars and lids for quick storage of leftover soups, sauces or whatever.

I am still using ziploc bags, especially for freezing and marinating.  I have had good success with freezing chicken stock and leftover chili in a gallon sized bag.  Just be sure it stays sealed very well. I always buy brand name bags, because I have found that the off brand have more failures and the price isn't usually that far off.  At some point, I may invest in a Food Saver vacuum sealer but there always seems to be something more pressing.

I have a good looking tomato harvest coming up in August.  Last year, I had more tomatoes that I knew what to do with and gave away tons. This year, I'm going to make and can spaghetti sauce and salsa for later in the year.  My plants have several green spheres so I should have plenty.

My husband and I took this opportunity to reorganize and pare down the kitchenware. I have 4 (yes, four!) vegetable peelers, each with their own pros and cons. I had several sets of measuring spoons and cups, lots of very old spatulas and cooking spoons that had seen better days. And no end of random kitchen gizmos and specialty items. No wonder I couldn't regularly get the drawers to close!  I got rid of anything that was an obvious duplicate or unnecessary (several lids for spice jars that I no longer have), and have mentally marked a few items that may be going out on the next purge. For example, I bought a garlic chopper, it is sort of round and you push it against the garlic on the cutting board and it "easily" chops it up. this is in addition to the two other garlic presses that I had in there. I got rid of the oldest press and am going to test out the chopper before deciding to give it away to a friend or donate it.  Problem is, every time I chop garlic (every day, pretty much), I forget to get it out of the drawer and just smash it with my knife. So that is probably a sign that I don't need it :)

I'm a big fan of Alton Brown and his show, Good Eats, on the Food Network. He is a advocate for avoiding "unitaskers", kitchen gadgets that only have one purpose.  He says that the only unitasker you should have in your kitchen is a fire extinguisher (a lesson I learned a couple of years ago!).  I'm not quite there, but it is something I'm keeping in mind.

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