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12/13/11

Penny Pincher Tips

I started this posting a few weeks ago and because there are so many folks in unforeseen strife these days plus Christmas is upon us I thought I would share some of the ideas I have used over the years to be frugal and not waste things. 

My best friend has always said I could make a dime go further than anyone she has ever known.  I doubt I am all that good at it but I have tried to use what things I have been given usefully.

It seems to me there is always a big slump in available monies and in peoples spirits between the Christmas holidays and tax time.  There are unfortunately many times I can remember big layoffs in the dead of winter.

As we head into that cold and gray season I hope my few ideas may be helpful to some of you and at least be food for thought.

 #1.  Keep leftover vegetables in the freezer for vegetable soups.  Example leftover corn on the cob from summer. cut off and freeze.  Left over peas, corn, soup beans, rice, green beans, tomatoes, cooked cabbage, carrots or turnips, just freeze.  I use a 1 quart freezer container and just keep adding until it is full than I start another one.  Potatoes do not freeze well and turn mealy. Use them promptly and don't try to freeze them.

#2.  Keep extra cooked roast or Swiss steak and gravy and freeze for vegetable beef or barley soups.

#3.  Freeze extra stocks for use later.  It is good to vary the size of container as some recipes will ask for 1/2 cup and others might ask for a quart or more.

#4.  Collect recipes to use up things that do not freeze well.  Example mashed potatoes.  Use for potato cakes, potato rolls, Shepard's pie, or donuts, potato salad, etc.

#5. Stick to basics.  You do not help yourself when you clip coupons and buy things you would not have purchased in the first place.

#6. Eat at home 5-6 nights a week, take a lunch if you are not at home, and do not use processed foods.  It is always better to make real food and it is less expensive.

#7. Reuse plastic bags.  I use plastic vegetable bags to line the pulp section of my juice extractor and the bathroom waste basket.  I use the plastic grocery sacks to recycle paper and plastic in and it all goes together in the recycle bin.

#8.  Donate what you don't need or don't use.  There is a "karmic" value to getting rid of things in a useful manner.

#9.  Sew if you know how to.  If you don't know how consider learning.  You can do a lot of good with the ability if you use it.  I save old wool sweaters for felting, old woven fabric for quilting, and velvets for comforters.  There is a world of "re purposing " ideas out there to explore.

#10.  Don't go shopping unless you have a specific list and the money to pay for it.  Do not buy if you don't have the cash.  Comparison shop.

#11. Save butter wrappers in the freezer to butter cake pans and cookie sheets and casseroles with.

#12.  Purchase several whole chickens and either cut them up yourself or have the butcher package for you.  You will save a lot of money this way.  I recently bought 6 whole chickens for about $30.  and had it packaged as follows:  1 package of backs and wing tips to use for stock.  2 packages of skinned and deboned thighs for stir frying.  1 package of 12 wings separated into 24 drummets for hot wings.
4 packages of 3 half chicken breasts.  3 packages of 4 drumsticks.  This makes at least 11 meals averaging $2.72 and that is not bad.  If you have a local butcher check for savings on "package" deals.

#13. Purchase large cuts of meat like chuck roast or pork butts and cut into smaller portions for recipes and freeze.  You are generally charged extra to cube meat for stew over  what you would pay for a whole roast and cube it yourself.

#14.  Grow your own fresh herbs and vegetables if possible.  Container gardening works if you are short of garden space.  Save your seeds from one year to the next if you are fortunate enough to have seeds that are not hybrid.  Freeze, can, and dehydrate any surplus you grow and take advantage of Farmers Markets to buy fresh produce and put up for the coming months.

#15.  Trade or barter services or goods from friends or neighbors.

#16.  When using egg yolks for a recipe freeze the whites.  Eggs freeze very well and this is a great way to "save up" for a homemade Angel Food cake.   When you have a few egg yolks to use make up a batch of homemade noodles and freeze them to cook at a later date. 

#17.  Cheese and lunch meats freeze well so if it is on sale stock up and freeze until needed.

#18.  Flour freezes well as does corn meal, and coffee.  Stock up when on sale and freeze until needed.

IF you have more hints I would love to hear them please post as comments.  I look forward to learning some new tips!!

4 comments:

Sue said...

Good ideas and timely. You can never have too many ways to save.

lily said...

Thanks but I would love to see a list you and your sis make up. Bet it would have some really good tips I haven't thought about!!

Caran said...

I pay attention to the expiration or sell-by dates on meats (fresh and packaged) when I am at the grocery store. If I am able, I go back at or near the dates and the meat is often on sale. I can then buy it at a greatly discounted rate and freeze it, thawing as needed. Since a lot of the meat you buy is aged anyway--as long as the meat looks good--you can really save a lot. The pre-packaged meats (dried beef, bacon, etc.) are especially nice because they are usually packaged in convenient sizes and you don't have to go to a lot of trouble repacking them to freeze.

Diane Cosby said...

Great idea Caran and thanks so much for adding you wise comments!