Friday, August 16, 2013

A Typical Frugal Day

This week I kept track of the things I do (almost) daily to stretch my budget.

- Summer months: The curtains are left drawn on east side of the house until the sun passes over the top of the house but opened during the winter months to draw in more heat from the sun.
- I  save 'first time used' tea bags and put them in a small container in the fridge. Some mornings I use 3 'previously used teabags' to make one cup of tea for hubby. 
- Egg shells or melon rinds are put in compost container on kitchen counter.
- Seran wrap or baggies used to cover fruit are washed, dried and reused. 
- Laundry is washed with homemade laundry detergent.
- Vinegar is put in a 'Downy ball' to soften clothes. 
- Homemade stain remover is applied to clothes.
- Cold water is used for nearly all loads of wash on a light cycle (unless very dirty). 
- Grey water is used from washing machine and ran to flowers on the side of the house.
- Laundry is hung on clothes line instead of using a dryer. 
- Toilet and bathroom sink are sprayed with a mixture of 1/2 vinegar & 1/2 water mixture.
- I use toilet paper to wipe down sink and toilet when cleaning instead of paper towels.
- Lights kept off in house during the day.
- Dishes washed by hand in sink with 2 dishpans (1 for washing and 1 for rinsing).
- I let water pour into a bucket while waiting for it to turn hot and then put the bucket on the back step. I throw it on the flowers (along with the dish water) after I finish the dishes.

Fishin' with the grands!

- Vegetable peelings from salad fixings are put in small compost container on counter.
- Same routine for washing morning dishes.
- Laundry taken down from clothes line and folded to avoid ironing.
- Soda cans are saved to recycle. 
- Old soft clothing and old towels are used for rags to dust.
- Vacuum cleaner canister's contents is dumped on compost pile.
 - Newspaper saved for composting and plastic cover is used as a cover for seedlings to make
- Fans used in each room to avoid using window air conditioner until it's over 90 degrees outside.
- Phone calls made on Magic Jack. 

My granddaughter learning how to do needlepoint.

- Garbage is dumped and grocery store bag is used to line the can.
- Compost container in kitchen is taken to larger tote at the back of the garden.
- Recipes are double and tripled so I only use the stove a few times a week.
- Large toaster oven used for baking to keep the house cool.
- Timer is used when watering the lawn so that I don't forget and let the water keep running. :-)
- Same routine as morning for washing dishes.
- Night lights turned on to avoid using overhead lights in bedrooms and bathroom.
- Lawn mowing night: clippings & leaves thrown into compost.
- Car washing night: 2 small buckets of water used only.
- Shower water is turned off while soaping.
- Shampoo is allowed to set on head until end of shower. This allows only one application of shampooing.

My backyard vegetable garden full blown!

Wealth gained hastily will dwindle,
 but whoever gathers
 little by little
 will increase it.
 Proverbs 13:11

Okay friends! How did your week go? Please forgive me for not getting back to you last week. It's been busy, busy here as I try to keep up with the veggies. But, I do learn so much from you and I'm thankful!


  1. My husband and I recently moved and will be needing to get a new telephone service soon. (We are staying with my daughter for now until our house is ready.). We have heard of Magic Jack but I admit that I'm skeptical. Does it work well? What about long distance? Overseas long distance? (My son lives in China and it gets expensive to call him on most phone plans. Our daughter uses Vonage and has free long distance and free overseas long distance, too. The monthly charge is a bit more than we would like to pay, tho.)

    1. Magic Jack requires some patience but we are happy with it. We can call anywhere in the US free, day or night. Well, I guess it's not exactly free because we pay a yearly fee of $19.99.

      A few things that are frustrating are:
      - It hangs you up after 90 minutes. You just call back if you want to talk longer.
      - You can't use the computer while on the phone or it breaks up.
      - Every once in a while I can't get out. The dial tone will be there but when I dial a number it doesn't go through. This doesn't happen very often.
      - You need to have high speed internet and it has to be fast so that it doesn't 'break up' on Magic Jack. We figure our internet bill is our phone bill.
      - I still have a cell phone in case my husband had a medical emergency and I couldn't get out on the Magic Jack.

      As long as we can afford the internet we will use the Magic Jack (Lord willin'!).

  2. I was wondering about Magic Jack too. Are you happy with it ?

    I have been composting kitchen waste, ( veggies, coffee grounds, etc. ) this past year and am now reaping the benefits of some surprisingly rich compost I am using in my outdoor planters. I am going to increase this project and have hopes of enriching all the flower beds around the house.

    I read your blog all the time and find so many good ideas. Thank-you !

    1. Yes, we like Magic Jack. I wrote about it above.

      It's nice to have you visit Kathy!

      I just realized that the compost 'bins' I'm using are not food grade plastic so the yucky plastic stuff is leaching into the wonderful soil I'm composting. Not good. I'm in the middle of finding a solution and will write about it soon.. Lord willing.

  3. We do many of the things you do in regards to using resources wisely and recycling what we use.
    I have been busy putting the garden away for winter :) corn is canned, green beans are canned, beets are canned, pickles are made, and 2 dozens pints of strawberry jam. I have tons of peppers to cut up and freeze, carrots to harvest and the tomatoes to can as soon as they turn red. We will have enough food put up to keep us going through to next summers garden, along with beef in our freezer.
    It is nice to have our own grown food preserved I can really skimp on buying groceries, some weeks we only need milk, butter, cheese, coffee and potatoes - that is a small grocery bill for sure.
    My main money saving device is to simply stay home, that way I am not wasting gas, putting unneeded miles and wear and tear on our vehicles and not being tempted to spend money on items I don't really need. I work two days a week and try to run my errands after work when I am in town.

    I enjoy your blog it is inspiring.


    1. Hi Bean!
      I think YOU are inspiring to be able to grow enough veggies to last until next growing season. I've put up about enough to last 1 extra month is all. We're eating good right now. I'm limited on space. We're talking about tearing up part of the back lawn. :-) We do plan on gardening through the fall and winter. I hope it goes well. It's been wonderful having fresh veggies all summer.

  4. Magic Jack - my sister swears by it, she has used it for a number of years.

  5. Awesome list, Georgene!

    I have a compost pile and save for it in a large Foger's coffee can. I never knew you could put vacuum cleaner dust in a compost pile. Interesting.

    Hugs and prayers,

    1. Good for you Carol!

      Yes, the dirt and the hair (from my dog) is great for composting. Not my original thought. I read how someone else did that exact thing and I made it my own habit. :-)

  6. Georgene-- you should consider putting some of your tips in a little ebook or in kindle format. There are little books for 99cents to just a few dollars that are on sale on I know of a writer who is a single mom and her ebooks made it possible for her to raise her daughter from home. Just a thought. :)

    I'm busy shaving pennies off things here too. Right now I have a couple of little wedding cake toppers I need to ship & I am making boxes for them. I cut up old cardboard. Also I have a big box of that brown paper shipping tape that is re-inforced and you have to wet it. I don't have the dispenser--they are very spendy. but I just use a bit wet sponge to wet it. I bought the tape from another etsy seller and it is probably a lifetime supply for me. When I use the brown tape my boxes look cleaner. :)

    Hubby's weekend project has been to work on a $200 hot tub he got me from craigslist. He's so good at figuring out how to do things! Its up and filled with water. He repaired a leak he found in the heater and has the pump working. Looks like all we need now is to build wood sides--which he can do, and find a cover for it. Its wonderful cuz it is deep and big--so I will be able to do some exercises in it that I cannot do--and need to do. We live out in the country and this is such a blessing for me.

    So that is going on today, and I have a full week of etsy shop work ahead of me. :)

    Tonight we have our little grandkids overnight again. :) Usually do that one evening when Hubby is in town.

    Love your very innovative list, but I have to admit I got tired reading it. I know I'd be doing all that too--and may be some day-- you never know-- if my circumstances were just a little different. Meantime I do what makes the most sense for us here. :) God Bless! and keep up the good work.

    1. I remember your life being very similar to my list many years ago and I marveled at what you did to stretch your money. :-)

      Oh my! A hot tub will be wonderful for you Mary! I'm so happy for you!

      So.. I've thought about an Ebook before.. but have no idea where to start or what exactly to write about. Any ideas?

      And I'm meaning to ask you what article you were looking for on the Xanga site that time? I'm moving my main articles over here and want to make sure I have the one you were looking for.

  7. Why do you use toilet paper instead of paper towels in the bathroom to wipe up things?

  8. I'd like to put in my two cents about Magic Jack! I am very, very happy with it! When it first came out we got one and it was incredibly glitchy. We now have the newest one and it works great. Very, very occasionally it has a glitch, but hardly ever. I love that I can bring it with me on the road and plug it into my laptop to use with a headset when we're on the road - there's free wifi practically everywhere you go these days. I recommend them to all of my friends, but they seem to enjoy paying a large monthly payment for their cell phones instead.

    I get it, it's handy to have a cell phone for emergencies. Why not just get a tracphone or something and only use it in true emergencies? I don't even have a tracphone, but as my teen would say...I'm very frugal (her words: cheap).

    I had a question about your day - is there a way you can sweep instead of vacuum? I do vacuum from time to time, but sweep whenever possible - no electricity needed.

  9. You do so much and it is so inspiring. But due to some health problems I cannot do what you and the other posters are always doing.

    I have fibromyalgia and it has seemed to settle in my upper arms. I was trying to hang all of our laundry in the garage, but reaching up like that made the pain worse. Now I am using the dryer, and I use a towel in the load. It does cut the drying time. I also cannot garden, because of the pain in my arms and the arthritis and bursitis in my knees. Sure wish I could. But I shop carefully and try to use what we have in the freezer and pantry.

    We have Netflix, no other t.v. service, and it is $8.00 a month. We stream the movies through the laptop. I combine errands in one day and stay home the next day as much as possible. I keep the thermostat at about 78 degrees. I use the crock pot as much as possible. I try to use less meat in the meal with more rice or potatoes and veggies or salad on the plate. I used to bake a lot, but not so much anymore. I buy snacks for our son when they are on sale, I recently came across Oreos at the dollar store for $2 a bag, so I picked up two bags. Having fibromyalgia is tiring, so I try not to overdo, like spending the morning baking, then having to prepare dinner in the evening, sometimes that is just too much.

    I read a lot and get all my books at the library. I try my best to be satisfied with a limited wardrobe. I remind myself that there are a lot of people who wish they had just this much clothing. I am so blessed!

  10. Love,.love, your blog and have learned so much from you. Rachel I have the exact same problems. Would love to chat and offer mutual support,perhaps share tips?
    God bless,


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