Friday, June 12, 2009

Double savings protein garden

A while back I wrote about how to saving money on seeds when starting a garden. Now, I can report even more ways to save money and to keep a healthy garden and bank account.

We were watching one of those survival shows on tv when we hit upon a great idea. We have been having a problem with bugs/insects in our garden and have been spraying without much success. However, we found the solution. My son and I go out back and pick the bugs off by hand.

I know that doesn't sound frugal but it is because.....we keep the insects and roast them. It may sound odd but they are really good with the right spices. Just put them in the toaster oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Insects are a great source of free protein.

So now we are getting free protein, saving money on bug spray and are getting better growth in our garden! I do have to report that my wife will not eat the bugs straight up but she does like them as a salad topping. She has always been a fan of crunchy toppings.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Saving money to spend more later?

Lately I've been wondering if the frugal lifestyle is really frugal at all.  We (frugal living folks) are saving as much money as we can, in part, by not spending money.  This saved money is hopefully earning interest or some rate of return.  This means, we all hope, that at some point in the future we will have more money.  Well, what do we do with money at some point?  We spend it or give it away.  So in the end are we not spending more money by being "Frugal"?  

For example,  let's say I have 100 bucks.  If I spend it today I will have 100 bucks to spend.  However, lets say I do what the so called experts suggest and put it in an saving account earning 3%.  After just three years I would have 109.27.  If I spend it in three years am I not spending 9.27 bucks more?  That hardly seems frugal or like saving money.

Thus, it seems like it's best to spend what you have now so in the end you spend less overall because that is what being frugal is all about.

what do you all think?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Saving money on firewood

A great way to learn to save money is to study people that do not use money.  The other day I was watching a show on PBS about nomadic people that live on the Africa plain.  Often times they have no wood to cook in the grasslands so they use what works.  The burn the dung of Elephants and other large animals (no kidding).

So here in America we don't have wild elephants or other large animals that leave piles of dung behind.  However we do have zoos.  I called my local zoo and ask if I could help clean up and then have the elephant dung.  They were happy to have the help but were not sure about my plan.  

The first night I tried it it worked!  The key was to use the really dried out stuff (big shocker I kn0w).  The only downfall really was the smell left behind in the car.  However, now that we don't have to buy firewood anymore I just think of that smell as the smell of money in the bank!

The really cool thing is the Zoo has asked me to give a talk to the kids about my project and how the people to Africa make use of what they have.  This just might be a new side hustle!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Victory (savings) Garden for almost nothing

It seems it's possible to save money by having a home garden.  You do have to be careful about costs.  The materials will all cost money and it will take some time.  I'll charge myself zero for the time because it's fun.  We have fairly good soil around here so I don't think I'll have to buy any top soil.  I will need a shovel but I can pick that up at a yard sale.  The water can come from the sky by catching the run-off from the gutters and saving it.  The only thing else I need is seeds.

I figure I'll just save money by spitting.  What is that you ask? Well, we could not figure out what to grow and so it came to me that we will just grow what we eat.  So we have placed a bucket in the corner of the kitchen and just spit out whatever seeds we come across in our meals.  Apples seeds, tomato seeds, watermelon seeds, etc., you get the idea.  My son and I were into this right away, I mean, who doesn't like to spit seeds.  It did take a bit for my wife to get use to the idea but now she says the little ding sound the seeds make when hitting the side of the bucket is like the little ding sound you hear at Vegas at the slots.  It's money in the bank (or bucket, or ground) baby!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Saving money by creative car cooking

My sister Jill recently told me about a new way to save money.  I think it's great and not only saves money but reduces green house gas emissions as well.  

Her husband has a long drive to and from work and so by the time he gets home at night the car's engine is rather hot.  They noticed this one day and made a joke about heating up left-overs on it.  Well, they got around to trying it and it worked.  She just places the left-overs in a pan and when he gets home he knows now to open the hood so she can start dinner.

Since they started using this trick they have seen their energy bill go down as they don't use the oven as much.  As a bonus, she reports he has been getting home from work earlier because he knows she can't start dinner until he does.

Do you have any "crazy" money saving ideas? (how crazy can it be if it saves money?).

Friday, March 27, 2009

Not spending but not saving either

The other day I was reading a post about having a few days a month where you don't spend any money at all.  Well I've had a few of them now and I'm feeling a bit down about it all.  I really like to track how much money I am saving when I'm out.  If I use a coupon I write the savings down. When I use my club card at the store they tell you how much you saved.  I track my savings and it's nice to see that number grow every day.

I know I'm not spending anything today but I hate that I can't save money at the same time.  

Friday, March 20, 2009

Off the wagon

It's not easy to save money and sometimes we fall off the wagon.  Today was a good example.  We try to eat a simple Mac and Cheese three times a week for lunch.  This saves us money and since we are buying Annie's Organic we don't feel to bad about the health risk of saving money this way. Normally we buy 3 boxes a week for about 2 bucks a piece. So our weekly bill for this is 6 bucks plus tax (don't get me started about food tax). 

However, today our store had a sale on Annie's Mac and the price was only 1 dollar a box.  Sounds good until you hear that we bought 12 boxes.  So we more than doubled our week budget for Annie's.  We still plan on only eating 3 boxes a week but I can't help but feel I just wasted a bunch of money on cheese.

Does this sort of thing happen to you?  

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

5 bucks off

I've been very good about not going out to eat.  My wife and I have probably saved a bunch of money by cooking at home.  However, the local diner is starting this program where if you eat there once a week they will take off 5 bucks per week.  The only catch is you have to bring in  your old receipt.   I figure we can save over 260 bucks this year if we eat there every week (52 x 5) for a year.

I'm always looking for ways to save money.  Have you found any ways this week?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Free rewards

The country seems to be all about saving money these days and so I thought I'd start down that path too.  I thought maybe my credit card company was charging me to much interest so I call them to ask for a lower rate.  They were not able to lower my rate for me but I got something even better. 

I got mad and asked to speak the boss.  She was able to close this account for me and open up a new card.  The new card does have a higher interest rate but it has a great reward program.  They are going to be sending me some cash back for every 1000 I spend.  

free money, you can't beat that!