You Are Going To Do WHAT With That Egg?


So you forgot the shampoo even though it was on your list? Oh, you ran out of money before you got to the end of your list? Yeah, that’s happening to more and more people these days.

Maybe this will get you by for now.

Kitchen shampoo:
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 egg
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (or whatever vinegar, really)

1.Whisk the heck out of it.
2.Use like regular shampoo. You might want to beware of scalding hot water or you just might end up with egg drop hair.
3. Rinse thoroughly.
4. Freeze any leftovers for another time.

So, yeah, is feels kinda weird and you smell a little saladlike… but just look at your hair! Clean, smooth, healthy. Beautiful! Not bad for being outta shampoo, eh?

Don’t worry. The vinegar smell disappates as your hair dries.

Now I don’t think I would use this daily, due to per washing cost. But as a treat or if your out of shampoo, give it a go.

Try Sunday Saver or Coupon Mom to find coupons or sales.

More “doin’ without” recipes to keep you lovely, here, each Sunday.

Other kitchen beauty recipes:

Date Night Desperate Measures: Hair Mousse

Brown Sugar Body Scrub

Oatmeal Soak — to sooth and soften

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Published in: on January 31, 2009 at 9:49 pm  Comments (2)  

Recon at You-Know-WhatMart


There is nothing like a little middle of the night recon to help you shop more sanely and savvily. Get you insulated container of coffee and let’s go. Oh yeah, and grab your best friend. It’s more fun that way.

On NPR today, I heard that something like 94% of Americans live with in 15 miles of a You-know-whatMart.

There seem to be basically two kinds of shoppers. Those who buy everything there and those who buy nothing there. This is for the reader that is considering leaving the department store and trying You-know-whatMart. Or the regular shopper who simply hates the experience.

If you have never been to one, it can be an overwhelming experience. It’s huge, lighted oddly and smells a bit like dirty movie theater.

However, you can find good deals there.

Here’s how:

1. Never, ever, ever! shop on a Saturaday afternoon.
You will land in jail for murdering someone. Plus, you will rush to leave and just grab whatever, thereby not saving any money.

2. Do a recon mission.
Get a sitter. Send the kids to Granny’s. Go in the middle of the night, ideally 3:30 am. Yes, there are palates of merchandise everywhere, but that is definately better than people. The store is yours alone.

3. If you want service, ask for it.
Unlike the department stores or boutiques, no one will help you unless you ask for it. In the middle of the night, the people who stock the shelves are there. These are the people you want to ask for help. They know where the item is, if there is more in the back, when the next shipment is coming, and wether or not it is on sale.

4. Remeber you manners.
For some reason, everyone thinks that because you are in a cheapy store you can behave badly. You can not! Treat workers kindly. The worker that likes third shift is an odd duck, indeed.

5. Fondle the clothes.
Feel the fabric, check the stitching, try the zippers and buttons. Will it last? Check the fabric. For example, I won’t buy an acrylic sweater for two reasons. It usually feels better to the fingertip than against the skin and it pills when you wash it.

You found something you like? Check the label.Write it down. Look for other things made under that label. How do they seem? In boys clothing, there is one particular brand I know I can count on. My son can beat the tar out of them and this brand can take it.

6. Check out other items in which you are interested.
Same idea as above. Don’t forget to check the prescription policy at the pharmacy, especially if you have lousy or no insurance.

7. Ask about site-to-store shipping.
This is my favorite part. Free site-to-store shipping.

Now that you know what brands you like you can shop with knowledge and confidence in your pjs from your pc. They let you know when it is ready. At your convenience, you march straight to that counter, avoiding the general shopping mob and get your stuff. All still in the package, untouched by the masses. They even load it into your car. Nice.

The grocery section? Dunno, guess your on your own there. I do this.

Leave a comment about your adventures.

Good luck, soldier.

Published in: on January 30, 2009 at 11:25 pm  Comments (2)  

You Bought It. Use It.


You Paid for It. Use it

“Don’t be fooled by the packaging, “ my mom would say.

My favorite cheese crackers are an off brand that comes in the most ominous black and red box with a very poor photo on it. a happy poverty purchase that turned out beautifully.

“Part of that price is based on the container,” she would add.

Well, lets reuse some containers. This week hang on to and clean your empties.

Yogurt cups, small and large
Sour cream containers
Egg cartons, cardboard
Soup and certain entree containers You know, those magnificently long lasting plastic containers from Chinese take out.
Glass jars from tomato sauce or the like

In the future, we will be repurposing these a bunch for our varied low-cost, self-reliance adventures.

So, start collecting and don’t forget the lids.

For now, try:

Sprouting New Ideas … Your Own Food

Beginner Gardening — Windowsill Herbs

Brown Sugar Body Scrub — just guess what you can use for a non-breakable container.

Published in: on January 29, 2009 at 10:33 pm  Comments (2)  

How to Never Again Pay Full Price for Groceries


If a storm is coming, do you run out for milk, bread, and eggs? Then you are a member of the French Toast Club. Quit.

Before grocery prices truly sky rocket this Spring, you would be wise to stock up a bit. Have you noticed all the “price freeze” circulars… usually it is maybe a two week thing in the winter. But this gloomy year, it would seem that many stores are making it a two month thing. Having devoured my economic news, it makes my stomach queasy.

Plus, it is just good sense to have a little tucked away for unforeseen events, hurricanes, snow storms, surprise guests. Eventually, you can attain a decent size store that can get you through job loss and other lovely surprises. The best part is you eventually stop shopping at the store, saving gas, and shop in your own garage…previously paid in full. Check out Delving into Shelving.

Not enough money to buy even one or two cans extra? I’m sorry. Try the Trimming the Fat series.

Here’s how you get there:

1. Make your grocery list.
Never shop without one.

2. Check out the coupon and circular sites
Sunday Saver and Coupon Mom are easy to use and can by tailored by location.

3. Choose a few items that are on sale.
If you run all over town your savings will be eaten up in gas and wear and tear on your car. Pick one store.

4. Use a calculator.
Figure out the best per ounce price.
Price ÷ number of ounces per container = per ounce price. Example: $1.00 ÷ 10 ounces per can = 10 cents per ounce.

Watch out: Some items are still not the best buy even on sale. Try a different or off brand.

5. Buy enough to last ‘til the next sale.
Sale cycles tend to run in six-ish week cycle. If canned peas are on sale now, chances are they will be again in about 6 weeks.

6. Stick to the list.
Don’t buy things just because they are on sale. If your family won’t consume them, they are a waste of money.

7. Consider nonfat dry milk.
Here’s why:

8. Rotate your stock.
Just like the store. Pull the old cans forward and put the new stuff to the back.

All done. Grin smugly. If you continue to do this through the sale cycle, you will end up pretty well stocked at the end of six weeks. Baby steps, kid.

Then when the storm comes, you can just hang out in your pjs and make hot chocolate. Shopping done.

Oh, the absolute best part…check out your percentage savings at the bottom of the receipt! After about six weeks this number will really grow because you are no longer buying anything full price. Ever!

Published in: on January 29, 2009 at 10:18 pm  Comments (4)  

Trimming the Fat


This is a bit long, so grab your coffee. If it is too much right now, come back to it later.

If you are always wondering where your money goes, let’s find out. Even if you think, every penny is accounted for, try it. The only people who don’t find extra money, don’t need this blog. They have already figured out all the tricks.

Whether you make $12k or $120k, repeat the following, until you squeeze every disemployed nickel from your budget. We’ll save that for something else.

The first time you try this exercise you will probably want to smack yourself around. Don’t. Most people are shocked and rather ashamed of at least one thing they discover. No tears. Dry it up. We’ll figure it out.

1. Start a new change jar.

2. Keep track of every penny you spend.
This includes your morning coffee, treats from the vending machine, parking meters, bills, video rentals, hookers, whatever. Everything. Jot down the receiptless items, kids’ allowances, tolls, automat sandwiches on a single piece of paper that you carry around with you. Stuff all the receipts

3. Do it for a week.
One month is a better view into your spending, but if that is too overwhelming…a week is a good baby step.

4. Pick a time to sit down.
Relax, grab a cup of joe. Take a deep breath and dive in. Yes, for many, this part can be defeatingly arduous. Hang in there. Little changes, made over time, can actualize a more lush bottom line. Baby steps.

5. Go over every single purchase.
Highlight, use, a letter code, or whatever to break purchases into categories. Coffee, parking, sewage, electricity, lunch, clothes, entertainment, mortgage, rent, donations. I repeat every blessed thing you spent during that time.

6. Total each category.

7. Brainstorm realistic budget cuts.
For example, instead of buying your morning coffee, learn to make your own.

If this is a totally new process for you, don’t be discouraged. They taught this in school about 50 years ago. Now, we are on our own. You can do it. You can find more money hiding in your spending.

If you failed miserably, try again and again, until you can indeed track a whole month. Don’t give up. It’s worth it.

Over the next few weeks, after you have torn your hair out, we will examine some possible changes that many people overlook.

Keep your chin up and remember this is a process and it, too, shall pass.

Next try:

Trimming the Fat: part 2 — Sifting Through the Spending

Trimming the Fat: part 3 — Sorting It All Out

Published in: on January 29, 2009 at 12:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

Egg Drop Soup for the Hungry


Sometimes waiting for payday, if you are fortunate enough to have one, can be rough. Perhaps, each Thursday, I will publish a “getting by” recipe.

We will begin with the easiest and cheapest that I can think of.

Egg Drop Soup

Okay, so we are not going to win any culinary awards here, but for $3.00 you can feed 6 people. It is warm in the stomache…a bit of a comfort food…awesome when you are sick. Little kids can cook it and be very proud of themselves that they are helping out.

We will start with just 2 servings so you won’t be too overwhelmed. Plus- if you hate it? You haven’t wasted all you eggs. The whole thing is ready in about 7 minutes. Go!

Ingredients:

4c. water
4 bouillion cubes (Beef gives the fullest flavor but whatever you have on hand is fine)
4 eggs

Bring the water and bouillion to a rolling boil on high heat. While you wait, crack the eggs into a decent sized bowl and whisk the hell out of them. Once the broth is really boiling, drizzle the eggs in slowly, while you move the cooked bits out of the way with your stirring utensil. Pull it off the heat immediately and serve.

If the eggs come out lumpy, either you are pouring them in too quickly or not moving the cooked egg out of the way.

If it seems to be too broken up, for lack of a better term, the broth wasn’t boiling strongly enough. Your eggs may also have taken on a brownish broth color…same thing.

If you can see bits of white, you didn’t whisk the hell out of them.

Chives are a sunny touch, if you’ve got them.

Wasn’t that easy? Even Lorelei Gilmore could make it.

Bon Appetit!

Published in: on January 28, 2009 at 11:47 pm  Comments (2)  
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Recycling Pantyhose– A Zillion Household Uses


Oh why, does that word make me cringe? Wrinkly, droopy, evil. The word itself should have an odd odor to it.

So having a good day, huh? Oh, I’m sorry. You put your fingernail through your pantyhose as you were putting them on?

Happens to the best of us.

Well, instead of tossing them away. Let’s find some other uses.

Anything that could be tied together at my grandparents house was done so with old pantyhose. It was very festive. Taupe, off black, charcoal, nude.

Ah, there are a million uses.

Plant ties:
For staking wobbly plants like tomatoes, pantyhose are giving enough to not strangle growth.

Sprout strainer:
If you choose to grow sprouts…a very economical endeavor indeed… cover your jar, that you have cleaned and saved from, perhaps, tomato sauce, with a bit of nylon for the rinsing process.

Rubber bands:
Just snip a thin tube o’ leg. Ta Da! Rubber band. Waist band equals giant rubber band.

Maggot barriers for fruit trees:
This is a longer bit of leg that you actually slide over every dad-blasted apple in your orchard, assuming you have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and alot of time

Here is my absolute favorite:

My grandfather was telling my mom about how he fixed his vehicle on the side of the road and used a pair he had in the glove compartment to protect his hair. Classic!

Being mortified, she called my aunt.

“Oh, please tell me he at least cut the legs off first!”

“I don’t know, but he did say the leg holes were knotted.”

“Were they cotton crotch?”

“Oh dear, I didn’t even think of that. Just picture him amid all the traffic. Pigtails and a cotton crotch hat. I wonder how many crashed their cars giggling.”

“We are lucky they didn’t lock him in the Booby Hatch.”

I made the mistake of sharing this story with my best friend. That Xmas my gift was topped with a lovely, ornate bow that she had crafted out of several months worth of colorful hose. She still fancies herself funny. Off to the Booby Hatch for her, too.

Please leave a comment with the best or weirdest uses of which you have heard for that magnificent miracle of modern science: pantyhose.

Oooo! hey, look at the randomly generated possible related blog enteries below. Leave it to a computer to think anything could be related to my grandfather’s wrinkly bunny ears, cotton crotch hair net.

Published in: on January 28, 2009 at 12:06 am  Comments (9)  

McGyver and the Great Depression Generation


When I was little, I was relatively sure my maternal grandparents were super heroes.

My grandmother grew tomatoes on her front steps, went on wild elder hostel adventures, taught me how to swim and one dark night fixed the fuse for her truck headlights by peeling the metal wrapper from several sticks of chewing gum.

My grandfather was even more of a McGyver. In his crazy, basement shop/ bat cave, he could build anything. Much to my grandmothers irritation he would collect every that wouldn’t run away to fix other things.

During one visit, after one particularly exhausting day of sledding, my grandfather designed a ski tow for me. Schematics and all in under 5 minutes.

“I even have all the parts,” he told my mom proudly.

The plan was vetoed by my mom. Party pooper!

“She will grow up to be one of those people who actually buys a gym membership,” she flatly disapproved.

Well, obviously that argument held water with him, too. Another party pooper!

In future posts, you and I, Dear Reader, shall discuss the ways that are dying with the Great Depression survivors. The time has come to revitalize these ideas and share them with those around us.

As I head into these topics, please comment with your favorite uses for everyday things.

Published in: on January 28, 2009 at 12:05 am  Comments (1)  

Delving into Shelving


Let’s build some shelves!

Oh, you’re not feeling up to that? You know what? Me neither.

My first attempt at shelves resulted in chaos and a very haughty can of peas mocking me from the litter box.

Very well, let’s shop for some shelves.

For storing dry goods, I prefer the sturdy plastic ones that just pop together. They have slotted shelves that allow air circulation for root cellary things. They were on sale. They are hideous and live in my garage. However, I am deeply in love with them as they hold all my on sale canned goods.

1. Where do you want them to go?
Do you want little skinny shelves on wheels to roll away into the spot between the refrigerator and counter? Low wide shelves to fit under a stairway? Or perhaps, only the ultimate height matters as you are just jamming them into the garage?

2. What is on sale?
Go to Sunday Saver, choose what state you live in and compare prices. Try everywhere. Big box sores. Department stores. Home improvement stores are your best bet, although the cheapest shelves I ever bought came from on of those massive pharmacies that have at least 10 aisles of non medications. That is the beauty of the internet, my friend. Don’t forget to call your local buyout store have ask them, too. Or an local business that is going under.

Oh you didn’t find the exact shelves you wanted? Well, are the affordable ones sufficient?

3. Call ahead to make sure they will fit in your vehicle.
Don’t waste the gas and wear and tear to your car. Call.

4. Assemble your shelves and load them up with beautiful on sale canned goods collection.

5. Stand back and laugh.
You are well on your way of leaving the French Toast Club as a just a shameful memory. Congratulations!

Published in: on January 27, 2009 at 9:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Books that lead to mischief


As a child I over loved two entire box sets of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series. Farmer Boy took the most abuse. It led to adventures in taffy pulling, making maple syrup, churning butter, spinning wool…oh, the list just goes on and on.

If you have never read the books, they are a different beast all together than the television series, which my mother never let me watch as she felt it was an insult to the author. Read them. Or read them again as an adult for a different experience. Try to get the ones with the Garth Williams illustrations as originally intended. Again, check the library book sale. They always show up.

I would like to welcome the folks of Girls Gone Wilder, a secret society of very well read and well written individuals, who get a charge out of the discrepancies between the books and the TV show. I look forward to your contribution. I just know you guys will have a million topics for me.

So let your sun bonnet fall hang down your back by its stings and replace it with a crash helmet. This is going to be an adventure, especially when we get to the topic of raising chickens. For that you will need a pool noodle to defend yourself from roosters that got mixed in with your layers.

Finally, a little hat tip to Jen BossyPants for encouragement and willingness to join my adventures.

Published in: on January 26, 2009 at 3:19 pm  Comments (2)