PhotobucketWhy Be Frugal?

I consider frugality an art form and a religious conviction. I learned about paying cash for purchases, recycling and reusing just about everything and being generous to friends and those in need from my parents.

My faith instructs me all things are gifted by God and so I am compelled to be a good steward of my gifts. [The highest heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth he has given to man. Psalm 115:16]


Friday, January 14, 2011

Frugal, Green Solutions to Some Peskiest Household Problems

From AOL Shopping in a post by Marquette Heaven

Marquette shared some reader ideas for using everyday household items to solve some of life's peskiest problems--frugally!

Here are a couple of great ideas:

"Hard to believe but true: Worcestershire sauce makes a great (and cheap) compound for restoring dull, tarnished brass to its original shine. Just take a small amount of Worcestershire sauce, place it on a soft toothbrush, rub it wherever your brass needs a good polish, let sit for a few minutes, then rub off residue with a soft damp cloth. Do this a few times as needed and soon you're brass will look shiny and new once again! " J.

"White distilled vinegar is a housewife's best kept secret! It is one of the strongest natural astringents, so you can disinfect your bathrooms toilets, tubs, and also clean your kitchen counter top with it. Plus, it removes stains from upholstery, carpet, and clothes! You can also get rid of an abscess toothache, toe nail fungus, and strep throat with it. All for these things for just a couple dollars at your local grocery store." T.

This one is really clever:

"Dryer sheets contain positively charged ingredients that are released by heat and movement. To loosen caked-on food from a pan, place a fresh sheet in the bottom of a dirty pan, fill with lukewarm water, and let soak in the sink overnight. The pan will be a breeze to clean in the morning." Charyn

Stay tuned for more great ideas!

I love these tips because not only are they frugal . . . they're "green." No chemicals or toxic products required to clean our homes, for grooming or for solving some of life's inconveniences.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Buy Second Hand to Save Money

Author's bio: The following article has been written by Roxie Willis, who with her vast experience in the mortgage industry has been associated with the MortgageFit Community as a contributory writer . Not only does she participate in the community forums to give her suggestions, but also makes her contributions through different articles on mortgage, refinancing, loan modifications etc.

How can one buy second hand goods and save more money

In this current financial scenario, you need to save more money and try to lead a frugal life. If you can try to save on daily products as well as other items, you can easily get used to the current financial market. You must try to buy second hand goods so that you can get the advantage of that item as well as save your hard-earned money as well. You can get the same material and benefits that you may get if you buy the same thing first hand.

Tips to get you started on buying second hand goods

There are certain things that you need to invest in without spending excess of money on must be bought second hand. If you have the place and the people you trust with these things, you can easily get going with your second hand buying. Take a look at the tips that’ll help you buy second hand goods:

  1. Trust yourself

    You must trust your instincts and yourself so that you can easily buy the second hand good. If you think that there really is a problem with the thing, you must not get it in the first place. But you must be sure of the thing you buy and ask from the source about the quality of that thing without buying it before. Even if you buy a second hand good, you must be sure of the quality of the thing. This will help you use the good for a very long time and help you get the worth of the thing. You’re saving money and if you get a good quality second hand item, you can easily save the money as well as invest in a better thing.

  1. Trusted source

    This is also an important criterion to tell you that you can still buy a great second hand good without getting duped. If you know any dealer or a person who sells second hand goods which are of good quality, you can easily buy them from him. This is an important tip that’ll help you buy a second hand and safe thing. You can also fulfill your purpose of saving your money and get a worthy good. But if you see that the thing is not that good in quality, you can say this to your trusted dealer and he can also make it a point to change it and give you the best one.

  1. Safety standards

    This is also an important tip that’ll help you buy a second hand good. If you buy anything for your children or toddlers, you must be extra careful. If you buy a chair and table or a playpen, you must be careful that the things don’t have any sharp edges or the paints are not toxic. If you buy goods for the elderly such as shawls, heating equipments or anything else, you must also check the quality of them. Sometimes the heating equipment can make your hands burn or they may also easily catch fire. This will help you check the safety standards of the things and help you judge the second hand goods.

You must remember that since you’re paying the money for these goods, you must check the quality well. You must research well on the dealers of the second hand goods and that can really help you save your money and get the worthy things.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Savory Beef Make Ahead Dinner

As promised on facebook, here's the Savory Beef recipe from Once-A-Month Cooking.

2 lbs. Beef round tip steak (I used stew beef/bought on sale)
1 C sliced fresh mushrooms
1 sliced onion
3 TBS vegetable oil
3 TBS all-purpose flour
2 C water & 2 beef bouillon cubes (I used 2 C beef broth)
2 TBS tomato paste
1 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dill weed
2 TBS Worcestershire sauce
1 8 oz package wide egg noodles*

Cut beef into thin strips (if using tip steak). Sprinkle beef with pepper, and set aside in a cool place. In a heavy skillet, saute mushrooms and onions in oil until golden; remove them from skillet. Put meat in same skillet; cook and stir beef on all sides until brown. Remove meat and set aside.

Blend flour into the oil in skillet, gradually adding water/bouillon or broth. Stir constantly until smooth and slightly thick. mix in tomato paste, dry mustard, oregano, dill week and Worcestershire sauce. Stir meat, mushrooms and onions into sauce. Cool meat mixture and freeze. (After the mixture cools for a few minutes, I place it all in a zip-lock bag to store in the freezer).

To prepare for serving, thaw beef. *Prepare noodles according to package directions. Heat beef in saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly until it's bubbly. Serve meat over noodles. Makes 6 servings.

Serve with: Green beans and/or salad and rolls.

Use any leftover beef for sandwiches.

This is so yummy and one of my family's favorites.

Tomorrow I will have a guest blogger, Roxanne Peterson, offer some advice on saving money by buying items second hand. Roxie has written extensively for numerous financial planning and mortgage industry websites.

I think you'll enjoy what she has to share. Would you like to be a guest blogger on Just Be Frugal? Just leave me a comment letting me know your topic and I'll get in touch!

Stop by tomorrow to read Roxie's suggestions on how to buy second-hand without sacrificing quality.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Eat Better. Eat Cheaper

Eat Better. Eat Cheaper. These are two of my goals for 2011.

Eat Better = better health--lower weight, fewer blood sugar peaks and valleys; lower blood pressure and on and on.

Eat Cheaper = more wealth! It's that simple. Sometimes, though, it can be challenging to eat well while eating on a lower budget. The grocery store and kitchen are two of the few places where we can actually directly impact our household budget in a meaningful way on an on-going basis.

I don't know about you, but I work full time and have a very busy family life, even though we have all adults (4 total with another one here on the weekends often) in the house now. While I would still like to cook and bake from scratch, I don't have the time or energy these days. So I've compromised, adding home-made, from scratch meals with some that are made partially from canned/boxed ingredients and even a few "convenience" foods--though I keep an eye on the sodium and calorie content of those.

Yesterday I thought about what I wanted to fix for dinners this week - it's so much less stressful to have a plan AND to have items all ready to pop in the oven or microwave when I come home after a long day!

I went through my coupons, my weekly Kroger sale flyer and pulled out Once-A-Month Cooking by Mimi Wilson & Mary Beth Lagerborg. I really like this cookbook because all of the recipes are designed specifically to freeze well.

These are the meals I decided to make from Once-A-Month Cooking for dinners over the next couple of weeks: Chicken packets, Chili Verde, Savory Beef (I substituted stew beef because it was cheaper than the round steak called for in the recipe), Linguine A La Anne, Wild Rice Chicken, Poulet de France, Baked Eggs.

I also bought a Kroger fresh made Pizza marked down to $4.99 and some Home Style Barbeque chicken from the deli, marked down to $5.99 (for 8 pieces). Tonight we had the pizza with a salad for dinner and I prepared the Savory Beef and we'll have the chicken tomorrow night so I can fix a couple of the other dishes for later.

This afternoon I made a batch of blueberry pancakes with some blueberries that wouldn't have lasted more than a couple more days. Those are stacked with wax paper between them, in a freezer container and in the freezer for breakfasts this week-needing only a few seconds in the microwave. I also made some sausage biscuits using breakfast sausage (in the roll - not preformed patties) and baked refrigerator biscuits.

This evening I also baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies (from a roll of Kroger brand cookie dough) and a 13x9 pan of brownies. Our week is off to great start and I love that I won't have to think about what to fix for dinner every night-or worse-stop by the grocery store on the way home and spend more money than necessary.

What are some ways you have started Eating Better and Eating Cheaper?