Thursday, July 8, 2010


Well a soggy Hi there and Hello to all my friends out there! How are you doing this crazy day of summer? I am annoyed because I woke up to the rain again today. Darn tropical depression! LOL my new snuggle bunnies (Gizmo and Miracle) had a little to do with waking me up too! Their new thing is sleeping (spooning even) right next to my chest when I lay on my side. Its so cute!

Alright, I was searching yesterday and I found an article called "The Cheapskate Guide: 50 tips to being frugal". NOW... you know me and as "The Frugal Mom" I like to find these articles and really dissect them and test how "frugal" they truly are! LOL... today is no exception! I'm bringing you the article and of course, interjecting MHO when I feel neccessary LOL! Being that there are so many things to discuss, I am splitting this article into a 2 day feature... so let's get started LOL!

The Cheapskate Guide: 50 tips to being frugal
Post written by Leo Babauta

Confession time: I’m a cheapskate. Some would say frugal, which sounds much more positive, but in reality I can be a real cheapskate.

I am fairly frugal (though not always), but sometimes I take it too far: I have T-shirts with holes in them, I never buy new clothes, we’re shopping for a new couch because our current one has holes in it, and I ran my current pair of running shoes until the soles fell off.

However, I have gradually learned to be frugal in many ways that I would recommend to others. I don’t think you should have holes in your couch, and you should definitely replace your running shoes more often than I do, but there are many ways to cut back on spending and live a more frugal lifestyle.

Why live frugally? First, because it allows you to spend less than you earn, and use the difference to pay off debt, save or invest. Or all three. Second, because the less you spend, the less you need to earn. And that means you can choose to work less, or work more but retire early. Or take mini retirements. You have more options with a frugal lifestyle.

I know what I’m going to hear in the comments, because it’s been done repeatedly with my other frugal articles: I have no life. This is boring. I might as well live in a box. You have to enjoy life sometimes.

All of which you might believe, but I believe I do have a life. A great one. One where I spend time with my family, where I have conversations and read and get outside and do things that are fun and exercise and focus on what’s important and spend my free time the way I want. This is a good life. Read this article for more.
So, if you’d like some tips on frugal living, here are just a few, from a cheapskate. I should note that I do most, but not all, of these tips.

1. Go with one car. Many families have two or more cars. Besides your house, your car is probably your most expensive item. If you can do with one, you should. My wife and I both work, and we have six kids, and yet we have learned to manage with one car. - We live like this now... it IS hard, but possible.

2. Go with a smaller house. Just because you can afford a larger house, doesn’t mean you should live in one. Live in as small a house as you can and still be comfortable. I don’t mean you should live in a one-room apartment with a family of four … you know what I mean. You can save thousands a year with a smaller house. Many times, if you get rid of a lot of clutter, you don’t need a large house.

3. Go with a smaller car. Again, you can save thousands by going with a smaller car. A car instead of an SUV, for example, is a big savings. Be comfortable, but don’t overdo it. You’ll save a lot on gas this way too.

4. Rent rather than own. This will probably spark a huge debate, as it always does. The thing is, just don’t assume that buying is the better investment. If you calculate the interest you pay on a mortgage, the cost of insurance and maintenance, buying is often much more costly than renting … and if you rent, save money, and then invest the difference, you can actually end up well ahead in the long run. Now, it’s not a given, so do a comparison, factoring in all expenses. Here’s a more in-depth article.

5. Look for used first. If you need something — I mean really need it, not just want it — see if someone you know has one that they don’t use or need anymore. Send out an email to family or friends, or just ask around. You might be surprised. I was about to buy a printer, and then found out my mom just bought a laser printer and didn’t need her old inkjet … saving me close to 100 smackeroos. If no one you know owns one, try or Then look to buy used, at garage sales or thrift shops. You can find a bargain if you look around.

6. Eat out less. One of the biggest expenses in our daily lives is eating out — the average person spends well over $2,000 a year on eating out. Restaurants are expensive, including fast-food (not to mention the health hazards). It’s much cheaper to cook your own food. Our family creates a weekly menu, then we buy the groceries, and cook dinner (and lunch) each evening. Lately I’ve even been prepping it in the morning, so it’s a snap when we get home.

7. Eat out frugally. If you do eat out, check out these money-saving tips.

8. Brown bag it to work. Instead of eating out for lunch, bring your lunch. More here.

9. Adopt a minimalist wardrobe. This tip won’t be for everybody, but I try for a minimalist wardrobe. I generally wear jeans or casual pants, a T-shirt or Polo-type shirt, and sandals or shoes. Plain, solid colors are my favorite. Everything goes with everything else, and I don’t have too many clothes. This saves me the stress of picking out an outfit, and I don’t need as many clothes.

10. Stop online impulse buys. This was a problem for me before I canceled my credit card. I used to buy online a couple of times a week. Now I buy maybe once every couple of months, using PayPal or someone else’s credit card. I’m not saying you have to go to this extreme, but realize that online buying can be way too easy (you don’t even have to go to a store) and therefore, we make too many impulse buys. Buy online if you really need something and it’ll save you money, but beware the impulse buy. See 30-day list tip below.

11. Don’t shop. Don’t go to the mall or other shopping area or department store to look around and shop. Go to a store if you know what you need, and then get out. Many times people go shopping, with a vague idea of what they want, and get caught up buying much more. Or they go just for fun, as a form of entertainment. That ends up costing a lot. It can really add up. Instead, stay away from shopping areas and find other ways to have fun (more below).

12. Use a 30-day list. To curb impulse buys, create a 30-day list. When you want to buy something, other than a true necessity (medicine or food, for example), put it on this list, with the date you added it to the list. And make it a rule that you can’t buy anything for at least 30 days after you put it on the list. And stick to it. You’ll find that you buy a lot less with this system.

13. Cut out cable. I’ve talked about how I cut out cable before. It saves me money every month (in my area, about $60, or more than $700 a year), and also forces me to do things like read and have conversations and go outside. Win win.

14. Use the library. Instead of buying books, check them out. The library often also has a great selection of DVDs (depending on your area), saving you even more. Now who needs cable?

15. Find free entertainment. Find cheap ways to have fun. Entertainment often ends up costing a lot of money, if you go to the movies, buy concessions, or go out at night, go to the bar, etc. The average person spends about $1,800 a year on entertainment (not including eating out). Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t have fun … but there are cheaper ways to do it. Here are a few ideas. Here’s a frugal family’s fun and cheap weekend.

16. Frugal exercise. Exercise is important, but it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Here are some tips.- If you buy heavy/bulk groceries, they double duty real good as weights... imagine curling a 10 pound roll of ground meat or bag of sugar for 50 reps... your arms really start feeling it LOL! I do it alot!

17. Stay healthy. Easier said than done, I know, but staying healthy can save you tons of money on doctor’s visits, hospital bills, and medicine over the long run. An ounce of prevention, and all that. Eat healthily, and exercise. Simple and effective.

18. Commute by bike. Even if you own a car, commuting by bike will save you gas, and get you in shape at the same time. I highly recommend it. Here are my tips.

19. Carpool or ride the bus. OK, you don’t want to bike it. So find a friend or neighbor who works near you, and arrange a carpool. Or take public transportation. Simple advice, but something a lot of people ignore.

20. Walk. Often we drive to the corner store, or to a school that’s less than a mile away. Leave a few minutes early, walk, burn some calories, and save gas.

21. Sell your clutter. This is not so much saving money as making it, but the frugal, simplifying cheapskate, like myself, will want to declutter and make a few bucks doing it. Hold a garage sale or sell it on eBay. It’s amazing what some people will buy. See the Simple Dollar’s post on this.

22. Frugal gifting. Gifts can cost a lot of money over the course of a year. Look for ways to do it cheaply. Make a gift, or give a consummable. My family enjoys getting and giving cookies, for example. Here are some ideas.

23. Quit smoking. Not the easiest way to save, I know. It’s hard. But I did it, and so have many, many others. Not only will you save on cigarettes (which are expensive over the long run), but also associated costs (I used to buy a soda or beer to go with my cigarettes) … and of course the huge, long-term medical costs. In less than 2 years of not smoking, I’ve saved well more than $3,000. Here are my tips for quitting. - I just quit cold turkey last year! I was miserable for a bit and i gained some extra weight at first, but it WAS a huge health saver AND money saver too!

24. Alcohol in moderation. If you drink one beer or a few beers a day, that adds up to big money each month. Some drink even more than that. It’s expensive. If you can cut your drinking to the occasional party, and once in awhile with friends (not all the time), you’ll save tons. - I went from Alcoholic to not drinking at all and let me tell ya... the money I look back and wasted makes me VERY angry!

25. Sweets in moderation. Desserts and sweet snacks give us lots of calories with no nutrition. And we pay a premium price for that, in dollars and in our deteriorating health. Cut back on sweets (don’t eliminate them entirely of course) to save money and cut calories. - If you must have sweets, make them yourself! A box cake mix and canister of icing costs about a buck each... much better than teh $10 plus for a premade cake! There are literally thousands of recipes online to be found for just about any sweet imaginable!

Stay tuned tomorrow for the second half of this list, along with my interjected opinions LOL!

Now, during the 60's everyone was into crafts. You could say that Crafts was a Fad during the 60's. Why did so many people do crafts in the 60's? In my opinion, It was for a variety of reasons. Some did it to have the latest things to decorate their "pad". Some did it to sell their hand-made items for a few coins. Some did it to be able to sport the latest fashions. Some did it to fit in with the crowd. Now you ask why do I do them some 4 decades later? Well some of the same reasons I suppose... I decorate my "pad", I use some of the unique "fashions" (scrubs, purses, etc), I sell some and make "a few coins" LOL, but I mainly I do it because I enjoy it. I like starting with something so simple and turning it into something rather extraordinary. I get a sense of pride and accomplishment when I see my end results. And it makes it 10 times better when others like my creations! I do it as therapy and a hobby and even necessity. Crafting has TONS of purposes and I find it rather sad that today's youth, for the most part, doesn't have a clue or even an interest in making crafts. I am glad I taught my daughter. Although, more and more people are doing homemade gifts out of necessity, I hope that the trend doesn't stop as soon as the economy improves. Either way you look at it, the 60's were super-crafty-goodness if you ask me! If you find yourself wanting more great hippie crafts after this week is over, I recommend checking out Hippie Crafts: Creating a Hip New Look Using Groovy '60s Crafts by Joanne O'Sullivan. Tie Dye was a BIG thing in the 60's, and you can still see it today all around on people of all ages. Today I want to link you to a site that shows you how to tie dye the "old school" way.

Craft Idea of the Day: Tie Dye Clothing


Fabric Dye*
Rubber Bands
Rubber Gloves
Tap Water
Tee Shirt or Bandana

*Rit Dye is usually available in the housewares department of your local grocer or discount department store


For the purposes of simplicity, we chose to use one color per garment, rather than multiple colors that are so often seen. You can also use colored garments and use a contrasting dye color to achieve the same results.

Begin by rubber banding your garment according to the design you wish to achieve. See the pictures below followed by the method in which to reach that result.

Prepare dye according to package directions. Be sure to wear rubber gloves to protect your hands! Dye can be just as damaging as bleach to your unprotected skin.

Please take the proper safety precautions recommended.

Once your garment is ready, place in the dye for at least 15-20 minutes. The longer the garment remains in the dye, the darker and deeper the color will become. Remove from the dye and rinse according to package directions, usually in cold running water. Ring out garment until water runs clear.

Carefully remove rubber bands and marbles to reveal your new design! No design will be the same as another and different effects can be reached by combining the different methods mentioned above. See below for our results and be sure to have a good time!

Ok its time to feast! Today I am letting my inner food snob come out with the Groovy 60's recipe of the day LOL.After all the yard bird, I need me some cow LMAO! Real BEEF my friends! Today we are gonna make a Beef Wellington. The history of Beef Wellington is a matter of historic contention. Food historians generally agree the dish is named for Arthur Wellesley, First Duke of Wellington, the man who crushed Napoleon at Waterloo. Beef Wellington was the premier party dish of the was rich, dramatic, expensive, and seemed difficult and time-consuming to prepare. In short, it was everything a gourmet dish should be. Beef Wellington...became a showpiece of ambitious 60s hostesses...Before long there were shortcut versions with canned liver paste substituting for foie gras, canned mushrooms for duxelles, and refrigerator crescent rolls or any frozen pastry shells for puff pastry. Despite such ethnic fervor, one of the most popular dishes of the day was the very classic, very British Beef Wellington a fillet of beef tenderloin coated with pate‚ de foie gras and a duxelles of mushrooms that are then all wrapped in a puff pastry crust. Some believe that Wellington's popularity had more to do with America's competitive spirit than with any deep passion for British cuisine. It began in the '60s when couples started dabbling in a bit of culinary one-upmanship. Dinner parties with friends became elaborate as complicated recipes appeared on tables with greater regularity. Beef Wellington was considered the height of difficulty and expense because of the preparation of the puff pastry and the price of the pate‚ de foie gras. Kudos and furtive jealous glances went to the cook who mastered such a bear of a recipe. Although Beef Wellington went the way of Beef Stroganoff and Boeuf Bourguignon, it did stage a comeback in magazines such as Gourmet in the '90s, when prepackaged puff pastry and domestic foie gras made it much easier and less expense to make." So for the inner food snob in you, I bring you the infamous recipe for the day!

Beef Wellington


2 1/2 pounds beef tenderloin
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
2 ounces liver pate
2 tablespoons butter, softened
salt and pepper to taste
1 (17.5 ounce) package frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg yolk, beaten
1 (10.5 ounce) can beef broth
2 tablespoons red wine


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

Place beef in a small baking dish, and spread with 2 tablespoons softened butter. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until browned. Remove from pan, and allow to cool completely. Reserve pan juices.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onion and mushrooms in butter for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool.

Mix together pate and 2 tablespoons softened butter, and season with salt and pepper. Spread pate over beef. Top with onion and mushroom mixture.

Roll out the puff pastry dough, and place beef in the center. Fold up, and seal all the edges, making sure the seams are not too thick. Place beef in a 9x13 inch baking dish, cut a few slits in the top of the dough, and brush with egg yolk.

Bake at 450 degrees F (230 degrees C) for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) for 10 to 15 more minutes, or until pastry is a rich, golden brown. Set aside, and keep warm.

Place all reserved juices in a small saucepan over high heat. Stir in beef stock and red wine; boil for 10 to 15 minutes, or until slightly reduced. Strain, and serve with beef.

Ok friends, that's all I have for today. I need to get off here and get mom to her therapy appointment. Driving in the rain is a pain around here! People seem to turn their brains off (maybe they don't want to get it wet?) when driving in the rain, so I always allot for extra time! Anyway, I hope that you enjoyed the facts, food, and fun I brought you today and that you will join me again tomorrow for more 60's exposure LOL! Stay cool, stay dry, and stay hippiefied! Peace, Love, and lots of HUGS!

1 comment:

  1. Debbie "MOM"July 8, 2010 at 9:10 PM

    Ok, is this guy who wrote the article about 50 ways to be frugal for real? I went to his website and frankly he seems to good to be true. I never met anyone that frugal. We all have our little desires or hobbies or interests in some form and reading this guy's writings, is kind of hard to swallow. Like for instance....walking to your destination. In my area if you try that you can be bitten by some careless pet owners dog, ran over by someone who is "In too much of a hurry" to be a careful driver, or ate up by mosquitos because the county departments have cut the budget and it seems like they never get to your neighborhood to spray. And the DONT SHOP advice.....who do you know that doesn't shop. Thats just plain ridiculous. Everybody shops! So I'm saying be frugal but dont get to the point where your separating your two-ply toilet tissue to make two rolls of one-ply or sitting at home bored when you could go to a matinee movie once in a while. Everyone needs a little extravagance, even if its just a banana split at the local diner with your beloved significant other. Life is short, as I have found out this year with my close call, and girls (and guys) just wanna have fun!! LOL
    I love tie dyed!!!! I even still wear some to this day! Its a little tricky to get the hang of but its real fun once you get going. My favorite is tee shirts and tank tops but I've seen jeans, shoes, even hats tie dyed. Its great!
    Beef Wellington is a real difficult recipe to get done. I have tried it when I was younger but it didn't quite turn out right. You need to make sure the beef is not too fatty, that you cook the liquid completely out of the mushrooms, and you definitely have to like the taste of the livers or you wont like it. And if you dont seal the puff pastry good your dish will not look so good when it comes out of the oven. I think I will skip this recipe seeeing that I have already tried it and so I leave it to you all to test and try. I would like to hear from anyone who tries and succeeds with their Beef Wellington.
    Its been a long day so til next time....